Archive for October, 2012

Brighton Council plans to remove Mr and Mrs titles from all documents to protect city’s transgender community from offence

Friday, October 26th, 2012

By Anna Edwards, Mailonline

Councillors in Brighton could scrap the titles Mr and Mrs from council forms so residents don’t have to choose between genders.

All titles could be scrapped from official paperwork under new plans following an investigation by the council into transgender community in the city.

The proposal is backed by Brighton and Hove City Council deputy leader Phelim MacCafferty, who has called the titles ‘useless’.

But the new proposal has been branded ‘political correctness gone too far’ by an opposition councillor who says the idea is ‘ludicrous’.

A scrutiny panel will put forward a number of recommendations, including the scrapping of Mr and Mrs, to the council for approval in December.

Green Party deputy leader Coun MacCafferty said: ‘Trans people aren’t necessarily male or female and sometimes they don’t want to be defined by their gender.

‘Putting Mr and Mrs on a form is completely useless.

Read here

Are self-supporting bishops on the way?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Interesting read for ACSA churches, just read Diocesan Fanance Board for “commissioners”.

By Julian Mann, CEN

It is not only net-receiving churches in parish share that are being offered a self-supporting minister by cash-strapped dioceses looking to make

Bishop Ordains 8 Non Stipendiary Priests 2007

savings on stipends when the incumbent moves on. It is now increasingly happening to net-giving parishes, in some cases paying more than £50,000 per annum.

Even though their new SSM receives no stipend, the PCCs are asked to continue to pay their full parish share as an expression of their spiritual partnership with their dioceses.

In the light of this trend, it might be worth considering the following scenario: it is AD 2025 and the Church Commissioners are facing grave financial difficulties. They are finding it very hard to find the money for stipendiary bishops and their expenses.

So, the House of Bishops, after strong representations by the Commissioners, persuades the General Synod to agree a target of 10 self-supporting diocesan bishops by 2030 and 20 suffragans.

Diocese A has a Vacancy in See. It is told that its next appointment will be an SSB. The Vacancy in See Committee, believing strongly that their diocese needs a full-time, stipendiary bishop, mobilises support. With the positive backing of its net-giving churches, the diocese raises the money to pay for its own bishop, his stipend, expenses and the upkeep of his residence and staff.

“Well done,” the diocesan representatives on the Crown Nominations Commission are told. “But you’re still going to get an SSB and as an expression of your spiritual partnership with the rest of the Church of England, you’re going to give the Commissioners the money you have raised so they can continue to pay for stipendiary bishops elsewhere.”

“But,” says Diocese A, “we consider that we need a full-time bishop for mission. Our last one was worth every penny in the spiritual direction he gave and the church growth that under God he enabled. We believe growth generates growth. If the Lord Jesus Christ continues to add to the number of people who are being saved in churches across our diocese, then we are in a position to support ministry outside our diocese. Are you suggesting that we are being selfish in wanting our own stipendiary bishop?”

“No, of course not. A bit congregationalist perhaps. The cheque is payable to the Church Commissioners by the way.”

Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish of the Ascension, Oughtibridge,
South Yorkshire –

Dr Philip Giddings: The Way Ahead

Friday, October 26th, 2012

So where are we now? After the debates in deaneries and dioceses, the General Synod will debate the Draft Measure in 2012. Two questions remain uppermost in people’s minds: is ‘provision’ needed? If so, what sort of provision is needed? ‘Provision’ means making arrangements in the legislation for clergy and parishes who have conscientious objections to the principle of consecrating women bishops. Although some of the leading advocates of the principle of having women bishops believe that any such provision is unacceptable, the Draft Measure does include provision in the form of a Code of Practice.

However, for those who do have conscientious objections to the principle of consecrating women bishops, the proposed Code of Practice route is inadequate: in their view it does not provide them with the security they need. [A complication here is that, in order to avoid appearing to anticipate Parliament’s decision on the Draft Measure itself, the actual Code of Practice is not yet available. An ‘illustrative draft’ has been presented to the General Synod but it has not been adopted by any authoritative body.] This is the main issue in the debate about the legislation, although many continue to dispute the principle of the acceptability of consecrating women as bishops. In this concluding chapter, therefore, we will focus on the issue of provision and examine whether there is a better way ahead than the Draft Measure currently being considered.

Why is provision needed at all?

Read here

The future of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court is hearing this week the matter of the wrangle over Anglican Church property in Zimbabwe. The whole week has been set aside for the hearing, and our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe have set aside this whole week for prayer and fasting. His Grace exhorts his readers and communicants to join them in prayer, for the outcome of this hearing will determine the entire future of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.

There has been continued harassment of Anglican Church members in the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo since His Grace last reported on these matters. They have been barred from some of their institutions, in particular, Daramombe Mission, and they continue to be evicted from their church buildings in Chivhu rural. The police have ordered that all church buildings in Chivhu belong to Norlbert Kunonga and the legitimate custodians of these properties, the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo in the Church of the Province of Central Africa have been barred from using these buildings.

The Anglican Church is clear about the ecclesiastical boundaries of the five Dioceses in Zimbabwe. These were set by the Province at a properly constituted Provincial Synod on 1st September 2001. Ironically, Kunonga was part of this Provincial Synod and was signatory to the formation of the Diocese of Masvingo and its boundaries.

All law court judgments are clear that the dispute over church properties is in the Diocese of Harare which ceased to have jurisdiction over Chivhu on 1st September 2001, the date on which the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo ecclesiastically formed. The documents, including the map showing othe Diocesan boundaries, are clear in this regard. What Kunonga is using to hoodwink the police are title deeds which he illegally refused to surrender to the Diocese of Masvingo at its formation. This was a premeditated move to permit him to retain control over Church property.

It is disturbing that the police have taken sides. They lead the summary evictions of Church members from their buildings. Since when have the police in the Republic of Zimbabwe been judges and legal experts in matters to do with the Anglican Church? Why are they openly supporting the abuse perpetrated by Nolbert Kunonga? Who is giving them orders to harass members of the Anglican Church and for what reason?

An appeal has been made directly to His Excellency President Robert Mugabe, and also to the members of the Government of National Unity, the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs and the Police Commissioner General to intervene in this matter where innocent and peaceable worshippers are being driven out of their church buildings for no legitimate reason.

Whatever happened to freedom of Worship in Zimbabwe?

Barnabas International Day of Prayer for persecuted Church

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

The Day of Prayer on Thursday 1 November is gaining momentum, with prayer gatherings taking place across the world. We would like to invite you to make time during that day to pray either individually or with others.
Find your nearest prayer meeting
Prayer events are taking place across the UK, including in Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Co. Down, Essex, Galloway, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Jersey, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, London, Manchester, Merseyside, Middlesex, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Suffolk, Swansea, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Yorkshire.
Visit our interactive online map to see what is happening in your area.
It’s not too late to register your event
If you are organising a prayer meeting on 1 November, or a Suffering Church Sunday meeting, please post your event onto the online map. If others are welcome to attend, you can also provide further contact information. A poster is also available to assist in publicising your event.
A free prayer guide, which focuses on 48 countries in 30-minute slots, is available to order or download from our website. Prayer pointers will also be available online on our prayer wall as Facebook and Twitter feeds. Please share with your church, friends and family.
Day of Prayer Summit – London
A Prayer Summit is taking place at St Michael’s Church in Chester Square, London. People may come to pray any time from 1:30pm, and there will be a special prayer service at 7pm. Registration is not essential, but to help with our arrangements, please notify us if you plan to attend by clicking here.
Join the Prayer Summit online
The Prayer Summit will be broadcast live via our website. You may like to join us wherever you are.

What is going on in The Episcopal Church? Some answers to commonly asked questions

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

By Adam Parker

In recent years, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, under the leadership of Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, has distanced itself from the Episcopal Church. Diocese officials say the Church has “walked apart” from the rest of global Anglicanism, that its liberal leanings and “indiscriminate inclusivity” has compromised the integrity of the institution and ridiculed the gospel.

The issues are complex and often confusing. Here, The Post and Courier reduces them to seven essential questions, offering answers derived from many interviews and years of reporting on this story.

1.What does ‘abandonment’ mean?

Upon his consecration, a bishop pledges to uphold the constitution and canons of the Church. Failing to follow the rules sometimes is the result of oversight or mistake, but when it’s “an open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church,” he is said to have abandoned his episcopal duties.

What happens to a bishop accused of abandonment? There are three basic possibilities: He will be restricted from performing any acts as an ordained person, then dismissed from the church. He can resolve the problem and be restored to his position. Or he can opt to leave the church on his own.

2.Can a diocese leave the Episcopal Church?

Technically, no. Only people can leave the Church. A diocese is essentially a geographical designation, a domain where the Church sets up an administration. It includes parishes, schools and other institutions. All the property is held in trust for the Episcopal Church under the terms of the Dennis Canon, and protecting the property is part of a bishop’s responsibility. When a bishop leaves the Church, others may choose to follow him, or choose to remain. In this case, though, local Church officials have created a stand-alone and independent corporate entity called “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” effectively transforming a geographical area into a church.

3. What will happen to Bishop Mark Lawrence if he breaks with the Episcopal Church completely?

It’s unclear. Lawrence has not explained publicly what he will do. Assuming he wants to continue in a leadership role, his options appear to be: A) join the Anglican Church in North America, an organization recently formed in response to what it perceives as the liberalization of the Episcopal Church; B) affiliate with an Anglican church body outside the Episcopal Church; or C) stay put. He has declared the diocese an autonomous Episcopal jurisdiction. It is conceivable that he will continue to lead, operating a self-sufficient “church” that stands, at least for now, apart from any larger institution.

4. What will happen to parishioners in the Diocese of South Carolina now?

The diocese announced it had “disaffiliated” with the Episcopal Church because of the actions just taken by the Disciplinary Board of Bishops and presiding bishop. Worshippers who attend parishes that changed their corporate charters and governing documents to remove reference to the Episcopal Church, declaring themselves part of the autonomous Diocese of South Carolina, and that filed quitclaim deeds that transferred ownership of the property to them, could be subject to legal challenges.

5.What are the potential legal challenges?

Since the property is supposed to be held in trust for the Church, the recent actions taken by diocese officials and some of the parishes could prompt a court fight. But Lawrence is relying on a 2009 S.C. Supreme Court decision in favor of All Saints Church on Pawleys Island, which had broken from the diocese (and Episcopal Church) a few years earlier. That decision cited an unusual deed transfer that occurred more than a century earlier, long before the Dennis Canon was adopted. It is conceivable that litigation will be avoided, however. Some wonder if the national Church has the resources and stomach for a legal battle that could take years and result in ownership of a lot of expensive-to-maintain and underused buildings.

6.Is this really all about homosexuality?

No. Ordaining gay bishops and blessing same-sex marriages concern those who consider themselves biblical Anglicans, but those issues have been characterized as the straw that broke the camel’s back. Other complaints made by conservatives concern the authority exercised by the presiding bishop, an assertive church inclusiveness that appears to some to redefine the basic Christian tenet of salvation, and the general liberal leanings of a Church overeager to accommodate social trends.

7.Can the theological questions be put in a nutshell?

First, dissenters in the Episcopal Church say that the Bible contains all that’s necessary for salvation, that it is the word of God and must not be contradicted or compromised. God’s revelation is absolute, needing no revision. Loyal Episcopalians argue that change is inevitable if the Church is to remain relevant in a dynamic society.

Second, the doctrine of salvation is at stake. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Does this mean all non-Christians (and all Christians who equivocate on this point) are damned? Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has said that God made promises to Jews and Muslims that remain in force, and that people such as Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama are “godly.” It’s not her job to figure out who gets to enter the Kingdom of God after death, she said, insisting, “I believe the whole world has access to God.”

Furthermore, salvation depends not only on “getting right with God,” but on “getting right with our neighbors,” too, she said. Individualism is unbiblical when it trumps “the interests of others as well as principles of interdependence.” Many conservative Anglicans seized on these statements to accuse Jefferts Schori of denying the supremacy of Christ.

Church of England Evangelical Council says “Do not abstain”

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

 Chris Sugden

By Canon Dr Chris Sugden
Anglican Mainstream

Introduction to Church of England Evangelical Council’s statement  on women bishops legislation

The day on which the statement below was released, the Church Times published an article by the Archbishop of Canterbury in which he stated that “those who think that the provision for dissent is inadequate have to reckon with the extreme unlikelihood…that any future legislation will be able to find a more acceptable framework…. In other words voting against the legislation risks committing us to a period of continued and perhaps intensified internal conflict, with no clearly guaranteed outcome…. For those who find it not quite good enough…the question must be ‘What are you voting for if you vote against this Measure?'”

There is a concerted campaign by many Diocesan Bishops on those who are uncertain at least to abstain.

To this campaign the point must be made about what brought about the end to the conflict in Northern Ireland through the Good Friday agreement.

What enabled the Good Friday agreement to take place was the simple and clear commitment that no change would take place as regards the status of the minority in the island of Ireland as a whole without their agreement.

If this principle was to be observed in the church on a matter which, while it may be consonant with scripture is not required by scripture, then we would avoid what promises to be very troubling times whatever way the vote goes in November.

The views of the minority, whose position in the church is to be gravely affected by the current legislation, as to whether the provision is adequate does have some prior claim. Those of the majority for whom clear and adequate provision is being made do not look well in telling the minority what is good enough for them. That properly belongs to the minority to say. And the acid test of any democracy is how it respects the views of minorities.

Church of England Evangelical Council statement October 19th, 2012

The Church of England Evangelical Council has issued this statement following the meeting of the Council on 16th/17th October 2012:

The CEEC is composed of men and women, clergy, bishops and laity, those for and against the inclusion of women in the episcopate. These convictions are sincerely held, and include those who are satisfied with the present proposals for provision. However, a majority of the Council believes that the current measure does not make adequate provision for the substantial number of the Church of England who cannot support this development, and is concerned that there is a serious possibility the measure may result in their exclusion from the Church. It believes that all members of General Synod must prayerfully consider the good of the whole church and vote with a clear conscience which, for opponents, may mean voting against the Measure, rather than, as they are being asked, to abstain.

CEEC Chairman: The Venerable Michael Lawson
Executive Officer: The Revd Canon Michael Walters
Communications Officer: The Revd Peter Breckwoldt

Read the entire article here.