Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Archbishop again!

My thoughts on the Archbishop of Canterbury's approach to the homosexuality argument are echoed by this piece in The Guardian by Michael Hampson which I have just found (click on title above)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Why am I so disillusioned with our leaders today?

It started with Tony Blair. Less than a year after Labour's election victory in 1997 I started to realise he was not the principled leader I hoped for. He caved in to business pressure over cigarette advertising. I should have listened to the misgiving I felt intuitively when I first met him on his campaign trail in Harlow Essex during the 1992 election. He was strangely quiet whenever anyone in the room sought for his assent to a socialist policy! Now it is the Archbishop of Canterbury. I was a fully paid up admirer. Even the shameful treatment of Jeffrey John did not dent my enthusiasm. But disillusionment with Rowan's approach has set in for me over the sorry story of Anglican Communion arguments about homosexuality. Perhaps it's just me - but where does the future lie for a church which will not listen, but instead excludes, those who disagree with the majority? And doesn't this whole argument hang not on whether all Anglicans should agree to agree but on whether believing that homosexual relationships are acceptable to God or not. Why can't we talk about the issue instead of talking about ways to avoid the issue?

Rowan Williams reflects

Click the link above for a summary from the Daily Telegraph of Rowan Williams' reflections on the current crisis in the Anglican Communion.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

What does cultural captivity look like?

Geoffrey Rowell Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe writes in The Times yesterday (see link from title above) "...the stances adopted this week by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church reveal more about cultural captivity than faithful Christian witness". The idea seems to be that if a church decides something you don't like its conforming to culture; but if it does something you do like it's bringing in the kingdom of God. Apparently conforming to culture is wrong by the way. But what if the culture has got it right? And what if the culture has absorbed the Christian gospel more fully and far-reachingly than the institutional church has? It might be expected that after 2000 years of Christian preaching Western culture has been maybe a bit influenced by the gospel? And why is the Enlightenment so often condemned by bishops of the Anglo-Catholic tradition as Rowell does in this article?

"It's a woman's job now"

There is a piece by Charlie Lee-Potter about women as priests in the Church of England in the New Statesman magazine this week (Click heading above for link). It is a surprisingly sympathetic piece for this publication which generally treats religion at best ironically and quite often scathingly.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Episcopal Church rejects the call for a ban on gay bishops and same-sex blessings

Thank God that Episcopalian deputies have acted according to their consciences and rejected a ban which would prevent them from doing what they know to be right. After all, isn't that what being reformed Christians is all about? How would there be the Anglican church today if our forebears had failed to do what was right? And as Dave Walker points out on his cartoonblog - isn't there something in the Acts of the Apostles about breaking with tradition?

Dave Walker's cartoons always worth a look

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Caroline Lucas MEP for this part of the world speaks up on behalf of Palestinians who are suffering and dying because of a withdrawal of European aid following the election of the Hamas Pary to government in free and fair elections:

"Palestinian civilians are dying daily due to a lack of medicines - and doctors to administer them. The EU must urgently resume full assistance payments - with no strings attached - or face the fact that its decisions leave us with Palestinian blood on all of our hands."
"We have been demanding Palestinian democracy as a pre-condition for peace for years. Now the Palestinian people have delivered, and voted for a Hamas government in a free and fair election, it is completely unacceptable for the EU to precipitate a humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories simply because it doesn't like the result.
"The EU's refusal to acknowledge and accept the results of a democratic election is a completely unacceptable act of collective punishment against the Palestinian people."

Rejoice with the American Episcopal Church

American Episcopalians have elected a woman as the Presiding Bishop for the
first time in their history. My response: rejoice and again I say rejoice.
The Americans are leading the way in what it means to be a truly
life-affirming church. Read about The Rt Revd Kathrine Jefferts Schori here

Friday, June 16, 2006

Anglican news readers

The videos - General Convention Nightly - from the US Episcopal Church are very informative but also quite difficult to watch with a straight face!. Imagine the Ten O'Clock news read by vicars! Or remember those episodes of Father Ted featuring talent competitions where every contestant on the show is a priest in a clerical collar? There is something faintly hysterical about these news bulletins. Americans have an amazing capacity to bring the most advanced methodology to very traditional content. The last four minutes of the Thursday night bulletin has a meditation by Archbishop John Sentamu which is good. But check out the interview with the Archbishop of Botswana, about 15 minutes or so into the stream. I found what he had to say about listening and dialogue extremely encouraging.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

ABC's message to ECUSA General Convention

Archbishop Rowan's message to this week's General Convention of the US
Episcopal Church reads between the lines to me as saying that its OK to
reject the Windsor Report as it stands because its not the end of the story
and the picture it presents is only a picture of what a functioning
Communion might look like. Rowan's appeal is to hope that the theological
vision of the Report is before them and that there is a need for 'some
common convictions' about being and making decisions in the body of Christ.
Clearly to me he is pedalling back from Windsor. See

School segregation increasing

BBC lunchtime news 14 June 2006 carried a piece about increasing
segregation of schools on ethnic lines even in towns where ethnic minority
communities are significant in numbers. The example given was Blackburn
Lancashire. Two primary schools were shown only a mile or so apart - one
has no white children and one has no black children. What caught my notice
was that the all-white school shown is a Roman Catholic primary school.
Church of England primary schools usually serve the children of their
neighbourhood and do not make family commitment to the church a major
criterion of admission. But oversubscribed church schools and in
particular Church of England secondary schools tend to operate as schools
for the children of church-goers. This is true of Ranelagh School in
Bracknell which serves the deanery of Sonning where I am area dean.
I ask the question: how well does a church's education strategy which
includes prominently schools for churchgoers' children serve the gospel and
promote mission based on the values of the reign of God? I have doubts that
a strategy which includes and supports such schools not only fails to
serve the gospel but actually harms the church's witness. I believe a
Church of England strategy for education should be based firmly on a
network of schools which focus on serving the education of the most
vulnerable in society and being beacons of both community transformation
and educational excellence, offering children including those without
without church family background and those of other faiths if they wish, a
genuine experience of Christian community. In short our church school
network is the single biggest oppurtunity we have for a fresh expression of

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bishop of Cork on Anglican spirit

The Bishop of Cork in the Church of Ireland has spoken up for the authentic spirit of being Anglican in his recent address to his diocese. See an extract here

Monday, June 12, 2006

Archbishop George Carey

In 1989 I was interviewed by George Carey when he was at Bath and Wells for
the position of Anglican Chaplain to Bath University. When I made a remark
which rashly revealed my assumption that he was on the evangelical wing of
the Church he became quite hotly defensive insisting that he was a member
of the Open Synod group. Needless to say I was not offered the job.

Whither Evensong?

There is a mini-revival of Choral Evensong happening in Wokingham. A group
of young mothers has decided its a good service for chilled-out focussed
worship without the distractions of chidren . Afterwards some go across the
road to the pub for a social time.Yesterday as well as the 20 choir members
there were 21 others in the congregation of All Saints Parish Church. A few
months ago the attendance number was in single figures.