FaithWorld

Conservative bishops deliver blow to Anglican Covenant

rowan williamsConservative Anglicans have rejected a proposed landmark agreement designed to prevent splits in the worldwide Anglican Communion, just as the Church of England — the Communion’s mother church — moved a step closer to adopting it.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the 80 million Anglicans worldwide, has invested much personal authority in the proposed Anglican Covenant, which aims to prevent disputes over divisive issues such as gay bishops and same-sex unions. He has said the Anglican Communion faced a “piece-by-piece dissolution” if member churches failed to undertake to avoid actions that upset others. (Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams opens the General Synod at Westminster Abbey in London November 23, 2010/Dan Kitwood)

The General Synod, the Church of England’s governing body, voted in favour of the deal, although it still has a number of stages to go before adoption, which would be no earlier than 2012.

But the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Primates’ Council, a group largely led by African church leaders, on Wednesday rejected the proposed Covenant, which would require member churches to settle disputes through discussion.

“While we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate,” the council said in a statement.

from UK News:

A nightmare week for the Archbishop of Canterbury

rowan williamsMany members of the Church of England will be wondering "where do we go from here",  the morning after the church's parliament voted down a compromise amendment put forward by its two most senior clerics.

The liberal wing of the church will probably feel the road is clear ahead for the ordination of women as bishops after the Archbishops of Canterbury and York were foiled, though there is still a long way to go. (Photo: Archbishop Rowan Williams in Canterbury Cathedral, 4 April 2010/Toby Melville)

But some among the traditionalist Anglo-Catholics and conservative  evangelicals will be wondering where their spiritual home now lies. Some traditionalists may be more persuaded to take up Pope Benedict's offer made last October to convert to Roman Catholicism, in the knowledge that they would be able to retain some of their traditions and liturgy.

Will UK Methodists heal two-century rift with Church of England?

methodist central hall

Methodist Central Hall, London, June 2005/Adrian Pingstone

Are Britain’s Methodists planning a return to the Church of England after more than two centuries of division? That’s what their president, Rev. David Gamble, suggested to the Church of England General Synod in London today. The two churches entered a covenant in 2003 that committed them to deepening unity and cooperation.  His presence at the synod, and plans by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to attend the Methodists’ conference in June, were visible signs of this link, he said.

But the results leave something to be desired, Gamble acknowledged:  “It has to be said that around the country the situation is patchy. In some places there are very close working relationships and exciting new initiatives. In others you could spend quite a long time trying to find any sign of the covenant in practice.”

After reviewing the two churches’ cooperation in various fields, he ended his speech by saying: “We are prepared to go out of existence not because we are declining or failing in mission, but for the sake of mission. In other words we are prepared to be changed and even to cease having a separate existence as a Church if that will serve the needs of the Kingdom.”

Church of England stops short of links with breakaway U.S. Anglicans

canterbury cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England, 23 Dec 2009/Suzanne Plunkett

The Church of England stopped short of recognising a new conservative church in North America on Wednesday, avoiding possible embarrassment for the main Anglican church in the United States.

But some evangelicals in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) said they were encouraged by the decision of the General Synod, the CoE’s parliament, for the archbishops of Canterbury and York to report back on the break-away church’s progress next year.

Some members of ACNA, formed in opposition to pro-gay members of the official Anglican body in North America, said they had not expected any kind of recognition from the Anglican mother church for another five years.

Church of England laments drop in UK religious TV programmes

A shopper looks at televisions in central London 2 March 2005/Toby Melville

A shopper looks at televisions in central London 2 March 2005/Toby Melville

The Church of England voted on Wednesday to express “deep concern” about a drop in religious programmes on British television but drew back from solely targeting the BBC for criticism.

The Church’s General Synod, or parliament, had been asked by one of its members to pinpoint the publicly funded BBC for marginalising religion and treating religious shows on its non-core channels as “freak shows..”

But the synod instead voted on an amendment which expressed its “deep concern about the overall reduction in religious broadcasting across British television in recent years.” The member, Nigel Holmes, a former BBC producer, brought a private motion accusing the BBC of preferring natural history and gardening programmes to religious output, saying some in broadcasting assumed that religion lost audiences.

CofE waits a little longer to decide on powers for women bishops

canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral, 23 Dec 2009/Suzanne Plunkett

Anyone hoping to get an idea of how many Church of England traditionalists may abandon the Mother Church for Rome in disgust and despair over women bishops may have to wait a little longer.

What has already been a long-drawn out affair will be delayed a further six months after the CoE Revision Committee, tasked with looking at how women bishops can be accommodated, decided the matter would not be debated at next month’s General Synod, the Church’s parliament.

A poor response to the committee’s October suggestion resulted in it effectively being told to think again, pushing back the timetable.  Under Church law, the new proposal can now not be discussed until the next General Synod – in July.

from UK News:

Unchristian comments about BBC’s new head of religion?

The BBC is coming in for flak about its religious coverage, much of it centring on its incoming head of religious broadcasting.

The publicly funded broadcaster has appointed Aaqil Ahmed from Channel 4,  a move that has dismayed a Church of England member who is proposing to discuss the matter at the church's General Synod, the church's parliament.

Nigel Holmes, a former BBC employee and lay member of the synod, has tabled a private members' motion for the upcoming meeting in July.

from UK News:

‘Wake-up’ to intolerance against Christians, archbishop says

The Church of England fought back this week against the "seeming intolerance and illiberality" aimed at their faith by public bodies.

Often seen as a peacemaker in a multi-faith Britain, church leaders and priests said it was time to give more voice to their own religion.

Recently, the media has been dotted with stories about Christians being ostracised in their workplace because of their faith.

from UK News:

‘We are all to blame for financial crisis’ – archbishop

Bankers, auditors, money-market speculators and regulators all came in for criticism at the Church of England's General Synod during a discussion on the implications of the financial crisis and the recession.

The City had lined its pockets, regulators had not done their job properly and auditors had signed off financial deals that should not have seen the light of day, the synod heard at its meeting in London.

The result is a deep recession, the first since the early 1990s, with Britain suffering a shrinking economy, rapidly rising unemployment and falling output.

from UK News:

Synod avoids cataclysm over women bishops

So the Church of England opted for safety when it met to discuss the next stage in the ordination of women bishops, avoiding the cataclysmic result of a 'no' vote.

More than 280 members of the General Synod, or governing body, voted in favour of sending draft legislation and a code of practice to a revision committee, ensuring its continued progress.

The church will still take its time over the legislation, with no woman bishop likely to be installed before 2014.