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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Loser


"Rev Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales at the vote for women bishops."      Photo: WalesOnline

According to media reports today (here) the Church of England’s first woman bishop has been chosen. That must be one in the eye for the Archbishop of Wales. The Church in Wales won the race in the vote for women bishops but Dr Morgan has lost the chance to appoint the first woman bishop in England and Wales.

To recap, the Archbishop expressed delight at the result when Church in Wales voted to accept women bishops adding ominously that "he now hopes the church will have the courage to embrace further change". From the WalesOnline report after the vote:

"This time, the bishops proposed a two-stage process – holding a vote on the principle of women bishops but not appointing any until the constitution was amended to establish provisions for traditionalists. But Archdeacon Peggy Jackson and Canon Jenny Wigley tabled an amendment which opposed this two-stage compromise. Under their proposal, women could be appointed a year after the vote and the bishops would establish a code of practice to ensure that “all members of the Church in Wales” have a “sense of security in their accepted and valued place. When asked if he tried to persuade them not to take this action, Dr Morgan said: “It’s not my job to persuade people to do things which are against their conscience." [My emphasis - Ed.]

It was suggested that the 2008 rejection of female bishops in the Church in Wales was one of the most disappointing moments in Archbishop Barry Morgan’s time at the helm of the Anglican church. Perhaps that accounts for his vindictiveness towards anyone who disagrees with him by simply excluding them.

Postscript

And the winner is.................................


Source: Getty Images
The Reverend Libby Lane who lists her main interests as being a school governor, encouraging social action initiatives, learning to play the saxophone, supporting Manchester United, reading and doing cryptic crosswords. Par for the course! Reports here and here.

Also said to be in the running for the post were the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, 53, chaplain to the House of Commons and a chaplain to the Queen, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, 59, Dean of York Minster and the Very Rev Dr Jane Hedges, 58, Dean of Norwich.

One would have thought a mere suffragan post beneath them so a case for discrimination seems unlikely to arise.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Liberal values


Women in waiting                                                                                                Photo credit: Telegraph/Jane Mingay

From today's Sunday Times (here £) "Most bishops... do not automatically qualify for a seat in the Lords and there had been fears that it would be a decade or more before a churchwoman sat on parliament’s red benches. Now, in a historic move championed by Nick Clegg, the law will be rewritten so that female bishops jump the queue when a place among the 'lords spiritual' comes up. The first could be appointed to Westminster’s upper chamber as early as next year."

Last year Mr Clegg was awarded an A-plus for hypocrisy in this Mail Online report: "This week it’s the announcement that he — an atheist and the leader of a party that has pledged to make faith schools more inclusive — has succeeded in getting his son into one of the most over-subscribed Catholic state schools in Britain. Entry to the London Oratory School is dependent on at least one parent not only being Catholic, but regularly attending Sunday Mass at the Brompton Oratory for at least three years. Even with these strict criteria, the school had 800 applicants for its 160 places. How very fortunate that the Cleggs were, as the Deputy Prime Minister put it himself yesterday, ‘lucky’ enough to get one."

Mr Clegg is an atheist married to a Catholic. He told the Mail Online that he wouldn’t impose his political will on his wife when it came to educating their children. But that has not prevented him from imposing his political will on religious matters.

In a radio phone-in Mr Clegg said that he would like to see the disestablishment of the Church of England which would lead to the Queen's removal as the head of the church: "In the long run it would be better for the church and better for people of faith, and better for Anglicans, if the church and the state were over time to stand on their own two separate feet." Mr Clegg believes that the Anglican Church would “thrive” if no longer “inhibited” by its role at the heart of the British constitution.

The Anglican Church in England and Wales was supposed to "thrive" following the ordination of women to the priesthood but last month the Bishop of Truro warned that the Church of England has only "five or six years" to save itself. Previously, when the Bishop of Blackburn launched a 12-year-plan to attract younger people to the Church he feared that unless the Church reinvented itself in his own diocese, it would disappear like the region’s textile industry.

An elected House of Lords has been a "long-cherished goal of the Lib Dems" but plans to reform the second chamber had to be abandoned after the Conservatives "broke the coalition contract" (here).

Perhaps Mr Clegg is getting his own back, doing the same for the House of Lords as women's ordination has done for the Church, steady decline.

Monday, December 8, 2014

More lies, damned lies and statistics


WATCH: "To choose a bishop based on one specific view, held by only a small group, can only serve to be divisive."                                       Photo Credit: PA


Following on from Saturday's entry, Just about Eve, a response from Women and the Church (WATCH) to the announcement of a 'headship' bishop has been published (here) - HT to Anglican Mainstream.

The Chair of WATCH, Hilary Cotton, said: "We have never accepted the appointment of any bishop on the grounds of a particular minority belief: this is distinctly un-Anglican and unorthodox. This goes far beyond disagreement about the ordination of women: it is about bishops recognising each other as bishops. If we lose that, what kind of unity are we demonstrating as a national church?"

This double speak is designed to fool the man or woman in the street who has little if any interest in religion by appealing to their ignorance. According to the Church of England's own estimates of attendance in their self-congratulatory Facts & Stats, 'one million participate each Sunday'. That is just 1% of Anglicanism. For the vast majority of the 80 million Anglicans who hold to the Apostolic faith of the Church, unity really does matter so selfish desires are put aside in the interests of genuine Church unity.

WATCH, along with ECUSA, the Church in Wales and other marginal, liberal dominated Provinces,  hold to a specific, divisive view which gives them dominance in their national church. But that is to the detriment not only of  the Anglican Communion but to the unity of the Holy Catholic Church which is again gathering pace following the declaration signed on the feast of St Andrew (20 Nov 2014) by Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. As Erasmus succinctly put it in The EconomistHello ladies, goodbye Communion?

As feared, these disgruntled feminists cannot help rubbing salt into the wounds which others have been trying to heal. As Erasmus pointed out, to get the women bishops legislation through "the feelings of low-church evangelicals who oppose women bishops have to some degree been assuaged by a promise that one of their number will be appointed to high office". Just as the bishops of the Church in Wales have done these women and their supporters were prepared to go along with any procedure which guaranteed them victory, saying anything, promising anything to get their own way, then renege. The statement added:

"In a separate development, we are keen to know whether the Archbishop of York will consecrate the newly appointed Bishop of Burnley, Rev Philip North, who opposes the ordination of women. It would seem to us bizarre if a suffragan bishop declined to be consecrated by his own archbishop and even his own diocesan bishop, because he did not recognise them as bishops."

Conscience is not a word that has any resonance for the duplicitous. While the Church of England strove to achieve an honourable solution to resolve conscientious differences, WATCH along with Barry and his bench sitters in the Church in Wales remain determined to achieve unity by exclusion.

This is "distinctly un-Anglican and unorthodox".

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Just about Eve


Creation of Eve, Sistine Chapel ceiling                                                                          Michelangelo


At its meeting on 4 December the Dioceses Commission unanimously agreed with a proposal received from the Archbishop of Canterbury to fill the vacant see of Maidstone. The see, which had been vacant since 2009, had been identified by the Archbishop as one that should be filled by a bishop who takes a conservative evangelical view on headship. - CofE News Release; see also Ruth Gledhill on 'headship' bishop here.

One small step after the Church Society had called for the appointment of 12 Conservative Evangelical Bishops given the proportion of worshippers attending evangelical parishes in the Church of England.

A report in The Economist in 2012 claimed "The rise of evangelicalism is shaking up the established church". But not proportionately according to these figures:

"As the number of people who are actively committed to the Church of England falls, the proportion of churchgoers who are serious about their faith—and its implications for private and public life—is growing. Peter Brierley, a collector of statistics on faith in Britain, reckons that 40% of Anglicans attend evangelical parishes these days, up from 26% in 1989. That is against a background of overall decline; he thinks the number of regular worshippers in the Church of England will have fallen to 680,000 by 2020, down from about 800,000 now and just under 1m a decade ago. The lukewarm are falling away, leaving the pews to the more fervent."

Given the calls for so-called equality in the Church one would have thought that an established movement based on scripture and reason would take priority over a religious novelty based on feminism and relativism. But not so. The feminist movement has seen its rise to dominance in a steady progression through the deaconate to the priesthood and now the episcopacy while a sizable chunk of the Anglican Church is left marginalised and largely ignored.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, predicted that in 10 years, half the Church of England’s bishops might be women. "Ten to 15 years would be reasonable. It depends when people retire," he said after the vote. Abp Welby said the church was working to train women as potential bishops. "The aim is that you end up with a big pool of people where gender is irrelevant. We are going to take this very, very seriously." - Working to train women as potential bishops, then fast-tracked into the House of Lords. Seriously indeed - but only on terms acceptable to the ruling liberal elite!

Gender may be irrelevant in the new Church of England. So too it seems is belief when 40% of Anglicans are not properly represented. But it is not really about equality. It is just about Eve.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Book of Common Prayer


Stir up Sunday collect from 1637 Book of Common Prayer (St Andrews copy)

"The Book of Common Prayer provides for Anglicans worship that is majestic, beautiful, above the ordinary level of their lives, and orderly and dependable.  It is Scripturally based, it has been developed by the Holy Catholic Church through the centuries and it is thoroughly beloved by Anglicans in all its similar forms everywhere." - Perry Laukhuff

I have long lamented the replacement of prayers in the Book of Common Prayer by trendy language which rarely if ever adds anything, and more often detracts from the beauty of the original. Take the beautifully explicit Prayer of Humble Access, admirably explained here, which is frequently dropped from services despite its enduring popularity, or updated by a word here and a word there until it almost becomes - Actually, we really do presume...! It is in that regard that a remark by a speaker at the recent Church in Wales' The Time is Now Conference (here) stuck in my craw, not for what he was trying to say but for what he is reported to have said about the Anglican prayer book, one of the jewels of Anglicanism:

"John explained that the Church has started to get alongside the community and they did this by thinking about the language people use in Caia Park. Now referring to themselves as “St Mark in the Park”, they are starting to work with local voluntary groups in the area. John said the language of the Church has been alien to the culture – especially from the Anglican prayer book. Instead the Church, led by Revd Eric Owen, have started to use positive language that people can relate to."

Now what could be clearer than this? This prayer from what is affectionately known as the Church in Wales 'Green Book' seems to me to go to the heart of the matter without any qualification and should be readily understood from Caia Park to Llys Esgob:

FOR HARMONY IN SOCIETY

Almighty God, who has taught us that we are members one of another: remove, we beseech thee, from among us all distrust and bitterness; and grant that, seeking what is just and equal, and caring for the needs of others, we may live and work together in unity and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Or from the unexpurgated version:

A Collect or Prayer for all Conditions of men, to be used at such times when the Litany is not appointed to be said.
(The Church of England)

O GOD, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for the good estate of the Catholick Church; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those, who are any ways afflicted or distressed in mind, body, or estate; [*especially those for whom our prayers are desired;] that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them, according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

And from The Episcopal Church, now with great irony as it follows its liberal agenda:

For the Church
Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it
with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt,
purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is
amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in
want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake
of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.

It is not that the language of the Church has become alien, rather congregations have become alien to the language of mystery as they indulge in trendy new-speak, apart from some notable exceptions which liberals are doing their best to get rid of.

If the language of the Church has been "alien to the culture", how are we to respond in a multicultural society? If we are to believe the former Bishop of Oxford, architect of Wales 2020 we will be having readings from the Koran at the next coronation. Would that be "kill the infidel wherever you find them" or "cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers"... Listen here. Christians in Syria, Iraq, Africa, and around the world are being killed or driven out of the homes by people who believe that the only religion is Islam. Is there no limit to the stupidity of some liberal Anglicans?

LIGHTEN our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The new Church Militant


The Triumph of Bazzer                                                                     with apologies to Cornelis de Vos


A tweet after the Synod vote to allow women bishops which ended centuries of tradition in the Church of England read, #ItisFinished. - But not quite what it seemed, apparently.

From this morning's Telegraph - "Women bishops: The hate mail was always from other Christians"! Having achieved their goal without the desired complete wipe-out of traditionalists, the chip remains firmly embedded on the shoulder of one said to have been "in the vanguard of campaigning for equal rights at the altar for 30 years". She complained: "It’s a huge journey that’s still unfolding, and there’s a very long way still to go,” she says of the protracted and bruising war that has raged within Anglicanism for decades. “There is always going to be some resistance, but then there always has been. There’s been resistance to me taking on every role I have ever taken on." Could it be that it is not her sex which is the problem? She is not alone in complaining.

Members of Synod hardly had time to lower their hands last week before a supposed contender for first woman bishop in the CofE, the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin weighed in with "The truth":  There’s a "palpable feeling of fear about the struggles the first women bishops will face". Asked if, after all these years of bitter battle over the ordination of women, the Church is institutionally sexist she answered frankly"It’s there, you can’t escape it. It’s not something I dwell on. You don’t give oxygen to that sort of behaviour."

Somewhat curiously the Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons added: "But it’s clear that whoever ends up blazing a trail will have a fight on their hands with the forces of conservatism within the Church if not with Anglican churchgoers themselves – three quarters of whom want female bishops. The public and Hudson-Wilkin’s parishioners in Dalston and Haggerston have shared with her a “real sense of joy and excitement” about the new development." [Note: The CofE is a tiny proportion of the Anglican Communion where the overwhelming majority of churchgoers definitely do not want female bishops - Ed.]

So they have the vote, liberals have all the power, 'three quarters of Anglican churchgoers' want female bishops but they still have a fight in their hands! I suspect that the fight she refers to is the fight hinted at by the Rev Canon Dr Alison Joyce in the Telegraph article:

Moreover, the gains that women priests have made, believes this 56-year-old mother of two grown-up daughters, have come with a high price tag – notably the “protections” built into the new legislation for the minority who continue to resist their advance. "What concerns me most is when the Church sets up structures so that people never have to be ‘contaminated’ by any glimpse of women’s ministry at all. I find that deeply disturbing. We have to encounter each other." So were the concessions made to traditionalists a step too far? "It’s tiresome,” she replies, “but one hopes eventually they will learn to grow in love and grace." Love and grace? Perhaps she could lead by example!

Back in the Church in Wales there is no pretence of showing love and grace following the triumph of Bazzer, the arch disciple of the Presiding Bishop of TEC, after succeeding in allowing women bishops with no meaningful concessions to anyone who remains faithful to the Holy Catholic Church. Over the weekend he and his Bench sitters moved on from playing snakes and ladders, joining delegates at a conference in Llandudno to play with cardboard boxes made for the occasion. The organizer, another "in the vanguard of campaigning for equal rights at the altar", spent some time in TEC country where she witnessed a woman bishop celebrating at the altar. That was enough to convinced her of the soundness of feminist theology despite the pleas to TEC by the then Archbishop of Canterbury not to split the Anglican Communion.

With no sign of love and grace from Dr Morgan or from his chief architect the Archdeacon of Llandaff who no longer has to pretend that she desires unity, their militancy has spread back across the border to the Church of England.

The three main sessions at the Llandudno Conference were: "Where are we?",  "Who are we?" and "Why are we?" They have their answer here:


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

From equality to mediocrity


Source: BBC


The end, on a show of hands.

The mighty Church of England reduced to a debating chamber making up their own rules contrary to the faith of the Apostolic Church and ignoring the wiser counsel of the majority of Anglicans, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

It is said that our Primus inter pares, the Archbishop of Canterbury, had 'worked hard for it'. He summed up his respect for the Catholic faith with the comment that "we rejoice that we have this opportunity to show a point"! He added that "there are some remarkable women - there are some very wonderful ones". An odd statement if one looks at the historic faith of the Church.

Some 'remarkable women' in the past would have been of the standing of Julian of Norwich. In its new, dumbed-down, secularised faith it is the likes of WATCH lobbyists and their supporters who can't tell the difference between faith and equality, basing their 'theology' on the availability of 'promotion' in their chosen careers who are the new remarkable women: "This is the culmination of many people's lifetime's work and we've got there and it's been hard and its been painful and all we've achieved is equality. We are not looking for superiority for women but we do now have equality". - Hence the coaching lessons for women and enthusiasm to appoint "a woman bishop" regardless of the qualities of male candidates, not to mention Apostolic guidelines!

The pain continues for many of us. I am particularly saddened by the attitude of clergy I have worked with who have compromised their faith for their careers, their attitude to those who have not, and by their lack of concern for the souls of the faithful in their parishes who have been led to believe that the Church today is mainly about coffee, tea and crumpet with a little worship to maintain the glue of togetherness.

While the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks for those with a liberal bent, to give him some credit, he has been true to his promise to ensure all are made to feel welcome despite members of the nasty brigade  who suggested to the vicar in the BBC clip that he should now consider his position - echoes of "there is no place for you in this church" (here). In contrast His utter (dis)Grace the Archbishop of Wales continues his exit policy for anyone who follows Him rather than him.

Isn't it remarkable that after two thousand years of teaching from the Apostles, through the Saints and Doctors of the Church that we had to wait for Christina of WATCH and Barry of Neath to open our eyes to what they would have us believe Christ intended in His plea for unity.

If I may borrow a phrase from a 'remarkable woman' in the economic sphere, Christine Lagarde, "It is time that we reconciled ourselves to a “new mediocre”.

As ABC News puts it (here), the Church of England ends centuries of tradition. The historic change was reflected in the Church's short message announcing the news on Twitter, which had the hashtags #Historic #Synod and #ItisFinished.