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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
I discovered the above juxtaposition while looking through the entries on the 'Anglican Mainstream' site (Right hand column). Under the picture of the GAFCON cross was this entry: Synod to consider women bishops ‘ombudsman'. (Story here).
For the love of God, how has it come to this? Essentially because, while claiming the contrary, WATCH along with their fellow travellers are more concerned with power and authority than serving as chief pastors. Pope Francis put it concisely when he consecrated two new bishops last week, the Episcopacy is a service, not an honour:
That is why they are now pointing to the Church in Wales as an example after the shabby procedure there resulted in a vote to accept women as bishops with no statutory provision for dissenters, a decision greeted with loud applause by 'broad church' Anglicans! The Church in Wales campaign has been as devious and underhand as in the Church of England with suggestions of collusion by the bishops but they are not interested in anything Pope Francis has to say because Rome does not recognise their orders. Once we have women bishops neither will many Anglicans.
Saturday, 26 October 2013
|Llandaff Deanery with former temporary Dean, the Archbishop of Wales and current 'minder', the Archdeacon of Llandaff.|
Thursday, 24 October 2013
|Madame Edith with her two-timing husband René Artois in the Café René|
Readers of Baroness Morgan's comments who do not share her views will have been encouraged by the response of the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, the Rt Rev John Davies:
“There has been no separate provision for those who have difficulty in accepting the ministry of women priests since 2008 when the then Provincial Assistant Bishop retired. Despite this, the Church in Wales recognises that there are those faithful worshippers who, in good conscience, hold views of scripture and the tradition of the Church which makes it difficult or impossible for them to accept the role, of ordained women."
It will be interesting to see how this is embodied in the Code of Practice which accompanies the women bishops measure if the Church in Wales is to stem the haemorrhaging of members. Another Church in Wales report referred to here shows that the number of Christenings across the country has approximately halved in the past 25 years. The ordination of women was supposed to be the saving of the church but not so. With attendances continuing to decline will there be anyone left to minister to in the next generation unless urgent action is taken to redress the wrongs being perpetrated in the Church in Wales?
|Source: Church in Wales Membership and Finances 2012|
Tuesday, 22 October 2013
|"Atheists are to hold a service in St John the Evangelist Church, Leeds" Photo: Yorkshire Evening Post|
St John the Evangelist, the oldest church in Leeds, dates from 1634. The Grade I listed building which is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust after being made redundant in 1977 is to echo again to the sound of music although there will be no prayers. In a move designed to "take all of the good bits out of church and leave the religious stuff behind" the church's dedication to St John the Evangelist now sounds singularly inappropriate - story here - but who knows!
The disposal and further use of redundant Christian churches is bound to cause problems of identity simply by their appearance on the basis that 'an elephant is an elephant'. What appears to be a house of God will be seen by observers as a house of God even after deconsecration, a process most will know little if anything about. Although a deconsecrated church becomes just another building, its very appearance in most cases still makes it an act of witness, albeit historically.
Like it or not there is an odd sense of unrecognised 'Godliness' in what the Sunday Assembly movement is doing in a church building. God is love! What they seek is professed to be 'for good'. That can't be bad. One day the 'non-worshippers' may sit in silent contemplation and look around wondering what inspired people to construct the ancient building they are not worshipping in.
Another church in the news is St Peter's Catholic church in Stoke-on-Trent which has been sold to the local Muslim community after they made the best offer. That is not so good. Christ's kingdom is not about money but it is under constant threat from Islam. Providing Muslims with another safe haven where radicalisation may take place looks like another act of submission (the meaning of Islam) while Muslims continue to oppress non-Muslims around the world with muted self criticism and implied approval here by constantly giving ground to an oppressive religio-political system of Islamic expansionism.
Also in the news, reported here, the Prison Officers Association has expressed their concern about the growing power and influence of Muslim gangs in prisons. Inmates are being bullied into converting to Islam with fears that some of the converts could be radicalised, a process which inevitably leads to the slaughter of innocents, here, contradicting claims that Islam is a religion of peace.
Communities around the world constantly suffer under Islam particularly when they are minorities as demonstrated by the latest outrage in Egypt here where drive-by, masked gunmen sprayed a wedding party outside a Coptic Church in Cairo with bullets from automatic weapons killing four people including two young girls. Check 'Voice of the Copts' here for what life is like for minorities under Islam.
In these circumstances 'Let us not pray' is far more attractive than the prayers of those called to prayer five times a day while carrying out their barbarous acts in the name of religion.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
|AB Antje Jackelén PB Jefferts Schori Ven Peggy Jackson|
“On July 8, 2012, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached her brand of post-Christian religion while masquerading as a Christian bishop,” reported convention attendee Dr. Sarah Frances Ives. “She mocked most of the crucial doctrines of the Christian faith, including the God of creation, the Incarnation, and the Trinity. She accomplishes this through her demeaning use of rhetoric. She taunts the Lord by the use of the name ‘Big Man’ and then points her finger at everyone listening and tells them that they have ‘missed the boat.’
“Jefferts Schori then proclaims that she has the answer for this. We all need the ‘act of crossing boundaries’ to become God after which our hands become a ‘sacrament of mission.’ In this sermon, Jefferts Schori continued her mission of destroying the Christian faith through her rhetorical device of dismissive ridicule". Read the whole sad story here.
In Sweden the appointment of Antje Jackelén as Archbishop of the Church of Sweden has prompted one of the church’s most pre-eminent theologians, Professor Eva Hamberg, to leave her post as a member of the church’s theological council in protest against bishop Antje Jackelén’s failure to stand behind the Church of Sweden’s profession of faith. In a number of interviews Professor Hamberg has expressed her disappointment that 'not even the top leader of the church' will clearly profess a Christian faith but wavers between Jesus and Muhammed. Professor Hamberg has also renounced her position as priest and her membership of the church.
When candidates were asked if they thought Jesus presented a truer picture of God than Muhammed she could not choose between the two. The report continues: It is not only Jackelén’s motto and her unwillingness to put Jesus ahead of Muhammed that has evoked strong feelings among many committed Christians. During the pre-appointment questioning, the new archbishop also said that the Church of Sweden has more in common with other religions than with other Christian churches, that the Virgin Birth must be understood metaphorically, that hell doesn’t exist and that the Biblical texts should not be taken as truth. The full sad story here.
In England Jackelén's appointment has sparked a row. Not so much about her suitability to lead a Christian church but the implication that gender was the issue, something pounced on by the Rev Miranda Threlfall-Holmes in her blog about "Christianity, History, Feminism" with particular emphasis on the later. The Rev Sally Hitchiner Kicked off with her tweet: "Antje Jackelen elected Sweden's first woman archbishop - Come on England: the Swedes are decades ahead again!" Never mind the quality! If someone else does it we should do it too and should have done it first. That was the response here and here to the news that the Church in Wales voted in favour of women bishops.
The appointment of Antje Jackelén made it crystal clear that the major imperative was to appoint a woman. There was less concerned about her beliefs. As the Rev Peter Ould wrote in response to Sally Hitchiner's tweet: Are you not slightly concerned she denies parts of the Creed? Is that OK because she's XX? Perhaps those making the appointment were influenced by anything goes in today's liberal church, particularly in the example of TEC.
The liberal Church of England is desperate to see women bishops at any cost. This was the reaction of the Archdeacon of Llandaff after she was "shocked" by the General Synod vote in November. She said:
“I feel saddened that the Synod lay members revealed themselves badly out of touch with the feelings of ordinary people, inside the Church and beyond. It gave a quite wrong message about the Church’s attitude to women in all walks of society, appearing to deny women’s ability to hold positions of leadership and authority, and imply that they should be content with discrimination and subordinate status.”
The Archdeacon proposed the amendment to the Bishops' Bill in Wales which denied faithful Anglicans a statutory right to continue as loyal Anglicans in the Church in Wales. Peggy Jackson is an intelligent woman, a chartered accountant and a pilot but she is unable, or is unwilling, to see the difference between people of faith who take the teaching of Christ more seriously than the opinions of people in the street. We do not deny "women’s ability to hold positions of leadership and authority" or "imply that they should be content with discrimination and subordinate status." (Interview here).
I can understand her feelings after being deserted by her husband when she said, “I was at a low in my life, I thought I would give the Church a go and I found the most wonderful welcome. I was feeling desperate and it was a lifeline at a very black time.”
Of course it is all about gender with some women serving their own interests above all else. However embittered some may feel they should be able to see that it is a very black time for many cradle Anglicans. They know the tide has turned but it is not a feminine trait to abandon others. All that is asked is a lifeline.
Thursday, 17 October 2013
|"Bishops' hat-trick" Photo: Church in Wales|
|“Big Brother is Watching You.” Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire|
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
|From magnificent domes...|
|... to bomb craters|
In 2004 former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey denounced moderate Muslims for failing unequivocally to condemn the "evil" of suicide bombers. He said: "Although we owe much to Islam handing on to the West many of the treasures of Greek thought, the beginnings of calculus, Aristotelian thought during the period known in the West as the dark ages, it is sad to relate that no great invention has come for many hundred years from Muslim countries". These assertions have been tested with shocking results here.
Muslims themselves are not immune from the violence perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists. There is no discrimination when so-called 'martyrs' blow themselves up along with innocent men, women and children while expecting a reward in paradise for their evil deeds executed in the name of God at the behest of earthly masters who shelter well out of harms way.
From that perspective there is no doubt that "we all in this together", Muslims, Jews and Christians. Politicians should stop talking about the wonders of Islam and recognise the reality of the situation as it exists today. One of Saudi Arabia's top Islamic clerics, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, has made a start: “Islam does not allow terrorism at any cost. Islam condemns all violence and terrorism plaguing the world today. Muslims should demonstrate a love for peace and unity.” Amen to that. Chorus please!
Saturday, 12 October 2013
|Ivan Glazunov "Crucify Him!" - 1994|
"Crucify Him!" There is no more powerful a statement of man's inhumanity to man than in this cry captured in the work by Ivan Glazunov in 1994, the same year that the Act of Synod was 'promulged' then claimed subsequently by the Ass Bishop of Llandaff to be the blueprint for an act of treachery in the Church in Wales.
He cites the Act of Synod 'promulged in 1994' in his contribution to the refusal by the Bench of Bishops to re-appoint a Provincial Assistant Bishop (PAB), an appointment that cleared the way for women to be ordained to the priesthood in Wales. - See the documentation on the Forward in Faith Wales (Credo Cymru) site here (tab down to Appendix 2, e-mail from Assistant Bishop.)
There is a vague reference in his submission to "several key people in the Church in Wales" who thought the PAB's appointment was "consonant with the spirit of the Church of England's Act of Synod" but who were those 'key' people and what were the motives of their flawed understanding? If the appointment had not been intended to be permanent surely it would have been more honest to have said so directly. Looking at the revised interpretation of the initial appointment it now has the appearance of a devious plot to gain votes for the admission of women to the priesthood, a process repeated at the meeting of the Governing Body when the Bench of Bishops voted unanimously for women bishops after their own Bill had been amended to remove the statutory provision they thought necessary to see the measure accepted.
Not only have the Welsh bishops shown a distinct lack of charity in their interpretation of alternative Episcopal oversight but their assertions have been strongly contested by Credo Cymru - see the documentation here (Submission to the Bench of Bishops 11 July 2009 and the supplementary submission (para. 14) 29 September 2009).
This is not a re-evaluation in hindsight reporting the claimed intentions of others but based on fact:
We turn now to the question of how provisional the arrangements of 1996 were meant to be. It should be noted that the first holder of this post in response to comments by Lord Ellis Thomas wrote in a letter to the ‘Western Mail’ that he would not have accepted the post if he had understood it to be a merely temporary stop-gap with him as the only holder.
Despite what the Ass Bishop had to say on the matter Archbishop Morgan confirms that there was no suggestion that the position was temporary in his statement on behalf of the Bench of Bishops in response to Credo Cymru's request for a new PAB:
I confess that this matter was not even thought about one way or another in 1996, but we now feel that whilst the Bench was persuaded that such an appointment may have been necessary then, we do not share that opinion some 13 years later. (Para. 2 of Response from the Bench)
Is that just another callous deceit designed to ease the passage of women to the Episcopate in the Church of England or a genuine desire to honour original intentions? PEVs continue to be replaced in England suggesting that what is happening in Wales is a deliberate act of sabotage. A few weeks ago the new Bishop of Ebbsfleet was consecrated:
"Bishop Goodall has been commissioned by Archbishop Welby to serve, in line with the 1993 Act of Synod, as one of two Provincial Episcopal Visitors for the Province of Canterbury, who work with diocesan bishops to provide extended sacramental ministry and pastoral provision on the Archbishop’s behalf, to ensure that “the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognised and respected”.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Oystermouth, preached. He said:
Failed churches, fragmented churches: all in a day’s work in a sense. But the continuity and health, the spiritual vitality and integrity of the Church lies quite simply in the promise and act of Jesus Christ.
The present Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, wrote in his "Response from the Bench":
As you know, we have virtually a new Bench. I am the only member who agreed to the previous arrangements.
Also on the Bench at that time was the former Archbishop of Wales, Rowan Williams. Readers will draw their own conclusions.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
|Archbishop Justin Welby Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA|
Sunday, 6 October 2013
|Church in Wales bishops, Llandudno 2012|
+St Davids, +St Asaph, +Llandaff (Abp), +Monmouth, Ass+Llandaff, +Bangor, +Swansea&Brecon
The liberal credentials of the Archbishop of Wales are beyond question. He has been straight forward about his attitude to the next trauma for the church, same sex marriage. He talks about it here adding his thoughts about the then forthcoming women bishops legislation and his idea of 'provision' for those who remain faithful to the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church. Studying his delivery and what he had to say suggests that, given their unanimity, he and his bench have no intention of changing their previous stance on alternative Episcopal oversight.
In an earlier 'first' in 2004 Dr Morgan and his bench of bishops appointed the first divorced bishop in the UK after the electoral college failed to agree. At the time the Archbishop said the bench was unanimous in deciding that their candidate was the person "who best fitted the requirements" for the bishop's post.
In that regard it should be noted that the name of the new Bishop of Monmouth was being circulated long before the Archbishop appointed his facilitator to help diocesan representatives in their task of discernment (ie, naming the selected bishop who favours the ordination of women). The new bishop obligingly went on record saying that he was "in favour of women bishops and wants to make the church more relevant for society" - straight off the Archbishop's hymn sheet!
Had 'The Venerable Pain' not been in favour he wouldn't have had a chance but his assurances guaranteed the continuity of unanimous voting by the House of Bishops, thus perpetuating a disease which has spread to the other two Houses resulting in traditionalists being denied their rightful place in the church despite Dr Morgan's claim that "The Bishops are unanimously committed to securing a continuing place in the life of the Church for those who cannot in conscience accept the new situation created by the ordination of women to the priesthood." (See below).
“We have ... given an assurance that there is room in the Church in Wales for those who in conscience cannot accept the ordination of women. However, we are not minded as bishops to perpetuate a system whereby conscientious objectors may avoid not only the ministry of ordained women but also the ministry of male bishops who have ordained them. That leads in the end to fundamental division and a denial that things are other than they are – that we do live in a church that ordains both women and men.
“There is a difference between recognising the fact that some individuals hold personal views that are at variance with what the Governing Body has decided about the ordination of women and reflecting those views in the structures of the church as if the Church in Wales as a whole had doubts about women’s ordination and the bishops who ordained them. That to my mind would be a real act of injustice – to ordained women, bishops, indeed to the whole church.” [In this context 'whole church' means his dominion, not the Holy Catholic Church which the bishops still claim to belong to despite separating from her following the vote - Ed.]
Based on statements in the public domain it is difficult to see how an acceptable Code of Practice can be agreed. In scripture a bishop must be above reproach. If they enter into discussions with the same predetermined attitude it will lay bare a disgraceful charade rendering the Governing Body vote a deception and make their positions as bishops of the Church completely untenable.
Wednesday, 2 October 2013
The author of the article, Andrew Brown, argued: "A decline in Christian belief and practice is one of the most important facts of this century, at least in northern Europe. It is a much larger phenomenon than the 3 per cent annual drop in Anglican attendances which sparked off the latest round of ecclesiastical backbiting."
Jump forward a decade or so and the headline is even more startling. Christianity gone haywire, and going down: "What would Paul the Apostle have done with some 100 million followers under existential threat? Has there been a time like the present when every hour another Christian is martyred?" We are "witnessing the total extinction of Christendom in the Middle East". (My emphasis-Ed.)
There is no doubt that Christianity is in crisis. It is a disgrace that the threat to Christianity by Muslims around the world is met with alarming indifference by secularist politicians. But it is also a disgrace that Christians are being marginalised in their own church by other Christians as they advance their brand of sexualised feminist theology discarding the unwanted in the process unless we dance to their tune.