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Anglican News from Around the Globe
Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

Thirtyone:eight CEO withdraws from ReNew conference

Mon, 03/08/2020 - 22:40
A statement from our Chief Executive

03 August 2020, Thirtyone:eight

A statement from Justin Humphreys, Chief Executive (Safeguarding) concerning his withdrawal as a speaker at the ReNew Conference 2020

“I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from speaking at the ReNew Conference 2020 and in the interests of being fully open and transparent about my reasons for making this decision, I have made the following statement which has been communicated to the organisers of the conference.

My reasons for withdrawing are focused on three main areas of concern:

  1. Given that the conference is now to be held online rather than a physical gathering, my belief is that this no longer presents the best or most appropriate platform from which to address what is a complex topic at a challenging time for the constituency gathered.
  2. I am concerned not to create any false or unrealistic expectation surrounding my ability to address issues, which may be specifically within the focus of the ongoing Lessons Learned Review commissioned by Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon. As this review is now not due to report until after the conference, I believe that any reference to the detail of this work would be inappropriate and unfair to those that have been involved.
  3. Most importantly, I have been in discussion with a range of individuals, most of whom are victims/survivors of abuse within the wider Church context or their advocates. In listening to the views shared, it has become clear that to proceed with speaking at the ReNew Conference at this time would cause significant distress and anxiety to them. 

Whilst I recognise that the message of creating safer places is perhaps more important now than ever, the opportunities to communicate this must be balanced with the need to be sensitive and maintain focus on those who have already experienced pain, harm and abuse. The voices of victims and survivors will often bring sharp perspective and focus to such situations and it is right that these are heard and that actions are considered as a consequence.

I apologise for any distress that I may have already caused to any victim or survivor.

I also apologise for any inconvenience or frustration that this may cause the organisers and delegates of the conference and pray that they will nevertheless have a productive and valuable time together.”

Justin Humphreys

Chief Executive (Safeguarding)

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ISWAP releases video of executions of four aid workers and private security guard

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 07:38

The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has released a video depicting the executions of four aid workers and a private security guard who were abducted on 8 June on the Monguno-Maiduguri road in Borno State, after ransom negotiations reportedly failed.

In a brief proof of life video released on 29 June, Abdulrahman Babagana, the camp manager for the State Emergency Management Agency in Monguno; Darman Dungus, who was employed by REACH International; Joseph Prince, who worked for the Alje Security Organisation; Ishaku Yakubu from Action Against Hunger (ACF); and Luka Filibus from the International Rescue Committee (IRC); pleaded for their respective organisations and the Nigerian government to save their lives. 

In the latest video, released in the evening of 22 July, the five men are seen blindfolded and kneeling with their backs to five armed masked men in military fatigues as one of the terrorists, speaking in Hausa, gives reasons for their actions before the men are shot dead. ISWAP had reportedly requested $500,000 for their release. According to the Nigerian news agency HumAngle, the terrorist faction is currently short of food and money due to the government’s determination to no longer negotiate or pay ransoms.

CSW’s Chief Operating Officer Scot Bower said: “CSW extends its deepest condolences to the families of Abdulrahman Babagana, Darman Dungus, Joseph Prince, Ishaku Yakubu, and Luka Filibus.  These cowardly executions constitute a gross violation of international law, and we condemn them in the strongest terms. Once again a death cult that goes to the most appalling lengths to extort money and garner headlines has deprived the world of dedicated, courageous individuals who worked selflessly to assist vulnerable communities in a dangerous area.  We urge the Nigerian government to adequately resource the military units serving in the north east of the country, enabling them to address the terrorist threat decisively, and to offer adequate protection for civilians.” 

On 21 July the Nigerian Senate passed a resolution calling for the country’s Service Chiefs to step down following a motion moved by Senator Ali Ndume in the wake of the killing of 23 soldiers in an ambush in Katsina State in the north west and the mass resignation of 380 soldiers, 356 of whom cited  a “loss of interest” as their reason for resigning.  However, the Nigerian Presidency has rejected the call.

The tenure of the current Service Chiefs, who have been in office since 2015, has been marred by an acute deterioration in security due to a multiplicity of armed non-state actors. On the evening of 22 July, Katripan village in Kaura Local Government Area (LGA), southern Kaduna State, came under attack by armed assailants of Fulani ethnicity, who were eventually repelled. It was the latest incident in a sustained campaign of violence targeting farming communities in southern Kaduna which has been ongoing since January 2020. Violence continued during a COVID-19 lockdown, and appears to have intensified during July, claiming at least 60 lives so far. CSW Nigeria has warned of increasing food insecurity in the area, as unchecked violence and a concomitant mass displacement are now occurring during peak farming season.

On 21 July the Nigerian Presidency reacted to the relentless violence by claiming in a statement that southern Kaduna enjoyed “comprehensive security deployments” which were “on the ground on a 24-hour basis.” The statement attributed the violence in the area to “an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds,” and implied that attacks on farming communities were in response to alleged violence committed by their victims: “revenge and counter-revenge only creates a circle of violence.”

In response, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna State Chapter, Rev John Joseph Hayab, regretted that state and federal governments were “twisting facts” and “misinforming the Nigerian and the international community” by claiming  southern Kaduna enjoys comprehensive security: “CAN wish to unequivocally assert that the government has not done enough to stop the never-ending attacks, nor has it demonstrated guaranteeing steps to arrest the aggressors.” Rev Hayab asserted that “the government’s attitude simply assists criminals killing innocent citizens to be viewed as the victims.” He also called on the authorities to “apply the principle of justice for all in addressing this and other conflicts” in the country.

Hon. Sunday Marshall Katung, a former Member of the House Representatives also criticised the Presidency’s statement, describing it as a factually inaccurate and a “deliberate attempt to cover up the heinous atrocities meted out to the people of Southern Kaduna.”  He added: “The citizens in Southern Kaduna in particular and other parts of the country whose lives have been cut short and who did not have to die deserve the President’s empathy and acknowledgement for gross failing and not an attempt to cover up the atrocities of the killers through the spinning of conspiracy theories or statements that appear to justify criminality.”

On 23 July hundreds of women participated in a protest in Zangon Kataf LGA against the continuing violence in southern Kaduna, while youth from the area protested peacefully in the federal capital, Abuja.

Scot Bower continued: “The persistent failure to address these relentless attacks highlights an overall failure by both levels of government to fulfil their primary responsibility of protecting Nigerian citizens. Moreover, if southern Kaduna does enjoy comprehensive security coverage, then this failure is catastrophic, indicating either incompetence or complicity. It is particularly disturbing that traumatised victims are essentially being re-victimised by false narratives. Across the country Nigerian civilians are bearing the brunt of insecurity that is rising inexorably and threatening the nation and the region. We reiterate our call for international pressure to be brought to bear on Nigeria’s state and federal authorities in order to ensure protection for all citizens, regardless of creed or ethnicity.”

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21 dead in two Fulani attacks on Christians in Kaduna State

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 07:34

Ten people were killed, approximately 11 were seriously injured and five homes were burnt down during an attack by armed assailants of Fulani extraction on Zikpak, the seat of the Fanstwam Chiefdom in Jema’a Local Government Area (LGA), southern Kaduna state, at around 7pm on 24 July.

The victims have been named as Cecilia Audu (65); Joel Cephas (5); Madam Dakaci (52); Matina Dauda (70); Yanasan Dauda (70); Luka Garba (75); Victor Ishaya (22); Katung Kantionk (60); Kingsley Rapheal (28), and Rev Kuyet Shamh Ishaya (25), who had recently graduated from the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Theological Seminary and was soon to be married. The attackers also attempted to burn down the local ECWA Church building, but rain extinguished the flames.  Six of the injured survivors are reportedly in specialist hospitals. According to local sources, security agents arrived at the scene well after the assailants had left. Zikpak is less than 2km away from the Joint Task Force (JTF) base.

This was the second assault on communities around Zikpak within two days. In the immediate aftermath of the attack Governor Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna State extended a 24-hour curfew, which has been in place in Zangon Kataf and Kauru LGAs since 11 June, to cover Jema’a and Kaura LGAs.  Nevertheless, according to the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), on 25 July militia men attacked Zikpak for the third time, opening fire on its inhabitants at around 6am, but were driven away by local youth.

On 23 July, a militia attack on Agwala Magayaki in Doka Avong, Kajuru LGA, which occurred at around 8pm, claimed the lives of Thaddeus Albarka (32), Luvinus Danmori (52), Hannatu Garba (55), John Mallam (80), Albarka Mallam (85), Daniel  Mukadas (70), and Jumare Sule (76). Prior to this attack Fulani assailants had descended on Takau Gida, Ungwan Masara on 22 July, but had been driven back by local youth. On the same day an attack on Kizachi-Chawai village in the Chawai Chiefdom claimed the lives of Kefas Monday (17), Lydia Monday (14), Giwa Thomas (14), and Living Yohanna (27).

The attacks on Zikpak are the latest in a sustained campaign of violence targeting farming communities in southern Kaduna which has been ongoing since January 2020, and which has seen a particular surge during July. Neither a COVID-19 lockdown nor the June curfew have inhibited perpetrators from attacking seemingly at will. CSW Nigeria has calculated that from 25 March, when the COVID-19 lockdown came into effect, until the morning of 15 May, 16 armed attacks were launched across five LGAs, claiming 59 lives. In addition, 155 homes were burnt down, and hundreds of people were displaced.  Meanwhile, villagers deemed to have violated the lockdown were arrested and fined, and in Zangon Kataf Atyap youth who attempted to tend farms were detained for breaching the 24-hour curfew.

Despite recent assurances by the Presidency of comprehensive security coverage in southern Kaduna, at least 80 people have been killed in July alone. 48 of these victims died in attacks launched between 19 and 24 July, yet no perpetrators have been intercepted or arrested. In a letter to Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) dated 22 July  the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) stated that 300 southern Kaduna Christians had been killed in militia attacks in the 200 day period from 1 January to 20 July, and called for even-handed interventions on the part of law enforcement agencies.  According to the group 620 Christians have been killed in the area in the last 18 months.

The seeming inability of the government of Kaduna State to end the killings in southern Kaduna is increasingly receiving local criticism. Terming the killings “unimaginably cruel and unspeakably evil”, former senator for Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, said “the north has lost its conscience and the nation has lost its will and spirit.  Terrorists have turned southern Kaduna into a mortuary and a graveyard.” Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chidi Odinkalu accused the Kaduna State government of “normalising the slaughter of its own people” by describing the deaths as reprisals.  

In a television interview aired on 24 July Bishop of Anglican Communion in Zaria, Kaduna State, Rt Rev Abiodun Ogunyemi stated that “Until the government is ready to do something, the problem will continue.” The bishop described the campaign of violence as “genocide,” attributing a perceived lack of concern on the part of the international community in general, and the United Nations in particular, to the fact that the area is “almost 99%” Christian.

Nigeria is currently ranked the 14th most fragile state in the world and the ninth most fragile in Africa. The country also ranks third, behind Afghanistan and Iraq, among the countries most impacted by terrorism, including from “Fulani extremists.” According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Holocaust Encyclopaedia common risk factors and warning signs of Genocide include large-scale instability; the prevalence of an ideology whereby leaders believe certain people are inferior or dangerous due to their race, religion, or national or ethnic origin, and the pervasiveness of acts of discrimination, persecution, and violence against people belonging to a certain group.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “The decision by the Kaduna State government to extend an unsuccessful curfew to cover more areas is deeply perplexing and must be reviewed as a matter of urgency.  Events have already illustrated that the curfew does not deter the perpetrators of the violence.  Instead, in conjunction with the continuing security vacuum, it has made law-abiding villagers easier targets for the killers.  Following her 2019 visit to Nigeria the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions described the nation as an ‘injustice pressure cooker.’ CSW calls on the international community to make strong representations to the government of Kaduna State and the Federal government, apprising them of the urgent need to address the situation in southern Kaduna in an unbiased and effective manner while it is still salvageable, and to assist genuine efforts by these authorities to counteract the multiplicity of armed non-state actors currently terrorising Nigerian citizens.”

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Gunmen kill, wound dozens at South Sudan Anglican cathedral

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 07:22

At least 23 people were killed this week and 20 others were wounded after unidentified gunmen stormed an Anglican church compound in South Sudan’s Anglican Diocese of Athooch, in Jonglei State. The assailants took six children as hostages, Anglican Bishop Moses Anur Ayom told Religion Unplugged.

The gunmen attacked Makol Chuei village from two directions, killing the cathedral’s deacon and at least 14 women and children who had sought refuge in the church compound by vandalizing the church, destroying their worship instruments and then setting the area ablaze along with the entire village.

“After killing people in the church, the gunmen went to the homestead village and killed people there,” Bishop Ayom said. “The gunmen burned down the whole village in Makol Chuei. Thus far, we have six people who are missing and we are not sure whether they are alive or dead. In addition, six children were also abducted.”

About 90% of Jonglei State’s population are Christian, but they are from many different ethnic tribes. Communal violence has intensified in the state, recently killing hundreds of civilians and creating humanitarian emergencies in the region. Meanwhile, political leaders are meeting in the South Sudan capital of Juba to implement the revitalized peace agreement designed to end the six-year civil war pitting President Salva Kiir Mayardit against opposition leader, First Vice President Riek Machar Teny.

The country’s vice president, James Wani Igga, visited Jonglei earlier in July and kneeled in front of the warring communities, begging them to embrace a peaceful means of resolving differences.

There have been ongoing clashes between the Nuer, Dinka and Murle tribes in Jonglei since before the creation of the Pibor Administrative Area in 2014. In mid-May, gunmen armed with machine guns attacked villages in Jonglei, killing hundreds of people, including a number of aid workers. Thousands of civilians were displaced. Several peace activists have accused the government of doing little to quell the cycle of tribal conflicts in the region.

Participants at the recent peace conference in Jonglei that brought together traditional elders and government officials headed by Igga recommended the creation of a buffer zone and deployment of neutral armed forces to curtail the counter attacks between the youth from Jonglei and the Pibor Administrative Area.

Rampant cattle raiding, child abduction, and conflict over grazing land have been blamed for the unrest in Jonglei. However, Bishop Ayom believes the latest killing of women and children in the church compound is politically motivated.

“The only solution to the communal conflict is to engage the youth, elders, and church leaders and bring them together for peace dialogue,” Ayom said.

Another attack in Jalle village killed an Anglican archdeacon, Jacob Amanjok, along with three pastors.

“There is no need of killing the pastors,” Ayom said. “I am not happy about this issue of killing and destroying churches. I would like to appeal to the international community to intervene. As a church leader, I forgive the gunmen. The Bible says we have to forgive those who do wrong to us.”

Read it all at Religion Unplugged

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Facemasks now mandatory in English churches

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 03:08

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that churches have been added to the list of establishments where patrons must wear facemasks to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

On 31 July 2020 Mr. Johnson said his government was extending the “requirement to wear a face covering to other indoor settings where you’re likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas, and places of worship. We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings, and this will become enforceable in law from 8 August.” 

On 24 July the government asked patrons of shops and public transport to wear facemasks, and encouraged worshippers to wear masks in church. The new rule makes facemasks mandatory.

The Church of England’s “Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches” website updated its recommendations following the prime minister’s announcement. It stated:

“The Prime Minister has outlined plans to make face coverings mandatory in Places of Worship from 8th August and has withdrawn guidance to permit indoor professional performances with immediate effect. We will study detailed government regulations and guidance once they are available and will update our guidance accordingly.”

“In the meantime, we continue to strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.”

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Sydney 2020 synod cancelled

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 01:54

Archbishop Glenn Davies, after consultation with the Standing Committee, has decided not to call Synod in October.

Synod is, in effect, the parliament of the Diocese, with more than 600 members – mostly lay and clergy representatives – called together from each parish.

A special Synod in August to elect the next Archbishop had already been cancelled and Archbishop Davies, originally due to retire in July, will now stay on until next March.

“Ordinarily, the first session of the 52nd Synod would have been held in the second and third weeks of October this year,” Dr Davies wrote to Synod members. “However, COVID-19 has made many disruptions to our lives.

“The Government’s restrictions on gathering, under the current Public Health Order, make it not feasible for me to summon the Synod in the next couple of weeks. In consultation with the Standing Committee, I have therefore decided not to summon the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod in October 2020.”

Diocesan secretary Daniel Glynn reported to the Standing Committee, which meets when Synod is not in session, that extensive research had failed to find a suitable way of holding the Synod under current health restrictions.

Dr Davies will consider calling a one-day session of the Synod later in the year, possibly on a Saturday, but this will depend upon the Public Health restrictions at the time. If such a session does not eventuate in 2020, the Archbishop will call a double meeting early in 2021 with the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod in April, prior to a special session of Synod to elect a new Archbishop.

“Since my retirement as Archbishop will now take place in March next year, we have set aside the week beginning April 19, 2021 for a special session of the 52nd Synod for the purpose of electing an Archbishop,” he said. “If it is not feasible to hold the first day of the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod before that week, then Monday, April 19 will become the first day of the first session presided over by Bishop Hayward, as the Administrator. The Election Synod will then be conducted over Tuesday-Friday, April 20-23.”  

Dr Davies said the good governance of the Diocese is effectively being undertaken by the Standing Committee, alongside the Archbishop, regional bishops and archdeacons. “However,” he added, “in order that our various boards and councils may continue to operate effectively, the Standing Committee has recommended to me that  October 12 be deemed as the first day of the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod for the purposes of elections.

“These are challenging days for all of us, when our usual routines are disrupted… I pray that we shall all play our part with grace and generosity, as we seek to honour our Government, in order to honour the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:1-2).”

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TEC General Convention may be pushed back to 2022

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 01:48
[July 29, 2020] A letter to Episcopalians from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings.
Dear Bishops and Deputies:
When we wrote to you in early June about the need to consider alternative plans for the 80th General Convention, we hoped that the summer months would bring us more clarity about the course of the pandemic and how we might reasonably plan for 2021 and beyond. But as summer stretches on, infection and death totals in the United States are climbing ever higher, even as the virus has been brought under control in other parts of the world. We continue to grieve for the children of God who have been lost to this terrible disease, for those whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered, and for those whose spirits are suffering from long months of physical distance from those they love.
In the midst of this devastation, however, some reports offer hope that the fast-track development of effective vaccines and therapeutics could change the course of the pandemic and allow some aspects of our communal life to resume. Because the situation continues to be so uncertain, we are not yet ready to make a decision about how and when we will hold the 80th General Convention. But thanks to the work of the task group we convened in May, we are closer to knowing how we will proceed if it is not possible to gather in Baltimore next summer.
In the event that we cannot convene safely in person from June 30 to July 9, 2021, we will postpone the 80th General Convention to 2022, working with our partners in Baltimore as we determine appropriate dates. During the summer of 2021, we will hold an online convocation of worship and prayer to help us hear what the Spirit is saying to the church as we prepare to gather at General Convention. And to make best use of the adaptive moment now facing us, we will appoint both deputy and bishop legislative committees well in advance of the new dates of General Convention, charging them to begin their work virtually using the new online and Zoom skills that we have all gained in the last several months.
The decision about how to proceed is a weighty one. Both lives and millions of dollars in convention contracts are at stake, and we have very little way to know what the prevailing public health and economic conditions will be by next summer. But in all things, our primary values continue to be the common good and the health, safety and welfare of General Convention attendees and the people we would encounter while traveling and meeting.
In the fall, we will reevaluate the public health situation and consult again with epidemiologists who have given us their time and advice so generously. In October, we hope to ask Executive Council for their advice and consent to our final decision about how the 80th General Convention will proceed, but we recognize that it may not be possible to finalize our plans that quickly.
We know that the continued uncertainty about the timing of General Convention makes it difficult to plan budget and schedules for 2021 and beyond, but we hope that understanding the alternative plan will help you prepare for what might be in store. It represents our best efforts to love one another as Jesus commanded, which is our greatest witness and highest calling.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President, House of Deputies

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Lambeth Palace Library reaches practical completion

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 01:44
The new purpose-built Lambeth Palace Library designed by Wright and Wright Architects and constructed by Knight Harwood has reached practical completion. A significant new addition to London’s civic architecture, Lambeth Palace Library is the first new building on the site for 185 years and will host the Church of England’s archive – the most important collection of religious books, manuscripts and archives in Europe, after the Vatican. A period of acclimatisation and phased transfer of the collection will follow, with the official opening anticipated to be in early 2021.
The building is a sensitive yet distinctly modern architectural addition to the site of the Grade I listed Palace. Nestling in amongst mature trees at the north end of the garden at Lambeth Palace, the building sits on the south bank of the Thames, opposite Parliament. The location preserves the collection’s historic link to the Palace, while increasing public accessibility to the Library. In the new building the historic collections of Lambeth Palace Library – founded in 1610 and one of the earliest public libraries in the UK – and the records of the Church of England will be brought together, replacing inadequate facilities in a warehouse in Bermondsey, that risked the future of the collection.
The contemporary redbrick building has four and five-storey wings, rising to a nine-storey central tower, crowned by a viewing platform that will be periodically open to the public. The central tower is designed to register on London’s skyline, aligning it with historical architectural commissions by Archbishops of Canterbury over the centuries, and reflecting the national significance of the collection. In tandem, the viewing platform, which has direct sight lines across the Thames to the Palace of Westminster, reinforces the connection between the Church and the State embodied in the collection. Lambeth Palace Library by Wright & Wright Architects © David Phillips The façade is designed in homage to the neighbouring gate tower of the Tudor Lambeth Palace and blends into the red brick perimeter wall of the Palace gardens, while the design and detailing embody a modern take on Palladian design. The Library’s facilities include a public reading room, a group working area and seminar rooms, plus the upper room and roof terrace, which delivers flexible event space with seating for up to 70 people. In addition, it houses a specialist conservation studio to accommodate up to eight full-time conservators, and office space for up to 30 Library staff. All public spaces and the reading room benefit from carefully attuned natural light and provide curated views across the Palace gardens, which have been designed with landscape architect Dan Pearson Studio.
The Library layout is designed to minimise the building’s footprint on the grounds and enhance the local ecology of the gardens; the building also acts as a bulwark between the gardens and Lambeth Road, significantly reducing noise and air pollution in the garden, and to accommodate a new and enlarged pond and wetland glade. By animating and uplifting the public realm at street level, people are instinctively attracted towards the site with glimpses of the Archbishop’s garden and exhibition space visible through the entrance. As the Palace is sited on one of London’s many flood plains, the archive repositories are located above any potential flood risk.
Clare Wright, Partner of Wright & Wright Architects: “It has been a fantastic honour to work on this building, whose purpose resonates so powerfully with its historic site. We are indebted to clients, Declan Kelly and Giles Mandelbrote for their input and guidance, as well as to all in the team. It has truly been an act of collaboration.”
Declan Kelly, Director of Libraries and Archives at Lambeth Palace Library said: “We are really proud of what the team have achieved in creating a building and an environment that will not only protect and preserve our magnificent collections for the future but allow us to make them more accessible than ever before so that they can be explored and enjoyed by all.”
Oliver Driscoll, Director at Knight Harwood said: “It has been a pleasure to be involved in this scheme and the creation of a very special building. The quality of the design and workmanship ensures that the building interacts appropriately with both the tranquil garden setting within the Palace grounds and the prominent positioning on Lambeth Palace Road.”
The project has been awarded the coveted BREEAM Excellent rating and is an exemplar of how contemporary sustainable architecture can extend the accessibility and use of culturally important historic assets for the benefit of future generations. The project team included engineers Price & Myers and Max Fordham whom Wright & Wright Architects have worked closely with to ensure the safeguarding of the precious collection.
It is anticipated that the library, which is open to the public and used by researchers from all over the world, and which also attracts visits from religious and political leaders, will be officially opened in 2021.

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Arrest made in Nantes cathedral fire

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 01:36

A Rwandan refugee detained but later released following a fire at St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Nantes during the morning hours of 18 July 2020 has been re-arrested by police and has confessed his guilt.  

Nantes Public Prosecutor Pierre Sennès, on 26 July 2020 said the suspect had been charged with arson and faced up to 10 years in prison. “We have determined that the man was in the area of the cathedral the morning the fire broke,” Mr. Sennès told the newspaper Ouest-France. “We noticed, in two or three locations where the fire started, troubling elements that could corroborate a criminal act,”

Police arrested the 39 year old volunteer, known as Emmanuel, following the fire which destroyed the cathedral’s 17th century organ, a painting and stained glass windows above the organ. Emmanuel had worked for several years as a volunteer at the church and as an altar server, and had been responsible for locking the building on Friday evening.  He was questioned by police after investigators found no signs of forced entry, but was later released.

On 26 July 2020 Emmanuel’s attorney, Quentin Chabert, said his client had admitted his guilt after he was questioned a second time. “My client is relieved to have told the truth,” and “regretted his act”, the lawyer told reporters.

Three fires were deliberately set around the organ area, investigators found, and excellerants were used to spread the fire.

After local residents noticed the fire, the fire brigade was called out and the blaze contained within two hours. While causing considerable damage, no one was injured in the blaze. Police are continuing their inquiries.

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Kuching churches closed a second time due to COVID-19 spike

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 01:24

A spike in the number of COVID-19 infections in the Kuching district of Sarawak has prompted the BIshop of Kuching, the Rt. Rev. Danald Jute to close churches in the southern portion of the diocese until further notice.

On 24 July 2020 Bishop Jute released a statement saying: “The affected parishes are the St. Thomas Cathedral, Kenyalang, Samarahan, Batu Kawa, Tabuan Jaya, Tabuan Dayak, Stampin, Siol Kandis, Sungai Maong, Taman Malihah, Matang, Quop, Taee, Bengoh, Bunuk, Padawan, Lundu, Bau Mission District and Mundai.”

An ordination scheduled for July 26 has also been postponed the bishop said, adding the decision to close churches to public worship had been taken out of an abundance of caution to limit the spread of infection.

The Malaysian government closed the nation’s house of worships following the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the Southeast Asian nation. It imposed a two week Movement Control Order starting March 18 to March 31, which was extended through June.The first cases were reported on January 23 when three Chinese tourists who entered the country from Singapore were hospitalizaed with the illness. 

Beginning June 28 the government permitted churches to reopen but placed a limit on 100 worshippers and imposed social distancing and mask rules on those attending services. However, a new wave of infections has been detected in Kuching with over 50 new cases reported in the last two weeks of July.

As of 30 July 2020 the Malaysian Ministry of Health reported 8.976 cases, with 125 deaths and 8,644 listed as having recovered from the illness. Sarawak has reported 641 cases of COVID-19 so far.

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SA church to investigate clergy rape accusations

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 00:57

Statement from the Anglican Safe and Inclusive Church Commission

The Anglican Safe and Inclusive Church Commission has completed its preparations for investigating the allegation by the Revd June Major, a former priest of the Diocese of Cape Town, that a former colleague raped her in 2002.

The Commission (also referred to in the Church as “Safe and Inclusive Church”) believes the Revd Major’s complaint warrants being investigated further and a Commission representative has invited her to nominate a counsellor and other persons to support her during the investigation process. If she feels it necessary, the Commission can also help facilitate her obtaining such support.

As indicated previously by the Archbishop, in the matter relating to Revd Major, Safe and Inclusive Church received on 8 July 2020 a formal (written) complaint relating to her alleged rape in 2002. In terms of our process, we meet with the parties involved (as well as any other members that may be identified as pertinent) and conduct an interview with them.

In our contact with the Revd Major, she expressed concern about the impartiality of an internal church process. As a consequence, Safe and Inclusive Church has included a reputable part-time commissioner of the Gender Commission on the panel which will investigate her complaint. It is hoped that this will provide her with an added level of trust and comfort with the process.

We are awaiting a response from Rev. Major on these matters, and that will then determine the next steps.

Historically, over the 150 years of its history the Church as a voluntary organisation has been governed under its Canon Law (church law). The courts have recognised Canon Law as a parallel but separate system of law, governing its particular sphere of church affairs. This has required that Canon Law embodies the principles of natural justice recognised in society at large and updated from time to time in light of wider developments in jurisprudence.

In the past 20 years, the Church has amended its Canon Law to comply with developments in labour law, establishing strict Pastoral Standards which govern the behaviour and action of its ministers, and making provision for processes to protect the rights of both complainants and respondents. The processes laid down by the Canons may be compared with a secular organisation’s grievance and disciplinary procedures.

Safe and Inclusive Church is a newly established faculty of the Church, assented to at the Church’s governing Synod in September 2019. This faculty was established to assist complainants and the Church to respond to allegations of  abuse or harm (of which there are thirteen categories) and then move it into the Canonical disciplinary process. (Details of the Commission, and links to the relevant sections of Canon Law, can be found here: )

The Safe and Inclusive Church panel which investigates a complaint conducts interviews and compiles all relevant documentation, then delivers a report to the Diocese concerned. The panel does not make findings or recommendations, but the Bishop or Vicar-General of the Diocese in which the respondent is resident appoints a Board of Preliminary Inquiry – or may appoint Safe Church as the Board of Inquiry – whose task it is to establish if a prima facie case exists.

The Bishop or Vicar General is able to take such other actions as the Canons permit, including the suspension of the respondent minister. Should a prima facie case be established, a Diocesan Tribunal considers the case against the accused. Either party in the matter has a right of appeal should charges not be brought before a Tribunal.

Having this matter investigated in any other way but in terms of our Canon Law, would render our process invalid in terms of our Canons and hence the Church would be unable to act on findings as well as be subject to court sanction for not following our own process.

Both Revd Major as the complainant as well as the respondent are free, at their own cost, to be accompanied by a representative of their choice and to seek such counsel and advice as they may need at any stage of the process.

The appointment of members of the Tribunal, apart from the Bishop who as President of the Tribunal is appointed by the Archbishop, is subject to challenge by both complainant and accused.

As an ordained minister of the church, albeit one that tendered her resignation as a licensed minister in 2014, Revd. Major is still bound by the precepts of Canon Law as this was part of the oaths and declarations she made at her ordination. This means that any disputes or complaints she may have with the Church would need to follow the precepts of the Canons as they prevail at the time.

Canon Rosalie Manning
Anglican Safe and Inclusive Church Commission

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Declining diocesan fortunes leads to suspension of suffragan see of Ludlow

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 00:54

Following the retirement of The Rt Revd Alistair Magowan, Bishop of Ludlow earlier this spring, we have undertaken a consultation across the Diocese and been in conversation with the National Dioceses Commission about his replacement. The Commission are responsible for approving appointments to vacant episcopal posts. This has all taken place against the backdrop of financial pressures caused by COVID 19 and a general fall in the number of clergy across the Church of England.

The Diocese of Hereford is part of the wider Anglican family of churches, and whilst prudent investments have maintained our reserves and capacity to invest in mission,we recognise that national reductions in front line clergy require us to carefully scrutinise all posts.In the light of this, and in consultation with the Commission, we have decided to restructure our senior staff and replace the existing combined Bishop/ Archdeacon of Ludlow role with a full time Archdeacon. The post holder will work with The Ven Derek Chedzey, Archdeacon of Hereford, The Bishop of Hereford, Rt Revd Richard Jackson and other colleagues in supporting the work of our parishes across the Diocese. This post will continue to be funded by the National Church and will result in further savings in the diocesan budget. We also plan to appoint Assistant Archdeacons in both archdeaconries. These will attract a small honorarium (similar to the role of a Rural Dean) but will be alongside the person’s full time stipendiary role. We are grateful to receive a personal email from the Archbishop of Canterbury encouraging us in this strategic decision.

We expect to advertise this new post in the autumn and have someone in place by early 2021. They will reside in the current house in Craven Arms. Whilst the See of Ludlow will not be filled, that does not rule out an appointment in the future. We remain committed to being a united family across the 5 counties covered by the Diocese of Hereford.

Bishop Richard is looking forward to visiting all the benefices in the diocese as soon as possible for Sunday worship. It is the intention of all the senior staff team to prioritise interaction with local churches to encourage and support their ministry.

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Can England’s conservative Evangelicals be trusted to clean house?

Sat, 01/08/2020 - 00:49

The news that the chief executive of the safeguarding charity conducting the lessons learned review into the Jonathan Fletcher abuse scandal   is to be a main speaker at the upcoming ReNew Conference raises serious questions.

Justin Humphreys, chief executive (safeguarding) of thirtyone:eight, is due to speak at the online ReNew Conference of Anglican conservative evangelicals on September 14th.

Emmanuel Wimbledon in south-west London,  the Church of England proprietary chapel where Fletcher was minister until he retired in 2012, has commissioned thirtyone:eight’s independent review into his abuse. Lisa Oakley, associate professor of psychology at Chester University and chair of a national working group for child abuse linked to faith or belief in the UK, is leading the Fletcher review. But Justin Humphreys chairs the thirtyone:eight group overseeing it.

Scale of Fletcher’s influence 

The thirtyone:eight investigation into Fletcher’s abuse has to reckon with the scale of his influence among Anglican conservative evangelicals in England over the past 50 years. When the ReNew Conference launched in 2013, it was a partnership between four Anglican conservative evangelical groups – Reform, Church Society, the Fellowship of Word and Spirit  and the Anglican Mission in England. In 2018 Reform and FWS merged into Church Society. Thus ReNew became a partnership between Church Society in the Church of England and AMiE operating outside the CofE.

Fletcher was a founder member of Reform in the early 1990s and later a trusteeacting as mentor to various of its younger leaders, now prominent in ReNew.  Fletcher got to know these younger men through the Iwerne evangelical camps for pupils from the ‘top 30’ English boarding schools. From the 1960s until the truth about Fletcher as an abuser began to trickle out in 2017 and 2018 culminating in The Daily Telegraph’s unmasking  of him in June 2019, he was a leading figure in the Iwerne network.

Fletcher also had lobbying access to the Archbishop of Canterbury through his membership of the Nobody’s Friends dining club at Lambeth Palace. Fletcher became a member of this elite club through his father, the late Baron Fletcher of Islington (1903-1990), a cabinet minister in the Labour Government of the 1960s. Fletcher had considerable private means inherited from his father and holidayed expensively. He became a friend of the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby through the Iwerne camps in which the savage serial abuser John Smyth was also a leader in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Curate in the 1970s at two conservative evangelical flagship churches in the CofE, the Round Church in Cambridge and then St Helen’s Bishopsgate in the City of London, Fletcher spread and consolidated his influence among English conservative evangelicals through the preaching conferences and training courses of the Proclamation Trust. Through his network of conservative evangelical contacts, Fletcher was instrumental in getting the PT conferences and courses up and running in the 1980s, a fact the celebrated preacher Dick Lucas, Rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate at that time and the PT’s first chairman, has acknowledged.  Many of Fletcher’s contacts who went on the PT conferences were also involved in Reform and then in ReNew.

It is no exaggeration to say that the power of Fletcher’s personality, combining arrogance and competitiveness with an ability to charm people, has been very significant in shaping the culture of Anglican conservative evangelicalism in England since the 1960s.

Arguably significant for the thirtyone:eight probe is the timing of Justin Humphreys’s mid-September appearance  at the ReNew Conference. According to the timeframe for the Fletcher review, Emmanuel is due to publish thirtyone:eight’s report around the end of September. So, for the sake of the perceived independence of the thirtyone:eight review, should Justin Humphreys be addressing the ReNew Conference before Emmanuel publishes the report?

The Watergate question

Secondly for the thirtyone:eight investigation, there is the ‘Watergate’ question around Fletcher’s closest associates in ReNew: what did they know and when did they know it?

Are there men now leaders in English conservative evangelicalism whom Fletcher tried to involve in his naked massages but who turned him down?  If so, then they knew he was pressuring them to take part in something wrong but did not blow the whistle on him. What were the reasons, personal to them and in the conservative evangelical culture they were part of, that might have led to their silence?

Moreover, were there other men Fletcher abused in some way for a short time, whether in manipulative bullying, massages, gym-shoe beatings or masturbatory activity, but who moved out of his orbit? These men may or may not have stayed within conservative evangelicalism but, because of the understandable embarrassment they felt, might have kept their brief experience of his abuse to themselves.

But even more disturbing is this question: was there a Praetorian Guard of younger conservative evangelicals protecting Fletcher who knew what he was up to and enabled his abuse by bullying into silence victims inclined to speak up?

Jobs for the boys and fingers in pies

Thirdly, in getting to grips with Fletcher’s abusive power in the ReNew movement, there is the ‘jobs for the boys’ question. It is not only proprietary chapels in the CofE that have historically developed a way of ensuring the evangelical convictions of the ministers they appoint. Some of the flagship conservative evangelical parish churches have appointing trusts designed to ensure evangelical succession in their incumbents. Fletcher was on some of these appointing bodies.

In terms of conservative evangelical committees and trusts, Fletcher had his fingers in a lot of pies. Because his circle was a boarding-school sub-culture peopled to a large extent by clergy and school-teachers, who compared with other English professionals are not earning big money, the whiff of private means about Fletcher added to his charisma.  But, even for those he did not physically abuse, what was the cost of cronyism for the men caught up in his web? To what extent was Fletcher able to exploit his power of patronage to manipulate younger conservative evangelical men aspiring for positions in the prestigious churches?  Among the men who got the big jobs, to what extent was he able to create a sense that they ‘owed him one’ and exploit that to perpetuate his power over them and through them into the wider conservative evangelical constituency?

‘Safe churches in an unsafe world’ is the title of the ReNew Conference session Justin Humphreys is due to address, leading into a panel discussion on safeguarding. In the sight of Fletcher’s victims and the churches he deceived and for the wider view of thirtyone:eight’s safeguarding integrity, is it safe for its chief executive publicly to associate himself with a gathering over which the sinister spectre of Fletcher’s influence has been hanging?

Renewing ReNew

Finally, would it not be more helpful to the evangelical people in the ReNew network of churches if Justin Humphreys were to keep his distance from Fletcher’s former protegees at the top of the organisation? If he were to preserve his independence and delay addressing the conference until after the Fletcher report appears, might not this help the ReNew membership to absorb its findings, think biblically about how they might change the spiritual culture of their movement for the better, and press for reforms, such as electing their chairman, steering group, and regional leaders? Would not the renewal of ReNew in more accountable leadership and greater membership engagement be a desirable outcome from the lessons learned in the thirtyone:eight report?

Julian Mann is an evangelical journalist based in Morecambe, Lancashire, and author of Christians in the Community of the Dome

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Anglican Unscripted 613 – Corruptible

Tue, 28/07/2020 - 21:59

Kevin Kallsen and George Conger discuss the latest news (mostly corruption) from England, China and India.

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Trinity seminary to offer in-person classes in the Fall

Sat, 25/07/2020 - 02:27

After taking into account multiple factors (i.e. our small size; our location; we are less likely to facilitate Covid-19 transmission [or other infectious pathogens for that matter] because unlike a residential campus we are not an incubator for infectious pathogens), the Deans Cabinet plans to resume in-person classes as scheduled on August 31, 2020. We will end residential face to face classes on November 24, two days before Thanksgiving to avoid possible heightened infection risk from returning staff, students, and faculty. The last week of class will be conducted online. In essence, what we are proposing is a hybrid model for the fall.

Of course, no one can predict with any degree of accuracy either the pattern of this Covid-19 pandemic or what the rate of infection in Beaver County (or anywhere else for that matter) will be in the fall. We believe we can, given today’s data points, resume face to face teaching safely. A level of risk is always present, and we believe that we will be able to implement the necessary changes to reduce our exposure to a manageable threshold. Additionally, we believe that if we can have face to face connections at the start of fall semester, even for just a few weeks, that will make transitioning to online (if that becomes necessary) more effective. Certainly our online experiences this past spring semester would have been radically different if we hadn’t had half a semester of residential instruction to get to know one another.

We will be putting a range of safety measures in place for fall semester to mitigate the risk of contagion. Plans on how to prepare for re-opening are being carried out by the Reopening Committee consisting of representatives from the various departments on campus as well as a student representative. Over these summer months, this committee has been implementing changes to class and campus operations such as (but not limited to) lunch, chapel, physical distancing, appropriate PPE, visitors, monitoring for cases of Covid-19, and contingency procedures for closing the campus should an outbreak occur.

Those who are immunocompromised or living in a household with such at risk individuals will be given off-site participation options. Trinity is investing in the technology that will allow immunocompromised students to join the residential classes remotely in real time if need be, as well as enable such faculty to teach a residential course remotely. This will be done via Smart Screens and web cameras.

The Deans Cabinet is aware of how limited our control is regarding how things will pan out in the fall. Government and health authorities could mandate that we go online before Aug 31 or anytime thereafter. Fortunately, we already had a significant online footprint before Covid-19 hit last semester and we demonstrated the capability to quickly pivot and shift modalities back in March. If need be, we can do so again.

Erika Moore, PhD
Academic Dean
Trinity School for Ministry
Ambridge, PA 15003
July 21, 2020

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Humana Communitas in the era of the pandemic. Untimely reflections on the rebirth of life

Thu, 23/07/2020 - 17:03
[Vatican City, 22 July 2020] It is entitled “Humana Communitas in the Age of Pandemic: untimely meditations on Life’s Rebirth” and it is the second document – the first one is from 30 March 2020 – that the Pontifical Academy for Life dedicates to the consequences of the world health crisis and its interpretation.

The document underlines the importance of a change of pace: global efforts and a determined international cooperation are needed to face the challenge of a fairer and more just future, whose keywords are better health care for all and vaccination.

«We have not payed sufficient attention, especially at the global level, to human interdependence and common vulnerability. While the virus does not recognize borders, countries have sealed their frontiers. In contrast to other disasters, the pandemic does not impact all countries at the same time. Although this might offer the opportunity to learn from experiences and policies of other countries, learning processes at the global level were minimal. In fact, some countries have sometimes engaged in a cynical game of reciprocal blame».

       Moreover, «The phenomenon of Covid-19 is not just the result of natural occurrences. What happens in nature is already the result of a complex intermediation with the human world of economical choices and models of development, themselves “infected” with a different “virus” of our own creation: it is the result, more than the cause, of financial greed, the self-indulgence of life styles defined by consumption indulgence and excess. We have built for ourselves an ethos of prevarication and disregard for what is given to us, in the elemental promise of creation. This is why we are called to reconsider our relation to the natural habitat. To recognize that we dwell on this earth as stewards, not as masters and lords». Then « When compared to the predicament of poor countries, especially in the so called Global South, the plight of the “developed” world looks more like a luxury: only in rich countries people can afford the requirements of safety. In those not so fortunate, on the other hand, “physical distancing” is just an impossibility due to necessity and the weight of dire circumstances: crowded settings and the lack of affordable distancing confront entire populations as an insurmountable fact. The contrast between the two situations throws into relief a strident paradox, recounting, once more, the tale of disproportion in wealth between poor and rich countries».

The crisis has shown the possibilities and limitations of those models focused on hospital care: «For sure, in all countries the common good of public health needs to be balanced against economic interests» and the nursing homes and the elderly have been hit hard. To this must then be added that «Ethical discussions of resource allocation were primarily based on utilitarian considerations, without paying attention to people experiencing higher risk and greater vulnerabilities. In most countries, the role of general practitioners was ignored, while for many people they are the first contact in the care system. The result has been an increase in deaths and disabilities from causes other than Covid-19».

The response that must be given to the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be reduced to an organizational-operational level. Re-interpreting the crisis we went through, the text highlights how much we can learn on a deeper level. The fragility, finitude and vulnerability in which all human beings have found themselves united urge us to a conversion that includes and elaborates existentially and socially the experience of loss, as a constitutive part of human condition. Only starting from this awareness will it be possible to involve our conscience in a conversion that will allow us to feel responsibly supportive in a global fraternity (cf. Francis, Humana communitas, 6 January 2019).

        On the level of ethics and public health globally, this entails: 1. An equal risk-taking and the distribution of those risks that cannot be eliminated in the conduct of human life, including as regards access to healthcare resources, among which vaccination has a strategic role; 2. A responsible attitude towards scientific research, which protects its autonomy and independence, overcoming forms of subordination to particular economic or political interests, which distort its achievements and its communication; 3. Coordination and cooperation at international and global level to put into effect the universal right to the highest levels of health care, as an expression of protection of the inalienable dignity of the human person.

         «We are called to an attitude of hope, beyond the paralyzing effect of two opposite temptations: on the one hand, the resignation that passively undergoes events; on the other, the nostalgia for a return to the past, only longing for what was there before. Instead, it is time to imagine and implement a project of human coexistence that allows a better future for each and every one. The dream recently envisaged for the Amazon region might become a universal dream, a dream for the whole planet to “integrate and promote all its inhabitants, enabling them to enjoy ‘good living’” (Querida Amazonia, 8)».

Contributed to the drafting of the text our Academicians prof. Roberto Dell’Oro, prof. Stefano Semplici, prof. Henk ten Have.

Humana Communitas in the Age of Pandemic by George Conger on Scribd

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Anglican Church to decide soon if it blesses same-sex marriages

Thu, 23/07/2020 - 16:41

Meetings of the Anglican Church’s Appellate Tribunal (Australian Anglicanism’s version of the High Court) are under way to determine whether civil same-sex marriages can be blessed in church.

The tribunal may deliver a verdict as early as September or October in a case which pits “conservatives” versus “liberals” in a church with a wide range of beliefs.

The Anglican Church of Australia’s General Synod (church parliament) has voted repeatedly to have a traditional view of marriage. But last year the Wangaratta diocese (region) voted to bless same-sex marriage in churches, a move strongly supported by its Bishop (leader) John Parkes.2 OCT 2019 10:19AM

The tribunal has been asked to determine whether the regulation to allow blessings passed by Wangaratta Synod is consistent with the constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia.

Bishop Parkes intended to bless the civil (not performed by the church) marriage of  John Davis and Rob Whalley – two priests in his diocese – a few weeks after the vote. But the matter was referred to the Appellate Tribunal by the then Primate (national leader) Archbishop Phillip Freier of Melbourne.

One controversy about the Tribunal is that one of its two members from Wangaratta, Justice Clyde Croft, has not recused himself. “Croft took no part in the deliberations of the Wangaratta Synod [the meeting which voted to bless same-sex marriages],” Bill Condie, the spokesperson for the new Primate, Geoffrey Smith of Adelaide, told Eternity.

Croft is a Trials Division justice at the Supreme Court of Victoria. The office of Chancellor of an Anglican diocese is usually held by a Judge or a senior counsel and a number of them sit on the Appellate Tribunal.

The other Wangaratta member of the Tribunal, Bishop John Parkes, went on long service leave after the diocese laid down a challenge to the national church. Parkes has since retired. He told the ABC  last year: “I have sat with the tensions of the church for many years. I have decided that now is the time that I have to act in conscience, to do what I believe to be right.”

The decision of the Tribunal – whichever way it determines the Wangaratta case – will raise the temperature of the long-running dispute over same-sex marriage within the Anglican Church of Australia. Conservatives have the numbers in the General Synod, and an overwhelming vote in the Melbourne diocese in favour of a conservative nation would indicate that the conservative voice is growing.

As reported previously by Eternity, a conservative approach (as articulated by Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney) is “my own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our Church, they should start a new church …”

Bishop Steven Pickard, from the left, cited the US theologian Diana Butler Bass in arguing for a shared space – “the commons” – where Christians could “gather beyond their own silos of certainty and clarity”.

If the Tribunal rules that blessing same-sex marriages contracted civilly is ultra vires (against) the Anglican Church constitution, as Pickard suggests, the left will simply stay in a church with its newly affirmed conservative views. There will be acts of rebellion. Same sex priests will stay in places such as Brisbane, with civil marriages unblessed.

If the Tribunal rules that same-sex marriage is consistent with the Anglican Church constitution, and therefore permitted, the conservatives “may do a GAFCON”. This will mean that many (not all) conservatives will simply not take part in the national church any longer. Conservative diocese such as Sydney, New England and North West Australia have boycotted the structures of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and have formed a conservative network – taking part in Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON).

If that happened, conservatives may form parallel structures in some more liberal dioceses. For example, in parts of Australia such as Newcastle in NSW, the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches provides an alternative to liberal dioceses while not being Anglican. In some places, conservative networks are effectively “semi-detached” from their diocese – Adelaide’s Trinity Church Network  is an example of this approach.

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ReNew Conference credibility on safeguarding questioned

Wed, 22/07/2020 - 02:35

A leading campaigner against bullying and abuse in the conservative evangelical constituency in the Church of England has urged the chief executive of a major UK safeguarding charity not to participate in the upcoming ReNew Conference.

Justin Humphreys, chief executive (safeguarding) of Thirtyoneeight, is due to speak at the online conference of Anglican conservative evangelicals in the ReNew network scheduled for September. The conference organisers plan to hold a session on safeguarding called ‘Safe churches in an unsafe world’ led by the conservative evangelical Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas.

Kate Andreyev, wife of the Revd Michael Andreyev, who was subjected to a campaign of church bullying in which the serial abuser Jonathan Fletcher took part, today urged Mr Humphreys via Twitter:

‘Please don’t speak at the ReNew conference with Jonathan Fletcher’s close friends who “managed” that abuse. You will give them credibility with the ReNew constituency.’

The ReNew Conference of Anglican conservative evangelicals, launched in 2013 under the ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ catch-line, is a joint initiative between the Church Society, whose members belong to the Church of England, and the Anglican Mission in England, which is part of the GAFCON movement and operates independently of the CofE.

In a widely-read article on Surviving Church last December, Mrs Andreyev described her family’s experience at the CofE conservative evangelical church where her husband was vicar. She said that leaders of the ReNew movement, who were close associates of Fletcher, supported bullies in the church who wanted to drive her husband out of the parish.

Of Fletcher’s involvement in the bullying she wrote: ‘Jonathan Fletcher is a powerful influence in our constituency. In letters and phone calls, Jonathan intimated that we were to blame, for what independent observers could see was harassment and bullying.’

Mr Humphreys’s charity is currently conducting a lessons learned review  into the Fletcher abuse scandal, commissioned  by Emmanuel Wimbledon, the south-west London church where Fletcher was vicar until his retirement in 2012.

So far Mr Humphreys has not responded to Mrs Andreyev’s plea not to speak at the ReNew Conference.

Julian Mann is an evangelical journalist based in Morecambe, Lancashire, and author of Christians in the Community of the Dome

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Anglican Unscripted 612 – Anglican Communion consents to Communism

Tue, 21/07/2020 - 23:21

Kevin Kallsen and George Conger discuss the passing of JI Packer, Bp Howe, and the collapse of the Anglican Church of Hong Kong.

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