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February 10, 2012


UPDATED:  Bishops Breaking Collegiality - What Could Cause the Rift?

I mean, what topic could possibly cause an Anglican bishop in, say, Australia or England, to break collegiality with other bishops in order to promote an increasingly controversial and divisive agenda? Hold your thought and come with me.

imageFirst, to Gippsland Diocese in Victoria, Australia where the December issue [scribd] of the Gippsland Anglican has a report on page 8 of a new clerical appointment. All seemingly innocuous until you check out the caption under the picture, “Reverend David Head with his partner, Mark”.

And there you have it, open endorsement in the diocesan newspaper. What readers may not realise is that the liberal agenda is not as advanced here in Australia as in the US. So this is still a big deal. What may simmer under the surface is often allowed to simmer, as long as it doesn’t boil over. But Bishop John McIntyre has never been one for not kicking up a fuss. And it appears here that someone has approved the agenda of openly promoting a clergyman living in a homosexual partnership. If not the bishop then someone on his staff. Either way, the implication is obvious.

This was a deliberate decision. Rev. Head was previously at Holy Trinity Hampton where his relationship was (as someone recently described it to me) considered an “open scandal”. Perhaps it all got too much, we don’t know and Melbourne is a whole other question - a diocese where the fight really is on between the evangelicals and the liberals. But Bishop McIntyre over the border in Gippsland has decided to make it an issue by appointing and publicly affirming him.

The Australian House of Bishops is about to meet in conference. You can be sure there will be a number for whom this appointment is unacceptable. One commentator told me that when the doors close on the meeting room it can get a bit fierce inside. I’m sure we can expect some free and frank discussions there.


Over in England the same game is being played. The freshly-minted bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, has come out in favour of gay marriage, contrary to the current position of the Church of England. And that right on the eve of General Synod - I mean, who would have thought? Of course, Changing Attitude are loving it, and who could blame them.

Well, surprise surprise, a man who we all knew what be controversial but nevertheless got appointed has now been controversial, to the extent of breaking ranks with his fellow bishops. Who could have predicted it?

Here’s what I’d like to know, what does his suffragen Graham Kings of Fulcrum fame think of it all? He was part of this response in 2005 which included a restatement of the traditional position and also critiqued exactly the sort of thing that Holtam has done,

One member of the House has already publicly broken with collegiality and distanced himself from the pastoral letter. Unless there remains a common commitment to church teaching and discipline within the House, there is a real risk that the levels of tension and disintegration witnessed in other provinces in relation to these issues could become a reality in the Church of England.

So I emailed his office and asked exactly that. I’ll let you know if we get a response.


Bishops breaking collegiality. You know what, Fulcrum are right - when they do it causes all sorts of problems if it’s not dealt with. It increases “levels of tension and disintegration”. Not convinced? Take a look at TEC. You won’t have to look very hard. And what ends up being compromised? Gospel witness and the proclamation of Christ. Go figure. Now that is worth kicking up a stink about. If everyone just stays in their dog collars and mitres as though nothing has changed then it would be a disaster - because it would mean that something has changed - this would now be acceptable.


UPDATE Sunday 12 February 2012

Bishop Kings has been kind enough to respond to my questions. Here’s what he had to say (my question in italics, his response in blockquotes)

Does Bishop Graham agree with the statements recently made by Bishop Nicholas Holtam on the subject of “gay marriage”?

No

Does Bishop Graham think that Bishop Nicholas’ statement is similar to those which were critiqued in the 2005 Fulcrum statement “Fulcrum Response to the Bishops’ Statement on the Civil Partnership Act 17 September 2005” (http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2005/20050917cpa.cfm?doc=6) which contained the following:

One member of the House has already publicly broken with collegiality and distanced himself from the pastoral letter. Unless there remains a common commitment to church teaching and discipline within the House, there is a real risk that the levels of tension and disintegration witnessed in other provinces in relation to these issues could become a reality in the Church of England.

We are new colleagues but old friends. We are committed to working together creatively even when we disagree. The position of the House of Bishops and the Church of England remains unchanged.

Well there you have it. He doesn’t agree and he has no answer to the question as to whether Holtam has broken collegiality and increased tension and disintegration.

I feel for Graham Kings. My sense is that Holtam has put him in an almost impossible position.


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40 comments

And they wonder why Anglicans consider the ordinariate as an option?

[1] Posted by Bill2 on 2-10-2012 at 08:33 PM · [top]

Well Bill2, that’s a different type of conformity wink Let’s not sidetrack this thread on that topic.

[2] Posted by David Ould on 2-10-2012 at 08:46 PM · [top]

I give you Pike and Spong for what happens when HOB’s are incapable of maintaining the faith.  TEc playbook footnotes.  Looks like the ABC is getting paid in full nuance for the THE BODY’S GRACE.

[3] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 2-10-2012 at 09:13 PM · [top]

I give you Katharine Jefferts Schori as to what happens when bishops break collegiality.
(when will you be picking her up?  Of course, we would be happy to pay shipping but we have a strict no return policy)

[4] Posted by Jackie on 2-10-2012 at 09:31 PM · [top]

It is hardly “breaking collegiality”- since no one will actually do anything.  It is only breaking collegiality if something actually gets broken, which, of course, it should.  The presbyter and bishop in question should both be deposed.  But I cannot believe that will happen. While Sydney remains Sydney, the rest of the province is all about maintaining “unity”- no one will be disciplined, no action taken, everyone will go on getting along.  Of course, there may be strong words in private, or even in public, but I will be shocked if anything of substance happens.
When ANYONE actually does ANYTHING of substance in Australia or England to curtail the debasement of the Church, let me know.  Not counting Roman bishops, who seem quite active in defending the Church of late, at least here in the US.  No, I am sure Australia and England will continue their competition to see who can catch up with TEC first.

[5] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-10-2012 at 09:47 PM · [top]

I give you Katharine Jefferts Schori as to what happens when bishops break collegiality.
(when will you be picking her up?  Of course, we would be happy to pay shipping but we have a strict no return policy)

Still not convinced?  We will throw in Charles Bennison absolutely free.  That’s two bishops at no charge to you!
If you accept our offer, every month we will send you two more bishops.
Collect them all!

[6] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-10-2012 at 09:59 PM · [top]

Baal and Ashteroth travel with Molech, Covenant-breaker, Mammon, and AntiChrist.  If the experience of TEC is a model, look for the following:  ecclesiastical endorsement of abortion, the use of secular funds to shape church teaching, and a diminished Christology. 
In 2003, VGR was made bishop.  In 2005, the Executive Council of TEC joined the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. In 2006, a twice-divorced, thrice-married man was made bishop.  In 2009, the Satcher Health Leadership Institute donated $1.5 million to fund the Anglican Communion Continuing Indaba project.  In 2010, TEC supported the election of Janet Trisk, a member of the Sea of Faith (a group which believes that God is a human construct), to the Anglican Communion Standing Committee. In 2011, the Arcus Foundation funded the Standing Committe on Liturgy and Music convention to develop same sex blessing resources.  There are many, many examples of neopaganism, syncretism, lies, and lawlessness that cropped up as well, but for the sake of brevity, I won’t try to list them.

[7] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 2-11-2012 at 06:09 AM · [top]

David Ould,

Good catch.  You’re absolutely right.  I’m glad you threw in the photo, to drive the point home.  It’s the old frog-in-the-kettle problem, where gradual, incremental changes eventually lead to the frog being cooked without jumping out of danger.

I’m also glad you called attention to the strategic, but awjward place of +Graham Kings as a suffragan of Salisbury, the odious +Nick Holtam.  Unfortunately, this puts +Kings in a bind or dilemma, for now that his boss +Holtam has broken ranks and refused to keep in step with his colleagues in the HoB, part of the fallout is that now +Kings in turn has to choose whom he will break ranks and colleagiality with, either +Holtam near at hand, or the wider circle of bishops.  Once you throw a big rock into a pond like +Holtam did, the ripples extend quite a ways out.

Of course, the reality is that there is no real unity within the HoB anyway.  +Holtam isn’t creating a brand new problem, but exposing the Grand Canyon size chasm that already exists between orthodox and heterodox leaders.  Anyone who thinks that a bridge can be built across such a vast canyon is a fool.

Keep up the good work, David.  Exposing these kinds of shenanigans by liberal activists is a thankless task, but a vital one.

David Handy+

[8] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 2-11-2012 at 11:38 AM · [top]

I am pessimistic about any resolutions coming out of the “frank discussions” in the Australian House of Bishops. From our experience in TEc, the absence of swift and stern action, such as deposition, will lead the whole Church away from the narrow gate that our Saviour asks us enter.

[9] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-11-2012 at 02:53 PM · [top]

comment subscribers should be aware of a response from Graham Kings posted above.

[10] Posted by David Ould on 2-12-2012 at 04:02 AM · [top]

I feel for Graham Kings. My sense is that Holtam has put him in an almost impossible position.

My sense is that Holtam has put himself and perhaps in doing so the Diocese of Salisbury and its relationships in an almost impossible position.

[11] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 08:18 AM · [top]

I am inclined to say that Kings put himself in the position when he accepted the appointment.  There was every indication that a blatant revisionist would be appointed diocesan.  Saying “no” to the question “do you agree” is not “defending the faith.”  Moving to depose a heretic bishop would be defending the faith, but you certainly won’t see Kings or anyone at Fulcrum advocating that.
In any case, all Holtam did was to publicly agree with what +Southwark and +Liverpool have been saying for years, and what +RW himself appears to believe, along with the majority of the CoE bishops.  They will never adopt a new prayer book to replace the 1662, just continue to authorize liturgies, and pretend that nothing has changed.
I wouldn’t take anything printed by Fulcrum 6 years ago as a reflection of what they believe now.  Their recent editorial point of view has been substantially revisionist of the “open evangelical” variety.  They got their hands slapped when a couple of them actually suggested doing something after KJS consecrated Glasspool, and have towed RW’s company line ever since.

[12] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-12-2012 at 09:44 AM · [top]

To be fair to +Graham Kings, his appointment pre-dated that of his diocesan.  To be fair to Fulcrum, they republished their views that KJS should not be invited to the Dublin Primates’ meeting almost a year ago here and it was discussed in Andrew Goddard’s article here.  Although we want 24/7 news and assurance, neither the Global South, Gafcon, or any other organisation having published their views with clarity, feels the need to republish them on each occassion that the question arises.  In this case though, Fulcrum has.

A suffragan bishop cannot depose his subsequently appointed diocesan; the dilemma is that of the suffragans in Chelmsford with John Gladwin when faced with the issue of the Jerusalem Statement and the proposal from some that they should break communion with their diocesan.  It is not helpful necessarily for in-fighting to break out between the bishops of a diocese, for the problem and if there is to be one, the solution is much wider and for the church and House of Bishops, perhaps even a disciplinary issue for the Archbishops to deal with.

There is another issue, and that is about the process by which some recent diocesans have been approved and appointed, knowing their views and history, but I am not sure piling into those having to deal with the fallout in the diocese is helpful.  This is the tragic consequence of the appointment of recent diocesans, and entirely forseeable.

[13] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 10:24 AM · [top]

[13] Pageantmaster

Although we want 24/7 news and assurance, neither the Global South, Gafcon, or any other organisation having published their views with clarity, feels the need to republish them on each occassion that the question arises.  In this case though, Fulcrum has.

Well, yes, but those other organizations you listed are not engulfed by the stench of collaboration.  When you invite people with idols into your house, you can’t really claim to be shocked, SHOCKED when said idols get worshiped in your house.  Fulcrum has always know the nature of that with which it decided to take up residence.  Perhaps that is why it feels the need to re-publish its views.  People might get the wrong idea from simply considering its actions.

carl

[14] Posted by carl on 2-12-2012 at 11:00 AM · [top]

#14 Hello Carl - Have you been playing with that dodgy Calvinist crystal ball of yours - the one that said that intervention in Libya would fail without Western groundtroops?  Hope you don’t mind my mentioning it, again do you?

I don’t know anyone at Fulcrum who worships idols or would brook idol worship in their houses.  Their statements have been very clear and as I said I don’t think piling into them for the actions of others is helpful, but perhaps as far as this issue is concerned it would be better to leave the Diocese of Salisbury to sort out the fallout with our prayers.

[15] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 11:13 AM · [top]

PM, yes, I note that time does compress itself- they did republish their 2009 opinion in 2011.  However, Goddard’s piece was to present 3 justifications for why it was ok for +RW to invite KJS to the Primates meeting in Dublin, even though that was contrary to Fulcrum’s opinion.  Again, another piece where someone says they disagree with what the hierarchy of the CoE does, but no one is willing to censure said hierarchy by taking action in Synod or the HoB.
Note that Goddard talks about removing TEC representatives from faith and order committees as though it actually happened.  Never did.  They may not have a vote, but still attend and speak, and then the chair “senses the consensus of the group”- not having a vote doesn’t mean much when no formal vote is taken.  And, of course, the whole point of Goddard’s article is to present an apology for the demotion of the Primates Meeting- since it was impossible for KJS to be invited if it still had anything to say about the faith and order of the Communion.  Likewise, the Covenant was demoted to a meaningless document, since it has nothing to do with “faith and order”- since the Standing Committee that adjudicates it has not had its TEC members removed or even demoted.  Not that it would make any difference- with only 2 representatives from the GS (not counting Trisk from SA).
Just as in TEC, orthodox rhetoric has no impact on the leadership of the CoE.  And the orthodox refusal, in the name of “unity”, to take any action against revision and heresy, merely strengthens the revisionists.  As long as they know you won’t DO anything, the revisionists don’t care what you say.
Unfortunately, as the CoE goes, so goes the “official” Communion, since the head of the Communion is the ABoC, and no one in the Communion outside of the CoE has any say whatsoever in his selection or removal.  Again, where are the resolutions in Synod censuring his conduct?  Or removing heretics from the HoB?  You won’t see it.  Wouldn’t be polite.

[16] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-12-2012 at 11:17 AM · [top]

[15] Pageantmaster

No, I don’t mind at all, Pageantmaster.  Someday you will mention it on a thread where I can respond without being off topic.  As for Fulcrum ...

It cohabits with theological liberals.  That is more or less its raison d’être - finding ways for evangelicals to cohabit with theological liberals.  When you take up house with liberals, you can’t act all surprised when liberals act like liberals.  So, no, I don’t have any sympathy for Graham Kings.  And I don’t know how he can sit under the spiritual authority of his current bishop.  tjmcmahon is dead on target:

Moving to depose a heretic bishop would be defending the faith, but you certainly won’t see Kings or anyone at Fulcrum advocating that.

carl

[17] Posted by carl on 2-12-2012 at 11:27 AM · [top]

There are certainly things that one can throw all round at various parties, on a general level to do with the appointment of Holtam, but the action has been his alone, and I have restricted myself to what Holtam has done, and it seems to me that Fulcrum is only involved because of +Kings’ involvement with Salisbury diocese.

I do actually think that Salisbury should be left to deal with the issue without the rest of us making things worse.  While I understand the views of those who say people should or must do this or that, I think we should try not to make things worse for those who have to deal with things.  Nick Holtam is responsible for his words and actions and others will have to deal with the fallout, and I am not going to criticise them or make things worse for those on the ground

[18] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 11:40 AM · [top]

[18] Pageantmaster

Nick Holtam is responsible for his words and actions

Yes, and the king alone was responsible for declaring that anyone who refused to worship the idol at the sound of the trumpet would be cast into the furnace.  But those words and actions of the king also imposed collateral responsibilities on others who heard the words of the king and saw the actions of the king.  Word begets word.  Action begets action.  The responsibility thus imposed cannot be evaded.

carl

[19] Posted by carl on 2-12-2012 at 12:09 PM · [top]

#19 carl
That is partly true, but there is a deeper message in Daniel 3.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abdednego did not refuse the summons or the authority of the King, they did not depose him or start a rebellion.

They appeared before him and politely told him [Daniel 3:16-18]:

We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

And of course, in the furnace, what they had said came true - there was a fourth man there “like the Son of God.”

It is a reminder that the battle is God’s not ours, we are called to stand faithfully, stating our position, but always under His orders.  We also need to pray, trust, and give time for Him to act in each situation.

[20] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 12:29 PM · [top]

[20] Pageantmaster

They did in fact rebel - against the illegitimate use of the temporal authority of the king.  They did so publicly and as an example to all those who could see.  Their first action was not to appear before the king.  They were instead brought before the king for cause because they refused the king’s authority by refusing to worship the idol.  They acted within the scope of their authority and accepted the temporal consequences.  If Shadrach can deny the illegitimate use of temporal authority possessed by a king, then how much more can a Suffragan Bishop deny the illegitimate use of temporal authority possessed by a Bishop?  So what action is now required of Graham Kings that is within the scope of his authority?

carl

[21] Posted by carl on 2-12-2012 at 12:50 PM · [top]

There was no rebellion, carl.  There was no refusal to appear before the King - there was a quiet refusal of idolatry and when called to give an account of themselves, they did so and accepted the consequences, trusting in their God.

And there was a most remarkable miracle.  Not only did God save them, but throught their witness, He turned the heart of King Nebuchadnezzar so that he reversed course and gave instructions that their God should have nothing said against Him because “no other god can save in this way” and promoted them.  How remarkable is that?

As for how the Diocese of Salisbury and Bishop Kings deal with this, I will leave that to them without trying to backseat drive, which in the circumstances will probably not be helpful.

[22] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 01:06 PM · [top]

[22] Pageantmaster

If there was no rebellion against the king, then why were they thrown into the furnace?  What was the charge against them?  Man is required to obey God and not man when the two conflict.  That requires we deny the authority of man at the requisite moment, and said denial will always be interpreted as rebellion.  If Graham Kings is a spiritual leader then he has responsibilities that attend that leadership that cannot be set aside.  He is required to set himself against temporal authority if that authority conflicts with his responsibility to obey God.  Since he is in leadership, he must do so publicly lest his silence be seen as acquiescence.  That might be interpreted as rebellion.  So be it.

carl

[23] Posted by carl on 2-12-2012 at 01:21 PM · [top]

#23 You should clearly be bishop carl, well that is if you believed in them.  You are applying your Calvinist outlook to tell everybody else what you believe they are required to do.  The points you raise in Daniel have been dealt with in the scripture and my replies above.

The issue is the words of one man, and that is what has to be dealt with, as perhaps it will be - but I am not going to castigate others whose actions I do not know at this stage, criticise them for not issuing regular bulletins to Standfirm or David Ould, or link it to other complaints as you do.

Now for me, it is off to church for a few hours.

[24] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 01:59 PM · [top]

#23 carl
I am sorry - my #24 was written in haste and I have been too sharp.  I don’t have the answers to this mess, but it would be good to pray for the Diocese of Salisbury, for humility and repentence and restoration of church order and relationships.

I suspect it may take the involvement of Archbishop Rowan, who in more ways than one has responsibility for this.

[25] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 04:30 PM · [top]

[25] Pageantmaster

No worries.  I didn’t perceive it as sharp, and was not offended.  If I suffered distress this afternoon, it was over the fact that I watched the last (available) episode of “Midsomer Murders” on Netflix.  I’ve grown quite attached to that show over the past few months.

carl

[26] Posted by carl on 2-12-2012 at 05:45 PM · [top]

#26 Thanks carl
I have no idea why anyone would live in the Midsomer villages - very short life expectancy.

[27] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-12-2012 at 05:56 PM · [top]

thank you PM and carl for the insightful discussion.
I agree that backseat driving is not helpful, and that

there is a deeper message in Daniel 3.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abdednego did not refuse the summons or the authority of the King, they did not depose him or start a rebellion.

However, I do find the warm tone of Bishop Kings’ response troubling, as it assumes that fellowship will not be broken.

We are new colleagues but old friends. We are committed to working together creatively even when we disagree.

I appreciate that kindness brings us to repentance (Rom 2:4) but scripture teaches the discipline of breaking passover fellowship with an unrepentant brother (Mt 19:15-17).  Can this be done while maintaining kindness and thus honour both scripture passages?  I think the Global South’s reponse to the Dublin Primates’ conference modeled this.


I hope that discipline within the church, hinted at in Article 26, will be developed through these difficult times.  While we acknowledge that ‘unworthiness’ does not invalidate a bishop’s ministry, shouldn’t unrepentance be differentiated from unworthiness?  When and how could an Anglican church undertake the deposition spoken of by Article 26?  I don’t know enough about Bishop Holtam’s career - has he acted on his convictions by conducting a same sex blessing or is he planning to ordain someone in an non-celibate same sex relationship?

It will be very interesting follow Bishop Kings’ story.

[28] Posted by Canadian Hobbit on 2-13-2012 at 11:28 PM · [top]

A little background on the situation in Australia and “boundary crossing”:

In 1987, General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia legislated to permit dioceses to ordain women as deacons, however a measure to permit the ordaining of women as priests was defeated.

Jack Spong, the bishop of Newark, USA declined to accept the decision of the Australian General Synod.  The following year he ordained Australian Caroline Pearce as a priest for Australia.

“When asked why he was ordaining an Australian Anglican woman, Bishop Spong replied: ‘I am quite prepared to meddle in the affairs of another country if it is to break the yoke of oppression by which 50 per cent of the people in the world are not permitted participation in the church’.” [see ]http://www.womenpriests.org/related/rose_10.asp]

Some 20 years later, Australian bishops returned the favour to Jack Spong and his liberal colleagues by attending the Gafcon Conference in Jerusalem, which resolved to recognise ACNA as a province-in-formation in USA and Canada. We always pay our debts.

[29] Posted by MichaelA on 2-15-2012 at 01:59 AM · [top]

David’s article is interesting, because Australia has been a bit like a pressure cooker simmering away on the stove since 2008, and we have all wondered when something is going to give. 

By way of background, there are 23 dioceses in Australia, of which five are larger metropolitan sees headed by an Archbishop and based in major state capitals: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.  Each of these archbishops has assistant bishops who may or may not have geographical responsibilities for a region of the archdiocese. Sometimes a bishop of one of the non-metropolitan sees may also have one or two assistant bishops.

Traditionally, most dioceses in Australia were anglo-catholic, and were at odds with more evangelical dioceses like Sydney.  However, the liberals went through Australia like a dose of salts in the 1960s, and there are very few anglo-catholics left that +Iker or +Ackerman or +John Hind would recognise as such.  They are mostly liberals with an (often pretty thin) veneer of anglo-catholicism.  Bells and smells in the nave, and Spong in the pulpit, so to speak.

Orthodoxy is most apparent in dioceses of Sydney and Northwest (evangelical), and The Murray and Ballarat (anglo-catholic).  There is a bit of a tussle between orthodox and liberals going on in the dioceses of Adelaide, Melbourne and Armidale.  The remainder are all pretty liberal, and three are very liberal: Newcastle, Perth and Brisbane. For example, Peter Carnley held ecclesiastical positions in Brisbane diocese before becoming Archbishop of Perth in 1981, from where he played a leading role in ordination of women. He retired in 2005 and was replaced by the Bishop of Newcastle Roger Herft (who previously had been Bishop of Waikato in New Zealand).

The first woman bishop in Australia (Kay Goldsworthy) was consecrated in April 2008 in diocese of Perth. The second followed in May 2008 in Melbourne (Barbara Darling).  Many expected a deluge of women bishops follow, but this did not occur.  The third Australian female bishop was not consecrated until December 2011.

Why the hiatus in consecrating women? I suggest because the liberals were afraid of stirring up too much opposition: Kay Goldsworthy was pretty insipid – she was made an assistant to the Archbishop of Perth with no oversight of parishes.  Barbara Darling was also made an assistant to the Archbishop of Melbourne, but she was given an area responsibility. There was significant controversy, and a number of congregations demanded (and got) alternative episcopal oversight.

Added to this, the Jerusalem conference took place in June 2008, followed by Lambeth in July 2008 (with one quarter of the world’s bishops failing to turn up), and the formation of ACNA in early 2009.  Liberals in Australia have feared wholesale boundary crossing by Sydney for decades (although I suspect this was never likely to happen) and the ACNA business renewed those fears.

But now, it appears that the hiatus is over and the liberals are back on the war-path.  Genevieve Blackwell was consecrated as an assistant bishop of Wagga in New South Wales in December 2011 – but with area responsibility so she will exercise Episcopal oversight to parishes.  The Archbishop of Sydney declined to officiate as Metropolitan at her consecration service “for reasons of conscience”.  And now David has pointed out an example of practicing homosexual clergy in the Diocese of Gippsland.  The next flurry of battle is warming up.

[30] Posted by MichaelA on 2-15-2012 at 02:43 AM · [top]

And one more thing: I don’t think Sydney was ever seriously going to cross diocesan boundaries in Australia - we have made very effective use of church laws to keep the liberals out so we are unlikely to compromise one of our defences.

But foreign border crossings? If anti-WO congregations in places like Melbourne, Bribane or Perth get women bishops foisted on them, then their first call for alternative oversight will be to their own metropolitan (as happened in Melbourne 3 years ago with Barbara Darling). But if that is not granted to them, then I wouldn’t be surprised if they seek alternative oversight from orthodox overseas bishops. That would be interesting.

[31] Posted by MichaelA on 2-15-2012 at 02:55 AM · [top]

MichaelA, Genevieve Blackwell studied at Moore College, and the bishop who appointed her, Stuart Robinson, is as evangelical as they come (even if the Canberra/Goulbrun diocese isn’t). So I wouldn’t characterise her appointment as “liberals are back on the war path”. Barabara Darling is an evangelical also, although both of them obviously take different positions on women’s ministry to most Sydney evangelicals.
In terms of alternative oversight, the House of Bishops developed a protocol in 2008 to ensure proper provision was made (http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/003077.html). Sure, individual dioceses may not implement it as intended, but so far it has worked. The real test will be when a women is appointed as a senior bishop in a diocese, especially if there are no male assistant bishops.
What is interesting to me about the Gippsland appointment is that no one apart from the Anglican Church League (the Sydney evangelical number crunchers) has spoken publicly. I was expecting the Primate or some of the other bishops to make some kind of statement.

[32] Posted by spicksandspecks on 2-16-2012 at 09:33 AM · [top]

Andrew,

I wouldn’t doubt for a moment that both of them fit within the ‘evangelical’ side of the camp - lots of people call themselves that, including many who are as liberal as it is possible to be. I am not sure how this relates to my post. 

And yes I am aware that Genevieve Blackwell trained at Moore College a large number of clergy in Australia do, since it has a very high reputation. I am also quite sure that the Archbishop of Sydney knew that when he declined to officiate at her consecration! Again, I don’t see the relevance to my post.

“In terms of alternative oversight, the House of Bishops developed a protocol in 2008 to ensure proper provision was made (http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/003077.html). Sure, individual dioceses may not implement it as intended, but so far it has worked.”

Of course they “developed a protocol” - anyone who has been through the liberal take-overs in USA, Canada and Britain could have told you ahead of time that they were going to “develop a protocol”. And they also could have told you that it would be implemented the first time around. That is what liberals always do, and that is what undiscerning evangelicals and anglo-catholics who tolerate the liberals support. But the ending of the process is always different to how it started.

“What is interesting to me about the Gippsland appointment is that no one apart from the Anglican Church League (the Sydney evangelical number crunchers) has spoken publicly. I was expecting the Primate or some of the other bishops to make some kind of statement.”

Why would they? Most liberals don’t want to draw attention to things like practicing homosexual clergy, nor even women bishops. Especially, the liberals who masquerade as ‘evangelicals’ or ‘anglo-catholics’ try to avoid this. Rather, they just want these things to quietly spread through the Anglican Church in Australia, without the people in the pews noticing - ‘god’ forbid that the laity should awaken from their torpor and realise where this has led, in the USA for instance.

[33] Posted by MichaelA on 2-16-2012 at 04:53 PM · [top]

The December 2011 issue of Gippsland Anglican on scribd has been set to “Private”. One wonders if they’re also scouring the recycling bins of Gippsland to recover all the printed copies. Seems a little fruitless given that we’ve got the screen capture above but does indicate that they recognise it’s an issue.

[34] Posted by David Ould on 2-17-2012 at 07:32 PM · [top]

@David #34 - odd, note that the December issue is still up at http://www.gippsanglican.org.au/?page_id=27

[35] Posted by j.m.c. on 2-17-2012 at 08:28 PM · [top]

so it is, j.m.c.
So either i have uncovered a vast Australian conspiracy that doesn’t actually exist or making the document private and changing the website have not been co-ordinated.

[36] Posted by David Ould on 2-17-2012 at 08:44 PM · [top]

Vast conspiracy in diocese of Gippsland? Nothing vast there!

[37] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-18-2012 at 03:32 AM · [top]

The Bishop of Salisbury has now issued a statement.  Just an Englishman’s view, but it may be helpful to read it from the bottom up to understand what this is about.  The rest may in a sense be read as preamble.

[38] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 2-24-2012 at 09:48 AM · [top]

14th February 2012 Meeting with a dozen clergy concerned by his statements, this communication was produced:
At the end of the meeting I reaffirmed my commitment to:
  Supporting marriage as it is currently understood
  Upholding the current discipline and practice of the Church of England
  Supporting those clergy whose standpoint differs from my own
I ended by welcoming future opportunities to continue the conversation.
+Nicholas Sarum

In today’s (30th May 2013) Daily Telegraph newspaper, Bishop Nicholas writes on the eve of the debate on same-sex marriage in the House of Lords:
“the development of marriage for same-sex couples is a very strong endorsement of the institution of marriage.”


Well, sixteen months was several months’ longer than I thought the Bishop of Salisbury would uphold his commitment to his clergy.  In charity, perhaps he thinks that noting the protections in the legislation for the Church of England (as he does in his letter) count under the heading of “supporting marriage as it is currently understood”.  I would guess that it would not be as many months if this bill passes before the bishop instructs the church to get in line with society.

[39] Posted by CliffordSwartz on 5-30-2013 at 09:59 AM · [top]

Thanks for the update Clifford!

[40] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 5-30-2013 at 10:37 AM · [top]

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