Posted by Trevor Grundy 6 weeks 3 days ago
The Church of England announced on Dec. 17 that Libby Lane, a parish priest from Hale, a small village outside Manchester, would become its first woman bishop, ending centuries of all-male leadership in this country’s established church.The announcement from Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence in London, came just a month after changes to canon law making it possible for women to assume the role of suffragan and diocesan bishops.Lane, 48, a mother of two and the wife of an Anglican vicar, will be consecrated as the eighth bishop of Stockport, in the Diocese of Chester, at a ceremony at York Cathedral on Jan. 26. Her appointment is as a suffragan bishop — a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan or diocesan bishop.On her surprise appointment, she said: “This is unexpected and very exciting. I’m honored and thankful to be called to serve as the next bishop of Stockport and not a little daunted to be entrusted with such a ministry.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 7 weeks 4 days ago
In a lengthy interview in The Times of London, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby predicted that the Anglican Communion might not hold together because of strong disagreements on the ordination of women as bishops and full rights for LGBT people.The candid interview came at the end of Welby’s visits to the 38 provinces (or country-states) that make up the Anglican Communion.Welby said that although individual churches remain “strong, resilient and thriving,” the differences among them remain profound.“I think, realistically, we‘ve got to say that despite all efforts there is a possibility that we will not hold together, or not hold together for a while,” he said. “I could see circumstances in which there could be people moving apart and then coming back together, depending on what else happens.”Rod Thomas, chairman of Reform, an evangelical network of English and Irish Anglicans opposed to women bishops and LGBT ordination or unions, agreed with the archbishop’s assessment.“If, as an Anglican, you believe more or less the same things but you just can’t reach agreement on something that is terribly divisive, you do go your separate ways. That will mean that the heads of various Anglican churches around the world won’t be able to meet together and say ‘Look, we’re all united’ in the same way they did in the past.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 10 weeks 5 days ago
Twenty years after women were ordained as priests, the Church of England is set to appoint its first woman bishop by year’s end or at the start of 2015.On Nov. 17, the church’s two most senior leaders, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, signed the change into church, or canon, law after asking the General Synod, made up of bishops, clergy and laity, to signal their approval by a show of hands.The shattering of what’s called “the Church of England’s stained-glass window” marks the culmination of years of campaigning for reform.In July, the synod, voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation to create women bishops.Hilary Cotton, chairwoman of Women and the Church, an advocacy organization, told reporters she is now hopeful the reform will lead to “changing the culture of the church.”U.S.–born Christian Rees, a member of the synod’s House of Laity, said the Nov. 17 ceremony would change the public perception that the Church of England has “a problem with women.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 14 weeks 2 days ago
Anglican priests should no longer be bound by the centuries-old principle of confidentiality in confessions when they are told of sexual crimes committed against children, the Church of England’s No. 2 official said.Speaking at the end of an internal inquiry on whether senior church officials ignored abuse allegations involving children, Archbishop of York John Sentamu said that “what happened was shameful, terrible, bad, bad, bad.”He said that the Church of England must break the confidentiality of confession in cases where people disclosed the abuse of children. “If someone tells you a child has been abused, the confession doesn’t seem to me a cloak for hiding that business. How can you hear a confession about somebody abusing a child and the matter must be sealed up and you mustn’t talk about it?”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 25 weeks 3 days ago
A London theater is refusing to host the UK Jewish Film Festival because it receives partial funding from the Israeli Embassy.The Tricycle Theatre has hosted the film festival for the last eight years and was scheduled to screen 26 films in November.But the theater’s artistic director, Indhu Rubasingham, the English-born daughter of Sri Lankan parents, issued a statement Tuesday saying that because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the theater’s board decided not to host the festival under its current sponsorship arrangement.“The festival receives funding from the Israeli embassy and given the current conflict in Israel and Gaza, we feel it inappropriate to accept financial support from any government agency involved,” she said in a statement. “We offered to provide alternative funding to cover the loss of the contribution from the Israeli embassy. However, the UKJFF decided it was not willing to decline sponsorship from the Israeli embassy and, to our regret, withdrew the festival from The Tricycle.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 28 weeks 4 days ago
While Christians waited to learn whether the Church of England would approve the consecration of women bishops, the church’s governing body — the General Synod — quietly voted to drop all future references to the devil in a new baptism service.The simplified wording was written after priests said the traditional service was unnecessarily complex and might confuse people who are not regular churchgoers.In the traditional service, godparents are asked whether they are ready to renounce the devil and all his works for the sake of the child being baptized.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 28 weeks 5 days ago
Three leading Anglicans have entered an explosive debate about whether it is permissible for Christians to allow doctors in England and Wales to administer lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients given less than six months to live.More than 100 members of the House of Lords, England’s upper house of Parliament, have asked to speak on the second reading of the Assisted Dying Bill on Friday.The bill will be opposed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is expected to reaffirm the Church of England’s traditional hostility to any move that would endanger the Christian principle of the sanctity of human life.
Posted by Trevor Grundy, Fredrick Nzwili 28 weeks 5 days ago
After 20 years of turmoil and angry debate, on Monday the General Synod of the Church of England said “yes” to women bishops.The first could be named by the end of the year with the appointment of at least three additional women sometime in 2015, say senior church officials.The General Synod is the three-tier governing body of the Church of England and it is made up of bishops, clergy, and laity.At a meeting in York, the General Synod gave final approval to legislation introducing the changes by the required two-thirds majority.Overall 351 members of the 433 Synod voted in favor of the measure.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 29 weeks 2 days ago
CANTERBURY, England — Women’s rights activists greeted with delight signs the Church of England is poised to relent and allow women to be consecrated as bishops.Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will preside over a historic General Synod meeting at the University of York when a make-or-break vote on the subject is expected July 14.“I think we’re there at long last,” American-born Christina Rees, one of the church’s leading women’s rights campaigners, said in an interview Thursday.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 37 weeks 5 days ago
A London-trained fashion designer has launched a new range of clerical wear for women in the Church of England.Camelle Daley, who founded the label House of ilona, says it’s high time for a shake-up among Anglican clergy who, like Roman Catholic priests, still wear traditional black shirt and collar.Daley said she got the idea when a recently ordained friend said she wanted a new look for a new age.The result?Daley’s collection, now selling briskly, includes peplum dresses and tops, classic black dresses, and a fitted green blouse with chiffon detail.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 51 weeks 1 day ago
Three out of 10 British children have next to no understanding of the Bible and their parents aren’t that knowledgeable, either.A survey released Friday by the Bible Society, founded in 1804 to spread knowledge about the Scriptures, said most boys and girls aged 8 to 15 years old did not know that Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, or Jesus’ birth were rooted in the Bible.More than a third of the 800 children surveyed did not know that David and Goliath and the story of the Good Samaritan were Bible tales.
Posted by Trevor Grundy, Fredrick Nzwili 1 year 1 day ago
Ahead of his five-day visit to Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a statement reminding Anglicans of the commitment the Church of England made eight years ago to the pastoral care and support of everyone, including gays and lesbians.So far, the archbishop’s statement has not convinced African leaders.On Wednesday, Anglican leaders in Africa rejected a proposal by the English College of Bishops for two-year “facilitated conversations” to address the differences over homosexuality within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 2 weeks ago
Canterbury Cathedral, mother church of the 85 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, will have its first girls’ choir perform since it was rebuilt nearly 1,000 years ago.On Jan. 25, worshippers will hear the voices of 16 girls between the ages of 12 and 16 at a historic Evensong service, which will include the music of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.Until now, only male voices have been heard at the cathedral’s services.Twenty years ago, Salisbury Cathedral was the first English cathedral to allow girls to sing in choirs at services. That set the ball rolling. There are now 765 girls in cathedral choirs across England, compared with 1,008 boys.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 3 weeks ago
The Church of England has been accused of “dumbing down” the baptism service following the introduction of an alternative liturgy in which parents and godparents need not repent of their “sins” or reject “the devil.”In the traditional version of the service, parents and godparents are asked: “Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?” and “Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbor?”In the alternative version, now being tested in 400 churches, parents are instead asked to “reject evil and all its many forms and all its empty promises.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 5 weeks ago
A well-known Anglican bishop in charge of the archbishop of Canterbury’s campaign to attract young people to the church says he’s ready to put on blue jeans and a T-shirt. “There are people for whom vestments are profoundly helpful and those for whom they are a real obstacle,” said Bishop Graham Cray who heads the ”Fresh Expressions” campaign.His statement follows reports that the General Synod, the Church of England’s governing body, is prepared to debate a controversial motion that would make clerical vestments optional.In a letter to Synod members, the Rev. Christopher Hobbs, vicar of St Thomas in Oakwood, North London, wrote: “In all walks of life people are less formal. And sometimes informality is good even in a very traditional parish.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 7 weeks ago
Few would deny Nelson Mandela’s greatness, but one of Britain’s best-known journalists, Dominic Lawson, has taken the media to task for comparing South Africa’s first black president to Jesus.Writing on the eve of the departure of world leaders to Johannesburg to attend a memorial service for Mandela, who died last week, Lawson wrote in the Daily Mail: “He was a giant — but how absurd for the BBC to compare Mandela to Christ.”Lawson singled out BBC presenter Evan Davis who told listeners on a Dec. 7 radio program that Mandela should be ranked alongside Jesus in “the pantheon of virtue.”The BBC radio program included former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who emphatically dismissed the notion of Mandela being on par with the founder of Christianity.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 8 weeks ago
Two of the world’s great libraries — the Vatican Library in Rome and the Bodleian Library at Oxford University — have scanned and loaded the first of 1.5 million pages of ancient Hebrew, Greek, and early Christian manuscripts online Tuesday.The project brings rare and priceless religious and cultural collections to a global audience for the first time in history.The website is the first step in a four-year project and it includes the Bodleian’s 1455 Gutenberg Bible — one of only 50 surviving copies.The $3.3 million project is funded by the Polonsky Foundation, which aims to democratize access to information. Leonard S. Polonsky is chairman of Hansard Global PLC, an international financial services company.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 8 weeks ago
The Christian cross has become little more than a piece of jewelry worn around the necks of celebrities, said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.In the foreword to a new book about Christianity, the head of the world’s 85 million Anglicans presents the symbol of Roman torture upon which Jesus died as “the moment of deepest encounter with radical change.”And he regrets that after 2000 years, the cross has become trivialized.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 10 weeks ago
The Church of England’s governing body has approved new proposals that would allow women bishops to be ordained by this time next year.Meeting in London on Wednesday, the church’s General Synod passed a motion by 378-8, with 25 abstentions, that paves the way for the endorsement of women bishops. Bishops also approved a declaration that sets out guidance for parishes that reject female consecrations.The package would end nearly two decades of bitter and damaging conflict, and the vote is a victory of sorts for the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who was appointed last year just as the General Synod came within six votes of allowing women bishops.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 10 weeks ago
A former archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the Church of England faces extinction in less than 25 years unless it can attract more young people now.Talking to 300 churchgoers in Shropshire, West England on the eve of a church agreement to start a campaign to evangelize England, Lord George Carey said: “We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. We are one generation away from extinction and if we do not invest in young people there is going to be no one in the future.”Carey was Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the world’s estimated 85 million Anglicans from 1991 until 2002 when he joined the House of Lords (Britain’s Upper Chamber of Parliament).
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 11 weeks ago
At an emotional worship service, considered one of the largest gatherings of Christians and Jews, some 1,600 British men and women filed into Westminster Abbey Sunday to mark the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht.Also known as the Night of Broken Glass, Kristallnacht was a series of coordinated attacks carried out by Nazi paramilitaries and civilians against Jews throughout Hitler’s Germany and parts of Austria between Nov. 9 and 10, 1938.More than 90 German Jews were killed and 30,000 more sent to concentration camps.During the hourlong service, a candelabra from the Belsize Square Synagogue in central London was processed through the abbey where England’s kings and queens are buried.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 13 weeks ago
When he died on Nov. 22, 1963 hardly a soul blinked in Northern Ireland where he was born or in England where he spent most of his working life as one of the world’s greatest Christian apologists.Clive Staples Lewis was a week short of 65 when he suffered a heart attack at his home in Oxford. The obituary writers barely noticed his demise, in part because he died on the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.British indifference to Lewis half a century ago will be examined at a one-day seminar at Wheaton College on Nov. 1, co-sponsored by the Marion E. Wade Center, the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals and Wheaton College’s Faith and Learning program.Lewis may be the most popular Christian writer in history, with millions of copies of his books sold, the vast majority in the United States where his influence is far greater than in his native country.Was it Lewis’ modesty or British fear of discussing religion that fueled such indifference in Britain and Ireland?
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 14 weeks ago
Less than three months after he promised to take on payday lenders and create alternative church credit unions, the archbishop of Canterbury condemned Britain’s energy companies for imposing huge price hikes that will hurt struggling families.Justin Welby said over the weekend that the six most powerful energy supply companies have a “massive” moral duty beyond squeezing customers for maximum profits. The largest of them, British Gas, whose parent company is called Centrica, recorded a 2.7 billion pound ($4.37 billion) profit last year.The archbishop — a former oil trader — challenged the company’s huge markup of around 9.2 percent.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 16 weeks ago
A group of Christian lawyers plans to sue two medical doctors who have raised a storm of controversy for arranging the abortion of female fetuses because the parents wanted boys.Andrea Williams, CEO of the London-based Christian Concern, said her group would file suit against the doctors since the government declined to charge them.In an Oct. 7 letter to the attorney general, Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said the Abortion Act of 1967 “does not expressly prohibit gender specific abortions.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 17 weeks ago
For the first time on record, the number of Scots with no religion outstrips those who belong to the Church of Scotland.Figures from the 2011 census released Monday show that 37 percent of Scottish people regard themselves as nonreligious, while 32 percent said they identified with the Church of Scotland, known as the Kirk. Some 16 percent said they were Roman Catholic.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 17 weeks ago
Christians and Jews are mounting campaigns for and against a path to sainthood for British writer G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), one of the world’s best-known Catholic converts.Roman Catholic Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, where Chesterton lived and worked, has ordered an examination of Chesterton’s life — the first step in what is likely to be a long and unpredictable process toward canonization.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 19 weeks ago
A senior judge, leading members of Parliament, and human rights activists are calling for an urgent debate on the explosive issue of whether Muslim women should be allowed to wear veils when they testify in court.The call for national debate follows Judge Peter Murphy’s Sept. 16 ruling that a 22-year-old Muslim woman standing trial on charges of intimidating a witness at a north London mosque must remove her facial veil, called a niqab, when testifying so the jury can better evaluate her facial expressions.If she refuses, the woman — known only as Defendant D — could face a prison sentence for contempt of court.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 20 weeks ago
The decision by the Church in Wales to consecrate women bishops means the Church of England — the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion — will be the last in Britain to admit women as bishops.Cheers erupted in a hall at Lampeter, Ceredigion in Wales, when the 144-member governing body of the Welsh church announced the result of the vote on Thursday. A similar bill failed narrowly in 2008.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 20 weeks ago
Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s best-known and outspoken atheists, has provoked outrage among child protection agencies and experts after suggesting that recent child abuse scandals have been overblown.In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday, Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called “the mild pedophilia” he experienced at an English school when he was a child in the 1950s.Referring to his early days at a boarding school in Salisbury, he recalled how one of the (unnamed) masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts.”He said other children in his school peer group had been molested by the same teacher but concluded: “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 21 weeks ago
Too much religion can harm a society’s economy by undermining the drive for financial success, according to a new study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.The study of almost 190,000 people from 11 religiously diverse cultures is raising eyebrows among some of England’s religious leaders for suggesting Judaism and Christianity have anti-wealth norms.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 26 weeks ago
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was embarrassed and irritated following revelations that the Church of England has invested millions of pounds in a company that financially backs England’s leading payday lending company, Wonga.Welby told the BBC: “We must find out why this happened and then make sure that it never happens again.”The Financial Times broke the news that the Church of England invested several million pounds in Accel Partners, the U.S. venture capital company that led to the launch of Wonga, which dominates the 2 billion pound payday lending market in England. Wonga charges annual percentage rates of more than 5,000 percent.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 27 weeks ago
When it comes to donating to charity, Britain’s small but fast-growing Muslim community comes out ahead of other religious groups, a recent survey shows.Conducted by ICM, a London-based polling agency, the survey shows the U.K.’s estimated 280,000 Muslims report giving more money annually to charity than Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Jews.The survey, conducted on behalf of JustGiving, an online giving platform, also found a 70 percent rise in giving over the past two years from among Muslims to the charity-giving site.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 27 weeks ago
The British government plans to investigate whether other Jews were denied employment benefits after an Orthodox Jew who refused to work on the Sabbath won a landmark appeal.Jacob Slinger, a 19-year-old who lives in Greater Manchester, won an appeal against the Department of Works and Pensions after he’d been denied a jobseeker’s allowance of 56.80 pounds ($86.67) a week because he refused to work on Saturdays. He told the tribunal he had to rely on the generosity of his grandmother to survive.After listening to his case, tribunal judge David Hewitt ordered the DWP to pay Slinger 1,500 pounds ($2,288) in benefits and called on other Jewish people who had been denied benefits to come forward.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 28 weeks ago
With a stated aim to “provoke,” Britain’s best-known TV company, Channel 4, is justifying its live daily broadcast of the “adhan” — the early hour Muslim call to prayer — and sparking applause as well as anger.The broadcasts, airing each morning at 3 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, will continue throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.“We are focusing on the positive aspects of Islam and hoping to explain to a broader public what Ramadan is, and what it means for the 2.8 million Muslims who take part in the UK and provide a platform for different views and different voices,” said Ralph Lee, the network’s head of programming.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 28 weeks ago
England and Wales became the 16th and 17th countries in the world to recognize gay marriage after Queen Elizabeth II gave “royal assent” to a same-sex marriage bill.Under the new law, gay men and women will be able to join together in civil ceremonies or in church services — although no religious denomination will be forced to carry out such services.Cheers, laughter, and clapping broke out in the House of Commons when Speaker John Bercow announced the bill had been approved.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 29 weeks ago
Leading secularists are calling on nonreligious parents to fight a government effort that would allow the Church of England to run thousands of state schools.The schools, or academies, would be privately funded, quasi-independent and accountable to the church for their curricula, organization, admission policies, and teachers’ pay and conditions.As of July, there were 3,049 such academies operating in England, many financed by businessmen, finance companies, supermarkets, football clubs, and a growing number of faith-based organizations including the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church and the largest of all — the Church of England.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 29 weeks ago
CANTERBURY, England — The Church of England’s governing body reaffirmed its commitment to consecrate women bishops with the aim of reaching final approval on an issue that has for so long split the church’s ranks no later than November 2015.Meeting in York July 5-9, the General Synod agreed to consider new draft legislation by November this year.This is the first time synod members have met since November 2012, when to the surprise of most of the British public, draft legislation to create women bishops narrowly failed to secure the requisite majority.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 32 weeks ago
For more than 100 years, Britain’s Girl Guides took an oath to “love God and serve the King/Queen.”But on Wednesday the movement announced it would scrap its oath to God in an attempt to broaden its appeal and attract children from secular, nonbelieving families.The controversial shake-up is seen by some as the biggest in the Girl Guides’ history.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 39 weeks ago
A new poll finds overwhelming support for assisted suicide for the terminally ill among Anglicans, Catholics, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews in Britain, with Baptists and Muslims the only groups that oppose changes to British law, which currently prohibits assisted suicide.But Britons are debating the topic intensely.More than seven-in-ten (72 percent) members of the established Church of England and 56 percent of Roman Catholics support assisted suicide for the terminally ill, the survey shows.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 45 weeks ago
LONDON — When journalist Henry Morton Stanley found the world’s most famous missionary barely alive at the tiny village of Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika on Nov. 10, 1871, he gave the English language one of its most famous introductions: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”As Britain marks David Livingstone’s 200th birthday on Tuesday, Christians are being reintroduced to one of the greatest missionaries and explorers of the 19th century. A new book, meanwhile, introduces a darker side to Livingstone’s globe-trotting career and the corrosive effect it had on his marriage.That 1871 meeting in the heart of Africa is the stuff of legend.In 1864, Livingstone — already one of the world’s most famous men because of his trek across Africa and the 1855 “discovery” of the Victoria Falls that straddles modern-day Zambia and Zimbabwe — mounted an expedition to discover the source of the Nile River.As months stretched into years, nothing was heard from the famed explorer.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 47 weeks ago
Days after pulling out of the conclave to elect the next pope and vowing to fight the charges against him, disgraced Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien admitted Sunday to inappropriate “sexual conduct.”O’Brien, who until a week ago was the highest-ranking Roman Catholic cleric in England and Scotland, had served as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh for the last seven years and was made a cardinal in 2003.
Posted by David Gibson, Trevor Grundy 1 year 48 weeks ago
Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland resigned on Monday in the wake of explosive charges that he had made “inappropriate” sexual advances to four men, three of them priests, and one now a former seminarian, starting in the 1980s.O’Brien said he would skip next month’s conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, leaving the United Kingdom without a cardinal’s voice in the election of a new pope.In a statement, O’Brien said Benedict had accepted his resignation effective immediately, and he appeared to allude to the events surrounding his sudden exit.“Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologize to all whom I have offended,” said the cardinal, who turns 75 next month, which is the mandatory retirement age for bishops. Cardinals retain the right to vote in a conclave until age 80.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 1 year 51 weeks ago
LONDON — Justin Welby was confirmed Monday as the new archbishop of Canterbury at a centuries-old service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, six weeks before his formal enthronement inside Canterbury Cathedral on March 21.Welby, 57, was a banker and oil executive before his ordination as a priest in 1992, and has served as a bishop for less than a year.He takes over from Rowan Williams, 62, who returned to academic life at Cambridge University after a decade of turmoil throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion over questions of human sexuality and inside the Church of England over the role of women bishops.The new archbishop had been the bishop of Durham in northern England for eight months when he was ordered by a still unnamed person in the Church of England to apply for the church’s top job.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 2 years 3 weeks ago
CANTERBURY, England — The Church of England on Jan. 4 confirmed that it has dropped its prohibition on gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops — but only if they agree to remain celibate.Speaking on behalf of the Church’s House of Bishops, Bishop of Norwich Graham Jones said in a statement: “The House of Bishops has confirmed that clergy in civil partnerships, and living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, can be considered as candidates for the episcopate. There had been a moratorium on such candidates for the past year and a half while the working party completed its task.”Jones added that the bishops agreed it would be “unjust” to exclude gay men from becoming bishops if they were otherwise “seeking to live fully in conformity with the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics or other areas of personal life and discipline.”
Posted by Trevor Grundy 2 years 7 weeks ago
CANTERBURY, England — The British government unveiled a proposal on Tuesday that excludes the Church of England and the Church in Wales from planned legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry in churches.Culture Secretary Maria Miller told Parliament the new plan would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in some churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques, but definitely not in the established church, where both the outgoing and incoming archbishops of Canterbury insist that marriage remain between a man and a woman."We will write on the face of the bill a declaration that no religious organization, or individual minister, can be forced to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises," Miller told the House of Commons.Religious groups, including Quakers, Unitarians, and some liberal Jewish groups, welcomed the news because they favor same-sex marriage. The Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Roman Catholic Church, most Muslims, and Orthodox Jews oppose the move.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 2 years 7 weeks ago
CANTERBURY, England — New figures from the 2011 Census show that the number of people who identify as Christians in England and Wales has fallen by 4 million over the last 10 years.The data shows that numbers fell from 37.3 million in 2001 to 33 million last year.The statistics came as the outgoing archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, claimed that English cathedral congregations are growing dramatically, challenging the claim made by secularists that the Church of England is fading in Britain.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 2 years 8 weeks ago
CANTERBURY, England — The Church of England plans to rush through legislation to consecrate women bishops after last week’s surprising defeat at the church's General Synod in London.The church's Archbishops’ Council ended two days of closed-door meetings on Wednesday (Nov. 28), and said a plan to allow women bishops needs to be "restarted" when General Synod reconvenes in July. Church leaders originally said the issue could not be reopened until 2015.The 19-member council acts as the standing committee of the three-tier General Synod made up of bishops, clergy and laity.
Posted by Trevor Grundy 2 years 9 weeks ago
CANTERBURY, England — When the Church of England scuttled plans to allow women bishops on Nov. 20, incoming Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called it “a very grim day for women and their supporters.”Now, that grim day is turning into a church-state nightmare for Britain's established church.On Monday, The Times of London quoted from a leaked memo to church leaders from William Fittall, secretary general of the General Synod, who called the public and political fallout "severe."
Posted by Trevor Grundy 2 years 11 weeks ago
CANTERBURY, England -- Bishop Justin Welby, a former oil executive who's emerged as a critic of corporate excess, was named Friday (Nov. 9) as the 105th archbishop of Canterbury, primate of the Church of England and leader of the worldwide 77 million-member Anglican Communion.A statement from British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the appointment after two days of speculation. Welby, 56, succeeds Archbishop Rowan Williams, who will return to academia at Cambridge University next year. Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Welby said he is "utterly optimistic" about the future of the Church of England. He said that the question of gay marriage in his new global flock was a complicated issue "and not one to be handled today, off the cuff." But he offered a definite olive branch to the gay community despite reaffirming his opposition to same-sex marriage. Welby pledged to re-examine his own thinking on homosexuality while speaking out against exclusion and homophobia. "I know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking prayerfully and carefully," he said.In the United States, where the Episcopal Church is the official American branch of Anglicanism, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori signaled that she's ready to work with Welby, acknowledging that "his gifts of reconciliation and discernment will be abundantly tested."
Posted by Trevor Grundy 2 years 16 weeks ago
LONDON — As Britain awaits the appointment of the next archbishop of Canterbury to lead both the Church of England and the far-flung Anglican Communion, there's renewed attention on the woman who officially gets the final say: Queen Elizabeth II, the "Defender of the Faith."The current archbishop, Rowan Williams, ends his 10-year tenure in December. A Church of England committee is sifting through candidates — two of whom will be submitted to Prime Minister David Cameron, whose top choice will be submitted to the queen for final approval.When he announced his retirement last March, Williams, 62, famously said his successor will need "the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros.”Politicians and religious leaders say the next archbishop will need those qualities and more to handle deep divisions in the British church over female bishops and North/South divisions among his 77 million-member global flock over sexuality.But he'll also need something else: the ability to envision life when Elizabeth — who turns 87 next year — is no longer on the throne, and when Britain is no longer a Christian-majority country.