Wednesday, 16 June 2004

St Albans news

The St Albans diocesan synod met last Saturday. The diocesan website carries the presidential address and will no doubt have more reports in due course.
Neither Charles Dobbie nor Nick Bell bothered to attend. On the other hand Hugh Symes-Thompson not only attended, and asked a number of questions during the synod, but also distributed a flyer (which is reproduced in full here below the fold), and was thanked by Bishop Christopher for the courteous way in which he and Cranfield parish had expressed their disagreement.

The St Albans DEF released this week, via a third party, a letter they have sent to the Eames/Lambeth Commission.

A slightly odd story about the proposed National Front march appears in this week’s St Albans Review.

Cranfield Church Responds to Bishop’s move

At the May meeting of the PCC of St Peter & St Paul’s, Cranfield, the following motion was passed after considerable discussion: “In the light of the Bishop’s precipitate appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as Dean of St Albans this PCC agrees to suspend quota payments forthwith and urges continuing dialogue with the Diocese.”

The PCC was responding to a letter opposing the Bishops endorsement of the Dean-elect and signed by more than 20 members of the regular congregation urging it to take practical action. Many others, also unhappy with the situation, had spoken to the Rector. It was clear at the meeting that while there was considerable pressure for an urgent reaction there was a need for more information on how to relate the references to homosexuality in the Bible to our own day. Many of those present knew friends or relatives living in homosexual relationships. God loved people whatever their sexual orientation but this did not mean that every sort of sexual lifestyle is equally valid or that we could ignore what the bible teaches. The motion to suspend quota payments will send a strong message to the Diocese but it has no time condition so we can be flexible if circumstances change. It gives us space to consider the issues at greater depth so that we can plan a medium to long-term strategy - co-ordinated perhaps with other likeminded parishes.

The Anglican Church worldwide is now in turmoil over whether homosexual activity can be acceptable. Recently 18 Archbishops from provinces representing 55 million Anglicans, mostly from the ‘Global South’, demanded that the Episcopal Church of the USA be expelled if the appointment of Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly practising homosexual, was not revoked. They said, “This deliberate disobedience of the revealed will of God in the holy scriptures is a flagrant departure from the consensual and clearly communicated mind and will of the Anglican Communion.” In St Albans the lines are not quite so clear-cut, yet they are part of a worrying trend. Canon Jeffrey John claims to be in a celibate relationship with a fellow Anglican priest. And he is to be a Cathedral Dean and not a Bishop. But he is a leading campaigner for the acceptance and blessing of homosexual relationships by the church, as shown by his recently reprinted booklet “Permanent, Faithful, Stable” and by the press conference at which his appointment was announced. The Bishop of St Albans is clearly signalling by this appointment that such teaching can be permitted. But while Christians should be tolerant of those who hold different views it is absurd that they should welcome those who undermine the Scriptures and Church.

It is a great pity that this divisive issue has been raised in our Diocese and that it may divert the energies of local Christians from more worthwhile and important matters. I (and the PCC) will be glad to hear your views on this matter — whether for or against - as we seek to determine what should happen next. We hope that we will be able to provide input for an informed discussion within the Church and village. In the meantime further information can be gleaned from the Diocesan website and that of Anglican Mainstream. Further if you wished to write to the Bishop, the Queen or the Prime Minister then I should certainly encourage you. It is a critical time for the Anglican Communion.

Hugh Symes-Thompson

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 16 June 2004 at 5:56 PM GMT | TrackBack
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