Southern Religion

The Anglican Communion’s women bishops (still none in England)

The 28 women bishops in the Anglican Communion, reviewed by Ruthie Glendhill, religion correspondent for The Times of London.

None in England.

After the review, Glendhill interviews Christina Rees, who has campaigned for the ordination of women in the Anglican Church and is now the Chairperson of WATCH (Women and the Church), about “the prospects for women bishops in the Church of England after initial analysis of the General Synod election results from 2010” indicated a shift against them:

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Churches, Women | , , | Comments Off on The Anglican Communion’s women bishops (still none in England)

Conservative UK Anglicans call for ‘decisive’ break with TEC (US)

Fulcrum, a conservative British Anglican group, issued a leadership team statement Friday arguing that “the election of Mary Glasspool as bishop suffragan in the diocese of Los Angeles” is a bad-faith break by The Episcopal Church (USA) with the larger Anglican Communion.

They argued that Glasspool’s election violates the terms of The Windsor Report, which was written in response to the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay, noncelibate priest to be ordained as an Anglican bishop, in the Episcopal Church in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in the Diocese of New Westminster. The report recommended a moratorium on the election of additional homosexual bishops.

Fulcrum asserts that TEC promised to maintain that moratorium:

It is important that this is not simply a matter of disagreement about biblical interpretation and sexual ethics although these are central and important. It is now very clearly also a fundamental matter of truth-telling and trust. In September 2007, at the Primates’ request and after meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, TEC bishops confirmed they would “exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion”. They made clear that “non-celibate gay and lesbian persons” were among such candidates.

As a result, Fulcrum further argues, in effect, that a break by the larger communion with TEC is required:

In fact, the situation is now such that it may be better for the Archbishop simply to state – as one of the Instruments and a focus and means of unity – that TEC as a body has rejected the Communion’s repeated appeals for restraint, made false promises, and confirmed its direction is away from Communion teaching and accountability. It has thereby rendered itself incapable of covenanting with other churches and made it unclear what it means when it claims to be in communion with the see of Canterbury and a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

They conclude by calling for guidance from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, possibly declaring that TEC has made it clear that it has elected to ‘walk apart’ from the rest of the Anglican Communion. Or some other unstated “decisive action.”

March 27, 2010 Posted by | Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Conservative UK Anglicans call for ‘decisive’ break with TEC (US)

Ugandan president to block gay genocide bill [Updates]

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told members of the National Resistance Movement’s (NRM) legislative caucus on Jan 13 that he was going to block the gay genocide bill. George Conger of Religious Intelligencer wrote:

“I [Museveni] told them that this bill was brought up by a private member and I have not even had time to discuss it with him. It is neither the government nor the NRM Party’s” bill, he told legislators, according to Ugandan press reports.

“This is a foreign policy issue and we have to discuss it in a manner that does not compromise our principles but also takes care of our foreign policy interests,” the president said.

Xan Rice of the Guardian reported today:

Uganda has indicated it will bow to international pressure and amend draconian anti-homosexual legislation that includes the death penalty for HIV-positive people convicted of having gay sex.

. . .

,p>The proposed law, which has been pushed by local evangelical preachers and vocally supported by senior government officials, also threatens life imprisonment for anyone convicted of gay sex.

While broadly supported domestically, the legislation has caused a storm of protest abroad and consternation from western donors who fund a large chunk of Uganda’s budget.


VOA says nothing has changed:

The Ugandan foreign minister denies the government is backing away from proposed anti-gay legislation because of foreign policy implications, saying the government is still discussing its position on the issue. Gay rights activists express caution over reports the president has backed away from the bill.

Jim Burroway foresees a move toward compromise legislation.

January 14, 2010 Posted by | Crime, Law, Religion | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ugandan president to block gay genocide bill [Updates]

2010: The U.K.’s first Anglican woman bishop?

The Rev Canon Dr Alison Peden is the first Scottish Anglican woman to make the shortlist for a bishopric since June of 2003, when the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly in favor of the “Motion to Allow Women Bishops.”

She is one of three shortlisted for the post of Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway and as a result the ordinary at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow.

If selected, she will be the first woman bishop in the U.K.

The Scottish Episcopal Church Website explains:

The candidates have been selected by a Preparatory Committee (chaired by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church) consisting of clergy and lay church members who represent the diocese and the wider Church. The next stage in the selection process is a meeting of each of the candidates with members of an Electoral Synod (representatives of clergy and lay church members from the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway only). That meeting will take place on 9 January 2010, with the election of the new Bishop taking place on 16 January.

The first woman bishop in the entire Anglican Communion was Barbara Harris, ordained Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on 11 February 1989. Harris, a black woman who as a civil rights activist marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, was nominated at one point by Mary Glasspool, the pioneering lesbian bishop-elect in Los Angeles selected this year and awaiting final approval.

Peden is married, mother of three and rector of Holy Trinity Church in Stirling and chaplain of Forth Valley College there and canon of St. Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth.

Ruth Gledhill observes that you can read some of Peden’s sermons here.

The other two candidates are:

Regardless of the selection, the times they are a changin’.

December 26, 2009 Posted by | Churches | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ugandan gay death legislation dance continues

Mark Silk covers the Ugandan anti-homosexuality act.

We’re still looking for Richard Land on Uganda. ERLC has a link to the Baptist Press Warren story, but thus far, that’s all she wrote.

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where is Richard Land on Uganda?


Richard Land’s passion for foreign policy should not be confined to his current call for trade sanctions against Iran. Nothing should stop Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, from joining fellow Southern Baptist evangelical Rick Warren and a long list of other Christian leaders in opposing Uganda’s gay genocide legislation.

December 14, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Where is Richard Land on Uganda?

Facebook group admonishes Williams to support Glasspool/strongly reject Ugandan legislation

In the spirit of John the Baptist’s cry,” a Facebook group admonishes Rowan Willams to take forceful stands for homosexual rights. They ask all Anglicans who agree with the following statement to join the group:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to exercise moral leadership to protect gays & lesbians in Uganda and has instead exercised political pressure to attack a bishop-elect in Los Angeles because she is a lesbian.

As Anglicans who treasure their Communion and expect more from their Archbishop, in the Advent spirit of John the Baptist’s cry to the religious leaders of his time, we call on+Rowan Williams to repent of his earlier statement and issue this one instead:

“The proposed legal actions that would make homosexuality punishable by death in Uganda, and the lack of outrage regarding this proposed action by the Church of Uganda, raises very serious questions not just for the Church of Uganda and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.

The proposed legislation has not yet become law, and could be rejected, with the Anglican Church of Uganda leading the opposition. That decision will have very important implications. The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that offering pastoral care and listening to the experience of homosexual persons is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”

We believe with God all things are possible — and we pray together during this Advent season of repentance and new beginnings for the revitalization of our Communion on behalf of the Gospel and for the liberation of all held captive by homophobia.

December 13, 2009 Posted by | Law, WWW | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Facebook group admonishes Williams to support Glasspool/strongly reject Ugandan legislation

Anglical Church head Rowan Williams condemns Ugandan ‘gay genocide’ legislation

Dr. Rowan Williams

Buried in an interview with the London Telegraph is Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ first public declaration of opposition to the Ugandan gay genocide legislation. His wording implied that all members of the Anglican Communion, obviously including those in Uganda, should oppose the legislation. He stopped just short of calling out Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi.

The Telegraph’s George Pitcher wrote [emphasis ours]:

“Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades,” says Dr Williams. “Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers.” He adds that the Anglican Church in Uganda opposes the death penalty but, tellingly, he notes that its archbishop, Henry Orombi, who boycotted the Lambeth Conference last year, “has not taken a position on this bill”.

Williams’ hand was apparently forced by the dramatically announced opposition of similarly reluctant Saddleback Community Church pastor Rick Warren (Williams interview is dated Dec. 11, shortly after Warren’s statement), and a parade of other religious leader opposition, including the implicit opposition of the Vatican. Ekklesia reported that several British Christian organizations had also expressed opposition, “including Accepting Evangelicals, Changing Attitude, Courage, Ekklesia, Fulcrum and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.”

Williams became a focus of criticism when he remained silent on Uganda yet issued a sharp, immediate rebuke to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles for on Dec. 5 choosing as bishop the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, a lesbian who has been in a partnered relationship for two decades.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took a stand against “the pending Ugandan legislation that would introduce the death penalty for people who violate portions of that country’s anti-homosexuality laws,” in effective contrast with Williams’ silence.

The effect of growing international pressure on the legislation is still unclear. It is part of an Africa-wide slide toward repression of homosexuals, the Guardian reported today (12/13) [emphasis ours]:

There is wide support for [Ndorwa West, Uganda, MP David] Bahati’s [anti-homosexuality] law which, while being an extreme piece of anti-gay legislation, is not unique. As far as gay rights are concerned, it would appear that much of Africa is going backwards. Nigeria has a similar bill waiting to reach its statute books and already allows the death penalty for homosexuality in northern states, as does Sudan. Burundi criminalised homosexuality in April this year, joining 37 other African nations where gay sex is already illegal. Egypt and Mali are creeping towards criminalization, using morality laws against same-sex couples.

. . .

He [Bahati] denied reports that international pressure might result in parts of the bill being toned down. “We are not going to yield to any international pressure – we cannot allow people to play with the future of our children and put aid into the game. We are not in the trade of values. We need mutual respect.”

That is a contradiction of the earlier Bloomberg News (12/9) report that both the death penalty and life imprisonment would be dropped from the legislation.

December 13, 2009 Posted by | Law, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Anglical Church head Rowan Williams condemns Ugandan ‘gay genocide’ legislation

Lesbian Episcopal bishop-elect speaks for herself [Addendum]

The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, elected the first openly lesbian bishop in the 70-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, told the Baltimore Sun in an interview published today that “I’m conscious of the symbolic nature of my election and hoped-for consecration, and it’s very humbling. … I’m not ignorant of some people who are fearful that this will mean a real change in our relationship in the Anglican Communion. I’m more hopeful than fearful.”

Guardian religion correspondent Riazat Butt irreverently summarizes the matter:

That the US Episcopal Church has elected a lesbian as a bishop should come as no more of a surprise than learning that the future of the Anglican Communion is once again in jeopardy. The trajectory of each has been clear to church watchers for almost a decade [detailed history here], so talk of schism and turmoil is not so much premature as it is tardy and, quite frankly, a statement of the bleeding obvious.

Or as Duke University’s David C. Steinmetz, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of the History of Christianity, Emeritus, told the Sun:

For the first time, it seems very possible to me that the Episcopal Church may lose its place in the Anglican Communion not against the wishes of the Archbishop of Canterbury but with his full consent. What is not clear to me is whether the effective governing majority of the Episcopal Church even cares.

The history of these divisions in the United States is briefly documented by ReligionLink and there are regular news reports suggesting ongoing schism. For example, this week the Anglican Church of Uganda “expressed dismay,” according to The Daily Monitor.

Glasspool’s focus in the Baltimore Sun interview was in the importance of her selection to others. She illustrated that by way of reference to “the hundreds of e-mail messages she has received since her election Saturday to be bishop suffragan in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

There was the missive from the gay teenager in Auckland, New Zealand, telling her how proud he was of their church. The congratulations from the married couple from the conservative Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. The appreciation from a lesbian Roman Catholic couple in England.

Similarly, in the Baltimore Sun video she focuses on the shared values of those who pursue the church’s mission in the world:

The process of selection is formally incomplete, as the Sun observes:

Pending the consent of the bishops and standing committees of the 108 other Episcopal dioceses in the United States — typically, a formality — she is to be consecrated in Los Angeles in May. That would make her only the second openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion and the first since the consecration of V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003 brought a decades-long divide over homosexuality in the church into the open.

Protest of Glasspool’s election from Uganda underlines the failure of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the broken church, to address pending gay genocide legislation there while quickly rebuking the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles for Glasspool’s election as a bishop.

Some who are marvels of bigotry may recall that decision with respect if the Ugandan law is enacted and executions begin.

Addendum re Mark Silk

Mark Silk gets it exactl right:

Has anyone ever tried to determine how many Episcopalians even care if their denomination is part of the Anglican Communion? Just as the Church of England split with the Church of Rome over a matter of state (Henry VIII marital inclinations), so the Episcopal Church created itself as an entity separate from the Church of England over that late unpleasantness involving tea and other disagreements resulting in the United States of America. Maybe it’s time for the Episcopalians to return to their revolutionary roots.


December 9, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , | Comments Off on Lesbian Episcopal bishop-elect speaks for herself [Addendum]

Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles selects a gay bishop [Addendum]

Something significant happened during the silly yammering about gay public sex tents which San Francisco will never see erected.

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles chose as a bishop the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, a lesbian who has been in a partnered relationship for two decades, and was rebuked by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, Williams said:

The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.

Glasspool’s selection is incomplete. She could be rejected by the U.S. bishops or standing committees. If she is rejected, Williams said, “That decision will have very important implications.” He implied that her selection a threat to the “bonds” that tie 77 million Anglicans together.

A moratorium on election of gay bishops by the U.S. Episcopal Church was agreed to at the request of Anglican leaders after V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was selected six years ago as its first openly gay bishop. Glasspool is the first major departure from the moratorium since it was put aside by the Episcopal Church in July.

Williams did not address whether he believes the breaking of the moratorium via Glasspool’s selection is more of a threat to the Anglican Communion than the pending gay genocide legislation in Uganda. But he has chosen not to speak out publicly on the latter, although there is no question about his opposition to it.

Ekkleasia writes that “Despite his attempts to maintain a balance in church disputes over sexuality, Williams is likely to be accused of speaking out against the extreme on one side but not the other.”

Yes, vocal regarding Glasspool. Silent regarding Uganda.

Is he not guilty in fact?



Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took a stand against “the pending Ugandan legislation that would introduce the death penalty for people who violate portions of that country’s anti-homosexuality laws.”

In a Dec. 4 statement of concern she wrote:

The Episcopal Church joins many other Christians and people of faith in urging the safeguarding of human rights everywhere. We do so in the understanding that “efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (General Convention 2006, Resolution D005).

This has been the repeated and vehement position of Anglican bodies, including several Lambeth Conferences. The Primates’ Meeting, in the midst of severe controversy over issues of homosexuality, nevertheless noted that, as Anglicans, “we assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship” (Primates’ Communiqué, Dromantine, 2005).

. . /
Finally, we note that much of the current climate of fear, rejection, and antagonism toward gay and lesbian persons in African nations has been stirred by members and former members of our own Church. We note further that attempts to export the culture wars of North America to another context represent the very worst of colonial behavior. We deeply lament this reality, and repent of any way in which we have participated in this sin.

We call on all Episcopalians to seek their own conversion toward an ability to see the image of God in the face of every neighbor, of whatever race, gender, sexual orientation, theological position, or creed. God has created us in myriad diversity, and no one sort or condition of human being can fully reflect the divine. Only the whole human race begins to be an adequate mirror of the divine.

We urge continued prayer for those who live in fear of the implications of this kind of injustice and discrimination, and as a Church, commit ourselves anew to seek partnerships with the Church of Uganda, or any portion thereof, in serving the mission of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That Gospel is larger than any party or faction. It is only in mutual service and recognition that we will begin to mend our divisions.
. . /

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , | 1 Comment