T.E.C Primate – Healing in The Church

Healing a House Divided: An Interview with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

By | May20 2017

(Jerry Naunheim Jr./WUSTL Photos)

In April, Washington University in St. Louis welcomed to campus the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry delivered a public lecture, entitled “Healing a House Divided.” The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, which publishes this journal, sponsored the event.

Bishop Curry was elected to be the 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in 2015, becoming the first African American leader of the denomination. Before his installation, he served as bishop of the diocese of North Carolina for 15 years, and previously he served as a pastor in North Carolina, Ohio, and Maryland. Known for his emphasis on social justice and evangelism, he now leads the 1.9 million members of the Episcopal Church, part of the Anglican Communion of nearly 85 million members around the world.

During his visit, Bishop Curry sat down to talk with Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, editor of Religion & Politics, and the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

R&P: We’re obviously living in very divided times, and you’ve titled your lecture “Healing a House Divided.” What do you see as the source or the sources of the divisions that we see today, and how can they be healed?

MC: On some level, the deeper root of the divisions probably does have its origins in—dare I say it—sin. That is, if you think of sin in terms of the kind of hubris and prideful self-will, where I am the center of the universe and everything else is peripheral to me. That self-centered world could be me, my tribe, my religion, my class, my group, my party, my ideology, my family, me me, me, me, me. If I am the center of the universe, then everything else and everybody else, including the creation itself, are on the periphery. Now that’s a starting point. If that becomes the key by which everybody lives, then you have no formula for social cohesion. You have no way of having community.

And so, on one level, that’s probably the deeper root—that human proclivity to make the self the center of the universe and the danger of that is excluding everybody else. But then if you go even further, if you look at American society and American culture, we have and we’ve always struggled with this. This is a human thing, and it’s been part of our history.

I don’t know that I remember a whole lot about what Paul Tillich said, but the one thing I do remember is, in one of his sermons, he said the essence of sin is separation. When you really look at what the fruit of it is, it’s the separation from God and from each other. I think that now, the polarization that we are seeing and experiencing is the result of that separation and fragmentation, where everybody is in their own tribe and their group and so we live in communities of people who think like us, and as a result, we reinforce each other in our own particular biases and prejudices.

When that happens you get balkanization, you get polarization, and you get the undoing of the social contract itself, and the undoing of society in the long run. That is the formula for democracy failing, in the long run. I think we’re seeing the early stages of that. I think that’s the trajectory of what we’ve got going.

Healing requires a balm in Gilead. We have got to find a balm in Gilead that begins to heal that. That doesn’t mean we all agree, but that begins to move us beyond our differences to where we actually have commonality. And when we move there, we actually find a way to work through differences and come up with creative possibilities.

R&P: How can we find that commonality? Where do you see the balm in Gilead? Where can that come from?

MC: I’m not an expert in this. I’m just coming at this as somebody who’s been living through it like everybody else. I come at this as a follower of Jesus, as a Christian. I think our faith traditions point us in a direction, and while the word love is overworked, at least in the New Testament sense, when you look at Jesus of Nazareth, you find a formula for binding up the wounds of the broken. You find a formula for overcoming differences in the way he acts, in his life.

You look at a life that is not self-centered but other-directed. That’s the agapic love that goes through the cross, not for himself, but for the good of others. That I think is a key to actually healing the breaches and finding a way forward.

Now you ask yourself, what does that look like? Practically, what does it look like? Two things. One is real relationships. Real human relationships. And the other is actually searching for and finding where we share common values and principles and ideals.

People have got to know each other as human beings who got a story. When that begins to happen among people, most of the time—not all the time—but most of the time, that relationship becomes the basis for navigating all sorts of stuff. It’s like a marriage. I was a parish priest for years. Every couple I’ve ever counseled, whether they listened to it or not, I have no idea, but if that relationship is reasonably solid, you all can argue and fuss about all sorts of stuff. You’re going to disagree. You know, wherever there are two there, there’s going to be a third opinion. That’s human nature; that’s just a given. But if the relationship is nurtured and cared for, then you can navigate differences. You may not agree all the time, but you can navigate them. Where there is no relationship, it doesn’t take much to make the whole thing fly apart: It’s true in marriage, it’s true in communities, it’s true in nations.

Where are there commonalities? Where do we actually share some values and some convictions? There’s a lot more that we share than where we differ. If we start there and name that and really claim that space and then begin to engage in matters of public policy and public issues coming from that space, I think we will find in our public discourse, we actually will be able to navigate and come up with creative possibilities.

I really believe that the center of any culture, or any group, or even a country, is more sensible than we give it credit for. But you don’t notice it because it’s quiet. It’s not the loud side of the equation, to make all sorts of metaphors there. I was a bishop of an Episcopal diocese for years, and we would engage in congregations where there were issues, and the trick was not to be deceived by the loudest voices in the room. You had to find the center, and that center was bigger than the loud voices, but it wasn’t loud. If you could help that center to rise up, you usually found the health in the community. I think that’s true as a country.

R&P: This gets us into a specific issue. The Episcopal Church now supports LGBT rights, even at the risk of schism, which we have seen within the Anglican Communion. Do you see a way forward for the global church on LGBT issues, and how does that happen?

MC: I’ve said it publicly in a variety of contexts, that as a church, as the Episcopal Church, we really have wrestled with how do we take seriously what Jesus was talking about. He was quoting the prophets, but when he said “my house will be called a house of prayer for all people,” and part of that quote is from Isaiah 56, it’s there in that vision of the temple where there are no outcasts in the temple. Remember that Jesus is pointing back to the eunuch, the foreigner, categories of people who, by part of the law, were excluded from worship in the temple, but are now included. My house should be called a house of prayer for all people.

And so how do we live that? How do we live that house of prayer for all people? Or to take it another step, how do we, as a community, take seriously when St. Paul in Galatians says all who have been baptized into Christ, and put on Christ, and there is no more Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, but all are one in Christ—how do we live into that? And so as I’ve said on other occasions, part of how we’ve lived into that is by recognizing in our community all who have been baptized, whether they’re gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat—you know, just roll out the list.

But part of living that out means that we must live in communion and community and relationship with people who agree with that, and people who disagree with how we live that out. When I was bishop of North Carolina, I used to say that a real welcome of all people reflects the welcome of Jesus. That means that our welcome must embrace those who agree and those who disagree. And that’s not easy.

And so my hope for our Anglican Communion is that, we may not all agree, we’re all in different cultural contexts, but that principle, which Jesus clearly undergirded and supported from the prophets, also will allow us for the American or the Episcopal Church to have one way of doing that and a church in another culture might have another way of doing that. And that’s how you actually create space for all of us.

I’m an optimist, but not because I’m optimistic about me or us. I’m an optimist because I believe there’s a God, and God has been sorting human messes out for a long time. And God’s going to sort our contemporary human messes out, too.

R&P: Doubtless the Episcopal Church is home to supporters of Donald Trump as well as very strong opponents to the president. How does the church minister to both sides, often in the same congregation? How do you as the leader of this national church, in a deeply divided moment, minster to people of faith on both sides?

MC: I do think that some of it is pastoral, and some of it is taking seriously the teaching role of the church again. One of the things I learned as a parish pastor was that those relationships affected everything else. People could disagree with you, but if they knew you loved them and cared for them and vice versa and were in relationship with them, they might disagree with you and they might put some grey hair on you too, but it didn’t cause schism, you see what I mean? That pastoral relationship impacted everything else. If that wasn’t there, it doesn’t matter how right or wrong you were. You could be prophetic all day, but if you don’t have a pastoral relationship, it doesn’t matter. I mean that’s pastoring 101, it really is.

I think that the second piece is related to that, and it has to do with the teaching and vocation of the church. I think one of our real opportunities now will be to help—and I’m just talking about people in the church right now for the moment—to help our folk engage the deeper values, principles, and ideals that are at the core of the Gospel, the teachings of Jesus. You know there’s some stuff we don’t understand, but we understand a whole lot more than we don’t. There’s a whole lot that’s clearer in the Bible than is unclear, so let’s do what we know, what is clear. And if we start there, and then engage matters of morality and public policy with some clarity about the principles and values we’re seeking to uphold or live into, understanding that how we work out the specifics may not be the same for everybody, and that’s ok. If we’re working form common principles and common values, and learn from the teachings of Jesus, we’ll be able to navigate that.

When I was bishop in North Carolina, our state legislature made some decisions on some actions that were highly problematic. There was a whole Moral Monday movement that got going, and I was supportive of that, but that doesn’t mean that every Episcopalian was supportive of that. We were able to navigate that because I consistently said to our folk, when it comes to healthcare, Medicaid, when it comes to unemployment insurance, when it comes to just basic human rights and decency, we’re not talking about extreme stuff. Let’s start with the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Let’s start with Matthew 25: As you did it to the least of these, do it to me. Let’s start with love of God and love of neighbor. Let’s just take those. There’s clarity about that. So we start there. Then apply them.

Now, you might come up with a different way of applying them than I do, but let’s make sure that’s the starting point. I did say any matter of public policy has to pass the golden rule test. Do unto others. Is this a piece of legislation that I would want the results to affect my children, or my grandchildren, or my family, or me? If it’s not, then how could you do it? You got to find a better way. It wasn’t my job to always say what that better way was, but to say to our legislatures and others, you got to work together to figure out what is that better way that passes that golden rule test.

R&P: The church has made racial recognition a priority. What does that process mean moving forward?

MC: In terms of the racial reconciliation work, I really do think the Holy Spirit was working with us, because there had been a long history of work in the Episcopal Church, both church-wide and in local communities. We’ve got a long history of that, and we haven’t always gotten it right, but there’s been a long history of engagement, of at least trying. I think this go-round, what really triggered it, in a deepened way, was the murders of the folk in Charleston. That happened within the week of the General Convention.

I think that was a part of a crystallization that something is deeply and profoundly wrong. It is kind of like the Pauline thing of realizing that, of course you need law, but you got to go deeper, you got to get to the heart.

R&P: You talk a lot about the spirit and about spiritual renewal, and you’ve declared that you take discipleship and evangelism very seriously. That’s language that people don’t always associate with the leaders of liberal mainline churches. Reflect on your use of that language, what that means and, and how that’s being received.

MC: When I was in seminary, back in the ‘70s, there was that old discussion of the appropriation of the language of the tradition. Do you reclaim the language of tradition? Or do you find new language—that gets at what the tradition was talking about, but hasn’t gotten so enculturated and confused by the culture that nobody knows what it means anymore?

I think some of those words actually have a lot of power and depth and gravitas to them. But they may have to be reclaimed. For example, the word evangelism. I really do believe in evangelism, and I believe in the kind of evangelism that I think I see in Jesus. And I could be wrong. I don’t think I am, but I could be. The kind of evangelism that I see in Jesus, is Jesus actually helps people back into a loving, liberating, and life-giving relationship with God. And, in turn, a loving, liberating, and life-giving relationship with other people. He actually does that. That’s what he does. I think our job of evangelism is to help people find their way into that kind of relationship with God and with each other.

That’s not about making the Episcopal Church bigger. Although I suspect you can get blessed from that, that’s not the motivation, or the intention, or the direction. The direction is help folk find that life-giving, loving, liberating relationship with God and with each other. And then, you’ve got to do that in a community of some sort. What community is that? That may depend on how you and Jesus and the spirit work that out.

To be a disciple is to dare to live in what that question is trying to get at: How is the living Jesus of Nazareth, the living Christ, present in this, and where is he going? And how do we follow where he is going? And that is a game changer.

My faith tradition, everything I said to you earlier really has grown out of my experience, both as a person living in this culture, but also in trying to listen to Jesus and what he says. That’s a disciple, that’s what discipleship is, to actually try to learn, and then live into it.

People who try to do that, they don’t get it right all the time. But they start hospitals and food banks, and they stumble their way into human rights, and ways of protecting the environment and the creation of God, and they find themselves speaking for others and with others for whom nobody else would speak. They march to the beat of a different drummer. And those are the people who change worlds. Which is what discipleship is about, in the end.


Bishop Michael Curry – the first African-American Primate of the U.S. Episcopal Church (TEC) – has a way of explaining his Church’s desire for inclusion of ALL people in the Body of Christ that echoes the will of Jesus for the future of the Church. He says, quoting the words of the Scriptures:

“My house should be called a house of prayer for all people”.

‘And so how do we live that? How do we live that house of prayer for all people? Or to take it another step, how do we, as a community, take seriously when St. Paul in Galatians says all who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, and there is no more Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, but all are one in Christ—how do we live into that? And so as I’ve said on other occasions; part of how we’ve lived into that is by recognizing in our community all who have been baptized, whether they’re gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat—you know, just roll out the list.’

This seems to me, as a priest of the Anglican tradition, to be at the heart of the Gospel proclamation of Jesus. We are not – as the Church, The Body of Christ – a Mausoleum for Saints, but a Hospital for Sinners. If Christ died for our sins, then all of us are unworthy beneficiaries. None of us is excluded from the grace and mercy of God, in Christ Jesus. This is the Good News for a needy world.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episcopal Ordination denied to Canadian priest

Canadian Bishops block consecration of diocesan Bishop over his views

Posted on: May 16, 2017 12:14 PM

Photo Credit: Contributed
Related Categories: Canada

[Anglican Church of Canada] A Canadian Bishop elect will not now be consecrated after a ruling by the House of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon. The Bishops registered their objection to the election of the Revd Jacob Worley under Canon 4 (b) vi “That he or she teaches or holds or within five years previously taught or held anything contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.”

“The Bishops met several times as a Provincial House of Bishops since the ecclesiastic election in the Diocese of Caledonia, reviewed the materials before them, and met the Revd. Jacob Worley,” said the Most Revd. John Privett, Archbishop and Metropolitan for the Province of BC & Yukon. In coming to this conclusion, the bishops reviewed the Revd Worley’s past actions, what he has written directly to the House, and what he said when meeting with the Provincial House of Bishops.

“After many open and prayerful conversations, the majority of the House concluded that within the past five years the Revd. Worley has held – and continues to hold – views contrary to the Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada,” said Archbishop Privett. “The view he held and holds is that it is acceptable and permissible for a priest of one church of the Anglican Communion to exercise priestly ministry in the geographical jurisdiction of a second church of the Anglican Communion without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that second church”.

The question of his views arose from a review of his exercise of priestly ministry when he served in the Anglican Mission in America under license from the Province of Rwanda in the geographical jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church without permission of The Episcopal Church.

As the Provincial House has registered its objection, the Revd. Worley will not be consecrated bishop in the Diocese of Caledonia in the Anglican Church of Canada. As outlined in Canon 4 of the constitution and canons of the Province of BC & Yukon, “the decision of the [Provincial] House of Bishops shall be final” in these matters. The Diocese of Caledonia will now begin the process to hold a new electoral synod according to its canons.

“The Provincial House of Bishops of BC & Yukon ask for your prayers during this extraordinary time,” said Archbishop Privett, “especially for the Worley family, for the Diocese of Caledonia and all those who worship and minister there.”

Revd Worley, an Alabama-born priest, is currently the  rector of the parish of Bulkley Valley, which includes three congregations in northern British Columbia.  He was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2005 and in 2007, founded a new church in New Mexico as a missionary for the Anglican province of Rwanda. The church would later join the Anglican Church in North America, a grouping of conservative congregations that left TEC in 2009. In the meantime, Worley had left. After an interim term as rector at St. Martin’s Anglican Church in Fort St. John, British Columbia in 2013, then a year priesting for the Church of Ireland, he returned with his family to British Columbia.


The paragraphs which I have highlighted in the above Report from today’s Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), gives evidence of the willingness of the Anglican Church of Canada to apply appropriate discipline to its clergy who fail to keep up with the current climate of openness to change in its attitude towards the LGBTI members of that Church.

The Revd. Jacob Worley, ordained in the Episcopal Church in the U.S., founded a new church in New Mexico under the Auspices of AMiA – an illicit outreach under the authority of the Anglican Church of Ruanda – which church has now become part of ACNA, a schismatic, GAFCON-approved, faux-Anglican Church operating in the U.S.A and Canada.

Worley’s  nomination to become Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Caledonia has now been rescinded by the Provincial Bishops of British Columbia and The Yukon, on account of his opposition to the A.C.C.’s policy on human sexuality.

This seems a most appropriate decision on the part of the Anglican Church of Canada, and in direct contrast with the recent inaction in the Church of England at the news of the illicit episcopal ordination of one of its clergy – Jonathan Pryke – within its borders, by a GAFCON-approved schismatic Bishop of the REACH faux-Anglican Church in South Africa.

Both the Anglican Church of Canada and TEC (The Episcopal Church of the United States of America) have been kept at arm’s length by the Church of England because of their positive action towards the ordination of gays, and the Blessing of same-sex relationships. So it does seem quite fitting that the C. of E. should still kowtow to the GAFCON Con/Evos – ignoring the border-crossing within its own territory – while the Anglican Churches in North America seek to uphold the Inclusive nature of the Gospel to protect its LGBTI members.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Now? re Renegade Conservative Anglicans

Why now? The deeply strange timing of the renegade conservative Anglicans

Why now? The deeply strange timing of the renegade conservative Anglicans

Posted By Andy Walton

15 May 2017 3:09PM

The leader of my Church is distinguishing himself in the Middle East. Compassionate, astute and politically savvy, he’s meeting with spiritual and secular leaders in an attempt to draw attention to important causes.

Meanwhile, my Church is in the vanguard of a monumental programme of prayer which will take place in the 10 days between Pentecost and the Ascension. Crossing ecumenical boundaries and taking in congregations small and large, Thy Kingdom Come is a hugely exciting project.

There’s much quiet work going on. Clothing and feeding destitute people, helping couples prepare for marriage, providing youth services, night shelters, credit union access points, post offices and a whole lot more.

In other words, reports of the death of the Church of England have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, we’re struggling for numbers in places and yes, there are difficult decisions ahead, but we have wise leadership, active local congregations and great relationships with other churches.

Why renegade Anglicans would choose such a time to throw a spanner in the works is beyond me.

But that’s what has happened. A curate in Newcastle has been ordained as a ‘bishop in the Church of God’ by a South African splinter group. It isn’t clear what is happening here given that other conservative bodies both within and without the Church of England seem to have been caught on the hop. Then, my colleague (at Christian Today) Harry Farley exclusively revealed a bigger plan to set up a rival Anglican church in England for disaffected Anglicans unhappy with the alleged ‘liberal’ drift of the denomination.

The only conclusion we can come to is that those involved are not especially concerned about the impact they have on all of the great work mentioned above. A charitable reading says they decided they could wait no longer and needed to take decisive action to shore up their conservative base.

A less charitable reading says that they don’t particularly care what the rest of the Church is up to – they are going to follow their consciences and, to coin a phrase, to hell with the consequences.

I want to think well of these, my brothers in Christ (and you can be sure, those involved are all brothers). I want to think that they have been deep in prayer and considered the consequences of their actions carefully. I want to believe they are concerned only about the good news, and deplore political game playing.

And yet…

Their actions came to light when the Archbishop of Canterbury was out of the country. This is either a case of very bad timing or a deeply cynical ploy to ‘play while the cat was away’.

The short-sightedness of the move is obvious to many of us who are looking on with a mix of horror and fascination.

Firstly, the two archbishops (arguably the five most senior bishops for that matter) are orthodox and evangelical. This is unprecedented. In fact, conservative evangelicals have their own bishop for the first time in a long while, the Bishop of Maidstone offering oversight for those from a Reformed tradition.

There are deep problems, yes, but under Justin Welby there is a sense of tremendous excitement. Churches are being planted, lives are being changed and the gospel is being preached.

Just this week I was at a meeting which brought a great amount of joy and excitement to all of those present. Discussing a new church plant which will take place within the Church of England, there was a sense of vitality and energy that would match any worship service from across the world, the vision was cast.

It was a vision for the growth of the Church and the transformation of society through Jesus. But this seems not to have made an impact on those determined to upset the applecart.

Let’s be clear, there are big problems with the Church of England – no one with eyes and ears is denying that. But in parishes, chaplaincies, church plants and cathedrals across the country there is much good work being done. There is a choice before all of us who call this Church ours. We can take our own route and seek a purity of doctrine and practice. Or we can roll up our sleeves, get our hands dirty and join in with the rest of the institution which has been doing Church imperfectly in England since the 6th century.

This article first appeared in Christian Today. Andy Walton is a journalist and commentator – and church warden at St Peter’s, Bethnal Green in east London.   @waltonandy


Andy Walton’s article included in today’s report from ACNS, is very timely:

“…reports of the death of the Church of England have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, we’re struggling for numbers in places and yes, there are difficult decisions ahead, but we have wise leadership, active local congregations and great relationships with other churches.

Why renegade Anglicans would choose such a time to throw a spanner in the works is beyond me.”

Andy might well ask this question. However, for those ‘in the know’, this would seem to be an opportune time for GAFCONites around the world to test the power and will  of the Church of England to resist a rebellious and dangerous takeover bid for the soul of that National Church, to which all faithful Anglicans around the world are connected by what has been called ‘Bonds of Affection’.

Although the See of Canterbury was the originating Province of the diaspora that now consists of a whole suite of independent Provincial Churches, and the Archbishop of Canterbury – as ‘Primus inter pares’ – hosts the communal gathering of bishops at the Lambeth Conference; this important ‘Instrument of Unity’ has currently been shunned by the Primates of GAFCON, who have formed their own ‘Primates Council’.

The recent illicit ordination of an Anglican clergyman (Jonathan Pryke’, a staff member of Jesmond Parish Church in the Diocese of Newcastle in England) was given the go-ahead by none other than the ex-archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, General Secretary of the GAFCON. Mr. Jensen has the dubious provenance of being a founding member of this reactionary group of mainly conservative Evangelical African Primates who have maintained sexist and homophobic views with an outdated theology that is at odds with the inclusive message of the Gospel and of modern Anglicanism. Some of these Primates have been actively involved in colluding with repressive governments in the persecution of LGBTI people in their communities.

With such a mindset, Jensen has deeply influenced the more conservative Evangelical contingencies in other Provinces of the Church to make this radical step of encouraging schismatic breakaway from the local Churches, thus distancing themselves further from the Provinces of the Anglican Communion – including the Church of England – by leading them in a process of intentional schism that will exacerbate the current tensions within the Church of England and the worldwide community of Anglicans.

Meanwhile, as Andy Walton here says: The Churches outside of the GAFCON confederacy are carrying on with the quiet inclusive work of the Gospel – without assuming the mantle of schismatic puritanical righteousness that carries with it the brand of endemic Pharisaism that characterised the opposition to Jesus in his ministry of redemption in Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside.

We pray that any split in Anglicanism that may result will not interfere with the growing need to combat the sins of homophobia and sexism in the heart and mind of Anglicans around the world.

Christ is risen, Alleluia! He is risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anglican holy orders not invalid says Cardinal

Anglican priests’ holy orders – their ordinations – may not be invalid, says Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Text.

Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) ruled Anglican orders are “null and void” – a ruling Coccopalmerio, who is said to have one of the Vatican’s top legal minds, is revisiting.

“When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’,” he says.

Validity isn’t a matter of church law, but of doctrine.

Pope Francis has already shown his acceptance of the Anglican priesthood in many ways, Coccopalmerio says.

He also cites a number of examples going back over decades – such as Pope Paul VI giving a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1966.

“What does it mean when Pope Paul VI gave a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury?” Coccopalmerio asks.

“If it was to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, it was meant to be done validly, no?

“This is stronger than the pectoral cross [often given as gifts to Anglican clergy], because a chalice is used not just for drinking but for celebrating the Eucharist.

“With these gestures the Catholic Church already intuits, recognises a reality.”

Another Pope who values the Anglican priesthood is Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

Although he does not offer any suggestions about the appropriate way forward for the Anglican and Catholic churches, he sees value in the Anglican celebration of the Eucharist.

“When an ecclesial community, with its ordained ministry, in obedience to the Lord’s command, celebrates the eucharist, the faithful are caught into the heavenly places, and there feed on Christ,” he says.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Church Teaching & The Reality of Human Sexuality

The Impact of Neuroscience and Psychology on the Traditional Teaching on Gender and Sexual Variation as Defined by the Christian Church

Susan Gilchrist SuH0509e 17 February 20171

The scientific study on the development of personality and self-identity which is presented uses a novel approach to mapping the transition between the internally created neuro-physiological processes propelling early development to the externally moderated cognitive processes in later life. A continuous process extending from infancy to adulthood can, therefore, be described. The development of atypical gender and sexual identities is used to examine how this occurs. It is demonstrated that the formations of these core features are driven by the search for identity before cognition seeks behavioural rewards.

A moral duality, therefore, exists whereby gender and sexually variant people who express their true attractions and identities while conforming to the highest standards of their societies should be highly regarded. Those engaged in misuse may be severely condemned for their acts. That contradicts the traditional teaching of the Christian Church which condemns all such behaviour as disordered lifestyle choices that always pursue inappropriate sex. An extended theological and historical study is conducted. This uses the scientific results to determine how and why this contradiction exists.

This has changed the cultures and moralities of the surrounding societies are examined in detail in the same way, before Christianity itself. It is demonstrated that a paradigm shift has occurred: This has changed the first-century condemnation of same-sex intercourse which was based on the abuses of power and hospitality in despotic and gender unequal societies, into the now unchangeable condemnation of the sexual act. Engaging in this for any purpose is invariably condemned as a disordered act of grave depravity which always desires inappropriate or immoral sex. It is also shown that these abuses of power with their enforcement of humiliation and domination by first-century Roman edicts, and later in the Church, gave consent to the gross abuses of sex, most notably in same-sex acts. In the victimised and gender unequal Jewish society the condemnation of same-sex intercourse was complete.

Peter and Paul demanded obedience to the Roman authorities. This meant that Christianity could not challenge the social structure of society, but it still vociferously condemned its gross abuses of sex. These abuses of power are not discussed in the New Testament condemnations. That absence is addressed in this analysis. As the moral duality shown by the scientific study is inherent to gender and sexually variant behaviour, its influence must be present in all societies at all times. It is shown that the teachings of Jesus and Paul do not conflict with the results of the scientific study.

The same is true in the first-century Jewish interpretations of the Old Testament texts. This means that the contradictions with science must derive from changes in the Church. It is concluded that the traditional doctrines of the Christian Church on sexual and gender variance are built on an incorrect foundation. They derive from the need to gain respectability and to combat same-sex abuse in Roman society. They do not come from Jesus himself. From the theological, social and scientific standpoints it is established that identical criteria in relation to use and abuse should be applied to all cross-gender identification and heterosexual and same-sex acts of sex. In accord with the teaching of Jesus in the New Covenant, all behaviour should be guided by love, well-being, and purity of intention. There is no automatic condemnation of any sexual act. Instead of centuries of making homosexuality the scapegoat for all sexual abuse, the correct objectives for the Christian Church should be those of combatting all forms of abusive sex

There is no automatic condemnation of any sexual act. Instead of centuries of making homosexuality the scapegoat for all sexual abuse, the correct objectives for the Christian Church should be those of combatting all forms of abusive sex. – Susan Gilchrist – 


Further reading: Gilchrist, S. (2017): “Future Approaches to the Science and Theology of Gender and Sexual Variation in the Church of England and the Christian Church: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/232P-FutureApproaches.pdf Gilchrist, S. (2017): “No, Pope Francis: Gender Identity is not a Choice”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/227PNo-PopeFrancis.pdf. Gilchrist, S. (2017): “A House Built on Sand? Attitudes to Gender and Sexual Variant Identities and Behaviour in Christianity and the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/231P-HouseUponSand.pdf Gilchrist, S. (2016): “Sex and Gender Variation in the Christian Church: Is it Not Time to Consider the Science?”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/226P-ConsiderScience.pdf Gilchrist, S. (2016): “Science and Belief. A New Approach to Identity and Personality Formation in Early Life”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/218P-PaperPersonality.pdf A full bibliography is also available on: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/articles/bibliography.htm © Susan Gilchrist: 2017 spap4144@gmail.com


Susan Gilchrist is a respected academic, who happens to be a member of the Church of England. Her perspectives on, and study of, human sexuality is well documented and deserving of serious study – especially by those in the Church who are disposed to deny the reality of legitimate sexual differences in human beings because of inherited Church teaching that conflicts with the modern scientific and sociological understanding of human sexuality. This precis of her academic studies should lead to further reading.

The current situation of intentional schism with the Church of England – and, indeed, the whole of the Anglican and other Churches on matters relating to the Bible and Sexuality, is based on a profound ignorance of the realities experienced by people who are ‘different’. The sheer variety of difference in God’s creation cannot be denied under a cloak of ignorance and moral probity when people’s lives are involved who have no other way of ‘being’.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Plans for a Rival Anglican Church in the U.K. ?

Conservative evangelical plans for a rival structure

Harry Farley reports in Christian Today on a document, discussed at a recent conservative evangelical conference, that he describes as containing “extensive plans by conservative evangelicals to form a rival Anglican structure to the Church of England in the UK”.

Read his full report here: Blueprint for Church schism revealed as conservative Christian leaders plot separate Anglican structure. He quotes extensively from the document, which is titled Credible Bishops.

The Conference website is here. The About Us page describes the organisers:

“We are a conference organised by Anglican Mission in England, Church Society, and Reform. The conference is chaired by William Taylor, rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate in London. The planning committee comprises William Taylor, Mark Burkill, Susie Leafe, Lee McMunn, Brian O’ Donoghue, Lee Gatiss and Richard Farr.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 4:30pm BST


Thanks to Simon Sarmiento of ‘Thinking Anglicans’ for this revealing link to the ‘Anglican Mission in England’s’ (AMiE’s) plan for an alternative structure for Con/Evo Anglicans in the U.K., who are unhappy with the emerging ‘Inclusive Church’ stance of the Church of England’s heiorarchy.

Linked with the GAFCON Primates and breakaway Anglicans in Canada and the USA (ACNA); AMiE is obviously planning – with the help of GAFCON and breakaway Con/Evo  Anglicans in the U.K. and South Africa – to undermine the Church of England, to the extend of arranging cross-boundary ordinations of rival bishops and other clergy in the U.K. to spearhead what they see as the ‘orthodox renewal’ of the Church in England, to measure up to their own understanding of the Bible and human sexuality.

With the illicit episcopal ‘ordination’  of an Anglican priest of Jesmond parish church in the C.of E. Diocese of Newcastle (a Mr Jonathan Pryke) by the presiding bishop of a faux-Anglican church in S. Africa; into the episcopal jurisdiction of that schismatic entity; the GAFCON and ACNA sodality – although seemingly not involved in this specific ‘ordination’ – are obviously pleased with the fact that this ‘outside intervention’ in the U.K. has already gained a dodgy foothold within the State Church of England for a radical representation of their specific homophobic and sexist understanding of the ‘Anglican Way’ that is peculiar to the Sola Scriptura ethos of the ‘Reform’ Group in the Church of England headed by the Anglican Bishop of Maidston, +Rod Thomas.

How far this rebel movement will be able to spread its influence, in its plan to replace the traditional Church of England, is now anyone’s guess. However, the similar schismatic entity in North America (ACNA, sponsored by the GAFCON Primates) has already caused division in the worldwide Anglican Communion and could, indeed, be the underlying cause of a Communion-wide split. How this would serve the cause of Christian Unity in the world, which is already plagued with internicene religious warfare, is hard to imagine. However, the God of Love, who sent his Only-Begotten Son into the world to redeem it, cannot sit idly by.

Christ is risen, Alleluia! He is Risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peter Jensen’s schismatic view of the Anglican Communion


‘This isn’t an attempt to storm Lambeth Palace’: GAFCON not looking for split in Church

Tue 02 May 2017

By Marcus Jones

GAFCON, a worldwide group of conservative Anglicans, has told Premier it’s not looking to break up the Church of England but is instead working to keep Anglican Communion united.

Over the weekend, a statement from the group was released with details of the creation of a missionary bishop to be sent to the UK in response to the Church of England and Scottish Episcopal Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality.

GAFCON, which follows the traditional understanding on these issues, says it is sending someone here to give episcopal leadership to those who claim the Churches are becoming too liberal.

The trigger point was the upcoming debate between Anglicans in Scotland which could lead to a change in teaching on marriage.

Addressing the issue on Premier’s News Hour, Most Rev Peter Jensen, GAFCON’s General Secretary and a former Archbishop of Sydney, said: “There are many issues that divide us, where we have diverse opinions, and that’s OK – but some of them are so important that a stand has to be taken. A painful and costly stand.

“The Primates believe that this present matter is one of those things and the Bible is as clear as can be – that to embrace the view that the practice of homosexuality is OK is wrong according to the Bible.

“It’s a very significant matter in our view and puts the authority of the Bible at stake.”

Responding to this weekend’s statement, Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said: “In June, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church will reach the final stage of consideration of changes which would make possible same-sex marriage in our churches.

“The news that GAFCON intends to send a missionary bishop to Britain is regrettable. The Anglican Communion functions as a global communion on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity of each province.

“This move is a breach of that understanding.”

Most Rev Peter Jensen declined to give more information on who the missionary bishop will be and where they will come from.

He did, however, suggest the person would be open to working alongside the leadership of the Church of England.

“That would be wonderful and would be a recognition by the Church of England that its present policies have created this conscience problem for many,” he said. “I think that is a little unlikely but this isn’t an attempt to storm Lambeth Palace.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church will debate the issue of marriage on 8th June.


The sheer hubris of the ex-archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, is here demonstrated in the sound-bite of the interview he gave to a ‘Premier’ journalist on behalf of the GAFCON Primates. In it, he says this:

“The Primates believe that this present matter is one of those things and the Bible is as clear as can be – that to embrace the view that the practice of homosexuality is OK is wrong according to the Bible. It’s a very significant matter in our view and puts the authority of the Bible at stake.” – Jensen –

His schismatic isolationism – from the majority of Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion under the leadership of the Province of Canterbury – becomes obvious when one understands that “The Primates” Mr. Jensen is representing here in his interview are not the Primates of the Anglican Communion, but the G.S. Primates of the mainly African Provinces of the Church who belong the the separatist GAFCON  Movement.

Jensen’s own Province – that of the Australian Anglican Church – does not officially recognise GAFCON; whereas some bishops of the SYDNEY Diocese, which Jensen formerly headed as it archbishop, do. The reason for this is that Jensen himself, as the Archbishop of Sydney, helped to found the Gafcon organisation – on the basis of its homophobic and sexist view of the Bible teachings.

It was thought by some of us with more liberal and liberated views on human sexuality, that Mr. Jensen, once he had retired from leadership of the Sydney Anglican Diocese, would be content to remain in the background. However, on taking up the secretaryship of the GAFCON organisation – which has now sponsored schismatic churches in North America and the U.K. (ACNA and AMiE) – he has spearheaded the mostly African Conservative, Evangelical Provinces of the Church, which have their own ‘Primates Council’ which makes a point of boycotting the Anglican Communion ‘Instruments of Unity’ that include the Lambeth Conference and the ACC, in an orchestrated bid for leadership of the worldwide Communion.

The recent ordination of a schismatic ‘bishop’ – Jonathan Pryke (who holds a priest’s  licence as a minister in Jesmond Parish Church from the C.of E. Bishop of Newcastle) – by the leaders of a schismatic rebel ‘Anglican Church in South Africa’, to ordain clergy for the rebel ‘Anglican Mission in England (AMiE)  – though not arranged by GAFCON, has been applauded by them as a way of promoting their ‘Sola-Scriptura’ homophobic agenda in the U.K. (See other strands on kiwianglo describing this schismatic ‘ordination’)

So, Mr. Jensen, though having no official role within the Anglican Communion since his retirement from the Sydney archdiocese, is still making his schismatic intentions obvious within the Communion – from his Sydney base, where much of his local conservative evangelical support is coming from.

What the Church of England’s Leadership, under the Archbishops of Canterbury and York will choose to make of this latest schismatic thrust against their jurisdiction is yet to be seen. However, if nothing is done about this within the ‘Mother’ Church of England, it could, quite conceivably, mean the end of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s role in the ACC as we now know it. This would mean that Each Province of the Communion will operate as Anglican Churches in their own territorial regions, bound only by their own constitutional life and ministry, with dimished ties to the Church of England.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments