18 December 2008

Programme 2009

Our programme for 2009 is a great mix of IC introductory roadshows round the country, events on specific topics - inclusive language, including black and minority ethnic people, LGBT issues .. and our next residential conference in October -

For further information or to book a place on any of these contact us
or telephone Revd Clare Herbert, National Coordinator for Inclusive Church 07504 577210

Wednesday 14th January, 7.30pm
St Agnes Church, MANCHESTER
“All of us – An Inclusive Church Road Show”
Special speaker and theme – Dean Rogers Govender
“How can IC respond to the needs and aspirations of black people in the Church?”
(further information below)

Saturday 7th February , 11.00am – 4.00pm
St Peter’s Church Liverpool Grove, LONDON SE17 2HH
Day Conference on Inclusive Language,
“What Shall We Say?”
This day conference will tackle the importance of inclusive language while asking
the practical question – how to integrate its use in parish life?
With Lucy Winkett, Steven Shakespeare, June Boyce-Tillman, Elizabeth Baxter
Email herbert.clare@googlemail.com for booking details
(further information below)

Saturday 14th February
Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality AGM
Revd Clare Herbert – keynote address
“Gather us in – Inclusive Sexual Ethics and Pastoral Care”

Sunday March 1st at 6.00pm
Dorchester Abbey, OXFORDSHIRE
“How do we read the Bible?” with David Winter and Giles Goddard

Weds March 4th at 6.30pm
St George’s, Jesmond, NEWCASTLE
Inclusive Church Road Show

March 20th and 21st
Old St Paul’s Church, EDINBURGH
Inclusive Church Reception and Road Show

Thursday 2nd April, at 1.00pm
LIVERPOOL Parish Church
Lenten Lecture – Revd Canon Giles Goddard

Thursday April 23rd 2.00pm – 5.30pm
St Martin- in - the Fields LONDON on St George’s Day
“Being black in Britain - what does it take to succeed?”
Overcoming barriers in society and church to success for black and minority ethnic people
An afternoon conference hosted by the Association of Black Clergy
Supported by Inclusive Church

May (date tba)
All Saints' Church NOTTINGHAM
“All of Us - Inclusive Church Road Show”

Saturday 13th June
Church of the Resurrection, Churchway, MACCLESFIELD
“All of Us - Inclusive Church Road Show”

Saturday July 4th
St Bride’s Church LIVERPOOL (or Liverpool Cathedral venue tba)
“All of Us - Inclusive Church Road Show”
Special theme – the LGBT agenda

Saturday August 1st
Inclusive Church Road Show

August 29th – 31st
Inclusive Church at GREENBELT

September 12th
Inclusive Church “IC the Future” Anniversary Walk, LONDON

Monday October 5th – Wednesday October 7th
Swanwick, DERBYSHIRE, the Hayes Centre
Second National Residential Conference
“WORD ON THE STREET” – the Bible in our faith and life
Further information to follow - bookings open February 2009

Friday 20th November
Revd Clare Herbert presents the Inclusive Church Road Show at the “Friday Fringe”
The Society of Martha and Mary, Sheldon

January / February 2010
“Consuming Passions”
Reflecting Responsibly on the Sexual Journey
An Inclusive Church Day Conference
Supported by The Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality

05 November 2008

All of us

ALL OF US - the Inclusive Church Roadshow

If you would like to hear more about the work of Inclusive Church, its foundation in the inclusive spirit of the Anglican tradition, then this is for you.

Thursday 4th December
St Paul’s Church, Gloucester
6:30 – 9:00p.m.

6.30pm - Giles Goddard and Clare Herbert will present their understanding of the origins of Inclusive Church and its importance within the Anglican Tradition.

7.30pm - Celebrate over an Indian meal!

8.15pm - Clare and Giles present the ongoing work of Inclusive Church and answer questions.

9.00pm – prayers and home.

All Welcome

To book a place e-mail Adrian Slade on glossr@star.co.uk or phone 01242 253162. This event is free, and a retiring collection will be taken to cover costs.

02 October 2008

A Space for Grace or a vacuum of liberal clemency?

Contributed by Hugh Alford

When Jesus went cruising down by the quayside among those rough and hunky fisherman to groom for disciples he only came across men. This fact however clearly tells us little about our Lord’s choice of recruitment assessment centre, his preferred psychometric job profiling methodology or the gender selection imperatives of the person profile for his new priesthood.

Try as I might, I have just “not got it” when it comes to why a woman called to the priesthood is not to be respected , loved ,protected and where necessary obeyed.. For those are the duties of care we laity must give to our priests.

There is not total equality for women in the world of work but there are at least laws to fight corporate prejudice against women and gay people – thank God. Yet misogyny and homophobia are endorsed in the immunity granted the Church of England in their recruitment.

Some may feel the last five years we have been treading water but if that is the case we have not noticed the tide has been against our swimming strokes. We have been under the illusion of progress. To the observers outside the Church on land, we look as if we are going backwards. This is not say that Inclusive Church has in any way failed but maybe it is time to be more direct. The road shows are evidence of this but maybe we need to be more radical.

I know Bishop Gene Robinson told us to trust and keep holding onto hope a few weeks ago at St Mary’s Putney but consider what has happened over the last five years from a lay person’s perspective?.

Priests who wanted to be open about their relationships through a civil partnership have been sacked from the London Diocese. An Openly Gay Bishop was not invited to the Lambeth Conference hardly the actions of an inclusive church. Some appalling homophobic attacks have continued to take place with bishops just sitting on their hands.

Talented women priests continually encounter an employment ceiling of impenetrable Episcopal misogyny.

Bishops bless luxury cruise liners, pets. but can’t find it within themselves to offer Christian love to bless God’s created Gay peoples or women priests and reward talent. God’s superfluity of diversity is not considered to be holy it seems..

15 July 2008

Outbreak of peace?

The following Press Release was issued by Inclusive Church today.

Inclusive Church is hoping that the Lambeth Conference will witness an outbreak of peace in the Anglican Communion. IC has organised two events for the Lambeth Conference

“Strangers to Friends” - the IC Network Eucharist. 17 groups will come together to celebrate the peace we know in Christ, having worked together all year. All are welcome. Saturday 26th July: 7pm, Keynes Lecture Theatre. President – Rt Revd Carlos Touché-Porter, Archbishop of Mexico and a Primate of the Anglican Communion. Preacher – Canon Lucy Winkett, St Paul’s Cathedral.

“Inclusive Imperative – Anglican Welcome” Revd Dr Richard Burridge, Dean of King’s College London and Ms Nomfundo Walaza from Cape Town, SA will speak on “Using the New Testament now in peace-making and conflict resolution.” All are welcome. Thursday 31st July, 6.30 pm, Darwin Suite 1.

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of IC, said “The conference has been planned as a chance for people to meet and talk. That’s it. As a church we have to work out new ways of living together. It’s not a time for point scoring or arguing but for engaging and listening.”

IC welcomes the acknowledgement by the Archbishop of Wales on Sunday that he would, if agreed by the Church in Wales, consecrate a gay bishop in a relationship. The first Lambeth Conference was born out of controversy, and focused on unity as a way forward. The reality of Anglican welcome means that the issues which face us are here to stay.

For further information contact;
Revd Canon Giles Goddard: 07762 373 674 office@inclusivechurch.net
Revd Clare Herbert: 07504 577 210 herbert.clare@googlemail.com
Or visit www.inclusivechurch.net

Information for editors: InclusiveChurch is a network of organisations and individuals who come from differing traditions and locations but are united in one aim; to celebrate and maintain the traditional inclusivity of the Anglican Communion.

14 July 2008

The vote for women bishops

This is a press release from Inclusive Church. Your blogger apologizes for the delay in posting it here.

Inclusive Church is delighted that General Synod voted by a large majority to move to the consecration of women as bishops.

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of IC, said “It is a time for rejoicing. We have reached another milestone in the long process of removing the barriers to inclusion in the Church of England. The gospel is a gospel of welcome and this decision will make us more able to be welcoming in our churches. “

Inclusive Church includes many catholics, liberals and evangelicals among our supporters, who have recognised that a national code of practice is the best way forward. Through a code of practice, the concerns of those who do not yet accept the ministry of women can be recognised, but there will not be “no go areas” for women. It has worked in other provinces and no doubt it will work in England.

Although the response of some of our ecumenical partners has been negative, we have no doubt that many members of other churches will welcome the decision.

We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Church of England continues to try to fulfil its role as the Established Church. There is still a great deal of work to do to complete the process. We look forward to working with our partners and, we hope, with those who are opposed to the decision. We hope that helpful past dialogues can be revitalised to make sure that the legislation and the code of practice are as effective as they can be.

03 July 2008

GAFCON and the Anglican Communion

The “Statement on the Global Anglican Future” released after the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem shows once again how deeply many people misunderstand the nature and spirit of Anglicanism. It misrepresents loyal, orthodox, traditional Anglicans across the world who are working and praying, in the spirit of the Gospel, to bring about the reign of God on earth.

Anglicanism is is a dynamic, changing, growing and living faith which takes its authority from scripture, reason and tradition. It is unafraid to learn and receive anew the lessons of God’s unconditional love. The last century has taught us how we must make sure that there are no barriers to the welcome we offer to God’s house. Anglican Christians in the United States, Britain and across the world have applied those lessons and, in accordance with scripture, opened their doors to those previously shut out.

We welcome the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the GAFCON statement. The arbitrary creation of a “Primates’ Council” without legitimacy or authority cuts directly across the Anglican Instruments of Communion – the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meeting. The Statement represents, in sum and despite its denials, a schismatic document which seeks to re-form Anglicanism in a way which is without justification historically and ecclesiologically.

We regret the stumbling blocks which are created by the insistence on a narrow understanding of scriptural authority, especially for members of Anglican Churches in provinces whose leaders support the ideas of GAFCON. And those who break away from the Anglican Communion will still have the challenge of celebrating the diversity in God’s universe, and acknowledging the divine gifts bestowed on people who may be marginalised in some provinces – especially women and lesbian and gay people.

We are reminded of Matthew 11.16 – “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to one another, “We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we wailed and you did not mourn.”

Above all we give thanks that the Spirit which leads us into all truth continues to inspire and refresh the Anglican Communion. We all have much to learn from each other, and we look forward to the Lambeth Conference. We pray that in humility and openness those who attend will grow in their understanding of the Gospel, of the Communion and of one another so that we can all be newly equipped to serve the God who calls each of us into God’s immeasurable love.

24 June 2008

Church services and civil partnerships

Inclusive Church today publishes a paper by the Revd Brian Lewis, a member of General Synod and of IC’s Executive Committee on the law in relation to services after Civil Partnerships. The paper demonstrates that under the laws of the Church of England – especially Canon B5 - clergy have far greater liberty in this area than is commonly thought. They are permitted to carry out services of prayer and dedication following a civil partnership so long as they are not deemed to be "Services of Blessing". The paper is at online at www.inclusivechurch.net.

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of Inclusive Church, said "We very much welcome this long overdue clarification of the law. It makes the distinction between marriages and civil partnerships and sets out what is permissible within the terms of Canon B5. We hope it will be helpful for clergy wishing to provide public services which respond prayerfully and pastorally to the needs of their congregations.”

Revd Lewis makes the comparison with the Service of Prayer and Dedication following a Civil Wedding (popularly described as a "A Church Blessing"). In these services the individuals are blessed without the service becoming "a Service of Blessing".

03 April 2008

Women, Communion and the Church

A press release from Inclusive Church

Inclusive Church (IC) is disappointed by the Church in Wales' decision not to allow women to be bishops. But we are pleased that the Church in Wales resisted pressure for any arrangements which would have discriminated against women and which would have destroyed the unity and integrity of its episcopate.

Christina Rees, Chair of WATCH (Women and the Church) and member of IC’s Executive Committee said, “I applaud the leadership shown by Archbishop Barry Morgan and the Welsh bishops’ resolute decision not to compromise the principle of having women as bishops on the same basis as men are bishops.”

The vote on women bishops failed narrowly to get the required two-thirds majority in the house of clergy.

For IC, Revd. Dr Giles Fraser said: “People mustn’t get disheartened. This will go through. The Gospel points towards full inclusion and if that’s what the Gospel says, that’s what God wants. Therefore all will be well.”

Inclusive Church has prepared a statement celebrating the historic generosity of the Anglican Communion and calling for renewed unity among churches. Churches in agreement with the statement are asked to send an email to endorse@giftofcommunion.org listing the church’s name, parish, diocese and province.

It reads
As Christians, we believe that all people have been made in the image of God. We believe that God loves each and every person with an infinite, never-ending, unconditional love.

As members of the body of Christ, we acknowledge each person's unique and valuable contribution as we seek together to build up that body in love.

As members of the Anglican Communion, we celebrate the gift of our diversity and are committed to being a broad Church that accepts and welcomes difference. We acknowledge our need of God's forgiveness for the sins and failings which harm our shared witness in the world. We believe our unity is rooted in our baptism in Christ, and we will seek to maintain that unity through the grace of the Holy Spirit who lives and works in each one of us.
As the Lambeth Conference approaches - at a time of debate and discernment in our life together - we believe the best way forward will not include segregating or excluding those with whom we disagree.

This invitation is intended for churches, and not individuals and should have the agreement of Church Vestries or PCC’s. Questions or comments can be addressed to info@giftofcommunion.org.

For further information contact;

Revd Canon Giles Goddard: +44 7762 373 674

Or visit www.inclusivechurch.net

28 March 2008

Gift of Communion

Please ask your PCC or vestry to endorse the following statement. Instructions are included. Over on my personal blog, I wrote a bit about this.

Short version: we want to present a pile of endorsements to the bishops gathered at the Lambeth Conference, to show that there are many more Communion-friendly congregations than there are secessionists out there. This statement says that the Communion means more to your congregation than a good fight; it does not mean that you agree with any particular point of moral theology.

You can help the effort by encouraging your colleagues to get their vestries or PCCs to endorse this. Share this widely with lay and clerical church friends. Post it on websites and blogs. Stitch it onto the front of your mitre, if you're a bishop. Whatever it takes.

Celebrating the Gift of Communion In advance of the Lambeth Conference we invite parishes to give thanks for the gift of the Anglican Communion, and to affirm their commitment to its historic generosity. At a time of debate and discernment in our life together we believe the best way forward will not include segregating or excluding those with whom we disagree.

If your church is in agreement with the following statement, please send an email to endorse@giftofcommunion.org listing your name, parish, diocese and province. Please make sure you have the agreement of your parish council or vestry before signing, and note that this invitation is intended for churches, and not individuals. If you have any questions or comments please address them to info@giftofcommunion.org. Please circulate this message to friends and networks.

“As Christians, we believe that all people have been made in the image of God. We believe that God loves each and every person with an infinite, never-ending, unconditional love.

As members of the body of Christ, we acknowledge each person’s unique and valuable contribution as we seek together to build up that body in love.

As members of the Anglican Communion, we celebrate the gift of our diversity and are committed to being a broad Church that accepts and welcomes difference. We acknowledge our need of God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings which harm our shared witness in the world. We believe our unity is rooted in our baptism in Christ, and we will seek to maintain that unity through the grace of the Holy Spirit who lives and works in each one of us.”

19 February 2008

Uganda clarifies, and a new blog is born

Trying to understand the problems in the Anglican Communion can be confusing, on a good day. Some conservatives say the situation is not about homosexuality, but rather about authority. And then they flout the Bible and subvert authority. See, for example, the news coming out of Uganda.

I've written a bit about this over on my new blog, "Seven whole days." Here's the sample:
While some will rejoice to have these “troublemakers” gone, I believe our Communion will be diminished as another wound divides the Body of Christ... Many of us would say that there is an Anglican identity worth treasuring and preserving, as one distinct expression of the Christian faith. It is not, to be sure, an anything-goes faith, but it is a comprehensive faith, able to hold together diverse expressions. Uganda may not manifest this, but neighboring Tanzania is a marvelous tapestry of evangelical fervor and catholic beauty. If we move away from an Anglican identity to an exclusivist (”You must agree with me to be in communion with me”), then Christendom has lost a reconciling tradition, and that is regrettable.
Why am I linking to my own blog here? Well, this post marks a bit of a transition. I may post some things here, but this blog will likely morph into a blog of official announcements of Inclusive Church events, trips, activities, and occasional rants. Why the change?

When I attended "Drenched in Grace" last fall, I heard Jenny Te Paa clearly, especially when she identified "male bloggers" as one of the principal catalysts for our schism, or at least our failure to reconcile. After some reflection, it seemed that she's right.

I might be tempted to point a finger at places like Stand Firm, but the truth is that the left has managed to have an internal conversation on the blogs, stirring ourselves into a bunker mentality at times. At first, I considered withdrawing entirely from the blogosphere. While I've enjoyed blogging, I did not want to be another shrill voice in the cacophony of dissent now facing our Communion.

Then I reflected on the posts that I've enjoyed writing the most, and which have provoked the most positive reaction. These were quite often irenic posts, in which the crisis of the Communion is situated relative to the crises of parish life, or the lives within a parish.

So I've decided to largely forego this particular forum, which almost invites a response to every Cantuarian eyebrow twitch. Instead, I'll write mostly about things that matter to me in a more mundane sense. What's happening the parish? What seems interesting in the wider blogosphere? And what might be worth a good rant or a hearty laugh?

So keep your RSS reader pointed at this blog. And maybe add Seven whole days to your list.

15 February 2008

Myth and reality

This from Philip Chester and Giles Goddard in the United States, written February 7:

We’re just over half way through our visit to the US: we write this on a plane from Chicago to San Francisco. So far it’s been an excellent trip. We may have the record for the world’s most extended Holy Communion; we went to the Ash Wednesday liturgy in the morning in the monastery of the Cowley Fathers in Cambridge Massachusetts. We had to leave at the Peace to catch a plane to Chicago. We walked into the church of the Atonement that evening just as they were beginning the Eucharistic prayer so we were able to complete our communion. We're mercifully far away from all the talk about Sharia law and the Archbishop, and for once it's a relief to be able to focus on the Anglican Communion!

Meetings have been held with a wide range of people, from lay people in Rhode Island to the Canon to the Presiding Bishop, and from key people in Integrity and the Chicago Consultation to clergy in Manhattan. We’ve explained that we came to the USA mainly to listen to the experience of the Episcopal Church and to develop an understanding of its situation, and to help develop communication between it and the Church of England. It’s quite clear that there is a huge gulf of understanding between our churches; and yet, although there are many differences, the similarities are very profound. Anything we can do, as the Lambeth Conference approaches, to improve the relationship has to be a good thing.

Contrary to popular perception the Episcopal Church is in good heart, and maintaining a significant position in the USA as a church which is both broad and welcoming; which covers a wide churchmanship with big differences of opinion and yet is determined to stay together. Given the sort of coverage the secessionist dioceses and parishes get in the UK, it’s a remarkable thing to learn that out of around 7,200 congregations across the country less than 100 have sought to leave. And out of around 110 domestic Dioceses, only 2 are likely to seek to secede. We’re talking very small numbers, less than 2%. Many of the other parishes which might previously have wanted to leave are now recognising that to be part of a greater whole is valid and important, and real efforts are being made to develop understanding between those of different positions.

It’s true to say however that there is widespread anger because of the way that the Episcopal Church has been perceived to be treated by the Primates and by senior members of the hierarchy in the UK and around the world. The position of welcoming lesbian and gay people is not some arbitrary piece of rights-based legalism; rather, it’s worked out from the profound desire that “the Episcopal Church welcomes you” and is rooted in an understanding of the Gospel and Baptism which seeks to turn no one away. In that context, the way in which more conservative and often rejectionist clergy and bishops are perceived to have been given the lion’s share of attention and support is seen as both unjustified and unfair. Particularly in the light of the fact that there are many services of affirmation of same-sex relationships happening in the Dioceses of London and Southwark yet no one says a word about that.

But the commitment to the Communion remains. Lambeth 2008 is being prepared for carefully, in the hope that it can genuinely provide a meeting of minds and a deeper understanding of the Anglican Communion. And the people we have spoken to are too polite to remind us that without the USA the Communion could not, under any circumstances, survive financially - but their continued support is strong testimony to the way in which the shared history and practice of the Gospel in the Anglican tradition is valued.

Of course the Anglican Communion is about far, far more than the UK and the US. But our churches have a great deal in common. And gracious conversation between us would undoubtedly provide a stronger base to build on for the rest of the Communion, especially those many parts which are feeling disenfranchised by the loud voices of their conservative brothers and sisters. The Global Center, for example. And the province of Australia. We have some ideas ; a joint conference in Boston or NY between the Episcopal Church and the Church of England would be a good place to start. Common affirmation by parishes around the word of the value of Communion. Above all we’re learning that it’s better to talk than to assume, and better to share worship than to get our opinions from the internet. To the entente cordiale, and to Lambeth 2008!

08 January 2008

Bishop of Rochester undermines the work of the Church of England

Text of a Press Release issued today:
The announcement of the GAFCON conference shows how little concern the neo-conservative lobby has for the rest of the church. Michael Poon’s questions from Singapore were rejected in no uncertain terms. The failure to listen to the concerns of the Bishop of Jerusalem on the proposed conference was made abundantly clear.

Choosing Jerusalem for the meeting simply demonstrates that the neo-conservatives have little interest in the well-being of the Anglican Communion or of the Israel/Palestine situation – the last thing Jerusalem needs is another divisive conference.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali’s condemnation in the Sunday Telegraph of multiculturalism and remarks about ‘no-go’ areas are unhelpful, and likely to worsen rather than reduce community tensions. The ill-considered nature of his remarks is mirrored in his support for GAFCON and the Diocese of San Joaquin; in both cases he has taken up a position which undermines the work of the Church of England as it seeks to reflect God’s generous love for those of all faiths and none.

The role of a Bishop is to seek to serve and lead the Church and community constructively and supportively. It is not clear to us how the Bishop of Rochester can reconcile his current activities with his place in the House of Bishops.

His claim that ‘If it had not been for the black majority churches and the recent arrival of people from central and eastern Europe, the Christian cause in many of our cities would have looked a lost one’ seems to belittle the faithful witness of Anglicans and other Christians who live and worship in urban areas across Britain, care for the needy, welcome their neighbours of other faiths and challenge the despair, poverty and racial injustice which divide communities. He is however right to point out that the Bible teaches ‘that we have equal dignity and freedom because we are all made in God's image’.

Inclusive Church looks forward to 2008. The preparations for the Lambeth Conference are going well. Those of us who support a church which is truly inclusive and truly welcoming are working closely together through the St Anne’s Network in the UK and our partner organisations across the world, so that the Listening Process called for in the Windsor Report can move forward and we can begin to celebrate the ministry of all people in the Church.

We look forward to a strong and engaged presence by Bishops across the spectrum of the Communion at the Lambeth Conference. We hope that those Bishops in the UK who are supporting the secessionist Dioceses in the USA will recognise the inconsistency of their positions and cease; and we look forward to celebrating our search for a deeper understanding of the love of God alongside Muslims, Jews and those of other faiths around the world in the coming year.

Savitri Hensman and Giles Goddard, for InclusiveChurch

8th January 2008