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May 102009
 

Just a brief reminder, that the date of the second annual conference, “A Credible Faith for Growing Churches” is fast approaching on Saturday June 6th, and that if you want to secure a place for lunch in college you are advised to book as soon as possible, as lunch numbers in the colleges are limited.

This time we are holding the conference itself in The Sheldonian Theatre, starting at 10am and finishing at 4pm. We are pleased to welcome two renowned communicators, Canon buy avodart for hair Professor Keith Ward, and Canon Professor Martyn Percy, and alongside this we will have lunches in either Wadham, Exeter, Brasenose or Hertford colleges, and an optional lunchtime service in St Mary’s, the University Church.

An online version of the booking form can be found here, with the group form for those wanting to bring parties of five or more (for which a 10% discount is offered) can be found here.

You can find out more details about the conference on the dedicated conference page, or alternatively by contacting us for more information.

Mar 132009
 

I wouldn’t normally draw your attention to such matters, but I have been asked by some members of WATCH if participants in the Affirming Liberalism network might like to help in supporting the cause of women bishops in the Church of England. It seems that this may be a legitimate concern of liberal Christians. (With apologies to non-Anglicans! )

WATCH has provided clarification of key issues that are currently being addressed by the Church of England, as well as a more detailed attached document which has been sent out to all WATCH members. These matters take a little time to read and digest, but they are highly significant issues of our day and it is good to be abreast of these developments, whether or not you decide to take action.

There is narrow window of opportunity (by next Monday 16th March) for some relatively simple action, if you so wish, by contacting the Clerk to the General Synod of the Church of England. Letters can be sent to David Williams, Clerk to the General Synod, Church House, Great Smith St, London SW1P 3AZ. You can also email your letter as an attachment to david.williams@c-of-e.org.uk Letters to be headed; “Women Bishops Legislation – Submission to Revision Committee”.

You may be aware that the General Synod of the Church of England voted through the Legislative Drafting Group’s proposals earlier this month and that the drafts have therefore been approved for a revision stage. Anyone is free to write to the Revision Committee to propose amendments before the close of business on March 16th.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, who chairs the legislative
drafting group (LDG) which drew up the proposals, moved that the Measure be
considered for revision in committee.
http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=70407

He said that the door is open to all proposals at this stage, even those which have
been voted down in previous Synods. These means people are able to press again for
the simplest possible provision for female bishops on exactly the same terms as men
in a single clause measure.

This is what WATCH is advocating because if women are to take their rightful part in
the institutional structure of the established church they must do so on equal terms
with their male counterparts. Otherwise there will be Bishops and Lady Bishops.

In legal terms this translates into retaining clause 1 of the Measure but deleting
clauses 2 & 3. WATCH again suggests that any provision for those opposed to the
ordained ministry of women should be at the discretion of the local avodart generic brand bishop. If any
more formal provision is made for those opposed it should be of limited duration and
subject to periodic review. In legal terms this means any clause other than clause 1
of the Measure should cease to have effect after a prescribed period and should be
the subject of regular review up to that point.

The attached WATCH document gives detailed advice about possible amendments which is clear and easy to follow. The drafts themselves can be found at
http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/papers/womenbishopsdebate/furtherreport 

It may also be  useful to be aware of two broad criticisms of the approach adopted
by the LDG.

The committee has approached its task as if the primary concern  was to regulate two
conflicting sets of rights – the rights of women clergy and the rights of those who
oppose the ordination of women as priests and bishops (paras 9 & 16 of GS1707).

However, there is a third group of people whose rights need to be taken into
account, namely the general population of this country.  They should have a right to
be served by an established church which is non-discriminatory. The approach taken
by the committee ignores this wider group and leads to a focus on the internal power
dynamics of the church rather than engaging with the people the church is called to
serve.

The concepts of ‘genuine theological conviction’ and ‘good conscience’ (paras 9 & 12
of GS 1707) have been used as the basis for a justification of structural provisions
for opponents of women’s ordained ministry. This language is incorporated into para
4 of new Canon A4. (‘members of the c-of-e may with a good conscience hold
theological convictions which render them unable to receive the ministry of female
bishops or priests’).

However, the criteria of ‘genuine’ and ‘held in good conscience’ are not relevant to
any argument about the validity of a theological conviction. The considered and
prayerful discernment of the General Synod is that the theological argument for
women priests and bishops is convincing. The sincerity Those who are unable to
receive the ministry of ordained women in the church are simply wrong and the
sincerity of their belief does not make them right.

Feb 032009
 

The Sheldonian Theatre, OxfordWe are now in a position to confirm more details of our second annual conference to be held on Saturday 6th June, in the beautifully refurbished Sheldonian Theatre.

The two confirmed speakers will be Canon Professor Keith Ward, formerly of Oxford University, speaking about Why the Scientific World View Confirms Liberal Christian Faith, and Canon Professor Martyn Percy, Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, speaking about Why Liberal Churches are Growing.

Costs will be £25 per person as previously published, but with a discount to £17.50 for full buy avodart tablets time students and ordinands. We will also be offering a group discount for groups of five or more.

Complete details can be found on the Oxford Conference 2009 page, and a revised application form can be downloaded from here. For group bookings please use this form instead. Update: The forms have now been updated to allow them to be filled in online before printing.

Early booking is advised, as places are expected to be booked quickly.

Picture of the Sheldonian Theatre originally uploaded by Drumaboy.

Jul 062008
 

Keith Ward speaking at the inaugural Affirming Liberalism Conference.To go along with the previously published PDF of Mark Chapman’s lecture, a PDF of the lecture given at the inaugural conference by Canon Professor Keith Ward, Why the Future Belongs to Liberal Faith can now be downloaded.

Both lectures have also been permanently linked on the side panel of the site so that avodart online no prescription they will always be easily accessible, along with a couple of additional links to All Saints Wokingham, and the Anglican Spirit blog. If you have a relevant site and would like us to link from here, please drop us a line through the Contact Us page.

Apr 262008
 

In an ideal world, the lectures from the Affirming Liberalism conference in February would have been uploaded before now, but I hope you will consider this to be a pleasant late spring surprise! A PDF of Mark Chapman’s lecture can be downloaded here and Keith Ward’s will be uploaded in due course. I do hope you find them useful as we take forward their important ideas into our own situations.

Thank you to everyone who offered their thoughts and suggestions for the future. I have been able to act on some of these thus far.
Certainly another conference was requested, and after some deliberation, it has been decided to make this an annual (rather than biannual) event for now. As Mark Chapman said on the subject, ‘once organisations get too structured they frequently become self-absorbed and inward looking which is quite the reverse of Saturday.’

Therefore a date for your diary is Saturday 6th June 2009. This time we have opted for the magnificent and larger venue of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, just opposite Trinity College. By then this beautiful Sir Christopher Wren auditorium, which amongst other things is the setting for Oxford University graduation ceremonies, will have been fully refurbished and will be a most buy avodart us splendid setting for a major day conference. Some speakers are already booked, but there will be more details to follow.

There were also several requests for some teaching material, in the form of a DVD. This is being seriously considered and should it go ahead, it will be pitched at the level of a seekers course for those wanting to find a way into Christian faith in contemporary society. You may also like to know that the Modern Churchpeople’s Union is happy to promote some material about Affirming Liberalism on its stand at the Lambeth Conference.

I am aware that there were a good number of individuals who were offering their time and talents to forward a more liberal Christian agenda in the Oxford Diocese and beyond, and I was wondering if people would be interested in meeting up for a convivial working lunch in Oxford later on in the summer/autumn where we could pool ideas and make some further progress? Please use the “Contact Us” link above if you would like to participate and we will fix a date.

Thank you once again for all your interest and support as we seek to move forward.

 Posted by at 4:44 pm
Feb 102008
 

We had a wonderful day yesterday in Oxford at the inaugural conference of Affirming Liberalism. The sun shone brilliantly on the gorgeous setting of Trinity College Oxford; where the grounds were already lit up with the spring flowers sparkling in the grassy verges of the paths and quads.

We heard heartfelt expressions of appreciation that such a network had been convened,giving space and acknowledgement to the needs of liberal Christians in the Church of England. And we heard too some cries from the heart from people who feel marginalised and excluded by the certainties and self-imposed limitations of local churches too fearful to let their liberals and progressive friends say what they think and feel about their faith.

This sense of appreciation and need was expressed for me in the wonderful atmosphere and singing at midday worship in the college chapel, which was crowded to capacity by the 137 delegates present.

Mark Chapman’s lecture was a profound and thoughtful historical reflection on the nineteenth century roots of liberal thinking in the English Church, teasing out what liberalism might be seen as and what it might not be seen as. For Chapman liberalism is not a party of the Church separate from others but an attitude of mind which might inform catholic and evangelical Christians alike. Nonetheless it is an attitude which has to be grown as Christians mature and he sees St Paul’s call to the Corinthians to put away childish things as a key liberal text. He raised the concern that liberalism itself alone does not have the spiritual power and vitality to be the animating power of faith. Needless to say this was questioned by some! Clearly there were in the audience those who feel strongly that the future of Christian faith has to be in rethinking Christianity in a way which catches the imnagination of contemporary buy avodart online australia minds and hearts and that this will be done best and perhaps necessarily exclusively by re-presenting it in ways deeply informed by liberal freedom from attachment to the churches’ former historic expressions in liturgy, doctrine and ethic.

Keith Ward gave a free-flowing and scintillating presentation of seven key liberal values or principles and a call for the Church at all levels to embrace the inherently liberal character of genuine gospel Christianity as he sees it. Clearly for Keith there is no way that liberal Christianity lacks dynamism or spiritual vitality. I heard him saying that liberal principles in fact are the hidden and motivating spiritual power of the faith! And just as churches are not always as faithful to the gospel as we might be because we are human and fallible so also churches are not always as keen to pursue or even as ready to pursue the liberal principles partkly because they include the hard vocation of understanding difficult and complex issues and arriving at the humility to know what we don’t know and to say so. But even so his exasperation with the contemporary English Church is it unwillingness to recognise that there is a need for some people to do this harder work and to support them and appreciate them in it. Keith again is happy to recite the Creed and the liturgies of the Church as they stand whilst interpreting them metaphorically – and yet at the same time he recognises that these traditions of the Church and forms of expression are not binding on future generations. This raises the question – that being so – if they are repellent or that the very least offputtting to the rising generation of Christians then how much energy and resource should churches be putting into retaining them?

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