Unrest in Southwark I

Anglican Mainstream has posted a recent article (one that appeared in the Church of England Newspaper last week) that reports on the growing unrest amongst Anglican Evangelicals about the trajectory of the Diocese of Southwark. You can find it here. It’s all about the fallout as a result of a meeting of the Diocesan Evangelical Union with Bishop Christopher (the Bishop of Southwark).

I meant to attend the meeting but got caught up in the chaos that has become my life. But it sounds, from the report and from friends who made it, as though it was lively.

The essence of the growing unrest is the Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun has divided the Diocese with his senior appointments. The last seven of these have gone to liberal catholics. To be fair, I think he inherited a divided Diocese. He’s not dividing it. He’s just made appointments that show which side of the divide his theological preferences lie. He’s acting with conviction. They’re not convictions that I share. But at least he’s being consistent! Of course I disagree with him. I think he should only ever appoint evangelicals. But I don’t expect that he (or any of his successors) will. He’s not an evangelical. He doesn’t agree with evangelical theology. He’s not going to put evangelicalism at the heart of the Diocese. And Reform and Fulcrum seem to be surprised by that! Surely not. What did you expect? I mean, seriously. Did you really expect that the new Bishop of Southwark would suddenly start giving preference to that ‘wing’ Church of England that the establishment want to see removed?

There’ll be more to follow, of that I’m sure. I’m already getting word of parish quota being withheld.

47 thoughts on “Unrest in Southwark I

  1. Lauri Moyle April 24, 2012 / 3:49 pm

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God… Those naive idiots. What were they thinking?

  2. Lauri Moyle April 24, 2012 / 4:05 pm

    I mean, of course you might be right. But seen from the perspective of the Bishop of Southwalk, Evangelicals are ‘sadly’ well represented making plenty of problems for him through the co-mission network, where there is obviously plenty of funding, so let the evangelicals take care of their own. This raises the question, in political terms, what effect extra-Anglican politicking does to those evangelicals properly within the Church of England and within Southwalk. Your actions have consequences beyond your brand Perks and the reach of this blog should be part of what you take into consideration when you get aggressive towards liberals, many of whom you might be surprised to find before the creators thrown…

    The other matter which is important to think about in regards evangelicals and politics (whether in the CofE, or at Westminster) is that we tend towards a narrative of “victimization” which can cause a feedback loop commonly called a self fulfilling prophesy, whereby because we think and behave in a specific way, we actually allow others to think of us that way. So lets be careful not to go down that rout.

  3. Pete April 24, 2012 / 4:55 pm

    Although Lauri it’s worth pointing out that Perks here is talking about the actions of those evangelicals in Southwark who are ‘properly within the CofE’. And it’s not just conservative evangelicals, it’s open ones as well who are very saddened by the actions of the Bishop of Southwark.

    The evangelicals outside of co-mission, but in the CofE, are quite possibly going to take care of there own, which will probably have the affect (if they all act) of bankrupting the diocese. They are reliant on the evangelical money they get from parish quota to stay solvent. The liberal church is bankrupt (dare I say, in more ways than one)

  4. Lauri Moyle April 24, 2012 / 5:17 pm

    With re your first para I am aware. But the question for me is a more fundamental one, namely would Southwalk have done what he did, if co-mission was not active in his patch in the way that it has been? Why should he care about evangelicals (open or not) if evangelicals have given him particular grief in the past and seem to be able to fund their own operations? It might be silly in the long run but if I had power and was being bugged I might start shoring up my own support rather than handing out jobs to people who will make my life harder (whether that is perceived to be the case or actually true).

    I very much doubt that all Evangelicals will stop paying their dues, but if they do your analysis is right and he will be embarrassed beyond sustainability. But the question I have still stand. What somebody does in the name of evangelicalism has a knock on effect for others.

    See Perks not too long ago posted about the use of CofE buildings controlled by Liberals lamenting their under used. Fair enough, but if he were interested in actually seeking to use them he would not be making public comments like the one above (which is rather mild) among others.

  5. Lauri Moyle April 24, 2012 / 5:24 pm

    I’m curious on what grounds can a Minister withhold money from the Bishop? How does that work and in what theological base would it be justified, if the Bishop isn’t making the right sort of appointments?

    • theurbanpastor April 25, 2012 / 12:18 pm

      Lauri, I’m sure that you’ll be aware that CCB receives no money (or houses, or pensions, or buildings for that matter) from the Diocese of Southwark, neither do we contribute any. If I was running a Church of England congregation within the Diocese of Southwark, as the incumbent holding the Bishop’s Licence then I’d like to think that I’d have the courage to withhold money from the Diocese in these circumstances. Honestly, I’d like to think that I’d have done so ages ago. The eldership of a church has a resposibility to use the money that congregational members have given to the eldership to steward with wisdom and integrity. I don’t think that church members in an evangelical church (even an anglican one) expect that money to be used to fund church ministries that preach another gospel. They’re delighted if their money goes on gospel minsistries that cannot support themsleves (and so it’s important that we fund evengelical ministries in UPAs and the like). And they expect to pay for what tehyr receive (and so they contribute to cover their own costs). But why would any evangelical want God’s money to fund someone preaching heresy?

      • Lauri Moyle April 25, 2012 / 12:31 pm

        Those are fair points, nevertheless you pay taxes for abortions, don’t you? Also some of the money does go to evangelical work. So does money that comes from liberal churches. There are those who are willing to take their coin too. The question was directed to evangelicals properly within the CofE, and why (if they have not done so previously) withdrawing funds because of the Bishops appointments is now the right thing to do. But I realize that you cannot speak for them.

      • Lauri Moyle May 1, 2012 / 2:03 pm

        Just on this point Perks, and I am really not digging here, but the church as an institution has responsibilities that go beyond those that the CoMission has. They fund all sorts of things, not least the retirement fund for clergy who have worked well on behalf of Jesus. The money upholds and maintaining properties, church schools (to a greater or lesser extent) and have a number of other responsibilities, which are part of the legal fabric of the land, so much so, that as I am sure you know, there are church commissioners, who are accountable to parliament. The Prime Minister is one of those commissioners. As somebody who helps draft questions to the church commissioners every now and again in Parliament, I realize how much of an institutional fabric is interwoven between the church and the state here. So the question of ecclesiology matters, and it relates to reciprocity and collegiality that should be found within any “secular” institution as much as should be found in the visible church. Conversely and I use the term secular ironically, the state and the church are both under the rule of God in this country and so an easy partition from the institutional hierarchy is not as simple as whose done in my opinion through those that do not recognize the office of the Bishop of Southwark. It might be right to withhold money from Southwark, I don’t know, but in my mind its too simplistic to say, the money is not being spent on Gods work, when it manifestly is.

  6. Lauri Moyle April 24, 2012 / 5:34 pm

    And the question remains in my mind after seeing this quote by NT Wright: “If confrontation has to happen, as it often does, it must always be with forgiveness in mind, never revenge.” Is that what is going on or not.

  7. Ed Drew April 24, 2012 / 6:45 pm

    Is the only legitimate motivation for confrontation forgiveness? Is revenge the only alternative to forgiveness?

    • Lauri Moyle April 24, 2012 / 8:07 pm

      It say’s an awful lot about the direction of challenge if Gods shallom is not the final desired goal… I remain unconvinced after a number of years in co-mission that enough is said about the desire for God to be honoured through the vocal desire to see Jesus character at the centre of all debate. A curse on all houses who dont desire this.

      • Ed Drew April 26, 2012 / 3:24 pm

        I don’t mean this as a rhetorical question. Honestly, what do you think were Jesus’ motivations when he sought confrontation? I hope it’s not a blasphemous question. You seem so sure that many others are being un-Christlike in their motivations, that I wonder what you understand Christlike motivations to be for confrontation.

    • Lauri Moyle April 24, 2012 / 8:29 pm

      Also Ed, I kmow your smart enough to know that what you say is not what NT Wright was getting at.

      • Lauri Moyle April 26, 2012 / 4:06 pm

        First of all, I am not saying anything about anybodies motivation, much less that the motives are unchrist like. I am saying the, it seems to me that the way things are handled do not reflect Christ to those who are witnessing what is going on both from within and outside the Church of England.

        You ask about Christlike motivations, my answer will include both a view on motivation and on how things look. The reformation study Bible is worth checking out on Hebrews 12:14 (Strive for peace with everyone.): “Despite being tempted in persecution to repay evil for evil, believers should live at peace with everyone “so far as it depends on you” (Rom. 12:18), just as our Lord Jesus did not retaliate with insults or threats (1 Pet. 2:23).”

        That’s my general answer.

        The answer to the more specific context is that it seems to me that there is a difference between Christ like confrontation and, as an example, litigious behavior, or threats to withdraw moneys on what seems to be politically motivated grounds. ie the balance of power in appointments, or the ‘fracas’ around the appointments of clergy in Southwalk under Buttler, or more recently.

        As to the way you asked your rhetorical question, it seems to me that you did obscure the meaning of what NT Wright was getting at. Having “forgiveness in mind”, does not mean that it is the only motivation, nor does the quote imply that revenge is the only reason for conflict. So by using the logical fallacy, you put words in my mouth and accuse me of accusing others of being motivated by revenge. So my response therefore was aimed at refocusing the thrust of my point on what I want to see more of and what really matters, which is to win people for Christ, through Christ whether heretics, heterodox, or un-church-ed folk.

      • MichaelA April 26, 2012 / 11:20 pm

        “The answer to the more specific context is that it seems to me that there is a difference between Christ like confrontation and, as an example, litigious behavior, or threats to withdraw moneys on what seems to be politically motivated grounds. ie the balance of power in appointments, or the ‘fracas’ around the appointments of clergy in Southwalk under Buttler, or more recently.”

        But therein lies the problem: You purport to be criticising behaviour and you object to others making assumptions about your motivation; yet you have made a priori assumptions about the motivations of others.

        Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the work and writings of Co-Mission laity and clergy over the past several years knows that their motivation is NOT political. Their issue has always been one of gospel truth and the best way to consistently practice it and spread it.

        You may disagree with them about that, but you do not have the right to impute certain motivations to them simply because you don’t like their interpretation of Christianity.

      • Lauri Moyle April 27, 2012 / 7:58 am

        No Michael I have not made assumptions about motives, I have called for confrontation with a different tone. I have done so clearly and cited an Archbishop as having asked for it.

        However much you insist that politics is not involved, does not mean that there is no political angle to what is happening, so forgive me Michael for useing that sort of language but even the most staunch supporter of Gafcon knows that power is at stake and negotiations include the removal of the historic convening powers if the Archbishops, from Canterbury to an elected C. The ordination of folk in Kenya was a part of that move inasmuch as it confronted cofe structures.

        Politics and Power games, Michael. Wake up and smell the napalm.

      • MichaelA April 27, 2012 / 8:08 am

        We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one Lauri. I think you have stated clearly in your post that you have made assumptions about the motives of others.

        “However much you insist that politics is not involved, does not mean that there is no political angle to what is happening”

        Of course – most things have such an angle, somewhere. That is quite different to your assertion that people involved with Gafcon are “politically motivated” – to the extent that they are, so is everybody else, so the whole thing becomes trite.

      • Lauri Moyle April 27, 2012 / 8:27 am

        Michael, you misquote me when you use quotation marks. I said it could be one of the motivations, I did not say it was. Nor did I say revenge was a motive.

        But again you ignore the substantive point that the reputation the CoMission is litigious, threatening and generally seems like the nasty party. The last part is an observation (it might not be true, but the other parts are fact). I came to the observation through being in and out of CoMission, from talking to folk in and out of the CoMission and from reading about the CoMission network on Evangelical blogs and in secular newspapers. I certainly know that most people in the network are not at all nasty (far from it). They are self-sacrificial and kind and are human beings like any others (who make mistakes from time to time).

        However, the reality that the perception exists should be addressed, and a good place to start would be by recognizing that, rather than smearing what I am saying by arguing that I somehow think that politics and power are the primary driving motivation behind the bolshie behavior here in Southwalk or in other parts of London, and the world.

        Quite frankly the touchy responses from people on this blog makes it sound like you cannot handle it when people dish out the hard stuff, just like it is dished out here, or elsewhere. Nobody has responded to the substantive point I have made, which was to raise the issue of tension inherent in the actions made by CoMission decision makers and the tone of how they address fellow men of God.

      • MichaelA April 27, 2012 / 11:15 pm

        “But again you ignore the substantive point that the reputation the CoMission is litigious, threatening and generally seems like the nasty party.”

        I suggest its not so much that I am ignoring the point, but that I don’t regard it as substantive, for two reasons:

        Firstly, reputation with whom? Every group has a nasty reputation with somebody (usually those who disagree with it). And a “litigious” reputation – what is that referring to? What litigation has Co-Mission engaged in? And “threatening” – what does that mean, that they tell people their intentions? Your objection appears at best to be one of style rather than substance.

        Secondly, this is ignoring the real substantive point, which is that +Southwark has offended a wide range of evangelicals, not just Co-Mission. So choosing to focus on one particular group is hardly substantive.

        “However, the reality that the perception exists should be addressed, and a good place to start would be by recognizing that, rather than smearing what I am saying…”

        Firstly, I didn’t smear what you are saying, I just pointed out its true effect.

        Secondly, why should anybody address the fact that “a perception exists”. Perceptions always will exist, with different people at different times. There can be various reasons for that, but the fact is that some people will never be convinced and we can all end up wasting a lot of time.

      • Lauri Moyle April 28, 2012 / 8:15 am

        Ok Michael. My understanding is that Richard Coeken threatened legal action during the first round of irregular ordinations, which points to litigious behavior. I think a lot of the problems historically stem from around that time. There is a threat to withdraw moneys, which does not come from CoMission but other churches affiliated with FCA, Amie etc, so perhaps I should have been more precise.

        As to your style over substance point, I think you are wrong when you say that style is immaterial. I think the verse that I quoted to Ed Drew shows that how we engage over something is as important as what the issue is we are engaging over.

        I think it is unfair of you to say that I do not address the substantive problem with +Southwalk. I say that Perks should continue to be robust in his criticism of teaching that do not reflect the bible, but I also say that more needs to be done to “love your enemy”.

        With regard to the perception point you are wrong as well. While it might be true that perception will exist and we cannot always control that, there is a sense in which we do have a responsibility to listen, and try and persuade others that their perception might be wrong. Does there come a point when we stop doing that? I don’t think so. Why? Because we also are fallen sinners in need of grace and mercy. If we are not reflecting that to people within the church, why would anybody hear us preach the gospel?

      • theurbanpastor April 28, 2012 / 9:04 pm

        Lauri, I’d be keen to find out just how Richard Coekin threatened legal action during the first round of irregular ordinations (mine, I take it back in 2005). I suspect you may be barking up the wrong tree. I’d hate for you to get something like that wrong! As I’m sure you’ll agree, it is important to get our facts straight if we’re going to build an argument on them!

      • Lauri Moyle April 30, 2012 / 3:34 pm

        I take your gentle recommendation Richard, with regards to checking my facts, to mean that the report in the Guardian over the Archbishops ruling was not true? It said: “Senior sources contacted by the Guardian said the archbishop had been forced to abandon the bishop [Butler] after threats of litigation by Mr Coekin’s legal advisers, who had warned they would seek a judicial review if unacceptable conditions, such as a guarantee of obedience, were imposed on their client.”

        Though interestingly enough, the Archbishop did remind participants:

        “‘My conclusion is that the revocation of Mr Coekin’s licence be cancelled, for the reasons given in the Bishop [of Winchester’s] Report. The Appellant must, however, understand that the restoration of his licence as a minister in the Church of England carries its own responsibilities. It leaves him bound to submit to the Respondent’s episcopal authority and accountable for his actions to the wider Church.’ The Archbishop of Canterbury.”

        So if the report was correct, litigation was threatened and then not enforced but interestingly, and related to the reasoning behind my blog post on obedience, the Fulcrum press release made the following two points on Coekin:

        “It is good that he now has to take more seriously his oath of canonical obedience. Things are not back to square one. Being ‘bound to submit to the [the Bishop of Southwark’s] episcopal authority and accountable for his actions to the wider Church’ is very strong language. Evangelicals often do not take this oath seriously – and it is an oath.”


        “Ordination is serious and that is why clergy legally cannot take it upon themselves to organise ordinations for their own lay assistants outside of the Church of England and outside of their Bishop’s authority. Both the ‘Report’ by the Bishop of Winchester and the Archbishop’s ‘Determination’ show that these ‘irregular ordinations’ were indeed precipitate and not judicious.”

        Even if the ecclesiology of the CoMission is seen as a matter of playing lightly and loosely with how the Church of England sees itself and has operated in the past (and I except that organizations should not be more important than gospel work), it should be taken into consideration, particularly if you are making a claim to be a part of and have sworn an oath to play a part in it obediently), the thorn in this particular instance still remains in the side of my mind.

        Fulcrum also write in length about the opportunity that fresh expressions hold and that the then Bishop of Southwark gave to that sort of work:


        As for using the metaphor of a dog barking, I might be a dog, and I might be the wrong tree I’m barking up, but I am still barking and I suspect there are some furry animals up more than one tree.

      • theurbanpastor April 30, 2012 / 4:03 pm

        Time on your hands?! I may find the time to read and reply but it won’t be today! Sorry Lauri.

      • Lauri Moyle April 30, 2012 / 4:05 pm

        Yes, listening to debate in the House of Commons sometimes necessitates distractions such as this.

        This issue is important enough to me, and it is to your credit and to the credit of those in your congregation that I continue barking.

      • theurbanpastor April 30, 2012 / 4:36 pm

        Lauri, (you’ve gifted me this one) – I’ve often thought you were barking …

      • Lauri Moyle April 30, 2012 / 4:45 pm

        Insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein… while equally: “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” F. Nietzsche

        And by the same: “I would not know what the spirit of a philosopher might wish more to be than a good dancer.”

      • MichaelA May 1, 2012 / 12:16 am

        Lauri, you seem to have leapt to conclusions without checking your facts. If you are going to rely on a single article in the Guardian about events seven years ago, then you cannot expect people to take you seriously. You have given the impression throughout this thread that you are desperately searching for anything for which you can blame Co-mission, and you are prepared to give credence to anything you read, however doubtful, in order to achieve that.

        In 2005, +Butler of Southwark purported to revoke Rev Richard Coekin’s licence because Coekin+ was one of a number of people who had been involved in irregular but valid ordinations by a foreign bishops. The reason why this occurred was well known: +Butler had been consistently denying requests by evangelical churches in Southwark to have their ordinands ordained. These were ordinands in good standing, with proper qualifications, and nothing whatsoever against them. +Butler’s discrimination against evangelicals was obvious and gross. Nobody stood up to support the evangelicals (including you – I don’t recall ever reading about anyone called Lauri Moyle making a public statement or a comment on a blog on their behalf).

        So they went ahead with the ordinations, and then +Butler revoked Revd Coekin’s licence (which he had no legal basis for doing, but +Butler never let such little details prevent him from acting). Rev Coekin appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who referred the matter to a panel of bishops. They were the ones who ruled that Revd Coekin’s licence be restored; the ABC merely affirmed their judgment. A large number of people commented about the case and speculated as to whether litigation might result, but I have never heard that Co-Mission itself threatened litigation. And, as now appears obvious, neither have you.

        The fact is, you never had any basis for accusing Co-Mission of being “litigious”, but you went ahead with the accusation anyway. Could that possibly be because it suited your prejudices and preconceptions?

      • Lauri Moyle May 1, 2012 / 7:03 am

        Michael, the article is not the only reason that I said what I said, nor did I base my opinion only on publicaly available information. In 2005 I was not in this country so could have hardly done what sounds rather laughable and can only deduce that you said so to ridicule me as insignificant in this affair, which I am. However I have a relationship, perhaps even friendship with Perks, am friends with Pete and know Ed a little and have respect for him. That is why I write here. You I don’t know. It is to your credit that you write what you do, so passionately in defense of CoMission, but your missing something as well.

      • MichaelA May 1, 2012 / 12:20 am

        One more thing: It is a very strange use of the word “litigious” to refer to people who go to the courts to defend their rights. So even if Rev. Coekin had threatened to go to the courts to defend his right to his licence (although as said, I don’t think there is any evidence of that), how could that be called “litigious”? Are you suggesting that a minister who believes that some action taken against him is illegal, is not permitted to defend his rights?

        Or, do you believe that it is only *evangelical* ministers who are not entitled to defend their legal rights?

      • MichaelA May 1, 2012 / 8:10 am

        Lauri, fair comment, and I will think carefully about it. I guess my main concern could be summed up this way: if we are to criticise Co-Mission for various actions in the past (and no-one is beyond criticism) then we surely need also to take into account the events or actions to which they were reacting. As a general principle, that seems reasonable. But regardless, thank you for your feedback, which is appreciated.

  8. MichaelA April 25, 2012 / 7:56 am

    “But the question for me is a more fundamental one, namely would Southwalk have done what he did, if co-mission was not active in his patch in the way that it has been?”

    Lauri, do let’s be serious. Southwark is the most aggressive liberal diocese in England and has been for many years. Co-Mission only exists in Southwark because of the way the liberals have been trying to get rid of the evangelicals there. So the answer to your question is: Of course; +Southwark (note the spelling) would have acted exactly as he has done, Co-Mission or no Co-Mission.

    • Lauri Moyle April 25, 2012 / 8:09 am

      Sure there is history but what you say is not self evident. We have had a new Bishop since Butler, and what was the very first thing that Co-Mission did after their first meeting with him, literally as I understand it, go pack your bags your going to Kenya? Right, go send folk to be ordained in Kenya. Sorry Michael, lets be serious and think about what that sort of move does when its at home.

      Did the new Southwalk make these appointments he is accused of making before or after that? Who knows, but as an incoming Bishop he knew what he was facing coming here.

      On another note this article fleshes out a little more of the meeting: http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=126592

      Interestingly the liberal Catholic pay in more to the diocesan coffers than the evangelicals and as far as I can tell the one’s which I have visited (not many mind) looked pretty full to me on a Sunday morning, though admittedly many of the participants where older black women.

      • MichaelA April 26, 2012 / 11:06 pm

        “We have had a new Bishop since Butler, and what was the very first thing that Co-Mission did after their first meeting with him, literally as I understand it, go pack your bags your going to Kenya?”

        Lauri, respectfully, so what?

        The public comment made by Richard Coekin at the time as to why those ordinations went ahead was: ““Sadly, when I asked the new Bishop repeatedly if he believes and will teach that homosexual practice is a sin, he offered no such assurance.””

        Isn’t that more than enough reason to obtain episcopal oversight elsewhere? The very first duty of a bishop is that he hold frmly to the faith once delivered. Surely you would agree that if a bishop is not willing to distance himself from a known and notorious practice, it it is the *duty* of faithful clergy to distance themselves from that bishop?

  9. MichaelA April 25, 2012 / 8:01 am

    “I’m curious on what grounds can a Minister withhold money from the Bishop? How does that work and in what theological base would it be justified, if the Bishop isn’t making the right sort of appointments?”

    Isn’t it the other way around: On what grounds should a minister give money to a bishop? For example, on what grounds did Paul instruct his churches to contribute to the ministry of others? Or, to take an example from the Church Fathers, on what grounds did Saint Athanasius and other Nicene Christians counsel co-operation (or otherwise) with a bishop?

    Let’s take it a little further: Where in the Creeds, Book of Common Prayer or Articles of Religion does it say that congregations must divery their spending where a bishop requires?

    • Lauri Moyle April 25, 2012 / 8:12 am

      On the grounds that the structures of the Anglican church thus function. So it is not normative to withhold moneys, hence the way I frame the question is the appropriate way of framing it. Authority and respecting it, etc.

      • MichaelA April 26, 2012 / 11:10 pm

        “Authority and respecting it, etc.”

        Precisely my point. If Bishop Chessun hasn’t respected scripture or the teaching of the Church of England then he has not respected authority. There is more than enough reason for a parish to oversee precisely where its funds are spent, and not trust this man with them.

        In the meantime, I note that you have not responded to my question: Where in the Creeds, Book of Common Prayer or Articles of Religion (or in church tradition for that matter) does it say that congregations must divert their spending where a bishop requires?

  10. MichaelA April 25, 2012 / 8:03 am

    I realise now that my first post above could be construed as stating that Co-Mission only exists in Dio. Southwark, whereas I believe that it also exists in Dio. London. But that just reinforces my point: So far as I am aware there are no complaints that +London has been ignoring evangelicals in appointments. This gives the lie to any suggestion that +Southwark’s behaviour is due to the existence of Co-Mission.

    • Lauri Moyle April 25, 2012 / 8:10 am

      London is evangelical Michael… have there been complaints that he is not appointing liberals? No.

      • MichaelA April 26, 2012 / 11:12 pm

        Exactly, Lauri. +Southwark is unusual (unique even) in that he has completely excluded evangelicals from positions. They are well within their rights to take him to task, and to ask the wider church (both within and without CofE) to witness to his behaviour.

  11. Lauri Moyle April 25, 2012 / 9:04 am

    This article is also interesting: http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=451

    I never knew the Co-Mission network was offered “fresh expressions” status and oversight by the Bishop of Fulham…

    While allegations such as these are truly astounding:

    “Fairfield Church, for instance, a non conformist plant established by Mr Coekin in the parish of All Saints Kingston (after its then vicar denied him permission to plant) recently launched a sustained attack in one of its sermons on Christ Church, New Malden (the church where I am vicar).”

    Is he making this up?

    • theurbanpastor April 25, 2012 / 12:06 pm

      I’ve not read all of your material. I may get round to it. But in truth I have trouble working out what your point is. And life is short! In response to the accusation on the Fulcrum site the answer is more nuanced than is suggested.
      1. Fresh Expressions were offered for Dundonald only (expressly not for Christ Church Balham) but, from memory since it was a while ago, the Bishop of Kingston made it clear that his theological position on all matters was the same as the Bishop of Southwark (Tom Butler at the time). We were in impaired communion with him and so itw as unlikely that what we found objectionable in one would be found acceptable in the other! That would be inconsistent. And we may be wrong, but we try to be consistent!
      2. Fairfield Church (now Cornerstone) has always been a free church and they’re free to say what they want about other churches, aren’t they? A local anglican clergyman can get upset, as he is entitled to do, but he can’t expect to control what an evangelical church says from the pulpit. Richard Coekin has never had responsibilities at Fairfield. He’s never been on the staff there. He may have preacehd there, but he’s not on the eldership and never has been. As it happens, I understand that the comments were made as part of a sermon in which the subject of false teaching was made by one of the elders and not the staff. It wasn’t I recall from asking the guilty individual a sustained attack, it was an illustrative application that people were encouraged to think through.
      3. I wasn’t aware that the Bishop of Fulham had ever offered anything, and anyway (as I’m sure you know since you’re so happy to shoot us down) he could only offer extended episcopal authority (PEV) and wouldn’t be offering alternative episcopal oversight, which given that we’re in impaired communion with the Bishop of Southwark, would be problematic for our consciences.

      • Lauri Moyle April 25, 2012 / 12:23 pm

        You misunderstand my motivation by saying that I am happy to shoot you down. I am happy to be as robust as you are when it comes to matters of political comment. I am calling for the tone of this blog and the way that CoMission operates to reflect a desire for peace and reconciliation (despite using robust words, please keep doing that!) but in my mind it currently does not, nor does the CoMission. Please note I do not mention Richard Coeken by name, and when I say CoMission I do not mean him, but rather the corporate identity that (like it or not, is associated with the collective work of the people involved in all of the congregations within it).

        The questions I asked about the Fulcrum article are legitimate and I am glad that you answered them to the best of your knowledge. I did not expect to get the full picture from that article. The author obviously has an axe to grind, since he felt attacked, but then that again reflects the reputation CoMission seems to have among Evangelicals outside of the network.

        CCB was likely not offered that status because you are not a CofE vicar, which leads back to the root of the troubles.

        With re point 3 the article says something other than how you have described. Apparently Buttler offered CoMission episcopal oversight through the Bishop of Fulham. What that means or how it operates within the structures of CofE I don’t know.

  12. Lauri Moyle April 26, 2012 / 4:24 pm

    The following paragraph from the key note contribution of Archbishop Wabukala at the resent GAFCON meeting strikes me as profoundly right:

    “To act justly and to love Mercy includes behaving towards one another with honesty and fairness, as ends and not means, not being infected by cynicism and pragmatism that can creep in when issues of power and influence are at stake. It is true that the FCA is a prophetic movement and God has given us some stern things to say, but the sternness should be all the more striking because of the kindness and generosity for which we are known.”

    My understanding is that the CoMission collectively is not always know for its kindness and generosity in the quarters where a message of sternness is needed. I don’t know why that is, nor do I know whether that is a fair assessment all round (peoples views of CoMission will be colored by all sorts of things, including gossip and lies…)

    The archbishop says some other things I have to think more about, and where I feel I don’t know enough about the debate that he is taking part of, but that paragraph strikes me as worth emulating.


  13. John P Richardson (@ugleyvicar) April 28, 2012 / 8:02 am

    paul, I think one point you’re missing in your post above is that sexual ‘revisionism’ is high on the agenda amongst those appointed. Southwark has been a predominantly liberal diocese, to my recollection, since at least the early 1960s. There was even a phenomenon called ‘South Bank Religion’. (Check this link, from the days when apparently 1 in 9 baptized Anglicans were on parish electoral rolls!)

    It is the revisionism in sexuality which has proved the last straw, and here people have to make a decision as to (a) whether this is insupportable and (b) whether in the present climate it is the likely outcome of liberalism itself.

    If the answer to both is ‘yes’, then ‘separatism’ becomes to some extent a duty.

    These are the issues confronting all of us, both the ‘pacifiers’ and the ‘separatists’. perhaps the other need is to realize that most of us are one or the other by temperament.

  14. Phil May 1, 2012 / 12:45 pm

    Thanks everyone. This post and thread of comments has helped me to understand a lot of what is happening (and has happened) here.

    Lauri, I think your last post quoting Wabukala is very helpful (and perks, I think it summarises the main point Lauri was trying to make, if I’m understanding the rest of his comments correctly).

    • Lauri Moyle May 1, 2012 / 1:06 pm

      You do indeed, yes. Thanks all.

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