Friday, September 28, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: London Times reports Church of England fails to nominate Archbishop of Canterbury successor

UPDATE: Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London is reporting that the Crowns Nominations Commission (CNC)has failed to come up with a nominee. She writes:
The body responsible for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to agree who should be the successor to Dr Rowan Williams. 
Despite a three day session, aided by prayers invoked on Twitter with the hashtage #prayforthecnc, the 16-member committee has been unable to decide on who should take on the job that the present incumbent today implied was “impossible.” 
A source told The Times that a decision on who should succeed Dr Rowan Williams was not expected soon. “A decision is not imminent,” he said.

MORE: AnglicanTV has a breaking news update:

The Crowns Nominations Commission has released a parsed statement, which I think is called a misdirection shot:

Lord Luce chairs the CNC
This week’s meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been accompanied by much speculation about possible candidates and the likely timing of an announcement of the name of who will succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury when he steps down to become Master of Magdalene College.

The CNC is an elected, prayerful body. Its meetings are necessarily confidential to enable members to fulfil their important responsibilities for discerning who should undertake this major national and international role. Previous official briefings have indicated that an announcement is expected during the autumn and that remains the case; the work of the Commission continues. There will be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about the CNC’s deliberations. Dr Williams remains in office until the end of December.

Update from George Conger at Anglican Ink:
The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been unable to agree upon a candidate for the post of Archbishop of Canterbury.
This week’s third and final meeting of the CNC was to have provided two names to Prime Minister David Cameron – a first choice and an alternate.  However, on 28 Sept 2012 the Church of England press office released a statement at the close of the three day meeting of the Commission that indicated it had not been able to agree upon a candidate. 
The statement read: 
“This week's meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been accompanied by much speculation about possible candidates and the likely timing of an announcement of the name of who will succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury when he steps down to become Master of Magdalene College.” 
“The CNC is an elected, prayerful body. Its meetings are necessarily confidential to enable members to fulfil their important responsibilities for discerning who should undertake this major national and international role. Previous official briefings have indicated that an announcement is expected during the autumn and that remains the case; the work of the Commission continues. There will be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about the CNC's deliberations. Dr Williams remains in office until the end of December.”
While the announcement on its face appears to be vague, the delay in announcing the name of the new archbishop from the coming week to sometime “during the autumn” and the news the “work of the Commission continues” even though it had concluded its final meeting to select the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury indicates the process has stalled. 
Anglican Ink’s Peter Ould told host Kevin Kallsen that he interpreted the statement to mean the committee had deadlocked.  He speculated the likely cause of the deadlock could have been the potential selection of the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, or Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby. 
Dr. Sentamu has angered liberals within the Church of England over his robust rejection of same-sex marriage and a small but vocal minority of opponents has consistently objected to his candidacy.  The Bishop of Durham has been in office for less than a year, and Mr. Ould speculated his selection for the church’s top post would be a cause of concern due to his inexperience.  Sources have also informed Anglican Ink that a third contender, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres – whose chances for selection have risen sharply in the past few weeks, has been passed over for the post. 
The way forward is unclear.  At the present time no further meetings have been set for the commission, but no other body is able to submit names to the Prime Minister.   

The announcement of the next Archbishop of Canterbury should be coming at any time (unless, of course, there is an unlikely delay which would be news in itself) as selections (an heir and a spare) from the Crowns Nominations Commission are off to England's Prime Minister and he will take it to Queen Elizabeth II.

Until a major revision in 2007, the commission sent their nominee to the Prime Minister who could forward that selection to the Queen or chose someone else.  England's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did just that in 1990 and rejected the commission's selection, choosing George Carey instead.  With the 2007 revision, the Prime Minister appears to be now a mere formality (and a further sign of disestablishment) and he now just passes on the commission's selection unless it can be determined there is a serious impediment with the commission's nominee.  But even if that happens, the "spare" selection will simply be appointed instead.

Queen Elizabeth II has been quite outspoken (for her) regarding her concern for the church, giving a moving speech at a recent Synod of the Church of England as well as speaking to her faith in recent official Christmas messages.  No one can count whether this will be her last appointment (she is her mother's daughter), and if someone like Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, is the choice it probably won't be.

We'll see whether the commission is serious about church growth or playing to the band.  Watch this space.

In the meantime, here's a little tune now playing on the Cafe Jukebox:

Time now has an article out as we wait for the announcement, from here:

It’s a decision that will shape the future of the worldwide Anglican community. On Sept. 28, senior figures in the Church of England were expected to conclude a two-day meeting at a secret location to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The person selected by the 16-member Crown Nominations Commission will become the spiritual leader of not only the Church of England but also the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion, the global network of Anglican churches. The commission, made up of clergy and laypeople, will settle on a candidate before passing its nomination on to British Prime Minister David Cameron. Final appointment will then fall to Queen Elizabeth, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. A date for the announcement has not yet been set. 
The previous Archbishop, Dr. Rowan Williams, who held the position for nearly a decade, announced in March he would be resigning to take up a position as head of Magdalene College, Cambridge. His successor will inherit the ongoing disagreements over gay rights and female bishops that roiled the church during Williams’ tenure. 
Top contenders to take his place include John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, and Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham. Here’s a look at the three men: 
Born in Kampala, Uganda, Sentamu escaped Idi Amin’s dictatorship by emigrating to the U.K. in 1974 to study theology at Cambridge. As the Archbishop of York he is the Church’s number two. He is known for his theatrical style and writes a column for the Sun tabloid newspaper. He once used scissors to cut his dog collar into pieces on live television, promising not to wear it again until the autocratic President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, relinquished power. He has berated bankers for their “massive bonuses” and supports the idea of female bishops. Once a darling of the left, Sentamu fell from grace with the liberal wing of the Church by opposing gay marriage — although he does support civil partnerships. 
Chartres, the Church’s third most senior clergyman, is perhaps the most conservative of the three top nominees. He has dismissed calls to hold civil-partnership ceremonies in London churches, believes gay clergy must live in “the single state” and is skeptical of proposals to appoint female bishops. Despite his traditionalist bent, Chartres, who began his church career after studying history at Cambridge, has advocated cutting the church’s carbon emissions in the name of environmental responsibility. 
Justin Welby has been a bishop for less than a year. Yet the British-born Welby was the bookmakers’ favorite to be the next Archbishop in the run-up to the meeting. Critics fault him for his lack of experience in the Church, but Welby, who came to the Anglican ministry after 11 years in the oil business, has been praised for his real-world experience. Like Sentamu, he opposes gay marriage and is in favor of female bishops. He has also shown an occasional penchant for fun; in June, he revealed, for example, that his father Gavin, who emigrated to New York from London in 1929, traded bootleg whiskey during Prohibition before becoming a major liquor distributor. 
As the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) chews over its options, the church has launched a Twitter hashtag (#prayforthecnc), which it has used to direct Anglicans to a specially written prayer. “Bless with the Spirit’s grace and presence the members of the Crown Nominations Committee,” it reads. Meanwhile, Twitter users have been invited to add their thoughts. Some have joined in calling for prayer, while others have offered advice. The Rev. Laurie Brock of Lexington, Ky., tweeted that “a Survivor-type contest would be a dandy way to select the new Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Read it all here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Virginia Supreme Court to hear The Falls Church Anglican's petition October 16, 2012, in Richmond

From here:

The historic Falls Church, Falls Church, Virginia
Today, the Supreme Court of Virginia informed the parties that it would hear a brief oral argument on October 16, beginning at 1 p.m., on the petition filed by The Falls Church to review the judgment entered against it in Fairfax County Circuit Court. In Virginia, appeals from civil judgments are not a matter of right. Only the Supreme Court hears civil appeals, and it has discretion to refuse review. The purpose of the brief argument is to give the appellant's attorneys an opportunity to emphasize to the Court's writ panel (which will consist of just three of the Court's seven justices) the reasons why it should accept the case for review.

The argument is limited to just ten minutes. Only the appellant's attorneys (the ones who filed the petition seeking review) may argue, but the appellees, their attorneys, and members of the general public may attend and listen to the proceedings. There is more about the writ panel procedure at this link.

The last time this case was before the Virginia Supreme Court, in April 2010, only five of the Court's seven justices heard the case (including two retired senior justices), because four active justices recused themselves (most likely on the ground that they were Episcopalians). Of the active Justices who did not recuse themselves, Justice Cynthia D. Kinser is now the Chief Justice, and the former Chief Justice, Leroy R. Hassell, is no longer on the Court. The only other active Justice who sat on the prior appeal is Justice LeRoy F. Millette. The two senior justices who participated, Justice Elizabeth Lacy and Justice Lawrence Koontz, are still hearing appeals in the place of Justices who recuse themselves.

New on the Supreme Court since the April 2010 hearing are Justice Cleo E. Powell, who began her twelve-year term in October 2011, after serving both in the Circuit Court and on the Court of Appeals, and Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan, who was sworn in in September 2011. Justice Powell belongs to the Baptist Church (her pastor is the current Mayor of Richmond); the religious affiliation of Justice McClanahan, if any, is unknown. 

With Justices Lemons, Goodwyn and Mims likely to recuse themselves again, that would leave three, or potentially four, active Justices available to hear the case. Thus it is likely that one or more of the senior justices will again be called upon to participate, if the petition is accepted.

The decision whether or not to accept the appeal will not be announced for several more weeks after the writ panel meets on October 16.

That date, by the way, is the same day on which the Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in both the Fort Worth and the San Angelo appeals.

Read it all here.

Update: The Diocese of Virginia has released a statement:

September 25, 2012

Dear Friends,

Today, the Supreme Court of Virginia informed us that it will hear the Falls Church Anglican's petition for appeal on Tuesday, October 16 at 1 p.m. This hearing consists of a 10-minute oral argument by the attorneys for the Falls Church Anglican, who will seek to persuade the Court to hear their appeal on the merits. The Supreme Court will decide whether it will hear the case in a few weeks after the hearing. If the appeal is accepted for argument, it is likely to be heard in the first half of next year.

While the litigation process unfortunately does continue with regards to the Falls Church, it is far outshone by the tremendous excitement and energy in Dayspring, the diocesan-wide initiative for ministry in the properties that have returned to the mission of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia. Each Dayspring congregation's faithfulness to God's call is breathtaking. Please look to the Fall 2012 issue of the Virginia Episcopalian magazine to read more about their stories.


Henry D.W. Burt
Secretary and Chief of Staff

The Living Church also has a post here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Guardian interviews J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling has a new book coming out entitle The Casual Vacancy. Here she is interviewed by the Guardian in preparation for the release of the book on September 27, 2012.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bob Dylan releases Tempest

When Bob Dylan releases an album, to have the audacity to review just it just a few of days after its release is, well, pointless.  In the old days we went to the record store, bought the album and then sat there, playing it over and over again on the turntable until we could quote it.  Today we download the album into a our device of choice (in my case, my iPhone) and it follows us everywhere until it really does become the soundtrack of our present life.

That is where I am at this point - Tempest is following me around.

In the meantime, with a major tip of the tinfoil to Sean, here is the song name-checked by Dylan in the current  Rolling Stone cover story interview (an undertaking all by itself).  This is a song for such a week as this.

In the meantime, get your copy of Tempest here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Rowan Williams reflects on what he has learned as Archbishop of Canterbury as search continues for his successor

As the search continues for the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the current Archbishop, Dr. Rowan Williams, reflects on current issues facing the Church of England and the Anglican Communion in this interview with the London Telegraph: