Friday, December 05, 2003


Charles Walmsley from InclusiveChurch.Net (for which I'm on the steering group) had this letter published in The Church Times -- the main Church of England newspaper -- on Friday 28 November 2003:

"[T]hank you for your warm review of our website (Web News, 21st November). In her review, Sarah Meyrick describes Inclusive Church as 'the liberal group'. It is an easy mistake to make, but it is far from accurate. The huge upsurge of concern following the forced withdrawl of Canon Jeffrey John was not confined to 'liberals', and of the nearly eight thousand individuals who have currently signed our declaration of belief, many would describe themselves as Catholic or Evangelical. More than 90 Parochial Church Councils have signed so far, as have many organisations, including Cathedrals, Fransiscan orders, and entire deanery synods.

"Inclusive Church is not a single-issue pressure group. Rather, it is concerned to work and pray for an inclusive Anglicanism that is founded on a just ordering of our common life that 'opens the ministries of deacon, priest and bishop to those so called to serve by God, regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation'.

"There will be debate within the Church about how this is to be achieved, and there will be many different theologies. But all those who wish to see our church life founded on a just order will be welcomed to contribute within Inclusive regardless of the labels others give them. We are already developing a network of support for a number of specific pressure groups who have been working long and hard over the years and who have achieved a great deal already, as well as a network of diocesan coordinators.

"There is a profound sea-change occurring within Anglicanism at the moment, and it is focussed not on the specific issues of women or sexuality. Rather, it is about the soul of Anglicanism itself. Many of us within Inclusive wish to work and pray for an Anglicanism that is open, inclusive and just. We do not believe that Anglicanism should be forced by power plays into a narrow sectarian framework.

"It is not a matter of biblical theology versus liberal freedom, but of a working and praying together to enrich our common life with a deeper understanding of God's love for his creation expressed in scripture, tradition, reason, and the experience of our common life in Christ. It is not going to be an easy task."

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