English Church Press on Southwark … and rumblings in Oxford

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The English Church press has started reporting more extensively on the growing problems in the Diocese of Southwark.

The Church of England Newspaper published yesterday with the following front page and internal story:

The actual list of signatories can be seen and it’s not small. I understand more and more are signing up each day and a website will soon be launched. What began as a localised issue is attracting more and more national attention and support. I understand a mainstream media story is imminent.

This is, of course, not the only part of the crisis in Southwark. As we have already reported (another scoop!) there is further outrage over the choice of Giles Goddard, Rector of St John’s Waterloo and part of the leadership of  both “Inclusive Church” and “Changing Attitude“, to host a full Muslim prayer meeting on his church premises. Goddard has sought to defend his position in an interview with Christian Today’s Ruth Gledhill (in an article which also cites me and our reporting at Stand Firm):

Rev Giles Goddard, vicar of St John’s Waterloo, said his aim was to help his church live out the CofE’s values in central London.

“It is very much about St John’s being a place of welcome,” he told Christian Today. “We understand God as a generous God, a God who celebrates love and celebrates life.

He was committed to engaging with the whole community, he added. “We try and make sure we live that out. In that sense we feel very properly Anglican.”

St John’s recently hosted an “Inclusive Jummah” in partnership with the Inclusive Mosque Initiative. Led by Dr Amina Wadud, it was timed for the run up to International Women’s Day last weekend. Dr Wadud is a long-time campaigner for gender justice in Islam.

St John’s also offers thanksgivings and dedications to couples after civil marriages, including same-sex marriages, although so far no one has requested such a service.

Mr Goddard told Christian Today that everything his church did was legal and within bishops’ guidelines, and in addition, his congregation was growing, and now numbered more than 100 compared to just 60 five years ago.

Anglican Mainstream have an excellent analysis of the various breaches of canon law that Goddard’s actions constitute. Speaking to conservative leaders on the ground I am hearing even greater outrage over this blatant denial of the uniqueness of Christ than over repeated breaches of the national church’s position on human sexuality. I understand a good number have already made representations to the bishop and a formal complaint may be in preparation if nothing transparent and substantial occurs.

But Southwark is not the only place where liberals have been pushing too far. Oxford Diocese conservatives have had enough too. The bishops’ editorial and attached letters page in the recent February 2015 issue of diocesan newspaper “the Door” make for fascinating reading (click on the image for a full-size version)…

[lightbox link=”http://davidould.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Screen-Shot-2015-03-13-at-12.31.07-pm.png” thumb=”http://davidould.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Screen-Shot-2015-03-13-at-12.31.07-pm.png” width=”984″ align=”center” title=””The Door” letters February 2015″ frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=””The Door” letters February 2015″]

Continued attempts by liberals like this to push the revisionist agenda will only serve to further galvanise conservatives and their leaders. They are particularly unhappy that bishops appear utterly unwilling to uphold received doctrine and more than one has observed to me that there appears to be a consistent strategy of liberal bishops simply pointing to the promised “facilitated conversations” rather than upholding church order and maintaining discipline. One frustrated leader described this tactic as a “pathetic” attempt to avoid taking responsibility. Confidence in the “conversations” process has only been further eroded and I find it hard to identify a single conservative leader who is still cautiously positive, let alone optimistic about it.

As always, we’ll try and keep you updated as more news arrives.


The Daily Mail is first mainstream media cab off the rank:

A leading liberal clergyman has come under fire from traditionalist Anglicans after allowing a full Muslim prayer service in his church.
Reverend Giles Goddard, vicar of St John’s in Waterloo, central London, joined in the event by reading a passage from the Bible at the ‘Inclusive Mosque’ event.
He then asked the congregation to praise ‘the god that we love, Allah’, it was reported last night.
It is thought to be the first time an entire Islamic service has been held by the Church of England and has sparked criticism from evangelical clerics.
Orthodox clergyman said the event was against canon law, which prohibits any divergence from the official liturgy.
They argued that it could be ‘offensive’ to Christians who are persecuted for their faith.
Rev Goddard defended his decision to hold the event, describing it as a ‘very moving’ service. He said his intention was simply to offer people a ‘place to pray’.
He told the Christian Today website that everything his church did was legal and within bishops’ guidelines.
Mr Goddard said he was simply offering the Muslims a place to pray, adding that the religions share ‘the same God… the same tradition’
He added: ‘It is very much about St John’s being a place of welcome. We understand God as a generous God, a God who celebrates love and celebrates life.
‘We try and make sure we live that out. In that sense we feel very properly Anglican.’

and the UK Telegraph is also in the running:

A Church of England vicar is facing a storm of protest from traditionalist Christians after allowing a Muslim prayer service to be held in his church.
Dozens of Muslims took part in the “Inclusive Mosque” event at St John’s church, Waterloo in central London, in what is thought to have been the first time a full Islamic prayer service has been held within the Church of England.
The vicar, the Rev Canon Giles Goddard, a prominent liberal cleric, joined in the event, reading a passage from the Bible and inviting the congregation to give thanks to “the God that we love, Allah”.
Canon Goddard, described the service, on Saturday, as “very moving” and said it was simply an expression of the church’s desire to offer people a “place to pray”.

This is simply the best line…

Canon Goddard was approached by a group called the Inclusive Mosque Initiative, which allows both women and men to lead worship, to host the event to mark International Women’s Day.

“I said ‘yes, of course, come’ not realising that this would be controversial,” he said.

“Not realising that this would be controversial”. That’s priceless. Local clergy have described Goddard to me as “deliberate” and as someone who “pushes the envelope and always on the edge”. They don’t appear to take his claim of surprise at the furoré as genuine. For someone always on the edge he now appears to have lurched off the cliff. One prominent evangelical said to me “he’s brought the golden calf into the church”.

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