by Mary Taylor
from Signs of the Times No. 32 - Jan 2009

The council of the Modern Churchpeople's Union (MCU) met November 6 2010 in London's Docklands to develop a strategy for the defense of liberal theology.

Firmly opposed to the proposed Anglican covenant, the group plans to extend its network beyond England, improving links with the Episcopal Church, building branches in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, recruiting a range of ages and denominations, and increasing support among bishops and academic theologians.

by Jonathan Clatworthy
from Signs of the Times No. 32 - Jan 2009

The current debate about women priests and bishops has generated renewed accusations against liberals.  One of the more persistent is that liberals can be quite illiberal about their  beliefs. Is this a fair criticism? Are liberals inclined to be just as dogmatic  as their dogmatising opponents?

Certainly liberals, like everybody else, often fail to understand the logic of beliefs they do not  share. Much of the opposition to women priests and bishops has its conceptual  roots in a particular view of sacramental validity, according to which priests are only priests if they are both validly ordained and also the correct kind of  person – i.e. male. Bread and wine consecrated by a woman priest is invalidly  consecrated and is not therefore the Eucharist, but at least the faithful can  work that out by looking at the shape of the priest’s body. Women bishops, on  the other hand, raise the spectre of a male priest invalidly ordained because  the ordaining bishop was female. Unless his stole is embroidered with the words  ‘I was ordained by a woman’, the Resolution C faithful have no way to  distinguish between valid and invalid Eucharists.

by Jean Mayland
from Signs of the Times No. 32 - Jan 2009

The recent extracts from the biography of Rowan Williams printed in The Times and the Church Times  give  a picture of  our current Archbishop of Canterbury as a  dark bearded young man, who was obviously an object of fascination to young  ladies and who himself was fascinated by Rome.

Fortunately an earthed, scholarly but practical young lady attracted his attention and became his wife.  He in turn decided to remain an Anglican - mainly we are told because he found the doctrine of papal infallibility unacceptable. Yet since he became Archbishop it has been clear that the fascination with Rome still holds him.

by John Saxbee
from Signs of the Times No. 32 - Jan 2009

Can I express gratitude to the Noble Lord, Lord Wakeham for this Report and for the way he has introduced it. 

It is usual for Maiden Speeches to be non-controversial.  So whilst with regard to the Report before us I could challenge some of the data, conclusions and  recommendations – especially insofar as they relate to immigration trends and  economic realities with which I am most familiar in those parts of Lincolnshire dependent on  migrant labour and guest workers for the efficient conduct of  agricultural and food processing operations – I will in fact restrict myself to  offering the least controversial of all possible contributions to this  debate: immigrants are people, human beings, made as much in the image of God as  any of us here.

by Adrian Alker
from Signs of the Times No. 32 - Jan 2009

In years to come our  grandchildren may ask us where we were and what we were doing on the night that Barack Obama was elected the president of the United States of America.

Across  the world and across the generations, races and religions, there has been an  emotional outpouring of excitement and joyous anticipation of the new ‘world to  come’. Of course conservative southern Baptists in the USA are not  well pleased, nor is the Iranian leadership. But rarely in recent decades has  there been such an affirmation of a political leader and such hope expressed  that change is on its way, that the prejudices around class and race are being  confronted, that the overwhelming problems facing our planet, of climate change  and inequality might at last receive serious attention from the world’s most  powerful state.