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More pushback on Nye letter

More pushback on Nye letter

As we reported earlier, The publication of a response to the Task Force on the Study of Marriage from William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council in the Church of England continues to stir up angry responses.

The Ecclesial Working Group of the Task Force sent a request for comments to each province of the Anglican Communion, all five of The Episcopal Church’s full communion ecumenical partners, and to the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith, and Order. All were asked the question:

From your perspective and specific setting, what has been the impact of The Episcopal Church’s authorization and use of liturgical rites for same-sex marriage and the blessing of same-sex unions on “the Church”?

Nye replied on behalf of the Church of England in an eight-page letter, but there has been a considerable backlash both to the contents Nye’s letter and to his presumptuiousness in claiming to speak for the leadership of the Church of England.

Now, a group of CoE members have written their own letter and are asking communicant members of the CoE to sign on.  In the first day they have gathered 350 eligible signatures from 41 dioceses, including 2 bishops and 40 members of General Synod.


The letter says;

Mr Nye has mistakenly sent the wrong letter to you regarding your invitation to comment on how your provision of same-sex marriage rites has affected the Church of England.

The one which the majority of us (according to research surveys on attitudes to same-sex marriage amongst English Anglicans) expected him to send simply says:

“Thank you for leading the way on this important issue.  We are grateful that you have recognised that not all married couples can have children and that a gender-neutral approach will enable us to become a loving and inclusive Church for all.  We still have a few problems to sort out over here with those who keep threatening to leave, but we know that your actions have given great hope to thousands and shown that the Church is not as homophobic as it can sometimes appear.”

We therefore want to publicly “dissociate” ourselves from Mr Nye’s initial response and are expecting “stringent consequences” as a result of his actions.


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Prof Christopher Seitz

How exciting! But the letter from the Task Force was sent to the Provincial Secretary. Of course he could have returned it and said, ‘Send it to a research survey,’ but he didn’t. The Task Force can redirect the request to ‘research surveys’ of course. This then gets at what it means to write a Province, which was the agenda of the Task Force, and what it means for an answer to be given. The CofE is at great odds about who speaks for it.

The position of TEC is the least confused part of this entire affair.

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