Interview with Church of England in South Africa Presiding Bishop Desmond Inglesby

Over at Virtue Online:

VIRTUEONLINE sat down with the Church of England in South Africa (CESA) Presiding Bishop Desmond Inglesby at the GAFCON conference in London and talked about his church, his relationship with GAFCON and the rest of the Anglican Communion. The Presiding Bishop of his church is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a delegate to the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) conference held at St. Mark’s Church, Battersea Rise, London.

VOL: The Church of England in South Africa (CESA) was constituted in 1938 as a federation of churches. Your first bishop, the Rt. Rev. G. Frederick B. Morris was appointed in 1955. You are an Anglican church, but you are not a member of the Anglican Communion. However, you relate closely to the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia, to which you are similar in ethos and theology. You see yourselves as a bastion of the Reformation and particularly of reformed doctrine. Is that a correct understanding of the situation as it was then and still exists today?

INGLESBY: Yes that is correct. We are a Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church. We subscribe to the 39 Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. These collectively are the touchstone of true Anglicanism since the Reformation in England.

VOL: Presiding Bishop, with the growing realignment in the Anglican Communion among orthodox (evangelical) Anglicans globally, where do you see the place of the Church of England in South Africa? Do you see yourself having a place at the table of global orthodox Anglicanism?

INGLESBY: We received an invitation to GAFCON 1 and the recent FCA Leadership conference. We are very grateful that the GAFCON Primates saw their way clear to inviting us. We see their invitation as their acceptance and recognition of CESA. Because we are Anglicans, we are delighted to be part of GAFCON/FCA and will endeavour to do whatever we can to build up the fellowship of the Anglican Communion.

VOL: Do you think the FCA is the (new) vehicle to unite all evangelical Anglicans globally? Would you be happy to see FCA be the uniting force for ALL evangelical Anglicans in southern Africa? Would you work towards that end now that you have been attending this conference in London?

INGLESBY: Yes I do. I was very encouraged to see the focus on Biblical truth at the recent FCA Leadership Conference. With a theme like ‘The Uniqueness and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ’, the emphasis was clearly on the gospel. GAFCON/FCA is providing clear Biblical leadership where Canterbury has failed.

FCA in South Africa is still in its infancy and is a work in progress. It falls mainly under the control of evangelicals in ACSA. Historically ACSA has been regarded as the “official” Anglican Church in South Africa. CESA affirmed the Jerusalem Declaration at its Synod in 2008. In my opinion, there is still work to be done to strengthen FCA’s hand in Southern Africa if it is going to unite all evangelical Anglicans in Southern Africa.

VOL: With the decline of the Church of England (in England) it would seem oxymoronic to still cling to this name to describe yourselves. Do you anticipate changing it in the future?

INGLESBY: We are in the process of considering a name change. The name ‘Church of England in South Africa’ is an anomaly. It has colonial overtones and, to some extent, is linked with Apartheid. More importantly, we need to align ourselves with the Anglican Church worldwide. Most Anglican provinces changed their name about 20-30 years ago. In choosing a new name, we must clearly identify ourselves as Anglicans and seek in this capacity to reach the “new” South Africa.

VOL: In the United States, evangelical Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics reside, if somewhat uneasily together, under the umbrella of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as a front against the ultra-liberal Episcopal Church. Could such a coalescence of evangelical Anglicans be possible in South Africa?

INGLESBY: In South Africa we have the unusual but not unique situation where there is more than one Anglican denomination. I’m aware of at least 4 – ACSA (Anglican Church of Southern Africa) TAC (Traditional Anglican Church) ACC (Anglican Catholic Church) & CESA. They are all separate and quite different in character. Over time there have been some fierce legal battles fought between CESA & ACSA (who share a common heritage), but these are something of the past. Although we remain separate, we do co-exist harmoniously. A combined ACSA/CESA liaison committee meets once year to keep the lines of communication open. Structurally, we will always remain separate, but I think that GAFCON can provide an umbrella under which we can co-operate and fellowship together.

VOL: The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has been bought lock, stock and barrel by the Episcopal Church who has poured millions of dollars over the years into this province breaking the unified orthodox Anglican front on that continent. Do you see any hope that this Anglican province will repent of its positions on homosexuality, gay marriage and more?

INGLESBY: I am aware that Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori recently visited South Africa. I am not privy to the financial arrangements between ACSA and TEC. If ACSA or any other denomination condones the ordination of homosexual clergy, the consecration of homosexual Bishops or accepts gay marriages, they should repent and return to Biblical standards. In my opinion, they will only repent if they see that these practices as sinful and in conflict with the clear teaching of God’s word.

VOL: What is CESA’s views on the ordination of women to either the Diaconate or priesthood?

INGLESBY: CESA recognizes the invaluable contribution that women make to gospel ministry and the life of the church. That women play a strategic role in gospel ministry is clearly evident in our Lord’s ministry. We have women involved, some employed, in many areas of ministry. Our understanding is that God’s order for women in the home is the same for the church. Women are not called to teach, preach or lead in the public congregation where men are present. Women are equal but different to men. They are specifically called to teach women. CESA does not ordain women to either the diaconate or priesthood.

VOL: Your predecessor Bishop Frank J. Retief was not invited to attend the Lambeth Conference held in 2008 either as a Bishop of the Anglican Church or as a Bishop of the church in full communion with the Anglican Communion. Do you think things will change enough in the next few years that you might be invited to attend the next Lambeth in 2018?

INGLESBY: The fact that CESA Bishops are not invited to Lambeth remains a mystery to us. It would be enlightening for us to know on what grounds we are excluded. Stephen Hofmeyr (QC) points out that Bishop Morris as Bishop in North Africa had been a member of the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Conference since 1948, but as Bishop in the Church of England in South Africa he was not invited in 1958. Quoting Stephen: “If the Anglican Communion were to abide by its own standards, CESA, it seems, should be one of its component parts – contributing to the Anglican Communion and receiving a contribution from the Anglican Communion. One can only hope that, when future invitations are sent out for the Lambeth Conference, a spirit of truth and love will prevail.”



New Pastor Named for US Ordinariate’s Principal Church

Catholic Online:

Our Lady of Walsingham Parish in Houston, Texas will have new leader.

Our Lady of Walsingham parish in Houston, TX serves as the principal church for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Formerly an Anglican Use parish of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, the parish was reassigned to the Ordinariate by Cardinal DiNardo. Similar to a diocese, though national in scope, the Ordinariate was established by Pope Benedict XVI on January 1, 2012

Houston, TX (Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter) – Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, announces the appointment of a new pastor for the principal church of the Ordinariate, Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, TX. Father James Ramsey, the pastor, retired on April. 30.

Charles Hough, IV, who has received the necessary permission from the Holy See to be ordained as a Catholic priest, will assume this office on July 1, after his ordination. He and his wife, Lindsay, together with their two sons, will move from Fort Worth to Houston in June.

“Chuck Hough comes from a family with a very distinguished record of ministry, and he has himself demonstrated significant leadership gifts while serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth,” said Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson. “His father served for many years as canon to the ordinary in Fort Worth, one of the best mentors for ministry there can be.”

He was received into the Catholic Church during the Anglican Use Conference in Arlington, TX, a year ago. A former Anglican priest, he has been preparing for Catholic ordination through the Ordinariate’s formation program at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, one of three bishops initially appointed by the Holy See to oversee the creation of the new Ordinariate, will ordain him a priest in June.

“A passion to teach and to live the Catholic faith, the energy and vision to expand the mission of Our Lady of Walsingham, and a commitment to the new evangelization to which Pope Benedict XVI has called the Church — these are some of the key criteria for calling a new pastor to Our Lady of Walsingham. I am confident that Fr. Hough will bring this kind of leadership to our principal church,” said Msgr. Steenson.

Msgr. Steenson also thanked Bishop Vann for his pastoral support of the Houghs on the journey to full communion. “This partnership between the local diocese and the Ordinariate lies at the heart of Pope Benedict’s intention for this work of Christian unity. Fr. Hough will continue to deepen the close ties that exist between the Ordinariate parish of Our Lady of Walsingham and the wider Catholic community of Houston.”

Charles Hough was ordained an Episcopal priest in 2007 after completing studies at the Nashotah House Theological Seminary. He served as curate at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Texas and, from 2009-2011, as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Texas. In June 2011, during the Anglican Use Conference held in Arlington, Texas, he was received into the Catholic Church by Fort Worth Bishop Kevin Vann. Since that time, he has worked with adult religious education and RCIA programs at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller, Texas. He is expected to be ordained a Catholic priest in June 2012, after completing his studies.

Similar to a diocese, though national in scope, the Ordinariate was established by Pope Benedict XVI on January 1, 2012 after repeated requests from Anglican clergy and groups who were seeking to join the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage. Approximately 60 Anglican priests are in formation to be ordained Catholic priests for the Ordinariate.


Bible Archaeology

How Do We Know the Holy Sites are Authentic

Writes Steve Ray:

Today I received an e-mail from a man whose Protestant friend just returned from the Holy Land a bit disillusioned and skeptical. Here is the e-mail I received:

Hi Steve, Here’s the question in brief (read more if you have time). How do we know that the sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are authentic?

A Protestant friend of mine recently took a trip to the Holy Land and when he returned we had some discussions about the sites. He raised his doubts about the authenticity of some of the sites, and in particular about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He made some disparaging comments about “the liturgical church” and how they build churches on top of everything (in a tone as if they have been ruined or desecrated), and how they don’t even know that they are the real locations.

So my question to you: How do we know that these sites are authentic. I’m sure you don’t have time to give a full dissertation, but if you could point me to a good book or website I would appreciate it. Thanks for all you good work.

Historical Progression of Church of Holy Sepulchre
I responded briefly below. I had no time to craft my response carefully but wrote it in the few minutes I have. My next group is arriving and there is a lot to do here in Galilee to get ready.Greetings from Galilee and the AUTHENTIC sites of Our Lord and Lady. I wrote three articles I hope you find helpful:

I wrote three articles I hope you find helpful:

1) Holy Sites: Are these the Actual Locations.

2) Holy Ground: Thoughts on Visiting Israel.

3) Archaeology: The Stones Cry Out

My guess is your friend had a Jewish guide and like most of them he was an unbelieving skeptic. I listen to them speak to their groups and it is too often a travesty. People often leave with less faith than when they arrived due to the way the guides belittle Catholic sentiments, turning a tour into a political trip.

The site of the birth of Christ and Calvary and the Tomb are NOT up for questions (thought some Protestants have their own alternate site which is obviously not authentic, read about it in my book St. John’s Gospel). The Catholic sites are historically, archaeologically and biblically certain. They have been from the first centuries.

Our Group at Holy Sepulchre Learning and Praying at Authentic Sites
Most Protestants dislike them because they are “liturgical,” very Catholic and Orthodox. Protestants are the Johnny-come-latelys and as such they feel neglected and out of place in most of the holy sites. While Catholics celebrate the age-old Mass in the holy sites like we’ve done for 2,000 years, the Protestants are relegated to sitting under a tree reading the Bible and singing hymns, learning from their guides why no one really knows anything for sure.Once I heard a Jewish guide say to a Catholic group in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre: “Here we are at what some people believe is the place Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead (he actually believes neither). No one knows if this is really the place. It is all a matter of your faith. OK, look around and let’s go to the next site.”

The Real Place the Resurrection Took Place
With our groups we give the reasons we KNOW it is the site based on good evidence and history and archaeology, we pray the Sorrowful Mysteries and gather in front of the Tomb for a Mass and as the priest comes out of the Tomb with the consecrated host we see Jesus come out of the Tomb again sacramentally.I understand your friend since I see it every day. I feel sorry for those who’ve spent a lot of money to see this land and understand their faith and often go home less sure then when they came. It is not ALL groups but is all to frequent. I don’t want to hear from the exception to this travesty since I know there are exceptions, but I see the other far too often.

You can be sure about the sites (at least the major ones) and when I lead a group people are in tears and full of joy and discovery and go home better Catholics, sure of their faith and ready to die for Christ if need be…