Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Will any actual discipline be applied?

Re the matter my last two posts have been on, our Archbishops resident in Aotearoa New Zealand have made comment:

"The following is a statement from this church’s two New Zealand-based Anglican Archbishops:

In the light of recent media comment, it is important to clarify and restate the Anglican Church’s commitment to Bible in Schools in this country.

The ecumenical Churches Education Commission offers the Bible in Schools programme, where a school’s board of trustees agrees to provide it.

The Anglican Church in this country has long supported the Churches Education Commission, both financially and in principle, and will continue to do so.

If a school’s boards of trustees, which is the parents’ elected representative body, wants to offer this spirituality and values approach to the Bible outside of the school day, it has always seemed to us to be desirable to do so – and a perfectly reasonable provision in a democracy and in terms of Tomorrows’ Schools.

There are, in fact, many boards who choose not to offer Bible in Schools – and many boards who do believe it is appropriate.

Furthermore, even where a school does host this programme, pupils do not have to attend this part of the day. 

This is long-standing agreement which honours the freedom of choice we enjoy in this country, as well as the right of parents to influence their children's spiritual and moral development. 

We honour the work of the hundreds of volunteers who continue, in a loving, sensitive and non-manipulative way, to offer access, when asked, to this heritage in our schools.

++ David Moxon, Archbishop of the New Zealand dioceses.

++ Brown Turei, Pihopa of Aotearoa."

It wasn't me who wrote to them!

Why not name the actual person responsible for the "media comment"? How is the average Anglican who missed the papers or the news show going to make sense of this without a name to Google up?

At this stage there is no reference to this on Taonga ...  An article with links is now up on Taonga

Nevertheless I am grateful that our Archbishops are onto the case.

UPDATE: As is Bishop Ross Bay, Bishop of Auckland in this not-mentioning-any-errant-clerics-by-actual-name media release

As commenters are asking, will any actual discipline be applied by either the Bishop of Auckland or the Archbishops to Clay Nelson? This discipline need not be in terms of a "Title D action." It could be in a reprimand and an instruction not to engage with the media in terms which bring the good name of the Anglican church as a church with doctrine, gospel and mission in the name of Jesus Christ into disrepute.

Rightly some commenters are asking, how can we be a church which seemingly offers no discipline to clergy who mock and send up our faith, disparage the work of Christians, and generally give evidence in public to not agreeing with the classic creeds of Christian orthodoxy.

Does Anglicanism in NZ have any lines in the sand or is it just an endless beach of shifting sands?


Zane Elliott said...

Hi Peter,
+Ross must have read your blog too... he has 'manned up' and issued the following wet bus ticket

Could have been worse, it will be interesting to see if any real disciplinary action is taken against Rev Nelson.

Father Ron Smith said...

"This is long-standing agreement which honours the freedom of choice we enjoy in this country, as well as the right of parents to influence their children's spiritual and moral development.

"We honour the work of the hundreds of volunteers who continue, in a loving, sensitive and non-manipulative way, to offer access, when asked, to this heritage in our schools."

- Archbishops Moxon and Turei -

The 2 Archbishops of ACANZ have chosen to thus address the matter of Christian Education in schools. I think that what they have said is perfectly consonant with reality, - needing no hysterical reaction from Anglicans who undertake to provide education for their own children either at home or in the parish.

We Anglicans have no prior rights to pursue the indoctrination of non-Christians in state schools with what they might regard as sectarian material.

After all, if every official religious organisation were to pursue this course, there would be real problems in our schools.

Freedom for all religious traditions means just that, freedom Religion is best taught in the particular religious setting - or in the home, by parents. Unless, of course it is taught as part of a comparitive religous studies programme.

Janice said...

Is there any online place where I can get a look at a sample lesson for an NZ BIS class? The emphasis on values doesn't sound much like what we do in Australian Scripture or RI classes where I've taught in two different public school systems.

Anonymous said...

Well, Peter, you're linked on Titusonenine now, so maybe people in the US will be a little more aware of Tec-style influences in the NZ church.
At the same time, I would like to hear leaders of bigger Anglican churches in Ak, like St Paul's Symonds Street, speak up in a way that shows they understand biblical theology and not just the ways of urban cool.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Janice
I am not sure that the answer to your question is on the site (I don't have time to look myself) but CEC's site is

Peter Carrell said...

(Lightly moderated comment from Shawn)

"We Anglicans have no prior rights to pursue the indoctrination of non-Christians in state schools with what they might regard as sectarian material."


The Bible on Schools program is VOLUNTARY.

Parents must choose freely to allow their children to attend. Thus your and Clay's claim that the program violates religious freedom is wrong.

You are attacking the religious freedom of those parents and children who voluntarily choose to use the program.

And anybody claiming that children coloring in Bible pictures has anything to do with "sectarianism" is simply ignorant of how the program works.

Have you even bothered to look at the content of Bible in Schools?

And how does your claim to be opposed to discrimination on the basis of creed square with your uninformed bigotry and attacks on those whom you dismiss as "sects"?

I have already demonstrated that you have no clue what those Chirches teach, yet you continue to publicly misrepresent them, and you continue to make woefully inaccurate and prejudiced claims about what they teach?

I am publicly asking you Ron to provide evidence that the Bible in Schools program is teaching anything that could be described as "sectarian", let alone anything that would conform to your notions of "fundamentalism".

If you cannot provide this evidence then you owe the many Christians of all denominations who voluntarily provide their time for the program, and the organization itself, a public apology for maligning them and making false claims about what they are teaching children.

[Moderator comment: I share Shawn's concerns. I just need the tone/volume of concern to be lowered a little so the general atmosphere re commenting here is congenial and not so combative. As the late Sir Paul Reeves once said to me, It's the adjectives that are the problem in public statements].

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Peter. It sounded better after your edit anyway!

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I have taught Religious Education in three different primary schools. At one stage, I had children of Muslin and Jewish faith together in the same class with children of Christian background - Maori, Pacifica and Pakeha.

The reason being (for the muslim refugee children, anyway) was the parents desire for the children to understand the religious roots of the culture of which they had become a part.

Later, when there was sufficient numbers, the muslim children had their own class. The main difficulty was the disruption it caused the teachers at the start of the school day rather than whether the parents objected or not.

However, the teachers were happy to put up with the disruptive, because they commented to me that the RE program brought a greater cohesion to the cultural and religious diversity of the school. Far from making it more "sectarian", the school was able to talk about respecting the beliefs and culturals of others.

It taught me that it is a myth to say that religion is divisive and that secularism leads to a more tolerant society. In fact, it seems to be that american styled secularism can easily become the most intolerant of all.

By the way, the muslim children loved sing carols at Christmas!


Anonymous said...

The claim by Clay Nelson and those supporting him that the Bible in Schools program violates the Bill of Rights, infringes on religious freedom, is "indoctrination"" and so forth is provably false.

The program is voluntary. Parents consent for their children to attend. Thus, being a voluntary program it cannot possibly violate anyones rights.

Various other claims attacking the ministry have been thrown around in an attempt to bolster Clay's weak argument but none that I have seen can be taken seriously as they are not based on facts.

There is an important matter of justice at stake in this. Freedom of voluntary association is one of the most important rights that we have, one that is absolutely vital to a free society. Clay's attack on the program is an attack on that right, an attempt to deprive parents of the right to freely choose to use this program.

This issue raises some important questions that Anglican in general, and specifically those who volunteer their time and effort to this ministry, deserve some answers to from the leadership of our Church.

Is it appropriate for an ordained minister of the Church to engage in undermining a ministry of the Church, especially when he has no good reason to do so?

Is it appropriate for an ordained minister of the Church to publicly take sides with militant anti-Christian secularists?

Is it in accordance with ACANZP's commitment to social justice for an ordained minister of the Church to engage in a campaign to undermine the right to voluntary association, and to engage in a campaign to advocate the use of the brute force of State power to undermine that right?

At what point does an ordained minister in the Church who brings the Church into disrepute, damages our relationships with other Churches , attack a ministry that has our leaders public support, and attempts to strip parents of the God given right to choose religious instruction for their children, so abuse his position that he is, at the very least, disciplined and cautioned by his Bishop?

Less silence and side stepping from our leaders and more answers and action is needed.

Anonymous said...

Shawn I must say well done to you. It is so comforting to see someone from the Anglican church not trying to sweep Clay Nelson's abuse of his position under the carpet. To appear publicly on TV dressed in priestly robes and discrediting God's work is nothing but disgraceful and underminds all Christians not just the Anglicans. Yes let us all stand up for God's work and not be silent. Since viewing his comments I was shocked to find out other antics he has got up to in the past and he's still a leader in a church. Something very wrong here. Do the Anglicans not have church elders like other churches do, to oversee and deal with bad behaviour within their members?


Father Ron Smith said...

"Do the Anglicans not have church elders like other churches do, to oversee and deal with bad behaviour within their members?" - 'Kathy'

Ah, cracked it! S.D.A.

Well, Shawn you appear to have a fan here from an unexpected source.

Anonymous said...


Presbyterian churches have elders too, as do many others. I have no idea what Church Kathy belongs too, I just wish we had far more people like her in ACANZP and far less, if any at all, of the likes of Clay Nelson and Glynn Cardy.

Anonymous said...

By the way Ron, do you have that evidence yet backing up your claims and attacks against the Bible in Schools program?

Anonymous said...

Thought I would introduce myself as read a comment (Ron Smith) thinking I may be Seven Day Adventist.
Firstly I am a Christian. To my understanding the people are the church. The buildings we call churches are the sign post or a place of worship. I am a member of the Baptist church and am so happy we do not have any Clay's and Glynn's in our church. If any corrupted people like him, decided to come to our church they would not be allowed to dishonor our God, or show the contempt for those doing God's work. Would not get away with underminding the Bible like Clay has and still be a member of our church. I do BIS in our small town along with the Presbyterian pastor and two of their members, An Anglican Priest, and 3 other Baptist members. We have both our Baptist pastors fill in if needed if any of the regular BIS teachers are absent. As our pastor along with a couple of others teach at the other primary school in town. The Assembly of God pastor's wife teaches the smaller country school of which a couple of us have filled in for her at times. The beauty of our town is our churches work together. Every month that has a 5th Sunday in it, we have a combine church service that evening, with these churches plus the Sallies. We have turns at hosting the combine Easter and Christmas day services too. Our main focus is our Lord Christ, as it should be all about Him always.
May God Bless you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Kathy. Having come to Christ through the charismatic movement I agree that we should consider ourselves Christians first. Denominations are not part of God's original plan for the Church.

Great to hear about the fantastic work being done where you live, and the cooperation between your local churches .That is true inclusive Christianity, not the liberal version which claims to be inclusive but then excludes people it defines as "fundamentalists" and "sectarians".

Jeff McClintock said...

The Archbishops are wrong.
Many Schools disguise Bible in School as 'Values' education. My school's consent form asked "Do you want to participate in Values" class. This misleads parents, how can you teach morals via dishonesty?
As for 'outside the school day', that's rubbish too. My daughter's Bible class at Red Beach primary is at 9:15 AM. The school declares itself 'technically closed' at this time. Again - completely misleading. This is the NORM in NZ.
As for children not having to attend - Kids at Torbay primary have been told there is not alternative class, they can pick up rubbish instead.
This farcical system is GIVING GOOD CHRISTIANS A BAD NAME.
It's time to look outside your own self-interest and stand up for what's morally right.