The Bishop of Rochester, Nazir Ali, one of the few leaders of the Church of England (Episcopalians) to show dangerous signs of Christianity (!) has resigned. Most sources attribute this to despair at the Church leadership ,[aka Rowan Williams] and its failure to stand up for Christian values.
I'm with him on this and his despair at the way the CoE is so defeatist about the dominance of Islam. Why is it that he and Bishop Sentamu in York speak up for the English more than the English do?
Nazir Ali was persecuted for his faith. Rowan Williams is a waffling would-be politician but one who doesn’t bother to learn what he's talking about, as we saw from his espousal of the Climate Change bandwagon this week in face of all the scientific evidence to the contrary. .
The fact that the CoE is an established church has its problems. Nazir Ali might even now have been the inspiring leader of Britain's best known religious organisation, but Moslems objected! Rowan Williams, who joined the druids before he became Archbishop of Canterbury, ticked all the right boxes with the politically correct. Here's the story from The Times, of London.
Bishop of Rochester to resign a decade early
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
One of the Church of England's most outspoken bishops has announced that he is to resign a decade early to devote the rest of his life to work with Christians in Islamic areas.
The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Church's only Asian bishop, who is just 59 and could have stayed at Rochester until his 70th birthday, intends to use his expertise as an Islamic scholar to work in Pakistan where he was born and in the Middle East to build bridges between Christians and Muslims.
A conservative evangelical, he will step down in September after nearly 15 years in the diocese.
Dr Michael Nazir-Ali was one of the favourites to succeed Dr George Carey as Archbishop of Canterbury. Opposition from some in Britain's Muslim community is thought to have been one factor that cost him the job.
[Why should people of another faith have any influence at all in such a matter ? -cs]
In February last year he was placed under police protection after he and his family received death threats over his claim that parts of Britain had become “no-go areas” for non-Muslims.
The diocese said this morning: "Bishop Michael is hoping to work with a number of church leaders from areas where the church is under pressure, particularly in minority situations, who have asked him to assist them with education and training for their particular situation. Details of this arrangement are still being worked out."
Bishop Michael, who will be 60 in August, is the 106th Bishop of Rochester. He is originally from Asia and was the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England. He was appointed to Rochester in 1994. Before that he was the General Secretary of the Church Mission Society and before that Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan and theological Assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Since 1999 he has also been a member of the House of Lords where he has been active in a number of areas of national and international concern.
He has been outspoken in his criticism of the pro-gay multi-cultural agenda in both secular society and within the Anglican Communion and was a speaker at last summer's meeting of leaders of the Global South in Jerusalem, the movement set up in opposition to the pro-gay provinces in the Communion. Were evangelical churches in the Church of England to seek an "alternative" bishop to lead them or provide oversight, Dr Nazir-Ali would be an obvious choice, although one insider close to the bishop said any such speculation was "hypothetical".
In February he criticised "secularist agendas which marginalise all faith but seem especially hostile to Christianity."
He said: "The long withdrawing roar of the sea of faith seems to be getting louder: nurses cannot pray, the Creed cannot be recited at Christian services for fear of offending non-believers, Christian marriage counsellors are removed because they believe in Christian marriage and Christian adoption agencies cannot be publicly funded because they believe that children are best brought up in a family with a mother and father to look after them and provide appropriate role-models for their personal development and relationships."
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said: "Bishop Michael's decision to undertake this new and very challenging ministry will leave a real gap in the ranks of English bishops. His enormous theological skill, his specialist involvement in the complex debates around bioethics, his wide international experience and his clarity of mind and expression have made him a really valuable colleague, and he has served the Church and the wider society with dedication and distinction.
"In his new work with churches in minority situations, he will need all our prayer and support. It is a courageous initiative and a timely one. I am personally very glad that I shall still be able to draw on his expertise and friendship, and wish him every strength and blessing in his work."
The Bishop of Tonbridge, Dr Brian Castle said: “Bishop Michael has had a distinguished ministry locally, nationally and internationally. He has been a true prophet in the way that he has courageously spoken out against both injustice and compromising the Word of God. His talks and statements, always prayerfully conceived, are listened to carefully, even by those who disagree with him. His Presidential Addresses at Diocesan Synod merit publication. Bishop Michael, so faithfully supported by Valerie, has exercised a leadership which inspires, challenges and takes full account of the complexities of contemporary culture, ensuring that the structures of the diocese serve its vision. He will be greatly missed by Rochester whose people he has faithfully loved and nurtured over the years.”
The Dean of Rochester, the Very Rev Adrian Newman, said:“B ishop Michael has exercised an influential and high profile ministry within and well beyond the Diocese of Rochester. His passion for making Christ known is matched only by his ability to communicate across cultural divisions, and this has opened doors of influence that he has always been courageous enough to walk through, often at personal cost. It has been a privilege to serve alongside him within the Diocese, and I am delighted that his unique gifts will continue to be offered to the wider life of church and society.”
His farewell service for the diocese will be held at Rochester Cathedral on 12 September 2009.
Dr Nazir-Ali was the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England and was educated in Pakistan where he was born, reading economics, social history and Islamic history at the University of Karachi and then coming to England to read theology at Fitzwilliam College and Ridley Hall, Cambridge.
In Pakistan, Michael taught at Karachi Theological College, worked as a parish priest in a poor urban area, became Provost of Lahore Cathedral and was consecrated the first Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan. In 1986 he was appointed to assist with the planning and preparation for the 1988 Lambeth Conference, and so joined the staff of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Britain.
Bishop Michael is married to Valerie, and they have two sons.