Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 16 June 2021

Helen King sharedconversations Rewriting your history: thinking about the Winchester case

Nicholas Henshall ViaMedia.News Making Ourselves ‘Other’

David Goodhew The Living Church Beijing’s Man in the Anglican Communion

Christina Beardsley Unadulterated Love Trans leaders and CA England advise Bishop of London a working group to consider gender identity and transition is unadvisable

Archbishop Cranmer Who wrote the ‘Dirty Dossier’ on the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford?

26 Comments

2020 Church Commissioners’ Annual Report

The Church Commissioners have released their annual report for 2020 today. The report (an 83-page pdf) can be downloaded here. There is an accompanying press release, which is copied below.

Church Commissioners report strong long-term investment performance
15/06/2021

Continued strong long-term investment performance enabled the Church Commissioners to extend financial support to the Church of England during the pandemic

Church Commissioners also give confidence about maintaining distributions through this triennium and the next

Determined action on climate change continues whilst the Church Commissioners deepen its focus as Responsible Investors on twin pillars: Respect for People, Respect for the Planet
(more…)

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Safeguarding process finally concluded for Lincoln Canon

789 days after he was first asked to “step aside” from his role as Canon Chancellor, Church of England processes have cleared him completely. He had been acquitted of any criminal charge by a Cardiff jury in December 2020.

The Church Times reports Safeguarding process drove us close to suicide, says Lincoln canon

THE Canon Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral, the Revd Dr Paul Overend, and his wife, Sue, contemplated suicide because of the safeguarding investigation that he faced, he said on Sunday.

On Saturday, it was announced that a church investigation had concluded that there was “no case to answer” after a protracted investigation by the police and the church authorities.

In a personal statement that was read out on Sunday, Canon Overend writes: “The diocese and the Church of England will now need to take stock of their safeguarding and CDM processes, which have harmed a great number of people and brought my wife and me close to suicide.”

He said on Monday that, at one point, his wife had been admitted to the Maytree Respite Centre in London for residential suicide-prevention care…

Statement from the Diocese of Lincoln

Statement from Lincoln Cathedral

16 Comments

Opinion – 12 June 2021

Rob Price The Living Church The Distance of the Performer

David Walker ViaMedia.News Banning Conversion Therapy Must “Focus on the Victim Not the Perpetrator”
There are related news items in The Guardian and Church Times.

Archbishop Cranmer Christ Church Cathedral Oxford blocks its own Canon on Twitter
Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Ritual for Blocking a Cathedral Canon on Twitter

Kate Gibson Rylands Blog Finding faith in the urban archive

Pip Martin Church Times This traumatised nation needs open churches
“Keeping the doors unlocked shows pandemic-scarred parishioners that they are not alone”

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Apology without Change is Manipulation

13 Comments

Opinion – 9 June 2021

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Safeguarding and the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM)

Peter Leonard ViaMedia.News Trigger Warning!

3 Comments

Opinion – 5 June 2021

Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law Celebrating the Lord’s Day: The Ecclesiastical Regulation of Sunday

Laudable Practice Credo in unum Deum: how contemporary Trinity Sunday Proper Prefaces obscure monotheism

Nick Bundock ViaMedia.News “Another Way is Possible….”

43 Comments

General Synod elections 2021

The Church of England has published a series of documents about the conduct of the elections to General Synod that will take place this summer, starting very shortly after the close of the July group of sessions. Although much of this is aimed at those conducting the elections, the documents will be of wider interest.

Not included in these documents are the numbers of proctors (clergy) and laity to be elected by dioceses, but they can be found in GS 2203.

There is also some information aimed at those considering standing for election.

6 Comments

CDM complaint against Dean of Christ Church dismissed

Updated yet again Saturday (scroll down)

The President of Tribunals, Dame Sarah Asplin has issued her decision, dated 28 May, concerning the CDM complaint made last November by Graham Ward in respect of the alleged conduct of Martyn Percy on 4 October. This follows an investigation by the Designated Officer, whose report she received on 25 May.

We first reported on this matter on 19 November, and then again on 9 January, 8 February, 19 February, 11 March, 17 March. This decision reported today relates only to the CDM action, not to the other complaints made elsewhere.

A redacted version of her decision (3 pages) can be found here. I recommend reading it in full. It concludes thus:

9. When determining whether there is a case to answer upon which a disciplinary tribunal should adjudicate, I must also bear in mind that the CDM is designed to deal with serious misconduct and that section 8(1)(d) of the CDM should be read in that light. Proportionality must also be borne in mind. Would it be proportionate to refer this matter to a tribunal for adjudication?

10. In my judgment, having considered all the evidence including the interviews conducted by the Designated Officer, the answer is “no”. Although I do not intend to trivialise Ms X’s allegations in any way, it seems to me that it would not be proportionate to refer this matter to a tribunal. The incident itself was extremely short, the alleged hair stroking was even shorter and the language and the conduct as a whole was not overtly sexual. If this is put together with: the fact that Ms X accepts that she was not upset in any way; stated originally that she was not perturbed (albeit she told the police that she was concerned what would happen next); the incident took place in a room which was or could be accessed by others; and Miss X stated that she would have accepted an apology if the Dean had admitted what she says took place, it seems to me that it is entirely disproportionate that this matter should be referred to a tribunal. When arriving at this conclusion I also take into account that Christ Church itself has instigated its own inquiry into the incident. It seems to me therefore, that there is another means of redress which is a more proportionate means of addressing alleged incidents. Accordingly, whilst in no way condoning the alleged behaviour, if it is proved to have taken place, I consider that this matter is not suitable to be referred to a tribunal.

The Church Times reports, with some additional detail: Dean Percy allegation does not warrant a CDM tribunal, judge rules.

Among the extra information, the appointment of Rachel Crasnow QC as chair of the new tribunal convened by Christ Church, is reported.

The reference in the decision to a letter from WSLaw is amplified:

Dame Sarah says in her Decision that she has “taken no account” of an email by Alison Talbot of Winckworth Sherwood, the law firm that has been representing Christ Church in its actions against Dean Percy. In the email, Ms Talbot is concerned that the CDM process might give weight to a legal opinion commissioned by friends of the Dean from the human-rights barristers Edward Fitzgerald QC and Paul Harris in March, that the alleged incident “even if true, could not justify the decision to appoint the second tribunal” at Christ Church.

Ms Talbot writes: “In case any weight is being placed on that opinion by either the NST or those conducting the CDM process we would like to make it clear that we consider that opinion to have been based on only part of the facts and ChCh has had several opinions from highly qualified legal experts expressing the contrary view.”

Updates

Christ Church has issued the following statement today:

Christ Church statement in response to media interest

1 June 2021

When a current member of Christ Church staff made an allegation of sexual harassment against a senior member in October 2020, we followed our formal internal processes. It is important that every member of our community has the right to come forward and make such a complaint, and Christ Church unequivocally condemns sexual harassment in any form.

Christ Church, as an employer, a charity, and an educational and religious institution, will always treat such an allegation with the utmost seriousness. In March 2021, Christ Church published an independent report by President of Welsh Tribunals, Sir Wyn Williams, to provide external, transparent scrutiny of the disciplinary processes it is following, including the setting up of a tribunal in accordance with its statutes. In his report, Sir Wyn Williams concluded, “I have no doubt that establishing a tribunal is a responsible use of charitable resource and in the best interests of Christ Church.” The tribunal process is continuing and there will be no further updates at this time, nor will Christ Church comment on any separate, external processes.

Each of these blog articles contains a detailed analysis of how this CDM decision may affect the other, parallel, pending investigations. And there are now also two mainstream media reports:

Two more articles:

Another announcement from Christ Church: Christ Church confirms internal disciplinary tribunal

4 June 2021

Christ Church has confirmed that a disciplinary tribunal is proceeding, in order to consider an allegation of sexual harassment made by a junior member of staff against a senior member in October 2020. In March 2021, Christ Church published an independent report by President of Welsh Tribunals, Sir Wyn Williams, to provide external scrutiny of the actions it has taken, including the setting up of a tribunal in accordance with its statutes. In his report, Sir Wyn Williams concluded, “I have no doubt that establishing a tribunal is a responsible use of charitable resource and in the best interests of Christ Church.”

The same allegation of sexual harassment was considered by the Church of England under the Clergy Discipline Measure. The decision taken by Dame Sarah Asplin, President of Tribunals, was not to refer the case to a church tribunal in addition to Christ Church’s own inquiry. Dame Sarah stated, “When arriving at this conclusion I also take into account that Christ Church itself has instigated its own inquiry into the incident. It seems to me therefore, that there is another means of redress which is a more proportionate means of addressing alleged incidents.”

A spokesperson for Christ Church said:

“Christ Church unequivocally condemns sexual harassment in any form. It has been clearly stated by both Sir Wyn Williams and Dame Sarah Asplin that a Christ Church disciplinary tribunal is the right place for this allegation to be considered thoroughly. We continue to be appalled at attempts in the media and online to discredit the complainant, question her motives, and to prejudge the proper process. For the sake of all concerned, including the complainant, the respondent, and everyone within our community, the tribunal should now be allowed to take place and reach a conclusion without further external pressure.”

233 Comments

Opinion – 29 May 2021

ViaMedia.News Justin’s Story – “I was taught to hate the very ones who loved me”
by Justin, a survivor of conversion therapy who was nearly crushed under the shame but is now a minister in training

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Changing Attitude England ask Archbishops what new radical Christian inclusion means for LGTBIQ+ people

Church Times It’s time to make ‘good’ disagreement ‘loving’
Christopher Landau proposes a more distinctively Christian way to handle conflicts in the Church”

Kehinde Andrews The Guardian Eve Pitts: the Church of England’s first Black female vicar – and one of its fiercest critics
“Despite attempts to drive her out of the church, she has spent decades fighting racism wherever she has encountered it. Now she is pushing the C of E to honour the enslaved people it exploited”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Does the C of E have Leaders with Authority, Wisdom and Insight to cope with Crises?

Archbishop Cranmer CDM PTSD: the trauma, stress and disorder of the Clergy Discipline Measure

11 Comments

The next Bishops of Birkenhead and Stockport

Updated Saturday

The Prime Minister’s Office announced the names of the next Bishops of Birkenhead and Stockport yesterday; the press releases are copied below. These are the two suffragan sees in the Diocese of Chester and there are more details on the diocesan website.

Update – The Diocese of Rochester has published this article about Archdeacon Julie Conalty: Survivors and campaigners of Church-context abuse welcome newly appointed Bishop of Birkenhead as “powerful advocate for survivors of abuse.”

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Stockport: 27 May 2021

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Samuel Corley BA MA PGCE to the Suffragan See of Stockport.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 27 May 2021

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Samuel Corley BA MA PGCE, Rector of the parish of Leeds City and Honorary Canon at Ripon Cathedral, in the diocese of Leeds, to the Suffragan See of Stockport, in the diocese of Chester, in succession to The Right Reverend Elizabeth Lane following her translation to the See of Derby.

Background

Samuel was educated at St Aidan’s College, Durham and Hughes Hall, Cambridge and trained for ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham. He served his title at St Thomas’, Lancaster in the diocese of Blackburn and was ordained Priest in 2005. In 2008, Samuel was appointed Priest-in-Charge at St John the Evangelist, Ellel and St James, Shireshead. He also served as Assistant Diocesan Missioner.

Samuel moved to the diocese of Leeds in 2011, when he was appointed Canon Precentor at Bradford Cathedral and Senior Chaplain at the University of Bradford. He took up his current role in Leeds in 2015.

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Birkenhead: 27 May 2021

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Julie Conalty to the Suffragan See of Birkenhead.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 27 May 2021

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge, in the diocese of Rochester, to the Suffragan See of Birkenhead, in the diocese of Chester, in succession to The Right Reverend Gordon Keith Sinclair who retired on 8th March 2021.

Background

Julie was educated at the University of Sheffield and trained for ministry at the South East Institute of Theological Education. She served her title at St Michael the Archangel in East Wickham in the diocese of Southwark and was ordained Priest in 2000. Julie was appointed non-stipendiary minister at St Luke, St Richard and St Thomas, Charlton in 2004 and became Associate Priest at the Ascension and at St Mark with St Margaret, Plumstead in 2010.

Julie moved to the diocese of Rochester in 2012 when she was appointed Vicar at Christ Church Erith. She took up her current role as Archdeacon of Tonbridge in 2017.

10 Comments

Server disruption

We are currently (27 May 2021) having major server issues. We are trying to get back online, and have meanwhile restored this old version of our site.

[Updated Friday 28 May]

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We apologise for the inconvenience.

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General Synod – July 2021

The timetable for July’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod in London was published today, and is copied below.

Synod members have been sent a copy of the timetable with the following attached note.

Please see attached an outline Synod timetable for July 2021, which has been agreed by the Business Committee for a physical meeting of the General Synod in Church House, Westminster in the expectation that no legal restrictions would in place at the time (in line with the anticipated Government Covid-19 plans as per COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 (Summary) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). The Committee has further decided that a hybrid session of Synod will not be practically possible in July though is open to the possibility in the future (should resources be in place to enable it).

GENERAL SYNOD: JULY 2021 OUTLINE TIMETABLE

Friday 9 July

12.30 pm – 7.15 pm
12.30 pm Opening worship
Introduction and welcomes
Presidential Address
Business Committee Report
Racial Justice Commission – presentation
Implementing the Recommendations of “Responsible Representation” (GS 2202)
Climate Change presentation
Appointment of Body to oversee next stage of Anglican-Methodist Covenant
*6.00 pm Question Time
7.15 pm Close of Business

Saturday 10 July

9.00 am – 12.45 pm
9.00 am Opening worship and Bible Study
Joint Presentation by the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners on their Annual Reports
2022 Archbishops’ Council Budget and Apportionment
Leeds DSM: Wealth Gap

2.00 pm – 5.20 pm
2.00 pm 57th Standing Orders Committee Report (synodical processes for legislative business etc.)
Bereavement and Funerals during the Pandemic – Presentation
4.00 pm (approx.) Adjournment
*5.00 pm Living in Love and Faith: Passing the baton presentation

Informal items not forming part of the Agenda
4.00 pm – 5.00 pm Discussion panel – Clergy Discipline and the Nature of Ordained Public Ministry
5.30 pm – 7.00 pm Living in Love and Faith Group work, including closing worship

Sunday 11 July

2.00 pm – 7.15 pm
2.00 pm Opening worship
Special Agenda I: Draft Legislative Reform (Church Commissioners) Order
Safeguarding report
Appointments:
• Chair of AC Finance Committee
• AC’s Auditors
Mutuality in Finance
Responding to the Housing Crisis: What is the role of the Church?
7.15 pm Close of Business

Monday 12 July

9.00 am – 1.00 pm
9.00 am Opening worship
Special Agenda I: Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
Special Agenda I: Church Representation Rules (Amendment) Resolution 2021
Vision and Strategy
Transforming Effectiveness

2.00 pm – 7.15 pm
2.00 pm Report from the Implementation and Dialogue Group
PMM: The Five Guiding Principles
The Nature of Ordained Public Ministry – presentation
Proposals for legislation to replace the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003
Special Agenda I: Approval of form of electronic service register under Canon F 12
Special Agenda I: Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 2021 (consequential amendment to regulations under Canon B12) Regulations
7.15 pm Close of Business

Tuesday 13 July

9.00 am – 12.30 pm
9.00 am Opening Worship
Report of the Review of Clergy Remuneration
A review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011
Amendments to Standing Orders for elections to CNC

1.45 pm – 4.15 pm
1.45 pm Special Agenda I: Vacancy in See Committees (Amendment) Regulation 2021
Farewells
*3.15pm Service of Holy Communion
*4.15pm Prorogation and Dissolution

Deemed Business:
Church of England Funded Pension Scheme Rules 2021,
Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order 2021,
Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2021,
and some amendments to the Standing Orders

* not later than

Deadline for receipt of questions: 1200 hrs Tuesday 29 June

30 Comments

Opinion – 26 May 2021

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Trans leaders ask Next Steps Group chair to ensure trans membership on new working group

Viamedia.News Annie’s Story – “I Did My Best to Conform, But…”
by Annie, a victim of abuse who found succour in the charismatic church – where she was subjected to even more abuse….

Laudable Practice What Anglicanism can learn from the Labour Party

2 Comments

Sheldon steps down from campaign to replace CDM

Updated Wednesday 26 May

From the Sheldon Hub

News 25th May 2021:

Major research paper published
and Sheldon steps down from campaign to replace CDM

‘I was handed over to the dogs’: lived experience, clerical trauma and the handling of complaints against clergy in the Church of England

A devastating systematic analysis of data from the Sheldon/Aston research survey. This paper explores the deeply troubling territory around the edges of the CDM. The painful testimonies are a hard read but these are voices that need your ears. Anyone in ministry can get caught up in this, often through no fault of their own.

We hope it will impassion you to become part of an unstoppable movement for constructive change.

That movement for change will no longer involve Sheldon’s leadership.
We are stepping back now. We have given it heart and soul for several years and much has been achieved. Now we are in danger of over-stretching ‘real world’ Sheldon. Sheldon has generously funded this project in direct cash (£35,000), but in many ways the time and emotional energy has been much more costly. We don’t put a monetary value on our time, but time spent on ProjectCDM is time not spent with people in need or on other necessary projects. We have attended many meetings, written papers, collaborated with researchers, contributed to consultations by others and built networks. There has probably been some vicarious trauma in the mix. Bringing to light such deep-rooted pain has generated significant additional correspondence and pastoral need from those directly harmed by the CDM.

The church can look away but can no longer say it didn’t know. A complaint against a caring professional in a public role should be treated as a pastoral emergency. Clergy urgently need a system for handling complaints and allegations of misconduct against them that is swift, proportionate, easy to understand, presumes innocence unless or until found guilty, and is applied without fear or favour. It needs to be rooted in gathering of robust factual evidence and prioritise restoring relationships wherever possible. The administration of the process must itself be properly accountable. Reputations of institutions matter, but those of individuals are far more vulnerable in this context. A year after the bishops agreed that CDM should be replaced we have no evidence that the NCIs have a handle on any of this. This press release was published on 17th May but we have no idea whether the proposals considered relate to the heavily criticised Lambeth proposals of December 2020 or have already pivoted towards the ELS model. The lack of transparency is itself deeply problematic.

Sheldon, along with CECA, is therefore now recommending that the ELS proposals are urgently taken forward into legislation.

Do read the whole text of the Sheldon announcement here.

Updates

The Church Times has two items:

13 Comments

Bishop of Beverley to retire

The Bishop of Beverley has announced his retirement.

The Rt Revd Glyn Webster will be retiring from his role as Bishop of Beverley at Epiphany, 6 January 2022.

The Bishop of Beverley is a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of York, and a Provincial Episcopal Visitor, assisting in the pastoral care of those parishes that have petitioned for Extended Episcopal Care under the Act of Synod – the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood…

45 Comments

Opinion – 22 May 2021

Tina Beardsley Unadulterated Love Living in Love & Faith (LLF) to reconsider gender identity and transition

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Further developments in the John Smyth Case

ViaMedia.News Peter’s Story – Conditioning Causes Shame & Self-Hatred
by Peter (a pseudonym), a survivor of conversion therapy

1 Comment

Winchester rebels against its diocesan bishop

Updated again 26 May and 28 May (scroll down for updates)

The Church Times reports: Bishop of Winchester steps back after diocesan rebellion.

THE Bishop of Winchester, Dr Tim Dakin, has “stepped back” from work for six weeks after he was threatened with a vote of no confidence at the next diocesan synod.

On Tuesday evening, the Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, in Winchester diocese, the Rt Revd Debbie Sellin, announced: “Bishop Tim has today informed me that he will be stepping back from his role as Bishop of Winchester for the next six weeks, so that he can focus on discussions about future leadership and governance reform in the diocese.”

The letter gives no further details, but it is understood that between 20 and 30 senior church members in the diocese, clergy and laity, threatened to pass a vote of no confidence in his leadership at the diocesan synod…

Read the full Church Times article for much more detail.

At the time of writing this, the diocesan website contains no reference to the matter.

The Hampshire Chronicle had a report this morning: Bishop of Winchester Rt Rev Tim Dakin to step down for six weeks.

Updates

The Times (£) has Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev Tim Dakin, steps back after flock rebels

Surviving Church Bishop Dakin and Winchester. A Diocese in Crisis?

Gavin Ashenden Bishops who Bully – Reflections on a Safeguarding Scandal.

Church Times Leader comment: Winchester

Church Times Angela Tilby: Panic lies behind the Dakin crisis

391 Comments

Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the abuse carried out by John Smyth

Updated to incude survivors’ statement

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued the statement below this morning.

A group of survivors has issued a statement in reponse and this is copied below the Archbishop’s statement.

There is a news report, with much useful background information, in the Church Times. The Guardian also has a news article.

Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury
20/05/2021

Following a recent meeting with survivors of the abuse carried out by John Smyth QC, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has made the following the statement today:

I am pleased to have met recently with a group of victims of the horrendous abuse perpetrated by John Smyth QC. I apologised to them that the meeting had taken so long to arrange and acknowledged that this has caused much frustration and anger.

In February 2017, I issued a general apology on behalf of the Church of England, as the story was breaking, and before we understood the full horror and scope of the abuse. Having met some victims now, I want to offer a full, personal apology. I am sorry that this was done in the name of Jesus Christ by a perverted version of spirituality and evangelicalism. It is clear that the impact of this has been widespread. I want to offer this apology, in addition, to those Smyth victims that I have not met. I continue to hear new details of the abuse and my sorrow, shock and horror grows.

The victims I met have made clear that they are angry that John Smyth was not stopped in 2013, when disclosure to the Diocese of Ely was first made and I was duly informed. By this time Mr Smyth had been out of the UK for nearly thirty years. We, the Church, were unclear as to his activities abroad or indeed to the utterly horrendous scope and extent of his actions here and overseas. I recognise the anger of the survivors and victims but having checked that the Diocese of Cape Town was informed and that the police were properly informed and involved our jurisdiction did not extend further. I believe that by 2013 Mr Smyth was no longer attending an Anglican Church.

These victims are rightly concerned that no one appears to have faced any sanction yet, when it is clear a number of Christians, clergy and lay, were made aware of the abuse in the 1980s and many learned in subsequent years. I have not yet received a list of names. I am told by Survivors that some facilitated Smyth’s move to Africa. I have made it clear that the National Safeguarding Team will investigate every clergy person or others within their scope of whom they have been informed who knew and failed to disclose the abuse.

The victims asked me specifically to consider John Smyth’s victims in Zimbabwe and South Africa, known and unknown. Guide Nyachuru died at a Smyth camp in 1992 and I will be writing to his family. I apologise on behalf of the Church of England to all those in Africa who were abused after John Smyth had been uncovered in the UK in 1982, although the Church did not know, owing to the cover up, of the abuse until 2013.

I am aware of what a long wait it has been for John Smyth’s victims. The abuse was almost forty years ago, and it was first disclosed in 2012. I applaud the bravery of those who came forward and all those who have testified since. I know this has come at great personal cost and continues to cause suffering. I told the victims I met that I am absolutely determined that the Makin Review will be as comprehensive and strong as it can be. I have given an undertaking that it will be published in full. I pray that this can give some sense of closure for these victims.

The Church has a duty to look after those who have been harmed. We have not always done that well.

I know that words are inadequate and will have a different meaning and impact on individuals, but I hope that my words today can convey on behalf of the Church of England and myself our deepest sorrow.

A review of the Church’s handling of allegations of abuse carried out by the late John Smyth is being carried out by the Church and was announced in August 2019. The independent reviewer is Keith Makin, who will be assisted by Sarah Lawrence who is also independent. Further details are available on the Church of England website.

Survivors’ statement

In response, a group of victims of abuse by John Smyth QC wish to make the following statement:

As victims of John Smyth’s horrific abuses, we are pleased that the Archbishop of Canterbury is taking responsibility and acting as a good example for the other culpable parties involved in our story. We welcome his comments and also his commitment to publishing the Church of England’s independent review of Smyth in its entirety. We call upon the other organisations – the Scripture Union, Titus Trust, and Winchester College – to follow this lead and to reveal everything they know about the abuses and their coverup. It is clear a large number of individuals, clergy and lay, have known about these abuses for over thirty years and we call on them to cooperate fully with the Makin Review and the National Safeguarding Team. For victims like us, full closure is impossible without full disclosure.

This statement is issued by Andrew Graystone on behalf of a group of Smyth survivors.
For further information, please contact andrew.graystone1@btinternet.com
07772 710090

16 Comments

Opinion – 19 May 2021

All Things Lawful And Honest A younger church?
The Rev’d Steven Hilton recalls the success of the Church of England’s youth initiatives in the 1990s, and asks whether the Church’s mission and growth might be better secured by employing not more clergy but more youth workers.

ViaMedia.News Kate’s Story
by Kate, a transgender woman from the north of England, who bravely shares her horrific experience of being prayed for in three different evangelical churches.

Manmit Bhambra and Austin Tiffany LSE blogs From the Sanctuary to the Sofa: What COVID-19 has Taught us about Sacred Space

17 Comments

House of Bishops Meeting 17th-18th May 2021

Church of England press release

House of Bishops Meeting 17th-18th May 2021
18/05/2021

The House of Bishops met on the afternoon of Monday 17 May and the morning of Tuesday 18 May remotely via Zoom.

The Chief Operating Officer of the National Church Institutions gave a brief update regarding the new national Register of Clergy which went live last week. This was followed by a brief discussion covering issues raised during the roll out.

The House then discussed updated proposals relating to the Clergy Conduct Measure which were shared with the House in December. The proposals were discussed in an opening plenary session (introduced by the Bishop at Lambeth), followed by breakout groups and a final plenary discussion in advance of wider Synodical engagement in July. Amongst the issues discussed were the wider work needed to develop an appropriate ‘framework’ for ordained ministry in the Church of England, covering such areas as fitness to practise, ‘supervision’, ministerial development review, grievance procedures, and capability procedures. The House agreed to support in principle the outline of the proposed Clergy Conduct Measure as presented to the House.

The Bishop of London then addressed the House in her capacity as the Chair of the Next Steps Group. The House discussed engagement with the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) processes to date across dioceses. The House heard encouraging reports of good engagement and, in break out groups, considered how further engagement with LLF can be strengthened. The House discussed additional working groups related to the LLF process and agreed in principle to the formation of a working group on gender identity and transition under the auspices of the LLF Next Steps Group, details of which will be announced in due course.

The afternoon session of the House of Bishop’s then closed in prayer before reconvening the following morning.

At the Tuesday morning session, the Bishop of Sheffield addressed the House in his capacity as Chair of the Mutuality in Finances Group. The Bishop requested the House’s endorsement for the Group’s proposal for a July 2021 General Synod motion. The motion will enable a more equitable sharing of historic assets and give dioceses more freedom to be generous with these assets to other dioceses. The House endorsed the proposal for the July 2021 General Synod, which will be moved by the Bishop of Sheffield on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council.

The Archbishop of York then addressed the House with an update on progress of the Vision and Strategy workstream, including the proposed approach for developing the Vision and Strategy work through to the end of December 2021. An overall framework was presented and following breakout in groups, the House considered a range of strategic priorities, outcomes and actions to be taken. The House agreed to take note of the progress to date and identify key actions to assist the Vision and Strategy workstream.

The Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich then addressed the House in his capacity as episcopal lead for the Transforming Effectiveness workstream for the National Church Institutions. He gave an update on current plans to streamline and simplify the NCIs with the House agreeing to take note of progress and planning to date.

The Bishop of London, in her capacity as Chair of the Recovery Group, updated the House with the latest developments regarding places of worship and the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The House congratulated Archbishop Hosam on becoming the Archbishop of Jerusalem. The House also supported the statement made by Bishop Christopher the Bishop of Southwark, who was present at the installation.

The House prayed for peace and justice across the Middle East and noted with sadness the hostilities taking place at present.

Archbishop Hosam has asked for support for the Al Ahli Hospital, an Anglican project, which serves all who are sick and are brought to their doors and is in desperate need of funds.

The House noted with real concern incidents of anti-Semitism in this country and condemns all such incidents and prays for building communities in the nation.

The meeting concluded with a blessing given by the Archbishop of York.

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