Thinking Anglicans

Conservatives react strongly to CofE gender transition guidance

There have been strong conservative responses to the recent announcement from the Church of England’s House of Bishops.

Christian Concern has published this: New CofE guidance on gender transition services follows “devastating trajectory”.

Lee Gatiss of Church Society has written Transitioning a Liturgy which helpfully includes links to previous materials from that source on this topic.

Ian Paul has written Wisdom and folly: the bishops’ guidance on transgender welcome.

Anglican Mainstream has published a more comprehensive roundup of conservative reactions, also including links to earlier articles. In addition there is this contribution from Andrew SymesThe secular, postmodern re-shaping of church and society (the relevant part comes towards the end).

 

 

 

 

 

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Opinion – 12 December 2018

David Ison ViaMedia.News Are Christians Guilty of Exerting Peer Pressure to Make People “Fit In”?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church John Calvin and the Christian Right

Ian Paul Psephizo What are the church attendance statistics telling us?

Samuel Bray The Living Church A neglected gem: the Sunday first lessons in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Laudable Practice Another reason why we need Sunday Mattins

James Marston Eastern Daily Press What does a priest in training have to do?

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CofE publishes pastoral guidance on gender transition liturgy

The House of Bishops of the Church of England has today published this:
Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition.

The press release about it is headlined: Guidance for gender transition services published. The full text of that is copied below. (more…)

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Faith and Sexuality Survey

The Ozanne Foundation has today announced this:

The 2018 Faith & Sexuality Survey  is designed to explore the impact of religious belief on people’s understanding and development of their sexual orientation and identity.  It is as such not designed to understand in any depth people’s gender identity.

It is open to all individuals living in the UK who are over 16 and should take about 10 – 15 minutes to complete.  Please be assured that your responses will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

To take the survey go here.

The research project is being managed by the Ozanne Foundation and is  being overseen by an Advisory Board that consists of:

Dr Jamie Harrison, Chair of the House of Laity, Church of England
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism
Martin Pollecoff, Chair of UK Council of Pyschotherapists
Teddy Prout, Director of Community Services Humanists UK
Khakan Qureshi, Founder of Birmingham South Asian LGBT+ – Finding a Voice
Professor Sir Bernard Silverman, Former President of the Royal Statistical Society
Rt Revd Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester

The survey will run until December 31st 2018 and the results will be presented at a fringe meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2019.

The December 9th 2018 Press Release is available here.

For more information please contact survey@ozanne.foundation.

16 Comments

Opinion – 8 December 2018

Erika Baker ViaMedia.News Toxic Debates & Disagreement

Maria Evans The Episcopal Café Ambrose of Milan

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of management and theology

12 Comments

“Church of England gags abuse victim with NDA”

Updated again Thursday and Friday (scroll down)

Channel 4 News broadcast a news item this evening (Wednesday): there is a link to the 5 minute video in this online article:

Exclusive: Church of England gags abuse victim with NDA

A woman who claims she was abused by a vicar has told Channel 4 News she was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – before she was allowed to read an official review accusing the Church of England of mismanaging her complaints…

…A 2012 inquiry ordered by the then Archbishop Rowan Williams into multiple failures in safeguarding in the Diocese of Chichester concluded: “A confidentiality clause should never be included in any agreement reached with a survivor. It is essential that there is complete transparency about any abuse that has occurred.” mismanaging her complaints…

The Telegraph has also covered the story: Church of England embroiled in NDA controversy after allegedly hushing up findings of harassment probe.

The Church of England has been accused of using non-disclosure agreements to hush up a sexual harassment case involving one of its vicars…

…However the institution is likely to face fresh scrutiny over its alleged use of an NDA, after the Archbishop of Canterbury, its most senior cleric, questioned their legitimacy this year.

He told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in March:  “A non-disclosure agreement seems to me to be dangerous because it creates suspicion, ‘Why are you doing an NDA? Surely you’re trying to cover something up’.”

The Diocese of Birmingham has published a document titled Lessons Learnt Review Statement.

A complaint has been made regarding the way in which the Church of England Birmingham handled and investigated a complaint made by an adult of alleged sexual abuse between 1989 and 1991.

Whilst we investigated the complaint with best intentions so as to honour the complainant’s feelings, and to sensitively communicate with all those involved, we accept that we fell short of achieving those aims.

We want to learn from the mistakes we have made, so as to make improvements to our policies and procedures.

With that objective in mind, the Bishops Safeguarding Management Group authorised an independent Lessons Learnt Review…

Updates

The Daily Mail has now also covered this story: Church of England ‘forced woman abused by a vicar to sign a non-disclosure agreement over her abuse claims’ then paid her £40,000 but denied liability

The Times also carried a short item in its News in Brief column.

The Church Times published Birmingham diocese defends gagging order for survivor.

The Birmingham Mail reported: Church cover-up claims over ‘sex pest Harborne vicar who walked around naked’.

The Diocese of Birmingham on Thursday afternoon issued this on its website:
Response to Channel 4 News story

In response to the news report and interview with Jo Kind on Channel 4’s news programme (Weds 5 Dec 7pm) we believe that it is important to clarify a number of elements of the story as reported in that instance.

Most importantly, we need to make clear that the Church of England – Birmingham has never restricted, or sought to restrict Jo from telling her story. This is not the purpose of the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement). It was and will always be her story to tell. The decision with regards to the NDA was made to protect the many contributors to the report, some of whom wish to remain unidentifiable, along with the many others whom this situation affects. The suggestion of asking Jo to sign the NDA was also made by the independent reviewer once the report had been finalised. We encouraged Jo to seek legal advice, which she did, before signing the NDA, rather than ‘forcing it on her’ as reported.

It is important to understand that Jo was not asked to sign a ‘confidentiality clause’. Such a clause would have prevented her from disclosing information contained within the reports that she was already aware of, or where elements were already in the public domain. Jo was asked to sign an NDA with the intention to prevent from sharing information not belonging to her that she was not previously aware of (for example elements within the report that refer to information provided from or by other individuals, along with factors that could lead to the identity of the contributors and others who have been affected by this from being identified).

Simply put, Jo is and always has been free to tell her story, but we need to protect others who do not want their story to be told. We needed to put measures in place to safeguard the contributions and identities of these others. For us to publically share personal details regarding private individuals, some of whom have requested anonymity, would be irresponsible, unethical and contravening their understanding of what their contribution is being used for. It is not about protecting the Bishop, protecting the Church of England – Birmingham or the wider Church, it is about protecting the identities and rights of private individuals. We have not attempted to cover up our failings in dealing with this case and have publically acknowledged them here: www.cofebirmingham.com/hub/safeguarding/lessons-learnt/.

(more…)

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Statement on structure of National Safeguarding Team

The Church of England has issued the statement below on the structure if its National Safeguarding Team.

Hattie Williams writes about this for Church TimesNew post advertised to ‘strengthen’ C of E’s restructured safeguarding.

Statement on structure of National Safeguarding Team
05/12/2018

Following the establishment of the National Safeguarding Team in 2015 – replacing a 0.5 national post – the Archbishops’ Council has recently reviewed its structure and after consultation will be advertising for a Director of Safeguarding.

Secretary General’s letter to the College of Bishops about staffing developments at the National Safeguarding Team While this appointment is in process an interim director will lead the National Safeguarding Team and Sir Roger Singleton* has been appointed from January 2. This proposed change is about having the right structures in place to ensure good safeguarding is embedded across the Church in the most effective way possible.

*Sir Roger Singleton is a former Chief Executive of Barnardo’s and chaired the Independent Safeguarding Authority from 2007-2012. He also led the Independent Scrutiny Team which assessed the adequacy of the Church of England’s 2008-2009 Past Cases Review.

Secretary General’s letter to the College of Bishops about staffing developments at the National Safeguarding Team

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Opinion – 5 December 2018

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau Why worship?

Andrew Nunn Southwark Cathedral sermon preached at the Memorial Service for The Very Revd David Edwards

Benjamin Guyer The Living Church A Sunday in the Anglican Diaspora

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Advent – The Challenge of Active Waiting

Laudable Practice High-Church Populism in Advent

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Church in Wonderland: the Clergy Discipline Measure shoves victims down a rabbit hole

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Opinion – 1 December 2018

Jo Bailey Wells WATCH AGM Sermon preached on 17 November 2018 The Woman of Valour

Elizabeth Baker Huffington Post My Evangelical Church Is Gaslighting Me, But I Refuse To Fall For It Anymore

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of bullying

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Teaching meditation or mindfulness in the CofE

Janet Fife Surviving Church Deliver us -From evil?

New Statesman Matters of life and death: Rowan Williams and John Gray in conversation

Kelvin Holdsworth What’s in Kelvin’s Head Whither Mission?

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News A New Clash of Civilisations – Where God is on “Our Side”

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Opinion – 28 November 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Entitlement. Power and its shadow in the Church

Mark Vernon Christian Today The idea of a male God is deep-rooted – but wrong

Jeremy Morris ViaMedia.News Spinning the Stats – Are We Too Defensive to Really Listen?

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Listening with love: sex, gender and mutual flourishing with Evangelicals

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Bishop Jonathan Frost to be next Dean of York

Press release from Number 10

Queen appoints Dean of York
The Queen has appointed Right Reverend Jonathan Hugh Frost as the Dean of York.

Published 26 November 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Jonathan Hugh Frost, BD, MTh, DUniv, FRSA, Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, in Winchester Diocese, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, York, on the elevation of the Very Reverend Vivienne Frances Faull, MA, as Bishop of Bristol, on 25 June 2018.

There are more details on the York diocesan website.

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Opinion – 24 November 2018

Peter Ormerod The Guardian God isn’t gender-fluid exactly, but Justin Welby does have a point

Natalie Collins Church Times A haven for the victims — not the perpetrators
“Churches must do more to understand and respond to acts of violence against women”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Equal Marriage – present reality in the Church of England

Sam Gibson St Mary Magdalen School of Theology Should clergy learn New Testament Greek?

41 Comments

Opinion – 21 November 2018

Andrew Forshew-Cain ViaMedia.News There Can Be No Half-Way House on Marriage Equality

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of mission, poverty, isolation and mental health

Laudable Practice Why we need Choral Mattins

James Alexander Cameron Stained Glass Attitudes A practical guide to the Cathedrals of England

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Gender pay data for the CofE’s NCIs

The Church of England yesterday published its 2018 gender pay data for the National Church Institutions (NCIs). The accompanying press release (copied below) does not include links to the report (or to the restated 2017 report) but I have found them here:

NCIs 2017 Gender Pay Report
NCIs 2018 Gender Pay Report

The entry on the government gender pay portal is here.

Press release

Church of England National Church Institutions (NCIs) publish gender pay data for 2018

20/11/2018

The National Church Institutions (NCIs) of the Church of England published today its gender pay gap report for 2018. Based on a snapshot date of 5 April 2018, today’s report covers one common pay policy for 491 staff across the seven legal entities, and a separate performance-related policy for 31 staff in the Investments department of the Church Commissioners. The data released today does not include clergy or employees within individual dioceses.

The NCIs also restated and published today the Gender Pay data from the previous year (2017).

In 2017 original published figures had calculated the gender pay gap as the percentage of a female’s average salary whereas regulations define the measurement against male’s average salary.

This had previously resulted in the 2017 gender pay difference being overstated. The reported mean gap in 2017 was 21% (previously stated it was 27%) and the median gap was 28% (previously stated it was 41%). The restated figures are published today.

The restated figures are now available on our website and will be shortly available on the government gender pay portal.

The 2018 data shows progress is being made by the NCIs in addressing the gender pay gap and have seen signs of improvement:

  • The NCIs saw a drop of 4% in the median pay gap to 24% compared with the restated 2017 figure whilst our mean pay gap remained the same at 21%.
  • When splitting new recruits over past year into equal quartiles, 64% of those in the upper quartile were female, higher than the current NCI average of 37%
  • For new joiners, we achieved a 0% median pay gap in the mid-upper quartile and 5% in favour of females in the upper quartile

Gender Pay Gap

  • The mean salary for males is £49,202 and for females is £38,869. The difference of £10,333 equates to a 21% difference in favour of males.
  • The median salary for males is £43,316 and for females is £32,711. The difference of £10,605 equates to a 24% difference in favour of males.

Quartile Representation

  • 56% of NCIs current workforce is female
  • 64% of new joiners within the upper quartile were female, this is higher than our current female representation of 37%
  • We continue to see a large proportion of females in the lower and mid-lower quartiles compared to the UK average, this subsequently impacts on the average pay for females being lower than males
  • For new joiners, we achieved a 0% median pay gap in the mid-upper quartile and 5% in favour of females in the upper quartile

Commenting on the findings, Carole Harden, Interim Director of People and Change for the National Church Institutions said:

“This year’s results are encouraging as we continue to review pay structures, addressing any imbalances and barriers to females and opportunities for advancement within the NCIs. We are committed to improving this further as we focus on reducing the difference in pay between men and women in more highly paid roles, and improving the ratio of men to women in the most senior and most junior roles.”

Notes to Editors

The NCIs are separate legal entities, but they are a common employer under a statutory partnership. The present arrangements were established under the National Institutions Measure 1998.

The seven NCIs are:

  • The Archbishops’ Council
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury (in his Corporate Capacity)
  • The Archbishop of York (in his Corporate Capacity)
  • The Church Commissioners for England
  • Church of England Central Services*
  • The Church of England Pensions Board
  • The National Society (Church of England) for Promoting Religious Education

The majority of NCI staff are based at Church House in Westminster, Lambeth Palace, the Church of England Record Centre in Bermondsey, and Bishopthorpe Palace near York.

* This covers support functions including HR, Finance & Resources, IT, Legal, Communications, and the Record Centre.

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Can the dons sack their dean?

Modern Church has published an interview in which Professor Linda Woodhead interviews Professor Gillian Evans:

Can the dons sack their dean? An interview with Oxford historian Gillian Evans on Martyn Percy’s predicament

A PDF of the full text of the interview is also available via a link at the end of the above article.

Prof G.R. Evans is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History in the University of Cambridge. She is author of The University of Oxford: a new history and writes regularly on higher education policy issues. She co-authored Managing the church?: Order and organization in a secular age with Martyn Percy in 2000. She lives in Oxford.

Linda Woodhead MBE is Professor of the Sociology or Religion at Lancaster University. She has been President of Modern Church since 2014. She is author with Andrew Brown of That Was the Church That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People. She is currently a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, USA.

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Anthony Cane to be next Dean of Portsmouth

The Bishop of Portsmouth has announced that the next Dean of Portsmouth will be Canon Dr Anthony Cane, currently Chancellor at Chichester Cathedral.

The diocesan website carries more information: Bishop announces new Dean of Portsmouth.

The cathedral website has Chichester Cathedral Cleric Is New Dean Of Portsmouth.

Chichester has this: Cathedral Chancellor is new Dean of Portsmouth and Chichester Cathedral Chancellor to be new Dean of Portsmouth.

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Christ Church Oxford suspends Dean

Updated Monday afternoon

There have been several media reports in recent weeks about the actions taken by the Governing Body of  Christ Church in relation to a complaint against its Dean, Martyn Percy.

The Bishop of Oxford has issued this statement: Diocesan Synod statement concerning the Dean of Oxford.

Saturday 17 November 2018: The Bishop of Oxford gave a statement to the meeting of the Oxford Diocesan Synod. The full text of the statement can be read below. Following media enquiries over the weekend the College confirmed that Martyn Percy has been suspended from his duties pending the tribunal’s outcome. Bishop Steven said; “As always in such circumstances, suspension is a neutral act and does not imply that the complaint will be upheld.”

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy

You may be aware that a formal complaint has been made against the Dean of Christ Church, Martyn Percy.

Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean is also Head of an Oxford College. The Governing Body and Chapter have now requested that the complaint against Martyn, which relates to a governance matter, be properly reviewed by an independently chaired internal tribunal.

Martyn is a close colleague, widely respected across the Church and his absence is keenly felt. The tribunal must now conduct an impartial, thorough and fair review of the complaint that has been made.

I remain in close contact with Martyn and Emma and with the Subdean and Chapter and the wider college through this difficult period. I am monitoring the situation closely. I also want to see that any allegations of bullying are properly investigated. Meanwhile the Cathedral’s core work of prayer and the worship of God continues, albeit in very testing circumstances.

We wish Martyn a speedy recovery to full health following a period of sickness in recent weeks and commend all those involved in this difficult situation to the prayers of the diocese.

+Steven Oxford

The most recent media reports are these:

ObserverBullying claims at Oxford ‘medieval fiefdom’ take toll on reformist dean

Mail on SundayCorrections and clarifications which relates to this article, two weeks ago: Modernising Oxford University dean is taken ill after alleged ‘hellish bullying campaign by dons to oust him’

Earlier reports include: Church TimesDean of Oxford, Martyn Percy, faces removal from office and this week the Church Times opinion columnist Angela Tilby wrote: A reforming dean may be unpopular.

Local Oxford coverage has included:

Oxford Mail: Dean of Christ Church in Oxford faces tribunal

Oxford Student: Christ Church Dean In Tribunal Over Pay

Cherwell Online: Christ Church dean faces coup

A fundraising site has been established here, which contains a summary of some of the points at issue in this case:

It appears therefore that Martyn’s position is a uniquely powerless one. It takes just seven complainants under the statutes of the college to request a tribunal to remove the Dean of Christ Church. Three strange steps appear to have led to this position.

First, the Dean was offered no proper investigation, at which evidence from both sides could be heard, read and weighed.

Second, there was no disciplinary hearing in which he could defend any allegations made against him.

Third, to avoid unnecessary conflict, processes of genuine mediation should always happen. Such mediation is entered into in good faith by both parties – rather than being used as a means to coerce and expedite a virtually immediate resignation, which is increasingly common in workplaces today.

In any normal place of work, a Tribunal would be the very final stage: and only if the investigation, disciplinary procedures and mediation had all failed. In Martyn’s case, the first three stages did not fail: it seems they were not really attempted.

Under the college statutes, the Dean has no grievance procedure available to him either, so he can’t complain about the treatment give[n] him. Consequently, he can do nothing about the bullying and harassment he has received. Under natural justice any person should have rights. But [the] Martyn doesn’t.

Finally, the Dean seems to have no right to free speech. To defend himself, he has to find his own legal costs. His speech is not free. If you think this is unjust, then please help the support fund.

Updates

Archbishop Cranmer: The harrowing of Martyn Percy: Oxford University denies natural justice to the Dean of Christ Church

Surviving Church: Oxford Bullying and the Church of England

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Opinion – 17 November 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Democracy and Theocracy. In praise of Choice and Christian Freedom

Keith Giles Patheos Why John 3:16 Isn’t About The Crucifixion

Cristian Ispir British Library Medieval manuscripts blog Medieval hipsters

Robin Ward Church Times How should priests be taught to approach the rite of confession and absolution?
Philip North Church Times Confession: An opportunity, not a risk

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News Is Agreement Over-Rated?

25 Comments

New Zealand rejects Sydney overlap proposal

Archbishop Donald Tamihere and Archbishop Philip Richardson of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have replied, on behalf of the ACANZP General Synod Standing Committee, to the proposal made by the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, in August.

See GSSC responds to Sydney.

Like it or not, to be Anglican in Aotearoa New Zealand means facing into 200 years of a unique, shared and difficult history between Maori and Pakeha – and acknowledging the pillars of that shared history.

These pou include Anglicans bringing the gospel to these shores in 1814; the foundational and church-brokered Treaty of Waitangi of 1840 – and, after 150 years of struggle by Maori Anglicans, the adoption of Te Pouhere, the Three Tikanga Constitution of The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

So, a proposal advanced by the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, that there should be two Anglican Churches in New Zealand, both linked by heritage – but the new one not recognising “the laws, promises, and solemn commitments” that bind The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and which grew out of that painful shared history, does not work.

That is the view of the General Synod Standing Committee – and that view has been expressed in an open letter signed by its co-chairs, Archbishops Don Tamihere and Philip Richardson, and sent to Archbishop Davies today.

The letter concludes: “We cannot recognise a Church as Anglican which does not encapsulate this 200 years of relationship and history.”

Anglican Communion News Service reports: New Zealand Church leaders reject Sydney proposal for overlapping Anglican jurisdiction.

Archbishop Davies’ proposal was contained in this document. The proposal was described in Sydney as: Archbishop presents proposal for NZ Anglican future. We reported it in August as Archbishop of Sydney proposes ‘Distinctive Co-existence’ for ACANZP.

The New Zealand reply to it is contained in this document. It’s worth reading this in full.

The Anglican Church League in Sydney reports it as Thanks, but no thanks: New Zealand Church leaders reject Sydney proposal.

 

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Opinion – 14 November 2018

Bill Carroll The Episcopal Café Our piece of the puzzle

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Rediscovering the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Remembering, Reliving & Dealing with the Church’s Abuse

Andrew Brown Helmintholog The trouble with religion

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