Saturday, 1 August 2015

opinion

The Bishop of Stepney’s sermon at the consecration of Rachel Treweek and Sarah Mullally

Robert Chalmers Newsweek Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Interview: ‘I Have No Right to Be Here’

Eleanor Course Christ, comic books and popular culture

Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticum: Of Martyrs and Mice

Giles Fraser The Guardian I believe in an authority greater than David Cameron’s. Am I an extremist?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 1 August 2015 at 11:33am BST
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Friday, 31 July 2015

First report from Independent Reviewer: Chrism Masses

The first report of the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration is now available and can be read here.

First report from Independent Reviewer
31 July 2015

As part of the settlement by which the Church of England agreed to the ordination of women as bishops in 2014, it agreed to an ombudsman-style procedure by which those with concerns about the operation of the new arrangements could appeal to an Independent Reviewer.

In October last year the Archbishops of Canterbury and York appointed Sir Philip Mawer as the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration.

Sir Philip’s first Report is published today and can be read here.

Notes:

Further details on the work of the Independent Reviewer can be found here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 31 July 2015 at 1:39pm BST
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Thursday, 30 July 2015

CofE Finance Statistics for 2013

The Church of England has released Finance Statistics 2013, containing information provided by parishes in their annual finance returns. They can be downloaded as a 25 page pdf document.

There is an accompanying press release.

Almost £1billion sets new record for Church of England parish giving
30 July 2015

Parish Churches across the country raised a record £953 million in 2013 to fund the mission and ministry of the Church of England according to statistics published today. Parishes raised these important funds from a combination of regular and one-off donations as well as investments and legacies.

Parishes have seen a combined increase in income of £24m over figures from 2012, and after total expenditure, which also decreased on 2012, saw a £33m surplus.

In addition to supporting the work of the Church at parish, diocesan and national level, Parishes have continued to give more than £46m to other organisations working around the world, from foodbanks and local children’s charities to international aid appeals.

Dr John Preston, the Church of England’s national stewardship adviser, said:

“With the latest financial statistics, we’ve seen average weekly giving rise in 2013 to our highest ever level. We rely on the generosity of our committed church members to support the mission and ministry of the Church. Post-downturn, people have really looked at what is important to them and found a sense of community and belonging within the Church.”

Average weekly giving per tax-efficient subscriber has continued to rise year on year with members giving on average £11.60 in 2013. Average weekly giving per church member rose to £7 in 2013, matching the peak level seen in 2009.The average ‘Church member’ contributed 3.3% of their income to the Church. with 2.9% to general funds, and a further 0.4% to special purpose funds.

The information in the Finance statistics document is collated from the annual parish returns, and is available here.

You can read a blog by John Preston on the latest statistics here.

The press release also includes some case studies.

Some earlier parish finance statistics are available here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 30 July 2015 at 12:40pm BST
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Saturday, 25 July 2015

opinion

Krish Kandiah Christian Today 5 good reasons not to go to church on holiday and 5 good reasons to go to church on holiday

At Liverpool John Moores University on Monday, Archbishop Justin Welby delivered a Roscoe Lecture entitled ‘The Abolition of the Global – Learning to Live in the World in One City’. The text of the lecture and a video are here, and there is an audio recording here.

Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, preached this sermon when the Open Table LGBTIQ Christian community celebrated its seventh anniversary at St Bride’s Church.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 25 July 2015 at 11:00am BST
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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Everyone Counts 2014

Updated Friday

Everyone Counts is a diversity audit. A congregational survey was carried out in autumn 2014 in a sample of Church of England parishes with a particular focus on ethnicity, disability and locality. Background information is available here.

Key findings have now been published. Here are a few that I have picked at random.

If congregations in England were 100 people:

59 would be female
11 would be children aged 11 or younger
19 would be aged 76 or older
7 would be minority ethnic Anglicans
37 would have at least one health issue or disability (including 8 with mobility impairments and 3 with mental health conditions).

There are 6 adults in church to every 1 child or young person.

35% of churches are in rural hamlets and isolated areas, but only 1% of the population lives there.

There is a difference of about 18 years between the median age of minority ethnic and white British Anglicans (44 and 62 years).

Update

The Church of England issued the following statement this evening (Friday 24 July):

Statement on ‘Everyone Counts’ survey
24 July 2015

In response to questions in correspondence and on social media over the choice of questions included in the “Everybody Counts” survey, Dr. Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics at the Archbishops Council said:

“The ‘Everybody Counts’ statistical exercise was carried out to build upon the Diversity Audit carried out in 2007. By carrying out further work in this area it was hoped to establish trends over time rather than one off snapshots of particular data.

The Diversity Audit originated from formal requests from members of CMEAC (The Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns) for a statistical picture of dioceses on ethnic diversity. In designing the latest survey our starting point was to replicate the 2007 data which did not include a question on sexual orientation. The national disability adviser for the Church had recognised that we did not have any information on people with disabilities which was why that added question appeared.

I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment raised by members of our congregations who feel that the lack of a question on sexual orientation meant that they are not a valued part of our church. I promise this was never the intention. I am entirely open to including additional questions in any further work.”

More information about Everyone Counts can be found at:
https://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/facts-stats/research-statistics/everyone-counts-2014.aspx

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 at 9:15pm BST
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Rachel Treweek and Sarah Mullally consecrated bishops


Rachel Treweek and Dame Sarah Mullally were consecrated as bishops by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a service today at Canterbury Cathedral.

Rachel Treweek will be enthroned as Bishop of Gloucester in Gloucester Cathedral on 19 September, the first women to be a diocesan bishop in the Church of England. She will also receive a writ of summons to sit in the House of Lords.

Dame Sarah Mullally will serve as the suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the diocese of Exeter, and will be welcomed at a service in Exeter Cathedral on 12 September.

Premier has a report and selection of pictures (including the picture shown above).

Gloucester diocese has a live text stream of the day with some pictures including a video clip

Exeter diocese has a story “Devon’s first woman bishop consecrated in Canterbury Cathedral”.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 at 5:31pm BST
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Monday, 20 July 2015

General Synod elections 2015

The 2010-2015 General Synod was dissolved on Monday 13 July 2015 immediately after it finished its July group of sessions in York. The election of a new Synod will take place over the summer and early autumn.

There is official information on the elections on this webpage including these papers.

Election Rules of the Three Houses
Guidance for Dioceses

The second of these includes this draft timetable for the diocesan elections.

1 Notification to electors of the election timetable to be followed in the diocese and issue of nomination papers - Not later than Tuesday 21st July

2 Notification of the validity of any nomination - As soon as any nomination is received

3 Closing date for nominations - Friday 4th September

4 Issue of voting papers - Friday 18th September

5 Closing date for return of voting papers - Friday 9th October

6 Day of the count - Monday 12th, Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th, or Thursday 15th October.

7 Names and addresses of those elected and result sheet to be sent to the diocesan bishop, the Clerk to the Synod, every candidate and to the Election Scrutineer. - Not later than the fourth working day after the date of the declaration of the result.

However dioceses have some discretion, so candidates and electors should check carefully what the dates are in their own diocese, particularly the closing dates for nominations and the return of voting papers.

The numbers of clergy (“proctors”) and laity to be elected by each diocese are contained in appendices A and B of GS 1975.

Changes to the rules since 2010 mean that dioceses must now publish all election addresses on the diocesan website before issuing the voting papers. After the election the the full return of the result and the result sheet (with voting figures) must also be posted on the website until the end of the first group of sessions of the new General Synod (ie 25 November 2015).

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 20 July 2015 at 11:23am BST
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Saturday, 18 July 2015

opinion

Jemima Thackray The Telegraph Women bishops first anniversary: Why the Church needs ‘gobby’ women more than ever

Ruth Gledhill and Carey Lodge Christian Today Women Bishops one year on: The women who have broken the stained glass ceiling

St Hilda’s Church, Marden with Preston Grange Eight impossible things the C of E will never do

Mark Greaves The Spectator God’s management consultants: the Church of England turns to bankers for salvation

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written this article for The Times Archbishop of Canterbury on religious freedom.
[The article on The Times website is titled “Faith must be strong enough to take offence”.]

Barnabas Piper Christianity Today 10 Social Media Posts Only the Best Pastors Send

Andrew Brown The Guardian Does the Bible really say that global warming will make the Earth ‘vomit us out’?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 18 July 2015 at 11:00am BST
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Monday, 13 July 2015

Question on CNC and human sexuality

Three questions were asked about the workings of the Crown Nominations Commission, two of which were answered by the Archbishop of York. The Archbishop of Canterbury answered only this one (copied from the booklet):

Mr John Ward (London) to ask the Chair of the Crown Nominations Commission:

Q44. In the light of the answer the Archbishop of Canterbury gave to question 15 at the February group of sessions, and in particular his statement that when candidates are being considered for a particular See their teaching on a range of issues, including (by implication) human sexuality, is among the many considerations that may properly be taken into account when considering their relative merits for that appointment, can it be confirmed whether any guidance to that effect has been provided to the CNC and, if it has, will that guidance be published?

The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Chair of the Crown Nominations Commission:

A The current version of the guidance material provided to CNC members is something which accurately reflects what I said to the Synod in February. Like previous versions of the guidance it has been shared with the Crown Nominations Commission and Bishops who are making appointments to suffragan sees. I shall want to consult the House of Bishops on whether it should be made more widely available.

Two supplementary questions were put, and the following has been transcribed from the audio recording.

Mr John Ward:

I think what the chairman is saying is, that simply saying that the church’s teaching on human sexuality is wrong, is enough to prevent you from being appointed as a bishop. Given this is rather shocking doctrinal discrimination, and given that bishops who won’t ordain women cannot always be a focus for unity for everyone, but are very properly given a special place in the church, will you give a special place in the church for a bishop who thinks that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is double speak?

Archbishop of Canterbury:

I don’t accept your presupposition.

Mrs April Alexander:

If the effective requirement to be heterosexual is not in the person spec., what is the mechanism by which it can fairly emerge later in the process?

Archbishop of Canterbury:

I’m sorry, could you… I don’t understand the question.
[Question repeated with addition of three words “for the post” after “spec.”]
Yes Mrs Alexander, I heard the words, I don’t understand the question.

The following day, during another debate, the Archbishop of Canterbury said this (also transcribed from the audio recording, and not fully included in the version of his intervention published on his website):

…Let me just say, given a couple of the questions that came up last night, which I handled badly, for which I apologise to the questioners and also to the synod, that we are committed to nurturing the vocation across the whole of God’s people, regardless of sexuality, and regardless of lay or ordained…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 July 2015 at 5:35pm BST
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

The CofE and safeguarding

As I reported here and here, General Synod’s business over the weekend included several items regarding safeguarding.

In Safeguarding, the C of E and deposition from orders Frank Cranmer of Law & Religion UK summarises the contents of the new legislative package, and looks at what deposition (“defrocking”) actually means.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 13 July 2015 at 4:38pm BST
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Restoration of deposition?

This question on the possible restoration of the canonical penalty of deposition from Holy Orders was asked at General Synod on Friday evening.

The Revd Neil Patterson (Hereford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:

Q74. Following the concerns expressed by MACSAS and others about clergy convicted of serious offences continuing to maintain their clerical style and dress, will the House of Bishops consider bringing forward proposals to restore the canonical penalty of deposition from Holy Orders, in order that the Church may more clearly repudiate from its ministry those who have seriously betrayed the trust placed in them?

The Bishop of Durham to reply on behalf of the Chair:

A There are two issues here. Firstly, with regard to the wearing of clerical dress- including clerical collars- taking power to prevent prohibited clergy from wearing clerical dress would be problematic, not least since it would be unenforceable in practice. With regard to exercising ministry, prohibition for life already exists as the most severe penalty under the Clergy Discipline Measure and may be invoked in the case of serious safeguarding offences. When the draft Clergy Discipline Measure was being considered in 2000 the Synod decided not to include deposition in the range of penalties available under the Measure.

I intend to invite the House of Bishops to reconsider whether that decision was wise but amending the CDM to allow deposition would require a Measure, so change would take some considerable time.

The question was not reached in the available time, so no supplementary questions were possible, although as with all questions now the answer was published in advance.

Press reports include:

Steve Doughty Daily Mail Church of England brings back powers to defrock vicars guilty of sex abuse and other crimes
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England could return to defrocking rogue priests after child abuse scandals

The first report appears to confuse “The House of Bishops will be asked to think about doing it” with “It will be done”.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 13 July 2015 at 3:44pm BST
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General Synod - Monday's business - climate change

Order paper 5 lists the day’s business.

Official summary of the day’s business
morning
afternoon

Sound recordings
morning
afternoon

In the morning Synod debated climate change and passed this motion:

That this Synod, believing that God’s creation is holy, that we are called to protect the earth now and for the future, and that climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest, and welcoming the convergence of ecumenical partners and faith communities in demanding that the nations of the world urgently seek to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2 ̊C, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun:

(a) urge all governments at the COP 21 meeting in Paris to agree long term pathways to a low carbon future, supported by meaningful short to medium term national emissions pledges from all major carbon emitting nations;

(b) endorse the World Bank’s call for the ending of fossil fuel subsidies and the redirection of those resources into renewable energy options

(c) encourage the redirection of resources into other lower carbon energy options;

(d) request the Environment Working Group to develop Shrinking the Footprint to enable the whole Church to address the issue of climate change, and to develop and promote new ‘ecotheological resources’, as proposed by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network in February 2015;

(e) request the Ministry Division to hear the call of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network bishops for programmes of ministerial formation and in-servicetraining to include components on eco-justice and ecotheology; and

(f) encourage parishes and dioceses to draw attention to the initiative supported by members of the Faith and Climate network encouraging Christians to pray and fast for climate justice on the first day of each month.

The Bishop of Salisbury opened the debate with this speech.
The Archbishop of Canterbury made this contribution to the debate.
Bishop of Sheffield’s speech
There is also this official press release: Urgent action needed on climate change urges Synod.

In the afternoon, Synod debated climate change and investment policy and passed this motion:

That this Synod, accepting that the threat posed by climate change to the environment and human wellbeing requires urgent action to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and recognising that achieving this effectively without creating damaging and unintended economic consequences requires political subtlety, flexibility and a focus on achievable change:

(a) affirm the policy on climate change and fossil fuel investment developed following the Southwark DSM passed by the Synod in February 2014, recommended by the EIAG, and adopted by the National Investing Bodies (‘the NIBs’);

(b) welcome the disinvestment by the NIBs from companies focused on the extraction of oil sands and thermal coal;

(c) urge the NIBs to engage robustly with companies and policy makers on the need to act to support the transition to a low carbon economy and, where necessary, to use the threat of disinvestment from companies as a key lever for change;

(d) urge the NIBs to encourage the work of those energy companies committed to carbon pricing and investing in research into cleaner fuels, natural gas and carbon capture and storage;

(e) urge the NIBs proactively to seek and scale up investment in renewable energy and other low carbon energy sectors and to track low carbon indices;

(f) request the EIAG and the NIBs to publish their ‘engagement framework’ by June 2016; and

(g) request the EIAG and the NIBs to report to the Synod within three years with an assessment of the impact of the policy adopted, including the efficacy of engagement and the progress made on portfolio decarbonisation.

The Bishop of Manchester opened the debate with this speech.
There is also this official press release: General Synod welcomes climate change policy.

Press reports and comments

Madeleine Davies, Gavin Drake and Tim Wyatt Church Times Synod urges investors to act on climate change

Steve Doughty Daily Mail Going green is holy, say Church of England bishops: General Synod calls for vicars to have training in ‘eco-theology’

Andrew Brown The Guardian Church of England governing body approves divestment policy

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK General Synod: Carbon capture, fracking and fasting

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 13 July 2015 at 1:37pm BST
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Inquiry into church sex abuse

Updated Friday

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he wants the Church to be reviewed first by the independent inquiry led by Justice Lowell Goddard which is expected to last five years.

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury promises sex abuse inquiry

The Archbishop of Canterbury has promised to investigate sex abuse in the Church of England if the judge-led abuse inquiry does not look into it within six months. Justin Welby made the promise during a private meeting with survivors of clerical abuse earlier this week…

Michael Segalov The Independent Archbishop of Canterbury ‘promises inquiry into church sex abuse’ to survivors in private meeting this week

Update

Madeleine Davies Church Times Welby pledges new probe into abuse

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 13 July 2015 at 9:20am BST
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Sunday, 12 July 2015

General Synod - Sunday's business

On Sunday morning Synod members joined the regular congregation for the Eucharist in York Minster. The Archbishop of Canterbury preached this sermon.

Order paper 4 lists Sunday’s business.

Official summary of the day’s business

sound recordings
afternoon
Bishop of Chelmsford - CMEAC presentation
evening

Press release on the presentation by the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns: Church should reflect reality of multi-cultural society [copied below the fold]
I too am CofE - video included in the presentation

Press preview

John Bingham The Telegraph Nine-year-olds allowed to administer Holy Communion under Church shake-up
[As well as looking forward to the final approval debate on Sunday, this article also looks back to the preliminary debate held on Friday.]

Press report

Andrew Brown The Guardian Church of England failing to promote minority ethnic clergy, says bishop

Continue reading "General Synod - Sunday's business"
Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 12 July 2015 at 2:31pm BST
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Saturday, 11 July 2015

opinion

David Runcorn Church of England Newspaper And how would I know when I am wrong? Evangelical faith and the Bible –

Cole Moreton The Independent Why the Church of England faces a dilemma as it comes under pressure to back gay marriage

Graham Tomlin Church Times Neither wild prophets nor boring managers

Giles Fraser The Guardian Money is the only god the Tories want us to worship on a Sunday
To which Archdruid Eileen responds Clothed in the Last Shreds of Christendom

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 11 July 2015 at 11:00am BST
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