THINKING ANGLICANS

More about the Singleton report

There has been extensive media coverage of this, following its publication last Friday.

This morning’s Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 carried a 9 minute segment including interviews with David Greenwood and Bishop Peter Hancock. You can listen to that in full here.

Telegraph Church of England downplayed extent of child abuse allegations to protect its reputation, report finds

The Church of England disregarded dozens of allegations in its inquiry into child sexual abuse and then downplayed the issue to protect its reputation, a critical report has found.

A report by former Barnardo’s chief executive Sir Roger Singleton found that close to 100 cases were whittled down to just a handful for a review released in 2010…

BBC Church of England ‘needs to review’ abuse inquiry in seven dioceses

Times (£) Church of England inquiry missed abusers, review finds

ITV Church of England’s 2010 review of sex abuse was ‘botched’ and ‘flawed’

Christian Today Church review of abuse cases failed to show full picture

Press Association via Guardian C of E ordered investigation after ‘botched’ 2010 abuse inquiry

And there is more:

 

 

 

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Opinion – 23 June 2018

Church Times ‘God was still my highest priority and my greatest love’
Vicky Beeching talks to Madeleine Davies about ‘unlearning a lifetime of shame’

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News For the Love of God….
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Time to confront and end abusive, homophobic teaching, theology and practice

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of words within the word

Daniel Hill Law & Religion UK The State and Marriage: Cut the Connection

Mark Vernon Church Times Why people don’t come to a worldly church
“Seekers are looking for spiritual depth and inner transformation — not anxiety and manic overwork, argues Mark Vernon”

Angela Tilby Church Times We need to talk about cathedrals

Caroline Davies The Guardian Are Church of England’s dabbing deacons and jumping bishops a leap too far?
“Informal ordination photos may be a sign of holy joy for some, but traditionalists are less than elated”

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Some reports on the Gafcon Assembly

The Global Anglican Future Conference which has been meeting this week in Jerusalem has issued a communiqué. The full text is here: Letter to the Churches – Gafcon Assembly 2018. The full text of the Presidential Address by Archbishop Okoh is available: Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations God’s Gospel.

The Church Times has two reports: GAFCON participants lay claim to Anglican orthodoxy and Two thousand meet at GAFCON conference in Jerusalem.

Covenant has some commentary from Esau McCaulley of ACNA, including Kenya Ponders Future with GAFCONThe Living Church reports: ACNA Archbishop Named GAFCON Chairman.

The Anglican Communion News Service was refused accreditation to cover this event. See Third Gafcon conference underway in Jerusalem and then also Facts, fiction and fake news.

There was also a row about this letter to the GAFCON primates from the Secretary General which led to this Response to the ACC Secretary General’s Criticism of Gafcon’s Ministry Networks.

Prior to the conference there had been the regular monthly letter from the then Chairman: Chairman’s June 2018 letter.

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Singleton report on Past Cases Review published

The Church of England has today published a report into its handling of the 2007-2009 Past Cases Review. The full text of the report can be downloaded from here.

There is a press release: Report into handling of Past Cases Review which explains the background. Sir Roger Singleton authored the report and chaired the independent scrutiny team.

…In November 2015, in his report to the Archbishops’ Council, the newly appointed National Safeguarding Adviser noted ‘growing recognition of shortcomings of PCR’; inconsistencies in the application of the House of Bishops Protocol designed to bring consistency and independence to the process, cases of abuse coming to light that should have been identified in the PCR and survivors not being engaged in the process.

Following an initial screening process by the National Safeguarding Team, Sir Roger Singleton was asked to independently review the adequacy of the Past Cases Review and makes recommendations to the Church of England.

The report sets out the findings of this independent scrutiny and makes nine recommendations. These have been accepted by both the Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops, and action is now being taken to address both the shortcomings of the original PCR and to instigate a further review known cases and new appointments made since 2007.

Today’s report will be sent to the Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) to which Sir Roger Singleton gave evidence during the Chichester Case Study public hearing in March of this year…

The BBC had a report about this earlier, Church of England ‘s 2010 abuse inquiry was ‘flawed’ and ‘failed‘, which currently notes that the report is not due to be published until next month. There were items on the Radio 4 Today programme about this too, including an interview with Sir Roger Singleton.

There has also been a Press Association report published at Care AppointmentsInquiry into Church of England historic sexual abuse was ‘botched’.

…The PCR looked at more than 40,000 case files relating to allegations of abuse dating as far back as the 1950s and concluded that just 13 cases of alleged child sexual abuse needed formal action.

After survivors complained that the report was inadequate, Sir Roger was commissioned to carry out an independent review of how it was conducted.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it was “botched in three ways”.

“The survey wasn’t completely comprehensive,” he said. “It didn’t include some cathedrals, it didn’t include employees working with children in some parishes.

“The attempts really to make the survey absolutely complete were flawed.

“In the public statement that it issued reporting on the review, (the Church) rather failed to give a comprehensive picture of the concerns that existed.

“It narrowed down the definitions of who had actually been responsible for abuse by limiting it to just new cases and cases where the Church took formal action. This had the impact of reducing the numbers from probably nearer 100 to just two which appeared in the public statements.”

Asked whether he found that Church officials were concerned to avoid reputational damage, Sir Roger said: “I think that is one of the factors that led those who prepared the press statement to emphasise the positive points for the Church and rather to downplay the negative aspects.”

He said it appeared “extraordinary” that some survivors were denied the chance to give evidence.

“There is no doubt that some victims and survivors came forward and offered to meet with the reviewers carrying out this work and that offer was refused,” he said.

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update to July General Synod – online papers

The second batch of General Synod papers have been released today. I have updated my list published last week.

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National Safeguarding Steering Group identifies priorities

This morning, GS 2092 Report by the National Safeguarding Steering Group has been published.

For the context, see our earlier article: Safeguarding debate at General Synod.

The Church Times has a report: National register proposed for clergy to ease safeguarding concerns.

Update: The Bishop of London has published a blog article: Safeguarding – independence V responsibility? This also appears at Christian Today.

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Questions about the Teaching Document

Colin Coward has published an article titled  Ten questions about the House of Bishops Teaching Document.

In this he refers to GS Misc 1158, published in June 2017,  Next Steps in Human Sexuality, which was the subject of a presentation at the 2017 July General Synod sessions in York.   A more up-to-date list of members of the various groups can be found here.

See our two articles from last year on GS Misc 1158

Our recent article about the presentations planned at York this year is here.

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We have moved — welcome to our new home

Thinking Anglicans has now moved to its new home.

We hope that you’ll find all functionality and content here. If there are any transitional glitches, we’ll try and sort them out as quickly as we can. Issues can be reported by adding a comment to this article. If commenting itself is the problem then you can email editors@thinkinganglicans.org.uk.

You can take advantage of one immediate improvement, and we encourage you to do so. The site is now available over secure, encrypted, https, as well as over the old unencrypted http. Just access the site at https://thinkinganglicans.org.uk and update your bookmarks. Note the ‘s’ after ‘http’; and you should see the https padlock appear in the URL bar.

We hope to introduce other improvements in the coming weeks and months.

We continue to be hosted by our friends and colleagues at Justus.

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We’re moving

Later this week this Thinking Anglicans site will be moving to a new home. We hope to make the move as transparent and as painless as possible, but as it involves a little bit of internet magic (updating the DNS of thinkinganglicans.org.uk) there may be a short period when you can’t reach the new site. We hope this period will be no more than a few minutes, and most readers may not notice it at all.

All posts and comments will be moved across to the new system and no data will be lost. We’ll post a further note here before moving out, and after that point no further comments on the old site will be approved, only on the new site.

This represents the biggest change we have made in the 15 years we have been publishing Thinking Anglicans. From the start we have been hosted by our friends and colleagues at Justus. The new site continues at Justus, and we are grateful for their support.

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Opinion – 20 June 2018

Simon Butler ViaMedia.News A Via Media in Safeguarding?
Janet Fife ViaMedia.News The Trouble With Fish….

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer CofE Safeguarding: General Synod is being managed, manipulated, duped and disrespected

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church How do we expect Church Abuse Survivors to feel?

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New Directions for the Church 6: accept diversity of belief

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Opinion – 16 June 2018

Anna Norman-Walker ViaMedia.News Who Speaks for Anglican Evangelicals?

Rachel Williams spends a day with the Community of St Anselm
Evening Standard These millennials have left behind their friends, families and jobs to live like monks for a year

Andrew Brown The Guardian Taking a lesson from Michael Curry could just save the Church of England
“It is so handicapped by self-importance that applying the flexibility of other churches could revive its plummeting numbers”

Andrew Brown Church Times How right-wing populists appropriate Christ

Philip Welsh Church Times Time to retreat from throwaway liturgy
“Under Common Worship, service sheets have started to get in the way of God, says Philip Welsh. He proposes a solution”

… and here’s one I missed last week:
Torin Douglas Church Times Maintaining faith in the mainstream media
“Religious broadcasting has had a rocky 40 years — but it is now being taken more seriously, says Torin Douglas”

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General Synod agenda – press reports

Updated Friday afternoon

Madeleine Davies Church Times Canons most critical in response to cathedrals consultation

Harry Farley Christian Today Church of England sexuality debate off the cards until 2020
‘Michael Curry effect’: Church of England opens up congregations to black-majority pastors

Steve Doughty Daily Mail Church of England bishops will call on Theresa May to surrender Britain’s nuclear deterrent

Update

Madeleine Davies Church Times General Synod discussions to go nuclear in York

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Beyond Inclusion

OneBodyOneFaith published this on 5 June:

We’re delighted that this film, funded by our supporters and members and featuring John Bell and Nick Bundock, has now been completed and can be viewed on our YouTube channel. As you’ll probably recall, the film arose out of John hearing about Nick’s church’s response to Lizzie Lowe’s death, and the films are a conversation between the two of them, with ideas for reflection by church groups.

Please share the films and encourage others to do so too; we want them to reach the widest possible audience because we believe they have the potential to help people move on in their journey of understanding, and to make real change. If you need more resources for study and reflection, check out some of the books in our online shop – or get in touch and we can help you identify people to talk to, speakers and other sources of support, reflecting your particular context.

Today is Lizzie’s 18th birthday. Her parents Kevin and Hilary appear briefly in the film. Notwithstanding the remarkable transformation of their church following her death, would still give anything to have their daughter back. Please remember them, and Lizzie’s siblings and many friends, today.

Part one of the film is here.
Part two is here
. Do be sure to watch both parts.

And then consider this question: So – how’s the ‘radical Christian inclusion’ coming along then?

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Safeguarding debate at General Synod

On Saturday morning, 7 July, following Morning Worship and a Presidential Address by the Archbishop of York, the synod will consider the topic of Safeguarding. There will be a presentation, followed by questions, followed by a debate. However, the relevant document, GS 2092 will not be published until Friday 22 June but we do now know the wording of the motion that will be proposed. It is highly likely to attract numerous amendments.

SAFEGUARDING (GS 2092)

7 Presentation under SO 107.

Note: The Business Committee has determined under SO 107(3) that this presentation should include an opportunity for questions.

8 The Bishop of Bath and Wells to move:

That this Synod, recognising that safeguarding is at the heart of Christian mission and the urgent need for the Church of England to continue to become a safer place for all and a refuge for those who suffer abuse in any context:

(a) endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092); and

(b) call on the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to ensure that the plan of action is implemented as a matter of priority.

GS Misc 1192 Summary of decisions by the House of Bishops and Delegated Committees, contains brief reports of various meetings that have considered Safeguarding. The relevant extracts are copied below the fold. I have changed the order of the meetings to put them in chronological order.

(more…)

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General Synod and Sexuality on Saturday afternoon

The Business Committee report GS 2091 contains the following:

Arrangements for the Saturday afternoon

25. The Business Committee has agreed that on Saturday afternoon the Synod will not be in session. Instead, members will be invited to attend a choice of seminars intended to update members on various important areas of work and to encourage our participation in the development of them.

26. The seminars will cover the developing work of the House of Bishops Teaching Document on Human Sexuality, the Pastoral Advisory Group, Digital Evangelism, the Evangelism Task Group and the Environmental Working Group, as well as Children and Young People. Each seminar will be 1 hour long and will take place 3 times on a rotating basis in order to allow those members who wish to attend up to three different seminars. There will also be workshops available on a number of these topics. Full details of these opportunities are set out in GS Misc 1188. This conference style session will be introduced at the end of the Saturday morning session by the Chair of the BC and some of those leading the different workstreams.

27. After due consideration, the Business Committee has come to a mind that the various PMMs and DSMs relating to the matters which are intended to be addressed by the proposed House of Bishops Teaching Document on Human Sexuality will not be scheduled for debate until that document has been published. This decision was taken on the understanding that the work on the Teaching Document will be completed by 2020. In addition, there has been an understanding that from the inception of the project there will be regular opportunities for members of the General Synod to engage with that work, as it develops at each group of sessions. This process of engagement begins with the seminars arranged for the Saturday afternoon of the July group of sessions.

The details of the arrangements for the Saturday afternoon are contained in GS Misc 1198.

The programme for the afternoon comprises

  • four separate seminars and three workshops relating to the four strands of work contributing to the Episcopal Teaching Document on human identity, sexuality and marriage;
  • a seminar on the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group
  • a seminar on mission among children and young people;
  • a seminar on the Church’s environment programme
  • a seminar on digital evangelism; and
  • a seminar on the work of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group

The nine seminars will each run three times during the afternoon, for an hour, at 2.30 pm, 4.15 pm and 6.00 pm.

The three workshops are described as follows:

…organised so that you can visit them at your own pace and in your own time throughout Saturday afternoon. Each workshop space will have information about aspects of the work of the Teaching Document and offer ways in which you can participate in shaping its work.

One or more members of the Co-ordinating Group for the Teaching Document will be available to respond to your questions and tell you more about the work of the group. These workshops are as much for the benefit of the Teaching Document as to inform you about the project..

There is a lot more detail in GS Misc 1188.

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General Synod papers published

The Church of England has issued the press release below about papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod.

See the previous article for my list of papers.

New links between Church of England and black-majority churches
14/06/2018

Church of England congregations will be able to share mission and ministry with a range of churches in their area more easily under plans due to receive final approval by the General Synod next month.

A long-anticipated overhaul of rules underpinning ecumenical relations is expected to open the way for parishes to take part in joint worship with more churches than previously possible.

For the first time this will include churches without a large national structure – something which will particularly affect newer independent evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic groups including many black-led churches.

The move – part of a drive to simplify ecclesiastical law – is among several significant legislative changes being considered at Synod which meets in York from July 6-10.

Dr Joe Aldred of Churches Together in England, who serves as an Ecumenical Representative for Pentecostals on General Synod and is a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy, welcomed the change.

He said: “This is a great moment for relations between the Church of England and Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations and congregations, including many black-led churches, as we share the task of building the Kingdom of God in this country.

“In working together and worshipping together our churches have the potential to transform their neighbourhoods.

“The shape and style of the Church in England has changed considerably over the years and this legislation reflects the new reality on the ground.

“Through the work of the Pentecostal Presidency in Churches Together in England, I have seen just what is possible by strengthening relationships, engaging in prayer and mission together and I hope and pray this change in legislation will mean we can do even more together.”

In one of the most broad-ranging agendas in recent years, Synod will also discuss national and international issues from nuclear proliferation and responses to climate change to the future of the NHS.

There will be a major debate on the Church of England’s work on safeguarding and Synod will be asked to endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092) to be published with the second set of papers next week.

Synod will also have an opportunity for a detailed update on progress on the episcopal teaching document on human sexuality and marriage and to engage with those working on it through a series of seminars and workshops.

The document, due to be completed in 2020, will be entitled Living in Love and Faith: Christian teaching and learning about human sexuality and marriage.

Synod papers published today also include the final report of the Church of England’s Cathedrals Working Group which sets out new ideas to help secure the cathedrals for the future.

Further details on the Cathedrals Working Group report are set out in a separate press release.

Notes to editors

A full set of papers from the first circulation is available here. A second circulation will follow and will be available on Friday June 22.

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July General Synod – online papers

Update Links to almost all the papers are now (22 June) available and have been added below.

The first batch of papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online. The remaining papers will be issued on 22 June and I will add links when these become available.

Papers in numerical order with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets from Friday 6 to Tuesday 10 July 2018 in York.

Timetable
GS 2090 Agenda

(more…)

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Opinion – 13 June 2018

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England Seascapes: a retreat for those being ordained.

Jonathan Clatworthy St Bride’s blog Food with dignity – The origins of the Eucharist
[first of a series]

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the Church 5: open membership

Emma Percy Women and the Church Install Updates

Sam Wells preached this sermon at the Service of Hope for LGBTI equality in the Church of England held at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Clapham, on 7 June: Not until you give me your blessing

Simon Cross After evangelicalism: tipping over the certainty curve

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Are Abuse Survivors Prophets to the Church?

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Lessons learned from the Mawer report on the See of Sheffield

Updated Friday

press release from the Archbishops’ Council
Lessons for the National Church Institutions following Independent Reviewer’s report on Sheffield

Following the publication of Sir Philip Mawer’s independent review into the nomination to the See of Sheffield, William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, has published a ‘lessons learned’ review in response to Sir Philip’s fourth recommendation.

He said: “I would like to add my thanks to that of the Archbishops to Sir Philip for his review, and in particular for suggesting that I review the lessons to be learned for the National Church Institutions from the handling of the process after Bishop Philip North’s nomination.

“Having done this, I hope that my suggestions for a way forward will ensure that those nominated to a see, as well as the dioceses in question, will be better supported by the National Church Institutions both before and after the announcement.

“We have already put this learning into practice and have reaped the benefit of this in the announcement of the new Bishop of London last December and the new Bishop of Bristol in May.

“We will continue to learn from each nomination, keeping to our commitment to mutual flourishing in every process.”

The full text of the review is available here.

Notes

Sir Philip’s report can be found here.

The House of Bishops response to Sir Philip’s report can be found here.

Update

Forward in Faith has issued this press release: Nomination to the See of Sheffield: Lessons Learned

…Like Mr Nye, we look forward to news of the progress of the Implementation and Dialogue Group in carrying out its task of remedying this lack of education about the Five Guiding Principles and the 2014 settlement more generally. We hope that, when the next traditional catholic is nominated to a diocesan see, the fruit of its work will be seen in much more generous responses within and beyond the diocese concerned.

The House of Bishops’ Declaration also said, ‘It will be important that senior leadership roles within dioceses continue to be filled by people from across the range of traditions.’ The non-implementation of this commitment over the last four years suggests that educational work might usefully begin within the House of Bishops itself.

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Supreme Court refuses South Carolina petition

The Episcopal News Service reports:
US Supreme Court refuses to hear South Carolina Episcopal Church property case
Breakaway group vows to continue legal fight

The United States Supreme Court refused June 11 a petition by a group that broke away from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina asking it to review a state court ruling that said property, assets and most of the diocese’s parishes must be returned to the Episcopal Church and its recognized diocese, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

The petition for a writ of certiorari from a group that broke away from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina asked the court to consider “whether the ‘neutral principles of law’ approach to resolving church property disputes requires courts to recognize a trust on church property even if the alleged trust does not comply with the state’s ordinary trust and property law.”

The breakaway group said in its Feb. 13 petition that the majority of the South Carolina Supreme Court justices did not take the “neutral” approach.

The high court justices discussed the case (17.1136) during their June 7 conference and denied the request without comment on June 11…

The (ACNA-affiliated) Diocese of South Carolina has issued this press release:
Diocese’s Petition for Cert Denied by United States Supreme Court

…The Diocese of South Carolina will now return to our state courts, where the case has been remitted to the Dorchester Courthouse where it originated. An element of TEC‘s argument for the United States Supreme Court to deny our petition was the “fractured” nature of the South Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling. Constitutional issues aside, the Diocese believes the conflicted nature of the current State Supreme Court ruling is virtually unenforceable as written. Interpretation and implementation of that ruling, given its five separate opinions, with no unified legal theory even among the plurality of the court, means there are still significant questions to resolve.

The Diocese remains confident that the law and the facts of this case favor our congregations. We plan to continue to press both to their logical conclusion, even if that requires a second appearance before the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Statement by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Diocesan Bishop: “While, obviously, we are disappointed that the Court did not review this case, our hope remains steadfast in our Heavenly Father. There are many unresolved legal questions which remain before the State Court as well as matters for prayerful discernment as we seek to carry out the mission to which we are called in Jesus Christ. We shall seek his guidance for both.”

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina issued this:
US Supreme Court Decision

… Today’s decision does not cause an immediate change in the physical control of the properties, according to Thomas S. Tisdale Jr., Chancellor of TECSC. It is now up to the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Common Pleas to execute the lower court’s decision.

TECSC and The Episcopal Church on May 8 asked the state court to place diocesan property and assets under control of TECSC‘s trustees, hand over ownership of property of the 28 affected parishes to The Episcopal Church and TECSC, and appoint a Special Master to oversee the transition.

The Episcopal Church has been hoping to engage with leaders of the breakaway group since the state Supreme Court ruling in August. Bishop Adams and other diocesan leaders have been seeking direct contact with people in the affected parishes, offering a “Frequently Asked Questions” publication and arranging individual meetings to work with those who want to remain in their home churches as Episcopalians.

Direct talks are even more important now that the Supreme Court has ruled, the Bishop said. “We invite people in each of the parishes affected by this decision to read the FAQ document and get in touch with me directly, so we can discover how best to work together for the good of the parish, the diocese and the whole Church,” Bishop Adams said…

The FAQ document mentioned above can be found here.

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