Thursday, 27 November 2014
Oxford Faith Debate on Diversity
Debate 3 was reported here.
The debate took place on 20 November and the full audio recordings are now available here.
Several who were there have blogged about it:
- Miranda Threlfall-Homes The Diversity Debate: Evolutionary Theology?
- Andrew Symes Oxford Faith Debate: Tragic Drama at St Mary’s
- Lorraine Cavanagh How can Church of England diversity become a strength also here as Oxford Faith Debates - How can diversity become a strength?
- Colin Coward The core issue for the mutual conversations
- Erika Baker Westminster Faith Debates, Unity and Diversity
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests
The arrangements under which Church of England parishes can now, on grounds of theological conviction, seek the priestly or episcopal ministry of men are contained in the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests which was made by the House of Bishops in May 2014. There is also a grievance procedure if PCCs are not satisfied with the arrangements offered. This procedure could only be officially put in place after the new Canon allowing women to become bishops was promulged at General Synod on Monday 17 November, and the House of Bishops did this that evening.
The Declaration, together with a guidance note, and the Grievance Procedure are available online.
Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (GS Misc 1076)
Guidance Note (GS Misc 1077)
Grievance Procedure: Regulations made by the House of Bishops under Canon C 29 (GS Misc 1087)
It should be noted that drafts of the Declaration and Grievance Procedure (GS 1932) were presented to, and “welcomed” by General Synod in February 2014, so none of this was new this month.
it was also announced before the November meeting of Synod that Sir Philip Mawer would be the first Independent Reviewer for the grievance procedure (GS Misc 1090).
This is all available on the Church of England website, along with a summary of how to bring a grievance: Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests.
Monday, 24 November 2014
Cathedral Statistics 2013
Cathedrals offer place of peace and prayer in busy lives, reveal new stats
24 November 2014
The number of people attending midweek services at cathedrals has doubled in the past 10 years, show new figures published today from the Church of England’s Research and Statistics department. One of the factors attributed is the need for a place of peace in increasingly busy lives.
Midweek attendance at cathedrals was 7,500 in 2003 rising to 15,000 in 2013 (compared to 12,400 in 2012). In a Church of England podcast published today the Dean of Lichfield, Adrian Dorber, said he has seen the need for people wanting a short snatch of peace midweek in what are now very pressurised lifestyles. “At the weekend you’ve got commitments with children doing sport, shopping, household maintenance - life’s run at the double these days and weekends are very pressurised and committed. Taking out half an hour or an hour every week is much more negotiable.”
Anecdote to Evidence research published earlier this year showed that that the highest motivating factors for Cathedral attendance were peace and contemplation, worship and music and friendly atmosphere.
The Dean of York Minster, Vivienne Faull, commented: “We do have the opportunity of allowing people to come in from the edges. If I take a eucharist at 12.30 in the middle of the week in the nave of York Minster there’ll be a lot of people who just slide in from the side. It’s not so much about anonymity, there’s the feeling there’s a journey you can travel which doesn’t require huge steps - it just requires one little step.”
Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester Cathedral, said: “Patterns of church attendance are different now. Cathedrals are uniquely placed to be providing greater opportunities for worship and that includes during the week.”
The Stats also show that attendance at Christmas cathedral services had increased rising from 117,200 in 2012 to 124,300 in 2013 with many cathedrals putting on new services.
Sunday, 23 November 2014
Questions about leaks from the Crown Nominations Commission
The following questions were put to the Archbishop of Canterbury during Questions at General Synod on Monday evening by Dr Jo Spreadbury (St Albans).
Has the Commission considered why one name consistently appears in the media as having been under consideration by it and whether, when such reports appear, the Commission might in the interests of fairness release the names of all those who were in fact on the shortlist for the appointment concerned?
The Archbishop, speaking as Chair of the Crown Nominations Commission, replied:
Those who take part in Crown Nominations Commissions or who are involved in the process for selecting suffragan bishops are bound by requirements of confidentiality, something that we repeat at each CNC at the beginning of the process. There are strong arguments both for transparency and for confidentiality. It is a question which is discussed from time to time, and the Archbishop of York and I keep it under review, as he has already said.
It is, however, precisely because selection processes are meant to be confidential - in the interests of all concerned - that it is so damaging when reports appear in the press purporting to give inside information and naming an individual. The harm is done whether these are true, false or wholly speculative. It is unkind, hurtful and unjust to the person concerned and simply should not happen.
Given the damaging reports that you refer to, what steps will be taken to revise the CNC process, both to call to account members who breach the declaration of confidentiality they make, and to prevent undue influence in the process, even say by the Archbishop of Canterbury, even say in the interests of the Anglican Communion.
The Archbishop replied:
We will continue to keep the way that we operate under close review, and to ensure that it is carried out in line with the Equality Act, wherever that applies.
What Tim Allen said about discrimination in CNC appointments
During the debate on the Business Committee report, Mr Tim Allen (St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) made a speech in which, while requesting further action from the archbishops in relation to the selection of women for episcopal appointments, he mentioned specifically:
…their formidable powers of process control, leadership, and forceful persuasion to ensure (I am putting it very politely) that the CNC moves boldly with all speed and determination to the appointment of as many as possible of the best of the Church of England’s excellent senior women as diocesan bishops, preferably with seats in the House of Lords…
He later continued:
…And there is a closely related matter, on which I hope Archbishop Justin will also respond. For it is not only women who were excluded in a discriminatory and prejudiced way from the House of Bishops. So too were, and still are, those gay men who do not hide their sexuality in the closet. Those who are honest and frank enough to live openly in a civil partnership while behaving in the chaste way required by church law are it seems, from all the evidence de facto excluded from the House of Bishops, even when they are eminently qualified to be a bishop.
To make bishops of women required today’s change in the law of the church. But it is not law, it is simply prejudice which keeps out of the House of Bishops these men who are gay, chaste and honest. Such prejudice and discrimination is wrong, even when it is dressed up as a necessary tribute to certain homophobic elements of the Anglican Communion. Such prejudice and discrimination will increasingly be seen to be wrong by much of the nation which the Church of England seeks to serve, especially the younger people, who have shown for example by their sympathy for Alan Turing the gay wartime codebreaker [to] utterly reject the persecution of homosexual people.
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes 5 Things I miss about being Laity
Cathy Newman interviews Rose Hudson-Wilkin for The Telegraph Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin: The truth? We’re all fearful for the first female bishops
Rupert Christiansen The Telegraph Why do Christmas carols make the church feel nervous?
Erasmus The Economist Hello ladies, goodbye Communion?
Lucy Ward The Guardian Una Kroll: ‘Public protest is still very important’
Sam Wells The Christian Century Dressed for the moment
Bosco Peters A Bishop is not a Priest
Isabel Berwick Financial Times From atheist teenager to lady of the parish
Women bishops legislation: Isle of Man & Channel Islands
Updated on Sunday to add the two supplementary questions
The Questions on Monday evening at General Synod included this question and answer:
The Revd Rosalind Rutherford (Winchester) asked the Secretary General:
Q What steps need to be taken to ensure that all the components of the legislative package for Women in the Episcopate will apply fully in the Isle of Man and in all the Channel Islands; and can you confirm that these steps have been taken so that the legislation can come into force on the same day as that on which it is expected to come into force in England (17th Nov 2014)?
Mr William Fittall replied:
A The legislation that has come into force today in England cannot come into force in the Crown Dependencies until the usual processes involving the civil authorities of those distinct jurisdictions have been completed. In the case of the Isle of Man a draft Measure has been prepared, for consideration by the diocesan synod at the earliest possible opportunity on 13 January, and will then need to be submitted to Tynwald. In the case of the Channel Islands a scheme needs to be drawn up in consultation with the deanery synods of the Islands, communicated to the States General for comment, approved by the General Synod and then confirmed by Order in Council. I understand that process is about to begin but it is a little too soon to predict the timescale.
Rosalind Rutherford asked a supplementary question:
Q I think many members will think it’s regrettable it’s not possible to give a specific date for the Channel Islands, but could you assure Synod that active and practical encouragement will be given to those responsible for the process to ensure that it will take significantly less time than the extra six years it took the 1992 Measure to be applied in the Islands.
Mr Fittall replied:
A Well we have just broken the land speed record in getting the legislation through the Ecclesiastical Committee in about eight days and through the two Houses of Parliament very speedily after the recess. In relation to the civil authorities in the Channel Islands it would be very good if we could similarly create a new record, but I am afraid I cannot guarantee because that is not ultimately in my hands or indeed in the hands of the General Synod.
The Bishop of Dover asked:
Q Would the Secretary General find it helpful to know that letters have gone to the deaneries of Jersey and Guernsey to actually start the process already?
Mr Fittall replied:
A That is very encouraging.
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich
Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office
Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich: Martin Alan Seeley
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 20 November 2014
Part of: Arts and culture
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Martin Alan Seeley for election as Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Martin Alan Seeley, MA, STM, Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge in the Diocese of Ely, for election as Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich in succession to the Right Reverend William Nigel Stock, BA, on his translation as Bishop at Lambeth on 13 November 2013.
Notes for editors
Martin Seeley is 60, and read geography and then theology at Jesus College, Cambridge, before a year at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He was awarded the English Fellowship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and continued his ministerial training there. He served his title at the parish of Bottesford with Ashby, Scunthorpe in Lincoln Diocese from 1978 to 1980. He then returned to New York City where he served as curate at the Church of the Epiphany and Assistant Director of Trinity Institute, Trinity Wall Street, from 1980 to 1985. From 1985 to 1990 he was Executive Director of the Thompson Center, an ecumenical lay and clergy education programme in St Louis, Missouri. He returned to England in 1990 and until 1996 was a Selection Secretary at the Advisory Board of Ministry and Secretary for Continuing Ministerial Education. From 1996 to 2006 he was Vicar of the Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets, in the Diocese of London. Since 2006 he has been Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge and also from 2008 Honorary Canon at Ely Cathedral. He has also served as President of the Cambridge Theological Federation for the past 2 years.
He is married to the Reverend Jutta Brueck, Priest in Charge of St James’, Cambridge and they have two children, Anna, 14 and Luke, 11. He is a keen and able cook, and a keen, but less able saxophonist.
The diocesan website has more details: Next Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Why unity eludes the Church of England
Press Release from Westminster Faith Debates
In his presidential address to General Synod this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of divisions within the Anglican Communion, and of the prize of being able to develop unity in diversity. Closer to home, he is supporting ‘facilitated conversations’ in the CofE as a way of healing rifts over the issue of gay marriage. What’s the chance of success?
A recent survey of CofE clergy by YouGov, commissioned by the Westminster Faith Debates, reveals a major obstacle in the way of the Archbishop’s goal of ‘disagreeing well’: a relatively small group of the most evangelical male clergy.
When asked where they fall on spectrum from evangelical to catholic, roughly a third of all clergy say they are at the evangelical end, a third at the catholic end, and a third in the middle. The third at the evangelical end hold some distinctive and pronounced views.
For instance, a full 88% of these evangelicals say that same-sex marriage is wrong, compared with just over a third of the rest of the clergy. Similarly, 31% of evangelical clergy would ban abortion altogether, a figure which falls to 16% among Anglican clergy overall.
These differences are not a block to unity – if those who hold them are happy to tolerate different views within the Church. But here comes the rub.
Evangelical men beg to differ
The survey of 1,500 Anglican clergy asked about the most appropriate approach to unity in the Anglican Communion. While the majority of clergy support the aim of ‘maintaining unity by being more tolerant of diverse views,’ two thirds of the evangelical clergy disagree, contending either that the Church should seek greater uniformity of views or else that it should not be afraid of separating amicably along doctrinal and ethical lines.
What the survey also finds, however, is that it is evangelical men not evangelical women who are opposed to the Archbishop’s goal of ‘disagreeing well.’ Most evangelical women clergy (61%) agree with the majority of clergy who support greater toleration. But 68% of evangelical male clergy disagree.
The typical view of evangelical male clergy is both to oppose gay marriage and not to wish the Church to embrace diverse views. Overall this combination of views is held by about 25% of clergy, the majority of whom are male evangelicals. These are a major block to the Archbishop’s dream of unity in the CofE—- clergy who don’t think it a goal worth pursuing—-especially because so many of them belong to the same clergy “tribe”.
The good news for Justin Welby is that he doesn’t have to worry about the majority of clergy. They support his goal. The bad news is that his opponents are not likely to change their minds. His success depends on finding a solution – something which eluded his predecessor Rowan Williams.
Professor Linda Woodhead comments:
These findings are both good and bad news for the Archbishop – good in that his battle is won with most of the clergy and almost certainly an overwhelming majority of lay Anglicans. Bad, in that there is a significant group of male clergy who do not share his vision for the CofE and the Anglican Communion.
Future of the Church Debate
This Thursday the next in the current series of national debates on the Future of the Church of England delves into this issue, asking what kind of unity is appropriate for the Church and how Archbishop Justin’s goal of unity in diversity can be achieved.
Speakers at this public debate in Oxford include Canon David Porter, the Archbishop’s Director of Reconciliation, Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson, Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream, the Very Revd June Osborne and Rt Revd Dr Trevor Mwamba.
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
General Synod - Tuesday's business
Updated Wednesday and Thursday
Official summaries of the day’s business
Press reports and comment:
John Bingham The Telegraph Welby warns offering asylum to Christians could ‘drain’ Middle East of 2,000-year-old communities
Fuad Nahdi The Guardian Christians and Muslims have co-existed peacefully before and must do so again
Press Association (in The Guardian) British Muslims feel paralysed by Iraq and Syria conflicts, activist tells synod
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Muslim address to Synod: ‘Muslims and Christians must learn more about each other’
Archbishop of York General Synod Farewell to the Bishop of Newcastle
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today UK Methodists might accept bishops as CofE covenant (slowly) progresses
Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester, announced today that he will retire on 11 July 2015.
From the diocesan website: Bishop Tim announces retirement
Ripon College Cuddesdon announced today that Humphrey Southern, suffragan Bishop of Repton in the Diocese of Derby, has been appointed its principal, with effect from 1 April 2015.
From the college website: Appointment of new Principal
Priests ordained by women bishops abroad
The Questions yesterday evening at General Synod included this question and answer:
Mrs Christina Rees (St Albans) asked the Secretary General:
Q Is there any longer a bar on a man or woman who, having been ordained to the priesthood by a bishop who is a woman in another province of the Anglican Communion or in another Church with which the Church of England is in communion, being given to permission to officiate under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967, so as to make them then to be as a priest in the Church of England, given a Licence or Permission to Officiate?
Mr William Fittall replied:
A The decision taken by the Synod this afternoon means that it is now lawful for women to be consecrated as bishops in England. The rationale for the bar which the Archbishops have operated up to now under the 1967 Measure has therefore disappeared. The gender of the consecrating bishop will be no longer relevant when applications for permission to officiate are considered.
Bishops - the morning after
More news and comment on yesterday’s final decision to allow women to be bishops in the Church of England
Giles Fraser The Guardian Hallelujah, the long wait for female bishops is over at last
Telegraph leader Women bishops: a new chapter for the Church of England
Caroline Wyatt BBC Female bishops: Anglicans preparing for first appointment
There was other business at General Synod yesterday:
Official Summary of Monday’s business: General Synod: Monday PM
Press release: Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy
Monday, 17 November 2014
More on the Women Bishops legislation
Early press reports:
Tim Wyatt Church Times From today, women can be bishops in the Church of England
Caroline Wyatt BBC Church of England formally approves plans for women bishops
Andrew Brown The Guardian Church of England clears way for female bishops
John Bingham and agency The Telegraph Church of England approves historic change in law to allow women bishops
Kashmira Gander The Independent Church of England shatters ‘stained-glass ceiling’ by allowing female bishops
Carey Lodge Christian Today Final approval given to women bishops at General Synod
… and from the Archbishop of Canterbury Women bishops: Archbishop hails “new way of being the church”
Archbishop Justin's presidential address to the General Synod
From the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.
Archbishop Justin’s presidential address to the General Synod
Monday 17th November 2014
In his presidential address to the General Synod today, Archbishop Justin spoke about the issues faced by the Anglican Communion and possible ways forward.
Read the full text of the address below:
During the last eighteen months or so I have had the opportunity to visit thirty-six other Primates of the Anglican Communion at various points. This has involved a total of 14 trips lasting 96 days in all. I incidentally calculated that it involves more than eleven days actually sitting in aeroplanes. This seemed to be a good moment therefore to speak a little about the state of the Communion and to look honestly at some of the issues that are faced and the possible ways forward…
The full text is here.
Madeleine Davies reports on the address for the Church Times Anglican Communion ‘flourishing’, and attached to Canterbury, Welby reports