Thinking Anglicans

Civil Partnerships for opposite-sex couples

The Church of England has issued this press release today.

Following the recent change in the law to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples, the House of Bishops has agreed a pastoral statement.

I have copied the text of the statement below the fold.



Opinion – 22 January 2020

Daniel Inman Church Times Don’t allow residential training to collapse
“The market is now saturated: action must be taken to ensure that institutions are not forced to close”

Mandate Now ‘The Church has some form of Mandatory Reporting’ (Peter Hancock – Lead Bishop for Safeguarding) | “Oh no it hasn’t!”

Mark Bennet Surviving Church Have attitudes to sex changed in the Church over the past 30 years?

Surviving Church BBC Interview of Julie Macfarlane. Seeking Justice after Abuse

David Ison ViaMedia.News Abusers of Faith

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel BBC Documentary


Opinion – 18 January 2020

This article dates from 1996 but may be of interest
Andrew Brown Prospect The unholy mess

Savi Hensman ViaMedia.News Secularism – A Force for Good?

Angharad Woolcott Church Times ‘As a survivor, I believe that by talking out, I may be able to help others’
“A survivor of clergy abuse reflects on the BBC2 documentary Exposed: The Church’s darkest secret, on the serial sex-offender and former bishop Peter Ball”

Richard Harries Church Times What it feels like to believe
“Richard Harries argues in the last in his series that, in a sceptical age, an appeal to personal experience remains paramount”


Next Suffragan Bishop of St Germans

Press release from Number 10

Suffragan Bishop of St Germans: 17 January 2020
The Queen appoints Reverend Hugh Edmund Nelson, BA, MTh, to the Suffragan See of St Germans.

Published 17 January 2020
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Hugh Edmund Nelson, BA, MTh, Vicar of Goudhurst with Kilndown, in the diocese of Canterbury to the Suffragan See of St Germans, in the diocese of Truro, in succession to the Right Reverend Christopher David Goldsmith, BA, DPhil, who resigned on 29th September 2019.

Hugh was educated at Worcester College, Oxford and spent 13 years living and working in L’Arche London, one of the Christian communities for people with and without learning disabilities founded by Jean Vanier. He trained for ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, served his title at The Benefice of The Six in the Diocese of Canterbury and was ordained Priest in 2010.

In 2012, Hugh was appointed to his current role as Vicar of Goudhurst and Kilndown. He also served as Chaplain to Blantyre House Prison from 2012-2016.

There are more details on the Truro diocesan website.


February General Synod – online papers

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 24 January and I will add links when these become available.

Papers with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets from Monday 10 to Thursday 13 February in London.

The Agenda is here and the Report by the Business Committee (Guide to the February 2020 group of sessions) is here.


Synod members reading this might like to note that the deadline for the submission of questions is 12 noon on Wednesday 29 January 2020.

First mailing .zip file



Opinion – 15 January 2020

The Fence Diary of an Urban Parson
The Reverend J J Cowan goes on a ‘modulated exploratory learning course’.

Mtr Kate St Chrysostom’s Church News and Views Compassion easier than Justice …

Simon Butler ViaMedia.News Living in Love & Faith – The Importance of Speaking the Truth

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Church’s Dark Secret – Reflections


BBC documentary on Peter Ball

The BBC has transmitted a two-part television documentary programme:
Exposed: The Church’s Darkest Secret.

The Church of England has issued two press releases. The first one was issued last week, the second one yesterday after both episodes had been shown:

BBC2 documentary on Peter Ball

Response to BBC 2 documentary on Peter Ball  from the Bishop of Bath & Wells, Peter Hancock

The Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, has also issued a response (includes video).

Media coverage includes:

Guardian Friendship with Prince Charles made paedophile bishop Peter Ball ‘impregnable’

Daily Mail  Sister of a man who took his own life after being abused by bishop Peter Ball claims the paedophile’s ‘friends in high places’ like Prince Charles are ‘to blame’ for her brother’s death in a new documentary

Church Times Bishops shamed by BBC documentary


Opinion – 11 January 2019

Adrian Chiles The Guardian My atheist family was appalled when I converted to Catholicism – but it’s given me great peace

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Taking stock in 2020. Where is the Church going with Safeguarding?
Private Eye Silence of the Lambeth

Richard Harries Church Times Coming in from the outside
“In the second of a series of articles exploring apologetics in a secular age, Richard Harries considers what it might mean to know God”

David Walker ViaMedia.News All Things Considered….Including ‘Living in Love & Faith’


Second Church Estates Commissioner: Andrew Selous MP

Updated Monday

Press release from Number 10

Second Church Estates Commissioner: Andrew Selous MP

The appointment of Andrew Selous MP as Second Church Estates Commissioner.

Published 10 January 2020
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and Andrew Selous MP

The Queen has approved the appointment of Mr Andrew Selous MP as Second Church Estates Commissioner.

Notes to Editors

Andrew Selous has been a Member for South West Bedfordshire since 2001. He is a confirmed member of the Church of England.

There is information on the role of the Second Church Estates Commissioner here. The Commissioner’s primary parliamentary role is to answer oral and written questions from MPs about Church of England matters.


Church Times has more information: Andrew Selous is new Second Church Estates Commissioner.


Anglican Communion Office updates


Three articles from the Anglican Communion Office:

Changing the way the Anglican Communion communicates

A look ahead at 2020 for the Anglican Communion Office

Anglican Primates gather in Jordan for “very strategic meeting” ahead of Lambeth Conference

Anglican Primates meet with King Abdullah II and Heads of Churches in Jordan

The Church Times has this report:

‘Grown-up’ Primates’ Meeting affirms Anglican links with Canterbury



Opinion – 8 January 2020

David Taylor A Blaze of Light Mixed-Mode or Residential? I’ve Done Both

Richard Harries Church Times Belief in a sceptical society
“In the first of three articles exploring apologetics in a secular age, Richard Harries surveys how life has changed since the 1960s”

Peter Anthony Saint Benet’s Kentish Town Christmas Attendance Statistics

The same title but two very different views of the year ahead
David Baker Christian Today What will happen to the Church of England and Anglicans in 2020?
Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News What Will Happen to the Church of England and Anglicans in 2020?


Bishop of Ludlow to retire

The Bishop of Ludlow, the Rt Revd Alistair Magowan, has announced he will retire at the end of April.

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Opinion – 4 January 2020

Rose Hudson-Wilkin The Voice Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin gives New Year message to Voice readers
“The Bishop of Dover says we can live out the meaning of togetherness as we begin 2020”

Rose Hudson-Wilkin Vogue On Becoming Britain’s First Black Female Bishop

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Thinking about conservative Christianity and divisions

Giles Fraser UnHerd What’s the point of civil partnerships?
“Let’s not pretend that cancelling marriage will eradicate the power imbalances of sexual politics”


Jonathan Fletcher latest

In the days immediately following Christmas Day, the Daily Telegraph published several articles by Gabriella Swerling and others about Jonathan Fletcher. They are all behind a paywall, but the Telegraph does allow you to read one a week if you register. Otherwise you are restricted to reading the first couple of paragraphs, but this will give a slight flavour of what they are all about.

Some other papers have reported on the Telegraph’s articles.

Mail Online Church of England vicar, 77, could face criminal probe after alleged abuse victims claim they endured naked ice baths, beatings and massages
Christian Today Criminal inquiry a possibility for vicar accused of spiritual abuse
Church Times Press: Jonathan Fletcher’s victims speak out
Church Times Lessons-learnt review is launched into Jonathan Fletcher
Patheos Victims of sadistic evangelical priest want police to investigate
Premier London vicar Rev Jonathan Fletcher could face criminal inquiry

And there has been comment.

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Peter Ball and Jonathan Fletcher. A toxic legacy?
Reacting to the Jonathan Fletcher story – the Great Silence
Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Jonathan Fletcher presents the Church of England with a crisis of integrity


Opinion – New Year’s Day 2020

Kate Bowler Washington Post We are not divine. But we are loved. That is enough.

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News A ‘Low & Dishonest’ Decade?
The Guardian reports on this and other New Year messages.

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Opinion – 28 December 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Who wants to be an English Bishop?

Simon Jenkins The Guardian To survive, Britain’s churches need to learn from our cathedrals

Diarmaid MacCulloch The Guardian Why Christianity has been struggling with sex ever since the Nativity


Church Representation Rules

The 2020 edition of the Church Representation Rules is now available online. As we noted earlier this 2020 edition presents an entirely new text of the Church Representation Rules, replacing the previous Rules established in 1969 and amended numerous times over the following fifty years. They come into effect on 1 January 2020 so, for example, they will apply to the 2020 annual parochial church meeting and to the revision of the electoral roll which must precede that annual meeting.


Opinion – 24 December 2019

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley God Enters the God-Made World

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Archbishop-designate and Christian Concern – some thoughts.

The Archbishop of Canterbury‘s 2019 Ecumenical Christmas Letter

Philip Baldwin Gay Times LGBTQ Christians desperately want and need full inclusion


Update on Safe Spaces following media report

The Church of England issued the press release below today. It appears to be in response to an article in Private Eye which was tweeted here yesterday.

Update on Safe Spaces following media report

A spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team said: “Safe Spaces is planned as a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse across the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

“The delay in progressing the support service, first officially discussed in 2014, is a matter of regret which the Church of England acknowledges and apologises for. But since the appointment of a project manager and the creation of the Safe Spaces Management Board last year eight survivor representatives from across both Churches are involved in ensuring we find the right organisation to deliver the project.

“Their knowledge, skill and personal experience in shaping the model for Safe Spaces alongside their commitment and support for the procurement process is integral to finding the right organisation to deliver the project.

“All grant money from both churches and ATL has been ring fenced for the project and no money from the £592,000 grant has been spent to date, and no new company has been set up. Pre set-up costs, procurement, project management and development are separate to this and the cost is being shared across both Churches.

“Following an initial procurement process, the Board has agreed that it would not be recommending the appointment of a preferred supplier to deliver the project; this decision was taken in partnership with the survivor representatives.

“Over the coming weeks the Board in partnership with survivors will agree the next steps and the best way forward. Survivor voices remain central to any future success of this new service and their welfare and support is an absolute priority for the Church in its continuing safeguarding work.

“Both churches are committed to supporting survivors of church-related abuse and providing an independent national service for survivors of any form of church-related abuse.”


Opinion – 21 December 2019

Some more Christmas Messages posted by the Anglican Communion News Service

Archbishops Richard Clarke and Eamon Martin, The Anglican Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland
Archbishop Paul Kwong, The Anglican Church of Hong Kong
Archbishop Linda Nicholls, The Anglican Church of Canada
Archbishop John Davies, The Church in Wales

Andrew Brown Church Times How smartphones have changed the news

Peter Leonard ViaMedia.News An Everyday Christmas….?

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