Saturday, 26 May 2018

Opinion - 26 May 2018

Paul Bayes Bishop of Liverpool A rule of life

Theo Hobson The Spectator Will the Church’s division over women clergy re-ignite?

Ruth Wilde Inclusive Church Race, class and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon
James Woodward ViaMedia.News Royal Wedding – Finding a Voice
[There is a transcipt of Bishop Curry’s sermon here and a video here.]

Emma Ash Church Times The cost of discerning a call is too high for some
“Working-class candidates need more financial help during the discernment process”

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 11:00am BST
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Bishop of Norwich to retire

The Bishop on Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, has announced that he will be retiring early next year.

Bishop of Norwich announces retirement

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 10:15am BST
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Categorised as: Church of England

Thursday, 24 May 2018

General Synod Agenda for July

The Business Committee of General Synod has today published the agenda for the July Group of Sessions in York.

The published information can be read here and is copied in full below the fold.

Continue reading "General Synod Agenda for July"
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 9:27pm BST
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Report from May House of Bishops

The Report from the May meeting of the House of Bishops of the Church of England was released today. The text is copied belw the fold.

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Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 8:27pm BST
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Opinion - 23 May 2018

Jeremy Morris ViaMedia.News From Windrush to Windsor: Who Do We Think We Are?

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the Church 2: kingdom of God or cult of Christ?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding, IICSA and the Care of Survivors

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 11:00am BST
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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

TEC proposals for same-sex marriage

Updated

Following up on the letter from William Nye to TEC, the actual proposals to come before the General Convention in July were the subject of analysis by Andrew Goddard, earlier this month (I had missed his article until today).

“Communion Partners” and Marriage Doctrine and Liturgy in The Episcopal Church (USA)

An article, written from the perspective of one of the TEC bishops opposed to these changes, can be found here: Reconstructive Surgery on the Prayer Book? by Bishop Dan Martins.

And yesterday, there was This Source of Doctrine and Unity Requires Our Care by Bishop John Bauerschmidt.

Updates

Scott Gunn has also written about this proposal: Study of Marriage.

Bishop George Sumner has issued a pastoral letter on the same subject.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 May 2018 at 5:00pm BST
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Categorised as: ECUSA

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Church of England opposes end to civil partnerships

The British government has reported that previous consultations on the future of civil partnerships were inconclusive. It has therefore issued this: The Future Operation of Civil Partnership: Gathering Further Information.

This raises the possibility of opening civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples or of abolishing civil partnerships for the future. Here’s how the document begins:

  1. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 enabled same-sex couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationship by registering a civil partnership at a time when marriage for same-sex couples was not available. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 allowed same-sex couples to enter a marriage from 29 March 2014, or convert their civil partnership into a marriage from 10 December 2014.
  2. The Government has consulted twice on the continued operation of civil partnerships: in 2012 during the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, and again in 2014. In those consultations, we invited views on three possible options; whether civil partnerships should be:
    - abolished
    - closed to new registrations
    - extended to allow opposite-sex couples to register a civil partnership
  3. Taken together, there was no consensus about how civil partnerships should change. Due to the lack of available evidence in support of any of the above options, and the lack of consensus on a particular change, the Government decided not to make any changes to civil partnerships at the time.
  4. This policy paper sets out how the Government will gather additional information. When this work is completed, the Government should have the information it needs to bring forward proposals for the future of civil partnerships.

The Church Times reports (scroll down) that:

Support for civil partnerships. Civil partnerships should not be abolished, the Church’s Director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown said this week, after the Government’s Equalities Office suggested that their future was uncertain.

In a paper published last week, the Office says that, if demand for civil partnerships remains low, “this might suggest that same-sex couples no longer see this as a relevant way of recognising their relationships, and that the Government should consider abolishing or phasing out civil partnerships entirely.”

There were 890 civil partnerships registered in 2016 in England and Wales, down from an average of 6305 from 2007 to 2013. The paper says that, by September 2019, a “proportionate amount of evidence” will have been gathered to enable the Office “to be confident in the ongoing level of demand”.

“We believe that Civil Partnerships still have a place, including for some Christian LGBTI couples who see them as a way of gaining legal recognition of their relationship,” Dr Brown said. “We hope [they] will remain an option.”

We recently published an article reporting on how civil partnerships had been viewed in 2007: Civil Partnerships: a look back at 2007.

Michael Sadgrove has drawn attention to an even earlier article we published, in 2006: civil partnerships: another bishop’s view.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 3:33pm BST
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

Opinion - 19 May 2018

Hayley Matthews ViaMedia.News Royal Weddings & Lady Bishops – Time for Change?

Harry Farley Christian Today Michael Curry: Who is the Royal wedding preacher who backs gay marriage and opposes Trump?

Lucy Winkett Church Times What is the significance of Pentecost? A test of spirit, and the challenge of bearing witness

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Institutions defend themselves – Barrow Hospital and C/E compared

Harriet Sherwood interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury for The Guardian Justin Welby: ‘I’m nervous about dropping the rings at the royal wedding’

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 11:00am BST
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Categorised as: Opinion

Friday, 18 May 2018

Bishops and Safeguarding

There are two items in today’s Church Times that relate to this subject.

Letter to the editor (scroll down)
The House of Bishops and abuse survivors

From Mr Andrew Graystone

Sir, — At the General Synod in February, the House of Bishops once again promised a “new culture” in the way that the Church relates to victims of its abuse (News, 16 February). Since then, there has been no indication of what that new culture might look like, or how or when it will be realised. Indeed, since February there has been minimal contact between the bishops and victims.

The suggestion in a private letter that the National Safeguarding Team is “in the process of developing the terms of reference for a Working Group on Cultural Change” caused hearty laughter among weary victims.

When pressed, individual bishops have dropped hints that “something is being worked out” and will be revealed in due course. This is inadequate for at least two reasons.

The first is that it fails to recognise that the climate of nods and winks, secrecy, and fixing things up in private, is precisely the environment in which abuse thrives. Bishops working things out behind closed doors is the problem; it cannot also be the solution.

The second is that the bishops have yet to face the fact that they are neither qualified nor equipped to fix the Church’s problems in this area. By definition, many have risen to the top through abusive cultures. They are unable to recognise their own privilege and are unwilling to admit their own victimhood. They are horses trying to muck out their own stable.

Until the Bishops admit their inadequacy in this area and call on victims and independent experts to advise, all they will succeed in doing is spreading the muck around.

ANDREW GRAYSTONE
17 Rushford Avenue
Manchester M19 2HG

And there is a brief news item headed Welby ‘will take no further action’ against Croft over abuse case (scroll down)

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has declined to discipline the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, over alleged failings to handle properly a disclosure of abuse. The Revd Matthew Ineson, who says that he was raped while a child by another cleric, the late Trevor Devamanikkam (News, 16 March), made a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure against Dr Croft. Mr Ineson said that Dr Croft did not take any action after being told about the alleged abuse. Mr Ineson said that he had received a letter from Archbishop Welby which said that he “will take no further action”. The Archbishop said, however, that he would ensure that Dr Croft undertook further safeguarding training and understood his responsibilities as a diocesan bishop. Mr Ineson said that he was prepar­ing to appeal against Archbishop Welby’s decision not to discipline Dr Croft.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 18 May 2018 at 2:00pm BST
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Categorised as: Church of England

Bishop of Huntingdon to retire

David Thomson, the suffragan Bishop of Huntingdon in the Diocese of Ely, has announced that he will retire in autumn 2018.

Retirement Announcement: The Rt Revd Dr David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 18 May 2018 at 10:00am BST
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Categorised as: Church of England | News

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Opinion - 16 May 2018

Craig D’Alton humane catholic An alternate statement on marriage equality, which could have been made by the Anglican bishops of Australia, but wasn’t …

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the church 1: whose kingdom come?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Bishops as Managers – Empathy begins to die

David Walker ViaMedia.News Lost in Translation – Speaking in Differing Tongues

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at 11:00am BST
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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Lichfield diocese seeks to welcome LGBT+ people

The four bishops of the Diocese of Lichfield have issued an ad clerum letter on this subject.

Here is the press release: Welcoming and honouring LGBT+ people

The bishops of Lichfield Diocese are calling for a Church where LGBT+ people feel welcomed and honoured.

In a letter sent to all clergy and lay ministers in the diocese, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave; the Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Geoff Annas; the Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory; and the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands, emphasise that “everyone has a place at the table.”

The letter updates clergy on discussions underway in the national Church on the ‘radical Christian inclusion’ called for by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and draws attention to the work being done on a major new Teaching Document…

Here is the full text of the letter: To all clergy and licensed lay ministers in the Diocese of Lichfield. Part of this is copied below the fold. But do read the entire letter.

There was also an earlier press release: ‘Safe Space’ for LGBT Christians

OneBodyOneFaith has issued a statement: OneBody welcomes letter from Lichfield bishops.

Tracey Byrne said:

“…Much of what the bishops say, shouldn’t really need saying, but sadly it does. Only this week we heard from a gay couple in another part of the country whose vicar has told them they can’t serve on any church committee, and we know too of couples whose vicar has refused to baptise their children. The kind of intrusive and abusive questioning of individuals condemned in the letter really does happen. People feel ashamed, hurt and confused when they encounter this kind of behaviour from people in positions of power and authority. It’s an affront to the gospel, and deeply damaging of individuals.”

Peter Leonard said:

“It’s my hope that the work being undertaken by Lichfield diocese, and this clear statement, will send a very strong signal – to LGBT+ people that they’re welcomed and valued on equal terms with our brothers and sisters. And to those who seek to treat us as a problem, to harm and dismiss us and deny our gifts and callings – that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated. What we need to see now is other bishops issuing similar guidance. But this first step by Lichfield is very much welcomed.”

Continue reading "Lichfield diocese seeks to welcome LGBT+ people"
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 5:20pm BST
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Vivienne Faull to be next Bishop of Bristol

Press release from Number 10

Queen appoints new Bishop of Bristol
The Queen has approved the appointment of a new Bishop of Bristol.

Published 15 May 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Vivienne Frances Faull, MA, Dean of York, in the diocese of York, for election as Bishop of Bristol in succession to the Right Reverend Michael Arthur Hill, on his resignation on the 30th September 2017.

There are more details on the Bristol diocesan website: Very Revd Vivienne Faull announced as the next Bishop of Bristol.
Her consecration is scheduled for 3 July 2018.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 10:05am BST
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Categorised as: Church of England

Monday, 14 May 2018

Church Commissioners results for 2017

The Church Commissioners have released their annual report for 2017 this morning, along with this press release:

Church Commissioners for England announce return of 7.1% on investments for 2017 and forecast muted earnings in medium term

The full press release is copied below the fold, but it starts with these highlights:

  • Investable assets increase in 2017 to £8.3bn from £7.9bn in 2016.
  • Financial support by the Commissioners totalled (excluding pensions) £144 million with Commissioners continuing to account for approximately 15% of the Church’s overall mission and ministry costs.
  • Church Commissioners prepare for outlook of higher interest rates, higher volatility and lower returns than recent years.

Hattie Williams has written in detail about the report for Church Times: Church Commissioners remain bountiful despite large drop in investment returns

The full report, and a summary review, are available for download.
Church Commissioners Annual Report 2017
Church Commissioners Annual Review 2017

Continue reading "Church Commissioners results for 2017"
Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 14 May 2018 at 10:17am BST
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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Bishop Sarah Mullally installed in London

From the website of the diocese:

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE has been installed as the 133rd Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral. The service coincided with International Nurses Day, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, echoing Bishop Sarah’s own former career in the NHS as a nurse, including as Chief Nursing Officer, before her ordination.

Clergy, staff and friends, from across the Diocese of London, the wider capital, and the Church of England, came together as Bishop Sarah followed the tradition of knocking three times on the Cathedral’s Great West Door with her pastoral staff, marking the beginning of the installation. The full-service sheet can be accessed here [below].

Bishop Sarah’s sermon, on the theme of ‘being subversive for Christ’, remarked that 105 years ago this week, suffragettes placed a bomb under the same seat in which she had just been enthroned as the first woman to be Bishop of London. She also spoke of the need to challenge injustice and inequality, and of the pivotal role the Church has to play across London.

Order of Service for the Installation

Sermon by Bishop Sarah at her Installation in St Paul’s Cathedral

Her biography and links to some other news articles

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 7:35am BST
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Categorised as: Church of England