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.

Report from May House of Bishops

23/05/2018

The House of Bishops met in York at Bishopthorpe Palace on 21st and 22nd of May.

The agenda covered safeguarding, the Lambeth Conference in 2020, the future of ministry, and engaging children and young people more completely in the life of the Church.

The House heard an update from Phil George, Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference Company on the planning and preparation of the 2020 Lambeth Conference, God’s Church for God’s World from 24th July to 3rd August 2020.

The House considered the Church’s current involvement with children and young people and committed to prioritising their needs more effectively in the future. There was some discussion about the mutual and complementary roles played by Church, school and family in shaping young people’s perceptions of faith and ideas were shared on how all three could collaborate more closely together. The conversation took place in the context of the Church’s broader work on Setting God’s People Free; encouraging people to live out their commitment to Christianity seven days a week. The Archbishop of York announced that the All Churches Trust had awarded a £500k grant over the next three years to expand the Young Leaders Award project nationally. To date 63,000 young people in Northern England have benefitted from the programme of leadership development.

The House heard a presentation from the Bishop of Stepney on the final report of the Cathedrals Working Group which will be published this summer.

The House discussed the emerging themes of the last set of hearings from the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), reflecting on the ongoing need to address safeguarding effectively at a local level.

The House explored the future of ministry considering diverse aspects including discernment, selection, training and lifelong learning. The ongoing imperative to attract candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds remains clear.

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Liam Beadle
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Liam Beadle

“The House explored the future of ministry considering diverse aspects including discernment, selection, training and lifelong learning.” That is all good and important. It seems recruitment is healthy (in that the figures are more encouraging than those for similar Churches on the continent). However, retention seems more problematic: a few years ago Linda Woodhead informed us that more clergy leave stipendiary ministry than retire from it. I don’t know whether that is still the case, but even if it is the case in one calendar year, that is still astonishing. The biggest problem, though, seems to be in deployment. Doubtless… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“The House considered the Church’s current involvement with children and young people and committed to prioritising their needs more effectively in the future.” Did I miss a stop on the train and wake up in 1961? Have they considered opening an espresso bar and having a skiffle night? The moment you start talking about “they” or “their needs”, you’re othering: you’re identifying an outgroup, who are by implication not as clever or as wise as you, for whom you intend to put on a show in order to patronisingly present them the message you think they want to hear. “Children… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

“more clergy leave stipendiary ministry than retire from it”.
If that be the case serious questions need to be asked as to why this might be the case. I write has one who has stuck it out for 41 years having been ordained at the age of 25.

David Keen
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David Keen

Following on from Liams comment, there were some detailed stats released in late 2016 on ordiations, retirements, and movements in and out of ordained ministry. On average we ordain 290 a year, 280 per year retire or die, and 300 per year leave ordained ministry to do something else Of the something elses, 2500 ordained clergy are in chaplaincies or other non-parochial roles. Considering that our training model is based entirely on parish ministry, that’s a fairly major problem with the system. 100 other clergy per year leave prior to retirement, and the CofE has no idea where they go… Read more »

Jayne Ozanne
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Jayne Ozanne

“The House explored the future of ministry considering diverse aspects including discernment, selection, training and lifelong learning. The ongoing imperative to attract candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds remains clear.”

Hmm…they conveniently forgot to add ‘as long as they are heterosexual and if not, will promise never to have sex or get married’…as usual the House of Bishops seem to white wash out inconvenient truths about the absurdity of their situation.

Anon
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Anon

“The House explored the future of ministry considering diverse aspects including discernment, selection, training and lifelong learning. The ongoing imperative to attract candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds remains clear.” My attention also drifted towards this statement, with questions over retention / deployment and the implications of increased diversity of candidates’ backgrounds. For example, while there is a lot of talk of attracting ‘young women’ into ministry, this isn’t matched by a commitment to support younger women. They still face challenges and barriers associated with others’ assumptions when it comes to issues related to home / family life and… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Mr Beadle – wise words. I’m struck by the number of clergy who, not so long ago, I suspect enthused at a BAP about how much they wanted to “get alongside” people in parishes, and then within a few years find that they have been “called” to an office job in ministry or vocations departments and such like. Increasing specialisation in the church, as in my former work as a medical academic, does nobody any favours, not least because the specialists are at risk of becoming cut off from the realities of parish ministry – with all that can flow… Read more »

Mike Nolan
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Mike Nolan

Safeguarding after the IICSA, plus children and young people, all in the light of Welby’s recent decision over Matthew Ineson’s complaint. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Do these bishops realise how completely ridiculous they look?

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Responding mainly to Stanley Monkhouse… When I was first an ordinand in Manchester, the DDO was a parish priest who also taught a module in faculty of theology at the university (Mark and Galatians in Greek). Sadly I don’t think clergy have time for that sort of portfolio now. I find it hard to get clergy to teach modules for our training course. When I taught a doctrine module alongside being in parish ministry it was a real push on time but I did it because I felt called to it and it proved to be a vocational thing in… Read more »

ExRevd
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ExRevd

I suppose I should come clean with readers here. I’m “ExRevd” because of proceedings against me under CDM. I was suspended for four years. That was a decade ago. I felt and still feel that most people I knew in the church wish never to hear from me again: maybe I accord myself too much importance, but I’m aware I caused deep hurt and dismay. I will always regret my behaviour, not just in disciplinary matters, but to be honest, because I was a bad priest. I’m quite certain that virtually everyone called to ordained ministry now or in the… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

‘I’ve tried “going to church” many times, including with support from my local Rector. But it’s just been too hard.’ Many LGBTI people have felt like that. We are told how awful we are; hear it often enough and it is easy to believe it. Easy to believe that God no longer wants us, that He is fed up with us. I came through the other side and realised that that the sense of rejection was something I was imagining. God never turned His back on me, never will turn His back on me. Job is an amazing book. Seriously… Read more »

David Richards
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David Richards

@ExRevd’s honesty and openness is humbling, and reveals why he is, perhaps, hasty in his conclusion that the discernment process was, in his case, flawed. God knows, the Church of England needs far fewer squeaky-clean ‘prefects’ and many more priests of real humanity, who know the reality of wounding and being wounded. They proclaim and embody forgiveness much because they have been forgiven much. This is how we grow in wisdom. Unfortunately, because of other factors, we have become seriously risk-averse and are acting as if we are God. Unfortunately, the Church is an institution in crisis, and deals with… Read more »

Paul Waddington
Guest
Paul Waddington

I do sympathise with Ex Revd.

My best advice to him would be to make a clean break and find another career doing something completely different.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘I write has one who has stuck it out for 41 years having been ordained at the age of 25.’ I salute you, Father David, as one old timer to another. On May 5th I passed forty years in full-time ministry (the first twelve and a half were in the Church Army, but I was always in parish ministry). I’ve been lucky. My first parish was a disaster (but I did meet my wife there, so on the whole it had a good outcome!). Since then, I’ve had many good experiences, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that most… Read more »

scooper
Guest
scooper

Exrevd deserves praise for being honest and rare in this day and age …. the norm is to blame anybody but oneself these days for one’s errors

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

The CofE isn’t ‘somehow’ exempt from FOI, as though there were something dodgy going on. FOI only applies to statutory bodies, the public sector, and the CofE doesn’t fall into that category, so there has never been any question of FOI applying to it any more than there has been if FOI applying to, say, Oxfam or Sainsbury’s.

Bernard Silverman
Guest
Bernard Silverman

Olivia is right, but it should be pointed out that universities, for example, are self-governing and are independent charities, but they are still subject to Freedom of Information. The full list of organisations subject to FOI is available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/schedule/1 It’s a long list and contains all sorts of different bodies. If the Church of England was as keen on transparency as it sometimes says it is, there would be nothing to stop it opting in to FOI on a voluntary basis. Furthermore as the established church it is still, in principle, governed by parliament even if virtually all powers… Read more »