Monday, 30 September 2013

Vacancy in See guidance

The Briefing for Members of Vacancy in See Committees has been recently updated and is now dated July 2013.

There are a number of changes from the previous edition, including these.

1) Following the introduction of Common Tenure, diocesan bishops have a role profile and person specification. Details of how the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) prepare these is now included.

2) The section on the procedures of the CNC has been expanded, in particular by adding information on the interviews that are now held.

3) Under the section “The Prime Minister” there is this new sentence which requires further editing.

A medical and DBS ** [what does this mean???] are conducted prior to the [candidate’s formal nomination to the See?].

DBS refers to the Disclosure and Barring Service checks (previously CRB checks).

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 30 September 2013 at 11:19am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Scottish religious census results

Release 2A from the 2011 Census results for Scotland includes data on Religion. The Census press release on this contains the following:

Religion

  • Over half (54 per cent) of the population of Scotland stated their religion as Christian - a decrease of 11 percentage points since 2001- whilst 37 per cent of people stated that they had no religion - an increase of nine percentage points since 2001.
  • In terms of the Christian denominations, 32 per cent of the population (1.7 million) stated they belonged to the Church of Scotland - a decrease of 10 percentage points since 2001 - whilst the proportion of people who stated they were Roman Catholic remained the same as in 2001 at 16 per cent (0.8 million).
  • Over one per cent (1.4 per cent or 77,000 people) reported that they were Muslim - an increase of 0.6 percentage points since 2001.
  • The numbers of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs together accounted for 0.7 per cent of the population in 2011 and all saw increases between 2001 and 2011.
  • The number of Jewish people has declined slightly to just under 6,000.

BRIN has a very much more detailed discussion at Scottish Religious Census, 2011.

One of the surprising things is that many people in Scotland identify themselves as Church of England or Anglican, rather than as Episcopalian, or belonging to the Scottish Episcopal Church. The figures contained in this table are (updated Monday morning):

Church of England 66,717
Episcopalian 21,289
Anglican 4.490
Scottish Episcopal Church 8,048
Church of Ireland 2,020
Church in Wales 453

BRIN includes links to responses made by many denominational leaders. The Primus of the SEC made this statement.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 29 September 2013 at 4:20pm BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes marriage tax change

Updated Monday

Lambeth Palace issued this press statement:

Archbishop’s statement on marriage tax breaks

Saturday 28th September 2013

In response to the Prime Minister’s announcement today that some married couples and civil partners will receive a transferable tax allowance from 2015, the Archbishop has said the church welcomes all support for family life.

In a statement, the Archbishop said: “We welcome all support for family life and we’re pleased that this initiative includes both married couples and those in civil partnerships.”

Press coverage of this government announcement:

Telegraph Married couples to receive £1,000 tax break

Guardian Tories woo married couples with tax break

BBC David Cameron unveils marriage tax breaks plan

Channel 4 News David Cameron’s cash for married couples - who gets it?

David Cameron proposes rewarding marriage with a tax cut - worth £200 a year to four million couples. But it won’t go to everyone. Who gets the £3.85 a week marriage bonus?

…The married couples tax break will favour “one earner” couples, where one partner is either not working or earning very little. Very high-earners won’t get it either. It will be restricted to basic rate tax payers - a band which includes people on salaries of up to £41,450 a year.

The marriage tax break has been on the Conservative agenda since 2010, but the bill will be sped up this year and brought in for 2015, Cameron promises.

The tax break will go to couples where one partner has an income of under £41,450 and the second is not working or earning a low salary.

In order for the couple to benefit, the low-earning partner will have to be earning under £9,440 - the current tax-free allowance for 2013/14…

Further media comment:

Spectator David Cameron unveils £1,000 marriage tax allowance

New Statesman Five problems with the Tories’ marriage tax allowance

Guardian This Tory tax allowance is just a marriage of convenience

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 29 September 2013 at 1:18pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 28 September 2013

opinion

Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that Outrage is the wrong reaction to outrageous crimes.

Vicky Beeching has interviewed Ruth Chapman for Faith in Feminism: Synod, WATCH & Women Bishops.

Joe Ware writes for the Church Times Enough for need, but not greed.

Huffington Post has photos to show that Abandoned Churches Are Eerily Beautiful. It also has photos of The World’s 50 Most Unusual Churches.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 28 September 2013 at 11:00am BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Friday, 27 September 2013

Church Commissioners share in purchase of bank

A consortium including the Church Commissioners are the preferred bidders to purchase 314 bank branches from RBS, it was announced today. Details are in this press release from the Commissioners.

Church Commissioners statement on RBS bid

The Church Commissioners for England have today confirmed that as part of a consortium of investors they will be partnering with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to create a leading challenger bank from 314 RBS branches across the UK.

The confirmation follows the decision of the board of RBS to favour the bid of a consortium which includes the Corsair Capital investment fund, Centerbridge Partners and the Commissioners to create a new bank with a focus on ethical standards and servicing the needs of retail and SME customers.

The new bank, to be called Williams and Glyn’s (W&G), will be a vigorous challenger in UK business and retail banking sector with a projected 5% market share of the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) and mid-corporate banking markets, and a 2% share of UK personal current accounts.

Andreas Whittam Smith, first estates commissioner, said:
“The Church Commissioners are excited to have the opportunity to be involved in creating a U.K. challenger bank operating to the highest ethical standards and giving consumers more choice. We are delighted that the Royal Bank of Scotland recognised the strengths of our bid and the consortium’s vision, and have chosen the consortium as their preferred bidder.”
Andrew Brown, Secretary to the Church Commissioners, said:
“This is a great opportunity for the Commissioners to invest in an exciting opportunity for the benefit of the serving and retired clergy, bishops, cathedrals and the wide work of the Church of England throughout the country especially in areas of need and opportunity.”

The Church Commissioners for England are responsible for managing a well-diversified investment portfolio with the aim of producing returns to support the Church of England’s work across the country.

Notes:
The Church Commissioners manage an investment fund of some £5.5 billion, held mainly in a diversified portfolio including equities, real estate and alternative investment strategies. The Commissioners’ work today supports the Church of England as a Christian presence in every community.

The annual objectives of the Church Commissioners include:

  • A return on investments of RPI +5%
  • Supporting poorer dioceses with ministry costs
  • Providing funds to support mission activities
  • Paying for bishops’ ministry and some cathedral costs
  • Administering the legal framework for pastoral reorganisation and settling the future of closed church buildings
  • Paying clergy pensions for service prior to 1998
  • Running the national payroll for serving and retired clergy

A copy of their annual report for 2012 can be found here.:

RBS says Return of Williams & Glyn’s moves closer.

Press reports include:

James Quinn in The Telegraph RBS sells stake in Project Rainbow branches to Corsair for as much as £800m
Jill Treanor in The Guardian RBS sells 314 branches to church-backed Corsair consortium
BBC News RBS sells 314 bank branches to Corsair consortium
Sky News Church Consortium Wins RBS Branch Sale Race

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 27 September 2013 at 4:25pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Timetable for November session of General Synod

The timetable for the November group of sessions of the General Synod of the Church of England is available for download, and is copied below.

GENERAL SYNOD: NOVEMBER 2013
Timetable
 
Monday 18 November
12 noon Meeting of the House of Laity
2 pm – 7 pm
1.45 pm Worship
  Formal business
  Briefing by the Archbishop of Canterbury
  Report by the Business Committee
  Quinquennium Goals Part II: Intentional Evangelism
  Legislative Business
   Miscellaneous Provisions Measure/Amending Canon No 31 – Final Drafting and Final Approval
   Yorkshire Diocesan Reorganisation Scheme: Resolution relating to Synodical representation
Not later than 5.20 pm Questions
Not later than 6.50 pm Presentation on Steering Committee report on women in the episcopate
[7.05–7.25 pm] Evening worship
 
Tuesday 19 November
9.15 am – 1 pm
9.15 am Group work on Women in the Episcopate (to include morning worship)
11.45 am Legislative Business:
   Any unfinished legislative business from Monday
   Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (Amendment) Measure (re the Faculty Jurisdiction) – First Consideration
2.30 pm – 7 pm
2.30 pm Presidential Address by the Archbishop of York
  The Church School of the Future (Chadwick Report)
  Legislative business
  PCCs (Powers) Measure – First Consideration
   Amending Vacancy in See Committee Regulation (to give effect to Bradford DSM)
   Standing Orders Committee report
Not later than 5.45 pm London DSM: Review of the Workings of the General Synod
[7.05-7.25 pm] Evening worship
 
Wednesday 20 November
9.15 am – 1 pm
9.15 am Holy Communion
10.30 am Women in the episcopate: Motion on Steering Committee report
  Legislative business
   Women in the Episcopate Draft Measure and Amending Canon – First Consideration
2.30 – 5.30pm
2.30 pm Legislative Business
   Women in the Episcopate: Draft Measure and Amending Canon – First Consideration cont’d
  The Work of the Elections Review Group: Second Report by the Business Committee (resumed debate)
Not later than 5.15 pm Farewells
5.30 pm Prorogation
   
Contingency business: Bradford DSM: Name of Dioceses
  Wakefield DSM: Nature and Structure of the Church of England – National Debate
Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 6:18pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Forthcoming episcopal appointments

Updated Friday morning

Here’s a round-up of where the process of choosing bishops for vacant English diocesan sees is at present.

Five dioceses have been allocated places in the queue for the Crown Nominations Commission.

Bath and Wells

The CNC has already held its first meeting (18 July), and the second is scheduled for 3/4 October 2013.

Leeds

The three dioceses that will be subsumed into the Diocese of Leeds have all published updates this week (Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, Wakefield) inviting “anyone wishing to comment on the needs of the diocese, or the wider Church, or who wishes to propose candidates” to write to the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments by 3 October. This timetable is very short, but originally the closing date was 30 September.

Leeds has been allocated 12 November 2013 and 9/10 January 2014 for its CNC meetings, but the Ripon and Leeds update states “The Crown Nominations Commission will meet on November 12th, interview in January 2014 and will make its selection in February when it nominates the new bishop” whilst Bradford has “These diocesan reps will join the national reps in November to begin the formal process, with a further residential meeting in January. It is hoped that we will have the name of the new diocesan bishop by the end of February.” My interpretation of this is that there will be the usual two meetings (in November and January), and that the public announcement of the new bishop is expected in February.

The diocesan representatives on the CNC are David Ashton (Wakefield), Kathryn Fitzsimons (Ripon and Leeds) and Paul Slater, Zahida Mallard, Sam Corley and Debbie Child (Bradford).

Exeter

The CNC meetings will be on 18 October and 6/7 November 2013. Details of the diocesan statement of needs, and the six people elected from the diocese to serve on the CNC are here. These representatives are Anneliese Barrell, the Revd Douglas Dettmer, the Very Revd Jonathan Draper, Anne Foreman, Charles Hodgson and the Revd Gilly Maude.

Hereford

The CNC meetings will be on 22 January and 25/26 February 2014. The diocese has published this briefing note and this note from the chair of the vacancy in see committee.

Liverpool

The CNC meetings will be on 6 March and 1/2 April 2014. The diocese has published this guide to the process. Liverpool’s vacancy in see committee will be having its first meeting next week (1 October) and its main meeting on 3 December.

Other vacancies in the pipeline are Gibraltar in Europe, Guildford, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, and Southwell & Nottingham.

Update

The usual notices of the vacancies in the Sees of Leeds and Hereford appear in the Church Times today (27 October) with closing dates for comments of 3 and 17 October respectively. The Religious Job site carries the notice for Leeds here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 5:00pm BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Consecration of the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Tewkesbury

The Lambeth Palace website reports on the consecration of two suffragan bishops yesterday. See Archbishop ordains and consecrates Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Tewkesbury.

Somewhat unusually, the article contains both a transcript, and links to an audio recording, of the sermon, which was delivered by Lord Williams of Oystermouth.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 2:38pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Archbishop of Canterbury speaks about Peshawar

Yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 World at One lunchtime news programme.

You can hear the interview with Martha Kearney here.

Subsequent media coverage:

BBC Pakistan church bombing victims ‘martyrs’, archbishop says

Telegraph Christians now suffering mass martyrdom, says Archbishop of Canterbury

Express “Christians are being attacked just because of their faith”, says Archbishop of Canterbury

Star Archbishop of Canterbury says pray for Kenya mall killers

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 9:53am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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First females elected to attend House of Bishops

See earlier TA articles here, and then here. And our own copy of the election rules here.

Church of England press release:

First Female Representatives to House of Bishops Elected
26 September 2013
The results of the first elections for female representatives to attend the House of Bishops have been announced. At its meeting of 7 February 2013 the House of Bishops decided that eight senior women clergy, elected regionally, will participate in all meetings of the House until such time as there are six female Bishops who will sit as of right.

The representatives will take up their roles on 1st December.

  • South West region - Ven Nicola Sullivan, Archdeacon of Wells
  • North East region - Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Dean of York
  • South East region - Ven Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney

ENDS

Notes
The results for the elections in the 5 other regions are expected to be announced over the next two weeks.

The rules relating to the election of the regional representatives can be found here:
http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1784044/2013%20rules%20under%20so12.pdf

More information on the role and work of the House of Bishops can be found here: http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/general-synod/about-general-synod/house-of-bishops.aspx

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 9:09am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Church of South India elects first woman bishop

From the Anglican Communion News Service:

Church of South India elects first woman bishop

The Church of South India has today appointed its first woman bishop.

The Revd Eggoni Pushpalalitha was ordained in 1983 and has most recently been a priest in the Diocese of Nadyal in Andhra Pradesh.

Her appointment comes only days after the Church of Ireland elected its first woman bishop, the Revd Pat (Patricia) Storey as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare.

Provincial Secretary of the Church of South India, Mani M. Philip confirmed that Miss Pushpalalitha had been appointed by the Synod Selection Board this afternoon.

“We have been ordaining women since 1976,” he told ACNS, adding that in its constitution, the province mandates that at least 25 per cent of all statutory bodies should be women.

Bishop-designate Pushpalalitha is expected to be installed on Monday 30 September.

One of the 38 Member Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Church of South India is a ‘united’ Church—the result of the union of churches of varying traditions Anglican, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed. It was inaugurated in September 1947.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 2:30pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Women bishops and the recognition of Orders

The recent decision of the Church in Wales to allow women to be consecrated as bishops, and the election of a woman bishop in the Church of Ireland have prompted an article, Women bishops and the recognition of Orders, by Will Adam, editor of the Ecclesiastical Law Journal, in Law and Religion UK about the implications for the Church of England.

… This is bound to bring up again the question of the recognition in a Church which does not permit the ordination of women as bishop of episcopal acts performed by a bishop who is a woman …

However, the consecration of a woman as a bishop in the Church of Ireland changes the situation. Deacons, priests and bishops of the Church of Ireland, Church in Wales and Scottish Episcopal Church are not considered as “overseas” clergy by the law applying to the Church of England. This is significant, because the permission of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York is not required for such ministers to be invited to exercise the ministry of their orders in England …

The article refers to this 2004 opinion from the Legal Advisory Commission of the Church of England: The Effect of Acts by women Bishops of Churches in Communion with the Church of England.

Kelvin Holdswoth writes about the same topic in Taint. He concludes with

What I’m interested in is that with respect of our current bishops in Scotland, all of them have either had a female co-consecrator present at their consecration, joined in consecrating someone with a female co-consecrator present or have been consecrated by someone who has had a female co-consecrator present at their own consecration.

What I wonder is whether those who apply the theology of taint believe that anyone at all (bishops, priests or deacons) now ordained in Scotland is legit.

Oh, and by the way an English bishop was present and joining in when this situation began. I was there – I saw it with my own eyes.

Where does this leave the Scottish Episcopal Church in relation to those who would deny the legitimacy of women to act as bishops? …

Do we, or do we not, remain in full communion with [all of] the Church of England?

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 2:22pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church in Wales | Church of England | Church of Ireland | Scottish Episcopal Church

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Reform Ireland criticises appointment of new Bishop of Meath and Kildare

Reform Ireland has published this:

Appointment of the new Bishop of Meath

The Church of Ireland, in common with the Anglican Communion worldwide, has always prized doing things ‘decently and in order’ (1Corinthians 14:40). With the appointment of the first woman bishop in Britain and Ireland, it has furthered the disorder in God’s church that it originally initiated with the decision to appoint women as presbyters and bishops by an act of Synod in 1990.

God’s order for the family and for his church is male headship, a loving, Christ-like, self-sacrificing leadership for the purpose of leading others into maturity and fellowship in Christ. This ordering, initiated by God at the creation of man and woman, is not based upon or designed to produce any inferiority or inequality of woman to man. Rather, it is based upon the very nature and purpose of relationships within the Trinity itself.

As God’s Word makes clear, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal persons of the eternal Trinity, ‘One God world without end.’ Yet, the Son is eternally submissive to the Father (1Cor.11:3), who is described as his ‘head’, and similarly the Holy Spirit’s role in the economy of God is to serve the Father and the Son. Such headship of the Father does not imply the inferiority of the Son or the Spirit. Rather, the submissiveness of the Son within the Trinity is for the purpose of a perfect loving fellowship where there is mutual glorification of the other.

In 1 Corinthians 11, the NT teaches that the principle of male headship in the family and the church is modelled upon the relationship of the Father and the Son. Male and female are equal in status (Galatians 3:28) but woman is called to be submissive to God’s design for male headship in the church. This voluntary acceptance by a co-equal of her role in the church is her Christ-like service of God, and like Christ does not imply any inferiority or inequality. On the contrary, like the voluntary submissive relationships within the Trinity, the purpose of the woman and the man in playing such complimentary roles is for the purpose of mutual glorification of the other in Christ.

This complementarian approach is creational, biblical and crucial for our sanctification in Christ. To ignore God’s design for man and woman is to bring disharmony and disorder into Christ’s body. The Church of Ireland, by its recent appointment of a woman to be Bishop, has not only brought more disharmony and disorder into God’s church, but it has also side-lined Christ in his own church. If God’s Word does not rule his body, the church, then Christ is a mere figure-head and not the captain of his people.

By ignoring God’s equality agenda and role for man and woman and substituting it with a ‘spirit-of-the-age’ equality agenda, the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position. This decision will not only prevent those who believe in God’s agenda for man and woman being able to serve in Meath diocese, but also impair fellowship throughout the Church of Ireland. The appointment to Meath is therefore a sad day for many in the Church of Ireland because it is one more indication that the Church of Ireland is no longer listening to God’s purposes for his church.

23th Sep 2013

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 4:25pm BST | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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Women as bishops: Close, but no cigar (yet)

Charles Read, Vice-Chair of WATCH, writes: “Close, but no cigar (yet)”.

…In the Church in Wales debate, the assistant bishop of Llandaff, David Wilbourne, reminded people of how he had been John Habgood’s chaplain when the latter, as Archbishop of York, had drafted the Act of Synod. Bishop Wilbourne told the Welsh Governing Body that the first flying bishops had deliberately been chosen from men nearing retirement because the Act of Synod was meant to be a transitional arrangement. As he said, “Yet here we are 20 years later.”

The Welsh church will make provision for those opposed to women bishops by means of a Code of Practice, not by enacting legislation. This has been where the Church of England has got into a tangle. The July General Synod asked for simple legislation to create women bishops precisely because making provision in law for opponents had proved unworkable and was leading to women bishops being second class bishops. If Wales and Ireland can do it, so can England.

In Wales and Ireland, the sky has not fallen in by going about it this way. Perhaps developments in these countries will give us courage to press on with legislation that does not discriminate. Meanwhile, here’s a sobering thought:

It is May 2014 and Kenny has moved from Dunboyne to live in Manchester. He is exploring a call to ordination but has only just been confirmed by bishop Pat – one of her first. However, the English DDO tells him that the Church of England does not recognise bishop Pat’s confirmation as valid because she is a woman. He needs to be confirmed again.

Can we get our house in order on matters like this? It is only going to get worse now – we have a female bishop on our doorstep and we don’t recognise her ministry. If we don’t move ahead quickly, then it won’t be Kenny the ordinand, it will be Sally and Simon the Irish priests, ordained by bishop Pat, who cannot minister in England because we don’t recognise their orders as valid – not because of them but because of her – or more specifically her gender. Theology of taint anyone? Or is it just the Church of England’s inability to welcome the ministry of ordained women – even women who are bishops. Our neighbours show us a better way. Let us walk in it.

Charles Read is a Vice-Chair of WATCH and member of General Synod

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 10:17am BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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more media coverage of the attack on Christians in Peshawar

Updated Tuesday evening

BBC has Pakistan blasts: Burials amid anger after Peshawar church attack and Pakistanis react with ‘shock and anger’ at latest attack and also Who are Pakistan’s Christians?

Guardian Pakistani Christians mourn 85 killed in suicide bombings at Peshawar church and Peshawar church bombings show the deadly outcome of religious intolerance

Telegraph Peshawar church attack: Nawaz Sharif warns that Taliban talks could be scrapped

Independent Pakistan church blast: Christians in angry protest against attacks which killed 85 in Peshawar

Karachi News Muavia-led Punjabi Taliban behind church bombing and World leaders condemn Peshawar church attack and also Global prejudice against Christians

Update

Church Times Death toll rises after attack on Pakistan church

On Monday, the Bishop of Pontefract, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, who chairs the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pakistan Focus Group, said: “I think this is the worst case that we have had of an attack on a church, although for many years now this has been part of a pattern of attacks on Christians, both at worship and in their homes. We hope that the Pakistani government will try to protect Christians in that country, who are trying to live peaceful lives in that context.”

He said that it was “very difficult for the government in Pakistan to protect every church”; but the rise of terror groups “may mean they need to be more proactive than they have been”.

Anglican Communion Office Secretary General to Anglican Communion: “Please pray for Pakistan”

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has asked for Communion-wide prayer following the suicide attack on a church in Pakistan that left than 78 dead and more than 100 injured.

In a letter to the Anglican Communion’s Primates—its most senior bishops—Canon Kenneth Kearon wrote, “Messages of condolences have been coming in from around the Communion, and I write to ask you to consider requesting your parishes and dioceses to remember in prayer those who died or were bereaved and those who were injured or live in fear because of the tragedy…”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 8:08am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Monday, 23 September 2013

Anglican church in Peshawar is attacked by terrorists

Updated twice Monday

All Saints Church, Peshawar which was attacked yesterday by suicide bombers, is a church in the Diocese of Peshawar in the Church of Pakistan.

The diocesan website has information about the tragedy here.

Information about the historic building is here.

The Church of Pakistan is a United Church within the Anglican Communion. More information about its formation on this page. (scroll down).

And there is a blog post by an American priest who knows the church: Peshawar church bombing a condensation of horror and loss. More from Titus Presler via the Living Church here includes After church bombing Edwardes closes for 3 days and empathy abounds and College closes for 3 days in solidarity as church institution after All Saints bombing.

Media reports of the attack:

Karachi News: Twin suicide attacks in Peshawar church claim 81 lives and Peshawar church attack: Probe committee constituted, 81 dead buried. Also Nationwide protests against Peshawar church bombing and Peshawar bombing: Initial report says a warning was already issued.

Guardian: Taliban suicide attack on Pakistani church leaves dozens dead

Telegraph: Suicide bombers kill 60 Christians outside Pakistan church

Independent: Taliban claims responsibility for Peshawar church bombs that killed 78 and Pakistan’s beleaguered Christians fear Peshawar bombing will not be the last such attack

New York Times: Scores Are Killed by Suicide Bomb Attack at Historic Church in Pakistan

Reuters: Suicide bombers kill 78 Christians outside Pakistani church

Updates

Anglican Communion News Service Anglicans worldwide expresses shock, sadness over Pakistan bombings and also Sorrow over church bombings in Pakistan.

Lambeth Palace Archbishop ‘appalled’ by Pakistan church bombings

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 23 September 2013 at 7:49am BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 21 September 2013

opinion

Readers may find this Church Guide to Dealing With an Idea useful.

Maleiha Malik writes for The Guardian that Full-face veils aren’t barbaric – but our response can be.
The UK Human Rights Blog has published these two articles on this topic.
Adam Wagner The Niqaab issue is too important to be left to liberal instinct
Alasdair Henderson Veils and ignorance: defendant not allowed to wear niqaab when giving evidence

Jamie Bruesehoff writes for The Huffington Post Dear Parents With Young Children in Church.

Faith & Leadership has interviewed Sarah Coakley: Ministry is not easier than theology.

Jonathan Romain writes for the Church Times that Faith needs some of football’s goals.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 21 September 2013 at 11:00am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Friday, 20 September 2013

What people really think about faith schools

Updated Sunday

Completed in June by 4,018 people, the YouGov survey for the Westminster Faith Debates offers little comfort for either those who defend or those who oppose faith schools. It shows that:

  • Of those who express an opinion, a majority of people in GB are against state funding for faith schools, but for young people the reverse is the case
  • Parents don’t choose faith schools because of religion but because of academic standards
  • Christian faith schools have more support than non-Christian faith schools, especially amongst older people and those who are more insular/less cosmopolitan in their general outlook
  • Social class, gender, and political preference make little difference to opinion

There is a great deal more information in the press release about specific questions that were asked.

The full survey results from YouGov are available here.

There was also an appendix to the press release as received by email, which is not included elsewhere but which is reproduced below the fold.

Update
BRIN has now posted on this survey and their summary of key points is:

  • Only 32% believe the Government should fund faith schools generally, 18-24s being most supportive (43%), with 45% opposed, peaking at 57% in Scotland (where the existence of Catholic schools has often been a matter of controversy), and 23% undecided
  • Government funding of any type of faith school fails to find majority support, but opposition is notably lowest for Anglican schools (38%) and greatest for Islamic schools (60%) – hostility to Hindu and Jewish schools (59% and 55% respectively) is also high, but falls to 43% for Christian schools other than Anglican
  • Only 24% would choose a faith school for their own child, the proportion not exceeding 30% in any demographic sub-group, with 59% being unlikely to do so (peaking at 77% in Scotland)
  • Academic standards (77%), location (58%), and discipline record (41%) are the major factors in choice of school – just 5% attach importance to grounding of a pupil in a faith tradition and 3% to transmission of belief about God, and no more than 23% cite ethical values
  • A plurality (49%) finds it acceptable that faith schools should have admission policies which give preference to children and families who profess or practice the religion with which the school is associated (with 38% deeming it unacceptable, ranging from 31% of women to 51% of Scots)
  • Just 23% (never exceeding 28% in any demographic sub-group) agree that all faith schools should have to admit a proportion of pupils from a different religion or none at all, while 11% think it better for faith schools to admit pupils only of the same faith and 30% that schools should determine their own admissions policies

Appendix to press release:

Support for state funding broken down by type of school - of total population

State-supported ‘faith schools’ make up around a third of schools in Britain. Most are church schools (e.g. Church of England, Roman Catholic) and the rest (around 1
) are non-Christian (e.g. Jewish, Muslim, Hindu). Do you [think] the Government should or should not provide funding for the following faith schools?

Faith schools in general
The Government should provide funding for these 32
the Government should NOT provide funding for these 45
Don’t know 23

Catholic faith schools
The Government should provide funding for these 36
the Government should NOT provide funding for these 43
Don’t know 21

Church of England faith schools
The Government should provide funding for these 42
the Government should NOT provide funding for these 38
Don’t know 20

Other Christian faith schools
The Government should provide funding for these 34
the Government should NOT provide funding for these 43
Don’t know 22

Islamic faith schools
The Government should provide funding for these 19
the Government should NOT provide funding for these 60
Don’t know 22

Hindu faith schools
The Government should provide funding for these 19
the Government should NOT provide funding for these 59
Don’t know 22

Jewish faith schools
The Government should provide funding for these 22
the Government should NOT provide funding for these 55
Don’t know 23

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Patricia Storey to be Bishop of Meath and Kildare

Church of Ireland press release: Bishops Appoint The Revd Pat Storey As New Bishop Of Meath And Kildare

The House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland meeting yesterday in Dublin appointed the Revd Pat (Patricia) Storey as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare, to succeed The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, who is now Archbishop of Armagh. The appointment of the new bishop had passed to the House of Bishops as the Episcopal Electoral College which met on 28 May failed to appoint a Bishop of Meath and Kildare dioceses. The Revd Pat Storey is currently Rector of St Augustine’s Parish Church, Londonderry.

Announcing the appointment of the Revd Pat Storey, The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said: ‘Having known Pat Storey since she was an undergraduate and I was Chaplain at Trinity College, Dublin, I very much welcome her as a new bishop. She is a person of great warmth, intelligence and spiritual depth and I am certain that her ministry in the Dioceses of Meath and Kildare and the wider Church will be a blessing to many. We remember her and her family in our prayers.’

Responding, the Revd Pat Storey said: ‘I am both excited and daunted by this new adventure in our lives. I have had an extraordinarily happy experience in St Augustine’s and in this wonderful city which I will be sad to leave. However, I count it an enormous privilege to begin a new phase of my ministry with the people of Meath and Kildare, and I look forward to working with the team of clergy who are already there. I would sincerely ask for your prayers for myself and my family, who are the best family in the world!’

The Revd Pat Storey (53) has been Rector of St Augustine’s, Londonderry (Derry and Raphoe) since 2004. She is married to the Revd Earl Storey and has two adult children, Carolyn and Luke, and a son–in–law Peter. Having grown up in Belfast and studied French and English at Trinity College, Dublin, she trained at the Church of Ireland Theological College (now Institute) and was ordained deacon in 1997 and priest in 1998. She served a Curacy in Ballymena (Connor) and was a Team Vicar in Glenavy (Connor) and a part–time Youth Worker Co–ordinator with the Church of Ireland Youth Department. Among Central Church participation, she is a member of the Standing Committee of the General Synod. The Revd Pat Storey becomes the first woman to be appointed a bishop in the Church of Ireland.

The consecration of the new bishop will take place in due course, followed by enthronement in the diocesan cathedrals thereafter.

Another press release: Archbishop Of Dublin Welcomes Appointment Of The Revd Pat Storey As New Bishop Of Meath And Kildare

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Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Director of Communications

Lambeth Palace has issued this press release:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is delighted to announce the appointment of Ailsa Anderson LVO as Director of Communications at Lambeth Palace. Mrs Anderson is currently the Communications and Press Secretary to The Queen.

Mrs Anderson will be the primary spokesperson for the Archbishop, and a member of his senior team at Lambeth Palace.

She will manage the Lambeth Palace communications team, overseeing day to day contact with the media as well as driving and developing strategic communications. The role has responsibility not only to oversee how the Archbishop is represented to the press, but also to provide him with regular advice and guidance where the media are concerned.

A former newspaper journalist, Mrs Anderson brings extensive experience of public relations. She was appointed Communications and Press Secretary to The Queen in October 2010, having been Deputy Press Secretary to Her Majesty and Head of News at Buckingham Palace since June 2007. From May 2001 to June 2007, she was Assistant Press Secretary to The Queen. Mrs Anderson has also acted as Press Secretary to two ministers of state and a cabinet minister.

Mrs Anderson will take up the role in December. The exact date is yet to be finalised.

Speaking about the appointment, Archbishop Justin said: “Ailsa Anderson is an experienced and distinguished communications director with an exceptional record of service. I am absolutely delighted and honoured that she has chosen to use her great skills and experience in the service of the Church, and greatly look forward to working with her.”

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

BRIN comments on the British Social Attitudes Survey

We reported previously on this major survey here.

British Religion in Numbers has now published its analysis at British Social Attitudes Survey, 2012.

In addition to discussion of the specifically religious questions asked, BRIN notes that

responses to all questions in the survey can be quickly analysed by religion, through the BSA Information System website at http://www.britsocat.com (prior registration is required)

And BRIN reports the following example analysis, taken from the chapter on personal relationships in the survey report:

  • All religious groups apart from non-Christians have become more accepting of premarital sex over the past three decades, the number of Anglicans and Catholics describing it as always or mostly wrong now being reduced to one in ten (much the same as in the population as a whole), compared with almost one in three in 1983. Most tolerant of all are people of no religion, only 2% of whom in 2012 considered premarital sex to be wrong (11% in 1983). Frequency of attending religious services also has an impact; whereas 71% of non-attenders said in 2012 that premarital sex is not at all wrong, this was true of only 23% of weekly attenders at worship.
  • Despite a similar process of liberalization of attitudes over time, people of faith are still appreciably more disapproving of homosexuality than society at large. Indeed, the gap between the religious and non-religious on this issue is now far wider than in the past. Overall, 28% of Britons in 2012 deemed sexual relations between two adults of the same sex to be always or mostly wrong, but the proportion fell to 16% among the irreligious and climbed to 61% of non-Christians (with 35% for Catholics and 40% for Anglicans).
  • Religion continues to be closely associated with attitudes to abortion. Catholics are the least accepting, with only 39% supporting a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy if she wishes to, against 56% of Anglicans. Those professing no religion are most supportive of all (73%, compared with 62% of all Britons). However, acceptance of abortion has increased among all faith communities since 1983; in the case of Anglicans, for example, just 34% endorsed abortion in these circumstances thirty years ago.
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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Fulcrum

Fulcrum was founded ten years ago this month, as we noted here. Graham Kings wrote about the early history here.

Fulcrum has announced today that it has a new chair, the Revd John Watson, and three new leadership team members: the Ven Alastair Cutting, Dr Paula Gooder, and Andy Walton. Details are here: 10th Anniversary of Fulcrum: New Chair and 3 New Team Members.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at 2:30pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Archbishop Kattey set free

We reported a week ago that the Most Revd Ignatius Kattey, the Archbishop of the Niger Delta, had been kidnapped in Nigeria. The Nigerian Press has now reported his release.

Daily Post Nigeria Bishop Kattey regains freedom from kidnappers
Osun Defender Kidnappers release Anglican bishop
P M News Nigeria Kidnapped Archbishop Kattey freed
The Sun news Archbishop Kattey set free
Leadership Bishop Kattey Released In Rivers
This Day Live Kidnapped Anglican Bishop Kattey Regains Freedom

Update

The BBC has also reported the Archbishop’s release: Archbishop Ignatius Kattey freed by Nigerian kidnappers.

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Saturday, 14 September 2013

opinion

Jim Macdonald writes about Victory to the People. “Those who love sausage and the scriptures shouldn’t watch either of them being made.”

Antonia Honeywell has A Cautionary Tale for Justin Welby.

Peter Barron explains how the Northern Echo covered the announcement of the new Bishop of Durham: Breaking news - on the school run.

Janet Henderson blogs about Boy Bishops, Women and Outsiders and Lessons for the Church of England.

Jonathan Clatworthy writes for Modern Church about Liberals on the move.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 11:10am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Friday, 13 September 2013

Church in Wales - Statement by Forward in Faith

THE CHURCH IN WALESDECISION ON WOMEN BISHOPS: STATEMENT BY FORWARD IN FAITH

Forward in Faith regrets the decision of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to authorize the ordination of women as bishops without first agreeing arrangements for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive episcopal ministry from them.

We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese. This vote therefore makes the question of the provision of episcopal ministry for those who continue to uphold catholic faith and order in the Church in Wales even more pressing.

Experience in Wales and elsewhere does not give us confidence that the promised ‘code of practice’ could offer the level of assurance that would encourage growth and flourishing – so sorely needed in Wales – or the degree of certainty that would remove the possibility of damaging and distracting disputes.

Our brothers and sisters in Credo Cymru will seek to enter into dialogue with the Welsh bishops. We can only hope that their representations will be met with the generosity of spirit that ought to be the hallmark of Christian episcopacy. Meanwhile, we continue to pray for and with our Welsh sisters and brothers, encouraging them to follow St David in being joyful and keeping the faith.

+JONATHAN FULHAM
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham
Chairman
13 September 2013

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

WATCH: Church in Wales says ‘Yes’ to women bishops

Women and the Church has issued this press release:

WATCH is delighted at the result of the vote on allowing women to become bishops passed by the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. In the end the vote was a straightforward one, either yes or no to allowing women to join the episcopate. The House of Laity voted For, 57, Against, 14, Abstentions, 2, in the House of Clergy For, 37, Against, 10 and Abstentions, 0 and in the House of Bishops For 6, Against, 0 and Abstentions, 0. The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan said before the vote that if it was a yes vote, the Bishops would consult widely on a code of practice and that there would be discussions about it at the Governing Body in April 2014.

The vote in Wales provides much encouragement to those praying and campaigning to see women take their rightful place alongside men at every level , including the episcopate, in the Church of England.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said “This is fantastic news and we are delighted that the Church in Wales has opted for simple legislation enabling women to become bishops. The vote will provide a welcome boost to the morale of female clergy well beyond the welsh borders and help to set a positive context for our own ongoing legislative process in the Church of England”

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Church in Wales votes in favour of women bishops

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales this afternoon voted in favour of the consecration of women as bishops. Here is the official press release.

Church votes to ordain women as bishops

A Bill to enable women to be consecrated as bishops was passed by members of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales meeting at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter today.

The Bill was amended, following a lengthy and passionate debate, to become a one-stage vote to enable the consecration of women as bishops, with a “code of practice” to be written by the Bishops for those who in conscience could not accept the authority of women bishops. The amendment had been tabled by the Archdeacon of Llandaff, Peggy Jackson, and Revd Canon Jenny Wigley.

The Bill was proposed by the Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, and seconded by the Bishop of Bangor, Andy John.

Addressing members, the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “Thank you for the way in which the debate has been conducted and I hope you will trust us as Bishops to prepare a code of practice.”

Result:
House of Laity – 57 yes 14 no 2 absentions
House of Clergy – 37 yes, 10 no
House of Bishops – unanimous.

A two thirds majority was required in each house.

Update

ACNS reports Wales says ‘yes’ to women bishops.

One year from today, women priests can become bishops in the Church in Wales.

The historic decision to allow women bishops was made at today’s meeting of the Church’s Governing Body in Lampeter, Ceredigion.

The Bill that came before today’s meeting was a modified version of the one that was narrowly voted down in 2008.

The modification proposed that, were the Church to vote ‘yes’ to women bishops, a second Bill dealing with provision for those opposed to women bishops would be considered before any women were elected to the episcopate.

This would have delayed the election of women bishops in the Province for several years.

The Bill was amended, following a lengthy and passionate debate, to become a one-stage vote to enable the consecration of women as bishops, with a “code of practice” to be written by the bishops for those who in conscience could not accept the authority of women bishops. The amendment had been tabled by the Archdeacon of Llandaff, Peggy Jackson, and Revd Canon Jenny Wigley.

Wales now joins the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Ireland, both of which allow women bishops, though which have not appointed any to date.

The members of the Governing Body meeting spent several hours in debate. Around 3pm it looked as if they were going to vote on whether to pass the amended bill. However, the group voted instead to continue the debate.

People around the world were able to follow the highlights of the debate on the Social Media microblogging site Twitter using #govbody. Comments came from people inside and outside the meeting in English and also in Welsh.

When the Church finally voted on the amended bill at 4.50pm, the following votes were cast:

Laity - For 57 Against 14 Abstentions 2.
Clergy - For 37 Against 10 Abstentions 0.
Bishops - Unanimously For.

To date there have been 33 women bishops in the Anglican Communion. Twenty-four are either in post or are bishop-elect.

The latest election of a woman to the episcopate is Helen-Ann Hartley, an English priest who will become a bishop the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia in early 2014.

With today’s decision, Wales joins Bangladesh, Brazil, Central America, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, North India, Philippines, Scotland, Sudan and Uganda as Provinces that permit women bishops but have not yet appointed any.

Those Provinces or ‘extra provincial’ churches or diocese with women bishops include Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia; Australia; Canada; Southern Africa; United States and Cuba (an extra-provincial diocese).

Press reports

BBC Church in Wales backs women bishops
Gavin Drake in the Church Times Church in Wales votes for women bishops
Wales Online Church in Wales votes to ordain women as bishops
Steven Morris in The Guardian Female bishops voted in by Church in Wales
John Bingham in The Telegraph Women bishops given go-ahead in Wales

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Paul Butler of Southwell and Nottingham to move to Durham

Updated several times during the morning and afternoon

The Diocese of Durham has announced that its next bishop is to be Paul Butler, currently Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.

Bishop of Durham Designate – Announced

The new Bishop of Durham Designate was announced today. The announcement from by Downing Street this morning confirms that the next Bishop of Durham Designate is The Rt Revd Paul Butler.

Currently Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Bishop Paul was installed at Southwell Minster on 27 February 2010. He was consecrated at Southwark Cathedral on 24 June 2004 and served as Bishop of Southampton until his move to Southwell. Commenting in advance of today’s announcement Bishop Paul said that he was very much looking forward to coming to the North East and continuing the work started by the previous Bishop of Durham, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury…

Somewhat later than the press release from Durham, the announcement from the Prime Minister’s office has now appeared online.

Diocese of Durham: nomination approved

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Paul Roger Butler BA for election as Bishop of Durham.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Paul Roger Butler, BA, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, for election as Bishop of Durham in succession to the Right Reverend Justin Portal Welby, MA, on his elevation as Archbishop of Canterbury on 4 February 2013.

Notes for editors

The Right Reverend Paul Butler (aged 57) was educated at Nottingham University where he took a BA in English and History in 1977. He trained for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. From 1983 to 1987 he was a Curate at All Saints with Holy Trinity, Wandsworth, Southwark. From 1987 to 1992 he moved to the Scripture Union as Inner London Evangelist and was then Deputy Head of Missions from 1992 to1994. From 1987 to 1994 he was a Non Stipendiary Minister at East Ham St Paul, Chelmsford. From 1994 to 1997 he was Priest-in-Charge at Walthamstow St Mary with St Stephen and also Priest-in-Charge at Walthamstow St Luke, Chelmsford. From 1997 to 2004 he was Team Rector of the Parish of Walthamstow. He was Area Dean of Waltham Forest from 2000 to 2004. Since 2001 he has been Honorary Canon of Byumba, Rwanda. From 2004 to 2009 he was Suffragan Bishop of Southampton. Since 2009 he has been Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. Since 2004 he has also acted as Archbishops’ Advocate for Children. He currently is Co Chair of the Joint Safeguarding Liaison Group for the Church of England and Methodist Church. He was Chair of CMS from 2008-10 and is currently President of Scripture Union.

Paul Butler is married to Rosemary and they have 4 adult children. His interests include reading, writing, travel, gardening and listening to music.

The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has also announced the appointment.

The Diocese of Durham has published an alternative version of their announcement.

Press reports

John Bingham in The Telegraph New Bishop of Durham announced as Rt Rev Paul Butler
BBC Paul Butler to be new Bishop of Durham
Steven Morris in The Guardian Supporter of female bishops to replace Justin Welby as bishop of Durham
Matt Westcott in the Northern Echo New Bishop of Durham unveiled
Bruce Unwin in the Northern Echo New Bishop of Durham will “carry on good work” of now Archbishop Welby
Mark Caplin In Christian Today Paul Butler announced as next Bishop of Durham
Madeleine Davies in the Church Times Next Bishop of Durham announced

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 12 September 2013 at 8:47am BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Church in Wales - Governing Body meeting

Updated Thursday morning

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales is meeting today (Wednesday) and tomorrow. The agenda, with links to the papers, is online here.

There are already two press releases

Be inspired by two great Welsh clerics, Archbishop tells Church
Archbishop calls on parishioners to invest in credit unions

with links to speeches by the Archbishop of Wales.

The main item of business tomorrow is the Bill to Enable Women to be Consecrated as Bishop. The meeting is scheduled to continue into Thursday afternoon.

Wales Online yesterday previewed the debate with Women bishops vote could be derailed again.

The chair of WATCH has sent this Message to the Church in Wales.

Update

BBC Church in Wales to vote on women bishops

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 at 8:12pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Two bishops comment on Church of England homosexuality policy

The Bishop of Worcester, John Inge is reported in the Worcester News as saying Attitude to gays is in need of rethink:

THE Bishop of Worcester says the church should “reflect deeply” on the fact that many youngsters believe its attitude to homosexuality is wicked.

The Rt Rev Dr John Inge threw his weight behind comments made last week by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said a lot of people under 30 think the Church’s view on gay men and lesbians is “incomprehensible”.

The city’s bishop told your Worcester News that the Most Rev Justin Welby was “undoubtedly right” about the stance taken by young people.

“The Church needs to reflect deeply on the implications of this,” said Bishop John. “For the first time in many generations, our traditional teaching is being seen by large numbers of people as being on the wrong side of the moral argument. It’s important that we recognise this and do some soul searching, recognising that God doesn’t only speak through the Church of England.”

The Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham is reported in the Gloucestershire Citizen Bishop of Gloucester apologises for church treatment of gay community:

…”The church has to be sorry,” he said.

“It has not treated the gay, lesbian and transgender community very well. “The church may be moving slowly, but it will get there. The vast majority of Christians are moving relatively fast towards a more modern way of thinking and towards a position where they should be. It is a place where they should have reached a long time ago, but clearly not as quickly as the rest of society. The church is slow because it is trying to pull together this universal family from all over the world to have the same understanding.

“The church’s view on same sex marriage is not sustainable. But homosexuals must realise that the church is not homophobic. We should all celebrate committed, faithful and loving relationships.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 at 2:52pm BST | Comments (50) | TrackBack
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Bishop of Ripon and Leeds to retire

The Rt Revd John Packer, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, has announced that he will retire on 31 January 2014. His final duties as bishop of the diocese will be on 31 December 2013.

Since his diocese will cease to exist at Easter 2014 with the creation of the new Diocese of Leeds, Bishop Packer will not be replaced.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 at 11:15am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Changes in British Social Attitudes

Updated Friday

The annual British Social Attitudes Report has been published. You can find the key findings, the whole report, and related materials at this website.

Media reports on this:

John Bingham at the Telegraph has Marriage ‘no longer the foundation stone of family life’ and Revolution in attitudes to homosexuality is biggest change in generation

The Guardian has
Britons more liberal, cynical and individual than 30 years ago, says survey
Changing British attitudes: rise in support for benefits since last year
Changing British attitudes: can you guess them?
Changing British attitudes: press and politicians out, royal family in

The Conversation has this: British social attitudes report finds trust is in freefall and specifically mentions the Church of England:

…Over the past 30 years, the hold of that the country’s religious institutions have on the British public has similarly weakened. In 1983, 69% classified themselves as “belonging to a religion”, whereas in 2012 this figure was 52%.

This fall was not spread over all religions, however. The drop is driven by the declining popularity of the Church of England. Those who affiliate themselves with the Anglican Church has dropped from 40% to 20% in the same period.

Linda Woodhead, Director of Religion and Society at the University of Lancaster, said, “11% of 20 year olds identify themselves as Anglican, compared to 50% of over 60s”. The Church of England, like political parties, is failing to retain or attract young people.

However, the drops in these figures do not signal a correlative increase in levels of atheism. “In fact, levels of atheism have not grown a great deal in the past 30 years, and stand at under 20%” Woodhead explained. “People are just less likely to associate with, or relate to, a particular religion.”

Update

The Church Times has Christians more liberal, survey finds.

…The survey suggests that Christians have also become more accepting of pre-marital sex over the past 30 years. In 1983, for instance, 31 per cent of Anglicans who were surveyed said that pre-marital sex was “always” or “mostly” wrong; in 2012, only ten per cent thought this.

When first asked, in 1989, whether “people who want children ought to get married”, 71 per cent of all those surveyed agreed, and 17 per cent disagreed. By 2012, the proportion agreeing had dropped to 42 per cent, and the proportion of those disagreeing had risen to 34 per cent.

In 1989, more than three-quarters of Anglicans surveyed (78 per cent) thought that people should marry before having children. In 2012, just over half of Anglicans (54 per cent) thought this. Roman Catholics have become even more accepting of having children outside of wedlock: in 1989, 73 per cent thought people should marry before having children; in 2012, just 43 per cent thought this…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 at 10:16am BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Nigerian Archbishop kidnapped

The Most Revd Ignatius Kattey, the Archbishop of the Niger Delta, has been kidnapped in Nigeria. David Hamid, the suffragan bishop in Europe, has this report: Nigerian Archbishop with links to our Diocese has been kidnapped.

A Nigerian Anglican Archbishop, one of two who visited our diocese earlier this year, has been kidnapped by armed men on Friday 6 September. The Most Revd Ignatius Kattey and his wife Beatrice were kidnapped near their residence at Eleme, Port Harcourt, last Friday 6 September.

Archbishop Ignatius is the Dean of the Nigerian Church, and Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province, and the second most senior Anglican bishop in the country. According to reports, the kidnappers abandoned the Archbishop’s car containing Mrs Kattey after a police chase. The Archbishop is still missing.

Archbishop Ignatius accompanied Archdeacon of Italy and Malta Jonathan Boardman on visits to Turin and Padua last April, and along with his colleague Archbishop Joseph Akinfenwa came to my office afterwards to report on their visit and explore with me how our partnership and cooperation might be deepened.

Apparently, no group has claimed responsibility and no ransom demand has been made.

Please pray for the safe release of the Archbishop.

The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion has a brief statement on its website.

There are many reports in the Nigerian press including these.

This Day Live Anglican Archbishop Kattey Kidnapped in Rivers
Nigerian Tribune Anglican Arch-Bishop kidnapped in Rivers State •Police begin manhunt
The Guardian Anglican Bishop Kidnapped In Rivers
PM News Archbishop Kattey kidnapped by gunmen

Other reports include:

Anglican Communion News Service Nigeria Archbishop and wife kidnapped
Anglican Ink Anglican Archbishop kidnapped in Nigeria

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 8 September 2013 at 8:38pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 7 September 2013

opinion

Ian Paul blogs about What we should do about Syria.

Andreas Whittam Smith (the First Church Estates Commissioner) writes for The Independent about Here’s how a ‘good’ bank could operate.

Thom S Rainer blogs about Eight Areas Where Many Ministers Are Unprepared for Ministry.

Ted Olsen writes for Christianity Today about The Wars Over Christian Beards.

Jonathan Clatworthy writes for Modern Church about Greenbelt as a churchmanship.

Vicky Beeching has interviewed Steve Holmes for Faith in Feminism: Christian, feminist & conservative on sexuality?
Earlier in the week she interviewed Rachel Mann: Meet Rachel: a trans-woman, gay, feminist priest.

Jon Kuhrt writes for Fulcrum about The Secularisation of Martin Luther King.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 7 September 2013 at 11:00am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Friday, 6 September 2013

First meeting of Women Bishops steering committee

Press release from the Church of England today.

First meeting of Women Bishops steering committee
06 September 2013

The first meeting of the women Bishops steering committee set up after the General Synod debate in July 2013 took place on 5th and 6th September in Coventry.

The committee considered a first draft of the Measure and amending canon as requested by Synod and also looked at the possible shape of a declaration from the House of Bishops and a mandatory grievance procedure. The discussions were serious, honest and constructive.

The committee is due to meet again on 11th and 12th of October 2013.

We listed the members of the steering committee here.

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Thursday, 5 September 2013

Church Commissioners' ethical investment policy

The Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question in the House of Commons yesterday on the Church Commissioners’ ethical investment policy.

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

Investment

Helen Goodman: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what the category limits are of the Church Commissioners’ ethical investment policy.

Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners are advised on ethical investment policy by the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group. In directly held investments, the Church Commissioners avoid investment in companies involved in indiscriminate weaponry and, if their strategic military supplies exceed 10% of turnover, in companies involved in conventional weapons. The Church Commissioners do not invest in companies that derive more than 3% of revenues from the production or distribution of pornography, nor companies a major part of whose business activity or focus (defined as more than 25% of group revenues) is tobacco, gambling, alcoholic drinks, high interest rate lending or human embryonic cloning. Where the Church Commissioners are not able to invest in an asset class directly they do so indirectly (in pooled funds). In indirectly held investments, where the Church Commissioners usually cannot fully implement their ethical restrictions, exposure to businesses operating in excluded sectors is monitored. If the level or nature of exposure to excluded sectors in any one fund becomes unacceptable, the Church Commissioners review the options for remedial action.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 5 September 2013 at 2:53pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Third woman bishop in New Zealand

Updated

The Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki in New Zealand has announced the election of the Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley as the next bishop of Waikato.

The Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley has been elected the next Anglican Bishop of Waikato.

Helen-Ann, who is 40, will become the 7th Bishop of Waikato – and the first woman to hold the office. She succeeds Archbishop David Moxon, who is now the Anglican Communion’s ambassador to Rome.

Bishop-elect Helen-Ann is at present Dean of Tikanga Pakeha students at St John’s College in Auckland.

She was born in Edinburgh and grew up in north-east England. She is the fourth generation of her family to be ordained, and was priested in 2005 in the Diocese of Oxford…

The Bishop of Taranaki has issued this letter.

ACNS reports that Church of England female priest elected as NZ bishop.

Dr Hartley was featured in an article published by The New Yorker in 2010 before she moved to New Zealand - A Canterbury Tale: The battle within the Church of England to allow women to be bishops by Jane Kramer.

Update

Bosco Peters writes about having two co-equal Diocesan Bishops in Waikato and Taranaki: New Bishop of Waikato.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 5 September 2013 at 10:23am BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Defending Bishop Tengatenga

Updated Thursday morning

Bishop James Tengatenga has been in the news recently because Dartmouth College reneged on a job offer they made to him, after he had already resigned his previous position as Bishop of Southern Malawi. See for example this ENS report by Matthew Davies Dartmouth withdraws Tengatenga’s appointment as foundation dean:

Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, has withdrawn the appointment of former Southern Malawi Bishop James Tengatenga as dean of its Tucker Foundation saying that his past comments about homosexuality “have compromised his ability to serve effectively.”

Meanwhile, some North American church leaders are surprised and saddened by the decision, saying that they know Tengatenga as a bridge-builder and reconciler who has a deep understanding of the complex issues concerning human sexuality.

Tengatenga, a long-standing member and current chair of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Anglican Communion’s main policy-making body, announced in mid-July that after 15 years as bishop of Southern Malawi he was tendering his resignation to become the Virginia Rice Kelsey Dean of the William Jewett Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College from Jan. 1, 2014…

Today the Living Church has published a letter signed by a number of notable people, which criticises Dartmouth College. See Defending Bishop Tengatenga:

Dartmouth’s folly and the struggle for LGBTQ rights in Africa

Earlier this summer an offer was made to the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, Anglican Bishop of Southern Malawi, to become the next Virginia Rice Kelsey ’61s Dean of the William Jewett Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, an organization charged with educating students and the Dartmouth community into “lives of purpose and ethical leadership, rooted in service, spirituality, and social justice.” Tengatenga accepted, announced his resignation as Bishop of Southern Malawi, made plans to come to Dartmouth in early 2014, and news of the appointment was made public on July 16. With a swiftness that hardly seemed possible, even in this age of electronic communication, messages started to circulate on blogs and over email, as were letters of protest sent to the College’s top administrators, charging the Bishop with homophobia. On July 22 the Dartmouth College Chapter of the NAACP sent a letter protesting the appointment to the president, provost, and members of the search committee…

Much of this communication was vague. Some of it, however, was quite specific, citing comments made by Tengatenga on matters related to human sexuality within the context of the Anglican Communion. Despite issuing a statement declaring his unequivocal support for marriage equality and the sanctity of human rights for all individuals appearing on the official “Dartmouth Now” site, Tengatenga continued to be criticized. One month after his appointment was announced, the President of the College, Philip J. Hanlon, released a statement saying that the appointment had been rescinded.

The President’s decision brought applause from some in the Dartmouth community. Others were appalled, as are we. The action represents a gross injustice to an individual who would have made an ideal person to provide moral and ethical leadership at the College. It casts serious doubts on what is being learned in American universities when members of those communities fail to distinguish between public positions of institutions and the views of individuals who participate in those institutions. It reflects badly on western human rights advocates who consciously or unconsciously engage in forms of cultural imperialism that undermine their own success and credibility by demanding proofs identical to their own kind and, in this instance, by also ignoring the voices of Africans and church leaders who have known and worked with Tengatenga in some cases for decades….

Do read the entire letter.

Update
A response to this letter by Joseph Asch has been published at Dartblog A Public Letter for Tengatenga. This response contains numerous links to earlier discussions on the same site.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 7:00pm BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Ten years of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant

Updated

The Church of England issued this press release: Church of England and the Methodist Church moving closer to unity

* 10 years since signing of historic Covenant

The Joint Implementation Commission (JIC) of the Church of England and Methodist Church in Britain has called for “Church leaders and decision-making bodies to make the Covenant a priority in order to bring our Churches closer together in mission and holiness.”

In a major Report published this week the JIC calls on both Churches to consider the impact that the 10-year-old Anglican Methodist Covenant has made on their relationship; to rejoice in the progress that has been made; and to face together the challenges of mission.

The Report, entitled “The Challenge of the Covenant: Uniting in Mission and Holiness”, provides numerous examples of where the Churches have worked well together over the past 10 years, including areas of education, ethical investment, mission, theological education, safeguarding and Fresh Expressions. There are now 533 local ecumenical partnerships between Anglicans and Methodists across the country. However, the Report also identifies a number of continuing challenges, such as the need for further collaboration, consultation and decision making at both national and local levels…

…The JIC Report: “The Challenge of the Covenant: Uniting in Mission and Holiness” , the Quick Guide and a Draft Report to the Methodist Conference and the General Synod in 2014 will be available for download from 6th September at: http://www.anglican-methodist.org.uk/

The Methodist Church has this page about the Anglican Methodist Covenant.

…Full information about Covenant, including its Affirmations and Commitments, and how it is worked out locally can be found at www.anglican-methodist.org.uk. Please note this website is now rather dated and there are plans to create a new website for the Anglican Methodist Covenant.

The second quinquennial JIC report ‘The Challenge of the Covenant’ will be available here on September 6 2013…

Updates

The Quick Guide is now available here. For the full report go to this page, and scroll down. The report to go to General Synod can be downloaded here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 5:58pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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