Sunday, 30 October 2016

Bishop of Indianapolis: Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows elected

Corrected Monday morning

The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis issued this press release on 28 October:

The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows was elected 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis on the second ballot on Friday, October 28, at Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis. The election culminated a nearly two-year discernment and search process by the diocese at the 179th Diocesan Convention. The Right Reverend Catherine M. Waynick plans to retire in the Spring of 2017.

The Rev. Baskerville-Burrows currently serves as Director of Networking for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, nourishing partnerships and connections for church revitalization.

“In 19 years of ordained ministry, and especially in the past five helping to oversee and restructure the Diocese of Chicago, I’ve supported communities of transformation, communicated a vision of hope and gathered and networked God’s people across distance and difference,” the Rev. Baskerville-Burrows said. “I believe these experiences have prepared me to lead and serve in the particular place that is the Diocese of Indianapolis.”

She is from New York, ordained by the Diocese of Central New York, and a graduate of Smith College, Cornell University, and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. She has expertise in historic preservation and a passion for issues including gun violence, social justice, and racial and class reconciliation. She also maintains a strong focus in guiding others through the practice of spiritual direction.

One of the defining experiences of her ministry came when she found herself near the World Trade Center the morning of September 11, 2001. In the midst of a fearful situation, her own faith and the faith of others who sought shelter alongside her gave her a renewed perspective of faith vanquishing fear.

“The Episcopal Church is where I found my relationship with Jesus some 30 years ago, “she said. “It teaches me that the world is filled with incredible beauty and unspeakable pain and that God is deeply in the midst of it all loving us fiercely. So each day, nourished by the sacraments and stories of our faith, the beauty of our liturgical tradition, the wide embrace of this Christian community, I learn over and over again how to live without fear.”

The Rev. Baskerville-Burrows will be ordained and consecrated as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis on Saturday, April 29, 2017, 11 a.m., at Clowes Hall at Butler University.

A vast amount of information about the process of this election, including the profile of the diocese, and information about all the candidates, can be found here.

As Episcopal Café notes:

…Pending consents, she will become the first black, female diocesan bishop in the history of the church. This election also marks the first time that [a] woman diocesan bishop is succeeded by another woman…

But this is inaccurate. There was already such a succession in the Diocese of Edmonton, Canada (Jane Alexander followed Victoria Matthews) and there are already diocesan bishops in Swaziland who are both black and female.

The Bishop of Chicago, where she currently serves, wrote this about her election.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 6:18pm GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Opinion - 29 October 2016

Richard Moy Tearing down the Barriers of Corporation Sole

John Wraw, Bishop of Bradwell, Is our vicar-shaped mould too middle class?

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Infant Baptism: An Anglican Model for Same Sex Blessings?

Andrew Lightbown Getting the leverage into R&R

Madeleine Davies Church Times Making evangelism the main thing, not an optional extra

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News More Tea, Vicar?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 29 October 2016 at 11:00am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Statistics for Mission 2015

Updated Friday

The Church of England has issued its Statistics for Mission 2015 today. There is no accompanying press release, but the document includes this executive summary.

2015 Church of England participation summary

  • On average, 961,000 people (85% adults, 15% children under 16) attended Church of England services and acts of worship each week in October 2015. A further 165,000 people attended services for schools in Church of England churches each week.
  • Usual Sunday attendance at Church of England churches in 2015 was 752,000 people (86% adults, 14% children under 16).
  • The worshipping community of Church of England churches in 2015 was 1.1 million people, of whom 20% were aged under 18, 50% were aged 18-69, and 30% were aged 70 or over.
  • 1.3 million people attended Church of England churches at Easter 2015 (of whom 71% received communion).
  • 2.5 million people attended Church of England churches at Christmas 2015 (of whom 35% received communion). During Advent, 2.3 million people attended special services for the congregation and local community, and 2.7 million people attended special services for civic organisations and schools.
  • There were 124,000 Church of England baptisms and services of thanksgiving for the gift of a child during 2015.
  • There were 47,000 Church of England marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriages during 2015.
  • There were 84,000 funerals in Church of England churches, and a further 65,000 funerals at crematoria/cemeteries during 2015.

Trends in participation

  • Over recent decades, attendance at Church of England church services has gradually fallen. These trends continued in 2015. Most key measures of attendance have fallen by between 10% and 15% over the past 10 years.
  • Although the overall pattern is one of gradual decline, this masks the differences in experience in individual parishes over the past 10 years. In 53% of parishes there has been no statistically significant change in attendance. In 10% of parishes attendance has increased. In 37% of parishes attendance has decreased.


There is now a press release, 2015 Attendance Statistics published, copied below the fold.

Hattie Williams Church Times Church has ‘a strong base to work from’ despite further fall in numbers

John Bingham The Telegraph British families only attend church at Christmas, new figures suggest

Steve Doughty Mail Online Church of England loses one in seven Sunday worshippers in just a decade as new figures confirm a steep decline in the ranks of the Anglican faith

Archdruid Eileen Liturgy of the Calculation of the Attendance Figures

More updates

Will Worley Independent Church of England loses more than 100,000 worshipers in a decade

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Why Do People Stop Going To Church? Church of England Fails To Halt Decline

2015 Attendance Statistics published
27 October 2016

New Church of England statistics for 2015, published today, show that just under one million people attend services each week. The survey, carried out over four weeks in October 2015, found 960,000 people attending church each week, with 820,000 adults and 140,000 children. Schools services added a further 160,000 attenders.

The total worshipping community of churches across the Church of England, the report says, was 1,142,000 people, of whom 20% were aged under 18, 50% were aged 18-69 and 30% were aged 70 or over.

Figures also show that 2.5 million attended a Church of England Church at Christmas in 2015 and 1.3 million people attended a service at Easter. Additionally, 2.3 million people attended special Advent services for the congregation and local community, whilst 2.7 million attended special Advent services for civic organisations and schools.

In 2015, the Church carried out just under 1,000 weddings, 2,000 baptisms, and almost 3,000 funerals every week of the year. Attendances at these services are not recorded but conservative estimates of 50 at each of those 6000 services would add up to 300,000 attendances each week or more than 15 million each year.

Some 11% of births during 2015 were marked by a Church of England infant baptism or thanksgiving service whilst 30% of deaths were marked by a Church of England funeral.

As a whole the figures represent a continuing trend that has shown an 11% decrease in attendance over the past decade with an average decline of just over 1% a year.

A one-off question for 2015 asked churches about the facilities they provide. The responses suggest that nearly half now have kitchen facilities and more than 60% have toilets. The 16,000 churches of the Church of England serve communities in a range of different ways, including full-or part-time shops in 212 of them and post offices in 152.

William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, said: “The Church of England is setting out on a journey of Renewal & Reform, aiming to reverse our numerical decline in attendance so that we become a growing church in every region and for every generation.

“The Church of England is open to and for everyone in England, building up the Body of Christ and working for the common good. For some of those who support our work, weekly attendance at services is part of their discipleship. There will be many others, as we know from the Census, who identify with us but who worship on a less regular basis.

“These figures represent a realistic assessment of where we start from in terms of weekly attendance. We are confident in a hopeful future where our love of God and service of neighbour will form the basis for future growth.

“Statistics for Mission provides an invaluable foundation for this and demonstrates that the Church, fully aware of where we are yet confident of the future, still has a strong base to work from.”

The statistics are available at:

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 27 October 2016 at 10:19pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Are Churches Welcoming Towards LGBT People?

Harry Farley of Christian Today reports on a New Poll: Are Churches Welcoming Towards LGBT People?

The question whether gay people are accepted in church has dogged Christian leaders for decades.

But a new poll out on Thursday reveals the same proportion of people think gay people are welcome in UK churches as those who think they are unwelcome. A YouGov poll highlighted that 30 per cent of Brits believe churches are welcoming towards gay people with 33 per cent saying they are not welcoming.

Younger people were more likely to think LGBT people are unwelcome in church, with 38 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds saying churches were not hospitable to gay people and 36 per cent of 25 to 49-year-olds agreeing. Those over 60 were almost twice as likely to think the LGBT community was welcome in church than unwelcome…

The Church of England Newspaper has also looked at the poll: Public don’t believe the Church offers a welcome to all in society.

The poll was commissioned by Jayne Ozanne, who has issued this press release:

Status of established church queried as poll reveals few believe Church of England serves whole nation.

Less than half of British adults believe that the Church of England is there for everyone, with only a third of adults believing UK Christian churches are welcoming towards the LGBTI community.

A recent YOUGOV poll has shown that only 47% of British adults agree that the Church of England is there for everyone who wants to go to Church. Of equal concern is the fact that less than a third (30%) believe that Christian Churches are welcoming towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community…

The full text of the press release is copied below the fold.

The full results of the poll can be viewed here.



A recent YOUGOV poll has shown that only 47% of British adults agree that the Church of England is there for everyone who wants to go to Church. Of equal concern is the fact that less than a third (30%) believe that Christian Churches are welcoming towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community.

Christian LGBT campaigner, Jayne Ozanne, who commissioned the research said:

“What is of greatest concern is the fact it is those who the Church is most keen to reach – the young and those of “no religion” - who believe that the Church is not there for everyone, and that they are not welcoming to the LGBT community. If the Church is serious about its commitment to mission, it needs to heed the concerns and perceptions of those it wants to attract, otherwise no one will want to listen.”

Commenting further, the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, said: “A national church should serve the whole nation, irrespective of creed, colour, class - and identity. It is a tragedy for our mission and ministry that the Church of England continues to denigrate and discriminate against lesbian, gay and transgendered people. The church cannot afford to cling to its establishment whilst colluding with its own institutional homophobia, and also continually capitulate to reactionary conservative lobby-groups. The manifest injustice of this will continue to impede all efforts to evangelise future generations, and will consign the church to an inevitable irrelevance.”

The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, who has been a key advocate for LGBT equality added:

“The Church of England must learn to listen to those it seeks to serve.  It is interesting to note those who are most likely to think that the Church is there for everyone and that it is welcoming are Christian conservatives over the age of 50 – our traditional heartland.  However, if we want to be a national church for everyone we need to understand and respond to the concerns people have, and recognise the fact that many think we are not there for them.”

The research was commissioned to understand how national perceptions towards the Church of England are changing, particularly in the light of its attitude towards the LGBT community. It follows a question on October 13th 2016 in the House of Commons by Susan Elan Jones, MP for Clwyd South, to the Second Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman, regarding the pastoral care of LGBT people in the Church of England in which she stated:

“Does (the Second Estates Commissioner) agree that now is the time for those of us who are Christian but not of the LGBT community to give more careful consideration to these issues?”

With less than half (47%) of those who identified as Anglican and just over a third (37%) of those identifying as Roman Catholics believing that Christian Churches are welcoming to the LGBT community, it appears that many are starting to do just that.


1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,669 adults (of which 415 identified as Anglican and 120 identified as Catholic). Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th - 12th October 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Full results of the survey can be viewed here.

2. Susan Elan Jones MP question to the Second Estates Commissioner can be viewed here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 27 October 2016 at 6:22pm BST | Comments (37) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Bishop of Ripon to retire

The Diocese of Leeds has announced today that the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd James Bell, is to retire on 30 April 2017.

The full text of the diocesan announcement is below the fold.

Bishop of Ripon to retire

It has been announced that the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd James Bell, is to retire on 30 April 2017.

James Bell has been Bishop of Ripon since the creation of the new Diocese of Leeds in 2014. He was previously suffragan Bishop of Knaresborough in the former Diocese of Ripon & Leeds.

The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, says, “Bishop James has served the national church, the diocese, episcopal area, his colleagues and the people of our rural communities with faithfulness and theologically informed wisdom. And as an episcopal expert on rural affairs he has helped shape the Church of England’s approach to both ministry and mission across the country.

“Bishop James will retire in the knowledge that he has served diligently and faithfully, and he will leave the diocese with our gratitude, blessing and prayers. Please pray for him as he prepares to retire and move into a new form of life and ministry.”

Bishop James says, “It has been really exciting to be part of the shaping up of our great new diocese, and a deep joy to have a particular care for the Ripon Area.

“I give thanks for God’s grace at work amongst us and look forward to serving through the next months. There’ll be plenty of time for reflections and goodbyes in the spring”.

Bishop James was ordained in 1975 in the Diocese of Oxford before becoming Chaplain and Lecturer at Brasenose College until 1982. He served in the Diocese of London before joining the former Diocese of Ripon as Director of Ministry and Training, then Director of Mission. He became Bishop of Knaresborough in the (renamed) Diocese of Ripon & Leeds in 2004.

His Farewell Service will take place at Ripon Cathedral on Sunday 30 April 2017 at 3.30pm.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 23 October 2016 at 3:26pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Opinion - 22 October 2016

Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, ViaMedia.News “Calm Down Dear…” – Love and Anger
This article has attracted the attention of The Telegraph (‘Calm down, dear’: how bishops talk down to gay people – by leading bishop) and Christian Today (You Have The Right To Be Angry! Bishop Of Liverpool Advice To LGBT Christians).
Ryan Cook blogs in response.

Andrew Brown The Guardian Scepticism gets you only so far. Even nonbelievers need to have faith

Liz Clutterbuck Church Times Wanted: young women priests

Madeleine Davies Church Times Funding decision sharpens debate about the vision

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 22 October 2016 at 11:00am BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Trouble at York Minster

*** Updated Friday 21 October

There have been a lot of reports of the decision taken by the authorities at York Minster with respect to the Minster bellringers. The BBC’s coverage begins here with the headline “York Minster bells silenced after bell-ringers axed for ‘new team’”. In a letter shown on the BBC page, the Precentor of York, Canon Peter Moger writes to the ringers:

Chapter will recruit a Head Bell Ringer, who will then oversee the recruitment and activity of a new team of volunteer bell ringers. In order to begin this process, all current bell ringing activity will cease at the Minster, from today, Tuesday 11th October.

The York Minster Society of Change Ringers responded with this statement in which the Ringing Master, Peter Sanderson, commented:

I was appointed to the position of Ringing Master by Chapter in 2006 and have remained fully accountable to them ever since, always implementing Chapter’s policies as requested and being willing to work co-operatively with Chapter to resolve any issues as they have arisen. … You have also referred in the media to the review of the operation of the bell tower which raised health and safety concerns. That review was commissioned by Chapter, undertaken and completed without the knowledge of the bellringers and with no opportunity for them to provide input. Nor have the results ever been shared with us. I’m afraid that this is typical of the secrecy with which the Minster operates under the current leadership team under your direction. … When you arrived as Dean in 2012 the ringers invited you on several occasions to visit the bell-tower and meet the team. You declined all of those invitations and have never to my knowledge ascended the tower. As significant grievances between the ringers and Chapter have arisen over the past 18 months I have made numerous offers to meet with you and to work together to resolve them. You have rejected every one of those offers.

On Monday in a further brief statement, the Minster said that the issue was about safeguarding:

Earlier this summer, it was necessary for the Chapter to take action regarding a member of the bell ringing community on safeguarding grounds. … Some members of the York Minster Society of Change Ringers have consistently challenged the Chapter’s authority on this and other important matters. … This is why the Chapter took the decision to disband the bell ringing team last week.

This statement was read by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu (as Visitor) and has been released on video here. It is followed by questions and answers.

In their response, here, the ringers have again appealed to the Dean and Archbishop to talk to them:

We are deeply disappointed that Dean Faull and Archbishop Sentamu have decided to release their statement this afternoon without any prior communication or consultation with YMSCR. Now, more than ever, we feel the need to sit down and talk in private with the Dean and Chapter of York Minster to discuss these issues. We make a direct appeal to Dean Vivienne Faull and Archbishop John Sentamu to make contact and to arrange this meeting.

*** Update (Friday 21 October)

There has been a lot of press coverage of this story. The Church Times summarizes how the story unfolded in an article headlined Safeguarding issue silences bells of York Minster, and the Guardian does similarly under the headline How York Minster bellringers’ sacking blew the lid off bitter dispute.

Because of the nature of this story we ask all commenters to be especially careful in what they write. Comments containing ad hominem remarks will not be published.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 at 7:43am BST | Comments (47) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Opinion - 15 October 2016

Church Times is running a series of articles on Renewal & Reform.
Ethnicity falls behind gender in vocations project Hattie Williams looks into the C of E’s bid to increase ordinations.
High flyers’ training proves popular but can’t escape flak Tim Wyatt discovers perceived gain and loss from the Green report’s outcome. [This one is behind the paywall.]
Shake-up in lay ministry aims to elevate the laity’s calling Hattie Williams talks to the people behind a forthcoming C of E report on leadership.

From the Church of England Communications blog
Sarah Thorpe, Dementia Support Worker for the Diocese of Lichfield, How and why to embrace those living with dementia in your church
Revd Peter Wells, Lead Chaplain at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, ‘None of us is the perfect image of God. We meet each other knowing that no one is perfect.’ How chaplains and the Mothers’ Union support dementia patients in hospital

Simon Jenkins The Guardian There is one sure way to save our ailing churches – give them away
And these letters in reply from Richard Harries, the former bishop of Oxford, and others.

Andrew Lightbown Management, Leadership, Renewal & Reform

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 15 October 2016 at 11:00am BST | Comments (36) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Simplification – the story so far

The Simplification Task Group of the Church of England’s Renewal & Reform programme has issued this account of where they got to: Simplification – the story so far, Update from the Bishop of Willesden, Chair of the Simplification Task Group.

This paper, which has been approved by the Archbishops’ Council updates the Church with a summary of where we have got to on the Simplification Task Group work stream under the Renewal Reform initiative. It outlines the issues we have tackled, those areas we have declined to consider, the pieces of work that are outstanding, and the choices for a possible Phase 3. The purpose is to share what has happened as widely as possible, both because it is perfectly possible to miss changes in church legislation and therefore not be aware of the possibilities for doing things more simply, and because the Simplification Group wishes to give an account of its stewardship of the time and resources that it has consumed…

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 13 October 2016 at 5:12pm BST | Comments (34) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Andrew Goddard writes about Pastoral Accommodation

The indefatigable Andrew Goddard has just published at Fulcrum a long paper explaining why it is not possible to engage in pastoral accommodation over blessing same-sex unions: Blessing Same-Sex Unions – A Legitimate Pastoral Accommodation?

In addition to the main article, he has also published a large number of supplementary papers which are linked to it, either in the text, or in footnotes.

What is the church’s current official teaching and discipline?
What is the current ecclesial reality in relation to this teaching and discipline?
How did we get here and where might we go next?
Can we both uphold current teaching and offer greater “pastoral accommodation”?
Divorce and Remarriage
Prayer after abortion

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 at 6:24pm BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Communiqué from Iarccum Summit

ACNS has published New steps on an ancient pilgrimage: Together from Canterbury to Rome

30 September – 7 October 2016

IARCCUM 2016 has been an extraordinary, historic summit, rich in symbolism and significance for the Anglican Communion and Catholic Church.

It brought together 36 bishops from around the world for a week in Canterbury and Rome to celebrate the deepening relationship between the two traditions over the past 50 years – and to find practical ways to work together to demonstrate that unity to the world and address its social and pastoral issues.

The highlight was the mandating of the bishops by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a service they jointly led at the chapel of San Gregorio al Celio. The service also saw the Pope and Archbishop exchange gifts as a sign of friendship – echoing the moment in 1966 when Pope Paul VI presented his papal ring to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey – a moment that ushered in a new era of dialogue.

The days in Rome also saw the formal presentation of a document detailing 20 years of work on reconciling the two traditions by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. And the bishops attended a symposium on current relations between the churches and the possibilities of future co-operation and dialogue.

The time in Canterbury was also rich in symbolism. The Suffragan Bishop in Europe, David Hamid, gave the homily at a Catholic Vigil Mass in the undercroft of the Cathedral. The following day, the Archbishop-elect of Regna, Donald Bolen, preached the sermon at the Sung Eucharist.

Bishop David – who co-chairs IARCCUM with Archbishop Don – said the summit had been an historic time in the history of our official dialogue, and deeply valuable.

“This has been an immensely rich occasion, full of significance for our two traditions. It has been a source of deep joy to all the bishops gathered from all over the world, who have shared their experiences, their challenges and their wisdom. It was a profound time of collegiality and communion, and they are inspired now to go out into the world and work together for unity and common mission.”

Archbishop Don said it had been an incredible time and he was excited about the future.

“The bishops engaged in everything in a way that was beautiful to see. Strong friendships have formed. In our discussions, we did not shy away from the difficulties we sometimes face. But the possibilities for our two traditions working together in a needy world are abundant and promising.”

One of the bishops, Archbishop Paul Nabil El Sayah from Beirut said the summit had been a joyful occasion that would yield practical results.

“The atmosphere has been very positive,” he said. “You can feel there is deep, sincere fellowship and a willingness to bring new things forward. I am completely sold on practical ecumenism. I see lots of potential. This is not about looking inwards but about coming to the outside world together. The more we come together, the more our message has credibility.”

Bishop Alwin Samuel, from Sialkot in Pakistan, has been working alongside Archbishop Sebastian Shaw from Lahore during the summit. Bishop Alwin said he was looking forward to collaborating more with the Catholics at home.

“We have been looking at how we can take concrete steps towards unity. One example is where we have existing projects of our own. We looked at how we could begin to work together on them. For example, in areas such as health, especially women’s health, where one church might provide the resources and the other would deliver them.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 12:00pm BST | Comments (51) | TrackBack
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Global South Conference: detailed reports

There are links to many of the presentations and reports, and also to photographs, available on this page.

The official Global South Anglican website also has materials.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 11:40am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Global South and GAFCON express views on same-sex unions

A lengthy communiqué been published from the 6th Global South Conference:

Communiqué from the 6th Global South Conference, Cairo 2016

which includes this statement:

We received with thanks the joint statement by the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council on same-sex union/marriage (6th October 2016) that was presented to the Conference.

Statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council Concerning Same-sex Unions

The full text of the latter is copied below the fold.

The former document includes this:

30. We are deeply saddened that the Provinces of Scotland, Canada and Wales have recently made moves to change their Canon, teaching and practice in relation to same-sex union. These have been done against the Primates Gathering Communiqué of 16th January 2016 (Addendum A, paragraph 2).

31. The Church of England (COE) has a unique role in the life of the Communion, which means that decisions it makes on fundamental matters impact the Communion more deeply than those made elsewhere. This is because both of its historical role and the particular role of Archbishop of Canterbury as first among equal amongst the Primates. We are deeply concerned that there appears to be a potential move towards the acceptance of blessing of same-sex union by COE. This would have serious implications for us should it occur.

32. The present and potentially escalating crisis poses challenges to the Global South in the shepherding of her people. We recognise the need for our enhanced ecclesial responsibility. We need to strengthen our doctrinal teaching, our ecclesiastical ordering of our collective life as a global fellowship and the flourishing of our gifts in the one another-ness of our mission.

33. The Global South Primates will therefore form a task force to recommend how these needs can be effectively addressed.

According to this report, several Church of England bishops were present at this meeting.

Statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council Concerning Same-sex Unions

6th October 2016

1. We acknowledge that God is the Creator of the whole cosmos and of humankind. Male and female, God created them in his own image and likeness to know him, worship him and share in his glory and love.

2. We affirm the dignity and value of every human being, as each bears the image of our gracious God. We recognise that humankind’s rebellion against God has tainted that image, but not eradicated it. Yet every person is precious to God.

3. God’s message of hope is therefore addressed to every man, woman and child around the globe, that they might be redeemed, restored as image bearers of God through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and inherit eternal life.

4. As we proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to a broken and wounded world, we acknowledge our own failures and weaknesses in the light of God’s word, the Bible. As God’s love was declared to us, before we loved God, so we declare God’s love to those who neither know him nor love him. Yet our love for God is both to believe and obey, and so our message is to call people to repentance and love for God, that they might be forgiven and live their lives in accordance with God’s pattern for humankind as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

5. We recognise that the brokenness of our world produces many aspects of human behaviour which are contrary to God’s good design. These include slander, greed, malice, hatred, jealousy, dishonesty, selfishness, envy and murder, as well as fornication, adultery and same-sex unions. In addressing the issue of same-sex relationships, we are not minimizing the sinfulness of other forms of behaviour that are contrary to God’s character and pattern for humankind. Rather, we are addressing an issue that continues to be contentious in both the Church and society and that strikes at the very heart of biblical authority.

6. We affirm that the clear teaching of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole, is that marriage is an estate for all people, not just for believers. It is a holy institution, created by God for a man and a woman to live in a covenantal relationship of exclusive and mutual love for each other until they are parted by death. God designed marriage for the well-being of society, for sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, and for procreation and the nurturing of children (Genesis 2:18-25).

7. We contend that sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex is contrary to God’s design, is offensive to him and reflects a disordering of God’s purposes for complementarity in sexual relations. Like all other morally wrong behaviour, same-sex unions alienate us from God and are liable to incur God’s judgment. We hold these convictions based on the clear teaching of Scripture. We hold them not in order to demean or victimise those who experience same-sex attractions, but in order to guard the sound doctrine of our faith, which also informs our pastoral approach for helping those who struggle with same-sex impulses, attractions and temptations.

8. In this respect, the Church cannot condone same-sex unions as a form of behaviour acceptable to God. To do so would be tampering with the foundation of our faith once for all laid down by the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2: 20-22; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11; Jude 3).

9. Any pastoral provision by a church for a same-sex couple (such as a liturgy or a service to bless their sexual union) that obviates the need for repentance and a commitment to pursue a change of conduct enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit, would contravene the orthodox and historic teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality. Such pastoral provisions, while superficially attractive in giving a more humane and socially acceptable face to the church, actually hide the contravention of doctrine involved. We must be faithful in guarding the good deposit of the gospel, in all its gracious gifts with all its covenantal obligations as well, not for the mere sake of orthodoxy but out of genuine love for God and our fellow human beings.

10. Our faithfulness to God and knowledge of his love empowers us to offer sensitive and compassionate ministry to those who are sexually broken in the area of same-sex attractions and unions. Our pastoral approach is to accept people for who they are, just as God accepted us for who we were. We oppose the vilification or demeaning of those who do not follow God’s ways. We affirm that every person is loved by God, so we too must love as God loves. Our role is to restore them to God’s divine patterns by inviting them to receive the transforming love of Christ that gives them the power to repent and walk in newness of life. We rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to reveal to them the measureless goodness of God and the greatness of God in setting the captive free as a new creation.

11. We recognise that discipleship involves growth and while we long for all new believers to come to maturity in Christ, we know that this is a process. For those who are same-sex attracted, the path of discipleship and living in conformity with God’s Word can be difficult. We commit ourselves afresh to care pastorally for them as members of Christ’s body, building them up in the Word and in the Spirit, and encouraging them to walk by faith in the paths of repentance and obedience that lead to fullness of life (John 10: 9-10).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 11:30am BST | Comments (36) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 8 October 2016

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England Evensong

James Harper Ian Paul and moral arguments against homosexuality

Jules Middleton Dog Collar Dilemma: women’s clericals – what on earth to wear?!
Dog Collar Dilemma Part 2: Uniform vs Individual Style

Jemima Thackray Church Times Following the Quanglican way

Deacon Gill No Mention of the Diaconate

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 11:00am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Friday, 7 October 2016

Theological review of work of Crown Nominations Commission

Press release from the Church of England

Theological review of work of Crown Nominations Commission
07 October 2016

As General Synod were advised in July 2016, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have commissioned a theological review of the work of the Crown Nominations Commission.

The group will be chaired by Professor Oliver O’Donovan FBA and the other members are:

Professor Sarah Coakley - Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge
Professor Tom Greggs - Marischal Professor of Divinity, University of Aberdeen
The Most Reverend Josiah Idowu-Fearon - Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
Professor Morwenna Ludlow - Professor of Christian History and Theology, University of Exeter
Father Thomas Seville CR - Faith and Order Commission
The Revd Dr Jennifer Strawbridge - Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Oxford
The Revd Canon Dr James Walters - Chaplain and Senior Lecturer, London School of Economics

The Commission has been very active over the last few years and as it is anticipated that there will be fewer vacant sees in the near future, it is timely to review the way in which it works. The focus of the group will be to explore and provide the theological framework for the Commission as it discharges its responsibilities and to make any recommendations on process in the light of this. The group will be inviting a number of people to meet with it as well as receiving written submissions. It is very conscious of its responsibility to ensure that the full richness and diversity of Church voices are represented and starts its work this week.

It is anticipated that the group will make a report to the Archbishops who have commissioned the work. They have committed to sharing it with General Synod in 2018.

More information about the Crown Nominations Commission

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 10:29am BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Dean of Peterborough bids farewell

The Church Times reports: Dean delivers harsh rebuke to C of E’s ‘blandness’ in final sermon

THE Dean of Peterborough, the Very Revd Charles Taylor, has bowed out of office with a stinging attack on envious people at the centre of the Church of England who resent “uppity” cathedrals and who wish to impose a “monochrome blandness” on the Church.

In late July, it was revealed that a cashflow crisis at Peterborough Cathedral meant that staff were in danger of not being paid. A loan was secured from the Church Commissioners. At the same time, it was announced that Dean Taylor was planning to retire.

In his farewell sermon on Saturday, Dean Taylor, who is 63, dropped a strong hint that the decision to leave had been forced upon him. Despite hundreds of letters of support, he said, he had not made any public remark about “the circumstances surrounding my ‘retirement’ — although some have alleged that the manner in which it was effected was legally dubious, morally reprehensible, and pastorally disgraceful. Well, they might care to think that. I could not possibly comment.”

And the article continues:

He detected a wider agenda: “Such an inclusive theology of mission as motivates this and other cathedrals . . . is not always welcome to those who resent the independence of cathedrals, who envy their freedom — indeed, their obligation — to take the risks that accompany that independence, and perceived that they’re getting a bit uppity.

“It certainly does not conform to the ecclesiology, if one can call it that, of those who would like to see power concentrated at the centre, in order to impose a bland, uniform theology, if one can call it that, which runs counter to the very essence of Anglican diversity.”

The recent death of Bishop David Jenkins had led him to wonder where, today, were the Anglican leaders who excite the public imagination? “Where among the leaders of today are the colourful clerics and turbulent priests, the prickly prophets, the rebels and reformers?” All he saw was “monochrome blandness”.

”It is surely of salutary significance that newly appointed deans and bishops these days are sent on an induction course — not as you might think, to hone their skills in theology, or liturgy, community outreach, or pastoral care, but to take a mini-MBA.

“The pattern of the Good Shepherd has been hijacked by the model of the Chief Executive Officer.”

This was fair enough to some extent, Dean Taylor said. “Sustaining the increasingly diverse and complex operations of an active cathedral or diocese is a costly exercise, which does need to be managed carefully and corporately. . .

“But I suggest it’s also true, that the cathedral, or the church, or the parish which sits comfortably without financial risk or worry, probably is not following the vocation of disciples to spend and be spent in the service of the gospel and for the love of God.

“Besides, if the ultimate purpose and success of mission is to be measured by the bottom line, by prosperous posteriors on pews and money in the bank, with every member and minster toeing the party line, then one can’t help wondering how the earthly mission and ministry of Jesus would be judged, dying as he did alone and in disgrace — no congregation, no cash in the bank, but betrayed, forsaken and denied, even by his chosen disciples.”

The cathedral website has this: Tributes paid to Dean at farewell service.

There is a complete audio recording of the sermon available here. Alas no transcript is provided but it is well worth the time to listen to in full.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 10:12am BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

News reports from Rome

Updated again Thursday evening

For text of today’s common declaration see previous article.

ACNS Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby “undeterred” by “serious obstacles” to unity

The ordination of women and “more recent questions regarding human sexuality” are serious obstacles in the path to unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics; but they “cannot prevent us from recognising one another as brothers and sisters in Christ”, Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said in a Common Declaration.

Speaking of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey in 1966 – the first such public meeting of a Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury since the Reformation – and their Common Declaration, Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby said that their predecessors had “recognised the ‘serious obstacles’ that stood in the way of a restoration of complete faith and sacramental life between us. Nevertheless, they set out undeterred, not knowing what steps could be taken along the way, but in fidelity to the Lord’s prayer that his disciples be one…”

ACNS Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops “sent out” for united mission

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis have commissioned 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from across the world to take part in united mission in their local areas. The bishops, selected by the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (Iarccum) were “sent out” for mission together by the Pope and Archbishop from the same church were Pope Gregory sent Saint Augustine to evangelise the English in the sixth Century.

“Fourteen centuries ago Pope Gregory sent the servant of God, Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, and his companions, from this holy place, to preach the joyful message of the Word of God,” Pope Francis told the bishops. “Today we send you, dear brothers, servants of God, with this same joyful message of his everlasting kingdom.”

Archbishop Justin Welby told them: “Our Saviour commissioned his disciples saying, ‘Peace be with you’. We too, send you out with his peace, a peace only he can give.

“May his peace bring freedom to those who are captive and oppressed, and may his peace bind into greater unity the people he has chosen as his own.”

The commissioning and sending out came in the setting of a Vespers service, led jointly by Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby, at the Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill in Rome…

Anglican-Roman Catholic unity takes shape in Canterbury and Rome

Pulpit swaps, shared retreats, joint action on social issues and regular meetings between clergy are just some of the ideas for local expressions of unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics taking shape during an ecumenical summit in Canterbury and Rome. This afternoon, during a service in the monastery church of San Gregorio al Cielo, Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will commission 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops to implement local expressions of unity in their dioceses around the world…


The Living Church
Ecumenism that Transforms

Receiving ministries, Anglican and Roman Catholic

Episcopal News Service has a number of videos of the events in Rome:

Video: Pope Francis preaches at ecumenical vespers in Rome
Video: Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Roman vespers
Video: Archbishop, Pope exchange gifts as a symbol of partnership
Video: Presiding Bishop speaks from Rome

ACNS Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin pray for unity

Pope Francis has this morning (Thursday) held a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican Primates and bishops at the Vatican. The Pope told them that ecumenism was “never an impoverishment, but a richness” and he said that during the past 50-years of closer relationship between Anglicans and Catholics, “the certainty has deepened that what the Spirit has sown in the other yields a common harvest.”

Full text of remarks is below the fold.

The full text of the Pope’s comments:

Your Grace,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Thank you for your presence. It is a beautiful sign of fraternity to see the Primates of so many Provinces of the Anglican Communion joining you here in Rome. We have solemnly celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the historic meeting between Blessed Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey. That meeting has produced many fruits: we need think only of the opening of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the appointment of the Archbishop’s permanent representative to the Holy See, and the start of our theological dialogue, represented by the volume containing five documents from the second phase of ARCIC (1982-2005). In sharing together these fruits, we remember that they come from a tree which has its roots in that meeting of fifty years ago.

Reflecting on our continuing common journey, three words come to mind: prayer, witness, mission.

Prayer: yesterday evening we celebrated Vespers, and this morning you prayed here at the tomb of the Apostle Peter. Let us never grow tired of asking the Lord together and insistently for the gift of unity.

Witness: these past fifty years of encounter and exchange, as well as reflection and common texts, speak to us of Christians who, for faith and with faith, have listened to one another and shared their time and energy. The conviction has grown that ecumenism is never an impoverishment, but a richness; the certainty has deepened that what the Spirit has sown in the other yields a common harvest. Let us treasure this inheritance and know that we are called each day to offer to the world, as Jesus asked, the witness of our love and unity (cf. Jn 15:12; 17:21).

Mission: there is a time for everything (cf. Eccles 3:1) and now is the time in which the Lord challenges us, in a particular way, to go out from ourselves and our own environs, in order to bring his merciful love to a world thirsting for peace. Let us help one another to keep at the centre the demands of the Gospel and to spend ourselves concretely in this mission.

And to ask the grace of growing in prayer, in bearing witness and in going out in mission, may I invite you to pray together the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father. . .

The full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments:

Your Holiness, I would like to begin by expressing gratitude to God for your leadership and example to the whole world, and especially for their effect on the Anglican Communion.

You have recalled us afresh to the needs of ministering with the poor. You have set a Christ-like example by your travel to places of suffering and difficulty. You have stood alongside migrant peoples. You have initiated work on modern slavery and human trafficking, and much more. You gave essential force to the meeting of nations in Paris on climate change.

Your letters and encyclicals have spoken far beyond Rome and her church, in a manner which is universal.

Yet, as we look around the world we continue to see enormous dangers to human dignity, and great suffering. The dangers faced are ones that many acknowledge, but to which few have a response.

Into this mix of war, migration and climate change, economic deprivation, inequality and corruption, we see added the growth of extremist groups advocating religiously motivated violence, affecting most, probably even all, of the great world faiths. The internet enables their poison to spread around the world with lightning speed, catching the naïve and lost, and leading them into paths of destruction. Secular values disregard the unborn, especially those with disabilities, and discard the aged. Family life is marginalised in the cause of economic necessity.

Facing all these perils, and a million more, is the body of Christ, the church, against which, as was promised to St Peter, the gates of hell shall not prevail. We have much cause for concern, but none for fear, for we are embraced by Christ, our Good Shepherd. In fact, we are filled with joy and hope, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who is given to us.

Yet in our disunity we grieve the Spirit of God, and we damage every aspect of our lives in Christ. Our witness is damaged, for we are not seen as one, and thus the world is less able to see that Jesus comes from the Father. Our fellowship is impaired, for we cannot share in the Eucharist. Our delight in Christ is overshadowed by our grief at divisions within his family.

Last January, at the final Eucharist of the Anglican Primates we were blessed by the loan of the Crozier of St Gregory, and by the loan the Gospels brought by Augustine to England in 597. Speaking to us was Jean Vanier, who led us in washing each other’s feet. All three brought us back to the simplicity of Christ who breaks down divisions, and in cross and resurrection and giving the Holy Spirit, restored human dignity.

This week we have seen the meeting of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), established in 2000. Its less than beautiful name hides the beauty of its work, in which, with joy and love it seeks to show the world by our joint action in Mission that we are bound deeply in Christ, who is the hope of the world.

May we learn from them, and the blessing they are finding and giving. May we tackle together the issues of war and injustice.

Your Holiness, I ask that, as we have seen in these two days, despite those things that divide, we may be publicly determined to press forward where we may, together with all other Christians, especially those of the Orthodox world and the east. Jesus has gone before us. He calls us to be courageous. Let us walk closer together so the world sees new life and energy in the Church’s worship, mission and witness. Above all so the world sees Christ shining ever more brightly.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2016 at 9:54pm BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Archbishop and Pope sign Common Declaration

Common Declaration
of His Holiness Pope Francis
and His Grace Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury

Fifty years ago our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey met in this city hallowed by the ministry and blood of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Robert Runcie, and later with Archbishop George Carey, and Pope Benedict XVI with Archbishop Rowan Williams, prayed together here in this Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill from where Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the Anglo-Saxon people. On pilgrimage to the tombs of these apostles and holy forebears, Catholics and Anglicans recognize that we are heirs of the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the call to share that treasure with the whole world. We have received the Good News of Jesus Christ through the holy lives of men and women who preached the Gospel in word and deed and we have been commissioned, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to be Christ’s witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8). We are united in the conviction that “the ends of the earth” today, is not only a geographical term, but a summons to take the saving message of the Gospel particularly to those on the margins and the peripheries of our societies.

In their historic meeting in 1966, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey established the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission to pursue a serious theological dialogue which, “founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions, may lead to that unity in truth, for which Christ prayed”. Fifty years later we give thanks for the achievements of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, which has examined historically divisive doctrines from a fresh perspective of mutual respect and charity. Today we give thanks in particular for the documents of ARCIC II which will be appraised by us, and we await the findings of ARCIC III as it navigates new contexts and new challenges to our unity.

Fifty years ago our predecessors recognized the “serious obstacles” that stood in the way of a restoration of complete faith and sacramental life between us. Nevertheless, they set out undeterred, not knowing what steps could be taken along the way, but in fidelity to the Lord’s prayer that his disciples be one. Much progress has been made concerning many areas that have kept us apart. Yet new circumstances have presented new disagreements among us, particularly regarding the ordination of women and more recent questions regarding human sexuality. Behind these differences lies a perennial question about how authority is exercised in the Christian community. These are today some of the concerns that constitute serious obstacles to our full unity. While, like our predecessors, we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred. In our trust and joy in the Holy Spirit we are confident that dialogue and engagement with one another will deepen our understanding and help us to discern the mind of Christ for his Church. We trust in God’s grace and providence, knowing that the Holy Spirit will open new doors and lead us into all truth (cf. John 16: 13).

These differences we have named cannot prevent us from recognizing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ by reason of our common baptism. Nor should they ever hold us back from discovering and rejoicing in the deep Christian faith and holiness we find within each other’s traditions. These differences must not lead to a lessening of our ecumenical endeavours. Christ’s prayer at the Last Supper that all might be one (cf. John 17: 20-23) is as imperative for his disciples today as it was at that moment of his impending passion, death and resurrection, and consequent birth of his Church. Nor should our differences come in the way of our common prayer: not only can we pray together, we must pray together, giving voice to our shared faith and joy in the Gospel of Christ, the ancient Creeds, and the power of God’s love, made present in the Holy Spirit, to overcome all sin and division. And so, with our predecessors, we urge our clergy and faithful not to neglect or undervalue that certain yet imperfect communion that we already share.

Wider and deeper than our differences are the faith that we share and our common joy in the Gospel. Christ prayed that his disciples may all be one, “so that the world might believe” (John 17: 21). The longing for unity that we express in this Common Declaration is closely tied to the desire we share that men and women come to believe that God sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to save the world from the evil that oppresses and diminishes the entire creation. Jesus gave his life in love, and rising from the dead overcame even death itself. Christians who have come to this faith, have encountered Jesus and the victory of his love in their own lives, and are impelled to share the joy of this Good News with others. Our ability to come together in praise and prayer to God and witness to the world rests on the confidence that we share a common faith and a substantial measure of agreement in faith.

The world must see us witnessing to this common faith in Jesus by acting together. We can, and must, work together to protect and preserve our common home: living, teaching and acting in ways that favour a speedy end to the environmental destruction that offends the Creator and degrades his creatures, and building individual and collective patterns of behaviour that foster a sustainable and integral development for the good of all. We can, and must, be united in a common cause to uphold and defend the dignity of all people. The human person is demeaned by personal and societal sin. In a culture of indifference, walls of estrangement isolate us from others, their struggles and their suffering, which also many of our brothers and sisters in Christ today endure. In a culture of waste, the lives of the most vulnerable in society are often marginalised and discarded. In a culture of hate we see unspeakable acts of violence, often justified by a distorted understanding of religious belief. Our Christian faith leads us to recognise the inestimable worth of every human life, and to honour it in acts of mercy by bringing education, healthcare, food, clean water and shelter and always seeking to resolve conflict and build peace. As disciples of Christ we hold human persons to be sacred, and as apostles of Christ we must be their advocates.

Fifty years ago Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey took as their inspiration the words of the apostle: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3: 13-14). Today, “those things which are behind” – the painful centuries of separation –have been partially healed by fifty years of friendship. We give thanks for the fifty years of the Anglican Centre in Rome dedicated to being a place of encounter and friendship. We have become partners and companions on our pilgrim journey, facing the same difficulties, and strengthening each other by learning to value the gifts which God has given to the other, and to receive them as our own in humility and gratitude.

We are impatient for progress that we might be fully united in proclaiming, in word and deed, the saving and healing gospel of Christ to all people. For this reason we take great encouragement from the meeting during these days of so many Catholic and Anglican bishops of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) who, on the basis of all that they have in common, which generations of ARCIC scholars have painstakingly unveiled, are eager to go forward in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth”. Today we rejoice to commission them and send them forth in pairs as the Lord sent out the seventy-two disciples. Let their ecumenical mission to those on the margins of society be a witness to all of us, and let the message go out from this holy place, as the Good News was sent out so many centuries ago, that Catholics and Anglicans will work together to give voice to our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring relief to the suffering, to bring peace where there is conflict, to bring dignity where it is denied and trampled upon.

In this Church of Saint Gregory the Great, we earnestly invoke the blessings of the Most Holy Trinity on the continuing work of ARCIC and IARCCUM, and on all those who pray for and contribute to the restoration of unity between us.

Rome, 5 October 2016

His Grace Justin Welby
His Holiness Francis

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2016 at 9:48pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs

From the Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs

Tuesday 4th October 2016

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, currently Bishop of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan, as his new Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs…

[full text below the fold]

Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs

Tuesday 4th October 2016

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, currently Bishop of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan, as his new Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs.

Bishop Anthony with his wife Jane and youngest daughter Joy will move to London at the end of October where he will join the team at Lambeth Palace.

Archbishop Justin said: “I am absolutely delighted that Bishop Anthony is joining the team at Lambeth. He brings the experience of his ministry in one of the most challenging provinces in the Anglican Communion where he has faithfully served the church as a pastor and teacher. Throughout his ministry he has engaged with the profound issues we face in many parts of the Communion, where famine, war, and violent ethnic tensions destabilise society and leave whole communities living in poverty.

“He is well known and respected throughout the Communion and I am most grateful to Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul for releasing Bishop Anthony as a gift to the wider church. His appointment provides a necessary voice and perspective from the global south in the team at Lambeth. I look forward to working with Bishop Anthony to strengthen our relationships around the Provinces at a significant time in the life of the Communion.”

Earlier today Archbishop Daniel joined Bishop Anthony in the diocese of Kajo-Keji where the news of the appointment was given.

Speaking of his new ministry, Bishop Anthony said: “I am delighted to accept Archbishop Justin Welby’s invitation and appointment to join the team at Lambeth Palace. I look forward to working together with colleagues at Lambeth to support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his ministry. I appreciate the support from Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul in releasing me from our current role in Kajo-Keji so as to make a contribution in the global Anglican Communion. Jane, Joy and I are excited at this next phase of our ministry.”

Bishop Anthony worked with Scripture Union before his ordination in 1995. From 2002 he served with ACROSS, becoming its Executive Director in 2004. He was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Kajo-Keji in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan in 2007. Married to Jane they have three daughters, Grace, Faith and Joy.

In 2012 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his role in the mobilising the church in service of the community. He holds an MA in Biblical Studies from Nairobi International School of Theology, now called International Leadership University, and an MBA from Oxford Brookes University.

His appointment comes following an extensive selection process which attracted applications from across the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 5 October 2016 at 10:35am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Changes at the Church Commissioners

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, announced last week that he will step down from his position in June 2017.

This week it was announced that the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, will become the new Deputy Chair of the Church Commissioners’ Board of Governors on 1 January 2017, in succession to the Bishop of London. The appointment was made by the Archbishop of Canterbury who by arrangement appoints a deputy to attend the meetings in his place.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 5 October 2016 at 10:08am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Monday, 3 October 2016

London CNC dates

Updated Tuesday

The dates when the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) will meet to choose the next Bishop of London have been published. They are

CNC 1 - 27 September 2017
CNC 2 - 7 November 2017
CNC 3 - 29 November 2017.

The current central members of the CNC were elected in 2012 for a five year term of office which expires on 31 August 2017. It will therefore be their successors (to be elected by General Synod next year) who, with the archbishops and diocesan members, will choose the new bishop.

As Bishop Chartres retires on 28 February 2017, the diocese of London can expect to be without a diocesan bishop for at least a year.


The CNC dates for Sodor and Man have been added to the website today; they are 7 February 2017 and 8 March 2017.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 3 October 2016 at 2:39pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 1 October 2016

Southern Africa province rejects blessing of same-sex unions

Here is the official provincial press release:

Anglican Church of Southern Africa rejects blessing of same-sex civil unions in South Africa

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa voted on Friday to reject a proposal to allow ‘prayers of blessing’  to be offered for people in same-sex civil unions under South African law.

The vote was taken by the church’s Provincial Synod, its top legislative body, on a proposal by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, which stretches from the northern suburbs of Cape Town to the Namibian border.

The initial motion before the Synod also proposed that bishops could provide for clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions to be licensed to minister in parishes. But the proposers withdrew this section before debate began.

Opposition to the proposal was strongest among bishops, with 16 voting against and six in favour. Sixty-two percent of lay representatives to the synod voted against it (41 votes to 25), and 55 percent of clergy (42 to 34).

The church includes Anglicans in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and on the island of St Helena. Same-sex marriage is allowed only under South African civil law.

Before announcing the result, Archbishop Thabo spoke of the ‘palpable pain’ in the church over the vote:

‘I wish I was in Makgoba’s Kloof (his ancestral home) because if one (of you) is pained and hurt, it pains me too and I have learned as a priest that there are no losers or winners in the kingdom of God.

The pain on both sides is palpable and tangible, and the image of a double-edged sword pierces me…’

He added that ‘all is not lost.’ He said the issue might hopefully be taken up again at the next Provincial Synod in 2019, and the church could also consider raising it at the next worldwide meeting of Anglican bishops in 2020. (The meeting, the Lambeth Conference, is opposed to marriage between people of the same gender.)

He also said the issue could be discussed at the local level in parishes and dioceses ‘so that we can continue to discern together the mind of God…’

After announcing the vote, he called for silence ‘as we bring before God the pain that this outcome will cause to some members of this synod, some members of our parishes, some members of our church.’

The Archbishop has also released this statement:

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s debate on human sexuality

Statement by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

First, some introductory explanations:

The debate we held in Ekurhuleni yesterday was at our Provincial Synod. We call the synod ‘Provincial’ because we are a Province of the world-wide Anglican Communion. Our church Province covers Anglicans in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and on the island of St Helena.

Of course, it is only in South Africa that the State allows people of the same gender to marry under civil law.

When the Church refers to marriage, we mean marriage in Church, by the Church, which our Canons - the laws that govern us - call ‘Holy Matrimony’. So usually refer to marriage in the eyes of the State as ‘civil unions’. The two are quite distinct from one another.

Now to the substance of my statement:

The Church’s top legislative body, our Provincial Synod, yesterday held a debate on the issue of pastoral care to people of gay and lesbian orientation who are in committed same-sex relationships.

The two proposals before the Synod which drew most public attention were:

Firstly, that bishops should be allowed to license clergy who identify as LGBTI, and are in legal same-sex civil unions under South African law, to minister in parishes. The proposers of the motion before Synod withdrew this proposal before debate began.

Secondly, it was proposed that a Bishop may ‘provide for prayers of blessing to be offered for those in same sex civil unions.’ The motion before the Synod did not propose that clergy should be able actually to marry same-sex couples under Church law.

Under the Canons, I declared the issue a controversial motion. This meant that to be approved, it needed a simple majority vote in the three separate ‘houses’ of the Synod: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity, the latter representing the people in the pews. In addition, if it had been approved in each of those houses, voting separately, it needed a two-thirds majority overall to pass.

The motion failed to achieve a simple majority in any House. The bishops voted 16 to six against the motion, the laity 41 to 25 against and the clergy 42 to 34 against.

We live in a democracy, our Church has strongly advocated democracy, and people on all sides of the debate have to accept the result.

At the same time, the debate is not over. Without trying to predict its ultimate outcome, or to suggest what that should be, it was notable that a number of opponents of the motion did not reject it out of hand, but suggested instead that opinion in our Church was not yet ready for such a move.

As it was, the degree of support for the motion was quite substantial if you compare us to other African provinces of the Anglican Church, most of which are vigorously opposed to same-sex unions in any form. This was the first time this issue has been seriously debated by our Church, and representatives are free to raise it again at future synods.

Our Church, like South Africa as a nation, has previously provided an example to the world over how we can overcome differences over issues that people feel strongly about, such as sanctions against apartheid and the ordination of women as priests. It remains my hope that those on both sides of this debate can overcome their differences in a way that will be an example to the rest of the Anglican Communion, which is as divided over the issue as we are.

Finally, a word to our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers:

I was deeply pained by the outcome of the debate. I was glad I wear glasses or the Synod would have seen the tears. I wanted to be anywhere but in the Synod hall “ I wished I was at home quietly in Makgoba’s Kloof.

If one of you, my church members, is in pain, then I am in pain too. The pain on both sides of the debate in Synod was palpable and no one celebrated or applauded the outcome. There are no winners or losers in the Kingdom of God, and we recognised that whichever way the vote went, there was going to be pain.

Nothing that I heard in the last two days takes away from what the bishops have already said to people of LGBTI orientation:

You are loved by God and all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ. We recognise that many of you are baptised and confirmed members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and Gods transforming power for the living of your lives and the ordering of your relationships. We urge you to stick with us to play your full part in the deliberations to come.

May God bless you, and God bless us all.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 1 October 2016 at 12:56pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Opinion - 1 October 2016

Andrew Lightbown One Church’s mission but many opportunities
[Church Times subscribers can read the article here.]

David Keen Vicars of the Future: Finding More, Keeping More

David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s, ViaMedia.News Vocations in the Cupboard?

Chris Godfrey The Guardian I‘m the gay son of a preacher man. When I came out to Dad, he was perfect

Single Evangelical women are fighting the stereotypes, reports Madeleine Davies for Church Times The women who hang in there.

Linda Woodhead LSE Religion and the Public Sphere blog The government’s changes to faith schools sides with hardline religion

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 1 October 2016 at 11:00am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion