Saturday, 27 May 2017

Opinion - 27 May 2017

Michael Curry Thy Kingdom Come (video)
[released to mark the start of the Thy Kingdom Come global wave of prayer]

Archdruid Eileen Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Failed Church Advertising Slogans

Charles Clapham pneuma When leadership fails: Holman Hunt and ‘The Hireling Shepherd’

John Turner Patheos John Donne, Redone

Rhonda Waters Anglican Journal Let’s ask the hard questions

Charlotte Bannister-Parker ViaMedia.News Walking Beside Our Neighbour

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Friday, 26 May 2017

Church of Scotland apologises and moves towards same-sex marriage

The (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland has issued this press release: Assembly agrees apology to gay people and accepts same sex marriage report.

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has approved an apology to gay people for the history of discrimination they have faced in the Church.

Commissioners also approved a report which could pave the way to allow some ministers to conduct same sex marriages in the future.

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

Some press coverage of this:

Guardian Harriet Sherwood Church of Scotland in step towards conducting same-sex marriages

BBC Kirk’s General Assembly moves towards allowing gay marriage

The Herald Kirk backs same sex marriage in church, and formal apology to LGBT people and a leader column: Kirk takes step in the right direction

The Scotsman Kirk agrees to apologise for failing to recognise gay people and Leader comment: Kirk is right to apologise

Christian Today Church of Scotland apologises for discrimination against gay people, moves toward accepting gay marriage

Assembly agrees apology to gay people and accepts same sex marriage report

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has approved an apology to gay people for the history of discrimination they have faced in the Church.

Commissioners also approved a report which could pave the way to allow some ministers to conduct same sex marriages in the future.

The Assembly voted in favour of instructing the Legal Questions Committee to conduct new research into the availability of legal protection for any Minister or Deacon who refuse to officiate ceremonies as a matter of conscience.

A report of the committee’s findings will be presented to the General Assembly next year for further discussion.

Commissioners also agreed that the Church should take stock of its history of discrimination against gay people, at different levels and in different ways, and apologise “individually, corporately and seek to do better.”

Conscience

An amendment to recognise the Church’s doctrine and practice in matters of human sexuality and marriage was accepted by the General Assembly.

The decisions were taken after three hours of impassioned debate over options presented by the Theological Forum.

The debate was carried out in a spirit of grace and humility, but there was no mistaking the strength of feeling expressed in the Hall.

Some commissioners on the traditionalist wing of the Church claimed the report was “biased” and “one-sided” but their arguments failed to carry the majority with them.

A majority agreed that the Theological Forum, in consultation with other councils of the Church, should investigate theologically, the theme of reconciliation to address divisions between churches and wider society.

Presenting the report, Theological Forum convener, Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, said he and his colleagues could see “no sufficient theological reason for the Church not to authorise specific ministers to officiate at same-sex weddings”.

He added that this would be possible “if doing so does not prejudice the position of those who decline to do so for reasons of conscience”.

Professor Torrance told commissioners that the Church’s journey on the issue had parallels with the one it has taken on the ordination of women in the 1960s.

He said the debate was initially won by ‘justice arguments’, reluctantly accepted by traditionalists,
Professor Torrance said opponents later gave way to a new theological understanding which made room for women’s ministry.

Professor Torrance added said that the Forum was trying to frame the argument on same-sex marriage in a new way, drawing on the work of theologian Robert Song:

“Song suggests that rather than the old fraught polarisation of heterosexual versus homosexual, where the notion of homosexuality is demonised as disobedient to a creation expectation to pro-create, it needs to be reframed,” he added.

Apology

Speaking after the debate, Rev Scott Rennie, minister at Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen, said he was “delighted” that the General Assembly had decided to move forward on the issue.

“There was a real feeling that we have to find space for everyone in the Church and I hope it is not too many years before I am able to marry people of the same gender,” he added.

But Rev Mike Goss, clerk of Angus Presbytery who has been representing the traditionalist wing of the Church in media interviews this week, said he and his colleagues were “frustrated” that the Church was not coming together over the issue.

“Although there were things in the report that myself and friends felt could have been better expressed, it has not altered where things are with this debate,” he added.

“I hope that by having it today, we have highlighted that we do not feel that our position has been well reflected in the report itself and that will help the Church know where we are coming from.”

Mr Goss said he had “no difficulty apologising” to the gay community.

“If I have caused hurt to other folk unintentionally then I am more than happy to do it,” he added.

Speaking after the debate, Professor Torrance said he felt that the Church as a whole understood that the Theological Forum was trying to move it out of a “culture of mutual denunciation into a non-binary situation”.

“A non-binary situation is the only one in which we can honour each other and enable mutual flourishing,” he added.

In a world where political and social issues are becoming increasingly polarised, the spirit of respectful dialogue in the Assembly Hall today is a welcome reminder that debate is still possible without resorting to ever more divisive rhetoric.

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Thursday, 25 May 2017

General Synod timetable - July 2017

The Church of England’s General Synod will meet in York from Friday July 7 until Monday July 11. The outline timetable is available here, and is copied below. The full agenda will be published with the first release of papers on Friday June 16.

GENERAL SYNOD: JULY 2017
Timetable

Friday 7 July
2.30 pm - 7.00 pm
2.30 pm Opening worship
Introduction and welcomes
Response on behalf of ecumenical guests
3.15 pm Report by the Business Committee
3.45 pm Legislative Business Amending Canon No. 36 – Final Drafting
4.05 pm Approval of appointment to the Archbishops’ Council
4.25 pm The Archbishops’ Council Audit Committee Annual Report
5.00 pm Church Commissioners Annual Report - Presentation under Standing Order 107 followed by Q&A
*5.30 pm Questions
7.00 pm Close of business
Worship

Saturday 8 July
7.30 am Holy Communion in the Berrick Saul Theatre
8.15 am House of Bishops meeting to approve the final form of Amending Canons Nos. 36 and 37

9.00 am - 12.30 pm
9.00 am Morning worship
9.15 am Presentation from the House of Bishops on the Proposals for the Pastoral Advisory Group on Human Sexuality and the development of the Teaching Document - Presentation under S.O. 107 followed by Q&A
10.15 am Report from the Mission and Public Affairs Council on the Presence and Engagement Interfaith programme
*11.00 Legislative Business Legislative Reform Measure - Final Drafting / Final Approval
11.45 Legislative Business Statute Law (Repeals) Measure – Final Drafting/Final Approval
12.00 Legislative Business Pensions (Pre-consolidation) Measure – Final Drafting / Final Approval
*12.10 Introductory Session: National Support for Local Churches - Presentation under Standing Order 107

12.30 pm - 2.30 pm
Lunch

Synod members meet in groups from 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm
2.30 pm Workshops on Forms of National Support for Local Churches

4.30 pm - 7.00 pm
4.30 pm Report from the Archbishops’ Council on National Support for Local Churches
5.45 pm Private Member’s Motion - Conversion Therapy
7.00 pm Close of business
Worship

8.30 pm Meeting of the House of Laity

Sunday 9 July

10.00 am Holy Communion in York Minster

2.30 pm – 7.00 pm
2.30 pm Diocesan Synod Motion - Welcoming Transgender People
3.45 pm Interim Report on the Review of the Crown Nominations Commission - Presentation under S.O. 107 followed by Q&A
4.30 pm Report from the House of Clergy on a Covenant for Clergy Wellbeing
5.45 pm
EITHER
Meetings of the House of Laity and Convocations from 5.45-7.00 pm [including evening worship]
OR
Private Member’s Motion - Schools Admissions Code
7.00 pm Close of business
Worship

Monday 10 July
9.00 am – 12.30 pm
9.00 am Morning worship
9.15 am Diocesan Synod Motion - Cost of Applying for Citizenship
10.30 am Report from the Elections Review Group
10.50 am Presentation from the Elections Review Group Presentation under S.O. 107 followed by Q&A
11.50 pm Legislative Business (ctd …) Amending Canon No. 36 – Final Approval

12.30 pm – 2.30 pm
Lunch

2.30 pm – 5.00 pm
2.30 pm Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report 2016 - Presentation under S.O. 106 followed by Q&A
3.00 pm Archbishops’ Council’s Budget for 2018
4.00 pm Amending Canon No. 37 - Final Approval
*4.30 pm Farewells
*5.00 pm Prorogation

Contingency Business
Private Members’ Motion: Schools Admission Code
Diocesan Synod Motion: Food wastage

Deemed Items
Report from the Standing Orders Committee on the amendments to the Standing Orders required in connection with the Legislative Reform Measure and other matters
Pensions (Consolidation) Measure
Miscellaneous Provisions Measure
Payments to the CCT Order
Fees Orders

* not later than
Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Report from May House of Bishops

The English House of Bishops has issued this brief summary of their meeting held this week.

Report from May House of Bishops
24 May 2017

The House of Bishops met at Bishopthorpe Palace on 22-23 May; on the Tuesday morning prayers were said for all those affected by the Manchester bombing.

Bishops in the House of Lords (Lords Spiritual) met ahead of the full meeting to look at the parliamentary term ahead, particularly in light of the General Election.

A new approach to delegation, new outline proposals for selection for ministry and draft bishops’ guidelines on ordination training were all discussed and approved. The House also agreed that the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) could publish a document from the Joint Working Group with the Methodist Church to allow both churches to discuss it further over the coming year.

The House discussed next steps on human sexuality. This included progress on work, announced by the Archbishops after February’s General Synod, to establish a group to produce a Teaching Document and to set up a Pastoral Advisory Group. The meeting also looked at safeguarding policy and a FAOC theology paper on this area, along with a discussion on the work of the National Safeguarding Steering Group.

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Church Commissioners publish results for 2016

The Church Commissioners for England announced today publication of their 2016 financial results and annual report. Their press release is copied below the fold.

You can download the 2016 report here. There are also reports for earlier years and an annual review focussing on some of the projects they have funded and supported over the past 12 months.

Press reports

Simon Goodley The Guardian Church of England made stunning 17% return on investments in 2016

BBC News Church of England fund sees ‘stellar’ returns

John Plender Financial Times Church of England delivers divine returns

Peter Smith Financial Times Church of England fund becomes top world performer

Church Commissioners for England announce total return of 17.1% on investments for 2016
21 May 2017
The Church Commissioners for England announced today publication of their 2016 financial results and annual report.

The Church Commissioners’ total return on its investments in 2016 was 17.1%, compared with the previous year’s return of 8.2%. Over the past 30 years the fund has achieved an average return of 9.6% per annum.

In 2016 disbursements by the Commissioners totalled £230.7 million, accounting for approximately 15% of the Church’s overall mission and ministry costs. This represents an increase in church expenditure of 5.6% from the previous year.

The Church Commissioners’ funding is targeted towards mission opportunities and those areas which are most in need, as well as meeting ongoing responsibilities for bishops, cathedrals and clergy pensions.

First Church Estates Commissioner Sir Andreas Whittam Smith congratulated the fund on exceeding its investment target of the rate of inflation plus five percentage points.

“We were well ahead of our return target in 2016. In 2016, the fund returned 17.1% whereas inflation plus five percentage points was 7.5%.

“Contributing to this stellar outturn was a strong showing by global equities (+32.9%), partly reflecting the depreciation of sterling. Equally helpful were our interests in private credit strategies (+33.1%), private equity (+26.1%) and timberland (+24.3%). The combined property portfolios delivered a creditable 11.6% in a relatively weak market environment.

“Consistency has truly been a guiding principle for the fund. Our historic performance over a 30 year period shows annual growth of 9.6% per annum, despite periods of turbulence in the financial markets and our own portfolio, an average of 6.0% per annum ahead of inflation.”

Andrew Brown, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Church Commissioners, said:

“In 2016 we contributed £230.7m to the mission of the Church of England. This represents an increase on the previous year of 5.6%.

“While this is only around 15% of the Church’s overall income - most funding comes from the extraordinary generosity of parishioners - we are delighted to be able to play our part.

“Whether funding city centre churches, community projects in low income areas or research programmes to examine how the church can grow, these returns make a tangible difference to the lives of thousands across the country”

Investment highlights

Notable performance was delivered in global equities, timber and indirect property.

Exposure in the equities portfolio was reduced by 17.3%, divesting £500m and reinvesting to rebalance the portfolio.

The private equity portfolio, which invests in unlisted companies, achieved a total return of 26.1% in 2016.

The fixed interest portfolio including investments in global high yield bonds, emerging market debt and structured credit, returned 16.4% in 2016 as credit markets rallied due to continued economic growth and improvements in corporate earnings.

The private credit portfolio, started in 2012 increased allocations in 2016 generating a combined return of 30.9% in 2016.

The property portfolio delivered a strong performance in 2016, providing a total return of 11.6%. This includes a high-quality portfolio in global timberland markets, built over the last five years totalling over £360m.

The Commissioners’ forestry estate covers 120,000 acres in the UK, the US and Australia with the timberland and forestry portfolio delivering a return of 24.3%.

Responsible Investment, Impact Investing and Engagement

In 2016 the Commissioners made their first qualifying impact investments including a $40m commitment to Equilibrium Capital Management’s Waste Water Opportunity Fund which develops anaerobic digestions facilities. Equilibrium estimate that the investment will prevent the emission of over 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

Also during 2016 the Church Commissioners established an Engagement department jointly with the Church of England Pensions Board. The team focussed on three areas of intervention at AGMs: executive remuneration, climate change and board diversity.

During 2016, the Commissioners continued to vote against the majority of remuneration reports and publicly called upon company remuneration committees to better exercise their judgement on executive pay.

On climate change the Commissioners were instrumental in filing climate disclosure resolutions at Anglo American, Glencore and RioTinto. These were supported by the Boards of the companies and received overwhelming shareholder support.

A shareholder resolution was also jointly filed with the New York State Common Retirement Fund at ExxonMobil, seeking further disclosure on climate change.

During 2016, the Commissioners voted ‘against’ the Chairs of Nomination Committees in instances when female representation was below 25% of the board.

The Transition Pathway Initiative, an asset owner led initiative supported by asset owners and managers with over £2trillion of assets was spearheaded by the Church of England’s national investing bodies including the Church Commissioners for England, in partnership with the UK Environment Agency Pension Fund. Formed in 2016 and launched earlier this year, the initiative assesses how companies are preparing for the transition to a low carbon economy through a public and transparent online tool.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The annual report and annual review can be downloaded here.

About the Church Commissioners for England

The Church Commissioners manage investable assets of some £7.9bn, mainly held 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 ministry costs in dioceses with fewer resources

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

Accounting change

Under the Pensions Measure 1997 the Commissioners are responsible for paying the pensions for clergy service prior to 1998. In prior years it disclosed the liability in a note to the accounts, but did not bring that liability onto the face of the Balance Sheet as it was following accounting guidance applicable to pension schemes (who are not required to recognise such liabilities). This approach was taken due to the significance of pension activities to the Commissioners as a whole. In 2016 this approach was reviewed and, in light of the Commissioners’ broader charitable activities, management determined that a provision for the pension liability should now be recognised in the financial statements through a prior period adjustment. This accounting adjustment has no impact on the Commissioners’ long term distribution plans.

At the end of 2016 the liability is estimated by independent actuaries at £1.8bn (end 2015 - £1.7bn). With £7.9bn of investable assets this results in a value of the fund (net of the pension provision) of £6.1bn (2015 - £5.3bn).

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 21 May 2017 at 7:48pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Opinion - 20 May 2017

Marie Griffith Religion & Politics Healing a House Divided: An Interview with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
The Episcopal Café has published some highlights from the interview.

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Shifting questions, changing virtues

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Fear of Hell Fire

The catholicity and covenant blog responds to the Credible Bishops paper [see here].
Credible bishops or catholic episcopate?
Credible Bishops - a liberal Protestant understanding of episcopacy

To mark Christian Aid Week, the leaders of the three main political parties write exclusively for the Church Times on the importance of international development: A joint commitment to our neighbours overseas

David Pocklington and Frank Cranmer Law & Religion UK Bishops sans frontières
Frank Cranmer Law & Religion UK More on the objection to an episcopal election in the Anglican Church of Canada

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Opinion - 17 May 2017

Robert Atwell Church of England God in fragments: how worship can unlock memory

Stephen Bullivant of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London has published this report: The “No Religion” Population of Britain.
Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian and Olivia Rudgard of The Telegraph have both written about the report.
[direct link to the full report (20 page pdf)]

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

More comments following the Jesmond consecration

Adrian Hilton has written at Archbishop Cranmer that Justin Welby is not a heretic, he’s a very faithful Anglican.

This is a detailed rebuttal of claims made by Bishop Martin Morrison of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (who presided over the irregular consecration of Jonathan Pryke as bishop in Jesmond on 2nd May). I recommend reading all of it.

Paul Williams Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham writes Gospel unity in uncertain times.

…Recent events here in England have, once again, illustrated the scale of that challenge. In one parish a clergyman (holding a licence from the Bishop of Newcastle) has, we are told, been consecrated as a bishop outside of the structures and pattern of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. The rights and wrongs of that decision will no doubt occupy much debate online and elsewhere and it is important to acknowledge that the Church of England, like churches across the world, is facing challenges – and this is certainly not the first time in our history that we have faced a move such as this.

But it is time now to draw a line in the sand and ask whether unilateral actions such as this will help the cause of the gospel in our nation. I have no doubt that this is the motive behind the recent irregular ordination of a bishop, however, I believe we live at a time of extraordinary opportunity for the Church of England and therefore this is no time to be distracted by further fragmentation….

Lee Gatiss at Church Society has published Topical Tuesday: A Call to Steadfastness

…The vast majority of Conservative evangelicals in the Church of England are not about to go anywhere, or do anything wild. They are united around the agenda of staying in and fighting on, for the glory of God and the good of England. Yes, a very small number are in AMiE (though they have ambitious plans for growth, with which we wish them well and for which we pray); and one perplexingly idiosyncratic church has gone a bit rogue by making its curate into a bishop. They get all the headlines, while the Church Society approach continues to be the main game, supported by the Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas; by those who speak for us in GAFCON meetings such as our President, Wallace Benn; by the next generation of ministers in our Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference; and by many others in churches up and down the country who are thinking every week not about the latest political game or ecclesiastical twitterstorm, but about using the still vast opportunities given to us within the Church of England for reaching out, building up, and sending people into the harvest field. So today, we in Church Society reaffirm our commitment to working within the structures of the Church of England, for reform and renewal, and the re-evangelisation of our spiritually needy land…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 8:16pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Canadians decline to consecrate as bishop a former AMiA priest

The Anglican Journal reports: Worley will not serve as bishop of Caledonia, rules provincial HoB

The Rev. Jake Worley, elected bishop of the diocese of Caledonia April 22, will not be consecrated, after a ruling by the House of Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon.

“As the Provincial House has registered its objection, the Rev. Worley will not be consecrated bishop in the Diocese of Caledonia in the Anglican Church of Canada,” reads a statement released Monday, May 15 by the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada. The statement specifies that, according to the canons (church laws) of the province, the decision is final. The diocese will now proceed to hold another synod to elect another bishop, it adds.

Last month’s election was held to find a successor for Bishop William Anderson, who announced in late 2015 his plans to retire.

The house’s decision has to do with Worley’s views on his involvement with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), a collection of theologically conservative churches that was originally a mission of the Anglican Province of Rwanda.

In 2007, Worley, who was born and raised in the U.S., planted a church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a missionary for the Anglican Province of Rwanda. (At some point after Worley left, that church joined the Anglican Church in North America, another grouping of conservative Anglican churches.)

The bishops began to discuss Worley’s views after a review of his service for AMiA, which, according to the statement, he performed “under license from the Province of Rwanda in the geographical jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church without permission of the Episcopal Church.”

“After many open and prayerful conversations, the majority of the House concluded that within the past five years the Rev. Worley has held—and continues to hold—views contrary to the Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada,” Archbishop John Privett, metropolitan of the province, is quoted as saying.

According to the canons of the diocese, the House of Bishops can object to the election of a bishop if “he or she teaches or holds or has within five years previously taught or held anything contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.”

“The view he held and holds is that it is acceptable and permissible for a priest of one church of the Anglican Communion to exercise priestly ministry in the geographical jurisdiction of a second church of the Anglican Communion without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that second church,” Privett continues.

The bishops made their decision, according to the statement, after they “reviewed the Rev. Worley’s past actions, what he has written directly to the House, and what he said when meeting with the Provincial House of Bishops.”

The bishops, the statement says, met several times after Worley’s election last month, to “review the materials before them” and meet with Worley.

The statement concludes with a request by the House of Bishops for prayers, “especially for the Worley family, for the Diocese of Caledonia and all those who worship and minister there.”

Neither Privett nor Worley was immediately available for comment as of press time.

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Jesmond: new style bishops explained

Updated Monday evening

Jesmond Parish Church has written a Q and A document about its reasons for the episcopal consecration. This was handed out in church this morning. The full text is copied below the fold.

Today’s Sunday programme on BBC Radio carried an interview with David Holloway, and this was followed by a discussion in which the participants were Gavin Ashenden and Ian Paul. You can hear that by following this link and going forward 32 minutes. The BBC headlines the item as ‘Breakaway Anglican Church’.

Update
Christian Today reports that:

A spokeswoman for John Sentamu told Christian Today: ‘The Archbishop of York has been informed by the Bishop of Newcastle that a minister who holds her licence in that diocese has been made bishop in a ceremony held under the auspices of an overseas Church.

‘All clergy of the Church of England are bound by Canon Law, which forms part of the law of the land.

‘Whilst the facts of the matter are being investigated it is not possible to say how what has happened relates to Canon Law so it would not be appropriate at this point to offer further comment.’

Consecration of New Style Bishops – Q & A

What can we achieve through new style bishops?
The growth of the Church because one of their key roles is to ordain (that is, to authorise and appoint) new ministers who will provide the next generation of ministry in both existing churches and new church plants.

Why are they needed?
Because in the confused Church of today such bishops need to be faithful to 1) the biblical miracles of the virginal conception of Jesus and his Resurrection and empty tomb; 2) the biblical ethic that sex should be reserved for lifelong heterosexual monogamous marriage; and 3) the biblical principle that means bishops should be male – all issues in the North East in recent years. So bishops Martin Morrison and John Ellison have helped churches like Jesmond Parish Church, St Oswald’s Walkergate, Christ Church Durham, Holy Trinity Gateshead, St Joseph’s Benwell, and other churches when needed. But they cannot go on for ever!

How will the Church of England grow?
By new English bishops working to a new style of being bishops – that is working primarily to establish new churches. Martin Morrison provides such a model: he continues in his local church, while exercising a wider role to establish new churches and provide external accountability.

How will the Church of England benefit?
The aim is not to create a new denomination. No! This is one small but necessary step on behalf of faithful Church of England ministers and congregations nationwide in our mission to the nation. This is not a step of ‘leaving the Church of England’. It is the theologically liberal bishops and clergy that have ‘left the Church of England’ doctrinally. This is a step to preserve the Church of England’s heritage and mission which we have received.

Could we not have carried on just as we are?
No! We need new style English bishops here ‘on the ground’ to plan for and enable the urgent spread of the gospel nationwide – especially through church planting. And ‘carrying on as we are’ would almost certainly mean biblically faithful ministers finding it increasingly difficult to be ordained and deployed by the current system, as people are ‘filtered out’ according to their views on homosexual practice and the ordination of women.

Will it produce more clergy and growing churches?
Yes, with prayer! For it requires, fundamentally, the ordination and deployment of new ministers who are biblically faithful – which the current system, sadly, can hinder. And we hope that some of those ministers will move into existing Church of England posts as well as new church plants, to contribute to the recovery of the gospel and to further the ministry of men and women for church growth.

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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Jesmond's episcopal consecration: more links

Updated Saturday evening

The Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of S.A. has issued this Statement on the Jesmond Consecration.

The Anglican Church League has issued this statement: The Jesmond Consecration and Mark Thompson of _Moore Theological College in Sydney has written thjs about The Jesmond Consecration.

Andy Walton has written: Why now? The deeply strange timing of the renegade conservative Anglicans.

Ian Paul wrote: Should evangelicals be embarrassed by Newcastle?

Philip Jones writes about A Rogue Bishop. He thinks that the Monarch has to be involved to create a bishop in England.

The local newspaper the Newcastle Chronicle has a report: Newcastle priest could start split in Church of England over issue of homosexuality.

Harry Farley reports that: Justin Welby is a heretic, say breakaway conservative Anglicans.

Update
Andrew Goddard has published a detailed analysis of this event, which is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand what has being going on. Strongly recommended. “Order! Order!”: Reflections on The Jesmond Consecration.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 13 May 2017 at 12:38pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 13 May 2017

Andrew Brown The Guardian This latest Church of England schism has an unexpected source
“The latest challenge to Anglicanism’s stance on homosexuality comes not from a black African ‘missionary bishops’, but from a very different conservative group”

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Small is beautiful; in praise of the ‘ordinary’ parish

Kirstin Freeman Still Striving For That Elusive Halo A Sorrowful Tale and a Lesson for Today’s Church

Giles Fraser The Guardian The rise of so-called happy funerals is no laughing matter
“There is something deeply emotionally brittle and infantile about the refusal to allow ourselves to be overcome with grief”

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News ReNew and Reject….

Linda Woodhead Modern Church How to split up the Church of England

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Conservative evangelical plans for a rival structure

Updated again Saturday

Harry Farley reports in Christian Today on a document, discussed at a recent conservative evangelical conference, that he describes as containing “extensive plans by conservative evangelicals to form a rival Anglican structure to the Church of England in the UK”.

Read his full report here: Blueprint for Church schism revealed as conservative Christian leaders plot separate Anglican structure. He quotes extensively from the document, which is titled Credible Bishops.

The Conference website is here. The About Us page describes the organisers:

We are a conference organised by Anglican Mission in England, Church Society, and Reform. The conference is chaired by William Taylor, rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate in London. The planning committee comprises William Taylor, Mark Burkill, Susie Leafe, Lee McMunn, Brian O’ Donoghue, Lee Gatiss and Richard Farr.

Updates
The full text of the Credible Bishops document is available as a PDF here.

The conference has now issued this statement:

‘Credible Bishops’ paper: A Statement from ReNew, Friday 12 May 2017

Reference has been made in newspapers and on social media this week to ‘Credible Bishops’, a discussion document produced for the 2016 ReNew Conference. ReNew’s goal is to pioneer, establish, and secure healthy local Anglican churches across the length and breadth of England, and this document was designed to stimulate debate at last September’s conference.

Recent events, and discussions at General Synod, have served to reduce confidence in the structures of the Church of England.

There should be little surprise that Anglican Evangelicals in England are desirous of orthodox episcopal oversight. They are eager to remain in the strongest possible fellowship with those in the Church of England and in the vast majority of global Anglicanism, who are faithful in theology and practice to our historic formularies.

Such oversight may emerge in different ways for the benefit of the many churches and separate organisations associated with ReNew.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 4:30pm BST | Comments (66) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 10 May 2017

David Emmott Campaign for Fair Rants Writing in the Sand
[For details of the Ken Leech Conference see here.]

David Hoyle Address from Bishop Michael [Perham]’s funeral

Kelvin Holdsworth Thurible The Tim Farron Question and the Archbishop of Canterbury

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 11:00am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

More about Jesmond's episcopal consecration

The original Church Times report has been updated: Vicar of Jesmond warns against trying to discipline curate ordained bishop by breakaway Church.

It now reports that the Diocese of Newcastle has made a public statement. Here’s what it says:

The Bishop of Newcastle is aware that a minister holding her licence to a parish within the Diocese has taken part in a service of consecration as a bishop under the auspices of an overseas church.

It is the clearly established law of the land that no one can exercise ministry in the Church of England without either holding office or having the permission of the diocesan bishop.

It is also the case that no overseas bishop may exercise episcopal functions within the Church of England without the express permission of the Archbishop of the province and a commission from the Bishop of the diocese in which they wish to minister.

In this case neither has been sought.

The Archbishop of York is being kept informed.

The Church Times goes on to report:

The Vicar of Jesmond Parish Church, the Revd David Holloway, responded to the diocesan statement on Tuesday afternoon with the comment that it was “quite wrong”, owing to the diocese’s failure, in his view, to study the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 properly.

He also stated that the Clergy Discipline Measure did not apply, since “matters involving doctrine, ritual or ceremonial” were not covered by it, and the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963 had been declared by a C of E working party not to command “the necessary confidence of the Church”.

If it were to be used, he said, it would “be utter folly and invite a range of reciprocal heresy trials”.

Earlier, Law & Religion UK published this note: Church of England: confusion over episcopal consecration in Newcastle. This contains a number of useful links to background documents.

And Christian Today has Church of England issues warning against conservative minister consecrated as rebel bishop.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 6:00pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Jesmond Parish Church issues press release

Jesmond Parish Church has issued this press release:

On St Athanasius’ Day, 2 May 2017, Jonathan Pryke, the senior minister, under its vicar, of Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, was consecrated a “bishop in the Church of God”. This was by the Presiding Bishop of REACH SA (the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa), formerly known as CESA (the Church of England in South Africa) and whose orders of bishop, priest/presbyter and deacon are recognized by the Church of England. But like the new ACNA (the Anglican Church in North America) whose orders are also recognized, it is not in communion with the Church of England. Officially the Church of England is in Communion with the heterodox ACSA (the Anglican Church of South Africa), and with the heterodox TEC (The Episcopal Church [of America]). But, in practice, many orthodox English and Global Anglicans are in communion with both REACH SA and ACNA.

The service took place neither in a Church of England “place of worship” nor an unconsecrated place of worship designated under s.43 of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011. It did not take place in Jesmond Parish Church. The ceremony was according to the REACH SA consecration Holy Communion service with only REACH SA bishops taking part. The declaration, however, was to the Church of England’s Canon A5 which says:

“The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the 39 Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.”

The oath was of “all due reverence and obedience” not to the Presiding Bishop of REACH SA but to “bishops and other chief ministers” under whom Jonathan is set. So he has a dispersed responsibility and duty: in things temporal to the Bishop of Newcastle, with whom, sadly, in things spiritual, Jesmond Parish Church along with other churches in the diocese are in impaired communion; in terms of Jesmond Parish Church, to the vicar of Jesmond and where there is united agreement, to the Jesmond PCC; and, pastorally, to one of the participating REACH SA bishops. This bishop particularly understands the English situation and does not want to see bishops “parachuted in” to form a new “orthodox church” or “province”. He sees the role of REACH SA simply as helping English people have the courage to take responsibility for reforming the Church of England to be in line with Canon A5, to evangelize and to see growth. This consecration took place after considerable discussion and encouragement from leaders in the Church of England, and with the Presiding Bishop of REACH SA convinced it right to proceed after discussion with the Secretary of GAFCON.

There is a very lengthy section entitled Information for Editors which can be read by following the link above and scrolliing down.

Another copy formatted as a PDF is now available here. I recommend reading it carefully in full.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 12:44pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Monday, 8 May 2017

Conservatives consecrate their own bishop in Newcastle

Updated again Tuesday lunchtime

George Conger has reported at Anglican Ink that a Church of England clergyman has been consecrated a bishop by persons as yet unamed, acting on behalf of the “Church of England in South Africa”, a body whose website says that the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) is now the “official operating name” of CESA.

George’s report: Missionary bishop for Britain consecrated at Jesmond and is copied in full below the fold.

The clergyman is Jonathan Pryke of Jesmond Parish Church. His Crockford entry reads:

Curate, Jesmond (Clayton Memorial Church)

Born: 1959

Ordained Deacon: 1985
Ordained Priest: 1986

Education
Trinity College Cambridge BA 1980
Trinity College Cambridge MA 1985

Ordination Training
Trinity College Bristol BD 1985

Ministry
Curate, CORBY (St Columba and the Northern Saints) Peterborough 1985-1988
Curate, JESMOND (Clayton Memorial Church) Newcastle from 1988

The Church Times has this report by Tim Wyatt: Jesmond curate’s breakaway consecration surprises both diocese and conservative Evangelicals

THE authorities in Newcastle diocese still seem to be in the dark after an assistant curate of a conservative Evangelical parish church in the diocese was reportedly consecrated bishop through the action of a breakaway Church in South Africa.

The curate, the Revd Jonathan Pryke, has served at Jesmond Parish Church since 1988. He was consecrated by bishops from the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) at a service in Newcastle earlier this month, several sources told the Church Times.

But a spokesman for the diocese simply said today: “The Bishop of Newcastle is aware of reports concerning this matter and is seeking clarification.”

The Church Times has repeatedly attempted to contact both Bishop Pryke and his Vicar, the Revd David Holloway, but neither has responded…

This AMiE Statement in response to the consecration of Jonathan Pryke has also been published:

The AMiE Executive Committee recently requested that the GAFCON Primates support the consecration of a Missionary Bishop. We were overjoyed when they agreed to do this for the sake of gospel growth.

We can confirm that the consecration of the Revd Jonathan Pryke was a gospel decision taken independently of AMiE. His consecration was never discussed at our Executive meetings.

Jonathan is a valued member of the AMiE Exec and we are thankful to God for his abundant gifts and wisdom. We will be praying for him in this new season of his ministry.

This statement has been issued by GAFCON UK: Statement on the consecration at Jesmond Parish Church

8th May 2017

Gafcon UK are aware that Jesmond Parish Church have for some years been in a form of impaired communion with the Bishop of Newcastle, and have developed a special relationship with REACH-SA (formerly CESA).

Over the past few years, several clergy have been ordained by REACH Bishops to serve in the Jesmond church network and in one other part of England.

The leadership of Jesmond church have for some time been speaking publicly about the need for new missionary Bishops in Western nations who can oversee new Anglican ministries in the Celtic model. The reasoning can be found in the statement from the 2017 Jesmond Conference, here.

Gafcon UK have been informed of the latest developments but cannot comment further at this stage.

Text of Anglican Ink original article:
Missionary bishop for Britain consecrated at Jesmond
A missionary bishop has been consecrated for evangelical Anglicans seeking a reformation for the reformed catholic faith in England. Participants in the 2 May 2017 consecration of the Rev. Jonathan Pryke at Jesmond Parish Church in the Diocese of Newcastle by bishops of the Church of England in South Africa (CESA) hope their ceremony will see a renewal and rebirth of the faith in England.

However, critics within the conservative movement warn this may be the start of the fracturing of the traditionalist coalition in the Church of England, with each faction opposed to the recent innovations of doctrine and discipline forging their own way forward.

Sources close to the participants in the ceremony state the decision to consecrate Bishop Pryke (pictured) was taken against the counsel of GAFCON-UK. At their meeting in Lagos last month, the GAFCON primates called for the consecration of a bishop to support members of the Scottish Episcopal Church who could not continue in that denomination should it enact legislation permitting same-sex marriage this summer, and for Anglicans alienated from their bishops in England over doctrine and discipline.

However the Jesmond consecration was not what GAFCON had in mind, its general secretary Archbishop Peter Jensen told Anglican Ink. “This is not exactly parallel to the GAFCON initiative, and indeed is entirely independent of it. But it does show, I think, that the situation in England is becoming very difficult for those who want to hold the traditional and biblical view,” he said.

Details of the Tuesday consecration have not been made public, and it is not known at this time the names of the bishops who participated in the ceremony and what Bishop Pryke’s brief will be. A request for comments directed to the Rev. David Holloway, vicar of Jesmond, the Church of England’s national press office, and the Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt. Rev. Rod Thomas, have not yet been answered.

However, a paper released at the close of the 27-28 Feb 2017 Jesmond Conference explains the thinking behind the consecration, AI has learned.

The Jesmond Statement argued the identity of the Church of England was not in its buildings, synods, or clergy. The identity of the Church was:

“[G]iven in the judgment of an Employment Tribunal in 2011 when a disaffected clergyman was taking his Bishop and Diocese to Court. The judge, however, ruled: “The Church of England has no legal personality … the title ‘Church of England’ denotes an amalgam of what sometimes seemed an infinite number of bodies with no precise or clear picture … of how the various jigsaw parts interact … the ultimate authority to restructure lies with the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, subject to the Westminster Parliament” (so the Synod is an ultimate body for restructuring but not for revising doctrine or ethics). And this judgment, after a reversing appeal by the clergyman, was upheld after a diocesan final appeal by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
That judgment helps us define the ultimate identity of the Church of England, which is not in its structure, nor even in its ordained ministers. For as the doctrine of the Church determines the authority of the bishops and clergy, we have to go to The Church of England (Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974 for the defining doctrine of the Church of England. It is there in these words: “The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.”
Those also are the words of Canon A5. And it is those words that give you the Christian faith according to the Catholic Western English Reformed tradition. And that is the established faith of this nation and defines the Church of England doctrinally. We consider that that faith needs to be recovered by a new Reformation.

The bishops of the Church of England had failed in their mandate to safeguard and promote the faith. The statement noted: “because the bishops have for so long accepted the defiance of the Church’s teaching and rendered the Church pluralistic, they no longer see their function as leading the Church towards its identifying and agreed agenda,” as set down in its canons.

The leadership of the Church of England’s bishops “has been reduced not to leading the Church to what the Church universal judges to be its common good, but to the desire for ‘good disagreement’. And that, theologically, is between good and evil goals and objectives, with the aim being for the proponents of those divergent goals and objectives ‘to walk together’. That, of course, may be possible in the world, but quite forbidden in the Church,” the statement said.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 6:02pm BST | Comments (36) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 6 May 2017

General Election 2017: "Archbishops highlight the place of faith in British life"

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a pastoral letter to the parishes and chaplaincies of the Church of England as a contribution to next month’s general election in the UK. The full pastoral letter can be read here (pdf) and here (webpage), and there is a press release (copied below the fold).

Press reports

BBC News Archbishops of Canterbury and York voice election concerns
ITV News Archbishops of Canterbury and York raise election concerns in letter
Harry Farley Christian Today Archbishops: Religion must be central in general election to avoid extremism
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England urges voters to ‘set aside apathy’ in general election
Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Don’t ‘exploit’ the faith of political opponents, say Archbishops

Press release

General Election 2017: Archbishops highlight the place of faith in British life
06 May 2017

Faith has a central role to play in politics and this general election, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York say today.

In a pastoral letter to the parishes and chaplaincies of the Church of England, Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu urge people to set aside “apathy and cynicism” and draw new inspiration from the ancient Christian virtues of “love, trust and hope”.

The three-page letter, intended to be shared in churches from this Sunday onward, encourages voters to remember Britain’s Christian history and heritage as well as a concern for future generations and God’s creation as they make their decisions.

Following divisions of recent years, it calls for reconciliation drawing on shared British values based on cohesion, courage and stability.

It upholds marriage, family and households as the building blocks of society which should be “nurtured and supported” as a “blessing”.

At a time when political differences may be felt more intensely than ever, the Archbishops insist that Christians’ “first obligation” during the election and beyond is to pray for those standing for office and recognise the personal costs and burdens carried by those in political life and by their families.

But Christians also have a duty to play an active part in the process, they add.

The letter also calls for space for faith in political debate and says politicians must be free to speak openly about their own beliefs and convictions and treated fairly for doing so.

“This election is being contested against the backdrop of deep and profound questions of identity,” they say.

“Opportunities to renew and reimagine our shared values as a country and a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland only come around every few generations.
“We are in such a time.

“Our Christian heritage, our current choices and our obligations to future generations and to God’s world will all play a shaping role.

“If our shared British values are to carry the weight of where we now stand and the challenges ahead of us, they must have at their core cohesion, courage and stability.”

The Archbishops highlight major concerns over poverty, housing and the dangers of “crushing” debt among other issues.

They call for a generous and hospitable welcome to refugees and migrants but also warn against being “deaf to the legitimate concerns” about the scale of migration into some communities.

They also single out the importance of standing up for those suffering persecution on grounds of faith around the world.

Faith, they argue, has a unique role to play in preventing extremism and religiously motivated violence.
“Contemporary politics needs to re-evaluate the importance of religious belief,” they insist.

“The assumptions of secularism are not a reliable guide to the way the world works, nor will they enable us to understand the place of faith in other people’s lives.

“Parishes and Chaplaincies of the Church of England serve people of all faiths and none.

“Their contribution and that of other denominations and faiths to the well-being of the nation is immense - schools, food banks, social support, childcare among many others - and is freely offered. But the role of faith in society is not just measured in terms of service delivery.

“The new Parliament, if it is to take religious freedom seriously, must treat as an essential task the improvement of religious literacy.”

They add: “Political responses to the problems of religiously-motivated violence and extremism, at home and overseas, must also recognise that solutions will not be found simply in further secularisation of the public realm.”

The full pastoral letter can be read here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 6 May 2017 at 11:20am BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 6 May 2017

Jonathan Mitchican The Living Church Evangelism of the Weird

Richard Peers Quodcumque Welsh Sodality Talk; Mary, Messy Church and Mission

Justin Thacker Church Times Yes, the poor will be with us — so fight on

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley That Was the Church that Wasn’t

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 6 May 2017 at 11:00am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Bishop of Sodor and Man: Peter Eagles

Updated Thursday afternoon

Press release from Number 10

Bishop of Sodor and Man: Peter Eagles

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published: 4 May 2017

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Peter Eagles for election as Bishop of Sodor and Man.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Peter Andrew Eagles QHC, BA, MTh, AKC, Deputy Chaplain-General HM Land Forces; Archdeacon for the Army, and Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, for election as Bishop of Sodor and Man in succession to the Right Reverend Robert Mar Erskine Paterson, MA, on his resignation on 11 November 2016.

Background

The Venerable Peter Eagles, aged 57, studied at the School of Slavonic; East European Studies and at King’s College, London, and at the Universities of Heidelberg and Oxford. He trained for the ordained ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford.

He served his title at St Martin’s, Ruislip in the Diocese of London from 1989 to 1992. Since1992 he has served as a Chaplain in the British Army, ministering to soldiers and families and the wider community in many locations in the United Kingdom and overseas, including military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been Archdeacon for the Army since 2011, Honorary Chaplain to the Queen since 2013, and Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral since 2015. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies.

Peter is married to Gail, whom he met in the parish in Ruislip and with whom he has since lived in 14 different places in 25 years, and they have a son who graduated in 2016 from Balliol College and now works for a publishing firm in Oxford.

His interests include European languages and literature (in which he maintains active academic study and research), cross-cultural learning and discussion, restoring a small ancient house, and playing baroque arias on the oboe.

The diocesan website has Bishop of Sodor and Man Announced.

Update

The diocesan website article includes A Personal Statement on Vocation, Episcopacy, and Mutual Flourishing by the bishop designate. It includes these two paragraphs:

My understanding and interpretation of matters of faith and order must now be set within the context of God’s call to lead this Diocese in mission at this time. I understand and believe that God has called me specifically to be the Bishop of Sodor & Man. Among other things, this clearly requires me to ensure the concept of Mutual Flourishing as outlined in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (GS Misc 1076) of 2014 and the accompanying Five Guiding Principles, and to do so in a diocese in which there is no other resident bishop.

Therefore, as the sole bishop in this diocese (and consistent with Paragraph 11 of the Declaration), and trusting in the grace of God to sustain the increasing number of vocations, I will ordain all who are called to be deacons and priests. The Church of England is committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all while ensuring that those who cannot receive the ministry of women priests or bishops are able to flourish, and petitioning parishes within the Diocese of Sodor & Man will of course be able to request the ministry of the Bishop of Beverley or the Bishop of Maidstone. I am entirely supportive of this Declaration, which enables women to exercise a full ministry as priests and bishops. The Declaration also allows for a traditionalist who does not ordain women to the priesthood to be a diocesan bishop in any diocese where there is a suffragan to ordain women as priests, and where the will of the diocese for such an appointment is reflected through the Crown Nominations Commission and the consultation process. We are therefore able to look forward to the continuing flourishing of understandings of faith and order which differ but which respect each other. Most of all, I look forward to leading the Church’s mission on the Isle of Man, and to building on the work of my predecessor Bishop Robert, of our Archdeacon and Dean, and of all who worship and minister on the Island.

Readers may want to particularly note the sentence: “I will ordain all who are called to be deacons and priests.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 4 May 2017 at 11:37am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Opinion - 3 May 2017

Kieran Bohan A brave faith An outpouring of the spirit – Searching for a more inclusive church

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News A Question of Christian Identity?

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 GAFCON & the paradox of ‘cultural captivity.’

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England Discerning Vocation in the Third Age: more from the retirement front line

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 3 May 2017 at 2:00pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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