Saturday, 30 September 2017

Bishop of Warrington to retire

The Rt Revd Richard Blackburn, the suffragan Bishop of Warrington in the diocese of Liverpool, has announced his retirement. His farewell service will take place on Saturday 21 April 2018.

From the Liverpool diocesan website: Bishop of Warrington announces his retirement

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 9:37pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 30 September 2017

The Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal has been published quarterly since March 2017. Issues can be freely downloaded from here. There is some background information here.
The latest issue includes “Some Insights from Church Planting in the Tower Hamlets Deanery of the Diocese of London” by Carol Latimer.

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News The True God and the Real World

Church Times leader comment Taking a knee

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of speaking

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Speaking as a fool for God

Martyn Percy Christian Today Can the Church of England still afford nuance or ambiguity? Some final thoughts on Sir Philip Mawer’s Sheffield review

Richard Peers Quodcumque De-throning the ego: address to the Diocese of Leicester Catholic Societies, Michaelmas 2017

WATCH Ministry Statistics published September 2017

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 11:00am BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Statement re St Sepulchre from Bishop Pete Broadbent, Acting Bishop of London

Updated Friday

We reported on the row over the policies of the Church of St Sepulchre Holborn, in London, here and here. Today the Acting Bishop of London has issued a statement on this particular matter and the more general issue of booking space for musicians. The full statement is copied below the fold, but here are two extracts:

Major flagship concerts and rehearsals in preparation for these concerts will still take place at St Sepulchre, and the PCC is developing a wider programme of music which they will be announcing soon. I am pleased a new album from their choir will also be released shortly.

and

The Diocese has a role to play in facilitating and encouraging stronger relationships between the Church in London and the musical community, including making it easier for musicians to access rehearsal and concert space. The wide coverage of these matters has convinced me that we need to improve access to churches which are willing and able to provide such space. So, as from 1 November, we shall be launching a website – www.musicianschurch.org – that will provide easy access to hire space and booking options for musicians in London, as well as be used as a tool to promote concerts and events. I do hope this will also allow us to help support and encourage new musicians, as they form ensembles, and bring together family, friends and the wider public to enjoy the creativity and celebration of God-given musical talent.

I am confident that these steps, along with a clearer programme of activities at St Sepulchre, will start to rebuild confidence in our partnerships and focus our minds on growth. Growth in the work of the church, growth in the use of our buildings, and growth in the music performed in our churches.

Update

The rector of St Sepulchre’s has issued this undated statement about music on behalf of the PCC. Since it refers to the above statement it must have been issued today (Thursday).

Press reports

Church Times The ‘Musicians’ Church’ goes virtual as St Sepulchre’s sticks to its guns

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian London church rebuffs bishop’s efforts to get it to remain concert venue

Statement re St Sepulchre from Bishop Pete Broadbent, Acting Bishop of London

There has been much discussion in recent weeks about St Sepulchre, in the City of London, and its recent decision to suspend its external hire programme.

I am grateful to the Rector and PCC of St Sepulchre for being willing to engage with me and other diocesan colleagues about their decision. In that engagement I have repeated and re-inforced the role the Church of England plays in the communities it serves. The Church of England is called to be a welcoming, inclusive, and engaging church. I have re-emphasised the importance of this to all those at St Sepulchre.

In the Diocese and particularly in the City of London, serving our communities is central to the life of the Church. We are proud that our own work and partnerships, whether it be with youth based charities, heritage bodies, 12-step groups, international communities, homeless agencies, mental health, counselling, and legal advice, really do impact on, and change lives. Innovative use of our buildings, aided by a great network of volunteers enable these activities to happen. It is these ‘Partnerships in the Gospel’ that help define the Church in London today. We are proud of proclaiming afresh the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and proud of serving our communities, and demonstrating through that service our love of God and neighbour.

I recognise that the hiring of space in churches, and in particular providing space for musicians to rehearse and perform, need to be balanced with all the activity that a parish and community wants and needs to take place. It is sometimes not an easy balance to strike.

Major flagship concerts and rehearsals in preparation for these concerts will still take place at St Sepulchre, and the PCC is developing a wider programme of music which they will be announcing soon. I am pleased a new album from their choir will also be released shortly.

Across the City Churches, we have many places of worship with a wide variety of ministry to musicians, providing space for concerts and rehearsals. This has always been the case and although St Sepulchre has for many years been the spiritual home of the National Musicians’ Chapel, and will continue to be so, many of our churches can rightfully claim to exercise a role as a musicians’ church.

For example, we have an active and successful hiring programme and children’s music outreach programme at St Anne and St Agnes, in partnership with the Voces Cantabiles Music Foundation, that reaches over 25,000 children every year, and exciting plans in partnership with Sir Roger Gifford, former Lord Mayor, and Dr Clare Taylor, director of the City Music Foundation to establish a new teaching and performance space at St Bartholomew the Less. This is in addition to the concerts and rehearsals that take place in almost all of our 33 churches of the Square Mile.

The Diocese has a role to play in facilitating and encouraging stronger relationships between the Church in London and the musical community, including making it easier for musicians to access rehearsal and concert space. The wide coverage of these matters has convinced me that we need to improve access to churches which are willing and able to provide such space. So, as from 1 November, we shall be launching a website – www.musicianschurch.org – that will provide easy access to hire space and booking options for musicians in London, as well as be used as a tool to promote concerts and events. I do hope this will also allow us to help support and encourage new musicians, as they form ensembles, and bring together family, friends and the wider public to enjoy the creativity and celebration of God-given musical talent.

I am confident that these steps, along with a clearer programme of activities at St Sepulchre, will start to rebuild confidence in our partnerships and focus our minds on growth. Growth in the work of the church, growth in the use of our buildings, and growth in the music performed in our churches.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 28 September 2017 at 9:52am BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Gavin Ashenden "consecrated as missionary bishop"

Christian Today reports that Gavin Ashenden, who left the Church of England earlier this year, has been “consecrated as a missionary bishop to the UK in the Christian Episcopal Church”.

In her report, Ruth Gledhill writes that “he will work closely with Bishop Andy Lines, also recently consecrated a missionary bishop to work with conservative evangelical churches” and that Ashenden was consecrated in Vancouver “during the course of an Episcopal Synod”.

Ashenden is quoted as saying that the Church of England had “not been very generous” in providing conservative or traditionalist bishops. And further: “I will oversee anybody who asks. I have a trail of people coming to my door asking for support, spiritual direction and advice. Obviously my oversight will be informal, it will have no legal basis at all.” He said he was approached by the Christian Episcopal Church, which regards it as a “duty” to help traditionalist Anglicans across the globe.

There is a press release here which is dated “29 September”.

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Ministry Statistics 2016

The Church of England has released its Ministry Statistics 2016, and an accompanying press release which is copied below. There is also a fact sheet on the number of ordinands entering training this year.

Number of women in ordained ministry at record high
27 September 2017

The number of people entering training to become priests in the Church of England is at the highest level for a decade with women making up more than half the total, according to new figures released today.

A total of 544 men and women are starting training for ordained ministry this autumn (known as ordinands), an increase of 14% on last year and the highest figure for 10 years, according to statistics from the Ministry Division of the Church of England.

Women make up more than half of those entering training, or 274 ordinands, the biggest intake of female ordinands for a decade, and an increase of 19% compared to last year. At the same time, the number of younger ordinands, in the under 32 age group, rose by nearly two fifths, and now accounts for 28% of the total.

The figures, covering the period from 2008 to 2017, are published alongside Ministry Statistics for 2016 showing the number of women serving in ordained ministry in the Church of England rose by 7% from 5,310 in 2013, to a record high of 5,690 last year.

However women still make up less than a third, or 29%, of the total number of active clergy. The annual statistics also show a fall of just over 2% in the number of serving clergy from 20,020 in 2013 to 19,550 in 2016, reflecting an increase in the numbers of clergy reaching retirement age.

The number of clergy in paid positions fell by 4% during the same period, from 8,120 in 2013 to 7,790 in 2016. The proportion of clergy in paid positions from black and minority ethnic communities remained largely unchanged in 2016, at 3.5%.

The figures have been released as the Church of England steps up efforts to increase the number of candidates for ordination by 50% by 2020 as part of the Renewal and Reform programme, with an emphasis on increasing the number of women and the youthfulness and ethnic diversity of candidates for ordination.

Director of the Church of England’s Ministry Division, Julian Hubbard, said: “The increase in numbers of those called to serve as clergy reflects a great deal of hard work, especially in the dioceses and local churches, but also the persistent and dedicated prayers of many in the churches both during the post-Easter prayer campaign for vocations and throughout the year. We are thankful for God’s generosity and goodness shown in the gifts we have been given.

“We are mindful, however, that significant work still remains to be done to improve the age profile, gender and ethnicity of our clergy to better reflect the makeup of our congregations and the wider population. We continue to seek prayers and support for this to be achieved.”

Mike Eastwood, Director of the Renewal and Reform programme, said:
“The overwhelming majority of the work of Renewal and Reform is about encouraging and inspiring the church at parish and diocesan level in its work of evangelism, mission and fostering vocations to lay and ordained ministry and leadership.

“We hope that these figures published today will inspire us all and remind us of what still needs to be done towards fulfilling our goal of providing a hopeful future for the Church of England in which we can once again become a growing church for all people in all places.”

end

Ministry Statistics 2016, and commentary can be found here.

Figures for ordinands can be found here

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at 10:46am BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 27 September 2017

Andy Hill Metro I’m an atheist who goes to church – here’s why you should too

Scott Cowdell ABC Religion and Ethics Gender and Identity: Freeing the Bible from Modern Western Anxieties
Tony Payne ABC Religion and Ethics Is There Moral Truth Out There? A Response to Scott Cowdell on Gender and Identity

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love ‘Feeling’ and ‘knowing’ - David Jenkins’ Guide to the Debate about God

Alister McGrath ABC Religion and Ethics Is God a Figment of Our Imagination? On Certainty, Scepticism and the Limits of Proof
[Professor McGrath is giving a public lecture, C. S. Lewis for Today: Making Sense of Faith and Culture, in Liverpool on 25 October 2017. Details are here.]

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at 10:07am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Open Letter to Primates

The General Synod Human Sexuality Group have published the text of a letter sent from them to all the Primates of the Anglican Communion ahead of their meeting next week.

In the letter the Group (which represents 240 synod members and wants the Church of England to be fully inclusive of LGBTI people) reminds the Primates that “the direction of travel” for the church is now “clearer than ever”.

In a press release, Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of the Group said:

Synod has shown both in its non-acceptance of the House of Bishops’ Report on Same-Sex Relationships and in its desire to condemn conversion therapy and welcome transgender Christians, that it wants to be a fully inclusive church. The status quo is no longer an option — people are deeply concerned about the impact on our mission to the nation of the Church’s current stance towards LGBTI people.

Group member Jayne Ozanne said:

The medical profession, including the World Health Organisation, is clear that conversion therapy causes stigma and prejudice towards the LGBTI community. It is critically important that the Church recognises this and takes a lead to condemn it.

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

To All Primates of the Anglican Communion
26 September 2017

Dear Brothers in Christ

We write to you following a significant year for the General Synod of the Church of England, which has seen elected representatives from across our dioceses take decisive steps towards an inclusive Church that can better serve both our Church and nation, and in particular the LGTBI community. This has involved General Synod ‘not taking note’ of the House of Bishops’ Report on Same-Sex Relationships, the condemnation of Conversion Therapy (notably by all but one of the House of Bishops), and the request for liturgies to welcome our Transgender brothers and sisters in Christ.

The direction of travel for the Church of England is clearer than ever, for which we give thanks.

There are inevitably those who would like to deny these measured steps towards the full inclusion of all within the Body of Christ, but their voices are becoming fewer. Even so, we are committed to walking together with them – as we hope and pray they will do with us.

Many of us were involved in signing the letter that was sent to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York ahead of your last meeting in January 2016. We were grateful for the personal apology that Archbishop Justin made regarding the way the Church has treated the LGTBI community in the past, yet were saddened that his was a lone voice in doing so. We welcomed however the section of your communiqué, issued at the end of your meeting, that stated:

‘The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.’

Persecution of the LGTBI community continues in many of your countries, some of whom still treat being non-heterosexual as a capital offence. For instance, according to a 2016/17 report by Amnesty International relating to one African province ‘Police continued to arrest LGBTI people. Men perceived to be gay were attacked by mobs and were blackmailed and targeted for extortion.’ We would therefore ask what steps you are taking to make good this commitment?

The basic premise for the condemnation of conversion therapy by the Church of England is that being of a non-heterosexual orientation is neither a disease, nor an illness nor indeed a sin. To treat it as such is to create a society that will harbour prejudice and stigma that causes known mental health damage to the LGTBI community. This is true the world over, and so we would ask that you prayerfully consider the impact of such practices in each of your own countries — as well as the damage that they inflict on minorities whose voices are often left unheard.

Please be assured of our prayers as you discuss your Task Group’s Report, as well as the other items on your agenda some of which, such as evangelism, are directly affected by this issue.

We hope and pray that you will continue to listen to the voices of LGTBI people as you do so, as to do otherwise will continue to prolong many misconceptions and beliefs, and undermine the Archbishop of Canterbury’s assurance that there will be ‘no more talking about us without us’.

Yours in Christ

The Executive Committee of the General Synod Human Sexuality Group:

The Revd Canon Giles Goddard, Southwark (Chair)
Ms Christina Baron, Bath & Wells
Ms Tracey Byrne, Southwell & Nottingham
The Revd Canon Robert Cotton, Guildford
The Revd Andrew Dotchin, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich
Ms Jay Greene, Winchester
Canon Jenny Humphreys, Bath & Wells
The Revd Chris Newlands, Blackburn
The Revd Bertrand Olivier, London
Ms Jayne Ozanne, Oxford
The Revd Neil Patterson, Hereford
The Revd Canon Priscilla White, Birmingham

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 at 3:49pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Opinion - 23 September 2017

Mark Clavier The Living Church The Sea Change: Reflections of a Former Theological Educator

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Loyalty and Obsession

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of ordination, speaking of good will

Jesse Zink Church Times Born in discord, striving for harmony

Janet Traill explains the Colenso affair, which was the trigger for the first Lambeth Conference: Church Times A question of authority

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 23 September 2017 at 11:00am BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Updates from the Global South and from GAFCON

As some of our commenters continually remind us, it’s important to keep straight the distinction between the Global South and GAFCON. They are two separate, albeit overlapping, groupings.

Global South Primates’ Communique, September 9, 2017 (Cairo)

[GAFCON] Chairman’s September 2017 letter

Is Gafcon divisive? by Peter Jensen

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 4:08pm BST | Comments (37) | TrackBack
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Voting in the July General Synod

The Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth has written to explain his vote last July,when he was the only member of the House of Bishops to vote against the PMM on Conversion Therapy, as finally amended. His letter is available here.

This has reminded me that there was a detailed analysis of the voting in July produced by Andrew Goddard which I should have linked to here much earlier. See Synods, Sexuality and Symbolic and Seismic Shifts.

There is also a more detailed paper, with far more information, Understanding Synod’s July 2017 Sexuality Debates and Votes.

This sheds some light on the concerns leading to the CEEC steering committee letter to which I did link earlier, over here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 3:52pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Living Ministry study

Last Friday’s Church Times carried a news item by Madeleine Davies headlined Clergy living comfortably, long-term Living Ministry study suggests. This was based on “the first fruits of a large-scale Ministry Division survey”. The report “Mapping the Wellbeing of Church of England Clergy and Ordinands” itself is somewhat hidden away on the Church of England’s Ministry Development website where you can download the full report and an executive summary.

Panel Survey Wave 1 Report
Panel Survey Wave 1 Report Executive Summary

But Doug Chaplin’s eye was caught by the paragraph that suggested all was not quite as well as the Church Times headline suggested, and he writes about it here: Living comfortably: the fiction of a stipend?

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 1:49pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Dean of Exeter

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

Dean of Exeter: Jonathan Greener
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Published: 19 September 2017

Reverend Jonathan Desmond Francis Greener has been appointed Dean of the Cathedral Church, Exeter.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Jonathan Desmond Francis Greener, MA, Dean of Wakefield, in the diocese of Leeds, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, Exeter, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Jonathan Lee Draper, BA, PhD, on 31 August 2017.

Background information

The Very Reverend Jonathan Greener (56) trained for ordination at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. He studied Theology and Religious Studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. He served his title as Curate at St Matthew, Elephant and Castle, in the diocese of Southwark from 1991 to 1994 before becoming Bishop of Truro’s Domestic Chaplain from 1994 to 1996. From 1996 to 2003 he was Vicar at the Good Shepherd, Brighton in Chichester diocese. From 2003 to 2007 he was Archdeacon of Pontefract in Wakefield diocese. From 2007 to 2014 he was Dean of Wakefield in Wakefield diocese and since 2014 he has been Dean of Wakefield in Leeds diocese.

He is married to Pamela, a retired international tax accountant, now a freelance musician.

His interests include photography, cookery, languages and travel.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 10:07am BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Monday, 18 September 2017

Food Poverty in Britain

The Church Urban Fund has issued a report, introduced by its Executive Director, Canon Paul Hackwood …

… that sheds light on the extent of food poverty in the UK. It shows that 1 in 50 British adults used a food bank in 2016. It also shows that 5% of British adults missed meals last year because they could not afford to eat.

These figures offer a deeply troubling reflection of food poverty in Britain. At Church Urban Fund we are calling for a response to this from all sections of society. Government, businesses, and individuals all have a responsibility to make a difference. The responsibility for tackling this issue cannot be left with churches and charities, important though this work is.

I encourage you to take a look at the report and our recommendations for action. We are working hard to bring an end to hunger in the UK and so any contributions you can make to this work will be greatly appreciated.

The full report can be found at the CUF website here.

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Opinion - 16 September 2017

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of faith in the public square

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Is “Sorry” Too Easy a Word?

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Troubles with Trebles

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The unconditional and the insistence of God

A little world made cunningly: in defence of the parish
St Mellitus will host a debate asking whether the parish has had its day. Priests from across the country told Church Times their answers.

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Friday, 15 September 2017

Media coverage and responses to Mawer report

Updated again Tuesday

The Church Times has this report by Paul Handley The Philip North Sheffield fiasco — and the question that simply wasn’t asked. And this further report: Theology and pastoral practice need further work, Mawer review into Philip North affair concludes.

Christian Today Harry Farley reports Church of England asked to consider ‘fundamental challenge’ to women bishops agreement.

Sheffield Star Sheffield bishop appointment who would not ordain women priests ‘surprise to many’, says report.

BBC Church of England ‘did not anticipate’ Bishop of Sheffield row.

Premier Radio Independent report says Sheffield controversy shouldn’t stop Philip North becoming a senior bishop.

Christian Today has a new article by Martyn Percy titled Consciences, Convictions and Consequences: A Brief Response to the Review of the Nomination to the See of Sheffield.

There is also an article about that article by Harry Farley titled Ban conservative bishops until we have gender equality, Church told. Earlier he had written about the FinF response below, with the headline Sheffield debacle shows CofE needs to promote more traditionalists, campaigners say. I recommend reading the underlying articles in full to get a more nuanced understanding…

This topic was also covered in the Church Times podcast published last week.

Organisational Responses:

Forward in Faith has published this response: Response to the Sheffield Review.

Women and the Church has published this: Statement from WATCH on the Release of the Independent Reviewer’s Report on the Sheffield Nomination.

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Independent Reviewer’s report on See of Sheffield

Church of England press release

Independent Reviewer’s report on See of Sheffield published
15 September 2017

A report of the review of nomination to the See of Sheffield by the independent reviewer Sir Philip Mawer has been published today.

The report and appendices set out the findings of a review requested by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in March this year following the announcement that the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, was to withdraw from nomination to the Diocese of Sheffield.

The 75-page report draws from meetings with and personal submissions from more than 100 people (including over 60 from the Sheffield diocese) over recent months seeking to learn lessons from the events surrounding Bishop North’s nomination to and subsequent withdrawal from the See.

Sir Philip was appointed in 2014 as Independent Reviewer to resolve disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration, which sets out the Five Guiding Principles behind the legislation which opened the way for women bishops. His report seeks to set out valuable lessons for the wider Church of England following events in Sheffield.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said: “We are very grateful and deeply indebted to Sir Philip for this detailed, thoughtful and authoritative review.

“We will be reading it carefully and discussing the lessons with the House of Bishops when it meets later this year and will respond in greater detail in due course.

“We reaffirm our commitment to the vital principle of mutual flourishing as the Church and will endeavour to maintain the bond of peace and affection and live God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ, even amid difference on questions on which Christians may disagree Christianly.”

Concluding his report, Sir Philip remarks: “The story of what happened in respect of the Sheffield nomination is not populated by villains but by people who were simply seeking to do their best according to their own understanding of their responsibilities and in the light of their Christian convictions.

“There is, frankly, no merit, if those of differing convictions in the Church are to continue to live together, in anybody searching for scapegoats.”

He adds: “I have suggested in this report that further consideration under the auspices of the House of Bishops, of the theological and pastoral issues raised so far by the Church’s experience of living out the 2014 Settlement would be healthy.

“But at the end of the day of the day, the choice facing the Church is a simple one … whether to continue wrestling with the issues I have identified, for the sake of the Gospel, or whether to abandon the Settlement.

“If those who take the majority view in the Church are to retain credibility in the eyes of the minority, there is only one choice which I believe they can make.

“Equally if those in the minority wish to continue as honoured and full members of the Church of England, they need to ensure that they act and speak in ways which show understanding of the position of ordained women, which emphasise their commitment to the corporate life of the Church and which encourage the majority to remain unequivocally committed to the success of that Settlement, ‘that they may all be one ….. so that the world may believe’.”

Notes to Editors

Summary of findings and conclusions:

Sir Philip finds that Bishop Philip North’s nomination to the See of Sheffield was entirely consistent with the terms of the 2014 Settlement which enabled the consecration of women as bishops in the Church of England. However:

The nomination of Bishop North - a bishop who would not ordain women as priests - came as a surprise to many, indicating a failure to inform and educate people that such a nomination was possible under the terms of the Settlement.

There is scope for improvement in the processes leading to the nomination of candidates to the Crown for appointment as diocesan bishops.

Events surrounding the nomination also raise some fundamental theological and pastoral issues relating to the 2014 Settlement and its operation.

They also point to a failure to anticipate the likely reaction to Bishop North’s nomination and to plan for handling it.

Sir Philip makes four recommendations, principally to the House of Bishops, designed to enable the whole Church to address these issues:

1. That the House of Bishops commissions a group with balanced membership to review what has been done to inform and educate clergy and laity about the Settlement agreed in 2014; distil examples of good practice within dioceses; and provide resources to help dioceses, deaneries and parishes, and theological training institutions to engage in further consideration of the issues.

2. That questions raised in the Review over whether the current procedures relating to a Vacancy in See committee and to the Crown Nominations Commission are capable of improvement be considered alongside the outcome of a separate review of the Crown Nominations Commission led by Professor Oliver O’Donovan. These should include the issue of the extent to which the cloak of confidentiality currently surrounding the work of the Commission can be relaxed in order to ensure the degree of preparation for the announcement of a nomination commensurate with the controversy it is likely to arouse.

3. That the House of Bishops invites the Faith and Order Commission to examine the theological challenge which has been posed to the 2014 Settlement and that the results of this work - together with the House’s response to the pastoral challenge as to what the nomination of a non-ordaining bishop as a diocesan implies for the ministry of women clergy and lay ministers - inform the ongoing process of discussion and education about the Settlement.
In addressing this challenge, it will also be appropriate to address the implications of appointing a woman bishop for her pastoral relationship with those male clergy in her diocese who are unable on theological grounds to accept the sacramental validity of her orders.

4.That, together with his colleagues in the National Church Institutions, and those involved in the dioceses of Sheffield and Blackburn, the Secretary General reviews the lessons to be learned from what happened in order to plan better for handling any such events in future.

Further information:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 15 September 2017 at 10:00am BST | Comments (47) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 14 September 2017

College of Bishops residential meeting September 2017

The Church of England’s College of Bishops (ie all serving bishops) held its annual meeting this week, following which they issued this press release.

College of Bishops residential meeting September 2017
14 September 2017

The annual meeting of the College of Bishops of the Church of England was held in Oxford from 11-14 September with the theme of “Telling the Gospel of Salvation in Every place”, exploring how the Church ministers to every community in the country.

Over the four day meeting, a wide ranging agenda was discussed, including, Renewal and Reform, Simplification, Mission and Theology, Church Planting and Minority Ethnic Inclusion. Reflections and discussions took place in group and plenary sessions.

Members of the College were joined this year in the first two days of the meeting by a number of BAME clergy to help bring additional perspectives on how the Church of England can reach more effectively into every community.

As with all meetings of the College of Bishops, the considerations of the College took place in private and its conclusions will be subsequently referred to the House of Bishops.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 14 September 2017 at 8:28pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Opinion - 13 September 2017

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Life in all its fullness and meditation in the body

Eric Reitan Religion Dispatches A 14-point Rebuttal to the Nashville Statement from a straight cis Christian man

Bibles, arm-waving, and incense - Philip North recounts visiting three very different Christian festivals this summer for Church Times
Ian Paul Psephizo Is there hope for unbelieving Britain?

Simon Butler ViaMedia.News This Love Ain’t Big Enough!

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 at 9:00am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Opinion - 9 September 2017

Giles Fraser The Guardian The disestablishment of the church is now necessary and inevitable
Church Times Leader Comment Life with the ‘nones’
The above two articles comment on figures contained in the latest British Social Attitudes survey. Madeleine Davies has written about the figures for Church Times: Bishops unfazed by surge among the non-religious in latest British Social Attitudes survey.

Simon Butler ViaMedia.News In Praise of Activists…

Charles Clapham Unadulterated Love The House of Bishops’ proposed Teaching Document on Human Sexuality
[This is a consolidation of Dr Clapham’s comments on our article here.]

Jeremy Paxman Financial Times Jeremy Paxman on the Church of England’s fight to survive
As congregations dwindle, is the Church on the brink of extinction?
[You may find this article is behind a paywall; this has been happening to me intermittently.]

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 9 September 2017 at 11:00am BST | Comments (40) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Dean of Peterborough

We reported in July that Canon Tim Sledge was to be the next Dean of Peterborough. The Bishop of Peterborough has now announced that Canon Sledge has withdrawn his acceptance of this post.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 at 10:18pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

New Archbishop of Wales elected

From the website of the Church in Wales

New Archbishop of Wales elected

A new Archbishop of Wales has been elected today (September 6).

John Davies, who has served as the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon for the past nine years, has been chosen as the 13th Archbishop of Wales.

He succeeds Dr Barry Morgan who retired in January after 14 years as the leader of the Church in Wales. His election is also historic as this is the first time a Bishop of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon has been elected as Archbishop of Wales.

Archbishop John was elected having secured a two-thirds majority vote from members of the Electoral College on the first second day of its meeting at Holy Trinity Church, Llandrindod Wells. The election was immediately confirmed by the five other diocesan bishops and announced at the door of the church by the Provincial Secretary of the Church in Wales, Simon Lloyd. Archbishop John will be enthroned at Brecon cathedral in due course.

He said, “I am overwhelmed and humbled. I would like to thank members of the College and especially my fellow bishops for the confidence and trust they have shown in me. We will work together as a team to grow and strengthen the Church as it serves the communities of Wales and helps build the kingdom of God.”

The Dean of Brecon, Dr Paul Shackerley welcomed the news on behalf of the Diocese. He said, “I am delighted with the news that Bishop John has been called to be our next Archbishop. He has proven gifts and experience to lead the Church into the future and will receive our full support and prayers he prepares to exercise his weighty, yet joyful, archiepiscopal ministry. I feel the future of the Church in Wales is in good hands with all our faithful Bishops, to lead us with hope into the future that we may flourish and serve the communities in which we are called.”

The Election process

The Most Revd John Davies, Archbishop of Wales

Archbishop John was born at Newport (Mon) and educated at Bassaleg Grammar School. He graduated in law from the University of Southampton from where he moved to the College of Law at Chester. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1977, specialising in criminal law and, after ordination, completed a master’s degree in Canon Law. Prior to ordination he was heavily involved in the life of the church at parochial, diocesan and provincial level.

Archbishop John left the law to enter the ministry and was ordained in 1984. He served in the Diocese of Monmouth in a variety of rural, post-industrial and urban parishes, and he also served as Diocesan Schools’ Officer and Officer for Ecumenical Affairs. He was appointed Dean of Brecon in 2000, and during eight years in that role oversaw significant improvements to the fabric and liturgy of the Cathedral. He was elected as the ninth Bishop of Swansea and Brecon in 2008.

Having been the ‘lead Bishop’ for Church and Society issues, Archbishop John is profoundly interested in matters of social justice and has spoken out on a range of issues, including homelessness and housing, rural problems, organ donation, assisted dying and poverty. He has retained a keen interest in issues of crime and punishment, with a particular concern about the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, the nature of criminality and the effects of poor social and educational standards. Having served as the chairman of the trustees of a large hospice in Newport, he also has a deep concern for the just provision of healthcare, not least for those in the final stages of life. He currently chairs the Ethical Investment Group of the Church in Wales, its International Group and the Wales National Committee of Christian Aid, and is a national trustee of Christian Aid.

As a former church chorister, organist and choirmaster, Archbishop John has a passionate interest in church music being ‘done well’, whether complex musical settings or just simple hymns and songs, believing that it can do much to enhance quality, spirituality and effectiveness of many an act of worship.

He also enjoys a wide variety of music, watching sport – especially cricket and rugby – playing golf very occasionally, cooking and walking. He is married to Jo, an emergency nurse practitioner, and they have two grown-up children.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 at 1:53pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 6 September 2017

Jack Jenkins ThinkProgress Are evangelicals inventing a new kind of Christianity that’s all about sex?

Eliel Cruz The New York Times The Nashville Statement Is an Attack on L.G.B.T. Christians

Jonathan Merritt Religion News Service Take a deep breath. The Nashville Statement won’t change anything

The Victorian Society has expressed its opinion on keeping churches open. There’s nothing on their website, but Olivia Rudgard reports their views in The Telegraph: Victorian Society criticises evangelical group for keeping churches ‘shuttered and barred’

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 at 11:34am BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 2 September 2017

Opinion - 2 September 2017

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Fifty years on – the new Co-ordinating Group meets for the first time

Noel Chavasse was the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice during the First World War. Crispin Pailing celebrates his life and faith. Church Times He who would true valour see …

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 2 September 2017 at 11:00am BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Friday, 1 September 2017

Australian bishops complain about other Australian bishops

Readers will recall the recent letter from the Primate of Australia concerning the participation of certain Australian bishops in the consecration of Andy Lines as an ACNA bishop.

A complaint about the action of those bishops has now been raised by four other Australian bishops, and the primate has referred the issue to the Anglican Church of Australia Appellate Tribunal for a ruling.

Here’s the documentation, well part of it. The whole file can be found over here.

Dear Archbishop

We refer to your letter of 2 July to all the Bishops, and to the participation of three of our colleagues in the consecration of a person in a church not in communion with this church.

We believe that this action raises fundamental questions of ecclesiology in respect of the Anglican Church of Australia. Failure to have the questions which arise from the actions of the Archbishop of Sydney, the Bishop of Tasmania, and the Bishop of North West Australia properly determined will mean that our fellowship in the college of Bishops will be gravely impaired.

We would therefore urge you to refer to the Appellate Tribunal pursuant to S.63(1) of the Constitution questions which arise both from the actions of our colleagues and the letter under reply.

With every blessing
Yours sincerely

The Rt Rev’d Andrew Curnow AM
Bishop of Bendigo

The Rt Rev’d Bill Ray
Bishop of North Queensland

The Rt Rev’d Kay Goldsworthy AO
Bishop of Gippsland

The Rt Rev’d John Stead
Bishop of Willochra

Questions for consideration by the Appellate Tribunal

GIVEN THAT

A. Archbishop Glen Davies and Bishop Richard Condie participated in the consecration of a bishop for Europe in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), a church that is not amember of the Anglican Communion and is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia.

B. Section 5 of The Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia (“the Constitution”) provides that subject to the Fundamental Declarations and the provisions of Chapter II of the Constitution (Ruling Principles) the Anglican Church of Australia has plenary authority to make canons, ordinances and rules for the order and good government of the Church, and to administer the affairs thereof and that such authority and power may be exercised by the several synods and tribunals in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS arise under the Constitution and otherwise:

1. Does the consecration, or purported consecration, of a person as a bishop in a church, or purported church, which is not a member of the Anglican Communion and, or alternatively, is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia constitute a breach of any of the provisions of—

a. Chapter II of the Constitution;
b. the Consecration of Bishops Canon 1996; or
c. the Episcopal Standards Canon 2007

— and, if so, of which provision or provisions and in what manner.

2. Does the consecration, or purported consecration of a person as a bishop in a church, or purported church, which is not a member of the Anglican Communion and, or alternatively, is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia constitute an act which is in breach of the ecclesiastical convention of the Anglican Communion (as expressed in Lambeth Conference 1878 or otherwise) and, if so, in what manner.

3. Does a Bishop of the Anglican Church of Australia have the power or, alternatively, the capacity to consecrate a person as a bishop in a church, or purported church, which is not a member of the Anglican Communion and, or alternatively, is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 September 2017 at 4:28pm BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ACNA | Anglican Church of Australia

More about musicians and St Sepulchre

The Church Times today has a major comment article about this by the former director of music there, Andrew Earis: A dream that is dying in Holborn. Do read it all.

But it includes this:

…from early on, there were seeds of anxiety. In particular, there was unease regarding those music groups and concerts that, up to this point, had been welcomed with open arms, but were now being seen as less acceptable, owing to the new leadership’s interpretation of Chris­­tian teaching…

Another fact that has recently emerged is that among the musical groups which regularly use the church is this one: London Gay Symphony Orchestra.

Lorraine Cavanagh wrote this: If music be the food of love…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 September 2017 at 2:10pm BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Nashville Statement: CofE clerics among signatories

Updated

This week, a grouping of mainly North American evangelical Christians, which in the past has been noted mainly for its espousal of complementarianism, issued a new statement, which is about sexuality and gender identity. This has been named by them (to the chagrin of the city’s mayor) as the Nashville Statement.

You can read the full text of the statement as a PDF over here. That file also contains the list of initial signatories.

They include two Church of England licensed clergy, both in the Diocese of Oxford:

Although Mr Roberts lists himself on the Nashville statement website as shown above, Mr Allberry lists himself as “Editor, The Gospel Coalition” and has additionally provided the following endorsement of the statement:

Sam Allberry
Speaker & Apologist, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
“I am signing The Nashville Statement because I stand with Biblical orthodoxy, the only witness for hope and peace and God’s blessing. By God through the merit and power of Jesus Christ, here I stand.”

Mr Allberry is an elected member of the General Synod from the Oxford diocese, and has recently been appointed to the newly formed Pastoral Advisory Group.

There have been a number of responses to the Nashville Statement:

Christians United Statement (signatories include several from the UK)

The Denver Statement

A Liturgists Statement

Media coverage has included:

Jonathan Draper has written The Nashville Statement - a theological failure.

OneBodyOneFaith has published a response: Supporters encouraged to challenge the Nashville Statement

OneBodyOneFaith notes with grave concern the issuing of the so-called Nashville Statement by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, based in the US. The Statement has been signed by over 150 conservative evangelical leaders, overwhelming male, and including fewer than five based in the UK. It asserts a fundamentalist and uncompromising perspective on both gender and sexuality, one which dismisses LGB people, trans and non-binary people, and those who identify as intersex. It hurts and harms those of us who know ourselves to be uniquly created and loved by God, a God who is revealed, and delights, in the diversity of our humanity….

Do read it all.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 September 2017 at 11:00am BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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