Saturday, 21 October 2017

Opinion - 21 October 2017

Ian Paul Psephizo The shame of Britain’s prison system

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Obsessed about sex?

David Keen Opinionated Vicar Church of England Attendance Change by Diocese, 2011-16

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Friday, 20 October 2017

Latest Church of England statistics

The Church of England released its Statistics for Mission 2016 and this report on its digital reach this week. There is also a press release which is copied below the fold.

Also released this week is Finance Statistics 2015.

Church Times reporters write about these reports:
Madeleine Davies Too few children in too many pews, latest C of E mission statistics warn
Tim Wyatt Church of England reaching more people online than ever before
Tim Wyatt Good news and bad news on parish finances, statistics show

Olivia Rudgard writes for The Telegraph: Church of England reaches more on social media than in services.

Links to statistics for earlier years can be found here.

Church of England reaches more than a million on social media every month
18 October 2017

More than a million people are being reached every month with the Christian message on social media, a year after the Church of England adopted a new digital approach, new figures show.

Videos, podcasts, blogs and images including prayers are reaching an online audience of 1.2 million a month through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, according to the statistics from the Church of England digital project.

During Christmas 1.5 million were reached through the Church’s award-winning #JoyToTheWorld campaign featuring short films. A further 2.5 million were reached during Lent, the season before Easter, through the #LiveLent project.

The report has been released as new Mission Statistics showed average Sunday attendance over October 2016 at Church of England services stood at 780,000 people, a lower figure than in 2015, in line with a long-term trend.

The ‘worshipping community’ of the Church of England, a measure of the number of people who come to church once a month or more, stood at 1.1 million of whom 20% were under 18 years old.

On average, 930,000 people (86% adults, 14% children under 16) attended church services each week in October 2016. (This figure includes mid-week services). A further 180,000 children and adults attended services for schools in churches each week, a rise of 6.2% on last year.

Christmas attendance - on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - rose by 1.4% in 2016 to 2.6 million. During Advent, the season before Christmas, 2.5 million people attended special services for the congregation and local community, and 2.8 million people attended special services for civic organisations and schools.

There were 120,000 baptisms and services of thanksgiving for the gift of a child, 45,000 marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriage and 139,000 Church of England-led funerals.

A one-off question for 2016 showed the majority of churches are open to visitors outside of service times with more than 50% of churches reporting being open to visitors five or more days each week.

The digital campaign has been funded as part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme intended to help the Church of England become a growing church in all places and for all people.

William Nye, Secretary General to the General Synod, said: “At the heart of the mission of the Church of England is a commitment to proclaiming the gospel afresh in each generation.

“This year’s Statistics for Mission provide a sobering reminder of the long-term challenge we face. This challenge is likely to persist for some years ahead. That is why we have established a programme of Renewal and Reform to transform the Church of England to become a growing church in every region and for every generation.

“The figures on digital impact, which we are also releasing today, show one of the ways in which we are doing that, as the online dimension of people’s lives becomes ever more significant. Our challenge is to join up that growing online Church life to the physical community of Church that forms the body of Christ.”

Mike Eastwood, Director of Renewal and Reform for the Church of England, said: “I am encouraged by the success so far of the digital campaign, part of Renewal and Reform. This project has shown how social media can be used to communicate the Christian faith and life to a huge audience outside our church walls, bringing new hope to the communities we serve.

“The figures for mission confirm the urgency of the challenges we face, especially as we want to become a growing church for all people in all places.”

Adrian Harris, Head of Digital Communications for the Church of England said: “As the digital evangelism statistics show, people across the country are engaging with the Church’s digital and social media platforms to grow in faith and find out more about the Christian faith. In a typical month we have a reach of 1.2 million on social media and 1.5 million on our websites.

“We saw 1.5 million reached by our 2016 #JoyToTheWorld Christmas campaign and 2.5 million with #LiveLent. Over the last 12 months we tripled the number of followers on Facebook and Instagram, which indicates that people want to know more of the love of Jesus Christ.

“The three-year digital and social media transformation project is part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme, focused on us being a growing Church for all people and for all places.”

Dr Rachel Jordan, the Church of England’s National Mission and Evangelism Adviser, said: “The Church of England has taken seriously the challenge of ageing congregations and is sharpening its focus and work on the opportunities of reaching new generations in different ways - church growth starts young. Our digital presence has been boosted by the work of the Renewal and Reform programme investing in an excellent team communicating effectively with millions through digital campaigns.”


End

Notes to editors

The three-year digital transformation includes the launch of the new Church of England and A Church Near You websites by the end of 2017. Both sites are being redeveloped to enable Christians to grow in their faith and help bring new people to faith.

In addition, a series of free training courses has been launched for churches on promoting their parishes through social media with more than half of the Church of England 42 dioceses signed up to take part so far.

Reach is defined as the number of people who have seen content on social media.

The Mission Statistics do not include services in prisons, hospitals, schools and military chapels and university chaplaincies.

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

Hereford Diocesan Synod calls for liturgies after same sex marriages

Updated twice Saturday

The Hereford Diocesan Synod tonight passed the following resolution:

‘That this Synod request the House of Bishops to commend an Order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or a same sex marriage for use by ministers in exercise of their discretion under Canon B4, being a form of service neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter, together with guidance that no parish should be obliged to host, nor minister conduct, such a service.’

The voting was

In favour 41
Against 18
Abstentions 4

A copy of the briefing paper approved by the Bishop’s Council can be found here.

Updates

The BBC Radio 4 Today programme interviewed the Bishop of Hereford, Richard Frith. Listen here: Bishop Richard interview on BBC R4 Today about Diocesan Synod motion asking for same sex prayers (preceded by interview with Susie Leafe of Reform).

Law & Religion UK CofE service after same sex marriage?

BBC Church of England to discuss same-sex blessing

Guardian Church of England to debate blessings for same-sex couples

Telegraph Church of England to debate services for same-sex couples after bishop backs diocese call

Christian Today Bishops under pressure to act as Hereford Diocese calls for official services for gay couples

The Church of England has issued this press release: Hereford Diocesan Synod Motion. The full text is copied below the fold.

There is further comment at Law and Religion UK Hereford Diocesan Synod Motion – CofE Statement.

Hereford Diocesan Synod Motion
21 October 2017

Following the passing of a resolution at the Diocesan Synod in Hereford, a spokesperson for the Church of England said: “We are aware of the resolution passed by Hereford Diocesan Synod calling for the General Synod to debate a motion on services of prayer and dedication for same-sex couples.

“The diocesan synod’s decision does not change the teaching or practice of the Church of England, whether in Hereford or anywhere else in the Church.

“Under the Standing Orders of the General Synod, the motion will fall to be debated at the Synod at a time to be decided by its Business Committee.

“Clergy of the Church of England are unable to marry couples of the same sex and, under the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement on Same Sex Marriage, ‘services of blessing’ should not be provided for those who enter into civil partnerships or same-sex marriages.

“It is recognised, however, that there is real and profound disagreement in the Church of England over questions relating to human sexuality and the House of Bishops has recently embarked on the preparation of a major new teaching document on marriage and sexuality.

“We are seeking to find ways forward rooted in scripture and the Christian faith as we have received it and which values everyone, without exception, not as a ‘problem’ or an ‘issue’, but as a person loved and made in the image of God.”

end

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 19 October 2017 at 10:07pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Opinion - 18 October 2017

Sir Mark Hedley Ecclesiastical Law Society Practical Aspects of the Clergy Discipline Measure
Sir Mark is Deputy Chair and Deputy President of Tribunals.

The Babylon Bee The Bee Explains: Main Differences Between Popular Bible Translations

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Church apologises to a sexual abuse survivor

Updated again Monday afternoon

The Church of England has today released two documents:

This has been reported in the media:

Separately, the New York Times has this report on a different case: Doubts Grow Over Archbishop’s Account of When He Knew of Abuse.

Updates

EIG has issued a response to the above documents: Statement from Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc .

The full text of EIG’s letter of reply to the Bishops is here.

Church Times Bishops challenge Ecclesiastical over ‘horse trading’ of survivor settlements

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Life peerage for Richard Chartres

The Prime Minister announced the names of five new crossbench life peers on Thursday. The list inlcuded The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres, KCVO, DD – lately Bishop of London (1995 to 2017).

London diocesan website: Peerage for Bishop Richard announced
Archbishop of Canterbury: Archbishop welcomes crossbench peerage for Bishop Richard Chartres

English diocesan bishops, other than archbishops, are not normally created peers on retirement. Two who were are David Sheppard of Liverpool and Richard Harries of Oxford.

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Opinion - 14 October 2017

Updated to add day 2 to Colin Coward’s blogs

David Ison ViaMedia.News Confronting our Culture, Presenting our Past

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of leadership; speaking of reconfiguration.

Benjamin L Corey Patheos To Those Christians Who Say, “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle”

Ben Clements British Religion in Numbers Religion and the British Social Attitudes 2016 Survey
An update of the long-term religious data available from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) surveys

Colin Coward is attending the Intimate Conviction Conference in Jamaica.
Intimate Conviction Conference opens in Jamaica
Intimate Conviction Conference - Day 1
Intimate Convictions Conference - Day 2 and Reflections

Rachel Treweek Gloucestershire Live Letter to my younger self by the Bishop of Gloucester

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Opinion - 11 October 2017

Connor Hammond Country Living A celeb in the countryside: Reverend Richard Coles
The vicar of Finedon, broadcaster and musician discusses the importance of community.

Kate Botley Church of England “It might boost my ego, but no one becomes a vicar because they saw it on TV”

Abdul-Azim Ahmed interviews Frank Cranmer, who with David Pocklington, runs the popular Religion and Law blog online.
On Religion Religion and Law: Interview with Frank Cranmer

Rachel Neaum WATCH A response to the use of ‘minority’ in Sir Philip Mawer’s review

Jeremy Morris ViaMedia.News A “Safe Space” for Liberalism?

Chris Burn Yorkshire Post How Yorkshire’s women of spirit paved the way for female priests

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Monday, 9 October 2017

Sydney diocese donates $1 million to No campaign

Updated again Saturday

Buzzfeed has reported: The Sydney Anglican Diocese Gave $1 Million To The “No” Campaign.

The Anglican Diocese of Sydney has donated $1 million to the “no” campaign in Australia’s postal survey on same-sex marriage.

Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies announced the hefty donation in his address to the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney on Monday afternoon.

He told the gathering that the diocese had been a founding member of the Coalition for Marriage, along with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Marriage Alliance and the Australian Christian Lobby.

“The Standing Committee has also enthusiastically backed our participation in the Coalition For Marriage and has taken the bold step of drawing down one million dollars from the Diocesan Endowment to promote the ‘no’ case,” he said.

Davies told the gathering that “the stakes are high and the cost is high”…

The archbishop’s address to synod can be read in full here, and there is a report on the diocesan website: Timeless gospel meets changing world which includes this:

…The Archbishop spoke of the challenges confronting society including, but not only, same-sex marriage.

The Diocese is a founding partner of the Coalition for Marriage, the group leading the No case. The Diocese of Sydney, along with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Marriage Alliance and the Australian Christian Lobby make up the major partners, but since its formation a further 80 organisations have joined in common cause.

“The Standing Committee has also enthusiastically backed our participation in the Coalition for Marriage and has taken the bold step of drawing down one million dollars from the Diocesan Endowment to promote the ‘No’ case. Brothers and sisters, the stakes are high and the cost is high. Yet the cause is just and it is a consequence of our discipleship to uphold the gift of marriage as God has designed it—a creation ordinance for all people. Dr Davies said he would “make no apology for encouraging all Australians, especially Anglicans, to vote ‘No’ in this postal survey. I believe that a change in the definition of marriage is unwarranted, not just because it is in opposition to the teaching of Scripture and our Lord himself in Matthew 19, but because I believe marriage, traditionally understood as a union of one man and one woman, is a positive good for our society, where marriage and the procreation of children are bound together as the foundational fabric of our society, notwithstanding the sad reality that not all married couples are able to conceive. Moreover, I consider the consequences of removing gender from the marriage construct will have irreparable consequences for our society, for our freedom of speech, our freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. It is disingenuous to think otherwise, given the evidence to the contrary in Canada, the US and the UK…

Updated
The Archbishop has published a further letter, here.

Muriel Porter reports in the Church Times Sydney diocese donates half a million to campaign opposing same-sex marriage.

Christian Today Harry Farley reports:Australia’s same-sex marriage referendum: Sydney clergy blast ‘extraordinary use of church money’ after diocese’s $1m donation to ‘no’ camp.

Guardian Anglicare faces internal ructions over Sydney diocese $1m no campaign donation

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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Opinion - 7 October 2017

Andrew Brown The Guardian Melvyn Bragg says kids should read the King James Bible. But is it too graphic?

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of Anglicanism; speaking of subsidiarity.

Bosco Peters Liturgy Praying Using Technology?

Hayley Matthews ViaMedia.News Primates Meetings – Who’d Be a Prophet?

Lucy Winkett and Sam Wells spoke on “Reforming Church” at St Martin in the Fields in London on 2 October. There are links to the full texts of the talks and to a podcast here. There is a shortened and edited version of Sam’s lecture in yesterday’s Church Times: It’s about abundant life, not hell-avoidance.
This was the second in an autumn series of public lectures on “Reformation” at St Martin in the Fields; the first was by Alister McGrath. Details of the series are here. Podcasts are added here after the event.

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Gravitational Waves

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Friday, 6 October 2017

Inclusive Church seeks new National Coordinator

From the Inclusive Church website:

IC Logo

NATIONAL CO-ORDINATOR

Could you implement the strategy of Inclusive Church and work with the Trustees to co-ordinate the work of Inclusive Church to ensure that the tradition of inclusion and diversity is celebrated and maintained?

Inclusive Church seeks a National Co-ordinator to succeed the Rev’d Bob Callaghan following his retirement at the end of 2017.

Inclusive Church is an educational charity promoting an inclusive interpretation of the Gospel, and commending the values of social justice. It reaches across a number of Christian denominations working with churches to encourage them to explore ways in which they become more inclusive. It is concerned with issues of disability, ethnicity, gender, mental health, poverty and sexuality. Inclusive Church is not a campaigning organisation.

This post is half-time (17.5 hours per week) and requires flexibility as no two weeks are the same. Remuneration is £17,955 (pro rata FTE £35,910) plus pension arrangements. Full expenses are paid.

The post requires travel throughout England, therefore the post-holder must have use of a car and a full driving licence.

An information pack and details about how to apply is available at www.inclusive-church.org/jobs.

Closing date for receipt of applications for the post is 12 noon on 30 October. Interviews will be held in central London on 11 November.

There is an occupational requirement that the post holder is a practicing Christian. The position is subject to an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The Board of Trustees is seeking to recruit additional voluntary Trustees and would be pleased to hear from you, especially if you have lived experience in the fields of ethnicity ,mental health or poverty. For information about this please contact the Chair: chair@inclusive-church.org.

This advertisement also appears today in both the paper edition of Church Times and on the website of Church Times.

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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Opinion - 4 October 2017

Philip Christopher Baldwin Gay Times “The Church of England remains a battleground and all LGBT+ people need to advocate for change.”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love False ideas in the church

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau Why progressives need God

Jonathan Draper Modern Church The Archbishop of Canterbury, irreconcilable difference and ‘copping out’

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

WATCH response to Mawer report on Sheffield

WATCH National Committee response to the Independent Reviewer’s Report on the Nomination to the See of Sheffield

The national committee of WATCH has now had time to read and discuss Sir Philip Mawer’s review into the nomination of +Philip North to the See of Sheffield and his subsequent withdrawal. We note Sir Philip’s conclusion that there were no villains, however there was a serious lack of forethought. It is clear that the question of whether the new bishop would be able to unequivocally affirm the ordained ministry of women was not widely discussed. +Philip was led to believe that the diocese was prepared for his appointment and was therefore placed in a difficult position when it became clear that many had serious questions about how this would work.

His reaction to the genuine questions and fears of the women clergy of the diocese shows his lack of understanding of how undermining his inability to fully affirm women’s sacramental ministry is to those who continue to minister in a church which cannot quite accept the equality which the wider society now enshrines in law. It seems incredible that nobody in the central Church of England appointments or communications departments thought that this would be a contentious appointment requiring sensitive pastoral work within both the diocese and the wider church.

The review highlights the need for more theological thinking about the five guiding principles. It also makes suggestions about the Crown Nomination Committee and the appointment process which can be picked up by the ongoing review of that process. WATCH’s response to the Sir Philip Mawer’s review and his recommendations is published below:

WATCH National Committee response to the Independent Review Oct 2017

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Monday, 2 October 2017

Primates Meeting opens in Canterbury

Updated again Tuesday afternoon

This week the Anglican Communion Primates Meeting will take place again in Canterbury. See Anglican leaders head to the Communion’s “Mother Church” for 2017 Primates’ Meeting.

Update An additional official page is now available: The Primates’ Meeting 2017: in-depth coverage

Biographies of all the primates are available here.

The Anglican Communion News Service has published a number of video messages and blog articles from various primates.

The Anglican Journal published Hiltz looking forward to talks on human trafficking at Primates’ Meeting.

Recent media coverage:

Kelvin Holdsworth wrote The Scottish Episcopal Church and the upcoming Primates’ Meeting.

The LGBTI Mission has published this briefing: Anglican Primates’ Meeting October 2017.

OneBodyOneFaith has published Calls for continued listening as Anglican Primates meet in Canterbury.

And we reported earlier the open letter to the primates from the General Synod Human Sexuality Group.

Updates

Church Times Primates meet in a spirit of ‘extraordinary’ warmth in Canterbury

THE Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury this week has begun in a spirit of “extraordinary” fellowship and warm collegiality, journalists were told on Tuesday.

One of the Primates’ first actions was to invite the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, the Most Revd Michael Curry, to pray at the beginning of evensong on Monday in response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Sources have described the fellowship among those at the closed gathering as “extraordinary”. Any suggestion that the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church — expected to be told of the “consequences” of his Church’s recent vote in favour of same-sex marriage (News, 29 September) — might feel uncomfortable was inaccurate…

Do read the whole report.

And there is also this: Anglican Primates express ‘shock and distress’ at Las Vegas massacre.

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Justin Welby and the BBC

On the Today programme on Saturday morning, the BBC broadcast a segment of a pre-recorded interview with Justin Welby, the rest of which has not yet been transmitted.

BBC Archbishop criticises BBC response to Jimmy Savile’s crimes

Listen here from 13 minutes to 17 minutes, for report by Martin Bashir.

And then again, from 1 hour 35 minutes, with a longer excerpt from the interview, followed by discussion, for nine minutes. This includes reports of reactions from abuse survivors who expressed strong criticism of the archbishop. They issued this statement.

This story was then picked up by other media:
Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury accused of hypocrisy by sexual abuse survivors
Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury criticises BBC’s handling of Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal
Daily Mail Archbishop of Canterbury accuses the BBC of lacking ‘integrity’ in its handling of Jimmy Savile abuse scandal

Later, this comment article from the Spectator attempted to explain what was happening: The BBC’s self-absorption has obscured Justin Welby’s real message

Other coverage included these items:

Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury accused of hypocrisy by sexual abuse survivors

Observer Justin Welby accuses BBC over Jimmy Savile abuse victims

The BBC Sunday programme has a discussion between Emily Buchanan and Harriet Sherwood about this, here (starting at 38.5 minutes in). Strongly recommended.

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