Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Andrew Chandler writes about Bishop George Bell

Andrew Chandler, the biographer of Bishop George Bell, gave the address at a service of fellowship and encouragement for all those who have been affected by false allegations of abuse which was held on Saturday 17th March 2018, at St James’s Church Piccadilly.

The full text can be read here.

FACT is a UK based, voluntary, not for profit organisation, founded more than 16 years ago, whose work is focused on providing support to those who have been accused of abuse who maintain their innocence and who have never carried out similar offences or pleaded guilty to such offences. More detail here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 April 2018 at 12:34pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

OneBodyOneFaith responds to William Nye

OneBody says “not in our name”: our open letter to William Nye

OneBodyOneFaith has sent a strongly-worded letter to William Nye after the emergence late last week of a letter he wrote last October to The Episcopal Church, on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council. Whilst acknowledging that he wrote only on behalf of members of the Council, of which he’s Secretary General, the wider membership of the Church of England will inevitably be associated by implication with his words - words which again more treat loving, committed same-sex couples as a ‘problem’ or an ‘issue’, not real people, created in the image of God.

OneBody wants to send a clear message to Mr Nye, and the wider Communion: not in our name…

You can download a copy of the letter here. And it is copied here below the fold.

The letter, signed by Canon Peter Leonard, OneBody’s Chair, and Tracey Byrne, Chief Executive, and copied to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and Archbishop Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, reads as follows:

Dear Mr Nye,

You will be aware that your previously undisclosed letter to The Episcopal Church has been met with anger, frustration and disappointment by many across the Church of England, on whose behalf you presume to speak. We wish to add the voices of our members to those calling for a more courageous, just and Christ-like response to what has become – we wish it were not so – the issue on which many will judge our church, and find it sorely wanting.

Your letter raises a wide range of issues – about governance and accountability, about process, about how the Holy Spirit might move in the lives and structures of the Body of Christ across generations and nations, about simple pastoral care and concern for those who don’t fit the received ‘norms’ we’ve imposed on people down the years. In particular, your focus on procreation seems to ride roughshod over all those who have ever known the anguish of unwanted childnessness, or the loss of a pregnancy. To them, and to all who bear the human costs of your carefully chosen words, we say: not in our name.

Perhaps we should share something of the response of LGBT people to the developments in TEC, since our voices so often seem absent in your pronouncements. We saw in ECUSA’s brave and costly decision some hope that change might come for us too. We saw our brothers and sisters listening intently to the Spirit speaking through the Body – and having listened, acting with courage, integrity and the determination to keep walking with Christ and with one another. And if it should prove impossible, to know that walking with Christ is our highest calling.

Your suggestion that such a move represents a challenge to our mission could not be further from the truth; our experience is that the inertia and simple refusal to listen which has characterised the Church of England for decades continues to be the single biggest missional disaster of our generation. It should not need saying, but it bears repeating: no-one is attracted to a group of Christians who profess the love of Christ but seem incapable of recognising it in the loving, committed relationships of two people. These matters are not disconnected.

Nor are such matters disconnected from the shocking statistics and stories of poor mental health amongst LGBT young people – statistics which bear out what we have long known, that young people in some Christian communities are especially impacted by the drip-drip of negativity and dismissal to which your words contribute.

If you are in any doubt about this, go and visit St James and Emmanuel in Manchester. They will talk to you about Lizzie Lowe, who was just 14 when she ended her life because she simply could not reconcile her faith and emerging sense of her identity as a gay young woman. Maybe the people of St James and Emmanuel would have a different sense of the impact of the steps ECUSA has taken; maybe, like us, it has given them hope. Or maybe, like so many others, the minutiae of Anglican Communion politics is no longer where their focus lies, and who could blame them? Maybe they are simply too caught up in seeking, finding, creating and sharing the good news of the kingdom with absolutely everyone, without exception, and in that are experiencing a renewed sense of the Spirit moving powerfully amongst and between them.

For decades we have watched the Communion used as an excuse for our failure to acknowledge the diversity of views in the Church of England, and to speak with integrity and courage the truth of our people. Now, as another province embarks on a different way of making gracious provision for diversity of integrities, it appears they are being blamed with impacting on the work of the working groups set up by the House of Bishops in the aftermath of the disastrous GS2055. The members of those groups with whom we’ve been able to engage are working courageously and prayerfully to hold in tension their various perspectives and to make room for meaningful change. It is disingenuous to seek to draw TEC into submission to the Church of England suggesting that this is for the sake of the Communion. TEC, the discernment and reception process are bigger than that, as is the provenance of the Holy Spirit.

We continue to look forward to a day when we are able to recognise love as just that. It is love which reveals the love of Christ, wherever we encounter it: in and between human beings, in all their diversity. We know we can’t just watch and wait; we will continue to hope and pray – drawing strength from ECUSA and the Scottish Episcopal Church. We remain committed to action too, knowing that change cannot come without our active participation, and learnt with sadness how slow the Church of England is to listen to us; and, as your letter to TEC bears witness, how inconvenient it is to see the power of God active in our lives.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 April 2018 at 7:08am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Monday, 23 April 2018

Sussex Police close their investigation into Bishop George Bell

There are numerous reports in the media about this.

Olivia Rudgard in the Telegraph has Bishop George Bell investigation dropped by Sussex Police

Chichester Observer Police drop sex abuse investigation into Bishop Bell

Church Times Police drop latest investigation into George Bell

…The statement makes it clear that the police have no current safeguarding concerns, and that, therefore, no further investigation is necessary.

A spokeswoman for the Church of England’s national safeguarding team said that they had been conducting their own separate investigation since the new information was received in January. “We cannot make any further comment until the investigation is completed,” she said…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 23 April 2018 at 3:30pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Opinion - 21 April 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of being senior
The theopolitics of disassociation

Gilo Surviving Church Society for the Protection of Bishops - Gilo’s response
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Honesty and integrity in the Church – a response to Gilo

Mark Clavier The Living Church Morning Diary of a Cathedral Canon

Lorraine Cavanagh ViaMedia.news IICSA – Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Marcus Green The Possibility of Difference Ethical Leadership

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 21 April 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Friday, 20 April 2018

William Nye writes to The Episcopal Church about marriage rites

Updated Sunday

Madeleine Davies has a report in the Church Times: Nye letter warns about same-sex marriage rites

PROPOSALS to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States will increase pressure in the Church of England to “dissociate” itself, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, has warned.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Mr Nye writes that, if the rites — written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples — are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, “the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC [the Episcopal Church], in all manner of ways, would increase”. Such a move would also be “potentially damaging” to work in the C of E to create a new teaching document on sexuality (News, 30 June), he writes….

The 8-page letter is contained in a file of responses from other Anglican Communion churches to a consultation request from The Episcopal Church for comments. This forms part of the materials prepared for the forthcoming General Convention in July.

The response from William Nye is now available separately here.

The response from the Scottish Episcopal Church is here.

There is also a response from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO).

And there are ecumenical responses too.

Updates

Reports of this letter have also appeared elsewhere:

The Times (behind paywall) Anglicans threaten split over ‘gay-friendly’ marriage rites

Premier American Anglicans would face ‘consequences’ over gender neutral wedding services

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 20 April 2018 at 7:03am BST | Comments (98) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | ECUSA | Scottish Episcopal Church

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Opinion - 18 April 2018

Simon Butler ViaMedia.News After IICSA: Facing Up to Clericalism

Richard Peers Quodcumque “Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?” : my life in two rituals

Gerald McDermott Patheos Why do Anglicans say they walk a Via Media?

Jonathan Arnold The Spectator The joy of evensong

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Opinion - 14 April 2018

In Christian Today Paul Richardson writes Senior clergy don’t need MBAs to deal with abuse
and Linda Woodhead responds Yes, theologies of forgiveness and confession have played a role in Church abuse and cover up

David Walker ViaMedia.News Challenging APCMs?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Too much sin and guilt, not enough forgiveness?

John Thomson Church Times Rural churches are open and here to stay
“Mission matters in the countryside — and the Church’s efforts can have a greater impact there than in the city”

The Hobson The Spectator Holy snowflakes: why young believers need to accept faith is controversial
“Are millennial churchgoers trying to make the church a safe space?”

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Doing theology in La La Land

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 14 April 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 12 April 2018

No requirement for CNC candidates to declare conflicts of interest

The Church Times reports: House of Laity panel upholds Synod member’s seat on Crown Nominations Commission

A REQUEST to invalidate the election of a member of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been rejected by an appeal panel, which has concluded that members are not required to declare conflicts of interest…

The full text of the decision of the panel can be found here.

At the time of writing, the final link in the Church Times report is broken, but it ought to be: Synod groupings rebut claims they are taking over the CNC

The O’Donovan report and related documents are linked in this report.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 5:46pm BST | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Opinion - 11 April 2018

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Are We in Love with Sin?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Self-examination and self-knowledge – missing essentials from the IICSA hearings

Andrew Brown The Guardian The NHS’s new humanist chaplain is a welcome sign of our shifting spirituality
“Formal religious belief may be falling off, but the need for ritual to mark major life events is still strong”

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Ozanne Foundation launched

The Ozanne Foundation, whose formation was announced last December, held a formal launch event on Monday.

This press release was issued: Ozanne Foundation Unveils Strategy to Combat Prejudice.

At the event, Bishop Paul Bayes, chair of the trustees, delivered this speech.

News reports of the event:

Guardian Rejection by C of E has driven LGBT people to suicide, bishop says

Christian Today Bishop and senior clergyman join calls for Church of England to lose equalities exemptions

Telegraph The Church of England should lose its exemption to discrimination laws, Dean of St Paul’s says

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 at 10:59pm BST | Comments (40) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Faith Leaders Condemn Two-child limit on Universal Credit

Sixty bishops have joined with other faith leaders to condemn the UK government Two-child limit on Universal Credit policy.

This has been very widely reported in the media.

C of E press release Bishops call for rethink on two-child limit

Bishop Paul Butler writes: A blessing not a burden: why every child should be valued equally

End Child Poverty report: Unhappy Birthday! The Two-Child Limit at One Year Old

End Child Poverty press release

The full text of the letter and the list of signatories is copied below the fold.

Text of letter:

Sir, Today the “two-child limit” policy, which restricts tax credit and universal credit to the first two children in a family, has been in place for a year. The policy is making it harder for parents to achieve a stable and resilient family life. By 2021, 640,000 families will have been affected. Most are low-earning working families, most have three children and some will have made decisions about family size when they were able to support children through earnings alone, but later claimed tax credits or universal credit after bereavement, redundancy, separation, disability, illness or simply low pay.

The policy is expected to tip an estimated extra 200,000 children into poverty. It also conveys the regrettable message that some children matter less than others, depending on their place in the sibling birth order.

It is a grave concern that there are likely to be mothers who will face an invidious choice between poverty and terminating an unplanned pregnancy.

Children are a private joy and a public good. They are all equally deserving of subsistence support.

Signatories:

The Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London;
the Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham;
Harun Khan, secretary general, Muslim Council of Britain;
Gillian Merron, chief executive, Board of Deputies of British Jews;
Dr Philip McCarthy, chief executive, Caritas Social Action Network;
Alison Garnham, chief executive, Child Poverty Action Group;
Shaykh Mohammad Yazdani Raza (Misbahi), London Fatwa Council;
Jill Baker, vice-president of the Methodist Conference 2017-18;
The Rev Loraine N Mellor, president of the Methodist Conference 2017-18;
Sam Royston, chairman, End Child Poverty Coalition;
Paul Parker, recording clerk, Quakers in Britain;
the Rt Rev Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester;
the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich;
the Rt Rev David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham;
the Rt Rev Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester;
the Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry;
the Rt Rev Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford;
the Rt Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans;
the Rt Rev James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle;
the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth;
the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford;
the Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester;
the Rt Rev Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely;
the Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark;
the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds;
the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury;
the Rt Rev Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester;
the Rt Rev Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle;
the Rt Rev Tim Thornton, Trustee of Feeding Britain;
the Rt Rev Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester;
the Rt Rev Richard Frith, Bishop of Hereford;
the Rt Rev Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham;
the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester;
the Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield;
the Rt Rev Dr Pete Wilcox, Bishop of Sheffield;
the Rt Rev Peter Eagles, Bishop of Sodor and Man;
the Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden;
the Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham;
the Rt Rev John Stroyan, Bishop of Warwick;
the Rt Rev Clive Gregory, Bishop of Wolverhampton;
the Rt Rev Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow;
the Rt Rev Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford;
the Rt Rev Richard Blackburn, Bishop of Warrington;
the Rt Rev Geoff Annas, Bishop of Stafford;
the Rt Rev John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth;
the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, Bishop of Lynn;
the Rt Rev Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney;
the Rt Rev Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon;
the Rt Rev Dr Edward Condry, Bishop of Ramsbury;
the Rt Rev Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley;
the Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon;
the Rt Rev Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley;
the Rt Rev Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes;
the Rt Rev Paul Ferguson, Bishop of Whitby;
the Rt Rev Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby;
the Rt Rev David Court, Bishop of Grimsby;
the Rt Rev Roger Morris, Bishop of Colchester;
the Rt Rev David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke;
the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs, Bishop of Huddersfield;
the Rt Rev Dr Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford;
the Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley;
the Rt Rev Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone;
the Rt Rev Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington;
the Rt Rev Rod Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton;
the Rt Rev Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston;
the Rt Rev Jan McFarlane, Bishop of Repton;
the Rt Rev Mark Tanner, Bishop of Berwick;
the Rt Rev Robert Springett, Bishop of Tewksbury;
the Rt Rev Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Loughborough

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 7 April 2018 at 3:18pm BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Opinion - 7 April 2018

Jeremy Morris Viamedia.News IICSA – Is Clericalism to Blame?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church A response to Martin Warner on Safeguarding
[We linked to Martin Warner’s article yesterday.]

Wealands Bell Preaching in red ink

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 7 April 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Friday, 6 April 2018

Safeguarding needs a major overhaul

Today the Church Times has a two page spread of articles following up on the IICSA hearings.

Leader comment: Safeguarding: the next steps

…These pages contain a range of different perspectives on how to tackle sexual abuse; and yet there is a common desire to make safeguarding comprehensive and effective. This sounds like stating the obvious. There is a danger, however, pointed out most clearly by Josephine Anne Stein, that the type of safeguarding being promoted throughout the Church is modelled on a pattern designed to protect institutions from prosecution. A Christian organisation must do better than this…

Martin Warner Safeguarding: what we got wrong, and the steps we are taking to put it right

Linda Woodhead Forget culture. It’s a new theology we need

Anonymous: Sex-offender asks: are only the righteous called to repentance?

Josephine Anne Stein: The safeguarding overhaul that’s needed

…Safeguarding in the Church of England has burgeoned into a procedural, bureaucratic, and bloated industry that does not appear to be effective either in responding to abuse or in preventing further abuse. When checked earlier this year, the C of E’s safeguarding policy posted on the National Safeguarding Team’s website consisted of 364 separate pages…

…THERE are alternative approaches to safeguarding within the healthcare sector, grounded in the development of professional ethics, the regular assessment of fitness to practise, and professional discipline.

There are also alternatives to formal safeguarding complaints procedures that combine knowledge and experience from occupational psychology, specialist social work, and restorative justice, much of which is unfamiliar within the Church.

Furthermore, there are inexpensive and empowering ways to improve knowledge and understanding of both the causes of and responses to abuse in different constituencies within the Church — a bottom-up approach in contrast to current centralised, top-down training. If everyone in the Church is responsible for safeguarding, everyone is also responsible for ownership of safeguarding…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 6 April 2018 at 8:50am BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Opinion - 4 April 2018

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Simon Jenkins Writes Drivel
Jules Middleton apples of gold In Defence of the Church - a response to Simon Jenkins…

David Ison ViaMedia.News The Challenge of Harmonious Difference

Two more primatial Easter messages
Primus Mark Strange
Moderator Thomas K Oommen
[These have all been taken from the list compiled by the Anglican Communion News Service]

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 4 April 2018 at 10:03am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion