Saturday, 26 May 2018

Opinion - 26 May 2018

Paul Bayes Bishop of Liverpool A rule of life

Theo Hobson The Spectator Will the Church’s division over women clergy re-ignite?

Ruth Wilde Inclusive Church Race, class and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon
James Woodward ViaMedia.News Royal Wedding – Finding a Voice
[There is a transcipt of Bishop Curry’s sermon here and a video here.]

Emma Ash Church Times The cost of discerning a call is too high for some
“Working-class candidates need more financial help during the discernment process”

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Bishop of Norwich to retire

The Bishop on Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, has announced that he will be retiring early next year.

Bishop of Norwich announces retirement

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Thursday, 24 May 2018

General Synod Agenda for July

The Business Committee of General Synod has today published the agenda for the July Group of Sessions in York.

The published information can be read here and is copied in full below the fold.

GENERAL SYNOD: JULY 2018 TIMETABLE

Friday 6 July 2.30 pm – 7.00 pm

2.30 pm Opening worship
Introduction and welcomes

2.45 pm Address from the Ecumenical Guests

3.15pm Address from the Anglican Communion Guests

3.45 pm Report by the Business Committee

Legislative Business – Special Agenda I

*4.15 pm Ecumenical Relations Measure, Amending Canon No. 38 and C of E (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure - Final Drafting (Article 7 business)

Church Property Measure and Church of England Pensions Measure – Final Approval

Amending Canon No.40 – First Consideration

*5.45 pm Questions

7.00 pm Close of business

7.00 – 7.15 pm Worship

Saturday 7 July

7.00 am Holy Communion in the Berrick Saul Theatre

8.00 am Meeting of the House of Bishops for the purposes of the Article 7 business.

9.00 am – 12.30 pm

9.00 am Morning worship

9.15 am Presidential Address from the Archbishop of York

9.45 am Presentation on Safeguarding with questions

10.30 am Debate on a motion on Safeguarding from the House of Bishops

*12.00 pm An introduction to Saturday afternoon seminars led by the Chair of the Business Committee

12.40 pm – 2.30 pm Lunch

2.30 pm – 7.00 pm

2.30 – 7.00 pm Seminars and workshops will be held on a number of topics. Details of the content and logistics of these will be available on the Agenda and corresponding GS Misc paper.
A prayerful space will be open throughout.

8.00 pm Meeting of the House of Clergy

Sunday 8 July

10.00 am Holy Communion in York Minster

2.30 pm – 7.00 pm

2.30 pm Presentation on the 2015 Synod resolution on Climate Change and Investment from the National Investing Bodies and the Diocese of Oxford

3.00 pm Debate on a motion from the National Investing Bodies

4.30 pm Truro/London Environment DSM

*5.45 pm Debate on a motion from the Ministry and Public Affairs Council on the Ethics of Nuclear Weapons

7.00 pm Close of business

7.00 – 7.15 pm Worship

Monday 9 July

7.00 am Holy Communion in the Berrick Saul Theatre

Either

If a reference is claimed on any of the items of Article 7 business:

- meetings of the Convocations and the House of Laity will be held between 9.00 and 9.45 am to consider the reference (with morning worship included); and

- the Synod will meet from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm in the Central Hall with the business
as scheduled below, other than Morning worship and the Presentation on the Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report.

Or

If a reference is not claimed on any of the items of Article 7 business, the Synod will meet from 9.00 am to 12.30 pm in the Central Hall with the business as scheduled below.

9.00 am Morning worship

9.15 am Presentation on Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report with questions

*10.00 am Archbishops’ Council Budget 2019

Legislative Business – Special Agenda I

*11.00 am Ecumenical Relations Measure, Amending Canon No. 38 and C of E (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure - Final Approval (subject to the outcome of the Article 7 references)

Church Representation and Ministers Measure and Amending Canon No. 39 – Revision Stage
[Further] C of E (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure and Amending Canon No. 41 – First Consideration

Deemed business if a debate is required: Pensions (Preconsolidation) Order 2018; usual Fees Orders; and Code of Practice in relation to Bishops’ Mission Orders

12.30 pm – 2.30 pm Lunch

2.30 pm – 7.00 pm

2.30 pm Legislative Business – Special Agenda I (continued)

Items scheduled for the morning of Monday 9 July that have not been completed or reached will be taken here.

4.30 pm Carlisle DSM on the long term sustainability of the NHS

5.30 pm Presentation on the Church Commissioners’ Annual Report with questions

*6.00 pm Debate on the final Report of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group

7.00 pm Close of business7.00 – 7.15 pm Worship

Tuesday 10 July

7.00 am Holy Communion in the Berrick Saul Theatre

9.00 am – 1.00 pm

9.00 am Morning worship

9.15 am Re-appointment of the Chair of the Pensions Board

9.45 am Re-appointment of the Chair of the Archbishops’ Council Finance Committee

10.15 am Presentation on the Cathedrals Working Group Report with questions

10.45 am Debate on a motion on the Cathedrals Working Group Report

12.00 pm Amendments from the Standing Orders Committee (I)

*12.30 pm Farewells

*1.00 pm Prorogation

Contingency Business

Private Members Motion on Homeless Task Force – 121 signatures (Andrew Gray, Norwich)

Deemed Items

Amendments from the Standing Orders Committee (II)

Take note debate on the Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report

  • not later than

Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk

Questions Deadline: 12 noon 26 June 2018

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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Report from May House of Bishops

The Report from the May meeting of the House of Bishops of the Church of England was released today. The text is copied belw the fold.

Report from May House of Bishops

23/05/2018

The House of Bishops met in York at Bishopthorpe Palace on 21st and 22nd of May.

The agenda covered safeguarding, the Lambeth Conference in 2020, the future of ministry, and engaging children and young people more completely in the life of the Church.

The House heard an update from Phil George, Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference Company on the planning and preparation of the 2020 Lambeth Conference, God’s Church for God’s World from 24th July to 3rd August 2020.

The House considered the Church’s current involvement with children and young people and committed to prioritising their needs more effectively in the future. There was some discussion about the mutual and complementary roles played by Church, school and family in shaping young people’s perceptions of faith and ideas were shared on how all three could collaborate more closely together. The conversation took place in the context of the Church’s broader work on Setting God’s People Free; encouraging people to live out their commitment to Christianity seven days a week. The Archbishop of York announced that the All Churches Trust had awarded a £500k grant over the next three years to expand the Young Leaders Award project nationally. To date 63,000 young people in Northern England have benefitted from the programme of leadership development.

The House heard a presentation from the Bishop of Stepney on the final report of the Cathedrals Working Group which will be published this summer.

The House discussed the emerging themes of the last set of hearings from the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), reflecting on the ongoing need to address safeguarding effectively at a local level.

The House explored the future of ministry considering diverse aspects including discernment, selection, training and lifelong learning. The ongoing imperative to attract candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds remains clear.

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Opinion - 23 May 2018

Jeremy Morris ViaMedia.News From Windrush to Windsor: Who Do We Think We Are?

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the Church 2: kingdom of God or cult of Christ?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding, IICSA and the Care of Survivors

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

TEC proposals for same-sex marriage

Updated

Following up on the letter from William Nye to TEC, the actual proposals to come before the General Convention in July were the subject of analysis by Andrew Goddard, earlier this month (I had missed his article until today).

“Communion Partners” and Marriage Doctrine and Liturgy in The Episcopal Church (USA)

An article, written from the perspective of one of the TEC bishops opposed to these changes, can be found here: Reconstructive Surgery on the Prayer Book? by Bishop Dan Martins.

And yesterday, there was This Source of Doctrine and Unity Requires Our Care by Bishop John Bauerschmidt.

Updates

Scott Gunn has also written about this proposal: Study of Marriage.

Bishop George Sumner has issued a pastoral letter on the same subject.

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Saturday, 19 May 2018

Church of England opposes end to civil partnerships

The British government has reported that previous consultations on the future of civil partnerships were inconclusive. It has therefore issued this: The Future Operation of Civil Partnership: Gathering Further Information.

This raises the possibility of opening civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples or of abolishing civil partnerships for the future. Here’s how the document begins:

  1. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 enabled same-sex couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationship by registering a civil partnership at a time when marriage for same-sex couples was not available. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 allowed same-sex couples to enter a marriage from 29 March 2014, or convert their civil partnership into a marriage from 10 December 2014.
  2. The Government has consulted twice on the continued operation of civil partnerships: in 2012 during the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, and again in 2014. In those consultations, we invited views on three possible options; whether civil partnerships should be:
    - abolished
    - closed to new registrations
    - extended to allow opposite-sex couples to register a civil partnership
  3. Taken together, there was no consensus about how civil partnerships should change. Due to the lack of available evidence in support of any of the above options, and the lack of consensus on a particular change, the Government decided not to make any changes to civil partnerships at the time.
  4. This policy paper sets out how the Government will gather additional information. When this work is completed, the Government should have the information it needs to bring forward proposals for the future of civil partnerships.

The Church Times reports (scroll down) that:

Support for civil partnerships. Civil partnerships should not be abolished, the Church’s Director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown said this week, after the Government’s Equalities Office suggested that their future was uncertain.

In a paper published last week, the Office says that, if demand for civil partnerships remains low, “this might suggest that same-sex couples no longer see this as a relevant way of recognising their relationships, and that the Government should consider abolishing or phasing out civil partnerships entirely.”

There were 890 civil partnerships registered in 2016 in England and Wales, down from an average of 6305 from 2007 to 2013. The paper says that, by September 2019, a “proportionate amount of evidence” will have been gathered to enable the Office “to be confident in the ongoing level of demand”.

“We believe that Civil Partnerships still have a place, including for some Christian LGBTI couples who see them as a way of gaining legal recognition of their relationship,” Dr Brown said. “We hope [they] will remain an option.”

We recently published an article reporting on how civil partnerships had been viewed in 2007: Civil Partnerships: a look back at 2007.

Michael Sadgrove has drawn attention to an even earlier article we published, in 2006: civil partnerships: another bishop’s view.

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Opinion - 19 May 2018

Hayley Matthews ViaMedia.News Royal Weddings & Lady Bishops – Time for Change?

Harry Farley Christian Today Michael Curry: Who is the Royal wedding preacher who backs gay marriage and opposes Trump?

Lucy Winkett Church Times What is the significance of Pentecost? A test of spirit, and the challenge of bearing witness

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Institutions defend themselves – Barrow Hospital and C/E compared

Harriet Sherwood interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury for The Guardian Justin Welby: ‘I’m nervous about dropping the rings at the royal wedding’

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Friday, 18 May 2018

Bishops and Safeguarding

There are two items in today’s Church Times that relate to this subject.

Letter to the editor (scroll down)
The House of Bishops and abuse survivors

From Mr Andrew Graystone

Sir, — At the General Synod in February, the House of Bishops once again promised a “new culture” in the way that the Church relates to victims of its abuse (News, 16 February). Since then, there has been no indication of what that new culture might look like, or how or when it will be realised. Indeed, since February there has been minimal contact between the bishops and victims.

The suggestion in a private letter that the National Safeguarding Team is “in the process of developing the terms of reference for a Working Group on Cultural Change” caused hearty laughter among weary victims.

When pressed, individual bishops have dropped hints that “something is being worked out” and will be revealed in due course. This is inadequate for at least two reasons.

The first is that it fails to recognise that the climate of nods and winks, secrecy, and fixing things up in private, is precisely the environment in which abuse thrives. Bishops working things out behind closed doors is the problem; it cannot also be the solution.

The second is that the bishops have yet to face the fact that they are neither qualified nor equipped to fix the Church’s problems in this area. By definition, many have risen to the top through abusive cultures. They are unable to recognise their own privilege and are unwilling to admit their own victimhood. They are horses trying to muck out their own stable.

Until the Bishops admit their inadequacy in this area and call on victims and independent experts to advise, all they will succeed in doing is spreading the muck around.

ANDREW GRAYSTONE
17 Rushford Avenue
Manchester M19 2HG

And there is a brief news item headed Welby ‘will take no further action’ against Croft over abuse case (scroll down)

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has declined to discipline the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, over alleged failings to handle properly a disclosure of abuse. The Revd Matthew Ineson, who says that he was raped while a child by another cleric, the late Trevor Devamanikkam (News, 16 March), made a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure against Dr Croft. Mr Ineson said that Dr Croft did not take any action after being told about the alleged abuse. Mr Ineson said that he had received a letter from Archbishop Welby which said that he “will take no further action”. The Archbishop said, however, that he would ensure that Dr Croft undertook further safeguarding training and understood his responsibilities as a diocesan bishop. Mr Ineson said that he was prepar­ing to appeal against Archbishop Welby’s decision not to discipline Dr Croft.

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Bishop of Huntingdon to retire

David Thomson, the suffragan Bishop of Huntingdon in the Diocese of Ely, has announced that he will retire in autumn 2018.

Retirement Announcement: The Rt Revd Dr David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon

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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Opinion - 16 May 2018

Craig D’Alton humane catholic An alternate statement on marriage equality, which could have been made by the Anglican bishops of Australia, but wasn’t …

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the church 1: whose kingdom come?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Bishops as Managers – Empathy begins to die

David Walker ViaMedia.News Lost in Translation – Speaking in Differing Tongues

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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Lichfield diocese seeks to welcome LGBT+ people

The four bishops of the Diocese of Lichfield have issued an ad clerum letter on this subject.

Here is the press release: Welcoming and honouring LGBT+ people

The bishops of Lichfield Diocese are calling for a Church where LGBT+ people feel welcomed and honoured.

In a letter sent to all clergy and lay ministers in the diocese, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave; the Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Geoff Annas; the Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory; and the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands, emphasise that “everyone has a place at the table.”

The letter updates clergy on discussions underway in the national Church on the ‘radical Christian inclusion’ called for by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and draws attention to the work being done on a major new Teaching Document…

Here is the full text of the letter: To all clergy and licensed lay ministers in the Diocese of Lichfield. Part of this is copied below the fold. But do read the entire letter.

There was also an earlier press release: ‘Safe Space’ for LGBT Christians

OneBodyOneFaith has issued a statement: OneBody welcomes letter from Lichfield bishops.

Tracey Byrne said:

“…Much of what the bishops say, shouldn’t really need saying, but sadly it does. Only this week we heard from a gay couple in another part of the country whose vicar has told them they can’t serve on any church committee, and we know too of couples whose vicar has refused to baptise their children. The kind of intrusive and abusive questioning of individuals condemned in the letter really does happen. People feel ashamed, hurt and confused when they encounter this kind of behaviour from people in positions of power and authority. It’s an affront to the gospel, and deeply damaging of individuals.”

Peter Leonard said:

“It’s my hope that the work being undertaken by Lichfield diocese, and this clear statement, will send a very strong signal – to LGBT+ people that they’re welcomed and valued on equal terms with our brothers and sisters. And to those who seek to treat us as a problem, to harm and dismiss us and deny our gifts and callings – that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated. What we need to see now is other bishops issuing similar guidance. But this first step by Lichfield is very much welcomed.”

Extract from the ad clerum:

In this letter we address some of the pastoral dimensions of these issues. We do not here discuss contested theological or ethical questions.In particular, in this letter we do not address the issue of blessing same-sex relationships, or of same-sex marriage. Rather, we are writing here about issues faced by all of us as we seek to live alongside others in the Church which is the Body of Christ.

Our basic principle is that all people are welcome in God’s Church: everyone has a place at the table. There is no theological problem with simply providing welcome, an extension of the welcome that God continually offers to each of us. This, we believe, is the starting point of that radical Christian inclusion for which the Archbishops have called.

Such radical Christian inclusion brings practical consequences for our local churches and for our Diocese as a whole, and we highlight some of these here:

  1. It is the responsibility of all Christians, but especially those who hold the Bishop’s Licence as clergy or lay ministers, to ensure that all people know that there is a place at the table for them. Those of us with preaching, teaching and pastoral responsibility need continually to be aware of the personal and sensitive nature of these issues. When speaking publicly we are likely to be talking to some who might disagree from a place of deeply held conviction central to their Christian identity. It is not enough simply to preach or teach on such sensitive topics without recognizing that our words may have a deep effect on people’s lives, loves and relationships. It is not right to conceal our ethical and theological views, but we all need to tread gently when we express them and be ready to listen sensitively to those for whom our words might be difficult.
  2. Intrusive questioning about someone’s sexual practices or desires, or their experience of gender, is almost always inappropriate. It is also unacceptable to tell or insinuate to people that sexual orientation or gender identity will be changed by faith, or that homosexuality or gender difference is a sign of immaturity or a lack of faith. In our pastoral ministries we may well need to listen to and talk with people about their sexual practices and desires, or their gender identity, if they bring such issues to us. We may also be asked to pray with people who for any reason are troubled by their sexual desires or practices or their gender identity. We need to be highly attentive to people when they approach us asking for counsel and prayers on these deepest aspects of their life. We must be alert to the power relations involved in such prayers and conversations, and the possibility of spiritual or emotional abuse.
  3. We want to make clear that nobody should be excluded or discouraged from receiving the Sacraments of Baptism or the Lord’s Supper on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Note that in all cases excommunication is reserved to the diocesan bishop (Canon B16).
  4. We wish to affirm that LGBT+ people can be called to roles of leadership and service in the local church. We very much hope that they, like everyone else, feel encouraged to serve on PCCs, or as churchwardens and worship leaders, for instance, and are supported in exploring vocations to licensed lay and ordained ministries. Nobody should be told that their sexual or gender identity in itself makes them an unsuitable candidate for leadership in the Church.
  5. Finally, we wish both to acknowledge the great contribution that LGBT+ Christians are making, and have made, to the Church in this diocese, and to highlight the need for mission within the LGBT+ community more broadly. As Archbishop Justin has made clear, the perception that the Church is homophobic and transphobic is harming our mission, especially to young people. We need to challenge this perception by reaching out to LGBT+ people with the good news of God’s love, modelling God’s welcome and care for all people.
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Vivienne Faull to be next Bishop of Bristol

Press release from Number 10

Queen appoints new Bishop of Bristol
The Queen has approved the appointment of a new Bishop of Bristol.

Published 15 May 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Vivienne Frances Faull, MA, Dean of York, in the diocese of York, for election as Bishop of Bristol in succession to the Right Reverend Michael Arthur Hill, on his resignation on the 30th September 2017.

There are more details on the Bristol diocesan website: Very Revd Vivienne Faull announced as the next Bishop of Bristol.
Her consecration is scheduled for 3 July 2018.

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Monday, 14 May 2018

Church Commissioners results for 2017

The Church Commissioners have released their annual report for 2017 this morning, along with this press release:

Church Commissioners for England announce return of 7.1% on investments for 2017 and forecast muted earnings in medium term

The full press release is copied below the fold, but it starts with these highlights:

  • Investable assets increase in 2017 to £8.3bn from £7.9bn in 2016.
  • Financial support by the Commissioners totalled (excluding pensions) £144 million with Commissioners continuing to account for approximately 15% of the Church’s overall mission and ministry costs.
  • Church Commissioners prepare for outlook of higher interest rates, higher volatility and lower returns than recent years.

Hattie Williams has written in detail about the report for Church Times: Church Commissioners remain bountiful despite large drop in investment returns

The full report, and a summary review, are available for download.
Church Commissioners Annual Report 2017
Church Commissioners Annual Review 2017

Church Commissioners for England announce return of 7.1% on investments for 2017 and forecast muted earnings in medium term

14/05/2018

  • Investable assets increase in 2017 to £8.3bn from £7.9bn in 2016.
  • Financial support by the Commissioners totalled (excluding pensions) £144 million with Commissioners continuing to account for approximately 15% of the Church’s overall mission and ministry costs.
  • Church Commissioners prepare for outlook of higher interest rates, higher volatility and lower returns than recent years.

The Church Commissioners for England published today financial results for 2017 and the year’s Annual Report.

The Church Commissioners’ total return on its investments in 2017 was 7.1%, compared to its target of 9.1% (RPI +5%) and 2016’s return of 17.1%. Over the past 30 years the fund has achieved an average return of 9.4% per annum.

Active management in 2017 was an important contributor to gains in public equities and real assets while bond markets were relatively weak. Sterling strength had an impact on performance, as did being globally diversified across multiple asset classes, resulting in the fund doing less well than equities markets which were the strongest source of returns in 2017. Liquid reserves continue to be held by the fund to reinvest selectively when valuations recalibrate.

The Church Commissioners distribute returns from the fund into the Church of England, accounting for approximately 15% of the Church’s running costs. Funding is targeted towards mission opportunities and those areas which are most in need, as well as meeting ongoing responsibilities for bishops, cathedrals and clergy pensions.

In 2017 non-pension support for the Church by the Commissioners totalled £144 million, up from £108.5 million in 2016. Support for mission activities totalled £56 million, Diocese and Ministry Support £37million and Bishops and Cathedrals support totalled £44million. Overall expenditure was at £226.2 million – down from last year due to lower pensions obligations.

First Church Estates Commissioner Loretta Minghella commented:

“Mindful of our mandate to support the Church of today and the Church of tomorrow, consistency over the long term continues to be a guiding principle of the fund. While this year’s performance at 7.1% was short of our target of 9.1% (RPI + 5%), our historic performance over a 30-year period shows annual growth of 9.4% per annum (target 8.4%) and 12.4 over five years (target 7.4)

“The macro economic environment is changing and anticipating muted returns in the future we will continue to develop our focus on non-traditional asset classes. Our perpetual endowment and long-term horizon is well suited to maximising returns from less liquid markets including venture capital.

“We continue to be at the forefront of responsible investment practice. Taking account of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is an intrinsic part of being a good long-term investor, for both ethical and financial reasons, and forms an essential part of our investment analysis and decision-making process. The Church Commissioners have a unique opportunity and responsibility as leading faith investors to work with partners towards the common good”

Andrew Brown, Secretary of the Church Commissioners, said:

“The Church Commissioners continue to fund the Church’s ongoing running costs with a 15% contribution. Part of that included in 2017 the Church Commissioners’ Strategic Development Funding for 23 projects spread over 20 dioceses, totaling £44 million. We are pleased to continue to play our part in funding the long-term future of the Church as we remain forever mindful of our obligation to manage the fund in perpetuity”.

Investment highlights:

  • Equities: In 2017 the Commissioners’ equity portfolio generated strong returns of 15.9%, outperforming the market, which returned 13.2%.
  • Fixed income: The portfolio, which includes investments in global high- yield bonds, emerging market debt and private credit, returned 4.8% in 2017 as credit markets rallied due to continued economic growth and improvements in corporate earnings.
  • Private Equity: The private equity portfolio, which invests in unlisted companies, achieved a total return of 7.2% in 2017 and we made further commitments totalling £109 million to the portfolio during the year. Over the long term, the private equity portfolio has significantly outperformed quoted equity markets and we are looking to increase our allocation.
  • Real Assets: On the back of strong performance in previous years, financial returns from the real assets portfolio were much more muted in 2017, delivering 4.0%.
    Property: Commercial property markets continued to perform strongly with a return of 10.5% but other markets, including London residential property and English farmland, were flatter. The strengthening of sterling against the dollar acted as a headwind for overseas holdings.

Responsible Investment and Engagement highlights:

  • The climate-change resolution we co-filed at ExxonMobil received 62% support from shareholders, despite strong opposition from the Board. The company has since agreed to and published the reporting we requested.
  • The Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) was launched at the London Stock Exchange, and has since grown to be used by asset owners and managers managing over £5 trillion of assets.
  • The Commissioners’ engagement team undertook 112 engagements with companies over the course of the year, largely focused on priorities around climate change, extractive industries, executive remuneration, board diversity and governance.
  • The Commissioners voted in over 1,300 company meetings over the course of the year, and voted against 50% of remuneration packages at UK-listed companies.

Documents

Church Commissioners Annual Report 2017
Church Commissioners Annual Review 2017

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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Bishop Sarah Mullally installed in London

From the website of the diocese:

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE has been installed as the 133rd Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral. The service coincided with International Nurses Day, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, echoing Bishop Sarah’s own former career in the NHS as a nurse, including as Chief Nursing Officer, before her ordination.

Clergy, staff and friends, from across the Diocese of London, the wider capital, and the Church of England, came together as Bishop Sarah followed the tradition of knocking three times on the Cathedral’s Great West Door with her pastoral staff, marking the beginning of the installation. The full-service sheet can be accessed here [below].

Bishop Sarah’s sermon, on the theme of ‘being subversive for Christ’, remarked that 105 years ago this week, suffragettes placed a bomb under the same seat in which she had just been enthroned as the first woman to be Bishop of London. She also spoke of the need to challenge injustice and inequality, and of the pivotal role the Church has to play across London.

Order of Service for the Installation

Sermon by Bishop Sarah at her Installation in St Paul’s Cathedral

Her biography and links to some other news articles

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Saturday, 12 May 2018

Opinion - 12 May 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of ‘thy kingdom come.’

Meg Warner ViaMedia.News Trauma, Churches & People’s Rites

Richard Kellow Church Times Questions for Fresh Expressions
“The closure of a pioneer ministry prompts searching observations from Richard Kellow”

Malcolm Brown Church Times Society needs us to be Anglican, not sectarian
“The C of E’s ability to hold together different points of view has much to teach politicians, says Malcolm Brown”

Peter Hitchens First Things Latimer and Ridley are forgotten
“A Protestant understanding of England’s Martyrs”

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 11:07am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Friday, 11 May 2018

Australia: House of Bishops agreement on same-sex marriage

Updated Saturday

Muriel Porter reports in the Church Times Setback to same-sex weddings in Australia.

BISHOPS in Australia have declared that it is not “appropriate” for same-sex weddings to take place in Anglican churches or halls, or the chapels of Anglican schools or other Anglican organisations, given the Church’s doctrine of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

They will give “further consideration” to the appropriate content of informal prayer for same-sex couples outside a public service, as well as to the difference between blessing and solemnising a marriage, and the issues involved in Anglican officials’ being present at a same-sex marriage or blessing.

The Anglican Church’s response to the passing of same-sex marriage legislation in Australia late last year (News, 15 December) was decided at the Bishops’ annual meeting, held in March, in Canberra…

The full text of the document is now available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 6:36pm BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Church of Australia

Ireland: House of Bishops statement on Sexuality

from a press release:

House of Bishops Issue Statement to General Synod on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief

The Church of Ireland marriage service remains unchanged and marriage may be solemnised only between a man and a woman, the House of Bishops said today in a statement to General Synod in Armagh.

Their statement on human sexuality in the context of Christian belief was read by the Bishop of Meath and Kildare, the Most Revd Pat Storey, on behalf of the House of Bishops. It noted that the issue had been passed to the House of Bishops following the conclusion of the work of the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief at General Synod last year.

The archbishops and bishops said that it had been noted that following the production of the Guide to Human Sexuality, there was little appetite to discuss further these issues in parishes.

“It would seem that there is no consensus in General Synod, the House of Bishops, or in the church island–wide to change the Canons of the Church of Ireland on the matter of marriage. Thus the Church of Ireland marriage service remains unchanged and marriage may be solemnised only between a man and a woman. No liturgy or authorised service is provided therefore for any other situation. As the archbishops and bishops have already made clear to the clergy of the Church of Ireland, it is not possible to proscribe the saying of prayers in personal and pastoral situations, but if clergy are invited to offer prayer after a same sex marriage, any such prayer must remain consonant with the spirit and teaching of the Church of Ireland,” the statement reads.

The statement concludes: “It is widely recognised that there is no simple solution for these and other issues of human sexuality; but with compassion, humility and concern, we offer our continued commitment to attentive listening and to respectful discussion. We ask that all members of Synod who continue to hold strong opinions do so with integrity and compassion, and to also hold in prayer before God the challenging diversity that exists within the Church of Ireland”.

The full text of the statement is available here as a PDF.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 5:03pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Nigerian primate calls for Nigeria to leave the Commonwealth

A report in the Nigerian newspaper, The Guardian, is headlined Britain urges Nigeria, others to legalise same-sex marriage.

British reports of the speech by Theresa May contain no mention of same-sex marriage, but refer only to laws criminalising same-sex relationships across the Commonwealth.

See for example these reports:

BBC Theresa May ‘deeply regrets’ UK’s colonial anti-gay laws

Guardian [UK newspaper] Theresa May says she deeply regrets Britain’s legacy of anti-gay laws

Nevertheless, the Nigerian report continues:

…In swift reactions, some leading Nigerian religious leaders rejected the call for same-sex marriage.

The Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, who was bitter with May’s call, said Nigeria should pull out of the Commonwealth.

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who spoke to The Guardian on phone from Rome, said: “In my church, we condemn same-sex marriage. The National Assembly has clearly taken a position that is very much in line with that. It is also against our culture, which considers it as an abomination.

“Theresa May can say whatever she likes, but I hope that our own leaders know what is good for our people. I think she should also think of releasing the looted funds in their banks if she really wants to help us. The era of imperialism is over. I don’t know whether the Commonwealth has now become a legislative assembly. It is not a place where you legislate for everybody. We should let her know that we do not want it.”

“This is Nigeria, we have our values. I am sure our president understands that. Our relationship with the Commonwealth does not cause us to sell out our values.”

And there are further quotes from other Christian and Muslim leaders.

Another report: Disregard Teresa May’s counsel on same-sex marriage, CAN tells Buhari

Hat tip to George Conger, who recently reported on this: Okoh urges Nigeria quit the Commonwealth. He also noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury had described the Commonwealth as a “blessing to the world”. And also here.

The Anglican Communion News Service reports today that the Archbishop of Canterbury urges African Anglican leaders to shape the world

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told African Anglican leaders that the strength of the Church on the continent is a gift to the world and that is has the ability to shape the globe – but it must move forward. Speaking at a regional primates meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) in Kenya, Archbishop Justin Welby said the Church in the region was full of life and energy. It had grown and had enormous power even though Africa had often struggled economically.

In a wide ranging address, Archbishop Justin urged CAPA leaders to learn from the mistakes of the Global North – to be wary of individualism and not to be complacent about the numbers of young people currently in churches across the continent…

It seems he did not mention decriminalisation.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 3:15pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

New Zealand approves same-sex blessings

Updated Saturday

Anglican Taonga reports: Yes to blessings

…The Anglican Church this morning has paved the way for the blessing of same gender relationships.

At 11:20 this morning, by majority vote, General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui passed Motion No 7 – which is the motion which accepts the report and recommendations of the Motion 29 small working group.

That acceptance is subject to the appointment of a select committee which will consider and report back to General Synod – before it finishes today – on a range of detail which the Synod must be sorted before the passage of the constitutional and canonical changes necessary to give the decision effect.

The decision, nonetheless, is clear – after almost 50 years of debate about human sexuality, the Anglican Church has created a pathway for the blessing of same-gender couples…

The report that was adopted is a lengthy document which can be found here.

The Polynesian component of the church, Tikanga Pasifika, will not be changing its practice, but has not exercised its right to veto the proposal. See explanation here.

See also Slow start. Big finish.

Updates

FCANZ response to General Synod Decision to Bless Same Sex Relationships, downloadable copy here.

Gafcon UK offers support to FCA New Zealand after same sex blessings vote

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 2:22pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | New Zealand

Emma Ineson to be next Bishop of Penrith

Press release from Number 10

Queen approves appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Penrith
Reverend Dr Emma Gwynneth Ineson, BA, MPhil, PhD, is nominated to the Suffragan See of Penrith.

Published 9 May 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Dr Emma Gwynneth Ineson, BA, MPhil, PhD, Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, to the Suffragan See of Penrith, in the Diocese of Carlisle in succession to the Right Reverend Robert John Freeman, BSc, MA, who resigned on the 5 April 2018.

Carlisle diocesan announcement: The Rev’d Dr Emma Ineson named as new Bishop of Penrith
This states that Dr Ineson will be consecrated on 27 February 2019.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 11:10am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | News

Opinion - 9 May 2018

Ian Gomersall St Chrysostom’s Church News and Views Visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Nye Letter & The Silencing of Debate

Mark Harris Preludium GAFCON alternative universe expands

Martyn Percy Modern Church The Church of England: Mission and Ministry after the Decade of Evangelism
There is a summary here. The full text of the article can only be found by following the link at the end of the summary.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Tim Stratford to be next Dean of Chester

Press release from Number 10

Dean of Chester
The Venerable Timothy Richard Stratford, BSc, PhD, Archdeacon of Leicester is nominated to be appointed Dean of the Cathedral Church of Chester.

Published 9 May 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Timothy Richard Stratford, BSc, PhD, Archdeacon of Leicester in the Diocese of Leicester, to be appointed Dean of the Cathedral Church of Chester, following the resignation of the Very Reverend Gordon Ferguson McPhate, MB, CHB, MA, MD, MSc, MTh, on 30 September 2017.

Notes for editors

The Venerable Dr Timothy Stratford is aged 57. He studied at York University for his BSc and also at Sheffield University for his PhD. He trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford in 1983. He served his title as a Curate at Mossley Hill in Liverpool diocese from 1986 to 1989 and then as Curate from 1989 to 1991 at St Helen, St Helens. From 1991 to 1994 he was the Bishop of Liverpool’s Domestic Chaplain. He was Vicar at West Derby from 1994 to 2003. From 2003 to 2012 he was Team Rector at Kirkby in Liverpool diocese. Since 2012 he has been Archdeacon of Leicester. He has served the national church as a member of General Synod for fifteen years and the Liturgical Commission for ten years. He has written and edited a number of books and booklets focusing mainly on contextually dependent worship and mission. His PHD was awarded in 2009 for a study of the mid-Victorian Slum Priest Ritualists.

Timothy is married to Jen and they have 3 children and one grandson. His interests include photography, cycling and music.

Chester Diocesan announcement: New Dean of Chester Cathedral Announced

The new dean blogs: A new place to call home

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 10:53am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 5 May 2018

Opinion - 5 May 2018

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Why is the General Synod of the Church of England so poor at holding Bishops to account?

Andy Salmon Are the Evangelicals taking over the Church of England? Only if the rest of the Church give up!

James Alexander Cameron Stained Glass Attitudes Why are some churches locked?

Robert Beaken Church Times It is time to rethink the purpose of godparents
“Canon law is out of step with parish reality”

Sam Wells Church Times What does it mean to be a godparent? Singing God’s song when your godchild forgets how it goes
“In his introduction to a collection of letters written to his son by Stanley Hauerwas, his son’s godfather, Sam Wells, reflects on what it means to be a godparent”

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (34) | TrackBack
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Friday, 4 May 2018

Bishop of Jarrow to retire

Mark Bryant, the suffragan Bishop of Jarrow in the Diocese of Durham, has announced that he will retire in October 2018.

Bishop of Jarrow to retire at next birthday

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 4 May 2018 at 2:43pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | News

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Opinion - 2 May 2018

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley The Real Takeover of the Church of England

Jenny Humphreys Women And The Church Changing the Culture of the Church of England

Anna Norman-Walker ViaMedia.News Windrush & Rudd: When “They” Are “Us”!

Victoria Stock pisky.scot My Family

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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