Wednesday, 20 June 2018

We're moving

Later this week this Thinking Anglicans site will be moving to a new home. We hope to make the move as transparent and as painless as possible, but as it involves a little bit of internet magic (updating the DNS of thinkinganglicans.org.uk) there may be a short period when you can’t reach the new site. We hope this period will be no more than a few minutes, and most readers may not notice it at all.

All posts and comments will be moved across to the new system and no data will be lost. We’ll post a further note here before moving out, and after that point no further comments on the old site will be approved, only on the new site.

This represents the biggest change we have made in the 15 years we have been publishing Thinking Anglicans. From the start we have been hosted by our friends and colleagues at Justus. The new site continues at Justus, and we are grateful for their support.

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Opinion - 20 June 2018

Simon Butler ViaMedia.News A Via Media in Safeguarding?
Janet Fife ViaMedia.News The Trouble With Fish….

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer CofE Safeguarding: General Synod is being managed, manipulated, duped and disrespected

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church How do we expect Church Abuse Survivors to feel?

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New Directions for the Church 6: accept diversity of belief

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 20 June 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Opinion - 16 June 2018

Anna Norman-Walker ViaMedia.News Who Speaks for Anglican Evangelicals?

Rachel Williams spends a day with the Community of St Anselm
Evening Standard These millennials have left behind their friends, families and jobs to live like monks for a year

Andrew Brown The Guardian Taking a lesson from Michael Curry could just save the Church of England
“It is so handicapped by self-importance that applying the flexibility of other churches could revive its plummeting numbers”

Andrew Brown Church Times How right-wing populists appropriate Christ

Philip Welsh Church Times Time to retreat from throwaway liturgy
“Under Common Worship, service sheets have started to get in the way of God, says Philip Welsh. He proposes a solution”

… and here’s one I missed last week:
Torin Douglas Church Times Maintaining faith in the mainstream media
“Religious broadcasting has had a rocky 40 years — but it is now being taken more seriously, says Torin Douglas”

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Friday, 15 June 2018

General Synod agenda - press reports

Updated Friday afternoon

Madeleine Davies Church Times Canons most critical in response to cathedrals consultation

Harry Farley Christian Today Church of England sexuality debate off the cards until 2020
‘Michael Curry effect’: Church of England opens up congregations to black-majority pastors

Steve Doughty Daily Mail Church of England bishops will call on Theresa May to surrender Britain’s nuclear deterrent

Update

Madeleine Davies Church Times General Synod discussions to go nuclear in York

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 15 June 2018 at 10:10am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Beyond Inclusion

OneBodyOneFaith published this on 5 June:

We’re delighted that this film, funded by our supporters and members and featuring John Bell and Nick Bundock, has now been completed and can be viewed on our YouTube channel. As you’ll probably recall, the film arose out of John hearing about Nick’s church’s response to Lizzie Lowe’s death, and the films are a conversation between the two of them, with ideas for reflection by church groups.

Please share the films and encourage others to do so too; we want them to reach the widest possible audience because we believe they have the potential to help people move on in their journey of understanding, and to make real change. If you need more resources for study and reflection, check out some of the books in our online shop - or get in touch and we can help you identify people to talk to, speakers and other sources of support, reflecting your particular context.

Today is Lizzie’s 18th birthday. Her parents Kevin and Hilary appear briefly in the film. Notwithstanding the remarkable transformation of their church following her death, would still give anything to have their daughter back. Please remember them, and Lizzie’s siblings and many friends, today.

Part one of the film is here.
Part two is here
. Do be sure to watch both parts.

And then consider this question: So - how’s the ‘radical Christian inclusion’ coming along then?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 June 2018 at 6:27pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod | InclusiveChurch | equality legislation

Safeguarding debate at General Synod

On Saturday morning, 7 July, following Morning Worship and a Presidential Address by the Archbishop of York, the synod will consider the topic of Safeguarding. There will be a presentation, followed by questions, followed by a debate. However, the relevant document, GS 2092 will not be published until Friday 22 June but we do now know the wording of the motion that will be proposed. It is highly likely to attract numerous amendments.

SAFEGUARDING (GS 2092)

7 Presentation under SO 107.

Note: The Business Committee has determined under SO 107(3) that this presentation should include an opportunity for questions.

8 The Bishop of Bath and Wells to move:

That this Synod, recognising that safeguarding is at the heart of Christian mission and the urgent need for the Church of England to continue to become a safer place for all and a refuge for those who suffer abuse in any context:

(a) endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092); and

(b) call on the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to ensure that the plan of action is implemented as a matter of priority.

GS Misc 1192 Summary of decisions by the House of Bishops and Delegated Committees, contains brief reports of various meetings that have considered Safeguarding. The relevant extracts are copied below the fold. I have changed the order of the meetings to put them in chronological order.

House of Bishops Delegation Committee (HBDC), February 2018

A meeting of the House of Bishops Delegation Committee was held on 28 February 2018. The following matters were discussed:

15.The Delegation Committee took note of work on collating liturgical resources for Safeguarding.

House of Bishops Standing Committee (HBSC), March 2018

A meeting of House of Bishops Standing Committee was held on 14 March 2018.

The following matters were discussed:
27.The Standing Committee considered a number of Safeguarding matters, including the Independent Reviews from Dame Moira Gibb and Lord Carlile QC, additional staffing for Safeguarding work and the main points emerging from the first set of hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). The Standing Committee considered the draft report from the Confessional Review Group and agreed that this should go forward to the May House for further consideration…

National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG)

The National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) met on 24 April 2018.

35.The NSSG considered the key themes arising from the recent IICSA public hearings on the Chichester case study.

36.The NSSG approved a number of pieces of practice guidance on behalf of the House. The first of these was “Practice Guidance on Safer Environment and Culture (A guide to Safer Working Practices and Activities)”. The second was guidance on “Responding to concerns or allegations related to children and vulnerable adults”. A third was guidance on Permission to Officiate. The fourth was practice guidance on “Serious Incident Reporting to the Charity Commission”.

37.The NSSG accepted the recommendations made in the Independent report of the review of the Past Cases Review 2007 – 2009 and agreed that this would be published following meetings of the House of Bishops and Archbishops’ Council.

38.The NSSG agreed the draft motion on Safeguarding to be debated at the General Synod in July 2018.

39.The NSSG approved the terms of reference for the Anglican Methodist Safeguarding Group.

House of Bishops May 2018

A meeting of the House of Bishops was held at Bishopthorpe Palace on 21 – 22 May 2018. Those matters reported below were taken in Committee of the whole House, under SO 14.

10.The House discussed Safeguarding matters emerging from the recent hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). The House approved the resources from the Liturgical Commission on “Towards a Safer Church”.

House of Bishops Delegation Committee (HBDC), May 2018

A further meeting of the House of Bishops Delegation Committee was held on 30 May 2018. The following matters were discussed:

23.The HBDC approved new policy for granting clergy Permission to Officiate (PTO).
They agreed that the House’s existing Safeguarding guidance should be reviewed to ensure that it reflected those parts of the policy on granting PTO that were concerned with safeguarding matters, with any changes to the House’s safeguarding guidance that were identified as being necessary to be referred to the NSSG.

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General Synod and Sexuality on Saturday afternoon

The Business Committee report GS 2091 contains the following:

Arrangements for the Saturday afternoon

25. The Business Committee has agreed that on Saturday afternoon the Synod will not be in session. Instead, members will be invited to attend a choice of seminars intended to update members on various important areas of work and to encourage our participation in the development of them.

26. The seminars will cover the developing work of the House of Bishops Teaching Document on Human Sexuality, the Pastoral Advisory Group, Digital Evangelism, the Evangelism Task Group and the Environmental Working Group, as well as Children and Young People. Each seminar will be 1 hour long and will take place 3 times on a rotating basis in order to allow those members who wish to attend up to three different seminars. There will also be workshops available on a number of these topics. Full details of these opportunities are set out in GS Misc 1188. This conference style session will be introduced at the end of the Saturday morning session by the Chair of the BC and some of those leading the different workstreams.

27. After due consideration, the Business Committee has come to a mind that the various PMMs and DSMs relating to the matters which are intended to be addressed by the proposed House of Bishops Teaching Document on Human Sexuality will not be scheduled for debate until that document has been published. This decision was taken on the understanding that the work on the Teaching Document will be completed by 2020. In addition, there has been an understanding that from the inception of the project there will be regular opportunities for members of the General Synod to engage with that work, as it develops at each group of sessions. This process of engagement begins with the seminars arranged for the Saturday afternoon of the July group of sessions.

The details of the arrangements for the Saturday afternoon are contained in GS Misc 1198.

The programme for the afternoon comprises

  • four separate seminars and three workshops relating to the four strands of work contributing to the Episcopal Teaching Document on human identity, sexuality and marriage;
  • a seminar on the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group
  • a seminar on mission among children and young people;
  • a seminar on the Church’s environment programme
  • a seminar on digital evangelism; and
  • a seminar on the work of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group

The nine seminars will each run three times during the afternoon, for an hour, at 2.30 pm, 4.15 pm and 6.00 pm.

The three workshops are described as follows:

…organised so that you can visit them at your own pace and in your own time throughout Saturday afternoon. Each workshop space will have information about aspects of the work of the Teaching Document and offer ways in which you can participate in shaping its work.

One or more members of the Co-ordinating Group for the Teaching Document will be available to respond to your questions and tell you more about the work of the group. These workshops are as much for the benefit of the Teaching Document as to inform you about the project..

There is a lot more detail in GS Misc 1188.

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General Synod papers published

The Church of England has issued the press release below about papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod.

See the previous article for my list of papers.

New links between Church of England and black-majority churches
14/06/2018

Church of England congregations will be able to share mission and ministry with a range of churches in their area more easily under plans due to receive final approval by the General Synod next month.

A long-anticipated overhaul of rules underpinning ecumenical relations is expected to open the way for parishes to take part in joint worship with more churches than previously possible.

For the first time this will include churches without a large national structure – something which will particularly affect newer independent evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic groups including many black-led churches.

The move - part of a drive to simplify ecclesiastical law - is among several significant legislative changes being considered at Synod which meets in York from July 6-10.

Dr Joe Aldred of Churches Together in England, who serves as an Ecumenical Representative for Pentecostals on General Synod and is a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy, welcomed the change.

He said: “This is a great moment for relations between the Church of England and Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations and congregations, including many black-led churches, as we share the task of building the Kingdom of God in this country.

“In working together and worshipping together our churches have the potential to transform their neighbourhoods.

“The shape and style of the Church in England has changed considerably over the years and this legislation reflects the new reality on the ground.

“Through the work of the Pentecostal Presidency in Churches Together in England, I have seen just what is possible by strengthening relationships, engaging in prayer and mission together and I hope and pray this change in legislation will mean we can do even more together.”

In one of the most broad-ranging agendas in recent years, Synod will also discuss national and international issues from nuclear proliferation and responses to climate change to the future of the NHS.

There will be a major debate on the Church of England’s work on safeguarding and Synod will be asked to endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092) to be published with the second set of papers next week.

Synod will also have an opportunity for a detailed update on progress on the episcopal teaching document on human sexuality and marriage and to engage with those working on it through a series of seminars and workshops.

The document, due to be completed in 2020, will be entitled Living in Love and Faith: Christian teaching and learning about human sexuality and marriage.

Synod papers published today also include the final report of the Church of England’s Cathedrals Working Group which sets out new ideas to help secure the cathedrals for the future.

Further details on the Cathedrals Working Group report are set out in a separate press release.

Notes to editors

A full set of papers from the first circulation is available here. A second circulation will follow and will be available on Friday June 22.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 14 June 2018 at 11:08am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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July General Synod - online papers

The first batch of papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online. The remaining papers will be issued on 22 June and I will add links when these become available.

Papers in numerical order with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold.
Synod meets from Friday 6 to Tuesday 10 July 2018 in York.

Timetable
GS 2090 Agenda

GS 2046Z & GS 2047Z Draft Ecumenical Relations Measure & Amending Canon No. 38 - Report of the Steering Committee
GS 2046B Draft Ecumenical Relations Measure [Monday]
GS 2047B Draft Amending Canon No. 38 [Monday]
GS 2047C Amending Canon No. 38 – Petition for Royal Assent [Monday]

GS 2046AA Draft Church Representation and Ministers Measure [Monday]
GS 2047AA Draft Amending Canon No. 39 [Monday]
GS 2046YY & 2047YY Draft Church Representation and Minister Measure & Draft Amending Canon No. 39 – Report from the Steering Committee and Summary note [Monday]

GS 2064Z Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure – Report of the Steering Committee [Friday]
GS 2064B Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure [Monday]

GS 2083A Draft Church Property Measure [Monday]
    Table of Origins, Table of Destinations and Drafting Notes
GS 2084A Draft Church of England Pensions Measure [Monday]
    Table of Origins, Table of Destinations and Drafting Notes
GS 2083Y & 2084Y Draft Amending Canon No. 40 & Draft Church Property Measure – Report from Steering Committee [Monday]

GS 2089A Long Term Sustainability of the National Health Service
GS 2089B Background note from the Secretary General [Monday]

GS 2090 Agenda

GS 2091 Business Committee Report [Friday]

GS 2092 Safeguarding [Saturday]

GS 2093 Climate Change and Investment [Sunday]
[see also GS Misc 1196 below]

GS 2094A and GS 2094B Environment Programmes [Sunday]

GS 2095 The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons [Sunday]

GS 2096 Annual Report from the Archbishops’ Council [Monday]

GS 2097 Archbishops’ Council’s Budget and Proposals for Apportionment for 2019 [Monday]

GS 2098 Report from the Evangelism Task Group [Monday]

GS 2099 Reappointment of the Chair of the Pensions Board [Tuesday]

GS 2100 Reappointment of the Chair of the Finance Committee to the Archbishops’ Council [Tuesday]

GS 2101A Report from the Cathedrals Working Group
GS 2101B Consultation Summary [Tuesday]

GS 2102 53rd Report from the Standing Orders Committee [Tuesday]

GS 2103 Draft Amending Canon No. 40 [Friday]
GS 2103x Explanatory Memorandum

GS 2104 Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Measure [Monday]
GS 2104x Explanatory Memorandum

GS 2105 Draft Amending Canon No. 41 (deemed)
GS 2105x Explanatory Memorandum

GS 2106 Pensions (Pre-Consolidation) Order (deemed)
GS 2106x Explanatory Memorandum

GS 2109 Code of Practice on Mission initiatives (deemed)
GS 2109x Explanatory Memorandum

other papers

GS Misc 1185 Crown Nominations Review Update
GS Misc 1186 Table of Business Transacted in the 2015-2020 Quinquennium
GS Misc 1187 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
GS Misc 1188 Saturday Seminars
GS Misc 1191 Update on the Archbishops’ Council’s Activities
GS Misc 1192 Summary of decisions from the House of Bishops
GS Misc 1193 Annual Report from the Clergy Discipline Commission
GS Misc 1194 Annual Report from the Archbishops’ Council’s Audit Committee
GS Misc 1195 Online Elections Update
GS Misc 1196 Climate Change and Investment: a paper from the Diocese of Oxford
GS Misc 1197 Mission and Ministry in Covenant
GS Misc 1198 Strategic Investment Board Annual Report

Church Commissioners Annual Report
1st Notice Paper - 53rd Report of the Standing Orders Committee
2nd Notice Paper - Security
3rd Notice Paper - Deadlines

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 14 June 2018 at 10:30am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Opinion - 13 June 2018

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England Seascapes: a retreat for those being ordained.

Jonathan Clatworthy St Bride’s blog Food with dignity - The origins of the Eucharist
[first of a series]

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the Church 5: open membership

Emma Percy Women and the Church Install Updates

Sam Wells preached this sermon at the Service of Hope for LGBTI equality in the Church of England held at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Clapham, on 7 June: Not until you give me your blessing

Simon Cross After evangelicalism: tipping over the certainty curve

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Are Abuse Survivors Prophets to the Church?

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 13 June 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Lessons learned from the Mawer report on the See of Sheffield

Updated Friday

press release from the Archbishops’ Council
Lessons for the National Church Institutions following Independent Reviewer’s report on Sheffield

Following the publication of Sir Philip Mawer’s independent review into the nomination to the See of Sheffield, William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, has published a ‘lessons learned’ review in response to Sir Philip’s fourth recommendation.

He said: “I would like to add my thanks to that of the Archbishops to Sir Philip for his review, and in particular for suggesting that I review the lessons to be learned for the National Church Institutions from the handling of the process after Bishop Philip North’s nomination.

“Having done this, I hope that my suggestions for a way forward will ensure that those nominated to a see, as well as the dioceses in question, will be better supported by the National Church Institutions both before and after the announcement.

“We have already put this learning into practice and have reaped the benefit of this in the announcement of the new Bishop of London last December and the new Bishop of Bristol in May.

“We will continue to learn from each nomination, keeping to our commitment to mutual flourishing in every process.”

The full text of the review is available here.

Notes

Sir Philip’s report can be found here.

The House of Bishops response to Sir Philip’s report can be found here.

Update

Forward in Faith has issued this press release: Nomination to the See of Sheffield: Lessons Learned

…Like Mr Nye, we look forward to news of the progress of the Implementation and Dialogue Group in carrying out its task of remedying this lack of education about the Five Guiding Principles and the 2014 settlement more generally. We hope that, when the next traditional catholic is nominated to a diocesan see, the fruit of its work will be seen in much more generous responses within and beyond the diocese concerned.

The House of Bishops’ Declaration also said, ‘It will be important that senior leadership roles within dioceses continue to be filled by people from across the range of traditions.’ The non-implementation of this commitment over the last four years suggests that educational work might usefully begin within the House of Bishops itself.

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Supreme Court refuses South Carolina petition

The Episcopal News Service reports:
US Supreme Court refuses to hear South Carolina Episcopal Church property case
Breakaway group vows to continue legal fight

The United States Supreme Court refused June 11 a petition by a group that broke away from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina asking it to review a state court ruling that said property, assets and most of the diocese’s parishes must be returned to the Episcopal Church and its recognized diocese, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

The petition for a writ of certiorari from a group that broke away from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina asked the court to consider “whether the ‘neutral principles of law’ approach to resolving church property disputes requires courts to recognize a trust on church property even if the alleged trust does not comply with the state’s ordinary trust and property law.”

The breakaway group said in its Feb. 13 petition that the majority of the South Carolina Supreme Court justices did not take the “neutral” approach.

The high court justices discussed the case (17.1136) during their June 7 conference and denied the request without comment on June 11…

The (ACNA-affiliated) Diocese of South Carolina has issued this press release:
Diocese’s Petition for Cert Denied by United States Supreme Court

…The Diocese of South Carolina will now return to our state courts, where the case has been remitted to the Dorchester Courthouse where it originated. An element of TEC’s argument for the United States Supreme Court to deny our petition was the “fractured” nature of the South Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling. Constitutional issues aside, the Diocese believes the conflicted nature of the current State Supreme Court ruling is virtually unenforceable as written. Interpretation and implementation of that ruling, given its five separate opinions, with no unified legal theory even among the plurality of the court, means there are still significant questions to resolve.

The Diocese remains confident that the law and the facts of this case favor our congregations. We plan to continue to press both to their logical conclusion, even if that requires a second appearance before the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Statement by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Diocesan Bishop: “While, obviously, we are disappointed that the Court did not review this case, our hope remains steadfast in our Heavenly Father. There are many unresolved legal questions which remain before the State Court as well as matters for prayerful discernment as we seek to carry out the mission to which we are called in Jesus Christ. We shall seek his guidance for both.”

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina issued this:
US Supreme Court Decision

… Today’s decision does not cause an immediate change in the physical control of the properties, according to Thomas S. Tisdale Jr., Chancellor of TECSC. It is now up to the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Common Pleas to execute the lower court’s decision.

TECSC and The Episcopal Church on May 8 asked the state court to place diocesan property and assets under control of TECSC’s trustees, hand over ownership of property of the 28 affected parishes to The Episcopal Church and TECSC, and appoint a Special Master to oversee the transition.

The Episcopal Church has been hoping to engage with leaders of the breakaway group since the state Supreme Court ruling in August. Bishop Adams and other diocesan leaders have been seeking direct contact with people in the affected parishes, offering a “Frequently Asked Questions” publication and arranging individual meetings to work with those who want to remain in their home churches as Episcopalians.

Direct talks are even more important now that the Supreme Court has ruled, the Bishop said. “We invite people in each of the parishes affected by this decision to read the FAQ document and get in touch with me directly, so we can discover how best to work together for the good of the parish, the diocese and the whole Church,” Bishop Adams said…

The FAQ document mentioned above can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 12 June 2018 at 7:20am BST | Comments (40) | TrackBack
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Monday, 11 June 2018

More reporting on the Bishop of Maidstone's letter

Updated again Friday afternoon

The reply from the Bishop of Maidstone to the Diocese of Lichfield ad clerum continues to get coverage.

We first reported this in our roundup of 6 June, which included a link to Colin Coward’s Open Letter to Archbishops Justin and Sentamu re: +Maidstone.

Since then:

Savi Hensman wrote about this at Ekklesia Bishop’s call to deny communion defies church on LGBTI welcome.

David Ison wrote about this at ViaMedia News Welcome, Disorder & Hypocrisy in the Church of England.

The Church Times reported David Ison’s article: Dean of St Paul’s enters debate on Lichfield’s ‘inclusion’ letter.

The Times (£) reported Gays and unmarried lovers should repent, bishop insists.

The Sunday Times (£) reported Gay Christians ‘being forced out’ by evangelical churches.

And Colin Coward has written a second article: A bishop authorised to discriminate against LGBTI people.

Updates

catholicity and covenant How +Maidstone gets ‘worthy reception’ wrong

Colin Coward has written The Archbishop of York refers matters to the Pastoral Advisory Group.

And he has subsequently written two further letters:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 11 June 2018 at 6:51am BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 9 June 2018

Opinion - 9 June 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of worthiness and sacraments

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love A bishop authorised to discriminate against LGBTI people

Savi Hensman Ekklesia Bishop’s call to deny communion defies church on LGBTI welcome

Meg Warner ViaMedia.News Sex & the Single Girl

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Inclusion is more than being nice

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 9 June 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Friday, 8 June 2018

Abuse survivors respond to safeguarding liturgy resources

We linked previously to the resources published by the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England, Towards a Safer Church.

Today the Church Times has a news report: Survivors of clerical abuse object to C of E safeguarding liturgy guide.

SURVIVORS of clerical sex abuse have criticised the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England, saying that the safeguarding liturgy guide that it published last week had not been informed or approved by survivors, as had been claimed (News, 1 June).

The liturgy guide, Towards a Safer Church: Some liturgical resources, states that, while most of the Bible readings, prayers, hymns, and set liturgy were already in general use, the texts had been supplemented by new material, including prayers suggested by survivors.

An accompanying blog written by the Bishop of Stockport, the Rt Revd Libby Lane, said that the content had been “chosen in consultation with survivors”…

The article then refers to a letter, which can - and should - be read in full here, from eight survivors (scroll down to fourth item).

Sir, — We are survivors of physical and sexual abuse by office-holders in the Church. Our abusers include bishops, a dean, an archdeacon, several parish clergy, and at least one Reader. We are just a few of the scores of victim survivors who are forced to struggle for justice against the deaf and intransigent hierarchy of the Church.

Last week, one more example was added. The Liturgical Commission published a set of resources (“Safeguarding liturgy for survivors is published”, News, 31 May), which, it said, had been “chosen in consultation with survivors”. This was not true, as the compilers presumably knew.

One of our number, Graham Wilmer, who reviewed the collection, is very unhappy that his comments about it have been taken out of context and used without his permission in the launch material. No other survivors appear to have been consulted. MACSAS, the organisation for Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors, was not approached; nor was the collection seen or approved by those survivors who sit on the National Safeguarding Panel — the only national Church of England body with representative victims of abuse…

In the news report, the Bishop of Hereford, vice-chair of the Liturgical Commission, responds:

…“We apologise if survivors on the National Safeguarding Panel feel that they were not adequately consulted,” he said.

“The resources were referenced at the April meeting, and one survivor representative on the group — along with survivors from other parts of Church life — had been consulted in depth, and he commended them at that meeting.

“Our prayer is that they will be used by all those involved in safeguarding as part of our commitment to make our churches a safer place for all. As a commission, we are committed to reviewing and supplementing these resources as their use becomes more widespread.”

One of the survivors, Janet Fife has written two articles at Surviving Church which analyse the perceived failings of these resources in much more detail.

‘Towards a Safer Church’ Part 1 by Janet Fife

Towards a Safer Church A Critique Part 2 by Janet Fife

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 8 June 2018 at 7:02am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 7 June 2018

Inclusive Church Annual Lecture 25 July 2018

Updated

The annual lecture organised by Inclusive Church will this year be delivered by Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall.

The lecture title is: Faith and LGBT: Building Bridges in a Polarised World.

The lecture will be in Leicester Cathedral on the evening of 25 July, and will follow a short AGM. The proceedings begin at 6.45 p.m.

Full details and booking (needed for catering purposes) can be found here.

Everyone is invited.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 June 2018 at 4:52pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Opinion - 6 June 2018

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News Changes – Facing the Strange…

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love How comfortable are the bishops with the Love that Dares to Speak its Name?

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the Church 4: beyond church services

The Bishop of Maidstone has written this Reply from Bishop Rod Thomas to the Bishop of Lichfield’s ad clerum on ‘Welcoming and Honouring LGBT+ people’ in the diocese. We linked to the ad clerum here.
Colin Coward has written this Open Letter to Archbishops Justin and Sentamu re: +Maidstone in response.

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Encouragement for Churches: 4 Points On Welcoming Children

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 6 June 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (37) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Monday, 4 June 2018

Brazilian Anglicans vote to marry same-sex couples

Updated Tuesday morning

Savi Hensman reports at Ekklesia:

Brazilian Anglicans’ ‘yes’ to marrying same-sex couples

The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil has decided to open up church marriage to same-sex couples. On 1 June 2018 its synod voted by a huge majority – 57 in favour, three against and two abstentions – to amend the rules (canons) on who could marry.

“I felt the decision was a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work. This widens our boundaries, allowing us to be more welcoming to the diversity of people in our country”, said the Primate (most senior bishop), Francisco de Assis da Silva.

This follows decades of discussion on sexuality, with more intensive debate in recent years. A handful of churches in the Anglican Communion (and certain other denominations) already allow clergy to marry same-sex couples, though Brazil is the first in the South to say ‘yes’…

Update
The Anglican Communion News Service now has this comprehensive report: Brazil’s Anglican Church changes its canons to permit same-sex marriage. This article includes comment from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, and lists the state of play on this topic in other provinces which have taken, or are contemplating, similar action.

As of 2 pm Monday, there is no other report on this in English elsewhere, except for the press release copied below the fold, which has appeared at Anglican Ink.

Press release from IEAB

This is a historical moment for the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. Today, it voted in favor of amending its marriage canon to allow same-sex blessings by a large majority of votes – 57 in favor, 4 against and 2 abstentions. This is the third time the matter was brought into consideration at a General Synod.

Canonical changes were approved in an environment filled by the Holy Spirit and with mutual love and respect. It was preceeded by long, deep and spiritual dialogue. This dialogue formally started in 1997, but had been going on much earlier, and reached the whole province since then through indabas, conferences, consultations, prayers, biblical and theological publications.

The Anglican Service for Diaconia and Development – SADD and Centre for Anglican Studies – CEA were commissioned by the Synod in 2013 to deepen dialogue among dioceses of the Province. It is worth noticing that same-sex civil marriage is legal in Brazil since 2012.

We were visited by international guests such as the Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Rt. Rev. Linda Nichols from Huron Diocese in Canada, among others. They shared with Synod their experience on the matter and led us into prayer.

We affirm our commitment with the Gospel of Jesus and our belonging to the Anglican Global Family. We also hope to keep walking together with those who disagree with us as we discern how to better respond to the challenges ahead of us in our contexts.
“I felt the decision was a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work. This widens our boundaries, allowing us to be more welcoming to the diversity of people in our country”, said the Primate of Brazil, the Most Rev. Francisco de Assis da Silva.

“As a member of the LGBT community, I followed this debate since its inception, first as a lay person and then as a clergy person. I personally felt discrimination and persecution when I first came out in the Diocese of Recife, and saw colleagues facing similar struggles. Some people left the Church, others lost faith in the Church as an institution. When I was chosen Provincial Secretary in 2011, the Church was aware of my sexual orientation and the fact I was in a civil union with Dr. David Morales. It was not an impediment to such crucial position. In 2016, we have had an extraordinary synod in order to discuss our canons as a whole. The discussion on Holy Matrimony was very challenging because it invited the church to speak out about this theme more openly. It allowed dioceses to engage in further discussion on a topic that had not been fully debated in some circles until then. I feel proud to witness this historic day for the Church of Brazil, which is also the day we celebrate IEAB’s 128th anniversary. We stand as a lighthouse at a time this country (and the world) faces so many difficulties, such as religious fundamentalism and intolerance. I finish my term as provincial secretary feeling completely overwhelmed.” [Quote from Revd Arthur Cavalcante, Provincial Secretary]

Liturgical changes will not be needed, the 2015 Book of Common Prayer’s marriage rite is gender neutral and should be used for any solemnization of marriage, regardless of gender.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 4 June 2018 at 2:05pm BST | Comments (57) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Towards a Safer Church: Liturgical Resources

On Friday, the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England published “safeguarding resources, for use in churches across the country, including Bible readings, prayers and suggested hymns, chosen in consultation with survivors” under the title Towards a Safer Church: Liturgical Resources.

There is a press release here, and the liturgical resources are available in PDF format here

The Chair of the Liturgical Commission, Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, in an introduction to the resources has written:

The Church needs to be at the vanguard of fostering a change of culture across society. Safeguarding is at the forefront of public consciousness and the Church needs to embody best practice in safeguarding in our network of parishes, schools and chaplaincies as part of our commitment to excellence in pastoral care.

Many of these resources are already being used widely across our churches, but we thought it would be helpful to gather them into one place for ease of access. Collectively they are neither the first word nor the last word on this subject, but they are offered in the hope that by God’s grace the Church may become a safer place where everyone is valued.


Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport, has also written about the resources here

The resources have been compiled by the Liturgical Commission and staff, in consultation with survivors, who have themselves suggested some of the resources, with the aim providing prayers and other resources for various occasions. This includes use with survivors and others directly affected, as well as events such as the commissioning of safeguarding officers in parishes and dioceses. Most of the material had been previously published (including commended and authorized liturgical texts), but it has been brought together in one place so that it is easier to find and to use.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Monday, 4 June 2018 at 2:04pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Saturday, 2 June 2018

New Scottish Bishops elected

We reported here on the short-listed candidates for election as Bishop of Brechin and Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. The elections took place today and the Rev Canon Ian Paton has been elected as the new Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, and the Very Rev Andrew Swift has been elected as the new Bishop of Brechin.

Details are here in the official press release: New Bishops elected.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 2 June 2018 at 2:01pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church

Opinion - 2 June 2018

Philip North Church Times The spreadsheet or the cross — time to choose
“A radical change of mindset is needed to close the vast gap in wealth between the dioceses”
and in response
Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of spreadsheets and the cross

Richard Coles Church Times The spiritual potential of Twitter
“Social media can align the values of the Kingdom and this world”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church ‘The Gift of Reproof’. Making peace with accusers

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 2 June 2018 at 11:00am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion