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.

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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

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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

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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…

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Thursday, 29 March 2018

The View from Salisbury

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, preached at the diocesan Maundy Thursday Chrism Mass.

The press release about this: A Maundy Message in the World’s Eye

The full text of his sermon is available here.

Another quote from the sermon:

…As a parish priest I always used to find that people with the most intractable problems would appear after the Sunday evening service when nowhere was open and there was no-one to whom I could refer them. For bishops the equivalent is receiving a letter late on Friday afternoon from the Archbishops about the Church of England and the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which they wanted read out or distributed at the start of Holy Week.

Please will you pray this Holy Week especially for all those involved, and for all affected by safeguarding issues.

Thank you for responding so promptly.

Janet Fife wrote a sharp but insightful Survivor’s reply to the Archbishops which is online.

I thought you might want to know,

she wrote,

how I, as a survivor, feel about your letter. And I know you’ll pay careful attention, because you’ve said you want to listen to survivors.

Since Archbishop Justin has called for an end to clericalism and deference, I’m going to call you Justin and John.

If you’re going to address us all as ‘Sisters and Brothers in Christ’, don’t finish with ‘The Most Revd and Rt Hon’. It’s just not brotherly. It looks like showing off. It certainly doesn’t look like the shame Justin said he felt.

If you want to send out something called a pastoral letter, make it pastoral…What practical steps have you taken to help survivors, for instance?

And so on.

It’s a good letter and a tough one and it’s received quite a lot of comment. She got me thinking about what we would be doing today gathered together and all dressed up at the start of the great three days that lead to Easter through betrayal, denial and the disciples running for it…

At the weekend, the Revd Canon Prof James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, Salisbury, wrote this article: Salisbury Under Siege – What Does it Mean to be an Easter People?. An excerpt:

… In the gospel accounts of the resurrection, there is both fear and joy. Following Jesus is not a protection from the difficulties and challenges that face us in life. Being an Easter people does not mean that any of us will not require handkerchief to mop up our tears. All of us will know deep in our hearts what our lives, our world is like, and how much of a struggle it is. As human beings we have to deal with our fears and the reality of how little control we are able to exercise over circumstances and experiences.

It is into this condition of who we are and where we are that God can touch us with Easter life and hope. Easter peace is not the obliteration of our past or present, but the re-drawing of our lives into a new way of seeing. Faith can give us the opportunity for direction, redirection, meaning and depth.

As we live with complexity and uncertainty in Salisbury we have an opportunity to take this opportunity to work together in live for what is good. However partial limited our faith may be that always lies the possibility of transformation. We can be confident but we must safeguard against a triumphalism which does not listen carefully to human experience and its sensitivities. We can nurture faith that embraces doubt and in doing so can grows through openness and honesty.

Remember Salisbury in your prayers. Consider the longer view, the enduring truth that goodness is always stronger than evil. Love will conquer. Justice will prevail.

That will mean a change for us. It will also require a much stronger sense of the relational and our readiness to move on and beyond our internal dialogues and contestations to listen more carefully to human experience. We need space and time to share our story…

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Nicholas Papadopulos to be next Dean of Salisbury

Press release from Number 10

Queen approves appointment of Dean of Salisbury: 27 March 2018
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Nicholas Charles Papadopulos to the Deanery of Salisbury.

Published 28 March 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Nicholas Charles Papadopulos, MA, Canon Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral and Director of Initial Ministerial Education 2 in the Diocese of Canterbury, to be appointed to the Deanery of Salisbury, following the resignation of the Very Reverend June Osborne, BA, on 14 July 2017.

The Reverend Canon Nicholas Papadopulos is aged 51. He studied History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and Law at City University, London. He was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1990 and practised at the criminal Bar for seven years. He trained for ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon, and subsequently studied for his MA at King’s College, London. He served his title as Assistant Curate at St Mark Portsea in the Diocese of Portsmouth from 1999 to 2002. From 2002 to 2007 he was Senior Chaplain and Press Officer to the Bishop of Salisbury, and from 2007 to 2013 Vicar of Pimlico St Peter with Westminster Christ Church (St Peter’s Eaton Square) in the Diocese of London. Since 2013 he has been Canon Treasurer at Canterbury Cathedral and Director of Initial Ministerial Education 2 in the Diocese of Canterbury.

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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Simon Burton-Jones to be next Bishop of Tonbridge

Press release from Number 10

Nomination of Suffragan Bishop of Tonbridge: 27 March 2018

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Simon David Burton-Jones to this post.

Published 27 March 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Simon David Burton-Jones, MA, BTh, Archdeacon of Rochester, in the Diocese of Rochester, to the Suffragan See of Tonbridge, in the Diocese of Rochester. He succeeds the Right Reverend Brian Colin Castle, MA, PhD, who resigned on the 30 November 2015.

That’s the press release in full. There are more details on the Rochester diocesan website: New Bishop of Tonbridge Announced.

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Further analysis of the IICSA hearings

Since the hearings concluded last week, there have been several further reports in addition to the letter from the archbishops and the response from Janet Fife.

The Church Times reported on both of those here: Sorry not enough, Archbishops’ letter says after IICSA, and a survivor agrees.

The BBC radio programme Sunday carried a lengthy report available to listen to here (starts at 28 minutes).

The Independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church concluded three weeks of hearing this week. Phil Johnson, abuse survivor, talks to Emily Buchanan about what the hearings have meant to him. Bishop Alan Wilson, long term critic of the Church on its handling of clerical sex abuse cases, discusses the positives and negatives to have emerged. And Bishop Mark Sowerby, the deputy lead bishop for Safeguarding responds. Martin Bashir BBC Religion Correspondent provides analysis.

Martin Sewell has written at Archbishop Cranmer In Holy Week we should hold our Archbishops’ feet to the fire.

And Martyn Percy has written for Modern Church Church of England ‘no longer competent’ to manage safeguarding, says senior cleric.

The full article is available here.

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Sunday, 25 March 2018

A response to the Archbishops

Surviving Church has published this: Survivor’s Reply to Archbishops’ pastoral letter.

The author is Janet Fife.

Please read the whole letter.

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Friday, 23 March 2018

IICSA: Archbishops' Joint Pastoral Letter

From the York diocesan website: Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse: Archbishops’ Joint Pastoral Letter

The Archbishops of York and Canterbury have written a joint Pastoral Letter for wide circulation following the end of the hearing which took place over the last three weeks as part of the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

“We are writing to you to ask for your prayers as Holy Week begins and as the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse has finished its hearing into matters in the Diocese of Chichester. Please will you pray this Holy Week especially for all those involved, and for all affected by safeguarding issues.”

Archbishops Sentamu and Justin hope that their letter can either be read out or distributed this weekend and at the start of Holy Week.

“We take very seriously all that has been heard by the Inquiry. Archbishop Justin said when he gave evidence last week that he had learned again through listening and reading the evidence given to the Inquiry, that we must not simply say sorry, but that we must also take action that demonstrates clearly that we have learnt the lessons. It is a fact that Bishops and Archbishops are now rightly required to listen, learn and act in accordance with safeguarding legislation and good practice.”

Please download the Archbishops’ letter below:

Joint Pastoral Letter from the Archbishops of York and Canterbury: IICSA
For circulation following the end of the hearing which took place during March 2018 as part of the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICS
A).

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IICSA hearings - Friday 23 March

The final day in this three week period of hearings has concluded and the transcript is available here.

Many documents have at last been uploaded to the IICSA website, and I will publish links to some of the more important ones in a separate article soon.

Before today’s hearing there were some comments about the hearings made yesterday, including these:

Guardian editorial: The Guardian view of abuse in the church: a truly dreadful story

Michael Sadgrove Child Sexual Abuse - what does the church do about shame?

Archbishop Cranmer Welby condemns the church’s deferential culture of clericalism and tribalism

Law & Religion UK IICSA: Archbishop Welby’s evidence session

And earlier, another article which I failed to link to previously: IICSA: Some legal views

Reports on today’s session:

Church Times Church of England would be shut down if it were a school, survivors’ lawyer tells final IICSA hearing

Christian Today Church of England made ‘conscious effort to treat survivors badly’, inquiry hears

Guardian Child abuse inquiry: ‘collusion and cover-up’ rife among C of E clergy

The Tablet Church of England ‘inappropriate’ organisation to have charge of children, inquiry hears

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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Court of Appeal dismisses Pemberton case

Updated Thursday evening

The Court of Appeal has today dismissed the appeal by Jeremy Pemberton against the earlier judgement of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The judgement is now available online: Pemberton v Inwood [2018] EWCA Civ 564, with a printable version here.

There are numerous media reports:

Anglican Communion News Service Priest in same-sex marriage loses legal challenge to bishop’s “discriminatory” response

Guardian Gay hospital chaplain loses discrimination appeal against C of E

Christian Today Gay clergyman Jeremy Pemberton loses discrimination appeal against Church of England

Press Association via Premier Gay priest denied job after marrying partner loses discrimination appeal

BBC Gay priest Jeremy Pemberton’s discrimination appeal dismissed

Huffington Post Gay Priest Jeremy Pemberton Loses Discrimination Appeal Against The Church Of England

Newark Advertiser Jeremy Pemberton loses discrimination appeal

Nottingham Post Gay priest ‘naturally disappointed’ after his appeal over discrimination claim is dismissed

Church Times Bishop was in his rights to refuse Pemberton a licence, tribunal rules

Jeremy Pemberton has issued a press release, which is copied below the fold.

ACNS reports:

Commenting on today’s judgment, a Southwell and Nottingham diocesan spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the court has upheld the decision made with regards to the employment tribunal. We recognise that this has been a long and difficult process for many of those concerned, and we hold them in our thoughts and prayers.”

OneBodyOneFaith has issued a statement: Disappointment and gratitude as Pemberton case concludes

“…The question now is less whether the bishop acted legally - that seems beyond doubt - but whether people want to continue to support this kind of discrimination against committed, loving couples as they seek to follow Christ. There is a real sense of the need for change, the will for change and the time for change.“

Press Release from Jeremy Pemberton

The Court of Appeal has examined the issues in my claim against Bishop Richard Inwood and has dismissed them. I am grateful for the expertise of the Court, though naturally disappointed in the judgment.

I have reached a settlement agreement with the Church of England that I will not pursue this claim any further. They, on their part, will not apply for costs against me.

I am more grateful than I can say to Sean Jones QC, Helen Trotter, Justin Gau, and Susanna Reynhart of Thompson Snell & Passmore. Since the end of the original tribunal hearing they have all represented me pro bono with great skill and commitment. We have worked together for three and a half years on this case, and I count myself very blessed to have had them alongside me every step of the way. I am also very grateful to Bishop Alan Wilson, my expert witness; to my family for their support; and to the countless people who have written, messaged, telephoned and spoken to me expressing their solidarity.

The Church of England has established through this process that it can continue to discriminate legally against some LGBT people in relation to their employment, even where that employment is not within the boundaries of the church’s jurisdiction. This will seem to most people in the UK today an extraordinary result, and not one that will help commend the claims of Christ to the nation. An official position that regards the loves and commitments of LGBT people, including clergy, as sinful by definition is years overdue for thorough-going revision. The need for a revolution in attitudes and practices in the Church towards this minority is still acute – we continue to wait for real change.

I hope that I shall be permitted to return to active ministry at some point. Had I committed an infraction that was dealt with under the Clergy Discipline Measure, then I might have been told I was being suspended for a definite period, with the hope and expectation of restoration after that. Because I was never dealt with under any process, I have no permission to officiate at all, and no indication of when I might hope to have that restored. Everything is in the hands of, and at the will of individual bishops.

Finally, I owe most to Laurence Cunnington. He has been rock-like and constant in his support and love in this, as in all things. We look forward to celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary soon. I cannot thank him enough for the honour he does me in being my husband.

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

IICSA hearings - Wednesday 21 March

Updated Thursday morning

The transcript of the final day of taking evidence from live witnesses can be found here.
There will be no hearing tomorrow, Thursday. On Friday the final portions of some written statements will be read into the record, and that will be followed by statements from the lawyers representing various “core participants”.

Media reports:

Church Times
‘I am ashamed of the Church’, Archbishop Welby admits to IICSA

Christian Today
Archbishop of Canterbury goes before child sex abuse hearings
Justin Welby: Child sex abuse by priests will ‘destroy the Church’ if it continues

The Tablet
Archbishop Welby to give evidence at national inquiry into child sexual abuse
Archbishop Welby ‘appalled and ashamed’ of Church of England

Press Association via Daily Mail Abusers may be forgiven but can never be trusted again, Archbishop tells inquiry

The Times Abuse makes me ashamed of church, says Welby (£)

Guardian Justin Welby: sexual abusers can never be trusted again

Belfast Telegraph Archbishop tells child abuse inquiry he is ‘ashamed’ of Church
Abusers may be forgiven but can never be trusted again, Archbishop tells inquiry

Anglican Communion News Service
Archbishop of Canterbury gives evidence to Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Telegraph Justin Welby: I have learned to be ashamed of the Church of England

Daily Mail
Archbishop of Canterbury fights back tears to tell child abuse inquiry he is ‘ashamed of the Church’ as he says abusers must be forgiven but can ‘never be trusted again’

Religion News Service via Colorado Springs Gazette Archbishop of Canterbury: Church has failed to protect children from abuse

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church IICSA -reflections on Welby’s conclusions

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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

IICSA hearings - Monday/Tuesday 19/20 March

Updated again Wednesday afternoon

The transcript of the Anglican hearings for Monday 19 March is available here.

Witnesses heard were: two survivors, the Bishop of Manchester (concerning religious coummunities) and Graham Tilby (head of the National Safeguarding Team).

Media reports:

Church Times
Church must create ‘culture of challenge’ Peter Ball survivor tells IICSA

Abuse allegations must be reported, Church of England safeguarding adviser tells IICSA

Christian Today
Abuse inquiry reveals Church’s ‘stupidity, incompetence and lying’, says bishop

Serious abuse by priests could still go unreported, Church’s safeguarding chief admits

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church
Safeguarding – reconciling two perspectives.
The comments below this article, including those from Ian Elliott, author of one of the earlier reports, are worth reading.

Tuesday

The transcript for Tuesday is now published.

Media Reports:

Christian Today
Clergy burnt church files after being accused of covering up abuse, inquiry hears

Church Times
IICSA latest: the dean’s bonfire and the destroyed report at Chichester Cathedral

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Monday, 19 March 2018

Further reports on abuse survivor Matthew Ineson

in other news related to safeguarding, the Church Times last Friday carried a report on the case of Matthew Ineson.

See Sex abuse survivor Matthew Ineson criticises ‘inaction’ of senior clerics in BBC programme.

Also, the Church of England Newspaper reports: Abuse survivor calls for senior bishops to resign over failures

Thinking Anglicans has reported on this case previously:

The TV programme mentioned in the above report was linked in this article.

Church of England issues statement about Matthew Ineson

Matthew Ineson responds to statement from NST

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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Bishop of Shrewsbury to leave

The Area Bishop of Shrewsbury in the diocese of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands, has announced that he has chosen to leave his role for a return to parish ministry in Exeter Diocese. He will continue as Bishop of Shrewsbury until July when there will be a special farewell service. He will then take up his new role as a Priest-in-Charge of the Ashburton and Moorland Team in Exeter Diocese, where he will also be an Assistant Bishop.

Further details are on the Lichfield diocesan website.

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Saturday, 17 March 2018

IICSA hearings - Friday 16 March

Updated

Friday’s transcript is now available here.

Next week’s schedule is published here.

Statement from Archbishop of Canterbury on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, IICSA (The archbishop is scheduled to appear on Wednesday)

Media reports and comment:

Church Times
Church must accept past faults, says Chichester diocesan Visitor Robert Bursell QC

‘I don’t recall hearing about Chichester’s problems,’ Lord Carey tells IICSA

Archdeacon tells IICSA: ‘I couldn’t believe a priest would lie to me’

Leader Comment: A shambles is no safeguard

Letter to the Editor from Andrew Graystone Bishops ought to clarify the change in culture on abuse (scroll down for this letter)

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church IICSA – A promise to ‘change the culture’ of the Church?

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Thursday, 15 March 2018

IICSA hearings - Wednesday/Thursday 14/15 March

Transcripts for these two days are available:

Wednesday 14 March
Note: this item has been removed from the IICSA website, presumably this is only temporary.

Thursday 15 March

The appearance on Wednesday of former Archbishop Rowan Williams generated a increase in media attention:

Guardian Williams: church’s old views on gay clergy led to desire not to judge sexual activities
Telegraph Church overlooked sexual abuse by bishop because he was gay, former Archbishop suggests
Press Association via Daily Mail Sexist Church culture may be linked to failure to tackle child abuse - Williams

Church Times Lord Williams backs abuse survivors’ demand for independent safeguarding body at IICSA
Christian Today Church ‘overcompensated’ for conservative stance on homosexuality by treating paedophile bishop lightly
The Tablet Rowan Williams admits failings over C of E child abuse

The Times Archbishop ‘shielded from sex abuse row’ (£) and this is further explained in a report at Christian Today Church’s approach to abuse was to ‘stonewall’ and ‘say nothing’, says Rowan Williams’ former aide

Further reports:
BBC Child abuse inquiry: Diocese had ‘major issue’
Christian Today Church has bias against abuse victims and ‘culture of deference and defensiveness’, bishop admits
Church Times I was shocked by what I found in Chichester diocese, Dr Warner tells IICSA hearing

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Joe Hawes to be next Dean of St Edmundsbury

Press release from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Joe Hawes, currently Vicar of All Saints’ Fulham, is to be the next Dean of St Edmundsbury, in the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

A priest who substantially increased the number of families and young people worshipping at the major London parish he leads has been chosen as the new Dean of St Edmundsbury.

The Revd Canon Joe Hawes, Vicar of All Saints’ Fulham, who enjoys scuba-diving in his leisure time, will start his new senior role during the summer.

Bishop Martin, said there had been a strong field of applicants with more candidates than usual for a Dean’s post.

“I am delighted that it was a unanimous decision to appoint Joe. He is an outstanding and Godly priest. He is warm, engaging, caring and fun. He brings energy and wisdom, and a huge amount of experience in parish ministry.

“He has been Vicar of All Saints’ in Fulham for 15 years, and increased the regular congregation by 25% to more than 500 each Sunday, with a particular ministry with families and young people.

“In Fulham he has developed worship to be engaging and accessible for people of different backgrounds and ages, and a church looking outwards, engaged in loving service with those in need.

“He has strong leadership and organisational skills, sees the cathedral as serving the whole county, not just Bury St Edmunds, and I look forward to working with him across the county for the greater good.”

Roger Wright, Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Music, who was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead the process of finding a new Dean, said: “It was a pleasure and privilege to chair the panel for this appointment.

“His considerable experience, and his warm and engaging personality will help the cathedral be a beacon of hope for Suffolk as it broadens its appeal to all.

“Joe will be strong and thoughtful leader in this new period of the life of the cathedral and we very much look forward to his presence in the diocese.”

Canon Joe’s parish of All Saints’ Fulham has been developing its broadcasting profile, the Christmas Day the service was live on BBC1, and Palm Sunday Morning worship will be broadcast on Radio 4 on 25 March.

Canon Joe, who will become one of the most senior Church of England figures in Suffolk, said: “I am really looking forward to getting to know the people of Suffolk and to taking my place among the Bishop’s Staff.

“I am keen to see even more people discover the beauty of the cathedral. We need to build our financial reserves so that we can further develop our excellence within music, worship, learning and care to the highest possible standards.

“We need to provide a place which is both sanctuary in an uncertain world, and also a forum for debate and reflection on the major questions which are challenging us as a society at the moment.”

Canon Joe, 52, is in a civil partnership with the Revd Chris Eyden, the vicar of All Saints’ Putney, who will remain serving in Putney for the time being.

Bishop Martin said he is looking forward to welcoming Joe, and Chris when he is able to be in the county.

Canon Joe will be installed as the Dean of St Edmundsbury in the Cathedral on Saturday 14 July.

The Rt Revd Graeme Knowles, acting Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, said: “The Cathedral Chapter are delighted at Joe’s appointment. He will bring many gifts, experience and skills from his present ministry in Fulham.

“Joe will be joining the cathedral at a time when our vision and strategy is taking shape, therefore he will be able to contribute greatly to our future plans for the cathedral, town of Bury St Edmunds and county of Suffolk.”

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Thursday, 15 March 2018 at 1:34pm GMT | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

IICSA hearings - Tuesday 13 March

The transcript for Tuesday 13 March is available here. Witnesses were The Revd Canon and Worshipful Dr Rupert Bursell QC, Professor Julie Macfarlane, and Bishop Mark Sowerby.

Media reports:

Church Times Abuse survivor tells IICSA of her battle for justice

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CofE responds to government consultation on Sex Education

The UK government recently held a consultation on Changes to the teaching of Sex & Relationship Education and PSHE.

The Church of England has now published its response to that consultation:
Changes to the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education and PSHE: A call for evidence Church of England Education Office Response

And in addition Nigel Genders the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer has published comment on this response, here.

This has had quite a lot of media coverage, for example:

BBC Sex education: Schools ‘should promote celibacy’, says Church of England

Times Educational Supplement Pupils should be taught that abstinence and celibacy are ‘positive life choices’, C of E says

Telegraph Teach pupils the value of abstinence and celibacy, says Church of England

Independent Pupils should be taught in school that abstinence and celibacy are ‘positive life choices’, says Church of England

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Jillian Duff to be next Bishop of Lancaster

Press release from Number 10

Queen approves appointment of Suffragan See of Lancaster
The Queen has approved the appointment of Reverend Dr Jillian Duff as the next Suffragan Bishop of Lancaster.

Published 13 March 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Dr Jillian Louise Calland Duff, MA, Director of Mellitus College, North West, to the Suffragan See of Lancaster, in the Diocese of Blackburn. Dr Jillian Duff succeeds the Right Reverend Geoffrey Seagrove Pearson, BA, on his resignation of 31 July 2017.

Dr Jillian Duff (aged 45) was born and brought up in Bolton, Lancashire. She was educated at Christ College, Cambridge and Worcester College, Oxford. After working in the oil industry, she trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall Oxford. Dr Duff served her title at St Philip’s, Litherland, in the Diocese of Liverpool from 2003 to 2005. From 2005 Dr Duff took up the role of Pioneer Minister, church planting in Liverpool City Centre till 2011. In 2009 Dr Duff was appointed Chaplain to Liverpool College. In 2011 she worked as IME tutor and Vocations Development Advisor in the Diocese of Liverpool. From 2012 she worked to build a partnership between the North West Bishops and St Mellitus College, London and in 2013 became the founding Director of St Mellitus College, North West, based at Liverpool Cathedral, while serving at St Paul’s Widnes.

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Monday, 12 March 2018

IICSA hearings - Monday 12 March

The transcript of today’s hearing, which was entirely devoted to the evidence of Bishop Wallace Benn, is now available.

Media reports:

Church Times
Don’t blame me for safeguarding blunders, former Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn, tells IICSA hearing

Christian Today
Bishop claims he was ‘scapegoated’ over child sex abuse allegations
Bishop admits ‘hunch’ about paedophile priest but says he was powerless to stop him

The following item was written before today’s hearing and reflects the evidence given last week by others:
Chichester Observer
Revealed: How former bishop failed to report paedophile priests

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Sunday, 11 March 2018

Private Members' Motions - Liturgies for same-sex couples

The Church of England publishes the texts of motions proposed by individual members of General Synod here: Private Members’ Motions. The page is updated from time to time, most recently two days ago.

There has been this one addition since last month’s meeting of General Synod.

Liturgies for same-sex couples

Ms Christina Baron (Bath & Wells) to move:

‘That this Synod:

Request the House of Bishops to commend an Order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or a same sex marriage for use by ministers in exercise of their discretion under Canon B5, being a form of service neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter, together with guidance that no parish should be obliged to host, nor minister conduct, such a service.’

Private members’ motions are only considered for debate if they are signed by at least 100 General Synod members. The process for adding signatures is described here: GS Misc 1166.

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Friday, 9 March 2018

IICSA hearings - Friday 9 March

The transcript from Friday’s hearing is now published.

The timetable for next week’s hearings is available here.

Monday includes Bishop Wallace Benn
Tuesday includes Bishop Mark Sowerby
Wednesday includes Bishop Martin Warner and former archbishop Rowan Williams
Thursday includes Bishop Nicholas Reade
Friday includes Graham Tilby

Media reports:

Christian Today
Bishop ‘filleted’ clergy files to remove evidence, abuse inquiry told

Are conservative evangelicals more likely to protect child abusers?

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John Perumbalath to be next Bishop of Bradwell

Press release from Number 10

Nomination of Suffragan Bishop of Bradwell: 9 March 2018
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Dr John Perumbalath.

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

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Dr John Perumbalath, BA, BD, MA, MTh, PhD, Archdeacon of Barking, in the Diocese of Chelmsford, to the Suffragan See of Bradwell, in the Diocese of Chelmsford in succession to the Right Reverend John Michael Wraw, BA, who died on 25 July 2017.

The Venerable Dr John Perumbalath (52) hails from the ancient Syrian Christian community in Kerala, India, and trained for ministry at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune. Before his ordination he worked as a youth worker among university students for two years and as a theological educator for three years. He was a parish priest in the diocese of Calcutta (Church of North India) from 1995 to 2001. He served on the General Synod of CNI and on its Theological Commission. Since his move to the United Kingdom, he served in the diocese of Rochester as Associate Priest at St George’s Beckenham(2002-05), Team Vicar in Northfleet & Rosherville (2005-08), Vicar of All Saints, Perry Street & Diocesan Urban Officer (2008-13) before he was appointed the Archdeacon of Barking in 2013.

John also holds a wider role locally and nationally. He chairs the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC) and London Churches Refugee Network. He is a member of the General Synod and sits on the Appointment Committee of the Church of England, Mission & Public Affairs Council, and the trustee board of Westcott House, Cambridge.

John is married to Jessy, a Mathematics teacher and they have a daughter, Anugraha, a medical student. John has contributed reflections for Church House Publishing and has taken up speaking engagements in various provinces of Anglican Communion. He holds postgraduate degrees in Philosophy and Biblical studies and a doctorate in hermeneutics.

Chelmsford diocesan press release: New Bishop of Bradwell:
 ‘God wants Essex to flourish’

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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Matthew Ineson responds to statement from NST

Updated Friday afternoon

We published late Wednesday evening a statement from the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team regarding Matthew Ineson.

Matthew Ineson has now issued a response:

Call for the Resignation of Archbishop John Sentamu and Bishop Steven Croft

It is confirmed by the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England that in 2013 Archbishop John Sentamu received, and replied to, a letter from me to him disclosing sexual abuse by a priest I had suffered as a youngster. An internal memo which has been acquired via a data protection act request by me and is dated 25th July 2016 confirms this and clearly states ‘I have also a copy of the Archbishop of York’s letter to Ineson, dated 2nd July 2013, which acknowledges that he had read a letter written to Steven Croft, copied to the Archbishop of York, which repeated the disclosure of an alleged criminal offence.’

The letter I sent to John Sentamu was a copy of a letter I had sent to Bishop Steven Croft, dated 1st June 2013, which not only contained details of my sexual abuse, but also complained bitterly of the failure to act on my disclosures by Bishop Steven Croft and Bishop Peter Burrows. By this time Steven Croft had ignored three disclosures from me, two by telephone and this letter of 1st June.

John Sentamu replied saying he had read the letter and assured me of his prayers and best wishes through this testing time. Beyond that I was not offered any care, no support was given, I was not encouraged to report my abuse to the police nor was my disclosure(s) passed to the relevant church safeguarding officer or any other authority by him.

In the statement by The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team issued yesterday (above) it is claimed that the Archbishop did not fail to act on any disclosure made, because the responsibility to respond and act lay with the diocesan bishop, namely Steven Croft. The National Safeguarding Team are clearly stating here that Steven Croft should have acted. He didn’t and my abuser, The Revd Trevor Devamnaikkam, was left 4 ½ years after my first disclosure to Steven Croft and 4 years after my correspondence with John Sentamu to potentially abuse again. He was charged in May 2017 with 6 serious charges of sexual abuse against me. Steven Croft has admitted on several occasions that I disclosed my abuse to him in the media over the past 16 months. I have pursued the complaint against Steven Croft’s failures several times with the church who have blocked any attempt at investigation into his failures. The National Safeguarding team now acknowledge those failures and I call on Steven Croft to resign with immediate effect.

I also call upon Archbishop Sentamu to resign with immediate effect for failing to act on my disclosure to him and again, leaving my abuser for 4 years to potentially abuse again.

Both these bishops failed to act in accordance with Church of England Safeguarding guidelines and left children and the vulnerable at risk of harm for over 4 years. Both bishops neglected their duties regarding safeguarding and John Sentamu neglected his duties by also not exercising his authority in terms of discipline over Steven Croft or Peter Burrows. He is in effect passing the buck and saying ‘not my job’. Is it now the case that clergy, even bishops and archbishops, can ignore disclosures of abuse by simply saying ‘not my job’. There was also a complete lack of pastoral care by both of them.

In the past two days two more people have contacted me to say that some of the bishops I have complained about have also failed them in a similar manner.

Further, the memo addressed to the Archbishop in June 2017 refers to ‘survivors’ of Trevor Devamanikkam in the plural. The National Safeguarding Team dismiss this as being untrue and due to human error by the author of the memo. However, John Sentamu acknowledged, dated and signed this memo as ‘noted’. He therefore read that there were multiple victims of abuse and took no action or questioned this. This again potentially left other vulnerable people open to abuse. It may or may be the case that there were other victims of Trevor Devamanikkam. That is not the issue here. The issue is that John Sentamu was told in writing there was, acknowledged that and did not act as required to do so.

Also, I challenge the assertion that the National Safeguarding Team did not know that Trevor Devamanikkam had previously attempted to take his own life before his suicide. They did know, and no risk assessments or checks were carried out on him by anyone in The Church of England at all including the National Safeguarding team, anyone at diocesan level or by the diocesan bishop himself, Steven Croft.

Once again I call for the immediate resignations of John Sentamu and Steven Croft for breaching safeguarding procedures which they are required to do by virtue of the public office they each respectively hold as bishops of the established church. If they refuse to do so, and the church refuses to hold them to account, we once again have the Church of England complicit and colluding with the abuse of children and the vulnerable and taking no action to prevent it.

Matthew Ineson

Update

Archbishop Cranmer has responded to this with a lengthy article: The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team is either untruthful or incompetent (or quite possibly both)

This article contains a detailed discussion about the various time limits applicable and the procedures for applying for extensions thereof. Its accuracy on these details has been queried. I’ll deal with this initially in the Comments below.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 11:40pm GMT | Comments (35) | TrackBack
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IICSA hearings - Thursday 8 March

The transcript for Thursday 8 March is available here.

Further links to follow. No documents from this day have yet been posted.

Media reports:

Church Times
IICSA considers whether views on women affected Chichester safeguarding

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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Church of England issues statement about Matthew Ineson

Updated Thursday noon

Statement on Matthew Ineson case

Due to a BBC report this week and comments on social media the National Safeguarding Team has issued a statement to clarify details of the case.

Matthew Ineson’s case has been taken very seriously since it came to our attention. The account of the abuse he suffered as a teenager is harrowing and we are aware that the death of his alleged perpetrator, Trevor Devamanikkan, before he could stand trial, was extremely difficult for Matthew Ineson. We were not aware of any previous attempts by Trevor Devamanikkan on his own life; had we known we obviously would have commissioned a risk assessment. Once the Church was aware of the criminal investigation, the Church made offers of support to Trevor Devamanikkan, which he refused.

We can confirm that the Archbishop of York responded to a letter he received from Matthew Ineson in June 2013, in which Matthew Ineson enclosed a copy of a letter to him from the then Bishop of Sheffield and his own response to the Bishop. The Archbishop did not fail to act on any disclosure made. As the Diocesan Bishop has responsibility for matters such as these in their diocese, this is a matter for the Diocesan Bishop to inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (Protecting All God’s Children - the Policy for Safeguarding Children in the Church of England, section 4.5). For this reason, the Archbishop acknowledged Matthew Ineson’s letter and assured him of his prayers.

As regards to a memo addressed to the Archbishop of York in June 2017 which refers to survivors in the plural, the Archbishop of York’s Office have already explained this was simply human error. We have worked closely with the police throughout and we have only ever dealt with one victim. This was double-checked with the police last week.

As we have said before there are currently complaints from Matthew Ineson himself, which are being investigated under the Clergy Discipline Measure. Once these complaints have been dealt with, the Core Group, which is the Church’s response to any allegations of abuse, has already decided that an independent review of the case will be commissioned.

It is not possible to go into any further details of this case.

Update The statement above was issued by publication on the CofE website (with a notification on Twitter) at around 2 pm on Wednesday. Matt Ineson has reported on Twitter that he was not told about this statement by the National Safeguarding Team, and indeed has not been contacted by them for about two months.

The Archbishop Cranmer blog on Thursday published this article by Martin Sewell: Abuse victim: “The cruel and inhuman treatment I have received from the National Safeguarding Team in Church House, and others in the Church of England hierarchy, makes what Peter Ball did to me pale into insignificance”.

It has not been a good week for the Church of England. We were warned as much by our Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Peter Hancock, when he led the safeguarding presentation to General Synod in February. Indeed, he predicted a rocky path for the next two years. Although he did not say so, we probably deserve it after years of institutional neglect and lethargy. This week is perhaps the start of the purging of complacency.

The opening of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the deficiencies of the Established Church will take the headlines, but other stories have also arisen. The poor handling of Fr Matt Ineson’s complaints against five bishops was featured in the BBC Inside Out programme, and the substance of it appeared on the BBC website. It was covered by Christian Today, and, as so often, His Grace offered a strong and incisive contribution…

Read the whole article, please.

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IICSA hearings - Wednesday 7 March

Updated

The transcript from Wednesday’s hearing is now available here.

The only witnesses today were former bishop John Hind and former archdeacon Philip Jones.

An index of the documents adduced today is available here. They include

Bishop John Hind’s witness statement
This document is not now available on the website - reason as yet unknown

Media reports:

Church Times Bishop Hind apologises to IICSA hearing over Chichester diocesan safeguarding practices

THE former Bishop of Chichester, Dr John Hind, has apologised for not giving the diocesan safeguarding officers full access to the “blue files” — containing safeguarding concerns about individual clerics in the diocese — at an earlier time in his tenure.

Dr Hind was giving evidence on Wednesday morning to the public hearing conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), in London, on the extent to which the Anglican Church has failed to protect children from sexual abuse.

Christian Today Is this the Achilles heel in the Church of England’s safeguarding approach?

Concerns about the possibility of abuse in the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe are being raised following analysis of an independent report into its safeguarding practices.

An anomaly in that it operates outside of England, the Diocese in Europe covers 42 countries across three continents. However it is still governed by the Church of England and an independent audit published last November laid out concerns about the possibility for abuse to go unreported…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 7 March 2018 at 10:26pm GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Conservatives defend Lord Carey

Updated Thursday noon

Olivia Rudgard reports in the Telegraph that ‘An attack on Lord Carey is an attack on us all’, say Church of England figures

A criminal case against Lord Carey would be an attack on us all, conservative Church of England figures have said.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 10 signatories including the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, suggested that the former Archbishop of Canterbury was being targeted for his involvement in the Bishop Peter Ball case because of “what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity”.

The letter, also signed by Simon Rufus Isaacs, Marquess of Reading, who is a friend of Prince Charles, former bishop of Woolwich Colin Buchanan, and campaigner Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, says that similar high-profile cases have not resulted in prosecutions for misconduct in public office…

The same story is also reported at Christian Today. And Mark Woods has written this comment article there: Why conservative Christians should stop defending George Carey.

…The signatories to the letter – among them the Marquess of Reading, who chairs the Barnabas Fund, former bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali and Christian Concern chief executive Andrea Williams – represent a particular strain of conservative evangelicalism.

This kind of evangelicalism is fundamentally oppositional. It divides the world into those who hold the right beliefs and those who don’t. But doctrinal orthodoxy is not enough: it’s also a mindset that sees modern society as deeply opposed to the gospel, with culture and church locked not in dialogue but in conflict. Everything from gay marriage to judgments against Christians at employment tribunals – usually, when all the evidence is read, richly deserved – is seen as evidence of a ‘war on Christianity’…

The text of the letter is copied below the fold.

Update
Richard Bartholomew has published a further analysis of the letter: Conservative Christians Denounce “Bizarre” Consultation Between CPS and Police on Lord Carey.

SIR – Operation Yewtree and its successor Operation Hydrant have investigated hundreds of cases of suspected misconduct in public office and have yet to bring a case to trial.
For example, no one has been charged with any offence in relation to the misdemeanours of Jimmy Savile. The cases against Lord Bramall, Leon Brittan, Edward Heath and Cliff Richard were all dropped. Why is Lord Carey being targeted at this time? Certain public leaders appear to be being attacked by insinuation without due process.
The notion that a criminal case could be brought against Lord Carey is so bizarre that we can only surmise that the object of the persistent pressure that brings these public attacks is not only Lord Carey but what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity. An attack on him is an attack on us all.

Marquess of Reading
Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali
Rt Rev Colin Buchanan
Canon Dr Vinay Samuel
Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life
Canon Dr Chris Sugden
Anglican Mainstream
Sarah Finch
Member, General Synod
Andrea Williams
Christian Concern
Canon Andrew Wingfield Digby
Mrs Valerie Nazir Ali
Rev Paul Perkin

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 7 March 2018 at 2:25pm GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

IICSA hearings -Tuesday 6 March

Updated again Thursday

The transcript of the second day of Anglican Church hearings can be found here.

Update: a number of additional documents referred to in Tuesday’s hearings are now available on the IICSA website. There is now an index available. They include witness statements from
Shirley Hosgood 1
Shirley Hosgood 2

Media reports:

Church Times
IICSA hears calls for independent safeguarding body to hold Church to account

Survivors tell IICSA hearing of child abuse by Church of England clerics

Christian Today
Paedophile priests passed vulnerable teenage boys between them, inquiry hears

Did the Church of England’s divisions over homosexuality contribute to child sex abuse cover-up?

The Times
Church hit by 48 child abuse claims in one diocese, inquiry told [£]

In relation to the other story reported yesterday, there is this blog article: Sentamu ordered ‘no action’ against paedophile priest – leaving him to abuse again and commit suicide.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 6 March 2018 at 10:07pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Monday, 5 March 2018

Update on IICSA hearings - 5 March

Updated Tuesday morning

The transcript of the first day’s proceedings is now available here. It contains opening statements by:

Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry
Fiona Scolding, Counsel to the Inquiry,
Richard Scorer, representing survivors
David Greenwood, also representing survivors, and also MACSAS
Nigel Giffin, representing the Archbishops’ Council
Rory Phillips, representing Ecclesiastical Insurance
Richard Smith representing Peter Ball

The Church of England has issued this: Opening statement in IICSA hearing

Media reports:

Witness statements have been published by IICSA from numerous individuals, all listed by name here and accessible (but only by reference number) over here.

They include written statements from these Archbishops’ Council staff:

William Nye
Stephen Slack
Julian Hubbard
Hannah Foster

In a separate development, the BBC’s Yorkshire regional news programme Inside Out has broadcast an interview with Matthew Ineson who says senior clergymen ignored his disclosures of sexual abuse by a parish priest. Link to the TV programme here, is available for 29 days only.

See also BBC news article, Police look at bishops’ ‘failure to act’ over sex abuse claims.

Other media reports on this:
Archbishop of York could face police investigation for failing to act over abuse allegations
Church of England sex abuse victim to tell his story on TV

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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Update on IICSA hearings - 4 March

IICSA has published the timetable for the first week of hearings.

The CofE has published this page, with links to material about the IICSA hearings. Those links includes this Q and A for parishes. This in turn links to another document: Church of England Safeguarding Overview.

Earlier, the CofE published this Church of England statement on IICSA’s Child Migration Report. The IICSA press release about that report is here.

Mandate Now is a pressure group that seeks the introduction of law requiring staff who work in ‘Regulated Activities’ to report concerns about the welfare of children [and vulnerable adults] to the Local Authority. Mandatory reporting of suspected or known child abuse is a vital component of a functioning child protection system in institutional settings.

Mandate Now is supported by the largest coalition of survivor charities in England, Wales and Scotland which are members of ‘The Survivors Trust’.

Mandate Now has issued a critique of Church of England safeguarding: Church of England Safeguarding is Dysfunctional and Can Have No Reliance Placed Upon It | A Review by Mandate Now.

The full text of the review (224 pages) is available here.

The BBC regional television programme Inside Out for Yorkshire will broadcast an item tomorrow evening, Monday, which relates to the IICSA hearings:

…Inside Out hears from a man who says senior clergymen ignored his disclosures of sexual abuse by a parish priest.

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Friday, 2 March 2018

CofE Safeguarding statistics: corrected data

The Church Times has a report this morning, which mentions (scroll to end) that:

Ongoing safeguarding allegations. It was revealed this week that The General Synod was misinformed last month about the number of safeguarding allegations being handled by the dioceses, it was revealed this week.

There are in fact about 2600 cases ongoing, not 3300, as previously reported by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, in a written question to a Synod member, Kat Alldread, last month (News, 16 February).

More than half of these 2600 cases involved children, and more than a quarter related to church officers — not 18 per cent as previously reported, the clerk to the Synod, Dr Jacqui Philips, confirmed in a letter to Mrs Alldread this week.

Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian today has a news report: Church of England faces ‘deep shame’ at child abuse inquiry which includes a link to the full text of the letter from Dr Jacqui Phillips, Clerk to the Synod, which corrects the statistics:

…At the General Synod on 8 February 2017 the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding answered your question no 47 about the scale of safeguarding casework. I very much regret to say that part of this answer was incorrect, owing to a human error in compiling the data from which the answer was drawn. The Lead Bishop has asked me to convey his apologies to you for this error and to express his hope that neither you nor other members of Synod will have been misled by this incorrect information…

The corrected answer reads:

“Each diocese is asked to complete an annual self-assessment circulated and collated by the National Safeguarding Team for the previous year’s activity. Our current data relates to 2016 activity. Reporting methods used by the dioceses may vary so the numbers given are an approximate figure.

“In 2016 dioceses reported that they were dealing with around 2600 safeguarding concerns or allegations. Concerns are different from allegations of actual abuse and may cover less serious matters but may include raising issues of neglect or potential vulnerability of children or adults. 53% of concerns or allegations relate to children, and 47% to adults. Around 27% of concerns or allegations raised relate to a church
officer.

“The National Safeguarding Team has commissioned further work to analyse data for safeguarding concerns or allegations. The results of this analysis will be reported to the National Safeguarding Steering Group in due course.”

The main part of the Church Times news article by Hattie Williams, which is headlined IICSA hearing likely to prompt more disclosures of abuse, C of E safeguarding officials say previews the IICSA hearings that start next week, as does the Guardian article. The latter contains quotes from survivors Graham Sawyer and Gilo and from Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon.

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IICSA hearings into the Anglican Church

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse will start three weeks of hearings into the Anglican Church [in England and Wales] on Monday 5 March.

There is voluminous information about IICSA, its other strands of investigation, and its other work, on its website.

IICSA summarises this investigation on its website thus:

An inquiry into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church.

The Inquiry welcomed the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Inquiry to investigate, as a matter of priority, the sexual abuse of children within the Church. Allegations of child sexual abuse within the Church of England, the Church in Wales, and other Anglican churches operating in England and Wales (‘the Anglican Church’) are matters of ongoing public concern.

This investigation will assess the appropriateness of safeguarding and child protection policies and practices in the Anglican Church. It will consider the adequacy of the Past Cases Review of the Church of England and the Historic Cases Review of the Church in Wales. As a case study, we will consider the experience of the Diocese of Chichester, where there have been multiple allegations of sexual abuse, and numerous investigations and reviews. We will also consider the case of Peter Ball, formerly Bishop of Lewes and subsequently Bishop of Gloucester, and investigate whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after he was first accused of child sexual offences.

A further page gives more detail of the Scope of Investigation and this is also available as a pdf file.

Documentation relating to this particular investigation starts here.

Transcripts of the preliminary hearings can be found here, and this page will be updated with information daily throughout the next three weeks.

We will endeavour to report on its progress regularly.

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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Upset in Tunbridge Wells

Anglican Mainstream has reproduced online this piece by Peter Sanlon, who as the article explains is at one and the same time:

Both churches are in Tunbridge Wells.

Securing a Future or Stockpiling Whitewash?

Dr Sanlon is not happy with the current state of the Church of England.

Dr Sanlon is also Convener of the “Anglican Partnership Synod” in Rochester. For those who don’t recall what the “Partnership Synod” in Rochester is, this earlier article from 2016 may help: Conservative evangelicals to form “shadow synod”.

Dr Sanlon was also a signatory here: The Movement for a Renewed Orthodox Anglicanism.

Other news reports about him from 2016 can be found in the Times of Tunbridge Wells:

Archdruid Eileen has been driven to comment on this: Disgusted with Tunbridge Wells.

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Friday, 16 February 2018

Bishop George Bell: this week's developments

Updated
The Chichester Observer reported on Monday 12 February: Church defends its position on Bishop Bell amid mounting pressure

This includes a report of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme item on the morning of Saturday 10 February:

Lord Carlile, having advised in his report that alleged perpetrators, living or dead, should not be publicly identified unless a ‘proper and adequate investigation’ is settled with ‘admission of liability’, has opening [sic] criticised the Church for ignoring his recommendations in announcing this new information.

Speaking on Radio 4 Today on Saturday morning ahead of the General Synod gathering for a third day, Lord Carlile said:
“It’s like a small dictatorial government deciding to go ahead and acting any way it wishes, regardless of due process of the rule of law.
“It flies in the face of the recommendations I made which the Church said it accepted. “The Church has got to get a grip on this.”

The programme also reported that the Church has denied Bishop Bell’s surviving family legal representation from their chosen barrister for this new investigation. Speaking on the programme on behalf of the Church, Tim Thornton, Bishop at Lambeth, said instead someone had been ‘put forward to represent the voice of Bishop Bell’ and his family…

On the same day, Martin Sewell wrote an article on the Archbishop Cranmer site, Church of England bullies George Bell’s elderly niece by denying her choice of lawyer. This long article really does need to be read in full, but here is a taster:

…Last December, Mrs Whitley would have taken comfort from the Carlile Report on the simple basis that if the original conclusion of the church’s Core Group is unsupportable through defect of process, then the reputational status quo ante applies. The Archbishop of Canterbury rather publicly does not agree, but in the Court of public opinion he is probably in a minority.

With the new matter placed prematurely in the public domain – against Lord Carlile’s specific advice – Mrs Whitley might have regarded that as simply the church’s token saving of face at a point when its sub-optimal competence in the handling of a historic case had been evidenced and asserted. ‘Look how transparent we now are’ is a way of kidding ourselves that things were/are not as bad as they were/are.

We all thought things would be done better the second time round, including the church putting right one of the more obvious errors of the first set of proceedings. The relevant Carlile recommendation had been: “The Core Group should have, in addition to someone advocating for the complainant, someone assigned to it to represent the interests of the accused person and his or her descendants.”

Those dealing with this new information acted with speed, but they had a problem. The old regulations which contributed to the errors referred to in ‘Bell 1’ were still in place; the House of Bishops have not yet formally accepted the Carlile Report; Church House was hurriedly drafting new regulations to address the need identified by Lord Carlile for a deceased accused to be represented at the Core Group. They wanted to ‘get on with it’, which is to be commended, but under pressure they gave themselves the unencumbered power to appoint the person who should represent that accused. Seeking the opinion of the family was plainly overlooked…

Today Martyn Percy also has a guest appearance at Archbishop Cranmer: ‘Sorry’ seems to be the hardest word: apologetics and apologies in the Bishop Bell case. He gives more detail on the latter point:

…Mrs Barbara Whitley, George Bell’s niece, and now 94 years of age, has made it clear that she wished to be represented by Desmond Browne QC. Yet without consulting with Mrs Whitley or the wider family further, on 8th February 2018, Graham Tilby of the NST informed Bell’s family and friends that he had assigned a Mr Donald Findlater to represent their interests and concerns. Moreover, it seems that Findlater had already attended the first Core Group meeting on 29th January 2018. At the time of that meeting Mrs Whitley had absolutely no idea about the new allegations. She has never met Findlater. So it must have been a strange and somewhat surreal sensation for the family and friends of Bishop George Bell to discover that the Church of England had appointed their defence advocate to represent Bell, without consulting the interested parties, and without anyone knowing what the “fresh information” consisted of…

Update

A correspondent has kindly supplied a transcript of the BBC Today interview mentioned above.

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Post Synod roundup

The voting lists from the electronic votes at last week’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod are now available.

Voting results - Item 12 [Mission and Ministry in Covenant - relations with the Methodist Church]
Voting results - Item 16 [Valuing people with Down’s Syndrome]

Also available is the official summary of Business Done.

Today’s issue of Church Times carries their usual detailed Synod reports. Here is my personal selection; all eleven are linked from here.

General Synod: safeguarding presentation
General Synod: presentation and debate on Crown Nominations Commission
General Synod: debate on valuing people with Down’s syndrome
General Synod: presentation on Digital evangelism

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Justin Welby - Five years at Canterbury

Updated

Justin Welby became Archbishop of Canterbury five years ago this month. To mark the occasion Paul Handley, the editor of Church Times, has interviewed the archbishop: To bless and not to bless: Archbishop Welby in conversation.

Andrew Brown of The Guardian gives us his view: With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firmest grip. “The Archbishop of Canterbury has shaped the CofE to his will with a skill of a politician – and made it all the better.”

Update

There is an edited audio recording of the Church Times interview with the archbishop here.

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Saturday, 10 February 2018

General Synod day 3

Updated Saturday night, Sunday morning and Monday evening

Order papers
morning
afternoon [not available online]

Links to texts of the Safeguarding presentation at General Synod

Harry Farley Christian Today Church facing years of shame as extent of abuse emerges, bishop warns

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian C of E faced 3,300 sexual abuse claims, figures reveal

Tim Wyatt Church Times Safeguarding: we’re doing better, Synod tells sceptical survivors

Olivia Rudgard Telegraph Clergy still believe some complainants are ‘simply out for the money’, abuse expert tells church leaders

Olivia Rudgard Telegraph Informal communities for nuns and monks becoming more popular - with daily prayers over Skype

Official press release General Synod affirms dignity and humanity of people with Down’s Syndrome
[see below the fold for the text of the motion as passed by Synod]

Madeleine Davies Church Times ‘Every human being is made in the image of God’: Synod unanimously backs motion on Down’s syndrome

Olivia Rudgard Telegraph Rate of Down’s syndrome abortions in UK and Europe is akin to Nazi eugenics, Church of England’s General Synod hears

Press Association (in The Guardian) C of E backs motion valuing people with Down’s syndrome

summary of the day’s business from Stephen Lynas: It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday…

video recordings
morning session
afternoon session

Motion on Down’s syndrome as passed by General Synod

That this Synod, valuing all human life equally and celebrating the advances in medical technology which help alleviate human suffering:
(a) affirm the dignity and full humanity of people born with Down’s syndrome;
(b) request dioceses, parishes and the NCIs to work to review their activities and the provisions they make for people with Down’s syndrome and their families, to ensure a real welcome for all;
(c) support the continued development of ante-natal care including access to information that new, safe screening techniques provide; and
(d) call on Her Majesty’s Government and relevant professional bodies to ensure that parents who have been told that their unborn child has Down’s syndrome will be given comprehensive, unbiased information with regard to this condition, and be provided with full information about the support available and the future prospects of those with this condition, with no implied preference for any outcome.

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Friday, 9 February 2018

General Synod day 2

Updated Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon

Order papers
morning
afternoon

Official press release General Synod backs motion to tackle food waste

Christian Today CofE backs campaign to reduce food waste

Anglican Communion News Service C of E Synod endorses Anglican Communion links as central to mission and discipleship

Read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the General Synod in London today: Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address

Harry Farley Christian Today Archbishop warns Church of England against dangers of ‘radical change’

Olivia Rudgard Telegraph Church should not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ by making radical changes, Archbishop says

Official press release General Synod welcomes move towards communion with Methodist Church

Press release from the Methodist Church Church of England and Methodist Church to continue exploring closer communion

Tim Wyatt Church Times Synod shows its enthusiasm for closer unity with Methodists

Harry Farley Christian Today Church of England embraces unity with Methodist Church

Ruth Gledhill The Tablet Church of England and Methodists move towards unity

Diocese of Guildford Synod affirms Anglican Communion links in run-up to Lambeth 2020

summary of the day’s business from Stephen Lynas: Move in a little closer, baby

video recordings
morning session
afternoon session

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Thursday, 8 February 2018

General Synod day 1 press and other reports

Updated Friday morning and afternoon

Press reports on Thursday’s business

Tim Wyatt Church Times Choose bishops more openly, Synod members urge

Harry Farley Christian Today Entrenched opposition to women priests blocks Church’s diversity efforts, synod told

Anglican Communion News Service Justin Welby calls for greater Anglican Communion say in selection of successor

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian C of E raises serious concerns about Christian Freemasons

Update

Stephen Lynas reviews what happened on Thursday The leader(s) of the pack

Archbishop of York General Synod Speech: “Discerning in Obedience: A Theological Review of the Crown Nominations Commission”

video recording of Thursday’s business

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General Synod preview

The Church of England General Synod opens this afternoon. There are links to the agenda and papers here.

The Questions Notice Paper (with answers) is now available. Synod members will have the opportunity to ask supplementary questions later today.

There is an error in Questions 16 and 17; the correct text is in Notice Paper 7. There is also an error in Question 44, corrected in Notice Paper 10.

Stephen Lynas (a Synod member from Bath and Wells) previews the business: Oh, won’t you stay (just a little bit longer)?

A live video link is available here.

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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Further updates on the case of Bishop George Bell

Continued from here.

On Monday, Christian Today reported: Welby under pressure as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case

And Martin Sewell wrote this analysis: Did Lambeth Palace know the ‘fresh information’ about Bishop George Bell before Lord Carlile published his report?

On Wednesday morning, the Church Times published a preview of an interview with Justin Welby which will appear in full on Friday: Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby.

This interview is, somewhat oddly, also previewed by Christian Today : Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late bishop’s reputation.

ABC Radio (Australia) has a feature: The controversy surrounding George Bell which features Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times. The recording is about 10 minutes long.

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CEEC council endorses paper on 'Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life'

From the Church of England Evangelical Council website:

Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life

At its January 2018 residential, the CEEC reflected on the attached paper ’Gospel, Church & Marriage - Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life’. The Council endorsed it for circulation as a reflection as to how the life changing goodness and ‘amazing grace’ of God can be brought to bear upon current and contentious discussion within the Church of England.

Read it here.

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Mission and Ministry in Covenant - more opinions

Updated Thursday

For earlier articles about the Church of England’s relationship with the Methodist Church of Great Britain and the Mission and Ministry in Covenant report see here [last two items] and here.

Four posts from the Quodcumque blog about the report.
Richard Peers A Generous Catholicism and Beautiful Anomalies
Philip Murray Generous Catholicism: a reply to Fr Richard Peers
Andrew Davison Guest post from Andrew Davison on #MMIC: Being a 1662 Anglican
Richard Peers #MMIC – thoughts

Diarmaid MacCulloch Christian Today Why Anglicans who object to reconciliation with Methodists should read more history

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Anglicans, Methodists and the sticking plaster of unity

Paul Bayes Thinking a moment Mission and Ministry in Covenant
[a new blog from the Bishop of Liverpool]

Ian Paul Psephizo The Church of England and closer union with Methodists

Update

Marcus Walker Archbishop Cranmer The Church of England should welcome Methodists into the fold of the historic episcopacy

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 7 February 2018 at 10:40am GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

House of Bishops responds to report on See of Sheffield

Updated

This press release was issued earlier today.

House of Bishops Response to the Independent Reviewer’s report on See of Sheffield.

The full text of the press release is copied below the fold.

Also published today is The Five Guiding Principles: A Resource for Study. This document is described on the CofE website thus:

The Five Guiding Principles had a crucial role in the Church of England’s decision in 2014 to open its three orders of ministry – bishops as well as deacons and priests – to all, without reference to gender. They provide basic parameters to help Anglicans with different theological convictions on this matter continue to relate to each other within one church, and are expected to be affirmed by every candidate for ordination in the Church of England.

The Five Guiding Principles: A Resource for Study has been developed by the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England following requests for resources in this area from – among others – those responsible for theological education.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said: “This resource will be invaluable not only to the Implementation and Dialogue Group but to all bishops, clergy and laity in thinking about what the Five Guiding Principles mean in our ministry and the life of the Church.

“This document is not intended to be the last word on the theological implications of the Five Guiding Principles. It is intended to contribute to the dialogue the Church needs.”

Update

Forward in Faith issued a statement in response to this: The Five Guiding Principles:

Forward in Faith is grateful for the announcement of the House of Bishops’ acceptance of the recommendations made by the Independent Reviewer in his review of the nomination to the See of Sheffield.

We welcome the publication by the Faith and Order Commission of The Five Guiding Principles: A Resource for Study. We hope that widespread study of this booklet will prevent recurrence of the misrepresentation of the Five Guiding Principles that occurred in 2017.

We welcome the appointment of a group, chaired by the Bishop of Rochester, to review what has been done to inform and educate clergy and laity about the 2014 settlement, distil examples of good practice, and provide further resources. We trust that all who have accepted membership of this group are now committed to upholding the House of Bishops’ Declaration, including the Five Guiding Principles.

We also welcome the appointment of Sir William Fittall to succeed Sir Philip Mawer as the Independent Reviewer, and wish to express our thanks to Sir Philip for his work. Having played an important part in the process that resulted in the 2014 settlement, Sir William is well qualified to take over the role of defending it.

TONY WAKEFIELD
The Rt Revd Tony Robinson
Chairman

LINDSAY NEWCOMBE
Dr Lindsay Newcombe
Lay Vice-Chairman

Full text of House of Bishops press release:
Following the publication of Sir Philip Mawer’s independent review into the nomination to the See of Sheffield, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have announced the formal response from the House of Bishops.

In a joint statement, on behalf of the House, they said:

We remain very grateful to Sir Philip Mawer for his detailed, thoughtful and authoritative review which the House of Bishops has read carefully and discussed at its meeting in December. The House of Bishops whole-heartedly accepts all four of the recommendations from this review and wishes to put on record its thanks to Sir Philip for his work.

As we stated in September 2017 at the time of publication, we reaffirm our commitment to the vital principle of mutual flourishing as the Church and will endeavour to maintain the bonds of peace and affection and live God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ, even amid difference on questions on which Christians may ‘disagree Christianly’. The House of Bishops believes that working to the recommendations from Sir Philip’s review will help us to put this into action.

When we wrote to Sir Philip to ask him to undertake this review, our first concern was whether the Church had done enough to inform and educate clergy and laity about the 2014 settlement and the effect of the House of Bishops’ Declaration within it. We regret that, as Sir Philip concluded, not nearly enough was done to create an understanding of what the Declaration and Settlement would mean in practice. Sir Philip’s recommendation to form “a group with balanced membership to review what has been done; distil examples of good practice within dioceses; and provide resources to help dioceses, deaneries and parishes, and theological training institutions to engage in further consideration of the issues” has led us to establish an Implementation and Dialogue Group. The Bishop of Rochester has agreed to Chair this group, with the support of the Bishop of Aston. As Chair of the Steering Committee in charge of the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops that the Synod approved in 2014, Bishop James will bring significant experience to the Implementation and Dialogue Group along with others who sat on the Steering Committee with him. We have taken very seriously the call from Sir Philip to make this a diverse and balanced group and are pleased that the following people have agreed to sit on this group:

  • The Rt Revd James Langstaff, Chair – Bishop of Rochester
  • The Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst, Vice-Chair – Bishop of Aston
  • The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker – Bishop of Fulham
  • The Rt Revd Rod Thomas – Bishop of Maidstone
  • Miss Debbie Buggs – member of the House of Laity
  • The Revd Canon Dr Emma Percy – Chair of WATCH
  • The Revd Dr Rosemarie Mallett – member of the House of Clergy
  • The Revd Dr Emma Ineson – Principal, Trinity College Bristol and member of the House of Clergy
  • The Revd Dr Philip Plyming – Warden, Cranmer Hall Durham and member of the House of Clergy
  • The Ven Michael Everitt – Archdeacon of Lancaster and member of the House of Clergy
  • Canon Elizabeth Paver – Vice-Chair of the House of Laity

In his third recommendation, Sir Philip invites the Faith and Order Commission to ‘examine the theological challenge which has been posed to the 2014 Settlement’. The House of Bishops agreed in December that this work would be essential to the Implementation and Dialogue Group and we are grateful to FAOC for producing The Five Guiding Principles: A Resource for Study which is available online from today and in print from Church House Publishing later this month. This resource will be invaluable not only to the Implementation and Dialogue Group but to all bishops, clergy and laity in thinking about what the Five Guiding Principles mean in our ministry and the life of the Church.

This document is not intended to be the last word on the theological implications of the Five Guiding Principles. It is intended to contribute to the dialogue the Church needs. The Faith and Order Commission may produce further reflections in due course.

Sir Philip also recommended that the Secretary General should review the lessons to be learned from the nomination process, addressing in particular how the national Church institutions support the nomination process, and the nominee for a see. The Secretary General has begun work on this review. Sir Philip also made a number of detailed recommendations relating to the working of the Crown Nominations Commission, which he suggested should be taken forward alongside or as part of the implementation of the parallel report from Professor Oliver O’Donovan and others on the theology of the CNC’s work. We accept this recommendation too, and Sir Philip’s points will be developed in the implementation plan for Professor O’Donovan’s review. We hope in following the recommendations in Sir Philip Mawer’s report we will go some way to realising the commitment that we have to maintaining the highest possible degree of communion, while contributing to mutual flourishing, across the whole Church of England.

We are indebted to Sir Philip Mawer, not just for this review, but also for serving as the Independent Reviewer over the past 3 years. Over this period he has published three reviews and answered many other queries around the Five Guiding Principles. As the first person to take on this new role in 2014 he has established the role of Independent Reviewer and brought to it unwavering commitment, great experience and much wisdom. As Sir Philip’s term of office draws to a close, we are delighted to announce that Sir William Fittall will succeed him as Independent Reviewer from February 2018. Sir William was Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council from 2002 until 2015 and brings to this role the experience of being Secretary General during the discussions in Synod around the 2014 settlement and the House of Bishops’ Declaration. We are grateful to Sir William for taking on this role and are confident that he will continue Sir Philip’s good work.

+Justin Cantuar:
+Sentamu Ebor:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 6 February 2018 at 11:04pm GMT | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Sexual abuse survivors speak out at General Synod

Survivors of sexual abuse in the Church of England are planning to make their presence felt at the General Synod on Saturday of this week, when a presentation on the topic of Safeguarding will take place, followed by an opportunity for synod members to ask questions.

This press release has been issued:

Victims and survivors speak out about their treatment by the Church of England

On Saturday 10th February the Church of England’s General Synod will hear a presentation about the church’s approach to safeguarding. The presentation is intended to prepare synod members for the forthcoming hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). IICSA will turn its focus onto the Church of England beginning on Monday 5th March.

Victims and survivors of abuse within the the church fear that their voices are rarely heard. To address this they have produced a booklet called We Asked for Bread but you gave us Stones (linked below) in which they address the church powerfully and painfully in their own words. The booklet consists entirely of victims’ words, collated with an introduction by victims’ advocate Andrew Graystone. The title is a reference to the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:9 “Which of you, if your child asked for bread, would give them a stone.” The booklet will be delivered this week to every member of the General Synod, including every diocesan bishop and archbishop.

Representative victims of church abuse are also inviting the archbishops, bishops and all members of the General Synod to meet them at 9am on Saturday morning at the entrance to Church House, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, and to stand with them for two minutes of silent reflection prior to the safeguarding presentation. By this act they invite synod members to affirm the intention of the church to act justly towards victims of abuse both now and in the future.

A further statement will be issued on behalf of victims at 1pm on Saturday 10th February, following the synod presentation.

Monday 5th - Sunday 11th February 2018 is also Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week.

For further information please contact Andrew Graystone via andrew.graystone1@btinternet.com

Stones Not Bread

This has already been reported in Christian Today Some serving bishops have been abused, says campaigner in victims booklet sent to CofE synod members.

Earlier this week, there was a report in the Sunday Times about a particular case. The newspaper report is behind a paywall, but the link to it is here: Justin Welby ‘blocked’ payouts to abused pupils.

There is a related press release:
Church’s institutional failure to exercise pastoral care over abuse settlements

Julian Whiting was subjected to rape and molestation at the Bluecoat School in Birmingham as well, as much later as an adult, sexually inappropriate behaviour by a senior Lambeth Palace official. They have ruined his life. He received a pitiful settlement in respect of both matters which were acknowledged by the institutions.

He wrote a letter of complaint to Archbishop Welby on 22nd January but is yet to receive a response. The letter is shown below.

Julian said: “I have struggled for years to obtain appropriate compensation, which despite huge efforts over many years I have failed to receive. Even direct approaches to Justin Welby have proved fruitless. The Church’s warm words about pastoral care for abuse survivors are empty and meaningless. There is a complete mismatch between the Church’s and the Archbishop’s words on this and their inaction.

“I wrote to the Archbishop to set this out in detail and am making the letter public in an attempt to improve the situation for the many who have received paltry settlements but are too traumatised by their abuse to fight back.

“The letter was written following an abortive meeting with Tim Thornton Bishop at Lambeth, the person to whom Justin Welby had soon before nominated to deal on his behalf with abuse settlements, specifically for “Gilo” another survivor in a similar position. Bishop Thornton failed even to signpost me to any assistance I could receive. He suggested to me that I alone would have to continue this long fight. Any further money would not come from the Church but have to come from the insurance company (Ecclesiastical Insurance Group). This is despite EIG having stated, as he could not but have been aware, it would not reopen claims and it invite the Church to make any supplementary settlements itself.

“I am particularly incensed that Justin Welby himself even claimed brazenly through a legal spokesperson to me that he did not have access to funds for such a purpose. For the head of the Anglican Communion, with at least £8 billion in realisable funds, as Bishop Thornton acknowledged, to claim this is, as I wrote in the letter “beyond contempt and … does [Justin Welby] no credit”.

“My lawyers originally asked for around £150,000 but I only received £5,000 damages (excluding costs and therapy fees). I was unable to take this to court to receive a higher amount because doing so would have exposed me to massive costs including those of the insurance company, and risked bankrupting me. Had I realised I would only receive £5,000 I would not have subjected myself to this humiliating and traumatic process. This trauma included being subjected to a demeaning adversarial cross examination by a doctor.

“The Church’s failure to consider a reasonable settlement and the adversarial process of reaching the claim figure, solely because the Church unnecessarily employs an insurance company to settle its claims, has materially compounded the abuse by the vile acts to which I was subjected.

“It is clear that, to what should be its shame, the Church does not even have a process to deal with supplementing abuse settlements on pastoral grounds. Given the Church’s appalling record in this area, claims should be assessed by a completely independent body. I urge the Church to set up and fund one so that the many others receiving such pitiful settlements could have them reviewed and supplemented.

“I pay tribute to Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), led by Phil Johnson, for their invaluable support to me and other survivors.”

Letter to Archbishop

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Evangelical Alliance criticises "spiritual abuse" language

The Evangelical Alliance has issued a report Reviewing the discourse of ‘Spiritual Abuse’. There is a press release about this:

New report is critical of the term ‘Spiritual Abuse’ as well intended, but not fit for purpose.

A new report that highlights the risks associated with adopting the vague and incoherent terminology of ‘Spiritual Abuse’ has been released today by the Evangelical Alliance. The term ‘Spiritual Abuse’ may be well intended, but it is not fit for purpose.

Produced by the Evangelical Alliance Theology Advisory Group (TAG), the report outlines how ‘Spiritual Abuse’ is a seriously problematic term because of its own inherent ambiguity, and because attempts by some to embed it within statutory safeguarding discourse and secular law would be unworkable in practice, potentially discriminatory towards religious communities, and damaging to inter-faith relations…

There is also an Executive Summary available here.

The document references several other pieces of work, including:

All of this is significant in the context of the recently reported Church of England case in the Diocese of Oxford: Priest found guilty of spiritual abuse.

Christian Today has reported the Evangelical Alliance story thus:
Evangelical Alliance rubbishes ‘spiritual abuse’ language: It could ‘criminalise’ conservative teaching on sexuality.

Jayne Ozanne is quoted in that report, responding to the criticism of her paper (linked above). Her full quote in response to the EA criticism is as follows.

“I am deeply perplexed, as I’m sure others will be, as to why the Evangelical Alliance have seen fit to effectively dismiss the concept of Spiritual Abuse, rather than looking to work constructively with victims to create a safer and more caring Church. Their report contains various unfounded claims, which feed the notion that certain parts of the Church are under threat from secular society. Assertions such as “the use of Spiritual Abuse terminology has proliferated in such a way that its further use risks damage to fundamental freedoms of religious thought, expression and assembly” are at best defensive, and at worst scaremongering. In addition, I do not believe my paper has been fairly or accurately characterised and would urge people to read it for themselves.’

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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Bishop George Bell: new information reported

Updated again Friday evening

Two press releases today from the Church of England:

Statement on Bishop George Bell case: Bishop Peter Hancock

31/01/2018
Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead Safeguarding bishop said: ”There are ongoing queries and comments around the Bishop Bell case and we would all like this matter to come to a conclusion. However, in light of General Synod questions that need to be responded to and the reference to the case in the IICSA hearing yesterday, I would like to draw your attention to this statement from the National Safeguarding Team. I would ask that we keep all those involved in our thoughts and prayers. Due to the confidential nature of this new information I regret I cannot disclose any further detail until the investigations have been concluded. We are currently developing an action plan in response to Lord Carlile’s independent report which makes a number of considered points as to how to handle such cases in future and we have accepted the main thrust of the recommendations.”

Statement on Bishop George Bell case: National Safeguarding Team

31/01/2018
“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell. Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them. This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations. The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments. As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded.”

See also Church Times report: New Bell material sparks fresh investigation.

In relation to the IICSA hearing yesterday, the transcript of that is available here.
The Church Times report of it is headlined: Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse pores over 75,000 pages about Chichester diocese.
There is also a report in The Tablet.

In relation to the forthcoming General Synod session, the only documents issued relating to Safeguarding are copies of two previously published reports:

GS Misc 1172 An Abuse of Faith relating to Peter Ball

GS Misc 1173 The Independent Review relating to Bishop George Bell

Wednesday Update

Telegraph Church accused of launching new ‘shameful’ attack on memory of Bishop George Bell

…The Telegraph understands the Church has known about the case for at least a fortnight before making it public 24 hours before the Church House debate…

…Lord Carlile said he was astonished that the Church had gone public with the new claim against Bishop Bell. Among his recommendations was that people accused of abuse should remain anonymous until the allegations are proven.

Lord Carlile said last night: “I am not privy to the information that is referred to in the church’s press release. But I think it was unwise, unnecessary and foolish to issue a press release in relation to something that remains to be investigated and which was not part of the material placed before me over the period of more than a year in which I carried out my review.

“During that period the review was well known and it was open to anybody to place information before me.”

Thursday Update

There’s been a further flurry of items during Thursday:

Church Times
Lord Carlile says new statement about Bishop George Bell is unwise and foolish

Christian Today
George Bell, Justin Welby and the perils of navigating a binary argument
EXCLUSIVE: Bishop blasts disgraced priest allowed to defend George Bell at Church of England’s headquarters

“Archbishop Cranmer” Lord Carlile denounces ‘foolish’ Church of England for casting further doubt on the name of Bishop George Bell

Peter Hitchens New ‘information’ about George Bell. A Coincidence Theorist Writes

Friday Updates

Argus Church waited weeks to reveal new claims

THE Church of England waited six weeks to release an allegation of historic sexual abuse, The Argus can reveal.

The “fresh information” about Bishop George Bell came on Wednesday.
The General Synod is due to discuss Bell’s case next week.

A senior Church of England source said the “fresh information” came to light “within days” of a press conference at Church House on December 15 at which Lord Alex Carlile was damning about the Church’s handling of the affair.
The source said internal discussions were taking place “well before Christmas” on how to handle the new allegations…
…The “fresh information” is believed to be an allegation received by another complainant.

The George Bell affair hit the headlines in mid-December when Lord Carlile accused the Church of unfairly maligning the legacy of one of the 20th century’s most revered churchmen.

At the time Lord Carlile said the Church investigation of Carol’s complaint had been “deficient in several ways”.

He added: “The statement [of October 2015] was wrong, it should never have been issued. I think if one looks at the process, the process went just horribly wrong.”

Yesterday he said: “My clear view, which I’ve expressed to the Church, is that the press release issued yesterday should never have been released.
“It flies in the face of my recommendations.
“I recommended strongly that there should be a case investigated before any announcement was made.”

When informed of the time delay, Lord Carlile pointed out that a demonstration had been planned for yesterday by those seeking an apology from the Church and a full restitution of Bell’s legacy.

Lord Carlile said: “If the timing was deliberate, it’s a disgrace.
“And if it was not deliberate, then it’s incompetent.”

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Canon Susan Jones to be next Dean of Liverpool

Press release from Number 10

Dean of Liverpool nominated: 31 January 2018
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Susan Helen Jones as Dean of Liverpool.

Published 31 January 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Susan Helen Jones, BEd, MPhil, PhD, Residentiary Canon at Derby Cathedral and Director of Mission and Ministry in the Diocese of Derby, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Liverpool, on the elevation of the Very Reverend Peter Jonathan Wilcox, MA, DPhil as Bishop of Sheffield on 23 September 2017.

Announcement from Liverpool Cathedral

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Ministry and Mission in Covenant

Updated

On Friday 9 February, from 5.15 pm until 7 pm, the General Synod will consider the Church of England’s relationship with the Methodist Church of Great Britain. Following an address from a Methodist Church speaker, there will be a debate on the document GS 2086 Mission and Ministry in Covenant. The 24 page joint report is prefaced by a 7 page Note from the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission which summarises itself thus:

Mission and Ministry in Covenant responds to a resolution of the General Synod in 2014 by outlining proposals for bringing the Church of England and the Methodist Church into communion with one another and enabling interchangeability of their presbyteral ministries. As Synod members prepare to debate the report, it is important they consider its proposals in the context of the Covenant relationship between our churches established in 2003 and of work associated with that. Members also need to be mindful of the longer history of relations between our churches, including the defeat of proposals for union at the General Synod in 1972. Having briefly outlined that background, this introductory note then comments on three key questions that have emerged from the reception of the report so far:

  • What difference will the proposals make?
  • Do the proposals fit with Anglican theology and with existing ecumenical agreements?
  • What consultation has there been with other churches?

Finally, it explains why some further work is being recommended before a decision is taken on initiating legislation, in response to discussion within the House of Bishops.

Today, a statement has been issued by Anglican Catholic Future which can be read in full at Statement from Anglican Catholic Future on the Report ‘Mission and Ministry in Covenant’. It begins this way:

Over the past 40 years the Church of England has invested an enormous amount of time and energy debating who may or may not be ordained, and therefore who may or may not duly administer the sacraments. Some catholic Anglicans have passed resolutions under the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests because they cannot accept the ordination of women as priests and bishops. Many catholic Anglicans have remained happily within the inherited structures of the Church of England: this is the place in which we have received, been nurtured in, and minister the catholic faith. With the publication of the report Mission and Ministry in Covenant, we are left wondering what all that debate was about, and quite what the future looks like for those of us for whom orders and sacraments are naturally a central part of what it means to hold to the catholic faith as the Church of England has received it.

Fundamental to the Church of England’s understanding of its catholicity is the historic episcopate. This, like the other aspects of the Lambeth Quadrilateral (the Scriptures, the Creeds, the Sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist) we recognise as gifts from God for the unity of the Church, through which the Church is maintained in the faith once delivered to the saints. Through the Act of Uniformity, the Prayer Book, the Ordinal, and the Canons of the Church of England, English Anglicans recognise that a bishop focuses the unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity of the whole Church, as well as calling the Church into ever closer fidelity to those marks. Astonishingly, it is proposed that these historic formularies, so long the repository of the Church of England’s self-understanding and a framework for her unity, be open to suspension or amendment simply because the principles they uphold – both Anglican and ancient – are taken to be inconvenient…

The Church Times had this report last week: Renewed plans to unite the Church of England and Methodist Church to be scrutinised by the Synod.

Update

Forward in Faith has also issued a statement: The Anglican-Methodist Proposals

..Of even greater concern are the consequences of these proposals for catholic order in the Church of England. To permit those who have not been ordained by a bishop to minister as Church of England priests, even for a ‘temporary’ period (which might last for sixty or seventy years) is for us not a ‘bearable anomaly’ but a fundamental breach of catholic order. We deeply regret that the report rules out further consideration of this issue. As loyal Anglicans, we uphold the doctrine and discipline regarding Holy Orders that is enshrined in the historic formularies of the Church of England, and in the 1662 Ordinal in particular. We shall oppose any proposals that would effectively set that doctrine and discipline aside. We note that it is to the inheritance of faith embodied in these formularies that all who minister in the Church of England must affirm their loyalty by making the Declaration of Assent…

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Saturday, 27 January 2018

Blackburn motion on Welcoming Transgender revisited

We reported on this last July, but the subsequent rebuild of the Church of England website has broken all the links that we made at the time. So here’s a recap.

The Blackburn diocesan motion reads:

That this Synod, recognizing the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.

The motion was supported by GS 2071A Welcoming Transgender People, A note from The Revd Chris Newlands.

There was also GS 2071B - Welcoming Transgender People, A note from The Secretary General,which includes a discussion of some theological considerations, and reviews the existing liturgical provisions which might be relevant.

OneBodyOneFaith has published an article by Christina Beardsley Welcoming and affirming transgender people: reflections and resources for the Blackburn Motion,which comments on some of the opposition to this motion, and links to a number of resources that reflect modern scientific thinking on this topic.

There was an amendment proposed by Dr Nick Land (York) moved as an amendment:

Leave out everything after “That this Synod:” and insert ̶
“(a) recognise the dignity of all people as made in the image of God and so affirm our commitment to welcome unconditionally in all our churches people who experience (or who have experienced) gender dysphoria;
(b) acknowledge different understandings around gender dysphoria and the field of gender identity more widely;
(c) consider that the preparation of liturgies to mark gender transition raises substantial theological and pastoral issues that the Church of England has not yet considered; and
(d) ask the House of Bishops to consider the theological, pastoral and other issues that gender transition raises for the Church and to report back to General Synod by the end of this quinquennium.”

The amendment was defeated in all three houses of Synod.

bishops: 11 for, 19 against, 2 recorded abstentions
clergy: 64 for, 103 against, 4 recorded abstentions
laity: 75 for, 108 against, 3 recorded abstentions

The Blackburn motion (as originally worded) was passed following a vote by houses.

bishops: 30 for, 2 against, 2 recorded abstentions
clergy: 127 for, 28 against, 16 recorded abstentions
laity: 127 for, 48 against, 8 recorded abstentions

Official press release: Welcoming Transgender People

The audio recording of the Sunday afternoon session is over here.

The video recording of the session is here.

The transcript of the entire July 2017 group of sessions is here.

The detailed voting record for the amendment is here.

The detailed voting record for the motion is here.

The full details of how each bishop voted are below the fold.

Voting by bishops:

Amendment:

Bishops in favour
Pete Broadbent 46
Christopher Cocksworth 14
Tim Dakin 5
Julian Henderson 8
Robert Innes 17
Alistair Magowan 48
James Newcome 10
John Sentamu 2
David Urquhart 7
Andrew Watson 20
Paul Williams 40

Bishops against
Donald Allister 31
Nicholas Baines 22
Jonathan Baker 45
Paul Bayes 26
Stephen Cottrell 11
Christopher Foster 32
Richard Frith 21
Jonathan Gibbs 51
Christine Hardman 28
John Inge 42
Michael Ipgrave 24
Alan Smith 34
Martyn Snow 23
Nigel Stock 44
Tim Thornton 41
Rachel Treweek 19
David Walker 27
Glyn Webster 53
Trevor Willmott 43

Bishops recorded abstentions
Martin Warner 13
Justin Welby 1

Motion:

Bishops in favour
Donald Allister 31
Nicholas Baines 22
Paul Bayes 26
Christopher Chessun 39
Christopher Cocksworth 14
Stephen Cottrell 11
Tim Dakin 5
Christopher Foster 32
Richard Frith 21
Jonathan Gibbs 51
Christine Hardman 28
John Inge 42
Robert Innes 17
Michael Ipgrave 24
Christopher Lowson 25
James Newcome 10
Martin Seeley 35
John Sentamu 2
Alan Smith 34
Martyn Snow 23
Nigel Stock 44
Tim Thornton 41
Rachel Treweek 19
David Urquhart 7
David Walker 27
Martin Warner 13
Glyn Webster 53
Justin Welby 1
Paul Williams 40
Trevor Willmott 43

Bishops against
Jonathan Baker 45
Pete Broadbent 46

Bishops recorded abstentions
Julian Henderson 8
Alistair Magowan 48

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Friday, 26 January 2018

England's cathedrals

We noted last week’s release of the draft report by the Church of England’s Cathedrals Working Group here.

General Synod members have been sent a copy of the draft report (GS Misc 1177) today; it includes a covering letter from the chair and vice-chair of the group

Here are some media reports and comment articles that have appeared since the report was released.

media reports

Madeleine Davies Church Times Praise and warnings in cathedrals review

“SERIOUS governance mistakes” have been made at cathedrals, and legislative change is needed to correct “inadequacies” in their regulation, are the conclusions of a review commissioned in the wake of a cash-flow crisis at Peterborough. It also says that many cathedrals are struggling financially…

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian England’s cathedrals face financial crisis as running costs soar
Inquiry criticises management of some Anglican buildings and urges CoE to ask for state funds

Anglican Communion News Service Review proposes law change to improve governance of English Cathedrals

For a list of the report’s principal recommendations read Frank Cranmer Law & Religion UK Governance of Church of England cathedrals: the draft report

comment

Miachael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England A New Report on Cathedrals

Stephen Cherry Another Angle How to run a Cathedral

Adrian Newman Church Times How to make cathedrals fitter for the future
If they are to flourish in the long term, they need changes in management and governance

Church Times Letters to the editor from John Searle, Richard Austen-Baker and Richard Lewis {scroll down]

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Thursday, 25 January 2018

More coverage of the Archbishop's statement on George Bell

Updated Friday evening

Continued from this earlier post… (Comment pieces are at the bottom of that article.)

Martin Sewell has written at Archbishop Cranmer The George Bell saga evidences a CofE legal culture which is not merely incompetent, but predisposed toward deception and injustice.

This is a very long and detailed article but is well worth the time to study. Here’s a teaser excerpt:

…The problem may be succinctly put: Archbishop Justin has a handful of advisors to guide him in these matters – not one of whom has a credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex specialism. What is especially ironic is that, in the person of the President of Clergy Discipline Tribunals, Lord Andrew McFarlane QC, the Church of England has the country’s leading expert on Safeguarding Law. The legal tome Hershman and McFarlane’s Children Law and Practice is every child practitioner’s bible: it runs to four volumes and is updated every three months with interchangeable loose-leaf inserts. This is a fast evolving field for the specialist: what major institutions do not need is people from other disciplines doing their incompetent best…

And a second one:

…The Church of England needs to found its Safeguarding on the well-established principles of English Law. It has been off on a frolic of its own, and it has not ended well. Speaking to a very senior figure at Synod I was gently chided: “You want to create a system in accordance with the Law – we are creating one suitable for the Church of England.” Well, just look where that has got us.

Even if it were right for the Established Church to attempt to develop a jurisprudence divergent from that of English and Welsh Law, on what basis do we suggest that we have the knowledge and basic competence to undertake such a project?

There is also a letter from Martin Sewell in the Telegraph (h/t AC)

Christian Today has Bishop of Peterborough breaks ranks over Church’s handling of George Bell case (for full parliamentary text see here).

…Explaining his remarks to Christian Today, Allister said the name of the accused should only be disclosed ‘when there was a substantial body of evidence suggesting guilt’.

‘I suggest that if a complainant is allowed to be anonymous, there should be a presumption that the respondent should normally be afforded the same right,’ he told Christian Today.

‘I am simply asking for a public debate and for the government to review this matter. I’m not suggesting that I have all the answers, merely that I believe such a review is necessary.’

Updates

Church Times has a leader Saint, tarnished which concludes this way:

…It is because innocence is harder to prove than guilt that the UK legal system insists on assuming innocence until guilt has been proved. It is this assumption that Bishop Bell is being denied, and it is for this reason that Lord Carlile and others have advocated anonymity for those accused of abuse. Sir Cliff Richard, at the end of a successful fight to clear his name, re­­­marked: “It hurt me so much I don’t think I can ever recover personally.” Of course, Bishop Bell knows nothing of the accusation. Instead, it is the Church of England’s own history and reputation that is being harmed, despite this talk of heroes.

It is clear that the Lambeth psyche has been seriously bruised by the Peter Ball affair. Archbishop Welby named the disgraced former Bishop of Gloucester three times in his short statement about Bishop Bell on Monday. Possibly, too, there are personal scars from the John Smyth cover-up. But an unwinnable wrangle over an unprovable case undermines the Church’s efforts to construct a credible response to present-day instances of abuse.

Andrew Brown in the Church Times press column covers the subject: Newspapers circle as Archbishop Welby digs in

…When you have The Economist, The Times, the Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Mail on Sunday all attacking you, it is safe to say that you have lost the press. And it is really hard to see what is gained as a result.

Economist The case of Bishop George Bell

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Responses to 'Welcoming Transgender People'

Updated again Friday evening

See previous items for response from Tina Beardsley, and from OneBodyOneFaith.

At ViaMedia Giles Goddard has written: Shooting Ourselves in the Foot – Again!

…This is inadequate on so many levels. The Affirmation of Baptismal Faith is designed for use in a parish church after, say, a baptism as part of a confirmation service in a cathedral. It does not allow for the adoption of a new name or a newly gendered identity. To squeeze the liturgy to make it fit such a purpose would be hard – it would sound like a patched together piece of work, rather than a seamless and exciting whole, created specially for the occasion.

How hard would it have been to have listened to the request of Synod and asked the Liturgical Commission to come up with something? Not very – and I am sure that there are many on the Liturgical Commission who would be delighted to accept the challenge, and to consult widely with trans people about what they would like to see. Further, I have been told on good authority that the issue was not ‘considered prayerfully by the House of Bishops’ but was dealt with by a subcommittee which made a brief recommendation – to the dismay of many members of the House…

Harry Farley at Christian Today has reported on this and added new information:

…But questions were also raised over whether the Church of England had been misleading in how the decision was made. In a press statement it said ‘the House of Bishops has prayerfully considered’ the issue.

However Christian Today understands the issue was not debated by the House of Bishops in full and instead the verdict was reached by a sub committee of nine bishops. That committee, including the Bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, and the Bishop at Lambeth, Tim Thornton, then briefed the remaining bishops who rubber-stamped the decision.

A spokesman for the Church of England said that, because the House of Bishops only meets twice a year, decisions that require more thought are made in a sub committee and brought to the others for approval.

‘The House of Bishops Delegation Committee considers issues relevant to mission, ministry and general public policy, so is an ideal forum to give this question detailed consideration,’ the spokesman said.

‘The full House of Bishops was briefed on the committee’s recommendation and accepted it at the December meeting.’

Church Times Special liturgy for transgender people not needed, Bishops say

…A statement issued by Church House on Monday said that the House of Bishops had “prayerfully considered whether a new nationally commended service might be prepared to mark a gender transition”. It emerged on Wednesday, however, that the Synod’s request had been considered by the Delegation Committee, made up of nine bishops. A spokesperson said that the committee “considers issues relevant to mission, ministry, and general public policy, so is an ideal forum to give this question detailed consideration”. The committee’s report was listed as “business for deemed approval” for the December meeting of the House and was accepted without debate…

Andrew Lightbown Bishops, rites and people; some thoughts.

Jeremy Pemberton Honouring the whole Body

Richard Peers Of bishops, trans people and liturgies

Ian Paul On welcoming transgender people

Martin Davie A failure to take sex seriously: A response to GS Misc 1178

Christian Concern Bishops display an appalling lack of leadership in affirming transgenderism

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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Ritual transitions and liturgical loopholes

Tina Beardsley has written for the Church Times about the decision not to provide a liturgy for trans people, which she says undermines the Church’s claim to welcome them.

Please do read the full text of her article which can be found here.

Update
DLT Books has released an excerpt from the forthcoming book, Transfaith: A Transgender Pastoral Resource by Chris Dowd and Christina Beardsley.

A Liturgy for a Renaming Ceremony

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Update on 'Welcoming Transgender People'

GS Misc 1178 has today been sent to all members of the General Synod. It is reproduced in full here: The press release issued on Sunday has been re-dated to today, and the text amended to add a link to this document.

GS Misc 1178

GENERAL SYNOD

An update on ‘Welcoming Transgender People’

1. In July 2017 the General Synod carried, with strong support in all three Houses, a motion, brought forward by the Blackburn Diocesan Synod,

that this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.

2. Speakers in the preceding debate agreed that the Church of England needed to offer what the Revd Chris Newlands called ‘a Christ-like’ welcome, ‘arms outstretched in love, as Christ’s arms were outstretched to draw all people to himself’. Many members offered stories about compassion and sensitivity to the needs of transgender people. In the words of a trans person, shared by Synod member Lucy Gorman, ‘it’s [about] having a Church that is eager to make sure you feel safe and accepted.’

3. The House of Bishops welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people, equally with all people, within the Church, the body of Christ, and rejoices in the diversity of that one body, into which all Christians have been baptized by one Spirit.

4. The motion also called on the House of Bishops to consider whether the recognition of a transgender person’s new identity was a moment which should be marked in a particular way in worship. After taking time to consider the issue prayerfully, the House would like to encourage ministers to respond to any such requests in a creative and sensitive way. If not already received, baptism and confirmation are the normative ways of marking a new or growing faith in Jesus Christ. If the enquirer is already baptized and confirmed, the House notes that the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, found in Common Worship, is an ideal liturgical rite which trans people can use to mark this moment of personal renewal.

5. The Affirmation of Baptismal Faith is an existing, authorized part of Common Worship which is used in all types of churches, and can be part of services of different kinds. It points out that the candidate has already been baptized (and is therefore not a ‘re-baptism’). It provides the opportunity, requested in the Diocesan Synod Motion, for ‘a liturgical marking of a person’s transition which has the full authority of the Church of England, as an appropriate expression of community and pastoral support’.

6. The rite of Affirmation includes the opportunity for the candidate to renew the commitments made in baptism, and for the congregation to respond. The emphasis is placed not on the past or future of the candidate alone but on their faith in Jesus Christ. The Affirmation therefore gives priority to the original and authentic baptism of the individual, and the sacramental change it has effected, allowing someone who has undergone a serious and lasting change to re-dedicate their life and identity to Christ. The image of God, in which we are all made, transcends gender, race, and any other characteristic, and our shared identity as followers of Jesus is the unity which makes all one in Christ (Galatians 3.27-28).

7. In inviting ministers to use this rite, the House wishes to point out that everyone’s Christian journey—like the journey to find one’s true identity—is unique and encourages ministers to treat these possible pastoral encounters accordingly. This approach, familiar to all who care for people during other major life events, takes into account each person’s unique experiences.

8. Some guidance on the usage of these resources for the important work of welcoming and affirming transgender people will be issued by the House later in 2018.

William Nye
Secretary to the House of Bishops
January 2018

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Archbishop's statement on Bishop Bell: media coverage

Updated again Wednesday

Media Reports

BBC Bishop George Bell not to be cleared over ‘abuse’

Guardian Archbishop refuses to retract George Bell statement

Telegraph Justin Welby under fire over refusal to say sorry over ‘trashing’ of Bishop George Bell’s name

Church Times Welby declines to lift the cloud hanging over Bishop Bell

Christian Today Archbishop of Canterbury stands by statement saying there is a ‘significant cloud’ over Bishop George Bell’s name

Press Association via Daily Mail Archbishop of Canterbury refuses to clear late Bishop Bell of child sexual abuse

Premier Radio Justin Welby: ‘I cannot with integrity rescind my statement’ on Bishop George Bell

Updates

Express Fury as Archbishop Of Canterbury refuses to clear innocent Bishop of child sexual abuse

Times I won’t retract statement on Bishop Bell, says Archbishop Welby

Chichester Observer Archbishop refuses to lift ‘significant cloud’ left over Bishop Bell

Comment

Peter Hitchens What Does the Archbishop Think He is Doing?. This is a lengthy and detailed rebuttal of Welby’s statement which needs to be read in full. Here’s an extract:

…Mr Welby, in his very thin responses to the Carlile report, has never really addressed this. He has said that the report didn’t rule on Bell’s guilt or innocence, an almost childishly absurd response, since Mr Welby had told Lord Carlile in his terms of reference that he could not rule on this. In any case, Lord Carlile has repeatedly said since, in response to media questions, that no court would have convicted George Bell on the evidence which has been produced against him. It is clear that had Lord Carlile been asked to rule on George Bell’s guilt or innocence, he would have pronounced him ‘not guilty’. So what, precisely is the evidence on which the Archbishop of Canterbury, supposedly spiritual leader of millions, guardian of the foundations of truth and justice, maintains that there is still a ‘cloud’ over George Bell’s name? Does he have second sight? Does he know something he is not telling us? If so (though I cannot see how this can be so) , why will he not say what it is? If not, why is he of all people exempted from the good rule, surely Biblical in origin, that if you cannot prove that a man is guilty, he is innocent and you shouldn’t go round saying that he is guilty just because in some way it suits you to say so. Some miserable rumour-monger in a pub might be entitled to drone that there is ‘no smoke without fire’, but not the inheritor of the See of Saint Augustine, I think. I doubt Mr Welby is familiar with the catechism in his own Church’s Book of Common Prayer, it having fallen rather out of use since that Church became happy and clappy. But I am sure the Lambeth library can find him a copy, and point him to the passage in which the candidate for confirmation is asked ‘What is thy duty towards thy neighbour’? I commend it to him…

Separately, a Question was asked in the House of Lords yesterday about this matter, and the full Hansard record of what was said, by Lord Lexden, Lord Cormack, and others can be read here.

Lord Lexden asked:

I urge my noble friend to study a recent report by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, into the way in which a group within the Church of England investigated a single uncorroborated allegation of child sex abuse against one of the greatest of all Anglican bishops and a prominent Member of your Lordships’ House, George Bell, who died 60 years ago. While the noble Lord was precluded from reviewing the Church’s decision to condemn Bishop Bell, it is clear from his report that the case against that truly remarkable man has not been proved, to the consternation of a number of Members of this House including my noble friend Lord Cormack. I ask my noble friend to consider the recommendation from the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, that,“alleged perpetrators, living or dead, should not be identified publicly unless or until the Core Group has … made adverse findings of fact, and … it has also been decided that making the identity public is required in the public interest”.

Should there not be a legal requirement in all cases to ensure that that is met before anyone, alive or dead, is named publicly? Does my noble friend agree that institutions of both Church and state must uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty?

And Lord Cormack said:

My Lords, I urge my noble friend to think again on this. It is a deeply shocking case. The reputation of a great man has been traduced, and many of us who are Anglicans are deeply ashamed ​of the way that the Anglican Church has behaved. This can surely be a spur to the Government to review the law to try to protect the anonymity of people who are accused of something years—decades—after their death with one uncorroborated alleged witness. Please will she take this on board and talk to the Secretary of State about it?

The Bishop of Peterborough said:

My Lords, this has been a very difficult case, but Bishop Bell is not the only person whose reputation has been severely damaged by such accusations—some are dead and some still alive. I urge the Minister and the Government to take very seriously the call for a major review of anonymity. In all cases where the complainant has a right to be anonymous, there seems to be a case for the respondent also to be anonymous, and in cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way.

Updates

Tim Wyatt in the Spectator The Church of England’s Bishop Bell battle

“Archbishop Cranmer” Justin Welby has staked his reputation and legacy on the maintenance of a profound injustice to Bishop George Bell

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Monday, 22 January 2018

Statement from Archbishop of Canterbury following letter from historians regarding the Bishop George Bell case

We noted here more criticism of response to Carlile report, including a letter from seven academic historians criticising the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments in response to the Carlile report. The Archbishop has now released this statement in reply.

Statement from Archbishop of Canterbury following letter from historians regarding the Bishop George Bell case
Monday 22nd January 2018

Archbishop Justin Welby said today:

Following a letter sent to Lambeth Palace and also to the Telegraphnewspaper by a group of academics, I felt it important to send a considered, personal response and this statement reflects the essence of my reply.

“I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile’s review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case. I affirmed the extraordinary courage and achievement of Bishop Bell both before the war and during its course, while noting the Church has a duty to take seriously the allegation made against him.

“Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions. I need only refer to the issues relating to Peter Ball to show an example. As a result, the Church is rightly facing intense and concentrated scrutiny (focussed in part on the Diocese of Chichester) through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Our first hearing is in March.

“The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability. It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt. The two standards should not be confused. It should be remembered that Carol, who brought the allegation, was sent away in 1995, and we have since apologised for this lamentable failure; a failure highlighted by Lord Carlile.

“I wrote my response with the support of both Bishop Peter Hancock, the lead bishop for safeguarding, and Bishop Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester. We are clear that we accept all but part of one of the recommendations Lord Carlile makes and we are extremely grateful to him for what he has done and the help he has given the Church.

“He indicates that in his judgement, a better way to have handled the allegation would have been for the Church to offer money on condition of confidentiality. We disagree with this suggestion. The confidentiality would have been exposed through the IICSA process, and the first question we would have faced, both about Bishop Bell and more widely, would have been ‘so what else are you concealing?’. The letter from the historiansdoes not take into account any of these realities, nor the past failures of the Church. But we will go on considering how we can make our processes better and more robust, as pointed out by Lord Carlile.

“As in the case of Peter Ball, and others, it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is alleged. As with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit, but because abuse is often kept very secret. The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic. But as I said strongly in my original statement, the complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievements and he is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th Century.”

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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Bishops decline to request any new Transgender liturgy

Updated

Jonathan Petre reports for the Mail on Sunday that: Church of England bishops throw out Synod demand for prayer celebrating a transgender person’s change of sex.

Church of England bishops have blocked the introduction of a new prayer celebrating a transgender person’s change of sex.

The House of Bishops was strongly urged to draw up the ‘baptism-style’ services for sex-change Christians by the Church’s ‘Parliament’, the General Synod, last summer.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, was among senior figures who implored Synod members to vote for a motion asking the bishops to consider new official liturgies designed to welcome a transgender person under their new name.

The Reverend Chris Newlands, who proposed the motion, said it was ‘a wonderful opportunity to create a liturgy which speaks powerfully to the particularities of trans people, and make a significant contribution to their well-being and support’.

But The Mail on Sunday has learned that the bishops rejected the move at a private meeting at Lambeth Palace last month.

One senior member of the Synod said: ‘I am surprised that they have decided that new liturgies weren’t necessary given the force of the arguments and the feeling of Synod. You need to be able to respond to people’s life events.

The Reverend Christina Beardsley, a transgender woman and a Church of England chaplain who attended the Synod debate, said she was ‘very disappointed’.

Dr Beardsley, a member of the transgender group the Sibyls, said many Christians would be hurt by the decision, which showed that the bishops ‘don’t seem to be engaging with transgender people’…

The Church of England has today issued a news item: Welcoming Transgender People – an update

Following the debate and vote at General Synod in July 2017 on Welcoming Transgender People, the House of Bishops has prayerfully considered whether a new nationally commended service might be prepared to mark a gender transition.

The Bishops are inviting clergy to use the existing rite Affirmation of Baptismal Faith. New guidance is also being prepared on the use of the service.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, said: “The Church of England welcomes transgender people and wholeheartedly wishes for them to be included in the life of the Church.

“On the matter of whether a new service is needed, the House of Bishops has decided that the current service that is used to affirm baptism can be adapted.

“Clergy always have the discretion to compose and say prayers with people as they see fit.”

A paper discussing the decision will be published before the February session of Synod.

The service can be found here, under the full heading: ‘Affirmation of Baptismal Faith within a Celebration of Holy Communion’.

Update

OneFaithOneBody responded to this statement on Sunday evening: Into the long grass - again

Campaign group accuses bishops of ‘kicking trans people into the long grass’

The leading LGBT Christian campaigning group, OneBodyOneFaith has accused the Bishops of the Church of England of ‘kicking trans people into the long grass’ following their decision not to commend special services of welcome following gender transition and naming, despite General Synod passing a Motion in July which called for them to consider such a move. The news was leaked to the Daily Mail and had Church House officials scurrying to issue a clarifying statement today, Sunday 21 January.

Tracey Byrne, CEO and a General Synod member said, ‘This feels like kicking trans people into the long grass – just like the wider LGBT communities were kicked into the long grass by the bishops’ woeful report last February. More fine words about welcome - but denying trans people the services and pastoral support they themselves have told us would actually make a real difference.’

She went on to say, ‘It’s no particular surprise that the bishops have fallen so short of the mark, given their failure to consult with or listen to trans people’s experiences, but that’s no excuse. Officially authorised services would have sent a strong message from the very top of the institution that trans people really matter; that was the message at July synod. Sadly once again the bishops have failed to step up to the challenge set them by General Synod, the Church’s own governing body.’

Canon Peter Leonard, Chair of OneBody and also a General Synod member, said that he already knew of many positive examples of clergy devising beautiful and moving services for trans people, and that he felt it likely they would continue to do so, but that such a situation could not be allowed to remain the church’s official position. He said, ‘All those of us who want to see a church which reflects the radical inclusion of Jesus will stand alongside our trans sisters and brothers who are once more being let down by the church of which we’re a part. Our message to the bishops is simple, as it was last February; we’ll work with you, but we won’t wait for you. This latest move demonstrates once more that they are out of step not just with the mind of Synod, but with the broader church and society too’ He said OneBody would be working with its partners and allies on General Synod and in the wider church to continue to press for change, and to ensure that the voices of those who had most to add to the debate – trans people themselves - did not continue to be relegated to the sidelines.

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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Discerning in Obedience: the Crown Nominations Commission

On the afternoon of Thursday 8 February, the synod will hear a presentation about GS Misc 1171 and this will be followed by a “Take Note” debate. An hour and a half has been allocated for these items:
Discerning in Obedience: A theological review of the Crown Nominations Commission.

This is the report of the theological review group set up in Autumn 2016 under the chairmanship of Professor Oliver O’Donovan, and which concluded its work in Autumn 2017. An interim report of its work was delivered at the July 2017 meeting of synod.

The report itself is 40 pages long and should undoubtedly be read in full. It is of a quality far superior to all recent Church of England reports.

The full membership of the group was:
- The Revd Professor Sarah Coakley - Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge;
- Professor Tom Greggs - Marischal Professor of Divinity, University of Aberdeen;
- The Most Reverend Josiah Idowu-Fearon - Secretary General of the Anglican Communion;
- The Revd Professor Morwenna Ludlow - Professor of Christian History and Theology, University of Exeter;
- The Revd Professor Oliver O’Donovan FBA (chair) - Emeritus Professor of Christian Ethics, University of Edinburgh, Honorary Professor of Divinity, University of St Andrews;
- Father Thomas Seville CR - Faith and Order Commission;
- The Revd Dr Jennifer Strawbridge - Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Oxford;
- The Revd Canon Dr James Walters - Chaplain and Senior Lecturer, London School of Economics

There is another document which has been published to accompany this debate, GS 2080, with the same title. This sets out the background to the report, and lists a series of proposed actions by which the recommendations should be progressed. (This section is copied below the fold.) It is then followed by an annex of 11 pages of tables which list out, not only all the recommendations of this report, but also all the CNC-related recommendations of the report by Sir Philip Mawer, the Independent Reviewer, on the Review of Nomination to the See of Sheffield and Related Concerns.

Progressing the reflections and recommendations
11. It is proposed to progress work through a number of existing bodies. In addition, the Archbishops will, in consultation with the Appointments Committee, establish a small oversight group to monitor the progress on the discussion and implementation of recommendations. This group will report back to General Synod, starting in July. This structure will allow improvements to current processes to progress whilst proposals requiring wider consideration can be addressed over a longer timescale. In addition, the theological reflections set out in the report will provide the underpinning for the longer-term work.

12. Archbishops and Central Members to

  • Review proposals about changes to the culture and operation of the CNC and Vacancy in See Process not requiring Standing Order changes and which can be introduced on an ongoing basis. This will enable the introduction of some of the recommendations over the next few months - indeed some are already in place; and
  • Report to General Synod in July 2017 following the meeting of central members in March 2017. [presumably typographical errors: should be in 2018]

13. The Secretary General of the Archbishops Council to be invited to

  • Liaise with the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion and the Diocese of Canterbury in relation to exploring proposals in relation to the nomination to the See of Canterbury following which the Archbishops Council to develop recommendations for consideration by General Synod for this See (and also for the See of Dover) and to report back to General Synod when this work is completed.

14. The Appointments Committee to be invited to set up a working group to

  • Review the process for election of Central Members to the Crown Nominations Commission and diocesan representatives to the Vacancy in See Committee to report to General Synod in 2019.

15. The House of Bishops, through the Development and Appointments Group, to be invited to

  • Reflect on the nature of episcopacy in the light of Section 3 of the report “Discerning in Obedience: A Theological Review of the Crown Nominations Commission”, learning from the Leadership Programmes they have participated in and aspirations as set out in nominations processes; and
  • Reflect on the purpose, nature and management of the Strategic Development Programme and Episcopal Lists.

16. The Standing Orders Committee to be invited to

  • Consider the proposed changes to Standing Orders following consultation with the central members of the Crown Nominations Commission. Changes would be progressed and discussed through General Synod in the normal way.
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Friday, 19 January 2018

General Synod agenda - press reports

Updated Saturday night

Like the official press release, press reports on the agenda for next month’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod concentrate on one item.

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Church of England set to lobby Government over rising Down’s Syndrome abortions

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Down’s syndrome test could see condition disappear, C of E warns

Madeleine Davies Church Times C of E report seeks neutral approach to new Down’s test
More heavyweights wanted on the Bishops’ bench

Harry Farley Christian Today CofE to consider call for women pregnant with Down’s syndrome babies to get ‘unbiased’ information
Church of England braced for ‘controversial’ next step in ending 200-year split with Methodists

Cara Bentley Premier Valuing people with Down’s Syndrome on Church of England’s General Synod agenda

Anglican Communion News Service Anglican Communion primates invited to Church of England’s General Synod

Update

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Church of England braced for ‘controversial’ vote on using Methodist ministers

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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 my previous article for my list of papers.

General Synod papers released
19/01/2018

People with Down’s Syndrome should be welcomed, celebrated and treated with dignity and respect, members of the Church of England’s General Synod will hear next month.

A motion affirming the dignity and humanity of people born with Down’s Syndrome is to be discussed by the General Synod at its February sessions in London. It comes as a new form of prenatal screening, Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), is set to be rolled out in the NHS to women deemed to be at ‘high-risk’ of having a child with Down’s syndrome.

The motion welcomes medical advances and calls for the Government and health professionals to ensure that women who have been told that their unborn child has Down’s Syndrome are given comprehensive, unbiased information on the condition.

A background paper, Valuing People with Down’s Syndrome, produced by the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council is among documents released today.

With the UK throwing away £13bn of food every year food waste is another social issue to be debated by the General Synod.

Other subjects on the agenda include a presentation on safeguarding, the development of new monastic communities, and proposals for bringing the Church of England and the Methodist Church into communion with one another and enabling interchangeability of ministries.

For the first time, the General Synod will welcome a group of representatives from other Anglican Communion provinces.

Archbishop Moon Hing of South East Asia, Archbishop Humphrey of Pakistan, Archbishop Thabo, from South Africa and Archbishop Winston Halapua, Bishop of Polynesia and Primate (Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia) will attend the February sessions.

The General Synod will meet at Church House Westminster from Thursday February 8 to Saturday February 10.

A full set of papers from the first circulation is available on the Church of England website.

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February General Synod - online papers

Update - the second batch of papers has been released today (26 january) and links added below.

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 26 January and I will add links when these become available.

zip file of all papers

Papers in numerical order with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold.
Synod meets from Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 February 2018.

Timetable

GS 2029D Amending Canon No. 36 (Enactment) [Friday]
GS 2029DD Amending Canon No. 37 (Enactment) [Friday]

GS 2046A Draft Ecumenical Relations Measure (Revision) [Friday]
GS 2046Y Report by the Revision Committee [Friday]

GS 2047A Draft Amending Canon No. 38 (Revision) [Friday]
GS 2047Y Report by the Revision Committee [Friday]

GS 2064A Draft Church of England Miscellaneous Provisions Measure (Revision) [Friday]
GS 2064Y Report by the Revision Committee [Friday]

GS 2077A and GS 2077B Food Wastage [Friday]

GS 2078 Agenda

GS 2079 Guide to the February 2018 group of sessions (Report by the Business Committee) [Thursday]

GS 2080 Discerning in Obedience [Thursday]
[see also GS Misc 1171 below]

GS 2081 Companion Links and the Anglican Communion [Friday]

GS 2082 Appointment of the Chair of the Appointments Committee [Friday]

GS 2083 Church Property Measure (First Consideration) [Friday]
GS 2083x Explanatory Memorandum [Friday]
Table of Origins
Table of Destinations

GS 2084 Pensions Measure (First Consideration) [Friday]
GS 2084x Explanatory Memorandum [Friday]
Table of Origins
Table of Destinations

GS 2085 See of Richmond Petition for change of name to See of Kirkstall [Friday]

GS 2086 Mission and Ministry in Covenant [Friday]

GS 2087 Religious Communities [Saturday]

GS 2088 Valuing People with Down’s syndrome [Saturday]

GS 2089A and GS 2089B Long Term Sustainability of the National Health Service [contingency business]

Other papers

GS Misc 1171 Discerning in Obedience [Thursday]

GS Misc 1172 An Abuse of Faith [Saturday]

GS Misc 1173 The Independent Review [Saturday]

GS Misc 1174 Digital Evangelism [Saturday]

GS Misc 1175 Code of Conduct

GS Misc 1176 Dioceses Commission Annual Report

GS Misc 1177 Report from the Cathedrals Working Group

GS Misc 1178 An update on ‘Welcoming Transgender People

GS Misc 1179 House of Bishops Summary of Decisions

GS Misc 1180 Report on the Archbishops’ Council’s Activities

GS Misc 1181 Recent Appointments - A(18)1

GS Misc 1182 English Anglican Roman Catholic Quinquennial Report 2012 - 2017

GS Misc 1183 Introduction to Annual Report on Ecumenical Relations

GS Misc 1184 Central Stipends Authority Annual Report

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Thursday, 18 January 2018

Bishop Bell: more criticism of response to Carlile report

Updated Saturday

First, Dr Irene Lancaster wrote in Christian Today Bishop George Bell was a hero who saved Jewish children. It is time his reputation was restored.

Then, Bishop Peter Hancock replied to this with Why the Church insisted on transparency with the George Bell case.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that a letter has been sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury from seven academic historians criticising his comments in response to the Carlile report: Archbishop’s claims against Bishop George Bell ‘irresponsible and dangerous’.

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

Earlier criticism was reported here, here, and here. and there is another item not previously linked.

Updates

A further letter has been published in The Times:

Sir, As individuals much involved in the international ecumenical movement for Christian unity, we have written to the Archbishop of Canterbury welcoming the review by Lord Carlile of Berriew of the investigation by the Church of England into allegations of child sexual abuse by the late Bishop George Bell. We believe that in the light of the review Bell’s reputation should now be fully and unreservedly acknowledged and restored by the church.

Bell was a tireless worker for Christian unity and international peace and reconciliation. He belongs as a prophetic figure within the ecumenical movement just as much as he belongs as a bishop in his own church. The way in which the allegations against him were dealt with has shocked people well beyond both the Anglican communion and Britain. There has been a miscarriage of justice for one who himself fought so earnestly for the victims of injustice.

We with many others of different churches all over the world will now expect that the Church of England will acknowledge its responsibility to that wider community of which it is part and renew the respect due to George Bell, to the benefit of Christians everywhere and all who believe in justice and humanity.

Revd Dr Keith Clements, former General Secretary, Conference of European Churches;
Professor Jaakko Rusama, Lutheran Co-Moderator, International Anglican-Lutheran Society;
Professor John Briggs, former member, Executive Committee, World Council of Churches;
Dr Ferdinand Schlingensiepen, Pastor Emeritus, Evangelical Church of Germany, Dusseldorf;
Revd Canon Dr David Thompson, Emeritus Professor of Modern Church History, University of Cambridge;
Dr Guy Carter, Roman Catholic theologian and writer, York, Pennsylvania;
Bob Fy]e, General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland;
David Carter, former secretary, Theology and Unity Group, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland;
John W de Gruchy, Emeritus Professor of Christian Studies, University of Cape Town;
Revd John W Matthews, Senior Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Apple Valley, Minnesota;
Dr Jacob Phillips, Theology and Religious Studies Programme Director, St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Both letters are reported on in the Church Times Welby is urged to withdraw George Bell ‘cloud’ statement after Carlile report:

THE Archbishop of Canterbury faces gathering international opposition and criticism over his response to the Carlile review of the Bishop Bell affair.

Two letters — one from seven academic historians, and another from 11 correspondents associated with the wider Church internationally and ecumenically — have been sent to the Archbishop. A third, from a group of theologians, is understood to be in preparation…

Dear Archbishop,

We are writing to you following the publication of Lord Carlile’s independent review of the case of Bishop George Bell and the public statement which you have issued in consequence. We wish to express our profound dismay with the position you have taken. We are all academic historians of the twentieth-century who have, over many years of university research, made our considered assessments of Bishop George Bell. Our many publications will speak for themselves. Lecturing students of history and teaching them the various crafts and responsibilities of credible historical analysis and interpretation has been central in our careers.

We regard George Bell as a significant historical figure and our assessment of his life and career has been an important aspect of our academic work. On this basis we suggest that our collective view on these matters constitutes a genuine and very pertinent authority. In your public statement of 15 December 2017, the authority of your position was used to perpetuate a single allegation made against Bishop Bell, and you did so in face of the independent review which the Church itself commissioned. We believe that your statement offends the most basic values and principles of historical understanding, ones which should be maintained firmly by those in positions of public authority across society. They must never be ignored or abused. You have insisted that a ‘significant cloud’ still hangs over Bishop Bell. It deepens the impression deliberately conveyed by previous Church statements by adding, purposefully: “No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness.” On what ground does such a statement now stand? In the past you have insisted that the Church’s view was based on an investigation that was ‘very thorough’.

But Lord Carlile has plainly, and utterly, devastated this claim. Historians and lawyers both attach great importance to the presumption of innocence. Your comment seems to imply that a case against Bell has actually been established. It has not. History cannot be made out of allegations. It is the study of sources. Lord Carlile’s review sets out the material of the allegation for everyone to assess for themselves, and he invites them to do so. There is nothing in it that connects in any way with what is firmly known about Bishop Bell. The allegation is not only wholly uncorroborated but is contradicted by all the considerable, and available, circumstantial material which any historian would consider credible. Furthermore, even on its own terms we find it to depend wholly on scenarios which simply could not have occurred, given what is firmly known and authoritatively established. There is no credible representation of personalities, relationships, patterns or locations which is remotely recognisable. Far from enhancing the allegation, the insistence on vivid quotations undermines critically a testimony in which the experiences of infancy are ‘recollected’, not immediately but at a distance of many decades. Even a modest historical sensitivity would have established the basic implausibility of such a testimony.

The material supporting this allegation does not in our view constitute a credible basis for the writing of history and it flies in the face of our customary critical method. It represents something quite different, an unhistorical, indeed anti-historical, testimony, explicable, perhaps, but in different terms. We cannot understand how such an unsupported, indeed insupportable, allegation can be upheld by a responsible public authority. Quite simply, it is indefensible. You have written that Lord Carlile’s review does not pronounce whether Bishop Bell was guilty or not. Yet the Terms of Reference by which Lord Carlile was invited to work by the Church itself deliberately excluded this. Now we do not believe that your office in itself gives you the authority to pronounce on the reputation of Bishop Bell in the manner you have done.

We are prepared, in this letter, to claim that authority. We state our position bluntly. There is no credible evidence at all that Bishop Bell was a paedophile. We state this after reviewing all that is known about his character and behaviour over many years. This letter is not the place to set that assessment out in detail but in the further consideration which must now be surely given we would be very willing to set it out clearly. We note, and emphasize, that there was never so much as a whisper of such an allegation in his lifetime. It is the testing of accusations which shows the integrity of a society, not the making of them. It is in no way to impugn the sincerity of the complainant, or to resist the claims of compassion, to say that the allegation seems to us self- evidently mistaken. We believe that the historical figure of George Bell is safe in the hands of historians even though, very sadly, it would appear to have been impugned from within his own Church of England. There is today no cloud at all over Bishop Bell. Nobody employing credible critical method could think otherwise.

Two of us are biographers of former Archbishops of Canterbury and we all acknowledge the many difficulties and pressures which any archbishop must face, not least in a position which Archbishop Lang once called ‘incredible, indefensible and inevitable’. None of us may be considered natural critics of an Archbishop of Canterbury. But we must also draw a firm line. The statement of 15 December 2017 seems to us both irresponsible and dangerous. We therefore urge you, in all sincerity, to repudiate what you have said before more damage is done and thus to restore the esteem in which the high, historic office to which you have been called has been held.

Professor Charmian Brinson
Professor Andrew Chandler
Professor John Charmley
Professor Michael J. Hughes
Professor Sir Ian Kershaw
Professor Jeremy Noakes
Professor Keith Robbins

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New ideas to secure England’s cathedrals for the future

Press release from the Church of England

The draft report referred to below is available for download here.

New ideas to secure England’s cathedrals for the future
17/01/2018

England’s historic cathedrals are one of the real success stories of the Church in the 21st Century, but should make changes to secure them for the future, a report published today finds.

The paper from the Church of England’s Cathedrals Working Group sets out new ideas on how cathedrals could be governed and funded.

The proposals, emerging from seven months of meetings and discussions, aim to recognise and enhance the vital role that cathedrals play while building a robust framework for the future.

A consultation on the recommendations opens today, seeking views from interested groups.

They range from recommendations on how the structure of Chapter – a cathedral’s traditional governing body – could be reformed to new financial auditing processes.

The Working Group was set up by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York after a small number of cathedrals highlighted challenges in governance and management.

The working group consulted with people from all parts of the cathedral sector and elsewhere, including charities and wider civil society, to develop the proposals.

At the heart of the recommendations is the retention of Chapter as the governing body of a cathedral, but with a clearer emphasis on its governance role. There would be a separate management function provided by a Senior Executive Team who will oversee day- to-day cathedral operations.

The report also makes proposals on key areas of leadership, financial control, safeguarding, oversight of building projects and stresses the urgency of opening a dialogue with Government about state funding for cathedrals.

Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney and Chair of the Cathedrals Working Group, said: “Cathedrals buck the trends of numerical decline, exert a growing influence in civil society, and demonstrate an effective way of engaging with contemporary culture.

“They are inspirational in their impact on our national life and on the lives of millions of worshippers and visitors each year.

“We hope that the recommendations in our report will encourage a much closer collaboration between cathedral and diocese, dean and bishop and point towards good practice in a cathedral’s wider relationships with the diocese and the national church. The mutuality of these relationships is vital.

“In proposing changes to governance structures and aspects of cathedral operations, we do not wish to inhibit the entrepreneurial flair that has characterised so much that is good about the world of cathedrals nor impose unnecessary red tape.

“However, we are committed to ensure that cathedrals do not get into situations which prevent them from thriving in their role as pioneers in mission and ministry.

“England’s cathedrals are an immense gift to Church and nation, and we hope that our report can help to form a better understanding of how this gift can be nurtured and protected, celebrated and safeguarded long in to the future.”

Adrian Dorber, chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, and Dean of Lichfield, said: “Cathedrals are the nation’s treasures – from protecting invaluable heritage such as Magna Carta and ancient shrines to supporting social enterprises helping the homeless and the vulnerable and offering inspirational daily worship to lift the spirits and providing a place for the nation to come to be healed at times of mourning or national crisis.

“Surely no-one would argue with a fresh look at the way we are run and financed, so we are excited about where this report may take us and look forward to the responses the consultation may bring and the final report.

“Our cathedrals have been here for hundreds of years, vibrant seats of mission, of learning, of heritage and of love, let’s ensure they are here for hundreds more.”

Notes for editors:

  • There are 42 Anglican cathedrals in England. More information here.
  • A review by the Faith Minister, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, published last month found that cathedrals play a crucial role in communities.
    It highlighted figures showing that cathedrals draw in an estimated £220 million per year in spending to local economies per year and provide more than 5,500 local jobs. Full details here.
  • The latest statistics on cathedrals show average weekday attendances were up, and visitor numbers exceeded 10 million in the past year, 16,500 people attended Fresh Expression services and 310,000 young people came to cathedrals through special educational visits, both of which were significant increases on previous years.
    Cathedrals continued to be centres of civic life, with 1.2 million people reported at 6,000 civic services and events throughout the year.
    More details here.
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Friday, 12 January 2018

Bishop of Ramsbury Announces Retirement

The Diocese of Salisbury has announced that the Suffragan Bishop of Ramsbury, the Rt Revd Dr Edward Condry, will be retiring at the end of April.

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Monday, 8 January 2018

Priest found guilty of spiritual abuse

Updated Friday

The Church Times reports: Oxfordshire vicar, Tim Davis, guilty of spiritually abusing a teenage boy.

The full text of the tribunal decision is here.

A VICAR in Oxfordshire has been convicted of spiritually abusing a teenage boy, in what is thought to be the first judgment of its kind. The victim was judged to have been put under “unacceptable pressure” during one-to-one Bible-study sessions in his bedroom over a period of 18 months.

The priest, the Revd Timothy Davis, of Christ Church, Abingdon, was found guilty under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) 2003 of “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in holy orders through the abuse of spiritual power and authority” by a five-strong Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Oxford diocese, chaired by His Honour the Revd Mark Bishop. Their judgment is dated 28 December and was published by the diocese on Monday.

It is thought to be the first CDM tribunal that has found a case to answer over allegations of the abuse of spiritual power and authority. A penalty has not yet been set…

There are also reports in the Guardian and Telegraph newspapers and on the BBC website:

The Church Times also has this: Two-thirds of Christians in new survey say they have been spiritually abused.

The research report mentioned is available in summary form here.

VIa Media News has Are You Suffering From Spiritual Abuse?

Update
Law & Religion UK reports this here: Clerical abuse of spiritual power and authority. There are links to some relevant policy documents.

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Friday, 29 December 2017

Government reports on church buildings

Two recent reports:

The Department for Communities and Local Government has just published Cathedrals and their communities: a report on the diverse roles of cathedrals in modern England.

Read the press release here: Government report highlights English cathedrals’ community spirit and the full document (20 pages) can be downloaded here.

The Ecclesiastical Law Society reported: Cathedrals and their Communities.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport recently published The Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals.

Read the press release here: Independent review calls for greater community use to give church buildings a sustainable future and the full document (72 pages) can be downloaded here.

The Church Times reported on this: Review calls for change of attitude to church buildings.

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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Ozanne Foundation launched

There is a press release today, which is copied in full below the fold.

More details from this website:
* About
* Trustees
* Council of Reference
* Charitable Objects

BISHOP OF LIVERPOOL TO CHAIR NEW CHARITY TO ADVANCE ACCEPTANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF LGBTI PEOPLE BY ALL RELIGIOUS GROUPS

The Rt Revd Paul Bayes is to Chair the Ozanne Foundation, a new charity that will work with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender.

The Charity’s Director, Jayne Ozanne, is a well-known activist within the Church of England and has led a range of initiatives over the past two years to help ensure the Church embraces and celebrate the equality and diversity of all.

Bishop Paul chairs an influential group of ten trustees from across the church traditions, which range from the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd David Ison, to the Editor of the Church of England Newspaper, Colin Blakely. A Council of Reference brings together some of the most outspoken names on LGBTI rights within the Christian Church – including Revd Steve Chalke of the Oasis Foundation, the Very Revd Prof Martin Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Ben Bradshaw MP and the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Jeffrey John.

Speaking about his decision to chair this new foundation, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes said:

“The Church of England has committed herself to what our Archbishops have called radical new Christian inclusion, and has publicly stated that we are against all forms of homophobia. If we mean this, and I believe we do, then we need to find appropriate ways of welcoming and affirming LGBTI people who want their love recognised by the Church. I have long been an admirer of Jayne Ozanne’s strong clear advocacy for LGBTI people and other groups who have suffered hurt and abuse – not least at the hands of the Church - and I believe her work should be actively supported and encouraged.”

The new foundation has been set up to help educate and advocate on LGBTI and gender rights around the world, particularly within religious organisations that are opposed to non-heterosexual relationships. In addition, it will look to foster good relations inside religious organisations that hold conflicting views on sexuality and gender issues.

Based in Oxford, Ozanne has shown an impressive track record in galvanising senior Anglicans to come together to speak out on behalf of the LGBTI community. Last summer she led a Private Member’s Debate in the General Synod that resulted in the Church of England calling on the government to ban Conversion Therapy.

“I am thrilled that so many personal friends have felt moved to come together to support my work, and am excited about what this new opportunity might mean. I know that together we can work to ensure that all are fully accepted and celebrated for who they have been created to be – after all, the core of our faith commands Just Love for all!”

ENDS

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Monday, 18 December 2017

More criticism of responses to Carlile report

Updated yet again Friday afternoon

This critique by Martin Sewell at Archbishop Cranmer needs to be read in full by anyone who has concerns about the way the Church of England has treated Bishop George Bell:
Carlile Report: Bishop George Bell has been traduced, and the blame lies squarely with Church House and Lambeth Palace

There is also this piece by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday:
PETER HITCHENS: If a saintly man can be branded a sex abuser, none of us is safe.

We linked previously to the Telegraph article by Charles Moore:
Archbishop Welby’s response to 
the George Bell inquiry is shocking

Ian Paul has asked
What is missing in the George Bell case?

Martyn Percy at Christian Today
Why the Church’s response to the George Bell inquiry is so shocking

Peter Hitchens has now written an open letter to the Bishop of Chichester:
Acquitted and Vindicated - but his Reputation is Still in Prison. The Church’s Duty to George Bell

The Telegraph reports: Bishop Bell’s niece: Welby should resign

Church Times Letters to the Editor: Inadequate episcopal response to Carlile report includes two: one from Professors David Brown and Ann Loades, and the other from Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, who had written previously on 17 November (scroll down to second letter).

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Reactions by and to the new Bishop of London

Updated Tuesday morning, Friday morning, Saturday morning

The new bishop writes on her blog: I will be a servant.

Let me start with an admission: I am delighted but, yes, slightly terrified to be the next Bishop of London.

I have spent 32 years of my life in London so, for me, this will be returning home.

London is a world-facing city – multi-cultural and multi-faith.

It is a city of energy and diversity. London is open to all.

But it is also a city of inequality and deprivation. A typical woman in Tower Hamlets in east London will live 30 years in poor health, compared to only 12 for a man in Enfield further north.

It is a city where the number of people living alone will rise by over 50% in the next 25 years.

And it is a city where people feel ignored, marginalised and angry…

Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop’s statement on the new Bishop of London

Archbishop Justin Welby has welcomed the news that Bishop Sarah Mullally will be the new Bishop of London.

The Archbishop said:

“Bishop Sarah brings to this remarkable ministry in this great city an extraordinary experience and profound gifts which are guided by her faith in Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of all that she is…

The London diocesan website has Next Bishop of London announced

Church of England press release

Hattie Williams and Tim Wyatt Church Times Sarah Mullally to be the next Bishop of London

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Sarah Mullally appointed bishop of London

BBC News First female Bishop of London appointed

Mark Woods Christian Today Who is Sarah Mullally, the new Bishop of London?

Tola Mbakwe Premier New Bishop of London announced

Updates

Luke Miller (Archdeacon of London) London Welcomes a New Bishop

WATCH Press release at the announcement of the 133rd Bishop of London

BBC News Former nurse appointed as Bishop of London [video clip]

Forward in Faith Nomination of the next Bishop of London

Melanie McDonagh The Spectator The new Bishop of London is a far cry from her predecessor

Melanie McDonagh and Ross Lydall Evening Standard Former nurse Sarah Mullally appointed first ever female Bishop of London

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph New bishop of London could pave the way for female archbishop, say campaigners

James Macintyre Christian Today New Bishop of London Sarah Mullally reaches out to conservatives over sexuality and gender

Ian Paul Psephizo ‘Is the new Bishop of London any good?’

Hattie Williams Church Times Have confidence in your new Bishop, London traditionalists are urged

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Bishop of London: Sarah Elisabeth Mullally

Press release from Number 10

Bishop of London: Sarah Elisabeth Mullally

Confirmation of the nomination of the Right Reverend Sarah Elisabeth Mullally for election as Bishop of London.

Published 18 December 2017
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Sarah Elisabeth Mullally, DBE, MA, BSc, MSC, DSc(Hons), RGN, Suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter for election as Bishop of London in succession to the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard John Carew Chartres, KCVO, PC, on his resignation on the 28 February 2018.

Further information

The Right Reverend Sarah Mullally, DBE, (aged 55) studied first at South Bank University for her BSc followed by a MSc and then at Heythrop College, University of London where she got her MA. She was awarded Honorary Doctorates of Science from Bournemouth University, (2004), University of Wolverhampton (2004) and University of Hertfordshire (2005) and was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 for her contribution to nursing and midwifery.

She is a late ordinand who before ordination was Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health. She trained for the ministry at the South East Institute for Theologian Education and served her first curacy at Battersea Fields in Southwark Diocese from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012 she was Team Rector at Sutton in Southwark Diocese. From 2012 to 2015 she was Canon Residentiary and Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral before taking up her current role in 2015 as Suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter.

Sarah Mullally is married to Eamonn and they have two children. She has continued her interest in the health service having been a non executive director at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust then at Salisbury NHS Foundation Hospital. She is a member of Council at King’s College London University. She is a novice potter.

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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Elliott Review - background

The review referred to in the previous post was reported on earlier.

15 March 2016 Church of England publishes part of Elliott report into sexual abuse case

At that time it was reported that both the Guardian and the Church Times had seen the full report.

The Church of England has today published portions of the report that was commissioned in September 2015 into a particular case of alleged sexual abuse by a member of the clergy.

The materials published by the church do not disclose the names of any of the persons involved. However, the Guardian newspaper carries a report by Harriet Sherwood which names the perpetrator and states that the Guardian has seen the full report. The Guardian has also interviewed the survivor in this case.

The Church Times has also seen the full report…

Links made in that article to the CofE website no longer work but here are new ones:

Elliott Review Findings

Response from Bishop Sarah Mullally on Elliott Review findings.

…”This report has published a series of important recommendations. The Archbishop of Canterbury has seen these recommendations and will ensure they are implemented as quickly as possible.

“How we respond to those who have survived abuse in any form, whether as a child or an adult, is a measure of our humanity, compassion and of the Church’s mission in the world.”

A year later, on 31 March 2017:

Elliott Review progress report

The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has today published a progress report, one year on from the Elliott Review, which recommended a range of safeguarding proposals for the Church, particularly in the areas of handling disclosures and accountability…

The full text of the progress report is here.

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Ian Elliott criticises Church of England safeguarding

The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme this morning carried an interview with Ian Elliott concerning the Church of England’s response to the review he carried out into the case of Gilo, about which we have reported previously, here and also here and earlier here.

The radio programme can be found here. The interview starts just before 29 minutes in.

The full text of the statement prepared by Ian Elliott is published below the fold. Further comments by Ian are in the following press statement.

Press Statement from Gilo

  • International safeguarding expert puts the record straight on Church of England protecting its insurer repeatedly and publicly discrediting his Review.
  • Stealthy presence of Ecclesiastical Insurance settlement lawyers at ‘pastoral’ case conferences is massive power imbalance.
  • The scandal of the church and its insurer deepens.
  • Survivor asks lead bishop to investigate Church House unethical methods, and discrediting and negative culture of the NST.

Ian Elliott is an internationally recognised safeguarding expert and reviewer, who led the Elliott Review for the Church of England nearly two years ago. He has worked at national church and government level around the world and is highly regarded for his work in Ireland and Australia and elsewhere.

Ian Elliott’s comments following interview with Ed Stourton for BBCRadio4. Ian has given permission for these comments to be quoted in addition to anything from his statement.

“Archbishop Welby’s letter in response to the thoughtful and in my view, helpful open letter, is misplaced. Kind words are not adequate. What is needed is action. Survivors need to see the church letting them know what changes will be made, when changes will be made, and how the church can be held to account in terms of those changes. The survivors I have spoken to want to feel that what’s happened to them is of enough concern to the church that it is keeping the hierarchy awake at night. They don’t see enough real concern or impetus for action. Survivors just don’t see that at present. So many of the problems the Church of England face are of their own making because of the inertia and resistance to any change.”

Regarding the core groups with EIG presence, Ian wishes to add, as this was not covered in the interview:

“I attended two Core Group meetings when undertaking the Review. A lawyer representing EIG was present at both of these meetings which struck me as being unusual. I would have thought that the survivor could have been invited as well, and contributed usefully to the meeting but this does not appear to be usual practice. In my experience, affording the subject of the meeting, the survivor, the opportunity to contribute to it, makes for much better outcomes. The Core Group meeting should have a pastoral focus but this was not my assessment of the ones that I attended. It is rooted in attitudes towards survivors which are totally misguided, misplaced, and unacceptable.“

Phil Johnson, chair of MACSAS says: “These core groups demonstrate the extent to which the church is more interested in financial considerations than the well-being and care for victims. Survivors haven’t known or been invited with their own legal representative and this is a huge imbalance of power. It gives the insurer massive informational and strategic advantage and potential opportunity to cover its tracks”

Gilo says: “I’ve been raising questions to the Church about its relationship to Ecclesiastical Insurance for 2 years now, but saw the questions discredited and ignored by their National Safeguarding and National Advisor. Yet all this time they’ve kept quiet about these core groups. I’m not the first to raise questions about the church and insurer working in close tandem. Survivors have been raising the skewered relationship in person to Archbishop Welby for the past five years.

So it is disturbing that the church has been sitting on this embarrassing information in this way – hoping it will not see the light of day. My impression is the operation is heavily controlled by William Nye (Secretary General of Synod) who the National Advisor directly reports to. I tried to get answers from William Nye as to why my questions were discredited two years ago - but got nowhere. And despite the growing media interest in this scandal, they still do not provide answers.

So I have asked Bishop Peter Hancock and Bishop Sarah Mullally to instigate a review to establish how many pastoral core groups have had this presence under quiet stealth of the insurer. It’s the stuff of Spotlight! (the movie) I have also asked them to examine the NST’s culture of gaslighting and discrediting. These core groups are a major piece of the jigsaw in the church’s moral illegitimacy of response to all survivors, and probably a long term pattern. It is time the Church of England came clean on this. And it’s astonishing the extent to which they’ve shielded and protected Ecclesiastical’s deception across the past two years.

I was shocked to discover recently they did have input into Mr Elliott’s review, despite so many public statements to the contrary. EIG have been allowed by the church to be consistently dishonest, which has caused distress, confusion and deep mistrust. I’m glad that Mr Elliott has finally been able to put the record straight. I am aware that the Elliott Review has been openly trashed by caseworkers of the NST and also in Lambeth Palace at very high level. I feel they should put up or shut up - and get on with real action, real change and real justice instead of seeking to discredit survivors, and discredit independent reviews. In my view the church has been acting in ways bordering on corrupt. Time to stop discrediting and pretending the questions away. Church House in Westminster needs to be brought into daylight. And I hope this is what the lead bishop will now do.”

Statement by Ian Elliott regarding the Evidence included in the Review of Survivor B

Because of the repeated misleading comments that have been issued by Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) regarding the evidence that I had access to when undertaking the Review of the case of survivor B for the Church of England, I have decided to take the highly unusual step of confirming publicly what occurred. I have asked repeatedly for this to be done by those who commissioned the Report but to date, they have refused to do so. They are aware of what the records state just as I am. They gave me access to the case file, and facilitated my interviews, whilst undertaking the Review.

It has been said that there are “factual inaccuracies” contained in the Report that I authored. I know of none. It has also been said that no advice was provided by EIG to suspend contact with the survivor following his decision to issue legal proceedings against the Church for compensation. I read the case file created for survivor B by the diocese. It was stated in the case record, that this advice was confirmed by EIG on 15th January 2015 over the telephone.

This was again confirmed in interview by the person who made the telephone call. She described her distress at receiving such guidance. The receipt of this advice was also confirmed in two other interviews that I undertook, firstly with a senior bishop of the Church of England who was involved in the case. He expressed his upset and his regret at having followed that advice. He regarded this as being a major error of judgement on his part. I also spoke to a senior member of the national safeguarding team in the Church who also confirmed that this was their understanding of what had happened.
According to the case record, the advice that was provided to suspend contact with survivor B came, in the first instance, from an unnamed Church lawyer and was then confirmed over the telephone by an unnamed person from EIG. This is recorded in the case file. Along with the confirmation of the information through the three interviews, I took this as being adequate evidence to confirm that advice had been given and accepted.

In my view, the advice was not only insensitive and uncaring, it was highly reckless. The survivor was in a fragile state and suffered from mental health difficulties. He was under immense pressure and to contemplate giving, let alone, accepting advice of this nature represented a massive error of judgement that needed to be addressed in the recommendations flowing from the Review. Therefore, I included a specific recommendation to address this issue.

I was also told in interview that the advice was later withdrawn after a period of some days, but this does not alter the fact that it was recorded as being given in the first place, and confirmed in interviews to me by three credible and reliable informants. It was given, and it was also accepted, and then withdrawn.

It was also asserted by EIG that they had no contact with me during the Review. I attended two Core Group meetings convened to discuss the situation of survivor B, at which I met and spoke to the lawyer representing EIG and who had also led the settlement process with survivor B. I asked them if there were any written policies or guidance documents that they followed in their work with survivors of clerical abuse. I was told that there were none available at present but they were seeking to produce some guidance in the future.

My Report was redacted throughout. EIG were never named. The focus that I had throughout the Review, was to maximise learning from the exercise, rather than highlight the bad practice of any one person or organisation. I would regard the recommendations that I made as being equally applicable to whomever contributes to the management of these situations, involving survivors of clerical abuse. What needs to take precedent always, are the pastoral needs of the survivor, rather than any financial considerations for the parties involved.

Survivor B was unusual in that he stated that he disclosed to many people, many of whom had a clear memory of the conversation that he had with them. Some had made it clear that they had no recollection of the disclosure that survivor B said he had made to them. Given the lack of any recall of the disclosure for some whom survivor B said he spoke to, I chose not to engage with these people as there seemed to be little point in doing so. How could I usefully discuss a conversation with them which they had said that they had no memory of!

It is highly unusual for me to openly comment on work undertaken in any cases of this nature. I am fully aware of the sensitivity of the evidence that I had access to. I have made this statement on this occasion, as I believe that a false and misleading perception of what work was undertaken, was being created, and that my recommendations were being discredited as a result. The soundness of the evidence upon which those recommendations are based, is known to those who received my Report. However, to date, they have refused to publicly challenge the comments made by EIG that the Report contained “factual inaccuracies.” I have been deeply disappointed in this reluctance to see the truth told and have, therefore, sought to address the issue through this statement.

In my view, survivor B, and others who have an interest in knowing the truth, deserve to be informed that this case was reviewed in a fair and objective way, and that the highest professional standards were applied to the assessment contained in the Review Report. There are no factual inaccuracies within it, and those that state otherwise are making false and misleading statements that should be withdrawn.

Signed:

Ian Elliott

Independent Safeguarding Consultant

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Friday, 15 December 2017

Publication of Bishop George Bell independent review

Updated to include press reports published after release of the report - more added Saturday morning and evening

The Bishop George Bell independent review (the “Carlile Report”) has been published today together with the press release below.

Scroll down for links to the report and its annexes, and for press reports.

Publication of Bishop George Bell independent review

15/12/2017

The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST,) has today published the key findings and recommendations, along with the full report, from the independent review into the processes used in the Bishop George Bell case.

The review, commissioned by the NST on the recommendation of the Bishop of Chichester, was carried out by Lord Carlile of Berriew. As he writes in the introduction, his purpose was not to determine the truthfulness of the woman referred to as Carol in the report, nor the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell, but to examine the procedures followed by the Church of England. The objectives of the review included “ensuring that survivors are listened to and taken seriously”, and that recommendations are made to help the Church embed best practice in safeguarding in the future.

The report made 15 recommendations and concluded that the Church acted throughout in good faith while highlighting that the process was deficient in a number of respects.

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, has responded on behalf of the Church:

“We are enormously grateful to Lord Carlile for this ‘lessons learned’ review which examines how the Church handled the allegations made by Carol in the 1990s, and more recently. Lord Carlile makes a number of considered points as to how to handle such cases in future and we accept the main thrust of his recommendations.

“In responding to the report, we first want to acknowledge and publicly apologise again for the Church’s lamentable failure, as noted by Lord Carlile, to handle the case properly in 1995.

“At the heart of this case was a judgement, on the balance of probabilities, as to whether, in the event that her claim for compensation reached trial, a court would have concluded that Carol was abused by Bishop Bell. The Church decided to compensate Carol, to apologise and to be open about the case.

“Lord Carlile states that ‘where as in this case the settlement is without admission of liability, the settlement generally should be with a confidentiality provision” but respectfully, we differ from that judgement. The Church is committed to transparency. We would look at each case on its merits but generally would seek to avoid confidentiality clauses.

“It is clear from the report, however, that our processes were deficient in a number of respects, in particular the process for seeking to establish what may have happened. For that we apologise. Lessons can and have been learnt about how we could have managed the process better.

“The Bishop Bell case is a complex one and it is clear from the report and minutes of Core Group meetings that much professional care and discussion were taken over both agreeing the settlement with Carol and the decision to make this public. As Lord Carlile’s report makes clear, we acted in good faith throughout with no calculated intention to damage George Bell’s reputation.

“The Church has always affirmed and treasured Bishop Bell’s principled stand in the Second World War and his contribution to peace remains extraordinary. At same time, we have a duty and commitment to listen to those reporting abuse, to guard their confidentiality, and to protect their interests.

“We recognise that Carol has suffered pain, as have surviving relatives of Bishop Bell. We are sorry that the Church has added to that pain through its handling of this case.”

Statement from Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner

“Lord Carlile’s Independent Review is a demonstration of the Church of England’s commitment to equality of justice and transparency in our safeguarding practice. The diocese of Chichester requested this “lessons learned” Review.

“We welcome Lord Carlile’s assessment of our processes, and apologise for failures in the work of the Core Group of national and diocesan officers and its inadequate attention to the rights of those who are dead. We also accept the Report’s recognition that we acted in good faith, and improvements to Core Group protocols are already in place. Further work on them is in hand.

“The Report demands further consideration of the complexities of this case, such as what boundaries can be set to the principle of transparency. Lord Carlile rightly draws our attention to public perception. The emotive principle of innocent until proven guilty is a standard by which our actions are judged and we have to ensure as best we can that justice is seen to be done. Irrespective of whether she is technically a complainant, survivor, or victim, ‘Carol’ emerges from this report as a person of dignity and integrity. It is essential that her right to privacy continues to be fully respected.

“The good deeds that Bishop George Bell did were recognised internationally. They will stand the test of time. In every other respect, we have all been diminished by the case that Lord Carlile has reviewed.”

Statement from Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

“Bishop George Bell is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th century. The decision to publish his name was taken with immense reluctance, and all involved recognised the deep tragedy involved. However we have to differ from Lord Carlile’s point that ‘where as in this case the settlement is without admission of liability, the settlement generally should be with a confidentiality provision”. The C of E is committed to transparency and therefore we would take a different approach.

“Lord Carlile does not seek to say whether George Bell was in fact responsible for the acts about which the complaint was made. He does make significant comments on our processes, and we accept that improvement is necessary, in all cases including those where the person complained about is dead. We are utterly committed to seeking to ensure just outcomes for all. We apologise for the failures of the process.

“The complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievement. We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name. Let us therefore remember his defence of Jewish victims of persecution, his moral stand against indiscriminate bombing, his personal risks in the cause of supporting the anti Hitler resistance, and his long service in the Diocese of Chichester. No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and whole life should be kept in mind.”

Documents

Carlile Review
Annexes to the Review

Press reports

(published before the release of the report)

BBC News Church apology over Bishop George Bell abuse inquiry

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England to apologise over George Bell abuse allegations

Robert Mendick The Telegraph Church of England accused of ruining reputation of Bishop George Bell over sex abuse claims 50 years ago

James Macintyre Christian Today Church of England apologises over ‘deficient processes’ and ‘pain’ in its handling of George Bell ‘abuse’ claim

(published after release of the report)

Tim Wyatt Church Times Traducing George Bell’s name was ‘just wrong’ says Carlile review

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Anglican church ‘rushed to judgment’ in George Bell child abuse case

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Archbishop criticised for refusing to clear bishop besmirched by the Church

Joel Adams The Argus Victim: ‘He can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts’

Charles Moore The Telegraph Archbishop Welby’s response to 
the George Bell inquiry is shocking

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Thursday, 14 December 2017

February General Synod - outline timetable

The outline timetable for the February General Synod of the Church of England has been published today, and is copied below.

[The published timetable does not explain the asterisks against certain items, but these clearly indicate timed business, eg Questions on the Thursday will start not later than 4.00 pm.]

FEBRUARY 2018 GROUP OF SESSIONS TIMETABLE

Thursday 8 February
1.30 pm – 5.30 pm
1.30 pm Worship
1.45 pm Introductions and welcomes
2.00 pm Report by the Business Committee
2.30 pm Discerning In Obedience: A Theological Review of the Crown Nominations Commission - Presentation under SO 107 – with questions
3.15 pm Discerning In Obedience: A Theological Review of the Crown Nominations Commission – Take note debate
*4.00 pm Questions
5.30 – 5.45 pm Evening worship
Friday 9 February
9.15 am – 1.00 pm
9.15 am Holy Communion
  Anglican Communion Matters
10.30 am Address from Anglican Communion Representatives
10.45 am Companion Links and the Anglican Communion: Debate on a motion
11.45 am Appointment of the Chair of the Appointments Committee
  Diocesan Synod Motion
12.00 pm Food Waste
2.30 pm – 7.00 pm
2.30 pm Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury
  Legislative Business
3.00 pm Amending Canon No. 36 (Enactment)
Amending Canon No. 37 (Enactment)
Draft Ecumenical Relations Measure (Revision)
Draft Amending Canon No. 38 (Revision)
Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions Measure) (Revision)
See of Richmond – Petition for change of name to See of Kirkstall (Petition)
5.15 pm Address by a speaker from the Methodist Church
5.30 pm Mission and Ministry in Covenant: Debate on a Motion about Mission and Ministry in Covenant
7.00 – 7.15 pm Evening worship
Saturday 10 February
9.15 am – 1.00 pm
9.15 am Worship
9.30 am Safeguarding: Presentation under SO 107 – with Q&A
11.00 am Religious Communities – Debate on a Motion
12.00 pm Digital Evangelism: Presentation under SO 107 - with Q&A
2.30 pm – 4.00 pm
2.30 pm “Valuing People with Downs Syndrome” – Debate on a Motion
*4.00 pm Prorogation
Deemed Business
Church Property Measure (First Consideration)
Pensions Measure (First Consideration)
Contingency Business
DSM: Long Term Sustainability of the National Health Service

Questions Deadline: Midday, 29 January 2018

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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Report from December House of Bishops

Press release from the Church of England

Report from December House of Bishops
13/12/2017

On Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th December the House of Bishops met at Lambeth Palace.

There was a varied agenda, including items on safeguarding, the importance of Black and Minority Ethnic clergy inclusion and representation, church planting, lessons learned from the appointment of the See of Sheffield, a review of the Crown Nominations Commission’s practices and the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

Dame Moira Gibb and Sir Roger Singleton led a discussion on safeguarding that focused on survivors’ needs, with Q&As followed by group discussions. Dame Moira chaired the independent review into the Bishop Peter Ball case and Sir Roger, former Government adviser on Safeguarding, is currently working with the National Team.

The House accepted the four recommendations that were made by Sir Philip Mawer in his report on the See of Sheffield and reaffirmed its commitment to the Five Guiding Principles set out in its Declaration of 2014.

Renewed commitments were made to continue to strength the inclusion and representation of Black and Minority Ethnic clergy at all levels of leadership within the church.

There was a discussion as to the value of church planting alongside established parish churches in making a valuable contribution to mission.

Recommendations from a group chaired by Professor Oliver O’Donovan with regards to the theology of the Crown Nominations Commission’s work nominating Bishops was considered by the House. The report will be published and General Synod will have the opportunity to review and debate these recommendations in February.

Regarding the future relationship of the Church of England and the Methodist Church, the House agreed to ask the General Synod Business Committee for a debate on the proposals set out in Mission and Ministry in Covenant to take place at the February General Synod.

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Dean of St Paul's calls for safeguarding overhaul

David Ison the Dean of St Paul’s has called for a radical overhaul of safeguarding in the Church of England.

This is reported here: Dean of St Paul’s calls for ‘compromised’ bishops to lose responsibility for safeguarding.

The full text of the dean’s remarks can be found here: “Cassock Chasers” and Compromised Clergy. Please read the whole of it.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 10:00pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Franklin Graham's proposed visit to Blackpool

Christian Today has a news report that: Bishop urged to oppose controversial UK Franklin Graham rally.

The Bishop of Blackburn is being urged to speak against an evangelism event in Blackpool featuring the controversial figure Franklin Graham.

Franklin, the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, is an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and vociferously opposes gay marriage and Islam.

He is due to speak at the town’s Winter Gardens venue, which has hosted the likes of the Beatles as well as many political party conferences after being invited by a number of local churches including St John’s Church in Blackpool, St Mark’s Church in Layton, and All Hallows Church in Bispham for the rally next September…

The open letter referenced in this article can be found here: An open letter to The Bishop of Blackburn and his Senior Staff. It is well worth reading in its entirety, but concludes this way:

… Julian, in a recent radio broadcast you said that you are ‘staying firmly on the fence’ over the visit of Franklin Graham. We have to tell you, from our knowledge at the grass roots, that to remain silent is not to remain neutral. Given that you know well that the Mission is booked and that Franklin Graham is leading it, and given that you are well aware of Franklin Graham’s own opinions and statements, we suggest that your silence, along with the silence of your Senior Staff can only be seen as support. Certainly that was the opinion of one of my fellow community leaders in Blackpool, a Muslim, with whom One of us had coffee this morning.

Bishop Julian and fellow members of the Senior Staff, are you going to remain silent? We call upon you together or severally to at least distance yourselves from Franklin Graham and his views, and to make it clear that the invitation to Franklin Graham to come to Blackpool is ‘Not in your name.’ How else shall we be able to look our Muslim brothers and sisters in the eye?

Earlier news reports:

June: Church fury as anti-gay cleric invited to talk

September: Protests over Franklin Graham Blackpool visit build as hundreds sign petition

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 6:08pm GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Monday, 4 December 2017

Archbishop and sexual abuse survivor exchange letters

Updated

A further exchange of letters between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Gilo, an abuse survivor, has been published today.

We reported earlier on the open letter to the archbishop that Gilo had sent.

The response from the archbishop to the open letter from Gilo is now available.

Gilo’s further response to the archbishop is also available here.

And there is a press release, copied below the fold.

This material is also published on the Ekklesia website.

Media coverage:

Church Times Survivor keeps pressure on Archbishop to bring in mandatory reporting of abuse

Christian Today Justin Welby under pressure to overhaul approach to church sex abuse survivors

PRESS RELEASE from Gilo Monday 4th December

Archbishop Welby’s response to abuse survivor condemned by numerous leading Church figures, a Parliamentarian and other experts

I am Gilo, an Anglican abuse survivor. Archbishop Welby’s response on 8 November (attached) to my open letter complaining about the callous way the Church mistreats abuse survivors and of the importance of Mandatory Reporting has been condemned by a bishop and other leading Church figures, lawyers, child protection experts, survivors’ groups and a peer. Most consider it to be evasive and completely inadequate. The Archbishop has already had to apologise publicly for ignoring 17 letters from me.

Those responding include, April Alexander (General Synod & Church Commissioner), Christina Rees CBE (founding member Archbishop’s Council), The Very Rev’d Prof Martyn Percy (Dean of Christ Church), Prof Linda Woodhead (Academic & Theologian) and Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson (Bishop of Buckingham), Peter Saunders (founder NAPAC) and Baroness Walmsley.

Simon Sarmiento (Thinking Anglicans website) wrote “The Archbishop’s response sadly ducks answering any of the “quite specific, but very reasonable, questions that Gilo posed. There was a golden opportunity available here to make clear that the stance of EIG does not define policy for the Church of England. Continuing equivocation by the latter, including on mandatory reporting, only increases the depth of the hole out of which the whole Church will eventually have to dig itself.”

A number of respondents were especially scathing about the Archbishop’s attempt to kick Mandatory Reporting of institutional abuse, something the Church used to call for, into the long grass. Baroness Walmsley was adamant that this issue is not complex at all. “If you know or suspect that a child is being abused, or has been abused, you must report the matter to the correct authorities. To fail to do so is to collude with the perpetrator. End of!”

Another major concern is that the Archbishop has delegated this work to Bishop Thornton who will be unlikely to enjoy the support of survivors, due to very considerable difficulties in his involvement in my case.

My own take on the letter is that “Sadly, Archbishop Welby’s response fails to meet the questions. Stating in vaguest of terms the complexity of an issue does not address complexities. There doesn’t seem any ownership of the crisis, nor recognition that questions such as these need facing at ‘archbishop level’ and the clear call of leadership required to shift the church into structural and cultural change and towards authentic justice. Until the church buckles under the weight of these things – the shilly-shallying will continue. I am struck by the irony that the questions now seem in the hands of a bishop who walked away – in 2003, in effect again during the Past Case Review, and again in 2015 with a “no recollection”. This won’t give survivors much confidence.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 4 December 2017 at 12:00pm GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

New Directors for Renewal & Reform and Evangelism & Discipleship announced

Press release from the Church of England

New Directors for Renewal & Reform and Evangelism & Discipleship announced

28/11/2017

The Church of England is pleased to announce the appointment of Debbie Clinton as Director of Renewal and Reform, and Dave Male as Director of Evangelism and Discipleship.

Director of Renewal and Reform

Bringing extensive experience of change management and strategic planning in both the Church and the commercial sectors Debbie will oversee and ensure the implementation of the national workstreams relating to Renewal and Reform.

Renewal and Reform is a body of work designed to enable the Church of England more effectively to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in this generation. It aims to build on the three goals articulated by General Synod in 2010 to:

1. Facilitate the growth of the church in numbers and depth of discipleship
2. Re-imagine the church’s ministry
3. Contribute as the national church to the common good

Renewal and Reform aims to address some of the deep-rooted missional challenges facing the Church of England. It prayerfully hopes to see the Church of England become once again a growing church, for all people in all places.

Debbie has held a series of strategic senior posts in the change management, marketing and customer development fields, most recently as the Director of Capital Vision at the Diocese of London and previously as a Director of Customer and Brand with Aviva working across their European businesses. Having grown up within the Church of Ireland, she currently worships at St Paul’s Howell Hill in the Diocese of Guildford.

Debbie said: “It is an enormous privilege to join in this work with Dioceses and parishes as we seek to proclaim the good news afresh in this generation and renew and reform our life in ways that further God’s kingdom. “

Debbie will be taking over from Mike Eastwood who is currently on a part-time secondment from the Diocese of Liverpool. Debbie will take up her new role early next year.

Director of Evangelism and Discipleship

The Church of England is pleased to announce the appointment of Dave Male to the new post Director of Evangelism and Discipleship.

The Archbishops’ Council has established this new team to strengthen its support for the local work of bringing people to faith, and strengthening their Christian life, in all the dioceses, parishes and other ministries of the Church.

Dave brings extensive experience of creating innovation and achievement through his work as a church leader, theological educator and national advisor. Dave will establish and lead the work of this newly formed Directorate whose task is to oversee and strengthen the work of the National Church in Evangelism and Discipleship as it contributes to the objectives of the Archbishops’ Council.

As a parish priest and pioneer minister Dave has significant experience of leading in evangelism and discipleship at local, deanery and Diocesan level. He has written many books and articles on mission, evangelism, pioneer ministry and Fresh Expressions and has spoken on these topics in the UK and across the world.

Dave said: “I am thrilled to be leading this new, exciting and dynamic team who are seeking to strengthen and develop the work of Evangelism and Discipleship through this new Directorate. This is a time of great possibilities and opportunities for us.”

Dave will take up his new post early in the New Year.

William Nye, Secretary General to the General Synod, said: “I am delighted with these two new appointments we are announcing today. The new department of Evangelism and Discipleship, and the enhanced role for a director of Renewal and Reform, are signs of the Archbishops’ Council’s commitment to spreading the Gospel and renewing the Church. We are fortunate to have attracted two excellent candidates for these important roles.

Both have contributed much to the Church already, Debbie Clinton in helping the Church’s largest diocese make reality of its Capital Vision for growth in London, and Dave Male in leading, teaching and inspiring pioneer ministers to contribute to the work of evangelism. Both Debbie and Dave have much to offer in bringing about the vision of a growing Church for all people and in all places.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 28 November 2017 at 2:44pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Monday, 20 November 2017

Church denies delay in publishing Carlile report on George Bell

Church of England press release

Timing of publication of independent review of the processes used in the Bishop George Bell case

A spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team said: “We received the draft of Lord Carlile’s report in October and now, according to the Terms of Reference of the review, are at the stage of responding with feedback from those who contributed. This is quite an intensive process and includes issues over factual accuracy and identification of ‘Carol’. As the review website notes, the final version of the report will then be presented to the National Safeguarding Steering Group before publication. This is the process with all independent reviews, there is a period of a few months between receiving the first draft and final publication.”

Background:

Appointment of Lord Carlile on 22 November 2016

Full text of his terms of reference

Extract from Frequently Asked Questions on the Carlile Bell website:

When will the review be finished?

It is planned that the Review will be completed by end of July 2017 and published as soon as possible after that.

Who will see the final report? Will I get to see it?

The report will first be presented to the Church of England, National Safeguarding Steering Group. It will then be published in full.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 20 November 2017 at 2:03pm GMT | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Friday, 17 November 2017

New member of Archbishops' Council announced

It was announced today that Adrian Greenwood will fill the place on the Archbishops’ Council vacated by Lorna Ashworth. The press release is copied below.

Procedures to fill a single casual vacancy that has arisen on the Archbishops’ Council have now been completed. Mr Adrian Greenwood has been duly elected. He joins Canon Mark Russell who continues to serve his term as the other elected lay member of the Archbishops’ Council.

In accordance with the Standing Orders relating to elections by Houses of the General Synod, the election was conducted by recounting the voting papers for the previous election from the House of Laity to the Council, which took place in February 2016. Only candidates in that election who remained qualified for election and consented to serve were eligible for election. Adrian Greenwood joins the Archbishops’ Council with immediate effect.

View the full results.

The full results from February 2016 are here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 17 November 2017 at 2:45pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

New Church of England Website

The Church of England website at www.churchofengland.org has been relaunched today with a new design and structure.

screenshot of new website in use

Adrian Harris, Head of Digital Communications at Church House, Westminster, explains the rationale here

[T]he old website received lots of traffic and interest, the confusing user experience and the 75,000+ documents and pages on the site were identified as key issues. These were resolved by content and plain English workshops for staff.

The five major changes visitors will see from today are:

  • Simple navigation, a good search engine, improved website accessibility, mobile first and a clean design! Over 250 professional new images have been shared by local churches and taken nationally that show the breadth of the Church and activities that go on.
  • A transformed Our faith section that explains Christianity in an engaging way. Built in collaboration with Church House Publishing, new videos form a key part of this project.
  • New Faith in action films that bring to life the missional work of the Church. All of the Faith in action and Our faith videos are available for local churches and dioceses to use on their own websites and social media accounts from our YouTube page.
  • A streamlined Prayer and worship section, including liturgical and prayer resources, thanks to the work of Church House Publishing. Prayer will feature at the heart of the website with the day’s Collect now far more visible.
  • A new Life events section better explaining baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals as well as vocations.

One of the consequences of the redesign is that many old links no longer work. This will apply to previous links from this site. Users are recommended to use the search functionality on the new site to find documents from old links.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Wednesday, 15 November 2017 at 5:38pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Update on Episcopal Teaching Document and Pastoral Advisory Group

From the Church of England website on Wed 15 Nov 2017

Membership of the Episcopal Teaching Document and Pastoral Advisory Group

Episcopal teaching document

CURRENT MEMBERSHIP OF THE CO-ORDINATING GROUP

Chair
The Bishop of Coventry, The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth

Episcopal members
The Bishop of Fulham, The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker
The Bishop of Salisbury, The Rt Revd Nick Holtam
The Bishop of Bradford, The Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth
The Bishop of Dorking, The Rt Revd Dr Jo Bailey Wells
The Bishop of Hull, The Rt Revd Alison White

Core consultant members
The Revd Canon Giles Goddard
The Revd Canon Dr Andrew Goddard
The Revd Dr Jason Roach
The Rt Revd Dr Bill Musk, former Bishop of North Africa (until 1st November 2017)
The Revd Dr Christina Beardsley
Dr Elaine Storkey

CURRENT MEMBERSHIP OF THE DIFFERENT THEMATIC WORKING GROUPS

Social and Biological Sciences

Chair
The Bishop of Crediton, The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally

Staff support
The Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs

Members
The Revd Professor Christopher Cook, University of Durham
The Revd Dr Andrew Davison, Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge
The Revd Duncan Dormor, Dean, St John’s College, University of Cambridge
The Revd Canon Dr Jessica Martin, Ely Cathedral
Professor Roger Trigg, Ian Ramsey Centre at Oxford and Prof. Emeritus at University of Warwick

Biblical

Chair
The Bishop of Sheffield, The Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox

Staff support
The Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Members
The Revd Dr Andrew Angel, Chichester Diocese, former Vice Principal of St John’s Nottingham
Professor Judith Lieu, University of Cambridge, Chair of Methodist Faith and Order Committee
The Revd Professor Walter Moberly, Durham University
Dr Nathan McDonald, University of Cambridge
The Revd Professor Jennifer Strawbridge, University of Oxford
The Revd Dr Chris Wright, Langham Partnership, formerly principal of All Nations

Consultants
The Revd Professor Richard Burridge, Dean, King’s College London
The Revd Professor Tom Wright, University of St Andrews

Theological

Chair
The Bishop of Chichester, The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner

Staff support
The Revd Dr Jeremy Worthen, Secretary for Ecumenical Relations & Theology, CCU

Members
Dr Susannah Cornwall, University of Exeter
Dr Amy Daughton, Director of Studies, Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology
The Revd Dr Sean Doherty, St Mellitus College
Professor Mike Higton, University of Durham
Professor Simon Oliver, University of Durham

Historical

Chair
The Bishop of Winchester, The Rt Revd Tim Dakin

Staff support
The Revd Dr Will Adam, Ecumenical Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Members
The Revd Dr Andrew Atherstone, Wycliffe Hall
The Revd Professor Mark Chapman, Vice Principal, Ripon College Cuddesdon
Professor Helen King, Professor Emerita at the Open University
The Revd Dr Judith Maltby, Chaplain, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Professor Julian Rivers, University of Bristol
Dr Medi-Ann Volpe, Cranmer Hall, Durham

Pastoral advisory group

CURRENT MEMBERSHIP OF THE PASTORAL ADVISORY GROUP

Chair
The Bishop of Newcastle, The Rt Revd Christine Hardman

Other Episcopal Members
The Bishop of Exeter, The Rt Revd Robert Atwell
The Bishop of Willesden, The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent
The Bishop of Grantham, The Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chamberlain
The Bishop of Repton, The Rt Revd Jan McFarlane

Members
The Revd Sam Allberry
Professor Helen Berry
Dr Jamie Harrison
The Revd Dr Rosemarie Mallett
The Ven Cherry Vann

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 15 November 2017 at 4:14pm GMT | Comments (37) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Some positive responses to the new schools guidance

There has been a huge media reaction to yesterday’s publication by the Church of England of revised guidance on tackling HBT bullying. Much of it demonstrates precisely why such guidance is necessary. Here are some further helpful articles.

Archbishop of Canterbury Tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying

Nigel Genders Why our guidance on combating bullying is part of our vision for education which is also available here.

Grace Dent Angry about trans education in schools? This is why you’re wrong

Suzanne Moore The Daily Mail’s ‘boys in tiaras’ story is designed to manufacture rage

Guardian Share your experiences of gender-based bullying – and your solutions

Times Educational Supplement Pupils should be allowed to explore their sexuality, says Church of England

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at 10:13am GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Monday, 13 November 2017

Church of England schools revise bullying guidance

Church of England press release

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying tackled in new guidance for Church schools

13 November 2017

Guidance for the Church of England’s 4,700 schools published today aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report makes 12 recommendations for schools including ensuring schools’ Christian ethos statements offer “an inclusive vision for education” where “every child should be revered and respected as members of a community where all are known and loved by God. “

Clear anti-bullying policies should include HBT behaviours and language, policies on how to report incidences should be accessible, staff trained on recognising bullying, curriculum and collective worship should support the vision and the wider church ensure that schools are responding well to the guidance.

Commending the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.

“Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.

“This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.”

The advice is an update on Valuing All God’s Children, guidance published in 2014 which tackled homophobic behaviour. This update covers a wider range of negative behaviours, incorporates the relevant legal and inspection frameworks and reflects the Church’s Vision for Education, whose four elements of wisdom, hope, community and dignity form the theological basis of the guidance.

Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely and lead bishop for education said: “Our vision for education speaks of living life in all its fullness. Our vision has a clear commitment to dignity and hope, both of which can be undermined by any form of bullying. This guidance will help to bring our vision into reality by equipping schools to remove these pernicious forms of bullying that strike at the heart of a child’s identity and formation.”

Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, Nigel Genders, said: “Providing an education to our 1 million children that will enable them to live life in all its fullness is a big responsibility.

“This practical and thoughtful advice is packed with templates and a comprehensive selection of resources for schools, teachers, families and young people. I hope that it will make a difference to our school communities and individual pupils too.”

The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender identity. It goes on to say that: “However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority.”

The report can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 November 2017 at 7:53am GMT | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Friday, 10 November 2017

Bishop of Derby announces his retirement

The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, has announced that he will retire from 31 August 2018.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 10 November 2017 at 5:25pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Lay member resigns from General Synod

Updated again Wednesday 15 Nov

A lay member of the General Synod, from Chichester diocese, has announced her resignation from the synod.

The full text of her letter of resignation is below the fold. There is also a press release:

Press release: Mrs Lorna Ashworth, an evangelical member of General Synod and a member of the Archbishops’ Council, resigned yesterday, saying that she was “no longer willing to sit around the table, pretending that we, as a governing body of the Church of England, are having legitimate conversations about mission.”

As she said in July, in what will now be her final speech at General Synod,
“as a corporate body we have become unable to articulate the saving message of Jesus Christ which fully encompasses the reality of sin, repentance and forgiveness – without this message we do not teach a true gospel and people do not get saved.”

In her resignation letter she blamed, “an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness” and “an agenda of revisionism which “is masked in the language of so-called ‘good disagreement,’” for her decision. She is not alone in her concerns, and she said that many were calling on the bishops of the Church of England to offer clear and courageous biblical leadership.

Lorna Ashworth has been a member of General Synod for 12 years and was elected by the Synod as a lay representative on the Archbishops Council [1] two years ago.

Mrs Ashworth’s speech at General Synod in July can be read here (page9)

[1] The Archbishops’ Council provides within the Church of England a focus for leadership and executive responsibility and a forum for strategic thinking and planning. Within an overall vision for the Church set by the House of Bishops, the Council proposes an ordering of priorities in consultation with the House of Bishops and the General Synod and takes an overview of the Church’s financial needs and resources.

There is a statement in response from the Archbishop of York:

Resignation of Lorna Ashworth

10 November 2017

In response to the announcement that Lorna Ashworth is to step down from the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said:

“I was very glad when Lorna was elected to serve again on the Archbishops’ Council.
“Her prayerfulness, magnanimity, and her grasp of all matters in hand has been a great asset to us all, and I am sad that she has decided to resign.
“Those who elected her were of the view that she had much to give to the working of the Council, especially in the area of Renewal and Reform.
“However, I do not share her doubts that the Church of England will be part of God’s renewal of the Christian faith in this nation.
“I am convinced that the Church of England remains faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ and will move forward rooted in the Christian faith as we have received it.
“I share Lorna’s passion to make disciples in all nations and her conviction that God will continue to build his Church in this nation.
“I certainly will miss her in our partnership in the Gospel.”

The archbishops of Canterbury and York are joint presidents of the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod.

There is also a response from The Rt Revd Rod Thomas, the Bishop of Maidstone, who said:

“I am very sorry that Lorna is resigning.
“She is a good friend and has been a brave, lively and winsome voice in the General Synod and Archbishop’s Council, as she has urged us all to remain faithful to the Word of God.
“She goes because she does not want to be drawn into compromise with those who seek to revise the plain teaching of Scripture.
“I pay tribute to her sincerity and courage.
“The doctrine of the Church of England – and its liturgy – are based squarely on the authority of the Bible and I support every effort to sustain, promote and defend this.
“For me, that means continuing to minister within the Church of England, defending its historic commitment to Scripture.”

Updates
There is now also a lengthy response from Bishop Andy Lines of GAFCON UK.

The Bishop of Chichester has issued this statement:

“Lorna has been a courageous and committed member of the Archbishops’ Council and the Church of England will be the poorer for her departure from that body.

“In the company of voices that makes for an authentic expression of the Church, it is vital that we continue to hold to a conviction of the love of God revealed in the experience of repentance, forgiveness and change that leads to a better and a happier life. That is the pattern of our enrichment as individual Christians and as the Church. It is also the way in which society is called to recognise and change its institutional failings.

“Lorna’s testimony is a timely reminder of the Church’s call to be, within the society of our own time, conformed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his kingdom.”

+Martin Cicestr:

Full text of Lorna Ashworth’s resignation letter.

For the past 12 years, I have had the privilege of being elected to serve on the General Synod of the Church of England. This role offered further opportunities to serve on other bodies, most recently the Archbishops’ Council and the Business Committee.
During this time I have observed within Synod, an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 3). Instead, an agenda of revisionism is masked in the language of so-called ‘good disagreement.’ In fact, ‘good disagreement’ and ‘unity’ have trumped the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ.

In my last speech given at the General Synod in York, July 2017, I expressed this frustration by saying that,
‘as a corporate body we have become unable to articulate the saving message of Jesus Christ which fully encompasses the reality of sin, repentance and forgiveness – without this message we do not teach a true gospel and people do not get saved.’

I have been humbled to serve alongside men and women, lay and ordained who long to see the mission of the church remain true to it’s calling: to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This means following the unadulterated teaching of Christ even when it contradicts the spirit of the age.

It is these people who have recognised that the gospel of Christ Jesus is a matter of eternal life or death – it matters what we believe, what we say, and how we live. This message is very good news.

In light of this revisionist agenda and the heretical teaching that comes with it, I am no longer willing to sit around the table, pretending that we, as a governing body of the Church of England, are having legitimate conversations about mission. I refuse to be mistaken as one participating in the fanciful notion of ‘good disagreement.’ As such, I am standing down from the Archbishops’ Council with immediate effect and all subsequent bodies, including the General Synod.

There are many like myself, who long for clear and courageous biblical leadership from the bishops of the Church of England and we will pray to this end. Some will choose to remain as part of the Synod and they have my full support, but others will not. Whatever is decided, be rest assured that God will not be without witness in this nation and He will build His church – the question is will that include the Church of England?

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Cathedral Statistics 2016

The Church of England has released its Cathedral Statistics 2016 along with a press release, copied below. Statistics for previous years are available here.

Cathedrals attract record numbers at Christmas
09 November 2017

Christmas attendance at services in cathedrals last year reached its highest figure since records began, statistics published today show. A one year rise of 5%, meant that 131,000 people came to cathedrals to worship last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Increased attendances were also recorded at services in Advent with 635,000 coming to worship during the busy pre-Christmas build-up. Average weekly attendances at services on a Sunday also increased to 18,700.

Meanwhile, over 10 million people visited cathedrals and Westminster Abbey with half donating or paying for entry.

The Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, and lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings, said: “Behind these figures lie stories of worship, learning, exploring faith and spirituality and encountering God at times of joy and despair.

“Through new forms of worship, bringing people of all faiths and none together, and serving the young and old alike, these amazing places continue to be at the heart of national life.”

Life events including baptisms, memorial services, marriages and blessings of marriage all remained steady in numbers with some, including baptism, seeing modest increases.

Cathedrals continued to be centres of civic life, with 1.2 million people reported at 6,000 civic services and events. In 2016, 295,000 people attended 280 graduation ceremonies.

Becky Clark, Director of Churches and Cathedrals, said: “These statistics show the enduring appeal of cathedrals as places of worship, pilgrimage, and tourism.

“This is testament to the hard work clergy, staff and volunteers put into making them welcoming and inspiring places.

“The last few years have been particularly busy, with substantial building and repair programmes at many cathedrals, ensuring these beautiful, complex historic buildings can continue to be at the heart of their communities.”

Cathedrals are holding increasingly diverse services to reach out to people.

In 2016 there were 16,500 Fresh Expression services, a 12% increase since 2013.

Over half a million people came to regular services conducted at least once a month, half of which were school services.

Some 310,000 young people also attended cathedrals through special educational visits, a rise of 10% since 2006.

Cathedral clergy and staff across the country participated in 350 formal inter-faith forums and events.

Notes to Editors

The Cathedral Statistics 2016 report can be found here.

Fresh Expressions are new church communities and congregations that practice church in new ways to reach new people.

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Bishop of Ripon: Helen-Ann Hartley

10 Downing Street announcement

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Macleod Hartley, MTheol, ThM, MPhil, DPhil, Bishop of Waikato in the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki, in New Zealand, to the Suffragan See of Ripon, in the Diocese of Leeds in succession to the Right Reverend James Harold Bell, MA, on his resignation 30 April 2017.

Bishop Helen-Ann (44) was born in Edinburgh, and grew up in Sunderland. She was educated at the University of St Andrews, Princeton Theological Seminary in the USA, and Worcester College, University of Oxford, where she is an Honorary Fellow. She trained for ordination on the St Alban’s and Oxford Ministry Course, and was ordained deacon in 2005, and priested in 2006. She was Curate in the Benefice of Wheatley, and then in the parish of Littlemore, both in Oxford Diocese. In 2008 she was appointed Lecturer in New Testament at Ripon College Cuddesdon, and later Director of Biblical Studies. In 2012 she became Dean for the New Zealand Dioceses at the College of St John the Evangelist in Auckland. She was elected Bishop of Waikato in August 2013, and was consecrated on 22 February 2014.

Bishop Helen-Ann has published with SPCK, and is a regular contributor to the Daily Reflections series for Church House Publishing. She has also contributed to the Pilgrim course.

She is married to Myles, an organist and church musician. Her interests include the night sky, contemporary fiction and visual arts, going to the gym, and watching netball.

From the Leeds diocesan website: New Bishop of Ripon announced as Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley

…Announcing the appointment and welcoming Bishop Helen-Ann at Church House in Leeds on November 9, Bishop Nick Baines said,
“I am delighted to welcome Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley as the new Bishop of Ripon. She brings expertise as a theologian, and episcopal experience from the wider Anglican Communion. She will add great strengths to the leadership and ministry of this diocese.”

The bishop designate will officially begin her ministry on February 4, 2018 when she will be welcomed and installed at a service in Ripon Cathedral…

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

A Covenant for Clergy Well-being

Press release from Church of England Communications Office

First step towards Covenant for Clergy Well-being

07 November 2017

Plans for a new deal between clergy and the wider Church of England - modelled on the ideas behind the Military Covenant - have taken a step forward after a panel was established to begin drafting.

The Church of England’s Appointments Committee has set up a group, made up of members of General Synod, both lay and ordained, alongside others with expertise in areas such as health and education, to draw up a Covenant for Clergy Well-being.

It is being produced in response to a vote in the General Synod in July of this year after a debate which heard of the impact of stress, isolation and loneliness on clergy’s lives and ministries.

The debate heard how the Military Covenant recognises that the nation relies on the sacrificial service of those in the armed forces and in return has a duty to support and value them in practical ways.

Although the parallels with the Church are not exact, Synod heard how a similar pattern of mutual commitment could be recognised in the Church.

The working group will begin work later this month and aims to bring proposals for such a Covenant back to this Synod by July 2019…

A background paper provided to members of Synod ahead of the July 2017 debate can be found here.

Further details of the Military Covenant, and the Armed Forces Covenant which followed it, are available here.

Here is the Church Times report of the July debate: Causes of clergy stress aired in the General Synod.

And the Church Times recently carried several related feature articles:

I was pushed close to the edge

All in the mind, body, and soul

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Monday, 6 November 2017

Same-sex marriage: Parliamentary Questions and Answers

On 26 October, Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, asked the Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden):

What recent discussions Church of England bishops have had on allowing parishes to hold ceremonies to celebrate same-sex marriages?

You can read the ensuing answers here. Perhaps the most intriguing answer was the last one:

An important step forward was made by the worldwide Anglican Church in accepting a new doctrine against homophobia, which is part of trying to stamp out such persecution across the wider Anglican communion.

A full transcript of all the questions and answers from that session with the Second Church Estates Commissioner can be found here.

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Sexual harrassment in the Church of England

Harriet Sherwood wrote this article in the Guardian recently: Church of England urged to tackle sexual abuse within its ranks. That article references a letter to the Guardian from Jayne Ozanne published the same day.

Channel 4 News carried an interview with Jayne Ozanne that evening.

This week, Christian Today has published a further article by Jayne Ozanne, I was raped by a CofE priest and I know the system’s broken, and she has also written this letter to the two archbishops asking for them to commission a report on all this that could be debated at General Synod in February 2018.

Rosie Harper has written this at ViaMedia News: Let’s Talk About….(oh no…Let’s Not!)

Some weeks ago, ViaMedia News carried this article by an anonymous writer: A Zero Tolerance Approach to the Weinsteins in the Church?

The Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally has written this: Making the Church Safe for All.

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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Sexual abuse survivor writes open letter to Justin Welby

We recently reported on correspondence between a sexual abuse survivor, three bishops, and the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group. See Church apologises to a sexual abuse survivor.

We are today publishing an open letter from that survivor to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The full text of the letter is copied below the fold. The letter is also published on the website of Ekklesia.

The letter from the archbishop to which this replies has not been published. But it has been quoted in various news articles, some of which are linked in our earlier article.

Update

Press release

Abuse Survivor replies to Archbishop Welby’s letter of apology and says the CofE still recompenses victims badly and calls for Church to fund fair settlements.

Archbishop Justin Welby, has been sent an open letter by prominent abuse survivor Gilo (surname withheld on request) complaining about the derisory ammounts victims are in effect forced to accept by the Church’s insurers, and asked to remedy this. The letter calls upon Archbishop Welby to join three bishops in recognising major flaws in the Church’s response and concludes with six searching questions that the Archbishop may find difficult to answer candidly, but are questions that need to be faced by the Church.

Gilo explains the long term consequences of the abuse he suffered on his quality of life, relationships and finances and describes the financial settlement for this as being “derisory and heartless”.

Gilo notes that the “Church’s claimed policy of exercising pastoral responsibility” is not matched at all by the actions of its insurer. He explains how settlements are made by the Church’s insurer, typically in the low tens of thousands, and under duress, and are based on settlements “20-30 years out of date” and long before the long term consequences of abuse were properly recognised. The insurers strive, he believes, to keep cases out of court to prevent appropriate new settlements being established. Victims are frightened to challenge such settlements as they could be withdrawn leaving them owing both sides’ legal fees.

He asks the Archbishop to commit to the Church funding equitable settlements and revisiting old ones and helping victims financially with the costs of rehabilitation, preferably through an arms’ length organisation.

Justin Welby has already apologised publicly to Gilo for failing to reply to 17 letters. Gilo hopes that if that apology meant anything he will respond to this one.

Christian Today has reported this letter here: Archbishop of Canterbury urged to abandon Church insurers over ‘derisory’ settlements to abuse victims.

FAO Archbishop of Canterbury

Dear Archbishop Welby

Thank you for your letter.

The mediation was a very public process. And I hope it will make improvements for many others who have suffered abuse by those we have encountered because of their connection with the Church. In recognition of that, I am making this an open letter. It is written I hope on behalf of the many that remain silent, unable to face the challenge of disclosure, or having done so are then defeated by heartless bureaucracy or the culture of denial, discrediting, and silence. The mediation was a major step forward, and its outcome demonstrated how much more needs to be done before the Church can claim to be acting decently and with compassion. It exposed long-standing fundamental systemic flaws that began to be recognised by the bishops in their searingly honest letter to EIG. I seek in this letter to invite you as Archbishop to join them in publicly recognising these flaws and commit the Church to a series of concrete measures to address them. The way the Church and its insurers has treated survivors institutionally compounds the abuse we have already suffered.

I cannot speak for others, but can say a little of the consequences for me of the episodes of abuse I suffered. I have been long term bi-polar, with long periods of quite severe illness, including several sustained times in my life of near catatonic state. The effect on my quality of life and relationships has been substantial. And despite being reasonably intelligent, the long term impact on my employability and earning power has been considerable. Relative to this, the sum I received from EIG was by any standard of pastoral care, derisory and heartless, especially when delivered through the bewildering legal games that EIG plays out. MACSAS tell me many survivors could tell a similar story. Bi-polar illness, amongst other mental and physical health conditions, and related economic impact seems to be a common pattern. And I know that many have lived with far more severe impact than mine.

The reality is that EIG settlements are conveniently based on very old precedents with figures 20-30 years out of date. EIG goes to great lengths to keep all our cases out of court, and has been very successful in this. Lawyers and survivors agree that the direct consequence is that this prevents these very low settlements from being updated. New precedents would recognise inflation increases and the greater knowledge we now have about the extent of adverse life-changing consequences that often follow abuse. Further pressure to accept such low settlements arises through the severe time constraints imposed by EIG on victims only too aware that failure to agree could lead to the withdrawal of the settlement and becoming liable to both side’s legal fees. EIG can easily take such risks but claimants cannot. This raises a question of equity if not also a legal one about agreements reached under such pressures. Becoming liable would plunge most of us into bankruptcy. It is this extreme duress in particular that makes these settlements unjust, and the whole process contrary to the Church’s stated aims.

The Church has claimed in the past that EIG and the lawyers to whom they subcontract, will act in accordance with the Church’s claimed policy of exercising pastoral responsibility. Yet no lawyer I have spoken to recognises any real improvement since EIG’s guiding principles were introduced. The Church could instruct EIG how it wishes claims to be handled, but any change seems unrealistic given EIG’s recent statement and their lack of willingness to regard their ‘horse trade’ approach as inappropriate. This puts the onus solely on the Church. Yet beyond words of apology and offers of prayer there does not seem to be any obvious mechanism to exercise this in a tangible way.

The following questions might suggest a path forwards:

(1) Would you be prepared to set up a formal mechanism to look at past and present settlements where survivors have been put under duress? And would you envisage survivors being able to apply to the Church for additional capital and recurring sums, and for reimbursement for specific expenses such as counselling, help with housing where necessary, retraining, and for these categorised sums paid to be published annually, obviously without names?

(2) Will you review the settlements made by EIG during your time in office as Archbishop and express an opinion as to whether these settlements demonstrate a level of pastoral care and justice with which you and the Church are content to be associated?

(3) Will you relieve EIG of the responsibility of reaching settlements, and instead set up settlement mechanism independent of EIG and the Church? One which in a calm dignified way, free of any pressure or duress, can reach fair and just settlements on the Church’s behalf? If abuse settlements remain insured by EIG, they can reimburse the Church directly, or, perhaps better, the insurance might be curtailed and they play no role at all; there is no financial need for the Church to insure against abuse.

(4) Would you agree that the Church accepts that its pastoral responsibility to abuse victims can, and generally should in future, include the provisions such as reimbursement or provision of medical care, additional lump sums or regular payments for the rest of survivors’ lives.

(5) Are you prepared to commit the Church to initiate and publish reasonable and pastoral settlement criteria that recognise degrees of harm, culpability, and impact, and are inflation-based.

(6) Will you create a mediation, or truth and reconciliation, structure so that where survivors have faced denial, silencing, discrediting, dishonourable responses of various kinds, the church will work towards meaningful apology and reconciliation?

(7) Lastly, could I ask you whether you would be prepared to commit the Church to work actively to introduce mandatory reporting of institutional abuse as it used to do, for example in co-operation with Baroness Walmsley?

If you lead the call for change these questions embody – you will be remembered as a pioneering archbishop who guided your church justly through the crisis that has caught up with it. I hope your reply may have the potential to improve the lives of victims of abuse for which the Church has been and is responsible. For healing to happen across the survivor community the Church has to recognise the full extent of abuse, the harm it has done and how the Church has compounded it as described above. It has to now buckle beneath the weight of these things, and do justice in a transparent, tangible and honourable way. And it has to find ways of transforming surviving … into thriving.

Gilo

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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Dean of Peterborough

Press release from Number 10

Dean of Peterborough: Christopher Charles Dalliston

From:Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published:1 November 2017

The Very Reverend Christopher Charles Dalliston has been appointed as Dean of Peterborough.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Christopher Charles Dalliston, MA, Dean of Newcastle in the Diocese of Newcastle, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Andrew, Peterborough, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Charles William Taylor, MA, on 6 October 2016.

Further information

The Very Reverend Christopher Dalliston, (aged 61) studied modern History at Peterhouse Cambridge and Theology at Oxford where he trained for the ministry at St Stephen’s House.

He served his title at Halstead in Chelmsford Diocese from 1984 to 1987, before becoming the Bishop of Chelmsford’s Domestic Chaplain from 1987 to 1991. From 1991 to 1995 he was Vicar of St Edmund Forest Gate in Chelmsford Diocese.

From 1995 to 1997 he moved to be Priest-in-Charge of Boston in Lincoln Diocese and then Vicar from 1997 to 2003 and was also Rural Dean of Holland East during that time. Since 2003 he has been Dean of Newcastle.

Christopher is married to Michelle who is also ordained. He has four adult children: Alex, Tom, Georgie and Bella. His interests include poetry, music and all things Italian. He is a life-long supporter of Norwich City Football Club.

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Monday, 30 October 2017

Bishop of Penrith to retire

The Cumberland & Westmorland Herald reports today that the Bishop of Penrith, the Right Revd Robert Freeman, is to retire next Easter. Penrith is a suffragan see in the diocese of Carlisle. As yet, there is nothing about this on the diocesan website.

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Friday, 27 October 2017

General Synod by-election - Universities and TEIs

There is to be an election to fill two casual vacancies in the Universities and Theological Education Institutions Electoral Area of the Church of England General Synod. Full details are in this paper.

Most importantly a new register of those entitled to vote and stand for election in the constituency is being compiled. Those who were on the 2015 register will not have their names carried forward and if still eligible they will have to apply now for inclusion on the new register.

Time is short as applications to join the register must be received at Church House Westminster no later than Wednesday 8 November 2017. There is an application form here.

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Monday, 23 October 2017

CofE Director of Communications appointed

Church of England press release

Director of Communications appointed
23 October 2017

The Church of England is pleased to announce the appointment of Tashi Lassalle as Director of Communications.

Bringing extensive experience of leading communications and marketing teams in the financial and professional services sectors, both in the UK and overseas, Tashi will oversee the work of the Church of England’s communications department, working across traditional media, digital platforms and publishing.

Based at Church House, Westminster, the department serves the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board as well as working closely with Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces, bishops’ offices, dioceses and cathedrals.

Tashi, 39, has held a series of senior posts in the brand and marketing fields, most recently as Head of Communications and Marketing for Lloyd’s of London and previously as Head of Communications at Actis, the private equity firm. She has lived and worked in the US and Denmark as well as London.

She came to faith as a student at Cambridge. She worships at St Mary’s, Long Ditton in Surrey.

She said: “The Church of England makes a unique contribution to the spiritual, cultural and social fabric of this country.

“It has a bright and vibrant future.

“It’s a great privilege to take up this position.

“I look forward to serving and enabling the life changing vocation of the Church’s diverse ministry and mission.”

William Nye, Secretary General to the General Synod, said: “We are very glad to welcome Tashi Lassalle to the post of Communications Director for the Church of England’s national institutions.

“She combines a personal commitment to the mission of the Church with wide professional experience in a range of sectors.

“She will help us build on the existing strengths of our communications effort across multiple channels, recently recognised in awards for our digital evangelism campaigns.”

The Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Tashi to her new appointment.

“Her experience and imagination will be a huge asset to the Church of England in its task of proclaiming the gospel in an age of social media.

“She knows the scale of the challenge and I wish her well in all that lies ahead.”

Notes to Editors

Tashi will take up the post in early November 2017.
A photograph is available here.

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Friday, 20 October 2017

Latest Church of England statistics

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

Also released this week is Finance Statistics 2015.

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

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

Links to statistics for earlier years can be found here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


End

Notes to editors

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

Hereford Diocesan Synod calls for liturgies after same sex marriages

Updated twice Saturday

The Hereford Diocesan Synod tonight passed the following resolution:

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

The voting was

In favour 41
Against 18
Abstentions 4

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

Updates

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

Law & Religion UK CofE service after same sex marriage?

BBC Church of England to discuss same-sex blessing

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

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

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

Hereford Times Church of England to debate blessings for same-sex couples after diocese motion

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

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

Hereford Diocesan Synod Motion
21 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

end

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Church apologises to a sexual abuse survivor

Updated again Monday afternoon

The Church of England has today released two documents:

This has been reported in the media:

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

Updates

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

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

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

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Life peerage for Richard Chartres

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

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

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

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

WATCH response to Mawer report on Sheffield

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

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

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

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

WATCH National Committee response to the Independent Review Oct 2017

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Justin Welby and the BBC

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

BBC Archbishop criticises BBC response to Jimmy Savile’s crimes

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

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

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

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

Other coverage included these items:

Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury accused of hypocrisy by sexual abuse survivors

Observer Justin Welby accuses BBC over Jimmy Savile abuse victims

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

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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Bishop of Warrington to retire

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

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

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Thursday, 28 September 2017

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

Updated Friday

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

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

and

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

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

Update

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

Press reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Ministry Statistics 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

end

Ministry Statistics 2016, and commentary can be found here.

Figures for ordinands can be found here

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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Voting in the July General Synod

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

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

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

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

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Living Ministry study

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

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

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

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Dean of Exeter

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

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

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

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

Background information

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

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

His interests include photography, cookery, languages and travel.

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Friday, 15 September 2017

Media coverage and responses to Mawer report

Updated again Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Organisational Responses:

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

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

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Independent Reviewer’s report on See of Sheffield

Church of England press release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes to Editors

Summary of findings and conclusions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further information:

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

College of Bishops residential meeting September 2017

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

College of Bishops residential meeting September 2017
14 September 2017

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Dean of Peterborough

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

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 at 10:18pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Friday, 1 September 2017

More about musicians and St Sepulchre

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

But it includes this:

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

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

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

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

Updated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christians United Statement (signatories include several from the UK)

The Denver Statement

A Liturgists Statement

Media coverage has included:

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

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

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

Do read it all.

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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Musicians, HTB, and the Church of St Sepulchre

There has been considerable media coverage of a developing row over the policies of the Church of St Sepulchre Holborn,in London.

The story was first reported by Olivia Rudgard in the Telegraph Proms conductor in row with musicians’ church after it bans ‘non-religious’ concerts. She reported:

…a London church has become embroiled in a row with one of Britain’s best-known composers after it announced it would close its doors to choirs and orchestras because their music was not religious.

Now part of a network founded by evangelical church Holy Trinity Brompton, St. Sepulchre Without Newgate Church, in Holborn, central London, will stop taking bookings from the classical musicians which have relied on it as a rehearsal and concert venue for many years.

The church became part of the evangelical group, which is known for its youth-friendly rock-band style of worship, in 2013.

The Church Times picked up the story and initially reported this way: Musicians feel betrayed as St Sepulchre’s ceases as a concert venue and St Sepulchre’s plan to limit hire-space upsets musicians.

The following week there was: Music luminaries protest at St Sepulchre’s plans.

And the Church Times Press Column also covered it: Andrew Brown: City church-plant resists secular overtures. Do read the whole column, but he noted that:

…So far, St Sepulchre’s has not backed down, and even if it now does so, it will have done a lasting piece of disevangelism. What makes the whole thing so completely ridiculous is that it may well have happened by accident. Perhaps no one in the leadership team has ever listened to Classic FM, let alone Radio 3, and so they all vaguely suppose that classical music is part of the old, moth-eaten musical brocade that they are tearing down to reveal the clean, authentic Ikea Christianity that lies behind it.

The church itself has published this statement:

The Parochial Church Council of St. Sepulchre’s, the National Musicians’ Church, recently took the decision to close its hiring programme from 2018. Hiring will continue as previously planned for the rest of 2017, and all existing bookings for 2018 will be honoured.

An increasingly busy programme of worship and church activities has led to ever higher demands on the church space, and the hire space is also shared with the church administration office.

Over the weekend there has been a significant response online and via social media to this decision, and we have been greatly moved by the concern expressed for the musical life of the church. We do wish to re-iterate that we remain committed to our ministry as the National Musicians’ Church. In the coming weeks we will reflect and pray, and consult with members of the musicians’ community about how best to fulfil that ministry moving forward, including particularly Dr. Andrew Earis (Director of Music at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and former Director of Music here at St. Sepulchre’s).

Finally, we are committed to our on-going programme of weekly Choral Worship, and our on-going programme of choral and organ scholarships. We will maintain and develop our excellent professional choir, which recently recorded a new album to be launched in the Autumn.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 27 August 2017 at 6:32pm BST | Comments (80) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

CEEC committee writes about sexuality issues

The committee of the Church of England Evangelical Council has issued a letter to its constituency. The full text of the letter is reproduced below the fold.

There are references in it to some earlier documents. Here are links to those:

See also the coverage of this letter in Christian Today Evangelical bishop warns split may be necessary as he spearheads resistance to liberalising CofE

Tuesday, 08 August 2017

Dear DEF members and members of networks represented on CEEC

In February of this year (after the January CEEC meeting), Stephen Hofmeyr, CEEC Secretary, wrote to DEF Chairs and Secretaries (you can find the letter on our website) providing information on CEEC’s conversations around human sexuality and the challenges at that time. You will be aware that much water has gone under the bridge since then and we are therefore writing to offer update and comment.

The February letter was sent immediately after the House of Bishops report (GS2055) was published. It described how the Officers were “heartened to read that the House of Bishops is proposing no change to the Church of England’s doctrinal position on marriage and sexual relations and that no liturgical prayers for same sex relationships, authorised or commended, should be produced”. Much work was done by evangelical bishops to secure this outcome and we are grateful for that and that this remains the Church’s official position.

We cannot, however, ignore the fact that since then this position has been under constant and serious attack. There have been several disappointing developments leading to widening and deepening concerns among evangelicals:

  • A small majority of the House of Clergy refused to “take note” of the report and so, although the majority of General Synod members wished to do so, it was not taken note of by Synod,
  • The Archbishops’ letter following this vote left many unclear as to what was meant by “radical Christian inclusion” and has led to many believing there has been not only a change in tone but a change in direction,
  • A number of bishops have openly signalled their support for changes in teaching and/or practice and the Bishop of Liverpool became a Patron of Liverpool Pride,
  • Behaviour and decisions at the July General Synod, including the rejection of good amendments tabled by evangelicals to the motions on conversion therapy and welcoming transgender people, have further heightened concerns,
  • The Scottish Episcopal Church has changed its marriage canon and now permits its clergy to preside at same-sex marriages.

Alongside these it is important to note a number of recent developments which have brought encouragement to many evangelicals around the country. These include the consecration of Andy Lines (who represents Crosslinks on CEEC) as a missionary bishop of ACNA, supported by GAFCON and many Global South Primates; the planned involvement of many evangelicals in the groups working on the House of Bishops Teaching Document, overseen by Bishop Christopher Cocksworth; and the call for a renewed orthodox Anglicanism gaining signatures online.

In the midst of this CEEC continues to endorse the theology of human sexuality and biblical authority offered in ‘Guarding the Deposit’ (GTD). We are also clear as a Council that these matters are not able to be treated as adiaphora but are of prime importance. We would encourage you to read and raise awareness of GTD (both the full text and a helpful two-page summary are on our website).

The developments of the last six months have also highlighted the prescience and importance of the second part of GTD in which a series of structural possibilities are explored. We thank God that the desired first option of maintaining current teaching and practice has, thankfully, not yet been formally rejected. However, there are many signs that the Church could reject it by embracing either the proposals of the Pilling Report or an even fuller acceptance that permanent, faithful same-sex relationships are a legitimate form of Christian discipleship.

CEEC Officers hear the call for a clearer and louder voice in support of the traditional teaching of the church on marriage and same sex relationships, not least from evangelical bishops. Without being able to be explicit, it is important to say that behind the scenes a number of initiatives are being planned, which hopefully will bring welcome reassurances and send clear messages to the evangelical constituency and the wider C of E and the even wider Anglican Communion.

More explicitly, the Council is working on two major areas. Firstly, we are seeking to help the Church of England to maintain and be confident in biblical teaching. We are positively exploring how we might contribute to the proposed Teaching Document being worked on. Furthermore, we are continuing to support and facilitate meetings in the dioceses/regions to encourage, teach and resource a biblical orthodoxy in matters of gender, identity and sexuality.

Secondly, and whilst we are committed to praying and working for a renewal of orthodox vision within the C of E, we are being realistic and thinking through what ‘’visible differentiation” might look like, should the Church depart from its current teaching, whether in law or in fact, and make such differentiation necessary. We are also aware of the need to continue to work together and support one another as evangelicals who, in different contexts, may, at times, be called to differentiate from the wider church to varying degrees and in different forms.

In both these areas we welcome any input from you.

In the face of recent developments in the Church of England it is important to remember and be encouraged by the fact that the overwhelming majority of Anglicans worldwide share both our positive vision and our concerns about Anglicanism in England and the wider British Isles. As evangelicals in the Church of England we seek to work with them and ask you to pray particularly for the Primates in advance of the Primates’ Meeting in early October and for those working to prepare for Lambeth 2020 and GAFCON 2018.

In recent turbulent months many of us have been struggling to read the signs of the times and hear what God is calling us to do. This looks like it will be our situation for some time to come. At various points we are likely to find ourselves saying, with Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20.12, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you”. As we keep our eyes on God, confident in his grace and power and truth, please pray for wisdom for all those in positions of leadership in the Communion, the Church of England, and among evangelicals, including those serving on CEEC:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:2-5).

Yours in His service
The Rt. Revd. Julian Henderson (CEEC President)
The Revd. Hugh Palmer (CEEC Chair)
The Revd. George Curry (CEEC Treasurer)
Stephen Hofmeyr (CEEC Secretary)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 August 2017 at 5:40pm BST | Comments (87) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

National Church Institutions Gender Pay Gap Data

The Church of England has published this document: National Church Institutions Gender Pay Gap Data.

Some press coverage of this:

The Times (behind a paywall) Church of England reveals 40% gender pay gap

Telegraph Church of England reveals 41 per cent gender pay gap in central office

Christian Today Church of England HQ has worse gender pay gap than BBC

The Sun NEED A PRAY RISE Top Church of England offices reveal whopping 40 per cent pay gap – double the national average and FOUR TIMES the BBC

We haven’t seen any press release about this, but the daily emailed media report from Church House Westminster had this comment:

Figures show that the pay difference between men and women for nearly three-quarters of staff is less than one per cent, and for half of staff there is no gap in pay. However there are significant differences in the mean and median salaries overall.

A spokesperson is quoted saying: “The data shows where we have more work to do in reducing the difference in pay between men and women in more highly paid roles, and improving the ratio of men to women in the most senior and most junior roles.”

According to the Telegraph report, the spokesperson also said:

“We are taking steps to address these issues including reviewing our job evaluation and pay methodology and making changes to our recruitment strategy to attract a greater diversity of candidates.”

The key to understanding the “gap” lies in this table:
gendergap.jpg

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 2 August 2017 at 1:51pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 27 July 2017

CNC elections

Updated Friday

The counts for the elections of the central members of the Crown Nominations Commission took place today. Those elected were:

House of Laity

Mr Anthony Archer (St Albans)
Ms Christina Baron (Bath and Wells)
Ms Jane Patterson (Sheffield)

House of Clergy

The Revd John Dunnett (Chelmsford)
The Very Revd David Ison (Deans)
The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby (Universities & TEIs)

These elected members of the CNC will serve from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2022.

The next appointment to be considered by the CNC is the Bishop of London, with meetings on 27 Sept, 7 Nov and 28/29 Nov 2017.

These results have so far only publicly appeared on social media, but I am confident that they are correct. I have seen a copy of the result sheet for the House of Laity election. The official results, with links to the results sheets, should appear here in due course.

Update

The result sheets for these elections have now been posted here; they confirm the names of those elected as listed above.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 2:04pm BST | Comments (56) | TrackBack
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Joint Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued this joint statement today.

Joint Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York
Thursday 27th July 2017

A statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Act of Parliament passed in 1967 which decriminalised homosexual acts in our Country

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Act of Parliament passed in 1967 which decriminalised homosexual acts in our Country. The Church of England, led by Archbishop Ramsey, was supportive of the Sexual Offences Act.

In January 2016 the majority of the leading Archbishops of the whole global Anglican Communion - almost 80 million people in 165 countries - confirmed the longstanding view of the Communion that diminishing and criminalising homosexual people is wrong.

The Church, not just the Church of England, but all those who follow Jesus Christ and whose lives are committed to his worship and service, has very often been defined by what it is against. It has condemned many things, and continues to do so, very often correctly, for example when they involve the abuse of the poor, or the weak, or the marginalised.

The Church is called more to be identified by what it loves, most of all by its pointing to Jesus Christ, not merely by what it condemns. Many people who have nothing to do with the institutional church and who seldom, if ever, attend it, nevertheless see in Jesus Christ someone of startling and extraordinary attraction. Many homosexual people follow Christ, drawn to him by his love and his outstretched arms welcoming all those who turn to him.

One of the things he said has been much on our minds recently: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

There is no human being to whom this does not apply. Every single one of us needs to lay our burdens on Jesus. For every single one of us, the burden that is most onerous, most difficult to bear, is the burden of what the Bible calls our sin, our failure to live as we ought, our continued falling short of the mark. It is the universal characteristic of being human that we are sinners.

Sin is not a characteristic of a particular group of people Sin is the same for all of us. And the challenge to take onto ourselves the obligation to be yoked with Christ, to bear the load he gives us, is the same for all of us.

This day of anniversary of the 1967 Act is one when the Church in this land should be conscious of the need to turn away from condemnation of people as its first response. When we rightly celebrate what happened 50 years ago today, we do so best by turning to him and saying, “Yes, we take your yoke on our shoulders with you”.

It is summed up wonderfully in a poem by Ann Lewin, a Christian poet, which has been quoted several times recently:

“The Yoke is easy, but it’s still
A yoke, smooth-shaped for work.
We chafe and struggle,
Longing to be free, yet
Double-yoked with
Christ who takes the strain,
The burden is not less, but light,
Weight redistributed for ease.”

(‘Job share’ in Watching for the Kingfisher: Poems and prayers, Ann Lewin)

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 9:46am BST | Comments (63) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Analyses of the recent General Synod votes

From Fulcrum there is this commentary by Andrew Goddard: Synods, Sexuality and Symbolic and Seismic Shifts which is accompanied by a detailed discussion paper Understanding Synod’s July 2017 Sexuality Debates and Votes.

…What are we to make of it?

Since Synod it has been fascinating to hear and read such diametrically opposed accounts of the two debates. While these largely reflect whether those writing supported or opposed the outcomes on the sexuality debates, they also point to much more serious questions and divergent assessments about the nature and quality of the debates. Tim Hind welcomed a new ethos and reported that “most whom I have spoken to during and after the synod were of the opinion that this was one of the best synods they have been to” and David Walker, Bishop of Manchester who chaired the Conversion Therapy debate reported “a new and distinctly more welcoming tone” and “building bridges across difference, because that is precisely how God himself chooses to deal with us”. In contrast, Ian Paul has raised major concerns and questions asking if Synod is competent, Rob Munro described it as a ‘watershed’, and Susie Leafe offered a damning account of the proceedings across the Synod as a whole.

What follows explores three areas, drawing further comparison with the Higton debate of three decades ago…

Do read the whole article (and indeed the separate paper).

From Ekklesia Savi Hensman has published this: Church of England shift towards accepting LGBTI people.

Though the Church of England still discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, it recently shifted towards greater acceptance. There has been a backlash from a small but vocal set of members.

The General Synod in July 2017 heard from bishops about plans to look again at pastoral practice and teaching. It also passed motions against conversion therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation, and for welcoming transgender people.

Over the past century, many theologians have made a biblical case for affirming self-giving, committed same-sex partnerships. In recent decades, some have pointed out that gender identity is complex. Acceptance has also grown among churchgoers and the wider public.

The 2016 British Social Attitudes Survey showed that only 16 per cent of British Anglicans still believe that physically intimate same-sex relationships are always wrong. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/24117) Scottish Episcopal Church clergy who want to celebrate marriages for same-sex partners will soon be allowed to do so. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/24057)

The Church of England still does not allow even ‘blessings’, though ministers can pray with couples. But, despite pressure and threats of a split, it has taken a significant step in recognising that LGBTI people are loved by God and should be welcomed as church members…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 26 July 2017 at 12:57pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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The Movement for a Renewed Orthodox Anglicanism

Another open letter has been published (see here for first one), this time in the Daily Telegraph and behind a paywall. There is also a news report: Queen’s former chaplain leads vicar rebellion over gay marriage.

However, it has been reproduced, and commented upon at some length at the Archbishop Cranmer website: The two opposed expressions of Anglicanism.

It also now been reproduced on a new website, named Anglican Live, where you can if you wish add your own signature to the letter.

The original letter and original signatories are copied below the fold. Note that the text of this letter differs from that of the earlier one, but there is considerable overlap between the signatories of the two.

Sir,

Recent actions in the General Synod in pursuit of a culture which denies biblical ethics, as they have been practised and understood ‘at all places and in all times’, has caused many Anglicans great concern. There are times, particularly in the face of social disintegration, when it is the duty of the Church to be counter-cultural. The failure of the House of Bishops to uphold the teaching of the Bible and of the Universal Church in this area is very disappointing, if not surprising.

The booing of traditionalists and the levels of personal abuse aimed at them during the General Synod has only deepened mistrust between the different sides.

There are now effectively, at least, two opposed expressions of Anglicanism in this country. One which has capitulated to secular values, and one that continues to hold the faith ‘once delivered to the saints’.

We and others stand with the majority of faithful Anglican across the globe, in prioritising Scripture and the unanimous teaching of the universal Church over secular fashion. We note the results of this same conflict in North America, even as we look for and pray for a similar renewal of orthodox Anglicanism and of Anglican structures in these islands.

Yours faithfully,

Rev’d Dr. Gavin Ashenden, Former Chaplain to the Queen
Rev’d Nigel Atkinson, Vicar of St. John’s, Knutsford
Rev’d Dr. Mark Burkill, Chairman of Reform
Rev’d Tim Chapman, Minister of Christ Church South Cambs, AMiE
Rev’d Paul Darlington, Vicar of Oswestry Holy Trinity, Chair of Church Society
Rt. Rev’d John Ellison, AMiE Executive
Rev’d Dick Farr, Chairman of Church Society Trust
Rt. Rev’d Dr John Fenwick, Bishop Primus, Free Church of England
Fr. Martin Hislop, St. Luke’s, Kingston upon Thames
Rev’d Canon Nigel Juckes, Incumbent, Parish of Llandogo
Rt. Rev’d Josep Miquel Ferrer, Free Church of England
Rev’d Steven Hanna, St Elisabeth’s Church, Dagenham
Rt. Rev’d Paul Hunt, General Secretary, Free Church of England
Rev’d Lee McMunn, AMiE Mission Director
Rt. Rev’d Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, 106th Bishop of Rochester
Rev’d James Paice, Vicar of St. Luke’s Wimbledon Park, Trustee of Southwark Good Stewards Trust
Rev’d Dr. Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St. Mark’s Tunbridge Wells, Convener of Anglican Partnership Synod
Rev’d Dr Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream
Rev’d William Taylor, Rector of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, Chairman of Renew
Rev’d Melvin Tinker, Vicar of St. John’s Newland
Rev’d Robin Weekes, Minister of Emmanuel Church Wimbledon, Chair of Reform Southwark
Mrs Andrea Minchello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and Christian Legal Centre

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 26 July 2017 at 12:19pm BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Bishop John Wraw

The Bishop of Bradwell, the Right Reverend John Wraw, died peacefully in his sleep at home in the early hours of 25 July 2017. The Diocese of Chelmsford has issued this tribute.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 at 1:18pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Duncan Dormor to be next USPG chief executive

USPG has announced that:

The Revd Duncan Dormor, Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge, will be the next CEO of USPG.

He succeeds Janette O’Neill, who retires after six years in post.

Commenting on his appointment Duncan Dormor (pictured) said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be offered this opportunity to lead USPG as it works with partner churches across the Anglican Communion in seeking to transform the lives of individuals and communities through the power of the gospel.

‘Faithful to its history, radical in its proclamation, I have long admired the way in which USPG acts in solidarity to empower local churches across the globe in ways that respect their autonomy and culture.

‘Having spent many years in ministry with young people I know first-hand of USPG’s thirst to engage with the pressing global challenges of injustice and poverty that scar our world and I would seek to harness such vision to deepen and renew the life of the church across the world through USPG.

Canon Chris Chivers, Chair of Trustees, added: ‘I am thrilled with this appointment.

‘Duncan Dormor brings energy and passion, dynamic communication skills and a proven track-record in enabling organisational change to this important post.

‘His deep faith in Jesus Christ, his significant international experience in relation to St John’s College and Cambridge University, his global vision, alertness to the perspective of younger generations, concern for justice and reconciliation, and inspiring work as writer and speaker, make him well-placed to lead the team who will shape the next phase for USPG in new and exciting ways.’

Prof Chris Dobson, Master of St John’s College, said: ‘Duncan has been an absolutely outstanding Dean of Chapel at St John’s and has been a valued member of the college for almost 20 years.

‘In that time he has also made huge contributions to the pastoral, musical and academic life of the College. We shall miss him very much indeed, but I know that he relishes the prospect of using his energy, experience and passion for justice in this exciting new role.’

The Cambridge Faculty of Divinity website has this: The Revd Duncan Dormor Appointed CEO at Anglican mission agency USPG

St John’s College Cambridge has: St John’s Dean of Chapel to lead Anglican mission agency which gives more detail on his previous role.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 22 July 2017 at 1:06pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

British Anglicans meet to plan ‘faithful ecclesial future’

An open letter has been published on Anglican Mainstream by a number of clergy and laity. The full text and list of signatures is copied below the fold.

British Anglicans meet to plan ‘faithful ecclesial future’
Jul 18, 2017
To the Anglicans of Great Britain:

Many will share our dismay at the recent decisions of the General Synod of the Church of England and the pursuing principles, values and practices contrary to Holy Scripture and church Tradition.

Given the persistent failure of the majority of the House of Bishops to fulfil the God-given duties which they have sworn to discharge these tragic developments were, sadly, not wholly unexpected.

Accordingly, and in preparation for such eventualities we, as some of those committed to the renewal of biblical and orthodox Anglicanism have already started to meet, on behalf of our fellow Anglicans, to discuss how to ensure a faithful ecclesial future.

We now wish that we have done so to be more widely known.

Our number is drawn from bishops, clergy and laity, from across Great Britain and from a breadth of traditions. Much more importantly, however, we meet joyfully united by a shared endorsement of the terms of the Jerusalem Declaration.

We will meet again, as planned and with external facilitation, mediation and episcopal advice, in October.

It is our intention to welcome on that occasion an even greater diversity of contributors.

We would value your prayers and any expressions of interest from those who feel they might be able to make a valuable contribution to our deliberations.

Anyone desiring to contact us can do so through any of the organisations or churches listed.

Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden, Former Chaplain to the Queen
Mrs Lorna Ashworth, General Synod of the Church of England, Archbishops’ Council
Revd Nigel Atkinson, Vicar St John’s, Knutsford and Toft
Revd Andrew Bawtree, Chair of the House of Clergy, Diocese of Canterbury
Revd Mark Burkill, Chairman of Reform
Rt Revd John Ellison, Anglican Mission in England Executive
Rt Revd John Fenwick, Bishop Primus, Free Church of England
Rt Revd Josep Miquel Rossello Ferrer, Free Church of England
Ven Dr Amatu Christian-Iwuagwu, Vicar St Mary’s Harmondsworth & PiC Anglican Igbo Church of the Holy Trinity, London
Rt Revd Paul Hunt, General Secretary, Free Church of England
Canon Nigel Juckes, Incumbent, Llandogo, Monmouth
Mr Daniel Leafe, Gafcon UK
Mrs Susie Leafe, Director of Reform
Rt Revd Andy Lines, ACNA Bishop with Special Mission
Revd David McCarthy, Coordinator of the Scottish Anglican Network
Revd Lee McMunn, Mission Director, Anglican Mission in England
Revd James Paice, Trustee, The Southwark Good Stewards Trust
Rt Revd Jonathan Pryke, Senior Minister Jesmond Parish Church, Anglican Mission in England Executive
Revd Dr Peter Sanlon, Convenor of Anglican Partnership Synod
Ven Dr Will Strange on behalf of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Church in Wales
Revd Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 at 9:02am BST | Comments (116) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Electronic Voting Results

The detailed voting lists for the electronic votes at this month’s General Synod are now available here. They include these:

Item 12 — Conversion Therapy
Item 55 — Amendment to Item 12 (Doherty Amendment)
Item 56 — Amendment to Item 12 (Harrison Amendment)
Item 57 — Amendment to Item 56 (Baron Amendment)
Item 58 — Amendment to Item 12 (Dotchin Amendment)

Item 13 — Welcoming Transgender People
Item 59 — Amendment to Item 13 (Land Amendment)

The texts of all the above items are included in the voting lists. They are also in my summaries of Saturday’s and Sunday’s business.
Conversion Therapy [scroll down]
Welcoming Transgender People

Also available is Business Done for the July 2017 group of sessions.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 at 10:13pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Dean of Peterborough: Timothy Kitson Sledge

Press release from Number 10

Dean of Peterborough: Timothy Kitson Sledge

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Theresa May MP Published: 18 July 2017

Reverend Canon Timothy Charles Kitson Sledge has been appointed Dean of Cathedral Church, Peterborough.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Timothy Charles Kitson Sledge, MA, Vicar of Romsey and Area Dean in the Diocese of Winchester, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Andrew, Peterborough, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Charles William Taylor, MA, on 6 October 2016.

Background information

Reverend Canon Tim Sledge, (aged 53) studied Music at Ripon and York St John’s College then studied at York University for his MA. He studied for ordination at Trinity College, Bristol. His first curacy was at Huddersfield, in Wakefield Diocese from 1995 to 1998 before becoming Vicar at Luddenden with Luddenden Foot in Wakefield Diocese from 1998 to 2003.

In addition, from 2002 to 2003 he was Priest-in-Charge at Sowerby in the Diocese of Wakefield. From 2003 to 2008 he was Diocesan Missioner Enabler in the Diocese of Peterborough. Since 2008 he has been Vicar of Romsey in the Diocese of Winchester and since 2013 Area Dean. He is an Honorary Canon at Winchester Cathedral.

He has written and contributed to several books including Youth Emmaus and Mission Shaped Parish. He also wrote Creative Communion (BRF 2008) and contributed to Daily Reflections for Common Worship (Canterbury Press 2015).

Tim is Chairman of the Young Vocations Strategy Group for the Church of England, is a trustee of Triangulate – a Romsey Mental Health Charity, and has strong links with the Anglican Province of Burundi.

Tim is married to Caroline, and has two stepchildren, Grace (20) and Matt (18).

He enjoys cooking, poetry, golf and the arts, attending concerts and visiting art galleries.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 at 2:39pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Friday, 14 July 2017

Conservative reactions to General Synod debates

Updated again 22 July

Here’s a round-up of responses from people for whom the recent General Synod debates and voting were not welcome news.

First, an article that was written before the synod, but as the author is not only a General Synod member from Oxford diocese, but also a member of the new Pastoral Advisory Group, it is of interest: Sam Allberry wrote Same sex relationships: should we just agree to disagree?. Here’s a sample of his answer (but read all of it).

…The fate of homosexual people

Paul is very clear that the “unrighteous” will not enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6 v 9-11). Among the very various examples of unrighteous behaviour he lists is homosexual practise. Paul is delivering a profound warning: those who do not repent of such behaviour will not enter heaven. Eternity is at stake. To say the issue does not matter is to say that the eternal destiny of people does not matter. This is not the case with secondary issues like infant baptism or women’s ordination…

The Chair of the GAFCON Primates, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh in his July letter wrote this:

…False teaching is restless and relentless, and the Church of England itself is in grave spiritual danger. It is much to be regretted that there has been far more concern about alleged ‘boundary crossing’ than about the contempt of God’s Word that made a missionary bishop necessary. In fact, the Bishop of Edinburgh, who has strongly supported the Scottish Episcopal Church’s adoption of same sex ‘marriage’ was invited as a guest of honour to the Church of England’s July General Synod meeting.

Although the Church of England’s legal position on marriage has not changed, its understanding of sexual morality has. Same sex relationships, which were described by Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998 as ‘incompatible with Scripture’ now receive approval at the highest level. For example, Vicky Beeching, a singer, songwriter and activist who advocates homosexual marriage was honoured with the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer award for Worship in a ceremony at Lambeth Palace…

Rob Munro a General Synod member from Chester diocese, wrote a long reflection for Church Society entitled Radical Christian Inclusion…? which includes this:

…Shifted Middle. In previous synods, the non-aligned middle, the roughly 1/3 of synod who don’t self-identify as either conservative or radical, could usually be relied on to be social conservative, to be slow to bow to the pressures that political correctness has always brought. No longer! It was clear that an unqualified inclusion agenda is now seen as the mainstream. Ten years ago, the LGBTI lobbyists were clearly only a vocal minority; today, if you speak out for the previously received biblical understandings you are made to feel like the minority. The radicals have the confidence that their stories now resonate with more people; conservatives speak with the fear we will be misheard or misunderstood – that disagreement on the sexuality issues for theological reasons will be heard as whichever phobia it can be labelled as…

Susie Leafe a General Synod member from Truro diocese, who speaks for Reform wrote an even longer reflection which concludes:

…In the space of four days, the General Synod of the Church of England have, in effect, rejected the doctrines of creation, the fall, the incarnation, and our need for conversion and sanctification Instead we have said that we are ‘perfect’ as we are, or as we see ourselves, and that the Church should affirm us and call on God to validate our choices. No wonder we do not want to proclaim Christ’s unique identity and significance for all people.

We have chosen to understand the world through secular reports, unconscious bias training, the teaching of other religions and the results of polls and media headlines, rather than the unchanging word of God.

Paul warns us what happens when we do this in Romans 1:28: “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave then up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”

But God does not abandon his people. In his mercy, just a week before this Synod, Andy Lines was consecrated by ACNA, as a missionary bishop to Europe by 11 Primates (leaders of Anglican provinces) and 3 Archbishops. This had been requested by the Gafcon Primates Council, who represent the vast majority of the Anglican Communion. Don’t fear - we are not alone - but decisions will need to be made.

Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream wrote: Synod supports ban on ‘conversion therapy’ – what it means. His conclusions:

…There is now an area of incoherence in the Church of England’s doctrine that even the most radical adherents of ‘plural truth’ philosophy will not tolerate for long. Those who have same sex attraction are told they cannot change, but they also can’t get married or have their relationships blessed in church. Is it now surely a matter of time before the Church of England decides that while it can’t deny LGBT orthodoxy (sexual orientation is innate and unchangeable, trying to alter it is harmful), it can and must deny and change bible based doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman and homosexual practice is sinful, because these teachings are ‘harmful’?

This decision on ‘conversion therapy’ was not made for reasons of Christian theology. It was made on the basis of fake science (as many of the articles here demonstrate), fear of the LGBT lobby and the dreaded “Tim Farron question”, and emotional manipulation by apostate activists within the church leadership. The governing body of the main church in the land has capitulated to powerful ideologies in secular culture, the ‘stoicheia’ of Colossians 2:8, providing no protection for those who wish to be obedient to God’s word and resist those ideologies, serving people in love and calling them to repentance and faith in Christ.

The consecration of a ‘missionary Bishop’, ministering to faithful Anglicans outside the official structures, has surely come at the right time. We will need several more.

Updates

Ian Paul has asked Is Synod competent? A sample of his reasoning:

…There are several reasons why these two motions should never have been debated. The first and most obvious is that both issues will certainly be addressed in the teaching document that the Archbishops have commissioned, so the motions are trying to short-circuit a wider discussion. The second is that both take the form of false binaries; essentially they say ‘Do you agree with me—or do you hate gay and transgender people?’ No matter how faulty the wording, failing to pass either motion would not have looked like good PR, and there would have been howls of protest from various quarters. In the voting, it was evident that the bishops were acutely aware of this, and taking both motions by a vote of houses (so that they had to pass separately in each of the bishops, clergy and laity) which would normally make it harder for a motion to pass, in fact made it easier, since the bishops could not afford to be seen to be the ones who were blocking.

The third reason was the poor wording of both motions. The PMM talked of ‘conversion therapy’ but used this as an ill-defined catch-all which made proper debate very difficult. Every single speaker, including those who proposed and supported significant amendments, agreed that any form of forced or coercive treatment of people who are same-sex attracted (whether they are happy with that or not) is abusive and must be rejected. But another part of Jayne Ozanne’s agenda is to have significant movements in the Church, including New Wine, Soul Survivor, HTB and Spring Harvest labelled as ‘spiritual abusive’ and therefore illegal. This is why the motion was seen as a Trojan horse. Her motion was also asking Synod to ‘endorse’ a medical opinion, and a controverted one at that, which is simply not within Synod’s competence to do so. But suggesting that Synod ‘does not have the competence’ to express a view is like holding up a red rag to a bull (or any colour rag—bulls are colour blind). In the end we passed an amended motion that ‘endorsed’ a different medical view—but few had read the details, still less understood the issues within it, and such endorsement is meaningless except as tokenism…

Chik Kaw Tan, General Synod lay member from Lichfield diocese: Fundamental shifts in the General Synod

..Loss of giants in the House of Bishops
I respect the faithful orthodox bishops who are quietly working behind the scene to ensure Biblical teachings are adhered to. Yet I lament the loss of some of the true giants that I had the privilege to know when I first entered Synod. One can immediately think of Bishops Michael Scott-Joynt and Michael Nazir-Ali. A present bold figure and rising star is Julian Henderson of Blackburn but we need more orthodox prophet-bishops to speak to our times.

Not without sympathy, I think there are now many Christians, Synod members included, who have chosen the path of self-censorship. It is increasingly difficult to be counter-cultural and it is telling that our own church leaders are avoiding making any statements that will cause conflict with the LGBT lobby in society, and even within Synod itself. Who are the prophets of our times in the Church of England? Where are the Elijahs? Certainly not our archbishops, one of whom was conspicuous by the absence of any contribution in the two major debates on sexuality and the other notable by his support of the LGBT-inspired motions. This has raised serious concerns about the future of our beloved church.,,

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Suffragan Bishop of Loughborough: Reverend Gulnar Francis-Dehqani

Press release form Number 10

Suffragan Bishop of Loughborough: Reverend Gulnar Francis-Dehqani

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published: 11 July 2017

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Reverend Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani to the Suffragan See of Loughborough.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani, MA, PhD, Curate Training Officer and Advisor for Women’s Ministry in the Diocese of Peterborough and Canon at Peterborough Cathedral, to the newly created Suffragan See of Loughborough, in the Diocese of Leicester.

Background notes

Reverend Canon Dr Gulnar (Guli) Francis-Dehqani is aged 51. Originally from Iran, she has been in this country since the age of 14. She studied at Nottingham University for her BA in music, and then at Bristol University for her MA and PhD in theology. After working as a Studio Manager and Producer at BBC Radio, she trained for ordination at the South East Institute for Theological Education from 1995 to 1998.

Guli was Curate at Mortlake with East Sheen in Southwark Diocese from 1998 to 2002 before joining the University of London Chaplaincy team as Chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music and St Marylebone C of E Secondary School from 2002 to 2004. She resigned from stipendiary ministry in 2004 to raise her children, and held Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Peterborough whilst also continuing to write, speak and lead retreats. After completing a one year project at the University of Northampton Interfaith Chaplaincy, in 2011 Guli took up her current role as Curate Training Officer for the Diocese of Peterborough and was additionally appointed Adviser for Women’s Ministry in 2012. She has been on General Synod since 2012 and an honorary Canon at Peterborough Cathedral since 2016.

Guli is married to Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, currently Team Rector of Oakham and Rural Dean of Rutland. They have 3 children aged 17 and twins of 12.

Her interests include Persian culture and cooking, all kinds of music, reading, especially contemporary fiction, walking the dog, entertaining and spending time with family and friends.

From the Leicester diocesan website: Persian woman appointed as first Bishop of Loughborough

Dr Francis-Dehqani will be consecrated on Thursday 30 November.

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Monday, 10 July 2017

General Synod - Monday's business

Updated Tuesday morning and afternoon

order paper for the day

Cost of Applying for Citizenship

The final day’s business started with a debate on this diocesan synod motion from Birmingham.

That this Synod:
(a) request the Archbishops’ Council’s Mission and Public Affairs Council to investigate the issues around the cost of applying for citizenship and to make recommendations to HM Government;
(b) encourage the Lords Spiritual actively to seek opportunities to address the level of citizenship fees in debate;
(c) urge parishes to raise the issue with their MP; and
(d) encourage parishes to continue to support those known to them who are struggling with the cost of citizenship fees without incurring debt and to signpost responsible lenders or local credit unions for advice.

The motion was carried by 310 votes to nil, with no recorded abstentions.

Official press release: Synod debates cost of applying for citizenship

Final approval of Amending Canon No 36
(Of the vesture of ordained and authorized ministers during the time of divine service)

This amending canon basically permits clergy to dispense with traditional vestments. It was given final approval. For this a two-thirds majority in each house was required.

bishops: 18 for, 3 against, 0 recorded abstentions
clergy: 104 for, 5 against, 4 recorded abstentions
laity: 116 for, 8 against, 7 recorded abstentions

The canon now requires the royal assent before it can come into effect.

Draft Amending Canon No 37
(Of the burial of the dead)

This amending canon allows clergy to use the standard funeral service for those who have taken their own life. It was given final approval. For this a two-thirds majority in each house was required.

bishops: 21 for, 0 against; 0 recorded abstentions
clergy: 125 for, 0 against, 1 recorded abstentions
laity: 132 for, 1 againts, 0 recorded abstentions

The canon now requires the royal assent before it can come into effect.

In the afternoon there was a presentation on the annual report of the Archbishops’ Council (GS 2058). This was followed by the Council’s budget and proposals for apportionment for 2018 (GS 2076), which were approved.

And finally Synod said farewell to the Bishop of Bristol and the Bishop at Lambeth, who are both retiring later in the year.

Press reports etc

Madeleine Davies and Hattie Williams Church Times Synod voices dismay at high cost of citizenship

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Clergy to ditch their robes in further sign of dress-down Britain

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Clergy can dress down after church votes to let them ditch vestments

Stephen Lynas files his last report from Synod: bathwellschap Good times, better times
This ends with an overview of the whole four days.

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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Update on More cover-up allegations against bishops

Updated Monday

A week ago we linked to an Archbishop Cranmer blog with cover-up allegations against bishops.

Since then these articles have appeared.

The first article on a new blog Sea of Complicity: Reflections of CofE Abuse Survivor: CofE & Insurance affiliation

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Clerical abuse survivors step up call for accountability

This morning’s Radio4 Sunday programme carried interviews with Matt Ineson and the Bishop of Oxford (starting at 30 and 38 minutes respectively).

Update

Yim Wyatt and Gavin Drake Church Times Clergy abuse survivor demands bishops resign in York Minster Synod protest
[This also covers the Radio4 interviews.]

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General Synod - Sunday's business

Because the Church of England website has been totally rebuilt since this post was written, many of the links here no longer work. Please refer to a new post dated Saturday 27 January 2018.

Updated Monday morning

order paper for the day

Welcoming Transgender People

The Revd Christopher Newlands (Blackburn) moved on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod:

13 That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.

Dr Nick Land (York) moved as an amendment:

59 Leave out everything after “That this Synod:” and insert ̶
“(a) recognise the dignity of all people as made in the image of God and so affirm our commitment to welcome unconditionally in all our churches people who experience (or who have experienced) gender dysphoria;
(b) acknowledge different understandings around gender dysphoria and the field of gender identity more widely;
(c) consider that the preparation of liturgies to mark gender transition raises substantial theological and pastoral issues that the Church of England has not yet considered; and
(d) ask the House of Bishops to consider the theological, pastoral and other issues that gender transition raises for the Church and to report back to General Synod by the end of this quinquennium.”

The amendment was defeated in all three houses of Synod.

bishops: 11 for, 19 against, 2 recorded abstentions
clergy: 64 for, 103 against, 4 recorded abstentions
laity: 75 for, 108 against, 3 recorded abstentions

The Blackburn motion (as originally worded) was passed following a vote by houses.

bishops: 30 for, 2 against, 2 recorded abstentions
clergy: 127 for, 28 against, 16 recorded abstentions
laity: 127 for, 48 against, 8 recorded abstentions

Official press release: Welcoming Transgender People

Other business

The motion

That this Synod:
(a) welcome and support the proposal to establish a Covenant for Clergy Wellbeing as laid out in GS 2072; and
(b) invite the Appointments Committee to appoint a Clergy Wellbeing Working Group to bring proposals for such a Covenant back to this Synod by July 2019.

was passed on a show of hands.

The Revd Tiffer Robinson moved his private member’s motion:

16 That this Synod:
(a) call upon the Secretary of State to include provision in the Schools Admission Code requiring admission authorities to allocate places to children of clergy and other workers who are required to live in tied accommodation, and are moving into the authority’s area, in advance of the family arriving in the area; and
(b) call on all admissions authorities to accept letters of appointment as proof of residence ahead of the children of clergy and other workers who are required to live in tied accommodation moving to the area.

It was passed on a show of hands.

press reports

Hattie Williams, Madeleine Davies and Gavin Drake Church Times Synod’s ‘welcoming’ transgender motion asks Bishops to consider liturgy

Madeleine Davies, Hattie Williams, Tim Wyatt and Gavin Drake Church Times Causes of clergy stress aired in the General Synod

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Transgender worshippers could get church services to celebrate their new identity after synod vote
‘Poisonous’ expectations of congregations are damaging priests’ mental health

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Anglican church set to offer special services for transgender people
Being parish priest was my most stressful job, says Justin Welby

BBC News Church of England votes to explore transgender services

Stephen Lynas continues his reports from Synod: bathwellschap R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find out what it means to me

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Saturday, 8 July 2017

General Synod - Saturday's business

Updated Sunday morning and afternoon

order paper for the morning session
order paper for the afternoon session

The morning started with a presentation by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the proposals for the pastoral advisory group on human sexuality and the development of the teaching document (GS Misc 1158). It was followed by a question and answer session.

Synod then debated Presence and Engagement: Report from the Archbishops’ Council’s Mission and Public Affairs Council (GS 2063). The motion, after amendment, read:

That this Synod, recognising the Church’s continued presence and engagement in parishes, chaplaincies and new missional communities in multi-religious contexts:
(a) commend the national Presence and Engagement (P&E) programme and offer prayerful support for its work over the next five years, requesting that the fruit of this be made available to the whole Church through the P&E Centres and that the programme report back to Synod at the end of this period;
(b) recognise the cultivation of relationships with other faith communities as a vital component of the Church’s mission in today’s society, and encourage dioceses to incorporate this into their mission plans; and
(c) re-affirm the Synod report “Sharing the Gospel of Salvation” (GS Misc 956) and call on the P&E Task Group to continue supporting parishes in bearing faithful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ with sensitivity and confidence among people of other faiths;
(d) noting the importance of relationships between churches and people of other faiths in maintaining community peace and solidarity in many P&E parishes, encourage churches and Christian people throughout the nation to reach out to neighbours and colleagues of other faiths to offer solidarity and friendship in times of tension, condemning the attempts of extremists to divide us, and challenging all hatred.

The debate was adjourned at 11.00 am as timed legislative business was reached.

The legislative business was the final approval of three measures. They were so uncontroversial that nobody voted against any of them.

There was then a brief presentation on the workshops on forms of national support for local churches to be held in the afternoon.

Synod then returned to the Presence and Engagement debate, when, after a few more speeches, the motion above was carried.

After lunch and the workshops, Synod debated National Support for Local Churches: Report from the Archbishops’ Council (GS 2069) and passed this motion:

That this Synod:
(a) welcome the range of evangelism and growth resources provided by the national church in support of local churches;
(b) note the progress made to support Life Events ministry since it was commissioned by the Archbishops’ Council in 2012;
(c) agree to encourage dioceses and parishes to engage with these areas of work through prayer and practical action; and
(d) call on the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops to report back to the Synod on a regular basis on the progress of these areas of support.

Conversion Therapy

Details of the original motion and the amendments are below the fold. The motion as finally put to Synod was:

12 (as amended) That this Synod:
(a) endorse the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK of November 2015, signed by The Royal College of Psychiatrists and others, that the practice of gay conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical, potentially harmful and not supported by evidence; and
(b) call upon the Church to be sensitive to, and to listen to, contemporary expressions of gender identity; and
(c) call on the government to ban the practice of Conversion Therapy.

The motion was carried on a vote by houses.

bishops: 36 for, 1 against, 0 recorded abstentions
clergy: 135 for, 25 against, 13 recorded abstentions
laity: 127 for, 48 against, 13 recorded abstentions

Official press release: General Synod backs ban on conversion therapy

Press reports etc

Church Times During Pride in London, Synod in York calls for ban on conversion therapy

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England bishops ‘delaying same-sex equality’ move
Church of England demands ban on conversion therapy

Callum May BBC News Church of England: Plea for ‘urgency’ on new sexuality policy

Aine Fox and David Wilcock Independent Church of England bishops back motion calling for a ban on ‘unethical’ gay conversion therapy

Stephen Lynas continues his reports from Synod: bathwellschap Stop! In the name of love

Conversion Therapy

Jayne Ozanne moved her private member’s motion:

12 That this Synod:
(a) endorse the statement of 16 January 2017 signed by The UK Council for Psychotherapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners and others that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world,
is unethical, harmful and not supported by evidence; and
(b) call upon the Archbishops’ Council to become a co- signatory to the statement on behalf of the Church of England.

The Revd Dr Sean Doherty (London) moved as an amendment:

55 Leave out everything after “That this Synod:” and insert ̶
“(a) note the statement of 16 January 2017 signed by The UK Council for Psychotherapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners and others concerning the practice of conversion therapy;
(b) affirm that all sexuality is equally affected by the Fall and that therefore Christian therapies and pastoral practices which assume otherwise are not warranted;
(c) affirm that pastoral care, prayer ministry and professional counselling are legitimate means of supporting individuals who choose them freely, provided that they respect the proper dignity of human beings and do not involve coercion or manipulation or make unwarranted promises about the removal of unwanted feelings; and
(d) ask the House of Bishops to draw up guidelines for work in this area to discourage inappropriate pastoral practices, and to encourage good ones.”

The amendment was defeated on a vote by houses; all three houses voted against.

Bishops: 10 for, 26 against, 2 recorded abstentions
Clergy: 64 for, 110 against, 2 recorded abstentions
Laity: 88 for, 97 against, 6 recorded abstentions

Dr Jamie Harrison (Durham) moved as an amendment:

56 Leave out everything after “That this Synod:” and insert ̶
“(a) endorse the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK of November 2015, signed by The Royal College of Psychiatrists and others, that the practice of gay conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical, potentially harmful and not supported by evidence; and
(b) call upon the Church to be sensitive to, and to listen to, contemporary expressions of gender identity.”

Ms Christina Baron (Bath and Wells) moved as an amendment to Dr Harrison’s amendment (item 56):

57 At the end, insert ̶
“(-) call on the Archbishop’s Council to become a co- signatory, on behalf of the Church of England, to the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding, subject to the agreement of the current co-signatories.”

This was voted on by houses where it was defeated, as it failed to be passed by the House of Bishops, who were tied.

bishops: 16 for, 16 against, 5 recorded abstentions
clergy: for 117, clergy 46, 12 recorded abstentions
laity: for 108, against 73, recorded abstentions 11

The Revd Andrew Dotchin (St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) moved as an amendment:

58 At the end, insert ̶
“(-) call on the government to ban the practice of Conversion Therapy.”

This was carried after a vote by houses;

bishops: 28 for, 2 against, 5 recorded abstentions
clergy: 121 for, 34 against, 16 recorded abstentions
laity: 120 for, 52 against, 18 recorded abstentions

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Friday, 7 July 2017

General Synod - Friday's business

Updated Saturday morning

Order paper 1 - details of the day’s agenda

The main business of the day was a debate on After the General Election, a still small voice of calm.

The Archbishop of York moved this motion:

That this Synod, mindful that the recent General Election has left many questions unanswered about the shape and priorities of our government at a critical time in the nation’s history:
(a) give thanks, nonetheless, for the increased turnout and call upon all parties to build on this by addressing the causes of voter apathy and non-participation;
(b) pray for all those elected to Parliament that they will prioritise the common good of all people in everything they do, especially in negotiations between parties to secure support for a legislative programme;
(c) pray for courage, for our political leaders as they face the constraints and opportunities of uncertainty and weakness, and for the people of the nation as they too face unprecedented questions about the future;
(d) call upon Christians everywhere to maintain pressure on politicians of all parties to put the cohesion of the nation and its communities at the heart of their programmes;
(e) commend the continuing work of the churches serving the poor and vulnerable, at home and worldwide, as an example of the priorities which we hope to see in the programmes of government; and
(f) commit the Church of England to maintaining strong and generous international relations, through our dioceses, the Anglican Communion and ecumenical links, as relationships within the United Kingdom, across Europe and worldwide face new tensions and challenges.

Text of the Archbishop’s speech proposing the motion

Six amendments to the motion were proposed, all of which were comprehensively defeated. But they took up a lot of time, which would have been better devoted to the main motion.

At the end of the debate the substantive motion was overwhelmingly carried.

Official press release on the debate: Synod calls for values-based politics based on the common good

Church Times report by Madeleine Davies, Hattie Williams and Gavin Drake: We don’t ‘own’ our money, says Dr Sentamu

Stephen Lynas is a Synod member who offers his own view of the day’s business: bathwellschap There’s something in the air

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General Synod opens today

The July meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England opens this afternoon in York.

Pre-Synod news and comment

Madeleine Davies Church Times Synod to debate state of the nation [includes preview of whole agenda]

Hattie Williams Church Times Synod members threaten to walk out if Scottish pro-gay marriage bishop present at York meeting

Pat Ashworth Church Times Presence & Engagement report highlights challenges faced in multi-religious areas

Harry Farley Christian Today Questions of sexuality and abuse to dominate Church of England synod
Conservative Anglicans threaten synod boycott in outrage at pro-gay Scottish bishop’s attendance

Jeremy Fletcher On Synod and the Kingdom

Synod papers etc

online papers

timetable

live video stream [when in session]

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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

General Synod - Questions

The Questions (and Answers) to be taken at General Synod on Friday afternoon are now available for download here.

Only supplementary questions (if any) and their answers are taken on the floor of Synod; the original questions and answers are not read out. Even so it is unlikely that all 85 questions will be reached in the one hour allocated. They will be taken in the order listed. Since the 28 questions to the House of Bishops (mainly on sexuality and safeguarding) are first they are sure to be reached.

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Monday, 3 July 2017

More cover-up allegations against bishops

Updated Wednesday

Archbishop Cranmer today has an article titled Child abuse in the Church of England: hypocrisy, inconsistency and ongoing cover-up.

Although the abuse described in the article can be considered “historic” (it happened in 1984) the cover-up allegations are quite contemporary, the relevant actions, or rather inactions, only starting in 2012.

Readers may recall that we linked almost a year ago to this Guardian report: Senior Anglican clergy accused of failing to act on rape allegations.

There will no doubt be further developments in this story.

Update

Archbishop Cranmer has published two guest posts by Martin Sewell, a retired Child Protection Lawyer and a member of General Synod.

Lord Carey’s forced resignation is an injustice: he, too, was a victim of Peter Ball

Safeguarding in the Church of England: when is a victim of child-abuse not a victim?

From the second of these:

Yesterday I advanced a more sympathetic perspective on why Lord Carey might have acted so imprudently in the case of Peter Ball. I did so because my experience in dealing with such tragic cases is that everybody involved is damaged in some way, even the ‘neutrals’ and the ‘winners’. By the time you finish reading this piece, you will, at the very least, be convinced of that proposition.

When Safeguarding goes wrong everybody gets hurt.

So today I grasp a much more uncomfortable nettle and explore whether things have changed sufficiently to enable us to be confident that similar errors are not being replicated in the Church of England today. If we have continued to make the same mistakes, then we truly have to rethink our whole Safeguarding regime and to introduce a significant outside professional element…

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Deans moving on

Modern Church has announced that the Very Revd Dr Jonathan Draper has been appointed as General Secretary of Modern Church, with effect from 1 September 2017. Dr Draper is currently the Dean of Exeter.

It has also been announced that the Very Revd Dr Frances Ward, Dean of St Edmundsbury, is leaving in October to “study for a second doctorate and contribute to the life of the Church as a writer, author and theologian”.

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Saturday, 1 July 2017

Few British Anglicans believe same-sex relationships 'always wrong'

Savi Hensman has written this article, published by Ekklesia: Few British Christians think same-sex relationships ‘always wrong’.

Only a sixth of British Anglicans agree with the Church of England’s official view on same-sex relationships, the 2016 British Social Attitudes Survey reveals. Opinions among other Christians too have shifted hugely.

Just 16 per cent of Anglicans now believe that sex between two adults of the same sex is always wrong. The percentage is even lower among Roman Catholics – just 13 per cent, similar to the average of 12 per cent for all faiths and none.

This rises to 19 per cent for other Christians and 37 per cent among other faiths, while it is just five per cent for those of no religion. However Natcen, which carries out the survey, warns that the numbers of Catholics and non-Christians surveyed was low, so their figures may not be wholly reliable.

The wording of the question is also unclear, making it harder to interpret the results. People are asked whether sexual relations between two adults of the same sex are always wrong, mostly wrong, sometimes wrong, rarely wrong or not wrong at all.

But choosing ‘mostly wrong’, ‘sometimes wrong’ or ‘rarely wrong’ might have nothing to do with gender. For instance some Christians might opt for ‘sometimes wrong’ because they disapprove of casual sex or infidelity, for opposite-sex or same-sex couples…

The original press release from the National Centre for Social Research is here: British Social Attitudes reveals Britain wants less nanny state, more attentive parent which includes the following:

…Free to love: Britain’s sexual liberalisation continues unfettered with views on everything from sex before marriage to same-sex relationships and adult films becoming more liberal than ever before. Most striking has been the shift in the views of Britain’s Christian population and the closing of the gap in views between younger and older people.

  • Sex before marriage: Three quarters (75%) now say sex before marriage is “not wrong at all”. This stood at under two thirds (64%) in 2012. 73% of Anglicans agree that sex before marriage is not at all wrong, up from 54% only four years earlier and around double the proportion who said this in 1985. In 2005 the gap between the youngest and the oldest people on whether sex before marriage is “not wrong at all” was 53 percentage points, it has now halved to 25 points.
  • Same-sex relationships: Attitudes towards same-sex relationships have become significantly more liberal with 64% of people now saying that they are “not wrong at all”, up from 59% in 2015, and 47% in 2012. Over half (55%) of Anglicans say same-sex relationships are “not wrong at all”, up from 31% only four years previously.

And the full text of the relevant chapter of the study is downloadable from here.

Two tables which show the more detailed breakdown referenced by the Ekklesia article can be seen here.

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Loretta Minghella announced as next First Church Estates Commissioner

Downing Street has announced that Loretta Minghella, the Chief Executive of Christian Aid, is to be the next First Church Estates Commissioner. She succeeds Sir Andreas Whittam Smith. The press release is copied below.

The Church of England has issued its own press release.

It was also announced last week that Dame Caroline Spelman MP has been reappointed Second Church Estates Commissioner following the General Election

Church Commissioner Appointment: Loretta Minghella
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published: 28 June 2017

The Queen has appointed Loretta Minghella as a Church Commissioner.

The Queen has approved that Ms Loretta Caroline Rose Minghella, OBE be appointed First Church Estates Commissioner in succession to Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, CBE.

Background

Loretta has been Chief Executive of Christian Aid since 2010, with overall responsibility for its strategy, plans and programmes across the world. She has since overseen responses to emergencies such as earthquakes and typhoons, the refugee crises in the Middle East and Europe, and hunger and famine in East Africa. She has also led Christian Aid’s long term development work and advocacy on major issues affecting the world’s poorest people, including climate change.

Loretta is a lawyer by training who, after practising as a criminal litigator, began a career in financial regulation in 1990. The first Head of Enforcement Law, Policy and International Cooperation for the Financial Services Authority, she also chaired the International Organisation of Securities Commissions’ Standing Committee on Enforcement and Information-Sharing.

In 2004, Loretta became Chief Executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, in which capacity she oversaw the payment of over £21 billion in compensation to victims of bank and other financial failures. In recognition of her contribution in that role, she was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours 2010.

A trustee of the Disasters Emergency Committee and of St Georges House Trust (Windsor Castle), Loretta is a member of the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group and a Sarum Canon at Salisbury Cathedral. Loretta has a BA (Hons) in Law from the University of Cambridge.

She lives with her husband and two children in London and attends St Barnabas Church, Dulwich, where she is, in her own words, an ‘enthusiastic if not talented’ member of the choir.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 28 June 2017 at 10:24am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Publication of Mission and Ministry in Covenant

The Church of England has published the press release below with proposals to bring the Church of England and the Methodist Church in Britain into full communion.

The Methodist Church has published its own press release. Although this ends “The report has now been released for discussion in the Methodist Conference this week and the Church of England’s General Synod in July” the report is not on the agenda of either meeting.

Publication of Mission and Ministry in Covenant
27 June 2017

The Church of England and the Methodist Church in Britain are to consider proposals that would bring them into a new relationship of full communion, after a period of some 200 years of formal separation.

The proposals are presented in Mission and Ministry in Covenant, a joint report from the two churches’ faith and order bodies. It sets out how the Methodist Church could come to have bishops in the historic episcopate, and how ministers from one church could become eligible to serve in the other.

The report builds on the theological convergence established by ‘An Anglican-Methodist Covenant’, signed in 2003, and the subsequent work of the Covenant’s Joint Implementation Commission.

In 2014 the General Synod of the Church of England and the Methodist Conference mandated the faith and order bodies to bring forward proposals that would enable the interchangeability of ministries in the two churches.

The report sets out a way by which the Methodist Church would become one of the churches with which the Church of England is officially in communion, alongside other members of the Anglican Communion and Lutheran churches in the Porvoo Communion.

The Bishop of Coventry, The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, said: “I am grateful to the joint working group for their careful but imaginative work on bringing forward a workable plan for enabling interchangeability of presbyteral ministry in our two churches.

“The solution is built on the centrality of the historic episcopate and the bishop as minister of ordination.

“The scheme as proposed will enable dioceses, districts and local churches to engage in creative pastoral planning for the good of the mission of God in this country.”

The Bishop of Fulham The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Anglican Co-Chair of the joint working group, said: “The separation between Anglicans and Methodists in Great Britain is a tear in the fabric of the Body of Christ.

“The proposals in this Report are offered as a means of helping to repair that tear.

“They maintain the catholic, episcopal ordering of the church while at the same time acknowledging the real and effective ministry exercised by minsters in the Methodist Church.

“I warmly commend them for prayerful reading in the churches.”

The report has now been released with the aim of enabling a wider discussion in the Methodist Church and in the Church of England, and to allow consultation with other ecumenical partners.

Notes to editors:

Download the full report: Mission and Ministry in Covenant

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 27 June 2017 at 1:18pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Next Steps on Human Sexuality - 2

See previous article for the context. Please make comments about the Pastoral Advisory Group over there.

This article is focused on the specific proposals for the Episcopal Teaching Document Group contained in GS Misc 1158.

The material falls into two parts: there are five paragraphs which outline general principles, and then there are four and a half pages of detailed terms of reference etc.

The former paragraphs are copied in full below the fold.

The latter material starts on page 5 of GS Misc 1158. It’s worth noting that as yet none of the nominations of people to participate as members of thematic groups are shown, and also the full set of nominations for the Coordinating Group is not yet published.

From GS Misc 1158

4. The second action to which we committed ourselves was to produce a new episcopal teaching document on human sexuality. We know that, however vital our pastoral practice, part of the reason these subjects remain so problematic within the church of Christ concerns deep disagreements regarding the understanding of scripture, Christian doctrine, Christian ethics, and the nature of the church, including the particular character of the Church of England. At the same time, we are a church that rejoices to unite in worship and witness, and in doing so holds together a remarkable range of perspectives and approaches. We know that this both reflects and expresses deep agreement on scripture, doctrine, ethics and the nature of the church – without denying the seriousness of our controversies and conflicts. We also know that all parts of the Church of England can learn so much from listening to one another, to the communities and the society that we are called to serve, and to the findings of those who are committed to rigorous academic standards of research in their various fields. None of us holds the whole picture, and all of us can grow in understanding.

5. Hence this second commitment, which will involve bringing together many minds, many voices, many areas of expertise and many different skills, to produce an episcopal teaching document on human sexuality. We promised, back in February, that this process would reflect a “radical new Christian Inclusion, … founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it.” This is a formidable undertaking. It will be costly, not only financially and in terms of people’s time, but in terms of the process of exploring together on matters that touch the very nature of our being. But nothing less will address the matter with the seriousness, the depth of wisdom and the diversity of possible approaches that should characterise authentic Christian exploration of the mystery of our humanity, of which our sexuality is an integral dimension.

6. We do not expect the teaching document, or the process of writing it, to achieve reconciliation of all views across the Church of England. Such reconciliation, were it to happen, would be the work of the Holy Spirit, not of human hands or brains. But we need our internal debates to be grounded in the best available scholarship, across many disciplines and to draw in the perspectives of people in all their difference. And we need the whole process to happen prayerfully, and with the supportive prayers of our fellow Christians across the world. If the teaching document can express clearly the ground on which we are agreed – and be very clear about where we disagree, and why – it will have done its work well.

7. Below, we share with Synod the progress we have made to date in assembling the resources and people to deliver the teaching document. There is some way to go before the thematic working groups will have been brought together. Synod will understand that achieving balanced group membership is a complex process and that it would be fruitless to report on part-completed processes. When the membership of the groups is known, we will share that information – although it is also important to note that all the groups are charged with consulting beyond their own membership.

8. Synod members will not need reminding that both these areas for action were put forward in GS 2055. What has changed? The difference is that, in the light of the debate in February, we have become clearer about the scale and seriousness of the task and the need to define our terms with greater rigour – not least in pursuing the goal of radical Christian inclusion as we described it in our letter of 16th February. We, and the whole House of Bishops, mindful of the voices heard in Synod and across the church beyond it, are wholly committed to making the process outlined below work well. It is not a panacea. It is not guaranteed to deliver any specific outcome or to please anyone let alone everyone. But it is, we believe, the only way for us, as part of Christ’s church, to explore the mind of Christ together, knowing that, despite our disagreements, we are charged to preach Christ – crucified, risen, ascended and glorified – to all the people of the world.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 25 June 2017 at 2:30pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Next Steps on Human Sexuality - 1

On Saturday morning at York, the General Synod will have a “Presentation from the House of Bishops on the Proposals for the Pastoral Advisory Group on Human Sexuality and the development of the Teaching Document.”

Note that this is not a debate, but a Presentation followed by a Question and Answer session. The relevant background document is GS Misc 1158 Next Steps on Human Sexuality. One hour has been allocated for this item.

The Proposals for the Pastoral Advisory Group (note the title change from Pastoral Oversight group) are quite brief, and are copied in full below the fold. About this aspect, para 3 of GS Misc 1158 says:

..in our letter of 16th February we committed ourselves, and the whole House of Bishops, to two actions. The first of these was the creation of a group, chaired by the Bishop of Newcastle, to advise dioceses on pastoral issues concerning human sexuality so that we can make explicit our commitment to show the love of Christ to all people, regardless of sexual or gender identity. Good progress has been made in establishing the new Pastoral Advisory Group, as reported below, which is now embarking on its work.

All the rest of the document is concerned with the development of the Teaching Document, and that will be covered here in a separate article, to follow shortly. This will enable discussion in the Comments below to focus specifically on the Pastoral Advisory group proposal.

Pastoral Advisory Group

1. As Archbishops we will be establishing a Pastoral Oversight group led by the Bishop of Newcastle, with the task of supporting and advising Dioceses on pastoral actions with regard to our current pastoral approach to human sexuality. The group will be inclusive, and will seek to discern the development of pastoral practices, within current arrangements.

Archbishops’ letter, February 16th 2017

Aim
2. Supporting and advising Dioceses on pastoral actions, i.e. engagement, inclusion, and pastoral care, with regard to the current pastoral approach of the Church to human sexuality, with a particular (but not exclusive) focus on same-sex couples.

Responsibilities
3. Reviewing, and as needed revising, advice provided by the House of Bishops on pastoral ministry to same-sex couples in Church of England congregations, such ministry being understood to include prayer offered by clergy and licensed lay minsters.

4. Offering advice when requested to bishops regarding specific cases they are dealing with in the areas of both pastoral care and discipline involving clergy in same-sex relationships, and clergy responding to lay people in same-sex relationships, to assist the sharing of knowledge and an appropriate level of national consistency in approach.

5. Supporting the Church of England’s communication of its approach to this area in the media and in other public fora.

6. Exploring together, and hearing from others, what radical Christian Inclusion, ‘founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it.’ [From the Archbishops’ Letter, 16th February 2017] means in the life and mission of the Church: sharing and disseminating examples of good practice in terms of pastoral care of and engagement with those who identify as LGBTI.

Key tasks
7. To bring draft advice on pastoral ministry to same-sex couples in Church of England congregations for initial consideration by the House of Bishops, having reflected on how pastoral practices might develop within current teaching.

8. To review the advice provided in due course in the light of the emerging teaching document.

Way of working
9. Requests from other bishops for advice on named cases with regard to area of responsibility (2) above will need to be dealt with as reserved business by the bishops within the group. The bishops will however report to other group members that such reserved business has been discussed and will review with them any general issues arising from the review of particular cases.

Time scale
10.The advice on pastoral ministry to same-sex couples will need to be undertaken in careful liaison with work on the teaching document (as set out below). It is therefore difficult to give a precise timescale for the groups work.

11.Members will be appointed initially to serve on the group until the end of 2019.

Membership

Chair: The Bishop of Newcastle, The Rt Revd Christine Hardman

Other Episcopal Members: The Bishop of Willesden, The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent
The Bishop of Grantham, The Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chamberlain
The Bishop of Exeter, The Rt Revd Robert Atwell
The Bishop of Repton, The Rt Revd Jan McFarlane

Members: The Revd Sam Allberry
Dr Jamie Harrison
The Ven Cherry Vann
The Revd Dr Rosemarie Mallett

Staff support: The Revd Dr Malcolm Brown
The Revd Dr Jeremy Worthen
The Legal Office.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 24 June 2017 at 11:00pm BST | Comments (53) | TrackBack
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General Synod: motions on Sexuality and Gender

Updated again 1 July

There are two motions due to come before General Synod in York next month. One is a Diocesan motion from Blackburn, Welcoming Transgender People, to be debated on Sunday afternoon, the other is a Private Member’s Motion from Jayne Ozanne, on Conversion Therapy, to be debated on Saturday afternoon.

The Blackburn diocesan motion reads:

That this Synod, recognizing the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.

The background paper from the diocese is GS 2071A Welcoming Transgender People. This provides a comprehensive briefing, including a helpful glossary of terms, and a detailed explanation of the circumstances which prompted the motion being brought forward.

There is also a background note from the Secretary General, GS 2071B, which includes a discussion of some theological considerations, and reviews the existing liturgical provisions which might be relevant.

OneBodyOneFaith has published an article by Christina Beardsley Welcoming and affirming transgender people: reflections and resources for the Blackburn Motion,which comments on some of the opposition to this motion, and links to a number of resources that reflect modern scientific thinking on this topic.

The Private Member’s Motion reads:

Jayne Ozanne (Oxford) to move that this Synod:

(a) endorse the statement (see below) of 16 January 2017 signed by The UK Council
for Psychotherapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners and others that the
practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical,
harmful and not supported by evidence; and

(b) call upon the Archbishops’ Council to become a co-signatory to the statement on
behalf of the Church of England.

The statement referred to reads:

January 16th 2017 Statement
We the undersigned UK organisations wish to state that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world. It is unethical and harmful and not supported by evidence.

Conversion Therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others, and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.

Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders, although exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses. Anyone accessing therapeutic help should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
The British Psychoanalytic Council
The British Psychological Society
The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
GLADD – The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists
The National Counselling Society
National Health Service Scotland
Pink Therapy
The Royal College of General Practitioners
The Scottish Government
Stonewall
The UK Council for Psychotherapy

The background paper by Jayne Ozanne is GS 2070A Conversion Therapy. This explains how the 2017 statement came into being, describes the position of the UK Government, and lists the comments of various medical professional bodies on conversion therapy.

There is also a background note from the Secretary General GS 2070B which goes into more detail and notes some differences between the 2017 statement and earlier ones.

And OneBodyOneFaith has reproduced another article by Jayne Ozanne A Call to Condemn Conversion Therapy.

Updates

The Church Times has this: Ozanne motion seeks to label as ‘unethical’ therapy to change sexual orientation.

This paper by Jayne Ozanne is also published: Spiritual abuse – the next great scandal for the Church.

There is also another paper, written by Professors Michael King and Robert Song: Conversion Therapy - Science Briefing. Copy available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 24 June 2017 at 5:00pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Friday, 23 June 2017

After the General Election: a still small voice of calm

The second circulation of General Synod papers was issued this morning; see here for details. There is an accompanying press release (copied below) which concentrates on an addition to the agenda made by the archbishops. The text of the additional motion is copied below the fold.

After the General Election: a still small voice of calm
23 June 2017

The Church of England is providing a “still small voice of calm” at a time when the people of Britain face “unprecedented questions about the future”, according to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

The recent General Election has left many questions unanswered about at a “critical time in the nation’s history”, they say.

Christians should therefore pray for political leaders to have courage but also give thanks for signs of political apathy receding, they say.

The call comes in the text of the motion to be debated at the Church’s General Synod, which meets in York next month.

The archbishops have used their legal powers to change the published schedule to include an urgent debate on the state of the nation.

Entitled “After the General Election: a still small voice of calm” it will take place on the opening afternoon of Synod, Friday July 7.

Details of the motion were published as a second circulation of papers was issued ahead of the summer session of Synod at the University of York between July 7 and July 10.

The documents also include a paper setting out the process for compiling a major new teaching document on human sexuality and the work of a new Pastoral Advisory Group to advise dioceses on pastoral provision for same-sex couples.

It follows a vote in February in which Synod opted not to ‘take note’ of the House of Bishops’ report on sexuality.

The paper, also issued by the two archbishops, reiterates a pledge to base the new teaching document on a “radical Christian inclusion” to be “founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it”.

The papers also include information on National Support for Local Churches and background information for a motion tabled by Jayne Ozanne, of the Diocese of Oxford, calling for Synod to condemn the practice of Conversion Therapy, among other subjects.

Notes to editors

The title of the motion is a reference to the story in 1 Kings 19 in which God spoke to the prophet Elijah not through a hurricane, earthquake or fire but through a “still small voice”.

Text of additional motion, to be moved by the Archbishop of York, on Friday 7 July.

AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTION, A STILL SMALL VOICE OF CALM

That this Synod, mindful that the recent General Election has left many questions unanswered about the shape and priorities of our government at a critical time in the nation’s history:
(a) give thanks, nonetheless, for the increased turnout and call upon all parties to build on this by addressing the causes of voter apathy and non-participation;
(b) pray for all those elected to Parliament that they will prioritise the common good of all people in everything they do, especially in negotiations between parties to secure support for a legislative programme;
(c) call upon Christians everywhere to maintain pressure on politicians of all parties to put the cohesion of the nation and its communities at the heart of their programmes;
(d) pray for courage, for our political leaders as they face the constraints and opportunities of uncertainty and weakness, and for the people of the nation as they too face unprecedented questions about the future;
(e) commend the continuing work of the churches serving the poor and vulnerable, at home and worldwide, as an example of the priorities which we hope to see in the programmes of government; and
(f) commit the Church of England to maintaining strong and generous international relations, through our dioceses, the Anglican Communion and ecumenical links, as relationships within the United Kingdom, across Europe and worldwide face new tensions and challenges.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 23 June 2017 at 10:55am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Bishop Peter Ball: An Abuse of Faith

Updated again Monday afternoon

An Abuse of Faith, the independent report by Dame Moira Gibb into the Church’s handling of the Bishop Peter Ball case, has been published today.

The full text of the press release is copied below the fold. This includes a statement by Archbishop Justin Welby.

The full text of the statement read at the press conference by Bishop Peter Hancock is available here.

Updates

The official press release has been updated to include video links:

Media coverage has been extensive, here is a small selection:

Church Times Lord Carey steps back from ministry after ‘harrowing’ report on Peter Ball case

Telegraph Lord Carey criticised by damning report which finds Church ‘colluded’ with disgraced bishop Peter Ball to cover up sex offences

Guardian Justin Welby asks George Carey to quit over church abuse report

Oxford Mail Ex-Archbishop asked to leave Diocese of Oxford over sex abuse ‘collusion’

Christian Today Church of England colluded in abuse by former bishop, says damning report and Archbishop Welby asks Lord Carey to consider his position as assistant bishop over Ball abuse case

Gloucestershire Live Church of England bosses helped to cover up former Bishop of Gloucester’s sexual offences

ITV News Bishop of Gloucester ‘shocked and distressed’ by church abuse review

BBC Church ‘colluded’ with sex abuse bishop Peter Ball

Update Monday afternoon

The Bishop of Oxford has issued this statement:

LORD CAREY: STATEMENT FROM THE RT. REV DR STEVEN CROFT, BISHOP OF OXFORD

“I have met with Lord Carey following the Archbishop’s letter to him. In light of Dame Moira Gibb’s review into the Peter Ball case, Lord Carey has resigned from his role as honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford. Lord Carey has accepted the criticisms made of him in the Gibb review and has apologised to the victims of Peter Ball.

He said in his statement on Thursday: “I accept the criticisms made of me. I apologise to the victims of Peter Ball. I believed Peter Ball’s protestations and gave too little credence to the vulnerable young men and boys behind those allegations. I regret that after Peter Ball was cautioned I did not place his name on the Lambeth list.”

Along with many others, I have been deeply distressed to read Dame Moira Gibb’s report with its narrative of the abuse perpetrated by Peter Ball which remained hidden for so long. I hope that the focus of attention will continue to be on the survivors of abuse and offering to them the care and support they need.

As the Diocese of Oxford we are committed to improving continually the quality of safeguarding and care and will seek to learn the lessons of Dame Moira Gibb’s review and put its recommendations into practice”.

press release
Independent report into the Church’s handling of Peter Ball case
22 June 2017
An Abuse of Faith, the independent report by Dame Moira Gibb into the Church’s handling of the Bishop Peter Ball case, has been published today. Peter Ball was convicted in 2015 of misconduct in public office and indecent assaults against teenagers and young men. The report was commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, following the conviction.

In her foreword Dame Moira states:

“This report considers the serious sexual wrongdoing of Peter Ball, a bishop of the Church of England who abused many boys and men over a period of twenty years or more. That is shocking in itself but is compounded by the failure of the Church to respond appropriately to his misconduct, again over a period of many years. Ball’s priority was to protect and promote himself and he maligned the abused. The Church colluded with that rather than seeking to help those he had harmed, or assuring itself of the safety of others.

We were asked to consider changes necessary to ensure that safeguarding in the Church is of the highest possible standard. The Church has made significant progress in recent years in its understanding of abuse. We have no doubt that the Church has a genuine commitment to meeting its responsibilities towards the victims of abuse. However we can see how difficult it is to make change across the complex structures of the Church. Progress has been slow and continuing, faster improvement is still required. It is the leadership of the Archbishops and Bishops which will determine whether change is effective.”

The report has 11 recommendations for the Church focusing on a range of issues including focusing on getting the right support in place for survivors, the leadership of bishops, strengthening guidance, reviewing the Archbishops’ Lists and the effectiveness of our disciplinary measures with regards to safeguarding related cases.

Receiving the report on behalf of the Church, Bishop Peter Hancock, the CofE’s lead safeguarding bishop, said: “I am truly sorry that as a Church we failed the survivors of Peter Ball; having read the report I am appalled and disturbed by its contents; as Dame Moira says in her foreword Peter Ball abused boys and men over a 20 year period and as a Church we colluded, we failed to act and protect those who came forward for help. There are no excuses. We accept all the recommendations and are working to action them.

“For the survivors, it may feel this is all too late. I am personally aware from my meetings with individual survivors in the course of my work that they live with the effects of this abuse for their whole life. I once again offer them my wholehearted apology. This Report affirms the direction and steps that we have taken to improve the consistency, robustness and rigour of our practice, but progress has been too slow. It has taken longer than it should have done, but we are absolutely committed to implementing Dame Moira’s recommendations and my role as lead bishop is to ensure this happens.”

Statement from Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

“Abuse of Faith makes harrowing reading: the Church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward. This is inexcusable and shocking behaviour and although Dame Moira notes that most of the events took place many years ago, and does not think that the Church now would conduct itself in the ways described we can never be complacent, we must learn lessons. I fully endorse the recommendations in the report and will ensure that the House of Bishops addresses how we can implement these as soon as possible, working with the National Safeguarding Team. For the survivors who were brave enough to share their story and bring Peter Ball to justice, I once again offer an unreserved apology. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systemic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 22 June 2017 at 11:38am BST | Comments (53) | TrackBack
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Monday, 19 June 2017

What should the CofE teaching document on sexuality encompass?

Updated

The LGBTI Mission has published a document, which makes suggestions for what the proposed Church of England teaching document on sexuality should cover.

The document itself can be found here, and the accompanying press release is copied below the fold.

Update

A selection of the questions in this paper is contained in a comment article in the Church TImes for 23 June, which is titled Issues that must be addressed.

Press release

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York announced in February that the Church of England needed a teaching document about sexuality to lead the church towards a radical new inclusion of LGBTI+ people in the church. This will replace Issues in Human Sexuality and associated documents which are a generation old. The archbishops wrote:

To deal with that disagreement and to find ways forward, we need a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church. This must be founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it; it must be based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.

We need to work together – not just the bishops but the whole Church, not excluding anyone – to move forward with confidence.

The way forward needs to be about love, joy and celebration of our common humanity; of our creation in the image of God, of our belonging to Christ – all of us, without exception, without exclusion.

Leading academic theologians, scientists and other experts have written a paper identifying questions and themes which they believe the Church of England group that will write that new teaching document will need to address. Their work has been co-ordinated by Dr Andrew Davison, Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, sponsored by the LGBTI Mission and supported by the Human Sexuality Group of General Synod, OneBodyOneFaith and Inclusive Church.

The paper which can be found here is titled A Teaching Document on Sexuality and Marriage from the Bishops of the Church of England: Some Initial Suggestions as to Questions and Themes.

LGBTI Mission Chair, Simon Sarmiento said, “We are not telling the group what to write. But we are saying that if the Teaching Document is to serve the Archbishops’ purpose and have credibility in the Church of England and beyond, then it must address the questions and themes these scholars have identified”.

The Chair of the Human Sexuality Group of General Synod, Canon Giles Goddard, added, “The Teaching Document is a significant part of the Archbishops’ plan for the way forward for our church. It is vital that the Document covers the breadth and depth of the questions raised in this preparatory paper if it is to command the support of General Synod”.

Tracey Byrne, the CEO of OneBodyOneFaith, commented, “People in the Church of England, both LGBTI+ people and their friends, families and allies, are looking to our bishops and General Synod for a better way forward than the paper rejected by General Synod in February. We know this Teaching Document is coming, and we are grateful to the academics who have done this work on identifying the important and pressing matters that must be considered by those writing it.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 19 June 2017 at 12:04pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Friday, 16 June 2017

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 my previous article for my list of papers.

General Synod papers published
16 June 2017

Papers circulated to members of the Church of England’s General Synod ahead of its July sessions in York have been published online.

They detail discussions planned on subjects ranging from the Church’s work in areas where many people follow other faiths to concerns over the cost of applying for British citizenship and the possibility of services to help transgender Christians mark their transition.

Synod is due to meet at the University of York from Friday July 7 to Monday July 10.

Papers are being published in two batches. The first circulation of papers is available here.

A second circulation of papers will be published on Friday, June 23. There will also be a pre-Synod briefing at Church House Westminster next Friday.

One briefing paper in the first circulation sets out how an existing Church of England service for reaffirming baptismal vows may form the liturgical basis for services which help transgender Christians mark their gender transition publicly.

The liturgy for Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, contained in the Common Worship service book, may be used with people who have already been baptised but who wish to “reaffirm their identity in Christ” after a significant personal transition, including gender, according to the paper.

It rules out the possibility of so-called “re-baptism” services, because Church of England teaching makes clear that baptism can only be received once.

However it makes clear that there is “no legal or doctrinal difficulty” with transgender people reaffirming their baptism vows with a new name.

The briefing was issued in response to a motion being brought to Synod by the Diocese of Blackburn, calling for nationally commended liturgical materials to mark a person’s gender transition.

The papers also include details of a motion raising concerns about the cost of applying for British citizenship and its impact on those on low incomes.

There is also a report on the Church of England’s Presence and Engagement programme, which supports parishes fulfilling the Church of England’s commitment to being a Christian presence in every community, even in areas where many people follow other faiths.

The timetable for General Synod is available here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 16 June 2017 at 11:27am BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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July General Synod - online papers

Updated 17 June, 23 June, 5 July

All the papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online.

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 23 June and I will add links when these become available.

zip file of all first circulation papers
zip file of all second circulation papers
zip file of all papers

Papers in numerical order with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration
Synod meets from Friday 7 to Monday 10 July 2017.

The Archbishops have made a change to agenda for Friday to add a debate on After the General Election, a still small voice of calm. Details are in Notice Paper 4.

GS 2027B – Draft Legislative Reform Measure [Saturday]
GS 2027Z/2030Z/2032Z – Report by the Steering Committee [Saturday]

GS 2029B – Draft Amending Canon No.36 for final approval [Friday]
GS 2029BB – Draft Amending Canon No.37 for final Approval [Monday]
GS 2029C – Draft Petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence [Monday]
GS 2029CC – Draft Petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence [Monday]
GS 2029Z – Report by the Steering Committee [Saturday]

GS 2030B – Draft Statute Law (repeals) Measure [Saturday]
[see also GS 2027Z/2030Z/2032Z above]

GS 2032B – Draft Pension (Pre-consolidation) Measure [Saturday]
[see also GS 2027Z/2030Z/2032Z above]

GS 2058 – Annual Report of the Archbishops’ Council [Monday]

GS 2059 – Agenda

GS 2060 – Report by the Business Committee [Friday]

GS 2061 – Appointment to the Archbishops’ Council [Friday]

GS 2062 – Annual Report of the Audit Committee [deemed business - Friday]

GS 2063 – Presence and Engagement [Saturday]

GS 2064 – Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure [deemed business - Saturday]
GS 2064x – Explanatory Memorandum

GS 2065 – Payments to the Churches Conservation Trust Order 2017 [Saturday]
GS 2065x – Explanatory Memorandum

GS 2066 – Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order 2017 [Saturday]
GS 2067 – Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2017 [Saturday]
GS 2066/2067x – Explanatory Memorandum

GS 2068 – 52nd Report of the Standing Orders Committee [deemed business - Saturday]

GS 2069 – National Support for Local Churches: Report from the Archbishops’ Council [Saturday]

GS 2070A - Conversion Therapy, A note from Ms Jayne Ozanne [Saturday]
GS 2070B - Conversion Therapy, A note from The Secretary General [Saturday]

GS 2071A – Welcoming Transgender People, A note from The Revd Chris Newlands [Sunday]
GS 2071B – Welcoming Transgender People, A note from The Secretary General [Sunday]

GS 2072 – Clergy Wellbeing [Sunday]
[See also GS Misc 1163 below]

GS 2073A – Schools Admissions Code, A note from The Revd Tiffer Robinson [Sunday]
GS 2073B – Schools Admissions Code, A note from The Secretary General [Sunday]

GS 2074A – Cost of applying for Citizenship, A note from Mr Ben Franks [Monday]
GS 2074B – Cost of applying for Citizenship, A note from The Secretary General [Monday]

GS 2075 – The work of the General Elections Review Group [Monday]
[See also GS Misc 1164 below]

GS 2076 – The Archbishops’ Council’s Budget [Monday]

GS 2077A - Food Wastage, A note from The Revd Andrew Dotchin
GS 2077B - Food Wastage, A note from The Secretary General [contingency business]

Other Papers

Questions Notice Paper [Friday]

Church Commissioners Annual Report 2016 [Friday]

GS Misc 1158 – Proposals for the pastoral advisory group on human sexuality and the development of the teaching document [Saturday]

GS Misc 1159 – Interim Report on the Review of the Crown Nominations Commission [Sunday]

GS Misc 1160 – Instructions on Electronic Voting

GS Misc 1161 – Report of the Meissen Commission

GS Misc 1162 – Code of Conduct

GS Misc 1163 – Clergy Wellbeing, A note from The Secretary General [Sunday]

GS Misc 1164 - Presentation by the Elections Review Group [Monday]

GS Misc 1165 - Clergy Discipline Commission

GS Misc 1166 - Signature of PMMs

GS Misc 1167 - Members of Councils, Boards and Committees

GS Misc 1168 - Summary of Decisions from the House of Bishops

GS Misc 1169 - Update on the Archbishops’ Council Activities

GS Misc 1170 - Resourcing Ministerial Education

House of Laity

HLA1 – House of Laity Agenda [Saturday evening]

HLA2 – House of Laity Agenda (if an Article 7 reference is required)

House of Clergy

Convocation of Canterbury Agenda (if an Article 7 reference is required)

Convocation of York Agenda (if an Article 7 reference is required)

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 16 June 2017 at 10:46am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 11 June 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury criticises cross-border interventions

Updated Monday afternoon

Jonathan Petre reports in the Mail on Sunday that Welby goes to war over ‘anti-gay’ bishop plot by traditionalists after historic marriage vote in Scotland. Here’s an extract, but do read the whole article:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has hit out at traditionalists who are planting a ‘missionary’ bishop in the UK after last week’s historic vote by Scottish Anglicans to approve gay marriage.

The rebuke from Justin Welby is his latest attempt to avert a damaging permanent split in the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality…

…Now, in a confidential letter to fellow Anglican leaders, seen by The Mail on Sunday, Archbishop Welby has warned the African archbishops against creating ‘disturbance and discords’ by intervening in Britain. He accused them bluntly of a ‘cross-border’ intervention’ that would ‘carry no weight in the Church of England’.

Welby said in his letter to Anglican leaders across the 80 million-strong worldwide Communion that there was no need for a missionary bishop in the Church of England because worshippers could already express a range of views.

He said there had been strong opposition to ‘cross-border interventions’ for centuries, and quoted the ‘uncompromising’ verdict of the early Church’s First Council of Nicea in 325 AD, which condemned the ‘great disturbances and discords that occur’ when bishops ministered in this way.

The full text of this letter has appeared at VirtueOnline. Copied below the line.

Text of Letter

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
June 2017
To: Primates of the Anglican Communion & Moderators of the United Churches

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3) I greet you in the name of our risen Lord Jesus Christ.

I have just returned from a fruitful visit to the Holy Land where I visited Jordan, Israel and Palestine. During the visit, I was continually reminded of the shout of victory of the Church, “Christ is risen, He is risen indeed, alleluia” and how congregations have responded, in a place of total despair, to the needs of refugees and others less privileged in society, to the threats they face, and to the dangers of the future.

As followers of the risen Christ, Paul’s exhortation to the Church is for it to seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We are called upon to walk together in love, to be patient, humble and gentle with each other (v.2), whilst holding clearly to the truth, and to be attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

As leaders, we are called in such a time as this to shepherd God’s flock in our different Provinces and contexts. I am encouraged by what you are all doing in challenging situations. I am mindful of the ongoing crises and trials in the many countries of the Anglican Communion: the conflict and famine in South Sudan, the famine in the North East of Nigeria, pressures in the Middle East, DRC, Burundi and other countries. Let us continue to uphold the Primates, bishops and leaders in these areas as they respond to the needs of their people and continue to bring a prophetic voice of hope in the midst of despair. Let us also pray for a peaceful outcome to elections that are taking place in a number of countries this year.

I would like to welcome Primates who have recently been appointed, and also to offer my prayers, gratitude and best wishes to those who have or will be standing down in the coming months. This year also sees the inauguration of the newest Province of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church of Sudan will be inaugurated in Khartoum on 30 July 2017 as an autonomous province, and I am sure we shall all look forward to welcoming Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo to the Primates’ Meeting in October as the first Primate of the 39th Province of the Anglican Communion.

I wanted also to take this opportunity to formally notify you that I have agreed to the recommendation of the Trustees of the Anglican Centre in Rome, who had appointed Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi as Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome (ACR), and have made him my Representative to the Holy See. He succeeds Archbishop David Moxon, who retires in June, and will take over from September 2017. I believe that the work of the ACR continues to play a vital and important role for us all in the Anglican Communion. Archbishop David has ably filled the role of Director, and we look forward to Archbishop Bernard taking forward this important ministry. Many of you will have known Archbishop Bernard when he was the Primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi from 2005 until 2016.

I wrote to you last year about the call to prayer for evangelism that the Archbishop of York and I made for 2016. We have renewed this call in 2017, and across the Church of England thousands of churches are joining together in the time between Ascension Day and Pentecost with fervent and focused prayer for a fresh empowering of the Holy Spirit in witness and evangelism. This time, which we have called Thy Kingdom Come, has captured the imagination of many Anglicans and brothers and sisters in many other denominations around the world. My team here at Lambeth Palace has worked hard to provide resources in six different languages. The response globally has been overwhelming.

There are a number of Provinces of the Anglican Communion that will be discussing issues concerning human sexuality in meetings later this year, and I would ask that you continue to pray for them as they wrestle with these and other issues. Following the defeat of the take note vote at the General Synod of the Church of England, I want to reiterate that there are no changes in the liturgy, the situation or in the rules regarding human sexuality in the Church of England. Since the Synod in February this year, the Church of England has established a Pastoral Advisory Group to support and advise dioceses on pastoral approaches to human sexuality, and the House of Bishops have agreed proposals for developing a teaching document on marriage, relationships and human sexuality. To be effective, the concerns of all in the Church of England and beyond need to be taken into account by those working on Pastoral support and advice, and those writing the teaching document. We continue to exhort the need to work together without exclusion, in faithfulness to the deposit of faith we have inherited, to the scriptures and the creeds, and paying attention to the Great Commission, our call to evangelism and sharing in the mission of God.

I believe that the example of how we addressed the separate issue of the ordination of women to the episcopacy illustrates this; the Right Reverend Rod Thomas’ consecration as Bishop of Maidstone served to provide episcopal oversight for those who disagreed with the ordination of women to the episcopate. This clearly demonstrates how those with differing views still have their place in the Church of England, and are important in enabling the flourishing of the Church. Because of this commitment to each other I do not consider the appointment of a “missionary bishop” to be necessary. The idea of a “missionary bishop” who was not a Church of England appointment, would be a cross-border intervention and, in the absence of a Royal Mandate, would carry no weight in the Church of England. Historically, there has been resistance to cross-border interventions and ordinations from the earliest years of the universal Church’s existence. Such weighty authority as canons 15 and 16 of the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325 are uncompromising in this regard and make reference to the “great disturbance and discords that occur” when bishops and their clergy seek to minister in this way.

I would also like to remind you of the 1988 Lambeth Conference resolution number 72 on episcopal responsibilities and diocesan boundaries. This resolution reaffirms the historical position of respect for diocesan boundaries and the authority of bishops within these boundaries. It also affirms that it is deemed inappropriate behaviour for any bishop or priest of this Communion to exercise episcopal or pastoral ministry within another diocese without first obtaining the permission and invitation of the ecclesial authority thereof. The conclusion of this resolution was that in order to maintain our unity, “it seems fair that we should speak of our mutual respect for one another, and the positions we hold, that serves as a sign ofour unity”.

The issue of cross-border interventions has continued to come up in recent conversations within the Anglican Communion, and may well be something that is included in the agenda for the next Primates’ meeting, which takes place from 2 to 7 October 2017, in Canterbury. The Anglican Communion Secretary General, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has written to you concerning arrangements for the meeting, and his staff will be in touch as further details on the logistical and other practical arrangements emerge.

In the meantime, I would like to hear from you with suggestions on items for the agenda for our meeting. Do please send these to me and copy in Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon. I am hoping to be making calls to each one of you over the next few months, when we might discuss the agenda for the Primates’ Meeting as well as other things, and one of my staff will be in touch with your office with suggested dates and times when we might speak.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 11 June 2017 at 11:52pm BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Reactions to the Scottish vote on same-sex marriage

Updated again Saturday

The Church of England issued this:

Statement on marriage in Scottish Episcopal Church

08 June 2017
Following the vote by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change to its canon on marriage to include same-sex couples, a spokesperson for the Church of England said:

“We note the decision of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to amend its canon on marriage.

“This is a matter for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

“The Church of England is unable by law to marry couples of the same sex and the teaching of the Church of England remains unchanged.

“However this is a matter on which there is real and profound disagreement in the Church of England.

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

Statement from the Anglican Communion Office from here.

…Following the vote, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon issued the following statement:

“The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make their own decisions on canon law. The Scottish Episcopal Church is one of 38, soon to be 39, provinces covering more than 165 countries around the world.

“Today’s decision by the SEC to approve changes to canon law on marriage is not a surprise, given the outcome of the vote at its Synod a year ago. There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican Communion but this puts the Scottish Episcopal Church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage. The Anglican Communion’s position on human sexuality is set out very clearly in Resolution 1.10 agreed at the Lambeth conference of 1998 and will remain so unless it is revoked.

“As Secretary General, I want the churches within the Anglican Communion to remain committed to walking together in the love of Christ and to working out how we can maintain our unity and uphold the value of every individual in spite of deeply-held differences. It is important to stress the Communion’s strong opposition to the criminalisation of LGBTIQ+ people.

“The primates of the Communion will be meeting in Canterbury in October. I am sure today’s decision will be among the topics which will be prayerfully discussed. There will be no formal response to the SEC’s vote until the primates have met.”

And from this source, additional material:

Some Questions and Answers

Q: What does the change in canon law mean?
A: It removes the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Q: When will the changes come into force?
A: The changes come into force 40 days after the end of General Synod – in late July.

Q: Who will be affected?
A: This applies only to marriage within the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Church of Scotland – which is a separate entity – is also considering changing its laws on marriage but has not done so yet.

Q: What about the rest of the UK?
A: The Church of England, the Church in Wales and the Church of Ireland are the other Anglican churches within the UK. The canon law on marriage in all three is unchanged: none is able by [canon] law to marry couples of the same sex and their teaching is the same as before.

Q: Will any measures be taken against the Scottish Episcopal Church now?
A: The primates’ meeting in Canterbury in October will consider how the Anglican Communion should respond. No action will be taken before then.

Q: Isn’t this is a further sign that the Anglican Communion is bound to split?
A: There is a very strong desire within the Communion to remain together – there is so much that we hold in common. The Task Group, which was set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury last year, is dedicated to maintaining conversation between us and restoring relationships and trust where they have been damaged. That work will continue.

Q: What do you think of Gafcon’s plan to appoint a missionary bishop for Scotland
A: We note the planned appointment. We will not be commenting on it at this stage.

Update
The Primus has responded to the ACO statement: Unity in diversity

In response to a statement from Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion (which can be read here), The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says:

“The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has issued a statement commenting on Thursday’s decision by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to amend its Canons to permit same-sex marriage. The statement recognises that the Provinces of the Anglican Communion can each take these decisions within their own life. But I think it is important that I should comment on some other aspects of what the statement says and their implications for the continuing life of the Anglican Communion.

“The classic understanding of the position of Provinces of the Anglican Communion is that they do indeed have autonomy. But that autonomy is exercised in tension with a balancing sensitivity to the interdependence of provinces within the Communion. We, in common with other provinces, did not feel that the Anglican Covenant could successfully meet this need. The statement implies that the Primates’ Meeting will now fulfil this role. But such a role is not within their remit or authority. For the Primates’ Meeting was called together originally by Archbishop Coggan for ‘leisurely thought, deep prayer and consultation’.

“Archbishop Josiah, who leads the Anglican Communion Secretariat, speaks of the ‘majority stance’ of the Communion. We are deeply aware that yesterday’s vote puts us at one end of a spectrum in the Communion. But many other provinces are in their own way and in their own time considering a variety of responses to issues of human sexuality. The Communion expresses a growing spectrum of diversity. In that context, reference to a ‘majority stance’ seems misplaced. It is part of the genius of the Anglican way that we express unity in diversity – as we have tried to do this week in Scotland.

“We of course also respect Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998. But it cannot be elevated into a binding statement of Communion policy. Lambeth Conference resolutions do not have that force. The view of marriage set out in Resolution 1.10 was passionately expressed in our Synod’s debate on Thursday. It is one of the views of marriage which we uphold and carry forward in our diversity.

“The Scottish Episcopal Church carries in its heart a deep commitment to the Anglican Communion. We have been enriched by our Communion membership and we have in return made a significant contribution to its life. I understand that some will feel that the decision which we have taken stresses the life of the Communion. The question is how best the unity of the Communion can be sustained. We look forward to being part of measured discussion within the Communion about how that can be achieved.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 8 June 2017 at 5:19pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 25 May 2017

General Synod timetable - July 2017

Updated 2 July to incorporate revised tiemtable

The Church of England’s General Synod will meet in York from Friday July 7 until Monday July 11. The outline timetable is available here, and is copied below. The full agenda will be published with the first release of papers on Friday June 16.

revised timetable

GENERAL SYNOD: JULY 2017
Timetable

Friday 7 July
2.30 pm - 7.00 pm
2.30 pm Opening worship
Introduction and welcomes
Response on behalf of ecumenical guests
3.15 pm Report by the Business Committee
3.45 pm Debate on a motion from the Archbishops “After the General Election, a still small voice of calm”
4.45 pm Legislative Business Amending Canon No. 36 – Final Drafting
5.05 pm Approval of appointment to the Archbishops’ Council
5.25 pm Church Commissioners Annual Report - Presentation under Standing Order 107 followed by Q&A
*6.00 pm Questions
7.00 pm Close of business
Worship

Saturday 8 July
7.30 am Holy Communion in the Berrick Saul Theatre
8.15 am House of Bishops meeting to approve the final form of Amending Canons Nos. 36 and 37

9.00 am - 12.30 pm
9.00 am Morning worship
9.15 am Presentation from the House of Bishops on the Proposals for the Pastoral Advisory Group on Human Sexuality and the development of the Teaching Document - Presentation under S.O. 107 followed by Q&A
10.15 am Report from the Mission and Public Affairs Council on the Presence and Engagement Interfaith programme
*11.00 Legislative Business Legislative Reform Measure - Final Drafting / Final Approval
11.45 Legislative Business Statute Law (Repeals) Measure – Final Drafting/Final Approval
12.00 Legislative Business Pensions (Pre-consolidation) Measure – Final Drafting / Final Approval
*12.10 Introductory Session: National Support for Local Churches - Presentation under Standing Order 107

12.30 pm - 2.30 pm
Lunch

Synod members meet in groups from 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm
2.30 pm Workshops on Forms of National Support for Local Churches

4.30 pm - 7.00 pm
4.30 pm Report from the Archbishops’ Council on National Support for Local Churches
5.45 pm Private Member’s Motion - Conversion Therapy
7.00 pm Close of business
Worship

8.30 pm Meeting of the House of Laity

Sunday 9 July

10.00 am Holy Communion in York Minster

2.30 pm – 7.00 pm
2.30 pm Diocesan Synod Motion - Welcoming Transgender People
3.45 pm Interim Report on the Review of the Crown Nominations Commission - Presentation under S.O. 107 followed by Q&A
4.30 pm Report from the House of Clergy on a Covenant for Clergy Wellbeing
5.45 pm
EITHER
Meetings of the House of Laity and Convocations from 5.45-7.00 pm [including evening worship]
OR
Private Member’s Motion - Schools Admissions Code
7.00 pm Close of business
Worship

Monday 10 July
9.00 am – 12.30 pm
9.00 am Morning worship
9.15 am Diocesan Synod Motion - Cost of Applying for Citizenship
10.30 am Report from the Elections Review Group
10.50 am Presentation from the Elections Review Group Presentation under S.O. 107 followed by Q&A
11.50 pm Legislative Business (ctd …) Amending Canon No. 36 – Final Approval

12.30 pm – 2.30 pm
Lunch

2.30 pm – 5.00 pm
2.30 pm Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report 2016 - Presentation under S.O. 106 followed by Q&A
3.00 pm Archbishops’ Council’s Budget for 2018
4.00 pm Amending Canon No. 37 - Final Approval
*4.30 pm Farewells
*5.00 pm Prorogation

Contingency Business
Private Members’ Motion: Schools Admission Code
Diocesan Synod Motion: Food wastage

Deemed Items
The Archbishops’ Council Audit Committee Annual Report
Report from the Standing Orders Committee on the amendments to the Standing Orders required in connection with the Legislative Reform Measure and other matters
Miscellaneous Provisions Measure
Payments to the CCT Order
Fees Orders

* not later than
Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 25 May 2017 at 2:01pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Report from May House of Bishops

The English House of Bishops has issued this brief summary of their meeting held this week.

Report from May House of Bishops
24 May 2017

The House of Bishops met at Bishopthorpe Palace on 22-23 May; on the Tuesday morning prayers were said for all those affected by the Manchester bombing.

Bishops in the House of Lords (Lords Spiritual) met ahead of the full meeting to look at the parliamentary term ahead, particularly in light of the General Election.

A new approach to delegation, new outline proposals for selection for ministry and draft bishops’ guidelines on ordination training were all discussed and approved. The House also agreed that the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) could publish a document from the Joint Working Group with the Methodist Church to allow both churches to discuss it further over the coming year.

The House discussed next steps on human sexuality. This included progress on work, announced by the Archbishops after February’s General Synod, to establish a group to produce a Teaching Document and to set up a Pastoral Advisory Group. The meeting also looked at safeguarding policy and a FAOC theology paper on this area, along with a discussion on the work of the National Safeguarding Steering Group.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at 8:25am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Church Commissioners publish results for 2016

The Church Commissioners for England announced today publication of their 2016 financial results and annual report. Their press release is copied below the fold.

You can download the 2016 report here. There are also reports for earlier years and an annual review focussing on some of the projects they have funded and supported over the past 12 months.

Press reports

Simon Goodley The Guardian Church of England made stunning 17% return on investments in 2016

BBC News Church of England fund sees ‘stellar’ returns

John Plender Financial Times Church of England delivers divine returns

Peter Smith Financial Times Church of England fund becomes top world performer

Church Commissioners for England announce total return of 17.1% on investments for 2016
21 May 2017
The Church Commissioners for England announced today publication of their 2016 financial results and annual report.

The Church Commissioners’ total return on its investments in 2016 was 17.1%, compared with the previous year’s return of 8.2%. Over the past 30 years the fund has achieved an average return of 9.6% per annum.

In 2016 disbursements by the Commissioners totalled £230.7 million, accounting for approximately 15% of the Church’s overall mission and ministry costs. This represents an increase in church expenditure of 5.6% from the previous year.

The Church Commissioners’ 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.

First Church Estates Commissioner Sir Andreas Whittam Smith congratulated the fund on exceeding its investment target of the rate of inflation plus five percentage points.

“We were well ahead of our return target in 2016. In 2016, the fund returned 17.1% whereas inflation plus five percentage points was 7.5%.

“Contributing to this stellar outturn was a strong showing by global equities (+32.9%), partly reflecting the depreciation of sterling. Equally helpful were our interests in private credit strategies (+33.1%), private equity (+26.1%) and timberland (+24.3%). The combined property portfolios delivered a creditable 11.6% in a relatively weak market environment.

“Consistency has truly been a guiding principle for the fund. Our historic performance over a 30 year period shows annual growth of 9.6% per annum, despite periods of turbulence in the financial markets and our own portfolio, an average of 6.0% per annum ahead of inflation.”

Andrew Brown, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Church Commissioners, said:

“In 2016 we contributed £230.7m to the mission of the Church of England. This represents an increase on the previous year of 5.6%.

“While this is only around 15% of the Church’s overall income - most funding comes from the extraordinary generosity of parishioners - we are delighted to be able to play our part.

“Whether funding city centre churches, community projects in low income areas or research programmes to examine how the church can grow, these returns make a tangible difference to the lives of thousands across the country”

Investment highlights

Notable performance was delivered in global equities, timber and indirect property.

Exposure in the equities portfolio was reduced by 17.3%, divesting £500m and reinvesting to rebalance the portfolio.

The private equity portfolio, which invests in unlisted companies, achieved a total return of 26.1% in 2016.

The fixed interest portfolio including investments in global high yield bonds, emerging market debt and structured credit, returned 16.4% in 2016 as credit markets rallied due to continued economic growth and improvements in corporate earnings.

The private credit portfolio, started in 2012 increased allocations in 2016 generating a combined return of 30.9% in 2016.

The property portfolio delivered a strong performance in 2016, providing a total return of 11.6%. This includes a high-quality portfolio in global timberland markets, built over the last five years totalling over £360m.

The Commissioners’ forestry estate covers 120,000 acres in the UK, the US and Australia with the timberland and forestry portfolio delivering a return of 24.3%.

Responsible Investment, Impact Investing and Engagement

In 2016 the Commissioners made their first qualifying impact investments including a $40m commitment to Equilibrium Capital Management’s Waste Water Opportunity Fund which develops anaerobic digestions facilities. Equilibrium estimate that the investment will prevent the emission of over 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

Also during 2016 the Church Commissioners established an Engagement department jointly with the Church of England Pensions Board. The team focussed on three areas of intervention at AGMs: executive remuneration, climate change and board diversity.

During 2016, the Commissioners continued to vote against the majority of remuneration reports and publicly called upon company remuneration committees to better exercise their judgement on executive pay.

On climate change the Commissioners were instrumental in filing climate disclosure resolutions at Anglo American, Glencore and RioTinto. These were supported by the Boards of the companies and received overwhelming shareholder support.

A shareholder resolution was also jointly filed with the New York State Common Retirement Fund at ExxonMobil, seeking further disclosure on climate change.

During 2016, the Commissioners voted ‘against’ the Chairs of Nomination Committees in instances when female representation was below 25% of the board.

The Transition Pathway Initiative, an asset owner led initiative supported by asset owners and managers with over £2trillion of assets was spearheaded by the Church of England’s national investing bodies including the Church Commissioners for England, in partnership with the UK Environment Agency Pension Fund. Formed in 2016 and launched earlier this year, the initiative assesses how companies are preparing for the transition to a low carbon economy through a public and transparent online tool.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The annual report and annual review can be downloaded here.

About the Church Commissioners for England

The Church Commissioners manage investable assets of some £7.9bn, mainly held in a diversified portfolio including equities, real estate and alternative investment strategies. The Commissioners’ work today supports the Church of England as a Christian presence in every community.

The annual objectives of the Church Commissioners include:

A return on investments of RPI +5%

Supporting ministry costs in dioceses with fewer resources

Providing funds to support mission activities

Paying for bishops’ ministry and some cathedral costs

Administering the legal framework for pastoral reorganisation and settling the future of closed church buildings

Paying clergy pensions for service prior to 1998

Running the national payroll for serving and retired clergy

Accounting change

Under the Pensions Measure 1997 the Commissioners are responsible for paying the pensions for clergy service prior to 1998. In prior years it disclosed the liability in a note to the accounts, but did not bring that liability onto the face of the Balance Sheet as it was following accounting guidance applicable to pension schemes (who are not required to recognise such liabilities). This approach was taken due to the significance of pension activities to the Commissioners as a whole. In 2016 this approach was reviewed and, in light of the Commissioners’ broader charitable activities, management determined that a provision for the pension liability should now be recognised in the financial statements through a prior period adjustment. This accounting adjustment has no impact on the Commissioners’ long term distribution plans.

At the end of 2016 the liability is estimated by independent actuaries at £1.8bn (end 2015 - £1.7bn). With £7.9bn of investable assets this results in a value of the fund (net of the pension provision) of £6.1bn (2015 - £5.3bn).

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 21 May 2017 at 7:48pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

More comments following the Jesmond consecration

Adrian Hilton has written at Archbishop Cranmer that Justin Welby is not a heretic, he’s a very faithful Anglican.

This is a detailed rebuttal of claims made by Bishop Martin Morrison of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (who presided over the irregular consecration of Jonathan Pryke as bishop in Jesmond on 2nd May). I recommend reading all of it.

Paul Williams Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham writes Gospel unity in uncertain times.

…Recent events here in England have, once again, illustrated the scale of that challenge. In one parish a clergyman (holding a licence from the Bishop of Newcastle) has, we are told, been consecrated as a bishop outside of the structures and pattern of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. The rights and wrongs of that decision will no doubt occupy much debate online and elsewhere and it is important to acknowledge that the Church of England, like churches across the world, is facing challenges – and this is certainly not the first time in our history that we have faced a move such as this.

But it is time now to draw a line in the sand and ask whether unilateral actions such as this will help the cause of the gospel in our nation. I have no doubt that this is the motive behind the recent irregular ordination of a bishop, however, I believe we live at a time of extraordinary opportunity for the Church of England and therefore this is no time to be distracted by further fragmentation….

Lee Gatiss at Church Society has published Topical Tuesday: A Call to Steadfastness

…The vast majority of Conservative evangelicals in the Church of England are not about to go anywhere, or do anything wild. They are united around the agenda of staying in and fighting on, for the glory of God and the good of England. Yes, a very small number are in AMiE (though they have ambitious plans for growth, with which we wish them well and for which we pray); and one perplexingly idiosyncratic church has gone a bit rogue by making its curate into a bishop. They get all the headlines, while the Church Society approach continues to be the main game, supported by the Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas; by those who speak for us in GAFCON meetings such as our President, Wallace Benn; by the next generation of ministers in our Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference; and by many others in churches up and down the country who are thinking every week not about the latest political game or ecclesiastical twitterstorm, but about using the still vast opportunities given to us within the Church of England for reaching out, building up, and sending people into the harvest field. So today, we in Church Society reaffirm our commitment to working within the structures of the Church of England, for reform and renewal, and the re-evangelisation of our spiritually needy land…

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Jesmond: new style bishops explained

Updated Monday evening

Jesmond Parish Church has written a Q and A document about its reasons for the episcopal consecration. This was handed out in church this morning. The full text is copied below the fold.

Today’s Sunday programme on BBC Radio carried an interview with David Holloway, and this was followed by a discussion in which the participants were Gavin Ashenden and Ian Paul. You can hear that by following this link and going forward 32 minutes. The BBC headlines the item as ‘Breakaway Anglican Church’.

Update
Christian Today reports that:

A spokeswoman for John Sentamu told Christian Today: ‘The Archbishop of York has been informed by the Bishop of Newcastle that a minister who holds her licence in that diocese has been made bishop in a ceremony held under the auspices of an overseas Church.

‘All clergy of the Church of England are bound by Canon Law, which forms part of the law of the land.

‘Whilst the facts of the matter are being investigated it is not possible to say how what has happened relates to Canon Law so it would not be appropriate at this point to offer further comment.’

Consecration of New Style Bishops – Q & A

What can we achieve through new style bishops?
The growth of the Church because one of their key roles is to ordain (that is, to authorise and appoint) new ministers who will provide the next generation of ministry in both existing churches and new church plants.

Why are they needed?
Because in the confused Church of today such bishops need to be faithful to 1) the biblical miracles of the virginal conception of Jesus and his Resurrection and empty tomb; 2) the biblical ethic that sex should be reserved for lifelong heterosexual monogamous marriage; and 3) the biblical principle that means bishops should be male – all issues in the North East in recent years. So bishops Martin Morrison and John Ellison have helped churches like Jesmond Parish Church, St Oswald’s Walkergate, Christ Church Durham, Holy Trinity Gateshead, St Joseph’s Benwell, and other churches when needed. But they cannot go on for ever!

How will the Church of England grow?
By new English bishops working to a new style of being bishops – that is working primarily to establish new churches. Martin Morrison provides such a model: he continues in his local church, while exercising a wider role to establish new churches and provide external accountability.

How will the Church of England benefit?
The aim is not to create a new denomination. No! This is one small but necessary step on behalf of faithful Church of England ministers and congregations nationwide in our mission to the nation. This is not a step of ‘leaving the Church of England’. It is the theologically liberal bishops and clergy that have ‘left the Church of England’ doctrinally. This is a step to preserve the Church of England’s heritage and mission which we have received.

Could we not have carried on just as we are?
No! We need new style English bishops here ‘on the ground’ to plan for and enable the urgent spread of the gospel nationwide – especially through church planting. And ‘carrying on as we are’ would almost certainly mean biblically faithful ministers finding it increasingly difficult to be ordained and deployed by the current system, as people are ‘filtered out’ according to their views on homosexual practice and the ordination of women.

Will it produce more clergy and growing churches?
Yes, with prayer! For it requires, fundamentally, the ordination and deployment of new ministers who are biblically faithful – which the current system, sadly, can hinder. And we hope that some of those ministers will move into existing Church of England posts as well as new church plants, to contribute to the recovery of the gospel and to further the ministry of men and women for church growth.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 May 2017 at 5:56pm BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Jesmond's episcopal consecration: more links

Updated Saturday evening

The Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of S.A. has issued this Statement on the Jesmond Consecration.

The Anglican Church League has issued this statement: The Jesmond Consecration and Mark Thompson of _Moore Theological College in Sydney has written thjs about The Jesmond Consecration.

Andy Walton has written: Why now? The deeply strange timing of the renegade conservative Anglicans.

Ian Paul wrote: Should evangelicals be embarrassed by Newcastle?

Philip Jones writes about A Rogue Bishop. He thinks that the Monarch has to be involved to create a bishop in England.

The local newspaper the Newcastle Chronicle has a report: Newcastle priest could start split in Church of England over issue of homosexuality.

Harry Farley reports that: Justin Welby is a heretic, say breakaway conservative Anglicans.

Update
Andrew Goddard has published a detailed analysis of this event, which is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand what has being going on. Strongly recommended. “Order! Order!”: Reflections on The Jesmond Consecration.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 13 May 2017 at 12:38pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Conservative evangelical plans for a rival structure

Updated again Saturday

Harry Farley reports in Christian Today on a document, discussed at a recent conservative evangelical conference, that he describes as containing “extensive plans by conservative evangelicals to form a rival Anglican structure to the Church of England in the UK”.

Read his full report here: Blueprint for Church schism revealed as conservative Christian leaders plot separate Anglican structure. He quotes extensively from the document, which is titled Credible Bishops.

The Conference website is here. The About Us page describes the organisers:

We are a conference organised by Anglican Mission in England, Church Society, and Reform. The conference is chaired by William Taylor, rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate in London. The planning committee comprises William Taylor, Mark Burkill, Susie Leafe, Lee McMunn, Brian O’ Donoghue, Lee Gatiss and Richard Farr.

Updates
The full text of the Credible Bishops document is available as a PDF here.

The conference has now issued this statement:

‘Credible Bishops’ paper: A Statement from ReNew, Friday 12 May 2017

Reference has been made in newspapers and on social media this week to ‘Credible Bishops’, a discussion document produced for the 2016 ReNew Conference. ReNew’s goal is to pioneer, establish, and secure healthy local Anglican churches across the length and breadth of England, and this document was designed to stimulate debate at last September’s conference.

Recent events, and discussions at General Synod, have served to reduce confidence in the structures of the Church of England.

There should be little surprise that Anglican Evangelicals in England are desirous of orthodox episcopal oversight. They are eager to remain in the strongest possible fellowship with those in the Church of England and in the vast majority of global Anglicanism, who are faithful in theology and practice to our historic formularies.

Such oversight may emerge in different ways for the benefit of the many churches and separate organisations associated with ReNew.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 4:30pm BST | Comments (67) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

More about Jesmond's episcopal consecration

The original Church Times report has been updated: Vicar of Jesmond warns against trying to discipline curate ordained bishop by breakaway Church.

It now reports that the Diocese of Newcastle has made a public statement. Here’s what it says:

The Bishop of Newcastle is aware that a minister holding her licence to a parish within the Diocese has taken part in a service of consecration as a bishop under the auspices of an overseas church.

It is the clearly established law of the land that no one can exercise ministry in the Church of England without either holding office or having the permission of the diocesan bishop.

It is also the case that no overseas bishop may exercise episcopal functions within the Church of England without the express permission of the Archbishop of the province and a commission from the Bishop of the diocese in which they wish to minister.

In this case neither has been sought.

The Archbishop of York is being kept informed.

The Church Times goes on to report:

The Vicar of Jesmond Parish Church, the Revd David Holloway, responded to the diocesan statement on Tuesday afternoon with the comment that it was “quite wrong”, owing to the diocese’s failure, in his view, to study the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 properly.

He also stated that the Clergy Discipline Measure did not apply, since “matters involving doctrine, ritual or ceremonial” were not covered by it, and the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963 had been declared by a C of E working party not to command “the necessary confidence of the Church”.

If it were to be used, he said, it would “be utter folly and invite a range of reciprocal heresy trials”.

Earlier, Law & Religion UK published this note: Church of England: confusion over episcopal consecration in Newcastle. This contains a number of useful links to background documents.

And Christian Today has Church of England issues warning against conservative minister consecrated as rebel bishop.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 6:00pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Jesmond Parish Church issues press release

Jesmond Parish Church has issued this press release:

On St Athanasius’ Day, 2 May 2017, Jonathan Pryke, the senior minister, under its vicar, of Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, was consecrated a “bishop in the Church of God”. This was by the Presiding Bishop of REACH SA (the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa), formerly known as CESA (the Church of England in South Africa) and whose orders of bishop, priest/presbyter and deacon are recognized by the Church of England. But like the new ACNA (the Anglican Church in North America) whose orders are also recognized, it is not in communion with the Church of England. Officially the Church of England is in Communion with the heterodox ACSA (the Anglican Church of South Africa), and with the heterodox TEC (The Episcopal Church [of America]). But, in practice, many orthodox English and Global Anglicans are in communion with both REACH SA and ACNA.

The service took place neither in a Church of England “place of worship” nor an unconsecrated place of worship designated under s.43 of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011. It did not take place in Jesmond Parish Church. The ceremony was according to the REACH SA consecration Holy Communion service with only REACH SA bishops taking part. The declaration, however, was to the Church of England’s Canon A5 which says:

“The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the 39 Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.”

The oath was of “all due reverence and obedience” not to the Presiding Bishop of REACH SA but to “bishops and other chief ministers” under whom Jonathan is set. So he has a dispersed responsibility and duty: in things temporal to the Bishop of Newcastle, with whom, sadly, in things spiritual, Jesmond Parish Church along with other churches in the diocese are in impaired communion; in terms of Jesmond Parish Church, to the vicar of Jesmond and where there is united agreement, to the Jesmond PCC; and, pastorally, to one of the participating REACH SA bishops. This bishop particularly understands the English situation and does not want to see bishops “parachuted in” to form a new “orthodox church” or “province”. He sees the role of REACH SA simply as helping English people have the courage to take responsibility for reforming the Church of England to be in line with Canon A5, to evangelize and to see growth. This consecration took place after considerable discussion and encouragement from leaders in the Church of England, and with the Presiding Bishop of REACH SA convinced it right to proceed after discussion with the Secretary of GAFCON.

There is a very lengthy section entitled Information for Editors which can be read by following the link above and scrolliing down.

Another copy formatted as a PDF is now available here. I recommend reading it carefully in full.

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Monday, 8 May 2017

Conservatives consecrate their own bishop in Newcastle

Updated again Tuesday lunchtime

George Conger has reported at Anglican Ink that a Church of England clergyman has been consecrated a bishop by persons as yet unamed, acting on behalf of the “Church of England in South Africa”, a body whose website says that the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) is now the “official operating name” of CESA.

George’s report: Missionary bishop for Britain consecrated at Jesmond and is copied in full below the fold.

The clergyman is Jonathan Pryke of Jesmond Parish Church. His Crockford entry reads:

Curate, Jesmond (Clayton Memorial Church)

Born: 1959

Ordained Deacon: 1985
Ordained Priest: 1986

Education
Trinity College Cambridge BA 1980
Trinity College Cambridge MA 1985

Ordination Training
Trinity College Bristol BD 1985

Ministry
Curate, CORBY (St Columba and the Northern Saints) Peterborough 1985-1988
Curate, JESMOND (Clayton Memorial Church) Newcastle from 1988

The Church Times has this report by Tim Wyatt: Jesmond curate’s breakaway consecration surprises both diocese and conservative Evangelicals

THE authorities in Newcastle diocese still seem to be in the dark after an assistant curate of a conservative Evangelical parish church in the diocese was reportedly consecrated bishop through the action of a breakaway Church in South Africa.

The curate, the Revd Jonathan Pryke, has served at Jesmond Parish Church since 1988. He was consecrated by bishops from the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) at a service in Newcastle earlier this month, several sources told the Church Times.

But a spokesman for the diocese simply said today: “The Bishop of Newcastle is aware of reports concerning this matter and is seeking clarification.”

The Church Times has repeatedly attempted to contact both Bishop Pryke and his Vicar, the Revd David Holloway, but neither has responded…

This AMiE Statement in response to the consecration of Jonathan Pryke has also been published:

The AMiE Executive Committee recently requested that the GAFCON Primates support the consecration of a Missionary Bishop. We were overjoyed when they agreed to do this for the sake of gospel growth.

We can confirm that the consecration of the Revd Jonathan Pryke was a gospel decision taken independently of AMiE. His consecration was never discussed at our Executive meetings.

Jonathan is a valued member of the AMiE Exec and we are thankful to God for his abundant gifts and wisdom. We will be praying for him in this new season of his ministry.

This statement has been issued by GAFCON UK: Statement on the consecration at Jesmond Parish Church

8th May 2017

Gafcon UK are aware that Jesmond Parish Church have for some years been in a form of impaired communion with the Bishop of Newcastle, and have developed a special relationship with REACH-SA (formerly CESA).

Over the past few years, several clergy have been ordained by REACH Bishops to serve in the Jesmond church network and in one other part of England.

The leadership of Jesmond church have for some time been speaking publicly about the need for new missionary Bishops in Western nations who can oversee new Anglican ministries in the Celtic model. The reasoning can be found in the statement from the 2017 Jesmond Conference, here.

Gafcon UK have been informed of the latest developments but cannot comment further at this stage.

Text of Anglican Ink original article:
Missionary bishop for Britain consecrated at Jesmond
A missionary bishop has been consecrated for evangelical Anglicans seeking a reformation for the reformed catholic faith in England. Participants in the 2 May 2017 consecration of the Rev. Jonathan Pryke at Jesmond Parish Church in the Diocese of Newcastle by bishops of the Church of England in South Africa (CESA) hope their ceremony will see a renewal and rebirth of the faith in England.

However, critics within the conservative movement warn this may be the start of the fracturing of the traditionalist coalition in the Church of England, with each faction opposed to the recent innovations of doctrine and discipline forging their own way forward.

Sources close to the participants in the ceremony state the decision to consecrate Bishop Pryke (pictured) was taken against the counsel of GAFCON-UK. At their meeting in Lagos last month, the GAFCON primates called for the consecration of a bishop to support members of the Scottish Episcopal Church who could not continue in that denomination should it enact legislation permitting same-sex marriage this summer, and for Anglicans alienated from their bishops in England over doctrine and discipline.

However the Jesmond consecration was not what GAFCON had in mind, its general secretary Archbishop Peter Jensen told Anglican Ink. “This is not exactly parallel to the GAFCON initiative, and indeed is entirely independent of it. But it does show, I think, that the situation in England is becoming very difficult for those who want to hold the traditional and biblical view,” he said.

Details of the Tuesday consecration have not been made public, and it is not known at this time the names of the bishops who participated in the ceremony and what Bishop Pryke’s brief will be. A request for comments directed to the Rev. David Holloway, vicar of Jesmond, the Church of England’s national press office, and the Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt. Rev. Rod Thomas, have not yet been answered.

However, a paper released at the close of the 27-28 Feb 2017 Jesmond Conference explains the thinking behind the consecration, AI has learned.

The Jesmond Statement argued the identity of the Church of England was not in its buildings, synods, or clergy. The identity of the Church was:

“[G]iven in the judgment of an Employment Tribunal in 2011 when a disaffected clergyman was taking his Bishop and Diocese to Court. The judge, however, ruled: “The Church of England has no legal personality … the title ‘Church of England’ denotes an amalgam of what sometimes seemed an infinite number of bodies with no precise or clear picture … of how the various jigsaw parts interact … the ultimate authority to restructure lies with the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, subject to the Westminster Parliament” (so the Synod is an ultimate body for restructuring but not for revising doctrine or ethics). And this judgment, after a reversing appeal by the clergyman, was upheld after a diocesan final appeal by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
That judgment helps us define the ultimate identity of the Church of England, which is not in its structure, nor even in its ordained ministers. For as the doctrine of the Church determines the authority of the bishops and clergy, we have to go to The Church of England (Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974 for the defining doctrine of the Church of England. It is there in these words: “The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.”
Those also are the words of Canon A5. And it is those words that give you the Christian faith according to the Catholic Western English Reformed tradition. And that is the established faith of this nation and defines the Church of England doctrinally. We consider that that faith needs to be recovered by a new Reformation.

The bishops of the Church of England had failed in their mandate to safeguard and promote the faith. The statement noted: “because the bishops have for so long accepted the defiance of the Church’s teaching and rendered the Church pluralistic, they no longer see their function as leading the Church towards its identifying and agreed agenda,” as set down in its canons.

The leadership of the Church of England’s bishops “has been reduced not to leading the Church to what the Church universal judges to be its common good, but to the desire for ‘good disagreement’. And that, theologically, is between good and evil goals and objectives, with the aim being for the proponents of those divergent goals and objectives ‘to walk together’. That, of course, may be possible in the world, but quite forbidden in the Church,” the statement said.

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Saturday, 6 May 2017

General Election 2017: "Archbishops highlight the place of faith in British life"

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a pastoral letter to the parishes and chaplaincies of the Church of England as a contribution to next month’s general election in the UK. The full pastoral letter can be read here (pdf) and here (webpage), and there is a press release (copied below the fold).

Press reports

BBC News Archbishops of Canterbury and York voice election concerns
ITV News Archbishops of Canterbury and York raise election concerns in letter
Harry Farley Christian Today Archbishops: Religion must be central in general election to avoid extremism
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England urges voters to ‘set aside apathy’ in general election
Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Don’t ‘exploit’ the faith of political opponents, say Archbishops

Press release

General Election 2017: Archbishops highlight the place of faith in British life
06 May 2017

Faith has a central role to play in politics and this general election, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York say today.

In a pastoral letter to the parishes and chaplaincies of the Church of England, Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu urge people to set aside “apathy and cynicism” and draw new inspiration from the ancient Christian virtues of “love, trust and hope”.

The three-page letter, intended to be shared in churches from this Sunday onward, encourages voters to remember Britain’s Christian history and heritage as well as a concern for future generations and God’s creation as they make their decisions.

Following divisions of recent years, it calls for reconciliation drawing on shared British values based on cohesion, courage and stability.

It upholds marriage, family and households as the building blocks of society which should be “nurtured and supported” as a “blessing”.

At a time when political differences may be felt more intensely than ever, the Archbishops insist that Christians’ “first obligation” during the election and beyond is to pray for those standing for office and recognise the personal costs and burdens carried by those in political life and by their families.

But Christians also have a duty to play an active part in the process, they add.

The letter also calls for space for faith in political debate and says politicians must be free to speak openly about their own beliefs and convictions and treated fairly for doing so.

“This election is being contested against the backdrop of deep and profound questions of identity,” they say.

“Opportunities to renew and reimagine our shared values as a country and a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland only come around every few generations.
“We are in such a time.

“Our Christian heritage, our current choices and our obligations to future generations and to God’s world will all play a shaping role.

“If our shared British values are to carry the weight of where we now stand and the challenges ahead of us, they must have at their core cohesion, courage and stability.”

The Archbishops highlight major concerns over poverty, housing and the dangers of “crushing” debt among other issues.

They call for a generous and hospitable welcome to refugees and migrants but also warn against being “deaf to the legitimate concerns” about the scale of migration into some communities.

They also single out the importance of standing up for those suffering persecution on grounds of faith around the world.

Faith, they argue, has a unique role to play in preventing extremism and religiously motivated violence.
“Contemporary politics needs to re-evaluate the importance of religious belief,” they insist.

“The assumptions of secularism are not a reliable guide to the way the world works, nor will they enable us to understand the place of faith in other people’s lives.

“Parishes and Chaplaincies of the Church of England serve people of all faiths and none.

“Their contribution and that of other denominations and faiths to the well-being of the nation is immense - schools, food banks, social support, childcare among many others - and is freely offered. But the role of faith in society is not just measured in terms of service delivery.

“The new Parliament, if it is to take religious freedom seriously, must treat as an essential task the improvement of religious literacy.”

They add: “Political responses to the problems of religiously-motivated violence and extremism, at home and overseas, must also recognise that solutions will not be found simply in further secularisation of the public realm.”

The full pastoral letter can be read here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 6 May 2017 at 11:20am BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Bishop of Sodor and Man: Peter Eagles

Updated Thursday afternoon

Press release from Number 10

Bishop of Sodor and Man: Peter Eagles

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published: 4 May 2017

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Peter Eagles for election as Bishop of Sodor and Man.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Peter Andrew Eagles QHC, BA, MTh, AKC, Deputy Chaplain-General HM Land Forces; Archdeacon for the Army, and Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, for election as Bishop of Sodor and Man in succession to the Right Reverend Robert Mar Erskine Paterson, MA, on his resignation on 11 November 2016.

Background

The Venerable Peter Eagles, aged 57, studied at the School of Slavonic; East European Studies and at King’s College, London, and at the Universities of Heidelberg and Oxford. He trained for the ordained ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford.

He served his title at St Martin’s, Ruislip in the Diocese of London from 1989 to 1992. Since1992 he has served as a Chaplain in the British Army, ministering to soldiers and families and the wider community in many locations in the United Kingdom and overseas, including military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been Archdeacon for the Army since 2011, Honorary Chaplain to the Queen since 2013, and Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral since 2015. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies.

Peter is married to Gail, whom he met in the parish in Ruislip and with whom he has since lived in 14 different places in 25 years, and they have a son who graduated in 2016 from Balliol College and now works for a publishing firm in Oxford.

His interests include European languages and literature (in which he maintains active academic study and research), cross-cultural learning and discussion, restoring a small ancient house, and playing baroque arias on the oboe.

The diocesan website has Bishop of Sodor and Man Announced.

Update

The diocesan website article includes A Personal Statement on Vocation, Episcopacy, and Mutual Flourishing by the bishop designate. It includes these two paragraphs:

My understanding and interpretation of matters of faith and order must now be set within the context of God’s call to lead this Diocese in mission at this time. I understand and believe that God has called me specifically to be the Bishop of Sodor & Man. Among other things, this clearly requires me to ensure the concept of Mutual Flourishing as outlined in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (GS Misc 1076) of 2014 and the accompanying Five Guiding Principles, and to do so in a diocese in which there is no other resident bishop.

Therefore, as the sole bishop in this diocese (and consistent with Paragraph 11 of the Declaration), and trusting in the grace of God to sustain the increasing number of vocations, I will ordain all who are called to be deacons and priests. The Church of England is committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all while ensuring that those who cannot receive the ministry of women priests or bishops are able to flourish, and petitioning parishes within the Diocese of Sodor & Man will of course be able to request the ministry of the Bishop of Beverley or the Bishop of Maidstone. I am entirely supportive of this Declaration, which enables women to exercise a full ministry as priests and bishops. The Declaration also allows for a traditionalist who does not ordain women to the priesthood to be a diocesan bishop in any diocese where there is a suffragan to ordain women as priests, and where the will of the diocese for such an appointment is reflected through the Crown Nominations Commission and the consultation process. We are therefore able to look forward to the continuing flourishing of understandings of faith and order which differ but which respect each other. Most of all, I look forward to leading the Church’s mission on the Isle of Man, and to building on the work of my predecessor Bishop Robert, of our Archdeacon and Dean, and of all who worship and minister on the Island.

Readers may want to particularly note the sentence: “I will ordain all who are called to be deacons and priests.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 4 May 2017 at 11:37am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 30 April 2017

GAFCON communiqué mentions missionary bishop

Updated again Tuesday evening

This communiqué from the GAFCON primates, meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, has been issued. Here’s an extract:

A Missionary Bishop
During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.

A Word of Encouragement to Faithful Anglicans within European Provinces
We wish to reassure all faithful Anglicans in European provinces that they also have our prayers and our support. We are aware that some Christians within these provinces who are contending for the faith may at first perceive the news of a missionary bishop as a threat to their hopes for reform from within.

We believe that the complexity of the current situation in Europe does not admit of a single solution. Faithful Christians may be called to different courses of action. We bless those whose context and conscience have led them to remain and contend for the faith within the current structures. If you are successful, you will not need a missionary bishop; if you are not successful, an alternative is at hand. The only true failure would be to waste time through inaction.

We also pray for those who are not yet clear about what faithfulness requires. May God give you the wisdom and courage of the Reformers to stand firm wherever the Lord calls you to stand…

GAFCON UK has issued this statement in response to the [GAFCON] Primates’ Communique. Again, here’s an extract:

… The Primates go on to talk about the challenges in the Global North, “the increasing influence of materialism, secularism, and the loss of moral foundations” which are “spiritually dangerous”. We recognize the need to repent of our participation in a weak version of the Christian faith which has too often failed to point out these dangers or even made accommodation with them.

This accommodation and ‘cultural captivity’ is seen in the failure by many Anglican leaders in the UK to hold to the key principles of Holy Scripture as speaking clearly to God’s will for human flourishing, and of requiring unequivocal obedience whatever the cost. It is shown, for example, in unwillingness to be clear about the uniqueness of Jesus and the authority of the Bible, and rejection of clear biblical teaching God’s gift of sex and marriage, and of celibate singleness.

This has contributed to the increasing concern that many faithful clergy and lay people in the Church of England, the Episcopal Church of Scotland and the Church in Wales feel about the revisionist trajectory of these churches. As the Communique points out clearly, some Anglicans are already outside of these structures and need Episcopal oversight; others may do so soon.

So we warmly welcome the decision of the Primates to consecrate a missionary Bishop who will fulfil this function. We appreciate the way GAFCON has recognized that this intervention is giving global support to one of a number of initiatives being taken by biblically orthodox Anglicans in Britain; others include the work being done to strengthen the Free Church of England. Meanwhile the Primates have generously expressed respect for and continued warm fellowship with those who for the moment are choosing to remain within the official structures and contend for orthodox biblical faith there, while warning that inaction in the face of revisionist pressure is not a faithful option.

We understand that more will be revealed about the plans for the consecration in due course. We commit ourselves to prayer about this and invite all who hold to the historic and trustworthy teaching of our faith to join us.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, David Chillingworth has responded, as follows:

“In June, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church will reach the final stage of consideration of changes which would make possible same-sex marriage in our churches. The news that GAFCON intends to send a missionary bishop to Britain is regrettable. The Anglican Communion functions as a global communion on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity of each province. This move is a breach of that understanding.

“The outcome of the synodical process which will take place in June is not a foregone conclusion. The voices of clergy and lay people from across Scotland will be heard both in debate and in the voting process. The Scottish Episcopal Church is working closely with those who find this proposal difficult to accept. Whatever the outcome may be, it is our intention to be and to remain a church which honours diversity.”

The former archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has been interviewed by Premier Radio. Read about the interview and listen to it in full here: ‘This isn’t an attempt to storm Lambeth Palace’: GAFCON not looking for split in Church.

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Religious exemptions in equality law: the role of the Church of England.

Paul Johnson and Robert M Vanderbeck have published a very lengthy article, entitled Sexual Orientation Equality and Religious Exceptionalism in the Law of the United Kingdom: The Role of the Church of England.

Here’s the abstract:

There is a growing literature that addresses the appropriateness and merits of including exceptions in law to accommodate faith-based objections to homosexuality. However, what has rarely been considered and, as a consequence, what is generally not understood, is how such religious exceptions come to exist in law. This article provides a detailed analysis of the contribution of the Church of England to ensuring the inclusion of religious exceptions in United Kingdom legislation designed to promote equality on the grounds of sexual orientation. The article adopts a case study approach that, following the life of one piece of anti-discrimination legislation, shows the approach of the Church of England in seeking to insert and shape religious exceptions in law. The analysis contributes to broader debates about the role of the Church of England in Parliament and the extent to which the United Kingdom, as a liberal democracy, should continue to accommodate the Church’s doctrine on homosexuality in statute law.

The full paper can be downloaded from here.

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Sunday, 23 April 2017

GAFCON threatens to plant a bishop in Britain

Updated again Wednesday morning

Jonathan Petre reports in the Mail on Sunday that African and Asian church leaders threaten to ‘plant’ a bishop in Britain to defy Welby on gay Christians:

Conservative Anglican archbishops from Africa and Asia are plotting to create a new ‘missionary’ bishop to lead traditionalists in the UK – after warning that the Church of England is becoming too liberal on homosexuality.

The rebel archbishops are set to give the green light to the controversial plan at a crucial meeting in Africa this week in defiance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Insiders said the move was the ‘nuclear option’ as it would represent a highly provocative intervention into the Church of England by foreign archbishops and a direct challenge to the authority of Archbishop Welby, who is nominal head of Anglicans worldwide…

Anglican Mainstream which has close ties to GAFCON reports that:

Anglican Mainstream understands from Gafcon UK that this article is only partially correct, and that Gafcon UK will be issuing a comment later.

We will update this article when the latter occurs.

The Church of Nigeria has this notice of the meeting.

Updates

GAFCON UK has issued the following clarification, according to Anglican Ink

“The situation in the UK is not uniform. Within England there is troubling ambiguity from diocese to diocese in their teaching and pastoral practice as it pertains to human sexuality and biblical church order. However, the situation in the Scottish Episcopal Church is of immediate concern. There has been a clear rejection of biblical truth by the Scottish Episcopal Church, and they are expected to finalise this rejection of Anglican teaching and apostolic order in the upcoming June meeting of their Synod. Alternative structures and oversight will need to be in place should that unfortunate reality come to pass. At their meeting this week, the Gafcon Primates will be considering a range of options for how to care for those who remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching on marriage.”

This page from GAFCON UK lists items from the Church of England that are troubling to GAFCON: Radical inclusion after Synod: a briefing (updated).

The Church Times has this report: GAFCON contemplates missionary bishop to support UK malcontents. It includes this quote from GAFCON UK:

…In a response clarifying a report in the Mail on Sunday, GAFCON UK, a conservative Evangelical grouping, said that some of the language in the report was misleading. GAFCON Primates were not “plotting” to create such a bishop: “This implies subterfuge and deceit, and that foreign church leaders plan to impose a solution on British Anglican churches, which is not the case.”

Discussions were taking place “in response to requests from Anglicans in the UK”.

The statement, provided by the Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream, on behalf of GAFCON UK, explained: “The GAFCON Primates recognise the existence in England, Scotland and Wales of faithful Anglicans who are already distanced from their local structures because of revisionist teaching and practice in the Church of England leadership, and they are ready to provide assistance. One option is to consecrate a missionary Bishop to give oversight if necessary.

“That the GAFCON Primates are considering consecrating a bishop with particular responsibility for these Islands is not a secret and should not come as a surprise. . . Many of the world’s senior Anglican leaders, including the Archbishops who lead the GAFCON movement, have for some time been concerned about the Church of England’s drift from orthodox, Biblical Christianity.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 23 April 2017 at 11:11pm BST | Comments (50) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Michael Perham

The Diocese of Gloucester has this morning announced that Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester between 2004 and 2014, died on the evening of Monday 17 April.

In the announcement, Bishop Michael’s successor as Bishop of Gloucester, Bishop Rachel Treweek writes:

It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that Bishop Michael died peacefully at home on Monday evening, April 17, following a special Easter weekend with all the family.

I last saw Bishop Michael on Tuesday 11 April during Holy Week. Not only was it good to share together in the Eucharist on that occasion but also to preside at the Chrism Eucharist on Maundy Thursday knowing that the Dean would then be taking Bishop Michael bread and wine from our service in Gloucester Cathedral with the love and prayers of the Diocese.

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Monday, 10 April 2017

Cathedrals Working Group

We reported here on the Bishop of Peterborough’s Visitation Charge to the Cathedral. In his charge the bishop urged “the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners, and the House of Bishops, to look at whether the current Cathedrals Measure is adequate, and to consider revising it”. In response to the bishop’s request, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today announced that they have set up a Cathedrals Working Group. Details are in this press release, which is copied below the fold.

Frank Cranmer of Law & Religion UK has posted here: Review of the governance of English Cathedrals.

The announcement was anticipated by Catherine Pepinster in yesterday’s Observer: Anglicans launch rescue bid as England’s finest cathedrals battle a financial crisis.

Ruth Gledhill writes today for Christian Today: Cathedrals in England to be given management overhaul after growing cash crisis problems.

Cathedrals Working Group
10 April 2017

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have set up a Cathedrals Working Group, CWG, in response to a request made by the Bishop of Peterborough in his January 2017 Visitation Charge on Peterborough Cathedral for a revision to be carried out of the adequacy of the current Cathedrals Measure.

The CWG will review aspects of cathedral management and governance and produce recommendations for the Archbishops on the implications of these responsibilities with regards to the current Cathedrals Measure. It will be chaired by the Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, the former Dean of Rochester Cathedral, and the Dean of York, Vivienne Faull, will be the vice chair.

The Working Group will look at a number of different areas of Cathedral governance, including training and development for cathedral deans and chapters, financial management issues, the procedure for Visitations, safeguarding matters, buildings and heritage and the role of Cathedrals in contributing to evangelism within their dioceses.

The Bishop of Stepney and the Dean of York said:

“Cathedrals contribute uniquely to the ecology of the Church of England, and we are a healthier, stronger church when they flourish. We are pleased to have this opportunity to review the structures that support their ministry, in order to enhance their role in church and society Cathedrals are one of the success stories of the Church of England, with rising numbers of worshippers. They are a vital part of our heritage and make an incalculable contribution to the life of the communities that they serve. This is an exciting opportunity for the Working Group to look at the different aspects of how Cathedrals work, and to ensure that the legislation and procedures they use are fit for purpose for their mission in the 21st century.”

The Group will report back initially to the Archbishops’ Council, Church Commissioners and House of Bishops in December 2017. Full membership and terms of reference for the Working Group may be found below.

Notes to Editors

Information about the current Cathedrals Measure, passed in 1999 and specifying how Cathedrals are governed, can be found here.

Terms of Reference

The Cathedrals Working Group has been established by the Archbishops in response to the request from the Bishop of Peterborough in his Visitation Charge “to look at whether the current Cathedrals Measure is adequate, and to consider revising it”.

The Working Group will therefore review the sufficiency of the Cathedrals Measure in relation to governance structures in cathedrals, with particular reference to:

Financial management
Major buildings projects
Safeguarding
Accountability, oversight and scrutiny

The Working Group will also review:

Leadership capacity, including training and development needs for Deans and Chapters
The relationship of cathedral governance structures to other key partners, especially the Diocesan Bishop, Diocese and Church Commissioners
The planning, execution, communication and implementation of Cathedral Visitations

The Working Group will report back initially to the Archbishops’ Council, Church Commissioners and House of Bishops in December 2017, with any recommendations for the revision of the Cathedrals Measure and any other relevant findings.

Membership

Chair: Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney

Vice-Chair: Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Dean of York

Mrs Julie Dziegel, member of General Synod (Oxford) and of the Archbishops’ Council Finance Committee
Andrew Holroyd OBE, Executive Chairman, Jackson Canter Solicitors, Lay Canon of Liverpool Cathedral
Carl Hughes, Global Leader, Energy & Resources, Deloitte Consulting
Richard Oldfield, Chairman, Oldfield Partners
Baroness Maeve Sherlock OBE
Jennie Page CBE, Former Vice Chair of the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England, Vice Chair, Church Buildings Council
Dr Fiona Spiers, former Regional Director for Yorkshire and Humber, Heritage Lottery Fund
Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Rt Revd Tim Stevens, former Bishop of Leicester

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 10 April 2017 at 2:40pm BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Next Bishop of Sheffield - news and reactions

Catherine Fox Close Encounters The Leaving of Liverpool

Tim Wyatt Church Times Dean of Liverpool named as the next Bishop of Sheffield

Robert Cumber The Star Sheffield’s next bishop vows to restore unity following row over women priests

… Dr Wilcox said: “I will be ordaining with great joy and delight both women and men as priests in the diocese but I will also be hugely supportive of Bishop Glyn (who opposes the ordination of women priests) and respect the traditional Catholic position.” …

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian No 10 names new bishop of Sheffield after row over previous appointee

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph New Bishop of Sheffield: It’s an ‘enormous privilege’ to proof-read my wife’s raunchy Church novels
[Fifty Shades of Purple is not, as the above article might suggest, a book, but a two-part blog: chapter one chapter two.]

Harry Farley Christian Today New Bishop of Sheffield announced after ‘highly individualised attacks’ forced Philip North to stand down

Glyn Webster Bishop of Beverley Bishop of Sheffield: Peter Wilcox

Archbishop Cranmer Sheffield gets its second best bishop – Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool

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Friday, 7 April 2017

Bishop of Sheffield: Peter Wilcox

Press release for Number 10

Bishop of Sheffield: Peter Wilcox

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 7 April 2017

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Peter Jonathan Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool, for election as Bishop of Sheffield.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Peter Jonathan Wilcox, MA, DPhil, Dean of Liverpool, in the diocese of Liverpool, for election as Bishop of Sheffield in succession to the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft, MA, PhD, on his translation to the See of Oxford on 6 July 2016.

Background

The Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, aged 55, studied history at Saint John’s College, Durham.

He trained for the ordained ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge and served his title at Preston-on-Tees, in the diocese of Durham from 1987 to 1990.

From 1990 to 1993, while completing a doctorate at St John’s College, Oxford, he was Non-Stipendiary Minister at Saint Margaret with Saint Philip and Saint James, with Saint Giles in the Diocese of Oxford. From 1993 to 1998 he was Team Vicar in the Parish of Gateshead, in the diocese of Durham, and Director of the Cranmer Hall Urban Mission Centre. From 1998 to 2006 he was Priest-in-Charge at Saint Paul’s at the Crossing, Walsall in the diocese of Lichfield and then Canon Residentiary at Lichfield Cathedral between 2006 and 2012. Since 2012 he has been Dean of Liverpool.

Pete is married to the novelist Catherine Fox, who lectures in creative writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. They have 2 adult sons: Jon, who is married to Izzy, and Tom, who is engaged to Rosa.

He has a mildly obsessive interest in all ball sports, especially (as a fan of Newcastle United) football. He is the author of 3 books, including ‘Living the Dream: Joseph for Today’ (Paternoster, 2007).

The Sheffield diocesan website has Bishop of Sheffield Announced.

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

Gay clergyman passed over seven times for promotion to bishop

Harriet Sherwood has this report in the Guardian Gay clergyman passed over seven times for promotion to bishop

Jeffrey John, a gay senior Anglican churchman, has been passed over for promotion to a bishopric for a seventh time since the Church of England rescinded his appointment as bishop of Reading in 2003 amid homophobic protests.

John, dean of St Albans Cathedral, was put forward for the post of bishop of Sodor and Man in February, but failed to make it on to the shortlist despite positive feedback. The rejection came shortly before he was passed over for appointment as bishop of Llandaff after objections to his sexuality allegedly were raised.

In the diocese of Sodor and Man, which covers the Isle of Man and surrounding islets, John’s name was considered by the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), an appointment body of 14 people chaired by the archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and including representatives of the General Synod and from the diocese of Sodor and Man. An open vote confirmed that the panel had no objection to John’s sexuality and long-term civil partnership with Anglican priest Grant Holmes.

But in subsequent secret ballots, John’s name failed to win enough support to ensure a place on a shortlist for interview. Although some members of the CNC were believed to be unhappy with the shortlisting process, an appointment has been made and is expected to be announced in the coming weeks…

…A spokesperson for the C of E said: “We do not comment on Crown Nominations Commission business. We would resist strongly any suggestion that selections for senior appointments are influenced by the sexuality of candidates.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 11:24pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Bishop Tim Thornton announced as new Bishop at Lambeth

Press release from the Archbishop of Canterbury

Bishop Tim Thornton announced as new Bishop at Lambeth

Tuesday 4th April 2017

Bishop Tim will take up the post in September, replacing Bishop Nigel Stock, who is retiring.

Lambeth Palace is pleased to announce the appointment of Rt Revd Tim Thornton, the current Bishop of Truro, as the new Bishop at Lambeth.

Bishop Tim will take up this post in September, replacing Rt Revd Nigel Stock, who is retiring.

His duties at Lambeth will include supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury’s work in the House of Bishops, General Synod and the Archbishop’s Council.

He will also be heavily involved in the Lambeth Conference 2020, and take on the role of Bishop to the Forces.

Bishop Tim became Bishop of Truro in 2009. During his time as bishop he co-chaired an inquiry into foodbanks which led to the report Feeding Britain, and was President of the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association. He is chair of the Development and Appointments Group which oversees the leadership development work among senior clergy.

Bishop Tim said: “It has been a privilege to serve as bishop in this very special part of the country. I have especially enjoyed being part of the wider life of the county and community, as well as working with wonderful colleagues to implement a strategy for discovering God’s kingdom and growing the church.

“It will of course be a real sadness to leave Cornwall. However I am very much looking forward to working with the staff at Lambeth, and thinking about how we continue to embed Archbishop Justin’s priorities of prayer, evangelism and reconciliation into the life of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

“I am particularly interested in the Archbishop’s emphasis on spirituality and prayer, and seeing how the incredible work of Thy Kingdom Come continues to flourish.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“I am delighted to be welcoming Bishop Tim to Lambeth Palace. He brings a wealth of experience to the role. He already has extensive knowledge and understanding of the College and House of Bishops, and a heart for those on the margins of society, who are often overlooked. His work on Feeding Britain demonstrates his range of ability and skill in bringing people together.”

Bishop Tim is married to Sian and they have two children and three grandchildren.

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Monday, 3 April 2017

Sheffield and the Five Guiding Principles

Martyn Percy has written another article on this topic.

The press release is here: Not a matter of opinion: Discernment, difference and discrimination. The text is copied below the fold.

To read the full article follow the link in the press release.

The Oxford theologian who called for the conservative bishop nominated as the next leader of the Diocese of Sheffield to clarify his position on women’s ministry or decline the nomination has called for ‘a thorough and wholesale review’ of gender-based discrimination in the Church of England.

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, has published a follow-up essay in response to criticism of his stance in an article published on the website of Modern Church, a society promoting breadth and depth in Christian theology, of which Prof Percy is a Vice President.

In Not a Matter of Opinion: Discernment, Difference and Discrimination, Professor Percy argues that:

The Sheffield debacle began to unravel some time before I published my original essay on the issue. At the consultation stage of the process to select a new bishop, the women clergy of the diocese were asked, informally, if they would welcome a woman bishop. In what can only be described as an act of gracious magnanimity, they said ‘no’, indicating that the diocese was not ready for this yet… The women at no stage were asked if they would accept a bishop who did not ordain women.

Since no-one consulted on whether the Diocese of Sheffield would welcome a bishop who would not ordain women, he continues:

What happened next was inevitable: the views which should have been gathered by the drafting group could only be voiced once Philip North had been selected. Parishes and clergy duly registered their concerns, in large numbers. The postbag was enormous, and grew daily. This was no organised campaign. It was ordinary people, concerned about the impact of gender-based discrimination in their local parishes. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Percy contrasts research showing that companies where women are strongly represented at board level in the FTSE 100 Index tend to out-perform their male-dominated competitors with the Church of England’s idea of ‘balance’: evening up the number of ‘traditionalist’ bishops with women bishops:

The Church of England consistently sends out mixed signals. It is good to have women clergy, apparently. But please, don’t let us celebrate this too much for fear of upsetting those who still want to engage in gender-based discrimination.

He argues that the Church of England needs ‘a thorough and wholesale review’ of the Five Guiding Principles which the House of Bishops adopted in 2014 as a concession to conservatives who opposed the ordination of women as bishops, since it cannot deliver the the ‘mutual flourishing’ it promises. But he would want to see the review go much further:

Not just of the ‘Five Guiding Principles’, and the question of whether or not a ‘traditionalist’ can ever be a diocesan bishop. These are mere symptoms of the deeper malaise. What the Church of England now needs to review is just one thing: discrimination.

Percy calls the Five Guiding Principles

merely a ‘cease fire’ in the Church of England’s long saga of ‘Gender Wars’. Or a truce, at best. But these ‘Principles’ cannot bring peace. Because a temporary political solution cannot resolve our deep theological divisions. Only deeper theology will bring us lasting peace. Such theology will be founded on equality and inclusion, not dubious ‘equal-but-different’ discriminatory reasoning.

He does not wish to see groups that oppose the ordination of women, whether Anglo-Catholic or Evangelical, cease to be part of the Church of England, as

They are part of the body of Christ and more unites us than divides us.

But he challenges the wisdom of resourcing them to extend their influence in the wider national church while they still believe in and practise gender-based discrimination.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 3 April 2017 at 6:30pm BST | Comments (33) | TrackBack
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Stephen Bates writes about Justin Welby

This article first appeared in The Tablet on 16 March. It is reproduced here with permission.

JUST ABOUT MANAGING

by Stephen Bates

A week after the election of Pope Francis four years ago, the Anglicans installed Justin Welby as their new spiritual leader. His crisp, business-like approach contrasted with that of his predecessor, Rowan Williams, but recent events suggest there may be limits to its effectiveness

Four years ago this month, both the Catholic and Anglican churches put into office leaders very different in style and character from their predecessors. In Pope Francis, the conclave of cardinals got more than they bargained for: a zealous, humane figure seemingly bent on giving Catholicism a thorough shake. But what of Justin Welby, enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury a week after Francis’ election – a managerial, evangelical figure chosen to replace the deeply spiritual, intellectual Rowan Williams?

Under Welby there seems to have been a distinct tightening up of the CofE’s traditionally meandering managerial style. Where Williams agonisingly sought compromise and delay, Welby seeks decisions. (It somehow seems appropriate that while everyone called Rowan by his first name, many use the current archbishop’s surname.) The decisiveness is not always welcome, but it is a change.

As is well known, Welby, 61, had a career before ordination. The first Etonian to become Archbishop of Canterbury for 150 years, he read history and law at Cambridge and was an executive in the oil industry until becoming ordained in his mid-thirties. He had only two years’ experience as a bishop before being elevated to Canterbury, though he had previously served as dean of Liverpool.

The crisp business style is notable, according to those who have observed him at close hand. Christina Rees was a lay member of the Archbishops’ Council – the Church’s executive – working with four archbishops until she stepped down last year. “I think of him as Action Man,” she says. “He is very brisk, businesslike and a quick study. At his first meeting, someone was rambling on in traditional Anglican style and the archbishop started looking at his watch. When the man finished, he just said: ‘That was six minutes, let’s keep comments down to 90 seconds.’ I’d never seen an archbishop calling someone out for waffling before. It was quite brutal.”

The brusqueness can verge into bad temper, others say. One bishop remarked: “I haven’t been spoken to like that since I was at school.” He is impatient of challenge or contradiction and can be short with those who do not keep up or amuse him intellectually.

Welby’s strengths include public relations savviness – never shown to better advantage than when it was revealed last year that his father was not the man who had brought him up but a diplomat with whom his mother had had a brief affair. His assured handling turned a potential embarrassment into a story of personal redemptive faith, and strengthened his reputation. “He has done a world of good for the Church’s public image,” says Rod Thomas, the Bishop of Maidstone, whose pugnacious brand of conservative evangelicalism was often a thorn in the flesh of Williams. “He is joyful in the faith and a reconciling presence.”

Welby is impressive speaking in small groups, showing genuine interest and empathy, though his preaching style is bland and often mundane, rather than inspirational and challenging. One vicar told me how he had gone to a Lenten talk and heard the old trope about a crucifix ornament “with a little man on it”: “We’ve all used that one, but not pretended it had happened to us personally. I thought it was weird and dishonest.”

The businesslike approach was seen early in the way the consecration of women bishops was hustled through shortly after Welby’s elevation: a decision that had caused anguished debate for years was finally accomplished and followed by something close to a rush by dioceses to be among the first to make the move. Welby, unlike some evangelicals, is comfortable with women’s ordination – a fact of Anglican life almost since he was ordained priest in 1993 – and his two chaplains at Lambeth have both been women.

But what had appeared to be a done deal, universally accepted, was called into question by the appointment of Philip North, from the Church’s High Anglo-Catholic wing, to be diocesan bishop of Sheffield. North, although widely respected, is a council member of the quaintly named Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, a title commonly shortened to “The Society”, composed of clergy and parishes that do not accept women’s ordination. It has even taken to issuing membership cards to indicate their freedom from the taint of female clergy’s touch.

North would have inherited a diocese where nearly a third of the clergy are women and following a welter of criticism he decided last week to stand down, prompting a new outburst of internecine squabbling. This has left the question unresolved whether a bishop who will not ordain women whose orders are accepted by the rest of the Church can fulfil the traditional episcopal purpose of being a focus for diocesan unity. Thirteen years ago Rowan Williams retreated – disastrously for his reputation – from the appointment of Jeffrey John, an avowedly gay cleric, as Bishop of Reading in the face of evangelical protests on precisely the grounds that he could not be a focus for unity.

The North appointment was not Welby’s decision but that of the Crown Nominations Commission. But on the still divisive gay issue Welby is “on a journey”, as they say, and that is what caused his first setback last month. At the General Synod, a bishops’ report that both Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu of York had strongly supported advocating no change in the Church’s stance on the blessing of gay partnerships or the conducting of gay marriages, was narrowly rejected. Although the report was almost unanimously backed by the bishops, and less decisively by the laity, it narrowly failed by seven votes to obtain the assent of the synod’s clergy members.

The report itself was the Church’s latest attempt to reconcile deeply divergent and antagonistic views on gays, and a number of bishops have claimed privately that they were coerced by Welby into supporting it despite their reservations. “His style is a transactional relationship: you support this and I’ll give you something else,” said one.

Canon Chris Chivers, principal of Westcott House theological college in Cambridge, says: “I think the bishops now realise they were played. It is his first major rebuff: he miscalculated – you can herd the bishops into line, but the clergy are less easily controlled.”

After the vote, Welby and Sentamu issued a statement promising a rethink producing “radical inclusion” but, essentially, same-sex marriage has been kicked into touch at least until after the 2020 Lambeth Conference of the world’s Anglican bishops. For now, Welby has managed to keep the worldwide communion show on the road and to head off any boycott of the conference, but it is an uneasy truce, achieved by bland words and sleight of hand – and Third World conservatives are suspicious. Welby has extensive experience of Africa, where some of the most intransigent bishops come from, but mutterings remain. His whistlestop consultation tour before a primates’ meeting last year did not go down particularly well, being regarded as an exercise in neo-colonialism by those determined to look for slights.

At home, other critics suggest Welby has shown a lack of interest in grassroots, rural Anglicanism, coming as he does from the suburban evangelical strand popularised by Holy Trinity Brompton, originator of the Alpha course. Professor Linda Woodhead of Lancaster University, the leading sociologist of religion, says: “Rural parishes are among the most successful but he has neglected them in favour of the city churches. The average church attender is an older woman and yet the initiatives have all been towards recruiting and encouraging younger, urban people and Alpha-type churches.”

Others suggest that the problem is a lack of theological depth at the heart of the Church’s episcopacy. “They are like a bench of Labradors,” one suffragan told me. “Perfectly nice, gentle creatures but you want a bit of variety in the breed.”

Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, has emerged as one of Welby’s critics. He accuses the archbishop of short-term pragmatism and not being reflective enough. Welby himself admits that he is not a professional theologian and some suggest that it shows in his recently published first book Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace, a series of Lenten reflections. Percy says: “He has got an instinctive grasp of what needs to be done but pragmatic fixes have their limits. If you don’t do the theology you can’t move forward, you just go round in circles.”

On the other hand, Chivers says: “There is something very middle-England about him which appeals to the core constituency of Anglicans. They don’t do theology much either. That makes him ideal.”

Stephen Bates is a former religious affairs correspondent of The Guardian.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 3 April 2017 at 2:47pm BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Friday, 24 March 2017

Bishop of Sheffield: Joint statement by Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Updated Saturday 1 April

The Archbishops have issued the following statement today.

Bishop of Sheffield: Joint statement by Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Friday 24th March 2017

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York made this joint statement today on the recent events surrounding the nomination of Bishop Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield.

“The recent events surrounding the nomination of Bishop Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield, including his withdrawal from the process, have understandably raised great concern amongst many in the Church of England. The status of the House of Bishops Declaration of June 2014 has been questioned by some and its meaning has also been challenged.

“We have therefore written to Sir Philip Mawer, the Independent Reviewer under the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, (Resolution of Disputes Procedure Regulations) 2014, to address the concerns that have arisen in the Church following these recent events. We attach our letter to Sir Philip, in which we reaffirm clearly our commitment, and the commitment of the House of Bishops, to its Declaration, to the principles contained in it, and to the overriding principle of mutual flourishing.

“Finally, in this period of Lent, as part of our preparation for the glorious celebration of the extraordinary grace of God in the events of Holy Week and Easter, we call on all those in the Church to pray openly for the flourishing of those with whom they disagree, to demonstrate the mutual love which we are called to share and to proclaim confidently in word and deed that in Christ we find our true identities, and the overcoming of those things which in ourselves we find so divisive.”

+ Justin Cantuar: +Sentamu Eboracensis

Download the Archbishops’ letter to Sir Philip Mawer

The text of the letter is copied below the fold.

Forward in Faith has issued this statement: Forward in Faith welcomes reference to the Independent Reviewer.

Update
Law & Religion UK has a very detailed discussion of the work of the Independent Reviewer in this article: The Independent Reviewer and the Sheffield See.

23 March 2017

Dear Sir Philip Mawer,

Nomination to the See of Sheffield and concerns raised about the operation of the House of Bishops’ declaration under Regulation 27

We are writing to ask you, in your capacity as Independent Reviewer under the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (Resolution of Disputes Procedure Regulations) 2014, to address certain concerns that have arisen in the Church following recent events relating to the See of Sheffield.

We do not set out the events in any detail here. You will doubtless be aware of the main elements:

  • on 6 July 2016 the See of Sheffield became vacant following the translation of Bishop Steven Croft from Sheffield to Oxford
  • on 31 January 2017 HM Government announced that, following the usual process of nomination of candidates by the Crown Nominations Commission to the Prime Minister, HM The Queen had been pleased to approve the nomination of Bishop Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley, to the See of Sheffield
  • on 9 March 2017 Bishop Philip North announced that he had withdrawn his acceptance of the nomination.

This sequence of events has prompted some in the Church to question whether the House of Bishops’ Declaration of May 2014, and its five Guiding Principles, and the commitment the Church made in it to “mutual flourishing”, remain intact.

As Archbishops, Primates and Metropolitans, we reaffirm clearly our commitment, and the commitment of the House of Bishops, to its Declaration, to the principles contained in it, and to the overriding principle of mutual flourishing. The Declaration formed a central element of the settlement by which we were able both to welcome women joyfully into all the orders of ministry in the Church, and also to continue to provide an honoured and permanent place in the Church for those who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable, to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests.

But as Archbishop Sentamu noted in his statement commenting on Bishop Philip’s withdrawal, we are conscious that in some of the discussion about the See of Sheffield, we have not always as a Church shown how we can disagree Christianly.

Although we are clear that the House of Bishops’ Declaration, and the Guiding Principles embodied in it, remain in full force and effect, we recognise that the recent events have nonetheless raised a number of specific concerns in the Church about its operation. Some of those concerns relate to whether the nomination itself, and the procedure leading up to it, were in accordance with the Declaration. Others are about whether what happened once the nomination had been announced was consistent with the Declaration. Others relate to the degree of understanding of the Declaration in the Church.

Given the significance of these concerns (many of which have been expressed to us directly) from the point of view of the future outworking of the Declaration in the life of the Church, we therefore request you to exercise your power, as the Independent Reviewer under Regulation 27, to consider and report on the operation of the Declaration from the point of view of:

(a) what has been done in the Church, including in the diocese of Sheffield, to inform and educate clergy and laity about the settlement agreed in 2014, and the effect of the Declaration within that settlement;

(b) the process leading to the nomination of Bishop Philip North to the See of Sheffield;

(c) the consistency of that nomination with the Declaration;

(d) the reactions to that nomination in the Church and beyond; and

(e) the response of the institutional Church to the nomination and to the reactions to it.

We hope that you will be willing to investigate these concerns and that, once you have been able to do so, you will be able to produce your report on them with the minimum of delay.

The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu Archbishop of York

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 24 March 2017 at 1:20pm GMT | Comments (92) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Time for Grace: Bishops’ responses to the concept of Unity in Diversity

Editors’ note: this is a guest piece by Susannah Clark.

It is obvious to any observer that the Church of England is faced with a stand-off on the issue of human sexuality, and is divided down the middle, trending in the direction of acceptance of gay and lesbian sex, but with people of good faith and strong conscience on either side, along with diverse views motivated by complex implications, related to understanding of gender, Communion-wide consequences, and the risk of schism in the English provinces. In these contexts it is disingenuous to suggest that there is a uniform position in the Church, or even among the bishops (as I have discovered for myself this month), whatever the ‘front’ of collegiality that gets projected. Indeed, the rejection of the ‘Anglican Covenant’ in England indicated that most people did not want a uniformity of view imposed on Anglicans, or the domination of one conscience by another one. This stand-off clearly cannot be resolved by political struggle over ‘Who is right?’ which only leads toward schism and, for many, what really matters is finding the grace to love one another, seeking the flourishing of those we disagree with, and finding our unity in Jesus Christ: a Unity in Diversity. The whole of the rest of the Church’s mission is too vital, and too important, for the Church to keep floundering and expending so much energy on sexuality in a perpetual stand-off.

To this end, I set out a case for the accommodation of diverse views, and wrote to 109 bishops, with the proviso that ‘no reply was expected or assumed’. Considering I am simply an obscure nurse it is touching that, in the event, 31 bishops have so far corresponded with me, expressing a wide range of views and positions, and demonstrating that there is indeed no uniformity of belief on these issues.

While not naming individual bishops out of respect for confidentiality, and mostly not quoting verbatim, I have detailed the issues raised by 14 of these bishops (and see below), whose statements typify the diversity of episcopal opinions and some of the problems and challenges we face. These problems of implementation are very realistically reviewed by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, in his address to the Chelmsford Diocesan Synod. I have not included the views of the Bishops of Buckingham and Bradwell which have already been well-publicised and both of which regret the recent Bishops’ Report of which the General Synod declined to take note — as did 14 retired bishops.

In the end, if we cannot respect and accommodate sincere but diverse views, and allow priests, PCCs and local churches to follow their consciences in the service of their own communities, we run the risk of evangelistic alienation of those communities, and alienation from one another as Christians. There is a strong case, reflected in the Bishops’ responses to me, not for imposed uniformity, but for the grace to disagree well in a broad and diverse Church. As Bishop John Wraw said: “There are very differing views on this [lgbti inclusion] within the Church of England and across the Anglican Communion, but there is much more we hold in common. Unity in Christ is a fact, a command, a promise; not simply something we can opt in and out of as we pick and choose. We need to live with our differences.” Indeed, perhaps the real test for us all is not “Who is right?”, but “Can we find abundance of grace and love?”… to co-exist, to serve, to welcome, to live with the diversity to which each one of us is called, uniquely, differently, in good conscience, as we are drawn towards that community of the Trinity, which is the eternal household of God, in whom alone in the end our unity is found — not in imposed uniformity or dogmatic correctness.

Perhaps we need to stop trying to dominate one another, and ‘winning the argument’. Perhaps really the argument is won to the extent we find love and grace for one another: accommodating each other’s consciences and as a Church becoming more than our individual parts, growing through our need for grace and the primary biblical imperative to exercise love, even uncomfortable love where people disagree. In short we arguably need a kind of power-sharing and peace process in the Church of England to end the long decades of stand-off and conflict, and turn to all the other crying needs of our communities: poverty, health and social care, loneliness, lostness, marginal lives, material craving and spiritual wastes; and the breakdown and atomisation of society, that in some ways we sadly mirror when we separate ourselves from each other in the Church, and let dogma polarise us rigidly, when actually it can separate and drive us apart, where grace might reconcile us and love might be calling us daily, with our diverse consciences and diverse expressions of faith, but giving us lives of sharing, and helping us bear in our own wounds and healing the touch of God’s love for hurting, yearning hearts.

To do this credibly, we need to demonstrate real love for each other, so people can see… not ‘how uniform we are’ but ‘how we love one another’. That challenge to love is surely, also, the challenge the bishops must face and are facing. No-one said it would be easy. They have written to me sincerely and with touching honesty. But in the face of decades more stand-off and division perhaps, as one of them says, “the key issue is Unity in Diversity” and as another states, “agreeing to disagree will have to be acknowledged in some way.” The crisis in the Church of England cannot be resolved by one side ‘winning’. Descending into schism and division is not winning. Grace is winning. Love is winning. Mutually recognising divergent consciences is winning. Unity in Diversity may face degrees of opposition, but it does at least reflect the realities of the Church of England — and what better solution exists for preventing wholesale schism and the dismantling of a broad and tolerant Church?

(The extended entry contains quotations from some of the responses received.)

These are typical issues raised by 14 bishops who wrote to me, illustrating the tensions and difficulties faced:

  • the problem of many conflicting priorities and claims
  • the absence of any easy answers
  • the difficulty of adopting the same approach as was taken over women bishops because gay marriage is not the same order of issue
  • that I’ve nailed the issue, but would the CofE permit diversity on this question?
  • the desire for a church where room is made for all, more wholeheartedly than we are able to do at the moment
  • huge disappointment with the bishops’ report, pleasure it was not noted, almost exact agreement over Unity in Diversity, but possible under-estimation of the conservative response if this approach was adopted
  • if the Church could model a different way of living unity in diversity, it would have much to show a wider society, which seems to be fragmenting at an alarming rate
  • my proposal for Unity in Diversity could be supported if it was presented to GS, is not that radical, and if anything is pragmatic, leaving one wishing for a more radical, whole-heartedly inclusive position
  • the basic thesis of agreeing to disagree will have to be acknowledged in some way
  • unity in diversity may well come into play in the difficult days ahead, love and grace seem in short supply
  • agreement that we need to “co-exist in a ‘unity in diversity’” — and many would agree; however, the reason this is not straightforward is that for a number in the Church the issue of human sexuality is a first order issue and a matter of salvation, and therefore it does not become possible for them to remain in a Church which accepts other possibilities
  • we are living in difficult times … particularly struck by the comment “In other words, rather than trying to “win” … love and grace” which is spot on
  • it is a complex subject … but the key issue is unity in diversity.
  • in terms of the way forward, your suggestions, a third ethical approach, often categorised as virtue ethics, as well as deontological and utilitarian ethics need to be very robustly tested and set alongside each other in a way akin to Michael Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do. His exploration of marriage in that book exemplifies the sort of discussion we need to engage in and which the generation of a teaching document should involve.
Posted by Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 at 11:02am GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Monday, 20 March 2017

See of Sheffield: Affirming Catholicism responds

A response to the nomination of the Rt Revd Philip North to, and his resignation from, the Diocese of Sheffield March 2017

Affirming Catholicism has watched with deep concern the circumstances surrounding the nomination of the Rt Reverend Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield and his subsequent withdrawal from that nomination. We are very aware of the hurt caused to many of those involved, including to many of the clergy and lay people in the Diocese of Sheffield and +Philip himself. We believe that the current situation reflects a failure to take seriously – on several sides – the Five Guiding Principles (see below) but we also believe that it illustrates how difficult is going to be to put these principles into practice, and reveals how much hurt and distrust still exists within the Church of England around questions of the ordination of women and the place in the Church of those who cannot accept it. It seems to us that the Church of England needs to reflect carefully on the three concepts which underpin the Five Guiding Principles: simplicity, reciprocity and mutuality.

We have been surprised by the apparent lack of recognition in some quarters of the fact that the Church of England has since 1994 been living with a situation in which a small minority of its bishops are in some sense “not in communion” with their female clergy. This situation existed before the admission of women to the episcopate in the Church of England, and we believe that reflecting on experiences of such situations can shed some light on what has happened over the past weeks.

There can be no question that clergy – including female clergy – and lay people who affirm the ordination of women can flourish in dioceses in which the diocesan bishop does not ordain women. Indeed, the Five Principles were in part predicated on the fact that relationships in such contexts had been found to be not only workable, but capable of promoting flourishing amongst all the clergy and lay people of such dioceses. It should probably also be recognised, however, that the dioceses where this is the case have often had a long history of having bishops who have had doubts about the ordination of women, and that this self-understanding has played a role in how relationships function.

Moreover, it is important that the complexities in describing experiences of ministry not be underestimated. The same situation may be experienced by different people in very different ways. One priest may experience the ministry of her bishop who does not recognise her priestly ordination as personally supportive and deeply affirming. Another may experience the ministry of the same bishop as profoundly undermining and unfriendly.

It must also be recognised that very difficult situations have sometimes arisen, in which female clergy have found themselves subject to discrimination, or opponents of women’s ministry have been appointed to parishes without proper consultation even when female clergy were already in post.

Those who do not accept the ordination of women have similar stories and mixed experiences from their own perspective.

We are aware too that the two positions which the Church of England is seeking to hold together are rooted in very different – and even opposed – understandings of what it means for women to be created in the image of God. For those who cannot accept the ministry of ordained women or those ordained by a woman, women are created spiritually equal but are called to different offices or ministries, or to a different place in the order of creation. For those who rejoice at the ordination of women, this is a fulfilment of a gospel imperative to equality, articulated in Paul’s recognition that “In Christ there is no male of female” (Galatians 3:28), and only slowly recognised after many centuries, and now anchored also in law. It is very hard for some of those who believe this is the case to understand how it can be right to take a different view on the ministry of women, or how that ministry can be properly affirmed by a diocesan bishop who does not ordain women.

All this results in complex series of relationships which are not easy to negotiate. And all too often it is the bad news stories which have been shared, whilst reports of flourishing across difference have been less prevalent. We believe that it is not always appreciated how much hurt has been caused and trust lost though the way in which the Church of England decided to proceed, not only in the ordination of women to the episcopate, but also in the ordination of women to the priesthood. We suggest that it would be helpful for the Church of England to compile a series of case studies which offer examples of mutual flourishing across difference, whilst being realistic about the difficulties which are sometimes expressed.

The settlement which the Church of England reached in order for women to be ordained to the priesthood and to the episcopate may be seen as theologically or ecclesiologically inconsistent. Consciously paradoxical, it was intended to enable the Church of England to move forward and the whole church to flourish. The Five Guiding Principles affirm that the Church is a community, not an organisation, and that its business is love, not unanimity.

What has happened in Sheffield raises profound questions about the integrity of the Church of England’s paradoxical way forward. If the Church of England is to make progress in moving forward together over the issue of same-sex blessings and same-sex marriage and leaving behind the double-think that LGBTI clergy currently face, it will be necessary to develop a similar accommodation whereby we agree to live together with profound disagreement. The current situation has shown vividly how painfully little trust exists in the Church of England across differences about the ordination of women. It shows the immense challenges facing the Church of England as it seeks to move forward together with a similar respect for difference on the issue of human sexuality.

Affirming Catholicism believes that the church is not a place in which there need to be winners and losers. Rather, other ways of living with difference are possible. These require of all involved patience, tolerance and openness – and in this way the fostering of trust.

The Five Guiding Principles are:

  • Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;
  • Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;
  • Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God;
  • Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and
  • Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 20 March 2017 at 11:25am GMT | Comments (87) | TrackBack
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Monday, 13 March 2017

Exeter Cathedral

It has been announced that both the Dean and the Precentor of Exeter are to step down, following the critical Visitation report of the Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell. The statement on the Cathedral website says that:

the Dean, the Very Rev Jonathan Draper, has announced that he will retire at the end of August this year.

Until the end of August the Dean is on holiday, and then on sabbatical leave. Additionally:

Canon Victoria Thurtell has resigned from her post of Precentor with immediate effect, and is looking forward to a new ministry in due course.

The announcement continues:

To help the Cathedral continue its worshipping life, Bishop Martin Shaw has been appointed Acting Precentor, with immediate effect. The Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, will provide pastoral oversight to the Cathedral during this time. Canon Dr Mike D Williams will Chair Chapter.

BBC News has a report here.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Monday, 13 March 2017 at 10:49am GMT | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 12 March 2017

More on the See of Sheffield

Some further statements by various organisations or individuals: