Updated Saturday evening
This new 1400-word article has appeared today on the GAFCON UK website: Secretary-General’s letter shows why GAFCON UK is needed.
Harry Farley has reported on it: CofE More Worried About ‘Twitter Mobs’ Than ‘What Is Right Before God’ Over Sexuality – GAFCON.
Zachary Giuliano had earlier helpfully noted over here that
… if one follows the news through, it seems that the GAFCON UK statements are being coordinated partly by Canon Andrew Gross. He is listed as the “media contact” or “press officer” for GAFCON, and has responded to criticisms of the statement. But his “day job,” as it were, is as canon for communications and media relations in ACNA, and he sometimes travels with Archbishop Foley Beach, as photos on Beach’s Facebook page and various stories attest. We have yet another sign of American Anglican conservative leadership (of a particular sort) attempting to shape attitudes throughout the Communion…
As references are being made to the process by which the Lambeth 1.10 resolution came into existence, I thought it might be useful to link to my original reporting of Lambeth 1998 which consists of a series of 22 near-daily and quite detailed reports written as the conference proceeded.
And, here is the statement that was issued on 5 August, immediately following the passage of the resolution: A Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans from Some Member Bishops of the Lambeth Conference. Eventually this attracted 185 signatures, including many of those who had voted in favour of the resolution.
Statement from the House of Bishops
The House of Bishops of the Church of England met at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday 23 November.
The formal meeting was preceded by a Eucharist where the Bishops remembered St Clement. Prayers were said for those across the globe who are persecuted for their faith, victims of religious violence and those with responsibility for Government.
The meeting received an update on the work of the Bishops’ Reflection Group on Sexuality by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in September 2016 to assist the process of consideration.
As with the meeting of the College of Bishops in September, the considerations of the House of Bishops took place in private, with reflections due to be shared with the wider College of Bishops next month.
It is envisaged the House will prepare material to bring to the General Synod for initial consideration in February 2017.
Notes to Editors
Background on #RedWednesday and those persecuted for their faith
Statement following the College of Bishops in September 2016
Announcement of membership and terms of reference of Bishops’ Reflection Group on Sexuality
Updated Wednesday morning to add press reports
Lord Carlile named as independent reviewer in George Bell case
22 November 2016
Lord Carlile of Berriew has been named as the independent reviewer of the processes used in the Bishop George Bell case. The lessons learnt review, commissioned by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team, in accordance with the House of Bishops’ guidance on all complex cases, is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
In 2015 the Bishop of Chichester issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding allegations of sexual abuse by Bishop Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until shortly before his death in 1958.
The aim of the review will be to look at the processes surrounding the allegations which were first brought in 1995 to the diocese of Chichester, with the same allegations brought again, this time to Lambeth Palace, in 2013. It will also consider the processes, including the commissioning of independent expert reports and archival and other investigations, which were used to inform the decision to settle the case, in order to learn lessons which can applied to the handling of similar safeguarding cases in future. The full Terms of Reference are set out below.
Lord Carlile CBE QC is a Member of the House of Lords, having served as a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament from 1983-1997. He was the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation between 2001 and 2011. He has a strong interest in cyber-related issues especially regarding National Security. (see full biography below). An executive summary of the review will be published once Lord Carlile has completed his work.
The Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead bishop on safeguarding, said: “I am grateful to Lord Carlile for agreeing to undertake the review, which will take a detailed look into how the Church handled the George Bell case; as with all serious cases there are always lessons to be learnt. The Church of England takes all safeguarding issues very seriously and we will continue to listen to everyone affected in this case while we await the findings of the review. The diocese of Chichester continues to be in touch and offer support to the survivor known as Carol, who brought the allegations.”
[continued below the fold]
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England appoints Lord Carlile to review George Bell claim
John Bingham The Telegraph Ex-terror reviewer Lord Carlile to re-examine Bishop Bell sex abuse decision
Chichester Observer Top QC will review the Bishop George Bell case
[press release continued]
October 2015: Statement on George Bell
June 2016: Announcement of independent review
TERMS OF REFERENCE
In October 2015, the Church of England released a statement to say that the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, had apologised following a settlement regarding allegations of child sexual abuse by George Bell in the 1940s and 1950s. George Bell was Bishop of Chichester for 29 years until shortly before his death in 1958. The response to the announcement has included criticisms of the Church and its handling of the case from a range of individuals.
The House of Bishops Practice Guidance “Responding to Serious Safeguarding Situations Relating to Church Officers” (May 2015) states;
Once all matters relating to a serious safeguarding situation have been completed, the Core Group should meet to review the process against this and other Practice Guidance, and to consider what lessons can be learned for the handling of future safeguarding situations
In June 2016, the Church of England announced that it would be undertaking an independent review into how the case was managed and the key processes involved in the decision-making.
Objectives of the review
To provide the Church of England with a review which, having examined relevant documents and interviewed all relevant people, ensures that:
1. Lessons are learnt from past practice
2. Survivors are listened to and taken seriously, and are supported
3. Good practice is identified and disseminated
4. Recommendations are made to help the Church embed best practice in safeguarding children and adults in the future.
Scope of the review
The review will cover the following periods:
1995, when the complainant first wrote to the then Bishop of Chichester and the actions taken by the Church of England as a result of this complaint
2012 when the complainant wrote to Lambeth Palace and the actions taken by the Church of England as a result of this complaint
2013 when the complainant wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the actions taken by the Church as a result of this complaint
2013 onwards when the case was managed across the National Church, Lambeth Palace and the Diocese of Chichester, notably via a Core Group.
The review will consider the adequacy of the responses to the complainant and the subsequent decision making processes and action taken, in the context of the safeguarding policies and procedures in place at the time.
The reviewer will be given access to all the evidence pertaining to how the decisions were reached: firstly, that the claim should be settled and, secondly that a public announcement should be made. This will include access to relevant medical information and reports which formed part of the settlement process (with the consent of the complainant).
The reviewer will call for any material submissions or submissions connected to this case, which will be facilitated through the establishment of a website designated to the review.
The person or persons undertaking the review will seek to interview key members of the core group and other individuals deemed by the reviewer to be appropriate.
The review will provide a detailed evidence-based analysis of the responses and decision making processes concerning the case.
Undertaking the review
The review will be carried out by an independent person who has not had a connection with the case and its management, nor with the Diocese of Chichester.
The review will be carried out by someone or persons with either extensive legal and/or safeguarding experience of cases involving the alleged sexual abuse of children. A separate specification document will be agreed outlining this in more detail.
The reviewer will produce a report, relevant sections of which shall be seen by those who directly contributed to the process for comment about factual accuracy, before it is finalised.
The reviewer will produce an executive summary, which will be published to support the dissemination of learning. The executive summary shall exclude any material which might enable the complainant’s identity to be deduced.
The Church of England will determine whether the full report can be sufficiently redacted or otherwise anonymised to enable its publication without risking disclosure of the complainant’s identity.
BIOGRAPHY- Lord Carlile of Berriew C.B.E., Q.C.
Alex Carlile was born in Wales in 1948. After education at Epsom College he graduated LLB AKC at King’s College London. Lord Carlile was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn (where he is now a Bencher) in 1970 and became a Q.C. in 1984, at the age of 36. Until 2009 he was the Honorary Recorder of the City of Hereford. He sits as a Recorder of the Crown Court, as a Deputy High Court Judge, and as a Chairman of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Between 2001-2011, he was the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation; the Independent Reviewer of the Government’s new PREVENT policy and remains the independent reviewer of National Security policy in Northern Ireland.
From 1983-1997 he was the Liberal (then Liberal Democrat) MP for Montgomeryshire in Mid Wales. During that time he served as spokesperson on a range of issues, including Home Affairs and the Law. He was Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 1992-7.
He was appointed a Life Peer in 1999 and was awarded the CBE in 2012 for services to national security.
Lord Carlile is involved in numerous charities, including the Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom College, and The White Ensign Association. He has a particular interest in mental health issues, and was a co-founder of the Welsh charity Rekindle. He is the Chairman of the Lloyd’s of London Enforcement Board and is a non-executive director of a listed major agricultural merchanting company, Wynnstay Group plc. He is chairman of the not for profit company Design for Homes and is a founder director of SC Strategy Ltd, a strategy and public policy consultancy.
Lord Carlile is the President of The Security Institute, a Fellow of King’s College London, and a Fellow of the Industry and Parliament Trust. He holds Honorary Doctorates of Laws in universities in Manchester, Wales and Hungary.
Secretary General responds to GAFCON UK
22 November 2016
William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, has today sent the following letter to the Revd Canon Andy Lines, Chairman of GAFCON UK Task Force in response to the briefing paper, ‘The Church of England and Lambeth 1:10’.
I have seen a paper entitled, “The Church of England and Lambeth 1:10”, produced by GAFCON UK and dated 13 November, which is described as a briefing to GAFCON Primates. It purports to be an account of “the situation in the Church of England regarding attitudes and teaching on sexual ethics.”
The paper paints a significantly misleading picture both of the teaching and practice of the Church of England, and of Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. I am writing to correct some of the erroneous assertions.
Resolution 1:10 of Lambeth 1998
Resolution 1:10 is one of over 90 Resolutions approved by the Lambeth Conference in 1998. It expressed the will of that Conference. Like all Lambeth Conference resolutions, it is not legally binding on all provinces of the Communion, including the Church of England, though it commends an essential and persuasive view of the attitude of the Communion.
Resolution 1:10 sets out teaching on marriage, as being between a man and a woman, and teaching on abstinence outside marriage. It sets out teaching on homosexual practice. It commits the Conference to listening to the experience of homosexual persons, assures them they are loved by God, and condemns irrational fear of homosexuals. It says nothing about discipline within provinces of the Anglican Communion; the Lambeth Conference has no jurisdiction to do so.
The Resolution is an important document in the history of the Anglican Communion. It is not the only important resolution, from that Conference or others. It does not have the force of Scripture, nor is it part of the deposit of faith. The key elements for the Communion are those within the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral.
Teaching and practice in the Church of England
The teaching of the Church of England on matters relating to same-sex practice and unions is, and remains, as set out in the document issued by the Church’s House of Bishops in 1991, “Issues in Human Sexuality”. That document pre-dates the Lambeth Conference of 1998, and is consistent with the resolution 1:10 of the Conference. Subsequent refinement of the teaching by the House of Bishops, as in guidance documents issued when the British State introduced civil partnerships and then (civil) same-sex marriage, has not changed the fundamental substance of that teaching.
When the Government proposed to introduce same-sex (civil) marriage the Church of England argued against it, including in Parliament.
Previously in 2004 the majority of our bishops had voted for legalising civil partnerships when that legislation made its way through parliament.
English law now provides for same-sex civil marriage, and for Christian denominations other than the Church of England or Church in Wales to opt into providing same-sex marriage if they wish to. There is no provision in English law for same-sex marriage in Church of England churches. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 - the Act of the UK Parliament which introduced same-sex marriage in England and other parts of the UK - expressly leaves intact the Church of England’s Canon which defines marriage as “in its nature a union permanent and lifelong … of one man with one woman”. And although the Act changes the definition of marriage in English law generally, those changes do not apply to any ecclesiastical law of the Church of England (Canon B.30).
At present, the House of Bishops is reflecting on conversations across the Church on same-sex issues. But at this point no change has been made to teaching, nor has there been any formal proposal to do so.
The great majority of the clergy and laity of the Church of England have adhered to the teaching and guidance as taught by the House of Bishops, which is consistent with Lambeth 1:10.
You describe a number of issues as being “violations” of Lambeth 1:10. For many of these, I would venture to suggest that they are not “violations” - though, as noted above, Lambeth Conference Resolutions do not provide a binding discipline on member provinces of the Communion. For example:
clergy in the Church of England are indeed permitted to enter into civil partnerships (which are legally not the same as marriage, and therefore have no bearing on the doctrine of marriage);
clergy in the Church of England are permitted to offer prayers of support on a pastoral basis for people in same-sex relationships;
churches are able to indicate that they welcome LGBTI people, just as they would welcome all people;
clergy and laity alike are entitled to argue for changes to teaching and practice.
There have undoubtedly been cases of people in the Church of England who have not kept to the teaching as set out in “Issues in Human Sexuality”. I will not comment on such individual cases. I do not believe it is appropriate to debate these publicly. What matters is not whether they are “violating Lambeth 1:10”, which as noted above has no binding legal force. What matters is the position under the Canons (for the clergy) and the broader law and teaching of the Church of England for the laity. It is not the case that no discipline has been applied to clergy who, in violation of their duties under the Canons, have entered same-sex civil marriages. How discipline in the Church of England is applied is a matter for the Bishops of the Church.
I hope that this will give you and readers of the paper a clearer picture of the state of teaching and practice in the Church of England.
The GAFCON UK website explains the connection here:
…Through affiliation to GAFCON UK, Christians in the British Isles will be connected with this global movement for renewal and mission with its spiritual vitality and evangelistic zeal, doctrinal clarity, wisdom and faithfulness under pressure. As GAFCON is not a new independent church or a rival to the Anglican Communion, membership of GAFCON UK is compatible with being a loyal member of Anglican churches in England, Scotland and Wales while our national churches remain orthodox in their official teachings and policies.
However, those who are concerned about the apparent drift of their denomination can rest secure that whatever happens, there is no need to leave Anglicanism, which is validated not from a human office or place, but from faithfulness to its historic self-understanding. The GAFCON Primates Council stands ready to authenticate those who wish to remain Anglican, but if necessary outside local institutional structures: this has already started with the establishment of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE)…
The Anglican Mission in England website explains itself thus:
…A variety of Anglican churches are part of AMiE. Some churches are outside the structures of the Church of England. Others remain within the denomination but are experiencing tensions, whilst others have joined to support them…
And there is a list of (currently seven) local churches here.
According to this page:
AMiE is a registered charity (number 1158679) and has an Executive Committee. Andy Lines is the General Secretary of AMiE and Justin Mote is Chair of the Executive Committee.
According to another page on the same site:
AMiE is governed by an Executive Committee consisting of:
Revd Canon Andy Lines (Chairman and Director/Trustee)
Rt Revd John Ellison (Chair of Panel of Bishops)
Revd Canon Tim Davies
Revd Lee McMunn (Mission Director)
Mr. Brian O’Donoghue (Secretary and Director/Trustee)
Revd Jonathan Pryke
All the members of the Executive are required to hold a ‘complementarian (Equal and Different)’ position on women’s ministry, but AMiE will support all churches who hold to the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration.
GAFCON UK says:
GAFCON UK is led by a Task Group, whose members are:
GAFCON UK is overseen by an advisory Panel of Reference:
Updated Sunday morning
The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, wrote a letter which was published in the Church Times this week. The full text is available on the Salisbury diocesan website: Letter to the Church Times, November 2016 and is copied below.
The Church Times also carried this report of the GAFCON UK letter and reactions to it: Listing ‘violators’ of Lambeth Conference resolution is ‘outrageous’, says Bishop.
From the Bishop of Salisbury
Sir, — The GAFCON Statement of 13 November about Lambeth I.10 is outrageous.
First, “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites that you are. . .” When Jesus attacked people he thought were in error, there is not a single instance when he named an individual. To name individuals in this statement is wrong, creates a climate of fear, and opens them to personal abuse.
Second, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” There is a great deal of inaccuracy in the GAFCON statement. The priest named from this diocese is not licensed, as they say he is. He has carried the cost of conscience personally. The blessing of Gay Pride in Salisbury was a joyful celebration of a people who are part of our community and among the rich diversity of all God’s children. This is in keeping with Lambeth I.10, which calls us “to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals.”
Third, “Love your enemies.” GAFCON may think that the people named represent a serious error, but the way in which they are misrepresented is not the way for followers of Jesus, who usually want to represent opponents truthfully and see the best possible motives in others, not the worst.
Fifth*, “Do as you would be done by.” Lambeth I.10 also contained statements about the way Provinces relate to one another. Nothing is said about GAFCON’s own repeated violations of these. Lambeth I.10 also acknowledged the Bishops’ inability to come to a common mind on the scriptural, theological, historical, and scientific questions which are raised. “The challenge to our Church is to maintain its unity while we seek, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to discern the way of Christ for the world today with respect to human sexuality. To do so will require sacrifice, trust and charity towards one another, remembering that ultimately the identity of each person is defined by Christ.”
For myself, I learned a long time ago that where you stand affects what you can see. In 2002, at the retirement of a colleague, I stood with 800 others in church to give thanks for the ministry of a gay priest who had exercised an outstanding ministry for 40 years among students, homeless people, and several parishes and congregations.
As the Diocesan Bishop’s Adviser on Pastoral Care, he had cared for many clergy, and had a particular ministry among gay people. Though the institutional Church has at times seemed to find their very existence an “inconvenient truth”, God made LGBT people, loves them, and preserves them. I knew I belonged with the people who gathered in church that evening, and Christ was with us.
+ NICHOLAS SARUM
* Note – this is an error introduced by the Church Times in-house drafting process.
Hear the bishop and Andy Lines on this morning’s Sunday programme here (36 minutes in).
Updated yet again Tuesday 22 November
Update GAFCON UK has today issued this further document The Lambeth I:10 Briefing: Process and Motive, Truth and Love which seeks to justify the original statement.
This statement from GAFCON UK was issued on Sunday: The Church of England and Lambeth 1:10.
This paper was recently presented as a briefing to the GAFCON Primates on the situation in the Church of England regarding attitudes, teaching and practice on sexual ethics, official and unofficial. It argues that the Church of England has already ‘crossed the line’ by allowing a culture to develop where violations of Lambeth Resolution 1:10 are increasingly prevalent. It is published with permission…
The document has been reported on by Christian Today Row Over Release Of Gay Clergy List and now also with this: Gafcon Gay Clergy List Prompts Hundreds To Sign ‘Proud List Of Violators’
and by Premier Radio GAFCON defends decision to release list of gay Church of England clergy.
LGCM has issued a press release condemning the document: LGCM condemns GAFCON’s attempt to shame LGBT Christians.
Jeremy Pemberton has commented on his personal blog You know who you are.
Rachel Mann has also commented on her blog Dear Anonymous UK GAFCON Guy.
The LGBTI Mission has also issued a condemnation of the GAFCON UK action: Lambeth 1.10 hitlist condemned.
And there is now a website where people can sign up to be on record as “violators” or “supporters”.
Law & Religion UK has an article too: GAFCON, Lambeth I:10 and the Church of England.
Andrew Lightbown has written on his blog: An open letter to GAFCON: not good enough.
LGCM now also has this: Introducing the Inaugural LGCM/GAFCON Rainbow List: let’s help them do the job properly!
One of those named in the original GAFCON UK article has sent us this response:
Waking up on Tuesday morning to find myself on a list of “named and shamed” by GAFCON UK was a bit of a surprise. The fact that they are presumptuous enough to ‘out’ someone’s theology without engaging with them or even checking their facts properly is extraordinary. A few months ago I asked to have a cup of tea with a member of GAFCON UK to correct their assumptions and discuss biblical interpretations. This priest sadly refused to meet me. I find that action alone so deeply ungracious and disrespectful. How can we try to evangelize a loving God when the clergy cannot even demonstrate decent human courtesy to one another?
The Rev’d Charlotte Bannister-Parker
The University Church
Readers may be interested to note that GAFCON UK has made a number of corrections to the original text of the article, which are noted in a large number of additional footnotes.
The Church of England has issued its Statistics for Mission 2015 today. There is no accompanying press release, but the document includes this executive summary.
2015 Church of England participation summary
Trends in participation
There is now a press release, 2015 Attendance Statistics published, copied below the fold.
Hattie Williams Church Times Church has ‘a strong base to work from’ despite further fall in numbers
John Bingham The Telegraph British families only attend church at Christmas, new figures suggest
Archdruid Eileen Liturgy of the Calculation of the Attendance Figures
Will Worley Independent Church of England loses more than 100,000 worshipers in a decade
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Why Do People Stop Going To Church? Church of England Fails To Halt Decline
2015 Attendance Statistics published
27 October 2016
New Church of England statistics for 2015, published today, show that just under one million people attend services each week. The survey, carried out over four weeks in October 2015, found 960,000 people attending church each week, with 820,000 adults and 140,000 children. Schools services added a further 160,000 attenders.
The total worshipping community of churches across the Church of England, the report says, was 1,142,000 people, of whom 20% were aged under 18, 50% were aged 18-69 and 30% were aged 70 or over.
Figures also show that 2.5 million attended a Church of England Church at Christmas in 2015 and 1.3 million people attended a service at Easter. Additionally, 2.3 million people attended special Advent services for the congregation and local community, whilst 2.7 million attended special Advent services for civic organisations and schools.
In 2015, the Church carried out just under 1,000 weddings, 2,000 baptisms, and almost 3,000 funerals every week of the year. Attendances at these services are not recorded but conservative estimates of 50 at each of those 6000 services would add up to 300,000 attendances each week or more than 15 million each year.
Some 11% of births during 2015 were marked by a Church of England infant baptism or thanksgiving service whilst 30% of deaths were marked by a Church of England funeral.
As a whole the figures represent a continuing trend that has shown an 11% decrease in attendance over the past decade with an average decline of just over 1% a year.
A one-off question for 2015 asked churches about the facilities they provide. The responses suggest that nearly half now have kitchen facilities and more than 60% have toilets. The 16,000 churches of the Church of England serve communities in a range of different ways, including full-or part-time shops in 212 of them and post offices in 152.
William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, said: “The Church of England is setting out on a journey of Renewal & Reform, aiming to reverse our numerical decline in attendance so that we become a growing church in every region and for every generation.
“The Church of England is open to and for everyone in England, building up the Body of Christ and working for the common good. For some of those who support our work, weekly attendance at services is part of their discipleship. There will be many others, as we know from the Census, who identify with us but who worship on a less regular basis.
“These figures represent a realistic assessment of where we start from in terms of weekly attendance. We are confident in a hopeful future where our love of God and service of neighbour will form the basis for future growth.
“Statistics for Mission provides an invaluable foundation for this and demonstrates that the Church, fully aware of where we are yet confident of the future, still has a strong base to work from.”
The statistics are available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/3331683/2015statisticsformission.pdf
Harry Farley of Christian Today reports on a New Poll: Are Churches Welcoming Towards LGBT People?
The question whether gay people are accepted in church has dogged Christian leaders for decades.
But a new poll out on Thursday reveals the same proportion of people think gay people are welcome in UK churches as those who think they are unwelcome. A YouGov poll highlighted that 30 per cent of Brits believe churches are welcoming towards gay people with 33 per cent saying they are not welcoming.
Younger people were more likely to think LGBT people are unwelcome in church, with 38 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds saying churches were not hospitable to gay people and 36 per cent of 25 to 49-year-olds agreeing. Those over 60 were almost twice as likely to think the LGBT community was welcome in church than unwelcome…
The Church of England Newspaper has also looked at the poll: Public don’t believe the Church offers a welcome to all in society.
The poll was commissioned by Jayne Ozanne, who has issued this press release:
Status of established church queried as poll reveals few believe Church of England serves whole nation.
Less than half of British adults believe that the Church of England is there for everyone, with only a third of adults believing UK Christian churches are welcoming towards the LGBTI community.
A recent YOUGOV poll has shown that only 47% of British adults agree that the Church of England is there for everyone who wants to go to Church. Of equal concern is the fact that less than a third (30%) believe that Christian Churches are welcoming towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community…
The full text of the press release is copied below the fold.
The full results of the poll can be viewed here.
STATUS OF ESTABLISHED CHURCH QUERIED AS POLL REVEALS FEW BELIEVE CHURCH OF ENGLAND SERVES WHOLE NATION.
LESS THAN HALF OF BRITISH ADULTS BELIEVE THAT THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IS THERE FOR EVERYONE, WITH ONLY A THIRD OF ADULTS BELIEVING UK CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ARE WELCOMING TOWARDS THE LGBTI COMMUNITY.
A recent YOUGOV poll has shown that only 47% of British adults agree that the Church of England is there for everyone who wants to go to Church. Of equal concern is the fact that less than a third (30%) believe that Christian Churches are welcoming towards the gay, lesbian and bisexual community.
Christian LGBT campaigner, Jayne Ozanne, who commissioned the research said:
“What is of greatest concern is the fact it is those who the Church is most keen to reach – the young and those of “no religion” - who believe that the Church is not there for everyone, and that they are not welcoming to the LGBT community. If the Church is serious about its commitment to mission, it needs to heed the concerns and perceptions of those it wants to attract, otherwise no one will want to listen.”
Commenting further, the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, said: “A national church should serve the whole nation, irrespective of creed, colour, class - and identity. It is a tragedy for our mission and ministry that the Church of England continues to denigrate and discriminate against lesbian, gay and transgendered people. The church cannot afford to cling to its establishment whilst colluding with its own institutional homophobia, and also continually capitulate to reactionary conservative lobby-groups. The manifest injustice of this will continue to impede all efforts to evangelise future generations, and will consign the church to an inevitable irrelevance.”
The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, who has been a key advocate for LGBT equality added:
“The Church of England must learn to listen to those it seeks to serve. It is interesting to note those who are most likely to think that the Church is there for everyone and that it is welcoming are Christian conservatives over the age of 50 – our traditional heartland. However, if we want to be a national church for everyone we need to understand and respond to the concerns people have, and recognise the fact that many think we are not there for them.”
The research was commissioned to understand how national perceptions towards the Church of England are changing, particularly in the light of its attitude towards the LGBT community. It follows a question on October 13th 2016 in the House of Commons by Susan Elan Jones, MP for Clwyd South, to the Second Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman, regarding the pastoral care of LGBT people in the Church of England in which she stated:
“Does (the Second Estates Commissioner) agree that now is the time for those of us who are Christian but not of the LGBT community to give more careful consideration to these issues?”
With less than half (47%) of those who identified as Anglican and just over a third (37%) of those identifying as Roman Catholics believing that Christian Churches are welcoming to the LGBT community, it appears that many are starting to do just that.
1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,669 adults (of which 415 identified as Anglican and 120 identified as Catholic). Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th - 12th October 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Full results of the survey can be viewed here.
2. Susan Elan Jones MP question to the Second Estates Commissioner can be viewed here.
The Diocese of Leeds has announced today that the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd James Bell, is to retire on 30 April 2017.
The full text of the diocesan announcement is below the fold.
Bishop of Ripon to retire
It has been announced that the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd James Bell, is to retire on 30 April 2017.
James Bell has been Bishop of Ripon since the creation of the new Diocese of Leeds in 2014. He was previously suffragan Bishop of Knaresborough in the former Diocese of Ripon & Leeds.
The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, says, “Bishop James has served the national church, the diocese, episcopal area, his colleagues and the people of our rural communities with faithfulness and theologically informed wisdom. And as an episcopal expert on rural affairs he has helped shape the Church of England’s approach to both ministry and mission across the country.
“Bishop James will retire in the knowledge that he has served diligently and faithfully, and he will leave the diocese with our gratitude, blessing and prayers. Please pray for him as he prepares to retire and move into a new form of life and ministry.”
Bishop James says, “It has been really exciting to be part of the shaping up of our great new diocese, and a deep joy to have a particular care for the Ripon Area.
“I give thanks for God’s grace at work amongst us and look forward to serving through the next months. There’ll be plenty of time for reflections and goodbyes in the spring”.
Bishop James was ordained in 1975 in the Diocese of Oxford before becoming Chaplain and Lecturer at Brasenose College until 1982. He served in the Diocese of London before joining the former Diocese of Ripon as Director of Ministry and Training, then Director of Mission. He became Bishop of Knaresborough in the (renamed) Diocese of Ripon & Leeds in 2004.
His Farewell Service will take place at Ripon Cathedral on Sunday 30 April 2017 at 3.30pm.
*** Updated Friday 21 October
There have been a lot of reports of the decision taken by the authorities at York Minster with respect to the Minster bellringers. The BBC’s coverage begins here with the headline “York Minster bells silenced after bell-ringers axed for ‘new team’”. In a letter shown on the BBC page, the Precentor of York, Canon Peter Moger writes to the ringers:
Chapter will recruit a Head Bell Ringer, who will then oversee the recruitment and activity of a new team of volunteer bell ringers. In order to begin this process, all current bell ringing activity will cease at the Minster, from today, Tuesday 11th October.
The York Minster Society of Change Ringers responded with this statement in which the Ringing Master, Peter Sanderson, commented:
I was appointed to the position of Ringing Master by Chapter in 2006 and have remained fully accountable to them ever since, always implementing Chapter’s policies as requested and being willing to work co-operatively with Chapter to resolve any issues as they have arisen. … You have also referred in the media to the review of the operation of the bell tower which raised health and safety concerns. That review was commissioned by Chapter, undertaken and completed without the knowledge of the bellringers and with no opportunity for them to provide input. Nor have the results ever been shared with us. I’m afraid that this is typical of the secrecy with which the Minster operates under the current leadership team under your direction. … When you arrived as Dean in 2012 the ringers invited you on several occasions to visit the bell-tower and meet the team. You declined all of those invitations and have never to my knowledge ascended the tower. As significant grievances between the ringers and Chapter have arisen over the past 18 months I have made numerous offers to meet with you and to work together to resolve them. You have rejected every one of those offers.
On Monday in a further brief statement, the Minster said that the issue was about safeguarding:
Earlier this summer, it was necessary for the Chapter to take action regarding a member of the bell ringing community on safeguarding grounds. … Some members of the York Minster Society of Change Ringers have consistently challenged the Chapter’s authority on this and other important matters. … This is why the Chapter took the decision to disband the bell ringing team last week.
This statement was read by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu (as Visitor) and has been released on video here. It is followed by questions and answers.
In their response, here, the ringers have again appealed to the Dean and Archbishop to talk to them:
We are deeply disappointed that Dean Faull and Archbishop Sentamu have decided to release their statement this afternoon without any prior communication or consultation with YMSCR. Now, more than ever, we feel the need to sit down and talk in private with the Dean and Chapter of York Minster to discuss these issues. We make a direct appeal to Dean Vivienne Faull and Archbishop John Sentamu to make contact and to arrange this meeting.
*** Update (Friday 21 October)
There has been a lot of press coverage of this story. The Church Times summarizes how the story unfolded in an article headlined Safeguarding issue silences bells of York Minster, and the Guardian does similarly under the headline How York Minster bellringers’ sacking blew the lid off bitter dispute.
Because of the nature of this story we ask all commenters to be especially careful in what they write. Comments containing ad hominem remarks will not be published.
The Simplification Task Group of the Church of England’s Renewal & Reform programme has issued this account of where they got to: Simplification – the story so far, Update from the Bishop of Willesden, Chair of the Simplification Task Group.
This paper, which has been approved by the Archbishops’ Council updates the Church with a summary of where we have got to on the Simplification Task Group work stream under the Renewal Reform initiative. It outlines the issues we have tackled, those areas we have declined to consider, the pieces of work that are outstanding, and the choices for a possible Phase 3. The purpose is to share what has happened as widely as possible, both because it is perfectly possible to miss changes in church legislation and therefore not be aware of the possibilities for doing things more simply, and because the Simplification Group wishes to give an account of its stewardship of the time and resources that it has consumed…
The indefatigable Andrew Goddard has just published at Fulcrum a long paper explaining why it is not possible to engage in pastoral accommodation over blessing same-sex unions: Blessing Same-Sex Unions – A Legitimate Pastoral Accommodation?
In addition to the main article, he has also published a large number of supplementary papers which are linked to it, either in the text, or in footnotes.
What is the church’s current official teaching and discipline?
What is the current ecclesial reality in relation to this teaching and discipline?
How did we get here and where might we go next?
Can we both uphold current teaching and offer greater “pastoral accommodation”?
Divorce and Remarriage
Prayer after abortion
Press release from the Church of England
Theological review of work of Crown Nominations Commission
07 October 2016
As General Synod were advised in July 2016, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have commissioned a theological review of the work of the Crown Nominations Commission.
The group will be chaired by Professor Oliver O’Donovan FBA and the other members are:
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
Professor Morwenna Ludlow - Professor of Christian History and Theology, University of Exeter
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
The Commission has been very active over the last few years and as it is anticipated that there will be fewer vacant sees in the near future, it is timely to review the way in which it works. The focus of the group will be to explore and provide the theological framework for the Commission as it discharges its responsibilities and to make any recommendations on process in the light of this. The group will be inviting a number of people to meet with it as well as receiving written submissions. It is very conscious of its responsibility to ensure that the full richness and diversity of Church voices are represented and starts its work this week.
It is anticipated that the group will make a report to the Archbishops who have commissioned the work. They have committed to sharing it with General Synod in 2018.
The Church Times reports: Dean delivers harsh rebuke to C of E’s ‘blandness’ in final sermon
THE Dean of Peterborough, the Very Revd Charles Taylor, has bowed out of office with a stinging attack on envious people at the centre of the Church of England who resent “uppity” cathedrals and who wish to impose a “monochrome blandness” on the Church.
In late July, it was revealed that a cashflow crisis at Peterborough Cathedral meant that staff were in danger of not being paid. A loan was secured from the Church Commissioners. At the same time, it was announced that Dean Taylor was planning to retire.
In his farewell sermon on Saturday, Dean Taylor, who is 63, dropped a strong hint that the decision to leave had been forced upon him. Despite hundreds of letters of support, he said, he had not made any public remark about “the circumstances surrounding my ‘retirement’ — although some have alleged that the manner in which it was effected was legally dubious, morally reprehensible, and pastorally disgraceful. Well, they might care to think that. I could not possibly comment.”
And the article continues:
He detected a wider agenda: “Such an inclusive theology of mission as motivates this and other cathedrals . . . is not always welcome to those who resent the independence of cathedrals, who envy their freedom — indeed, their obligation — to take the risks that accompany that independence, and perceived that they’re getting a bit uppity.
“It certainly does not conform to the ecclesiology, if one can call it that, of those who would like to see power concentrated at the centre, in order to impose a bland, uniform theology, if one can call it that, which runs counter to the very essence of Anglican diversity.”
The recent death of Bishop David Jenkins had led him to wonder where, today, were the Anglican leaders who excite the public imagination? “Where among the leaders of today are the colourful clerics and turbulent priests, the prickly prophets, the rebels and reformers?” All he saw was “monochrome blandness”.
”It is surely of salutary significance that newly appointed deans and bishops these days are sent on an induction course — not as you might think, to hone their skills in theology, or liturgy, community outreach, or pastoral care, but to take a mini-MBA.
“The pattern of the Good Shepherd has been hijacked by the model of the Chief Executive Officer.”
This was fair enough to some extent, Dean Taylor said. “Sustaining the increasingly diverse and complex operations of an active cathedral or diocese is a costly exercise, which does need to be managed carefully and corporately. . .
“But I suggest it’s also true, that the cathedral, or the church, or the parish which sits comfortably without financial risk or worry, probably is not following the vocation of disciples to spend and be spent in the service of the gospel and for the love of God.
“Besides, if the ultimate purpose and success of mission is to be measured by the bottom line, by prosperous posteriors on pews and money in the bank, with every member and minster toeing the party line, then one can’t help wondering how the earthly mission and ministry of Jesus would be judged, dying as he did alone and in disgrace — no congregation, no cash in the bank, but betrayed, forsaken and denied, even by his chosen disciples.”
The cathedral website has this: Tributes paid to Dean at farewell service.
There is a complete audio recording of the sermon available here. Alas no transcript is provided but it is well worth the time to listen to in full.
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, announced last week that he will step down from his position in June 2017.
This week it was announced that the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, will become the new Deputy Chair of the Church Commissioners’ Board of Governors on 1 January 2017, in succession to the Bishop of London. The appointment was made by the Archbishop of Canterbury who by arrangement appoints a deputy to attend the meetings in his place.
The dates when the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) will meet to choose the next Bishop of London have been published. They are
CNC 1 - 27 September 2017
CNC 2 - 7 November 2017
CNC 3 - 29 November 2017.
The current central members of the CNC were elected in 2012 for a five year term of office which expires on 31 August 2017. It will therefore be their successors (to be elected by General Synod next year) who, with the archbishops and diocesan members, will choose the new bishop.
As Bishop Chartres retires on 28 February 2017, the diocese of London can expect to be without a diocesan bishop for at least a year.
The CNC dates for Sodor and Man have been added to the website today; they are 7 February 2017 and 8 March 2017.
I linked earlier to the Pastoral Letter from the bishops of the Church in Wales opening Holy Communion to all the baptised. At that time the letter was only available on the website of the diocese of St Davids. It has now been published on the provincial website, along with this press release:
Anyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion in church, regardless of whether they have also been confirmed, under new guidance coming into effect in November.
The Church in Wales is re-adopting the practice of the early church on admission to Communion – the sharing of bread and wine – in an effort to strengthen ministry to children and young people in particular.
In recent times, people wishing to receive Communion have usually had to have been confirmed first – confirming promises made on their behalf at their baptism as infants. However, from the First Sunday in Advent – November 27 – everyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion. The policy will be rolled out across the parishes and ministry areas over the next year…
As well as the pastoral letter itself, there are three other related documents available for download.
These links are to pdfs of the English versions. Welsh versions, and Word documents are also available.
David Pocklington and Frank Cranmer of Law & Religion UK have a helpful summary of the new documents, and of the law about giving alcohol to the under-fives, here.
The Church Times has a leader this week which discusses the Bishops’ Reflection Group on Human Sexuality. This is titled An unenviable task.
Do please read it in full.
The two concluding paragraphs:
…It is always dangerous to underestimate the ability of the C of E to avoid resolving an issue, but it does seem clear that many of the Bishops, and possibly both of the Archbishops, are determined to halt the Church’s endless wrangling about sexuality, on the obvious grounds that it undermines mission, brings the Church into disrepute, and causes real harm to many individuals. The direction of travel is towards liberalisation. The sticking-point is how to accomplish this without compromising the consciences of conservatives or triggering an exodus — or, at least, too much of one. The lesson learnt by most during the Shared Conversations was that it is possible to respect the opinions of another without relinquishing one’s own views. But the growth of what has been, in essence, a greater sense of perspective exposed the few who cannot see sexuality as anything other than a communion-breaking matter.
The remarks from GAFCON after the revelation that the Bishop of Grantham was in a celibate same-sex relationship marked a new low: “We remain opposed to the guidelines for clergy and bishops, permitting them to be in same-sex relationships as long as they publicly declare that the relationship is not sexual. This creates confusion in terms of the Church’s teaching on the nature of sex and marriage, and it is not modelling a helpful way to live.” This has rarely been said so boldly, and conservatives of this stripe cannot expect the bishops to come up with any measures that satisfy them. The C of E is a broad Church with able bishops, but it is beyond their ability to accommodate a view that rejects even the existing compromise.
Ruth Gledhill reports in Christian Today Anglican ‘Church’ For Conservative Christians Launches Mission In England
An Anglican mission to rival the Church of England has set out plans to evangelise the UK.
The mission is already reaching out to evangelical Christians in dioceses that are “closed to conservative evangelicals”.
The plan is to plant hundreds of new evangelical Anglican churches.
The influential Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, is backing the plan…
It involves new Anglican churches being independent from the country’s “official” established church.
The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) sets out its goal of to planting 25 new churches by 2025 and 250 by 2050 in a new video.
The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh is backing a plan to plant hundreds of new evangelical Anglican churches.
Archbishop Okoh, who leads the conservative Anglican fellowship Gafcon, says: “We are so thrilled that the Anglican Mission in England exists and we are delighted that it is keen to start many new churches in the years to come. AMiE has the full support of the GAFCON movement.”
The video which announces this plan is available here.
The website of Anglican Mission in England explains here:
The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) is a mission society that seeks to promote gospel growth in areas covered by the Church of England (principally in England, but also in other parts of Europe) by supporting Anglican churches and individuals both within and outside present Church of England structures.
AMiE came into being as a result of GAFCON and is one of a number of agencies that relates to GAFCON through the FCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) UK and Ireland. You can read more about the history of AMiE by clicking here.
A variety of Anglican churches are part of AMiE. Some churches are outside the structures of the Church of England. Others remain within the denomination but are experiencing tensions, whilst others have joined to support them…
There is a list of participating churches on this page.
The Church Times has a report: The world is our parish, Hull curate says as AMiE agenda is set out
The Church of England should not have a monopoly on Anglicanism in England, the priest set to plant a new church in Scarborough, outside diocesan structures (News, 9 September; Letters, 16 September), says.
“In the business world, monopolies are not encouraged; so I do not see why there should be one Anglican service provider in England,” the Revd Lee McMunn said on Wednesday. “Surely we can allow people the option to choose, whether that is future ministers or future members of congregations…”
There is a further copy of this report on the GAFCON website: AMiE, the UK mission society established by GAFCON, begins ambitious church planting program.
And the website of this new church in Scarborough is here: A New Church in Scarborough.
And the latest GAFCON Chairman’s letter is here. (The chairman of the GAFCON primates is the Archbishop of Nigeria.)
Cathedral statistics 2015 show continued growth
23 September 2016
Attendance at cathedral worship continues to increase with mid-week attendance rising and Sunday attendance stable in 2015, according to the latest Cathedral Statistics, published today. The figures confirm the trend of gradual growth in cathedral attendance noted in the report From Anecdote to Evidence published in 2014.
On average, 36,700 people (adults and children) attended services each week at the 42 cathedrals in England during 2015. This is an increase of 18% from 31,200 in 2005. Midweek attendance increased from 12,700 to 18,900, contributing most of the increase. Attendance at Sunday services has remained generally stable, at around 17,900 in 2015. Numbers on community rolls increased by 5% from 15,100 in 2014 to 15,900 in 2015.
Other regular services, such as fresh expressions and schools services conducted at least once a month and not part of the weekly pattern of services, attracted 471,300. More than 1.1 million people attended 5,310 public/civic events held in cathedrals.
“These figures are extremely encouraging,” said the Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool. “They show that, up and down the country, cathedrals are sustaining the growth that has been reported for a number of years. Clearly, something about cathedral worship is meeting a need and contributing significantly to the spiritual life of the nation.”
Easter and Christmas
Easter 2015, services saw 54,000 attending worship, 2% more than in 2014. There were 28,200 Easter communicants, the highest figure since 2009. Attendance during Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Good Friday, was 92,500.
Christmas attendance was 125,200 in 2015, the highest figure since 2011. There were 33,100 communicants at Christmas in 2015. Services during Advent, the period leading up to Christmas, attracted an attendance of 824,300 in 2015, the highest figure for the past decade. All events and services from the beginning of Advent to 23 December are captured in the Advent total.
Baptisms, Marriages and Thanksgivings
In 2015, 760 baptisms and 12 thanksgivings were conducted in cathedrals, a number almost unchanged since 2010. Since 2011, the number of infant baptisms in cathedrals has been falling steadily, while the number of baptisms of people over a year of age has steadily increased since 2005.
In the year, 270 marriages and 30 blessings were conducted in cathedrals. The number of funerals has remained stable over the last ten years at 370 with a further 120 memorial services conducted by cathedral clergy; 70 funerals were conducted at crematoria on behalf of cathedrals.
Children and Young People
The number of children and young people attending organised educational events in cathedrals increased by 14% from 280,900 in 2005 to 320,000 in 2015; a further 13,100 children visited Westminster Abbey. More than half of these visits were by children under 11 years old. Cathedral schools or schools formally associated with cathedrals had 12,440 children on their rolls in 2015. Attendance at graduation ceremonies was 264,700 and at other public events such as concerts was 842,400 in 2015.
Cathedral choirs included 1,490 child choristers and 550 lay clerks and choral scholars in 2015. A further 600 children and 1,410 adults were involved in voluntary choirs. The cathedrals have, between them, 40 male, 30 female and 80 mixed cathedral choirs: 790 visiting choirs sang in one service or a week of services and more than 1,140 regular and 620 occasional musicians were involved in services in 2015.
The number of people volunteering at cathedrals rose by 13% from 13,300 in 2005 to 15,000 in 2015. There were 9.4 million visitors to cathedrals in 2015; a further 1 million people visited Westminster Abbey.
Cathedral Statistics 2015 can be read in full here.
The report From Anecdote to Evidence can be read here.
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitude have issued a joint statement:
Statement from Changing Attitude and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement on the Bishops’ Reflection Group on Human Sexuality.
Welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitude have welcomed the establishment of a Reflection Group under the leadership of Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. Whilst expressing disappointment that a group tasked with reflecting on issues of human sexuality does not appear to include any openly gay people, we recognise that this simply reflects the reality within the church’s leadership - that LGBT people are invisible, our voices often silenced, and our experiences unheard. We welcome the opportunities which have arisen as part of the Shared Conversations to included the lived experience, deep conviction and prophetic witness of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and we recognise the enormously costly nature of the contribution many people have made to that process.
The Reflection Group must now consider the Church’s steps into the future. In doing so, they will be called to listen carefully to all they have heard during the Shared Conversations. We call upon them to lead the House of Bishops towards a future that celebrates the gifts of all God’s people including the LGBTI members of the Church of England and embodies the radical equality to which we are called in Christ.
Our prayer is that, strengthened by the Spirit, the members of the group will be enabled to listen, reflect and discern, and that as they undertake their work they will be granted moral courage and prophetic vision. For we are all alike called to be not only hearers of the Word, but doers too; our actions must match our words in seeking God’s justice, compassion and truth.
We continue to look forward to a future where LGBT people are no longer seen as a problem to be solved, but as gifted members of the Body of Christ, equal partners in prayer, service and mission. Anything less than that falls short of the Good News that God’s abundant love is for all humankind and that although LGBT people may struggle to find their place inside the church at the moment, God will travel with them when they choose the path of life, wherever that takes them.
GAFCON UK has issued this statement:
GAFCON UK Statement following the appointment of a ‘Bishops’ Reflection Group’ on homosexuality
18th September 2016
GAFCON UK is puzzled as to why the Church of England needs a ‘Bishops’ Reflection Group’ on homosexuality. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference is clear, and the Bible is universally clear. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are same-sex attracted, and faithfully living according to God’s revealed plan for human flourishing. As pastors, teachers, friends, and neighbours we can have no other response. The Church of England needs to have the courage of its foundational convictions, return to them, and move on to its mission of calling the nation to turn to Christ as the only Saviour and Lord.
Comments from various people have been reported in the media:
Updated to add press reports
The Church of England has released two related reports on clergy numbers today, one looking back at the actual numbers from 1949 to 2014, and one looking at projections of numbers up to 2035. There is this cover note to the two reports:
Cover note: Ordained Vocations Statistics report and Ministry Statistics in focus: Stipendiary clergy projections
and a press release.
Increase in ministry numbers is necessary and achievable, report shows
Dioceses have responded to the call to work towards a 50% increase in candidates for ordination with new posts and new procedures. A review of numbers in ordained ministry over the last 67 years shows that the 50% increase in candidates for ministry by 2020 agreed by the General Synod in February, 2015, is needed to stabilise and increase the numbers ministering in parishes, chaplaincies and new forms of church.
The Church of England is seeking to increase by half the numbers training for ordained ministry and to sustain those numbers for a decade: an increase from about 500 to 750 by 2020. At the same time, the Church is also seeking greater diversity among those training for ministry. This will better reflect the communities where the Church is working, in terms of age, gender and ethnic and social background. The 50% increase is an aspiration and not a limit if more candidates come forward and dioceses require more new clergy…
The full press release is copied below the fold.
The cover note includes links to the two reports, but for convenience here they are.
The cover note also includes links to a report for each of the 42 dioceses. In each case it comprises the Ordained Vocations Statistics report with diocesan data at the end.
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England seeks more black and minority ethnic clergy
Gavin Drake Anglican Communion News Service Church of England needs 50 per cent increase in ordinands
Hannah Tooley Premier Church pledges to increase numbers of vicar training places by half
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today CofE desperate for more young women and ethnic minorities to hear the call of God
John Bingham The Telegraph Race to save a much-loved British endangered species (the local vicar)
Increase in ministry numbers is necessary and achievable, report shows
20 September 2016
Dioceses have responded to the call to work towards a 50% increase in candidates for ordination with new posts and new procedures. A review of numbers in ordained ministry over the last 67 years shows that the 50% increase in candidates for ministry by 2020 agreed by the General Synod in February, 2015, is needed to stabilise and increase the numbers ministering in parishes, chaplaincies and new forms of church.
The Church of England is seeking to increase by half the numbers training for ordained ministry and to sustain those numbers for a decade: an increase from about 500 to 750 by 2020. At the same time, the Church is also seeking greater diversity among those training for ministry. This will better reflect the communities where the Church is working, in terms of age, gender and ethnic and social background. The 50% increase is an aspiration and not a limit if more candidates come forward and dioceses require more new clergy.
The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Andrew Watson, chair of the Ordained Vocations Working Group said, “The aspiration to increase the number of new clergy by 50% is part of a wider vision to release and develop the gifts of the whole people of God.
“It’s encouraging to see most of the dioceses really rising to this challenge, as they reshape their vocations teams and put new and more proactive vocations strategies in place. We are picking up a fresh commitment to ‘pray to the Lord of the Harvest’, along with early reports of an increase in the number of enquiries from potential candidates.”
Encouraging more young men and, especially, young women, as well as more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) worshippers to consider ordination will help the Church of England hit its aspiration of an extra 50% new clergy each year, according to a report on ordained vocations statistics published today. The Church is not just looking for an increase in numbers but also a growth in diversity. Dioceses have said that ministry in the future needs to embody the diversity in the Church and the nation to realise the hopeful future at the heart of Renewal and Reform.
The statistical review to help dioceses plan for the future shows that, while similar numbers of men and women are being recommended for ordination training each year, women are testing their vocations at a later age and tend to retire sooner than the men. Currently, women recommended for training are, on average, significantly older than the men recommended. The majority of younger paid clergy are men, while, among older clergy, more are women. The Church is encouraging women to test their vocations younger.
Hitting the extra 50% aspiration is not just a matter of recommending more people for training. The Church is looking for more people with the right gifts who have a vocation to ordained ministry. It is calling on all worshippers to consider what God is calling them to in the expectation that additional people will step forward to a variety of lay and ordained vocations.
The figures also show that the proportion of BAME candidates recommended for training is lower than the BAME proportion in the population. As part of the push for more candidates for ordination, the Church will be aiming for a greater diversity among its clergy, in terms of ethnic and social background, to reflect the communities where it looks to grow God’s church.
An accompanying projections report shows the effect of changes that will flow from increased numbers. The age profile of the clergy would become much flatter as numbers increase, reducing the risk associated with large numbers approaching retirement.
The projections (Figure 10 and Table 4) illustrate a steady decline in the total pool of clergy if the current trends in ordinations and retirements continue (status quo scenario). Clergy delaying retirement by a year (retirements 1 year later scenario) would help slow the rate of decline in numbers but cannot prevent it. Reaching the aspiration of a 50% increase in ordinations (ordinations 50% increase levels sustained scenario), would provide a stable pool of around 7,600 FTE clergy. If the rise is only a temporary peak and ordinations fall again to current levels gradually after 2023 then the pattern of decline will return (ordinations rise and fall scenario).
Alongside these reports, each diocese will receive a parallel report of its own statistics. Dioceses will then use these to plan their own strategy for increasing vocations to the priesthood, in the full knowledge of where they are doing well and where they are doing less well. As dioceses develop their own plans, the national aims will develop accordingly.
Currently, around 500 candidates for ordained ministry are recommended for training each year. By 2020, it is hoped to increase this number to around 750, including a substantial increase in the numbers of young candidates and in the diversity of their backgrounds.
As well as the overall numerical increase the Church is seeking to:
Increase the proportion of younger ordinands so that half of those recommended for stipendiary ministry are under 32
Increase the proportion of women among the ordinands under 32 to about half of the total
Increase the percentage of ordinands who identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic towards the same proportion as in the general population in England (15%).
Progress in these areas will be monitored and reported annually, along with a review of the Church of England’s deployment needs.
Other priority areas will be developed in response to the needs of the dioceses and national deployment. There are four current areas for such additional priorities. They are:
An increase in the number of pioneer ministers
An increase in lay ministers to serve alongside ordained ministers
The encouragement of the vocations of all people, including how people live out their faith in daily life
The encouragement of vocations in religious life.
The Ordained Vocations Statistics Report and the Ministry Statistics in focus projections report can be read in full via the links in the cover note here.
Read the blog here.
The following press release has been issued:
Bishops’ Reflection Group on Human Sexuality
Following the statement from the College of Bishops issued on 15 September 2016, the Church of England has published the terms of reference of the Bishops’ Reflection Group on Human Sexuality and the membership of the group.
Terms of Reference
To assist the Bishops of the Church of England in their reflection on issues relating to human sexuality, in the light of theological, biblical, ecumenical, Anglican Communion, pastoral, missiological, historical and societal considerations bearing on these issues, and following experiences of the shared conversations held around the Church between 2014 and 2016.
To assist the House of Bishops in identifying questions in relation to human sexuality, with particular reference to same sex relationships. It will also develop possible answers to those questions for the House to consider, as a contribution to the leadership which the House provides to the Church on such issues.
To provide material to assist the House of Bishops in its reflections in November 2016, and subsequently as requested, and to assist the House in its development of any statements on these matters which it may provide to the wider Church.
To consider any matter which the Archbishops request that the group should have on its agenda.
Membership of Group:
Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich (Chair)
Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden (Vice-Chair)
Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford
Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of Ebbsfleet
Rt Revd Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn
Rt Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport
Rt Revd Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of Crediton
Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich
Rt Revd Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone
Rt Revd Jo Bailey Wells, Bishop of Dorking
Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, Director Mission & Public Affairs Division
Jonathan Neil-Smith, Central Secretariat (Secretary)
William Nye LVO, Secretary General
Canon David Porter, Chief of Staff and Strategy to the Archbishop of Canterbury
Revd Dr Jeremy Worthen, Theological Secretary and Secretary to the Council for Christian Unity
Statement from the College of Bishops
15 September 2016
The College of Bishops of the Church of England met in Oxford from 12-15 September 2016.
As is the usual pattern of meetings of the College every third year the College of Bishops are joined for part of their meeting by bishops from the Scottish Episcopal Church, Church of Ireland and Church in Wales. Representatives from each of the sister churches made presentations to the college and engaged fully in discussions during the first days of the meeting.
A wide ranging agenda included presentations and discussions on Safeguarding, the Renewal and Reform programme, the post-Brexit political landscape, clergywomen in leadership, clergy wellbeing and issues of sexuality.
Discussions on issues of sexuality took place as part of a new process of episcopal discernment which will continue during the meetings of the House of Bishops in November and December of this year and in January next year at the next meeting of the College of Bishops. These discussions were undertaken by the College of Bishops alone.
Whilst the process of episcopal discernment is in the public domain the Bishops agreed that the contents of their discussion should not be shared in public during the process so as to enable those discussions to be conducted freely and in a spirit of full collegiality. Consequently the contents of the conversations will remain private and participants have agreed not to comment on the contents of the discussions beyond their own views.
Following the conclusion of the shared conversations process the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have invited some bishops to take forward work on sexuality to assist the episcopal discernment process. The Bishops’ Reflection Group on Sexuality will be chaired by Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich. The full membership of the group and its terms of reference will be published in due course.
Parish finances show record level of giving
The generosity of churchgoers from across the country is highlighted in the latest parish finance statistics. The figures – covering the year 2014 – demonstrate a record level of giving with total planned giving up £6 million at £329 million and total direct giving up £71 million at £481 million.
The figures also show that Church of England parishes donated £46 million to supporting other charities working around the world, from foodbanks and local children’s charities to international aid appeals.
Parishes raised these important funds from a combination of regular and one-off donations as well as investments and legacies. Total parish income from giving, investments and other income sources was £989 million – an increase of £36 million on the previous year. Expenditure levels also rose by £28 million to £948 million in 2014, leaving the 12,000 parishes a surplus of £41 million over expenditure.
Dr John Preston, the Church of England’s national stewardship adviser, said:
“These financial statistics reveal an underlying financial health in the church which is encouraging. As a result of the commitment and generosity of hundreds of thousands of churchgoers, we have seen record levels of giving - with the average weekly gift from all planned givers exceeding £11 for the first time, and the average gift from those able to give through Gift Aid exceeding £15 including the tax recovered. Parishes were able to claim record levels of Gift Aid, with a significant part of this increase arising from use of the Gift Aid Small Donations scheme. It is also pleasing to note that legacy giving was the highest yet.”
Average weekly giving per tax-efficient givers has continued to rise year on year with members giving on average £12.01 in 2014. Average weekly giving per electoral roll member rose to £8.85 in 2014, an increase of £1.60 a week and the highest level recorded. Total planned giving rose by slightly less than inflation, while total income grew by more than inflation.
Time Wyatt reports for Church Times that Parishioners give more — but not enough to cancel out costs.
The following press release has been issued. The letter to which it refers is copied below the fold.
For the full list of signatures follow this link.
GENERAL SYNOD MEMBERS URGE BISHOPS TO SEND A POSITIVE MESSAGE TO LGBTI CHRISTIANS.
Over 130 lay and clergy members of Synod from across the Church of England’s traditions have signed an open letter to the College of Bishops urging that the Church is “unequivocal in its acknowledgement” that LGBTI Christians are essential to the health and future of our Church.
The letter has been made public just before the Church of England’s meeting of the College of Bishops following the completion of the Shared Conversations process in July. It comes after an earlier letter from 72 conservatives expressing concern over the discussion of any new proposals, which they stated would lead to a fracture within the Church of England.
Organised by four influential Synod members – Jayne Ozanne, the Revd Canon Giles Goddard, the Very Revd Dr David Ison and Tim Hind – the letter has succeeded in uniting members from across the various Church traditions and from 38 of the 42 dioceses within the Church of England.
Echoing sentiments made by many signatories, long standing synod member John Mason said:
“I am not normally enthusiastic about letters of this type, but I am in complete agreement with publication of this one. I wholeheartedly approve of it both because of the need for a response (to the conservatives’ letter) and because of its particularly inclusive and affirming content.”
The letter recognises the importance of the Shared Conversations, and its role in helping people understand “the common reverence we (synod members) hold for the Word of God as well as the differing ways in which we have come to understand and interpret it. We believe this has formed deeper understanding, trust and respect between those with whom we have differing views.”
Importantly it called for a new “relational approach” to how the Synod engages in such difficult topics, and urged the Bishops to move forward “with the sense of urgency and sensitivity that so many of us expressed within Synod”. This will be aided by the fact that there is now one openly gay and partnered member of the College of Bishops, the Rt Revd Nicholas Chamberlain.
Jayne Ozanne said the level of support was very encouraging, and an important signal to the bishops of the broad support that exists amongst Synod members:
“The response to the letter has been overwhelming, - it definitely seems that the tide is now finally turning. From conversations I have had it would appear that many synod members were deeply challenged and moved by the discussions in July, and it seems that there is a growing consensus for the Church to take active steps towards ensuring it is welcoming and inclusive of all.”
The Revd Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of the Human Sexuality Group in Synod and the other lead co-ordinator, said that the breadth of support was important:
“The broad consensus across the church traditions is extremely encouraging. We hope it will help the C of E to find ways to heal the deep level of pain felt by many of us within the LGBTI community, by becoming genuinely welcoming and affirming.”
The Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd Dr David Ison, was clear that the status quo is not an option:
“I believe that there’s a growing consciousness across the Church that our response to lay and ordained LGBTI Christians cannot stay as it is. We need far greater honesty and transparency with one another, and to ensure that all LGBTI people are welcomed and affirmed by a Church called to share the redeeming love of Christ with all.”
Other synod members who would like to sign the letter are being encouraged to do so in retrospect by adding their signature at www.synodletter.wordpress.com.
For more information please contact Jayne Ozanne at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. The 131 signatories include:
- 69 members of the House of Clergy – including 3 Deans and 8 Archdeacons
- 62 members of the House of Laity
- 70 women
- 61 men
- Representatives from 38 of the 42 dioceses
2. A further 7 synod members indicated that they would have liked to have signed the letter but felt unable to do so as they had not participated in any of the Shared Conversations.
3. 72 conservatives sent an open letter to the College of Bishops on August 11th 2016.
4. A full list of Synod members is available here.
To All Members of the College of Bishops
We write as Members from across the full breadth of General Synod to thank and congratulate you for what we feel were a significant few days within the life of the Synod last July. Whilst the Shared Conversations were difficult, and at times very painful, we are grateful for the care and thought that had gone into creating as safe a space as possible for differing views to be aired, and experiences listened to.
We are particularly grateful for the way that we were encouraged to engage in Scripture together. This enabled us to appreciate the common reverence we hold for the Word of God as well as the differing ways in which we have come to understand and interpret it. We believe this has formed deeper understanding, trust and respect between those with whom we have differing views.
We now look to you and your colleagues within the College of Bishops to help lead us forward.
We hope that this will be with the sense of urgency and sensitivity that so many of us expressed within Synod. In particular, we pray it will continue to develop the new “relational approach” that has enabled us to bridge our sometimes unhelpful “tribal divides”.
Whilst not wishing to pre-empt the work of the College of Bishops, we would ask that the steps that are proposed create greater clarity and consistency in our approach to this complex issue. In particular, we are keen that the College of Bishops is unequivocal in its acknowledgement that all, including those who identify as LGBTI, are essential to the health and future of our church and mission to the wider world.
We wish you to be assured of our prayers, and know that we are fully committed to the process of encouraging greater inclusion across the Church of England for all.
Please let us know how we might best support you in this important work,
Yours in Christ
There has been a lot of media coverage of the news about the Bishop of Grantham, first reported here.
This news report by Madeleine Davies in the Church Times incorporates many of the responses to the news from other people or groups: Bishop of Grantham: ‘I hope to be a standard-bearer as a gay man’.
The full text of the letter from the Bishop of Lincoln to his parishes can be found here.
The full text of the GAFCON statement can be found here.
Anglican Mainstream has a convenient compendium of links to responses from a variety of perspectives.
Some other viewpoints from the blogosphere:
Beth Routledge The Church of England, and The Sex In Sexuality
Kelvin Holdsworth Sexuality, Celibacy and Bishops
The following letter has been published today by the Sunday Times
To All Members of the House of Bishops
We are writing to you as married lesbian and gay members of the Church of England. Some of us are clergy; some of us are members of the laity. We are just a few of the many gay and lesbian people in this country who have in the past two years been able to celebrate with families, friends, and in our cases often our local Church community, the enriching and life enhancing love we have found in our wives and husbands.
We would like you to know that we will be praying for you as you meet in September as a College of Bishops.
Now that the Shared Conversations are at an end it is time for the Church of England to move forward and make clear the commitment to ‘good disagreement’ that was at their heart. We fully appreciate that the time may not yet be right for a change in the Church’s official understanding of marriage. But many in our parishes have already made that move and it is time to respect that a diversity of theology within the Church now exists and that there is more than one understanding of what a faithful Christian may believe on these issues.
As you meet to discuss we seek from you a clear lead that offers a way forward to greater inclusion that will enable those parishes that wish to do so to celebrate the love that we have found in our wives and husbands. We hope for an outcome that will enable those who wish to do so to publicly celebrate where we see God at work in the lives of our congregations without fear and in openness.
We encourage you to be bold, and to be honest about what many of you already believe from your own experience, and to what you know to be increasingly the direction of travel, not just in our Church but in many Churches in this country.
We will always want to see the full inclusion of LGBTI people in the Church, and we will continue to work towards it. We look forward to welcoming a first step in that process and a move away from the harm and hurt that has so often been done in the name of the Church.
Yours in Christ
1. The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain and Stephen Foreshew-Cain
2. The Revd Richard Harris and Ricardo Goncalves.
3. The Revd Garry Lawson and Timothy H. Wane
4. The Revd Clive Larson and John Markham
5. The Revd Paul Collier and Mr Collier
6. The Revd Canon Jeremy Davis and Simon McEnery
7. The Revd Geoffrey Thompson and Tony Steeles
8. The Revd Prof Mark Cobb and Keith Arrowsmith
9. Jeremy Timm & Mike Brown
10. Ruth Wilde & Ellie Wilde
11. Jack Semple and Ross Griffiths
12. Paul Jellings and Andrew Carter
13. Erica Baker and Susan Strong
14. Karen and Samantha Bregazzi-Jones
15. Keith Barber and Tim Mills
16. Simon Dawson and David Mooney
In addition a further seven clergy couples and Readers have indicated their support for this letter whilst wishing to remain anonymous in order to protect themselves, and often their Bishops, from attack.
The LGBTI Mission has issued this statement:
LGBTI Mission: Statement about the Bishop of Grantham
The LGBTI Mission welcomes the openness that Bishop Nicholas Chamberlain has shown in revealing personal information about himself, while we deplore the media threat which has led to the need for this to happen. We assure him of our love and prayers, extending to his partner, his colleagues, and his wider family.
We are pleased that the forthcoming College of Bishops meeting will now have at least one openly LGBTI voice in their discussion of what next steps the Church of England should take in regard to same-sex relationships. We hope this will lead to increased openness among bishops so that burden does not long remain on the Bishop of Grantham alone.
The Guardian reports that Bishop Nicholas himself has said:
“I will speak [at the meeting], and this part of me will be known. I hope I’ll be able to be a standard-bearer for all people as a gay man. And I really hope that I’ll be able to help us move on beyond matters of sexuality,”
And, asked whether other bishops might follow his lead in openly declaring their sexuality, he said: “I really can only speak for myself. If I’m an encouragement to others, that would be great.”
We are also pleased that both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Lincoln have expressed their unequivocal support for him, and confirmed that they made his appointment with full knowledge of his circumstances. But we regret that when announcing senior appointments the Church still adheres to a discriminatory policy of purposeful concealment. It is this policy which has lead directly to the discomfort which Bishop Nicholas is now experiencing.
The need to review the absurd and cruel double standard still applied in relation to sexual conduct of the clergy remains an urgent task for the Church.
Updated Saturday afternoon
Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian has reported this:
Bishop of Grantham first C of E bishop to declare he is in gay relationship
The bishop of Grantham has become the first Church of England bishop to publicly declare that he is gay and in a relationship. In a move that will be embraced by campaigners for equality but is likely to alarm conservatives who fear the church is moving away from traditional teachings, Nicholas Chamberlain said there had been no secret about his long-term – albeit celibate – relationship with his partner.
But a threat by a Sunday newspaper to reveal Chamberlain’s sexuality had pushed him to speak publicly. He acknowledged that the revelation would cause “ripples” within the church. “It was not my decision to make a big thing about coming out,” he told the Guardian in an exclusive interview. “People know I’m gay, but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone. Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.”
The Guardian also has this comment article by Andrew Brown ‘Double standard’ in C of E on homosexuality is less defensible today.
The Church of England has been confused and dishonest about homosexuality for most of the last 50 years, as it struggled to come to terms with feminism and the sexual revolution. The official line is that all sex outside marriage is wrong, and that gay people can’t marry in church. However, the definition of marriage is flexible for straight people: the church accepts that divorce and remarriage can be regrettable necessities for heterosexuals, even when they are priests or (occasionally) bishops. Meanwhile, gay churchgoers are often welcomed and are frequently married or partnered. Congregations vary widely in their attitudes but are, for the most part, no more illiberal than the society around them.
In effect, there is one standard for the laity – which is to conform to the liberal norms of society – and a double standard for the clergy who are supposed to be celibate, even when they live with same sex partners, if not heterosexually married. It is perfectly in order for clergy and even bishops to be civilly partnered…
The Diocese of Lincoln has today (Saturday) published a letter sent out yesterday from the Bishop of Lincoln:
A MESSAGE TO THE PARISHES OF THE DIOCESE FROM THE BISHOP OF LINCOLN
2 September 2016
Last year, Nicholas Chamberlain accepted the invitation to become the twelfth Bishop of Grantham. I was delighted that we were able to appoint a priest of his faithfulness, energy, wisdom and experience to this senior role at such an important time in the life of our diocese.
Bishop Nicholas has brought to the diocese many excellent gifts that are serving us very well as we seek to build the life of the church in greater Lincolnshire in faith, confidence and joy. It was for those many gifts that he was appointed. It was clear to me, and to those who assisted me with the appointment, that Nicholas would be an excellent bishop, and this has been borne out by the tremendous benefit we are already enjoying as a result of his ministry among us during the past year.
Bishop Nicholas’ appointment was made following the recommended and established procedures for suffragan posts, and was approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury (as metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury). The archbishop, and the members of the advisory panel, were in full possession of the facts of the appointment and unanimous in their support.
A story has been published on the Guardian website this evening about sexuality and the church. The same story will appear in the newspaper tomorrow, and it includes an interview with Bishop Nicholas in which he is open about the fact that he is gay. Bishop Nicholas gave this interview willingly and after much careful thought and prayer, and he did so with the express intention of acting in the best interests of the Diocese of Lincoln and of the Church of England.
I am satisfied now, as I was at the time of his appointment, that Bishop Nicholas fully understands, and lives by, the House of Bishops’ guidance on Issues in Human Sexuality. For me, and for those who assisted in his appointment, the fact that Bishop Nicholas is gay is not, and has never been, a determining factor.
I understand that in some parts of the church – locally, nationally and internationally – this news will be challenging. My prayer for the church is that we will continue to seek to work together to understand difference with respect and dignity; to embrace and nurture our diverse gifts as disciples of Jesus Christ and in the service of God and neighbour; and to enrich and enable fulfillment in the lives of all God’s people, whatever their background, race, faith, gender or sexuality.
With my thoughts and prayers,
The Right Reverend Christopher Lowson
Bishop of Lincoln
Dean of Winchester: Catherine Ogle
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 2 September 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church, Winchester.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, MA, MPhil, DLitt, Dean of Birmingham, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity and Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and of Saint Swithun in Winchester, on the resignation of the Very Reverend James Edgar Atwell, MA, BD, ThM on 14 July 2016.
Notes for editors
The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, (aged 55) studied at Leeds University, and then at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. She studied for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge 1985 to 1988. Her first curacy was at St Mary, Middleton in Ripon diocese from 1988 to 1991. From 1991 to 1995 she was Religious Programmes Editor at BBC Radio Leeds and attached to St Margaret of Antioch, in inner city Leeds.
In 1994 she was among the first women to be ordained priest in the Church of England and served her first incumbency from 1995 to 2001 as Priest in Charge of Woolley with West Bretton in Wakefield Diocese. From 2001 to 2010 she was Vicar of St Peter’s, Huddersfield Parish Church, also in the diocese of Wakefield. From 2003 to 2006 she was Chaplain at the University of Huddersfield. From 2008 to 2010 she was Honorary Canon at Wakefield Cathedral and Rural Dean of Huddersfield. Since 2010 she has been Dean of Birmingham.
The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle is married to Robin Goater, an accountant currently Finance Director of a local mental health charity. They have 1 son, Thomas, who is studying to be a teacher.
Her interests include the arts, broadcasting, hospitality and walking.
The Winchester diocesan website has A new Dean for Winchester Cathedral.
Suffragan Bishop of Berwick: Mark Tanner
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published : 1 September 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Mark Simon Austin Tanner to the Suffragan See of Berwick.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Mark Simon Austin Tanner, MA, BA MTh, Vice Principal of St John’s College, Durham and Warden Cramer Hall in the diocese of Durham, to the Suffragan See of Berwick in the diocese of Newcastle which has been in abeyance since 1572.
Notes for editors
Canon Mark Tanner was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, then at St John’s College Durham and then at Liverpool University. He trained for the ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham. He served his title at Upton in Chester diocese from 1998 to 2001.
From 2001 to 2007 he was Vicar at Doncaster in Sheffield diocese before moving on to be Vicar at Ripon in the diocese of Ripon and Leeds from 2007 to 2011, and was also Area Dean of Ripon from 2009 to 2011. From 2009 to 2011 he was OCM with 21 Engineering Regiment, and with 101 Royal Artillery from 2011 to 2013.
Since 2011 he has been Warden of Cranmer Hall in the diocese of Durham and Vice Principal of St John’s College, Durham, and from 2015 he has been Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral.
Canon Mark Tanner is married and has 2 children.
His interests include walking, running and motorcycles.
The Newcastle diocesan website has Canon Mark Tanner announced as new Suffragan Bishop of Berwick.
Updated again Wednesday evening
John Bingham of the Telegraph reports: Church of England parishes consider first step to break away over sexuality.
A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over issues such as homosexuality, with the creation of a new “shadow synod” vowing to uphold traditional teaching.
Representatives of almost a dozen congregations in the Home Counties are due to gather in a church hall in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, later this week for the first session of what they say could eventually develop into an alternative Anglican church in England.
Organisers, drawn from the conservative evangelical wing of Anglicanism, say they have no immediate plans to break away - but are setting up the “embryonic” structures that could be used to do so if the established church moves further in what they see as a liberal direction…
There is a further report with some additional usefui background information from Ruth Gledhill in Christian Today Anglicans consider new synod to oppose gay marriage
…In England, there is already a number of conservative groups such as the Church Society, and Reform. Dr Sanlon has written for the Church Society.
There are also the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, which is signed up to Gafcon’s Jerusalem Statement and Declaration, and the Anglican Mission in England, a mission society promoting gospel growth in England.
Anglican Mainstream is a fifth…
…A spokesman for Anglican Mainstream said: “This is not an initiative organised or directed by Gafcon.”
But he said there were many similarities between them and Gafcon.
“This is a local initiative designed to send a clear message: we hold to the unchanging truths of the Gospel and the formularies and teachings of the Church of England. We oppose the relentless slide towards revisionism in the Church of England structures. We will take action to protect our congregations and our mission.”
According to the Daily Mail:
…A Church of England spokeswoman said: “The Shared Conversations process over the last two years included the participation of over 1,300 members of the church in regional and national settings.
“Through those conversations, deep convictions have been shared and profound differences better understood. It is our hope that what has been learned through the relationships developed will inform the way the Church conducts whatever further formal discussions take place in the future.
“The Church of England is episcopally led and synodically governed. Within that structure, many like-minded parishes join together in a range of organisations, meetings and assemblies to share mutual support and debate.”
Readers who want to know more about the views of the organiser of this event may find this book review of interest.
Andy Lines, the Chairman of GAFCON UK Task Force has issued this statement.
Andy Lines is employed as Mission Director of Crosslinks, and has PtO in Southwark diocese, but according to Crockfords has served only in South America, and has never held any parochial office in the Church of England.
Read the GAFCON Chairman’s August letter in full for comment on the CofE.
And this from GAFCON UK.
There is a report by James Macintyre in Christian Today of an interview conducted at the Greenbelt Festival by Church of England priest and British television personality Kate Bottley. The headline under which it appears is: Justin Welby: ‘I am constantly consumed with horror’ at the way the Church has treated gay people.
The part of the interview to which the headline relates is this:
…Asked by an audience member who was due to enter a civil partnership when the Church would be in a position to bless the union, the Archbishop simply said that he did not know. “I don’t have a good answer to it,” he said. “If we were the only Church here and [there were] no other Churches, and if division didn’t matter it would be much easier to answer”.
Welby said that the inclusion of gay people and safeguarding against abuse were the two issues which he lies awake thinking about at night.
“Do I know when there will be a point when the blessing [of the civil partnership] will happen? No. I don’t and I can’t see the road ahead”. He added that the Church started from a traditionalist position, moved on to out of touch and then “vicious” and “now we just look odd”.
He said “we have to find a way to love and embrace everyone who loves Jesus Christ” but he added that this included people who feel – or come from societies which believe – that same-sex relationships are “deeply, deeply wrong”.
Welby talked of an “incredible clash that is so important to so many people and goes to the heart of the identity of so many people”. He added: “There isn’t a simple solution… I haven’t got a good answer.” To applause, he said “I am constantly consumed with horror” at the way in which the Church has treated the gay community…
The article reports what he said on a variety of other topics too. I do recommend reading the entire article. If further detail becomes available I will add links here.
Press release from Number 10
Dean of Wells: John Harverd Davies
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 23 August 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend John Harverd Davies to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Wells.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend John Harverd Davies, MA, MPhil, PhD, Dean of Derby, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Wells, on the resignation of the Very Reverend John Martin Clarke, BD, MA, on his resignation of 31 December 2015.
Notes for Editors
The Very Reverend Dr John Davies (aged 58) studied at Keble College, Oxford and then at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge for his MPhil, before doing his Doctorate at Lancaster University.
He studied for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge. His first curacy was at Liverpool Parish Church, from 1984 to 1987 and he then moved to Peterborough Parish Church, from 1987 to 1990 and was also Minor Canon at Peterborough Cathedral from 1988 to 1990.
From 1990 to 1994 he was Vicar at St Margaret, Anfield in Liverpool diocese, before taking up the post in 1994 as Chaplain, Fellow and Director of Studies in Theology at Keble College, Oxford where he was until 1999. From 1999 to 2010 he was Vicar of Melbourne, in Derby diocese whilst also serving as Diocesan Director of Ordinands. From 2007 to 2010 he was also Priest-in- Charge of Ticknall, Smisby and Stanton by Bridge in Derby diocese. Since 2010 he has been Dean of Derby.
His interests include foreign travel, hospitality and walking.
Updated yet again Thursday evening
Today’s Observer newspaper has two pieces by Harriet Sherwood dealing with the Church of England.
As traditional believers turn away, is this a new crisis of faith?
Modern churches are driving up numbers among the young, but critics say their direct and emotional style of worship risks alienating mainstream Christians
…Ric Thorpe said: “What’s changed is that [the church] is now saying, we want this money to go towards growth – which, when it’s in decline, is a wise investment. In this new thinking, you’ve got to demonstrate that you’ve got a plan, that you’re putting [funding] to good use, that it’s not going to something that’s dying. There’s an urgency about this.”
He says small rural churches have a higher number of clergy per capita than dense, urban parishes. “Where the population is denser, there are fewer clergy around to reach those people. If we are an outward-facing church we need to position people where they’re most needed: 83% of people live in urban areas, but 83% of [church] finance doesn’t go there. But it should.”
The church, he said, needed to help some rural parishes “face reality”. Some of those parishes, historically the backbone of the Anglican church, are wincing in pain. Another key plank of the Renewal and Reform programme is the goal of recruiting 6,000 priests over the next 15 years, to be “the leadership of the church in the 2030s, 40s and 50s”, says the church’s secretary general, William Nye…
Top cleric says Church of England risks becoming a ‘suburban sect’.
The cleric in question is Martyn Percy and there are extensive quotes from the afterword to his forthcoming book, The Future Shapes of Anglicanism.
According to Percy, the strategy is fundamentally flawed. “It will take more to save the Church of England than a blend of the latest management theory, secular sorcery with statistics and evangelical up-speak,” he writes.
A cure for the ailing church “would require a much deeper ecclesial comprehension than the present leadership currently exhibit … There seems to be no sagacity, serious science or spiritual substance to the curatives being offered.”
Rather, he says, the church “is being slowly kettled into becoming a suburban sect, corralling its congregations, controlling its clergy and centralising its communication. Instead of being a local, dispersed, national institution, it is becoming a bureaucratic organisation, managing its ministry and mission – in a manner that is hierarchically scripted.”
Three (so far) blog articles have already appeared in response to these newspaper stories:
Gary Waddington Mission or Managerialism
Eddie Green Crisis in the Church?
Ian Paul Does growth need management
And now a fourth: Richard Peers Holiness and Management
Two more articles:
Wealands Bell Shiny Church or Soggy Church? Each has its place
And another two:
Andrew Lightbown Relaxed about R & R
Catholicity and covenant Renewal and reform, c.1099
34 clergy and 38 lay members of the General Synod, coming from 33 dioceses, have written an open letter which has been published in the Church of England Newspaper.
The full text and list of signatories is copied below the fold.
The existence of the letter is also reported in the Church Times but this article is behind the paywall.
The Church of England Newspaper report includes additional comments from two of the signatories, and also from one other (anonymous) synod member who said:
“This letter shows the complete blindness there appears to be amongst some to see the absurdity of their position. The Church cannot hope to give a welcome that has any truth, love or integrity if it does not fully embrace LGBTI Christians as equal members of the Body of Christ.
“To threaten fracture and state that ‘no proposals be considered’ is highly manipulative and unChristian. Surely our faith commands us to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying and to remain open to revelation?
“To seek to close down a discussion before it even starts shows the rigidity of a fundamentalist approach to religion, which is based on fear rather than faith. God is big enough, his arms wide enough and His truth strong enough to withstand any debate”.
Open Letter to the College and House of Bishops
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Now that the process of Shared Conversations launched subsequent to the Pilling Report has been completed and the ‘baton’ passed to the College and House of Bishops, we are writing to assure you of our prayers as you meet this autumn to discern the way forward. As members of General Synod we wish to offer the following reflections which we hope and pray might help your deliberation and discernment.
We are grateful for the opportunity that was recently given to the General Synod to engage in a consideration of Scripture. However, we believe this was of an initial nature only, and that much more biblical study is needed before we will be able, as a Synod, to make theologically informed decisions about human anthropology and sexuality. In particular we believe it is essential to clarify what it means to ‘honour God with your bodies’ (1 Corinthians 6:20, NIV) so that we do not find ourselves praying for God’s blessing on that which is contrary to his will.
We are committed to building a church that is genuinely welcoming to all people, irrespective of the pattern of sexual attraction that they experience. We would welcome initiatives to help local churches do this in a way that is affirming of and consistent with Scripture, and would hope to support suggestions you might wish to bring to Synod to that effect.
As you prepare to meet in the College and House of Bishops, we urge you not to consider any proposals that fly in the face of the historic understanding of the church as expressed in ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ (1991) and Lambeth Resolution 1.10. To do so – however loud the apparent voice for change – could set the Church of England adrift from her apostolic inheritance. It would also undermine our ability as members of General Synod to offer support and lead to a fracture within both the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.
We thank God for you and, remembering the apostle James’s injunction to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5), we commit ourselves to asking God to grant you his wisdom as you endeavour to offer episcopal leadership to the Church of England at this time.
Signed by the following General Synod members (Diocese):
The Rev Canon Jonathan Alderton-Ford (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
The Rev Sam Allberry (Oxford)
The Rev Dr Andrew Atherstone (Oxford)
The Rev Andrew Attwood (Coventry)
Mrs Emily Bagg (Portsmouth)
The Rev Canon David Banting (Chelmsford)
Dr William Belcher (Gloucester)
Mrs Rachel Bell (Derby)
Dr Andrew Bell (Oxford)
Mrs Liz Bird (Hereford)
Mr Peter Boyd-Lee (Salisbury)
The Revd Peter Breckwoldt (Salisbury)
Mr James Cary (Bath & Wells)
Mr Graham Caskie (Oxford)
The Rev Preb Simon Cawdell (Hereford)
The Rev John Chitham (Chichester)
The Rev Canon Jonathan Clark (Leeds)
The Rev Canon Charlie Cleverley (Oxford)
Dr Simon Clift (Winchester)
Mrs Ann Colton (Chelmsford)
The Rev Canon Andrew Cornes (Chichester)
Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford)
The Rev Barney de Berry (Canterbury)
Mrs Gill de Berry (Salisbury)
Brigadier Ian Dobbie (Rochester)
The Rev Dr Sean Doherty (London)
The Rev James Dudley-Smith (Bath & Wells)
The Rev John Dunnett (Chelmsford)
Mrs Mary Durlacher (Chelmsford)
Mr Carl Fender (Lincoln)
Miss Emma Forward (Exeter)
Mrs Chris Fry (Winchester)
The Rev Canon Sally Gaze (Norwich)
Mr Chris Gill (Lichfield)
The Rev Graham Hamilton (Exeter)
Mr Jeremy Harris (Chester)
The Ven Simon Heathfield (Birmingham)
Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark)
The Rev Canon Gary Jenkins (Southwark)
Mrs Carolyn Johnson (Blackburn)
The Rev Peter Kay (St Albans)
Mrs Helen Lamb (Ely)
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
Capt Nicholas Lebey (Southwark)
Mr James Lee (Guildford)
The Rev Mark Lucas (Peterborough)
Mrs Rosemary Lyon (Blackburn)
The Rev Angus MacLeay (Rochester)
Mr Sam Margrave (Coventry)
The Rev Alistair McHaffie (Blackburn)
The Rev Shaun Morris (Lichfield)
The Rev Dr Rob Munro (Chester)
Miss Margaret Parrett (Manchester)
Miss Jane Patterson (Sheffield)
The Rev Dr Ian Paul (Southwell & Nottingham)
Mrs Kathy Playle (Chelmsford)
The Rev Dr Philip Plyming (Guildford)
Mr Andrew Presland (Peterborough)
The Rev Dr Patrick Richmond (Norwich)
The Rev Dr Jason Roach (London)
The Rev Dr Ben Sargent (Winchester)
Mr Clive Scowen (London)
Mr Ed Shaw (Bristol)
The Rev Charlie Skrine (London)
Mr Colin Slater (Southwell & Nottingham)
Dr Chik Tan (Lichfield)
The Rev Martyn Taylor (Lincoln)
The Rev Chris Tebbutt (Salisbury)
Mr Jacob Vince (Chichester)
Dr Yvonne Warren (Coventry)
The Rev Canon Giles Williams (Europe)
Mr Brian Wilson (Southwark)
I linked (in the Opinion columns on 23 and 30 July) to articles about the objections that have been voiced during recent consecrations of female bishops. These articles were in response to a press release from WATCH objecting to the facilitation of these objections. WATCH has today issued this press release:
Objectors at consecrations: response from Lambeth Palace
August 9th, 2016
The Archbishop of Canterbury has informed us that conversations are in progress with the relevant people so that, in future, objections such as that at Canterbury Cathedral in June will not be allowed.
Thank you to those who have written in support of our statement.
Mark Woods Christian Today Justin Welby: We’ll stop protests at consecration of women bishops
Press release from the Archbishop of Canterbury:
Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Advisor for Reconciliation
Wednesday 27th July 2016
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has announced the appointment of Sarah Snyder as his new Advisor for Reconciliation.
She takes over from Canon David Porter who moved into his new role as Chief of Staff and Strategy to the Archbishop at the beginning of May.
Sarah will take up the role in September. She will be part of the senior team at Lambeth Palace while also being based at Coventry Cathedral, where Archbishop Justin’s Reconciliation Ministry has been established since its inception. Her role will have a particular emphasis on supporting the Church in contexts of violent conflict or post-conflict and helping the Church to be an agent of reconciliation and conflict-transformation.
[continued below the fold]
A theologian who specialises in Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, Sarah brings wide-ranging international experience of peace-building and dialogue. She has worked for many years to promote faith-based reconciliation, most recently as Director of Partnerships with Religions for Peace International, an organisation affiliated to the United Nations. Sarah has also directed the Cambridge International Summer Schools for faith leaders from conflict zones. A trained mediator, she has experience both of working with communities and with senior religious leaders.
Sarah is Founding Director of the Rose Castle Foundation, an international centre of reconciliation, based in the north of England, offering safe space in which to address misunderstanding of the “other”, particularly those of different religious traditions. Located in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside, it is a peaceful haven in which to transform conflict within and between faith communities, and to train up a generation of leaders equipped as faith-based mediators. It is chaired by the Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, and Professor David Ford, and welcomes people of all faith traditions and none.
Sarah also collaborates with St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in the City of London, supporting individuals and communities to work together despite their differences and divisions. St Ethelburga’s is situated in a church destroyed by a bomb in 1993, and is itself a powerful symbol of hope in the midst of conflict.
Speaking about the appointment, Archbishop Justin said:
“I am delighted that Sarah Snyder will be my Advisor for Reconciliation. Sarah brings a wealth of experience and many gifts to the role which will enrich both her reconciliation work and the senior team at Lambeth Palace. I am also grateful for the continued partnership with Coventry Cathedral where my reconciliation ministry will continue to be based. Events in recent weeks remind us that that reconciliation is more of a priority than ever – this is the hope we offer in the good news of Jesus.”
Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian has a report concerning safeguarding in the Diocese of Sheffield:
The archbishop of York and four serving bishops have been accused of misconduct by a Church of England priest who claims they failed to act on allegations he was repeatedly raped by another vicar when he was 16.
The priest says none of the five senior clergy properly responded to his disclosures, made verbally and in writing, of the rapes which he alleged took place in 1984.
“Michael” – whose identity is known to the Guardian, but who wishes to remain anonymous – filed the complaints under the C of E’s clergy disciplinary measure (CDM) against John Sentamu, the archbishop of York and second highest-ranking figure in the church; Peter Burrows, the bishop of Doncaster; Steven Croft, a former bishop of Sheffield, and now bishop of Oxford; Martyn Snow, the bishop of Leicester; and Glyn Webster, the bishop of Beverley.
All five have contested the complaints because they were made after the church’s required one-year limit.
Spokespersons for Sentamu and the four bishops said they could not comment on a matter that was the subject of an internal church process and a police investigation…
Press release from Number 10
Suffragan Bishop of Tewkesbury: Robert Wilfrid Springett
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 25 July 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Robert Wilfrid Springett to the Suffragan See of Tewkesbury.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Robert Wilfrid Springett, BTh, MA, Archdeacon of Cheltenham, in the Diocese of Gloucester, to the Suffragan See of Tewkesbury, in the Diocese of Gloucester in succession to the Right Reverend Martyn James Snow, BSc, on his translation to the See of Leicester resignation on the 22 February 2016.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Robert Springett (aged 53), studied at Nottingham University for his BTh, and then at London University for his MA. He trained for the ministry at Lincoln Theological College. He served first as curate at Colchester in Chelmsford diocese from 1989 to 1992 before moving to be curate at Basildon from 1992 to 1994. From 1994 to 2001 he was Priest in Charge at Belhus Park and South Ockendon. He was Rural Dean at Thurrock from 1998 to 2001. From 2001 to 2010 he was Rector at Wanstead in Chelmsford diocese and was Area Dean of Redbridge from 2008 to 2010 and Honorary Canon at Chelmsford Cathedral. Since 2010 he has been Archdeacon of Cheltenham.
Robert has also held a wider role locally and nationally over the past six years. Locally these include being the Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, a Trustee of All Saints Academy and a member of the Council of the University of Gloucester. Nationally Robert is a Bishop’s Advisor for the Church on the selection of men and women for ordination and a member of the National Archdeacons Forum.
Robert is married to Helen, who is a primary head teacher and they have two daughters, Charlotte aged 22 and Alice aged 17.
His interests include the churches ministry in education and wider relationships within the Anglican community.
Announcement from the Diocese of Gloucester
Robert Paterson, the Bishop of Sodor and Man, has announced that he will retire on 11 November 2016: Bishop Robert announces his retirement.
32 members of the General Synod have signed a statement which has been published on the Anglican Mainstream website. The full text of the statement and the list of signatories is copied below the fold.
The matter has been reported in Christian Today by Harry Farley. His story is headlined Divisions deepen in Church of England as conservatives express ‘lack of confidence’ in gay marriage talks.
He notes that Lambeth Palace has declined to comment on the statement.
It was also reported in Anglican Ink by George Conger who noted that the 32 were “members of the 1990 Group on General Synod” and that the statement has been sent in a letter to the College of Bishops. His article is headlined General Synod shared sex conversations place unity above truth, critics charge.
“We, the undersigned members of the General Synod, wish to express our lack of confidence in the process of the Shared Conversations. Whatever their stated purposes, the outcome has not led to a greater confidence that the Church will be guided by the authoritative voice of the Scriptures, and its decisive shaping of traditional Anglican teaching, in any forthcoming discussions.”
Rosemary Lyon – Blackburn
Stephen Boyall – Blackburn
Kathy Playle – Chelmsford
Mary Durlacher – Chelmsford
David Banting – Chelmsford
Debbie Woods – Chester
Jeremy Harris – Chester
Lorna Ashworth – Chichester
Andrea Minichiello Williams – Chichester
Rachel Bell – Derby
Giles Williams – Europe
Helen Lamb – Ely
William Belcher – Gloucester
Chik Kaw Tan – Lichfield
Shaun Morris – Lichfield
Chris Gill – Lichfield
Debbie Buggs – London
Sarah Finch – London
Clive Scowen – London
Charlie Skrine -London
Margaret Parrett – Manchester
Caroline Herbert – Norwich
Graham Caskie – Oxford
Andrew Bell – Oxford
Andrew Presland – Peterborough
Mark Lucas – Peterborough
Ian Dobbie – Rochester
Angus MacLeay – Rochester
Jane Patterson -Sheffield
Brian Wilson – Southwark
Susie Leafe – Truro
Chris Fry – Winchester
The diocese of London has announced that Dr Richard Chartres is to retire as Bishop of London on Tuesday 28 February 2017. The Bishop writes:
After consultation with the Archbishop I am writing to let you know about the timetable for my retirement. It is business as usual until Christmas, after which I shall hope to clear my desk of more than twenty years’ worth of accumulated debris. The intention is that my last public engagement as Bishop of London will be in the Cathedral at Candlemas, February 2nd 2017, the day when Simeon was granted a vision of Christ in the Temple and prayed “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” My formal resignation will be dated from the end of the month on Shrove Tuesday.
Her Majesty the Queen has graciously indicated that I should remain as Dean of HM Chapels Royal until the appointment of the 133rd Bishop of London.
Read the press release here.
A number of people have commented on the Shared Conversations that formed part of the July General Synod at York.
Madeleine Davies Church Times Synod members thanked for staying on to talk about differences
Mark Woods Christian Today Shared Conversations: Why the Church of England still has a long way to go on sexuality
Lucy Gorman Shared thoughts from the Shared Conversations.
Andrew Dotchin Thoughts on A Shared Conversation:
Ian Paul Synod’s Shared Conversations
Andrea Williams Christian Concern responds to C of E ‘shared conversation’
Stephen Lynas She said “You don’t understand what I said” *
Hannah Cleugh Sharing in Conversations
Updated Thursday evening
We reported in March that the George Bell Group had sent a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and also issued a press statement: George Bell’s naming as a paedophile is challenged today by a group of lawyers, academics, politicians and senior Church figures. The challenge was in a report published here as a web page, and also as a PDF file.
Yesterday, the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, Church of England lead bishop on safeguarding, issued this letter to the George Bell Group: Further points on the George Bell case.
Several questions were asked at General Synod on Friday 8 July relating to the George Bell case. The questions and answers are printed in this booklet, but for convenience they are copied below the fold. In addition I have transcribed the supplementary questions and answers from this recording; they are shown indented.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Church Commissioners:
Q17 It is understood that the Church Commissioners paid, or contributed to, the £15,000 paid in settlement of a civil claim regarding alleged sexual abuse by the late Bishop George Bell. Will the Church Commissioners please (i) confirm the accuracy of this information and, if others (whether insurers, the Diocese of Chichester or any other accountable Church institution) contributed to the settlement, state the amount(s) of their respective contributions, and (ii) state whether, in addition, the Church Commissioners made any, and if so what, financial contribution to (a) the complainant’s legal costs (including any success fee) and expenses, and/or (b) the costs and expenses (including the fees of experts) of the Diocese of Chichester incurred in relation to the said claim.
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith to reply as First Church Estates Commissioner:
A The Commissioners contributed to the settlement of the claim, but did not pay the whole. The damages paid were £16,800 and the claimant’s legal costs were £15,000. In addition, the Diocese of Chichester’s costs were £18,000. These figures include the costs of a medical expert instructed by the claimant and another instructed by the Diocese of Chichester. The Commissioners paid £29,800 towards the damages and costs, with the balance being funded by a donation from a private individual, not an insurer or another Church institution.
David Lamming: I thank Sir Andreas for his answer and for the additional information given. But in the light of the answer will you say whether insurers were asked to contribute to the settlement and if so whether they declined to do so, who in fact was the putative defendant on whose behalf the settlement was reached with the claimant, and I am assuming that court proceedings were not issued, and will you please state the particular speciality of the medical experts instructed respectively by the claimants and by the diocese of Chichester.
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: Thank you. You are accrediting the Church Commissioners with far more involvement in this case than you might think. We have a discretion to pay bishops’ costs as you will probably know and we make judgments on what costs to bear depending on a variety of factors. In this case the answers are really clear in my answer; I don’t think I can add to them. There are the damages, there are the claimant’s legal costs, and there are the diocese of Chichester’s costs and we paid £29,800 of those and a private individual came forward, not an insurer, and paid the rest. I can’t add to that.
Martin Sewell (Rochester): There’s a very simple question on the table: Did any insurer decline to indemnify?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I’ve no idea whether an insurer was involved. We were not told about such a case.
Martin Sewell: Who would know if an insurer …
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: The diocese of Chichester would know.
Martin Sewell: Will that information be made available?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I cannot speak for the diocese of Chichester, I’m afraid.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q32 The Chichester Diocese publishes on its website a comprehensive 54 page report by Dame Elizabeth Butler Sloss into its handling of the cases of sexual predators Roy Cotton and Colin Pritchard; that report balances victim confidentiality with the public interest in having confidence in due and proper process. Given the continuing public concern at the handling of the case of Bishop Bell, will the Church now issue a comprehensive explanation of why transparency can apply in one case but not the other?
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q33 In answer to a question from Miss Prudence Dailey (Q.13) at the February 2016 Group of Sessions concerning the response of the Church to allegations made against the late Bishop George Bell, the Bishop of Durham stated that it was “legally impermissible for the Church to disclose any evidence used in the settlement [of the claim against the Diocese of Chichester]” and that the law “rightly affords [the complainant] protection to safeguard the confidentiality of their deeply personal information.” In the light of
i. The call by the George Bell Group  for a proper review of both the process and the evidence that resulted in the statement issued by the Church of England media centre on 22 October 2015 effectively branding Bishop Bell as a paedophile;
ii. The Opinion by His Honour Alan Pardoe QC and Desmond Browne QC  that there are no legal constraints to disclosure of the evidence and documents (suitably redacted to preserve the complainant’s anonymity) that the Church considered before settling the claim; and iii. The fact that Dame Lowell Goddard has stated that “Bell’s guilt or innocence is not a critical aspect of this Inquiry, or of the Anglican investigation, or of the investigation’s case studies,” [3 and 3] so that any reliance by the Church that the Goddard Inquiry will investigate this issue is misplaced;
Will the House of Bishops now commission an independent inquiry as called for by the George Bell Group and, if not, why not?
The Bishop of Durham to reply as Lead Bishop for Safeguarding:
A I will take Questions 32 and 33 together. I refer both questioners to the statement issued by the Church of England on 28 June in which it was announced that an independent review of the handling of the George Bell case would be launched shortly. The House of Bishops practice guidance states that once all matters relating to any serious safeguarding situation have been completed, the Core Group should meet again to review the process and to consider what lessons can be learnt to improve safeguarding practice in the future. It will be for the independent reviewer to consider what evidence they deem to be relevant and publish in due course their view of any lessons learned from the Church’s handling of the case.
It should be noted that the Church has always recognised Bishop Bell’s principled stand in the Second World War and his contribution to peace but it also has a duty to listen to those who make allegations of abuse.
David Lamming: I thank the Bishop of Durham for his answer and for the announcement, post the date for submitting questions, that there is to be an independent review, not just a review by the Core Group. However the review announced on the 28th June is only into the processes used to inform the decision to settle the claim by the woman know as Carol, but the review will not be credible unless it examines all the evidence, and in the House of Bishops [sic] the 30th June the Bishop of Chelmsford said “The Church remains satisfied of the credibility of Carol’s allegation.” Will the Bishop, and perhaps on behalf of his successor, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, please now acknowledge that the terms of reference of the review must enable the reviewer both to review the process and to look at all the evidence including that that was not looked at by the Core Group.
Bishop of Durham: Thank you for that supplementary. The independent reviewer has yet to be appointed, the terms of reference will have to be agreed with that independent reviewer, and it is that this will be around the process that was followed, and when that reviewer is there then that’s what they will be briefed to do.
Martin Sewell: You’ve answered two questions together. I’m going to have to refer. I refer first of all to Alan Pardoe’s opinion and Desmond Brown’s opinion, there are no legal restraints to disclosure of the evidence and documents suitably redacted to preserve the complainant’s anonymity. I refer back to comparing the Bell case to the Cotton and Pritchard case saying that in the one case that is already out there on the Chichester website it balances victim confidentiality with public interest in having confidence in due and proper process. So I then ask why does it apply to one case and not the other? It’s a very simple question. You tell us that there’s going to be a review. We don’t need to know if the review knows how to do this. We need to know if there is a core competence in the Church’s people to do this sort of thing and to understand the law on confidentiality and how it applies in each and every case. We can’t assume that tht competence is there because we’ve not seen it demonstrated.
Chair: Do you want to put that into a question then please?
Martin Sewell: Yes, it’s very simple. Will you issue a comprehensive explanation of why transparency can apply in one case, that’s Cotton and Pritchard, and not in the other, Bishop Bell. It’s a very simple question.
Bishop of Durham: The simple reality is you may quote two lawyers and I could quote others, which I won’t, who would disagree with that opinion. The review will take place and there is not an exact equivalence between the Butler-Sloss report and how the Bell case was handled and the report that has come out.
Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q36 In the light of the Bishop Bell case, has any consideration been given to the view that offering pastoral support to the complainant, independently investigating the complaint, dispassionately evaluating the evidence, and simultaneously managing crises whilst protecting the good name of the Church are incompatible objectives; and will consideration now be given to establishing a properly resourced, consistent, professional and independent central complaint handling body, removing the responsibility from dioceses with potentially variable expertise and processes?
The Bishop of Durham to reply as Lead Bishop for Safeguarding:
A Developing a more consistent and professional approach to safeguarding across the dioceses and nationally is one of our key priorities as a church, recognising of course that good safeguarding is fundamentally something that takes place in a parish context. There are a number of key elements to achieving this through national policy and guidance, regulations, training and quality assurance, including the independent audits being conducted across all dioceses during 2016 and 2017. These audits provide an important benchmark and areas for further improvement for dioceses and the national church. The intention to develop a standards based approach will include how we provide pastoral and other support to those who are accused as well as those who make complaints of abuse. Indeed a recent case review conducted by the National Safeguarding Team has highlighted this very issue. The Church of England must remain committed to responding to non-current abuse and abuse in the present day, as well as building a safer church for the future based on prevention.
Prudence Dailey: Has any consideration been given to the potential for conflict of interest in the Church carrying out the various different functions alluded to in my question in relation to the Bishop Bell case?
Bishop of Durham: Quite specifically in all these the history of conflict of interest is always taken into consideration. Every core group has to work at that particular bit on every example that we have.
Simon Butler (Southwark): In view of the fact that many of the allegations are made against clergy, will the bishop, or his successor, consult with the House of Clergy Standing Committee about procedures for putting in place future support and the work around those who have been accused of abuse?
Bishop of Durham: Thank you for that question. One of the areas that has caused some concern is the level of support for clergy when they face allegations and that is firmly on the agenda to seek to make sure that they are given adequate pastoral support when going through such processes because they are deeply painful and difficult.
This press release was issued yesterday by LGBTI Mission:
LGBTI Mission calls on Church of England to move forward following completion of Shared Conversations
The LGBTI Mission rejoices that almost all General Synod members were willing and able to engage in conversation and listening about human sexuality. We commend David Porter and his team for their excellent work in bringing this about. It is also clear that very many throughout the Church of England want to see change soon, as a priority for mission.
We call on the House of Bishops to bring forward bold proposals that enable the Church of England to move towards LGBTI equality, of course with proper safeguards for those who cannot, in conscience, accept any such changes.
Same-sex marriage is only one item on the table. There are other important issues, which could be resolved sooner and more easily. Some do not need synodical approval. We urge the bishops to review urgently all the areas listed in our LGBTI Mission launch document.
We also ask bishops to consult fully with their own LGBTI laity and clergy who are directly and personally affected by current discriminatory policies.
Simon Sarmiento, Chair of the LGBTI Mission said: “Now is the time to move forward and take action. Church leaders and LGBTI church members, of all convictions, need to work together to devise answers to these problems. We now have an opportunity to change the way that LGBTI people are treated in the Church. A good start would be to have a staff member funded to co-ordinate work in this area and show that the national Church is serious about change.”
Two specific examples of other urgent issues are:
There is a Blackburn Diocesan Synod Motion (see text below) awaiting General Synod debate, which asks the Church to improve its welcome to Transgender people and for the House of Bishops to recommend suitable rites and prayers to mark their transition journeys. Debate on this was recently deferred a second time. We urge the bishops to endorse that motion and to ensure it is debated without further delay.
An issue not requiring synodical action is the current ban on clergy entering same-sex civil marriage, contained in paragraph 27 of the House’s February 2014 Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The widely inconsistent application of this has brought the Church into serious disrepute. It must be reconsidered urgently.
Media reports suggest the bishops may revive the 2013 Pilling Report recommendation (see Recommendations 16 and 17 on page 118) to allow clergy who wish to do so to “mark the formation of a permanent same-sex relationship in a public service” but only as a “pastoral accommodation” without authorizing any formal liturgy. This would be welcome as an interim step towards the long-term goal of enabling same-sex marriages in the Church of England. But the addition of approved liturgical forms would improve clarity and give clergy protection against unwanted disciplinary complaints.
The Blackburn Diocesan Synod motion is as follows:
WELCOMING TRANSGENDER PEOPLE
…to move on behalf of 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.’
Press release from the Church of England:
Statement following conclusion of Shared Conversations Process
12 July 2016
Over the last 2 days members of General Synod have met in an informal setting in which they have listened and been heard as they have reflected together on scripture and a changing culture in relation to their understanding of human sexuality.
Throughout these conversations, deep convictions have been shared and profound differences better understood. The Shared Conversations over the last two years now come to a conclusion with over 1300 members of the church directly involved. It is our hope that what has been learned through the relationships developed will inform the way the church conducts whatever further formal discussions may be necessary in the future. It is our prayer that the manner in which we express our different views and deep disagreements will bear witness to Jesus who calls us to love as he has loved us.
In comments to members of Synod at the end of the Shared Conversations the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:
“At the heart of it is to come back to the fact that together we seek to serve the God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead and in whom there is never despair, there is never defeat; there is always hope, there is always overcoming; there is always eventual triumph, holiness, goodness and grace.
That is for me what I always come back to when it all seems overwhelming.
Thank you so much for your participation. Let us go in confidence. Confident in the God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.”
While the General Synod conversations are proceeding behind closed doors, a chance to catch up on various recent items of news and comment…
Harry Farley ChristianToday No compromise: Die-hard conservatives walk out of Anglican talks on gay relationships
Harriet Sherwood reported in the Guardian that C of E hardliners to boycott synod talks on same-sex relationships.
Andrew Lightbown Julian Henderson and ‘the case for a conservative approach.’
The Church Times article being critiqued is here, but behind the paywall. However, there is another article in the comment section this week which is available: ‘I’d love the consensus to change, but it’s a dream’.
Lucy Gorman just retired as chair of Changing Attitude wrote Going anywhere nice?
Tracey Byrne of LGCM has published URC Assembly and General Synod - thanksgiving and hope.
Andrew Nunn published Prorogued but not ended.
Meanwhile, over at the Canadian General Synod (and yes, we will report on this later) the Secretary-General has been speaking: Sexuality not just an issue in the West, says Idowu-Fearon
The full text of his address is here.
The July 2016 meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England continued today.
The order paper for the morning and afternoon is here Order paper II. Not included is item 10 (Nurturing and Discerning Senior Leaders) that was not taken on Friday because of lack of time but for which time became available at the end of the afternoon.
Order paper for the evening session: Order Paper III
The morning, and part of the afternoon, was devoted to legislation.
One later item in the afternoon was about education, and was followed by this official press release: Bold vision for education launched at General Synod.
Official brief summary of the day’s business: General Synod July 2016 sessions: Saturday
Jonathan Petre Mail on Sunday Green light for vicars in jeans as Synod decides clergy’s robes are surplice to requirements
Stephen Lynas reviews the day’s business: Handbags and gladrags.
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England is bidding to open scores of free schools
Press Release from WATCH
WATCH Launches “A Gender Justice Policy for the Church of England” at General Synod
Women and the Church (WATCH) launched “A Gender Justice Policy for the Church of England” at a joint fringe event at the July General Synod including 10 specific commitments.
Synod members heard from Christian Aid, USPG and the Mothers’ Union how gender justice has come to form a crucial element of their international development work. They also heard that the Anglican Communion has now signed up to the global ‘Side by Side’ movement for gender justice. So that this can be put into action locally, WATCH has prepared a ‘Gender Justice Policy for the Church of England’ which it will be asking the church to adopt.
Speaking at the launch, Hilary Cotton, Chair of WATCH said, “whilst some progress had been made in gender justice in recent years, most notably Women Bishops, now is the time for the Church of England to embody and promote gender justice both in its internal structures and in its external engagement with the world”.
As a next step following the pattern of our sister churches, the Church in Wales (2008) and the Scottish Episcopal Church (2009), WATCH recommends that the following Synod motion be proposed:
That this Synod, affirming its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, invites the undertaking of a Gender Audit at every level of the Church of England in time to report back to the General Synod in 2019
More information is contained in this document: A Gender Justice Policy for the Church of England.
Updated Saturday morning to add more press reports, and on Sunday
The July 2016 meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England has opened.
There is a live video stream here.
The agenda and other papers are available here.
Order Paper I listing all the day’s business. Synod agreed to vary the order of business after item 6 to that on page 4.
Scroll down for press reports.
As announced last week, the Archbishops have added a motion on the EU Referendum, which will be debated this afternoon. The text of the motion is:
The Archbishop of Canterbury to move:
That this Synod, recognising the result of the recent referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, welcome the Archbishops’ call for all to unite in the common task of building a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world, and encourage all members of the Church of England to play their part actively in partnership with everyone in Civil Society in pursuit of this task.
One amendement to the motion was carried so that it became:
That this Synod, recognising the result of the recent referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union:
a) welcome the Archbishops’ call for all to unite in the common task of building a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world, and encourage all members of the Church of England to play their part actively in partnership with everyone in Civil Society in pursuit of this task; and
b) commend the work already carried out by the Church in bringing communities together and recommend that as a minimum every bishop identify a champion in their diocese to assess what more the Church could do and to make recommendations for creating stronger and more constructive links between local communities as a basis for achieving this common task.
in which form it was clearly carried on a show of hands.
There’s an official press release: Synod approves motion to build a ‘generous and forward looking country’ in the aftermath of the EU Referendum, and texts of the speeches by the two archbishops: Canterbury and York.
Questions were taken after dinner. The booklet of questions and answers, issued in advance, is here. The Synod session only dealt with supplementary questions and answers.
There is a brief official summary of the day’s business: General Synod July 2016 sessions: Friday
Madeleine Davies and Hattie Williams and Tim Wyatt Church Times Look forward with generosity, Synod urges a divided nation
Gavin Drake Anglican Communion News Service Christians urged to “build generous forward looking country”
Harry Farley Christian Today General Synod: Church of England opts to ‘recognise’ EU referendum result despite opposition
John Bingham The Telegraph
Church of England vicar says Brexit vote is not just a cry of ‘incoherent rage’
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian ‘Lasses’ jobs’ replacing industry led to Brexit vote, says clergyman
Tom Richmond Yorkshire Post Archbishop of York calls upon post-Brexit Britain to evoke spirit of Nelson Mandela
Stephen Lynas reviews the day’s business: Time is tight.
Comment and news looking ahead to this weekend’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod
Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law The Burden of Legislative Reform
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK General Synod: Burial of suicides, vesture
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Battle looms in Church of England over ‘blessings’ for gay marriage
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England bans mankinis in the pulpit
Harry Farley Christian Today Shared Conversations: Can the Church of England prevent a split over gay marriage?
David Walker ViaMedia.News Bishop’s Packing Essentials for General Synod
Harry Farley Christian Today Apart from a big fight over homosexuality, what else is happening at General Synod?
Stephen Lynas The weekend starts here
Updated again Monday afternoon
Following the initial flurry of statements from bishops, there have been several more reflective articles published by various people writing from a Christian perspective.
Anna Rowlands wrote The Fragility of Goodness: Brexit Viewed from the North East.
Nick Holtam wrote this on the Referendum Result.
Luke Bretherton wrote Brexit as Theodicy and Idolatry.
Angus Ritchie had Brexit: How can we reflect and respond?
Philip North has this in today’s Church Times: Northern foodbank Britain finds its voice
There is a lot more material in this week’s Church Times but it is behind the paywall. However, Andrew Lightbown discusses some of the points raised in his blog, entitled Bishop David Walker or Richard Lewis? Who is correct?
Michael Sadgrove has Brexit: An Open Letter to the Archbishops of the Church of England.
Brian Castle wrote Brexit - Now is not the time for Reconciliation.
Martyn Percy has written a major essay which is summarised here: After Brexit - Can we find a broad and middle way? Senior cleric calls for new social-progressive political party and the full essay can be read by following that link.
Tanya Marlow has written Brexit, hate crime, fear: what’s the Christian response?
Bishops of the Lincoln diocese The EU Referendum: responding to the vote to leave
The Church of England issued this press release this afternoon.
Addition to General Synod agenda
30 June 2016
Following the result of the EU Referendum on 23 June, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have exercised their powers under the General Synod’s Standing Orders to make some time available at its brief Group of Sessions in July for a debate on a motion endorsing the Archbishops’ recent call for all to unite in the common task of building a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world.
The debate will take place on the afternoon of Friday 8 July.
The wording of the motion will be made available to Synod members early next week.
First there is the St Michael’s House Protocols (not a new document).
Second, there is this new Frequently Asked Questions document. This is copied below the fold.
General Synod Shared Conversation – FAQs
1. What should I bring for the Shared Conversation at General Synod?
It is important that you bring with you the programme for the two days and your copy of the St Michael’s House Protocols. It would also be helpful to bring a Bible, a notebook and a pen.
2. Can I use social media during the Shared Conversation?
The St Michael’s House Protocols (which underpin the Shared Conversation) highlight the importance of creating a private space in which all feel welcome and respected and in which those taking part commit to becoming mutual and interdependent participants for the duration of the process. In order for this to be possible, it is essential that all participants are fully present – physically, mentally and emotionally – in the process. It is also important that only thosen who have committed to working within the guidelines of the St Michael’s House Protocols are part of the Shared Conversation while it is taking place. As such, the Shared Conversation will be private sessions of synod, with no fringe meetings, media presence or live streaming. For the same reason, participants are asked to refrain from using any form of social media throughout the two days and are requested not to communicate information about the Conversation by text, email or phone while the Conversation is going on. Participants are encouraged to take notes of anything you would like to remember from the Shared Conversation, but to do this in writing and not by taking photographs. You are also encouraged to share any learning that you have acquired from the process after it is over. Any reflections on the Shared Conversations after they have finished must, of course, adhere to the St Michael’s House Protocols. In
practical terms, this involves:
3. What should I wear for the Shared Conversations?
All participants are encouraged to wear casual, comfortable clothes. We have found in the Regional Shared Conversations that both clergy and lay participants found it helpful for clergy not to wear clerical dress, if possible.
4. Will I be in the same group for the whole process?
Yes, you will be with the same facilitator and the same group of around 20 participants for the duration of the Shared Conversation. Sometimes you will work in smaller sub-sets within that group.
5. Do I need to go to every session?
Yes. At the heart of the Shared Conversation is a commitment made by each participant to their fellow participants in the process. This implies a commitment to engage fully with all of the sessions. The Shared Conversation has been carefully designed from start to finish and its benefits, for both individuals and the whole of synod, will be greatly reduced if participants miss sessions.
6. Do we get some time off during the Shared Conversation?
The Shared Conversation is, by its very nature, an intense process, so time for rest and reflection is essential. Participants have free time after dinner on both evenings, as well as an extended lunch break of two hours on Monday. There will, of course, also be a tea and coffee break each morning and afternoon.
7. Will I have to talk about my sexuality?
Participants are encouraged to engage with the Shared Conversation as fully as possible but no one will be forced to disclose any personal information of any kind. If talking about human sexuality as part of your personal faith journey is important to you, please do so. But participants should not disclose anything which they feel unsafe to share.
The Evangelical Group of the General Synod, EGGS, has issued this document to its members and friends ahead of the shared conversations scheduled to start on 10 July.
As it says:
This resource is offered to EGGS members and friends in order to help us engage in formal/informal discussions which might arise as part of/around the Shared Conversations in York.
The ideas/opinions/statements expressed (in bold) are amongst those that members might hear articulated and which we believe can (and need) to be responded to. The thoughts/responses offered are a resource from the (elected members of) the Committee to help reflection on the likely issues and questions. They do not necessarily reflect the view of all EGGS members or friends.
The document contains 14 questions and suggested answers. Do read it all carefully.
PS at the present time, the website of EGGS appears to be down.
In 2013 the House of Bishops decided to give eight senior women clergy elected regionally (“regional representatives) the right to attend their meetings. The intention at the time was that this arrangement would last until there were six female members of the House.
The House of Bishops has now decided “to give six female Suffragan Bishops rights of attendance at the House, in addition to the female members of the House, replacing the arrangements for the Regional Representatives.” These new arrangements will come into effect from 1st December 2016. [See paragraph 14 of GS Misc 1144.]
The membership of the House of Bishops is
At present there are two female diocesans (Gloucester and Newcastle), and one of the elected suffragans (Stockport) is a woman. There are a further seven female suffragans.
Updated to add press reports
The Church of England has today announced an independent review into the handling of the George Bell case, as this press release explains.
Independent review into handling of George Bell case
28 June 2016
An independent review of the processes used in the George Bell case has been announced today in accordance with the House of Bishops guidance on all complex cases.
The House of Bishops practice guidance states that once all matters relating to any serious safeguarding situation have been completed, the Core Group should meet again to review the process and to consider what lessons can be learned for the handling of future serious safeguarding situations. A review has always been carried out in any case involving allegations against a bishop.
The review will be commissioned by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team, on the recommendation of the Bishop of Chichester, to see what lessons can be learnt from how the case was handled. The case involves the settlement in 2015 of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929-1958.
The Church has always recognised Bishop Bell’s principled stand in the Second World War and his contribution to peace but it also has a duty to listen to survivors. The diocese of Chichester continues to be in touch and offer support to the survivor known as Carol, who brought the allegations in this case.
The review will look at the processes surrounding the allegations which were first brought in 1995 to the diocese of Chichester with the same allegations brought again, this time to Lambeth Palace, in 2013. It will also consider the processes, including the commissioning of expert independent reports and archival and other investigations, which were used to inform the decision to settle the case. The settlement was based on the balance of probabilities as criminal proceedings cannot be brought in a case where the alleged perpetrator is dead.
Details of the review including Terms of Reference and name of the independent reviewer will be announced at a later date.
The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner said; “As in any serious safeguarding situation it is always important to learn lessons from the process and this review will ensure this is done.
“I have, however, made it absolutely clear that the survivor in the case be reassured that we will do everything we can to continue to support her as we have done throughout this process. Like her, we recognise gravity of this matter, given its impact on the national and international reputation of Bishop George Bell.
“I hope that the review will provide a constructive way forward for all concerned.
Along with my colleagues in the wider Church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty.”
The George Bell Group recently published this Compendium of Selected Sources covering the period 22 October 2015 - 21 June 2016.
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England orders review into handling of George Bell sex abuse case
Updated Friday evening, Saturday morning, Sunday morning
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint statement.
On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union
The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.
The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.
As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.
The referendum campaign has been vigorous and at times has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage – being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.
As those who hope and trust in the living God, let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minister David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.
“The UK referendum campaign has been a bruising one, and I hope very much that there will now be a period of reconciliation and healing between those on different sides of the debate.
“The news that a majority of those in the UK wishes to leave the UK does not lessen the fervent desire of the Church of England Diocese in Europe to work co-operatively with our brother and sister Christians in Europe.
“The vote will, however, have particular implications for some members of our diocese. Of course, the vote itself only signals the intent to launch a long process of negotiations with the European Council. It is only as that process gets underway that we will know exactly how UK citizens living in Europe will be affected. Meanwhile, I want to assure our ecumenical partners in Europe of our heartfelt and continuing commitment to them.”
The Suffragan Bishop in Europe has written: We remain a European Church which serves all people. Let us resolve to be even more faithful to this calling.
As if there wasn’t enough material already, there are two large official documents in addition to the two small ones linked in this article.
There is a Faith and Order Commission report GS Misc 1139 Communion and Disagreement.
The FAOC page says:
…FAOC’s report on Communion and Disagreement was published in June 2016 and circulated to members of General Synod as a GS Misc, to support the process of shared conversations in the Church of England and the discussion and discernment that continue beyond it. It was approved for publication and commended for study by the House of Bishops…
Members of the drafting group for Communion and Disagreement have also made available five supporting ‘dialogue’ papers. As the Chair of FAOC explains in his Preface to the papers, they are being made available ‘for those who might like to follow up particular aspects of it or find out more about some of the background and related issues. Unlike the report, however, the content of these supporting papers has not been approved by the Commission and does not come with its authority.’
So there you have it. GS Misc 1139 is 41 pages long. The supporting papers document is 80 pages.
Suffragan Bishop of Bolton: Mark David Ashcroft
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 22 June 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Mark David Ashcroft as Suffragan See of Bolton in the Diocese of Manchester.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Mark David Ashcroft, MA, Archdeacon of Manchester, in the Diocese of Manchester, to the Suffragan See of Bolton, in the Diocese of Manchester in succession to the Right Reverend Christopher Paul Edmondson, MA, on his resignation on the 30 June 2016.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Mark Ashcroft (aged 61), studied at Worcester College, Oxford for his MA, and at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he was awarded his BA. He trained for the ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served as curate at Burnage in Manchester diocese from 1982 to 1985 before moving to be a tutor at St Paul’s School of Divinity Kapsabet in Kenya from 1986 to 1990, and then Principal from 1990 to 1995. He returned to Manchester in 1996 to be Rector of Christ Church, Harpurhey till 2009. He was Area Dean of North Manchester from 2000 to 2006. He was also Honorary Canon at Manchester Cathedral from 2004 to 2009. Since 2009 he has been Archdeacon of Manchester and Residentiary Canon of Manchester Cathedral.
Mark Ashcroft is married to Sally and they have 3 children. His interests include gardening, bird watching and walking the dog. He is a supporter of England teams, whatever the sport.
From the Manchester diocesan website: The new Bishop of Bolton
Darton, Longman and Todd has published a new book: Amazing Love, Theology for Understanding Discipleship, Sexuality and Mission.
Read the publisher’s press release describing the content of the book.
You can also read the preface, written by Mark Russell: available here.
…This book is a resource that will stimulate and encourage us to form questions in a new way so we don’t talk past each other or, worse, shout at each other. You may agree with the book or disagree with it, but it will help you consider how we can help LGBT people to know the Good News of Jesus Christ in their lives. I am grateful to Andrew and his colleagues for this new book and I commend it to you.
The LGBTI Mission has published a press release, Christians called to accept same-sex relationships:
LGBTI Mission, the recently formed Church of England campaign organisation, welcomes a new book, Amazing Love, published by Darton, Longman and Todd. This is the first fruit of the programme we launched in February. A working group met in Cambridge last January to plan this book, which has been edited by Dr Andrew Davison, Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
The book shows that there is a clear theological rationale for Christians to accept committed same-sex relationships. It is aimed at readers who may not have any formal theological training.
It does not take a specific view about how the Church should respond to same-sex marriage and thus it is hoped it will win over many of those who are not already irrevocably opposed to same-sex relationships.
Publication is timed to make the book available for the forthcoming sexuality conversations being held at the Church of England’s General Synod in York (10 to 12 July) but it should interest Christians of all denominations in Britain, and is ideal for use in discussion groups by local churches.
Copies are being sent this week to all members of the General Synod, thanks to grants made by three of LBGTI Mission’s partners: Changing Attitude, Inclusive Church, and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
The formal launch of the book will be at a reception in the State Rooms of the Speaker’s House at the Palace of Westminster on 29 June.
Simon Sarmiento, Chair of the LGBTI Mission said: “Recent events highlight the timeliness of this book. Christians need to consider urgently whether the traditional conservative attitude towards same-sex relationships is still a sustainable view in today’s world. This book shows that it is possible to disagree.”
The book is mentioned in this report from the Church Times New books say that taking a hard line on sexuality will damage mission which also discusses Journeys in Grace and Truth.
…The book includes reflections on science. While emphasising that the sciences “can never provide a ‘trump card’ in ethical discussions,” the authors warn that: “We would lose credibility in mission if we still proclaimed that the world was made in six 24-hour days. We risk looking foolish if we talk about same-sex attraction and relationships without paying full attention to the full range of what there is to know on that score.”
They also draw on previous shifts in the Church’s teaching, including beliefs about slavery (“It took time — far too much time — for Christians to connect their understanding of the good news with their views on slavery.”). A study of key biblical passages concludes that they pose questions that “make it difficult to build a solid case against same-sex relationships”.
The book addresses perceived weaknesses in the arguments of both sides, warning that “many of the loudest voices . . . have been arguing in a one-dimensional way”. While one side has “talked about scripture as if interpretation was not a demanding task”, the other has “too often made experience its one source, and has too often treated scripture as a problem, rather than as the Christian foundation.
“Similarly, it has often treated reason as almost synonymous with feelings and fallen foul of what C. S. Lewis called ‘chronological snobbery’ in its willingness to elevate itself above the tradition of Christian theology, philosophy and ethics.”
Harry Farley Christian Today Church of England split over gay marriage may be unavoidable, admits Welby’s chief of staff
Madeleine Davies and Hattie Williams Church Times Talk nicely or else, Synod members are counselled ahead of sex talks
John Bingham The Telegraph The ‘sincere’ schism: Church of England’s etiquette guide for gay marriage rows
The Church of England’s usual pre-synod press release has been issued today, and is copied below.
I have listed the online papers here.
Agenda published for the July 2016 General Synod York meeting
17 June 2016
The Agenda for the July meeting of the General Synod is published today. Members will gather in York on Friday 8 July until Saturday 9 July. A key focus during these two days will be how the Church’s vision for a growing, confident and hopeful church can be put into action through the Renewal and Reform Programme.
The Church’s governing body will discuss the vision and narrative for Renewal and Reform and key changes to legislation to make innovation and change easier for those engaged with church life at all levels. The Legislative Reform Measure will make it possible to amend or repeal some Church legislation by means of Orders approved by the Synod. Several other proposed pieces of new legislation will consolidate existing provisions into a more user-friendly form and repeal provisions which are obsolete. There will also be an opportunity for Synod to discuss a report from the Development and Appointments Group updating Synod on the progress of their work on the training and development of senior Church leaders.
The Synod will also discuss a report on “A Church of England Vision for Education” with reference to the establishment of a foundation for education and leadership. The Synod will also examine Annual Reports from both the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council.
Aside from legislation linked to Renewal and Reform, Synod will also consider legislation which gives effect to two private members’ motions which were previously passed by the Synod. The amending legislation relates to forms of vesture requirements for ministers and providing for those who have taken their own life to be buried in accordance with the normal burial service.
Synod will also be addressed by Bishop Ralf Meister of the German Evangelical Church, who will look ahead to the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. It will receive a report from the Archbishop of York on his 6 month pilgrimage.
The formal proceedings of the Synod will end on Saturday 9 July.
Following a service on 10 July at York Minster, members of the Synod will take part in Shared Conversations on Scripture, Mission and Human Sexuality - following the regional sessions that concluded earlier this year - until Tuesday.
Updated Friday 24 June to include second circulation papers
Papers in the first circulation All papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod on 8-12 July are now online here in agenda order. Here is a list in numerical order, with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration.
GS 2023 - Agenda
GS 2024 - Report by the Business Committee [Friday]
GS 2025 - Appointments to the Archbishops’ Council [Friday]
GS 2026 - Nurturing and Discerning Senior Leaders: Report from the Development And Appointments Group of the House of Bishops [Friday]
GS 2038 - A Vision for Renewal and Reform [Saturday]
GS 2039 - A Church of England Vision for Education: a Report from the Education Division [Saturday]
GS 2040 - Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report [Saturday]
GS 2041 - Archbishops’ Council’s Budget [Saturday]
Church Commissioners’ Annual Report [Friday]
GS Misc 1138 - Giving for life Re-ignited
GS Misc 1140 - Draft Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 - Code of Practice as amended
GS Misc 1141 - Clergy Discipline Rules as amended by CDA Rules 2016
GS Misc 1142 - Audit Committee Annual Report
GS Misc 1143 - Clergy Discipline Commission Annual Report
GS Misc 1144 - House of Bishops Summary of Decisions
GS Misc 1145 - Anglican-Methodist Joint Covenant Advocacy and Monitoring Group
GS Misc 1146 - Report of the Archbishops’ Council’s Activities
GS Misc 1147 - Crown Nominations Commission Report
Shared Conversations Material
Timetable - Sunday afternoon - Tuesday lunchtime
Updated Friday morning
A new book of essays, Journeys in Grace and Truth, edited by Jayne Ozanne, is launched this weekend. From the publicity:
Is it possible to hold a positive view of same-sex relationships while being a biblically rooted evangelical? These twelve senior Anglican Evangelicals believe so.
Journeys in Grace and Truth sets out the path each contributor has travelled to reach this point, involving moving encounters, scriptural exegesis and personal revelations. It is offered as a contribution to aid the discussion, and to broker deeper understanding between evangelicals and the wider Church.
Contributors include the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, and the Bishop of Dorchester, Colin Fletcher, who have both been talking to the press.
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Leading evangelical bishops call for Church to change on gays
… Bishop Fletcher criticises the “immense” damage to “far too many good Christian people” by the Church’s attitude to gay people. Bishop Bayes says: “We need to change the Church – to make room and to extend the table.”…
This article includes a video of an interview with the Bishop of Liverpool, which can also be viewed on YouTube.
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Senior bishop calls for change in C of E attitudes to gay people
A senior bishop associated with the Church of England’s evangelical wing has called for far-reaching change in the church’s attitudes to lesbian and gay people and a meaningful welcome to Christians in same-sex relationships.
Acknowledging that he has been “profoundly changed” by encounters with lesbian and gay Christians, including within his own family, Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, has said: “I have come to believe that we need to change the church.”
LGBT people have been bruised and broken by the church, he said…
John Bingham The Telegraph Two bishops urge clerics to rethink ‘interpretations’ of the Bible which condemn homosexuality
The Diocese of Liverpool has published this article on its webpage: Church ‘must give a hearing to Evangelical Journeys of Acceptance for same-sex relationships’.
The Archbishop of York appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme today, and got into a spat with presenter Piers Morgan about homophobia. There’s a video here: Piers challenges Archbishop of York over gay rights.
[Some extensions to your browser might prevent the video playing.]
Harry Farley Christian Today Archbishop of York clashes with Piers Morgan over gay marriage
The Archbishop of York became embroiled in a live TV argument over same-sex marriage on Wednesday morning as ITV presenter Piers Morgan accused him of homophobia.
Archbishop John Sentamu was appearing on Good Morning Britain when Morgan compared homophobia and racism. Sentamu, who is originally from Uganda, was visibly irritated at Morgan’s suggestions.
“This is the trouble I have with the people who argue that the question of sexuality is equal in terms of argument to the question of slavery.
“No, some of my relations died on the ships. Slavery was a very wrong thing.” …
Antony Bushfield Premier Archbishop: ‘Not supporting gay marriage does not equal homophobia’
Keiligh Baker Mail Online ‘The church ISN’T homophobic – I have lots of gay friends’: Archbishop of York in TV row with Piers Morgan as he is challenged over religious attitudes after Orlando massacre
email received at 1.23 pm Monday
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued the following joint statement in response to the shootings in Orlando:
Monday 13 June 2016
For immediate use
“After Sunday’s attack in Orlando as Christians we must speak out in support of LGBTI people, who have become the latest group to be so brutally targeted by the forces of evil. We must pray, weep with those affected, support the bereaved, and love without qualification. The obligation to object to these acts of persecution, and to support those LGBTI people who are wickedly and cruelly killed and wounded, bereaved and traumatised, whether in Orlando or elsewhere, is an absolute call on our Christian discipleship. It arises from the unshakeable certainty of the gracious love of God for every human being. Now, in this time of heartbreak and grief, is a time for solidarity. May God our Father give grace and comfort to all who mourn, and divine compassion to us all.”
Bishop of Central Florida (whose diocese includes Orlando)
We linked in the previous article to a statement The Diocese of Liverpool and the Anglican Communion from Paul Bayes, the Bishop of Liverpool. He wrote:
…Over a year ago, as part of this walking together, I asked the Suffragan bishop of Virginia, the Rt Revd Susan Goff, whether she would become one of our honorary assistant bishops (or “assisting bishops” as they call this sort of arrangement in TEC). She kindly accepted this invitation and, again last year, we secured the necessary permissions for her to minister here. As +Susan is an overseas bishop, these permissions do not extend to the conducting of ordinations. I remain delighted that our ministry here will be enriched by what +Susan will bring to us as a teacher, pastor and disciple. She will also be able to hear and to engage with the wide range of views in our Diocese on the way the Gospel is understood in these days.
It seems that this invitation has caused the Diocese of Akure, Nigeria, which has been another of our link dioceses, to issue a statement indicating that they no longer wish to be in a link-relationship with Liverpool. I regret this. I would prefer to walk together with Akure as well as with Virginia, within the one Communion whose life we share.
I have not yet received formal notification directly from the Bishop of Akure, but as and when I do I shall write to him expressing this regret. If our partners choose to close this door, this is a matter of sorrow for us but of course we respect their decision as free partners in a free relationship.
At one time this link was three-way and provided wonderful opportunities for sharing and mutual learning, though my colleagues tell me that five years ago, in 2011, the then Bishop of Akure formally indicated that his Diocese did not feel able to remain in such a three-way relationship…
Ruth Gledhill has now published an article Nigeria diocese severs link with Liverpool over same-sex blessings bishop.
This in turn links to a statement from the Bishop of Akure, Simeon Borokini. In which he says:
…Peace of the Lord be with you and all yours in Jesus name. I received a message from our Primate in Nigeria, who is currently the Chairman of GAFCON today about a partnership that is in the Western news. That there is a three way Diocesan partnership between the Diocese of Liverpool, England, the Diocese of Akure, Nigeria and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in the United States.
Also, that recently, the Diocese of Liverpool made the assisting Bishop of Virginia, Susan Goff, an assisting Bishop in Liverpool. Susan Goff is in favour of blessing same sex unions and this has been a part of the litigation against the orthodox in Virginia.
Therefore, in view of the above and being aware of the fact that Nigeria does not support same sex marriage, we in Akure Diocese cannot have any link with Liverpool Diocese…
There is also a letter from the GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, in which he writes:
…In the beginning, the focus of our concern was North America and we thank God that he has raised up the Anglican Church North America as a new wineskin in that continent. Now our concern is increasingly with the British Isles. A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff, of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an Assisting Bishop of Liverpool. The false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalised in England and this divisive act has meant that the Church of Nigeria’s Akure Diocese has had no alternative but to end its partnership link with Liverpool Diocese.
At our recent Primates Council meeting in Nairobi we reaffirmed our solidarity with the leaders of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and the Anglican Mission in England at this testing time…
Updated Sunday morning
The Church of England has today released new Ministry Statistics giving trends in ministry over the period between 2012 and 2015: Ministry Statistics 2012-2015. There is also a short commentary provided by the Venerable Julian Hubbard, Director of Ministry, and detailed Diocesan tables in a separate excel file. There is also a press release, copied below.
Press coverage includes:
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian C of E in ageing clergy crisis with 25% of ministers aged over 60
Aaron James Premier Church of England: We need to Rev up clergy numbers
Rose Hudson-Wilkin and Peter Ould were interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (starting at 1hr 21min).
Ian Paul and Peter Ould write about the figures here: Do we have enough vicars?
Jeremy Fletcher has written The Church of England’s Middle Aged Spread.
David Keen has written The Leading of the 5,000 part 2 - vocations and canaries.
Church of England press release
Church of England releases new Ministry Statistics
The Church of England has released new Ministry Statistics giving trends in ministry over the period between 2012 and 2015.
The statistics show that total ordained ministry over the last 4 years has remained stable, with over 20,000 ordained people serving the church in various roles.
The number of stipendiary clergy has fallen from 8,300 to 8,000 between 2012 and 2015.
The proportion of stipendiary clergy who are women increased from 24% in 2012 to 27% in 2015. And 19% of senior staff in 2015 were women, up from 12% in 2012.
Nationally, 13% of parish clergy are aged under 40, while a quarter are 60 and over.
There was an increase in stipendiary clergy from Black and Minority Ethnic communities from 3% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2015.
In his commentary, the Church of England Director of Ministry, Julian Hubbard, writes: “While the number of stipendiary ordinations showed a welcome increase between 2012 and 2015, this is not sufficient to redress the gathering effect of clergy retirements predicted over the next ten years.”
“The statistics on the age and ethnicity of clergy show that we still have some way to go to ensure that the whole cohort fully reflects the demographics of the wider community.”
“The good news is that there is a growing readiness to meet these challenges.”
Mike Eastwood, Director of Renewal and Reform, the Church of England’s major response to falling church attendance, said: “These figures support what we have been saying about the need for renewal and reform in the Church of England.”
“Renewal and Reform is about a message of hope, through changed lives and transformed communities, as people discover their vocation to love God and serve others.
“Renewal and Reform is not a top-down project to fix the church, but a narrative of local hope in God shared throughout the church.”
“As part of Renewal and Reform, we are currently consulting on how we better release the gifts of all Christian leaders in church and wider society, whether ordained or not.”
Notes for editors
The last Ministry Statistics paper was published by the Church of England in 2012. The implementation of a new clergy payroll system in 2012 initially made it more difficult to extract data for ministry statistics.
The Ministry Statistics paper and Commentary are available here.
The Church of England’s Renewal and Reform Facebook page is here.
The outline timetable for the July General Synod of the Church of England has been published today, and is copied below. The full agenda and other papers will be published on Friday 17 June 2016.
GENERAL SYNOD: JULY 2016
Friday 8 July
1 pm — 2 pm Meeting of the House of Laity
2.30 pm — 6.15 pm
2.30 pm Opening worship
Presentation of the Pro-Prolocutors for the Convocation of Canterbury and the Deputy Prolocutors for the Convocation of York
Response on behalf of ecumenical guests
3.10 pm Presentation by the Archbishop of York on his Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing, including a short time of worship using the Pilgrimage Prayers
3.35 pm Presentation on the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, April 2016
3.50 pm Debate on the Report by the Business Committee
*4.30 pm Approval of appointments to the Archbishops’ Council
4.40 pm Take note debate on the Church Commissioners’ Annual Report
5.30 pm Nurturing and Discerning Senior Leaders: take note debate on a Report from the Development and Appointments Group of the House of Bishops
8.30 pm — 10.00 pm
8.30 pm Questions
Saturday 9 July
9.30 am — 1.00 pm
9.30 am Morning worship
9.45 am Mission and Pastoral etc. (Amendment) Measure — Revision Stage
Legislative Reform Measure — First Consideration
Inspection of Churches Measure — First Consideration
Amending Canon No.36 — First Consideration
Statute Law (Repeals) Measure — First Consideration (deemed)
Pensions Measure — First Consideration (deemed)
Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure — First Consideration (deemed)
Clergy Discipline (Amendment) Rules (deemed)
Suspension Appeals (Churchwardens etc) Rules (deemed)
Amending Code of Practice under the CDM (deemed)
Usual Fees Orders (deemed)
2.30 pm — 6.15 pm
Legislative Business (continued, if required)
4.30 pm Debate on a motion on a Vision and Narrative for Renewal and Reform
5.15 pm ‘A Church of England Vision for Education’ — take note debate on a report from the Education Division
8.30 pm — 10.00 pm
8.30 pm Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report 2015
8.50 pm Archbishops’ Council’s Budget for 2017
*9.50 pm Prorogation
Sunday 10 July
10.00 am Holy Communion in York Minster
2.30 pm on Sunday 10 July — 1pm on Tuesday 12 July
(a separate timetable will be issued in the first circulation)
*not later than
Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk
Press release from Number 10
Dean of Lincoln: Christine Wilson
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 27 May 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Christine Wilson to be appointed Dean of Lincoln.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Christine Louise Wilson, Archdeacon of Chesterfield, in the diocese of Derby, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Lincoln, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Philip John Warr Buckler, MA, on 31 January 2016.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Christine Wilson (aged 58) trained for her ordination at Southern Diocese Ministerial Training Scheme. She served her first title as Curate at Henfield with Shermanbury and Woodmancote, in the diocese of Chichester from 1997 to 2002. From 2002 to 2008 she was Team Vicar at St John the Baptist, Palmeria Square, Hove, in Chichester diocese, and from 2008 to 2010 was Vicar at Goring-by-the-Sea, in Chichester diocese. Since 2010 she has been Archdeacon of Chesterfield in the diocese of Derby.
She is married to Alan, a retired Head of Compliance for a division of an international bank. She has 2 daughters, her third daughter died when she was 29, and has 2 grandchildren.
Her interests include gardening, theatre and dance and hosting parties.
The House of Bishops met at Bishopthorpe this week and issued this press release afterwards:
Church of England House of Bishops Meeting May 2016
25 May 2016
The House of Bishops of the Church of England met on 23-24 May 2016.
On its first day the Bishops received an update on the shared conversations process, received a report from the Faith and Order Commission and discussed the contribution and vision of the Church of England on Education. A substantial amount of time was spent on safeguarding including receiving the report of the Elliot Review from the Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally. A news release from Bishop Sarah can be found on the Diocese of Exeter website here: http://www.exeter.anglican.org/bishop-sarah-presents-safeguarding-review-recommendations-house-bishops/
In addition the House agreed to publish reports from the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) on safeguarding in addition to a report from FAOC on “Diversity, Difference and Serious Disagreement in the Life of the Church”.
On its second day the House received an oral report from the Archbishop of York on his recently completed pilgrimage and the lessons learned. The House also received an update from the Bishop of Chelmsford on the discussions on Intentional Discipleship at the 2016 Anglican
The House received and agreed to publish a discussion document on welfare reform from Revd Dr. Malcolm Brown and also discussed the work of the “Turning up the Volume” Group on senior appointments and minority ethnic clergy.
The House discussed and approved work on the Renewal and Reform programme and received an update on its work from the diocesan secretary for the Diocese of Liverpool, Mike Eastwood. The House also discussed legislative proposals relating to canon law to be brought to General Synod (Canon B8 & B38) as well as other reports to be brought before Synod.
The news release from Bishop Sarah Mullally is also copied below the fold.
BISHOP SARAH PRESENTS SAFEGUARDING REVIEW RECOMMENDATIONS TO HOUSE OF BISHOPS
The House of Bishops this week received and pledged support for the recommendations of the Elliott Review – an independent report into alleged sexual abuse committed by senior figures in the Church of England.
The Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally, who originally received the report at the request of the survivor, presented key points on the recommendations to the House of Bishops.
These include; improved training, particularly for senior staff, around receiving disclosures; working to ensure financial advice is never at the expense of a pastoral response; and a commitment to revise and strengthen safeguarding structures.
The independent Review, carried out by Ian Elliott, reported back in March. It had been commissioned by the National Safeguarding Team and Diocese of London to establish what lessons could be learnt from an examination of the case.
Speaking after the House of Bishops, Bishop Sarah said: “I am encouraged the House has given me the full support to lead on implementing the recommendations but equally I am aware that for survivors this will not seem like soon enough as they have struggled for years to have their voices heard. I am committed to ensuring that the learning points from the Review are rolled out across the Church of England as soon as possible. I would also like to repeat my apology to ‘Joe’ who suffered appalling abuse in this case.”
In December the Church of England had issued a statement about the review in response to a newspaper interview with the survivor, offering an unreserved apology and confirming that a settlement had been reached.
Updated Wednesday evening
The Church of Scotland reports today: Historic ecumenical agreement with Church of England approved.
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has unanimously backed a landmark agreement to enter into an historic ecumenical partnership with the Church of England.
The Columba Declaration represents a “significant step” between the two denominations and will open up new future possibilities of closer working together to develop God’s Church…
Other reports on the decision include:
Gavin Drake Anglican Communion News Service Anglo-Scottish ecumenical agreement approved by Church of Scotland
The General Assembly of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland has this morning approved the Columba Declaration – an ecumenical agreement between it and the Church of England; and – in identical terms approved by the C of E’s General Synod in February – instructed the creation of an ecumenical “contact group” which would include representatives of the two churches and also the Scottish Episcopal Church…
Harry Farley Christian Today Church of Scotland passes landmark unity pact with Church of England
The text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the Church of Scotland General Assembly includes this apology.
… First, for me at least, is an apology.
The Columba Declaration is one that I support strongly and I hope you will, but the handling of its announcement caused much consternation and deep hurt to the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC). That hurt is exclusively my responsibility and I want to put on the record to you and to them my apology. We know that the goal of unity envisaged in the Columba Declaration cannot be pursued by some churches in isolation from others, and in our context that must mean a particular place for the Scottish Episcopal Church as your Anglican partner in Scotland, and as our immediate neighbour in the Anglican Communion (we have many close links, including ordained ministers moving between our two churches, as we do with the Church in Wales). For this reason there is great importance in the motion at our Synod saying that the Contact Group to take the Columba Declaration forward should include an SEC representative, whom we ask to be a full participant…
Kelvin Holdsworth The Columba Declaration – where are we now?
Statement by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission
Updated Monday night
Church Commissioners announce total 2015 return on investments at 8.2%
The Church Commissioners for England have announced their latest financial results with the publication of their annual report.
The Church Commissioners’ total return on their investments in 2015 was 8.2 per cent, exceeding their long-term target rate by 2%. Over the past 30 years the fund has achieved an average return of 9.7% per annum. After taking account of expenditure, the fund has grown from £2.4bn at the start of 1995 to £7.0 billion at the end of 2015.
In 2015, the charitable expenditure of the Commissioners was £218.5 million, accounting for 15% of the Church’s overall mission and ministry costs. Commissioners-funded projects ranged from clubs and drop-ins to youth work and food bank hubs, all supported by local churches.
Andrew Brown, Secretary of the Church Commissioners, said: “I want to congratulate the investment team for the continued strong performance, delivering more than 8% in a challenging financial climate. Without this leadership and good stewardship it would not be possible to support the Church as we do. But we must not forget the generous support from parishes, dioceses and cathedrals which provide around three quarters of the Church’s annual spending on ministry and mission.”
First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith also congratulated the long-term performance but warned of harder times ahead due to the nervousness of investors: “The Commissioners’ fund has grown by an annual average of 9.7% over the past thirty years compared with an annual inflation rate during the same period of 3.4%,” he said. “Unfortunately it may be harder in the future to achieve such a satisfactory performance. My message to the wider Church is – don’t count on it. The nervousness of investors is explained by the feeling that governments have lost the power to reverse any slowdown in economic activity. In earlier time they would reduce interest rates, but now that rates hover around zero, that remedy is unavailable.”
Examples of funding provided in the report include:
Growth and diversification
Notable performance was once again delivered in property, private equity and timber. The property markets in which the Commissioners are invested were strong across the board and their property portfolio totalled just less than £2bn at the end of 2015 with an average return of 14.4%, generated through active management of a high quality set of properties.
The private equity portfolio continued to grow in the year, bringing the total to £87.7million. These strategies generated a combined return of 20.2% in 2015.
The Church Commissioners continued to invest in forestry with two new holdings in Australia, bringing the total holdings to nearly 120,000 acres. The timberland and forestry portfolio delivered a total return of 13% in 2015.
The Church Commissioners’ ambition is to be at the forefront of responsible investment practice. In 2015 the Commissioners adopted a new climate change policy, setting out a comprehensive approach to climate change including how we divest, how we seek low-carbon investments and how we engage with companies and public policy. The Church Commissioners are actively integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into investment analysis and decision-making.
Notable work in 2015 included the Commissioners’ role in the Aiming for A initiative and the success of the shareholder resolutions on climate change disclosure that the Commissioners co-filed with BP and Shell. These were overwhelmingly passed at both companies, with the support of their respective boards.
Katie Allen The Guardian Church of England sells investments fearing market slowdown
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England invests in Google despite criticism of its tax record
A Question on Same Sex Marriage: Clergy was put to the Second Church Estates Commissioner on Thursday. Here is a transcript (scroll down for the other topics covered):
Cat Smith (Lancaster and Fleetwood) (Lab)
1. What discussions the Church Commissioners have had with the Church of England on supporting clergy who have entered into same sex marriages or civil partnerships.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Mrs Caroline Spelman): I should first declare my personal position, which is that I voted in favour of same sex marriage when the decision was before Parliament, but I do recognise that it is difficult for the Anglican Church. The Anglican Communion extends over many different cultures and many continents, and not all cultures and societies move at the same pace. It is therefore all the more remarkable that the Archbishop of Canterbury managed to get a unanimous agreement among all the bishops of the Anglican Communion, in Canterbury, in January, that there should be a new doctrine condemning homophobic prejudice and violence, and resolving
“to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation.”
Cat Smith: I thank the right hon. Lady for her answer. She will be aware that many people feel called to ministry, including, naturally, many people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Although Church of England policies protect heterosexual couples if they are in a marriage by not taking their status into account when it comes to jobs within the Church, the same is not true for those who have entered same sex marriages. Is she aware of cases of written permission from Bishops placed on file, and of refusals to issue licences when new positions are sought, including even secular positions? Will she do her best to ensure that LGBT clergy are not discriminated against here in the Church of England?
Mrs Spelman: As I mentioned, the Anglican Communion is extremely diverse. What we must remember, living here in the liberal west, is that a typical Anglican communicant is in Africa and black, female and under 35; in many African nations there are also very strong views on this subject, and keeping the Communion together is a big challenge. It is open to Church of England clergy to enter into civil partnerships, and many do so. The Church of England in England is moving forward in its understanding with a shared conversation, three parts of which have already occurred. In July this year, the Synod will move forward with the shared conversation about sexuality—the nature of human sexuality. I reiterate the point that the whole Communion agreed unanimously that the Church should never, by its actions, give any impression other than that every human being is the same in God’s sight regardless of sexuality.
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): The Dean of Lichfield cathedral, Adrian Dorber, is always telling me how short of money the cathedral is. May I just say that I live for the day when gay clergymen can be openly gay and there will be gay marriages, which will be paid for in Lichfield cathedral and all the other cathedrals in England and the rest of the United Kingdom, in a liberal nation.
Mrs Spelman: I look forward to visiting the Lichfield diocese. Indeed, the Government have been very generous in their funding for repairs to that beautiful cathedral. On the specific subject of human sexuality, I do not think that the Archbishop of Canterbury could have been clearer about his leadership in bringing the whole Anglican Communion together for the first time, united behind the doctrine that we should condemn homophobic prejudice and violence at home and abroad.
David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK has written this very useful article: Suffragan bishops: from selection to ordination & consecration.
Prompted by the forthcoming translation of the Bishop of Sheffield to Oxford he has also written Bishops: from announcement to installation.
The Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales has announced today that from later this year it will only use its official name, the Diocese of Leeds. Here is the official announcement.
Since its creation two years ago, the Diocese of Leeds has largely been known as ‘The Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales’. However, given the confusion this continues to cause, in future, once new branding has been created, the diocese is to be known only by its official title, the Diocese of Leeds…
Press release from Number 10
Bishop of Oxford: Steven John Lindsey Croft
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 12 April 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft as Her Majesty’s Bishop of Oxford.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft, MA, PhD, Lord Bishop of Sheffield, in the Diocese of Sheffield for election as Bishop of Oxford in succession to the Right Reverend John Lawrence Pritchard, MA, MLitt, on his resignation on 31 October 2014.
Notes for editors
The Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft (aged 58) is from Halifax in West Yorkshire. He studied first at Worcester College, Oxford and then at St John’s College, Durham where he trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall. He served his title as Curate at St Andrew Enfield in London Diocese from 1983 to 1987. In 1987 he returned to Halifax to be Vicar of St George, Ovenden in the Diocese of Wakefield. From 1996 he moved to become Warden at Cranmer Hall, Durham, before taking up the role of Archbishops’ Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions in 2004. Since 2009 he has been the Bishop of Sheffield.
At the heart of Bishop Steven’s ministry in Sheffield has been a desire to connect the Church across the Diocese more deeply together as one body with a common sense of mission and purpose and to enable the diocese to engage with mission in the wider community with confidence and hope. He has worked creatively with Anglicans of all traditions in a very diverse diocese as well as with civic and community leaders and the leaders of other churches and other faiths.
Bishop Steven became a member of the House of Lords in 2013. He is 1 of 2 bishops elected to serve on the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, and has been chair of the Ministry Council since 2012. In 2008 he was awarded the Cross of St. Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his work with fresh expressions. He is the author of a number of books on Christian life and ministry and a novel for children. He writes a regular blog.
Bishop Steven is married to Ann. They have 4 adult children and 1 grandchild. He is a keen cook and bakes his own bread.
Sheffield diocesan website: Current Bishop of Sheffield announced as the next Bishop for the Diocese of Oxford
and A Letter from Bishop Steven
Oxford diocesan website: The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft is the new Bishop of Oxford
From the Southwell and Nottingham diocesan website today:
The Venerable Nicola Sullivan, currently Archdeacon of Wells, in the Diocese of Bath & Wells, will be the new Dean of Southwell, it was announced today…
The first annual report from the Independent Reviewer appointed under the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (Resolution of Disputes Procedure) Regulations 2014, Sir Philip Mawer, has been published and is available here.
It includes, at Appendix 3 (scroll down) a Note on the Legal and Canonical Status of the Provincial Episcopal Visitors.
Earlier material concerning the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests can be found on the CofE website here.
Forward in Faith has commented on this report.
Previous TA articles relating to earlier reports can be found here on Chrism Masses, and then here on All Saints Cheltenham, and also on the consultation paper discussed in the report, and on the Notes issued as the outcome of that.
Press release from Number 10
Suffragan Bishop of Dorking: Jo Wells
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 24 March 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Jo Bailey Wells for election as Suffragan Bishop of Dorking.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Jo Bailey Wells, MA, PhD, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the Suffragan See of Dorking in the Diocese of Guildford. She succeeds the Right Reverend Ian James Brackley, MA, on his resignation on 30 September 2015.
Notes for editors
The Reverend Canon Dr Jo Bailey Wells (50) was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and then at University of Minnesota, USA. She trained for ordained ministry at St John’s College, Durham.
She was Chaplain of Clare College, Cambridge from 1995 to 1998 and Dean from 1998 to 2001. From 2001 to 2005 Jo served as a lecturer in Old Testament and Biblical Theology at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. From there she moved to North Carolina to be Director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies and Associate Professor of Bible and Ministry at Duke Divinity School. On her return to the UK in 2013 she took up the role of Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, based at Lambeth Palace. Since 2015 she has also served as Canon Theologian at Liverpool Cathedral.
Jo is married to the Reverend Dr Sam Wells, who is Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. They have 2 children. Her interests include art, architecture and textiles. Jo has spent a significant portion of her annual leave over many years in East Africa, most recently in supporting Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul in theological education in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan.
The Guildford diocesan website has Bishop of Dorking announced.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s website has Archbishop of Canterbury’s Chaplain to be new Bishop of Dorking.
It was reported this week in both the Church Times and The Times that a settlement has been reached in the case of Professor Julie Macfarlane. This case was reported earlier here: Church of England criticised by survivor of sexual abuse.
Both these news articles are behind their respective paywalls. But the Church Times article says that Dr Macfarlane has agreed to accept £40,000 damages, and a further £40,000 to cover her legal costs.
It also says that A key part of the agreement is a “protocol-review meeting” with interested parties “to agree a protocol for the handling of claims for damages made by victims and survivors of abuse against a body within the Church of England”.
The meeting is to take place before 30 April, and “all endeavours” will be made to ensure that the protocol is in place before 30 June.
The full text of Church Times article is now available for all to read.
The George Bell Group has sent a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and also issued a press statement: George Bell’s naming as a paedophile is challenged today by a group of lawyers, academics, politicians and senior Church figures. The statement is copied in full below the fold.
The core members of the George Bell Group are listed here.
George Bell’s naming as a paedophile is challenged today by a group of lawyers, academics, politicians and senior Church figures
20 March 2016
George Bell’s condemnation as a paedophile has been challenged by a group of lawyers, academics, politicians and senior Church figures. The treatment of George Bell has been taken up today with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
George Bell is famed for being one of the first to speak out against the dangers Hitler posed in the 1930s and for saving many lives during these years by guaranteeing refugees from Germany. He was one of the few to condemn our government’s obliteration bombing of German cities during the Second World War.
A surprised world learnt on 22nd October 2015 that this much-admired wartime Bishop of Chichester had in 2015 apparently been found guilty, by Church authorities, of child sexual abuse. As a result, his reputation has been irreparably damaged, and schools and institutions dedicated to his memory have been renamed.
The Church of England’s statement appears to accept the allegation of abuse as true. It contained a highly damaging statement that the Sussex police would have arrested the Bishop had he still been alive. But this would have been no more than standard police practice, a fact not mentioned in the statement. The police have confirmed that after investigation arrests lead to charges in less than 30% of cases, and of course, not every charge leads to a guilty verdict. It is significant that neither the police nor the NSPCC have received any further complaints against the Bishop. Although challenged, the Church has not provided details of any corroboration to enable the complainant’s story to be judged.
A detailed report compiled by the George Bell Group, today reveals that the Church’s inquiries were astonishingly inadequate, especially since they followed an uncorroborated allegation, first made many decades after the alleged offence, and so far unaccompanied by any further accusations of the same nature. The report shows that the Church authorities:
The Group does not challenge the survivor’s belief in her account; the question is whether others should believe it.
The group questions whether the safeguarding group had the legal and forensic expertise to come to a judgement that would support the idea that, on the balance of probabilities, George Bell was guilty of child sexual abuse.
Victims of child abuse are as interested as the wider community, if not more so, in having a robust system to investigate their claims of abuse. It is clear to the George Bell Group that such a system still needs to be established by the Church of England.
The group’s concern is that the valuable reputation of a great man, a rare example of self-sacrificing human goodness, has been carelessly destroyed on the basis of slender evidence, sloppily investigated. The group also feels that the Church’s whole approach to such cases needs to be more transparent, and more in tune with the principles of justice. The guilty must indeed be punished. But the innocent must be protected, whether they are living or dead, and whether they are ordinary citizens or eminent in the eyes of the world.
Updated again Friday midday
The purpose of yesterday’s hearing is explained here: Preliminary hearings for the Anglican Church and Rochdale and here: Preliminary Hearing Note.
Media reports focus on the claim by Richard Scorer that one alleged victim of Peter Ball wrote to the then Archbishop of Canterbury in 1992 and was ignored. Lord Carey has said he had no recollection of receiving any such letter.
BBC Goddard Inquiry: Focus on CofE handling of abuse claims
Gavin Drake Church Times Justice Goddard opens IICSA investigation into the Anglican Church
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Sex abuse public inquiry begins investigation into Church of England
David Henke and Tim Wood Exaro CoE finds one million pages of documents about child sex abuse
Updated again Wednesday morning
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, see below.
…Elliott examined the case of “Joe” – described in the report as “B”, and whose identity is known to the Guardian – who as a 15-year-old was subjected to a “sadistic” assault in 1976 by Garth Moore, a leading figure in the church, the chancellor of three dioceses and vicar of St Mary’s Abchurch in the City of London. Moore, who died in 1990, is described in the report as “A”…
…The Guardian understands that among those told of the abuse were three bishops and a senior clergyman later ordained as a bishop. None of them are named in the report by Ian Elliott, a safeguarding expert, but the survivor identified them as Tim Thornton, now bishop of Truro; Richard Holloway, former bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal church, now retired; John Eastaugh, former bishop of Hereford, now dead; and Stephen Platten, former bishop of Wakefield and now honorary assistant bishop of London…
…In a statement, Thornton said: “I remember having several conversations with [Joe], mainly about his faith. But I am sorry to say that I simply do not recall the conversation that he has referred to. Had I been party to a conversation of that nature, I would either have referred him to somebody who would have been well placed to help him, or would have told somebody myself about such a serious disclosure.”
A statement from the diocese of London said Platten had apologised to Joe for his “lack of detailed recollection of their conversations in the 1980s” and “regretted he was unable to help further”.
Holloway said he did not recall any disclosure: “I have no memory of it, but I’ve no reason to challenge it. I had many pastoral conversations with many people…”
…Last month, Paul Butler, the bishop of Durham, who leads the C of E’s safeguarding work, privately apologised to Joe for the church’s response to his disclosures. He said he had no doubt that Joe had been abused by Moore, and there were likely to be other survivors who have not yet come forward. He ended his handwritten letter, seen by the Guardian, with: “I am … deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused you.”
But there has been no apology from Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, to whom Joe reports writing 18 letters after the church began examining his case. He had one reply, from a correspondence secretary, assuring him that “the archbishop would hold him in his prayers”…
Links to the officially published material:
Report by Tim Wyatt in the Church Times Abuse case turns spotlight on to flawed C of E safeguarding practices
…The report will not be published in full, although the conclusions and recommendations will be published by the C of E. Bishop Mullally said that this was because of pastoral concerns, although Joe has told the Church Times that wants the detail of the review to be made public…
…Joe said he was optimistic that the report would lead to real reform, but still had reservations. He had asked for a female bishop to lead the implementation of the recommendations because he had wanted a new broom to sweep the Church clean.
“I wanted someone to look at this with fresh eyes,” he said. “It needed to be somebody who wasn’t part of the layers of complicity and loyalty, who didn’t carry all that baggage.”
Although he has not yet met Bishop Mullally, he said he had heard positive things about her. “I have the sense that she could kick the Church out of its complacency…”
Earlier material from the Church Times
Earlier material from the Guardian
Other media reports:
From the Archbishop’s website:
Wednesday 9th March 2016
Canon David Porter will take up the new role at Lambeth Palace in early May.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is delighted to announce the appointment of Canon David Porter as Chief of Staff and Strategy at Lambeth Palace. He takes over from Kay Brock, who retires this month after four years at Lambeth Palace.
David is currently in the Lambeth Palace leadership group working as the Archbishops’ Director for Reconciliation. He will start in his new role in early May.
David, originally from Belfast, comes with experience in several Christian organisations at senior staff, CEO and board level. He has long experience in public affairs and was a member of the Northern Ireland Civic Forum and Community Relations Council. Prior to joining the Lambeth Palace team in 2013 he was the Canon Director for Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral.
Speaking about the appointment, Archbishop Justin Welby said:
“This is an exciting appointment that draws together David’s recent experience leading one of my priorities and his extensive background in developing strategic and effective organisations to serve Christ and the church.
“David will lead on strategy development and implementation, as well as public affairs, working closely with senior colleagues. Along with the Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Rev Nigel Stock, he will be responsible for enabling the entire team at Lambeth Palace to work effectively together, with colleagues at Church House, Bishopthorpe, the Anglican Communion Office and across the wider church.”
Speaking about his new role, David Porter said:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Archbishop Justin and colleagues at Lambeth over the last three years in what has been an immensely fulfilling role. It is an unexpected privilege to be given this new responsibility within the team at Lambeth Palace. The next few years will be exciting and challenging for the church, and all those who work at Lambeth are deeply committed to supporting the Archbishop in his ministry. I look forward to enabling them to flourish in this task.”
Press release from Number 10
Bishop of Lichfield: Michael Geoffrey Ipgrave
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 2 March 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Michael Geoffrey Ipgrave for election as Bishop of Lichfield.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Michael Geoffrey Ipgrave, OBE, MA, PhD, Area Bishop of Woolwich, in the Diocese of Southwark, for election as Bishop of Lichfield in succession to the Right Reverend Jonathan Michael Gledhill, MA, on his resignation on 30 September 2015.
Notes for editors
The Right Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave (57) grew up in a small village in Northamptonshire, in the English Midlands. He studied mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford, and trained for the ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford after a year spent working as a labourer in a factory in Birmingham.
He was ordained Deacon in 1982 and Priest in 1983 in the Dicoese of Peterborough. After more than 20 years ministry in Leicestershire and Japan, he became Archdeacon of Southwark in 2004. He was also Canon Missioner at Southwark Cathedral from 2010 to 2012 and was Chair of the Southwark and London Diocesan Housing Association, and Anglican Borough Dean of Southwark. Prior to this he had been Inter Faith Relations Adviser to the Archbishops’ Council and Secretary of the Churches’ Commission on Inter Faith Relations.
He was awarded the OBE in the new year’s honours list in 2011 for services to inter-faith relations in London. Since 2012 he has been Area Bishop of Woolwich, in the Diocese of Southwark and is also diocesan Warden of Readers. He chairs the Council of Christians and Jews, and is Co-Chair of the Anglican-Lutheran Society and of the Church of England’s Mission Theology Advisory Group.
Bishop Michael has written extensively on inter-faith issues and on questions of religion and human rights. He has edited 6 volumes on Christian-Muslim relations, is the author of Trinity and Inter Faith Dialogue (Peter Lang, 2003), and has contributed about 30 journal articles and book chapters.
Bishop Michael is married to Dr Julia Ipgrave, who works at Roehampton University as a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Humanities. They have 3 grown up sons, 1 with a German and 1 with a Russian wife, and are looking forward to the imminent birth of their first grandchild in Germany. Michael and Julia are enthusiastic about things Japanese; they enjoy walking, and are looking forward to exploring Staffordshire and Shropshire on foot.
The Lichfield Diocesan website has this: 99th Bishop of Lichfield named.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are inviting churches to pray for the evangelisation of the nation during the week before Pentecost Sunday.
See also this website.
Read the full text of the letter here.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Lent 2016
Thy kingdom Come, thy will be done …
A Call to Prayer in the week leading up to Pentecost 2016
As we travel around the country, we are continuously encouraged by the faithfulness, commitment and courage of all our Partners in the Gospel. Your ministry in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, often in testing circumstances, is an inspiring testimony to the transforming work of our Lord. We thank God for our partnership in the Gospel.
Like us, you will know that ministry is empty and barren without prayer. That is why we are taking the unprecedented step of writing to every serving parish priest in the Church of England inviting you and your people to join us in a week of prayer for the evangelisation of our nation. In the week leading up to Pentecost (May 8th - 15th, 2016) we long to see a great wave of prayer across our land, throughout the Church of England and many other Churches…
Press release from Number 10
Dean of Rochester: Philip John Hesketh
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 26 February 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Dr Philip John Hesketh to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church Rochester.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Dr Philip John Hesketh, BD, AKC, PhD, Canon at Rochester Cathedral, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church Rochester.
Notes for editors
The Reverend Canon Philip Hesketh (aged 51) was educated at King’s College, London and trained for the ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He served his curacy at Bearsted with Thurnham, Canterbury diocese from 1994 to 1998. From 1998 to 2005 he was Vicar of St Stephen’s Chatham in Rochester diocese. Since 2005 he has been Canon Residentiary at Rochester Cathedral.
Dr Hesketh is married to Sugina, a doctor, and they have 3 daughters and 1 son.
His recreations include entertaining, listening to music, reading biographies and keeping pigs.
Press release from Number 10
Suffragan Bishop of Repton: Janet Elizabeth McFarlane
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 26 February 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Janet Elizabeth McFarlane to the Suffragan See of Repton in the diocese of Derby.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Janet Elizabeth McFarlane, BMedSci, BA, Archdeacon of Norwich, in the diocese of Norwich, to the Suffragan See of Repton in the diocese of Derby in succession to the Right Reverend Humphrey Ivo John Southern, MA, on his resignation on 1 April 2015.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Jan McFarlane (aged 51) was educated first at Sheffield University, where she trained as a speech and language therapist, and then at St John’s College, Durham; and she trained for ordained ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham.
Jan served her first curacy at Stafford in Lichfield Diocese from 1993 to 1996 and was among the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in 1994. From 1996 to 1999 she was Chaplain and Minor Canon at Ely Cathedral. Since 1999 she has been Director of Communications in the Diocese of Norwich. From 2001 to 2009 Jan served as Chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich and has been Archdeacon of Norwich since 2009. She combines her role as Archdeacon with the posts of Director of Communications and Warden of Readers. She has been a member of the General Synod since 2005.
Jan is married to Andrew Ridoutt, a television cameraman. Her interests include exploring the beautiful British countryside, beaches and country pubs with Andrew and their rather mischievous Miniature Schnauzer, Edith. Jan has contributed to several books of prayers and reflections for Church House Publishing and broadcasts regularly on local radio.
The Derby diocesan website has Queen Approves Nomination of First Female Bishop in Derbyshire and East Midlands.
Jan McFarlane will be consecrated as a Bishop on Wednesday 29 June.
Dame Moira Gibb announced as Chair of independent review into Peter Ball case
The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced the appointment of Dame Moira Gibb to be chair of the independent review into the way the Church of England responded to the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, who was jailed last year for sex offences.
Dame Moira has worked at a senior level in the statutory sector – she was Chief Executive of Camden Council until 2011 – and holds a range of non-executive roles. Most recently she was the chair of the Serious Case Review (published January 2016) into safeguarding at Southbank International School in the wake of the crimes committed by William Vahey.
She will be assisted in the review by Kevin Harrington JP, safeguarding consultant and lead reviewer on a range of Serious Case Reviews; James Reilly, former Chief Executive of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (until Feb 2016); Heather Schroeder MBE, currently vice chair of Action for Children and formerly held senior positions in social services and children’s services in a number of local authorities.
The review will be published once Dame Moira and her team have completed their work which is expected to be within a year. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) chaired by Justice Goddard will also be looking at the Peter Ball case but have made it clear that institutions should continue with their previous commitments on safeguarding and the Church is in contact with IICSA on this.
The aim of the review will be to consider: What information was available to the Church of England, who had this information and when and to provide a detailed timeline and transparent account of the response; whether the response was in accordance with recognised good practice, and compliant with CofE policy and legislation as well as statutory policy and legislation; lessons about any necessary changes and developments needed within the CofE to ensure that safeguarding work is of the highest possible standard; how complaints and disciplinary processes are managed and any other specific areas of Church behaviour and practice identified by the review.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I am hugely grateful to Dame Moira for agreeing to take up this vital role and chair the review, which will take a detailed look into how the Church handled the Peter Ball case. We have offered an unreserved apology to all the survivors and commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been. It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a bishop in the Church of England committed these offences. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades. I hope the review will provide the Church as a whole with an opportunity to learn lessons which will improve our safeguarding practice and policy.”
Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.
The full terms of reference for this review are copied below the fold.
Terms of Reference: Review – Peter Ball
On October 5th 2015, the Archbishop of Canterbury announced the commissioning of an independent review of the way the Church of England responded to the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester. The review follows the guilty plea by Peter Ball to two charges of indecent assault and one charge of misconduct in public office. The review will be conducted by an independent Review Group, who will examine the Church of England’s response to the abusive conduct of Peter Ball.
a. To review what information was available to the Church of England (within relevant dioceses, Lambeth Palace and central Church authorities) concerning Peter Ball’s abuse of individuals; who had this information and when. To provide a detailed timeline and transparent account of the response within the Church of England.
b. To consider whether the response was in accordance with recognised good practice, and compliant with Church of England policy and legislation as well as statutory policy and legislation.
c. To learn lessons about any necessary changes and developments needed within the Church of England to ensure that safeguarding work is of the highest possible standard; how complaints and disciplinary processes are managed and any other specific areas of Church behaviour and practice identified by the review.
d. To produce a report, including recommendations, set out in a way which can be easily understood by professionals and public alike and suitable for publication. The report will be published on the Church of England website.
a. The Archbishop of Canterbury, having consulted the National Safeguarding Panel, will appoint a person to Chair the Review Group. That person will not be a member of the clergy and will not hold a senior diocesan or national position in the Church of England. He or she will have experience of safeguarding inquiries and complex case reviews.
b. The Archbishop of Canterbury will also appoint a person with relevant experience to provide a detailed timeline and transparent account, as per 1a.
c. The Chair will appoint people with the relevant experience and skills to be specialist Advisers to the Review and professional administrative support.
d. The Chair will be professionally supported by the National Safeguarding Team, the Legal Office and other relevant staff, and may seek other independent professional expertise as necessary.
e. The Chair will present their report to the Archbishop of Canterbury for publication.
f. If during the course of its work the Chair identifies any matters that have not previously come to attention, it will report these to the Police and the National Safeguarding Team.
g. The Chair will keep the National Safeguarding Panel informed on its progress with the review, including the time within which it expects to complete the review.
h. The review will proceed independently from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse as part of the Church of England’s commitment to learning and further developing good safeguarding practice.
3. Scope of the Review
The Review team will:
a. Have access to all of the material and files on this case within Lambeth Palace, and the Dioceses of Chichester, Gloucester, Bath and Wells and Truro and other locations as deemed appropriate.
b. Consider relevant material provided by victims of Peter Ball, their families, and other individuals.
c. Provide opportunities to victims of Peter Ball to share their experiences and the impact of those experiences on them.
d. Provide opportunities to those within the Church of England (nationally and at Diocesan level) who worked closely on this case to share their experiences, in relation to each of the Objectives laid out in (1).
e. Liaise and consult with relevant local statutory bodies to ensure appropriate sharing of information.
David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon From the Gallery: General Synod reflections
Philip Blackledge Well I declare. Why the Church of England Synod has got it badly wrong.
Lucy Gorman Feb 2016
Church Times reports
Gavin Drake Synod calls for benefit sanctions review
Tim Wyatt Bishop North castigates a ‘bias to the rich’
Tim Wyatt Synod votes to press on with Scottish talks, despite Episcopalian unease
Church Times leader Good news to the poor
Stephen Lynas Some are dead, and some are living
David Chillingworth writes More about Columba.
…I watched the debate in which the Columba Declaration was approved by the Church of England with a sense of unreality. The Scottish Episcopal Church was like a ghost at the party – often referred to and talked about but not present. Concerns which have been voiced within the Scottish Episcopal Church about the Columba Declaration focus significantly on the Church of England. The Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church are partner-Provinces in the Anglican Communion. We are the presence of the Anglican Communion in Scotland and we expect the Church of England to respect that. The concerns are that the Columba Declaration places the Church of England in a compromised position in relation to the Scottish Episcopal Church…
John Beattie interviews the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church for BBC Scotland.
Kelvin Holdsworth writes about The Primus’s Radio Interview about the Columba Declaration.
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached this homily at the Synod Eucharist: ‘Martyrdom is the ultimate witness to Christ’s truth’.
Official summaries of the day’s business
General Synod February 2016 sessions: Wednesday AM
General Synod February 2016 sessions: Wednesday PM
Slides from the morning presentation on Renewal & Reform
CofE press release: Synod signals support for new ministry funding framework
Antony Bushfield Premier Synod calls for “full independent review” of benefit sanctions
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Church that does not side with the poor ‘cannot claim to follow Jesus’, synod told
John Bingham The Telegraph No growth for 30 years - Church of England predicts
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England expects attendance to fall for next 30 years
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Church to launch social media ‘digital evangelism’ campaign to reach young people
Updated at intervals during the day and on Wednesday
Alistair Munro The Scotsman Kirk Moderator to make history in England
Harry Farley Christian Today Scottish moderator to address Synod for first time in history
BBC News Kirk moderator to address CofE Synod
Antony Bushfield Premier Church of Scotland moderator to make history at General Synod
Speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury: Evangelism is ‘our duty, privilege and joy’, Archbishop tells Synod
Church of England press releases
General Synod votes to approve historic agreement with Church of Scotland
General Synod backs call to encourage blood and organ donation
Official summary of the day’s business: General Synod February 2016 sessions: Tuesday
Church of Scotland news
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church life is fading fast in poorer communities, synod warned
Harry Farley Christian Today Church guilty of ‘abandoning the poor’, Synod told
Antony Bushfield Premier Bishop slams Church for preferring the rich
Harry Farley Christian Today Columba Declaration passed in historic show of unity at Synod
Antony Bushfield Premier General Synod passes historic Columba Declaration
Brian Donnelly Herald Scotland Moderator: Link between Kirk and Church of England embedded in DNA of both
Antony Bushfield Premier Synod rejects proposal to scrap extra charge for heating at funerals and weddings
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Fees and “extras” for Church weddings and funerals
Updated Wednesday evening
Hilary Cotton, Chair of WATCH, has said
‘The headlines are good: seven women appointed as bishops, and a gathering sense that this is normal. But the Church of England has NOT now ‘done women’. Those who say such things are too quick to stifle God’s spirit of renewal and transformation. Women have carried the faith across much of the Church of England for decades: if we listen and listen again, I wonder what wisdom they can offer to prepare the church of the future?’
Ruth Gledhill looks at the report for Christian Today: Fewer than one in 50 large churches led by a woman priest.
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Donating organs and blood is Christian duty, C of E synod to be told
Full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address: Archbishop reflects on Primates’ meeting in Synod address
Official summary of the day’s business: General Synod February 16 sessions: Monday PM
Antony Bushfield Premier Synod’s sexuality conversations “going to be risky”
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Gay rights and same-sex marriage will dominate C of E summer synod
Updated Saturday to add the article by William Nye
Also updated Saturday to give a working link to Martyn Percy’s essay
The General Synod of the Church of England meets next week. Here are some recent relevant articles.
Kelvin Holdsworth The Columba Declaration
Modern Church has published this essay by Martyn Percy: On Not Rearranging the Deckchairs on the Titanic: A Commentary on Reform and Renewal in the Church of England. Kieran Bohan has written this preview: Reform and Renewal or unintentional vandalism? A health and safety warning for General Synod, and there is a link at the end to download the full essay.
Bishop Steven Croft responds: RME - Response to Principals’ Concerns.
Mike Eastwood, Liverpool Diocesan Secretary and Director of Renewal and Reform, Renewal and Reform – a view from Liverpool
William Nye Renewal and Reform – some thoughts from a new boy
Church Times RME plans may be disastrous, say colleges
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Vesture: the House of Bishops Consultation
The Church of England has issued this statement today.
Statement from Bishop Paul Butler on George Bell
08 February 2016
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding has issued a statement today following various media comments on his recent contribution in the House of Lords regarding Bishop George Bell.
Bishop Paul has welcomed the opportunity to provide further clarity on his comments about the settlement of the civil claim regarding sexual abuse against George Bell, and the handling of the case. The particular focus on the language of legal tests, he says, “masks the genuine suffering and damage done to an individual in this case.”
He adds: “The decisions were not taken lightly or without consideration of the impact on the reputation of George Bell. But in this case, as in others, the overriding goal was to search out the truth and issues of reputation cannot take priority over that.”
Original statement on Bishop George Bell, October 2015
Points on a complex case - Diocese of Chichester blog on Bishop George Bell, January 2016
The full statement is copied below the fold.
Statement from Bishop of Durham on George Bell
“Recent media comment regarding Bishop George Bell has focused on my recent contributions made in the House of Lords in response to a question on the Church’s actions in this matter.
On reflection I believe my words were not as clear as they could have been and I welcome this opportunity to provide further clarity.
Almost three years ago a civil claim was made, raising allegations of abuse by George Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester.
In response to the claim independent legal and medical reports were commissioned and duly considered. The evidence available was interrogated and evaluated. This led to a decision to settle the claim and to offer a formal apology to the survivor. This decision was taken on the balance of probabilities — the legal test applicable in civil claims.
The church therefore, having evaluated the evidence before them, accepted the veracity of the claims before them. Some commentators have suggested by doing so the Church abrogated its responsibility to George Bell’s reputation.
In all of the above the wider legacy of George Bell was evident in discussions. The decisions were not taken lightly or without consideration of the impact on the reputation of George Bell. But in this case, as in others, the overriding goal was to search out the truth and issues of reputation cannot take priority over that.
I recognise this will be hard for many to accept because of George Bell’s ministry and reputation. But when faced with allegations of abusive behaviour we cannot ignore it or pretend it did not occur. There will be those who will be unsatisfied with the above process, desiring a decision to have been taken on a criminal test of beyond reasonable doubt. This was of course not possible due to George Bell having been long deceased. In any event it is entirely possible for someone who is found not to be guilty in a criminal trial to be found to have acted wrongfully in a civil claim.
The language of legal tests has become the focus of much of the debate. In doing so it masks the genuine suffering and damage done to an individual in this case, compounded by the Church’s own failures to respond adequately to a claim of serious sexual abuse.
The question as whether we were right to publish the name of George Bell has also been raised. By doing so the Church has been accused of destroying the reputation of one of its heroes. Had we not done so we would have been accused of a “cover up” and placing the reputation of one of our great bishops ahead of fairness to survivors.
It would be an understatement to say that the Church of England has not handled safeguarding cases well in past decades. Over the past five years we have begun to make changes to our policies and procedures to address that. One of our guiding principles has been a step change in our commitment to openness. This has been evidenced in the publication of reports and establishment of independent reviews wherever possible over the past five years.
Every case will require consideration on its own context. In this case the commitment to openness, combined with the decision to settle the claim on the evidence ahead of a civil court case, led to a decision to publish.
Since the exchange in the House of Lords the survivor has taken the brave decision to speak out for herself. This will have been very hard to do. Reading her own words only adds to my conviction that the church was right to make a settlement in this matter, and right to make this known as was done.
The Bishop of Chichester has apologised on behalf of the Church to the individual concerned. I would add my own voice to that apology particularly if any of my recent comments have been interpreted as in anyway minimising or undermining her claims.”
Christians unite to campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in Church of England
A group of Christians have come together to form the LGBTI Mission, which will campaign for the full acceptance and affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people within the Church of England.
The group, which is made up of LGBTI people and straight allies, including both clergy and lay people, will seek to remove all barriers to full participation for LGBTI people within the church. It launches during LGBT History Month, which this year is focused on the theme of Religion, Belief and Philosophy.
The priorities of the LGBTI Mission are centred on three key pillars:
- Living: the belief that all LGBTI people, heterosexual friends and family, should be welcomed and affirmed by the Church of England…
- Loving: the belief that God is love, and that life-long, faithful, stable same-sex relationships, and the relationships of those who undergo gender transition, should be celebrated by the Church of England
- Serving: the belief that God calls LGBTI people to serve the world through the Church of England, and their ministries should be recognised and authorised..
Within these pillars, the Group has nine concrete objectives that it will be working to achieve, which will deliver positive outcomes for LGBTI people within the Church of England.
There is some press coverage of this:
Church Times Madeleine Davies Mission targets C of E barriers to gay clergy
Telegraph John Bingham Gender transition services and same-sex weddings call for Church of England
Christian Today Mark Woods New Anglican pressure group will campaign for ‘full participation’ of gay people in Church
Today’s [Brighton] Argus carries this lengthy interview by Joel Adams: Bishop George Bell’s victim: “He said it was our little secret, because God loved me.”
TODAY, for the first time, the victim of George Bell has spoken about the sexual abuse she suffered as a five-year-old child at the hands of the wartime Bishop of Chichester.
Speaking exclusively to The Argus, she described how he repeatedly molested her over a period of four years while telling her that God loved her.
Her testimony brings new clarity to a story which has changed the world’s perception of one of the most revered Anglicans of the 20th century since news of a church payout was announced last October…
Harriet Sherwood also covers the story for The Guardian: Victim describes how she was abused by bishop George Bell.
The original Church statements on this case are here.
The Bishop of Chichester has issued the following statement following the publication of the Brighton Argus article.
Dr Warner said:
“It is testimony to her courage and integrity that the survivor who brought the allegations against George Bell has been prompted to speak out. My hope is that the telling of her story will contribute to her sense of being heard by those within and beyond the Church who are willing to listen with an open mind and respond with compassion and clarity.
“The presence of strident voices in the public arena which have sought to undermine the survivor’s claims has added in this case to the suffering of the survivor and her family. To that extent it is not surprising that she felt it necessary to take the courageous decision to speak out in public and reveal the personal details which the Church could not.
“Words of apology written in a letter can never be enough to express the Church’s shame or our recognition of damage done. However, the apology that I made on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester is genuine and a sincere expression that lessons are being learnt about how we respond to accusations of abuse.
“In some responses to the George Bell case, and to the original statements from the Church nationally and locally in the diocese of Chichester, we have witnessed shocking ignorance of the suffering felt at many different levels by victims of abuse.”
Elections to the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England have now been completed. Here is the full list of elected and appointed members.
Members of the Archbishops’ Council
The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury
The Revd Canon Simon Butler
Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York
The Venerable Cherry Vann
Chair of the House of Laity
Canon Dr Jamie Harrison
Vice-Chair of the House of Laity
Canon Elizabeth Paver
Elected by the House of Bishops
The Rt Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield
The Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely
Elected by the House of Clergy
The Revd Dr Ian Paul
The Revd Sarah Schofield
Elected by the House of Laity
Mrs Lorna Ashworth
Canon Mark Russell
Church Estates Commissioner
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner
Appointed by the Archbishops
Mr John Spence
Mrs Mary Chapman: former CEO, Chartered Institute of Management
Mr Philip Fletcher
The Revd Dr Rosalyn Murphy: Vicar, St Thomas’s, Blackpool
Mrs Rebecca Salter: Medical Researcher
Mr Matthew Frost, former CEO Tearfund
Detailed results of the elections can be downloaded from here.
Tim Wyatt Church Times Reform, sex talks, and Kirk on Synod’s agenda
John Bingham The Telegraph Dress-down Sundays: Church considers making clerical dress optional
[with reference to GS Misc 1133 - House of Bishops Consultation on Vestments]
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Anglican clergy could drop traditional dress in favour of casual clothing
Updated again Sunday morning
Harriet Sherwood has published in the Guardian a report headlined Church of England members back same-sex marriage.
Attitudes to same-sex marriage within the pews of the Church of England are sharply at odds with the stance of its leadership, as for the first time more Anglicans are in favour of gay and lesbian couples marrying than oppose it, according to a poll.
Support for same-sex marriage among church members has significantly increased over the past three years despite the leadership’s insistence that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and its refusal to conduct church weddings for gay couples or allow gay priests to marry…
…A poll conducted in the aftermath of the Canterbury meeting found 45% of people who define themselves as Church of England approve of same-sex marriage, compared with 37% who believe it is wrong. A similar survey three years ago found almost the reverse: 38% of Anglicans in favour and 47% opposed.
The lowest levels of support for same-sex marriage – 24% – were found among Anglican men over the age of 55, a group that dominates the church leadership. Jayne Ozanne, a leading gay activist within the C of E, who commissioned the poll from YouGov, said this finding was “deeply worrying”. “Unfortunately, this is exactly the profile of those in the senior positions of power and influence within the church,” she said.
The poll’s findings, released to the Guardian, are likely to amplify calls within the church for a change in its stance. Gay and lesbian activists say the church’s insistence on a traditional interpretation of scriptures alienates and excludes LGBT Christians, and further marginalises the church in wider society.
The survey found a clear generational difference among Church of England members, with almost three-quarters (72%) of under-35s in favour. There was a majority supporting same-sex marriage in all age groups under 55, but the figure dropped to fewer than one in three older Anglicans. More women than men believe same-sex marriage is right.
Support was largely consistent across different regions of England, contradicting assumptions that people living in London and other major cities are more liberal than others. There was also minimal variation across social class.
Church members in England are still lagging behind the general public, among whom a clear majority – 56% – support same-sex marriage, while 27% say they oppose it…
For more detail about this survey see press release here.
In particular, scroll down to pages 4 and 5 of the PDF for some graphics showing very clearly the shift in opinion over the past three years.
For more numbers:
For full results of 2016 poll amongst all Anglicans living in England go here.
For full results of 2016 poll amongst all respondents living within Great Britain go here.
The 2013 detailed results are on pages 13 and 14 of this rather large file.
There is extensive criticism of this poll at Psephizo The YouGov poll on same-sex marriage
But then again there is discussion of who is a member of the Church of England by Archdruid Eileen Are You Really Church of England?
Further media coverage:
Christian Today Support for same-sex marriage grows among CofE laity
The Scottish Episcopal Church issued this Statement re Columba Declaration and Growth in Communion – Partnership in Mission Report today.
Statement re Columba Declaration and Growth in Communion – Partnership in Mission Report
January 29, 2016
There was some publicity around Christmastime regarding the publication of the joint Columba Declaration by the Church of Scotland and Church of England. The provincial Faith and Order Board met recently and agreed that a short background note should be issued.
After the publication in 2010 of Our Fellowship in the Gospel by the Joint Study Group of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, a product of five year’s work, an invitation to join the Joint Study Group was issued to the Scottish Episcopal Church.
The Scottish Episcopal Church was then involved in those new talks up until 2013. At that point, the other two churches expressed a desire to enter into a deeper ecumenical arrangement. The Faith and Order Board considered the matter carefully but did not believe it was appropriate to enter a tripartite “ecumenical” agreement where one of the parties was the Church of England because the Scottish Episcopal Church is already in full communion with the Church of England. The Board suggested instead that the three-way talks might continue, aimed not at forming an ecumenical agreement but rather at enriching common life and mission across the three churches. Therefore, it suggested alternative ways of proceeding on a tripartite basis.
However, the other two churches were keen to move towards some form of ecumenical agreement. It was at this point that the Scottish Episcopal Church ceased to be a full participant in the talks, albeit we were invited to appoint an observer, and duly did so. The then Convener of Inter-Church Relations Committee took on that role with his last involvement being at the final bilateral meeting in late 2014 where a draft of the report was under discussion.
A joint statement by the Church of Scotland and Church of England setting out the Columba Declaration (which forms only the final part of the report) was unexpectedly issued just before Christmas 2015, in response to a press query, and we became aware of this on Christmas Eve. The final form of the full report, however, was embargoed until the 29th January 2016.
Since the issue of that statement, we have been in direct contact with both the Church of Scotland and Church of England and have obtained a copy of the final report Growth in Communion-Partnership in Mission. We have been able to ask a number of initial questions which have been helpfully answered jointly by the Church of Scotland and the Church of England.
In the report it is stated that a response from the Scottish Episcopal Church would be welcomed. The Faith and Order Board at its meeting on 21st January agreed to remit the Scottish Episcopal Church’s detailed examination of the report to the Inter-Church Relations Committee and to ask that Committee to formulate a response for consideration by the Faith and Order Board in September 2016 (which will be the first meeting of the Board after this year’s Church of England Synod and the Church of Scotland General Assembly). This will include consideration of the concerns which the publication of the Columba Declaration, without the benefit of the full report, had prompted before Christmas. The Board believes that publication of Growth in Communion-Partnership in Mission now provides an opportunity to build on the warm relations which the Scottish Episcopal Church already enjoys with the Church of Scotland and very much looks forward to continuing discussions. The Board similarly looks forward to strengthening our relationship and mutual regard with the Church of England.
The report of the Church of Scotland and Church of England Joint Study Group can be read here.
A press release issued today by the Church of Scotland can be read here.
The Church of England released the Report on the Church of England-Church of Scotland Joint Study Group (GS 2016) today; the Columba Declaration comprises Chapter IV of the report.
The report will be debated at the Church of England’s General Synod on Tuesday 16 February; here is the relevant section of the agenda.
REPORT OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND–CHURCH OF SCOTLAND JOINT STUDY GROUP (GS 2016)
10 Presentation under SO 107 by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Revd Dr Angus Morrison.
The Bishop of Chester (Co-Chair of the Joint Study Group) to move:
11 ‘That this Synod,
(a) welcome the report of the Joint Study Group of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland (annexed to GS 2016) as a significant development in the relationship between the two churches;
(b) approve the Columba Declaration, consisting of mutual Acknowledgements and Commitments, as set out in paragraph 38 of the report; and
(c) request the Council for Christian Unity to oversee the implementation of the Commitments contained in the Columba Declaration and set up the Contact Group proposed by it.’
The Report of the Synod’s Business Committee provides this comment.
Presentation from the Moderator of the Church of Scotland followed by a Debate on the Report of the Church of England – Church of Scotland Joint Study Group
24. The Church of England – Church of Scotland Joint Study Group was set up following the Synod debate on a previous report, Our Fellowship in the Gospel (GS 1792), in July 2010. The document it has produced has four parts, the first setting out important background, the second agreement in faith between the two churches, the third areas where they can grow in partnership for mission and the fourth the ‘Columba Declaration’ of shared Acknowledgements and Commitments. The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd Dr Angus Morrison, will give a presentation outlining the significance of the proposed agreement between the churches before the Bishop of Chester, as Co-Chair of the Joint Study Group, introduces the debate.
The Church of Scotland has also issued a press release today: Landmark report on historic Ecumenical partnership plans published.
The Church of England’s usual pre-synod press release has been issued today, and is copied below.
The remainder of the papers have also been published online, and I have updated my list here.
Agenda for February 2016 General Synod
29 January 2016
The General Synod of the Church of England meets in London in February for a three day meeting from 2.30 pm on Monday 15 February until 5.00 pm on Wednesday 17 February. This will be the first full-length meeting of the newly-elected General Synod since its inauguration in November 2015.
The agenda for the meeting can be found here. The majority of the papers have been released today. A major theme of this group of sessions will be taking forward the next stages of the Archbishops’ Renewal and Reform initiative. On Wednesday 17 February the various Task Group leads will be giving an overview to Synod on their plans for the coming year. Specific items related to Renewal and Reform feature on the February agenda.
One key aspect of Renewal and Reform is the introduction of legislative changes to make it easier for parishes and dioceses to organise themselves to facilitate mission and growth. This is known as the Simplification work stream. On Monday 15 February legislation will come before Synod to simplify the Church’s rulebook to reduce regulatory burdens in the form of the Draft Mission and Pastoral etc. (Amendment) Measure (GS2014). On Tuesday 16 February, Synod will be asked to endorse plans to introduce an ‘Enabling Measure’ to make it easier to update Church legislation in the future as required on an on-going basis (GS 2018).
On Wednesday 17 February there will be a debate on a motion on the Resourcing Ministerial Education work stream, another element of Renewal and reform. The motion and the accompanying paper sets out plans for new funding arrangements to boost the number of candidates for ministry and a strategy for the continuing enhancement of their quality and deployability (GS 2020). Immediately after this item, there will be a Take Note debate on a report from the Task Group on Resourcing the Future which sets out plans to reorganise the way that the Church distributes money centrally to focus it on driving growth and helping mission in the poorest communities (GS 2021). Linked to these initiatives, there will be a report from the Evangelism Task Group with examples of best practice with regards to Church growth and evangelism (GS 2015).
On Monday 15 February the Archbishop of Canterbury will be giving a Presidential Address which will include a Statement on the outcome of the recent Primates meeting in Canterbury. There will also be an update by the Archbishop’s Director for Reconciliation on the progress in the dioceses of the Shared Conversations on Spirituality, Scripture and Mission. Synod members will have an opportunity to ask questions on the presentation.
On Tuesday 16 February, the Rt Revd Dr Angus Morrison, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will give a presentation on the Report of the Church of England - Church of Scotland Joint Study Group (GS 2016). This will be followed by a debate on the Report introduced by the Bishop of Chester.
Synod will be debating three Diocesan Synod Motions, two of which are closely related. The first two DSMs from Worcester Diocesan Synod relate to Parochial fees and related costs for weddings and funerals (GS 2017A and 2017B). This will be taken together on Tuesday 16 February. On Wednesday 17 February there will be a Diocesan Synod Motion arising from Leeds Diocesan Synod on the ‘Impact of Sanctions on Benefit Claimants’ (GS 2019A and GS2019B). A further Diocesan Synod Motion from Leeds Diocesan Synod on ‘Blood and Organ Donation’ (GS 2022A and GS2022B) is listed as contingency business.
The full agenda can be viewed online here.
The second circulation papers have now been added below.
Papers in the first circulation for next month’s meeting of General Synod on 15-17 February are now online here in agenda order. Here is a list in numerical order, with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration.
More papers are scheduled for release on 29 January. There appear to be rather more of these than usual. I have included below all those mentioned in the agenda, and I will add links to them in due course.
GS 1953D - Amending Canon No.34 [Monday]
GS 2011 - Agenda
GS 2012 - Appointment of the Chair of the Dioceses Commission [Monday]
GS 2013 - Report by the Business Committee [Monday]
GS 2015 - Report from the Evangelism Task Group [Tuesday]
GS 2016 - Report of the Church of England-Church of Scotland Joint Study Group [Tuesday]
GS 2018 - Proposed Enabling Measure [Tuesday]
GS 2020 - Renewal and Reform: Resourcing Ministerial Education [Wednesday]
GS 2021 - Renewal and Reform: Resourcing the Future [Wednesday]
GS Misc 1129 - Instructions regarding counted votes conducted by electronic means
GS Misc 1130 - The Dioceses Commission Annual Report 2015
GS Misc 1131 - House of Bishops Summary of Decisions
GS Misc 1132 - Report on the Churches Together in England 2015 Forum
GS Misc 1133 - House of Bishops Consultation on Vestments
GS Misc 1134 - Update on Archbishop’s Council activities
GS Misc 1135 - Council for Christian Unity Annual Report
GS Misc 1136 - Central Stipends Authority Annual Report
Group work membership
Group work questions [Tuesday morning]
Press release today from the Church of England
Publication of pilot audits on safeguarding arrangements
14 January 2016
The outcomes of four pilot independent audits into safeguarding arrangements in the Church of England have been published today.
The dioceses of Blackburn, Durham, Portsmouth and Salisbury all volunteered to be part of the House of Bishops commissioned project to take a look at current safeguarding practice. The audits will now be rolled out across all other Church of England dioceses during 2016/17.
The independent audits were carried out by The Social Care Institute for Excellence, SCIE, a charity and leading improvement support agency specialising in safeguarding. SCIE has pioneered a particular collaborative approach to conducting case reviews and audits in child and adult safeguarding called Learning Together focusing on the reasons why things go well, the cause of any problems and solutions.
The audit process in each diocese involved examination of safeguarding leadership arrangements, local policies and practice guidance, the quality of case work, recruitment and training. The auditors also looked at the progress being made in reaching nationally agreed standards informed by central House of Bishops approved policies.
The National Safeguarding Team has welcomed the pilot overview report and considerations for its future work.
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding said: “These audits are part of our commitment to making the Church a safer place for all, ensuring that all dioceses have the best possible practice in place. I commend the four dioceses, including my own, which came forward to be pilots as it is not easy to be the first under the spotlight. We all have lessons to learn. The audits show how each diocese can improve while also commending good practice that is already in place.
“Our policies and practice must start from the place of seeking the very best for all. This includes them being survivor-informed. SCIE’s experience in safeguarding will help us to do that. We have published these pilot audits as we are committed to being open about where we have got it wrong and where we need to improve. The pilot process will also inform further improvements in the auditing process itself for the next round. The audits, both individually, and as a whole, will form an important part of our work as the National Inquiry gets underway.
We must always remember that safeguarding exists to enable the Church to ensure that the vast range of work with children, young people, the elderly, disabled and all people are the very best that they can be for everyone who wants to be involved.”
Tony Hunter, SCIE chief executive said: “SCIE commends the Church of England for taking such a proactive approach to auditing their safeguarding policies and practice. It’s so important that influential organisations - such as the Church - recognise their role in safeguarding children and adults. SCIE auditors were impressed by the openness of staff in the four pilot areas, and their willingness to share and learn. We look forward to continuing to work with the Church of England as we support rollout of their audit process across all dioceses.”
Anyone who is affected by a safeguarding issue, particularly in light of today’s reports, should feel free to come forward in confidence and they will be listened to. Details of how to report concerns and find support can be found here.
Links and contact details are below the fold.
Church of England national office - 020 7898 1326 / out of hours 07774 800212
Blackburn Diocese - Ronnie Semley email 01254 503416
Durham Diocese - Keith Blundy email 07900 583131
Portsmouth Diocese - Neil Pugmire email 02392 899673
Salisbury Diocese - Gerry Lynch email 01722 438652 / mobileb 07799 900610.
SCIE - Iris Steen email
Updated Tuesday evening
The Church of England has published its Statistics for Mission 2014 today with an accompanying press release, copied below. The statistics mainly cover numbers attending, but there are also figures on, for example, numbers joining and leaving (with reasons), electoral numbers, baptisms, marriages, and funerals.
The statistics can be downloaded from here as a 58 page pdf file.
Church Publishes 2014 Attendance Statistics
12 January 2016
New Church of England statistics for 2014 published today show that just under one million people attend services each week. The survey, carried out over four weeks in October 2014, found 980,000 people attending church each week, with 830,000 adults and 150,000 children.
The statistics also show that 2.4 million attended a Church of England Church at Christmas in 2014 and 1.3 million people attended a service at Easter. Additionally, 2.2 million people attended special Advent services for the congregation and local community whilst 2.6 million attended special Advent services for civic organisations and schools.
The statistics also highlight the other services carried out by the Church of England on a regular basis. In 2014 the Church carried out just under 1,000 weddings, 2,000 baptisms, and almost 3,000 funerals every week of the year. Some 12% of births during 2014 were marked by a Church of England infant baptism or thanksgiving service whilst 31% of deaths were marked by a Church of England funeral.
As a whole the figures represent a continuing trend which has shown a 12% decrease in attendance over the past decade with an average decline of just over 1% a year.
Speaking on the publication of the statistics, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt. Revd. Graham James, said:
“The 2014 figures are not in any way a surprise. Whilst the recent trend of the past decade continues, it has been anticipated and is being acted on radically.
“As part of a prayerful and considered response to these trends the Church is embarking upon the biggest renewal and reform process in over 150 years focusing our resources on prayer, evangelism, discipleship, vocations, leadership & training.
“We do not expect that trend to change imminently or immediately over the next few years due to demographics. We lose approximately 1% of our churchgoers to death each year. Given the age profile of the CofE, the next few years will continue to have downward pressure as people die or become housebound and unable to attend church.
“As a Church we are unashamedly committed to following the teachings of Jesus Christ in our worship of God, discipleship and service to the poor and the marginalised. Our confidence, resilience and service is rooted in Jesus.
“The story is not one of inevitable decline. During 2013-14 some dioceses continued to increase their attendance. In the past 12 months alone there are examples of growth and new churches across the country. In my own diocese the church of St. Thomas Norwich has grown from 50 to 450 people in the past two years. In Bournemouth, St Swithin’s - a church which started in 2014 - now sees 500 people attending every week whilst in Birmingham St Luke’s Gas Street in is already attracting hundreds of young people since its beginning in 2015. There are many others like these and each is a sign of hope.
“Attendance statistics do not tell the whole story. There are many things that churches do that are not included in these data from running homelessness services and hosting foodbanks, to educating a million children a day in our schools to providing welcome and accompaniment to the least, the last and the lost in our society.”
Mark Hart looks at the figures for the diocese of London: Capital Growth or Northern Powerhouse?.
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England attendance plunges to record low
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England weekly attendance falls below 1m for first time
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Church of England weekly attendance falls below one million for first time
Updated Monday morning
There is a comprehensive set of links to media coverage of the letter over here.
Earlier items in previous article [scroll down]
BBC Sunday radio programme available here.
‘Last roll of the dice’ for the Anglican communion – item on Good Disagreement book from 18:25, item on Letter from 29:16
Also a short video report by Caroline Wyatt is here: Church ‘should repent’ over treatment of gay Anglicans
And a BBC World Service extended news report [starts about 5 minutes in] including comments from Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines, retired Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, and Jayne Ozanne
Guardian Harriet Sherwood Senior Anglicans call for repentance over sexual discrimination
Telegraph Patrick Foster Church must repent for ‘treating gays like second-class citizens’
Michael Sadgrove Gay Anglicans and the Primates’ Meeting: the open letter
Brother Ivo Why I signed the Letter to the Archbishops
An open letter has been sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, signed by 105 Church of England members including many senior figures.
The website also provides an opportunity for anybody who wishes to do so to add their signature to the letter.
The full text of the letter is as follows.
The Rt Hon and Most Revd Justin Welby
The Rt Hon and Most Revd Dr John Sentamu
January 7th 2016
We the undersigned ask you, our Archbishops, to take an unequivocal message to your meeting of fellow Primates next week that the time has now come for:
- Acknowledgement that we, the Church, have failed in our duty of care to LGBTI members of the Body of Christ around the world. We have not loved them as we should, and have treated them as a problem to be solved rather than as brothers and sisters in Christ to be embraced and celebrated. We have made them feel second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God, often abandoned and alone.
- Repentance for accepting and promoting discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, and for the pain and rejection that this has caused. We, the Church, need to apologise for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs about LGBTI people, such as the slanderous view that homosexuals have a predisposition to prey on the young.
We understand that the Primates come from a variety of contexts with differing ways of interpreting the Scriptures, but we urge you to be prophetic in your action and Christ-like in your love towards our LGBTI sisters and brothers who have been ignored and even vilified for too long.
Please be assured of our prayers for you at this time, and that the world will know by our words and actions that everyone who is baptised into the faith is of equal value in our Lord Jesus Christ.
PRESS RELEASE – January 10th 2016
SENIOR CHURCH FIGURES URGE CHURCH REPENTANCE FOR ‘SECOND CLASS CITIZENS’ TREATMENT ON SEXUALITY
Over 100 Senior Anglicans, including the Dean of St Paul’s, have signed an open letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York calling on the Church of England to repent of its ‘second class citizen’ treatment of Christians over issues of sexuality.
The letter, signed by a range of senior church figures including Cathedral Deans, retired bishops and well-known lay figures (including leading parliamentary figures and university academics), has been sent to the Archbishops ahead of a pivotal meeting of worldwide Anglican Leaders which begins in Canterbury on Monday.
In the letter, the 105 signatories call on the Church to acknowledge its failure to care for LGBTI members of the Body of Christ around the world, and to repent of its acceptance and promotion of discrimination - especially its failure to challenge harmful beliefs about sexuality. It goes on to ask the Primates to act in Christ-like love ‘towards those who have been ignored and vilified for too long’.
The signatories include eight retired bishops and a serving bishop, the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham. Another prominent signatory is the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd David Ison, who says that, in all the debate, the personal cost has often been forgotten:
‘I believe that it’s imperative for us to remember that whilst we seek to engage honestly, lovingly and respectfully with our differences of context and scriptural interpretation, our discussions are actually about the lives of sisters and brothers who have often been rejected and victimised on the grounds of their sexuality. The Church should be the first place that they feel they can come to, to find love and acceptance rather than judgement.’
The signatories include both clergy and lay people. Prominent gay Christian, Vicky Beeching, who came out in 2014 and faced significant discrimination from Christians across the world, urges the Church to think of its younger members:
‘Social and religious attitudes are shifting among young people. Many cannot morally align themselves with a Church that perpetuates LGBT discrimination. If we want to ensure the future life of our Church this issue needs urgent attention and great pastoral sensitivity. To see the Church repent of damaging attitudes would help many young people feel a reconnection with it.’
The letter, which goes on to assure the Archbishops of prayers for the Canterbury meeting, has been coordinated by Jayne Ozanne, a member of General Synod, who is keen to stress that support has come from a broad range of individuals across the church.
‘The signatories come from across the full breadth of the Anglican traditions, and from right across the country. From the Dean of Truro to the Dean of Carlisle, and from the MP for Exeter to the Master of Trinity Hall at Cambridge University and the Dean of Christ Church at Oxford University. It is so encouraging to see so many senior Anglicans now standing alongside their LGBTI brothers and sisters, recognising their woeful treatment by the Church to date.’
She added that the church had no excuse for its failure to care:
‘In 1998 the worldwide Anglican Church committed itself to minister pastorally and sensitively to all, irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals. Despite this commitment the plight of many LGBTI Christians around the world has got worse. The consequence is that we are now increasingly perceived as irredeemably “anti-gay” by an increasing number of people who simply don’t understand why the church continues to discriminate, nor why it is allowed to do so. Until we repent of our treatment of our LGBTI brothers and sisters, attempts by those within the worldwide Church to conduct meaningful “conversations” will risk appearing hollow and insincere’.
We reported on the proposed agreement between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England set out in the Columba Declaration here and on the response of the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church here.
This week’s Church Times carries an article by Tim Wyatt on the agreement and the controversy it has provoked: Scottish Episcopalians query Columba Declaration. To this is attached an article by the Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, who was the Church of England co-chair of the study group that produced the declaration. In it he sets out the background to the study group’s report and the declaration.
Dr Forster’s article is also available on the Church of England’s blog: Growth in communion, partnership in mission.
Members of the new General Synod of the Church of England have been electing chairs of houses and members of various committees. There is a list of the results so far here, including these.
Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury
The Revd Canon Simon Butler (Southwark)
Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York
The Ven Cherry Vann, Archdeacon of Rochdale (Manchester)
Chair of the House of Laity
Canon Dr Jamie Harrison (Durham)
Vice-Chair of the House of Laity
Canon Elizabeth Paver (Sheffield)
There are more results to come.
The Crown Prosecution Service has released a number of letters written years ago in support of Bishop Peter Ball. This is because of a Freedom of Information request by the Telegraph newspaper.
The released documents are here.
The Telegraph news report is here: Establishment figures who helped disgraced bishop avoid prosecution for sex abuse revealed
Another news report by the BBC is here: Letters of support for sex offender ex-bishop Peter Ball released
And the Guardian has this: Archbishop and MPs wrote in support of bishop later convicted of sexual offences
There is a press release from the Church of England which is available here: Statement on Peter Ball letters released under FOI
In response to the reported agreement between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, has written two articles, which need to be read together:
…But the aspect of the Columba Declaration which will cause most concern to the Scottish Episcopal Church is the potential involvement of the Church of England in the ecclesiastical life of Scotland. The Church of England is not a Scottish Church nor does it have any jurisdiction in Scotland. The Anglican way is to recognise the territorial integrity of each province – they are autonomous but inter-dependent, The important question is whether, within that understanding of the relationship between provinces of the Anglican Communion, it is proper for the Church of England to enter into this agreement about ministry and ecclesiastical order in Scotland.. That is a matter which will have to be explored in future dialogue between the Scottish Episcopal Church and both the Church of Scotland and the Church of England.
…The question here is not whether the development of ecumenical relationships is desirable – for of course it is. The question is about whether that development can take place respectfully and in good order. The Scottish Episcopal Church now seems to be faced with the possibility that Church of England clergy will minister in Scotland under the authorisation of the Church of Scotland and without reference to the Scottish Episcopal Church. Yet the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church are partner members of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion in Scotland is expressed in the life of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
The Church of Scotland and the Church of England seem to have decided that their commonality as National Churches justifies them in setting aside other ecumenical relationships and etiquette. What would really help this situation – mitigating the damage already done to long-established relationships and avoiding further damage – would be for the two churches to decide to delay publication of the full document to allow time for consultation.
I appeal to them to do so…
Harriet Sherwood has another major article today. In The Guardian Saturday interview she writes about Married gay priest Jeremy Davies: ‘The bishops say we’re not modelling teachings of the church. Yes we are’.
This is a long article, but do read all of it.
This is the lead story on the front page of tomorrow’s The Guardian.
Harriet Sherwood C of E to fast-track minority ethnic clergy into senior roles
The Church of England is to fast-track black and ethnic minority clergy into senior positions amid accusations of institutional racism.
A “talent pool” of specifically black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) potential leaders will be identified in 2016 for training and mentoring with the aim of increasing representation among bishops, deans and archdeacons…
Updated Thursday evening to add statement from the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Church of Scotland and the Church of England reach an historic agreement
24 December 2015
The Church of Scotland and the Church of England have reached an historic agreement that recognises their longstanding ecumenical partnership and lays the groundwork for future joint projects.
The agreement called The Columba Declaration is set out in a 15-page report by the Joint Study Group “Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission”.
Rev Dr John McPake, co-chair of the study group and one of the authors of the report, said
“The Columba Declaration recognises the strong partnership that already exists and will help encourage and support new initiatives.
“We believe that approval of the Columba Declaration by our two churches will represent a significant step in the long history of their relationship, one that affirms the place we have come to and opens up new possibilities for the future.”
Arranged into four chapters, the report sets out the history of partnership between the two churches and the shared beliefs that allow for close cooperation between the churches, before exploring how the partnership could grow.
This year the churches established the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union as a response to concerns that low-income families needed access to low -cost banking and loans. And that’s just one of the areas where the two churches already are collaborating.
The Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council and the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs talk regularly about everything from poverty to refugees. As well as recognising one another’s ministers, the churches exchange views on ministry and come together for example on initiatives such as Fresh Expressions. The Church of Scotland also sends a representative to the General Synod while the Church of England sends a representative to the General Assembly.
In a joint statement prefacing the report, joint study group co-chairs Rev Dr John McPake and Rt Rev Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester write:
“Our hope is that joint affirmation by our two churches of the Columba Declaration would:
Affirm and strengthen our relationship at a time when it is likely to be particularly critical in the life of the United Kingdom;
Provide an effective framework for coordinating present partnership activities and for fostering new initiatives;
Enable us to speak and act together more effectively in the face of the missionary challenges of our generation.”
The report emphasises that joint ecumenical work should also include other churches and especially the Episcopal Church of Scotland [sic] and the United Reformed Church. At the same time it acknowledges the “distinctive partnership in the gospel to which our two Churches are called within the United Kingdom, rooted in our shared history and in our parallel and overlapping roles as the churches of our respective nations.”
The report will now go to the Church of England’s Synod in February and by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in May for approval. A debate is scheduled at the Synod on Feb 16, 2016.
Here’s the full text from the report of the Columba Declaration
THE COLUMBA DECLARATION
38. In the light of our common mission and context (chapter 1), our agreement in faith (chapter 2) and our significant opportunities for growing in partnership in mission (chapter 3), we recommend that our churches make the following Declaration.
We, the Church of Scotland and the Church of England, make the following acknowledgements and commitments, which are interrelated.
(i) We acknowledge one another’s churches as churches belonging to the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and truly participating in the apostolic ministry and mission of the whole people of God.
(ii) We acknowledge that in both our churches the word of God is truly preached, and the sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Communion are rightly administered.
(iii) We acknowledge that both our churches share in the common confession of the apostolic faith.
(iv) We acknowledge that one another’s ordained ministries of word and sacraments are given by God as instruments of grace and we look forward to a time when growth in communion can be expressed in fuller unity that makes possible the interchangeability of ministers.
(v) We acknowledge that personal, collegial and communal oversight (episkope) is embodied and exercised in our churches in a variety of forms, as a visible sign expressing and serving the Church’s unity and continuity in apostolic life, mission and ministry.
We commit ourselves to grow together in communion and to strengthen our partnership in mission. Through this commitment, we hope to enrich our continuing relationships with other churches in the United Kingdom and around the world. We will welcome opportunities to draw other churches into the activities and initiatives that we share.
As part of that commitment, we will continue to:
(i) pray for and with one another;
(ii) welcome one another’s members to each other’s worship as guests and receive one another’s members into the congregational life of each other’s churches where that is their desire;
(iii) explore opportunities for congregational partnership, formal as well as informal, in those cases where there are churches in close geographical proximity;
(iv) enable ordained ministers from one of our churches to exercise ministry in the other church, in accordance with the discipline of each church;
(vi) identify theological issues that arise from growth towards fuller communion and be prepared to allocate resources to addressing them;
(vii) work together on social, political and ethical issues that arise from our participation in public life and be prepared to allocate resources to joint initiatives for addressing them.
In order to assist our churches in living out the acknowledgements and commitments of the Columba Declaration, we will appoint Co-Chairs and members of a Church of Scotland - Church of England Contact Group, whose purpose will be to coordinate the different activities that make up our rich relationship and develop new initiatives where these may be needed. The Contact Group will meet at least annually and will report annually to the Council for Christian Unity in the Church of England and the Committee on Ecumenical Relations in the Church of Scotland.
[This text is copied from the Church of England website (which has no hyperlinks) with links taken from the Church of Scotland website. - editor]
Some press reports
John Bingham Telegraph Church of England and Church of Scotland forge pact
The Scottish Episcopal Church issued this statement today:
Response to Columba Declaration
December 24, 2015
A spokesperson for the Scottish Episcopal Church says “We have noted the announcement today about the Columba Declaration agreed between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England.
“We welcome the opportunity for the further ecumenical discussion referred to in today’s press statement and look forward to being able to consider the full text of the report when we receive this. We fully understand the desire of the Church of Scotland and the Church of England as national churches to discuss and explore matters of common concern. However certain aspects of the report which appear to go beyond the relationship of the two churches as national institutions cause us concern. The Scottish Episcopal Church, as a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, represents Anglicanism in Scotland, and we will therefore look forward to exploring the suggestions within the report more fully in due course.”
Following the publication last week of his essay – Sex, Sense and Non-Sense for Anglicans – the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, and a Vice President of Modern Church, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme…
For more details of this interview, and another one on BBC Radio Wiltshire, dealing mainly with the case of Canon Jeremy Davies, see Modern Church vice president responds to unchallenged homophobia on Radio 4 Sunday programme.
Following the Radio 4 broadcast, there were numerous complaints to the BBC about what one of the participants had said, and the failure of the interviewer to challenge him on it. Those who complained have all received the following response from the BBC:
Many thanks for getting in touch with us about an item on BBC Radio 4’s “Sunday” programme on 20 December. Recognising your unhappiness, we have reviewed the programme and have discussed listener feedback personally with the senior editorial team responsible at Radio 4.
To explain, the discussion in question was broadcast in response to an essay written by the Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, on the debate within the Anglican Communion about the treatment of LGBT Christians.
“Sunday” is a live programme and, regrettably, this discussion ran out of time before it was possible to clarify some of the views expressed. As a result, some listeners may have gained the impression that Canon Dr Chris Sugden equated homosexual behaviour with child grooming.
We have spoken with Dr Sugden subsequently, and he has assured us that this is not the case and that he was actually conveying what he believes to be one African perspective on the churches’ and the states’ attitudes to homosexual behaviour, based on his conversations with senior religious leaders from different African countries.
We apologise for any offence caused by a lack of clarity on this point during the live broadcast. As was explained in the programme, “Sunday” will be returning to the issue when the leaders of the Anglican Communion meet in January, and exploring it in more detail.
Thanks again for getting in touch and allowing us to clarify.
Another article on Anglican Mainstream from Chris Sugden, published on the same day as the broadcast, also deals with this matter: Background to the Uganda Bill on aggravated homosexuality
It is becoming clear that in the lead up to the Anglican Primates’ gathering, further pressure will be brought to bear on African churches and nations on the subject of their laws on sexuality. Both President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have made direct threats from their positions of enormous power to African states that funds for their education and health budgets will be removed if the laws are not changed. To this call is now being added calls from the Episcopal Church, the Church of Canada, the Dean of Christ Church and lobby groups.
At this Christmas season, where would Jesus be found – in the courts of the rich and powerful intimidating and bullying the poor for whom their families and children are their security in countries with no welfare systems, or in the slums of Kabare in Kenya and Kampala in Uganda? Pope Francis has made clear where he stands.
There are many myths and misunderstandings on this topic to which this article addresses itself…
The outline timetable for the February General Synod of the Church of England has been published today, and is copied below. The full agenda and other papers will be published on Friday 22 January 2016.
GENERAL SYNOD: FEBRUARY 2016 GROUP OF SESSIONS
Monday 15 February
2.30 pm – 7.15 pm
2.30 pm Opening Worship
Presentation of officers (Prolocutors of the Convocations of Canterbury and York, Chair and Vice-Chair of the House of Laity)
Report by the Business Committee
Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Enactment of Amending Canon No 34
Mission and Pastoral etc (Amendment) Measure – First Consideration
Initial presentation on the Shared Conversations followed by Q&A
*5.45 pm Questions
7.00 pm Evening worship
Tuesday 16 February
9.15 am – 1.00 pm
9.15 am Worship in small groups followed by Group Work on Evangelism
11.30 am Presentation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Chair of the Evangelism Task Group, followed by a ‘take note’ debate on a Report from the Evangelism Task Group
2.30 pm – 7.15 pm
2.30 pm Presentation from the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Debate on the Report of the Church of England – Church of Scotland Joint Study Group
Diocesan Synod Motion: Parochial Fees
*5.30 pm Motion on the proposed Enabling Measure
7.00 pm Evening worship
Wednesday 17 February
9.15 am – 1.00 pm
9.15 am Holy Communion
10.45 am Diocesan Synod Motion: Impact of Sanctions on Benefit Claimants
Update on Renewal and Reform – (Presentation by Task Group Leads followed by Q&A)
2.30 pm – 5.00 pm
2.30 pm Renewal and Reform:
Resourcing Ministerial Education: debate on a motion from the Archbishops’ Council
Renewal and Reform:
Resourcing the Future: ‘take note’ debate on a Report from the Archbishops’ Council
5.00 pm Farewells
*5.15 pm Prorogation
Diocesan Synod Motion: Blood and Organ Donation
In June I reported here on a consultation on the operation of the Resolution of Disputes Procedure that is part of the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishop and Priests. I also linked here to David Pocklington’s review of the consultation paper for Law & Religion UK.
This week the Church of England has published these two documents on the Operation of the procedure.
David Pocklington has written about both for Law & Religion UK here: CofE: Resolution of Disputes Procedure.
Press release from Number 10
Dean of Durham: Andrew Tremlett
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 17 December 2015
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Andrew Tremlett to be appointed Dean of Durham.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Andrew Tremlett, MA, MPhil, PGCCE, Canon of Westminster, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Durham, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, MA, on 31 December 2015.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Canon Andrew Tremlett (aged 51) was Curate at Torquay, St Matthias, St Mark and Holy Trinity in the diocese of Exeter, from 1989 to 1992. From 1992 to 1994 he was Chaplain to the Mission to Seafarers, and Assistant Chaplain in Rotterdam, in the diocese of Europe, and from 1994 to 1995 he was Chaplain. From 1995 to 1998 he was Team Vicar at Fareham Holy Trinity with St Columba in Portsmouth diocese. From 1998 to 2003 he was Chaplain to the Bishop of Portsmouth, and also a Parliamentary Research Assistant and Secretary to the Church of England’s Doctrine Commission. From 2003 to 2008 he was Vicar of Goring-by-Sea in Chichester diocese. From 2008 to 2010 he was Canon Residentiary and Keeper of the Fabric at Bristol Cathedral; from June 2009 to May 2010 he was Acting Dean of the Cathedral.
Since 2010 he has been Canon Residentiary and Rector of St Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey. He has been responsible for the Abbey’s relationships with Parliament, Whitehall and other faith communities, and in 2012 established the Westminster Abbey Institute which works with Public Service Institutions around Parliament Square to support ethics in public life. In June 2014 he became Archdeacon of Westminster and Sub-Dean of the Abbey. Since 2013 he has been Chairman of the Field Lane Foundation, a charitable housing association working particularly with adults with complex needs, and in 2015 became a Trustee of the Mission to Seafarers.
Andrew Tremlett is married to Ali, a teacher and trained painter and decorator. They have a daughter and 2 sons. Andrew Tremlett enjoys languages and has been studying Arabic at SOAS as well as on sabbatical in Jerusalem in 2014. He is a keen photographer and long-distant runner.
Durham diocesan website: Andrew Tremlett named as next Dean of Durham
There have been a lot of people writing letters to the Bishop of Winchester to complain about his refusal to issue a Permission to Officiate to the retired priest, Jeremy Davies.
Three of the most thoughtful articles about this matter are these:
Rachel Mann An Open Christmas Letter to Bishop Tim Dakin. Do read it all the way through. Here’s the last bit:
I pray to God that your decision was not an easy one. (Although, if it was, I hope you have pause to ask ‘Why?’ in the weeks to come. Surely any decision that can have costly emotional and personal fallout for others should not be taken from the safety of ‘due process’ and ‘best legal advice’.) I also think that these might be quite difficult weeks ahead for you. Even with the most robust sense of self, negative press is wearing.
I know it’s tempting in such circumstances to attempt to rework this emotional distress into a kind of positive; that is, into an opportunity to participate in Christ’s woundedness and sufferings. To ‘play’ a part that saves us from moral culpability or villainy. You may well do this and I’m hardly in a position to argue you shouldn’t do that. We all work out our salvation in fear and trembling.
But – I hope you can forgive my boldness – may I commend another aspect to consider? In those distressing moments I think you will have (my constructed version of you, my hopeful version of you, thinks you will have them) I ask you to pause and pray. To think of Jeremy and Simon. To not lose sight of their human being and their particularity and their distress. And though (I admit my limitation here) I don’t think your distress is exactly commensurate (you being a bishop with all the privilege that goes with that etc.) I hope there may be a conversion to ‘the other’ in the mysteries of prayer and distress. The theatre of Tragedy, after all, reminds us that there is some knowledge that only comes through pain and wounds. And the Christian story reminds us that tragedy is very close to comedy; to the possibility of a world in which wounds are bound and the falsely imprisoned set free.
Forgive me. I get carried away. Especially at Christmas. Christmas is so very cheesy, but it can still startle me in the most extraordinary way. The Christ-child always reminds me that God comes among us not with clever arguments or theological constructions, but as that most fragile and defenceless thing, a baby. His only power is to elicit love. The encounter we make with God in the Christ-child is beyond the obvious delights of reason. It is in our shared humanity and holy simplicity. A thousand theological and political arguments come crashing down in Bethlehem on that Holy Night.
So may you have a blessed Christmas, Tim. But also, - along with Canon Jeremy, his husband Simon, me, and everyone who is simply trying to get on with being faithful and hopeful – a disrupting one. Where the Saviour without Safety pulls down the walls between us and we can never be the same again.
Beth Routledge The Appalling Silence of the Good. Here are some extracts (but again do read the whole thing from the beginning):
…The silence from the hierarchy of the Church of England has been deafening.
Senior figures of the Church have either been living under a rock since Saturday, or else they are all keeping their heads down and hoping that if they stay quiet then this will all go away…
…I still struggle to find any love or common sense in the response of a Church that chooses to punish someone for marrying the person they love. I’ve witnessed it from inside the process — on this matter, the Scottish Episcopal Church cannot claim any moral high ground — as well as watching from the outside when something like this happens in England. I find anger and hurt and pain. I rarely find any sense of pastoral response or responsibility. I cannot believe I am seeing what God wants.
And three days after this story broke, still that deafening sound of nothing from everyone associated with the Church of England.
That is a strategy that isn’t acceptable and never worked anyway, and speaking for myself I find that I’m no longer able to pretend to respect individuals who are supportive of me just so long as I never expect them to say it out loud or in public or when it might matter.
Because here’s the thing:
Either people in the Church think that LGBT people are made in the image and likeness and love of God, and recognise that LGBT people are in and of the Church, and want the Church to value and cherish the hopes and dreams of its LGBT clergy, or they don’t.
The more we hear of stories like this one and the more senior figures in the Church of England avoid talking about them, the louder I hear their answer.
…At some point, the Church of England is bound to change its legal position on same -sex marriage too. But changing some people’s hearts and minds on the issue will take much longer.
If you don’t like what’s happened to Jeremy Davies and others in similar positions, then you have some choices. Write to the bishops and let them know what you think. Stand for deanery, diocesan or General Synod - although you’ll have to wait nearly five years for the next elections.
Join a group like Changing Attitude, Inclusive Church, LGCM or Accepting Evangelicals and support the work they’re doing, both within and outside the synodical structures of the Church of England.
One of the most valuable characteristics of Anglicanism is its commitment to being a broad church, where people of differing views - even sharply differing views - can continue to worship, discuss and debate together.
General Synod’s wheels may turn slowly, but at least we have somewhere that lay, clerical and episcopal voices can be heard and where each member’s vote holds equal weight.
So whatever else you do, don’t just sit around getting angry or depressed.
Press release from Number 10
Suffragan Bishop of Dunwich: Michael Robert Harrison
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 16 December 2015
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Michael Robert Harrison to the Suffragan See of Dunwich in the diocese of St Edmundsbury.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Michael Robert Harrison, MA, PhD, Director of Ministry and Mission, in the diocese of Leicester, to the Suffragan See of Dunwich in the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in succession to the Right Reverend Clive Young, BA, on his resignation on 31 May 2013.
Notes for editors
The Reverend Canon Mike Harrison (age 52) is at present Director of Mission and Ministry in the Leicester diocese and also Honorary Canon of Leicester Cathedral. His undergraduate studies were in mathematics and statistics at Selwyn College, Cambridge. Following on from this Mike worked as both a management consultant and a social worker in London. He trained for the ministry at Oxford. After ordination Mike served as Assistant Curate at St Anne and All Saints, South Lambeth for 4 years. During this time he studied for a PhD in doctrine at King’s College, London University. From 1994 to 1998 he was Chaplain at Bradford University and Bradford and Ilkley Community College, where he was also Diocesan World Development Advisor and completed an MA in international development studies at Bradford University. From 1998 he was Vicar of Holy Trinity, Eltham in the diocese of Southwark and from 2005 he was also Rural Dean of Eltham and Mottingham. He moved to Leicester diocese in 2006, and since then has been involved in growing the mission of local parishes as well as developing missional leadership, pioneer ministry and fresh expressions of church.
Mike writes:“It has been a huge privilege to be involved in the development of mission and evangelism in the Leicester diocese over the last decade and to serve as Director of Mission and Ministry. I am delighted that this new role will enable me to continue to work in this area while taking on wider responsibilities as Bishop of Dunwich in the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.”
Mike is married to Rachel, an occupational therapist and they have 4 children, aged 13 to 21. For many years Mike has enjoyed running, completing a number of marathons, as well as keeping fit through swimming, cycling and the gym. He is a passionate supporter of Bolton Wanderers (having been born in Bolton) and (not unrelated) has an interest in live comedy.
Press release from Number 10
Bishop of Leicester: Martyn James Snow
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 15 December 2015
The Queen has approved the nomination of Right Reverend Martyn Snow for election as Bishop of Leicester.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Martyn James Snow, BSc, BTh, MA Suffragan Bishop of Tewkesbury, in the diocese of Gloucester, for election as Bishop of Leicester in succession to the Right Reverend Timothy John Stevens, MA, on his resignation on 31 August 2015.
Notes for editors
The Right Reverend Martyn Snow (aged 47), studied at Sheffield University and then trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his first curacy at Brinsworth with Catcliffe and Treeton in the diocese of Sheffield from 1995 to 1997. He worked for the Church Mission Society in Guinea, West Africa from 1998 to 2001.
From 2001 to 2010 he was vicar at Christ Church, Pitsmoor, in the diocese of Sheffield. From 2007 to 2010 he was also Area Dean of Ecclesfield. From 2010 to 2013 he was Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham. Since 2013 he has been Suffragan Bishop of Tewkesbury.
The Right Reverend Martyn Snow is married to Dr Lynn Snow, a paediatrician and they have 3 children (aged 14, 12 and 10). Alongside his enjoyment of travel and engaging with other cultures, his interests include sport, music and kayaking.
This week the Church Times carries a long article by Professor Julie Macfarlane of the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada about her experiences as a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest in England.
Today the BBC Sunday programme carried an interview with her. You can hear it in the last 9.5 minutes of the programme, here, from 34.5 minutes onwards.
This includes the reading out of a statement issued by the Church of England in response. There is also a discussion of the legal issues with Joshua Rozenberg.
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission issued the following statement on 11 December:
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has today announced that the issues raised by Digital Cinema Media’s (DCM) decision not to show a Church of England advert about the Lord’s Prayer in cinemas, will be examined as part of a major Commission report.
This report, examining the adequacy of the law protecting freedom of religion or belief, will be published early next year. The DCM decision has generated significant public concern about freedom of speech.
The Commission, the national expert in equality and human rights law, has also offered its legal expertise for the purpose of intervening in the case should the Church take legal proceedings against DCM.
The Commission has written to DCM to highlight the importance of Britain’s long tradition of freedom of expression and to reiterate its concerns about the justification for not showing the advertisement being that it risked offending audiences. There is no right in Britain not to be offended, and respect for people’s right to express beliefs with which others might disagree is the mark of a democratic society.
Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Rebecca Hilsenrath, said:
“We strongly disagree with the decision not to show the adverts on the grounds they might ‘offend’ people.
“There is no right not to be offended in the UK; what is offensive is very subjective and this is a slippery slope towards increasing censorship.”
“We also understand why people were confused that a commercial Christmas can be advertised but the central Christian prayer cannot. We will therefore examine the issues raised by this case as part of our major review into the law protecting freedom of religion or belief, and publish our findings in the new year.”
Earlier, on 23 November, the Commission had issued this statement: Commission comments on Christian advert being banned from cinemas
Commenting in response to a Christian advert being banned from being shown in the cinema, a Commission spokesperson, said:
“Freedom to hold a religion and freedom to express ideas are essential British values. We are concerned by any blanket ban on adverts by all religious groups.
“Digital Cinema Media have said an advert could cause offence to those of differing faiths or without belief. There is no right not to be offended in the UK; what is offensive is very subjective and lies in the eye of the beholder.
“This does not mean groups or individuals are free to express themselves without restriction. Freedom of expression can be and is restricted but only in order to prevent violence, abuse or discrimination for example. There is nothing in law that prevents Christian organisations promoting their faith through adverts.”
Updated Sunday evening
Canon Jeremy Davies, the retired precentor of Salisbury Cathedral has been denied Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Winchester.
A CLERGYMAN from Salisbury has been banned from taking services in Winchester because he married his gay partner last year.
Canon Jeremy Davies, who served as Canon Precentor at Salisbury Cathedral for more than 25 years, has been told he cannot preach in the Winchester Diocese because he married opera singer Simon McEnery.
Winchester Cathedral had recently asked Canon Davies to take a number of services in the future, which he will now not be allowed to carry out.
The Diocese of Winchester objected to the fact that a year ago, Canon Davies married his partner of nearly thirty years.
Since the wedding, Jeremy has taken more than half a dozen services in Winchester Cathedral, with no objections.
In fact, Jeremy has been much in demand since his retirement, preaching and lecturing regularly both in the UK and the United States.
A spokesman for the Winchester Diocese said: “Canon Jeremy Davies made an application earlier this year for permission to officiate in the Diocese of Winchester.
“Due to the Church of England’s position on same sex marriage, as set out in the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance, Canon Jeremy Davies has been informed that his application has been unsuccessful.”
Updated Monday afternoon and evening, Tuesday evening, Friday evening
The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life has published its report this morning: Living with Difference: community, diversity and the common good. The report is 104 pages long, but there is a three-page executive summary at the beginning.
The Commission was convened by the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, to:
a) consider the place and role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and the significance of emerging trends and identities
b) examine how ideas of Britishness and national identity may be inclusive of a range of religions and beliefs, and may in turn influence peoples self-understanding
c) explore how shared understandings of the common good may contribute to greater levels of mutual trust and collective action, and to a more harmonious society
d) make recommendations for public life and policy.
Press Release from the Commission: UK needs ‘New Settlement’ for religion & belief says Butler-Sloss
Ed Kessler, founder and director of the Woolf Institute, writes for The Huffington post UK about Living With Difference.
Jonathan Owen Independent Britain is no longer just a Christian country, says major report
Harriet Sherwood The Observer Top judge leads calls to scrap mandatory daily Christian worship in UK schools
The Guardian Coronation of next monarch should reflect ‘less Christian’ Britain, report says
John Bingham and Steven Swinford The Telegraph Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, says judge
reactions to the report
Church of England Response to report from Commission on Religion & Belief in British Public Life
[copied below the fold]
Angus Ritchie and Shana Cohen (who are two members of the Commission) The Guardian Don’t be suspicious of faith-based charities – let us speak truth to power
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith Catholic Herald The Corab report is grossly unfair to Catholic schools
Caroline Wyatt BBC News We should do God, says report into religion in public life
John Dickens Schools Week Religion should have the same importance as English and maths, new study claims
Charles Moore The Telegraph We need more religion in our schools, not less
Chloe Farand Independent Mandatory Christian prayers in schools ‘should be axed’
Eliza Filby The Telegraph Faith integration is bad enough in Britain; reducing the role of the Church will only make it worse
Tim Wyatt and Margaret Holness Church Times ‘New settlement needed to overhaul public life’
[updated article and link]
The Guardian editorial The Guardian view on religion in public life: education may be the answer
Andrew Lightbown Some issues with Butler-Sloss
Frank Cranmer Law & Religion UK The CORAB report: Living with Difference
Richard Harries Church Times Faith now is more about food than beliefs
Church of England press release
Response to report from Commission on Religion & Belief in British Public Life
07 December 2015
We welcome the call in this report for greater religious literacy and the highlighting of the scale of social action by the Church - as well as its recommendation that where a religious organisation is best placed to deliver a social good, it should not be disadvantaged.
“We also welcome the acknowledgement that the establishment of the Church of England has helped the integration of non-Christian perspectives in British society and helped them to make their voices heard in the public sphere. The Church of England, through its dioceses, parishes and at national level has been at the forefront of work to increase understanding between the different faiths.
“We are however disappointed that the report misunderstands the role of Church of England schools in providing a rounded education to more than a million pupils from all backgrounds as part of our commitment to the common good. If there is a significant problem with our schools it is that many of them are so popular that they are oversubscribed and not every parent who wants to can send their children to one.
“The report also misunderstands collective worship in schools. We believe that if the law on collective worship were repealed schools would risk losing this vital element of shaping a community that reflects the full breadth of human experience. We know, for example, that the response of many schools to the horror of the Paris attacks will have been in the context of collective worship.
“The report is dominated by the old fashioned view that traditional religion is declining in importance and that non-adherence to a religion is the same as humanism or secularism.
“In a fortnight where we have seen overwhelming public support for the Church of England over the Lord’s Prayer cinema advert, it is important to remember that most public opinion is strongly opposed to the marginalisation of Christianity.
Blog by Nigel Genders, Church of England Chief Education Officer
Blog by Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission & Public Affairs
Patrick Strudwick writes for BuzzFeed News: This Is What It’s Like To Sue The Church Of England For Discrimination.
“Canon Jeremy Pemberton was the first British clergyman to marry another man. What happened next sparked a landmark legal battle. He tells BuzzFeed News how the fight for equality became a fight for his sanity, career, and reputation.”
The article begins:
There is a hand-stitched cushion cover that sits, unfinished, in Jeremy Pemberton’s house. He began sewing the design when he could not get out of bed, when he had sunk so far into despair that focusing on each tiny stitch was the only way to stay sane.
The story of how he sank, off work and resisting thoughts of suicide, reaches far beyond the walls of the home he shares with the man he loves. It is the story of what happens when you take on the Church of England. And it is one that Pemberton has never revealed in full – until now.
The case of Canon Jeremy Pemberton, daubed across newspapers and television channels, has been reported so widely that many already know what happened to the first British clergyman to marry someone of the same sex: that he was stripped of his powers as a priest, unable to conduct official duties, and then barred from a job as an NHS hospital chaplain. As a result, he took the Church of England to an employment tribunal on a charge of discrimination.
But what has gone untold is the inner story behind the landmark case, and, remarkably, the household name that was backing him…
There are a number of videos of Synod business here.
The December issue of InReview includes reports from Synod.
Election addresses for the Election of Chair, Vice-Chair and Two Members of the Archbishops’ Council by the House of Laity
[Read the Covering Document to see who is standing for what.]
Tim Wyatt Church Times UK is castigated for weak response to Syrian migration
The Garstang Courier Vicar made chaplain of church’s highest governing body
Updated on Friday to add questions 36 and 37 and their answer below the fold
In the Questions session at this week’s General Synod the Secretary General was asked about turnout in the recent elections to Synod. In reply he gave these figures, together with those from 2010 for comparison.
|Highest turnout clergy||67.96||(Birmingham)||75.00||(Ely)|
|Lowest turnout clergy||45.60||(Hereford)||43.20||(Bristol)|
|Highest turnout laity||72.10||(Guildford)||64.13||(Chelmsford)|
|Lowest turnout laity||29.82||(Hereford)||37.83||(Lincoln)|
|Highest turnout clergy||69.00||(Sodor & Man)||73.90||(Sodor & Man)|
|Lowest turnout clergy||39.86||(Liverpool)||46.50||(Liverpool)|
|Highest turnout laity||56.96||(Chester)||54.70||(Sodor & Man)|
|Lowest turnout laity||34.74||(Liverpool)||36.30||(Liverpool)|
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the Business Committee:
Q36 Despite the fact that electors had nearly three weeks to return their voting papers in the recent General Synod election, the turnout in most dioceses was depressingly low—under 50% for the House of Laity election in 22 of the 33 dioceses that have posted the figures on their websites, and under 40% in four dioceses (Manchester 35.39%, Oxford 38.28%, Peterborough 30.79% and Salisbury 35.44%). Will the Chair of the Business Committee confirm that the Elections Review Group will look into the reasons for the low turnout and also bring forward legislative proposals to make provision for online voting in 2020 as agreed by Synod at the November 2013 Group of Sessions?
Mr Clive Scowen (London) to ask the Chair of the Business Committee:
Q37 Has the Business Committee considered bringing to the new Synod early in this quinquennium options as to how the electorate for the House of Laity might be formed for future elections, in time for any change which the Synod might consider appropriate to be implemented in time for the 2020 elections, and, if not, will it now do so?
The Revd Canon Sue Booys to reply as Chair of the Business Committee:
A With permission, I will take these questions together. All these issues are important potential areas for consideration by the Elections Review Group, a sub-committee of the Business Committee, which will be established early in this new Quinquennium. Synod members wishing to request further work on these and other matters should write to the Clerk to the Synod, requesting that they be tabled for consideration when the Elections Review Group is re-formed, which is likely to be early in 2016.
Suffragan Bishop of Sherborne: Karen Marisa Gorham
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 26 November 2015
The Queen has approved the nomination of Venerable Karen Marisa Gorham to the Suffragan See of Sherborne in the diocese of Salisbury.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Karen Marisa Gorham, BA, Archdeacon of Buckingham in the diocese of Oxford, to the Suffragan See of Sherborne in the diocese of Salisbury in succession to the Right Reverend Graham Ralph Kings MA PhD, on his resignation on the 15 July 2015.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Karen Gorham (age 51) holds a BA from the University of Bristol and trained for the ministry at Trinity College, Bristol. Prior to ordination she worked as an administrator with BTEC and the Royal Society of Arts and as a Pastoral Assistant in Essex and Hull. She served her title at Northallerton with Kirby Sigston in the diocese of York from 1995 to 1999. She was ordained priest in 1996 and in 1999 went on to become Priest-in-Charge of St Paul’s, Maidstone in the diocese of Canterbury. During this time she was also Assistant Director of Ordinands and Area Dean of Maidstone.
In 2006 she became an Honorary Canon of Canterbury Cathedral. She took up her current role as Archdeacon of Buckingham in 2007. Karen has been a member of the Church of England General Synod for 12 years, and for the last 2 has served as a member of the Panel of Chairs.
Her interests include travel and walking, the coast and Celtic spirituality. She enjoys days out with friends and an occasional visit to a good restaurant to sample the taster menu. Karen has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts since 2012.
The Salisbury diocesan website has this: Karen Gorham to be New Bishop of Sherborne, and Oxford has this: Archdeacon Karen to be Bishop of Sherborne.
The new bishop will be consecrated on 24 February 2016.
Updated Thursday morning
Business on Wednesday 25 November
Church of England press releases
Concern for the planet is not a Christian ‘add-on’, Archbishop of York tells Synod
General Synod backs work to help vulnerable refugees [See below the fold for the text of this press release]
Synod agrees to cut red tape to secure future for vulnerable churches
Archbishop of York’s Climate Change Presentation at Synod
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Justin Welby says UK military action in Syria ‘almost inevitable’
Antony Bushfield Premier Synod votes to back “military force” to create safe route for refugees
Florence Taylor Christian Today Justin Welby endorses use of force in Syria
Independent Catholic News Coptic Bishop speaks on migration crisis during CofE Synod
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Churches launch call to prayer to reverse negative views of Jesus and Christianity
John Bingham The Telegraph Rural vicars ‘drowning’ amid battle to keep empty churches open
General Synod backs work to help vulnerable refugees
25 November 2015
The General Synod has given its overwhelming backing to work by parishes and dioceses to support the resettlement of vulnerable Syrian refugees, in a debate focusing on the humanitarian response to the migrant crisis.
Members of the General Synod approved a motion welcoming the scale of aid provided by the Government for those suffering as a result of the conflict in Syria but called for significantly more Syrian refugees to be allowed to resettle in this country than the Government’s target of 20,000 over five years.
The Synod urged parishes and dioceses to work in partnership with local authorities and other community organisations to provide practical help for the resettlement of vulnerable refugees and to pray for all those seeking both to address the causes as well as the symptoms of the crisis.
Synod members called upon the Government to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure that vulnerability to religiously motivated persecution is taken into account when determining who is received into Britain.
The motion also called upon the Government to work with international partners in Europe and elsewhere to help establish safe and legal routes to places of safety, including this country, for refugees who are vulnerable and at severe risk.
Members of the General Synod further voted to call upon the Government to take a ‘fair and proportionate’ share of refugees now within the European Union, particularly those with family already legally resident in the UK.
Moving the motion, Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, spoke of work already under way by Anglicans to help vulnerable refugees both in Britain and in Europe. He added that it was ‘hard to imagine’ a list of British values which did not include the word ‘hospitality’ - which stands ‘close to the heart of the Christian gospel’.
“Many in the churches believe that, if we put our backs into working with others to create the capacity, we can make 20,000 a number that can be comfortably exceeded,” he said.
“After all, it is not money that will do most to enable people driven from Syria to make new lives. It is practical care from a community, inviting them in, suggesting in many practical ways the possibility of hope and the promise of safety.”
To read Bishop Paul’s speech in full see here.
Updated Wednesday morning and evening
The Tenth General Synod of the Church of England was inaugurated this morning (Tuesday) with a service in Westminster Abbey, after which Synod members moved to the Synod chamber in Church House for an address by The Queen.
Report by the Abbey: HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh attend Synod service
Text of the sermon at the Abbey by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household
Archbishop [of Canterbury] welcomes The Queen to General Synod
Text of The Queen’s speech at the Inauguration of the Tenth General Synod of the Church of England
Speech of Thanks to Her Majesty The Queen from the Archbishop of York
Reports on the morning’s activities
Gavin Drake for the Anglican Communion News Service: Queen Elizabeth speaks on Christian Unity and Primates Meeting
John Bingham The Telegraph Queen tells CoE to learn art of peacemaking amid splits over sexuality
BBC News Queen calls for unity at Church of England general synod
Madeleine Davies Church Times ‘Our persecutors already see us as one’, Papal official tells Synod
Sean Smith The Tablet Church of England should be bridge between Catholics and Evangelicals, Pope’s preacher tells synod
Reports from the afternoon
Text of Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address
Official brief summary of the afternoon’s business: General Synod November 2015 - Tuesday PM
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England could scrap reading of marriage banns
John Bingham The Telegraph Ditch the mitre? I’d look ‘underdressed’ in inner city, says bishop
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian How the mitres have fallen: bishops’ headwear is personal choice, says C of E
Updated Monday evening
The questions and answers have been published this morning.
Here are some recent online articles.
Bishop of Sheffield Reform and Renewal: the Noddy and Big Ears Guide
Harriet Sherwood The Observer Welby bids to defuse Church of England’s ‘demographic time bomb’
Gavin Drake Anglican Communion News Service C of E proposes to repeal obsolete Medieval laws
This refers to this paper GS Misc 1128 - Consultation on possible Statute Law (repeals) Measure. The consultation closes on 29 January 2016.
Jonathan Petre Mail on Sunday Wedding banns face axe after 800 years as senior clergy think practice of reading out names ahead of ceremony is ‘antiquated’.
BBC News Marriage banns ‘should be axed’ urges clergy member
Stephen Trott’s motion is contained in notice paper 4, and reads:
“That this Synod, noting the Registration of Marriages Regulations 2015 and the growing burden and complexity of the legal requirements imposed on members of the clergy who conduct weddings in the Church of England, invite the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward draft legislation to replace ecclesiastical preliminaries to marriage by universal civil preliminaries, such as those which have been in operation in Scotland since 1997, when banns were replaced by a Marriage Schedule issued by the civil registrar.”
Stephen Lynas We’ve only just begun…
Updated again Monday morning
The official press release with this headline is here:
The Church of England has said it is “bewildered” by the refusal of the country’s leading cinemas to show a 60 second advert of The Lord’s Prayer, adding that the “plain silly” decision could have a “chilling effect” on free speech.
The Church’s response follows its launch of a new website to promote the renewal of prayer in a digital age.
The website JustPray.uk creates a place for prayer with advice on what prayer is and how to pray. The site also provides a “live prayer” feed of prayers being prayed across the globe via Twitter, Instagram and Vine.
The Church has produced an advert promoting the new website to be shown in cinemas from December 18 2015 as part of the ad reel before Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The 60 second advert features Christians from all walks of life praying one line of the Lord’s prayer and includes weight lifters, a police officer, a commuter, refugees in a support centre, school children, a mourner at a graveside, a festival goer and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Church has announced today that the country’s three largest cinema chains Odeon, Cineworld and Vue - who control 80% of cinema screens around the country - have refused to show the advert because they believe it “carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”…
The Daily Mail has detailed coverage of this story: Archbishop Welby’s fury at cinema ban on ‘offensive’ Lord’s prayer: Church threaten to sue after plug pulled on advert due to be shown to millions at Christmas.
Towards the end of the article there is this:
…At the end of August, a bemused Rev Arora spoke to Andy Edge, commercial director for Odeon and a board member of DCM, who agreed to try to resolve the issue.
However, in another email sent on September 16, DCM’s finance director Paul Maloney told Rev Arora: ‘Having fully looked into the matter, I am afraid we will be unable to take forward the proposed Church of England campaign … DCM has a policy not to run advertising connected to personal beliefs.
‘Our members have found that showing such advertisements carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences.
‘We at DCM had first-hand experience of this risk when we and our members received considerable negative feedback from audiences following our decision to allow both Yes and No campaigners to run adverts in the lead up to the Scottish independence referendum.
‘Having learned from this … the board of DCM took the decision not to run any advertising promoting any religion or political views.’
The Church’s chief legal adviser, Stephen Slack, then wrote to the UK Cinema Association, an umbrella organisation that took over the dispute from DCM, saying the decision was ‘extremely disappointing’.
He warned it could ‘give rise to the possibility of legal proceedings’ under the Equality Act, which outlaws commercial organisations from refusing services on the grounds of religion.
However, the Association’s chief executive Phil Clapp said the DCM was within its right to refuse to show the film.
Rev Arora said: ‘In one way the decision of the cinemas is just plain silly but the fact that they have insisted upon it makes it rather chilling in terms of limiting free speech.’ Last night Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: ‘Religious freedom is a cornerstone of British values. The public will find it surprising, particularly at this time of year, that cinemas have reacted in this way.’
Here is a link to the DCM advertising policy document. The key paragraph which prohibits all religious advertising is this:
Religious Advertising means… advertising which wholly or partly advertises any religion, faith or equivalent systems of belief (including any absence of belief) or any part of any religion, faith or such equivalent systems of belief.
Some further media coverage:
…Rev Arun Arora, the Church of England’s director of communications, told the Telegraph: “If they want to be consistent on not carrying any ads that have any connection with religious belief, I’d like them to cancel all ads linked to Christmas as a Christian festival.
“If they’d like to apply it consistently, ban every ad that mentions Christmas.”
He said DCM’s decision, which was condemned by atheists and other faith groups alike, was “chilling in terms of limiting freedom of speech”.
Yorkshire Evening Post Bishop of Leeds Bishop of Leeds: Lord’s Prayer cinema ban is due to “illiteracy of a liberal culture”
Guardian Giles Fraser Banning the Lord’s Prayer from cinemas is nonsense on stilts
According to a new article this morning in the Daily Mail
…Yesterday it emerged that DCM, which controls 80 per cent of UK cinema advertising and is jointly-owned by Odeon and Cineworld, was so eager to host the advert in July that an agent offered the Church a 55 per cent discount.
But on August 3, he claimed the cinemas would refuse to show the clip, saying ‘our hands are tied by these guys’.
Executives later said that DCM had turned the advert down because its policy prevented it airing trailers ‘connected to personal beliefs’.
Finance director Paul Maloney emailed the Church in September claiming DCM decided not to show any political or religious adverts following complaints during last year’s Scottish referendum, when it allowed both Yes and No campaign videos.
In an email on September 17, he said there was ‘no formal policy document’ on religion.
But yesterday DCM claimed its decision was based on its ‘policy of not accepting political or religious advertising content for use in cinemas’ – pointing to a document on its website as evidence.
Analysis by the Mail reveals this document’s creation date was last Friday – just two days before the farce was revealed by the Mail on Sunday.
DCM did not respond last night to questions about when the policy had been written.
Here is the response issued by Affirming Catholicism:
Affirming Catholicism response to the proposals on modifying the rules relating to the seal of the confessional
Today, the Church Times has this news report by Tim Wyatt Public statements on sex can be a bar, CNC is advised.
And, it has a leader article, Lawful, but doleful that unpacks what is actually going on here:
…If hard cases make bad law, they also prompt bad guidance. The hard case in this instance is the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, and, although not named, this guidance is essentially about him. He is not a conventional hard case, of course: the difficulty he has caused the church hierarchy stems from his popularity with successive CNCs. Their deliberations are confidential, but it is well known that, besides his appointment as Bishop of Reading in 2003, subsequently withdrawn, he has come close to being chosen for the sees of Southwark, Exeter, and St Edmundsbury & Ipswich…
And, it later continues:
…the new guidance repeats the view that it would not be illegal to discriminate against someone (i.e. Dr John) on the grounds of his past statements on sexuality if it were felt that these prevented his being a focus of unity, a fundamental element of episcopal ministry. The fragility of this argument when compared with the weight given to candidates’ views on other subjects is what has led to this succession of legal clarifications, especially in the light of Dr John’s threat of a legal challenge after the Southwark fiasco. The difficulty of making general rules from individual cases is that they must be applied indiscriminately. The recent appointment of the chairman of Reform, a conservative Evangelical campaigning group, to be Bishop of Maidstone might be questioned in the light of this guidance…
The Church of England has just published its Financial Overview 2013 which draws together the finances of the Church of England into one place. It aggregates financial information from over 12,000 parishes, 44 dioceses, 41 cathedrals and 3 National Church Institutions as the press release below explains.
New report consolidates finances of the Church of England
10 November 2015
The Church of England has published a new overview of its finances for the 10 years from 2004-2013, drawing together information from over 12,000 parishes, 44 dioceses, 41 cathedrals and three National Church Institutions (NCIs) into one place.
The report finds that the church’s overall income in 2013 was just over £1.41 billion, over half of which was from donations from parishioners, fundraising and grants. It also shows that the majority of the income from the NCIs is from the Church Commissioners, an investment fund of around £6 billion which uses its returns to support the mission of the church across the country.
Carol Fletcher, Senior Financial Planner for the Church of England, said “Bringing together statistics from across the Church of England is a great way of showing the extent of what we do and how we function. Through our investments, trading income and of course the generosity of parishioners, we have been able to continue in our mission to be a Christian presence in every community.”
The report also reveals:
Weekly giving per parishioner has increased across the period of the study.
Two thirds (67%) of the Church of England’s income comes from parishes, 9% from dioceses, 9% from cathedrals and 15% from the NCIs (predominantly the Church Commissioners).
Expenditure in 2013 was slightly higher than income, at just under £1.43 billion. Just over half of expenditure was for clergy stipends, clergy housing and parishes, and cathedral operating costs.
Caring for church buildings, including cathedrals, represents 13% of overall expenditure.
The report is available to download here.
The Church of England is made up of a number of distinct but interconnected organisations, all of which are independent bodies. The Financial Overview amalgamates the finances of the Church of England to show its scale as if it were one, consolidated organisation.
The three National Church Institutions covered by the report are the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners, and the Church of England Pensions Board.
This is a copy of the article I recently wrote for Stonewall, and is reproduced here with their agreement.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton is a priest of the Church of England. He works for the NHS as a chaplain in a hospital in Lincoln, and was recently offered a new job as a chaplain at a hospital in Nottinghamshire. But because he married his partner, this offer to work was revoked. Why? Because Jeremy is gay and his partner is male.
Last week, Jeremy lost his claim of discrimination against the Church of England in an employment tribunal. The court ruled that the Church’s refusal to issue Jeremy a license to work in a different NHS hospital, in a different diocese, because he is in a same-sex marriage, was in fact an act of direct discrimination. But shockingly they ruled this discrimination lawful, because there are religious exemptions to the Equality Act 2010, despite this post being in the NHS.
Jeremy has been in a long-term relationship with his male partner for over seven years. They never entered a civil partnership. When the Marriage (Same Sex) Couples Act 2013 was passed, they immediately decided to get married. Before the ceremony could take place, in February 2014, the CofE’s House of Bishops issued a statement (Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage) that said clergy were not free to enter a same-sex marriage. They said it was contrary to the Church’s doctrine on marriage. They also said that in future they would not ordain any person who had already entered such a marriage. Despite this, Jeremy and his partner married on 12 April.
Jeremy’s domestic arrangements were never a secret and always well-known to all the Church authorities. He still holds a bishop’s licence to work as a hospital chaplain in Lincoln diocese, and he formerly also had permission to preach or take services in the Southwell and Nottingham diocese, where he lives. However, soon after he got married, he was no longer allowed to preach in Southwell and Nottingham. Around this time, Jeremy applied for a more senior NHS chaplaincy post, much closer to his home, and the NHS trust decided he was the best candidate. But when the trust applied to the local Nottinghamshire bishop for Jeremy to be licensed, the Nottinghamshire bishop refused. Jeremy therefore took the diocese to an employment tribunal.
The tribunal found that the Church of England has a doctrine of marriage which excludes the possibility of same-sex marriage. It also said that the statement made in February had warned clergy that entering such a marriage would remove them from being “in good standing”. The court held that a matter of doctrine was involved: clergy were not allowed to enter same-sex marriages. And this meant that bishops were entitled to withhold licenses from clergy in same-sex marriages, provided that the post also was “for the purposes of a religious organisation”. In the court’s opinion Jeremy’s post of NHS chaplain was indeed for such purposes.
So where does this leave us? First it is extremely likely that the case will be appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. And then a definite legal precedent, one way or the other, will be set that will be binding on other courts. Second, it raises questions not only for the NHS, but also for other secular bodies (schools, police, prisons, universities, etc.) that currently employ Church of England priests as chaplains. They might want to review the terms on which they do so, to avoid being similarly treated – or dictated to – by the Church. Third, it will lead to renewed concern in Parliament about the extent of the religious exemptions that are currently allowed, and whether they should be reviewed. These are far more wide-reaching than in any other European country. The establishment status of the Church of England will also be questioned yet again.
But more important than any of these is the PR disaster for the Church of England that this case has already created. The public simply does not comprehend why the Church’s official bodies, as opposed to its members generally, are so set against same-sex marriage. Why is a person’s sexual orientation accepted, but their relationship is not? Why is it OK to be gay and a priest, but it’s not OK to want to make the person you love your husband, and still expect to keep your job.
This is a mixed message, and seems to go against a core teaching of the Church that God is love. How, if this is true, can the Church refuse to recognise loving same-sex relationships? If God made us all different, why should we all act the same? This is incredibly difficult to reconcile for LGBT people of faith, and it can create an ever-widening chasm for some people between a strongly held belief in God and a very real sense of rejection from the Church.
Readers may recall that at General Synod in July, John Ward asked a Question of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as reported fully here. This in turn followed from a previous Question asked in February, also reported here. The incidents to which reference is made in the questions occurred in September/October 2014 and in October/November 2013.
The guidance document to which the question refers has now been published: ARCHBISHOPS’ GUIDELINES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF “CHOOSING BISHOPS – THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 (REVISED)” (GS Misc 1044).
This document is dated March 2015, and as explained in its first section, it was revised following the passage of the women bishops legislation in 2014. Presumably therefore there was an earlier version of this guidance issued in 2013, shortly after the issue of GS Misc 1044 itself.
Pages 3 and 4 of this newly published guidance constitute a section entitled: The relevance of a candidate’s previous public statements on human sexuality.
This portion is copied in full below the fold, but you need to read the whole document to get the context. However, you will note that GS Misc 1044 itself contains no reference to this topic.
The relevance of a candidate’s previous public statements on human sexuality
14. The focus of the Legal Office note is the imposition of a requirement of one of the kinds described in paragraph 7. The imposition of such a requirement is a significant thing, its effect being completely to exclude from consideration those whose circumstances are inconsistent with the requirement. But, as noted above, if a requirement is not imposed the fact that a candidate falls into one or other of the two categories is to be ignored and may not be the subject of any further discussion or questioning.
15. It is possible that a further issue may arise in the course of the CNC’s deliberations which is distinct from the possible imposition of a requirement. That is whether, when considering whether the candidate can fulfil the fundamental calling of a bishop to be a ‘focus of unity’, the CNC can nonetheless lawfully take into account the content and manner of any public statements previously made by him or her about the Church’s traditional teaching on same-sex relations.
16. Taking a consideration of this kind into account is different from imposing a requirement. Rather, in terms of the Equality Act, it involves the application of a ‘criterion’, in the light of which (amongst other criteria) the decision on nomination would be made.
17. A discussion of this kind would not have involved indirect discrimination under the Equality Act, had the Act applied, even if in practice such a discussion might put a homosexual candidate at a disadvantage when compared with heterosexual candidates. The concept of ‘indirect discrimination’ under the Act does not extend to a situation in which a criterion is applied as a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim; and a criterion designed to assess how well a candidate would, if nominated, be able to fulfil a fundamental aspect of a bishop’s role would have passed that test.
18. It would accordingly be open to the CNC, in principle, to have a discussion of this kind, in an appropriate case. Were it to do so, then the criterion would need to be weighed alongside others. So it would be for each individual member of the CNC to decide how much weight to attach to it.
19. However, it would be essential that any discussion of this issue was confined to weighing the implications of the candidate’s previous public statements for his or her ability to act as a focus of unity, rather than taking account of the implications of his or her sexuality or status as a civil partner. The latter would involve taking account of irrelevant, and unlawful, considerations, since those matters have either to be addressed through the imposition of a requirement or left out of account altogether.
20. In addition, the mere fact that a candidate had publicly questioned the Church of England’s teaching on human sexuality, or indeed that of the Anglican Communion as articulated in Lambeth 1:10, would not be sufficient to raise any issue from this point of view: that is something that clergy are free to do. An issue could only arise as a result of the way in which that disagreement had been expressed.
21. Particular care would be needed in handling any considerations relating to the Anglican Communion. An adverse reaction in the Anglican Communion to the candidate’s appointment on account of his or her previous public statements could in principle be a relevant consideration in so far as it touched on the candidate’s ability to be a focus of unity in the Church of England– e.g. because it could fuel controversy within the Church of England of such a kind as to make it more difficult for the candidate to act as an effective focus of unity.
22. However, in practice considerable care needs to be taken in evaluating considerations relating to the Anglican Communion, where concerns about the candidate’s appointment may well be based at least as much on his or her sexuality or civil partner status as on the nature of his or her previous public statements.
Anglican Catholic Future has published this Statement on the Seal of Confession.
Anglican Catholic Future responds to the current consultation on the seal of confidentiality associated with the ministry of confession and absolution out of a confidence in the abiding worth of that practice, and of its absolute confidentiality. This ministry has a distinctive part to play for many in fashioning a life of continued conversion to Christ. We hope that the attention now being paid to it by the working group, and by the General Synod, will lead to a renewed appreciation of the part that it occupies in the mission of the church, and the spiritual life of its members, and could occupy even more fully. We hope that every diocese will provide instruction for existing priests in this manifestation of the love of God, and that every training institution will provide instruction for those in preparation for priestly ministry.
The full text of the statement is available on the ACF website in PDF format here.
Updated yet again Thursday teatime
The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has issued this press release
The Employment Tribunal that heard the case brought by Jeremy Pemberton against Bishop Richard Inwood has released its findings, dismissing all the claims brought against the Bishop.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham said: “We are thankful to the tribunal for its work on this complex case and for its findings in favour of the former Acting Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, on all the claims made against him.
“We recognise that it has been a long and difficult process for all concerned, and we continue to hold them in our thoughts and prayers.
“Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds. We remain engaged in the on-going shared conversations across the wider Church of England that are exploring questions relating to human sexuality.”
The Claimant’s lawyers have issued this statement:
“We are obviously very disappointed by the Employment Tribunal’s decision; our lawyers have considered the judgment and are in the process of preparing the Grounds of Appeal for submission to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. We would like to thank all of those who have supported us through this litigation process thus far.”
The full text of the judgment can be downloaded from here.
LGCM has issued this response: Justice for Jeremy – we fight on.
Peter Tatchell has issued this response: Tribunal rules Church can dictate who NHS employs.
Four Three blog articles in response:
Initial press coverage of this case:
Newark Advertiser Jeremy Pemberton loses discrimination case
Nottingham Post Gay priest not discriminated against, employment tribunal rules
Church Times (article revised) First gay marriage priest Jeremy Pemberton loses employment tribunal
Lincolnshire Echo Gay canon Jeremy Pemberton was not discriminated against
The World Council of Churches recently held a consultation on the refugee crisis in Europe. This press release was issued before the meeting: Refugee crisis to be discussed in Munich by 35 bishops and other church leaders from 20 countries
The international refugee crisis will be the focus of a consultation of 35 bishops and church leaders from 20 countries, to be held on 29 October in Munich, Germany. There will be representatives from churches in the most affected regions and from most of the church families in Europe: Orthodox, Catholics, Lutherans, Reformed, Methodist and representatives from the Middle East and Africa, as well as representatives from ecumenical organizations and from church-based humanitarian and refugee organizations.
They have been invited by the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, and the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who is also chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)…
Afterwards, ACNS reported: Church leaders urge “safe passage” to those seeking refuge
The suffragan bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd Dr David Hamid, has joined other bishops and church leaders from a number of denominations in calling for safe passage to those seeking refuge.
The recommendation is one of a number contained in a communiqué issued following a church leaders’ consultation in the German city of Munich…
The full text of the communiqué can be found on the World Council of Churches website.
Also, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland has published a roundup of actions being taken by churches and Christian aid agencies: Churches respond to the refugee crisis.
And here’s a report on one specific activity: Anglicans to support reception centre for refugees at remote lighthouse on Lesvos.
Updated 10 November to include second circulation papers (GS 2009 and GS Misc 1128)
the first circulation both circulations for next month’s meeting of General Synod on 24-25 November are now online here in agenda order. Here is a list in numerical order, with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration.
GS 2005 - Agenda
GS 2006 - Report by the Business Committee [Tuesday]
GS 2008 - Report of the Church Buildings Review Group [Wednesday]
GS 2010 - Standing Orders (October 2015)
GS Misc 1123 - Constitutions of the Committees of the Archbishops’ Council
GS Misc 1127 - Released for Mission
GS Misc 1128 - Consultation on possible Statute Law (repeals) Measure
The final agenda and the papers for next month’s two day inaugural meeting of the tenth General Synod of the Church of England are published today, along with this press release summarising the agenda. I will publish a list of online papers later today.
HM the Queen to inaugurate tenth General Synod
30 October 2015
HM the Queen to inaugurate tenth General Synod
Synod to debate Migrant Crisis and Church Buildings report and review progress of the Reform and Renewal programme
Her Majesty the Queen will inaugurate the tenth General Synod of the Church of England in Church House, Westminster on Tuesday 24th November.
The Inauguration ceremony will follow the Eucharist in Westminster Abbey, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will preside and Fr Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap (Preacher to the Papal Household) will preach.
The Agenda for the short meeting of the Synod, which will follow the inauguration, is published today along with the papers.
The Synod has 468 voting members of whom 59 (including the 42 diocesan bishops) are ex officio and 409 have been elected this autumn (9 suffragan bishops, 200 clergy, 200 laity). The House of Bishops has 53 members, the House of Clergy 202 and the House of Laity 213.
53% of the 409 elected members were not members of the last Synod when it was dissolved in July (up from the 2010 figure of 45%). In total 46% of the membership of this Synod is new. The percentage of women on General Synod has increased from 28% in 2005 to 32% in 2010 and 37% in 2015.
The male/female balance has changed from 69/31 in 2005 to 63/37 in 2010 to 58/42 now. For the first time there are slightly more elected women than men in the House of Laity — 50.5% to 49.5% (in 2005 40% of elected laity were women and in 2010 46%). In the House of Clergy, the number of women elected has increased to 32% (from 22% in 2005 and 29% in 2010). Three of the 53 members of the House of Bishops are women: the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, the Rt Revd Libby Lane and the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek.
The average age of the 378 lay and clergy members elected by the dioceses is slightly lower than in 2010, 51 as against 52 among the clergy and 56 as against 58 among the laity. The youngest member of the Synod is Rhian Ainscough, newly elected from the Leicester diocese, who is 19. The longest serving member is David Ashton from Leeds diocese, who has served continuously since 1972.
Tuesday 24 November
Following the service in Westminster Abbey the Queen will address the Synod in Church House. Synod business begins on the Tuesday afternoon. There will be a Presidential Address from the Archbishop of Canterbury. After further formal business, there will be a presentation from the leaders of the Archbishops’ Reform and Renewal Programme.
The presentation will cover the work-streams on Resourcing the Future, Resourcing Ministerial Education, Discerning and Nurturing Senior Leaders, Simplification of church legislation and a newly-launched work stream on Lay leadership. Synod members will have the opportunity to ask questions of the work stream leaders. There will also be the usual Synod question time.
Wednesday 25 November
On the morning of 25 November, there will be a short presentation from the Archbishop of York on the effects of global warming which he viewed on his recent visit to the South Pacific. Following that the Synod will debate a motion moved by the bishop of Durham on the Migrant Crisis. The wording of the Motion and the accompanying background paper will be published nearer to the debate given the rapidly-evolving context. However, it is likely to focus on the responses of the church in parishes and dioceses and to call on the Synod to continue working closely with the government and local authorities to maximise support for those most in need.
After some legislative business, there will be a presentation of the results of recent research on the “Public Perceptions of Jesus”, which was commissioned by the Church of England, the Evangelical Alliance and HOPE (an ecumenical organisation that brings churches together in mission). The report is an important resource for evidence-based mission.
On Wednesday afternoon the Synod will debate a motion, moved by the Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, welcoming the recently published report of the Church Buildings Review, commending it to dioceses, deaneries and parishes and paving the way for the necessary legislative process, once the Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners have taken decisions following the current consultation period. The report was produced as one of the elements of the Reform and Renewal programme.
The Synod will conclude with a farewell from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Secretary General, Mr William Fittall who will be retiring at the end of November after 13 years in post. Mr Fittall will also give a farewell address to the Synod.
Immediately after the end of the Synod the House of Laity will hold a hustings meeting for the election of a new Chair and Vice Chair. The results of those elections and of the elections for the Prolocutors (Chairs of clergy) for the Canterbury and York Provinces will be known just before Christmas.
 This includes a small number of members who were not in the last Synod but have served previously.
One of the four motions that were under consideration was submitted by the Bishop of Portsmouth, but in the even this motion was not voted upon. Its wording was:
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth to move, as an amendment to the motion in the name of the Lord Privy Seal, at the end to insert “but this House regrets that the draft Regulations fail to take account of concerns about their short-term impact on working families and individuals currently receiving tax credits, and calls on the Government to consult further on the draft Regulations and revisit their impact.”
There were three bishops who spoke:
The voting record of the bishops was as follows (h/t Law and Religion UK):
Forward in Faith has submitted a response to the Working Group on the Seal of the Confessional established by the Archbishops’ Council.
For the background on this see this TA article from October last year and the articles from Law & Religion UK linked there.
The members of the working group are listed in this document.
The press release from Forward in Faith is available here and is copied below the fold.
Forward in Faith has published its submission to the Working Party on the Seal of the Confessional, which is charged with assisting the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops in considering whether to recommend amendment of the Canon that says that priests should not reveal what has been disclosed in Confession by a penitent.
Forward in Faith’s submission points out that the sacraments belong to the whole Church, of which the Church of England is only part, and that the General Synod therefore does not have the authority to alter them. The obligation of non-disclosure is part of the nature of the Sacrament: it was not created by the Canon. Amending or repealing the Canon would therefore not remove it. We are confident that priests will continue to regard themselves as bound by the Seal of the Confessional, even if this canonical provision is amended or repealed.
We question whether, in any case, the necessity for such a change has been or can be made out.
Such a change would be undesirable and counterproductive. It would discourage people who have committed criminal offences from making their confession, reducing the likelihood of a priest being in a position to counsel them to report themselves to the Police. The time and energy expended in promoting such a controversial piece of legislation could be deployed more profitably in other ways.
Forward in Faith is concerned that many priests receive little or no training for the important ministry of reconciliation, which both the 1662 and Common Worship Ordinals identify as a fundamental aspect of priestly ministry. Such training should emphasize that, where a serious crime is confessed, absolution should be withheld until the penitent has reported him- or herself to the Police.
Forward in Faith understands the defence of the sacraments as part of its purpose, and we shall resist as strongly as we can any attack on the integrity of sacramental Confession.
The submission may be read here.
The Church of England issued the following statement today.
Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883 -1958)
22 October 2015
The Bishop of Chichester has issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Right Reverend George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on 3rd October 1958.
The allegations against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern allegations of sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child.
Following settlement of the claim the serving Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin Warner, wrote to the survivor formally apologising and expressing his “deep sorrow” acknowledging that “the abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never occur in any situation, particularly the church.”
Bishop Warner paid tribute to the survivor’s courage in coming forward to report the abuse and notes that “along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency.”
Tracey Emmott, the solicitor for the survivor, today issued the following statement on behalf of her client:
“The new culture of openness in the Church of England is genuinely refreshing and seems to represent a proper recognition of the dark secrets of its past, many of which may still not have come to light. While my client is glad this case is over, they remain bitter that their 1995 complaint was not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby’s office in 2013. That failure to respond properly was very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client’s life. For my client, the compensation finally received does not change anything. How could any amount of money possibly compensate for childhood abuse? However, my client recognises that it represents a token of apology. What mattered to my client most and has brought more closure than anything was the personal letter my client has recently received from the Bishop of Chichester.”
The survivor first reported the abuse to the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in August 1995. Bishop Kemp responded to the correspondence offering pastoral support but did not refer the matter to the police or, so far as is known, investigate the matter further. It was not until contact with Lambeth Palace in 2013 that the survivor was put in touch with the safeguarding team at the Diocese of Chichester who referred the matter to the police and offered personal support and counselling to the survivor.
In his letter to the survivor Bishop Warner acknowledges that the response from the Diocese of Chichester in 1995, when the survivor first came forward, “fell a long way short, not just of what is expected now, but of what we now appreciate you should have had a right to expect then.”
In accordance with the recommendations of the Church Commissaries’ report into the Diocese of Chichester in 2012 the settlement does not impose any form of “confidentiality agreement” restriction regarding public disclosure upon the individual. In this case the survivor has expressed the desire to remain anonymous.
Following a meeting between the survivor and Sussex police in 2013, it was confirmed by the police that the information obtained from their enquiries would have justified, had he still been alive, Bishop Bell’s arrest and interview, on suspicion of serious sexual offences, followed by release on bail, further enquiries and the subsequent submission of a police report to the CPS.
A formal claim for compensation was submitted in April 2014 and was settled in late September of this year. The settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process during which further investigations into the claim took place including the commissioning of expert independent reports. None of those reports found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim.
The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. Any survivors or those with information about church-related abuse must always feel free to come forward knowing that they will be listened to in confidence.
Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.
The copy of the statement on the Diocese of Chichester’s website is preceded by this statement by the Bishop of Chichester.
The statement to follow communicates news that has brought us a bewildering mix of deep and disturbing emotions. In touching the legacy and reputation of George Bell, it yields a bitter fruit of great sadness and a sense that we are all diminished by what we are being told.
Our starting point is response to the survivor. We remain committed to listening to all allegations of abuse with an open mind. In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties. We face with shame a story of abuse of a child; we also know that the burden of not being heard has made the experience so much worse. We apologise for the failures of the past.
The revelation of abuse demands bravery on the part of a survivor, and we respect the courage needed to tell the truth. We also recognise that telling the truth provides a legitimate opportunity for others to come forward, sometimes to identify the same source of abuse.
We also believe that in the Church of England as a whole, and certainly in the diocese of Chichester, we have done all we can to ensure that our safeguarding policies reflect best practice, and are fully and evenly implemented. The statement below speaks of an earlier report of this case, in the 1990’s. There will no doubt be some who allege a cover-up by the Church. We acknowledge that the response then would not be adequate by today’s standards, although that falls far short of a cover-up. In the present context, the diocese of Chichester has worked with Police and other agencies to ensure that we have sought the fullest understanding possible of what happened.
Please hold in your prayers all victims of abuse, especially those who have never been able to seek or receive help and a proper response. Please pray for all who are affected by this news, especially those who are our ecumenical partners, those unable to comprehend its implications, and those whose faith is damaged by it. Please pray for the diocese of Chichester, for each other, lay and ordained, as we seek to remain faithful to our apostolic mission in spite of much that could discourage and deter us.
Historic England published its annual Heritage at Risk Register yesterday. Many entries are places of worship. This comes just a week after the Church of England launched its report on how it manages its 16,000 church buildings as part of its Reform and Renewal programme.
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK More “At Risk” CofE Buildings in 2015
Anglican Communion News Service More C of E church buildings placed on “at risk” register
Maev Kennedy The Guardian Bomb factory and concrete church among historic buildings at risk
Hannah Furness The Telegraph A Napoleonic lookout and an ammunition factory: the ’ heritage at risk register’ 2015
David Pocklington’s article has drawn my attention to Monday’s official announcement that from January 2016 Mike Eastwood (Diocesan Secretary, Diocese of Liverpool and Chief Officer, Liverpool Cathedral) will be starting a two-days-a-week secondment with the National Church Institutions as the Director of Reform and Renewal.
We reported on the release of the bishops’ letter here. In the days that followed there was a lot of press reports and reactions, listed in daily groups below with the earliest first.
Harriet Sherwood and Toby Helm The Observer Bishops in stinging rebuke to David Cameron over refugee crisis
Harriet Sherwood The Observer How the Church of England and the British government fell out over the ‘moral crisis’ of refugees
BBC News Syria refugees: Bishops urge David Cameron to do more
Nicola Harley The Telegraph Bishops row with David Cameron over offer of help to refugees
The Right Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester The Guardian Bishop says European migrant crisis ‘a moral matter’ not political – video
Laura Hughes The Telegraph Conservatives criticise bishops for attack on Syrian refugee policy
Charlie Cooper The Independent Refugee crisis: Church of England attacks Government’s ‘inadequate’ response
Rowena Mason The Guardian Bishops naturally leftwing, suggests minister after plea to take more refugees
Melanie McDonagh The Spectator Cameron should listen to Syrian bishops, not the Anglican ones
Steven Swinford The Telegraph Each Syrian refugee to cost Britain £24,000 a year
Nicholas Watt The Guardian David Cameron rebukes Church of England bishops over refugee letter
BBC News UK aims to take in 1,000 Syrian refugees by Christmas, says PM
Jules Middleton That Bishop’s Letter
Nick Baines Yorkshire Post To portray bishops as anti-Conservative over refugees is ‘wrong, lazy and ridiculous’
[also online here]
Paul Handley Church Times Frustrated bishops call for 30,000 more refugees to be accepted in the UK
This press release has just been issued: Bishops call on Prime Minister to provide “meaningful and substantial response” to refugee crisis
17 October 2015
The Church of England today has published a letter sent to the Prime Minister in early September signed by 84 of its bishops calling for the Government to increase the number of Syrian refugees being resettled to this country “to a minimum of 50,000” over the next five years.
Referring to the situation in Syria as “one of the largest refugee crises ever recorded” the Bishops write that “a moral crisis of this magnitude calls each and all of us to play our parts.”
Calling directly on the Prime Minister to increase his current offer to accept 20,000 refugees over the next 5 years to 50,000 the Bishops write:
“We believe such is this country’s great tradition of sanctuary and generosity of spirit that we could feasibly resettle at least 10,000 people a year for the next two years, rising to a minimum of 50,000 in total over the five year period you foresaw in your announcement. Such a number would bring us into line with comparable commitments made by other countries. It would be a meaningful and substantial response to the scale of human suffering we see daily.”
In addition to “recognising and applauding” the announcements made by the Prime Minister the Bishops offer help from the Church of England in encouraging their churches to provide welcome, housing and foster care to refugees as well as to support the Government in its ongoing efforts.
In their letter the Bishops also called for the creation of a National Welcome and Resettlement Board, mirroring the successful work of such boards created by Government in response to past refugee crises in the 1950s and 1970s. Since the writing of the letter the board has been created with the Bishop of Durham serving as co-chair of the board.
Speaking on behalf of the bishops, the Rt. Revd. Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said:
“The Archbishop of York recently said that the current situation has rightly been described as a refugee crisis but it is also a time of opportunity for us as a country and for our wider continent. The opportunity before us is to rise above narrow self-interest, however defined, and to embrace the highest parts of our humanity.
We recognise that both the Prime Minister and His Government responded to calls from the country for there to be a programme of resettlement and we are grateful to him for responding to those calls. However there is a real urgency to this issue with those increasingly being forced from their land as their homes are literally bombed into the ground. As the fighting intensifies, as the sheer scale of human misery becomes greater, the Government’s response seems increasingly inadequate to meet the scale and severity of the problem. It is disheartening that we have not received any substantive reply despite an assurance from the Prime Minister that one would be received. There is an urgent and compelling moral duty to act which we as bishops are offering to facilitate alongside others from across civil society.”
The full text of the letter follows.
Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
10 September 2015
Dear Prime Minister,
Like you, your Government, and the people of our nation we are deeply concerned for the refugee crisis that we have to face together. We are grateful to you and your ministers for the conversations they have already held with the Archbishop of Canterbury and others around these issues.
We pray for the millions of people fleeing war and violence in one of the largest refugee crises ever recorded, and we remember those who have tragically died seeking sanctuary on European shores: those like Alan Kurdi, the three year old boy who heartbreakingly died and was washed up on a beach in Turkey.
It is a command in Judaism , “to welcome and love the stranger as you would yourself because you were strangers in the land of Egypt”. Followers of Islam are obliged to provide food, shelter and safety to the traveller. Christ himself and his family were refugees. We are reminded that in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral there is a 17th century notice which pays tribute to “the large and liberal spirit of the English church and the glorious asylum which England has in all times given to foreigners flying for refuge against oppression and tyranny.”
Such traditions and prayers must be joined with action. A moral crisis of this magnitude calls each and all of us to play our parts.
We recognise and applaud the leadership you and your government are showing in this crisis, both as one of the world’s top international donors and the recent announcement that the government will resettle 20,000 people over the next five years.
We stand ready to play our part as well. We will:
1. Encourage our church members to work alongside the wider community in offering welcome, orientation, integration, sign-posting and support to all refugees who come
2. Encourage, where possible and feasible, churches, congregations and individuals to make rental properties and spare housing available for use by resettled refugees.
3. Promote and support foster caring among churches, congregations and individuals where appropriate to help find the homes needed to care for the increasing number of unaccompanied minors
4. Pray for, act with and stand alongside your government, to rise to the challenge that this crisis poses to our shared humanity
From what we see in congregations across the United Kingdom we are confident that the country stands ready and willing to support the government to be even more ambitious as it responds to this historic crisis.
We believe such is this country’s great tradition of sanctuary and generosity of spirit that we could feasibly resettle at least 10,000 people a year for the next two years, rising to a minimum of 50,000 in total over the five year period you foresaw in your announcement. Such a number would bring us into line with comparable commitments made by other countries. It would be a meaningful and substantial response to the scale of human suffering we see daily.
We believe that should a National Welcome and Resettlement Board be established in response to the crisis drawing together civic, corporate and government leadership to coordinate efforts and mobilise the nation as in times past, such an effort would not be beyond the British people. A senior Bishop would gladly serve on such a board on our behalf and at your pleasure.
This letter is written to you privately at present. The College of Bishops meets in Oxford next week and will spend some time on Thursday 17th considering our practical response. If you were able to respond to me ahead of that date it would help our discussions.
for full list of signatories, go here, and scroll down
Update - northern deans now listed
My list of those elected to the 2015-2020 General Synod is now almost complete. The only gaps are the two Northern Deans and the lay member from the Deanery of Jersey. The clergy member from the Channel Islands will be Tim Barker, the Dean designate of Guernsey. But I understand that he will not be able to take up his place until he is commissioned on 28 November, which is after the inaugural group of sessions.
There are two vacancies from the Religious Communities because not enough people were nominated to fill all four places. By-elections will be held in due course.
My thanks go to all those who responded to my appeal to send me results.
Updated Friday and Saturday
Launch of major new report on how the Church of England manages its 16,000 church buildings
13 October 2015
As part of its Reform and Renewal programme, which was debated in the General Synod in February, the Church of England has today published a report and launched a consultation on proposals to improve the support for its 16,000 church buildings.
The report comes from the Church Buildings review group, which was chaired by the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr John Inge. It constitutes the first attempt in many years to undertake a comprehensive review of the Church of England’s stewardship of its church buildings and includes a wide range of statistics, a substantial theological reflection and a survey of various initiatives being taken in individual dioceses. The report goes on to identify a number of principles that should shape the Church’s approach and makes some specific recommendations.
The review notes that more than three quarters of the Church of England’s churches are listed, and the Church of England is responsible for nearly half of the grade I listed buildings in England. More than half of churches are in rural areas (where 17% of the population lives) and more than 90% of these are listed.
Welcoming the opening of the consultation, Bishop John said:
“Our 16,000 church buildings are a visible sign of ongoing Christian faith in communities throughout England as well as being an unparalleled part of our country’s heritage. This report looks at how we can best support the thousands of local volunteers who care deeply for and about churches and offer wonderful service to their communities using their churches.
“We believe that - apart from growing the church - there is no single solution to the challenges posed by our extensive responsibility for part of the nation’s heritage. We hope therefore that this work will be a catalyst for discussion about how churches can be better cared for and used for the common good.”
A copy of the six principles recommended by the group and the recommendations are available below. [Ed: These are below the fold.] The consultation period runs until Friday 29 January and will include a debate at the first meeting of the new General Synod in November.
The report is available at:
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England considers Christmas-only parishes
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Some churches will only open for Christmas – CofE report
David Keen blogs: When Should My Parish Church Be Demolished?
Giles Fraser The Guardian We must do to our churches what Beeching did to the railways
And in response Letters to the Church Magazine has this Mid-October Special.
Tim Wyatt Church Times Review calls for more state funds for Church buildings
Sir Tony Baldry (chair, Church Buildings Council) Ensuring that church buildings are a blessing and not a burden
For so long as a building has a contribution to make to the mission of the Church of England and remains open for worship, the legal responsibility for it should normally remain at parish level, and where that is not possible, at diocesan level. Local ownership- in every sense of the word- is generally to be preferred to other alternatives, not least because it will continue to facilitate wider community support for what is often the most significant historical building in the locality.
What is understood by ‘open for worship’ has evolved over time depending on local contexts and will need to evolve further for some buildings over the coming years. Legislation needs to facilitate this.
More generally, the overall legislative framework governing the use and management of church buildings needs to be simpler, less prescriptive and less burdensome for laity and clergy. There needs to be more flexibility to reflect the wide diversity of local situations.
Dioceses need to integrate thinking about their church buildings with their mission and ministry planning. Regular diocesan strategic reviews, taking account of diocesan and deanery plans, mission action plans and parish audits are important for ensuring that buildings issues are given their proper weight- neither dominating nor being overlooked or regarded as a specialist subject.
Over the centuries it has never been either possible or desirable to retain all church buildings. There have always been and will continue to be circumstances where closure is the right option. In those cases the process needs to be managed sensitively but efficiently, with more focused effort than now on seeking alternative uses.
The work undertaken nationally to support parishes and dioceses in their stewardship of buildings needs to be reshaped at member and staff level to provide a sharper focus, pool expertise and facilitate greater strategic thinking.
1. Church and Government representatives should explore ways in which more assured financial support for listed cathedrals and church buildings can be provided for in the long term. (Paragraphs 46-48 and 125-128).
2. In order to facilitate new, creative models of managing and caring for buildings and free up clergy and laity for mission and ministry the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956 should be amended to enable a PCC - with diocesan consent - to formally transfer its care and maintenance liability to another body. (Paragraphs 129-136).
3. Guidance on legal models relating to the use of open church buildings should be more widely disseminated in order to promote good practice in enabling such wider use. (Paragraph 137-140 and Appendix 3).
4. The next phase of the Simplification Agenda, in looking to reduce ‘red tape’ affecting parish and benefice structure and organisation, should, as proposed, review governance requirements with a view to relieving pressures on clergy and laity and freeing up energy and resources for mission. (Paragraphs 141-146).
5. The Simplification Group’s recommendation to amend Canon B 14A to facilitate ‘Festival Churches’, while proposing further work on their role and how mission and evangelism are developed in the surrounding communities, should be implemented. Additionally, the Church Buildings Council should work with dioceses pioneering this concept to identify and promote good practice in caring for such buildings. A grouping such as an Association of Festival Churches may also offer a beneficial means of supporting such initiatives. (Paragraphs 147-152).
6. Regular diocesan church building reviews or audits should be incorporated into each diocese’s vision and strategy, as well as forming an integral part of deanery Mission Action Planning. Dioceses need to see the strategic importance of investment to address buildings issues, drawing in as much outside help as can be secured. (Paragraphs 153-156).
7. While closed church buildings should continue to vest in Diocesan Boards of Finance until their future is settled, any Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee should be able to transfer all of their use-seeking functions for closed churches to the Church Commissioners, with the latter’s consent. (Paragraphs 157-171).
8. Staff in Church House involved in all aspects of church buildings including cathedrals and chancels should be brought together to form a single staff team, with the relevant staff (excluding those working regionally) based in one location within Church House. (Paragraphs 172-188).
9. A new statutory Commission (perhaps entitled the Church Buildings Commission for England) should be established to take an oversight of the Church of England’s stewardship of its church buildings and enable a more strategic view to be taken of priorities and resource allocation. This would replace the present Church Buildings Council including its Statutory Advisory Committee, and the Church Commissioners’ Church Buildings (Uses and Disposals) Committee. While no changes in the responsibilities of the Church Commissioners in relation to church buildings issues are proposed, the new body, for some purposes, would act as a committee of the Commissioners. (Paragraphs 183-203).
10. The current powers and responsibilities of the Churches Conservation Trust work well and should not be changed. (Paragraphs 204-207).
The consultation period is now open and will close on the Friday 29th January 2016 at 5pm. Comments should be sent to email@example.com.
The church buildings review was set up jointly by the Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners and carried out as part of the Optimizing the role of the NCIs, which made recommendations about the ways in which the National Church Institutions (NCIs) can be more effective.
The Church Buildings Review Group was made up of the following members:
The Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester (lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings) (Chair)
The Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry (Church Buildings Council Chair; former Second Church Estates Commissioner)
James Halsall (DAC Secretary for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
The Ven Christine Hardman (former Archbishops’ Council member and Bishop-designate of Newcastle)
Andrew Mackie (Third Church Estates Commissioner; Chair of Pastoral and Church Buildings (Uses and Disposals) Committees)
Jennie Page CBE (Vice Chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission)
Ian Watmore (Church Commissioner and member of the Church Buildings (Uses and Disposals) Committee).
The votes in the elections to the Church of England General Synod will be counted during this coming week. I will publish the names of the successful candidates here: General Synod List of members.
Please help me do this by sending election results to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will only publish the names of successful candidates, so I do not need the details of the count (although you are welcome to send these to me as well).
New this time is the requirement for dioceses to post the full return of the result and the result sheet (with voting figures) on the diocesan website. They must remain there until the end of the first group of sessions of the new Synod, ie 4.30 pm on 25 November 2015. Results for other constituencies must be similarly posted on the Church of England website. However there does not appear to be any particular date by which these results must be posted. But when they do appear I will add links to this page: Synod election 2015.
There are official lists of successful candidates here.
Our previous article on Peter Ball is here, with links to earlier articles.
Peter Ball was sentenced to 32 months in prison this morning.
[Update: the sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Wilkie can be read here.]
The Church of England issued this statement.
Statement on the sentencing of Peter Ball
07 October 2015
“It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a Bishop in the Church of England has today been sentenced for a series of offences over 15 years against 18 young men known to him. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades.
We apologise unreservedly to those survivors of Peter Ball’s abuse and pay tribute to their bravery in coming forward and also the long wait for justice that they have endured. We note that there are those whose cases remain on file for whom today will be a difficult day, not least in the light of the courage and persistence that they have demonstrated in pressing for the truth to be revealed. We also remember Neil Todd, whose bravery in 1992 enabled others to come forward but who took his own life before Peter Ball’s conviction or sentencing.
As the Police have noted Peter Ball systematically abused the trust of the victims, many of whom who were aspiring priests, whilst others were simply seeking to explore their spirituality. He also abused the trust placed in him by the Church and others, maintaining a campaign of innocence for decades until his final guilty plea only weeks ago. Since that plea was made processes in the Church have begun to initiate formal internal disciplinary procedures against Peter Ball.
Operation Dunhill began as a direct result of the safeguarding officer at Lambeth Palace raising concerns about Peter Ball following a church initiated review of files. The approach to the police was a proactive step on the part of the national Church leading to a self-initiated referral via CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre) to Sussex Police in 2012. This led to active co-working between Lambeth Palace, the Diocese of Chichester and Sussex Police on a complex enquiry with full information sharing. We pay tribute to those detectives whose work on this case over the past three years has led to this conviction and sentencing.
Since Peter Ball’s guilty plea on 8th of September this year questions have been raised about the Church’s handling of this case. As a result the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has commissioned an independent review of the way the Church responded.
The independent review will examine the Church of England’s cooperation with the police and other statutory agencies and the extent to which it shared information in a timely manner. It will also assess the extent to which the Church both properly assessed the possible risk that Bishop Ball might pose to others and responded adequately to concerns and representations submitted by survivors.
Further information about the arrangements for the review will be available in due course. The Archbishop has confirmed that the report of the review will include a detailed account of how the case was handled within the church and will be published.
The Church of England always takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. To this end we have robust procedures and policies in place. But we can never be complacent. Any survivors or those with information about church-related abuse must always feel free to come forward with confidence that safeguarding procedures will be followed.
Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.”
Paul Butler, lead Bishop on safeguarding for the Church of England
You can listen to Bishop Paul Butler responding to the Peter Ball case by following this link.
Nicola Harley The Telegraph Peter Ball: Ex-bishop jailed for 32 months for exploiting young priests for sex
Sandra Laville The Guardian Bishop escaped abuse charges after MPs and a royal intervened, court told
Press Association in The Guardian Sexual abuse victims of Peter Ball sue Church of England
Tim Wyatt Church Times Prison for Bishop Peter Ball, but victims still seek justice
Comments are closed for this article.
We reported on the Peter Ball case on 8 September: Peter Ball pleads guilty.
Since we published that article, this appeared on 13 September: Bishop Ball sex charges caution ‘wrong’ admits CPS.
Today, the Archbishop of Canterbury has announced an independent review of the way the Church of England responded to that case.
Press Release text is here.
Archbishop Commissions Independent Review of Peter Ball Case
05 October 2015
For Immediate Release
Archbishop Commissions Review of Peter Ball Case
The Archbishop of Canterbury has today commissioned an independent review of the way the Church of England responded to the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester.
During a hearing at the Central Criminal Court on September 8th of this year Bishop Peter Ball pleaded guilty to two charges of indecent assault and one charge of misconduct in public office following the work of Sussex police as part of Operation Dunhill.
Operation Dunhill began as a direct result of the safeguarding officer at Lambeth Palace raising concerns about Peter Ball following a church initiated review of files. The approach to the police was a proactive step on the part of the national Church leading to a self-initiated referral via CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre) to Sussex Police in 2012. This led to active co-working between the Church and Sussex Police on a complex enquiry with full information sharing.
Since Peter Ball’s guilty plea questions have been raised about the Church’s handling of this case. As a result the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has today commissioned an independent review of the way the Church responded.
The independent review will examine the Church of England’s cooperation with the police and other statutory agencies and the extent to which it shared information in a timely manner, identifying both good practice and shortcomings alike. It will also assess the extent to which the Church both properly assessed the possible risk that Bishop Ball might pose to others and responded adequately to concerns and representations submitted by survivors.
Further information about the arrangements for the review will be available in due course. The Archbishop has confirmed that the report of the review will include a detailed account of how the case was handled within the church and will be published.
Comments are closed for this article.
Church must be “vision-led not problem-led”, says Bishop Richard Chartres in the third of the Lambeth Lectures series.
The sermon preached by the Bishop of Chelmsford at the consecration of three new suffragan bishops in St Paul’s Cathedral on 29 September has received some attention in the media. The official press release about it is here.
Ruth Gledhill has written a news article about it in Christianity Today which is titled ‘Good Lord, deliver us from successful bishops’: A call for authentic church leadership.
The Archbishop Cranmer blog has BISHOP OF CHELMSFORD REPUDIATES EPISCOPAL “TALENT POOL”
The full text is available here.
The key passage reads:
So – a new line for the litany - Good Lord deliver us from successful bishops, from too well prepared or even too well organised bishops, from ready answer in the back pocket and PowerPoint strategy self-sufficient, all efficient bishops. Take us to those high places, places of perspective and reality, where we and all our schemes are set on fire, which, paradoxically for us, are also those places where life is raw, and pain and darkness requisite. Take us to the heights of prayer, to the depths of the scriptures, to the bottom step before the altar, to a places of silent waiting where, with mitres off and staffs laid down, we will be replenished and know our need of God, and there be renewed and strengthened for the things that lie ahead as bishops of God’s church – messengers, sentinels and pastors.
The Bishop of Chelmsford has published this letter, responding to some of the comments made about his sermon.
My sermon at the recent consecration of three new bishops at St Paul’s Cathedral has caused a bit of a stir.
Some have said that it was a riposte or rebuke to certain initiatives taking place in the Church of England around leadership development. This was never meant to be the case.
The intention of the sermon was to reconfirm the perspective of all our initiatives and all our plans and remind us of the calling of the bishop as messenger, sentinel and pastor, and at the same time enable us to smile at ourselves…
The new Bishop of Maidstone, Rod Thomas, now has a website, with quite a lot of information about his role.
Here it is: http://www.bishopofmaidstone.org/
Earlier this month, The Council of Bishops of the Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda (SSWSH) published a statement Communion and Catholicity in the Church of England: A Statement of Principles.
Today the Council has published the promised second statement A Catholic Life in the Church of England: A Statement of Policy and Pastoral Guidance.
You can download the full text of the new statement here.
In the Society’s own words:
This statement by the Council of Bishops of The Society, issued in September 2015:
- considers the relationship of parishes to the bishops of The Society and, through them, to its other parishes;
- explains the criteria that the bishops follow in deciding whether to commend the ministry of bishops and priests, for the purpose of sacramental assurance;
- explains the rationale for registering Priests, Deacons and Ordinands of The Society;
sets out the bishops’ policy with regard to ordination;
- considers what living in the highest degree of communion that principle and conscience will allow should mean in practice;
- offers pastoral guidance on receiving Holy Communion and on concelebration.
The bishops call for openness to the Spirit, and for decisions to be taken ‘according to conscience and principle, and remembering the primacy of charity in the Church’.
There is also a leaflet titled Communion and Full Communion, based upon both statements, and available here.
The main press release about this is over here. The full text is copied below the fold.
The Council of Bishops of The Society today calls on catholic Anglicans to increase their participation in the life of their diocese and the wider Church of England. They comment, “Such participation… will be an expression of the love (charity) that is an essential characteristic of the communion that flows from our common baptism.”
In their statement of policy and pastoral guidance, entitled “A Catholic Life in the Church of England”, they also indicate how the principles set out in their earlier statement “Communion and Catholicity in the Church of England” need to be applied in practice. They show how The Society offers sacramental assurance.
The bishops once again reject any so-called “theology of taint” (whereby a bishop who ordains women as bishops or priests thereby invalidates his own orders and the orders of those whom he subsequently ordains). They explain and endorse the aspiration of ordinands to be ordained by a bishop with whom they are in full communion (because they are able to receive the ministry of all whom that bishop ordains).
The bishops affirm that holy communion is normally received within a context of full communion, but recognize that there can be occasions when it is appropriate (though none should be compelled) for the clergy and people who look to them to receive communion from validly ordained bishops and priests who do not belong to The Society.
The Chairman of the Council of Bishops, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson (Bishop of Wakefield), said, “These statements are the fruit of prayerful reflection and of consultation with our clergy and people. We offer them to those who look to us for teaching and pastoral guidance, and also to all with whom we share the life of the Church of England. We hope that they will be studied carefully and prayerfully, and that any responses to them will reflect the spirit in which they are offered.”
The timetable for the November meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England is now available for download, and is copied below.
GENERAL SYNOD NOVEMBER 2015 TIMETABLE
Monday 23 November
Induction of new and returning members
Tuesday 24 November
am Inauguration of the Synod
2.45 pm – 7.15 pm
2.45 pm Prayers, welcomes
Presidential Address: Archbishop of Canterbury
Business Committee Report
Introduction to Synod Worship by the Chaplain to the General Synod
Reform and Renewal Presentation followed by a Question and Answer session
*5.40 pm Questions
Wednesday 25 November
9.30 am – 1pm
9.30 am Morning Worship
Presentation by the Archbishop of York on Global Warming
Debate on a motion moved by a member of the House of Bishops on the Migrant Crisis
*11.30 am Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order
Presentation from the Mission and Public Affairs Council on research on “Public Perceptions of Jesus”
2.30 pm – 4.30 pm
2.30 pm Debate on a Report from Church Buildings Review Group
*4.00 pm Farewell
4.30 pm Prorogation
4.45 pm (or 15 minutes after the prorogation if business is completed earlier):
Meeting of the House of Laity
*=not later than
All the lists of candidates for General Synod for the diocesan constituencies, and their election addresses, are now available. There are links to all of them on my website.
Ian Paul has taken a look at the gender balance (or lack of it) of the candidates: Synod, representation and gender.
Tim Wyatt and Hattie Williams have also been looking at this for Church Times: Male candidates outnumber female in Synod elections.
Christine Hardman’s election as the next Bishop of Newcastle was confirmed last night (22 September) at a service in York Minster. She will be consecrated in York Minster on 30 November.
Christine now moves to the top of the list of diocesan bishops waiting for a place in the House of Lords. She will take the place of the next Lord Spiritual to retire, but will not have long to wait as the Bishop of Lichfield retires next week. A date for Christine’s introduction to the Lords has yet to be announced.
Rachel Treweek, the Bishop of Gloucester, will be introduced into the House of Lords on Monday 26 October at 2.30pm. David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK notes that the Parliamentary web site refers to her as the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, rather than the Lady Bishop [emphasis added].
An online petition was launched on 7 September calling on the Bishop of Sodor and Man to resign: Bishop Stop the Bullying!. The petition is now closed with 194 signatures.
The Manx media picked up the story earlier this week.
John Turner Isle of Man Today Online petition calls for Isle of Man’s Bishop and Archdeacon to resign
Manx Radio Petition calls for bishop’s resignation
It is also reported that the bishop had a heart attack on Monday, although he appears to be well on the way to recovery.
Adrian Darbyshire Isle of Man Today Bishop recovering from heart attack
Isle of Man Today Bishop speaks to iomtoday about heart attack ordeal
The nomination period for this year’s elections to General Synod has closed. Dioceses are now required to post candidates’ election addresses on their websites before sending out voting papers. Some of these have already appeared, and the remainder should be available by the end of the week. I am compiling a list of links to all the addresses, which you can find here. I will update this during the coming week. So far as I am aware there is no similar requirement for the special constituencies.
I am also compiling a list of the members of the new synod here. Apart from ex officio members a few people have already been elected unopposed.
Additions and corrections to either list can be emailed to me here.
The Council of Bishops of the Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda (SSWSH) has published a document entitled ‘Communion and Catholicity in the Church of England: A Statement of Principles’.
It appears in the September issue of New Directions and is also available on the Society website here.
According to the SSWSH website:
The statement explains
- the nature of communion;
- The Society’s aspiration to be an expression of full, visible communion;
- the communion that the parishes and people of The Society continue to share with other members of the Church of England.
It reflects on the vocation of catholic Christians in the Church of England.
The Chairman of the Council of Bishops, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson (Bishop of Wakefield), has commented:
“This teaching document is our contribution to shaping understanding and custom that will engender greater trust in our position. We believe, humbly and with hope and trust for the future, that the tradition of Anglican identity exemplified by The Society has a distinctive contribution to make to our common life in the Church of England and to its mission.”
This statement will be accompanied by a second statement focusing on the practical application of these principles, which will be published in the October issue of New Directions.
The Church of England issued this press release today.
Statement on conviction of Bishop Peter Ball
08 September 2015
Statement from the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, lead bishop on safeguarding
“Following a hearing at the Central Criminal Court today Bishop Peter Ball has pleaded guilty to two charges of indecent assault and one charge of misconduct in public office.
We offer an unreserved apology to all the survivors and those affected by this news. We commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.
We are aware that two individuals will not have the opportunity to have their case heard in criminal court following the plea agreement.
Peter Ball was charged with the offences following his arrest in November 2012 and as a Church we have provided full co-operation with the police throughout their investigation.
The Church of England always takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. To this end we have robust procedures and policies in place. But we can never be complacent. Any survivors or those with information about church-related abuse must always feel free to come forward knowing that they will be listened to in confidence.
Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.”
Sussex Police statement
Comments are closed for this article.
Press release from Number 10
Suffragan Bishop of Grantham: Nicholas Alan Chamberlain
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 8 September 2015
The Queen has approved the nomination of Reverend Nicholas Chamberlain to the Suffragan See of Grantham in the diocese of Lincoln.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Nicholas Alan Chamberlain MA PhD, Vicar of St George and St Hilda, Jesmond, in the diocese of Newcastle, to the Suffragan See of Grantham in the diocese of Lincoln in succession to the Right Reverend Timothy Ellis AKC PhD on his resignation on 26 September 2013.
Notes for editors
Dr Chamberlain was educated at St Chad’s College, Durham, and trained for the ministry at Edinburgh Theological College.
He served his title at St Mary’s, Cockerton, in the diocese of Durham from 1991 and was ordained priest in 1992. He went on to serve as curate at St Clare’s, Newton Aycliffe in 1994 before becoming Team Vicar there in 1995, continuing to serve in this role when it became the Great Aycliffe Team Ministry.
In 1998 he took up the post of Officer for Continuing Ministerial Education and Post Ordination Training in the Diocese of Durham as well as serving as Priest in Charge of St Barnabas, Burnmoor. He took up his current post of Vicar of St George and St Hilda, Newcastle upon Tyne, in the diocese of Newcastle in 2006.
His interests include music, reading, running and cycling.
The Lincoln diocesan website has New Bishop of Grantham Announced.
A letter signed by over 20 faith leaders has been published in the Observer newspaper today. See the press release copied here, and the full text of the letter is copied below the fold.
The newspaper also carries a lengthy article by Archbishop Justin Welby, Why I believe assisting people to die would dehumanise our society for ever.
The Observer’s front page news report of all this: Welby urges MPs: reject right-to-die bill that ‘crosses the Rubicon’ and the newspaper’s own editorial view (to support the bill) is here.
Faith leaders join to oppose Assisted Dying Bill
06 September 2015
Vulnerable people would be placed at risk should Parliament approve proposals to legalise assisted suicide, leaders of faith communities in Britain warn today in a letter to MPs.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis have joined more than 20 other faith leaders in signing a letter to MPs highlighting the dangers of the Assisted Dying no 2 Bill.
The Private Member’s Bill proposes legalising assisted suicide for terminally ill people with six months or less to live and will be debated on Friday September 11 in the House of Commons.
In their letter, the faith leaders warn that the Bill has the potential to affect the lives of a ‘great number” of people whose circumstances make them vulnerable in different ways.
“If passed, it will directly affect not only those who are terminally ill and who wish to end their lives, but also their families and friends and the health professionals who care for them,” they say in the letter.
“It also has the potential to have a significant impact on other vulnerable individuals: those who believe that they have become burdens to family and carers and feel under pressure within themselves to ‘do the decent thing’ and, tragically, those who might be pressured by others to seek a medically-assisted death.
“In the UK some 500,000 elderly people are abused each year, most by family members, often for financial reasons. Many of these would also be vulnerable to pressure to end their lives prematurely.”
For very many people, the natural processes of dying, along with good palliative care, enable them and their families to experience precious moments of love, care, reconciliation and hope - processes that ought not to be cut short, the faith leaders write.
The best response to individuals’ end of life concerns lies in ensuring that all receive compassionate, high quality palliative care and this is best pursued under current legislation.
“Sadly, there are still instances of painful or distressing death, though due to advances in palliative care, these are much less common than was once the case,” they say.
“For very many people, however, the natural processes of dying, allied with good palliative care, enable them and their families to experience precious moments of love, care, reconciliation and even hope; processes that ought not to be truncated. For many, a change in the law would result, not in greater comfort, but in an added burden to consider ending their lives prematurely; a burden they ought not to be asked to bear.
“We believe that the best response to individuals’ end of life concerns lies in ensuring that all receive compassionate, high-quality palliative care and that this is best pursued under current legislation. A law based on this Assisted Dying Bill would put at risk many more vulnerable people than it seeks to help.”
Here is the full text of the letter and list of signatories
Assisted Dying Bill, 11th September 2015
To all Members of Parliament,
As leaders of faith communities, we wish to express concern at the provisions of the Assisted Dying No. 2 Bill, currently in the House of Commons. In doing so, we are conscious that the bill touches deeply on some of the most difficult and testing circumstances that people may face.
While much could be said on the legal and ethical implications of the bill, our focus in writing is pastoral. In our communities and through healthcare chaplaincy we care daily for the elderly, the ill, the dying and their families; our concern is rooted in a profoundly human and profoundly sacred calling to care for the most vulnerable in our society, a concern shared by people of all faiths and of none.
The bill has the potential to affect the lives of a great number of people whose circumstances make them vulnerable in different ways. If passed, it will directly affect not only those who are terminally ill and who wish to end their lives, but also their families and friends and the health professionals who care for them. It also has the potential to have a significant impact on other vulnerable individuals: those who believe that they have become burdens to family and carers and feel under pressure within themselves to ‘do the decent thing’ and, tragically, those who might be pressured by others to seek a medically-assisted death. In the UK some 500,000 elderly people are abused each year, most by family members, often for financial reasons. Many of these would also be vulnerable to pressure to end their lives prematurely.
It may not be possible fully to meet the needs and aspirations of all those who in various ways are vulnerable, but we are convinced that the current law, alongside the published policy for prosecutors, provides much greater protection for the vulnerable than would legislation based on this bill.
Sadly, there are still instances of painful or distressing death, though due to advances in palliative care, these are much less common than was once the case. For very many people, however, the natural processes of dying, allied with good palliative care, enable them and their families to experience precious moments of love, care, reconciliation and even hope; processes that ought not to be truncated. For many, a change in the law would result, not in greater comfort, but in an added burden to consider ending their lives prematurely; a burden they ought not to be asked to bear.
We believe that the best response to individuals’ end of life concerns lies in ensuring that all receive compassionate, high-quality palliative care and that this is best pursued under current legislation. A law based on this Assisted Dying Bill would put at risk many more vulnerable people than it seeks to help.
Most Revd and Rt. Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
Full list of signatories:
Commissioner Clive Adams, Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army, UK and Republic of Ireland
Reverend Yemi Adedeji, Director, One People Commission
Mr Yousif Al-Khoei, Director Al-Khoei Foundation
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church, United Kingdom
Stuart Blount, National Leadership Team, Elim Pentecostal Churches
Revd Lyndon Bowring, Executive Chairman, CARE (Christian Action, Research and Education)
Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance
Revd David Coffey OBE, Baptist Missionary Society Global Ambassador
Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe
Rev Trevor Howard, UK Coordinator, Churches in Communities International
Billy Kennedy, Leader of Pioneer & CTE President
Rev Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader, Baptist Union of Great Britain.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
Rev Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator
Rev John Partington, National Leader, Assemblies of God GB
Revd Gareth Powell, Secretary of the Methodist Conference
Mohammad Shahid Raza OBE, Founder Trustee, British Muslim Forum and Head Imam, Leicester Central Mosque.
Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General, The Muslim Council of Britain
Dr Natubhai Shah, Chair/CEO Jain Network
Lord Singh of Wimbledon, Director, Network of Sikh Organisations UK
Bhai Sahib Bhai (Dr) Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha
Most Revd and Rt. Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Updated again Tuesday morning
There have been a few statements about the refugee crisis from Church of England bishops:
The Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop of Canterbury on the refugee crisis
The Bishop of Ely Bishop of Ely statement on Syrian refugee crisis
The Bishop of Leeds Refugee crisis in Europe
The bishops of the Chelmsford diocese Churches pledge to welcome refugees in partnership with communities
The Bishop of Manchester A prayer for the refugee crisis
(Bishop Walker wrote about this topic for the Guardian back in April: Bishop of Manchester: I want leaders who look on migrants with compassion.)
The bishops of West Yorkshire and The Dales The refugee crisis – a message from our Bishops
The Archbishop of York Seeking Sanctuary
There is a list of other not-so-recent responses here.
And also this list from around the Anglican Communion.
The Bishops of the Church in Wales have issued this joint statement: Bishops call on churches to help refugees
Please do let us know, via the comments, of any other statements.
Press release from Number 10
Bishop of Newcastle: Christine Hardman
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 2 September 2015
The Venerable Christine Hardman is appointed as Her Majesty’s Bishop in the diocese of Newcastle.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Christine Hardman BSc (Econ), M.Th, formerly Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich and now Honorary Assistant Priest in the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie Southwark, for election as Bishop of Newcastle in succession to the Right Reverend Martin Wharton, BA, on his resignation on 30th November 2014.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Christine Hardman, aged 64, holds a B.Sc (Econ) from the University of London and trained for the ministry on the St Albans Ministerial Training Scheme. She later studied for an M.Th. in Applied Theology from the University of Oxford. She was ordained Deacon in 1987 and served her title at St John the Baptist, Markyate Street in the diocese of St Albans. She took up the role of Course Director on the St Albans Ministerial Training Scheme in 1988 and was appointed Director of Mission Studies in 1991.
Christine was ordained Priest in 1994 and became Vicar of Holy Trinity and Christ the King, Stevenage in 1996 and also Rural Dean of Stevenage in 1999. She took up the role of Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich in 2001 in the Diocese of Southwark and retired from this office in 2012. Christine is married to Roger and they have 2 adult daughters, Elinor and Isabel.
Her interests include making connections between the worlds of economics and Christian faith, theatre, being in the mountains and cycling (especially bike tours in other countries and cultures).
The Newcastle diocesan website has Christine Hardman to be Twelfth Bishop of Newcastle.
Tim Wyatt Church Times Christine Hardman named as C of E’s next woman bishop
The Eastern Region Ministry Course, the successor organisation to the St Albans Ministerial Training Scheme, has issued the statement below the fold.
PRESS RELEASE from the Eastern Region Ministry Course
APPOINTMENT OF VEN. CHRISTINE HARDMAN AS BISHOP OF NEWCASTLE
The Eastern Region Ministry Course (ERMC) sends its congratulations to Christine Hardman on the announcement that she is to be the next Bishop of Newcastle. Christine trained for ordination on the St Albans Ministry Course which was a predecessor of ERMC and was later a staff member on the course, helping it to evolve into the St Albans and Oxford Ministry Course.
Acting Principal, the Rev’d Emma Rothwell said:
“It is a sincere joy to send our warmest congratulations to Christine as she prepares to take up her role as Bishop of Newcastle. I was delighted to read that Christine trained with the St Albans Ministry Course, which is now allied with ERMC. The capacity of students on courses to inhabit a theologically rich way of being, as they connect their training to other areas of life and professional experience is immeasurable and underrated in terms of mission and relating with the wider culture we live in. Our prayers and thoughts go with Christine as she continues her learning, taking up a ministry in the rich and diverse area of Newcastle.”
Acting Vice-Principal Charles Read added:
“I am delighted that Christine is to be the first diocesan bishop who trained on a course. She is a person of great experience both before and after ordination and someone who connects theology and life in deep and natural ways.”
Optimising the role of the National Church Institutions (GS Misc 1094) was issued in January 2015 by the Joint Employment and Common Services Board of the National Church Institutions of the Church of England. Amongst other recommendations it proposed a new enabling measure that would simplify the process for amending existing church legislation.
The Archbishops’ Council subsequently issued a consultation document on this proposal (A Simpler Way of Reforming Church Legislation GS Misc 1103) in April; responses were required by the end of last month.
One response was this from the Ecclesiastical Law Society (ELS): Reforming Church Legislation: A Response by a Working Party of the Ecclesiastical Law Society to the Archbishops’ Council’s Consultation Document, GS Misc 1103.
Last week Ruth Gledhill wrote about this for Christian Today under the headline Senior lawyers launch devastating critique on church law reform plans.
David Pocklington has now written a rather more considered article on the ELS response for Law & Religion UK, which I commend to readers: “Henry VIII powers” for the bishops?
Updated Thursday and Friday
Cathedrals in England welcome over 10 million annually
19 August 2015
More than 10 million people visited Cathedrals in England in 2014, according to new figures published today in the Church of England’s Cathedral Research and Statistics report. Research shows that the highest motivating factors for Cathedral attendance were peace and contemplation, worship and music and friendly atmosphere.*
In 2014 the average number of adults and children attending Cathedral services each week was 36,000. This has increased by more than a fifth in the last decade. The three regions showing the strongest growth are Yorkshire and the Humber, London and the South East. Key aspects of growth that have been identified were creating a sense of community, quality of worship, service, preaching and music, exploring new patterns of service, spiritual openness and emphasis on families and young people.
Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics at the Archbishops Council, said: “Over the last decade we have seen growth in both visitors and worship at Cathedrals. Cathedral promotes spiritual openness, inclusivity and diversity in membership and outreach. Christmas and Easter are particularly busy times but we have also seen the increase of adult and child mid-week attendance. Cathedrals continue to play an important role in religious life, education and music.”
The number of young people attending educational events at cathedrals increased by nearly 14% between 2004 and 2014. At the centre of cathedral life is the daily offering of worship and praise. 4000 child and adult choristers were involved in providing traditional choral music in 2014, half as volunteers. Indeed over the last ten years the number of volunteers supporting the mission and ministry of cathedrals has risen to 15,200.
The Very Reverend Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle,said: “One of the things we’ve done is to try to respond to the number of tourists and visitors. We’ve developed a chaplaincy scheme so as well as having welcomers to help people who want to come and explore we can articulate clearly the spiritual dimension of the cathedral and we have found that’s been enormously appreciated.
St Nicholas has also developed to meet the needs of the night time economy and for several years has hosted the street pastors scheme in the cathedral and outside to care for the vulnerable members of the night time economy and people who need pastoral care. The cathedral has introduced a night church model and from time to time is open on Friday nights to enable people to come and find stillness, peace and spiritual exploration in an informal context. Two to three hundred people have been attending a late night compline service.
The Dean continued: “What people have really discovered is that when they drop in to worship or visit they find a community that is welcoming, open and inclusive. I think that’s one of the things that’s been really significant in cathedral growth in every respect: in worship, developing groups and responding to the needs of the community. It’s the fact that permission is offered for anyone to come whenever and for whatever purpose but that there is an opportunity to engage at a deeper level.”
“A place of peace to worship and pray after a busy day at work.” From Anecdote to Evidence - Findings from the Church Growth Research Programme.
Read Reverend Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle blog ‘Open All Hours’ here.
Listen to Revered Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle, interview here.
View the Cathedral Research and Statistics Report here.
John Bingham The Telegraph Cathedrals booming thanks to ‘late night shopping’ tactics
Katherine Backler The Tablet Church of England reports 10 million visitors to English cathedrals last year
Aaron James Premier 10 million visited cathedrals in 2014
Tim Wyatt Church Times Cathedrals enjoy increased growth in visitors and worshippers
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Cathedral attendance falls for first time in 7 years
David Pocklington writing at Law & Religion UK has published an article about the Jeremy Timm case.
The title is Readers, pastoral guidance and canon law.
He summarises the ecclesiastical law position thus:
…Section C of the Church’s Canons – Ministers, their ordination, functions and charge, concerns the three orders of ministry in the Pastoral Guidance, whereas Section E – The lay officers of the church, deals with churchwardens and their assistants, lay works, parish clerks and readers. Readers and other lay officers of the church are not addressed in the Pastoral Guidance and are not subject to the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, as amended. Nevertheless, Mark Hill’s Ecclesiastical Law suggests,[3.67], that: “®eaders fall into a different category from other lay officers, since they are not elected or employed but admitted and licensed by the bishop to perform ministry in the church”. Their ministry role is summarized as:
“Readers are lay people, called by God, trained and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work,”
and, prior to admission as a reader, must make a Declaration of Assent and canonical obedience to the bishop, [Canon E5 §4]. No one admitted to the office of a reader may exercise that office without the permission of the bishop, either through a Licence or Permission to Officiate, [Canon E6 §1]. The revocation of a licence is subject to the procedure in Canon E6 §3, but there is no legal requirement to provide notice to terminate a PTO or an appeal process…
The Rt Reverend Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, who is Chair of the Central Readers’ Council of the Church of England, was also interviewed. The BBC summary:
Jeremy Timm, a Reader in the Church of England, will have his preaching licence revoked by the Archbishop of York after choosing to marry his same-sex partner next month. Kevin Bocquet spoke to him about his decision, and Bishop Robert Paterson, Chair of the Central Readers’ Council, addresses the Church’s management of the issue.
The item starts about 21 minutes into the programme, which can be found from this page.
The Church Times has Reader ‘faced with choosing between marriage or ministry’
Updated (Thursday evening): the Church Times story has a new headline and location: Reader to lose Permission to Officiate over marriage plans
James Little, Team Rector of Howden Team Ministry, has published the following statement on Facebook
The CT asked me to comment as Jeremy’s Team Rector but didn’t include what I wrote, so here it is—
The Howden Team Ministry is a group of typically rural churches centred on Howden Minster in the East Riding of Yorkshire. We strive to be open, inclusive and welcoming to all and engaged with the communities we serve. The folk around here have known Jeremy since he was a lad and he is a popular and well-respected member of our ministry team. The removal of Jeremy’s PTO (for taking an entirely legal step) runs contrary to the message of welcome we proclaim.
I rejoiced when Bishop Alison was appointed as our new bishop for the East Riding and I applaud Archbishop Sentamu’s leadership in bringing this about. I was delighted to attend her consecration and her welcome service last month, seeing this as a great step forward on the road to equality, long overdue. However, I am saddened that our archbishop’s profound commitment to equality does not extend to the LGBTI community. I believe that the full involvement of women AND the full involvement of LGBTI Christians in the Church of England are, essentially, the same issue. All are one in Jesus Christ.
The Churchwardens are sufficiently concerned to take the unusual step of convening a meeting for later this week, to which I have been invited.
Jeremy will continue to have my full support.
The Telegraph also reports the story Gay Anglican preacher forced to ‘choose between marriage or ministry’
Jeremy Timm, National Coordinator at Changing Attitude, is to have his ‘Permission to Officiate’ withdrawn by the Archbishop of York. Jeremy writes that:
Following a meeting with the Archbishop on July 17th, I have been living with an ultimatum which I was then presented with. I have been in a civil partnership with Mike, since 2009, and we have been discussing commuting this to marriage for some time. I was told that although my ministry was much valued, if we change our status to being married then my PTO would be withdrawn with immediate effect. I was faced with choosing between marriage or ministry. …
I pointed out that if he were to withdraw my PTO then I would feel I had little choice but to continue my journey of faith outside the Church of England as all those things I explore with the churches such as welcome, encouragement, the recognition of gifts and ministries, growth and potential suddenly have no real meaning for me.
Jeremy’s full statement is published by Changing Attitude here.
Report from Independent Reviewer on All Saints, Cheltenham
10 August 2015
As part of the settlement by which the Church of England agreed to the ordination of women as bishops in 2014, it agreed to an ombudsman-style procedure by which those with concerns about the operation of the new arrangements could appeal to an Independent Reviewer.
In October last year the Archbishops of Canterbury and York appointed Sir Philip Mawer as the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration.
Sir Philip’s report on All Saints, Cheltenham is published today.
Further details on the work of the Independent Reviewer can be found here.
This report considers the “licensing of the Revd Angela Smith as an “Associate Priest in the North Cheltenham Team” despite the fact that the Team Benefice included the Parish of All Saints where, by virtue of paragraph 43 of the House of Bishops’ Declaration, the PCC was to be treated as having passed a Resolution under paragraph 20 of the Declaration”.
Forward in Faith has issued this statement.
David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK writes about this second report.
Various people in the Church of England have criticised the government’s latest proposals to change the Sunday trading laws in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate laws).
Here is the actual consultation document, a 21 page pdf file.
And here is a helpful explanation of it from David Pocklington: Consultation – Sunday Trading.
See these news reports:
And see these blog articles:
Also this: Michael Nazir-Ali Sunday shopping risks depriving us of something precious
All of which has led the government to write to the bishops: Church told: Back Sunday shopping to save the high street.
Earlier this month, Bryony Gordon wrote this in the Telegraph Sunday opening won’t destroy the Church - but the Church might destroy itself.
The Bishop of Ely has said that “The delivery of new training programmes for senior leaders in the Church of England is already bearing fruit.” Details are in this blog by the bishop and in this press release.
New leadership training already showing “first fruits” in Church of England
04 August 2015
The delivery of new training programmes for senior leaders in the Church of England is already bearing fruit, according to the senior bishop overseeing the programme.
Writing in the first of a series of blogs reflecting on Leadership and Development training, Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, who chairs the Development and Appointments Group of the House of Bishops, said that feedback from those having attended the courses “has been extremely positive and we feel blessed for the fruits it is already bearing.”
The first leadership programme for cathedral deans and leaders of greater churches held in March at Judge Business School in Cambridge, included remarks by one participant who observed that it had been “by a country mile, the most impressive course I have under taken in over 30 years of ordained ministry”. Another said, “Overall this has been an outstanding week, both in content and shape. Of course, there has been much value in conversations, etc., but the stand-out feature has been the sessions, with speakers of very high quality, genuinely addressing core issues for this very specific audience”.
As a result of the positive feedback, a repeat of the programme next year has been requested for those unable to attend in March, whilst seminars on some of the key themes will be run in due course for members of the cathedral teams.
The new modular development programmes for bishops have also attracted encouraging feedback, Bishop Stephen said, with 18 bishops gathering at Leicester’s Cathedral Centre earlier this year for the first module with one bishop commenting that the first module was “probably the best piece of in-service training I’ve had since I was a Team Vicar in the 1980s”.
The first meeting of the new Learning Community in July, to help prepare those who might take on wider responsibilities in the future, has also received generous feedback with one participant reflecting on how the training would have an immediate impact on their parish ministry: “The models and insights offered were very helpful, but grounded in practice and in the reality of church, and the balance of presentation, reflection and group work was just right in my view… I haven’t been so enthused and inspired for a long time”.
The full text of Bishop Stephen’s blog is here and is copied below the fold.
We are making real progress in the journey to equip our senior leaders for the role and responsibilities to which they are called and to prepare those who might take on wider responsibility in the future. The first in a series of blogs sharing the first fruits of that endeavour
There was not enough time during the productive Synod debate on Leadership last month to share how the new leadership programmes are actually being received. In spite of the uneasiness that some have felt around the tone and style of this new departure, the reality has been extremely positive and we feel blessed for the fruits it is already bearing.
The months leading up to Synod had seen the first of the Leadership Programmes for Cathedral Deans. The 19 deans and 9 leaders of greater churches who attended the programme in March at the Judge Business School in Cambridge found great value in the learning experience: This has been, by a country mile, the most impressive course I have undertaken in over 30 years of ordained ministry, one observed. Fears that management speak would be untranslatable to the world of the Church and theology were unfounded. Another said, Overall this has been an outstanding week, both in content and shape. Of course, there has been much value in conversations, etc., but the stand-out feature has been the sessions, with speakers of very high quality, genuinely addressing core issues for this very specific audience.
Perhaps the best testament to the usefulness of the programme is the fact that many of those who did not sign up for the first session have requested that we repeat the programme in 2016; we will also in due course be running seminars on some of the key themes of the programme, for members of the Cathedral teams.
Soon after the Deans programme, eighteen bishops gathered in Leicesters Cathedral Centre for the new modular development programmes for bishops. After just one module, it is too early to gauge the impact of the learning but we are encouraged by the bishops sense of being helpfully disrupted in their thinking and finding that the programme had opened up whole vistas. We are heartened that the quality of the programmes was widely appreciated: Probably the best piece of in-service training I’ve had since I was a Team Vicar in the 1980’s.
It was then from Leicester to Lambeth for the launch of a new Learning Community of those discerned as having the gifts and the calling to move into wider responsibility in the future. Once again, we were encouraged by the gracious way in which those who were offered a place this time and those who werent found the process to be helpful and affirming. An inspirational first day of development on Organisational Leadership was welcomed by participants with further generous feedback: The models and insights offered were very helpful, but grounded in practice and in the reality of church, and the balance of presentation, reflection and group work was just right in my view I haven’t been so enthused and inspired for a long time. And, more starkly, it’s like finding water in a desert.
Such has been the appreciation from those undertaking their learning development journey that I’m reminded of Archbishop Justin’s reflection that without this provision we put unreasonable stress on those in positions of leadership, neglecting to love them as we are called to do.
In September the new Learning Community gathers in Canterbury for a residential module and a conversation with the Archbishop. The reading list for the group will include the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) report Senior Church Leadership A Resource for Reflection - I’ll look forward to updating you then. We look forward to welcoming new members as the community grows in the coming years.
Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely
Bishop Stephen chairs the Development and Appointments Group (DAG) of the House of Bishops, serving the continuing training and development of existing senior clergy and the nurture of future senior leaders.
Madeleine Davies reports in the Church Times on various statements made recently by Church of England bishops:
Bishops critical of Government over migrant crisis
Now replaced by Show more compassion to migrants, urge bishops
The article she mentions from the Observer quoting the Bishop of Dover, Trevor Willmott, is here: Church attacks David Cameron’s lack of compassion over asylum crisis.
Other recent commentators include:
The Guardian also has Inside the Calais migrants’ church – in pictures
First report from Independent Reviewer
31 July 2015
As part of the settlement by which the Church of England agreed to the ordination of women as bishops in 2014, it agreed to an ombudsman-style procedure by which those with concerns about the operation of the new arrangements could appeal to an Independent Reviewer.
In October last year the Archbishops of Canterbury and York appointed Sir Philip Mawer as the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration.
Sir Philip’s first Report is published today and can be read here.
Further details on the work of the Independent Reviewer can be found here.
The Church of England has released Finance Statistics 2013, containing information provided by parishes in their annual finance returns. They can be downloaded as a 25 page pdf document.
There is an accompanying press release.
Almost £1billion sets new record for Church of England parish giving
30 July 2015
Parish Churches across the country raised a record £953 million in 2013 to fund the mission and ministry of the Church of England according to statistics published today. Parishes raised these important funds from a combination of regular and one-off donations as well as investments and legacies.
Parishes have seen a combined increase in income of £24m over figures from 2012, and after total expenditure, which also decreased on 2012, saw a £33m surplus.
In addition to supporting the work of the Church at parish, diocesan and national level, Parishes have continued to give more than £46m to other organisations working around the world, from foodbanks and local children’s charities to international aid appeals.
Dr John Preston, the Church of England’s national stewardship adviser, said:
“With the latest financial statistics, we’ve seen average weekly giving rise in 2013 to our highest ever level. We rely on the generosity of our committed church members to support the mission and ministry of the Church. Post-downturn, people have really looked at what is important to them and found a sense of community and belonging within the Church.”
Average weekly giving per tax-efficient subscriber has continued to rise year on year with members giving on average £11.60 in 2013. Average weekly giving per church member rose to £7 in 2013, matching the peak level seen in 2009.The average ‘Church member’ contributed 3.3% of their income to the Church. with 2.9% to general funds, and a further 0.4% to special purpose funds.
The information in the Finance statistics document is collated from the annual parish returns, and is available here.
You can read a blog by John Preston on the latest statistics here.
The press release also includes some case studies.
Some earlier parish finance statistics are available here.
Everyone Counts is a diversity audit. A congregational survey was carried out in autumn 2014 in a sample of Church of England parishes with a particular focus on ethnicity, disability and locality. Background information is available here.
Key findings have now been published. Here are a few that I have picked at random.
If congregations in England were 100 people:
59 would be female
11 would be children aged 11 or younger
19 would be aged 76 or older
7 would be minority ethnic Anglicans
37 would have at least one health issue or disability (including 8 with mobility impairments and 3 with mental health conditions).
There are 6 adults in church to every 1 child or young person.
35% of churches are in rural hamlets and isolated areas, but only 1% of the population lives there.
There is a difference of about 18 years between the median age of minority ethnic and white British Anglicans (44 and 62 years).
The Church of England issued the following statement this evening (Friday 24 July):
Statement on ‘Everyone Counts’ survey
24 July 2015
In response to questions in correspondence and on social media over the choice of questions included in the “Everybody Counts” survey, Dr. Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics at the Archbishops Council said:
“The ‘Everybody Counts’ statistical exercise was carried out to build upon the Diversity Audit carried out in 2007. By carrying out further work in this area it was hoped to establish trends over time rather than one off snapshots of particular data.
The Diversity Audit originated from formal requests from members of CMEAC (The Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns) for a statistical picture of dioceses on ethnic diversity. In designing the latest survey our starting point was to replicate the 2007 data which did not include a question on sexual orientation. The national disability adviser for the Church had recognised that we did not have any information on people with disabilities which was why that added question appeared.
I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment raised by members of our congregations who feel that the lack of a question on sexual orientation meant that they are not a valued part of our church. I promise this was never the intention. I am entirely open to including additional questions in any further work.”
More information about Everyone Counts can be found at:
Rachel Treweek and Dame Sarah Mullally were consecrated as bishops by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a service today at Canterbury Cathedral.
Rachel Treweek will be enthroned as Bishop of Gloucester in Gloucester Cathedral on 19 September, the first women to be a diocesan bishop in the Church of England. She will also receive a writ of summons to sit in the House of Lords.
Dame Sarah Mullally will serve as the suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the diocese of Exeter, and will be welcomed at a service in Exeter Cathedral on 12 September.
Premier has a report and selection of pictures (including the picture shown above).
Gloucester diocese has a live text stream of the day with some pictures including a video clip
Exeter diocese has a story “Devon’s first woman bishop consecrated in Canterbury Cathedral”.
The 2010-2015 General Synod was dissolved on Monday 13 July 2015 immediately after it finished its July group of sessions in York. The election of a new Synod will take place over the summer and early autumn.
There is official information on the elections on this webpage including these papers.
The second of these includes this draft timetable for the diocesan elections.
1 Notification to electors of the election timetable to be followed in the diocese and issue of nomination papers - Not later than Tuesday 21st July
2 Notification of the validity of any nomination - As soon as any nomination is received
3 Closing date for nominations - Friday 4th September
4 Issue of voting papers - Friday 18th September
5 Closing date for return of voting papers - Friday 9th October
6 Day of the count - Monday 12th, Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th, or Thursday 15th October.
7 Names and addresses of those elected and result sheet to be sent to the diocesan bishop, the Clerk to the Synod, every candidate and to the Election Scrutineer. - Not later than the fourth working day after the date of the declaration of the result.
However dioceses have some discretion, so candidates and electors should check carefully what the dates are in their own diocese, particularly the closing dates for nominations and the return of voting papers.
The numbers of clergy (“proctors”) and laity to be elected by each diocese are contained in appendices A and B of GS 1975.
Changes to the rules since 2010 mean that dioceses must now publish all election addresses on the diocesan website before issuing the voting papers. After the election the the full return of the result and the result sheet (with voting figures) must also be posted on the website until the end of the first group of sessions of the new General Synod (ie 25 November 2015).
Three questions were asked about the workings of the Crown Nominations Commission, two of which were answered by the Archbishop of York. The Archbishop of Canterbury answered only this one (copied from the booklet):
Mr John Ward (London) to ask the Chair of the Crown Nominations Commission:
Q44. In the light of the answer the Archbishop of Canterbury gave to question 15 at the February group of sessions, and in particular his statement that when candidates are being considered for a particular See their teaching on a range of issues, including (by implication) human sexuality, is among the many considerations that may properly be taken into account when considering their relative merits for that appointment, can it be confirmed whether any guidance to that effect has been provided to the CNC and, if it has, will that guidance be published?
The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Chair of the Crown Nominations Commission:
A The current version of the guidance material provided to CNC members is something which accurately reflects what I said to the Synod in February. Like previous versions of the guidance it has been shared with the Crown Nominations Commission and Bishops who are making appointments to suffragan sees. I shall want to consult the House of Bishops on whether it should be made more widely available.
Two supplementary questions were put, and the following has been transcribed from the audio recording.
Mr John Ward:
I think what the chairman is saying is, that simply saying that the church’s teaching on human sexuality is wrong, is enough to prevent you from being appointed as a bishop. Given this is rather shocking doctrinal discrimination, and given that bishops who won’t ordain women cannot always be a focus for unity for everyone, but are very properly given a special place in the church, will you give a special place in the church for a bishop who thinks that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is double speak?
Archbishop of Canterbury:
I don’t accept your presupposition.
Mrs April Alexander:
If the effective requirement to be heterosexual is not in the person spec., what is the mechanism by which it can fairly emerge later in the process?
Archbishop of Canterbury:
I’m sorry, could you… I don’t understand the question.
[Question repeated with addition of three words “for the post” after “spec.”]
Yes Mrs Alexander, I heard the words, I don’t understand the question.
The following day, during another debate, the Archbishop of Canterbury said this (also transcribed from the audio recording, and not fully included in the version of his intervention published on his website):
…Let me just say, given a couple of the questions that came up last night, which I handled badly, for which I apologise to the questioners and also to the synod, that we are committed to nurturing the vocation across the whole of God’s people, regardless of sexuality, and regardless of lay or ordained…
In Safeguarding, the C of E and deposition from orders Frank Cranmer of Law & Religion UK summarises the contents of the new legislative package, and looks at what deposition (“defrocking”) actually means.
This question on the possible restoration of the canonical penalty of deposition from Holy Orders was asked at General Synod on Friday evening.
The Revd Neil Patterson (Hereford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q74. Following the concerns expressed by MACSAS and others about clergy convicted of serious offences continuing to maintain their clerical style and dress, will the House of Bishops consider bringing forward proposals to restore the canonical penalty of deposition from Holy Orders, in order that the Church may more clearly repudiate from its ministry those who have seriously betrayed the trust placed in them?
The Bishop of Durham to reply on behalf of the Chair:
A There are two issues here. Firstly, with regard to the wearing of clerical dress- including clerical collars- taking power to prevent prohibited clergy from wearing clerical dress would be problematic, not least since it would be unenforceable in practice. With regard to exercising ministry, prohibition for life already exists as the most severe penalty under the Clergy Discipline Measure and may be invoked in the case of serious safeguarding offences. When the draft Clergy Discipline Measure was being considered in 2000 the Synod decided not to include deposition in the range of penalties available under the Measure.
I intend to invite the House of Bishops to reconsider whether that decision was wise but amending the CDM to allow deposition would require a Measure, so change would take some considerable time.
The question was not reached in the available time, so no supplementary questions were possible, although as with all questions now the answer was published in advance.
Press reports include:
Steve Doughty Daily Mail Church of England brings back powers to defrock vicars guilty of sex abuse and other crimes
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England could return to defrocking rogue priests after child abuse scandals
The first report appears to confuse “The House of Bishops will be asked to think about doing it” with “It will be done”.
Order paper 5 lists the day’s business.
In the morning Synod debated climate change and passed this motion:
That this Synod, believing that God’s creation is holy, that we are called to protect the earth now and for the future, and that climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest, and welcoming the convergence of ecumenical partners and faith communities in demanding that the nations of the world urgently seek to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2 ̊C, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun:
(a) urge all governments at the COP 21 meeting in Paris to agree long term pathways to a low carbon future, supported by meaningful short to medium term national emissions pledges from all major carbon emitting nations;
(b) endorse the World Bank’s call for the ending of fossil fuel subsidies and the redirection of those resources into renewable energy options
(c) encourage the redirection of resources into other lower carbon energy options;
(d) request the Environment Working Group to develop Shrinking the Footprint to enable the whole Church to address the issue of climate change, and to develop and promote new ‘ecotheological resources’, as proposed by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network in February 2015;
(e) request the Ministry Division to hear the call of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network bishops for programmes of ministerial formation and in-servicetraining to include components on eco-justice and ecotheology; and
(f) encourage parishes and dioceses to draw attention to the initiative supported by members of the Faith and Climate network encouraging Christians to pray and fast for climate justice on the first day of each month.
The Bishop of Salisbury opened the debate with this speech.
The Archbishop of Canterbury made this contribution to the debate.
Bishop of Sheffield’s speech
There is also this official press release: Urgent action needed on climate change urges Synod.
In the afternoon, Synod debated climate change and investment policy and passed this motion:
That this Synod, accepting that the threat posed by climate change to the environment and human wellbeing requires urgent action to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and recognising that achieving this effectively without creating damaging and unintended economic consequences requires political subtlety, flexibility and a focus on achievable change:
(a) affirm the policy on climate change and fossil fuel investment developed following the Southwark DSM passed by the Synod in February 2014, recommended by the EIAG, and adopted by the National Investing Bodies (‘the NIBs’);
(b) welcome the disinvestment by the NIBs from companies focused on the extraction of oil sands and thermal coal;
(c) urge the NIBs to engage robustly with companies and policy makers on the need to act to support the transition to a low carbon economy and, where necessary, to use the threat of disinvestment from companies as a key lever for change;
(d) urge the NIBs to encourage the work of those energy companies committed to carbon pricing and investing in research into cleaner fuels, natural gas and carbon capture and storage;
(e) urge the NIBs proactively to seek and scale up investment in renewable energy and other low carbon energy sectors and to track low carbon indices;
(f) request the EIAG and the NIBs to publish their ‘engagement framework’ by June 2016; and
(g) request the EIAG and the NIBs to report to the Synod within three years with an assessment of the impact of the policy adopted, including the efficacy of engagement and the progress made on portfolio decarbonisation.
Press reports and comments
Madeleine Davies, Gavin Drake and Tim Wyatt Church Times Synod urges investors to act on climate change
Andrew Brown The Guardian Church of England governing body approves divestment policy
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK General Synod: Carbon capture, fracking and fasting