Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 14 April 2021

Martyn Percy Meander Bread for the World

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Towards humility? Anglican conservatives after Jonathan Fletcher

Vaughan S Roberts Socrel Dead and Gone: does embodied storytelling have a post-pandemic future?

19 Comments

Opinion – 10 April 2021

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Annual Report 2020 National Safeguarding Panel

Rosalind Lund Modern Church How Covid-19 may have Changed the Church Forever!

Linda Woodhead reviews ‘Sex, Power, Control: Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church’ for Surviving Church

Katy Canty Church Times Sector ministries: alongside parish and people
“Sector ministries are reaching places pastorally that others cannot”

LGBTQ Faith UK Reclaiming Lambeth I.10

6 Comments

April General Synod – online papers

The Papers for this month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online.

Papers with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets virtually on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 April. They can be downloaded as two zip files.

GS papers .zip folder
GS Misc papers .zip folder

The Agenda is here and the Report by the Business Committee (Guide to the April 2021 group of sessions) is here.

Timetable

Synod members reading this might like to note that the deadline for the submission of questions is 12 noon on Tuesday 13 April 2021.

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Opinion – 7 April 2021

David Ison ViaMedia.News Is God Inhuman?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Wimbledon/Fletcher understanding of Church. Training Camp or Hospital?

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK “Net zero” in 2030 – a courageous decision?

52 Comments

Bishop of Barking to retire

The Rt Revd Peter Hill has announced that he will retire as Bishop of Barking on 4 August 2021. There are more details on the Chelmsford diocesan website.

31 Comments

Opinion – 3 April 2021

Savitri Hensman Ekklesia C of E: siding with power or choosing resurrection?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Sex, Power, Control – Changing Attitude, LLF and the House of Bishops

Janet Fife Surviving Church Smyth, Fletcher and Fife

Anglican Communion News Service Primates’ Easter Messages 2021

Christopher Wells continues his reflections on hierarchy for The Living Church
The Evangelical Edge
Sursum Corda

12 Comments

Opinion – 31 March 2021

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Why Don’t You Just Leave?!

Anonymous Surviving Church A Bloody Shambles: Surviving Church Between Good Friday and Easter

Christopher Wells The Living Church Church Order: neither nostalgic no progressive

La Repubblica interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: “What I learnt from Covid, the threat of cancel culture and the truth on Harry & Meghan’s wedding”

61 Comments

Publication of detailed response to IICSA report

Press release from the Church of England

Publication of detailed response to IICSA report
29/03/2021

The Church of England has today published its detailed responses to the recommendations of the IICSA report from October. As the report stated, the Church of England failed to protect some children and young people from sexual predators within their midst. While the Church will continue to apologise, the main focus is now recognising the distress caused particularly to victims and survivors and acting to improve its safeguarding structures and to change its culture.

The recommendations made by the Inquiry have been accepted in full. Our response document focuses on response to victims and survivors including redress, structure and independence, information sharing, revision of the Clergy Discipline Measure and external audits.

To successfully deliver these recommendations an IICSA safeguarding programme has been set up, with a governance structure to ensure the work is closely monitored. The Archbishops’ Council, who led the response to IICSA on behalf of the institutional church, will be responsible for ensuring the work is completed (with updates to the House of Bishops and General Synod).

11 Comments

Opinion – 27 March 2021

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Campaigning to create a Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community

David Ford Church Times Dare to think boldly about funding ministry
“Stop the competition for scarce resources: stipendiary posts should be allocated according to need”

Richard Peers ViaMedia.News It’s A Sin: The Myth of Homogeneity

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Patronage Legacy of Jonathan Fletcher

39 Comments

Scripture Union review of John Smyth case

The Scripture Union has published the Executive Summary of its review into the case of John Smyth. There is also an FAQ to explain it.

Note that this is one of three separate reviews being conducted in parallel. The others are organised by Winchester College and the Church of England. The FAQ document explains why the SU report is separate. It may be helpful to read the FAQ first.

Scripture Union Statement

Executive Summary of  the Scripture Union John Smyth Independent Case Review

John Smyth Independent Case Review FAQs

37 Comments

Opinion – 24 March 2021

James Hadley All Things Lawful And Honest Episcopal Soft Power
“The Rev’d Dr James Hadley finds the bishops’ protestations that there is no central plan to do away with the parish system disingenuous. Soft power, stealth, patronage and spin, allied with episcopal groupthink and the control of cash is just as powerful as a synodically agreed central policy.”

Emma Percy Modern Church Blog Queer Eye for a Fearful Church

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Towards a new Mission Statement for the Church of England

Timothy Goode ViaMedia.News ‘Oi Vicar, Why Don’t You Heal Yourself?’

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Refusing to play by House of Bishops’ rules

3 Comments

Review of Jonathan Fletcher case published

Updated again Wednesday morning

The independent review commissioned by Emmanuel Church Wimbledon from thirtyone:eight has been published.

The full report is available here (146 pages).

Here is the response of Emmanuel Church.

Another response from the external members of the Independent Advisory Group is here.

Updates

The Diocese of Southwark has issued this statement:

“The Diocese of Southwark is committed to learning lessons from independent safeguarding reviews and in the light of this report will continue to work with Emmanuel Church Wimbledon and the National Safeguarding Team. The abuse of power and control by those in positions of trust is unacceptable and we commend those who contributed to this review for their resilience and courage in coming forward to disclose painful experiences. It is of the utmost importance that support is offered to those in need who have been affected by the abusive behaviours detailed in the review. The Diocese has contributed to the review and will study the report findings and recommendations in detail. We will seek to ensure that the learning from the review will be implemented.

For clarification, whilst recognised as a church within the Diocese, Emmanuel Church Wimbledon is an independent ‘Proprietary Chapel’, and as such does not have parish status. Emmanuel Church Wimbledon is fully self-supporting and appoints its own clergy under the guidance of an appointed group of patrons. It is a private limited company registered with the Charity Commission. Anglican clergy at Emmanuel Church Wimbledon officiate with licences issued by the Diocesan Bishop.”

The National Safeguarding Team has issued this statement:

A spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team, NST, said: The Church is committed to learning lessons from all safeguarding situations and will continue to work together with Southwark Diocese on this case. The coercive and controlling behaviours described in the report are appalling and the priority must be to ensure support for those who have been brave enough to come forward. The NST has contributed to this review and does note the findings and recommendations which it will study in detail. The Team has developed over recent years and has seen a significant restructure including the commitment to move to independent oversight along with the development of the national casework management system. We fully welcome the learning and changes that will result from this report.”

Media coverage:

Also:

54 Comments

Sheffield Cathedral Visitation: Bishop issues his Determination

The Bishop of Sheffield has published his Determination, following upon the Visitation of his cathedral that he announced on 1 November.

The press release is here: Bishop of Sheffield publishes ‘Determination’ following Sheffield Cathedral Visitation or another copy is here.

The text of the determination itself (pdf) can be found either here, or alternatively over here.

The Sheffield Star reported: Sheffield Cathedral’s ‘bullying and blaming’ culture led to ‘fear of speaking out’.

21 Comments

Opinion – 20 March 2021

Giles Fraser UnHerd When conversion is abusive
“We all want others to change — but at what cost?”

Sarah Mullally ViaMedia.News We May be Winning the Fight Against the Virus, but We Risk Losing Something Else…

Andrew Village and Leslie Francis Church Times Eucharist in a time of lockdown
“Different practices have emerged”

The Spring 2021 issue of the Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal is devoted to articles on safeguarding. You can download a pdf copy here.

17 Comments

House of Bishops Meeting – Wednesday 17 March 2021

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops Meeting – Wednesday 17 March 2021
17/03/2021

The House of Bishops met on Wednesday March 17 2021 remotely via Zoom.

The House engaged further with a number of issues including reviewing the work to date of the Governance Review Group and a consideration of the draft report and recommendations of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Group.

The Bishop of Manchester, in his capacity as Chair of the Coordinating Group of the Emerging Church Groups, updated the House on the revised Terms of Reference of the Committee and the workstreams that are feeding into the work of the Coordinating Group.

This was followed by an update from the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich who updated the House on the ongoing work of the Transforming Effectiveness workstream which is looking at how resources are best deployed across the Church.

The Bishop of Leeds then addressed the House in his capacity as Chair of the Governance Review Group. The Governance Group is reviewing the shape of the national governance structures and functions of the Church of England and is tasked with suggesting possible changes to simplify and improve the functioning and effectiveness of those structures.

The House considered (in regional groups and in plenary) the work the Governance Review Group had done to date. A final report from the Governance Review Group will be presented to the Co-Ordinating Group in the summer and further discussion and implementation planning will follow in the autumn.

The House was then addressed by the Bishop of London in her capacity as Chair of the Recovery Group who updated the House about the work of the Group and how the Church will respond to the various phases of the planned relaxation of the lockdown. The Bishop of London also spoke to plans for 23rd March and the One Minute Reflection to mark one year of lockdown measures.

The House was then given an update (up to the end of February) by the interim Director of Safeguarding on establishing an independent oversight structure for national safeguarding.

The House then held its first discussion on the draft report of the Archbishops’ Anti -Racism Task Force which will be publishing its report on 22nd April. The House was invited to consider the working draft of the Report and to give its views about the suggested implementation timetable and details of the Racial Justice Commission. The House was addressed by Revd. Arun Arora and Revd. Sonia Barron, authors of the draft report.

The House broke out into groups to discuss the draft with Archbishop of Canterbury speaking to the report in the final plenary session and suggesting some ways forward on the draft recommendations. The House noted the draft report and agreed to relay feedback from the meeting to the report’s authors.

The meeting concluded with a blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

27 Comments

Latest developments in Christ Church Oxford saga

Updated 23 March and again 24 March

Two separate news reports have been published today:

Much of this article reports an online AGM meeting last Saturday of the Christ Church Association which represents 9,000 past and present members of the college, and which spent 50 minutes scrutinising Christ Church’s treatment of its head, Dean Martyn Percy, which was strongly defended by Canon Sarah Foot, who referred to the recently published report by Sir Wyn Williams.

It also reports on a legal opinion commissioned by friends of the Dean, Edward Fitzgerald QC, a specialist in human rights law and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers in London, and his colleague Paul Harris. They  conclude that it would be “unlawful and improper to convene a second tribunal”. They go on to say that if the complaints were proven,  “… it seems very doubtful whether those facts could be regarded by any reasonable tribunal as sufficient to merit the severe sanction of dismissal…The sustained, repeated and entirely groundless campaign to drive the dean from his job would seem to fall within the definition of harassment in Sections 2 and 7 of the Protection from Harassment Act, 1997.”

This news report describes the safeguarding risk assessment measures taken by the College and Chapter, that were approved by Richard Woodley,the Oxford Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, who said:

“…because this was an “interim assessment of risk” rather than a formal risk assessment, it did not need to comply with the Safeguarding (Clergy Risk Assessment) Regulations 2016, which stipulate, among other things, that the person being assessed be consulted and given 14 days to query it, and, when it involved “certain facts which are in dispute . . . must set out the matter and the nature and the extent of the dispute”.

Also, it was an error for the name of the consultant who conducted an investigation into the alleged incident, to have appeared on the risk assessment document.  Kate Wood said:

“I have never undertaken a risk assessment in this matter or been party to the assessment of risk in any regard. I have never even seen the risk assessments conducted by the college and cathedral. My role was to conduct an initial investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment. This is a very different role to conducting a risk assessment. . .

“…I asked the college several times to publicly explain the error and to confirm that I had not conducted a risk assessment. I also asked the college to engage with those people who had been most vocal in criticising me on this false narrative. This public correction does not appear to have happened, though I am told that the error has now been corrected on the document.”

A spokesperson for Christ Church confirmed that Ms Wood’s name had been incorrectly included in an early “risk assessment draft”.

The Church Times also reports on the progress of the CDM action against the Dean: the Bishop of Birmingham, to whom the responsibility has been delegated by the Bishop of Oxford,  has decided to proceed to the tribunal stage, despite the Dean being unable to respond to the complaint due to illness.

Updates  (items published on 21 March)

Archbishop Cranmer If Martyn Percy kills himself, the Church of England will have blood on its hands

Surviving Church Averting a catastrophe in the Church of England. Is it too late

Oxford Diocese has published this (24 March): The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy which links to a letter from the Sub Dean. The same material is on the Christ Church website: Response from Christ Church Cathedral to public speculation.

67 Comments

Opinion – 17 March 2021

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Families – Love ‘Em, Hate ‘Em

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church When a Church fails to care. Facing institutional dishonesty

Robert Gilbert ViaMedia.News Pandemics, Parishes & the ‘National Church’

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Finding confidence in a radical vision of faith, sexuality and gender

3 Comments

Bishop of Willesden to retire

News from the Diocese of London

Bishop of Willesden to retire

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, has announced his intention to resign as from 30th September 2021. Bishop Pete has volunteered to stand down a year before his normal retirement date.

The Bishop of London is exploring with him another role, which would see him facilitating some of the transition and implementation work for the Diocese of London’s 2030 Vision. This will enable the potential appointment of a new Bishop of Willesden and provide an opportunity for the Diocese’s senior team in London to become more diverse.

Bishop Pete has been Bishop of Willesden since 2001. Before that, he served as Archdeacon of Northolt, as a Vicar in Harrow and as a Polytechnic Chaplain in Islington.

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, said:

“It’s been a joy and a privilege to serve the churches and people of North West London this past twenty years. I look forward to the next stage, helping the Diocese of London with our 2030 Vision – making it possible for every Londoner to encounter the love of God in Christ.”

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, said:

“Pete has shown extraordinary, untiring commitment to the Church in London for over 40 years. Half of those have been as Bishop, where he returned to serve the part of the capital he grew up in. Pete will leave the see of Willesden with a legacy that will live on. I’ve been particularly grateful personally for his support since I came to London, and I look forward to continuing our work together as we deliver our Diocesan 2030 Vision.”

A consultation has begun to help guide the appointment to the See of Willesden, ending on 12th April. Click here to view the consultation paper.

19 Comments

Opinion – 13 March 2021

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Changing Attitude resumes campaign for full equality of LGBTIQ+ people

Joanna Winn-Smith OneBodyOneFaith Living in Love and Faith

Nicholas Henshall ViaMedia.News Are ‘Leaders’ Biblical?

Richard Moy A Reasonable Enthusiast The Myth of Episcopal Oversight in the UK Church

35 Comments

Bishop of Bath & Wells to take early retirement

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, is to take early retirement on medical grounds as he continues his recovery from treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.

More details are on the diocesan wesbite.

7 Comments