Thinking Anglicans

Tennessee diocese implements same-sex marriage procedures

We reported earlier on the situation in the Diocese of Albany in Upstate New York. Another of the previously dissenting bishops in the Diocese of Tennessee (which covers the Middle portion of that state) has taken a rather different course of action:

Episcopal News Service Tennessee bishop recruits neighboring colleague to implement same-sex marriage rites

Bishop John Bauerschmidt announced Jan. 18 that neighboring Bishop Brian Cole of East Tennessee will “provide pastoral support” to Tennessee couples, clergy and congregations who want to solemnize same-sex marriages.

To begin that process, Bauerschmidt wrote in a two-page description of his policy, all canonically resident clergy in the diocese must notify him and assure him that the cleric’s congregation agrees to their use.

Bauerschmidt, who opposes same-sex marriage, said that “where there is disagreement in teaching about the sacramental rite of marriage between bishop and clergy there can be no effective oversight of marriage by the diocesan bishop.” Thus, another bishop must be available to “provide whatever episcopal support is needed for couples and clergy preparing for marriage.”

Bauerschmidt said his policy applies whether the trial-use rites or any other marriage rite is used…

The Living Church Same-sex Marriage In the Diocese of Tennessee

Tennessean Tennessee bishop issues same-sex wedding guidelines for Episcopal clergy, couples

Here are links to the original documents:

Readers may find interesting the materials linked in footnote 1 to the latter. These were published in 2011.

[1] The Anglican Theological Review, Vol.93.1, “Same-Sex Relationships and the Nature of Marriage: A Theological Colloquy” contains both “traditional” and “liberal” accounts of marriage. This work was commissioned by the Episcopal House of Bishops’ Theology Committee.


Opinion – 19 January 2019

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Being who I am

Malcolm Doney and Martin Wroe Church Times Is Christian language to blame for falling church attendance?

Terence Handley MacMath interviews Natalie Collins, gender-justice specialist for Church Times
‘Christianity should be at the forefront of gender justice, but it isn’t’

Kelvin Holdsworth What’s in Kelvin’s Head How shall we pray for our elected representatives?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Churches – further reflections


IICSA announces its plans for July hearings into the Anglican churches

IICSA held another “preliminary hearing” on 15 January. “Preliminary” in relation to the further two weeks of hearings planned for 1 to 12 July. The transcript from yesterday can be read here. Most of it is taken up with the Counsel to the Inquiry setting out her plans for July. At the outset she said:

The purpose of today’s hearing is to provide an update on the work that the inquiry has been carrying out since the hearings in July 2018, and to discuss the necessary preparations for the hearing to commence in July 2019.
I will deal with this in the following order:
Firstly, the broad themes and approaches to the national church hearing as the investigation team currently envisages them.
Secondly, how the inquiry has dealt with, and will be dealing with, the material received in the investigation and how such will be disclosed.
Thirdly, the requests made for statements pursuant to rule 9 of the Inquiry Rules, and when these will be ready for calculation.
Fourthly, hearing dates and any next steps. And lastly, any other business.
In what follows, I intend to explain what the inquiry has been doing and where we are now and set out what is going to happen over the next four months.

In addition to her statement, two legal representatives of groups of abuse survivors also made statements. Scroll down to page 8 of the PDF to read these.  David Greenwood makes extensive reference to the case of Matt Ineson.

For a more detailed discussion of IICSA plans, see this summary at Law & Religion UKIICSA 7th preliminary hearing on Anglican investigation.

The Church of England issued this press release: Statement following IICSA preliminary hearing.

Bishop Peter Hancock, lead safeguarding bishop for the Church of England said:
“We welcome the comments today from Fiona Scolding QC* on the wider church hearing scheduled for July which outlined the focus of the Inquiry.
We fully support the emphasis on the present and future of safeguarding in the Church of England which will help with our commitment to make the Church a safer place for all. Miss Scolding QC said the Inquiry will be looking at whether changes being implemented by the Church of England are relevant and purposeful. I believe this part of the Inquiry will be critical in helping us ensure that our safeguarding work is effective and rigorous and that survivors’ and victims’ views are heard.
We continue to be committed to working closely with the Inquiry in a constructive and transparent way.”

*Fiona Scolding is the counsel to IICSA for the investigation into the Anglican Church in England and Wales.

IICSA has also published a number of the written closing submissions made at the conclusion of the Peter Ball hearings in July last year. Here are links to some of them, which readers may find interesting despite their length.

On behalf of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England

On behalf of Baron Carey of Clifton

On behalf of Slater and Gordon survivors

On behalf of Switalski survivors


Opinion – 16 January 2019

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau Can evangelicals evangelise?

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Candlemas: for schools and homes
The Bible in a Year?: Evangelicals, lectionaries and apps

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church ‘Concerned Anglicans’ in Oxford- who are they speaking for?
and Concerned Anglicans in Oxford. Are they all Anglican?

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Saving the Best Wine Until Last

Laudable Practice Giving Thanks for Elizabeth I


Opinion – 12 January 2019

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of being in Christ as the gateway to radical new inclusivity

Clare Hayns Consider the Lilies Head above the Parapet

Marcus Green The Possibility of Difference fake good news

Angela Tilby Church Times The trans guidance is not radical

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Church Times Evangelism isn’t just for the Evangelicals
“Progressive Christians have good news to impart, not pre-packaged solutions”


Presiding Bishop Curry partially restricts ministry of Bishop Love

Updated again Monday morning

The Office of Public Affairs of The Episcopal Church has today (Friday) issued the following statement: Presiding Bishop’s response to Bishop William Love’s November 10, 2018 Pastoral Letter and Directive.

The Episcopal News Service reports this under the headline Albany bishop is barred from punishing priests for same-sex marriages, faces disciplinary review.

ENS story updated on Sunday to include Bishop William Love’s response to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s actionsBishop will appeal restriction on punishing priests for same-sex marriages, challenge convention action:

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has temporarily restricted part of Diocese of Albany Bishop William Love’s ministry because of Love’s refusal to allow same-sex marriages even after General Convention mandated liturgical marriage equality in the church’s U.S. dioceses.

Love is “forbidden from participating in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage,” Curry said in a document released Jan. 11. The restriction applies both to the Episcopal Church’s formal Title IV disciplinary process and to any action “that has or may have the effect of penalizing in any way any member of the clergy or laity or worshipping congregation of his diocese for their participation in the arrangements for or participation in a same-sex marriage in his diocese or elsewhere.”

The restriction appears to enable Episcopal Church clergy in the upstate New York diocese to solemnize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples, something Love steadfastly refused to allow…

The ENS report gives a detailed account of the developments leading up to today’s action, and is recommended for reading in full.

The full text of Bishop Curry’s statement is copied below the fold.


Bishop Love has responded by issuing a letter to his diocese. You can read the text of that on the Albany diocesan website.



House of Bishops issues clarification on gender transition guidance

The Church of England issued the following statement today:

Statement on Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition

Last month, during its regular December meeting, the House of Bishops published new guidance on how an existing rite, for the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, could be used to enable transgender adults to mark their transition.

This was a direct response to a vote of the General Synod in 2017 calling for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in the Church and requesting the House of Bishops to consider whether nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.

The guidance now commended by the House seeks to fulfil that remit.

The House decided that no special or new liturgy should be prepared for this purpose. Instead, it decided that existing liturgy could be used, and has provided guidance for clergy on how they could use it in this context, should they wish to do so.

The pastoral guidance is not intended as a restatement or a new statement on matters relating to gender. The guidance makes no change to the Church’s teaching. Next year the Church of England will publish a major new set of teaching and learning resources on identity, relationships, marriage and sexuality, “Living in Love and Faith”. Transgender will be among the matters covered in those resources. The pastoral guidance does not pre-empt the work of the “Living in Love and Faith” process.

What the House produced is guidance, not a new set of rules. It should be read alongside existing Notes on the use of the texts.  It commends and encourages the use of An Affirmation of Baptismal Faith for the purpose of a transgender adult wishing to reaffirm their Christian faith and mark their transition; but there is no obligation on anyone to offer the rite in this or any other context. Any priest who feels unable to offer this rite in this context is free not to do so. They should find appropriate ways to offer welcome and pastoral care, as they would to all people.

William Nye, Secretary to the House of Bishops


American progress on marriage equality

We last reported on the situation in the American Diocese of Albany on 11 November.

Episcopal News Service has now published a comprehensive status review of all the dioceses where difficulties had arisen in implementing Resolution B012. In most of them some form of compromise solution has been adopted.

Celebrations planned, tension lingers a month after marriage equality resolution takes effect.


Interim Director for Anglican Centre in Rome

Further to our report of 21 December, the directors of the Anglican Centre in Rome have made this announcement: Appointment of an Interim Director for the Anglican Centre in Rome.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome are very pleased to announce the appointment of The Very Revd Dr John Shepherd as the Interim Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.

Dr Shepherd was Dean of St. George’s Cathedral, Perth, Western Australia from 1990 to 2014. During his time as Dean over $19,000,000 was raised to fund a complete restoration and development of the cathedral and Old Deanery alongside the building of the Cadogan Song School. Dr Shepherd has had a distinguished ministry in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. He was ordained at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne in 1966 having completed his BA at the University of Melbourne. He also has a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Seminary in New York and a PhD from St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge — his doctorate focused on the changes in the doctrine of sacrifice in sacred music during the English Reformation.

He has been a parish priest in Melbourne, on Long Island, in Manchester and Cambridge and he was Chaplain of Christ Church, Oxford from 1980-1988. He is a regular contributor to the Expository Times and The Times, in London. He has taught music as a university lecturer and is a noted theological commentator. Dr Shepherd’s wife, Joy, was Principal of St. Hilda’s Anglican Girls’ High School in Perth from 1997-2014.


Some Oxford clergy criticise diocesan LGBTI guidance

We reported earlier on the Ad Clerum issued in the Diocese of Oxford on 31 October last year: Oxford bishops expect inclusion and respect for all, and subsequently on the immediate responses: Responses to the Oxford bishops’ letter.

Two documents have been published today on the website of the Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship:

Letter from Concerned Anglicans in the Oxford Diocese in Response to Ad Clerum of 31stOctober 2018

Joint response from bishops of the diocese to this letter

The Church Times reports on all this: More than 100 Oxford clergy criticise bishops’ LGBTI guidance:

MORE than 100 clerics in the diocese of Oxford have written to criticise their bishops’ approach to LGBTI+ people. A letter released on Monday warns that, if the bishops cannot affirm traditional teaching, many of the signatories will consider seeking alternative oversight.

The letter, signed by 104 serving clerics in the diocese, questions whether people in same-sex relationships should be ordained, or receive communion.

The letter addresses the diocese’s four bishops: “We would ask them to recognise the seriousness of the difference between us: advocacy of same-sex sexual intimacy is either an expression of the love of God or it creates an obstacle to people entering the kingdom of God. It cannot be both. The situation is serious.”


Opinion – 9 January 2019

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Church of England Safeguarding Guidelines: progress, regression or PR spin?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The mystical Jesus and non-dualism

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Steeplejacking – subversion and schism in the local Church


Bishop of Hereford to retire

The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Richard Frith has announced he is to retire in the autumn. His public ministry will end with a service at Hereford Cathedral on Saturday 23 November at 11am. The diocesan press release is here.


OneBodyOneFaith recruits new Executive Director

We’re Hiring!

OneBodyOneFaith is an ecumenical organisation with over forty years of history campaigning for full LGBTI+ inclusion and affirmation within the life of the church. Over the last three years our Chief Executive Officer supported by the Board of Trustees has focused on a new name and branding, sustainability and identifying a clear strategy reflecting our unique place in this area of work.

We are very excited for a new phase of growth, development and challenge and are seeking a leader who can work in partnership with the Trustees to enable this to happen. As part of our desire to ensure the sustainability of our work we have redefined the Chief Executive Officer role and are looking for a hands-on Executive Director.

Full details can be found in the job description below together with an application form and equal opportunities monitoring form.

For an informal conversation about the role please contact the Chair of Trustees, The Reverend Canon Peter Leonard at

Completed application forms to be emailed to

Closing date for applications: midday on Wednesday 23rd January 2019.

Interviews will be held at the OneBodyOneFaith offices in Newark on Thursday 7th February 2019.

Executive Director Job Description

Equal Opportunties Monitoring Form

Application Form


Opinion – 5 January 2019

Fergus Butler-Gallie Archbishop Cranmer Ding-Dong Merrily Online: what can the bust-up over Greggs vegan sausage roll tell us about the Nativity?

Richard Beck Experimental Theology Everyone Already Knows All the Answers

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church 2018 Safeguarding and looking to 2019 and beyond.


Living in Love and Faith meets the Church Times

Today’s Church Times features a lengthy interview in which the Editor, Paul Handley discusses Living in Love and Faith with the Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth and Dr Eeva John, the project’s enabling officer.

The far from snappy headline is: Sexuality review will not pronounce on the rights or wrongs of same-sex marriage, which is immediately followed by this strapline: But difficult issues are ‘not being kicked into the long grass’, Bishop Cocksworth insists. 

THE group commissioned by the Archbishops to look into sexuality will not pronounce on the rights or wrongs of same-sex marriage. But neither is it engaged merely on a mapping exercise of the different views that exist, or burying the issue in the long grass.

“Perhaps what we’re doing has never been done before,” the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, said shortly before Christmas, speaking in his office in Coventry. Dr Cocksworth chairs the co-ordinating group that oversees the 40-odd scholars working in thematic teams covering theology, history, biblical studies, and science…

There is also a related Church Times podcast, here.


More reactions to CofE gender transition guidance

Updated Saturday morning

We last reported on this subject on 13 December: Conservatives react strongly to CofE gender transition guidance.  Since then, further strongly worded criticisms have continued to appear, as witness this set of letters in the Church Times dated 21 December (authors include Ian Paul and Lee Gatiss again, and also the Archdeacon of Hastings). (For more general continuing criticism from conservatives, see Anglican Mainstream’s later roundup updated to 27 December: Transgender latest).

Today’s Church Times changes the tone, with several responses to the previous letters, most significantly the first letter, from the Bishop of Chester:

Sir, — The fuss over the pastoral guidance in relation to transgendered people is being overdone (Letters, 21/28 December).

Nearly 20 years ago, the House of Bishops received the recommendation from a working party chaired by the then Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt, that being transgendered should not in principle be an impediment to being considered for ordination. There was a full debate in the House. Individual bishops might decline to sponsor candidates, but the overall mind of the House was clear.

Many important questions arise over the attitudes in modern society towards serious questions of human and sexual identity, but the principle of the welcome to transgendered people in the life of the Church was settled some time ago.

The other responses on that page are also worth reading.

But Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the Gafcon Primates Council, is unlikely to heed Dr Forster’s advice. In his Chairman’s Epiphany Letter, he writes:

…In the Church of England, just before Christmas, this process reached the point where its bishops took the unprecedented step of giving official guidance for what they described as ‘services to help transgender people mark their transition’ and it will be incorporated into ‘Common Worship’ (a range of services authorised by General Synod).

The guidance states that ‘the House of Bishops commends the rite of Affirmation of Baptismal Faith as the central feature of any service to recognize liturgically a person’s gender transition’. A form of service which is intended to mark a renewed commitment to Christ and the new life we receive through him is instead used to celebrate an identity which contradicts our God-given identity as male and female (as affirmed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:4) and is still controversial even in secular society.

Although Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998 did not directly address gender transition, by taking this step, the Church of England is rejecting biblical authority in a similar way to TEC and other revisionist Provinces which have permitted same sex marriage…


Safeguarding: PCCs must report serious incidents to Charity Commission

Hattie Williams writes for Church Times today:  Safeguarding: PCCs must report serious incidents to Charity Commission.

PCCs, Diocesan Boards of Finance, and religious communities are now required by the House of Bishops to report any “serious incidents” — safeguarding and non-safeguarding — to the Charity Commission, under new guidance published this week.

As part of the move, the C of E will start compiling national safeguarding statistics for the first time…

The guidance from the Church of England is in these four documents.

There is a press release from the Church of England, which is copied below.

New guidance on reporting serious incidents, approved by the Charity Commission


The Church of England has published today new House of Bishops’ guidance on reporting safeguarding and other Serious Incidents to the Charity Commission. This is the first time the Church of England has produced Charity Commission approved guidance.

The Charity Commission updated its guidance on Serious Incident Reporting in October 2018, with a particular focus on the reporting of safeguarding Serious Incidents following recent high-profile incidents in the charity sector. All PCCs and DBFs and most Religious Communities are charities and their trustees (eg PCC members, DBF directors) are required to report any Serious Incidents – both safeguarding and non-safeguarding – to the Charity Commission. (more…)


Opinion – 2 January 2019

David Walker ViaMedia.News Hope at the Hinge of the Year – Football and Fear-filled Futures

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Give us back our Benedicite! A task for General Synod?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding and the Falsely Accused


Opinion – 29 December 2018

Tim Wyatt Church Times Key reports in 2018: everything you need to know
“Too many long documents to read in 2018? Tim Wyatt provides a digest”

Richard Mammana Mockingbird Popsicles and Prayer Books

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Unconditional Love – a New Year Resolution for 2019

Kelvin Holdsworth What’s in Kelvin’s Head 10 Correct Opinions About Christmas Carols

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News When “the Goodies” become “the Baddies”…

Jonathan Cooper Independent Our Anglican Christmas has been tarnished by the church’s role as an enabler of LGBT hate


Opinion – 22 December 2018

Luke Miller Archdeacon of London Happy Anniversary

Cally Hammond Church Times Dear tokens of my passion
“Four years ago, Cally Hammond was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was Christmas.”

The Anglican Communion News Service has compiled a list of Christmas messages from Anglican Primates.

Jonathan Draper Modern Church ’tis the season

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau The meaning of the Magnificat

Sandra Palmer St Chrysostom’s Church News and Views The Ox and the Ass – inclusive nativities

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Open Letter to Meg Munn on Safeguarding
… in response to Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel First reflections…