Thinking Anglicans

Church Attendance

There are two press releases today from the Church of England about church attendance.

New attendance figures show mixed picture for church-going

Figures just released by the Church of England for 2004 show a mixed picture for trends in church attendance.

Regular Sunday church attendance fell by one per cent – largely offsetting a similar increase the previous year. But weekly and monthly churchgoing held steady and the number of children and young people at services rose by two per cent.

The new statistics confirm that more than 1.7 million people attend Church of England church and cathedral worship each month while around 1.2 million attend each week – on Sunday or during the week – and just over one million each Sunday. …

The full statistics are here.

Churches packed for Christmas past

Reports from across the Church of England suggest Christmas 2005 was a cracker for church attendance.

An opinion poll suggesting increasing numbers are attending church services at Christmas has been backed up by anecdotal evidence gathered from across the Church of England. In the specially-commissioned survey released last month, pollster ORB found that 43 per cent of adults were expected to attend a church service over the Christmas period.

It wasn’t just the queue snaking from the doors of King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, where the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols again saw hundreds attempting to get a seat; all over the country, churches experienced a growth in the number of people seeking an opportunity to worship. …

The survey results are here, and the original press release here.

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civil partnerships: a revised legal opinion

This follows up the posting here on 12 December concerning James Behrens’ further opinion, under the title civil partnerships: a further legal opinion.

Derek Belcher has now issued a revised opinion, which you can read in full here.

This shows that there is even less difference between these opinions than it previously appeared. Also, the opportunity has been taken to restore the markup showing the revisions made by Chancellor Behrens to his opinion, which was missing when originally published.


General Synod – outline agenda for February

The outline agenda for the February 2006 group of sessions of the General Synod is now online here and is copied below.

Sitting times: 9.30 am to 1 pm and 2.30 pm (3.00 p.m Monday) to 7 pm (5.30 p.m. Thursday)

Monday, 6 February

Prayers, welcomes, progress of Measures
The appointment of the Chairs of the Business Committee and the Appointments Committee
Business Committee Report
Dates of Groups of Sessions: July/November 2008
Presentation on ecumenical responses to the Rochester Report
Presentation on Pensions Issues
Ethical Investment

Tuesday, 7 February

Holy Communion
Women in the Episcopate: report of the Guildford Group

Rural Affairs and the Church of England
Anglican/Baptist Conversations
Church Colleges/Universities and the Church of England: Mutual Expectations

Wednesday, 8 February

Legislative Business
Reader Ministry: Private Member’s Motion
Into the New Quinquennium


Human Genome: Guildford Diocesan Synod Motion
Bicentenary of the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade: Southwark Diocesan Synod Motion
Hospital and Health Care Chaplaincy

Thursday, 9 February

Women in the Episcopate

The Church’s Built Heritage


Zimbabwe: the case of Nolbert Kunonga

In the last issue of 2005, Pat Ashworth of the Church Times reported on this: Malango ‘closes case: Kunonga left to do as he likes’.

Some other recent news reports:
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
4 Jan Anglican parishioners puzzled over Kunonga trial decisions
5 Jan Church has no money for Kunonga retrial

5 Jan Shameful silence on Nolbert Kunonga, Anglican Bishop of Harare
and this response from a reader on the Sokwanele blog, on 8 January.


women bishops: a lot more information

I linked earlier to today’s BBC reports on this.

Now, Ruth Gledhill has a report Church wants women bishops by 2012 in Monday’s edition of The Times which discusses further the draft Guildford report that goes before the CofE House of Bishops this week. Ruth has received a copy of this draft.

And she also has a more detailed discussion of the matter on her blog:Women bishops by 2012.

Both items are essential reading.


Church Times: 2005 in review

Last week’s Church Times had a review of the year 2005. Here are links to the various articles:
January, February
March, April
May, June
July, August
September, October
November, December



The Press review, which mentions TA, is not actually a review of items, but rather a discussion about the effect of the web on news. TA readers may find this of particular interest.


from the Saturday papers

In The Times Jonathan Sacks writes about daily prayer: Prayers from the past and present can shape our world of the future.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Manger, wine and water.

The Guardian again has multiple items on religion:
Face to Faith is written by an Anglican priest, Ruth Scott, in which she talks about a “safe distance”.
The Essay slot has an article by Ian Buruma titled Cross Purposes in which he suggests that Conflicting views about religion threaten to divide Europe from the US.
And Madeleine Bunting has a very critical review of the forthcoming TV programmes about religion by Richard Dawkins in No wonder atheists are angry: they seem ready to believe anything.


InclusiveChurch newsletter

The most recent newsletter for supporters of InclusiveChurch can be found on its website. A copy is also below the fold here.

Some dates to note:
Seminar with Bishop of Worcester: Sunday 22 January (application form here, scroll down)
St Albans Pilgrimage: Saturday 24 June, more details here
Day Conference Saturday 14th October



elections to synodical bodies – update

The laity elections for the Archbishops’ Council have now completed:
Archbishops’ Council: Lay members elected.

There is a further election to be held for two clergy places on the Council.

The most current membership list can be found here.


women bishops: an update

Updated Sunday
The BBC Sunday radio programme had this report by Robert Pigott:

House of Bishops
There are increasing signs that division among Anglican bishops is intensifying over how to proceed towards legislation in the Church enabling women to be ordained as bishops. The House of Bishops is to meet tomorrow to discuss what options should be on the table at the General Synod meeting in a few weeks’ time, with opinion on both sides apparently polarising.
Listen with Real Audio (3m 38s)

See also this much briefer summary, Split over women bishops deepens

The Church Times has this report today: Hill sceptical about leak of ‘TEA’ plan which refers to rumours found in two earlier reports: this one in the Church of England Newspaper Commissary plan to appease the opponents of women bishops and this one in the Telegraph Church group is split over women bishops.

The official report of the Bishop of Guildford’s Group will be published on Monday 16 January.

Meanwhile the full transcript of the seminar on episcopacy held during the November synod is available within this rtf file. An html copy of the transcript is now here.


press reports on Nigeria and CA

Updated again Monday 9 January
Anglican gay group threatens legal action against Church of Nigeria appeared in Black Britain

Updated Thursday

Reports of the charges made against Changing Attitude by the Church of Nigeria are appearing in other places:

Church of England Newspaper George Conger Answers wanted on Nigerian gay charity
Ekklesia Nigerian church fraud warning includes allegation against gays
And the ACNS has republished one of the two Nigerian press releases here.

And in Nigeria:
Daily Independent Anglican Church disowns Nigerian gay activist
This Day Anglican Church Disowns Nigerian Gay-Activist
Vanguard Anglican Church disowns Nigerian gay-activist

But there is more information about this issue in the comments on this blog than in any of these reports so far.

Changing Attitude has published a new press release today:
Statement by Changing Attitude (England) about allegations against Changing Attitude Network (Nigeria)


Church of Nigeria attacks Changing Attitude

There has been a further development in the story about Changing Attitude Nigeria which has been chronicled in detail on TA previously.

First, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) issued two press releases on 28 December, see PRESS RELEASE DISCLAIMER– Davis Mac- Iyalla. This leads to a second release which is more general in character, but also contains specific reference to Mac-Iyalla. (The page is currently poorly formatted but remains legible. A copy of it has been republished by ACNS.)

Second, Changing Attitude issued a press release in response to the above, on 31 December, Changing Attitude Network Nigeria responds to criticism by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).


Sunday radio interview and discussion

The BBC’s radio programme Sunday has several items of Anglican interest today. (Real Audio required.) Full programme details including interesting items on Judaism and Islam as well here.

Richard Harries
A big figure on the national religious landscape is stepping down in 2006 – like the Chief Rabbi, Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, has a voice that is listened to outside his immediate constituency. He has been doing the job for 19 years – they were turbulent years for Anglicanism, and he was often to be found hacking away at the coal face of controversy. He talks about the highlights of his career.
Listen (6m 7s)

Guest discussion
Ned Temko from the Observer also the former editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Fareena Alam editor of the Muslim magazine Q-News and religious correspondent for The Times; Ruth Gledhill discuss the issue of homosexuality in the Church of England.
Listen (3m 43s)

New Year predictions
A New Year’s Day programme would not be complete without the predictions parlour game. Find out what big stories that the guests think will make it onto all the front pages in the course of the year.
Listen (2m 55s)

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