Thinking Anglicans

Child protection in Chichester Diocese

Previous reports on this topic can be found here, and also here.

Last week, these two statements were issued by the Acting Bishop, Mark Sowerby. These relate to recent arrests of clergy.

Pastoral Letter
Media Statement

Also, there were New additions to Safeguarding Review page:

  • Letter from Bishop Mark Sowerby:

I am very glad that we have now published the full text of the Baroness Butler Sloss Report along with its addendum together with the Roger Meekings Report and the baroness’s comments upon it. This is in line with our desire to be open and honest about the cases that have come to light in the Chichester Diocese. I am grateful also to Bishop Paul Butler for the apology he has issued on behalf of the wider Church of England. I should like to underline, once again, the regret we feel in this diocese about past failings and which was expressed in Bishop John and Bishop Wallace’s apology to all the victims. The Chichester Diocese wishes to be transparent about the past and to be rigorous and cooperative in its safeguarding today and into the future.
+Mark Horsham
Acting Bishop of Chichester


more from opponents of the Anglican Covenant

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has issued a press release, available as a PDF here:

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has added three new Patrons to its special group of eminent Anglicans opposing the proposed Anglican Covenant. The new Patrons are

  • The Rt. Revd. James White, Assistant Bishop of Auckland, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
  • Dr. Muriel Porter, OAM, journalist and author, Anglican Church of Australia
  • The Revd. Canon Dr. Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, Cambridge University, Church of England.

…“The disturbing theological vacuity of the Covenant document nonetheless comes with a hidden iron fist: do not be misled by its rhetoric of friendly collaboration between national churches,” writes Prof Coakley. “The Covenant bespeaks a quite different ecclesiology from that of Cranmer’s ‘blessed company of all faithful people,’ and profoundly alters what it means to be Anglican. The deepest theological challenges of our day cannot be answered by hapless bureaucratic manipulations of our theological tradition.”

Diarmaid MacCulloch has recorded a video in which he opposes the Covenant: see Diarmaid MacCulloch Adds To The Video Debate.

And, he also written a covering note Historical Problems with the Anglican Covenant for a learned paper The Anglican Covenant and the Experience of The Scottish Episcopal Church: Rewriting History for Expediencies Sake.

I would like to recommend most highly this historical article by the Ven. Edward Simonton, Archdeacon of Saint Andrews in the Diocese of Montreal. It is a marvelously clear, learned and well-informed introduction to the history and significance of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, which reveals just how shoddy and ill-informed are the historical arguments which have been used to promote the introduction of a so-called ‘Anglican Covenant’. Simonton guides his reader through the history of a Church in Scotland which is a complete contrast to that of the Church of England, yet which is just as ancient in its episcopate. This is particularly important because one of the planks of the ‘Covenant’ is that the Anglican identity, on which its attempt at universal discipline is based, looks to the Thirty-Nine Articles and the 1662 Prayer Book. This is simply not so in the case of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which one has to remember was up to 1707 a Church in an independent kingdom, Scotland…


Dean of Liverpool

Liverpool Cathedral has announced that Canon Pete Wilcox is to be the next Dean of Liverpool.

Updated at 8.20 am to add the Number 10 press notice

The Revd Canon Dr Pete Wilcox is to be the next Dean of Liverpool
March 07

The new Dean of Liverpool is to be the Reverend Canon Dr Pete Wilcox, Downing Street has announced this morning. He becomes the seventh Dean, succeeding the Very Rev Justin Welby who was appointed Bishop of Durham.

Canon Pete Wilcox comes to Liverpool from Lichfield Cathedral where he has been Canon Residentiary since 2006. Speaking of his appointment Canon Pete said “I am thrilled to be joining such a gifted team at Liverpool Cathedral, at a time of great opportunity for mission. I look forward to getting to know the City of Liverpool and the wider diocese, having heard so many good things about both.”

Pete, who is married to the writer Catherine Fox, is due to be installed in the Cathedral in September 2012.

The Right Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool said “Canon Pete Wilcox comes to us with a wealth of experience in mission and with the right gifts to lead the Cathedral. I warmly welcome the Crown’s appointment and look forward to working with the Dean in building up the Church and reaching out to the world. The opportunities at the Cathedral are limitless.”.

Meanwhile Acting Dean and Canon Precentor Myles Davies said “Canon Pete Wilcox comes to us with an excellent reputation for his work in Lichfield. On behalf of the Chapter and Company of Liverpool Cathedral I am delighted to welcome him to our fine city and magnificent building.”

Canon Pete Wilcox will be spending the morning at Liverpool Cathedral touring the building as he starts to get to know the Cathedral, its staff, congregations and visitors. He said “It will be a great privilege to work with Chapter colleagues, staff and volunteers as well as our ecumenical, local government and business partners to help build on the fine work I have inherited.”

Pete is excited by the challenges that lay ahead. He said “As the seventh Dean of Liverpool, I will be determined to ensure this magnificent building remains accessible to all. Over the years Liverpool Cathedral has been a focal point for the city in times of great joy and immense sadness; it stands as one of the icons of the city, welcoming visitors from across the world and has been inspiring many for generations. It bears witness to the good news of God’s love as revealed to us in Jesus. This is as powerful and necessary today as it was when this extraordinary place was built.”

Notes for editors

The Reverend Canon Dr Pete Wilcox (aged 50) studied history at Saint John’s College, Durham. He trained for the ordained ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at Preston on Tees, in the diocese of Durham from 1987 to 1990. From 1990 to 1993, while completing a doctorate at St John’s College, Oxford, he was Non Stipendiary Minister at Saint Margaret with Saint Philip and Saint James, with Saint Giles in the Diocese of Oxford. From 1993 to 1998 he was Team Vicar at Saint Edmund’s Chapel, Gateshead, in the diocese of Durham and Director of the Cranmer Hall Urban Mission Centre. From 1998 to 2006 he was Priest-in-Charge at Saint Paul’s at the Crossing, Walsall in the diocese of Lichfield. Since 2006 he has been Canon Residentiary at Lichfield Cathedral.

Pete is married to the writer Catherine Fox. They have two adult sons.

He has a passionate interest in all ball sports, especially (as a fan of Newcastle United) football. He is the author of three books, including ‘Talking the Talk: The Fall of King David for Today’ (Lutterworth, 2011).

The Diocese of Lichfield has published this: Canon Pete Wilcox’s Liverpool appointment.

Update The official Number 10 press notice is now (8.20 am) online, and is copied below the fold.



Dean of St Paul's

updated Tuesday afternoon

From the Number 10 website this morning.

Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral
Tuesday 6 March 2012

Very Reverend David John Ison, BA, PhD, Dean of Bradford, in Bradford Diocese, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral of Saint Paul in London

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend David John Ison, BA, PhD, Dean of Bradford, in Bradford Diocese, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral of Saint Paul in London, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Graeme Paul Knowles, AKC, on 31 October 2011.

Notes for Editors

The Very Reverend Dr David Ison (aged 57) was born and brought up in Brentwood, Essex. After taking a Combined Studies degree at the University of Leicester he trained for ordination at St John’s College, Nottingham. He served his title at St Nicholas and St Luke Deptford in the diocese of Southwark from 1979 to 1985, while also writing a PhD in church history at King’s College, London to develop skills to work in training people for ministry. From 1985 to 1988 he was Lecturer at the Church Army Training College in Blackheath. In 1988 he became Vicar at Potters Green in the diocese of Coventry, where he worked to physically and spiritually rebuild the church. In 1993 he moved to Exeter as Diocesan Continuing Ministerial Education Officer to take on a variety of roles in training and supporting clergy in their ministry, and in 1995 also became a Residentiary Canon at Exeter Cathedral. Since 2005 he has been Dean of Bradford, where he has enabled the Cathedral to play a significant role in the life of the city and the diocese of Bradford.

David is married to Hilary, who is also an ordained priest and works in London for the Church of England’s Ministry Division. They have two married daughters and two sons, and became grandparents two years ago.

His interests include history and current affairs, interfaith relations, DIY and scuba diving; and he drives a kit-car he made himself.

The Diocese of Bradford has this story: The Dean of Bradford to be Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

St Paul’s Cathedral has this, Appointment of David Ison as Dean of St Paul’s, and notes that he will be installed as Dean on Friday 25 May 2012.


Diocese of London New Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral announced

BBC Dean of Bradford to head St Paul’s Cathedral

and three reports based on a piece by Martha Linden for the Press Assoication
The Guardian New dean appointed at St Paul’s Cathedral
Yorkshire Post Dean of Bradford appointed to St Paul’s
Independent David Ison appointed St Paul’s new dean


more support for the Anglican Covenant


The Archbishop of Canterbury recorded this video at lunchtime today, according to a comment here earlier. There is a transcript as well.
Archbishop: why the Covenant matters.

Mark Chapman has published at Living Church an article titled Spatial Catholicity.

Fulcrum has published several articles:
Anglicans and Covenants: A Very Brief History by Benjamin M. Guyer
The Anglican Communion Covenant: Fighting to preserve and enhance something deeply valuable by Stephen Kuhrt
Are we Anglicans or Baptists? by John Watson

Five Reasons FOR the Covenant by Gregory Cameron


Anglican Covenant: two bishops defend it

This week’s Church Times carries a letter from the Bishops of Bristol and Oxford, which is behind the paywall this week, but is freely available from the Diocese of Bristol’s website at Bishops of Bristol and Oxford’s Anglican Covenant letter.

With a large number of dioceses soon to debate the Anglican Communion Covenant, and with there being in some quarters suspicion or even hostility towards it, we would urge pause for reflection as to what is at stake, both for the Anglican Communion as a whole and for our own Church of England.

The Covenant process has been developed with the full participation of all the churches of the Anglican Communion. It is likely the most consulted-over document the Communion has ever known. At heart, it offers a way for the churches to renew their commitment to each other and to express their common Anglican identity and mission. It’s something our own church has been at the centre of shaping and developing…

And it concludes with this:

The Anglican Communion Covenant is currently under consideration in all the churches of the Communion, according to their own processes for adoption. Already nine have decided to adopt it . A luke-warm response, or worse, rejection, of the Covenant in the Church of England would meet with bewilderment in the wider Communion. Some would ask with the prophet Isaiah, “Can a mother forget her children?”

But it would also impoverish the Church of England. Our church life and mission is infinitely the richer for the relationships we share around the Communion. The Covenant offers us a precious opportunity to consolidate those relationships and to demonstrate our commitment to one another as churches. Let’s not miss this opportunity offered to us in our time.

A detailed and comprehensive response to this letter has been published by Paul Bagshaw and can be read at What is not being said about the Covenant? It needs to be read in full, but here is an extract:

I choose to believe that many, perhaps the majority, of the English bishops are personally committed to the Covenant – but always and only in broad generalisations.

In essence we are told: the Covenant is A Good Thing, it doesn’t change anything but is vital to keeping the Communion together, and the consequences of not passing it are horrendous.

But this advocacy never seems to address what any critical reader of the Covenant text might ask:

  • The bishops’ say there are no new powers or structures; but what does the text actually contain?
  • And if there are no new powers or structures then how can choosing or rejecting it possibly make so much difference?
  • In particular, if the Covenant leaves provincial autonomy just where it was then how can it have any effect on future decisions a province might contemplate?
  • In sum: what’s so wrong with the Communion that we currently have that it will fall apart without the Covenant, but which the Covenant – by merely restating what we already know and practice – can possibly resolve?

I struggle to see the logic.

But I do see something missing. The ultimate power of Section 4 of the Covenant is to exclude an offending province by recommending to every other province that they turn their backs on it. All lesser powers of exclusion and demotion stem from this central power…

Alan Perry has compiled aggregate voting statistics here. It would be very interesting to compare the voting totals in each diocese with the corresponding totals for the recent parallel voting on women bishops, to see what the comparative levels of attendance were.


Anglican Covenant: two more diocesan rejections, one in favour

Today the dioceses of Bradford, Chelmsford and Hereford voted on the Anglican Covenant. Chelmsford and Hereford rejected the proposal, Bradford voted in favour.

The running totals are therefore 13 against, and 8 for.

In Chelmsford the voting was (Corrected):

Bishops: 2 for, 1 against, 1 abstention
Clergy: 27 for, 29 against, 7 abstentions
Laity: 31 for, 30 against, 3 abstentions

In Hereford the voting was:

Bishops: 2 for, 0 against
Clergy: 15 for, 15 against, 1 abstention
Laity 21 for, 23 against, 1 abstention

In Bradford the voting was:

Bishop: 1 for, 0 against
Clergy: 15 for, 9 against, 2 abstentions
Laity: 16 for, 15 against, 3 abstentions



Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian about The women who oppose female bishops.

Also in The Guardian, Julian Baggini asks Why do the religious insist on presenting a united front?

Michael L Cooper-White writes in The Huffington Post about Genesis 17:1-7, 5-16 and Mark 8:31-38: God the Game-Changer.

Giles Fraser wrties for the Church Times: Correct the false ideas of dominion.

Savi Hensman at Ekklesia asks Is making staff work on Sundays discriminatory?


Cutting Edge Consortium holds national equality conference

The Cutting Edge Consortium has announced its Third National Conference, to be held on Saturday, 21 April 2012 at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square in London, from 10am until 5pm. Its specific theme will be: LGBT Lives: Achieving our equality – challenging faith-based homophobia & transphobia.

The keynote speakers for the 2012 Conference are Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, Aidan O’Neill QC from Matrix Chambers, and Angela Eagle MP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.

Andrew Copson from the British Humanist Association and Sarah Veale, Head of Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC, Phyllis Opoku-Gymah PCS and Black PRIDE, and Jennifer Moses from NASUWT the education Union will also address the Conference.

More details are at this page.

To register for the conference, go over here.

Details of more speakers and the extensive programme of workshops for the day will be announced soon.


Church of England: Sexuality Working Group asks for contributions

Press release from Church House Westminster: Group on human sexuality invites submissions.

23 February 2012

The group chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling to advise the House of Bishops on the Church of England’s approach to human sexuality has invited submissions. Written submissions can be sent, to arrive by 31 May, to: Sexuality Working Group, c/o Central Secretariat, Church House, Gt Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ or The group will also invite oral evidence at a later stage.

The House of Bishops announced on 1 July, 2011, that it intended to draw together material from the listening process undertaken within the Church of England over recent years in the light of the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution. It also committed itself to offering proposals on how the continuing discussion within the Church of England about these matters might best be shaped in the light of the listening process. The task of Sir Joseph’s group, announced last month, is to help the House discharge its commitment to produce a consultation document.

The full text of the 1 July statement can be found at:

The press release announcing the working group can be found at:”>

The press release announcing the working group can be found at:

Earlier in the month some Questions were asked at General Synod about the terms of reference for this group. See General Synod Questions on Sexuality Reviews.

Also at that General Synod, the LGB&T Anglican Coalition undertook an Act of Witness, see the press release here (PDF) and pictures here.


Anglican commission consultants reinstated as full members

The Anglican Communion News Service reports: Consultants reinstated as full members on IASCUFO

Two consultants of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) have been reinstated as full members at the request of the Commission’s chairman.

The redesignation of Dr Katherine Grieb and Archbishop Tito Zavala as consultants took place as a result of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams’ Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion issued in May 2010.

This latest decision follows a request by IASCUFO chairman Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi that Archbishop Williams reconsider the application of the letter to IASCUFO so that the consultants can be reinstated as full members for the sake of the work of the Commission.

Acknowledging that members of IASCUFO are present in virtue of skills relevant to the work of the Commission and are not present as representatives of their Provinces, Archbishop Williams has requested that the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon reinstate Archbishop Zavala and Dr Grieb.

ENS reported this as Consultants reinstated as full members on ecumenical commission

…Williams’ request concerning Grieb came in May 2010 following the consecration of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool, who is openly gay, and his decision about Zavala was made in October 2010 because the Southern Cone had failed to clarify whether it was still involved in cross-border incursions into other provinces.

Grieb is an Episcopal priest and professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary. Zavala was bishop of Chile at the time but has since been elected as archbishop of the Southern Cone province.

The request to reinstate the members fully was made by IASCUFO chairman Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of the Anglican Church of Burundi.

Williams, according to an article from the Anglican Communion News Service, has asked the secretary general of the Anglican Communion to reinstate Grieb and Zavala “acknowledging that members of IASCUFO are present in virtue of skills relevant to the work of the commission and are not present as representatives of their provinces.” Yet when the sanctions were imposed, Williams cited developments and actions taken by the individuals’ provinces.

The May 2010 sanctions impacted other Episcopalians serving on ecumenical bodies. Two were asked to leave the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue and one member each stepped down from the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission and the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.

One Episcopal Church member serving on the Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council was initially removed but later reinstated as a consultant after it was agreed that that body is not an ecumenical dialogue but the coordination of work by full communion partners.

At the time, no mention was made about ecumenical commission members from other provinces — such as Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda – that had been involved in cross-border interventions in the United States.

An annotated version of the full IASCUFO membership list was published here, in October 2010.


Anglican Covenant: another result and some comment

The Diocese of Sodor and Man voted yesterday against the Anglican Covenant. The voting was as follows:

Bishops: 1 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions

Clergy: 5 for, 12 against, 0 abstentions

Laity: 21 for, 15 against, 1 abstention

This means that 11 dioceses (25%) have now voted against the covenant, and 7 dioceses (16%) have voted in favour of it.

The letter in last week’s Church Times from Diarmaid MacCulloch is now available to non-subscribers, see The Anglican Covenant: worse than schism?. The original version of this letter is copied below the fold.

Liam Beadle has written an essay titled The Anglican Communion Covenant: A Church of England Objection from an Evangelical Perspective which is also available as a PDF file.

It would be interesting to conduct a survey of what it is that English Anglicans most value about their Church. It might be its worship; it might be its restraint; it might even – particularly if we are asking a group of evangelicals – be its formularies, namely the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. It should therefore be startling to Anglicans that we are being asked to agree to a covenant which ignores our liturgical tradition, responds to a presenting issue, and adds to our formularies. Several dioceses in the Church of England have already voted against the proposed Covenant, and in this short paper I seek to explain my own reasons for rejecting it…