Updated Friday 7 September
The BBC has several reports:
Archbishop of Canterbury condemns child abuse failings
Colin Campbell Report on Diocese of Chichester child abuse failures
Robert Pigott Archbishop Williams criticises child abuse failings
Guardian David Batty Child sex abuse inquiry damns Chichester church’s local safeguarding
Independent Charlie Cooper Archbishop sorry for child abuse failings
Argus Anna Roberts Archbishop of Canterbury vows to protect Sussex victims of abuse
Eastbourne Herald Church rocked by damning report into child protection failures
Worthing Herald New measures to tackle child abuse in Diocese of Chichester
Nick Baines has written A Shame to England.
Colin Coward has written The Chichester report demonstrates the need for radical change in the whole Church of England.
The comprehensive Church Times report by Ed Thornton is now available without subscription: Report slams Chichester over child safeguarding.4 Comments
From Lambeth Palace: Archbishop’s Chichester Visitation – interim report published
The interim report for the enquiry into the operation of the diocesan child protection policies in the Diocese of Chichester has today been published.
The report was written by Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC who were appointed as the Archbishop’s commissaries to carry out the enquiry…
And the Archbishop of Canterbury notes:
“…I have decided that the visitation should continue and that both safeguarding and appointments matters should be conducted under the supervision of this office until uniformly better practice can be assured.
The problems relating to safeguarding in Chichester have been specific to that diocese rather than a reflection of failures in the legal processes or national policies of the Church of England. Nevertheless in the course of their work those who have conducted the visitation have identified some areas where they believe that lessons learned from Chichester could usefully point to some further development of national policy or processes. These will now be considered, along with the rest of this Report, by our national Safeguarding group as soon as possible.”
Scroll down the press release for the full set of recommendations made for the Diocese of Chichester.
The full report is available as a PDF: Interim Report Of The Commissaries Appointed By The Archbishop Of Canterbury In Relation To A Visitation Upon The Diocese Of Chichester (624k)
For the background to this, see this Press Advisory from Lambeth Palace from December 2011.
The Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, has issued a detailed statement which begins:
“I am deeply grateful to the Commissaries for their work in producing such a detailed, honest and wide-ranging analysis of the current situation concerning Safeguarding in the Diocese of Chichester. I have not yet officially begun my work as diocesan bishop and so, in many respects, their Report comes at an apposite time as the diocese also looks forward to a new phase in its ministry and mission.
This Interim Report reinforces for all who read it how the damage caused to each survivor is unique and intensely personal. Let us never forget that. Nor can we ever imagine that words of apology, deep and sincere though they might be, take away the damage and wicked shamefulness that survivors of abuse carry as a destructive burden.
I am particularly grateful to the Commissaries for their suggestion that I meet with all known survivors of abuse and will seek to do this as soon as my public ministry begins…
The Chair of the Joint Safeguarding Liaison Group, Bishop Paul Butler, has issued this statement.18 Comments
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a research report on Religion or belief, equality and human rights in England and Wales (PDF).
There have been some articles discussing this research:
Alice Donald, the author of the report wrote at UK Human Rights Blog Equality, human rights and religion or belief: time to get out of the courtroom?
Frank Cranmer wrote at Law and Religion UK EHRC research report on religion or belief in the workplace.2 Comments
Updated Wednesday evening
From 10 Downing Street: Suffragan See of Beverley
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Glyn Hamilton Webster, SRN, presently Acting Dean of York and Canon Chancellor and Canon Residentiary of York Minster, in the diocese of York, to the Suffragan See of Beverley, in the Diocese of York, in succession to the Right Reverend Martyn William Jarrett, BD, AKC, MPhil, on his resignation on the 30 September 2012. Beverley is the See reserved for the Provincial Episcopal Visitor for the Northern Province…
From Bishopthorpe Palace The Suffragan See of Beverley
…Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley Designate, said:
“I am honoured and humbled to have been approached to take on this role as a Suffragan Bishop of Beverley at this very crucial time in the church. I am passionately committed to the unity of the whole life of the Church of England; never wanting to encourage people to operate as a church within a church.
“It’s really important to our future life together if we are going to make any impact on this nation of ours with the gospel of Christ that we remain together. I hope to make my contribution in this new role and I look forward to serving with the Archbishop.”
In April 2006, we published Funding the Anglican Right linking to a major report entitled Following the Money: Donors and Activists on the Anglican Right.
Due to a subsequent rebuild of the website on which it originally appeared, the links to the full text of the report became broken.
A PDF version of the entire report is now available at this location.
In September 2006, we also published Has any Ahmanson money reached the UK?0 Comments
Updated Thursday evening to include additional link
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 28th August 2012
WATCH continues to call for complete withdrawal of Clause 5(1)c
WATCH (Women and the Church) has considered the consultation paper GS Misc 1033 sent out to members of Synod near the end of July and considers that complete withdrawal of amended Clause 5(1)c remains the wisest course of action for the House of Bishops at their meeting in September.
Opinions are divided amongst supporters of ordained women as to the best way forward. Though every effort has been made to engage fully with the brief consultation process, no one proposal for a new wording for 5(1)c has achieved very wide support.
We conclude that withdrawing 5(1)c is the safest path to the successful passage of this Measure and the only way to keep faith with the diocesan consultation process.
The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said
“The House of Bishops will have a very difficult judgment call at their meeting in September. It is vital that whatever decision they make does not further undermine the ministry of ordained women.”
Mark Vernon writes for The Guardian about Rowan Williams and Francis Spufford on being a Christian.
Elizabeth Kaeton writes at Daily Episcopalian Is the Anglican Communion a Gift from God?
Nelson Jones writes in the Spectator Atheism+: the new New Atheists.
Paul Vallely writes in the Church Times about Pussy Riot: A protest founded on the Gospels.
Andrew Brown writes at Cif belief that If we are to cope with climate change we need a new moral order.
Giles Fraser writes in the Guardian I believe in God. I don’t believe in God.
Andrew McGowan writes at Eureka Street that Vatican prefers tanks to talks to achieve unity.14 Comments
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes has published her response to GS Misc 1033 on her own blog and you can read it in full here. She makes her own alternative proposal for replacement wording:
‘To promote the flourishing of, and foster co-operation between, parishes whose PCCs have, and have not, signed Letters of Request under clause 3 of this Measure’.
But you will need to read her full response in order to understand why she makes this proposal.
WATCH has issued the following statement:
Petition to remove Clause 5(1)(c) from the Women Bishops Measure
You may be aware that legislation to allow women to be bishops in the Church of England has been going through General Synod and the Diocesan Synods for several years. Final approval was to have been in General Synod in July this year. However, the Archbishop of Canterbury was concerned that it did not do enough for those people who are opposed to women priests and, in May this year, the House of Bishops decided to insert an amendment that fundamentally changed the draft legislation.
In the Archbishop of Canterbury’s own words, this amendment to the legislation that had been agreed by 42 of the 44 dioceses “de-stabilised” the steady progress towards final approval.
The draft legislation already allowed parishes effectively to “opt out” by requesting a male priest or bishop. However, the clause that the House of Bishops inserted into it [Clause 5(1)(c)] would have further allowed them, in effect, to choose their own bishop and to insist that the male bishop selected for them had never ordained a woman or been ordained by a woman. This angered so many people that WATCH started a petition to enable their voices to be heard.
An initial avalanche of signatures – 5,000 in just one week – showed the strength of feeling on this issue, and when General Synod met in July it decided to adjourn the final approval debate as it had become clear that it was unlikely that the amended version of the Measure would have enough support to be passed.
Since then the number of people signing has fallen away, probably because people feel that the battle has been won. However, the amendment has not yet been withdrawn, and when the House of Bishops meets in September it could still decide to keep the same amendment, or – more likely – try to come up with another version of it. WATCH believes that it is time to stop tinkering with the legislation and allow General Synod finally to vote on the Measure as it was agreed by the dioceses.
If you have not already signed WATCH’s petition please do so, in time for the meeting on 10 September and, even if you have, please try to encourage everyone you know who wishes to see women made bishops on the same basis as men to sign. There is a link to the petition on the WATCH website: www.womenandthechurch.org
You can still make a difference, and help to ensure that when General Synod meets again in November it is able to vote to approve the legislation that has carried the support of 95% of the Dioceses of the Church of England.
Here is a link to the petition.1 Comment
Madeleine Davies reports in today’s Church Times Women bishops: a lot of ground for the Synod to make up.
…Today is the deadline for responses to a consultation document about the options, which was circulated to Synod members by the secretary-general, William Fittall.
By Wednesday, only about one member in ten had responded. The General Synod Office reported “more than 50” submissions, the “great majority” from Synod members, but also some “from individuals and others from groups”. There are 477 Synod members.
Such a low response will make it difficult for the House of Bishops to ascertain the mind of the Synod when it meets to discuss the Measure on 12 September, although several dioceses are planning their own consultations later.
This week, Synod members expressed preferences for four of the seven options…
The press release from GRAS referred to in this news report is copied below the fold.3 Comments
The Evening Standard reports:
A Church of England bishop today supported gay marriage, saying God is not “an angry old man out to get us”.
Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson, a married father of five, caused a row in the Church by urging leaders to “get our head around blessing gay people’s relationships”.
He said in a YouTube video for the Out4Marriage campaign: “It all comes down to how we see gay people and how we see God. We don’t actually believe gay people are sick or stunted or criminal. We don’t believe God is an angry old man out to get us.
“Let’s stop behaving as though we did. Recognising gay people are equal means they won’t dilute or spoil marriage but potentially enrich it.”
The video made by the Bishop of Buckingham, The Right Reverend Alan Wilson can be viewed here.
But, according to the Evening Standard:
A Church of England spokesman contradicted Dr Wilson. “Our Church is committed to marriage as being between a man and woman,” he said.
“Opening marriage to same-sex couples would add nothing to the rights and responsibilities that already exist within a civil partnership but would require multiple changes to law, with the definition of marriage having to change for everyone.”
And the newspaper also reports:
Influential Tory Party Right-winger Lord Ashcroft urged the Prime Minister to ignore traditionalists urging him to abandon the proposed law. The peer revealed private polling suggested dropping gay marriage would offend more people than it would please.
He said: “Ditching gay marriage would probably be more likely to put off joiners and considerers — whom we need if we are to win a majority — than it would win back defectors.”
Earlier this week, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson also gave the campaign his support in this video.17 Comments
Responses to GS Misc 1033 Women in the Episcopate – the Final Legislative Lap were requested from synod members (though not from the general public) by Friday 25 August (see paras 94 and 95).
Our original introduction to this document can be found here.
One such response that has been submitted is from April Alexander, a lay General Synod member from Southwark Diocese, and she has agreed to its publication here in full. It is available as a web page or as a PDF file. The response is in 12 numbered sections.
Section 1 argues that option 1 (retain the bishops’ amendment) is not a satisfactory outcome. In discussing the difficulties of qualifying “maleness” she notes that:
The Archbishop’s argument that qualifying maleness would allow charges of misogyny to be avoided is excruciatingly insulting (para 33). It is an idea which the traditionalists have developed in the recent past in the context of women bishops; (“we are rejecting male as well as female bishops and therefore we cannot be accused of discrimination”). Women and their supporters are already accommodating misogyny and have been doing so with astonishing generosity for years. The responses to the unamended Measure from the Dioceses indicated that there was very wide acceptance of this.
To say that the phrase “male bishop” is “insufficient [and] does not go to the root of [the problem]” is incorrect. The position of the traditionalists and of the conservatives depends totally on a theology of gender and pandering to the notion of “pedigree” on the face of the legislation does nothing to alter this.
And she goes on to quote a statement from senior women clergy issued way back in 2008.
Section 2 deals with Option 2 (delete the amendment) which is the course of action April Alexander supports. She notes that:
…If the Archbishops were to throw their weight behind the unamended draft Measure on the basis that it contains all the provision necessary for extremists at either end to continue to practice as they have been doing up to now by statute and by grace and trust, then the very few changes of heart which are required among the House of Laity could be achieved.
… If Simon Killwick’s estimate that the traditionalists and conservatives form 35% of the House of Laity, then the numbers who need to change their vote in order to achieve 66.6% in favour in that House would only be four. Changing hearts and minds is the life’s work of bishops and archbishops and it would be strange indeed if , between them, they could not effect a change of heart in this small number if they put their weight behind the unamended Measure…
Other sections discuss a range of issues:
the identification in the Diocesan Scheme both of the bishop or bishops who will exercise episcopal ministry by delegation to parishes who issue a letter of request and the circumstances under which alternative provision might be made in a particular case (adapted from draft CoP para 40)
‘At the root of some of the options set out is the view, apparently held by some, that “Bishops who had associated themselves with the ordination of women” would no longer be “valid ministers of the sacraments”. I find this an extraordinary attitude. The scholastic doctrine, that the “unworthiness of the minister hindereth not the effect of the sacrament” is enshrined in Article 26. It is also traditional catholic theology that unorthodoxy does not invalidate the sacraments. The opposite view seems to me to introduce uncatholic heresy. How could we allow a situation where individual church members or groups decide who are real bishops and who are not? To reject the bishop is to reject the Church that he represents. I do not believe that it is possible to be an Anglican and not be in communion with your bishop and – I say this with deference and due humility – with the See of Canterbury.’
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about The danger of being respectable.
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about Puddleglum and the quest for the Grail, inspired by this interview by Sameer Rahim: Rowan Williams: ‘Aslan is on the knife-edge of the erotic’.
In something I missed earlier, Norman Ivison gives us 8 ways to keep young adults out of your church.18 Comments
The House of Commons Library has published a briefing note, dealing primarily with the situation in England and Wales, and summarising published responses to the recent government consultation on equal civil marriage. It gives a good deal of space to the arguments put forward in the official Church of England response.
The full briefing paper is available here, as a PDF file.
Two members of the House of Commons have recently published their own views on this topic.
John Howell MP has written a paper on Gay Civil Marriage. He says:
I have had a number of e mails over the past weeks both from those who support gay civil marriage and those who oppose it. Many of the latter are based on template instructions issued to constituents by the Coalition for Marriage when writing to MPs and reflect a standard suite of points. However, the issue of Gay Civil Marriage is not one which can be boiled down to a few bullet points without radically undermining the complexity of the issues involved or producing a simplistic standard campaign letter.
In addition, some of those who have written to me predominantly from a religious perspective have not sufficiently recognised that what we are talking about is gay civil marriage or that the theological arguments are themselves complex and allow for different approaches even within a Christian tradition.
I have listened carefully to the arguments that have been made and I read with care the reasons given as to why some oppose this change. However, I have to say that I do not agree with them. However, in recognition of the sincerity with which many have put their views forward I have attached a paper to this page as a pdf download which I have put together myself and which sets out my own perspective on this issue. It runs to 7 pages which is, at the very least, an attempt to treat this issue with the seriousness it deserves and hopefully makes a thoughtful contribution to the debate whether you agree with me or not.
His full paper can be read here (PDF).
Tom Harris MP has also written. He titled his article Confessions of a Recovering Evangelical.
The vast majority of opposition to the idea of equal marriage comes from the Church and the followers of the other non-Christian religions. Homosexuality is a sinful state, they believe, therefore gay relationships should not be endorsed or approved of by the state.
I should say at the outset that I consider myself a Christian. Not a very good one, I admit, but a Christian nonetheless. In a former life I was very evangelical and spent a lot of time studying the Bible and trying to “convert” my less enlightened, hellbound friends. These days I am what a parliamentary colleague rather wonderfully described as a “recovering evangelical”. I’ll settle for that.
I still have lots of friends who were better at staying the course than I was. At least three of them are full-time leaders of their respective churches, and many others remain far more regular attendees at worship than I. So when I hear members of the clergy or lay members of the Church decrying moves towards equal marriage, or when I receive letters from local church members in my constituency warning me of the dire consequences of this move, I kind of understand where they’re coming from. I don’t agree with them, dearie me, no. I’m forthright and unapologetic in my support for equal marriage, largely on the (some might say counter-intuitive) basis that I’m a strong believer in marriage and therefore want to encourage as many as possible to give it a go…
This has provoked a response from Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, which is titled Response to a Recovering Evangelical.
…The key point in our submission on same sex marriage is that the virtues of faithful homosexual relationships cannot embrace everything that is good about heterosexual marriage. There is an inescapable difference and complementarity between men and women that allows procreation to be an important component of a marriage between a man and a woman. Yes, of course many marriages are childless, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that a flourishing society needs some sort of social institution that celebrates and encourages having children and their upbringing in a family with their biological parents wherever possible. Our concern is emphatically not to say that same-sex relationships are wicked, but to ask what sort of a society we would have if the social meaning of marriage was stripped of any expectation at all that it involved having children. You don’t have to agree with our analysis of this, but many would surely agree that it is a question worth asking.
Unfortunately, the Coalition’s consultation on Equal Marriage is based on a profound ignorance of the current laws about marriage and, to be blunt, is a dog’s breakfast of erroneous assumptions and begged questions. The mistaken assumption that “religious marriage” and “civil marriage” are two different things in law is only the most egregious example of the GEO document’s failings. These points have nothing to do with Christian approaches to sexuality, but the church had no option but to oppose a proposal which would be based on such an utter misreading of the law and of the Church of England’s present role as a “purveyor of weddings to the nation”…
The Guardian has published a precis of the new Preface to Permanent, Faithful, Stable in Wednesday’s newspaper in the Comment section. You can read it online here: Under Rowan Williams, the church has failed gay people.
Lizzy Davies has written a news story to accompany this, which is also in Wednesday’s newspaper on page 2: Anglican stance on same-sex marriage ‘morally contemptible’, says gay cleric.
She concludes her article thus:
…Condemning the leadership of the Church of England for apparently prioritising the unity of the worldwide Anglican communion over gay rights, John adds: “This policy may be institutionally expedient, but it is morally contemptible. Worst of all, by appeasing their persecutors it betrays the truly heroic gay Christians of Africa who stand up for justice and truth at risk of their lives. For the mission of the Church of England the present policy is a disaster.”
In the postscript, John denounces the church for “sanctioning” liberal wings of the communion while capitulating to vehemently homophobic churches. “This is morality turned upside down; and the inevitable result is that people of goodwill with a concern for justice and truth turn away from the Church in disgust,” he writes.
“Almost as long as it has existed, the Church has been directly responsible for evils and injustices committed against gay people, and it is responsible for them still. Appalling atrocities have been perpetrated on homosexuals by the Church, or in the name of the Church, or as in Nazi Germany, with the tacit connivance of the Church. Yet there is still not a glimmer of repentance; rather the opposite – an arrogant restatement of ‘traditional’ exclusion and contempt.”
A Church of England spokesman said: “These are very strong personal opinions that Jeffrey John has expounded before.” The Church was far more inclusive than they made it seem, as testified to by the fact that John, an openly gay man, occupied a senior position in it, he added.
Darton, Longman and Todd is republishing the book by Dr Jeffrey John previously titled Permanent, Faithful, Stable and originally published in 1993 (second edition in 2000).
The 2012 edition has been retitled: Permanent, Faithful, Stable: Christian Same-Sex Marriage. There is a new Foreword by Mark Oakley, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, and a forthright new Preface and new Postscript by Jeffrey John, urging the church to back the government’s proposal to legalise gay marriage.
Inclusive Church has reproduced the publisher’s press release.1 Comment
The elections for the central members of the Crown Nominations Commission (to serve for five years from 1 September 2012) have just been held, and the results are now available.
The House of Laity elected
April Alexander (Southwark)
Aiden Hargreaves-Smith (London)
Jane Patterson (Sheffield).
The House of Clergy elected
John Dunnett (Chelmsford)
Judith Maltby (Oxford University)
Andrew Nunn (Southwark).
The current elected members will continue on the CNC to select the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The newly elected members will first take part in the choice of the next Bishop of Blackburn, with CNC meetings scheduled for 10 January and 30/31 January 2013.
The elections were by STV (single transferable vote) and the detailed voting sheets are available for download.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Pussy Riot’s crime was violating the sacred. That’s what got Jesus in court.
Karyn L Wiseman writes for The Huffington Post about John 6:35, 41-51: Not Another Bread Passage.. Please!
Tariq Modood writes for the ABC about Secularism in crisis? Muslims and the challenge of multiculturalism.13 Comments
The Deputy Prime Minister announced this week that the the Government does not intend to proceed with Lords reform in this parliament.
The Church of England then issued this Statement from the Bishop of Leicester on the House of Lords Reform Bill.
All this is reported today in the Church Times (sadly subscription only) under the headline Bishops safe as Lords Bill dropped.
David Pocklington has written at Law and Religion UK about Parliamentary Reform and the Bishops. He includes the following comment:
Perhaps instead of proclaiming ‘Bishops safe, as Clegg drops Lords’ Bill’, the headline in the Church Times should have read ‘Bishops miss opportunity to reorganize strategically’.
Earlier, Frank Cranmer had written Parliament: plans for House of Lords reform abandoned and now he has added Bishops in the Lords: a non-English perspective.
The British Humanist Association which has opposed bishops in the Lords consistently reported it this way: Government abandons House of Lords reform.6 Comments
At the Church of England General Synod sessions in July, this motion was passed:
‘That this Synod, recognizing the Church of England’s historic and continuing participation in world mission as essential to our identity as members of the universal Church
(a) welcome the report entitled World-Shaped Mission and commend it to the dioceses, deaneries and parishes of the Church of England for further study;
(b) affirm the ongoing role of the Mission Agencies in resourcing the mission of the Church of England at home and overseas;
(c) affirm the continuing growth, whether through the Diocesan Companion Links, initiatives by parishes or otherwise in the relationships between the Church of England, the Provinces of the Anglican Communion and the world church
(d) encourage the building of continuing partnership between all involved in Church of England world mission and development relationships.
The ACNS has now published Continuing Indaba team welcomes “biggest change to mission policy in 50 years”.
The Church of England’s recent decision to move its model of mission from one of dependency to mutuality has been warmly welcomed by the Anglican Communion’s Continuing Indaba team.
The resolution passed at the York synod was not only a major step for Church of England, but also a boost for everyone involved with the Anglican Communion’s efforts to encourage dialogue across difference.
“This vision of a new way of doing mission has far reaching consequences for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion,” said Continuing Indaba’s Canon Phil Groves. “The World-Shaped Mission report endorsed at the Synod asks dioceses to commit to principles of partnership that encourage the continuation of a journey from former patterns of dependency towards mutuality.
“That means a move away from a model where Anglicans in the North are simply giving resources to those global South, to one where members of the Communion are genuinely giving and receiving to one another.”
What’s more, the report also contains commitments to partnership through listening and learning, listening across cultures through Indaba, and using Continuing Indaba and similar processes….
The Continuing Indaba website is here. It contains lots of resource materials.
Some earlier ACNS press releases:
And there was this ENS report: Continuing Indaba enables ‘gospel-shaped conversation’ which includes some videos.3 Comments
The Archbishop of York has been interviewed by The Independent. There are two different online versions of the interview, one on the Archbishop’s own website: Archbishop’s Big Questions Interview in The Independent, and one on the newspaper’s: The big questions: Is milk too cheap? Are the Games worth it? Should young people work for experience?
Esther J Hamori writes for The Huffington Post about Biblical Standards for Marriage.
Peter Selby writes for The Tablet about debt and money: Wake-up call.1 Comment