Thinking Anglicans


James Wood writes in The New Yorker about God Talk: The Book of Common Prayer at three hundred and fifty.

Bosco Peters has written this Open Letter to ACC15 (the Anglican Consultative Council which is meeting in New Zealand from 27 October to 7 November. The letter is “a passionate request that you revise the Anglican five-fold mission statement and explicitly include worship/liturgy.”

David Conn of The Guardian has interviewed the Bishop of Liverpool: Hillsborough panel chairman: ‘This is what the church should be doing’.


Present and Future of English Cathedrals

The consultancy the Grubb Institute and the theology think tank Theos published a report on cathedrals in contemporary England: Spiritual Capital: the Present and Future of English Cathedrals earlier this week.

Church of England cathedrals have a unique and widely admired position within English society. Praised for their architectural magnificence, aesthetic appeal and historical significance, this report shows that their impact on and significance for English life extends far beyond their role as tourist destinations.

Based on an extensive and detailed research programme carried out by The Grubb Institute and Theos over 2011-12, Spiritual Capital looks at Cathedrals in contemporary England, assessing the breadth, depth and nature of their activity and appeal, with the objective of helping those who run and work in them to understand and respond better to the challenges of the 21st century.

You can download the report and the polling data.

Today’s Church Times has published this editorial What cathedrals are good at and this news article by Ed Thornton Cathedrals ‘appeal to non-religious’.

Other press reports include:

Nick Spencer in The Guardian about The cathedral as a broad church.

Ruth Gledhill in The Times Cathedrals are finding spirit of the age [republished by Theos]

John Bingham in the Telegraph ‘Pilgrimage’ makes 21st Century come-back as 11 million visit cathedrals

Philip Maughan in the New Statesman What are cathedrals for?


Women Bishops: Enough Waiting

Updated Saturday night

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has “begun a campaign to persuade General Synod members to back the new women bishops legislation when it returns to debate it next month” with this article in today’s Church Times

What is at stake in the Synod vote

that is also available on his website: Women Bishops: Enough Waiting. He concludes:

My hope for next month’s debate is that it will tackle what is really before us, not what it is assumed or even suspected to mean; that it will give us grounds for trusting one another more rather than less; that it will be rooted in a serious theological engagement with what makes for the good of the Church and its mission, a serious attempt to be obedient to God’s leading – and, perhaps most soberingly, that it will not ignore the sense of urgency about resolving this that is felt inside and outside the Church, often with real pain and bewilderment. As a Synod, we are asked to act not only as a legislature but as a body that serves the Kingdom of God and takes a spiritual and pastoral responsibility for its actions. And I know that Synod members, myself among them, will be praying hard about what this entails.

The Church Times also reports on the contents of the article: Williams urges waverers to back women-bishops Measure.


Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Rowan Williams issues warning over women bishops vote

Jerome Taylor in The Independent Vote for women bishops or face further turmoil within the Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams warns


Wallace Benn to retire

The Diocese of Chichester has announced today that Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, will retire on 31 October 2012. The announcement takes the form of this exchange of letters between the Bishops of Chichester and Lewes.

In response to the announcement the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this Archbishop’s Chichester Visitation – update.


The Diocese of South Carolina responds

The Diocese of South Carolina has published in addition to the announcement reported previously, the following documents:

The Board of Directors and Standing Committee unanimously vote to call a Special Convention the first Saturday that is 30 days after any “Action” by The Episcopal Church (“TEC”) against Bishop Lawrence.

September 20, 2012: Standing Committee asks Bishop Lawrence to interpret provisions of the Constitution & Canons of the Diocese. October 2, 2012: Bishop Lawrence issues his interpretation of the Constitution & Canons.

Standing Committee and Board of Directors vote unanimously to disaffiliate with, and withdraw membership from, TEC effective upon the taking of any “action” as specified in the motion


Presiding Bishop restricts ministry of Bishop of South Carolina

Updated again twice on Thursday evening

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church has issued this notice:

Office of the Presiding Bishop

On October 10, 2012, I received from the Disciplinary Board for Bishops a certification pursuant to Canon IV.16(A)(1) that The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, had abandoned the Episcopal Church within the meaning of that canon.
Accordingly, I have this 15th day of October, 2012, at noon EDT, placed a restriction on the exercise of ministry of Bishop Lawrence “until such time as the House of Bishops shall investigate the matter and act thereon.” During the period of such restriction, “the Bishop shall not perform any Episcopal, ministerial or canonical acts.”

Dated: October 15, 2012
(The Most Rev.) Katharine Jefferts Schori XXVI Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

The certification mentioned above can be found here. Three “events” are referred to:

  • Resolutions passed by the Diocesan Convention of October 2010, which the bishop approved
  • Documents filed with the State of South Carolina in November 2011 which the bishop had signed
  • Quitclaim deeds issued by the diocesan chancellor to numerous parishes around November 2011, which the bishop had instructed him to do.

The Diocese of South Carolina has issued the following statement:

On Monday, October 15, 2012, Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina was notified by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, that on September 18, 2012 the Disciplinary Board for Bishops had certified his abandonment of The Episcopal Church. This action by The Episcopal Church triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the Diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the Diocese from The Episcopal Church and called a Special Convention. That Convention will be held at St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Bishop Lawrence was notified of these actions taken by the Episcopal Church between two meetings, one held on October 3 and one to be held on October 22, which Bishop Andrew Waldo of the Upper Diocese of South Carolina and Bishop Lawrence had set up with the Presiding Bishop to find a peaceful alternative to the growing issues between The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina. The meetings were to explore “creative solutions” for resolving these issues to avoid further turmoil in the Diocese and in The Episcopal Church. A timeline of these events and their associated documents may be found below.

Two of the three charges had previously been determined by a majority vote of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops in November 2011 not to constitute abandonment. The Diocese has not received a signed copy of the certification and also remains uninformed of the identity of those making these charges.

We feel a deep sense of sadness but a renewed sense of God’s providence that The Episcopal Church has chosen to act against this Diocese and its Bishop during a good faith attempt peacefully to resolve our differences. These actions make it clear The Episcopal Church no longer desires to be affiliated with the Diocese of South Carolina.


Episcopal News Service has published Disciplinary Board for Bishops certifies that South Carolina bishop has abandoned the church.

The Disciplinary Board for Bishops has advised Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that the majority of the 18-member panel has determined that Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina has abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church.”

Following complaints of 12 adult members and two priests of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, the determination was made under Canon IV.16(A).
The 18 member board – composed of 10 bishops, four clergy, four laity – issued a letter dated September 18. Following the assembly of numerous documents, the Presiding Bishop received the letter in her Church Center office on October 10; the letter was received via U.S. Mail.

On Monday October 15, the Presiding Bishop called Lawrence and, speaking directly with him, informed him of the action of the Disciplinary Board. She also informed him that, effective noon of that day, the exercise of his ministry was restricted. Therefore, under the canon, he is not permitted to perform any acts as an ordained person.

From here, Lawrence has 60 days to respond to the allegations in the certification…

And ENS has a lot of historical background to this in a further report: Disciplinary Board says South Carolina bishop has abandoned church.

Episcopal News Service has a further report: South Carolina Episcopalians explain complaint against bishop.

A South Carolina attorney involved in the complaints filed with the Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops that resulted in the board certifying that Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence had abandoned the Episcopal Church issued the following release Oct. 18.

With much deliberation, Melinda A. Lucka, an attorney in the Charleston, S.C. area and an active communicant in the Diocese of South Carolina, requested that the Disciplinary Board for Bishops review various actions of Bishop Lawrence that have taken place over the past two years. Ms. Lucka asked the Board if it could make a determination as to whether or not the actions were consistent with the mission and polity of The Episcopal Church…

And there is yet another ENS report: South Carolinians say diocesan actions were ‘too far out of bounds’.


women bishops: Church Society writes to General Synod members

This letter has been published by Reform:

15th October 2012
Dear Synod member,

Re : Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure

I am writing in my capacity as the Chairman of the Council of Church Society to urge you to vote against the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure at the General Synod meeting on Tuesday 20th November.

Church Society represents a substantial body of clergy and has a longstanding patronage interest in 113 parishes across the country.

The Society’s members are loyal Anglicans, committed to ministry within the Church of England and faithful to historic Anglican doctrine, most importantly, the supreme and final authority of the Bible as God’s written Word. We adhere in good conscience to the Bible’s teaching on male headship in the family and in the church and accordingly cannot accept women as bishops.

The proposed legislation does not provide adequate protection for all those in the Church of England who endorse Church Society’s position and for whom legislation in favour of the consecration of women bishops, without such protection, would give rise to fundamental issues of conscience.

In particular, our Council and membership contain a substantial body of ordinands, younger clergy, lay leaders and laity all of whom subscribe fully to the Society’s position, such that their ministry within the Church of England will be threatened by the proposed Measure, if it is enacted. It would be immensely damaging to the Church of England and to our country if the ministries of such men and women were seemingly rejected by our beloved national church. It would also put us significantly at odds with most of the provinces, and the vast majority of Anglicans, in the global Anglican Communion, who do not have female bishops.

Clause 5 of the draft Measure fails to set out safeguards which protect the position of those holding the biblical convictions summarised above. All it contemplates is the drawing up of a Code of Practice, when legislation alone would firmly establish and enshrine all necessary safeguards.

In addition, Clause 5(1)c offers no adequate protection. This clause, as amended last month, would, on one reading, remove the need for onerous and difficult enquiries into whether or not, as a matter of theological conviction, the ministry of a prospective male minister is consistent with the position of the relevant parochial church on the issue of the consecration or ordination of women. However, the new wording of Clause 5(1)c is unclear in meaning. It is therefore unclear how it should, or could, be applied in practice. This is unsatisfactory.

For the reasons outlined above, I strongly encourage you to vote against the draft Measure. There is no other just or reasonable alternative and not to do so would amount to a failure, for no good reason, to respect the consciences of many loyal Anglicans.

A vote against the draft Measure would not, of course, amount to a vote against women’s ministry per se. There remain many areas of church life where women’s ministry is immensely beneficial and can be exercised in ways which are consistent with the Bible’s teaching on headship and the roles of men and women.

Yours sincerely,
James Crabtree,
Chairman of Church Society Council


women bishops: press release from GRAS

Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod
Press briefing for immediate release 8th October 2012

The final draft Bishops and Priests [Consecration and Ordination of Women] Measure

If this legislation is passed we hope and pray that this will be a step on the way towards the full realisation that women and men are equally made in the image of God.

Vigilant scrutiny and care will be needed to ensure that the word “Respect” will be interpreted in such a way that the Code of Practice will ensure the excesses that resulted from the Act of Synod will be prevented through provision of a clearly defined code of conduct.

GRAS objectives:

  • The l993 Act of Synod should be rescinded as a precondition of new legislation.
  • A single enabling Measure to give clarity and affirmation to women’s full and equal status in all three orders of ministry. The legislation must be unconditional, with no discriminatory provisions.
  • A Code of Practice designed to recognise that there are essential elements of trust which need to be restored. The integrity and authority of the episcopate must be restored through the assignment of trust in each diocesan bishop, who should be responsible for provisions judged to be right for any in his or her care.
  • A commitment that, since the Church has accepted the principle of the orders of women as priests and bishops, in future all those being ordained should openly accept those orders as valid in accordance with the existing ecclesiastical rule (Canon A4).

Protestors occupy St Paul's Cathedral

Updated again 8 am Tuesday

Four demonstrators have chained themselves to the pulpit inside St Paul’s Cathedral.

Associated Press Occupy London activists stage St Paul’s protest

Telegraph Occupy London protesters chain themselves to St Paul’s Cathedral pulpit

BBC Occupy London protesters gather at St Paul’s Cathedral and Occupy activists stage St Paul’s pulpit protest

Evening Standard St Paul’s Cathedral Occupy protest latest

Guardian Occupy protesters chain themselves to St Paul’s pulpit

The service of evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral on 14 October was planned to incorporate prayers by Occupy Faith and a sermon which spoke clearly of the need for partnership between Occupy, St Paul’s and others in addressing the need for financial and political change which Occupy highlighted.

During the service a group of four women chained themselves to the pulpit and shouted out a list of grievances against St Paul’s as well as reading part of the bible. The Dean of St Paul’s, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, who was about to preach, allowed them to speak, following which the rest of the service continued without interruption.

Afterwards the Dean said: “After working constructively together with Occupy Faith on this act of worship, we regret the abuse of the Cathedral’s hospitality and its daily worship. We also disagree with the way in which some protesters are continuing to pursue the agenda of conflict with St Paul’s, rather than consulting with us about how together we might better achieve the reforms which many people including Occupy are looking for.”

Updated press statement

This further paragraph has now been added

The four protesters remained chained to the pulpit during the organ recital and communion service which followed Evensong. At the close of the Cathedral after worship at 7pm, everyone remaining in the Cathedral was asked to leave (as is usual) so that the building could be locked for the night. The protesters and their supporters refused to leave, and the Dean engaged in dialogue with them, the outcome being that they agreed to meet with him and others from the Cathedral as soon as could be arranged. Although invited to do so, the protesters refused to give permission for their chains to be removed. The normal procedure for when people refuse to leave places of worship was then followed: the police were called to assist in moving those people on, and after half an hour of further discussion the protesters cut themselves free and left peacefully of their own accord.

Sunday’s sermon by the Dean.

And he had published this article on the cathedral website two days ago: Dean Ison reflects on Occupy – one year on.

Giles Fraser has written for the Guardian Occupy was right – all the church could say was ‘go home’.

And there is a Guardian editorial in Monday’s newspaper: St Paul’s protests: post-occupied.

Christianity Uncut has published

ITN Protesters leave St Paul’s

Occupy: Protesters have left St Paul’s

The protesters cut themselves free around 10pm after City of London Police entered the cathedral, an occupy spokesman said.

He said they decided to cut themselves free after being warned by officers that they faced arrest…

Telegraph Occupy London protesters free themselves from St Paul’s Cathedral pulpit

Evening Standard St Paul’s Occupy activist is actress who starred alongside Emma Thompson

Christianity Uncut has published Christian anti-capitalists rebut untrue claims about protest at St Paul’s.

Tuesday morning update

David Ison has written a letter to the Guardian St Paul’s is moving on – and we hope that Occupy will too.

Symon Hill has written Knocking at the door of St Paul’s.


News stories about British religious statistics

British Religion in Numbers (BRIN) has a round up of some recent news stories about British religious statistics with summaries and links to the full data: Respect for Clergy and Other News. Stories included are:

Evangelicals and Money
“Evangelical Christians are not immune from the economic downturn…”

Respect for Clergy
“Ministers and priests enjoy a lower standing in Britain than in Canada or the United States…”

Current Issues in the Church of England
“…Anglican churchgoers rate the performance of Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury more highly than practising Christians as a whole…”

Pastoral Research Centre
“…an independent trust for applied socio-religious research, and focused primarily on the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales…”

Joking Apart
“…significant numbers [of UK Christians] apparently hold ambivalent or contradictory positions…”

Heritage at Risk
“A higher proportion of England’s religious heritage assets appear to be at risk than is the case with any other type…”

These round-ups are a regular feature of BRIN.


Clerk to the General Synod to become Director of Forward in Faith

Forward in Faith has issued this press release Changes at FiF announced.

It was announced today at the Forward in Faith National Assembly that Stephen Parkinson will be retiring at the end of December, after over 19 years as the Director of FiF. He will be succeeded by Dr Colin Podmore, who is currently the Clerk to the General Synod of the Church of England…

Church House Westminster has issued this press release: Statement from Secretary General on new Director of Forward in Faith.

The Secretary General of the Church of England, Mr. William Fittall, has today issued a statement in response to the announcement that Dr. Colin Podmore has been appointed as the new Director of Forward in Faith:

“Forward in Faith has today announced the appointment of the Dr. Colin Podmore, who currently serves as the Clerk to the General Synod, as its next Director, upon the retirement of the present incumbent.

Colin has accordingly given notice that he will be leaving the Church House staff at the end of March to take up the new role. He will continue to fulfill the full range of his current responsibilities until the end of that six-month notice period, except that, at his request, I have agreed that he will not play a role in relation to the Women Bishops legislation…”

The Forward in Faith press release also contains this biographical note:

Colin Podmore, a Cornishman, read history at Keble College, Oxford, and trained as a teacher at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He taught German at S. Michael’s Church of England High School in Chorley, Lancashire, before returning to Keble to research for his Oxford DPhil in church history. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His publications include Aspects of Anglican Identity (2005) and articles on Anglican ecclesiology. On the staff of the General Synod from 1988, he was successively Deputy Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity, Secretary of the House of Clergy, Secretary of the Liturgical Commission, and Secretary of the Dioceses Commission. He was also secretary of groups that reviewed the processes for choosing diocesan bishops and making senior church appointments and oversaw the publication of the Common Worship liturgy. As well as being Clerk to the Synod, Colin is also the Director of the Central Secretariat of the Archbishops’ Council and Director of Ecumenical Relations.



Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian about Christianity considered as true.

Amy-Jill Levine writes for the Religion and Ethics column on ABC: Not good to be alone: Rethinking the Bible and homosexuality.

Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Anglicans, archbishops and presidential confusions.

Bishop Pierre Whalon writes for Anglicans Online about Polity Politics.

David Ison, the Dean of St Paul’s, reflects on Occupy – one year on. And on the same subject, Ed Thornton writes in the Church Times: Still preoccupied by Occupy.


Archbishop of Canterbury speaks to Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops

Updated Sunday

The Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the “Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”.

The full text of his remarks can be found here.

For some helpful information on the event, see this blog by the Bishop of Sheffield, Steven Croft, who is also attending the synod. His first entry is Preparing for the Synod of Bishops.

Further background material can be found here.

There is also this transcript of a Vatican Radio interview.


Anglican Covenant – reference to dioceses

updated Thursday

The Business Committee of the General Synod is required to report on the reference of the Anglican Communion Covenant to the dioceses. Their report GS 1878 is now available for download and will be debated at Synod on 19 November 2012.

The report includes the detailed voting figures from each diocese, and some analysis of these figures such as the following two paragraphs.

9. It will be seen … that the majorities within individual dioceses varied greatly. In some, the draft Act of Synod adopting the Covenant was either approved or rejected by substantial majorities. In others the voting in the House of Laity or House of Clergy or both of the houses was very close. Thus, in eleven dioceses which did not approve the Act of Synod, it would have been approved if between two and eight individuals had voted in favour rather than against. Conversely, in fifteen dioceses which did approve the Act of Synod, it would not have been approved if between one and eight individuals had voted against rather than in favour.

10. The point can be illustrated in another way by noting that, if a total of just seventeen individuals spread across five particular dioceses had voted to support the Covenant rather than oppose it, a bare majority of dioceses would have approved the Covenant, whereas, if a total of just ten across five other dioceses had voted against instead of in favour, the diocesan voting against the Covenant would have been much greater at 31-13.

The report also includes the recorded opinions of the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Chester and Sodor & Man, and a list of the following motions that were debated in several dioceses.

Update This report was originally published in June along with the papers for the July meeting of Synod. It received little attention at the time as the focus for July was wholly on the topic of women bishops. At the time we made reference to it here, here and here. The current link to the report is on this page, which will eventually list all the papers for the November Synod.


Church of England bishops asked to be honest and truthful

Changing Attitude has written to all members of the College of Bishops (i.e. including all Suffragans) in the Church of England. See this press release: CA writes to every bishop asking for honesty and courage.

Changing Attitude England has written to every Church of England bishop asking them to speak honestly about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) Anglicans in the Church and acknowledge truthfully how they treat LGB&T people in their dioceses.

Changing Attitude knows from the evidence of conversations with bishops and from our supporters that over 50% of bishops dissent from the current teaching and practice of the Church of England on homosexuality. They support, ordain and licence their LGB&T clergy, ordinands and lay ministers, including those in civil partnerships. They know that God does not discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and their expression of love in permanent, faithful, stable sexual relationships.

The House of Bishops meets in December and are expected to conclude a review of their 2005 civil partnership statement. This meeting marks the start of a critical period in the development of Church of England attitudes and policy towards LGB&T people. It will be followed in 2013 by the more wide-ranging report from the group chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling.

We hope those who are members of the House of Bishops will find the courage and confidence to talk honestly and with integrity when they meet in December. We hope and pray that they publish recommendations which will begin to transform the place of LGB&T people in the Church of England…

The full text of the letter can be found in the notes to the press release (scroll down).

Some background to this action can be found in this Guardian report by Lizzy Davies Church of England bishops urged to have honest discussion about gay clergy.


Equal marriage row at Conservative Party conference

Updated again Tuesday afternoon

The Conservative Party annual conference is taking place in Birmingham.

Anglican Mainstream has issued this press release: Policy Exchange pulls out of Gay Marriage debate at Tory Conference Fringe

“Tory hierarchy reluctant for grassroots to discuss the issue?” says Anglican Mainstream

“Empty Chair debate goes ahead without them”

Top Westminster think-tank Policy Exchange has pulled out at short notice of a Tory conference fringe debate on gay marriage with Anglican Mainstream, the socially conservative ‘information network’ in the Church of England.

“We are very disappointed,” said Canon Chris Sugden, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream (AM). “We’ve invested a huge amount in this heavyweight event to debate Real Marriage against PE’s Gay or ‘Equal’ Marriage amongst the ordinary conservative public – and at almost the last moment they pull out. It looks as if the Tory hierarchy don’t want the grassroots discussing the issue”…

Policy Exchange issued a paper on equal civil marriage which we reported on previously, see What’s in A Name? A report on Equal Marriage. Earlier they issued this press release: Policy Exchange response to Church claims on same sex marriage.

And there was this in the Mail on Sunday by Jonathan Petre Lord Carey: Gay marriage could have ‘drastic’ consequences including risk of polygamy.

This does not refer to the above item but to a rally being held on Monday, see this report by Jerome Taylor in the Independent Welcome to the Nasty Party conference.

…About 900 people, the majority of them active members of the Conservative Party, will crowd into Birmingham Town Hall at lunchtime today to hear the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, the former Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe and others give speeches on why there should be no change in the legal definition of marriage to recognise same-sex couples.

The meeting will be ringed by a heavy police presence to prevent anyone getting in apart from party representatives and others with valid passes to the Tory conference. Several organisations, including the public sector union, the PCS, are holding what they call a “Picket the Bigots” protest outside the town hall. They accuse the rally’s organisers of wanting to turn back the clock on the rights won by gays and lesbians…

Noon update

A spokesperson for Policy Exchange (PX) has told Thinking Anglicans that:

  • The debate was originally proposed by Anglican Mainstream (AM) and was agreed to in principle by PX provided that at least two MPs could be found to participate, and that a strong independent chair could be found. These are the conditions under which all PX-sponsored fringe debates are held.
  • A willing independent chair was found (who also insisted on the participation of MPs) but, despite considerable efforts, no MPs could be found to participate, therefore the event could not proceed at the conference.
  • AM told PX on 6 October that AM was willing to accept PX’s offer of a similarly structured debate in London later in the Autumn, when MPs would be easier to find.
  • AM did not notify PX of their latest intentions prior to issuing yesterday’s press release.

Tuesday update

Anglican Mainstream reports STOP PRESS: Policy Exchange agree to debate and

“Equal” or Real Marriage debate at Tory Party Conference

Forty people attended a lunch time debate rearranged at half and hour’s notice at the Tory Party Conference on Tuesday lunchtime,

Policy Exchange reversed their earlier decision to pull out of the debate and agreed that David Skelton, author of their paper What’s in a Name? – is there a case for equal marriage? could debate with Dermot O’Callaghan, member of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland…



Sean Doherty writes for Fulcrum about Gay Partnerships and Christian Discipleship.

Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that The church’s wars over sexuality are coming to an end.

Mark Meynell writes in The Guardian that I’m a Christian who won’t label sexuality.

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Before we decide to write off the Occupy movement, let’s consider the legacy of the Chartists.

Stephen Bates writes for the Financial Times about An archbishop to calm a warring flock.

Marilyn McCord Adams writes for the Episcopal Café about Strange exorcists.


Church Times comment on Crown Nominations Commission

This week’s Church Times has a leader on the CNC situation, headlined ‘At the limit of what is realistic’. Its final paragraph reads as follows:

…If there exists a systemic reason for the lack of an appointment so far, a better place to look would be the office that the CNC is trying to fill. There have been two recent reviews of the post: To Lead and to Serve: A review of the see of Canterbury, also 2001 (the Hurd report), and Resourcing Archbishops, 2002 (the second Mellows report). The latter begins: “The demands upon and the expectations of the Archbishops are at the very limit of what is realistic. The jobs are approaching the point at which they will become impossible.” Despite these reviews, too little has changed. The abilities of Dr Williams have disguised, to a degree, some of these impossibilities. The cost is incalculable, being paid in decisions made too hastily, consultations unsought, mission opportunities declined, and, of course, personal wear and tear. It is not enough to invoke the aid of the Holy Spirit in the choice of Dr Williams’s successor, nor even to sustain whoever is chosen. The Spirit of grace and freedom has something to say, too, about the demands made upon individuals. Several recommendations from those earlier reports remain on the table. This might be time to look at them afresh, so that he who is eventually appointed may approach the office with not so heavy a heart.

For a lot more on the Hurd report, see here.

For more about the second Mellows report, see Resourcing Archbishops and also Resourcing Archbishops in the 21st century. There is also my own article about it: Resourcing Archbishops: Anglican Communion angles.

1 Comment

new CofE Church Growth Research website

A new Church of England Church Growth Research Programme website has been launched with this press release.

Church Growth Research website launched to help explore the drivers of church growth within the Church of England
02 October 2012

All are invited to visit and interact with a new website built to support the work of the Church Growth Research Programme – the national 18-month academic research project exploring the factors related to spiritual and in particular numerical church growth of the Church of England. The research is being funded through funding set aside by the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council for research and development. This project is being undertaken in partnership with the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex; Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham and the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology, Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

continued below the fold.

The website includes a number of discussion forums that visitors can join and contribute to.

The research teams for this project were announced in June.



Two Anglican provinces elect new primates

The Province of West Africa made this announcement a few days ago: New Primate elected for the Church of the Province of West Africa.



Upon the approval of the amendments to the constitution to create two internal provinces in the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA) namely, the province of Ghana to comprise all the dioceses in Ghana and the province of West Africa to comprise the dioceses in Bo, Cameroon, Freetown, Gambia, Guinea and Liberia; each to be headed by an Archbishop:

The province of Ghana elected Rt. Revd. Dr. Daniel Yinka Sarfo, Bishop of Kumasi as the Archbishop-elect and the province of West Africa, Rt. Revd. Dr. S. Tilewa Johnson, Bishop of Gambia as the Archbishop-elect.

Archbishop-elect S. Tilewa Johnson was then elected as the Ninth Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa for a term of five (5) years.

Dated this 29th day of September, 2012 at Cuttington University, Suacoco, Liberia
(signed) +AlbertDG Gomez

Today, the Church of Ireland made this announcement: The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke Elected As Archbishop Of Armagh And Primate Of All Ireland

The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath and Kildare, has been elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland by the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland, following the retirement of Archbishop Alan Harper on 30 September…

…The House of Bishops also decided that his election would take effect from 15 December 2012 which will be the date of the bishop’s translation and enthronement in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. In the meantime, The Venerable Raymond Hoey, Archdeacon of Armagh, will carry the diocesan responsibilities for the Diocese of Armagh. The Provincial responsibilities are carried by the Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Reverend Dr Michael Jackson until this date.