Thinking Anglicans

Update on Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Updated Friday evening

From here:

The Bill has been carried over to the 2013-14 session. The Bill is due to have its report stage and third reading on 20 and 21 May 2013.

A list of proposed amendments and new clauses has been published.

New copies of the bill and the explanatory notes are published here (the bill has a new serial number).

And a further amendment here.

David Pocklington has now written at Law & Religion UK about the Redefinition of Marriage – New Clause 9. The whole article, although long, is worth reading.

…MPs David Burrowes, Tim Loughton and Jim Shannon laid the New Clause 9, nine-point amendment on 12 March this year, which calls for a referendum “on the issue of same-sex marriage”. The critical part is the question that is to appear on the ballot papers, viz.

“At present, the law in England and Wales defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Should the law be changed to define marriage as the union of two people—whether a man and a woman, or woman and a woman, or a man and a man?”, [emphasis added].


First female Dean of Llandaff Cathedral quits after two months

Wales Online reports tonight that First female Dean of Llandaff Cathedral quits after two months.

The first woman Dean of Llandaff Cathedral has resigned just two months after she was installed in the post.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said he had accepted Janet Henderson’s resignation “with enormous sadness”.

Church in Wales sources have told WalesOnline that Dean Henderson had had “a “difficult time” since her appointment, with some clergy resenting the appointment of a woman…

The press release from the Church in Wales has nothing to say about the reasons for the Dean’s resignation, and neither does this report from the BBC.


Diocesan reorganisation referred to General Synod

Updated Thursday afternoon and evening

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has announced that the Dioceses Commission Draft Reorganisation Scheme for the Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield will be put to General Synod. Because the Diocese of Wakefield voted against it, the scheme could only be sent to General Synod with the authorization of the Archbishop.

The full statement from the Archbishop is here. This includes the text of the paper which will be sent to General Synod members to explain his decision to authorise the Dioceses Commission to lay the draft scheme before the General Synod.

The Church of England communications office has released this Statement from Dioceses Commission.

Of the three dioceses, only Bradford has so far published anything on its website: Diocesan reorganisation referred to General Synod.

Our earlier reports on this proposal and how it has developed are here, here, here, here, here. here, here, here and here.


The Diocese of Ripon and Leeds has now responded: Welcome for Archbishop’s decision on Diocesan Reorganisation.
And so has Wakefield: Archbishop of York decides to take super diocese proposal to General Synod.


Synod voting

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes has been looking at the requirement that some votes at General Synod require a two-thirds majority. She argues that this requirement should be applied earlier in the synodical process, and not left to the very end as at present. Read her argument here: Synod voting and 2/3 majorities: A discussion paper.

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Church of England annual statistics for 2011

Updated Tuesday night

The Church of England has today released its annual statistics for 2011. They are accompanied by a press release summarizing the results; this is copied below the fold.

There are several reports in this morning’s national press.

Sam Jones in The Guardian Church of England reports rise in Christmas worship
BBC Church of England attendances ‘stabilising’
Huffington Post UK Church Of England Christmas Attendance Up But It’s Not Good News For Archbishop Of Canterbury
Steve Doughty in the Mail Online Hark! The flock’s back: Church attendances up… but it’s only at Christmas

Archbishop Cranmer comments in his blog: CofE annual statistics 2011 – good news and bad

Several local papers and websites report on their local figures, for example:

The Northern Echo Church attendance down by 8 per cent in Durham diocese but up by 7.4 per cent in Ripon and Leeds
Network Norwich and Norfolk Norwich fights back on ‘Most Godless City’ tag
Portsmouth News Church figures show decline in Portsmouth attendance

Statistics for earlier years can be found here.


Clive Field of British Religion in Numbers has a more balanced analysis: 2011 Anglican Statistics and Other News.

Andrew Brown looks at the figures for The Guardian: Anglican faith in church attendance is not enough.




Miranda Threlfall-Holmes has given a talk entitled “What have Women done for Christianity? Women theologians in Christian history”. You can read it here and listen to it here.

Alan Wilson writes in The Spectator that It’s time for the Church of England to drop the culture wars.

Laura Toepfer writes for the Daily Episcoplian about If we did wedding preparation like confirmation preparation.

Bosco Peters writes the wrath of God was satisfied?

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that I want to be a burden on my family as I die, and for them to be a burden on me.

John Bingham in The Telegraph reports: Beware the wrath of the church organist – musical revenge is sweet.


Archbishop’s Chichester Visitation – Final Report Published

Updated Friday night

Lambeth Palace announced this evening that the final report for the enquiry into the operation of the diocesan child protection policies in the Diocese of Chichester had been published.

The full text of the report (a 4.8 MB pdf file) is available for download.

Here is the accompanying press release.

Archbishop’s Chichester Visitation – Final Report Published
Friday 3rd May 2013

The final 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 in 2011 as the former Archbishop of Canterbury’s commissaries to carry out the enquiry.

In responding to the final report, Archbishop Justin has made the following statement:

“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to not only the Commissaries for their care and concern in the course of carrying out this Visitation, but also to the survivors of abuse who have been able to share their experiences. The hurt and damage that has been done to them is something the Church can never ignore and I can only repeat what I have said before – that they should never have been let down by the people who ought to have been a source of trust and comfort and I want to apologise on behalf of the Church for pain and hurt they have suffered. I remain deeply grateful for their cooperation in the work of the Visitation.

I would also like to thank Bishop Martin and diocesan staff for their assistance and cooperation with the Visitation, and their continuing work with the police and statutory authorities in helping to turn around safeguarding in the diocese.”

In December 2011 the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, appointed Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC to carry out the enquiry. They were tasked with advising the Archbishop on any steps that need to be taken to ensure the highest possible standards of safeguarding in the dioceses. This involved examining current child protection arrangements as well as making recommendations for the future.

The Commissaries recommendations were published in an interim report in August 2012 and the full text of that report can be read here.

We would encourage anyone who has suffered abuse to come forward – their privacy and wishes will be respected. A special helpline has been set up in conjunction with the NSPCC on 0800 389 5344. Victims can also make a report to police.

We would urge anyone with any concerns about a child protection issue to contact the police.

The Church of England press office has issued this statement.

Response to Final Report of the Archbishop’s Chichester Visitation
03 May 2013

The Bishop of Southwell and Notts, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Chair of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee, said: ” The publication of the Commissaries Final report encourages both the Diocese of Chichester and the National Church to move forward in responding to the mistakes made and the lessons learned. Nationally we have been working hard behind the scenes on turning the recommendations made into action; this work continues. In Chichester itself whilst there have been terrible failures in the past and there is much work to be done I am confident that Bishop Martin and the Safeguarding Team are well placed to ensure that the diocese is safe in its practices now and in the future. I would also like to repeat the statement I made at the publication of the interim report last summer.”

And there is a statement from the current Bishop of Chichester.

Bishop Martin responds to the Archbishop’s Visitation report

“We welcome the Final Report that brings the Archbishop’s Visitation to a formal conclusion. This is the moment for us to record our profound thanks to Dr Rowan Williams, who instituted the visitation while he was Archbishop, to the present Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev’d and Rt Hon Justin Welby, and to the Commissaries themselves, the Rt Rev’d John Gladwin and His Honour Judge Rupert Bursell QC.

“The Visitation has enabled us to comprehend the damage done to so many people’s lives. I hope that all victims and those affected recognise in the words of the Interim and Final Reports that their concerns have begun to be heard, their determination recognised, and their extraordinary courage honoured.

“We believe that there may be many more victims of abuse who have never come forward to report their experiences. We wish to reassure them that we will listen to and respond in any ways that are appropriate to a report of abuse by priests or Church workers.

“Finally, we welcome the attention drawn in the Interim and Final Reports to the scope of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. It is vital that our procedures engender trust and confidence among our partner agencies, among survivors and their families.”

Update – early press reports

Madeleine Davies in the Church Times: Chichester Visitation concludes with warning against complacency
BBC Diocese of Chichester child abusers ‘may have gone unrecognised’
Victoria Ward in The Telegraph Church of England urged to take ‘urgent’ action on child abuse
Ben James in The Argus (a local paper published in Brighton, in the diocese of Chichester) More church child abuse cases may yet to be uncovered


Men, women, and difference

As previously mentioned, last week’s Church Times carried an article by Jane Shaw titled Men, women, and difference. This is reproduced below, with the permission of both the author and the Church Times.

Men, women, and difference

The ‘complementarity’ of the sexes is a comparatively new invention, argues Jane Shaw

I shall never forget the comment of a senior English churchman: that he could envisage Adam and Eve sitting across the camp-fire from each other, just as he and his wife did in their drawing room. An image of a man and woman wearing fig leaves, but sitting in chintz-covered armchairs, drinking sherry, immediately sprang to my mind.

The churchman’s comment exemplifies the kind of ahistorical thinking in the new report by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, Men, Women and Marriage (News, Leader Comment, 12 April). It has received almost universal condemnation, not only for its content (or lack thereof), but also for its poor argument.

The leader comment in this paper advised readers to ignore it, and most will. Nevertheless, its publication opens the opportunity for some real education on the subjects about which it purports to inform us. As the leader said, the report “speaks of a unique relationship between a man and a woman without ever explaining this contention. Seldom clear, the text adopts a particular obscurity whenever a contentious matter is touched upon, such as the complementarity of the sexes.”



Lucy Winkett address to London WATCH

The Revd Lucy Winkett spoke at the London WATCH Meeting at St James’s Piccadilly on 17 April 2013.

Here is the text of her address: ‘I used to be Snow White..’

“I gave a talk recently in Winchester about women and Christianity. It was for a general audience and so I’d used as the title of the talk not a Bible verse or a line from a saint. It wasn’t even themed on Mary Magdalene or a feminist theologian. My text came from the Hollywood star Mae West, who memorably said “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted”.

It is a secular expression of a spiritual truth I think; that human beings move between innocence and culpability, perpetrator and victim as easily and delicately as a flake of snow.


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