Thinking Anglicans

Women in the Episcopate – diocesan synod votes 7

Since I last posted on this, three more dioceses (Coventry on Monday, London and Salisbury tonight) have voted, all in favour. 36 dioceses have now voted in favour of the draft legislation, and none against.

The most significant result is London, which voted against in 2011. Today their synod voted (for/against/abstention): Bishops 3-0-0, Clergy 40-10-7, Laity 43-17-1. In 2011 the figures were Bishops 2-1-0, Clergy 39-41-0, Laity 45-37-0.

Detailed voting figures for all dioceses are here.


Church of Ireland General Synod meeting reports

Updated Monday

The Church of Ireland held its General Synod from 8 to 10 May.

There are several reports of major items on the official church website:

The Archbishop Of Armagh’s Presidential Address At The General Synod 2014

General Synod 2014: Interchangeability Of Ministry Between Church Of Ireland And Methodist Church In Ireland

The Explanatory Memorandum and the full text of the Bill as presented to synod is here.

Synod Hears Interim Report Of Committee On Human Sexuality In The Context Of Christian Belief

This last item was also reported on in the Irish Times Church committee on sexuality needs more time for final report


The Church of Ireland Gazette now has a number of reports available online at this location including those on the new relationship with the Methodist church, and on the progress of the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief.


New Zealand synod acts on same-gender blessings

News report from anglicantaonga: SAME-GENDER BLESSINGS: SYNOD SEES A WAY FORWARD

General Synod today passed a resolution that will create a pathway towards the blessing of same-gender relationships – while upholding the traditional doctrine of marriage.

It will appoint a working group to report to the 2016 General Synod on “a process and structure” that would allow those clergy who wish to bless same-gender relationships – using a yet-to-be developed liturgy – to do so.
The working group will also be charged to develop “a process and structure” to ensure that clergy who believe that same sex blessings are contrary to “scripture, doctrine, tikanga or civil law” to remain fully free to dissent.
The “process and structure” in their case would mean these clergy would not only be exempt from performing these same-sex blessings – but that their “integrity within the church” would be assured, and they would have full protection for their dissent in any relevant human rights legislation.
Synod has therefore upheld the traditional doctrine of marriage – but also moved to find ways to respond to committed relationships between two people, regardless of gender.
In effect, it has also established a four-year timeline for change to take effect: the working group will present its recommendations to the 2016 General Synod, and any constitutional and canonical changes would then have to be reported back to episcopal units before confirmation at the 2018 General Synod.

New liturgy to be developed…
The working group has been asked to propose a liturgy to “bless right-ordered same-gender relationships” – and to develop a process and legislation (whether church or parliamentary) by which such a new liturgy might be adopted.
Synod has also asked the group (which is yet to be formed) to report to the next synod on the impact of its work on the church’s theology of marriage, and of ordination.
The preamble to the resolution adopted by the General Synod also includes an unreserved apology to the LGBT community:
“Over many years,” this reads, “our church has become increasingly aware of the pain of the LGBT community. All too often our church has been complicit in homophobic thinking and actions of society, and has failed to speak out against hatred and violence against those with same-gender attraction.
“We apologise unreservedly and commit ourselves to reconciliation and prophetic witness.”

“Recognition” now for couples…
In the last part of the resolution, synod says it is “acutely aware of the desire of some clergy to make further response pastorally and prayerfully to LGBT people in their faith communities.”
It therefore says such clergy should be permitted “to recognise in public worship” a same-gender civil union or state marriage of members of their faith community – provided the permission of the licensing bishop is gained, as well as the permission of their vestry.
Such “recognition,” however, “cannot be marriage or a rite of blessing of a same-gender relationship.”
“We recognise that this may cause even further distress,” the resolution says. But noting the commitment of the church to move forward, “we ask the LGBT community to recognise that any process of change within our church takes time.”

Archbishops commend spirit of debate
The Archbishops say that by adopting the resolution, synod has shown its commitment to protecting diversity in the church.
And they have expressed their gratitude for the way synod has debated the issues and come to its resolution.
Archbishop Winston Halapua says synod has shown “it is committed to ongoing talanoa as it considers change” and is following “the mandate of Christ to love one another at all times.”
Archbishop Philip Richardson was equally moved by the way debate flowed:
“We have witnessed across the church,” he says, “a depth of extraordinary trust and respect. There is a unity in Christ in conversations that have enabled us to get to this point.
“There is a hope that this trust we have seen with faith, hope, and love will continue as change is considered.”

Press release from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is copied in full below the fold.

The full text of General Synod resolution is available here.

The pastoral letter from the archbishops is also published.



The promise of the mountaintop

It is a commonplace to say that, to climb a mountain you take it one step at a time. This is fine until the mountain looks very high, the steps are painful ones and it may just be possible to opt-out and pretend it is not there.

My early involvement in Christian Aid in the mid-1970s involved comparatively easy steps on this mountain. As Christians, we understood we were duty-bound to help out those less fortunate. Our view of these less fortunate invariably included pictures of women and children eking out a living, tilling a barren and unforgiving soil. We were helping them, and we felt good about doing so.

In the intervening decades, the world has become smaller. We have learned so much more about poverty, particularly in emerging nations. Whereas members of my family, who had worked in Colonial Administration in Africa or India in the 1950s would assure me that poverty was a result of indigenous listlessness and idleness, (based on their incomprehensible unwillingness to knock themselves out doing physical labour in the service of the British Crown), these days we know that the world’s economic systems are inequitable because they serve the interests of the world’s dominant nations who designed them. In discovering that our culture and our standard-of-living is a major factor contributing to emerging world poverty, makes that mountain suddenly appear considerably darker and steeper.

The story continues with the realisation that global climate change is the deferred consequence of the nations who underwent an industrial revolution. The very force which consolidated European colonial dominance in the nineteenth century, and the economic superiority of the developed world, is the very same one which carried the seed of what has become climate-change through greenhouse gases. Our culture is not only responsible for inequitable economic rules, we invented human-made climate-change, whose effects now make for catastrophic shifts in weather which disproportionately imperils the livelihoods of emerging nations.

With each successive Christian Aid campaign focus, in the last thirty years, our own cultural soul has become increasingly laid bare, that mountain has begun to look very dark indeed.

Most recently, as technology has enabled the movement of capital beyond the reach of national laws, so the phenomenon of tax avoidance has become a huge factor in our failure to manage the distribution of wealth. When the growing list of super-rich individuals possessing personal fortunes greater than the Gross Domestic Product of many emerging nations, then the morality of our own culture is laid bare and has nowhere to hide.

That mountain now appears to be immense and almost insurmountable, maybe we cannot climb it at all, so why bother? It was easy when charitable giving was about our own beneficence. These days we are being asked to resource the restoration of humans who suffer as a consequence of our own treasured lifestyle, we are being asked to face a truth too hard to bear.

There are always ways of avoiding the issue. In the United Kingdom, the tabloid press represents a whole industry dedicated to presenting us a world in which, all that is wrong is a result of someone else’s incompetence. Tabloids are popular because they will invariably locate the evils of the world somewhere else. The soul fed by a tabloid narrative need not worry about its complicity in anything dark or evil: there is no mountain, it is someone else’s mountain, or the mountain is an illusion.

Global poverty remains a spiritual issue because it makes us look within. It invites us not to be subject to our whim or our need to be indulged or desire to follow fashion. It raises a question about what needs determine our sense of what we can expect from life. Global poverty invites us to ask if we really are masters of our own destiny, with freedom to choose. Or whether we are part of a larger web of life, where everything connects.

Our affluence is not only a corrosive presence in the lives of the impoverished, it also diminishes our own lives, by reducing us to being spoilt, indulged and trivial, in other words, a good deal less than we could be, if only we took time each week to remember the world and our neighbour as gift; the health of the world and our neighbour as inseparable from our own.

Each successive Christian Aid campaign, in my lifetime, has made me more aware both of what I have to power to do, and what I have the potential to become if I heed its call.

Andrew Spurr is Vicar of Evesham in the diocese of Worcester


Dean of Christ Church Oxford to be Martyn Percy

Number 10 has announced that the next Dean of Christ Church, Oxford is to be the Revd Canon Professor Martyn Percy.

Deanery of Christ Church, Oxford: Reverend Canon Professor Martyn Percy

The Queen has approved that the Reverend Canon Professor Martyn William Percy, BA (Hons), MEd, PhD, Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, be appointed Dean of Christ Church, Oxford in succession to the Very Reverend Christopher Andrew Lewis BA, PhD, on his resignation.

Professor Martyn Percy

Professor Martyn Percy was educated at Bristol University, Sheffield University and at King’s College, London. He trained for the ordained ministry at Durham University. Since 2004, he has been the Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon. The College also incorporates the Oxford Ministry Course, the West of England Ministerial Training Course, and the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology (a research and consultancy centre).

Professor Percy is a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London and Visiting Professor of Theological Education at King’s College, London. He is an Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, and a former Canon Theologian at Sheffield Cathedral. He has served as Curate at St. Andrew’s Bedford, and then as Chaplain and Director of Theology and Religious Studies at Christ’s College, Cambridge. From 1997 to 2004 he was the Director of the Lincoln Theological Institute for the Study of Religion and Society.

Martyn has served as a Director and Council member of the Advertising Standards Authority, and as a member of the Independent Complaints Panel for the Portman Group (the self-regulating body for the alcoholic drinks industry). He is currently a Commissioner of the Direct Marketing Authority as well as an Advisor to the British Board of Film Classification. Since 2003 he has co-ordinated the Society for the Study of Anglicanism at the American Academy of Religion. He writes on Christianity and contemporary culture and modern ecclesiology. His recent books include Anglicanism: Confidence, Commitment and Communion (2013) and Thirty-Nine New Articles: An Anglican Landscape of Faith (2013). Professor Percy is 51, and married to the theologian the Revd. Dr. Emma Percy, who is Chaplain and Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. They have 2 sons.

This is a unique appointment, combining as it does the headship of an Oxford College and the deanship of a cathedral. Christ Church has its own announcement as do the Diocese of Oxford and Ripon College Cuddesdon.


Jesus is at the door

Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for he is going to say, “I came as a guest, and you received me”. And to all let due honour be shown, especially to the domestics of the faith and to pilgrims. In the salutation of all guests, whether arriving or departing, let all humility be shown. Let the head be bowed or the whole body prostrated on the ground in adoration of Christ, who indeed is received in their persons.

The monastery to which I go for my retreat has a custom that, when a ‘gentleman of the road’ calls in search of food and drink, the message, ‘Jesus is at the door’ is sent to the brother on kitchen duty. Very much in keeping with the 53rd chapter of the Rule of St Benedict (RB53), quoted above. But on one occasion, brother caterer, somewhat harassed by ‘one of those days’ syndrome, retorted, ‘Well, he’ll just have to wait: I’m busy!’

We are well used to Christian Aid’s moral appeal, to its unanswerable challenge to the way the world operates, and so on and so forth. John Fenton, of blessed memory, once commented on the Matthew 25 passage referenced in RB53, saying that those who point to the passage as the justification for Christian Aid have missed the point — Christian Aid needs no external justification. Its claims are beyond dispute.

However, what about the holiness of inconvenience as these messengers from the world outside our walls arrive at the doors of our organized, measured lives? There is something about the way in which we tend to interpret ‘charity’ which emphasises our control of the world, and our ability to normalise and universalise our world-view. We are (when we respond) the good guys, dispensing of our enlightened largesse to the importunate and the unfortunate before us.

It is so easy to turn Christian Aid (or Jubilee, or any one of dozens of Christian campaigns for social justice) into another 1960s style moral exercise which bolsters up our sense of being worthy, even superior members of the community. But to welcome the unexpected, potentially disturbing knock at the door? To allow ourselves and our outlook to be changed, to undergo the ‘conversio morum’ of the Benedictine tradition? To recognise the prophetic Christ, not just the needy one hidden in the stranger? We might better start to view Christian Aid not simply as a good cause, or a noble ideal, but as a necessary and jarring note from outside our warm Western cocoons.

The religious communities get this, by seeing in the person of the unexpected the presence of Christ knocking at the door, putting routines and default attitudes to the test. RB is particularly good at drawing attention to the prophetic voice of the outsider, the neophyte and the disregarded. The system in the monastery has to be sufficiently open to the promptings of the Spirit to be able not merely to deal with but also to absorb and welcome the new, even the uncomfortable, for in them Christ is received.

‘Well, he’ll just have to wait: I’m busy.’ As the European elections approach, the ‘Don’t bother me, I’m absorbed in myself’ seems to be an ever-more acceptable personal philosophy, and newspapers and politicians readily court the anti-Benedictine spirit. Sobering though it might be to consider how the Matthew 25 passage ends, chapter 53 of the Rule has something important to say to a complacent and narcissistic world as Christian Aid Week stands at the door amid a pile of electioneering leaflets designed to keep the inconvenient Christ at bay.

David Rowett


Archbishop Launches New Guidance for Tackling Homophobic Bullying in Church of England Schools

The Church of England’s guidance for tackling homophobic bullying in its schools was published this morning. The document Valuing All God’s Children: Guidance for Church of England Schools on Challenging Homophobic Bullying can be found here. The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this press release.

Archbishop Launches New Guidance for Tackling Homophobic Bullying in Church of England Schools

The Archbishop of Canterbury has today launched a report from the Education Division of the Church of England “Valuing All God’s Children: Guidance for Church of England Schools on Challenging Homophobic Bullying.”

The guidance, which is being sent to all Church of England schools, provides 10 key recommendations which should be adopted by schools in combating homophobic bullying as well as sample policies for primary and secondary Church schools. Published by the Church Of England Archbishop’s Council Education Division, the guidance involved consultation and involvement with a number of Church of England schools with existing good practice.

Speaking at a Church of England Secondary School, at Trinity Lewisham, The Right Reverend Justin Welby said that the publication of the guidance fulfilled a pledge he made last July when addressing the Church of England’s General Synod.

“Less than a year ago I set out my concerns about the terrible impact of homophobic bullying on the lives of young people and I made a public commitment to support our schools in eradicating homophobic stereotyping and bullying.

“Since then an enormous amount of work has gone into producing this guidance so that commitment can be turned into action. I am extremely grateful to all those who have worked so hard to produce it and I particularly want to thank the schools and young people who have contributed.

“Church schools begin from the belief that every child is loved by God. This guidance aims to help schools express God’s love by ensuring that they offer a safe and welcoming place for all God’s children. This is a task we are called to share and I know it is one our schools take immensely seriously. I commend this guidance as a contribution to that work.”

In his address to the Church of England’s General Synod in July 2013, the Archbishop said:

“With nearly a million children educated in our schools we not only must demonstrate a profound commitment to stamp out such stereotyping and bullying; but we must also take action. We are therefore developing a programme for use in our schools, taking the best advice we can find anywhere, that specifically targets such bullying. More than that, we need also to ensure that what we do and say in this Synod, as we debate these issues, demonstrates above all the lavish love of God to all of us.”

The Guidance published today notes that the purpose of schools is to educate and the aim of this guidance is to protect pupils in Church of England schools from having their self-worth diminished and their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived/actual sexual orientation:

“Church schools are places where boundaries should be strong, where any harmful words or actions are known to be unacceptable, and where there are clear strategies for recognising bullying and dealing with it in a framework of forgiveness and restorative justice. Children and young people in Church of England schools should be able to grow freely and to be comfortable and confident within their own skins without fear or prejudice.” (paragraph 19 of Guidance document)

Lambeth Palace issued Archbishop visits CofE school to launch anti-homophobic bullying plans.

William McLennan of The Independent anticipated the publication of the guidance with this report: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby condemns anti-gay bullying in schools.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written this article for i: Tackling homophobia in Church schools: There is room for everyone, but not for behaviours which cause harm


Focus on War

It is war that is the focus of this year’s Christian Aid week, that most preventable of disasters. Or rather it is its aftermath. The human misery that follows behind it. The misery that follows, not sometimes but always.

I am in a minority among Christians in being a pacifist. The Hebrew Scriptures have only small inklings that war is not going to solve anything. I think of the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau, and of Esau’s generosity to the brother who wronged him, and Jacob’s remarkable declaration that seeing his brother’s face is like seeing the face of his God. How hard it is to forgive those whom we have wronged. I think, too, of the remarkable little story of Elisha telling the King of Israel not to kill the Syrians who he has delivered into his hands.

It is only when we get to the New Testament that we find a radical demand that we suffer ourselves, rather than attack others, or even defend ourselves. Yet, as with so much that Jesus says, it is ambiguous enough that most Christians in most places have felt justified in ignoring it and making wars.

Embracing peace is a hard thing. I realised fairly young that it was bound to mean suffering in the short term. It was only as I grew older, learned more, thought more, prayed more, that I came think that however dear the short-term cost, the long term benefits were greater. As a girl I chose peace as a blind act of faith. Now I think that violence so inevitably leads to more violence and to greater wrongs, that it is almost never justified. Only in the most exceptional of circumstances is war the lesser evil, and I cannot think of an instance during my life time when it has led to anything but more misery and greater wrong.

Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the focus of this year’s Christian Aid appeal. It is tempting to think the disasters are so huge than it is pointless taking action. Action, help, is never pointless. It is not however enough. We have a duty to the world to live peace and to speak peace. Love and forgiveness, however sorely we are tried, have to become our watch words. War is not the solution, whatever the problem. We have to absorb that fact so thoroughly that it becomes part of our immediate reaction.

This must be our reaction not just to international conflicts, but to personal loss and personal challenge. This of course is where it is hardest. We live in a society where a desire for revenge is still seen as right and proper, and it takes a lot of courage and often a lot of presence of mind not to get sucked into that way of thinking and acting. Yet if we are ever to change the world, if we are ever to see the Kingdom, we need to work at it, so that peace always becomes the right and the natural response, despite its high cost.


Glad and Generous Hearts

Joe Cassidy, Principal of St Chad’s College, Durham, writes the first of a number of comment pieces we will publish to mark this year’s Christian Aid Week in the UK.

This Sunday’s first reading, Acts 2.42—47, is perennially challenging. Are we to embrace a form of ‘primitive socialism’, holding all things in common, selling our ‘possessions and goods and [distributing] the proceeds to all, as any had need’? The text is particularly challenging during Christian Aid Week, when consciences are perhaps just that bit more sensitive.

The challenge to embrace such communitarian generosity is not uncomplicated. The practice of holding all in common seemed an almost spontaneous reaction to the ‘wonders and signs’ of those heady post-resurrection days. The communal joy experienced by these early Christians was not only thrilling but also transformative, expressed by a concrete commitment to the well-being of the whole community. With the expectation of an imminent second-coming, the need to make personal provision for the future was re-prioritised or relativised, being subordinated not just to the common good out-there-somewhere, but to a communitarian view, where those on the margins, those who had ‘any’ need, were welcomed to break bread at the same table. That said, as wonderful as it all was, the irony was that the common life model was not sustainable without the support of the newer less-communal churches — churches that subordinated their own good to the long-term good of the older community.

The communitarian impulse of Acts 2.44—45 could lead us to follow suit and so give Christian Aid and other charities a huge one-time boost. But that would be it: having sold everything, we would not have the financial wherewithal to give any more. The eschatological edge of such radical generosity sounds both reckless and wonderfully-compelling on one level, but it risks being ineffective, unsustainable and irresponsible. The need for longer-term sustainable models of mutual support points to other equally-radical models of communitarian living that include but potentially go well beyond financial sharing.

I wonder whether Christian Aid needs our one-off charity as much as it needs our ongoing commitment to a more communitarian lifestyle (which includes supporting them). This is arguably the goal of all long-term development work: so long as ‘they’ remain ‘not one of us’, they are potential ‘objects’ of our economic charity, and they are kept at arm’s length. But when barriers are broken by an awareness of being one in our shared humanity, the imperatives move from ‘giving’ to building long-term relationships, trying to shift the balance of wealth and power to make room for more sustainable ways of living together — alternative systems that do not require the economic marginalisation of a huge fraction of humanity not to mention the gradual consumption and destruction of our planet.

The eschatological witness of the early church’s common life (and of the common life still practised in some religious communities) can awaken in us exciting glimpses of new ways of being together. The exhilaration experienced by the early Church did just that. In our time, there are yet-to-be-discovered patterns of economic, ecological, cultural and religious interdependence that are within the grasp of our restless, ultimately communal, hearts. Development organisations such as Christian Aid do need our money, to be sure, but they also need our ‘glad and generous hearts’.


Women in the Episcopate – diocesan synod votes 6

Since I last posted on this, six more dioceses (Worcester, Gloucester, Newcastle, Derby, Truro and York) have voted, all in favour. 33 dioceses have now voted in favour of the draft legislation, and none against.

Detailed voting figures for all dioceses are here.

Still to vote (all on dates this month) are Coventry (12th), London and Salisbury (15th), Chichester, Durham, Exeter and Leicester (17th), Chester and Rochester (21st) and Manchester (22nd). Europe will not be voting as the diocese was unable to arrange a synod meeting before the deadline.



Archdruid Eileen blogs about The Only Good Pharisee…..?

Matthew Bell has interviewed John Bickersteth for The Spectator: Guns, gays and the Queen – a former bishop reminisces.

Andrew Goddard writes for Fulcrum about Same-sex marriage, clergy and the canons.

Molly Lynch writes for The Yorkshire Post about Fears for Yorkshire’s oldest churches.

The Huffington Post has photos of The Most Stunning Stained Glass Windows In The World.


Bishop of Grimsby

The next Suffragan Bishop of Grimsby in the diocese of Lincoln is to be Canon David Court.

Press release from Number 10

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon David Eric Court, BSc, PhD, PGCE, BA, Vicar of Cromer, Rural Dean of Repps and Honorary Canon of Norwich Cathedral in the Diocese of Norwich, to the Suffragan See of Grimsby, in the Diocese of Lincoln, in succession to the Right Reverend Douglas James Rossdale, MA, on his resignation on the 5 April 2013…

Press release from the Diocese of Lincoln


What I Want to Say Now: Bishop John Gladwin


St Paul’s Cathedral has organised a series of Sunday afternoon sermons at Evensong in May with the general title What I want to Say Now.

During May four retired bishops have been invited to preach at Sunday Choral Evensong under the theme of What I want to say now.

No longer in public office but still part of a world and church undergoing huge challenges and changes, we look forward to hearing the distilled wisdom they believe it is urgent to share at this moment.

The four bishops are:

Sunday 4 May The Right Reverend John Gladwin – Bishop of Chelmsford, 2004-2009
Sunday 11 May The Right Reverend Peter Price – Bishop of Bath and Wells, 2001-2013
Sunday 18 May The Right Reverend Tom Butler – Bishop of Southwark, 1998-2010
Sunday 25 May The Right Reverend Christopher Herbert – Bishop of St Albans, 1996-2009

A video recording of the first of the four, by John Gladwin, is now available, linked from this page. To go directly to the video follow this link.

A full transcript of this lecture is now available here.


Paul Bayes is to be next Bishop of Liverpool

Downing Street announcement: Diocese of Liverpool: the Right Reverend Paul Bayes

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, BA, DipTh, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Liverpool in succession to the Right Reverend James Stuart Jones, Hon DLitt, BA, PGCE, whose resignation took effect on 31 August 2013.

The Right Reverend Paul Bayes

The Right Reverend Paul Bayes (aged 60) studied for the ordained ministry at Queen’s College Birmingham. He served his curacy at St Paul’s Whitley Bay in Newcastle diocese from 1979 to 1982. From 1982 to 1987 he was a University Chaplain in the West London Chaplaincy in the diocese of London. From 1987 to 1990 he served as a Team Vicar at High Wycombe in the diocese of Oxford and then as Team Rector there from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 2004 he was Team Rector of Totton in Winchester diocese, and from 2000 to 2004 he also served as Area Dean of Lyndhurst. From 2004 to 2010 he was a member of the staff of the Archbishops’ Council, working as National Mission and Evangelism Adviser. In 2007 he was appointed an Honorary Canon of Worcester Cathedral. Since 2010 he has been Suffragan Bishop of Hertford in the diocese of St Albans.

Paul Bayes is married to Kate, who is a head of sixth-form and a drama teacher. They have 3 grown-up children.

His particular concern is to find good ways of communicating the Christian faith within England as it actually is. His recreations include walking, reading, laughter and conversation.

Diocesan announcement: The next Bishop of Liverpool is to be the Right Revd Paul Bayes

Downing Street has announced that the next Bishop of Liverpool will be the Rt Revd Paul Bayes. Bishop Paul has been Bishop of Hertford since 2010 and will succeed the Rt Revd James Jones, becoming the 8th Bishop of Liverpool…


Canon Dr Robert Innes to be next Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe

Update After publication the text of this press release was amended with the struck-out text being replaced by the text shown (by me) in italics.

From the Archbishop of Canterbury

Canon Dr Robert Innes to be next Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe

Tuesday 6th May 2014

The next Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe will be the Revd Canon Dr Robert Innes, currently Senior Chaplain and Chancellor of the Pro-Cathedral of Holy Trinity Brussels.

Canon Inness will succeed the Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell, who retired in October.

The appointment has been made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Lokoja, representing the Standing Committee of the Primates of the Anglican Communion a representative appointed by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, in consultation with representatives elected by the diocese and the Central Members of the Crown Nominations Commission.

The appointment has been made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Lokoja, a representative appointed by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, in consultation with representatives elected by the diocese and the Central Members of the Crown Nominations Commission.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said: “Robert Innes brings a wealth of invaluable experience and as such will make a fine successor to Geoffrey Rowell, under whose leadership the Diocese in Europe has flourished. The diocese is unique in the Church of England, covering a vast geographical area and serving in a myriad of varied circumstances. I am prayerfully expectant that under Robert’s leadership the diocese will continue to thrive and witness to the Kingdom of God.”

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, said: “I very much look forward to deepening partnership in the gospel with Canon Innes both in Europe and in the House of Bishops and General Synod within the Church of England. His experience of sharing the gospel outside the UK will bring a wider perspective to the discussions of Bishops and Synod and his energy for mission is just right for the diocese at this time.”

Canon Innes was educated at Cambridge University. He worked for Arthur Andersen for a number of years before training for ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham in 1998. He served his title in the Diocese of Durham whilst also working as a lecturer at St John’s College, Durham (1995 to 1999) after which he spent six years as Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Belmont. He then moved to the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe to become Senior Chaplain and Chancellor of the Pro-Cathedral of Holy Trinity, Brussels in 2005. He was additionally appointed a Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen in 2012.

Canon Innes will be commissioned and consecrated on the 20th July 2014 at Canterbury Cathedral. He will be based in Brussels and work closely with the Diocesan Office in London.

Watch the new Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe speaking at St Pancras International station, London, on Thursday 1 May 2014.

The diocesan website has its own announcement: New Diocesan Bishop Appointed.


20 years of women priests

Updated Sunday evening, Monday evening, Tuesday evening

Yesterday there was a procession from Westminster Abbey and a celebratory service at St Paul’s Cathedral to mark the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England. Every woman ordained in 1994 was invited to take part in the events.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, preached this sermon: Archbishop Justin’s sermon at service to mark 20 years of women priests

Press reports include these:

Edward Malnick The Telegraph Female priests have suffered, says Justin Welby

BBC March though London to mark 20 years of women priests

Huffington Post UK Justin Welby Says Church Of England ‘Has Long Way To Go’ Over Ordaining Women

Getty Images has this marvellous photograph: Women Priests Gather To Celebrate Twentieth Anniversary Of Ordination Of Women Priests


Madeleine Davies Church Times Sunshine celebration for 20 years of women’s priesthood

Kate Boardman was there: Rejoice!

WATCH have issued a press release (copied below the fold). They also have some photographs of Ordinations at St Paul’s 20 years ago.



Bishop of Gloucester on Church's attitude to homosexual people

At the Gloucester Diocesan Synod this week, the bishop, The Right Reverend Michael Perham, delivered his presidential address. In this he reflected on the House of Bishops’ Statement in January on Same-sex Marriage and on the Pilling Report, the report of the Working Party on human sexuality, for which he was a member.

The diocesan press release contains a major part of what he said: Bishop Michael addresses the Church’s attitude to homosexual people.

The full text of the address is available on the diocesan website, but only in WP format; however it is also reproduced as a web page at the Inclusive Church site.

I strongly recommend reading the full text of the address before commenting on it.



Cole Moreton has interviewed Rowan Williams for The Telegraph I didn’t really want to be Archbishop.

David Meldrum is blogging a series of Lessons On The Way. The latest is 6: Nothing’s that important.

Stanley Hauerwas writes for Together for the Common Good about How to Remember the Poor.

Gareth Hughes offers a spotter’s guide to Anglican dress-up.


Thinking Liturgy

Today we are launching a new blog in the Thinking Anglicans family. Called Thinking Liturgy, it will focus on the link between the way that we worship and the social justice that we proclaim. Here on the main TA blog we have focussed largely, though not exclusively, on issues of social justice, and that will continue.

Thinking Liturgy will cover a range of liturgical topics and news, not confined to any particular theological or doctrinal stance or ‘churchmanship’, though it will be largely Anglican and English. It will promote good liturgical practice and understanding — not for its own sake, but looking at the impact liturgy makes on working for the kingdom.

We hope that many of you will read this new blog, and contribute to a lively liturgical discussion. Read more at Thinking Liturgy.

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Four new suffragan bishops announced

Church press release:

Downing Street has announced today four new Suffragan bishops in the Dioceses of York and Chelmsford. John Thomson (Selby), Paul Ferguson (Whitby), Roger Morris (Colchester), and Peter Hill (Barking), have been confirmed to become Suffragan bishops after their nomination was approved by the Queen.

Downing Street announcements:

Suffragan Bishop of Selby: John Bromilow Thomson

Suffragan Bishop of Whitby: Paul John Ferguson

Suffragan Bishop of Colchester: Roger Anthony Brett Morris

Suffragan Bishop of Barking: Peter Hill

Diocese of York announcement: New Bishops of Selby and Whitby

Diocese of Chelmsford announcement: New Bishops – Exciting times for a diocese on the move with God

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