Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Basingstoke

Press release from the Prime Minster’s Office.

Suffragan Bishop of Basingstoke: David Grant Williams
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
History: Published 26 June 2014
Part of: Arts and culture

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon David Grant Williams to the Suffragan See of Basingstoke.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon David Grant Williams, BSc, Vicar of Christ Church, Winchester, in the Diocese of Winchester, and Honorary Canon of Winchester Cathedral to the Suffragan See of Basingstoke, in succession to the Right Reverend Peter Hancock, MA, on his translation to the See of Bath and Wells on 4 March 2014.

Reverend Canon David Williams

The Revd Canon David Williams (aged 53) studied Social Policy at Bristol University and after some years working with CMS in Kenya, trained for the ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his curacy in the Diocese of Sheffield at All Saints, Ecclesall from 1989 to 1992 after which he became Vicar of Dore, an adjacent parish. He was made Rural Dean of Ecclesall in 1997 and served in this role until moving south in 2002. During these years he was also a Chaplain at Aldine House Secure Children’s Home.

Moving to the Diocese of Winchester in 2002, he became Vicar of Christ Church Winchester and was made an Honorary Canon of Winchester Cathedral in 2012. He was elected to General Synod in 2010 and became Chair of the House of Clergy of Winchester Diocesan Synod in 2012.

David grew up in Uganda and retains strong links with East Africa. He is married to Helen and they have 2 children, Sarah (25) and Mark (22). David owns a small racing yacht and spends days off sailing in the Solent. Together with his son, Mark, he also completed 2 long motorbike journeys across Eastern and Central Africa in 2010 and 2012.

The Bishop-designate said today:

“During the 13 years Helen and I have lived and worked in Winchester, we have grown to love the church and its people and are very much looking forward to serving in a wider context across the diocese. We look forward to welcoming many to our new home and to sharing in the life and ministry of the people of God here.”

The Winchester diocesan website has A new Bishop for Basingstoke in which it is stated that “The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury has decided that David’s consecration as Bishop of Basingstoke will take place at Winchester Cathedral, the first consecration in the city for many years.”

Consecrations in the Canterbury province normally take place in London at St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey or Southwark Cathedral. Readers may know where and when the last one was held elsewhere.



Paul Valleley asks Is Christian unity anything more than a pious aspiration?
This is the uncut version of an article in The Independent.

Jonathan Clatworthy writes on the Modern Church Blog about Spreading the Word – a liberal response.

Eric Hatfield writes about Sermons – not how we learn best?

Gillan Scott blogs Without a moral compass British values lose their way and now we’re seeing the consequences.

Sam Norton blogs Remorseless logic and a Bishop’s rest.

Benjamin J Dueholm explains Why I kiss my stole.

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Using schools to boost the military ethos could be making a comeback.


The CofE, Ethical Investment – and Wonga

Yesterday’s second distribution of General Synod papers included the annual report of the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group. Also published was this press release.

Ethical Investment Advisory Group – ethical investment restrictions tightened
27 June 2014

The Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) has tightened its recommendations regarding investment restrictions. From this month none of the EIAG’s investment exclusions have a revenue threshold higher than 10%, a reduction on the previous 25% threshold.

The EIAG also announced that during 2013 it instructed votes for the Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board on over 30,000 resolutions at approximately 3,000 company general meetings. Reflecting wider concern over executive remuneration packages, the EIAG withheld support in over 70% of cases.

In wider corporate engagement, church investors recorded important successes in the areas of both alcohol and pornography. After engagement with the EIAG, all three major UK-listed supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – published alcohol policies newly acknowledging the potential for alcohol to cause harm. In the area of pornography, church investor engagement with a major telecommunications company led to the company ceasing to promote pornographic material on its handsets in the UK.

The threshold reduction follows a review requested by the Archbishop of Canterbury in light of the “Wonga controversy.” As a consequence of the review process revenue thresholds used to exclude companies on account of their involvement in tobacco, gambling, high interest rate lending and human embryonic cloning have been capped at 10% from the previous threshold of 25%.

The annual review makes it clear that these new restrictions would not have prevented the exposure to Wonga which was in a pooled fund and which could not have been screened in the same way as direct holdings are.

Edward Mason, EIAG Secretary, said: “Exposure to restricted investments, like Wonga, can occur in pooled funds and the EIAG accepts this.” Commenting on the EIAG’s intention to propose a new pooled funds policy to the national investing bodies, he said: “The policy will specify controls on the use of pooled funds but will not bar their use.”

The EIAG will publish the new policy on pooled funds later once the investing bodies have agreed it. The annual review explains that pooled funds are often the only way to access certain asset classes and investment strategies – including venture capital which, along with increasing financial returns for investors, also serves society.

Writing in the report’s foreword, EIAG Chair James Featherby explains that the Commissioners’ indirect investment in Wonga highlighted some misconceptions about ethical investment, and in particular that its objective is to achieve a morally perfect portfolio.

“In our view Christian ethical investment is, instead, about fulfilling responsibilities to beneficiaries and trying to make a positive difference in society. The Church’s national investing bodies seek to do the latter through engagement with companies, partnerships with other investors, and participation in public policy initiatives. In this way they aspire to be part of the Church’s witness to the world.”

Press reports include:

Ben Quinn The Guardian Wonga: Church of England advised by ethics review to keep its stake

Alex Blackburne Blue & Green Tomorrow Church of England reduces exposure to ‘sin stocks’ after ethical investment review

Christian Today Wonga controversy leads to changes in Church of England’s investment policies


Oxford Faith Debates: The Future of the Church of England

The organisation that brought you the Westminster Faith Debates now brings you a new series of five debates specifically about the Church of England.

They will be held in Oxford, at the University Church, on Thursdays in October, November and December, from 5.30 pm to 7 pm, under the overall title The Future of the Church of England. Click on each link below for details of the speakers.

Thursday 9 October PARISHES – What future for the Parochial System?

Thursday 23 October HERITAGE – How can Buildings, Endowments and Pensions become Assets not Burdens?

Thursday 6 November PEOPLE – How can Anglicans of all kinds be engaged in the Church of the Future?

Thursday 20 November DIVERSITY – What kind of Unity is appropriate nationally and internationally, How can Diversity become a strength?

Thursday 4 December VISION – What does the Church of England offer the next generation?

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Shared Conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission

The House of Bishops’ plans for Shared Conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission in the Church of England were issued today in a paper (GS Misc 1083) circulated to General Synod papers. I have made a webpage version available here.

These conversations are what the Pilling Report called “facilitated conversations”. They will start in the College of Bishops in September, then move to groups of dioceses and end with two days of conversations in General Synod in July 2016. The paper gives full details of who will be involved and how they will be supported.

The Church of England has issued this press release.

Next steps in shared conversation process published
27 June 2014

The Church of England has today published the next steps in its process for shared conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission.

A short paper from the Bishop of Sheffield outlines the next steps for the Church following the publication of the Pilling report in November 2013 which recommended that the church’s internal dialogue on human sexuality might be best addressed through a process of conversations across the Church.

The outlines of the process were approved by the House of Bishops at its meeting in May and are published today.

The document has been sent to members of the Church’s General Synod ahead of its meeting in York from 11 -15 July.

The document can be found online here.


"To Have and To Hold" – the theology of marriage

The LGBTI Anglican Coalition is hosting a one-day conference on the theology of marriage in the light of equal marriage, at St John’s Church, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8TY on Saturday 27th September, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Download the flyer, with booking details, here or go directly to Eventbrite.

Recognising current unease in the Church of England over same-sex marriage, the conference will ask whether there is a theological basis for expanding the definition of marriage. If so, what might a theology of equal marriage include?

The conference is intended to help the discussion around inclusive marriage. Leading contemporary thinkers and theologians will present their understanding of the history and current understanding of the theology of marriage.

Keynote speakers Adrian Thatcher and Charlotte Methuen will ask whether it’s legitimate to include same-sex relationships in the definition of marriage, and, if so, how that might affect the church’s attitude and practice? Workshops will look at specific questions – for instance, the Bishop of Buckingham and Revd. Rosie Harper will ask how patriarchy has affected our understanding of marriage, and Scot Peterson will consider how the church is affected by the new law permitting same-sex marriage.

The conference is intended for all who are interested in this debate – bishops, theological educators, laity and clergy.


News about civil partnerships and marriage

Updated Friday morning

The Minister for Equalities, Sajid Javid , has announced the date from which those in civil partnerships will be able to convert them into marriages, if they so wish. The date is 10 December. The announcement was made in an article for Pink News: Sajid Javid: I am pleased to announce that couples can soon convert civil partnerships to marriage.

We’ve made the process of conversion as straightforward as possible. Couples will simply have to attend a Register Office and sign a declaration that they both wish to convert their Civil Partnership to a marriage in front of the Superintendent Registrar. That’s it.

Mr Javid also said:

From 10 December there is also good news for married transgender people. You will now be able to change your legal gender without ending your marriage, provided you and your husband or wife agree to remain married.

Also today the Government Equalities Office published the results of their consultation on the future of civil partnerships. The report can be found here.

This is the report on the conclusions of the review of civil partnership in England and Wales required under section 15 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. It includes a summary of the responses to the consultation which was carried out as part of the review. Given the lack of consensus on the way forward for civil partnership, the Government will not be making any changes.

So civil partnerships will continue to be available, but only to same-sex couples.

And the Ministry of Justice started a consultation on Marriages by non-religious belief organisations.

Section 14 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 requires a review to be carried out of whether the law should be changed to permit marriages by non-religious belief organisations.

The consultation asks if there is a substantial case for changing the law to establish non-religious belief ceremonies. This would allow a third type of legal ceremony, alongside religious and civil ceremonies, for getting married in England and Wales.

Section 14 defines a belief organisation as ‘an organisation whose principal or sole purpose is the advancement of a system of non-religious beliefs which relate to morality or ethics’.

The consultation also seeks views on

  • which non-religious belief organisations are capable of meeting the definition
  • where, if allowed, such marriages would take place
  • the provision of safeguards to deal with any resulting risks
  • the equality impacts. 

There is further discussion of these announcements, and some others, at Law & Religion UK in Same sex marriage and civil partnership: update.


The CofE, banks, credit unions and payday lenders

Archbishop Justin Welby delivered a lecture on The future of banking standards and ethics at New City Agenda, House of Lords, Westminster on Tuesday 17 June. The text is now available online: Archbishop’s lecture on the future of banking standards.
The Financial Times has two reports by Martin Arnold: Archbishop of Canterbury warns banks are still ‘too big to fail’ and Archbishop warns on return of loan sharks

Jill Treanor writes in The Guardian about Church of England’s unholy mess over Wonga stake This refers to earlier reports that “selling the £100,000 stake would result in a loss of between £3m and £9m”.

General Synod will have a presentation on the proposed Churches’ Mutual Credit Union on Sunday 13 July. This background note was issued to Synod members at the end of last week. The Business Committee report has this preview of the presentation.

This will take the form of a presentation under S0 97 by the Revd Canon Antony MacRow Wood and Hilary Sams, the President and CEO Designate respectively of the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union (‘CMCU’). Their presentation will outline the plans for the launch of this new credit union for clergy. Those eligible to join will be the clergy, trustees and staff of the Anglican churches and charities in Britain and the ministers, trustees and staff of the Church of Scotland and the Methodist church. The aim of the CMCU is to provide a mutual ethical vehicle for tax efficient savings and affordable loans for clergy and staff of churches charities. It will also help to support and strengthen the credit union movement and contribute to the rebuilding of the mutual sector as a viable, ethical alternative to mainstream banking for people irrespective of their financial status.

The Independent has two articles about CMCU:
Jamie Merrill Church of England to open credit union in its ‘war on Wonga’
Simon Read Church’s credit union continues Welby’s ‘war on Wonga’ but more help for all needed

Meanwhile payday lender Wonga is in the news for another reason.
Rupert Jones The Guardian Wonga to pay £2.6m compensation for fake debt firm letters
and Wonga’s fake legal letters passed to police
Jim Armitage The Independent Wonga scandal and subsequent let-off calls for a full parliamentary inquiry
Katherine Rushton The Telegraph Wonga to pay £2.6m compensation for fake legal letters


Supreme Court judgment on right to die

Updated Friday

The UK Supreme Court yesterday handed down its judgment in the assisted suicide (or “right to die”) case. The full judgment and summaries are available online.

Judgment (PDF)
Judgment (html)
Press summary (PDF)
Watch Lord Neuberger’s summary of the judgment on YouTube

Newspaper and other reports include:

Rosalind English UK Human Rights Blog Supreme Court rejects right to die appeals
John Bingham The Telegraph Supreme Court rejects right to die bid but challenges Parliament to review law
Owen Boycott The Guardian Assisted suicide campaigners fail to get supreme court to overturn ban
BBC News Campaigners lose ‘right to die’ case
Kathleen Hall The Law Society Gazette Supreme Court dismisses ‘right to die’ appeal
Brian Farmer The Independent Right-to-die: Supreme Court rules against assisted suicide

The Church of England has issued this statement.

Statement on Supreme Court judgement
25 June 2014
In response to ruling on the cases of Paul Lamb and Jane Nicklinson, and ‘Martin’

Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy, National Adviser: Medical Ethics and Health and Social Care Policy for the Archbishops’ Council, said:

“We welcome the judgment of the Supreme Court and the emphasis it has placed on the need for the law to protect vulnerable individuals.

“We remain convinced that the current law and the DPP guidelines for its application provide a compassionate framework within which difficult cases can be assessed while continuing to ensure that many vulnerable individuals are given much needed protection from coercion or abuse.

“We recognise the distress that this judgment will cause some individuals but we believe that any other judgment would have resulted in even greater distress for even greater numbers of people.”

Reactions from church groups and others include:

Press Association Reactions to right-to-die ruling
Dan Bergin Independent Catholic News Campaigners welcome court judgements on assisted suicide
Alex Stevenson Right-to-die campaigners are wasting their time
Editorial in The Guardian The Guardian view on parliament and assisted suicide

The Church Times has a report on the judgement from its legal correspondent Shiranikha Herbert: Judges not persuaded by ‘right to die’ appellants.


Bishop of Norwich's "blacklist"

Updated Wednesday morning

The following statement has appeared on the Church of England website today [Tuesday].

Statement in relation to weekend press reports

24 June 2014

“The recent press report that the Bishop of Norwich has been asked to keep a blacklist of clergy who marry same sex partners is untrue. The House of Bishops agreed in February to establish a small informal monitoring and reference group which is available to diocesan bishops who may wish for information or advice. The group has no formal powers. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York asked the Bishop of Norwich to chair the group and for the Bishops of Sheffield and Willesden to be members.”

That is the complete text.


David Pocklington has written about this at Law & Religion in Marriage of clergy to same-sex partners. As he had explained earlier:

Permission to Officiate is issued under Canon C 8 (3) entirely at the discretion of the bishop, creates no employment-like rights, and can be withdrawn at the absolute discretion of the bishop without the need for a disciplinary process. In contrast, Canon Pemberton is employed as Deputy Senior Chaplain with the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust in the diocese of Lincoln, under the Extra-Parochial Ministry Measure 1967, for which he holds a licence from the Bishop of Lincoln. However, although employed by the hospital, that employment is generally dependent upon the Bishop’s licence which can only be terminated following a disciplinary process, s8(2) Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. No public announcement has been made regarding this licence.

And he now comments:

The CofE statement has been greeted with scepticism by some of those commenting on the Thinking Anglican report of the announcement. Against such concerns, however, it would be unusual if the Church had not established a group to monitor developments in a sensitive area such as this, and would be subject to criticism if it did not adopt a consistent approach in the interpretation of the House of Bishops Statement of Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage: there is a degree of uncertainty in the sanctions that may be applied under ecclesiastical law and a further degree of complexity is added through the range of possible employment situations as these current examples demonstrate.


CofE clergy and same-sex marriage

Updated Tuesday

There were reports this weekend of some developments in the cases of clergy entering same-sex marriages:

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre First clergyman who flouted the Church of England’s gay marriage ban is fired by his bishop

Guardian Andrew Brown Second priest defies Church of England to marry his same sex partner

BBC Gay wedding canon Jeremy Pemberton faces service ban

Independent Church of England tells same-sex married clergyman Canon Jeremy Pemberton to stop leading services

Telegraph First gay priest to marry banned from working as a priest in his diocese

Pink News UK: First gay clergy to marry ‘fired’ by Bishop


Changing Attitude Bishop acts against married gay priest


Religion News Service via the Washington Post Trevor Grundy Gay Anglican priest’s license is revoked after he marries

Nottingham Post Gay priest banned from working in Nottinghamshire after marrying his long-term partner

BBC Radio Lincolnshire has an extended discussion of the matter in this programme, starting at 2 hours, 10 minutes, and running for about 12 minutes. Recommended if you have the time.


Ekklesia Savi Hensman Punishing married gay clergy is Church of England own goal



Archdruid Eileen has 15 Effective Habits of Successful Church Leaders.

Christopher Lamb interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury for The Tablet: Two traditions, one holy ground.

Richard Beck asks How Many People Die By Handling Snakes?.

Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about Securing Pugin’s medieval island.


Poverty Sunday

Sunday 22 June is Poverty Sunday, a campaign run by the Church Urban Fund. David Walker, Bishop of Manchester and a trustee of the CUF, urges churches to pray and to pledge to act.

There’s always something ambivalent in a Franciscan writing about tackling poverty. St Francis, though born into one of the wealthiest families in the town of Assisi, gave up everything. He spoke of ‘Lady Poverty’ in the same language that the romantic troubadours and medieval knights would use to describe the earthly ‘Lady’ to whom they offered utter devotion. But then there is huge difference between that poverty which is freely embraced, in order to enjoy release from material concerns, and the poverty which is forced upon an individual or household.

Francis and his followers in fact did much to alleviate this latter. And in tackling it they challenged one of the worst aspects of how poverty was viewed at the time, they made no distinction between the deserving and the undeserving. Lepers in particular, who were commonly thought to have brought their plight and consequent destitution upon themselves, were at the heart of the ministry of the first group of Franciscan brothers.

What saddens me most, as I reflect upon the present attitude to poverty in the UK, is that this false distinction seems once again to lie at the heart of social policy, and to be accepted as such both by government parties and by the mainstream opposition. Were it genuinely an issue of affordability, that the costs of supporting some who could be identified as undeserving were such a large portion of the welfare budget, then I would understand it from an economic perspective, even whilst deprecating it as theologically deficient. But that patently is not the case. The costs of treating our poorest people better, of treating all poverty as a reality not a sin, represent a very small proportion of the budget. They could probably be met if the five largest global companies from among those who avoid almost all UK corporate taxes were made to pay on the basis of the actual work they do here.

Jesus, who like Francis made himself poor for the sake of the gospel, tells us that we shall always have the poor with us. Not as a reason for doing nothing about poverty, but as a reminder that some challenges will be there for his disciples to tackle even after he has accomplished his earthly ministry. When he himself showed compassion on the poor he did not set some standard of prior merit that the recipients of his bounty needed to attain and evidence. Indeed the very theology of grace that underpins his teaching is alien to such a notion.

So here we are again, another Poverty Sunday and poverty has got no better since the last. We can continue to tackle it through the direct action of our food banks and other projects. We can continue to tackle it by speaking out against the causes of poverty, not least by challenging policies that exacerbate it or add to the numbers condemned to face it. We can tackle it too by seeking to refute the rhetoric of the ‘undeserving poor’. And we will have Jesus and Francis at our sides.

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General Synod Agenda – July 2014

The detailed agenda for next month’s meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England was released today, along with this press release summarizing its contents.

Agenda for July 2014 General Synod
20 June 2014

The General Synod of the Church of England meets in York in July for a five day meeting from 3.00 pm on Friday 11th July until 1.00 pm on Tuesday 15 July.

The Agenda for the meeting is published today. The Agenda is constructed around a sequence of legislative business on Women in the Episcopate. This will begin on the afternoon of Friday 11 July with the Report by the Business Committee on the Article 8 Reference to the dioceses. This will be followed by the Final Drafting Stage for the Measure and Amending Canon. The House of Bishops will meet on the morning of Saturday 12 July for its consideration of the draft legislation under Article 7 of the Synod’s Constitution. The Agenda allows alternative scenarios for the afternoon of Sunday 13 July to enable the Convocations and the House of Laity to debate the draft legislation if they claim a reference under Article 7. If these stages are completed, the Synod will take the Final Approval stage during the morning of Monday 14 July.

On the afternoon of Friday 11 July, the Synod will be debating the First Consideration of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure and the associated Amending Canon No.34, which give effect to proposals in developed in response to the reports of the Chichester commissaries and approved by the Synod in February. Changes will include making it easier to suspend clergy, or bring complaints against them, where abuse is alleged, enabling bishops to compel clergy to undergo risk assessments and imposing a duty on clergy, churchwardens and PCCs to have due regard to the House of Bishops’ safeguarding policies.

On the afternoon of Saturday 12 July, the General Synod will be addressed by the US writer and theologian the Revd Jim Wallis on the subject of ‘The (Un)Common Good’. Jim Wallis is the President and Founder of Sojourners magazine and the author ‘On God’s Side.’ This will be followed by group work by Synod members on the same theme, culminating in a debate later that afternoon on a motion from the Mission and Public Affairs Council.

On Sunday 13th July there will be a presentation by the President and CEO Designate of the newly-established Churches’ Mutual Credit Union. The aim of the CMCU is to provide a mutual ethical vehicle for tax efficient savings and affordable loans for clergy and staff of church charities. It is hoped that the establishment of the CMCU will help to support and strengthen the credit union movement and provide a viable, ethical alternative to mainstream banking for people irrespective of their financial status. Also on Sunday 13th July the Synod will be debating the draft new Additional Texts for Holy Baptism in accessible language which have been drawn up by the Liturgical Commission and which have been passed by the House of Bishops to the Synod for First Consideration.

On the morning of Monday 14 July there will be a presentation followed by a debate on a motion promoted by the Mission and Public Affairs Council on The Armed Forces Covenant and Community Covenant. The motion invites many community bodies, including local authorities, churches and others to join the initiative which offers pastoral care for members of the Armed Forces Community. The opening presentation will be from the new Bishop to the Armed Forces, the Rt Reverend Nigel Stock.

There will be a debate on the commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta on a motion moved on behalf of the Guildford Diocesan Synod. A motion on the Spare Room Subsidy from the Diocese of Bradford (now part of the diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales) is listed as contingency business. A Private Member’s Motion from the Reverend Christopher Hobbs on Canon B 8 (vesture), postponed from the previous Group of Sessions is scheduled for the evening of Saturday 12th July.

This group of sessions has a substantial legislative programme in addition to the items already mentioned, including legislation on synodical elections, ecclesiastical property, the faculty jurisdiction and pensions.

The full agenda can be viewed here.

Synod papers can be found here

I have also these articles.

Online General Synod papers
Women in the Episcopate Legislation


Women in the Episcopate Legislation

Updated Friday night A notice paper has been issued with an important correction to paragraph 21 below. Two-thirds majorities in all three houses are needed for the Amending Canon (and not simple majorities as originally stated). The original version of paragraph 21 is struck through below and followed by the corrected version.

The Women in the Episcopate Legislation will return to General Synod for final approval next month. This extract from the Report of the Business Committee (GS 1949) explains the procedure.

Women in the Episcopate Legislation

16. The Women in the Episcopate legislative process will be taken in several tranches throughout the Group of Sessions. On Friday afternoon [11 July] there will be a ‘take note’ debate on the report by the Business Committee on the Article 8 reference to the dioceses.

17. If the Synod approves the ‘take note’ motion, then the Final Drafting Stage will be taken immediately afterwards on Friday afternoon on the basis of a report from the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee’s report, which identifies its proposed amendments, will be the subject of a ‘take note’ debate.

18. If the ‘take note’ motion on the Steering Committee’s report is carried at the Final Drafting Stage, then the draft Measure and Amending Canon will stand referred to the House of Bishops under Article 7 of the Synod’s constitution, together with the draft Act of Synod (which stood referred to the House following its Preliminary Consideration by the Synod in February). It is intended that the House should meet to deal with the reference at a special meeting on the morning of Saturday 12 July. If the House of Bishops approves the draft Measure and Amending Canon and draft Act of Synod, they can return to the Synod for Final Approval Stage.

19. Prior to the Final Approval stage, the Convocations and the House of Laity may claim a reference under Article 7 of the Synod’s Constitution. Therefore the Business Committee has made provision on Sunday 13 July from 2.30 until 3.50 pm for the Convocations and the House of Laity debate the draft legislation if they have claimed a reference. Alternative Business is provided in the event that no Article 7 Reference is claimed.

20. In order to allow for these possible stages of the legislative process, the Business Committee has scheduled the Final Approval Stage for the morning of Monday 14 July. As this is Article 7 and Article 8 business, the Chair for the debate will be one of the Presidents. He is required to declare on behalf of the Presidents, the Prolocutors and the Chair and Vice Chair of the House of Laity that the requirements of Articles 7 and 8 of the Constitution have been complied with.

21. Following the declaration by one of the Presidents, the Synod will proceed to the Final Approval Stage, which involves a separate motion for each item of business. A two-thirds majority in each House of the Synod is required for the Final Approval of the draft Measure. The Final Approval of the draft Amending Canon and the draft Act of Synod require no special majority but in practice the motions for their Final Approval would not be moved if the Measure itself had not been approved with the requisite majority.

21. Following the declaration by one of the Presidents, the Synod will proceed to the Final Approval Stage, which involves a separate motion for each item of business. A two-thirds majority in each House of the Synod is required for the Final Approval of both the draft Measure and the draft Amending Canon. The Final Approval of the draft Act of Synod requires no special majority. In practice the motions for the Final Approval of the draft Amending Canon and the draft Act of Synod would not be moved if the Measure itself had not been approved with the requisite majority.

22. If the Synod gives Final Approval for the draft Amending Canon, the Synod will also be asked to approve a petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence to promulge and execute the Amending Canon and formally affirm and proclaim the Act of Synod (though it will not come into force until, following the receipt of the Royal Assent and Licence, the Canon is promulged). Only a simple majority is required for its approval.

Canons can only be promulged at a meeting of General Synod. If the Measure receives final approval in July it has to go the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament and then to each of the two Houses of Parliament before it can receive the Royal Assent. The Queen then has to give her Assent and Licence to the Amending Canon. Whether this can be completed before the next available date for a meeting of General Synod (17 November 2014) is a matter for Parliament and the Palace.

At the same meeting as Synod promulges the Amending Canon it will be asked to approve “Regulations prescribing a procedure for the resolution of disputes arising from the arrangements for which the House of Bishops’ declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests makes provision.” At that point it will become possible for a woman to be consecrated as a bishop in the Church of England.

These are the relevant papers for July.

GS 1925-6Z Draft Measure and Draft Amending Canon for Final Drafting [Friday]
GS 1925B Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure [Friday/Monday]
GS 1926B Draft Amending Canon No 33 [Friday/Monday]
GS 1926C Draft Petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence [Monday]
GS 1934A Draft Act of Synod Rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 [Monday]

GS Misc 1076 Women in the Episcopate – Declaration from the House of Bishops
GS Misc 1077 Women in the Episcopate – Guidance notes from the House of Bishops



Online General Synod papers

Updated Friday 27 June The second set of synod papers was circulated today and I have added links below. A full set of papers can be downloaded as a zip file.

Most papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod were put online today. There is a list in agenda order here, and I have rearranged it into numerical order below with a note of the day(s) on which item is scheduled for debate. I will add links to further papers as they become available.

GS 1877D Amending Canon No 31 [Saturday]

GS 1902-5Y Report by the Revision Committee [Saturday]
GS 1902A Draft Amending Canon 32 [Saturday/Tuesday]
GS 1902C Petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence [Saturday]

GS 1903A Convocations (Elections to Upper House) (Amendment) Resolution [Saturday/Tuesday]
GS 1904A Clergy Representation Rules (Amendment) Resolution [Saturday/Tuesday]
GS 1905A Church Representation Rules (Amendment) No 2 Resolution [Saturday/Tuesday]

GS 1919A Draft Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (Amendment) Measure [Saturday]
GS 1919Y Report by the Revision Committee [Saturday]

GS 1921A Draft Church of England (Ecclesiastical Property) Measure
GS 1921Y Report by the Revision Committee [Saturday]

GS 1925-6Z Draft Measure and Draft Amending Canon for Final Drafting [Friday]
GS 1925B Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure [Friday/Monday]
GS 1926B Draft Amending Canon No 33 [Friday/Monday]
GS 1926C Draft Petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence [Monday]
GS 1934A Draft Act of Synod Rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 [Monday]

GS 1936A Draft Church of England (Pensions) (Amendment) Measure for Revision and for Final Drafting (if needed) and Final Approval [Saturday]

GS 1940A Church Representation Rules (Amendment) Resolution No 1 2014 [Tuesday]
GS 1940Y Report

GS 1944A and GS 1944B Private Member’s Motion: Canon B8 [Saturday]
GS 1945A and GS 1945B Diocesan Synod Motion: Magna Carta.
A translation of the Magna Carta is available by clicking here [Monday]

GS 1946 Declaration regarding the National Front [Saturday]
GS 1947 Declaration regarding the British National Party [Saturday]
GS 1946-7X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1948 Agenda
GS 1949 Report by the Business Committee [Friday]

GS 1950 Appointments to the Archbishops’ Council [Friday]

GS 1951 Report by the Business Committee on the Article 8 Reference [Friday]

GS 1952 Draft Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure [Friday]
GS 1953 Draft Amending Canon No 34 [Friday]
GS 1952-3X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1954 49th Report of the Standing Orders Committee [Saturday]

GS 1955 Payments to the Churches Conservation Trust Order [Saturday]
GS 1955X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1956 The Common Good [Saturday]

GS 1957 Archbishops’ Council Annual Report [Sunday]

GS 1958 Additional Texts for Holy Baptism [Sunday]

GS 1959 The Archbishops’ Council’s Budget 2015 [Sunday]

GS 1960 The Armed Forces Covenant and Community Covenants [Monday]

GS 1961 Audit Committee’s Annual Report [Monday]

GS 1962 Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 [Tuesday]
GS 1962X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1963 Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) order 2014 [Tuesday]
GS 1963X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1964 Draft Amending Canon No 35
GS 1964X Explanatory Memorandum [Tuesday]
GS 1965A and GS 1965B Diocesan Synod Motion: Spare Room Subsidy [contingency business]

In addition the following GS Misc papers have been issued.

GS Misc 1070 Ethical Investment Annual Review
GS Misc 1072 Appointment of Synod Senior Staff
GS Misc 1073 Charm Rental Scheme
GS Misc 1074 Members of Committees
GS Misc 1075 Archbishops’ Council’s Activities
GS Misc 1076 Women in the Episcopate – Declaration from the House of Bishops
GS Misc 1077 Women in the Episcopate – Guidance notes from the House of Bishops
GS Misc 1078 Mutual Credit Union
GS Misc 1079 A note from the Archbishops
GS Misc 1081 Clergy Disicpline Commission Annual Report
GS Misc 1082 House of Bishops Summary of Decisions
GS Misc 1083 Shared Conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission

There are other papers listed below the fold.



Expect a conservative evangelical bishop soon

Updated twice

One of the papers issued to General Synod members today is A note from the Archbishops (GS Misc 1079). This looks at a number of matters to do with next month’s final vote by General Synod on the admission of women to the episcopate.

One item of particular interest is the statement in paragraphs 10-11 that the archbishops are “consulting with others” to ensure that a “bishop who holds the Conservative Evangelical view on headship” is appointed “within a matter of months”. One way for this to happen is for such a person to be appointed to one of the currently vacant suffragan sees.

The paper also discusses the arrangements to be made at consecrations once the episcopate is open to both men and women, in particular when a new bishop has “concerns about who presides and shares in the laying on of hands at their consecration”. In short there will be no formal arrangements and each case will be dealt with on an individual basis.

The full text of GS 1079 is copied below the fold.


Forward in Faith has issued the press release: The Consecration of Bishops.

Glyn Paflin writes in the Church Times Headship and consecrations: Primates prepare ground for Synod vote.



Archbishop of Canterbury addresses National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast

The Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast.

A full transcript of his remarks can be found here.

A video recording of the entire address is here.

The Bible Society also has two short videos, available from here.


Trojan horses, religion in schools, and public opinion

We have reported previously here, and then here, about the issues raised by events in a number of supposedly secular Birmingham schools.

British Religion and Numbers has published two articles discussing the public opinion polls that have been undertaken in response to all this.

Back on 12 June, there was Trojan Horse Plot and Other News.

Two-thirds of the British public think there is substance behind the allegations of a ‘Trojan horse’ plot whereby hardline Muslim groups have attempted to take over certain schools in Birmingham. However, opinion is divided about where blame for this state of affairs lies. These are among the findings of a poll conducted by YouGov for The Sunday Times, in which 2,134 adults aged 18 and over were interviewed online on 5 and 6 June 2014 (i.e. before the formal release of Ofsted’s reports on the 21 schools on 9 June). The data tables were published on 8 June at:

The opening questions were generic, YouGov’s panellists initially being asked whether it was acceptable for state schools with a majority of pupils from Muslim families to set rules reflecting their interpretation of Islamic religion and culture. Overwhelmingly (85%), this was deemed unacceptable, with still higher proportions among UKIP supporters (95%), the over-60s (93%), and Conservatives (91%). Overall, only 7% defended the operation of Islamic rules in these circumstances, and no more than 11% in any demographic sub-group…

Then on 18 June, BRIN published More Trojan Horse Polling. This includes two separate polling reports:

Trojan horse plot (1)

For the second week running, YouGov was commissioned by The Sunday Times to investigate public opinion surrounding issues raised by the so-called ‘Trojan horse’ plot, whereby Muslim hardliners were alleged to have been trying to take over the governance of some state schools in Birmingham. For this second poll, 2.106 Britons were interviewed online on 12 and 13 June 2014, with data tables published on 15 June at:

More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents identified some risk to state schools being taken over by religious extremists, 34% agreeing that there was a large risk in many parts of the country and 45% a minor risk in just a few parts of the country (with 10% detecting no significant risk and 2% none at all). Risks were most likely to be perceived by Conservatives (88%), UKIP voters (94%), and the over-60s (91%). One-half the sample considered that academies and free schools were at greater risk from religious extremism than local authority controlled schools, while 28% judged them at equal risk…

Trojan horse plot (2)

The ‘Trojan horse’ plot also provided the context for an online poll by Opinium Research among 1,002 UK adults aged 18 and over on 12 and 13 June 2014. It was conducted for The Observer, with a report appearing on pp. 1 and 14 of the main section of that newspaper dated 15 June. The survey concerned ‘faith schools’, although it should be noted that the schools at the centre of the ‘Trojan horse’ plot were not faith schools in the strict meaning of the term, but rather community schools, some under local authority control and some academies. The tables from the Opinium poll were released on 16 June and can be found at:

In the wake of the ‘Trojan horse’ controversy, Opinium’s panellists were asked whether they thought some predominantly Muslim schools were actually fostering extremist attitudes among their pupils. Most (55% overall, 60% of men and 63% of over-55s) considered that they were, far more than the 16% who believed that mainly Muslim schools were simply reflecting the values and views of the parents of their pupils. A further 29% did not know or otherwise could not choose between the two options on offer…

Do read the full analysis on each of these three polls.


Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis meet in Rome

Press releases from Lambeth Palace:

Press release from Vatican: Pope’s address to Archbishop Justin

Reports in The Tablet:

We stand together as disciples sent to heal a wounded world, Pope tells Welby

Welby in Rome challenges Churches to take risks and cast off ‘institutional prestige’

The Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome writes:

Encouraging more sharing and collaboration

On Sunday 15th June the Archbishop of Canterbury will be launching the new IARCCUM (International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission) website, at the Anglican Centre in Rome, as part of his visit to the Pope on Monday 16th. This is a new opportunity for us to know and to encourage much more sharing and collaboration between Anglicans and Roman Catholics around the world: now we will have a portal to refer people to and to receive global updates and information to move us forward.

The IARCCUM website