Thinking Anglicans

On Rock or Sand?


On Rock or Sand?: Firm Foundations for Britain’s Future, edited by the Archbishop of York, is published today (according to Church House Bookshop and Amazon) or next week (according to the Archbishop).

The Archbishop’s announcement states:

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu’s book ‘On Rock or Sand?’ is to be published next week with contributions from experts in economic, political, social and religious disciplines, including Lord Adonis, Sir Philip Mawer, Oliver O Donovan, Andrew Sentance and Archbishop Justin Welby…

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “The book addresses crucial questions about the moral principles that undergird the way Britain is governed. It is about building firm foundations for Britain’s future and setting out the essential values we need to build a just, sustainable and compassionate society in which we can all participate and flourish. We need to rediscover the true meaning of the word economy – it means a household, a community whose members share responsibility for each other. The giant that must be slayed is income inequality – where some few have far too much and the many have too little.”

and includes a video introduction to the book by the Archbishop.

Press reports and comments

Ian Johnston The Independent Anglican archbishops accuse Coalition of abandoning poor amid culture of selfishness

John Bingham The Telegraph
Archbishops’ pre-election assault on ‘evil’ of inequality in Coalition Britain
Church of England’s pre-election blast revives memories of Faith in the City

Ben Riley-Smith The Telegraph David Cameron pledges to do more to help poor after Church of England criticism

BBC News Low earners are being left behind, say archbishops

Isabel Hardman The Spectator Archbishop John Sentamu on why politicians are like men arguing at a urinal

Mark Tran The Guardian UK economy is a ‘tale of two cities’ say archbishops

The Guardian Archbishops speak out on inequality: extracts from On Rock or Sand?

Andrew Brown The Guardian Archbishops try to inject Christianity into welfare state with inequality attack

Lucinda Borkett-Jones Christian Today Archbishop of York: “English Christians ain’t persecuted”

Pat Ashworth Church Times C of E’s pre-Election publication warns of lose-lose situations for many towns and cities


Financial Times editorial Lambeth’s turbulent priest utters harsh truths
Chris Giles Financial Times Church’s book stronger on morals than policy

Peter Dominiczak The Telegraph David Cameron facing row with Church as he ‘profoundly disagrees’ with Archbishops’ attack

The Telegraph editorial Selective wrath

Helen Warrell, Jim Pickard and Clear Barrett Financial Times English archbishops attack government over rising inequality


Church of England Task Groups: pre-pre-Synod papers

Updated Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

The Church of England Press Office today announced a series of papers, to be published each day this week, about the various Task Group reports. The first starts:

The first batch of papers for the February 2015 meeting of the General Synod will be available to download from the Church of England website on Friday 16th January.

Due to the range and volume of material being issued in relation to the various Task Group reports there will be a daily release of key documents this week ahead of the general distribution of papers.

The first paper below is from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York giving an overview of the programme for reform and renewal represented by the work of the task groups and the materials on Discipleship.

This first paper is “In Each Generation” : A programme for reform and renewal.

Paper 2 (Tuesday) is Developing Discipleship.
There is an accompanying blog and a video interview with the Bishop of Sheffield
There is an online forum to discuss this paper.

Paper 3 (Wednesday) is Report of the Simplification Task Group.
There is an accompanying blog and a video interview with the Bishop of Willesden.
There is an online forum to discuss this paper.

Paper 4 (Thursday) is Resourcing Ministerial Education in the Church of England.
There is an accompanying blog and a video interview with the Bishop of Sheffield.
There is an online forum to discuss this paper.

Paper 5 (Friday) is Resourcing the Future of the Church of England
There is an accompanying blog and a video interview with John Spence.

Paper 6 (Friday) is Church Commissioners and the work of the Task Groups.
There is a blog and a video interview with Andreas Whittam Smith.

There is an online forum to discuss the above two papers.

I will add later papers to this page as they are published. All papers have now been published.
In addition I will publish my usual list of synod papers when they are published on Friday.

Press reports

John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England cannot carry on as it is unless decline ‘urgently’ reversed – Welby and Sentamu
Madeleine Davies Church Times Archbishops unveil ‘urgent’ reform programme for CofE

Gavin Drake Church Times Discipleship is important part of C of E reform programme

Church Times Task group aims to slim down church legislation

Gavin Drake Church Times_ Report proposes big drive to attract new priests


Making of Women Bishops in Kenya

Canon Francis Omondi wrote this article which appeared in The Star: Making of Women Bishops in Kenya

…There is a swelling tide in support for women bishops among Christians. Kenyan Anglicans are visibly ready for women bishops. Already the Diocese of Eldoret in its Synod sitting in December 2013 had approved overwhelmingly to elect women bishops. No one epitomises the mood of the support for women bishops than Rev Elijah Yego, an influential clergy of the diocese who was the face of opposition to women becoming priests, was unusually vocal in support for women bishops in this synod, having been won over by what he termed ‘their superior ministry’.

The Diocese of Maseno West, in their August 2014 ordinary synod session, approved unanimously the ordination of women bishops. Justifying the vote the Bishop of Maseno West and Dean of the ACK, the Rt Rev Joseph Wasonga said the Kenyan church understood the ministry to be a functional office; “Ministry belongs to all who are baptised, be they men or women, and as such no one can deny the other an opportunity to serve in whatever capacity,” he said.

But the more significant development was the formal nomination of a woman priest Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogo, the Provincial Secretary of ACK and also chairman of NCCK, to vie for bishopric election in Embu. She was second clergy to be nominated after Rev Dr Lydia Mwaniki for Kirinyaga diocesan. Had she been successful we would have had our first Kenyan woman bishop in 2014 before the CoE…

There has already been comment made about this in an article by Colin Coward headed Making women bishops in Kenya, the impact on GAFCON and implications for human sexuality divisions. He notes:

…The Primate of Kenya, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, although Chairman of the conservative GAFCON Primates’ Council, supports moves to ensure that the path is clear to enable AKC to elect its first woman bishop. Last year he wrote to the bishops of the Anglican Church of Kenya asking that they approve amendments to the language of the church’s constitution erasing any doubts that women priests are eligible for election to the episcopate.

The question of the ordination of women as priests, let alone bishops, is a potential make or break issue for GAFCON. It’s a divisive issue for ACNA and a potent issue of division between the powerful Nigerian Church which opposes the ordination of women and other African Provinces which do ordain women and will remain fully committed to their full inclusion. Some of the Kenyan bishops who support women in the episcopate also support a change in Church attitudes to LGBTI people.

It often looks to those of us campaigning for the full inclusion of LGBTI people that we face an incredibly powerful and intransigent conservative block in GAFCON, a block which repeatedly claims ultimate power because it ‘represents’ the majority in the Anglican Communion. In reality, GACON faces a challenge potentially far more divisive than human sexuality. The place of women in the ministry of the Church affects 51% of the world’s population. Divisions over the ordination of women could be the downfall of GAFCON and change the whole dynamic within the Anglican Communion.



The Guardian Epiphany around the world – in pictures

Huffington Post Epiphany 2015: Dates, Customs, Scripture And History Of ‘Three Kings Day’ Explained (PHOTOS)

Paul Handley Church Times leader Fundamentalism

Christopher Howse writes about St Hilary in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph Troglodytes, topazes and the spring term.


Green report awarded Fallen Angel prize by Financial Times

Updated three times on Tuesday and again on Friday

Lucy Kellaway writes in today’s Financial Times about a Golden Flannel award made to the Green Report:

… This year I’m awarding a special prize to an organisation that ought to have risen above jargon, but has been dragged down into it. Winner of the inaugural Fallen Angel award goes to the Church of England, which in a paper on training bishops talked of “a radical step change in our development of leaders who can shape and articulate a compelling vision and who are skilled and robust enough to create spaces of safe uncertainty in which the Kingdom grows”. Our Lord, looking down on a sentence in which His Kingdom was obliterated by a dozen dreary management clichés, must have found his genius for forgiveness sorely tested…


Another article about the Green report, this time by Anderson Jeremiah, has appeared at The Conversation: With regret, the Church of England is turning into The Apprentice.

If you never heard of this website before, it’s explained a bit here.

And Keith Elford has written The Green report: business knows best? You can read about Keith here.

And now, Andrew Lightbown returns to the attack, with this: The Green Report: Fallen Angels and Slippery Slopes.

His earlier articles are here and here.

David Keen has written In Praise of the Green Report.



Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message

Church Times leader Disorganised religion

For Epiphany Archdruid Eileen writes about Three Ways to Know.

Christopher Howse The Telegraph Exodus: the evidence for the Bible story

Canon Andy Thompson writes to The Guardian in response to the leader we linked to last week: The reality of being a Christian in the Gulf.