Thinking Anglicans

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus


“Everyone forgets my name now. But I was there, and I remember seeing him, carrying his cross, his face so covered in sweat and in blood from the soldiers’ blows. He stumbled towards me and almost by instinct I pulled out a small cloth and wiped his face. There was so much sweat and blood that when you looked at the cloth you could see his face. I still have that cloth, a true image of him.”

Lord Jesus, your face was sweaty and bloodied:
be with all who care for the broken bodies of our sick and injured.
Your face was wiped by an unknown woman:
let us bear your true image in our hearts, in our words and in our deeds.
To you, Jesus, scarred by a crown of thorns,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

illustration: from a wood-engraving by Eric Gill, 1917


Simon helps Jesus carry the cross


“I was there to see the Passover. It was big thing in those days, and I’d brought my two boys, Alexander and Rufus. We’d got caught up in this crowd, and I could see that they were taking some prisoners out to be executed. The soldiers saw me and the officer came over, and with his sword he forced me behind one of the prisoners and to take half the weight of the cross. I couldn’t believe how heavy it was: it seemed like I was carrying half the world. At the time, I had no idea who he was.”

Lord Jesus, you were worn down by fatigue:
be with those from whom life drains all energy.
You needed the help of a passing stranger:
give us the humility to receive aid from others.
To you, Jesus, weighed down with exhaustion and in need of help,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

illustration: from a wood-engraving by Eric Gill, 1917


Anglican Mission in England

This organisation has a new website. Some extracts will give readers the flavour:

What is AMiE?

The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) is a mission society that seeks to promote gospel growth in areas covered by the Church of England (principally in England, but also in other parts of Europe) by supporting Anglican churches and individuals both within and outside present Church of England structures.

AMiE came into being as a result of GAFCON and is one of a number of agencies that relates to GAFCON through the FCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) UK and Ireland. You can read more about the history of AMiE by clicking here.

A variety of Anglican churches are part of AMiE. Some churches are outside the structures of the Church of England. Others remain within the denomination but are experiencing tensions, whilst others have joined to support them.

AMiE is a registered charity (number 1158679) and has an Executive Committee. Andy Lines is the General Secretary of AMiE and Justin Mote is Chair of the Executive Committee. AMiE, alongside Reform and Church Society, co-sponsor the annual ReNew conference. The AMiE Executive Committee shares the ReNew vision of pioneering, establishing and securing a nation of healthy local Anglican churches.



Jesus meets his mother


“O my son, my dear son. It was agony to see you suffering like this. How many mothers have seen their children suffer? I knew what it was like. We, my friends and I, had waited outside the governor’s palace, waiting for you to be freed. And then the soldiers forced you out, carrying a cross. Before they could stop us we ran past them and hugged you. Why was this happening to you? Why? Surely you could have said something, done something, and it would have stopped? Even now? But as he looked at me, I knew this would not happen — I felt as if a sword had pierced my heart.”

Lord Jesus, your mother Mary wept at your torment:
give heart to all parents who watch their children suffer.
Your mother felt your pain in her heart:
guide us to bring the fullness of life to children and parents.
To you, Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

illustration: from a wood-engraving by Eric Gill, 1917



Jesus falls the first time


a woman
“I was standing outside the governor’s palace. It was just before Pass­over and a crowd had gathered to see if the governor would release any prisoners. We’d cheered the news that Barabbas was to be freed. But then the soldiers came out with some other men, taking them to be executed. They were each carrying their crosses, but this one was already weak. The weight of what he was carrying seemed crushing. He lurched towards us, and he stumbled right in front of me. The soldiers were straight in with their spears; they picked up the cross, dragged him to his feet, and carried on.”

Lord Jesus, you suffered like us under the burdens of this world:
be with those whose strength is taken away by ill-treatment or illness.
You are present in our suffering and share our loads:
help us to let you carry our burdens.
To you, Jesus, falling under the weight of the cross,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

illustration: from a wood-engraving by Eric Gill, 1917

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Joe Cassidy

It is with much sadness that we have learned that the Revd Canon Joe Cassidy died yesterday, 28 March, after a short illness. He was 60.

Joe was a frequent commenter on this Thinking Anglicans blog, and also a valued contributor to our ‘just thinking’ series, writing challenging and pastoral pieces from a sound scholarly position. In the wider world he was the Principal of St Chad’s College, Durham, a place where many of our clergy have trained and where he will be much missed. Before joining the Church of England he had been ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church, and was a member of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, in his native Canada.

The Dean of Durham, Michael Sadgrove, was his neighbour in the city, and has written this personal reminiscence.

To his wife Gillian and to his children and family we send our condolences.

May he rest in peace!

Simon, Simon and Peter


More criticism for Resourcing Ministerial Education

The Church Times reports: Changes in training prompt resignation and protest letter.

…The Revd Dr Sarah Coakley, professor of divinity at the University of Cambridge, sent a resignation letter to the group four days before the report – Resourcing Ministerial Education – was published (News, 16 January). In it, she lists several reservations about the report, warning that it is “anodyne and misleading”. She describes the devolution to the dioceses as “the most disturbing part . . . I must be blunt: I simply do not believe there is sufficient qualitative theological understanding in most of the dioceses to protect the sort of aspirations that this report promotes.”

Resourcing Ministerial Education, presented to the General Synod in February (News, 20 February), proposes that “decisions about training pathways for individuals should be made in the diocese, in consultation with the candidate.” A “standard level of grant for tuition” will be given to each recommended candidate from a central fund, to which all dioceses contribute. This grant “may be used in a range of ways as the diocese sees fit, providing the training is from an approved provider”…

The letter to the editor, signed by 17 academics and quoted in the news report, can be found in full here.

…We the undersigned wish to express our great concern that, should core funding from central funds disappear and be replaced altogether with diocesan funding, a casualty will be the strong links built up over many years with university theology and religious studies departments, and that the public, intellectual engagement of the Church of England with pressing contemporary issues will suffer accordingly.

None of us disputes the importance of alternative modes of educational delivery to the full-time residential one. Mixed-mode and context-based training schemes, alongside part-time study, have already contributed enormously to the development of new ways into ordained as well as lay ministry, and there is no doubt that they have much more to offer the Church in the future. The Church of England needs a diversity of forms of theological education if it truly desires a diversity of ordination candidates.

We are alert, too, to the differential costs of all these various ways of pursuing study. Nor are we blind to the potential that exists – though arguably it is severely underdeveloped – for constructive relationships between university departments and the newer forms of training.

But there is a particular advantage to the pursuit of theological study in a full-time setting that can serve well the deepest engagement possible with the challenges of contemporary theology, and especially the development of an active research culture. All of our universities have contributed significantly to that in the past, and would hope to do so in the future. A key element is the involvement of universities in the education of clergy and laity, both through the contribution that academic staff make to teaching and to debate in the wider Church, and through the participation of students in graduate as well as undergraduate courses….


Jesus takes up his cross


a soldier
“I was a soldier in Pilate’s guard on duty that day. Once Pilate had passed the sentence of death it was our job to carry it out. So we marched him out from Pilate round to our courtyard. That’s where we used to have our bit of fun: we dressed him up and mocked him and spat at him, and some of my mates roughed him up a bit. Then we got out a cross for him. He knew that he had to carry it, but he didn’t seem strong enough to carry that weight. But with our spears and swords, he had no choice.”

Lord Jesus, you carried the cross through the rough streets of Jerusalem:
be with those who are loaded with burdens beyond their strength.
You bore the weight of our sins when you carried the cross:
help us to realize the extent and the cost of your love for us.
To you, Jesus, bearing a cross not your own,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

illustration: from a wood-engraving by Eric Gill, 1917


Pilate condemns Jesus to death


a young slave
“I was a slave in Pilate’s household in Jerusalem. There were lots of people there, jostling and pushing, and over to one side were the Jewish priests, keeping themselves separate. Pilate wanted some water and I was sent for it. I brought in a bowl and a towel and he dipped his hands in the bowl and dried them on the towel. That’s what I remember. Then Pilate said, ‘Take him away and crucify him!’ Only then did I see him — standing, shackled in front of Pilate. I wondered what he had done.”

Lord Jesus, you were condemned to death for political expediency:
be with those who are imprisoned for the convenience of the powerful.
You were the victim of unbridled injustice:
change the minds and motivations of oppressors and exploiters
to your way of peace.
To you, Jesus, innocent though condemned,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

illustration: from a wood-engraving by Eric Gill, 1917



Laurence Cawley BBC News The Jedi and the Bishop: two men from Essex, two religious outlooks

John Pavlovitz 6 Reasons Stone-Throwing Christians May Need To Retire “Go And Sin No More”

Andrew Lightbown Secular utilitarianism 1 – Agape 0; the problems with Baber’s scheme

Christopher Howse The Telegraph Mozarabic chant in deepest Suffolk


Lords Spiritual (Women) Act receives Royal Assent

The Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015 received the Royal Assent today.

The Church of England issued a press release welcoming the Royal Assent which includes this:

Under the terms of the Act, the Venerable Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney, who is announced today as the next Bishop of Gloucester will become the first female diocesan bishop to join the Bishops’ Benches in the House of Lords.

Archdeacon Rachel will take the place vacated by the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, who retires on July 11. She will be introduced into the House of Lords after the summer recess.


Bishop of Gloucester


10 Downing Street has announced that the next Bishop of Gloucester is to be the Venerable Rachel Treweek, currently Archdeacon of Hackney.

Diocese of Gloucester: Venerable Rachel Treweek

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Rachel Treweek, BA, BTh, Archdeacon of Hackney, for election as Bishop of Gloucester in succession to the Right Reverend Michael Francis Perham, MA, whose resignation took effect on the 21 November 2014.

Notes for editors

The Venerable Rachel Treweek (nee Montgomery) aged 52, studied at Reading University and trained for the ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. She served her first curacy at Saint George and All Saints, Tufnell Park in the Diocese of London from 1994 to 1997 and was Associate Vicar from 1997 to 1999.

From 1999 to 2006 she was Vicar at Saint James the Less, Bethnal Green and Continuing Ministerial Education Officer for the Stepney Episcopal Area. From 2006 to 2011 she was Archdeacon of Northolt in the Diocese of London. Since 2011 she has been Archdeacon of Hackney. In 2013 she was elected as Participant Observer in the House of Bishops for the South East Region.

Rachel is married to Guy, Priest-in-Charge of two parishes in the City of London.

Her interests include conflict transformation, walking and canoeing.

Gloucester diocese has a page welcoming the new bishop-designate including the following quote

Following the announcement, Rachel said:

“It is an immense joy and privilege to be appointed as the Bishop of Gloucester. I am surprised and, I have to admit, even a little daunted by the prospect, but my overwhelming feeling is one of excitement to be coming to join with others in sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the people of this diocese.

“I am looking forward to encouraging Christians to speak out with confidence about their faith and the good news that the Gospel brings. It will be my privilege to work with churches as we connect with people, wherever they are and whatever their concerns.

“My calling to the role of bishop has been shaped by human encounter. I believe profoundly that relationship is at the heart of who God is. I have been with people through the joys and pains of their lives and it is these experiences that I will reflect upon as I take up this new role.”

The diocese of London also covers the appointment of one of its archdeacons. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, is quoted:

As Richard of Gloucester is reinterred, Rachel of Gloucester is revealed. Rachel has served her entire ministry in the Diocese of London, excelling wherever she has been. She has twice acted as Archdeacon, in Northolt and then Hackney — two highly demanding and contrasting areas where she has shone in equal measure.

… While we are very sorry to see her go, Gloucester has appointed someone with real quality and distinction. We look forward to continuing to support her in the years to come.

There is also coverage in the press including

several of which note that she is expected to become the first woman bishop to sit in the House of Lords.


Alison White to be Bishop of Hull

The Archbishop of York has tweeted “Wonderful news that HM The Queen has appointed the Revd Canon Alison White as the Bishop Suffragan of the See of Hull”.

And here is the announcement from Number 10 (complete with misprint – Hull is in the diocese of York).

Suffragan Bishop of Hull: Reverend Canon Alison Mary White
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 25 March 2015
Part of: Arts and culture and Community and society

The Queen has approved the nomination of Reverend Canon Alison Mary White, for election as Bishop of Hull in the Diocese of Newcastle.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Alison Mary White, MA, Priest-in-Charge of St James’ Church, Riding Mill in the diocese of Newcastle and Diocesan Adviser for Spirituality and Spiritual Direction in the Diocese of Newcastle, in succession to the Right Reverend Richard Michael Cokayne Frith, MA, on his translation to the See of Hereford on the 22 November 2014.

Notes for editors

The Reverend Canon Alison White aged 58, studied first at St Aidan’s College, Durham and then at Leeds University. She trained for the ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham. She served her curacy as an NSM at Chester-le-Street in the Diocese of Durham from 1986 to 1989.

From 1989 to 1993 she was Diocesan Advisor in Local Mission and also Honorary Parish Deacon at Birtley. From 1993 to 1998 she was Director of Mission and Pastoral Studies at Cranmer Hall, Durham. From 1998 to 2000 she was Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Durham. From 2000 to 2004 she was a Springboard Missioner. From 2005 to 2010 she was an Adult Education Officer in Peterborough Diocese where from 2009 to 2010 she was also Honorary Canon at Peterborough Cathedral.

Since 2010 she has been Honorary Canon Theologian at Sheffield Cathedral. In 2011 she was appointed as Priest-in-Charge of St James’, Riding Mill in Newcastle Diocese and Diocesan Adviser for Spirituality and Spiritual Direction.

Alison White is married to Frank, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Newcastle. They have family in England and South Africa. Alison has an interest in literature and the arts, enjoys the theatre and is an avid reader. She likes to travel and be in the company of good friends. She enjoys the outdoors, walks and gardening. She is a school governor.

The York diocesan website has this news item: New Bishop of Hull [also available on the Archbishop of York’s website].

The Newcastle diocesan website has this: Alison White appointed Bishop of Hull.


Suffragan sees of Ripon and Wakefield

The names of the suffragan sees of Knaresborough and Pontefract in the diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales were officially changed to Ripon and Wakefield respectively by Order in Council on 19 March 2015. The two area bishops, James Bell and Tony Robinson, can now officially be called the Bishop of Ripon and the Bishop of Wakefield respectively.



Helen De Cruz has interviewed H E [Harriet] Baber as part of a series on Philosophers and their religious practices: The SCP is my Church.

The Guardian Homes in old churches – in pictures

Madeleine Davies Why journalists can’t afford to ignore religion

Helen Pidd of The Guardian has been talking to the Bishop of Stockport: Libby Lane: ‘Whatever the Church’s failings, I really think this is where God has put me’.


Muslim prayer in church building generates controversy

The original report was in the Telegraph: Muslim prayers in Church of England parish.

The Church Times later reported: Canon Goddard apologises for Muslim prayers in his church.

So also did Christianity Today No more Muslim prayer services in churches, says bishop.

The official statements:

Diocese of Southwark 1: A statement concerning recent events at St John’s Waterloo

St John’s Waterloo: Statement from Canon Giles Goddard

Diocese of Southwark 2: A statement from the Bishop of Southwark concerning St John’s, Waterloo

Kelvin Holdsworth has written about this: Welcoming Muslims into church.

Reklama: Vadovų paieška ir atranka



Ian Paul Is ‘discipleship’ Anglican?

John Armstrong Episcopal News Service Canon David Porter shares lessons learned about reconciliation

Christopher Howse The Telegraph The trouble with swearing an oath on a holy book


Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill

The Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill completed its passage through the House of Lords yesterday when it received its third reading. As there were no Lords amendments to the bill it does not need to return to the Commons. It now awaits the Royal Assent and will come into force “on the day Parliament first meets following the first parliamentary general election after this Act is passed”.

David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK writes about this and precisely when Parliament “first meets”.

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EHRC consultation on Religion or Belief reveals widespread confusion

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published its report on the consultation which it launched last August.

The press release is headlined: Largest ever consultation reveals widespread confusion over laws protecting religion or belief.

Mark Hammond, CEO of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

“How the law deals with religion and other beliefs in work, in providing services and in public debate has become a matter of considerable controversy. We carried out this consultation to gather first-hand evidence of how people deal with this issue in the workplace and in service delivery.

“What we found from the thousands of responses we received was a complex picture of different opinions and experiences. However, what came out strongly was the widespread confusion about the law, leading to some resentment and tensions between groups and anxiety for employers who fear falling foul of what they see as complicated equality and human rights legislation.

“We also found examples of organisations which had taken a constructive approach to dealing with issues of religion or belief, with employees providing positive experiences of diverse and inclusive workplaces. We’ll use this evidence as we examine how effective the law is in this area and develop guidance which we hope will help everyone address some of the issues which have come out of the consultation.”

The report itself is introduced from this page.

The Commission has found that there is widespread confusion over the laws protecting religion or belief in the UK. Our new report ‘Religion or belief in the workplace and service delivery’ contains the findings from a call for evidence launched in August 2014. The aim was to explore the direct and personal experiences of employees and service users concerning religion or belief, as well as the views of employers, service providers, relevant organisations and the legal and advice sectors.

Nearly 2,500 people responded to our call for evidence, making it the largest ever carried out by the Commission. Respondents included people holding a wide range of religious beliefs as well as humanists and atheists, and covered employers and service providers across the public and private sectors….

The full text of the report is on this page.

And there is an executive summary here.


Proposal to revive the See of Islington

The Church Times reports: Chartres sets out plan for ‘Bishop for church-plants’

A NEW “bishop for church-plants” has been proposed by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres. The aim is to support the burgeoning movement as it spreads across the country.

The plan, which involves reviving the see of Islington, vacant since 1923, will be given final consideration by the Dioceses Commission later this month.

In a report presented to the London diocesan Bishop’s Council last Wednesday, Bishop Chartres argues that there is an “urgent” need for church-planters to be given “knowledgeable support and mentoring in the early years”. The Bishop of Islington’s ministry would be “inherently episcopal but not territorial; thoroughly collegial but with an independent sphere of responsibility”…

The full text of the report can be found here.