Thinking Anglicans

Consultation paper on the operation of the Resolution of Disputes Procedure

I reported here on the Consultation paper on the operation of the Resolution of Disputes Procedure that was issued last week.

David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK has now reviewed the paper here: CofE: a quasi-consultation on quasi-law?


Suffragan Bishop of Crediton: Sarah Elisabeth Mullally


Press release from Number 10

Suffragan Bishop of Crediton: Sarah Elisabeth Mullally

From:Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 9 June 2015

The Queen has approved the nomination of Reverend Canon Sarah Elisabeth Mullally to the Suffragan See of Crediton, in the Diocese of Exeter.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Sarah Elisabeth Mullally, DBE, MA, MSc, BSc, RGN, DSc honoris causa Canon Residentairy and Canon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral in the Diocese of Salisbury, to the Suffragan See of Crediton, in the Diocese of Exeter, in succession to the Right Reverend Nicholas Howard Paul McKinnel, MA, on his translation to the See of Plymouth on 19 April 2015.

Notes for editors
The Reverend Canon Dame Sarah Mullally (aged 53) studied first at South Bank University for her BSc followed by a MSc and then at Heythrop College, University of London where she got her MA. She was awarded Honorary Doctorates of Science from Bournemouth University, (2004), University of Wolverhampton (2004) and University of Hertfordshire (2005) and was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 for her contribution to nursing and midwifery. She is a late ordinand who before ordination was Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health. She trained for the ministry at the South East Institute for Theologian Education and served her first curacy at Battersea Fields in Southwark Diocese from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012 she was Team Rector at Sutton in Southwark Diocese. Since 2012 she has been Canon Residentiary and Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral.

Dame Sarah Mullally is married to Eamonn and they have 2 children. She has continued her interest in the health service, having been a non executive director at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and then at Salisbury NHS Foundation Hospital. She is a novice potter.


The Exeter diocesan website has this news item New Bishop of Crediton to be Dame Sarah Mullally. This states that she will be consecrated at the same service as Rachel Treweek, ie on 22 July 2015.

The Salisbury diocesan website has Canon Chancellor Announced as Bishop.


More on the General Convention marriage canon proposals

Updated Friday

The first TA article about this can be found here. A number of further items have been published.

Tobias Haller has published a series of three blog articles:

A new website, Fully Alive has been launched, sponsored by Communion Partner Bishops, to continue the criticisms first made in the paper Marriage in Creation and Covenant.

This contains additional articles: see

But also, some papers published there take a different view, see

Another different view has been published by Craig Uffmann and can be found on the website of the Diocese of Rochester (USA):


Yet another paper has been published, this one by two American bishops, Scott Benhase (Georgia) and Dorsey McConnell (Pittsburgh), titled A More Excellent Way.

Once again, Tobias Haller has responded, see One Last Question on the Canon Change.



Andrew Brown The Guardian We shouldn’t focus on assisted dying, but rather help others find value in life

Caroline Spelman, the Second Church Estates Commissioner (“2CEC”), writes about A voice for the Church in Parliament.

Rowan Williams New Statesman Blasphemy can provoke violence – and be a progressive force within religion

Giles Fraser The Guardian Thieves may have stolen my optimism, but not my defiance

Richard Moy Dear Deans
Kelvin Holdsworth Dear Deans – a Scottish Response


Consultation paper on the operation of the Resolution of Disputes Procedure

Press release from the Church of England

Consultation paper on the operation of the Resolution of Disputes Procedure
04 June 2015

House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests
Consultation Paper on the Operation of the Resolution of Disputes Procedure

The Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer, appointed to consider grievances and concerns relating to the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests has issued a consultation paper on the working of the disputes resolution procedure. The paper sets out how Sir Philip intends to implement the new procedure.

The consultation paper is available here.

The closing date for comments is 4 September 2015


General Convention to consider gender-neutral marriage canon

In February this year, the General Convention Task Force on Marriage issued a report which recommends changes to the marriage canon of The Episcopal Church.

The changes are explained in this report from Episcopal News Service by Mary Frances Schjonberg Marriage task force calls for gender-neutral language in marriage canon.

The 122-page report of the Task Force is available in full here.

In addition to the recommendations, the report includes seven essays, which form the bulk of the report (pages 9 to 98) and are:

1. A Biblical and Theological Framework for Thinking about Marriage

2. Christian Marriage as Vocation

3. A History of Christian Marriage

4. Marriage as a Rite of Passage

5. The Marriage Canon: History and Critique

6. Agents of the State: A Question for Discernment

7. Changing Trends and Norms in Marriage

More recently, some articles have been published by the Anglican Theological Review which discuss this report. These articles are all available from this page, but are as follows:

The recent Report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, as presented to the 78th General Convention, proposes substantial changes to The Episcopal Church’s marriage canons. By replacing language in Canon I.18 drawn from the marriage rite in The Book of Common Prayer, the changes would render optional the traditional understanding that marriage is a “covenant between a man and a woman” that is intended, when it is God’s will, “for the procreation of children.” We contend that these changes obscure the nature of marriage as a divinely created social form that is the external basis of the covenant union between “Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:32). As such, it draws a veil over marriage as an outward and visible sign of this union. While leaving open the issue of blessing same-sex unions, we make an Augustinian case for retaining the prayer book’s doctrine of marriage.

Three further articles respond to the above:


God – he or she?


How to refer to God – male, female, both or neither – has become a hot topic in the media in the last few days, as the long list below testifies. It appears to have started with this article (behind the paywall) by Nicholas Hellen, the Social Affairs Editor of the Sunday Times: Women clergy pray God gets a feminine touch. John Bingham and others then took it up.

Bingham and others refer to a public call by the Transformations Steering Group to the bishops to encourage more “expansive language and imagery about God”. The phrase comes from this document, issued in 2011 and presented to the bishops in 2012.

John Bingham Telegraph Calls to refer to God as a woman as female bishops take up posts

Ian Johnston Independent Female clergy propose referring to God as ‘She’ to counter idea only men are made in his image

Amelia Butterly BBC God is neither ‘she’ nor ‘he’ say Anglican priests

Nadia Khomami The Guardian Let God be a ‘she’, says Church of England women’s group

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today ‘Jesa Christa’: God is female too, say Church of England campaigners

Claire Elliot Daily Mail Our Mother who art in heaven: Group of Church women want to refer to God as a ‘She’ to combat sexism

Archdruid Eileen Should God be referred to as a Woman?

Kate Bottley The Guardian Is God a woman? To ask the question is to miss the point

Sally Hitchiner Telegraph Is God a man or a woman?

Jemima Thackray Telegraph Imagining God as a woman? That’s like farting against thunder

Telegraph leader Of course God is a woman

Carey Lodge Christian Today Is it wrong to refer to God in the female?

The Guardian Pass Notes Praise her, praise her: should we refer to God as a woman?

Damian Thompson Daily Mail No, God ISN’T male. But calling Him a ‘She’ is unholy twaddle


The media interest was prompted by remarks made at last week’s Westminster Faith Debate on Women Bishops – what difference does it make? including Hilary Cotton’s address at Westminster Faith Debate on gender justice and the church.

Andrew Lightbown Gender, Jesus and Identity; some ‘what ifs….’

Ian Paul Can we address God as ‘She’?

Daily Mail If God were a woman: As Church feminists say God is a ‘She’, some of our wittiest and wisest writers imagine the world with a higher female power at the helm

Archbishop Cranmer Against heresy: if Jesus called God ‘Father’, who are we to conflate him with Mary?

Jonathan Clatworthy God’s genitalia

Emma Percy answers questions from Premier Christianity: Why I believe God should be referred to as ‘she’.

Madeleine Davies Church Times WATCH reignites debate on gender language and God