Thinking Anglicans


Michael Spencer Internet Monk Thoughts on “Gear” [scroll down to find it]

Simon Jenkins Reform Jumble sales of the apocalypse: Typing in tongues

Paul Bayes The Barlow Stick [part of the Intimate:Inanimate project]

Jayne Ozanne Church of England Newspaper A Tale of Two Archbishops [image on Twitter]
There’s a better copy here.


Simplifying Church Legislation

Optimising the role of the National Church Institutions (GS Misc 1094) was issued in January 2015 by the Joint Employment and Common Services Board of the National Church Institutions of the Church of England. Amongst other recommendations it proposed a new enabling measure that would simplify the process for amending existing church legislation.

The Archbishops’ Council subsequently issued a consultation document on this proposal (A Simpler Way of Reforming Church Legislation GS Misc 1103) in April; responses were required by the end of last month.

One response was this from the Ecclesiastical Law Society (ELS): Reforming Church Legislation: A Response by a Working Party of the Ecclesiastical Law Society to the Archbishops’ Council’s Consultation Document, GS Misc 1103.

Last week Ruth Gledhill wrote about this for Christian Today under the headline Senior lawyers launch devastating critique on church law reform plans.

David Pocklington has now written a rather more considered article on the ELS response for Law & Religion UK, which I commend to readers: “Henry VIII powers” for the bishops?



Ian Paul looks at the articles by John Hayward that I linked to a fortnight ago: When will the C of E be extinct? and The Extinction of the C of E: Two Issues.

Vic Van Den Bergh No Communion for you! – the woes of trying to go to church on holiday and failing!

Giles Fraser The Guardian At a Christian funeral all are equal before God – even Cilla Black

Sarah Puryear has been talking to the Revd Anders Litzell (prior of the Community of St Anselm at Lambeth Palace) for The Living Church Lambeth’s Benedict Option


Cathedral Statistics 2014

Updated Thursday and Friday

The Church of England has issued its Cathedral Statistics 2014 today, and this press release.

Cathedrals in England welcome over 10 million annually
19 August 2015

More than 10 million people visited Cathedrals in England in 2014, according to new figures published today in the Church of England’s Cathedral Research and Statistics report. Research shows that the highest motivating factors for Cathedral attendance were peace and contemplation, worship and music and friendly atmosphere.*

In 2014 the average number of adults and children attending Cathedral services each week was 36,000. This has increased by more than a fifth in the last decade. The three regions showing the strongest growth are Yorkshire and the Humber, London and the South East. Key aspects of growth that have been identified were creating a sense of community, quality of worship, service, preaching and music, exploring new patterns of service, spiritual openness and emphasis on families and young people.

Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics at the Archbishops Council, said: “Over the last decade we have seen growth in both visitors and worship at Cathedrals. Cathedral promotes spiritual openness, inclusivity and diversity in membership and outreach. Christmas and Easter are particularly busy times but we have also seen the increase of adult and child mid-week attendance. Cathedrals continue to play an important role in religious life, education and music.”

The number of young people attending educational events at cathedrals increased by nearly 14% between 2004 and 2014. At the centre of cathedral life is the daily offering of worship and praise. 4000 child and adult choristers were involved in providing traditional choral music in 2014, half as volunteers. Indeed over the last ten years the number of volunteers supporting the mission and ministry of cathedrals has risen to 15,200.

The Very Reverend Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle,said: “One of the things we’ve done is to try to respond to the number of tourists and visitors. We’ve developed a chaplaincy scheme so as well as having welcomers to help people who want to come and explore we can articulate clearly the spiritual dimension of the cathedral and we have found that’s been enormously appreciated.

St Nicholas has also developed to meet the needs of the night time economy and for several years has hosted the street pastors scheme in the cathedral and outside to care for the vulnerable members of the night time economy and people who need pastoral care. The cathedral has introduced a night church model and from time to time is open on Friday nights to enable people to come and find stillness, peace and spiritual exploration in an informal context. Two to three hundred people have been attending a late night compline service.

The Dean continued: “What people have really discovered is that when they drop in to worship or visit they find a community that is welcoming, open and inclusive. I think that’s one of the things that’s been really significant in cathedral growth in every respect: in worship, developing groups and responding to the needs of the community. It’s the fact that permission is offered for anyone to come whenever and for whatever purpose but that there is an opportunity to engage at a deeper level.”



“A place of peace to worship and pray after a busy day at work.” From Anecdote to Evidence – Findings from the Church Growth Research Programme.

Read Reverend Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle blog ‘Open All Hours’ here.

Listen to Revered Christopher Dalliston, the Dean of St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle, interview here.

View the Cathedral Research and Statistics Report here.

Thursday Update

John Bingham The Telegraph Cathedrals booming thanks to ‘late night shopping’ tactics

Katherine Backler The Tablet Church of England reports 10 million visitors to English cathedrals last year

Aaron James Premier 10 million visited cathedrals in 2014

Friday update

Tim Wyatt Church Times Cathedrals enjoy increased growth in visitors and worshippers

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Cathedral attendance falls for first time in 7 years


Readers, PTO and canon law

David Pocklington writing at Law & Religion UK has published an article about the Jeremy Timm case.

The title is Readers, pastoral guidance and canon law.

He summarises the ecclesiastical law position thus:

…Section C of the Church’s Canons – Ministers, their ordination, functions and charge, concerns the three orders of ministry in the Pastoral Guidance, whereas Section E – The lay officers of the church, deals with churchwardens and their assistants, lay works, parish clerks and readers. Readers and other lay officers of the church are not addressed in the Pastoral Guidance and are not subject to the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, as amended. Nevertheless, Mark Hill’s Ecclesiastical Law suggests,[3.67], that: “®eaders fall into a different category from other lay officers, since they are not elected or employed but admitted and licensed by the bishop to perform ministry in the church”. Their ministry role is summarized as:

“Readers are lay people, called by God, trained and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work,”

and, prior to admission as a reader, must make a Declaration of Assent and canonical obedience to the bishop, [Canon E5 §4]. No one admitted to the office of a reader may exercise that office without the permission of the bishop, either through a Licence or Permission to Officiate, [Canon E6 §1]. The revocation of a licence is subject to the procedure in Canon E6 §3, but there is no legal requirement to provide notice to terminate a PTO or an appeal process…


BBC Sunday programme interviews Jeremy Timm

The Rt Reverend Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, who is Chair of the Central Readers’ Council of the Church of England, was also interviewed. The BBC summary:

Jeremy Timm, a Reader in the Church of England, will have his preaching licence revoked by the Archbishop of York after choosing to marry his same-sex partner next month. Kevin Bocquet spoke to him about his decision, and Bishop Robert Paterson, Chair of the Central Readers’ Council, addresses the Church’s management of the issue.

The item starts about 21 minutes into the programme, which can be found from this page.



Margaret Duggan looks back on her time reporting on life in the parishes for Church Times The salt and the sweetness

Maggi Dawn “There are no women on my theology bookshelf…”

Christopher Howse The Telegraph Clothes designed for the kingdom of heaven

Patrick Strudwick has been talking to Vicky Beeching for Buzzfeed This Is What It’s Like Being A Gay Christian Rock Star


Jeremy Timm: further comment and reports

The Church Times has Reader ‘faced with choosing between marriage or ministry’

Updated (Thursday evening): the Church Times story has a new headline and location: Reader to lose Permission to Officiate over marriage plans

James Little, Team Rector of Howden Team Ministry, has published the following statement on Facebook

The CT asked me to comment as Jeremy’s Team Rector but didn’t include what I wrote, so here it is—

The Howden Team Ministry is a group of typically rural churches centred on Howden Minster in the East Riding of Yorkshire. We strive to be open, inclusive and welcoming to all and engaged with the communities we serve. The folk around here have known Jeremy since he was a lad and he is a popular and well-respected member of our ministry team. The removal of Jeremy’s PTO (for taking an entirely legal step) runs contrary to the message of welcome we proclaim.

I rejoiced when Bishop Alison was appointed as our new bishop for the East Riding and I applaud Archbishop Sentamu’s leadership in bringing this about. I was delighted to attend her consecration and her welcome service last month, seeing this as a great step forward on the road to equality, long overdue. However, I am saddened that our archbishop’s profound commitment to equality does not extend to the LGBTI community. I believe that the full involvement of women AND the full involvement of LGBTI Christians in the Church of England are, essentially, the same issue. All are one in Jesus Christ.

The Churchwardens are sufficiently concerned to take the unusual step of convening a meeting for later this week, to which I have been invited.

Jeremy will continue to have my full support.

The Telegraph also reports the story Gay Anglican preacher forced to ‘choose between marriage or ministry’


Jeremy Timm "PTO to be withdrawn"

Jeremy Timm, National Coordinator at Changing Attitude, is to have his ‘Permission to Officiate’ withdrawn by the Archbishop of York. Jeremy writes that:

Following a meeting with the Archbishop on July 17th, I have been living with an ultimatum which I was then presented with. I have been in a civil partnership with Mike, since 2009, and we have been discussing commuting this to marriage for some time. I was told that although my ministry was much valued, if we change our status to being married then my PTO would be withdrawn with immediate effect. I was faced with choosing between marriage or ministry. …

I pointed out that if he were to withdraw my PTO then I would feel I had little choice but to continue my journey of faith outside the Church of England as all those things I explore with the churches such as welcome, encouragement, the recognition of gifts and ministries, growth and potential suddenly have no real meaning for me.

Jeremy’s full statement is published by Changing Attitude here.


Report from Independent Reviewer on All Saints, Cheltenham

The second report of the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration is now available and can be read here.

Report from Independent Reviewer on All Saints, Cheltenham
10 August 2015

As part of the settlement by which the Church of England agreed to the ordination of women as bishops in 2014, it agreed to an ombudsman-style procedure by which those with concerns about the operation of the new arrangements could appeal to an Independent Reviewer.

In October last year the Archbishops of Canterbury and York appointed Sir Philip Mawer as the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration.

Sir Philip’s report on All Saints, Cheltenham is published today.


Further details on the work of the Independent Reviewer can be found here.

This report considers the “licensing of the Revd Angela Smith as an “Associate Priest in the North Cheltenham Team” despite the fact that the Team Benefice included the Parish of All Saints where, by virtue of paragraph 43 of the House of Bishops’ Declaration, the PCC was to be treated as having passed a Resolution under paragraph 20 of the Declaration”.

Forward in Faith has issued this statement.

David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK writes about this second report.


Josiah Idowu-Fearon interview on BBC radio

The BBC radio programme Sunday broadcast today contains a feature on the Anglican Communion:

Trevor Barnes reports on the future of the Worldwide Anglican Communion as its new Secretary General Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon takes up his post. William [Crawley] interviews the Archbishop about the challenges ahead and whether the Anglican Communion can continue in its current form.

The programme recording can be found here. This item starts about 11.5 minutes into the programme.



John Hayward Anglican Church Decline in the West – The Data
Anglican Church Decline in the West – Possible Reasons

Christopher Whitby Church Times Smug and weird — no wonder it’s a turn-off

Carey Lodge interviews Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon for Christian Today Meet the man who’s in charge of leading 85 million Christians

Andrew Brown The Guardian Signs of hope in a ‘secular’ land

Giles Fraser The Guardian The migrants’ church in Calais is a place of raw prayer and defiant hope


Sunday Trading: should there be changes?

Various people in the Church of England have criticised the government’s latest proposals to change the Sunday trading laws in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate laws).

Here is the actual consultation document, a 21 page pdf file.

And here is a helpful explanation of it from David Pocklington: Consultation – Sunday Trading.

See these news reports:

And see these blog articles:

Also this: Michael Nazir-Ali Sunday shopping risks depriving us of something precious

All of which has led the government to write to the bishops: Church told: Back Sunday shopping to save the high street.

Earlier this month, Bryony Gordon wrote this in the Telegraph Sunday opening won’t destroy the Church – but the Church might destroy itself.


New leadership training already showing “first fruits” in Church of England

The Bishop of Ely has said that “The delivery of new training programmes for senior leaders in the Church of England is already bearing fruit.” Details are in this blog by the bishop and in this press release.

New leadership training already showing “first fruits” in Church of England
04 August 2015

The delivery of new training programmes for senior leaders in the Church of England is already bearing fruit, according to the senior bishop overseeing the programme.

Writing in the first of a series of blogs reflecting on Leadership and Development training, Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, who chairs the Development and Appointments Group of the House of Bishops, said that feedback from those having attended the courses “has been extremely positive and we feel blessed for the fruits it is already bearing.”

The first leadership programme for cathedral deans and leaders of greater churches held in March at Judge Business School in Cambridge, included remarks by one participant who observed that it had been “by a country mile, the most impressive course I have under taken in over 30 years of ordained ministry”. Another said, “Overall this has been an outstanding week, both in content and shape. Of course, there has been much value in conversations, etc., but the stand-out feature has been the sessions, with speakers of very high quality, genuinely addressing core issues for this very specific audience”.

As a result of the positive feedback, a repeat of the programme next year has been requested for those unable to attend in March, whilst seminars on some of the key themes will be run in due course for members of the cathedral teams.

The new modular development programmes for bishops have also attracted encouraging feedback, Bishop Stephen said, with 18 bishops gathering at Leicester’s Cathedral Centre earlier this year for the first module with one bishop commenting that the first module was “probably the best piece of in-service training I’ve had since I was a Team Vicar in the 1980s”.

The first meeting of the new Learning Community in July, to help prepare those who might take on wider responsibilities in the future, has also received generous feedback with one participant reflecting on how the training would have an immediate impact on their parish ministry: “The models and insights offered were very helpful, but grounded in practice and in the reality of church, and the balance of presentation, reflection and group work was just right in my view… I haven’t been so enthused and inspired for a long time”.

The full text of Bishop Stephen’s blog is here and is copied below the fold.



Church views on the Calais refugee crisis


Madeleine Davies reports in the Church Times on various statements made recently by Church of England bishops: Bishops critical of Government over migrant crisis

Now replaced by Show more compassion to migrants, urge bishops

The article she mentions from the Observer quoting the Bishop of Dover, Trevor Willmott, is here: Church attacks David Cameron’s lack of compassion over asylum crisis.

Other recent commentators include:

The Guardian also has Inside the Calais migrants’ church – in pictures



The Bishop of Stepney’s sermon at the consecration of Rachel Treweek and Sarah Mullally

Robert Chalmers Newsweek Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Interview: ‘I Have No Right to Be Here’

Eleanor Course Christ, comic books and popular culture

Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticum: Of Martyrs and Mice

Giles Fraser The Guardian I believe in an authority greater than David Cameron’s. Am I an extremist?