Thinking Anglicans

Commission on Religion & Belief in British Public Life

Updated Monday afternoon and evening, Tuesday evening, Friday evening

The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life has published its report this morning: Living with Difference: community, diversity and the common good. The report is 104 pages long, but there is a three-page executive summary at the beginning.

The Commission was convened by the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, to:

a) consider the place and role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and the significance of emerging trends and identities

b) examine how ideas of Britishness and national identity may be inclusive of a range of religions and beliefs, and may in turn influence peoples self-understanding

c) explore how shared understandings of the common good may contribute to greater levels of mutual trust and collective action, and to a more harmonious society

d) make recommendations for public life and policy.

Press Release from the Commission: UK needs ‘New Settlement’ for religion & belief says Butler-Sloss

Ed Kessler, founder and director of the Woolf Institute, writes for The Huffington post UK about Living With Difference.

press reports

BBC News Call for fewer Church of England bishops in House of Lords

Jonathan Owen Independent Britain is no longer just a Christian country, says major report

Harriet Sherwood The Observer Top judge leads calls to scrap mandatory daily Christian worship in UK schools
The Guardian Coronation of next monarch should reflect ‘less Christian’ Britain, report says

John Bingham and Steven Swinford The Telegraph Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, says judge

reactions to the report

Church of England Response to report from Commission on Religion & Belief in British Public Life
[copied below the fold]

National Secular Society Woolf Commission’s multifaithism ‘completely at odds with the religious indifference that permeates British society’


Angus Ritchie and Shana Cohen (who are two members of the Commission) The Guardian Don’t be suspicious of faith-based charities – let us speak truth to power

Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith Catholic Herald The Corab report is grossly unfair to Catholic schools

Caroline Wyatt BBC News We should do God, says report into religion in public life

John Dickens Schools Week Religion should have the same importance as English and maths, new study claims

Charles Moore The Telegraph We need more religion in our schools, not less

Chloe Farand Independent Mandatory Christian prayers in schools ‘should be axed’

Eliza Filby The Telegraph Faith integration is bad enough in Britain; reducing the role of the Church will only make it worse

Tim Wyatt and Margaret Holness Church Times ‘New settlement needed to overhaul public life’
[updated article and link]

The Guardian editorial The Guardian view on religion in public life: education may be the answer

Andrew Lightbown Some issues with Butler-Sloss

Frank Cranmer Law & Religion UK The CORAB report: Living with Difference

Richard Harries Church Times Faith now is more about food than beliefs




Andrew McGowan Bible History Daily How December 25 Became Christmas

Lee Coley Law & Religion UK A call to cull collective worship in schools?

The National Gallery is producing a series of short videos on angels featuring paintings in its collection. Here are the first two.
What are angels?
Messenger angels

From darkness to light: A four minute time-lapse video of Liverpool Cathedral’s Advent Darkness to Light service

Tallie Proud 10 of the best Christmas videos 2015


This Is What It’s Like To Sue The Church Of England For Discrimination

Patrick Strudwick writes for BuzzFeed News: This Is What It’s Like To Sue The Church Of England For Discrimination.

“Canon Jeremy Pemberton was the first British clergyman to marry another man. What happened next sparked a landmark legal battle. He tells BuzzFeed News how the fight for equality became a fight for his sanity, career, and reputation.”

The article begins:

There is a hand-stitched cushion cover that sits, unfinished, in Jeremy Pemberton’s house. He began sewing the design when he could not get out of bed, when he had sunk so far into despair that focusing on each tiny stitch was the only way to stay sane.

The story of how he sank, off work and resisting thoughts of suicide, reaches far beyond the walls of the home he shares with the man he loves. It is the story of what happens when you take on the Church of England. And it is one that Pemberton has never revealed in full – until now.

The case of Canon Jeremy Pemberton, daubed across newspapers and television channels, has been reported so widely that many already know what happened to the first British clergyman to marry someone of the same sex: that he was stripped of his powers as a priest, unable to conduct official duties, and then barred from a job as an NHS hospital chaplain. As a result, he took the Church of England to an employment tribunal on a charge of discrimination.

But what has gone untold is the inner story behind the landmark case, and, remarkably, the household name that was backing him…


Post General Synod round-up

The official record of Business Done
Electronic Voting Results for the motion on the migrant crisis

There are a number of videos of Synod business here.

The December issue of InReview includes reports from Synod.

Election addresses for the Election of Chair, Vice-Chair and Two Members of the Archbishops’ Council by the House of Laity
[Read the Covering Document to see who is standing for what.]

press reports

Tim Wyatt Church Times UK is castigated for weak response to Syrian migration
The Garstang Courier Vicar made chaplain of church’s highest governing body

some blogs

Stephen Lynas
Her Majesty’s a very nice girl
Negotiations and love songs

Anderson Jeremiah
How the Church of England is trying to make itself relevant again
The Church of England’s vote to effectively back military action is a shocking mistake