The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are inviting churches to pray for the evangelisation of the nation during the week before Pentecost Sunday.
See also this website.
Read the full text of the letter here.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Lent 2016
Thy kingdom Come, thy will be done …
A Call to Prayer in the week leading up to Pentecost 2016
As we travel around the country, we are continuously encouraged by the faithfulness, commitment and courage of all our Partners in the Gospel. Your ministry in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, often in testing circumstances, is an inspiring testimony to the transforming work of our Lord. We thank God for our partnership in the Gospel.
Like us, you will know that ministry is empty and barren without prayer. That is why we are taking the unprecedented step of writing to every serving parish priest in the Church of England inviting you and your people to join us in a week of prayer for the evangelisation of our nation. In the week leading up to Pentecost (May 8th – 15th, 2016) we long to see a great wave of prayer across our land, throughout the Church of England and many other Churches…
Bosco Peters Communion Means Communion
Nick Spencer Church Times Merkel’s strong, unshowy faith
This is one I overlooked earlier.
Tom Ferguson The Crusty Old Dean The NFLization of the Anglican Communion: Primates Go Roger Goodell
Press release from Number 10
Dean of Rochester: Philip John Hesketh
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 26 February 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Dr Philip John Hesketh to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church Rochester.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Dr Philip John Hesketh, BD, AKC, PhD, Canon at Rochester Cathedral, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church Rochester.
Notes for editors
The Reverend Canon Philip Hesketh (aged 51) was educated at King’s College, London and trained for the ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He served his curacy at Bearsted with Thurnham, Canterbury diocese from 1994 to 1998. From 1998 to 2005 he was Vicar of St Stephen’s Chatham in Rochester diocese. Since 2005 he has been Canon Residentiary at Rochester Cathedral.
Dr Hesketh is married to Sugina, a doctor, and they have 3 daughters and 1 son.
His recreations include entertaining, listening to music, reading biographies and keeping pigs.
Press release from Number 10
Suffragan Bishop of Repton: Janet Elizabeth McFarlane
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 26 February 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Janet Elizabeth McFarlane to the Suffragan See of Repton in the diocese of Derby.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Janet Elizabeth McFarlane, BMedSci, BA, Archdeacon of Norwich, in the diocese of Norwich, to the Suffragan See of Repton in the diocese of Derby in succession to the Right Reverend Humphrey Ivo John Southern, MA, on his resignation on 1 April 2015.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Jan McFarlane (aged 51) was educated first at Sheffield University, where she trained as a speech and language therapist, and then at St John’s College, Durham; and she trained for ordained ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham.
Jan served her first curacy at Stafford in Lichfield Diocese from 1993 to 1996 and was among the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in 1994. From 1996 to 1999 she was Chaplain and Minor Canon at Ely Cathedral. Since 1999 she has been Director of Communications in the Diocese of Norwich. From 2001 to 2009 Jan served as Chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich and has been Archdeacon of Norwich since 2009. She combines her role as Archdeacon with the posts of Director of Communications and Warden of Readers. She has been a member of the General Synod since 2005.
Jan is married to Andrew Ridoutt, a television cameraman. Her interests include exploring the beautiful British countryside, beaches and country pubs with Andrew and their rather mischievous Miniature Schnauzer, Edith. Jan has contributed to several books of prayers and reflections for Church House Publishing and broadcasts regularly on local radio.
The Derby diocesan website has Queen Approves Nomination of First Female Bishop in Derbyshire and East Midlands.
Jan McFarlane will be consecrated as a Bishop on Wednesday 29 June.
The Archbishop of Uganda yesterday issued a lenten appeal to pray for Uganda and the Anglican Communion. It is almost entirely devoted to the Communion and includes this:
As you know, the Church of Uganda’s Provincial Assembly has resolved that the Church of Uganda will not participate in meetings of the Anglican Communion until godly order is restored, including demonstrating that it is capable of restoring godly order. This has not yet happened. The Church of Uganda, therefore, will not be participating in the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka.
Ruth Gledhill reports on the letter for Christian Today: Archbishop of Uganda condemns ‘deep betrayal’ of biblical standards in Anglican Communion.24 Comments
Dame Moira Gibb announced as Chair of independent review into Peter Ball case
The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced the appointment of Dame Moira Gibb to be chair of the independent review into the way the Church of England responded to the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, who was jailed last year for sex offences.
Dame Moira has worked at a senior level in the statutory sector – she was Chief Executive of Camden Council until 2011 – and holds a range of non-executive roles. Most recently she was the chair of the Serious Case Review (published January 2016) into safeguarding at Southbank International School in the wake of the crimes committed by William Vahey.
She will be assisted in the review by Kevin Harrington JP, safeguarding consultant and lead reviewer on a range of Serious Case Reviews; James Reilly, former Chief Executive of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (until Feb 2016); Heather Schroeder MBE, currently vice chair of Action for Children and formerly held senior positions in social services and children’s services in a number of local authorities.
The review will be published once Dame Moira and her team have completed their work which is expected to be within a year. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) chaired by Justice Goddard will also be looking at the Peter Ball case but have made it clear that institutions should continue with their previous commitments on safeguarding and the Church is in contact with IICSA on this.
The aim of the review will be to consider: What information was available to the Church of England, who had this information and when and to provide a detailed timeline and transparent account of the response; whether the response was in accordance with recognised good practice, and compliant with CofE policy and legislation as well as statutory policy and legislation; lessons about any necessary changes and developments needed within the CofE to ensure that safeguarding work is of the highest possible standard; how complaints and disciplinary processes are managed and any other specific areas of Church behaviour and practice identified by the review.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I am hugely grateful to Dame Moira for agreeing to take up this vital role and chair the review, which will take a detailed look into how the Church handled the Peter Ball case. We have offered an unreserved apology to all the survivors and commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been. It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a bishop in the Church of England committed these offences. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades. I hope the review will provide the Church as a whole with an opportunity to learn lessons which will improve our safeguarding practice and policy.”
Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.
The full terms of reference for this review are copied below the fold.2 Comments
The bishops again discussed and worked over their draft Pastoral Guidelines in response to Civil Unions within the wider contexts of Marriage and Human Sexuality in readiness for decision at Provincial Synod. These reaffirm our assurance that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ. However, they they do not change our current policy, which is that the Province ‘cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions’ (Resolution 1:10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998).
The Prayer Book affirms ‘that marriage by divine institution is a lifelong and exclusive union partnership between one man and one woman’; therefore the draft guidelines affirm for now that ‘partnership between two persons of the same sex cannot be regarded as a marriage… accordingly our clergy are not permitted to bless such unions… nor are they permitted to enter into such unions while they remain in licensed ministry’…
…We have issued a joint statement from the Synod, but I want to report to you in more detail to give you the full context of one of the more challenging matters we discussed. One of the key tasks before us was to fulfil the mandate given to us by Provincial Standing Committee and to finalise pastoral guidelines for couples in South Africa who are in same-sex civil unions. Against the backdrop of the international debate on this issue in the worldwide Anglican Communion, our discussions were frank, open and robust. We sensitively considered our role as the Anglican Church in Southern Africa within the broader family of the Communion, cognisant of the divergent strands of theological thinking within the Province of Southern Africa and of the different pastoral challenges that the different dioceses and the different countries of our Province are facing.
The document we have agreed upon will go to Provincial Synod for adoption in September, and will be published a few months ahead of Synod in the First Agenda Book. I believe that its adoption by Provincial Synod would be an important first step in signalling to the LGBT community that we in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, through our top deliberative and legislative body, see them as welcome members of our body as sisters and brothers in Christ. In the words of the guidelines:
“We reaffirm our assurance to them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ. Many of these are baptised and confirmed members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships.”
In another section, the bishops declared that: “We are of one mind that gay, lesbian and transgendered members of our church share in full membership as baptised members of the Body of Christ…”
This has important implications in parishes where, for example, same-sex couples who are living in civil unions under South African law bring their children for baptism and confirmation. No child brought for baptism should be refused merely because of the sexual orientation of the parents, and particular care should be taken against stigmatising not only parents but their children too.
We also tried at the Synod of Bishops to draw up guidelines for clergy wanting to bless couples in same-sex unions, or who want to enter same-sex unions themselves. We constituted a group of bishops reflecting a cross-section of our views to discuss such guidelines. On this issue, I had to report back to the Synod, the only agreement we reached is that we were not of one mind.
Our differences do not only revolve around the theology of marriage, but are also a result of different pastoral realities in different dioceses. For example, most of our dioceses across Southern Africa are predominantly rural, and for many the urgent priorities of food security, shelter, healthcare and education crowd out debate on the issue of human sexuality. In some rural dioceses, responding to challenges to the Church’s restrictions on polygamous marriages is a much higher pastoral priority.
As a consequence, the Synod of Bishops has agreed that we will continue to regard ourselves bound by the broad consensus in the Anglican Communion, expressed by the Lambeth Conference in 1998, which is that we “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions”. Having said that, we did address the questions of whether that decision is immutable, whether it has replaced scripture, and when a Province of the Communion, or a diocese within a Province may deviate from it…
This province encompasses St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha, Mozambique (Lebombo and Niassa), the Republic of Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland and Angola in addition to the Republic of South Africa itself.11 Comments
We reported in May 2014 that New Zealand synod acts on same-gender blessings
The Way Forward Working Group has today released its report. It proposes two rites of blessing to be considered by this year’s General Synod.
The Way Forward Working Group was set up in the wake of the 2014 General Synod adopting “Motion 30” (http://www.anglicantaonga.org.nz/Features/Extra/Anga), the resolution that created a pathway towards the blessing of same-gender relationships – while upholding the traditional doctrine of marriage. Motion 30 called for the appointment of a working group to devise “a process and structure” by which this could happen – and a process and structure to ensure that clergy who believe that same sex blessings are contrary to “scripture, doctrine, tikanga or civil law” remain fully free to dissent.
Here’s the first part of the press release:
The long-awaited report of the Way Forward Working Group] has been released.
Today’s publication comes almost 18 months since the 13-member group began its work – and it proposes two new liturgies to be considered by May’s General Synod.
These liturgies have been designed to allow for the blessing of couples who have been married in a civil ceremony – according either to New Zealand law, or to the law in the Pacific Island nations which form part of this church. These liturgies also create a pathway for the people in such relationships to become ordained.
Civil marriages between a man and a woman have long been recognised in law in both New Zealand and in those Pacific Island nations. In New Zealand’s case, of course, an amendment to marriage law came into effect in August 2013 – which allows same-sex couples to legally marry.
“A crucial matter for debate”
The Way Forward Working Group (WFWG) report makes a precept-upon-precept case for how such civil marriages could be blessed by the church.
The Anglican Church in this province is governed by a set of documents, the most significant of which are the Church of England Empowering Act of 1928, and Te Pouhere , the Constitution of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, which came into force in 1992.
Te Pouhere in turn specifies a number of “Formularies” (such as a New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa ) which guide the Church in its worship and practice.
The new constitution also spells out a way in which formularies can be changed (or added to) –providing these changes don’t, in the words of the report, “represent any departure from the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ as defined in Te Pouhere’s own Fundamental Provisions.”
The rites of blessing being proposed are being presented as “additional formularies”, rather than doctrinal changes:
“It is the view of the majority of the group,” the report notes, “that the proposed liturgies do not represent a departure from the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ, and are therefore not prohibited by Te Pouhere, however the group also recognises that this will be a crucial matter for debate.”
There is more, go here for the rest of it.13 Comments
Martin Freeman Plymouth Herald The serpent, the dove and the Bishop of Truro
Angus Ritchie ABC Religion & Ethics Scripture and Sexuality, Once Again: A Response to Ian Paul
Spitalfields Life The Broderers Of St Paul’s Cathedral
Jana Riess Religion News Service No, St. Francis didn’t say that. (Or Thomas Merton. Or Buddha. Or C.S. Lewis.) Where do we get these fake religion memes?23 Comments
David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon From the Gallery: General Synod reflections
Philip Blackledge Well I declare. Why the Church of England Synod has got it badly wrong.
Lucy Gorman Feb 2016
Church Times reports
Gavin Drake Synod calls for benefit sanctions review
Tim Wyatt Bishop North castigates a ‘bias to the rich’
Tim Wyatt Synod votes to press on with Scottish talks, despite Episcopalian unease
Church Times leader Good news to the poor
Stephen Lynas Some are dead, and some are living3 Comments
During Questions on Monday evening, the following exchanges occurred.
The Revd Canon Andrew Godsall (Exeter) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q18 Could the House be invited to reflect on the recent Primates’ Meeting and, if so, what undertaking might be given for particular reflection on whether it was appropriate to adopt an approach involving ‘relational consequences’ in relation to a member province of the Anglican Communion in the light of the fact that a majority of the dioceses in the Church of England declined to approve the Anglican Communion Covenant?
The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Chair of the House of Bishops:
A The House received a report on the Primates meeting along with members of the College when they met in January. The Primates addressed the impact on relationships within the Anglican Communion when any Province makes a unilateral change in doctrine. They have set out specific consequences in the functioning of the Communion and a task group will be appointed to carry forward the implications of their decision.
Supplementary Questions (transcribed from the audio recording)
Is there a difference between the specific consequences referred to in the answer and the relational consequences envisaged in section 4.2.7 of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant that the dioceses of the Church of England rejected. And if there is, what is it?
Archbishop of Canterbury:
Thank you, that’s a very interesting question. The Covenant was not considered at all during the Primates Meeting. I don’t… I think it may have been mentioned once in passing. And therefore the way in which the consequences were looked at was not related to the Covenant in any way at all. I think to the best of my knowledge no more than 16, it may have only been 11, provinces have actually signed up to the Covenant. Therefore the vast majority would not consider it relevant in considering this. So there was no link.
Dr Rachel Jepson:
Would the House of Bishops also then take the opportunity to discuss plans to impose similar relational consequences for those provinces that support the criminalisation of homosexuality and in so doing are in breach of the Lambeth resolution.
Archbishop of Canterbury:
Thank you very much. I hope it’s clear that the House of Bishops was not involved in the Primates Meeting. It was the Primates Meeting, and the House of Bishops has not imposed any relational consequences in any way at all. As I hope I made clear earlier, such consequences are those at Communion level, and cannot bind any particular province. Having said that, I think the point you raise is a very, very important one. And if you look at the communiqué, which you will find on the primates meeting website, you will find that there is a very, very clear statement of the longstanding opposition of the Anglican Communion to the criminalisation of LGBTI people. And given that that is a very important part of the thinking of the Anglican Communion in this area, one could anticipate that the primates when they meet, were someone to be advocating such, would need to consider that. If they were to continue to advocate it since the primates meeting we just had. But I am one vote out of 38 and I couldn’t possibly predict or anticipate what the outcome would be. But thank you.20 Comments
David Chillingworth writes More about Columba.
…I watched the debate in which the Columba Declaration was approved by the Church of England with a sense of unreality. The Scottish Episcopal Church was like a ghost at the party – often referred to and talked about but not present. Concerns which have been voiced within the Scottish Episcopal Church about the Columba Declaration focus significantly on the Church of England. The Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church are partner-Provinces in the Anglican Communion. We are the presence of the Anglican Communion in Scotland and we expect the Church of England to respect that. The concerns are that the Columba Declaration places the Church of England in a compromised position in relation to the Scottish Episcopal Church…
John Beattie interviews the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church for BBC Scotland.
Kelvin Holdsworth writes about The Primus’s Radio Interview about the Columba Declaration.71 Comments
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached this homily at the Synod Eucharist: ‘Martyrdom is the ultimate witness to Christ’s truth’.
Official summaries of the day’s business
General Synod February 2016 sessions: Wednesday AM
General Synod February 2016 sessions: Wednesday PM
Slides from the morning presentation on Renewal & Reform
CofE press release: Synod signals support for new ministry funding framework
Antony Bushfield Premier Synod calls for “full independent review” of benefit sanctions
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Church that does not side with the poor ‘cannot claim to follow Jesus’, synod told
John Bingham The Telegraph No growth for 30 years – Church of England predicts
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England expects attendance to fall for next 30 years
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Church to launch social media ‘digital evangelism’ campaign to reach young people1 Comment
Updated at intervals during the day and on Wednesday
Alistair Munro The Scotsman Kirk Moderator to make history in England
Harry Farley Christian Today Scottish moderator to address Synod for first time in history
BBC News Kirk moderator to address CofE Synod
Antony Bushfield Premier Church of Scotland moderator to make history at General Synod
Speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury: Evangelism is ‘our duty, privilege and joy’, Archbishop tells Synod
Church of England press releases
General Synod votes to approve historic agreement with Church of Scotland
General Synod backs call to encourage blood and organ donation
Official summary of the day’s business: General Synod February 2016 sessions: Tuesday
Church of Scotland news
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church life is fading fast in poorer communities, synod warned
Harry Farley Christian Today Church guilty of ‘abandoning the poor’, Synod told
Antony Bushfield Premier Bishop slams Church for preferring the rich
Harry Farley Christian Today Columba Declaration passed in historic show of unity at Synod
Antony Bushfield Premier General Synod passes historic Columba Declaration
Brian Donnelly Herald Scotland Moderator: Link between Kirk and Church of England embedded in DNA of both
Antony Bushfield Premier Synod rejects proposal to scrap extra charge for heating at funerals and weddings
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Fees and “extras” for Church weddings and funerals10 Comments
Updated Wednesday evening
Hilary Cotton, Chair of WATCH, has said
‘The headlines are good: seven women appointed as bishops, and a gathering sense that this is normal. But the Church of England has NOT now ‘done women’. Those who say such things are too quick to stifle God’s spirit of renewal and transformation. Women have carried the faith across much of the Church of England for decades: if we listen and listen again, I wonder what wisdom they can offer to prepare the church of the future?’
Ruth Gledhill looks at the report for Christian Today: Fewer than one in 50 large churches led by a woman priest.1 Comment
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Donating organs and blood is Christian duty, C of E synod to be told
Full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address: Archbishop reflects on Primates’ meeting in Synod address
Official summary of the day’s business: General Synod February 16 sessions: Monday PM
Antony Bushfield Premier Synod’s sexuality conversations “going to be risky”
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Gay rights and same-sex marriage will dominate C of E summer synod18 Comments
The Church of Ireland’s Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief has published a major document.
The Select Committee’s remit is to enable the listening, dialogue and learning process on all issues concerning human sexuality in the context of Christian belief to continue. The Guide to the Conversation and the Executive Summary document are initial publications to support this objective.
There is also an Executive Summary (oddly this is a much larger PDF file than the report itself).
There is also a press release: Remarks at the Launch of the Guide to the Conversation.
Changing Attitude Ireland has published this:
Launch of ‘Guide to the Conversation on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief’.
Archdruid Eileen Government to Introduce League Tables For Churches
The Archbishop of Canterbury gave this Church of Ireland Theological Lecture on Monday: ‘The Generational Struggle’.
Nick Baines Under an African sky (Tanzania visit)
Church Times is publishing a seven-week series on Theology Now during Lent. This week there are articles on God. Most are behind the paywall, but here are two that are not.
John Inge, Bishop of Worcester In my heart and in my head
Andrew Davison Believing: a respectable approach
Antonia Honeywell The Telegraph I was driven out of my beloved church by homophobia
Ross Kane The Christian Century Should Episcopalians repent?13 Comments
Updated Saturday to add the article by William Nye
Also updated Saturday to give a working link to Martyn Percy’s essay
The General Synod of the Church of England meets next week. Here are some recent relevant articles.
Kelvin Holdsworth The Columba Declaration
Modern Church has published this essay by Martyn Percy: On Not Rearranging the Deckchairs on the Titanic: A Commentary on Reform and Renewal in the Church of England. Kieran Bohan has written this preview: Reform and Renewal or unintentional vandalism? A health and safety warning for General Synod, and there is a link at the end to download the full essay.
Bishop Steven Croft responds: RME – Response to Principals’ Concerns.
Mike Eastwood, Liverpool Diocesan Secretary and Director of Renewal and Reform, Renewal and Reform – a view from Liverpool
William Nye Renewal and Reform – some thoughts from a new boy
Church Times RME plans may be disastrous, say colleges
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Vesture: the House of Bishops Consultation16 Comments
The Church of England has issued this statement today.
Statement from Bishop Paul Butler on George Bell
08 February 2016
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding has issued a statement today following various media comments on his recent contribution in the House of Lords regarding Bishop George Bell.
Bishop Paul has welcomed the opportunity to provide further clarity on his comments about the settlement of the civil claim regarding sexual abuse against George Bell, and the handling of the case. The particular focus on the language of legal tests, he says, “masks the genuine suffering and damage done to an individual in this case.”
He adds: “The decisions were not taken lightly or without consideration of the impact on the reputation of George Bell. But in this case, as in others, the overriding goal was to search out the truth and issues of reputation cannot take priority over that.”
Original statement on Bishop George Bell, October 2015
Points on a complex case – Diocese of Chichester blog on Bishop George Bell, January 2016
The full statement is copied below the fold.27 Comments