Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 30 April 2016

Bosco Peters Eastern Orthodox Easter

James Jones BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day

Andrew Lightbown ‘Fear not’ for the C of E

Stephen Cottrell ACC 16 – A full time report: Hope triumphs

Simon Butler “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”?

The Telegraph Photographer visits abandoned places of worship, in pictures — photographs by Matthias Haker

Elaine Graham presented this paper to the Modern Church Council in March: Modern Church Between a rock and a hard place: Negotiating religious voices in public places — with links to the full 7000 word paper and a two-page summary and reading list.

Kelvin Holdsworth Six things I have learned about anti-semitism and the church


ACC-16 – ACNS reports


Since the close of this month’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council the Anglican Communion News Service has published a number of articles about its work, including these, all by Gavin Drake.

Reformation and unity in ACC’s ecumenical resolutions
Provinces urged to adopt Anglican Communion Sunday
Central Africa applied “embassy” protocol for ACC’s visiting female priests
Anglican Consultative Council adopts 45 resolutions by assent
Men and boys have role in fight for gender justice


Before the ACC meeting, ACNS published this video: Gender justice and the Anglican Communion.


Suffragan Bishops

David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK has written this very useful article: Suffragan bishops: from selection to ordination & consecration.

Prompted by the forthcoming translation of the Bishop of Sheffield to Oxford he has also written Bishops: from announcement to installation.


Opinion – 23 April 2016

Michael Ainsworth Law & Religion UK Thoughts on railways, clergy, religion and the law

Jim Grover The Guardian How my camera helped me re-focus on my faith

Darrell Hannah Church Times Robust approach to fossil fuels required


GAFCON Primates meeting

The Primates Council of GAFCON (the Global Anglican Future Conference) met in Kenya this week and issued this Communiqué. It includes the following appendix referring to the recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Appendix: From Canterbury to Lusaka

Last January, we spent time together at the Primates Gathering contending for a restoration of godly order within the Anglican Communion. The sanctions passed at that meeting were not in themselves capable of restoring order, but they were a potential first step.

At that meeting, we acknowledged the reality of the “significant distance” between us and “expressed a desire to walk together” if possible. This distance was created when The Episcopal Church walked away from the Anglican Communion’s doctrine on sexuality and the plain teaching of Scripture.

Within hours of the meeting’s end the public responses from many bishops, clergy, and lay people of The Episcopal Church made it clear that they did not desire to share the same journey. The biblical call to repentance is a call to make a 180 degree turn. It grieves us that many in The Episcopal Church have again rejected this call. While we desire to walk together, until there is true repentance, the reality is that they are deliberately walking away from the Anglican Communion and the authority of Scripture at a distance that continues to increase.

The recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia has again highlighted the inability of the current instruments to uphold godly order within the Communion. Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates. This action has damaged the standing of the Anglican Consultative Council as an instrument of unity, increased levels of distrust, and further torn the fabric of the Communion.

Nonetheless, we give thanks that these events have brought further clarity, and drawn GAFCON closer together in the mission of the Gospel. We are of one mind that the future of the Anglican Communion does not lie with manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths; the future of our Communion lies in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God written. What others have failed to do, GAFCON is doing: enabling global fellowship and godly order, united by biblical faithfulness. This unity has provided us with great energy to continue to work for the renewal of the Anglican Communion.


ACC-16 – It's all over now

Madeleine Davies presents her final report from Lusaka for the Church Times: ACC members depart with stories of unity.

The Anglican Communion website has published a list of the resolutions passed by ACC-16: Resolutions. In this list the earlier temporary numbering of the draft resolutions has been replaced by permanent numbering. In particular Resolution C34 has now become Resolution 16.23.


ACC-16 final day

The Anglican Consultative Council concluded its sixteenth meeting today.

Mary Frances Schjonberg Episcopal News Service ACC-16 concludes in Lusaka on note of unity amid diversity

Video: Bishop James Tengatenga’s sermon at ACC-16 closing Eucharist [includes transcript]

Anglican Communion News Service
Gavin Drake New leaders elected for worldwide Anglican Communion
Bellah Zulu ACC-16 members worship with Lusaka parishes
Anglicans share strategies to retain the youth

From the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website: Archbishop reflects on ACC-16 as it draws to a close

Episcopal News Service
A Letter from Lukasa: Episcopal Church team writes to the church at conclusion of ACC meeting


ACC-16 – Monday reports

The Episcopal News Service today carries these reports by Mary Frances Schjonberg

Margaret Swinson elected as Anglican Consultative Council vice chair
A summary of Anglican Consultative Council resolutions
Anglican Consultative Council declines to go along with ‘consequences’

and this Video: Archbishop Welby speaks on human sexuality issues at ACC-16.

The Living Church has this article by Mark Michael ACC Picks Diverse Leaders.


ACC-16 latest reports

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave his presidential address to ACC-16 on Friday.

The ACC will vote for five places on its standing committee tomorrow. There are eleven candidates: ACC-16: Nominees for membership of the Standing Committee of the ACC.


The Episcopal News Service has tweeted that “CofE lay ACC member Margaret Swinson will be council’s next vice chair. She is only one standing for election.”


Opinion – 16 April 2016

Bosco Peters The End of Confirmation?

Giles Fraser The Guardian We cannot fix people’s grief, only sit with them, in their darkness

Jemima Thackray Church Times Poor sent empty away

Kelvin Holdsworth Apologies have consequences too


ACC-16 latest reports

Updated Friday afternoon with the result of the election for the chair of the ACC

Madeleine Davies Church Times ACC complies with Primates, in a way
Communion seeks clarity over ‘can’t pay’ and ‘won’t’

Church Times Leader comment Messy Church

Gavin Drake Anglican Communion NewsService (ACNS) Two candidates for chair of Anglican Consultative Council
Adult Sunday Schools suggested in discipleship move
Anglican Communion directors report back on wide range of initiatives

Mary Frances Schjonberg Episcopal New Service Connecticut bishop will not stand for Anglican Consultative Council chair

ACNS has also published these group photographs.


Gavin Drake ACNS Primate of Hong Kong elected as new chair of Anglican Consultative Council


Diocese to be known as ‘Diocese of Leeds’

The Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales has announced today that from later this year it will only use its official name, the Diocese of Leeds. Here is the official announcement.

Diocese to be known as ‘Diocese of Leeds’

Since its creation two years ago, the Diocese of Leeds has largely been known as ‘The Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales’. However, given the confusion this continues to cause, in future, once new branding has been created, the diocese is to be known only by its official title, the Diocese of Leeds…


ACC-16 – List of those attending

The Anglican Communion Office has released this List of Attendees at the current meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. It includes the names of members who are absent.


Steven Croft to be next Bishop of Oxford

Press release from Number 10

Bishop of Oxford: Steven John Lindsey Croft

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 12 April 2016

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft as Her Majesty’s Bishop of Oxford.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft, MA, PhD, Lord Bishop of Sheffield, in the Diocese of Sheffield for election as Bishop of Oxford in succession to the Right Reverend John Lawrence Pritchard, MA, MLitt, on his resignation on 31 October 2014.

Notes for editors

The Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft (aged 58) is from Halifax in West Yorkshire. He studied first at Worcester College, Oxford and then at St John’s College, Durham where he trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall. He served his title as Curate at St Andrew Enfield in London Diocese from 1983 to 1987. In 1987 he returned to Halifax to be Vicar of St George, Ovenden in the Diocese of Wakefield. From 1996 he moved to become Warden at Cranmer Hall, Durham, before taking up the role of Archbishops’ Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions in 2004. Since 2009 he has been the Bishop of Sheffield.

At the heart of Bishop Steven’s ministry in Sheffield has been a desire to connect the Church across the Diocese more deeply together as one body with a common sense of mission and purpose and to enable the diocese to engage with mission in the wider community with confidence and hope. He has worked creatively with Anglicans of all traditions in a very diverse diocese as well as with civic and community leaders and the leaders of other churches and other faiths.

Bishop Steven became a member of the House of Lords in 2013. He is 1 of 2 bishops elected to serve on the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, and has been chair of the Ministry Council since 2012. In 2008 he was awarded the Cross of St. Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his work with fresh expressions. He is the author of a number of books on Christian life and ministry and a novel for children. He writes a regular blog.

Bishop Steven is married to Ann. They have 4 adult children and 1 grandchild. He is a keen cook and bakes his own bread.

Sheffield diocesan website: Current Bishop of Sheffield announced as the next Bishop for the Diocese of Oxford
and A Letter from Bishop Steven
Oxford diocesan website: The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft is the new Bishop of Oxford


A Statement from the Anglican Communion’s secretary-general

The following statement was issued by the Anglican Communion Office this afternoon.

The Anglican Communion Office has released this statement in response to recent comments on events leading up to the Anglican Consultative Council meeting, ACC-16.

  1. Statements circulating about a failure to follow up on the decisions of the January 2016 Primates meeting at best give a false impression. The terms of the Primates decision about The Episcopal Church (TEC) have been followed through as far as is possible and legal. To say otherwise is misleading and wrong.
  2. The Archbishop of Canterbury has fulfilled his responsibilities and asked those members of interfaith or ecumenical bodies who are from TEC and whose appointment he controls, to stand down, and they have done so. In addition, as required, he has appointed a Task Group with representatives from across the communion.
  3. Archbishop Justin has refused to engage in any public response to statements and speculation by any party in advance of the ACC, having maintained personal and private contact with the Primates since their meeting. It has always been his intention to speak directly and in person to the ACC members, respecting their role and responsibilities.
  4. A TEC representative whose attendance at the ACC Standing Committee has been commented on as breaching the decision of the Primates, was elected to the Standing Committee several years before the Primates’ meeting. As the Standing Committee is a Trustee body under English law, they cannot be removed without legal cause, and neither the Primates nor the ABC, nor indeed the ACC, can override the law.
  5. Under the Constitution of the ACC, no-one who is a recognised delegate from a member Province can be prevented from being nominated to the Standing Committee. However during their first day in session, Archbishop Justin presented a report to the ACC of the Primates meeting. As promised he requested the ACC to work with the Primates for the welfare of the whole Communion.
  6. He said “As Archbishop of Canterbury (a separate Instrument) I have acted on the Primates’ decision in those areas for which I have responsibility. It is both my and the Primates’ desire, hope and prayer that the Anglican Consultative Council should also share in working through the consequences of our impaired relationships.”
  7. There have also been suggestions of criminal action including forgery and corruption in which the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican Communion Office staff have been mentioned.
  8. It is the practice of the ACO to book the flights and cover the costs for all delegates attending ACC meetings, though some choose to cover their own costs. To imply that on this occasion this established practice is corrupt is disingenuous. Tickets were arranged well before any indications of non attendance by a small number of Provinces.
  9. The unsubstantiated public allegations of forgery against the members of the Kenyan delegation are scurrilous and untrue and are made in a manner against all biblical principles of appropriate behaviour.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon,
The secretary general of the Anglican Communion

Madeleine Davies writes about the statement and its background for the Church Times: Secretary-general defends ACC against its critics.


ACC-16 opens

The Anglican Consultative Council’s 16th meeting opened in Lusaka on Friday.

Madeleine Davies is in Lusaka for the Church Times and has so far sent these reports.

Discussion of ‘consequences’ as ACC sessions begin in Lusaka
Be united in joy, Welby exhorts his Zambian congregation

The Anglican Communion website has this page devoted to ACC-16. It includes links to ACC-16 Documents and to relevant items from the Anglican Communion News Service.

One such item is Archbishop Welby briefs ACC members on the Primates’ gathering and meeting.
[This is also on the Archbishop’s own website here.]

Mary Frances Schjonberg is reporting from Lusaka for the Episcopal News Service, including this item on yesterday’s Eucharist: ACC gets African Anglican liturgical welcome to Zambia.

There are photographs of the service here.

The ACC standing committee met earlier in the week and issued this report of its meeting. Included is this sentence, “The Standing Committee considered the Communiqué from the Primates and affirmed the relational links between the Instruments of Communion in which each Instrument, including the Anglican Consultative Council, forms its own views and has its own responsibilities.”


Opinion – 9 April 2016

Mark Clavier The Living Church Memory inscribed in stone

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia Shared Confidences – Why “It’s Good to Talk”

Matthew Cooper Apollo Drastic reform is the only way to save England’s churches


Justin Welby on his secret father

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued this personal statement this evening.

In the last month I have discovered that my biological father is not Gavin Welby but, in fact, the late Sir Anthony Montague Browne.

This comes as a complete surprise…

Do read it in full.

The statement is also carried by The Telegraph: Justin Welby on his secret father: ‘What has changed? Nothing’.

The Archbishop’s mother, Lady Williams of Elvel, has issued her own statement, also in The Telegraph here.

The Telegraph carries several articles related to this story.
Charles Moore Winston Churchill’s right-hand man and an affair to shake the Establishment
Charles Moore A No10 hot house of drinking, affairs and Winston Churchill’s bedside meetings
Charles Moore and Gordon Rayner Justin Welby: DNA test reveals my secret father was Sir Winston Churchill’s private secretary
Leader article Justin Welby’s personal story of courage is better than a thousand sermons
Charles Moore and Gordon Rayner How 1950s law change averted crisis in Anglican Communion

BBC News has Archbishop of Canterbury learns real father was Churchill’s private secretary.


Church in Wales publishes pastoral letter, authorises prayers for same sex couples

The Bishops of the Church in Wales have today issued a pastoral letter and the text of some prayers, all of which is copied below. There is also a press release: Same-sex marriage statement.

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of the Church in Wales to all the faithful concerning gay and lesbian Christians.

One of the most contentious issues for Christians in our day has been the question of how the Church responds to those attracted to the same gender who seek the blessing of the Church upon the committed partnerships they form.

Over the last eighteen months, we have conducted a wide consultation in Governing Body and with the dioceses to explore whether the faithful of the Church in Wales felt it would be appropriate to acknowledge same sex unions in Church, by offering a Blessing, or even permitting the marriage of same sex couples in Church. Given that the civil law of the realm has now been changed to permit marriage of same sex couples, many see this as a natural next step.

The results of the consultation have been very varied: in some dioceses there was a strong voice for the status quo, in others a majority who wanted to see change. In the subsequent debate in Governing Body, it became clear that although a majority of members supported change, there was certainly no consensus, and any move to introduce changes in canon law would not meet the required two thirds majority of Governing Body, voting in houses, to enable such changes. Furthermore, any change to the teaching of the Church on Marriage, or the authorisation of any blessing of these unions in the life of the Church, would depend on legislation by bill procedure, which requires such enhanced majorities to take effect.

Since the conclusion of our consultation, the Primates of the Anglican Communion have also met in Canterbury in January of this year. The issue of the Church’s ministry to gay and lesbian persons was at the centre of their agenda, especially since The Episcopal Church (of the United States) has taken steps to amend their marriage canon to remove references to the gender of the couple.

The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and affirmed their commitment again to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. They also rejected criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people. They recognised that the Christian Church, including Anglicans, has often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. They expressed their profound sorrow and affirmed again that God’s love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the Church should never by its actions give any other impression.

Nevertheless, they also reasserted the understanding within the Anglican Communion as a whole that marriage is between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. They indicated that they believed that any move away from this understanding is considered by many of them as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.

What this all means is that we, as Bishops of the Anglican Communion, mindful of the results of our consultation and the Statement of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, and of all our members, including those who are gay and lesbian, do not feel that we can support at this time a move to change the discipline of the Church in Wales with respect to the teaching on marriage, nor can we permit the celebration of public liturgies of blessing for same sex unions.

Nevertheless, we acknowledge the gay and lesbian members of our Church as part of our family, and we wish to address them directly:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We recognise that you have often been persecuted and ostracized by the Church for your sexuality, that you have been mistreated by the Church, and forced into secrecy and dissimulation by the attitudes of prejudice which you have faced. We deplore such hostility, and welcome and affirm the words of the Primates that condemn homophobic prejudice and violence. We too commit ourselves to offering you the same loving service and pastoral care to which all humanity is entitled, and we commit ourselves to acting to provide a safe space within the Church and within our communities in which you can be honest and open, respected and affirmed.

While as a Church we remain unable to bless the committed partnerships you form in marriage or in civil partnership, yet we commit ourselves as bishops to work for a Church in which you can be fully affirmed as equal disciples of Jesus Christ or seekers after truth. We will pray with you and for you, that together we may seek God’s blessing on our lives, and for faithful discipleship.”

Since 2005, the Bench of Bishops has acknowledged that there are a range of views with respect to homosexuality, which have to be recognized as “honest and legitimate differences” within the diversity of opinion in the Church in Wales.

Given that diversity in the Church in Wales, and our commitment to affirm the place of gay and lesbian disciples within the Church, we believe that it is appropriate to offer prayers in response to the pastoral need of those gay and lesbian persons who are making profound commitments to friendship or partnership. With this pastoral letter, we offer prayers which we believe are suitable for those who are marking a committed relationship. Whilst we do not prescribe their use, where they are found suitable or helpful, we are happy to commend them.

The issues around human sexuality that are being debated in the Church will not go away, and the pain and tensions experienced in the debate are not over. We do believe however that we are called to live in love and charity with one another, whatever our experience or convictions on this issue, and we call upon all followers of Jesus Christ to respond with grace and as much accommodation as possible to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, including those who are gay or lesbian.

May the Lord bless his Church with such love and understanding that we may always walk in his ways of mercy.



New Dean of Southwell announced

From the Southwell and Nottingham diocesan website today:

New Dean of Southwell announced

The Venerable Nicola Sullivan, currently Archdeacon of Wells, in the Diocese of Bath & Wells, will be the new Dean of Southwell, it was announced today…