Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 29 July 2017

Charles Clapham pneuma Summer reading
“twelve of my favourite novels on or about religion, from the sublime to the ridiculous”

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau The Parable of the Mustard Shrub

Some responses to the Archbishops’ statement
Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of sin
Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England After the Act – 50 Years On
George Reeves Faithful Sceptic 50 years legal: what the Archbishops should have said
Ian Paul Christian Today A lot of people are upset by the Archbishops’ latest on gays: Here’s why

Robin Ward Reaction The Church and gay marriage: a complicated relationship

Henry Ratter Church Times Wanted: clergy who can lead collaboratively

This isn’t new, but I’ve only just seen it.
James Alexander Cameron Stained Glass Attitudes Top 10 wrongs about parish churches


A time to Celebrate and Lament

The Anglican Peace and Justice Network has published this:

Fifty years ago today the British Parliament took the first steps on a long journey to end the victimisation and diminishment of LGBT people by decriminalising consenting ‘homosexual’ acts in private.

We celebrate this step and lament that more progress has not been made.


Anglicans can celebrate that in 1967 Archbishop Michael Ramsey strongly supported the change in law; a change that enabled gay men and women to live private lives without fear.

A change in law is not a change in heart and mind. The first step was tolerance and from there acceptance. Over recent years there has been a move to celebration and the road continues for the full celebration of LGBT people in society and church.

The recent commitment of the Archbishops of Canterbury to a ‘radical inclusion’ signifies a new path for the Church of England confirmed by the General Synod of the Church of England rejecting ‘conversion therapies’ and making a commitment to the welcome of transgender people.

None of this would be possible if the first step of decriminalisation had not been taken.

We celebrate the first step on a long road.


However, ‘homosexuality’ in some form or other remains criminalised in 72 countries around the world. LGBT people continue to face diminishment and victimisation and where one suffers we all suffer. Our humanity is diminished when sisters and brothers are victimised.

In many countries the laws are rarely used, but their existence breeds a culture of fear and legitimises violence, intimidation, and bullying. People are not free to be who they are and it is impossible for their voice to be heard.

All the instruments of the Anglican Communion have made clear their commitment to the end of criminalisation in every nation, most recently the 2016 Primates Meeting – where the Archbishop of Canterbury was explicit in its commitment to decriminalisation.

The good news is that some are speaking out. The Archbishop of the West Indies and the Bishop of Jamaica have both spoken out publicly and courageously for decriminalisation in cultures where homophobia is rife. Anglican lay people are also acting. Human Rights lawyer Alice Mogwe was one of the leaders of a successful campaign for the rights of LGBT people to organise in Botswana.

Now is the time for more action

APJN calls upon every Anglican to support Anglicans for Decriminalisation. Please read this article from Maurice Tomlinson and support the campaign Anglicans for Decriminalisation by signing the petition.

We also lament that transgender people have this week come under attack from the President of the USA. The direct target of his words may be a small group of people in the US military, but the result is the legitimisation of prejudice against transgender people everywhere.

* Today we celebrate a monumental first step, let it give hope.
* In celebrating this step let us not be content until there is an end to the criminalisation of LGBT people around the globe.


CNC elections

Updated Friday

The counts for the elections of the central members of the Crown Nominations Commission took place today. Those elected were:

House of Laity

Mr Anthony Archer (St Albans)
Ms Christina Baron (Bath and Wells)
Ms Jane Patterson (Sheffield)

House of Clergy

The Revd John Dunnett (Chelmsford)
The Very Revd David Ison (Deans)
The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby (Universities & TEIs)

These elected members of the CNC will serve from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2022.

The next appointment to be considered by the CNC is the Bishop of London, with meetings on 27 Sept, 7 Nov and 28/29 Nov 2017.

These results have so far only publicly appeared on social media, but I am confident that they are correct. I have seen a copy of the result sheet for the House of Laity election. The official results, with links to the results sheets, should appear here in due course.


The result sheets for these elections have now been posted here; they confirm the names of those elected as listed above.


Joint Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued this joint statement today.

Joint Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York
Thursday 27th July 2017

A statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Act of Parliament passed in 1967 which decriminalised homosexual acts in our Country

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Act of Parliament passed in 1967 which decriminalised homosexual acts in our Country. The Church of England, led by Archbishop Ramsey, was supportive of the Sexual Offences Act.

In January 2016 the majority of the leading Archbishops of the whole global Anglican Communion – almost 80 million people in 165 countries – confirmed the longstanding view of the Communion that diminishing and criminalising homosexual people is wrong.

The Church, not just the Church of England, but all those who follow Jesus Christ and whose lives are committed to his worship and service, has very often been defined by what it is against. It has condemned many things, and continues to do so, very often correctly, for example when they involve the abuse of the poor, or the weak, or the marginalised.

The Church is called more to be identified by what it loves, most of all by its pointing to Jesus Christ, not merely by what it condemns. Many people who have nothing to do with the institutional church and who seldom, if ever, attend it, nevertheless see in Jesus Christ someone of startling and extraordinary attraction. Many homosexual people follow Christ, drawn to him by his love and his outstretched arms welcoming all those who turn to him.

One of the things he said has been much on our minds recently: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

There is no human being to whom this does not apply. Every single one of us needs to lay our burdens on Jesus. For every single one of us, the burden that is most onerous, most difficult to bear, is the burden of what the Bible calls our sin, our failure to live as we ought, our continued falling short of the mark. It is the universal characteristic of being human that we are sinners.

Sin is not a characteristic of a particular group of people Sin is the same for all of us. And the challenge to take onto ourselves the obligation to be yoked with Christ, to bear the load he gives us, is the same for all of us.

This day of anniversary of the 1967 Act is one when the Church in this land should be conscious of the need to turn away from condemnation of people as its first response. When we rightly celebrate what happened 50 years ago today, we do so best by turning to him and saying, “Yes, we take your yoke on our shoulders with you”.

It is summed up wonderfully in a poem by Ann Lewin, a Christian poet, which has been quoted several times recently:

“The Yoke is easy, but it’s still
A yoke, smooth-shaped for work.
We chafe and struggle,
Longing to be free, yet
Double-yoked with
Christ who takes the strain,
The burden is not less, but light,
Weight redistributed for ease.”

(‘Job share’ in Watching for the Kingfisher: Poems and prayers, Ann Lewin)


Including the Exclusive: how liberal can you be?

The fifth annual Inclusive Church lecture was delivered last Thursday at St Paul’s Cathedral London by the Dean of St Paul’s Dr David Ison.

The text of the lecture is available here.

There is also a video which you can watch from this link.

Details of previous lectures are available here.

Next year, the sixth lecture will take place on Wednesday 25th July 2018 at Leicester Cathedral.
The lecturer will be Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall.
Free tickets will be available nearer the date.


Analyses of the recent General Synod votes

From Fulcrum there is this commentary by Andrew Goddard: Synods, Sexuality and Symbolic and Seismic Shifts which is accompanied by a detailed discussion paper Understanding Synod’s July 2017 Sexuality Debates and Votes.

…What are we to make of it?

Since Synod it has been fascinating to hear and read such diametrically opposed accounts of the two debates. While these largely reflect whether those writing supported or opposed the outcomes on the sexuality debates, they also point to much more serious questions and divergent assessments about the nature and quality of the debates. Tim Hind welcomed a new ethos and reported that “most whom I have spoken to during and after the synod were of the opinion that this was one of the best synods they have been to” and David Walker, Bishop of Manchester who chaired the Conversion Therapy debate reported “a new and distinctly more welcoming tone” and “building bridges across difference, because that is precisely how God himself chooses to deal with us”. In contrast, Ian Paul has raised major concerns and questions asking if Synod is competent, Rob Munro described it as a ‘watershed’, and Susie Leafe offered a damning account of the proceedings across the Synod as a whole.

What follows explores three areas, drawing further comparison with the Higton debate of three decades ago…

Do read the whole article (and indeed the separate paper).

From Ekklesia Savi Hensman has published this: Church of England shift towards accepting LGBTI people.

Though the Church of England still discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, it recently shifted towards greater acceptance. There has been a backlash from a small but vocal set of members.

The General Synod in July 2017 heard from bishops about plans to look again at pastoral practice and teaching. It also passed motions against conversion therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation, and for welcoming transgender people.

Over the past century, many theologians have made a biblical case for affirming self-giving, committed same-sex partnerships. In recent decades, some have pointed out that gender identity is complex. Acceptance has also grown among churchgoers and the wider public.

The 2016 British Social Attitudes Survey showed that only 16 per cent of British Anglicans still believe that physically intimate same-sex relationships are always wrong. ( Scottish Episcopal Church clergy who want to celebrate marriages for same-sex partners will soon be allowed to do so. (

The Church of England still does not allow even ‘blessings’, though ministers can pray with couples. But, despite pressure and threats of a split, it has taken a significant step in recognising that LGBTI people are loved by God and should be welcomed as church members…


The Movement for a Renewed Orthodox Anglicanism

Another open letter has been published (see here for first one), this time in the Daily Telegraph and behind a paywall. There is also a news report: Queen’s former chaplain leads vicar rebellion over gay marriage.

However, it has been reproduced, and commented upon at some length at the Archbishop Cranmer website: The two opposed expressions of Anglicanism.

It also now been reproduced on a new website, named Anglican Live, where you can if you wish add your own signature to the letter.

The original letter and original signatories are copied below the fold. Note that the text of this letter differs from that of the earlier one, but there is considerable overlap between the signatories of the two.



Bishop John Wraw

The Bishop of Bradwell, the Right Reverend John Wraw, died peacefully in his sleep at home in the early hours of 25 July 2017. The Diocese of Chelmsford has issued this tribute.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.


Los Angeles bishop Jon Bruno faces suspension

Updated again 2 August

The Los Angeles Times reports: Episcopal bishop faces suspension over efforts to sell Newport Beach church

An Episcopal Church disciplinary panel has recommended a three-year suspension for the bishop who locked worshippers out of St. James the Great church in Newport Beach after a failed sale attempt two years ago.

The panel also recommended that the shuttered church be restored to its displaced members.

The tentative ruling, which came down late Friday afternoon, determined that the Right Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, was guilty of all allegations brought against him by the congregation during a hearing the panel conducted in March: that he attempted to sell consecrated property without consent of diocesan leadership, that he made several misrepresentations along the way and that he acted in a manner unbecoming of a clergyman.

The Living Church explains further in its report (do read all of it) Panel: Suspend Bruno, Save St. James:

…According to Title IV 14.5 of the church’s canons, the presiding bishop is charged with reviewing this sentence and then pronouncing it or lessening it.

In a 4-1 decision, the panel wrote that “the scope and severity of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct … have unjustly and unnecessarily disturbed the ministry of a mission of the Church. St. James the Great is a casualty of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct.”

Neva Rae Fox, public affairs officer for the Episcopal Church, said late that evening, “This document is marked as a draft, and that is what it is. We will offer no comments as the Hearing Panel’s work continues.”

Episcopal Café also has a report: Hearing Panel to recommend suspension of ministry for Bruno. Their report (also worth reading in full) includes this summary of the decisions:

A) Bishop Bruno is suspended for three years. During the period of his suspension Bishop Bruno will refrain from the exercise of the gifts of the ministry conferred by ordination (Canon IV.2, definition of “Sentence”) and not exercise any authority over the real or personal property or temporal affairs of the Church (Canon IV.19.7)

B) The Hearing panel declines to depose Bishop Bruno

C) The Hearing Panel is not aware of any evidence supporting a need for forensic accounting. IF the Church Attorney possesses such evidence he should present it to the appropriate authorities.

D) After thorough and detailed consideration of the facts, positions, contentions, testimony and documents, the Hearing Panel has concluded that the scope and severity of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct, as described above, have unjustly and unnecessarily disturbed the ministry of the Church. St James the Great is a casualty of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct acting as Diocesan and Corp Sole. While it is beyond the authority and ability of the Hearing Panel to fully assess what might have happened if St James the Great had been allowed to continue its ministry in its church facility, there is ample evidence of its viability and promise to convince the Hearing Panel that St James the Great was robbed of a reasonable chance to succeed as a sustainable community of faith.

The draft decision is a PDF document of 91 pages which can also be found here. There is a (much shorter) dissenting opinion which is also linked here.

Episcopal News Service now has a report: Draft order calls for Bruno to be suspended from ministry for three years.

…The hearing panel did not publicly release its draft order. It apparently gave the draft to the complainants and the presiding bishop for comment. Title IV.14.7 (page 153 here) calls for those parties “to be heard on the proposed terms of the order.” Comments to the hearing panel are due by July 26.

Bruno is not allowed to comment on the draft to the hearing panel. The diocese released a statement July 21 saying in part that no one from the diocese would make any public statement on the draft, “continuing their commitment to respect the integrity of the Title IV process, a priority that Bishop Bruno has upheld through the duration of the two-year proceedings.”

Neva Rae Fox, Episcopal Church public affairs officer, said the church would not comment while the Title IV process continues.

Roger Bloom, a communications consultant working for St. James, released the draft late July 21, reportedly after consulting a lawyer who told him Episcopal Church canons did not prevent its release.

Forty days after the final order is issued, the Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick, president of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, has 20 days to sentence Bruno. He can appeal that sentence and, if he does, the sentence is not imposed while the appeal proceeds. Meanwhile, however, the draft order is clear that Curry’s partial restriction on Bruno remains in force.

2 August update

The Presiding Bishop has taken additional steps, see here: Presiding Bishop removes disputed Newport Beach congregation from Bruno’s authority

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Aug. 1 removed Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno’s authority over St. James the Great in Newport Beach, California.

The presiding bishop’s action, which includes placing St. James in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles Bishop Coadjutor John Taylor, came as the Episcopal Church awaits the final order from the hearing panel considering disciplinary action against Bruno.

The Further Partial Restriction is intended to chart a way forward that clarifies and respects the appropriate role and authority of Taylor and the Standing Committee as well as the Title IV disciplinary process and the hearing panel, according to an Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release


Duncan Dormor to be next USPG chief executive

USPG has announced that:

The Revd Duncan Dormor, Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge, will be the next CEO of USPG.

He succeeds Janette O’Neill, who retires after six years in post.

Commenting on his appointment Duncan Dormor (pictured) said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be offered this opportunity to lead USPG as it works with partner churches across the Anglican Communion in seeking to transform the lives of individuals and communities through the power of the gospel.

‘Faithful to its history, radical in its proclamation, I have long admired the way in which USPG acts in solidarity to empower local churches across the globe in ways that respect their autonomy and culture.

‘Having spent many years in ministry with young people I know first-hand of USPG’s thirst to engage with the pressing global challenges of injustice and poverty that scar our world and I would seek to harness such vision to deepen and renew the life of the church across the world through USPG.

Canon Chris Chivers, Chair of Trustees, added: ‘I am thrilled with this appointment.

‘Duncan Dormor brings energy and passion, dynamic communication skills and a proven track-record in enabling organisational change to this important post.

‘His deep faith in Jesus Christ, his significant international experience in relation to St John’s College and Cambridge University, his global vision, alertness to the perspective of younger generations, concern for justice and reconciliation, and inspiring work as writer and speaker, make him well-placed to lead the team who will shape the next phase for USPG in new and exciting ways.’

Prof Chris Dobson, Master of St John’s College, said: ‘Duncan has been an absolutely outstanding Dean of Chapel at St John’s and has been a valued member of the college for almost 20 years.

‘In that time he has also made huge contributions to the pastoral, musical and academic life of the College. We shall miss him very much indeed, but I know that he relishes the prospect of using his energy, experience and passion for justice in this exciting new role.’

The Cambridge Faculty of Divinity website has this: The Revd Duncan Dormor Appointed CEO at Anglican mission agency USPG

St John’s College Cambridge has: St John’s Dean of Chapel to lead Anglican mission agency which gives more detail on his previous role.

1 Comment

Opinion – 22 July 2017

Karen Pollock The Queerness The General Synod and a curate’s egg of protection for LGBTQ+ people
“Whilst welcoming the agreement cis LGB people should be protected from the harms of conversion therapy, Karen Pollock questions why the Church of England does not extend the same protections to trans people.”

Richard Peers Quodcumque Amazing Grace: Sarah Coakley on women priests and same sex marriage

David Ison Inclusive Church 2017 Lecture “Including the Exclusive: How liberal Can you be?”
52 minute video
pdf of the text

1 Comment

British Anglicans meet to plan ‘faithful ecclesial future’

An open letter has been published on Anglican Mainstream by a number of clergy and laity. The full text and list of signatures is copied below the fold.



Electronic Voting Results

The detailed voting lists for the electronic votes at this month’s General Synod are now available here. They include these:

Item 12 — Conversion Therapy
Item 55 — Amendment to Item 12 (Doherty Amendment)
Item 56 — Amendment to Item 12 (Harrison Amendment)
Item 57 — Amendment to Item 56 (Baron Amendment)
Item 58 — Amendment to Item 12 (Dotchin Amendment)

Item 13 — Welcoming Transgender People
Item 59 — Amendment to Item 13 (Land Amendment)

The texts of all the above items are included in the voting lists. They are also in my summaries of Saturday’s and Sunday’s business.
Conversion Therapy [scroll down]
Welcoming Transgender People

Also available is Business Done for the July 2017 group of sessions.


Dean of Peterborough: Timothy Kitson Sledge

Press release from Number 10

Dean of Peterborough: Timothy Kitson Sledge

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Theresa May MP Published: 18 July 2017

Reverend Canon Timothy Charles Kitson Sledge has been appointed Dean of Cathedral Church, Peterborough.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Timothy Charles Kitson Sledge, MA, Vicar of Romsey and Area Dean in the Diocese of Winchester, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Andrew, Peterborough, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Charles William Taylor, MA, on 6 October 2016.

Background information

Reverend Canon Tim Sledge, (aged 53) studied Music at Ripon and York St John’s College then studied at York University for his MA. He studied for ordination at Trinity College, Bristol. His first curacy was at Huddersfield, in Wakefield Diocese from 1995 to 1998 before becoming Vicar at Luddenden with Luddenden Foot in Wakefield Diocese from 1998 to 2003.

In addition, from 2002 to 2003 he was Priest-in-Charge at Sowerby in the Diocese of Wakefield. From 2003 to 2008 he was Diocesan Missioner Enabler in the Diocese of Peterborough. Since 2008 he has been Vicar of Romsey in the Diocese of Winchester and since 2013 Area Dean. He is an Honorary Canon at Winchester Cathedral.

He has written and contributed to several books including Youth Emmaus and Mission Shaped Parish. He also wrote Creative Communion (BRF 2008) and contributed to Daily Reflections for Common Worship (Canterbury Press 2015).

Tim is Chairman of the Young Vocations Strategy Group for the Church of England, is a trustee of Triangulate – a Romsey Mental Health Charity, and has strong links with the Anglican Province of Burundi.

Tim is married to Caroline, and has two stepchildren, Grace (20) and Matt (18).

He enjoys cooking, poetry, golf and the arts, attending concerts and visiting art galleries.


Opinion – 15 July 2017

David Walker ViaMedia.News Speak Clearly After the Tone…

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Radical Christian inclusion and transformation

Church Times Leader Comment No magic wand

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of culture, speaking of tradition

Jamie McLoughlin Liverpool Echo OPINION: The Bishop of Liverpool’s patronage of Pride is HUGE for this city

Peter Selby Church Times Hearing the cries of the abused


Conservative reactions to General Synod debates

Updated again 22 July

Here’s a round-up of responses from people for whom the recent General Synod debates and voting were not welcome news.

First, an article that was written before the synod, but as the author is not only a General Synod member from Oxford diocese, but also a member of the new Pastoral Advisory Group, it is of interest: Sam Allberry wrote Same sex relationships: should we just agree to disagree?. Here’s a sample of his answer (but read all of it).

…The fate of homosexual people

Paul is very clear that the “unrighteous” will not enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6 v 9-11). Among the very various examples of unrighteous behaviour he lists is homosexual practise. Paul is delivering a profound warning: those who do not repent of such behaviour will not enter heaven. Eternity is at stake. To say the issue does not matter is to say that the eternal destiny of people does not matter. This is not the case with secondary issues like infant baptism or women’s ordination…

The Chair of the GAFCON Primates, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh in his July letter wrote this:

…False teaching is restless and relentless, and the Church of England itself is in grave spiritual danger. It is much to be regretted that there has been far more concern about alleged ‘boundary crossing’ than about the contempt of God’s Word that made a missionary bishop necessary. In fact, the Bishop of Edinburgh, who has strongly supported the Scottish Episcopal Church’s adoption of same sex ‘marriage’ was invited as a guest of honour to the Church of England’s July General Synod meeting.

Although the Church of England’s legal position on marriage has not changed, its understanding of sexual morality has. Same sex relationships, which were described by Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998 as ‘incompatible with Scripture’ now receive approval at the highest level. For example, Vicky Beeching, a singer, songwriter and activist who advocates homosexual marriage was honoured with the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer award for Worship in a ceremony at Lambeth Palace…

Rob Munro a General Synod member from Chester diocese, wrote a long reflection for Church Society entitled Radical Christian Inclusion…? which includes this:

…Shifted Middle. In previous synods, the non-aligned middle, the roughly 1/3 of synod who don’t self-identify as either conservative or radical, could usually be relied on to be social conservative, to be slow to bow to the pressures that political correctness has always brought. No longer! It was clear that an unqualified inclusion agenda is now seen as the mainstream. Ten years ago, the LGBTI lobbyists were clearly only a vocal minority; today, if you speak out for the previously received biblical understandings you are made to feel like the minority. The radicals have the confidence that their stories now resonate with more people; conservatives speak with the fear we will be misheard or misunderstood – that disagreement on the sexuality issues for theological reasons will be heard as whichever phobia it can be labelled as…

Susie Leafe a General Synod member from Truro diocese, who speaks for Reform wrote an even longer reflection which concludes:

…In the space of four days, the General Synod of the Church of England have, in effect, rejected the doctrines of creation, the fall, the incarnation, and our need for conversion and sanctification Instead we have said that we are ‘perfect’ as we are, or as we see ourselves, and that the Church should affirm us and call on God to validate our choices. No wonder we do not want to proclaim Christ’s unique identity and significance for all people.

We have chosen to understand the world through secular reports, unconscious bias training, the teaching of other religions and the results of polls and media headlines, rather than the unchanging word of God.

Paul warns us what happens when we do this in Romans 1:28: “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave then up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”

But God does not abandon his people. In his mercy, just a week before this Synod, Andy Lines was consecrated by ACNA, as a missionary bishop to Europe by 11 Primates (leaders of Anglican provinces) and 3 Archbishops. This had been requested by the Gafcon Primates Council, who represent the vast majority of the Anglican Communion. Don’t fear – we are not alone – but decisions will need to be made.

Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream wrote: Synod supports ban on ‘conversion therapy’ – what it means. His conclusions:

…There is now an area of incoherence in the Church of England’s doctrine that even the most radical adherents of ‘plural truth’ philosophy will not tolerate for long. Those who have same sex attraction are told they cannot change, but they also can’t get married or have their relationships blessed in church. Is it now surely a matter of time before the Church of England decides that while it can’t deny LGBT orthodoxy (sexual orientation is innate and unchangeable, trying to alter it is harmful), it can and must deny and change bible based doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman and homosexual practice is sinful, because these teachings are ‘harmful’?

This decision on ‘conversion therapy’ was not made for reasons of Christian theology. It was made on the basis of fake science (as many of the articles here demonstrate), fear of the LGBT lobby and the dreaded “Tim Farron question”, and emotional manipulation by apostate activists within the church leadership. The governing body of the main church in the land has capitulated to powerful ideologies in secular culture, the ‘stoicheia’ of Colossians 2:8, providing no protection for those who wish to be obedient to God’s word and resist those ideologies, serving people in love and calling them to repentance and faith in Christ.

The consecration of a ‘missionary Bishop’, ministering to faithful Anglicans outside the official structures, has surely come at the right time. We will need several more.


Ian Paul has asked Is Synod competent? A sample of his reasoning:

…There are several reasons why these two motions should never have been debated. The first and most obvious is that both issues will certainly be addressed in the teaching document that the Archbishops have commissioned, so the motions are trying to short-circuit a wider discussion. The second is that both take the form of false binaries; essentially they say ‘Do you agree with me—or do you hate gay and transgender people?’ No matter how faulty the wording, failing to pass either motion would not have looked like good PR, and there would have been howls of protest from various quarters. In the voting, it was evident that the bishops were acutely aware of this, and taking both motions by a vote of houses (so that they had to pass separately in each of the bishops, clergy and laity) which would normally make it harder for a motion to pass, in fact made it easier, since the bishops could not afford to be seen to be the ones who were blocking.

The third reason was the poor wording of both motions. The PMM talked of ‘conversion therapy’ but used this as an ill-defined catch-all which made proper debate very difficult. Every single speaker, including those who proposed and supported significant amendments, agreed that any form of forced or coercive treatment of people who are same-sex attracted (whether they are happy with that or not) is abusive and must be rejected. But another part of Jayne Ozanne’s agenda is to have significant movements in the Church, including New Wine, Soul Survivor, HTB and Spring Harvest labelled as ‘spiritual abusive’ and therefore illegal. This is why the motion was seen as a Trojan horse. Her motion was also asking Synod to ‘endorse’ a medical opinion, and a controverted one at that, which is simply not within Synod’s competence to do so. But suggesting that Synod ‘does not have the competence’ to express a view is like holding up a red rag to a bull (or any colour rag—bulls are colour blind). In the end we passed an amended motion that ‘endorsed’ a different medical view—but few had read the details, still less understood the issues within it, and such endorsement is meaningless except as tokenism…

Chik Kaw Tan, General Synod lay member from Lichfield diocese: Fundamental shifts in the General Synod

..Loss of giants in the House of Bishops
I respect the faithful orthodox bishops who are quietly working behind the scene to ensure Biblical teachings are adhered to. Yet I lament the loss of some of the true giants that I had the privilege to know when I first entered Synod. One can immediately think of Bishops Michael Scott-Joynt and Michael Nazir-Ali. A present bold figure and rising star is Julian Henderson of Blackburn but we need more orthodox prophet-bishops to speak to our times.

Not without sympathy, I think there are now many Christians, Synod members included, who have chosen the path of self-censorship. It is increasingly difficult to be counter-cultural and it is telling that our own church leaders are avoiding making any statements that will cause conflict with the LGBT lobby in society, and even within Synod itself. Who are the prophets of our times in the Church of England? Where are the Elijahs? Certainly not our archbishops, one of whom was conspicuous by the absence of any contribution in the two major debates on sexuality and the other notable by his support of the LGBT-inspired motions. This has raised serious concerns about the future of our beloved church.,,


Opinion – 12 July 2017

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Why I will continue to wear vestments

James Hadley Pray Tell #MitreGate: And the End of Vestments

Tina Beardsley The Guardian The church’s trans epiphany will ease the way for others like me

Paul Bayes Conversion therapy [speech to General Synod]

Christopher Lowson Bishop of Lincoln welcomes General Synod vote against conversion therapy

Susan Russell An Inch At A Time: Reflections on the Journey Celebrating with the CofE & Reprising “An Ontological Argument”

Kelvin Holdsworth thurible The Scottish Episcopal Church Option

This week, the Archbishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia released the interim report of the working group seeking structural arrangements to allow people who hold differing convictions about the blessing of same-sex relationships to remain within the church. These two articles look at the recommendations:
Bosco Peters Liturgy Blessing Same-Gender Couples
Peter Carrell Anglican Down Under Beautiful Anglican Accommodation – Down Under’s Way Forward


Suffragan Bishop of Loughborough: Reverend Gulnar Francis-Dehqani

Press release form Number 10

Suffragan Bishop of Loughborough: Reverend Gulnar Francis-Dehqani

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published: 11 July 2017

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Reverend Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani to the Suffragan See of Loughborough.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani, MA, PhD, Curate Training Officer and Advisor for Women’s Ministry in the Diocese of Peterborough and Canon at Peterborough Cathedral, to the newly created Suffragan See of Loughborough, in the Diocese of Leicester.

Background notes

Reverend Canon Dr Gulnar (Guli) Francis-Dehqani is aged 51. Originally from Iran, she has been in this country since the age of 14. She studied at Nottingham University for her BA in music, and then at Bristol University for her MA and PhD in theology. After working as a Studio Manager and Producer at BBC Radio, she trained for ordination at the South East Institute for Theological Education from 1995 to 1998.

Guli was Curate at Mortlake with East Sheen in Southwark Diocese from 1998 to 2002 before joining the University of London Chaplaincy team as Chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music and St Marylebone C of E Secondary School from 2002 to 2004. She resigned from stipendiary ministry in 2004 to raise her children, and held Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Peterborough whilst also continuing to write, speak and lead retreats. After completing a one year project at the University of Northampton Interfaith Chaplaincy, in 2011 Guli took up her current role as Curate Training Officer for the Diocese of Peterborough and was additionally appointed Adviser for Women’s Ministry in 2012. She has been on General Synod since 2012 and an honorary Canon at Peterborough Cathedral since 2016.

Guli is married to Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, currently Team Rector of Oakham and Rural Dean of Rutland. They have 3 children aged 17 and twins of 12.

Her interests include Persian culture and cooking, all kinds of music, reading, especially contemporary fiction, walking the dog, entertaining and spending time with family and friends.

From the Leicester diocesan website: Persian woman appointed as first Bishop of Loughborough

Dr Francis-Dehqani will be consecrated on Thursday 30 November.


General Synod – Monday's business

Updated Tuesday morning and afternoon

order paper for the day

Cost of Applying for Citizenship

The final day’s business started with a debate on this diocesan synod motion from Birmingham.

That this Synod:
(a) request the Archbishops’ Council’s Mission and Public Affairs Council to investigate the issues around the cost of applying for citizenship and to make recommendations to HM Government;
(b) encourage the Lords Spiritual actively to seek opportunities to address the level of citizenship fees in debate;
(c) urge parishes to raise the issue with their MP; and
(d) encourage parishes to continue to support those known to them who are struggling with the cost of citizenship fees without incurring debt and to signpost responsible lenders or local credit unions for advice.

The motion was carried by 310 votes to nil, with no recorded abstentions.

Official press release: Synod debates cost of applying for citizenship

Final approval of Amending Canon No 36
(Of the vesture of ordained and authorized ministers during the time of divine service)

This amending canon basically permits clergy to dispense with traditional vestments. It was given final approval. For this a two-thirds majority in each house was required.

bishops: 18 for, 3 against, 0 recorded abstentions
clergy: 104 for, 5 against, 4 recorded abstentions
laity: 116 for, 8 against, 7 recorded abstentions

The canon now requires the royal assent before it can come into effect.

Draft Amending Canon No 37
(Of the burial of the dead)

This amending canon allows clergy to use the standard funeral service for those who have taken their own life. It was given final approval. For this a two-thirds majority in each house was required.

bishops: 21 for, 0 against; 0 recorded abstentions
clergy: 125 for, 0 against, 1 recorded abstentions
laity: 132 for, 1 againts, 0 recorded abstentions

The canon now requires the royal assent before it can come into effect.

In the afternoon there was a presentation on the annual report of the Archbishops’ Council (GS 2058). This was followed by the Council’s budget and proposals for apportionment for 2018 (GS 2076), which were approved.

And finally Synod said farewell to the Bishop of Bristol and the Bishop at Lambeth, who are both retiring later in the year.

Press reports etc

Madeleine Davies and Hattie Williams Church Times Synod voices dismay at high cost of citizenship

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Clergy to ditch their robes in further sign of dress-down Britain

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Clergy can dress down after church votes to let them ditch vestments

Stephen Lynas files his last report from Synod: bathwellschap Good times, better times
This ends with an overview of the whole four days. casino utbetalning 15 min


Update on More cover-up allegations against bishops

Updated Monday

A week ago we linked to an Archbishop Cranmer blog with cover-up allegations against bishops.

Since then these articles have appeared.

The first article on a new blog Sea of Complicity: Reflections of CofE Abuse Survivor: CofE & Insurance affiliation

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Clerical abuse survivors step up call for accountability

This morning’s Radio4 Sunday programme carried interviews with Matt Ineson and the Bishop of Oxford (starting at 30 and 38 minutes respectively).


Yim Wyatt and Gavin Drake Church Times Clergy abuse survivor demands bishops resign in York Minster Synod protest
[This also covers the Radio4 interviews.]