Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Penrith to retire

The Cumberland & Westmorland Herald reports today that the Bishop of Penrith, the Right Revd Robert Freeman, is to retire next Easter. Penrith is a suffragan see in the diocese of Carlisle. As yet, there is nothing about this on the diocesan website.


Opinion – 28 October 2017

Bosco Peters Liturgy Sex Obsessed

Ian Paul Psephizo What did large churches ever do for us?

Tony Clavier The Living Church Protestant or Catholic?

ViaMedia.News It Can Happen to Guys Too!


General Synod by-election – Universities and TEIs

There is to be an election to fill two casual vacancies in the Universities and Theological Education Institutions Electoral Area of the Church of England General Synod. Full details are in this paper.

Most importantly a new register of those entitled to vote and stand for election in the constituency is being compiled. Those who were on the 2015 register will not have their names carried forward and if still eligible they will have to apply now for inclusion on the new register.

Time is short as applications to join the register must be received at Church House Westminster no later than Wednesday 8 November 2017. There is an application form here.


Opinion – 25 October 2017

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer “I need a friendly bishop,” said the child abuse survivor, as the prelate passed by on the other side

Josh Parry Liverpool Echo Why I won’t be donating a Christmas charity shoebox this year – and you shouldn’t either

ViaMedia.News A Zero Tolerance Approach to the Weinsteins in the Church?

Adrian Alker PCN Britain She’s a woman – get over it!

Mark Harris Preludium AAC, ACNA and GAFCON, wandering astray in the fields of the Lord

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England Crumbling Cathedrals?

Mike Higton kaì euthùs Making our minds up


CofE Director of Communications appointed

Church of England press release

Director of Communications appointed
23 October 2017

The Church of England is pleased to announce the appointment of Tashi Lassalle as Director of Communications.

Bringing extensive experience of leading communications and marketing teams in the financial and professional services sectors, both in the UK and overseas, Tashi will oversee the work of the Church of England’s communications department, working across traditional media, digital platforms and publishing.

Based at Church House, Westminster, the department serves the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board as well as working closely with Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces, bishops’ offices, dioceses and cathedrals.

Tashi, 39, has held a series of senior posts in the brand and marketing fields, most recently as Head of Communications and Marketing for Lloyd’s of London and previously as Head of Communications at Actis, the private equity firm. She has lived and worked in the US and Denmark as well as London.

She came to faith as a student at Cambridge. She worships at St Mary’s, Long Ditton in Surrey.

She said: “The Church of England makes a unique contribution to the spiritual, cultural and social fabric of this country.

“It has a bright and vibrant future.

“It’s a great privilege to take up this position.

“I look forward to serving and enabling the life changing vocation of the Church’s diverse ministry and mission.”

William Nye, Secretary General to the General Synod, said: “We are very glad to welcome Tashi Lassalle to the post of Communications Director for the Church of England’s national institutions.

“She combines a personal commitment to the mission of the Church with wide professional experience in a range of sectors.

“She will help us build on the existing strengths of our communications effort across multiple channels, recently recognised in awards for our digital evangelism campaigns.”

The Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Tashi to her new appointment.

“Her experience and imagination will be a huge asset to the Church of England in its task of proclaiming the gospel in an age of social media.

“She knows the scale of the challenge and I wish her well in all that lies ahead.”

Notes to Editors

Tashi will take up the post in early November 2017.
A photograph is available here.


Opinion – 21 October 2017

Ian Paul Psephizo The shame of Britain’s prison system

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Obsessed about sex?

David Keen Opinionated Vicar Church of England Attendance Change by Diocese, 2011-16


Latest Church of England statistics

The Church of England released its Statistics for Mission 2016 and this report on its digital reach this week. There is also a press release which is copied below the fold.

Also released this week is Finance Statistics 2015.

Church Times reporters write about these reports:
Madeleine Davies Too few children in too many pews, latest C of E mission statistics warn
Tim Wyatt Church of England reaching more people online than ever before
Tim Wyatt Good news and bad news on parish finances, statistics show

Olivia Rudgard writes for The Telegraph: Church of England reaches more on social media than in services.

Links to statistics for earlier years can be found here.



Hereford Diocesan Synod calls for liturgies after same sex marriages

Updated twice Saturday

The Hereford Diocesan Synod tonight passed the following resolution:

‘That this Synod request the House of Bishops to commend an Order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or a same sex marriage for use by ministers in exercise of their discretion under Canon B4, being a form of service neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter, together with guidance that no parish should be obliged to host, nor minister conduct, such a service.’

The voting was

In favour 41
Against 18
Abstentions 4

A copy of the briefing paper approved by the Bishop’s Council can be found here.


The BBC Radio 4 Today programme interviewed the Bishop of Hereford, Richard Frith. Listen here: Bishop Richard interview on BBC R4 Today about Diocesan Synod motion asking for same sex prayers (preceded by interview with Susie Leafe of Reform).

Law & Religion UK CofE service after same sex marriage?

BBC Church of England to discuss same-sex blessing

Guardian Church of England to debate blessings for same-sex couples

Telegraph Church of England to debate services for same-sex couples after bishop backs diocese call

Christian Today Bishops under pressure to act as Hereford Diocese calls for official services for gay couples

Hereford Times Church of England to debate blessings for same-sex couples after diocese motion

The Church of England has issued this press release: Hereford Diocesan Synod Motion. The full text is copied below the fold.

There is further comment at Law and Religion UK Hereford Diocesan Synod Motion – CofE Statement.



Opinion – 18 October 2017

Sir Mark Hedley Ecclesiastical Law Society Practical Aspects of the Clergy Discipline Measure
Sir Mark is Deputy Chair and Deputy President of Tribunals.

The Babylon Bee The Bee Explains: Main Differences Between Popular Bible Translations


Church apologises to a sexual abuse survivor

Updated again Monday afternoon

The Church of England has today released two documents:

This has been reported in the media:

Separately, the New York Times has this report on a different case: Doubts Grow Over Archbishop’s Account of When He Knew of Abuse.


EIG has issued a response to the above documents: Statement from Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc .

The full text of EIG’s letter of reply to the Bishops is here.

Church Times Bishops challenge Ecclesiastical over ‘horse trading’ of survivor settlements


Life peerage for Richard Chartres

The Prime Minister announced the names of five new crossbench life peers on Thursday. The list inlcuded The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres, KCVO, DD – lately Bishop of London (1995 to 2017).

London diocesan website: Peerage for Bishop Richard announced
Archbishop of Canterbury: Archbishop welcomes crossbench peerage for Bishop Richard Chartres

English diocesan bishops, other than archbishops, are not normally created peers on retirement. Two who were are David Sheppard of Liverpool and Richard Harries of Oxford.


Opinion – 14 October 2017

Updated to add day 2 to Colin Coward’s blogs

David Ison ViaMedia.News Confronting our Culture, Presenting our Past

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of leadership; speaking of reconfiguration.

Benjamin L Corey Patheos To Those Christians Who Say, “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle”

Ben Clements British Religion in Numbers Religion and the British Social Attitudes 2016 Survey
An update of the long-term religious data available from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) surveys

Colin Coward is attending the Intimate Conviction Conference in Jamaica.
Intimate Conviction Conference opens in Jamaica
Intimate Conviction Conference – Day 1
Intimate Convictions Conference – Day 2 and Reflections

Rachel Treweek Gloucestershire Live Letter to my younger self by the Bishop of Gloucester


Opinion – 11 October 2017

Connor Hammond Country Living A celeb in the countryside: Reverend Richard Coles
The vicar of Finedon, broadcaster and musician discusses the importance of community.

Kate Botley Church of England “It might boost my ego, but no one becomes a vicar because they saw it on TV”

Abdul-Azim Ahmed interviews Frank Cranmer, who with David Pocklington, runs the popular Religion and Law blog online.
On Religion Religion and Law: Interview with Frank Cranmer

Rachel Neaum WATCH A response to the use of ‘minority’ in Sir Philip Mawer’s review

Jeremy Morris ViaMedia.News A “Safe Space” for Liberalism?

Chris Burn Yorkshire Post How Yorkshire’s women of spirit paved the way for female priests


Sydney diocese donates $1 million to No campaign

Updated again Saturday

Buzzfeed has reported: The Sydney Anglican Diocese Gave $1 Million To The “No” Campaign.

The Anglican Diocese of Sydney has donated $1 million to the “no” campaign in Australia’s postal survey on same-sex marriage.

Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies announced the hefty donation in his address to the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney on Monday afternoon.

He told the gathering that the diocese had been a founding member of the Coalition for Marriage, along with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Marriage Alliance and the Australian Christian Lobby.

“The Standing Committee has also enthusiastically backed our participation in the Coalition For Marriage and has taken the bold step of drawing down one million dollars from the Diocesan Endowment to promote the ‘no’ case,” he said.

Davies told the gathering that “the stakes are high and the cost is high”…

The archbishop’s address to synod can be read in full here, and there is a report on the diocesan website: Timeless gospel meets changing world which includes this:

…The Archbishop spoke of the challenges confronting society including, but not only, same-sex marriage.

The Diocese is a founding partner of the Coalition for Marriage, the group leading the No case. The Diocese of Sydney, along with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Marriage Alliance and the Australian Christian Lobby make up the major partners, but since its formation a further 80 organisations have joined in common cause.

“The Standing Committee has also enthusiastically backed our participation in the Coalition for Marriage and has taken the bold step of drawing down one million dollars from the Diocesan Endowment to promote the ‘No’ case. Brothers and sisters, the stakes are high and the cost is high. Yet the cause is just and it is a consequence of our discipleship to uphold the gift of marriage as God has designed it—a creation ordinance for all people. Dr Davies said he would “make no apology for encouraging all Australians, especially Anglicans, to vote ‘No’ in this postal survey. I believe that a change in the definition of marriage is unwarranted, not just because it is in opposition to the teaching of Scripture and our Lord himself in Matthew 19, but because I believe marriage, traditionally understood as a union of one man and one woman, is a positive good for our society, where marriage and the procreation of children are bound together as the foundational fabric of our society, notwithstanding the sad reality that not all married couples are able to conceive. Moreover, I consider the consequences of removing gender from the marriage construct will have irreparable consequences for our society, for our freedom of speech, our freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. It is disingenuous to think otherwise, given the evidence to the contrary in Canada, the US and the UK…

The Archbishop has published a further letter, here.

Muriel Porter reports in the Church Times Sydney diocese donates half a million to campaign opposing same-sex marriage.

Christian Today Harry Farley reports:Australia’s same-sex marriage referendum: Sydney clergy blast ‘extraordinary use of church money’ after diocese’s $1m donation to ‘no’ camp.

Guardian Anglicare faces internal ructions over Sydney diocese $1m no campaign donation


Opinion – 7 October 2017

Andrew Brown The Guardian Melvyn Bragg says kids should read the King James Bible. But is it too graphic?

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of Anglicanism; speaking of subsidiarity.

Bosco Peters Liturgy Praying Using Technology?

Hayley Matthews ViaMedia.News Primates Meetings – Who’d Be a Prophet?

Lucy Winkett and Sam Wells spoke on “Reforming Church” at St Martin in the Fields in London on 2 October. There are links to the full texts of the talks and to a podcast here. There is a shortened and edited version of Sam’s lecture in yesterday’s Church Times: It’s about abundant life, not hell-avoidance.
This was the second in an autumn series of public lectures on “Reformation” at St Martin in the Fields; the first was by Alister McGrath. Details of the series are here. Podcasts are added here after the event.

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Gravitational Waves


Inclusive Church seeks new National Coordinator

From the Inclusive Church website:

IC Logo


Could you implement the strategy of Inclusive Church and work with the Trustees to co-ordinate the work of Inclusive Church to ensure that the tradition of inclusion and diversity is celebrated and maintained?

Inclusive Church seeks a National Co-ordinator to succeed the Rev’d Bob Callaghan following his retirement at the end of 2017.

Inclusive Church is an educational charity promoting an inclusive interpretation of the Gospel, and commending the values of social justice. It reaches across a number of Christian denominations working with churches to encourage them to explore ways in which they become more inclusive. It is concerned with issues of disability, ethnicity, gender, mental health, poverty and sexuality. Inclusive Church is not a campaigning organisation.

This post is half-time (17.5 hours per week) and requires flexibility as no two weeks are the same. Remuneration is £17,955 (pro rata FTE £35,910) plus pension arrangements. Full expenses are paid.

The post requires travel throughout England, therefore the post-holder must have use of a car and a full driving licence.

An information pack and details about how to apply is available at

Closing date for receipt of applications for the post is 12 noon on 30 October. Interviews will be held in central London on 11 November.

There is an occupational requirement that the post holder is a practicing Christian. The position is subject to an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The Board of Trustees is seeking to recruit additional voluntary Trustees and would be pleased to hear from you, especially if you have lived experience in the fields of ethnicity ,mental health or poverty. For information about this please contact the Chair:

This advertisement also appears today in both the paper edition of Church Times and on the website of Church Times.


Primates Meeting: further reports

Updated yet again Saturday

See previous reports here.

ACNS has published these reports:

The Primates have issued this communiqué: God’s Church for God’s World.

Primates’ Meeting [Final] 2017 Press Conference (video)

GAFCON earlier published this press statement: We Are Not Walking Together.
In response to the communiqué linked above, GAFCON has issued this “initial response”: Can Two Walk Together Unless They Are Agreed?
GAFCON UK also issued a statement: Response from Bishop Andy Lines to the Primates’ Communiqué.

Church Times Primates’ Meeting ends with call to avoid narrow-mindedness and focus on ‘total gospel’

ENS Primates conclude Canterbury meeting ‘renewed in their ministry’


Opinion – 4 October 2017

Philip Christopher Baldwin Gay Times “The Church of England remains a battleground and all LGBT+ people need to advocate for change.”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love False ideas in the church

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau Why progressives need God

Jonathan Draper Modern Church The Archbishop of Canterbury, irreconcilable difference and ‘copping out’


Primates Meeting: reports from Tuesday

Updated again Thursday morning

See previous reports here.

Anglican Communion News Service

Scottish Episcopal Church Primus briefs primates on same-sex marriage decision

Video: Primates’ Meeting Press Briefing

Video: Anglican Primates’ statement on Las Vegas shooting

Video: Prayers for victims of Las Vegas shooting

Archbishop Welby “taken aback” by Las Vegas prayer criticism

Scottish Episcopal Church

Primus addresses the Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting

Media reports:

BBC Anglicans sanction Scottish Episcopal Church over same-sex marriage

Guardian Scottish bishop defends same-sex marriage: ‘love means love’

Herald World’s Anglican bishops punish Scottish Episcopal Church over same-sex marriage

Christian Today Scottish Anglicans defiant as they face ‘consequences’ for passing gay marriage: ‘Love means love’

Church Times Primates reprimand Scots, but will not fall out over it (scroll down for report of briefing by GAFCON)

This blog article by Beth Routledge who is a member of the SEC: Response to the Primates’ Meeting is strongly recommended.


WATCH response to Mawer report on Sheffield

WATCH National Committee response to the Independent Reviewer’s Report on the Nomination to the See of Sheffield

The national committee of WATCH has now had time to read and discuss Sir Philip Mawer’s review into the nomination of +Philip North to the See of Sheffield and his subsequent withdrawal. We note Sir Philip’s conclusion that there were no villains, however there was a serious lack of forethought. It is clear that the question of whether the new bishop would be able to unequivocally affirm the ordained ministry of women was not widely discussed. +Philip was led to believe that the diocese was prepared for his appointment and was therefore placed in a difficult position when it became clear that many had serious questions about how this would work.

His reaction to the genuine questions and fears of the women clergy of the diocese shows his lack of understanding of how undermining his inability to fully affirm women’s sacramental ministry is to those who continue to minister in a church which cannot quite accept the equality which the wider society now enshrines in law. It seems incredible that nobody in the central Church of England appointments or communications departments thought that this would be a contentious appointment requiring sensitive pastoral work within both the diocese and the wider church.

The review highlights the need for more theological thinking about the five guiding principles. It also makes suggestions about the Crown Nomination Committee and the appointment process which can be picked up by the ongoing review of that process. WATCH’s response to the Sir Philip Mawer’s review and his recommendations is published below:

WATCH National Committee response to the Independent Review Oct 2017