Thinking Anglicans

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


Primates Meeting opens in Canterbury

Updated again Tuesday afternoon

This week the Anglican Communion Primates Meeting will take place again in Canterbury. See Anglican leaders head to the Communion’s “Mother Church” for 2017 Primates’ Meeting.

Update An additional official page is now available: The Primates’ Meeting 2017: in-depth coverage

Biographies of all the primates are available here.

The Anglican Communion News Service has published a number of video messages and blog articles from various primates.

The Anglican Journal published Hiltz looking forward to talks on human trafficking at Primates’ Meeting.

Recent media coverage:

Kelvin Holdsworth wrote The Scottish Episcopal Church and the upcoming Primates’ Meeting.

The LGBTI Mission has published this briefing: Anglican Primates’ Meeting October 2017.

OneBodyOneFaith has published Calls for continued listening as Anglican Primates meet in Canterbury.

And we reported earlier the open letter to the primates from the General Synod Human Sexuality Group.


Church Times Primates meet in a spirit of ‘extraordinary’ warmth in Canterbury

THE Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury this week has begun in a spirit of “extraordinary” fellowship and warm collegiality, journalists were told on Tuesday.

One of the Primates’ first actions was to invite the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, the Most Revd Michael Curry, to pray at the beginning of evensong on Monday in response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Sources have described the fellowship among those at the closed gathering as “extraordinary”. Any suggestion that the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church — expected to be told of the “consequences” of his Church’s recent vote in favour of same-sex marriage (News, 29 September) — might feel uncomfortable was inaccurate…

Do read the whole report.

And there is also this: Anglican Primates express ‘shock and distress’ at Las Vegas massacre.


Justin Welby and the BBC

On the Today programme on Saturday morning, the BBC broadcast a segment of a pre-recorded interview with Justin Welby, the rest of which has not yet been transmitted.

BBC Archbishop criticises BBC response to Jimmy Savile’s crimes

Listen here from 13 minutes to 17 minutes, for report by Martin Bashir.

And then again, from 1 hour 35 minutes, with a longer excerpt from the interview, followed by discussion, for nine minutes. This includes reports of reactions from abuse survivors who expressed strong criticism of the archbishop. They issued this statement.

This story was then picked up by other media:
Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury accused of hypocrisy by sexual abuse survivors
Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury criticises BBC’s handling of Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal
Daily Mail Archbishop of Canterbury accuses the BBC of lacking ‘integrity’ in its handling of Jimmy Savile abuse scandal

Later, this comment article from the Spectator attempted to explain what was happening: The BBC’s self-absorption has obscured Justin Welby’s real message

Other coverage included these items:

Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury accused of hypocrisy by sexual abuse survivors

Observer Justin Welby accuses BBC over Jimmy Savile abuse victims

The BBC Sunday programme has a discussion between Emily Buchanan and Harriet Sherwood about this, here (starting at 38.5 minutes in). Strongly recommended.


Bishop of Warrington to retire

The Rt Revd Richard Blackburn, the suffragan Bishop of Warrington in the diocese of Liverpool, has announced his retirement. His farewell service will take place on Saturday 21 April 2018.

From the Liverpool diocesan website: Bishop of Warrington announces his retirement

1 Comment

Opinion – 30 September 2017

The Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal has been published quarterly since March 2017. Issues can be freely downloaded from here. There is some background information here.
The latest issue includes “Some Insights from Church Planting in the Tower Hamlets Deanery of the Diocese of London” by Carol Latimer.

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News The True God and the Real World

Church Times leader comment Taking a knee

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of speaking

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Speaking as a fool for God

Martyn Percy Christian Today Can the Church of England still afford nuance or ambiguity? Some final thoughts on Sir Philip Mawer’s Sheffield review

Richard Peers Quodcumque De-throning the ego: address to the Diocese of Leicester Catholic Societies, Michaelmas 2017

WATCH Ministry Statistics published September 2017


Statement re St Sepulchre from Bishop Pete Broadbent, Acting Bishop of London

Updated Friday

We reported on the row over the policies of the Church of St Sepulchre Holborn, in London, here and here. Today the Acting Bishop of London has issued a statement on this particular matter and the more general issue of booking space for musicians. The full statement is copied below the fold, but here are two extracts:

Major flagship concerts and rehearsals in preparation for these concerts will still take place at St Sepulchre, and the PCC is developing a wider programme of music which they will be announcing soon. I am pleased a new album from their choir will also be released shortly.


The Diocese has a role to play in facilitating and encouraging stronger relationships between the Church in London and the musical community, including making it easier for musicians to access rehearsal and concert space. The wide coverage of these matters has convinced me that we need to improve access to churches which are willing and able to provide such space. So, as from 1 November, we shall be launching a website – – that will provide easy access to hire space and booking options for musicians in London, as well as be used as a tool to promote concerts and events. I do hope this will also allow us to help support and encourage new musicians, as they form ensembles, and bring together family, friends and the wider public to enjoy the creativity and celebration of God-given musical talent.

I am confident that these steps, along with a clearer programme of activities at St Sepulchre, will start to rebuild confidence in our partnerships and focus our minds on growth. Growth in the work of the church, growth in the use of our buildings, and growth in the music performed in our churches.


The rector of St Sepulchre’s has issued this undated statement about music on behalf of the PCC. Since it refers to the above statement it must have been issued today (Thursday).

Press reports

Church Times The ‘Musicians’ Church’ goes virtual as St Sepulchre’s sticks to its guns

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian London church rebuffs bishop’s efforts to get it to remain concert venue



Gavin Ashenden "consecrated as missionary bishop"

Christian Today reports that Gavin Ashenden, who left the Church of England earlier this year, has been “consecrated as a missionary bishop to the UK in the Christian Episcopal Church”.

In her report, Ruth Gledhill writes that “he will work closely with Bishop Andy Lines, also recently consecrated a missionary bishop to work with conservative evangelical churches” and that Ashenden was consecrated in Vancouver “during the course of an Episcopal Synod”.

Ashenden is quoted as saying that the Church of England had “not been very generous” in providing conservative or traditionalist bishops. And further: “I will oversee anybody who asks. I have a trail of people coming to my door asking for support, spiritual direction and advice. Obviously my oversight will be informal, it will have no legal basis at all.” He said he was approached by the Christian Episcopal Church, which regards it as a “duty” to help traditionalist Anglicans across the globe.

There is a press release here which is dated “29 September”.


Ministry Statistics 2016

The Church of England has released its Ministry Statistics 2016, and an accompanying press release which is copied below. There is also a fact sheet on the number of ordinands entering training this year.

Number of women in ordained ministry at record high
27 September 2017

The number of people entering training to become priests in the Church of England is at the highest level for a decade with women making up more than half the total, according to new figures released today.

A total of 544 men and women are starting training for ordained ministry this autumn (known as ordinands), an increase of 14% on last year and the highest figure for 10 years, according to statistics from the Ministry Division of the Church of England.

Women make up more than half of those entering training, or 274 ordinands, the biggest intake of female ordinands for a decade, and an increase of 19% compared to last year. At the same time, the number of younger ordinands, in the under 32 age group, rose by nearly two fifths, and now accounts for 28% of the total.



Opinion – 27 September 2017

Andy Hill Metro I’m an atheist who goes to church – here’s why you should too

Scott Cowdell ABC Religion and Ethics Gender and Identity: Freeing the Bible from Modern Western Anxieties
Tony Payne ABC Religion and Ethics Is There Moral Truth Out There? A Response to Scott Cowdell on Gender and Identity

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love ‘Feeling’ and ‘knowing’ – David Jenkins’ Guide to the Debate about God

Alister McGrath ABC Religion and Ethics Is God a Figment of Our Imagination? On Certainty, Scepticism and the Limits of Proof
[Professor McGrath is giving a public lecture, C. S. Lewis for Today: Making Sense of Faith and Culture, in Liverpool on 25 October 2017. Details are here.]


Open Letter to Primates

The General Synod Human Sexuality Group have published the text of a letter sent from them to all the Primates of the Anglican Communion ahead of their meeting next week.

In the letter the Group (which represents 240 synod members and wants the Church of England to be fully inclusive of LGBTI people) reminds the Primates that “the direction of travel” for the church is now “clearer than ever”.

In a press release, Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of the Group said:

Synod has shown both in its non-acceptance of the House of Bishops’ Report on Same-Sex Relationships and in its desire to condemn conversion therapy and welcome transgender Christians, that it wants to be a fully inclusive church. The status quo is no longer an option — people are deeply concerned about the impact on our mission to the nation of the Church’s current stance towards LGBTI people.

Group member Jayne Ozanne said:

The medical profession, including the World Health Organisation, is clear that conversion therapy causes stigma and prejudice towards the LGBTI community. It is critically important that the Church recognises this and takes a lead to condemn it.

The full text of the letter is copied below the fold.



Opinion – 23 September 2017

Mark Clavier The Living Church The Sea Change: Reflections of a Former Theological Educator

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Loyalty and Obsession

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of ordination, speaking of good will

Jesse Zink Church Times Born in discord, striving for harmony

Janet Traill explains the Colenso affair, which was the trigger for the first Lambeth Conference: Church Times A question of authority