Thinking Anglicans

Book Launch: Intimate Conviction

You are invited to the launch of a book that addresses the role of the church (past, present and future) in the criminalization of consensual same-gender intimacy across the Commonwealth. This event is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Last year Anglicans for Decriminalization, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and our local and international partners held the “Intimate Conviction” conference in Jamaica.

This was the first-ever global event that discussed the role of the church (past, present and future) in the criminalization of private consensual same-gender intimacy. The event was live-streamed and there were presentations by international agencies and Christian leaders from all over the Commonwealth, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Archbishop of the West Indies and the Bishop of Buckingham.

An edited volume of some of the presentations is now ready and will be launched in London on 4 December. Attendance is free but booking is required.

Details here:  Intimate Conviction Book Launch.

School of Advanced Study
Room 349 Senate House-South Block
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

Date: Dec. 4
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Refreshments will be provided.

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Faith, Science & Sexuality: a day conference

The Ozanne Foundation is holding a one day conference on Saturday 8 December, involving some of the UK’s most senior academics from the fields of science, health and ethical issues surrounding sexuality and gender, whilst also rooted in real lived experience of well-known LGBTI Christians. Hosted by the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd Dr David Ison, this confernece will offer Christians the opportunity to engage with the professionals who are at the forefront of science, sexuality and faith.

Tickets and more details of the programme can be obtained from this link.

David Ison has written about the background to this event here: Brexit, Science & Sex: Can We Challenge Fake News?

And Robert Song has written this: The science of sexuality.

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Bishop of Albany refuses to implement same-sex marriage resolution

Updated again Tuesday morning

We reported previously on the Diocese of Albany in September: Diocese of Albany considers same-sex marriages.

Further context for this is contained in another earlier article: Communion Partner bishops issue FAQ on same-sex marriage.

Episcopal Café now reports: Albany bishop draws red line, challenges authority of GC

…Bishop Love has decided to draw a line based on his personal beliefs and understanding of his role on behalf of the entirety of the diocese of Albany; “B012 ignores God’s Word regarding marriage and thus ignores the authority of Holy Scripture.” He lays the blame for General Convention’s actions squarely on Satan and the “Gay Rights Agenda.”

“While I don’t question the sincerity or the well intentions of many in the Episcopal Church who believe the best way to love and minister to our Gay and Lesbian Brothers and Sisters in Christ is to embrace them in their sexuality and make provisions for their same-sex attractions through same-sex marriage rites, I do believe they have been deceived into believing a lie that has been planted in the Church by the “great deceiver” – Satan. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul states: “…stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-13).
The Episcopal Church and Western Society have been hijacked by the “Gay Rights Agenda” which is very well organized, very strategic, very well financed, and very powerful. Satan is having a heyday bringing division into the Church over these issues and is trying to use the Church to hurt and destroy the very ones we love and care about by deceiving the leadership of the Church into creating ways for our gay and lesbians brothers and sister to embrace their sexual desires rather than to repent and seek God’s love and healing grace. B012 plays right into this.”

Read the full text of his Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive here.

The Albany Times-Union reports this news: Albany Episcopal Bishop outlaws same-sex marriage in his churches.

News & World Report has this: Episcopal Bishop, William Love, Bans Gay Unions on His Turf.

Tuesday Updates

Episcopal News Service Albany bishop rejects General Convention compromise on gay marriage, refuses to allow rites

Presiding Bishop’s statement on Bishop William Love’s pastoral letter and directive

And the bishop of the adjacent diocese ( Central New York) has also issued a statement available here.

66 Comments

Opinion – 10 November 2018

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim My Journey into Catholicism

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of sex, sin and church unity

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Secrecy, Cover-up and the Cause of Truth

Colin Blakely ViaMedia.News Is an Armistice Needed for Divided Nations & Churches?

2 Comments

Opinion – 7 November 2018

Jeremy Pemberton From the Choir Stalls Fake Participation: what is wrong with Living in Love and Faith?

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Iwerne: what did David Conner (now Dean of Windsor) and others know about John Smyth’s regime of abuse?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding and the Church’s future

David Mitchell The Guardian Trust the Church of England to miss the point of Halloween

Ben Ryan LSE Religion and Global Society blog Christianism: A crude political ideology and the triumph of empty symbolism

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England The Centenary of the Great War: Thoughts on Good Remembrance

Jeremy Morris ViaMedia.News We Will Remember Them…..All!

30 Comments

CofE Statistics for Mission 2017 – Social Action

The Church of England collected figures on the extent of social action by its churches were collected as part of the annual Statistics for Mission 2017 survey, and these have been published today.

The findings can be downloaded here, and there’s a press release which starts:

Full extent of Church of England work to support local communities revealed

More than 33,000 social action projects – from food banks to debt counselling – are run or supported by churches, according to figures setting out for the first time the full scale of the Church of England’s service to communities.

The findings – which amount to the largest survey to date of the extent of the Church of England’s work with some of the most vulnerable in society – show that 80 per cent of congregations are involved in one or more forms of social action…

The full Statistics for Mission 2017 report will be available soon.

Press report

Christian Today Survey shows massive engagement in social outreach by CofE churches

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Responses to the Oxford bishops’ letter

 

Updated Tuesday morning (scroll down)

Media reports:

Comment:

…The Oxford bishops are committed to building a Christ-like church and have identified three values as animators of this aspiration: compassion, contemplation and courage. By pledging to listen to the experiences of LGBTIQ+ Christians and allowing such experiences to help shape the future direction of the church, alongside the acknowledgment that ‘as a Church we have continually failed our sisters and brothers in Christ’ the bishops have shown real compassion. Listening, deep listening, is of course also the very heart beat of contemplative practice. In writing this letter, in the sure and certain knowledge that there will be some very real kick-back, and through their insistence, that silence does not serve the Church well, alongside a commitment to express their own views with integrity the Oxford bishops have been courageous, for courage is worked out in the most difficult, most contentious and most potentially divisive issues.

One of the most moving responses I have seen so far to the Oxford bishops’ letter on inclusion came from someone who said that she was surprised and delighted by the way in which the bishops made her feel part of the church by their words. Usually, this kind of official pronouncement makes gay people feel slightly ‘other’, a separate order of humanity within the church, but here the respondent was grateful to feel like she was genuinely listened to and part of the same church…

Marcus goes on to discuss at some length the article by Giles Goddard on Via Media to which we linked yesterday.

…The bishops also announce in the letter that they will be setting up a chaplaincy for LGBTI+ people and their families across the diocese.  We very much look forward to seeing how this latest exciting development unfolds, and hope and trust that LGBTI+ people will continue to be integral to the development, delivery and dissemination of this important and innovative work.

…We would encourage other dioceses to consider following the Oxford lead, to meet with LGBTI representatives from within each diocese to listen to their concerns, and to say explicitly that LGBTI people are welcome in their diocese, and should be welcome in each and every parish.

The LGBTI community and their allies are looking for tangible proof that the words”radical new Christian inclusion” are being taken seriously by each diocese. It is in concrete proposals, such as the provision of LGBTI chaplaincies and the creation of LGBTI reference groups, that they will begin to be reassured that a truly inclusive welcome is sincerely being offered for all…

Update

For a roundup of comment from a conservative viewpoint, see Anglican Mainstream’s post: Oxford Diocese promotes inclusion.

 

7 Comments

Opinion – 3 November 2018

Jen Williams A brave faith What Open Table means to me

Janet Fife Surviving Church Shibboleths and the Love of God

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News C of E Risks Failure on Human Sexuality Because of Privileged Power

Church Times No action songs, please: there are adults present
“Services that infantilise are counter-productive, says Ines Hands”

27 Comments

Opinion – 31 October 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Challenges for Lambeth 2020. The end of the Anglican Communion?

Erika Baker ViaMedia.News Gender Recognition Act – Whose Lives Are Actually At Risk?

David Ison ViaMedia.News Brexit, Sex & Science: How Do We Tackle “Fake News”?

Winnie Varghese Patheos Oh, preacher, give us a good word

Andrew Brown The Guardian The Church of England should learn from Harry Potter this Halloween

54 Comments

Oxford bishops expect inclusion and respect for all

Press release from Diocese of Oxford:

31 Oct 2018 – four bishops from one of the largest dioceses in the Church of England have written to 1,500 ministers setting out the bishops’ expectations of inclusion and respect for all and announces a new LGBTI+ chaplaincy team.

Silence is both painful and damaging for LGBTI+ people in the midst of continuing debate within the Church about human sexuality, say the bishops. Their letter, sent to all clergy and LLMs in the Diocese of Oxford, sets expectations of inclusion and respect towards all and affirms LGBTI+ people called to roles of leadership and service in the church.

The Oxford letter commends five principles for welcoming and honouring LGBTI+ people and looks at work underway in the Church of England to develop new pastoral guidance and teaching resources relating to human sexuality and same sex marriage.

A new chaplaincy team for LGBTI+ people, their families and loved ones is promised too. The chaplaincy team will also provide LGBTI+ insights and advice to clergy and bishops about being church together.

The Oxford letter concludes with a commitment from the bishops to continue to listen well to LGBTI+ people from a variety of perspectives, ‘including those seeking change in the Church of England’s polity and those seeking to live faithfully within it’…

The full text of the letter can be found here: Clothe Yourselves With Love.

17 Comments

Opinion – 27 October 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Reflecting on ecumenism, liturgy and mental health.

Harriet Sherwood has interviewed Michael Curry for The GuardianBishop Michael Curry: ‘moderate religious voices’ are not being heard.

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Reflections on human power. The Christian stand against bullying

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of cathedrals, mission and evangelism.
Archbishop Cranmer Why, when church attendance is falling, is cathedral attendance soaring?

Fergus Butler-Gallie Church Times ‘Stay weird, Church of England’
“Fergus Butler-Gallie celebrates the evangelistic potential of the weird, and mourns their demise”

Madeleine Davies Financial Times Why I’m still an evangelical in the age of Trump [£]
“Madeleine Davies explains why she isn’t giving up on the movement despite its support for the president”

47 Comments

Opinion – 24 October 2018

Jonathan Merritt The New York Times It’s Getting Harder to Talk About God
“The decline in our spiritual vocabulary has many real-world consequences.”

Steve Morris Christian Today Why do I have such a problem with Christian books?

David Goodhew The Living Church Mission in Europe and the Future of Anglicanism

Simon Jenkins Ship of Fools Why Halloween ought to be part of the church year

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Bishops’ Letters and the Case for the Defence – “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The Church of England is open and welcoming to LGBTI+ people – discuss

35 Comments

Cathedral Statistics 2017

Updated Thursday to add some press reports

The Church of England has released its Cathedral Statistics for 2017 today, along with a lengthy press release, copied below. The full report can be downloaded here.

Press reports

Adam Becket Church Times Cathedral attendance rose by three per cent last Christmas
Mike Wright The Telegraph Christmas Cathedral congregation numbers swell thanks to spiritually inquisitive, festival-going millennials
Christian Today England’s cathedrals continue to enjoy a strong turnout for Christmas services

Press release

Record numbers attend cathedrals at Christmas

Attendance at Christmas services in England’s cathedrals has broken records for the second year running, statistics published today show.

A total of 135,000 people came to Church of England cathedrals to worship on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 2017 – an increase of three per cent on the previous year, and the highest total since records began.

Attendances at Sunday worship in cathedrals throughout the year also continued to hold steady over a five-year period, while average weekday attendances continued their pattern of increase, with just over 18,000 attending in 2017, compared with 7,000 in 2000 when this data was first recorded. Over 10 years, the total number attending all regular services in cathedrals has increased by 10 per cent.

(more…)

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Andrew Rumsey to be next Bishop of Ramsbury

Press release from Number 10

Queen appoints Suffragan Bishop of Ramsbury

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Andrew Paul Rumsey to the Suffragan See of Ramsbury.

Published 22 October 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Andrew Paul Rumsey, MA, DThMin, Team Rector of Oxted in the Diocese of Southwark, to the Suffragan See of Ramsbury, in the Diocese of Salisbury, in succession to the Right Reverend Edward Francis Condry, MA, BLitt, DPhil, MBA, who resigned on the 12 May 2018.

There’s more on the diocesan website: New Bishop of Ramsbury Announced. Dr Rumsey will be consecrated on 25 January 2019.

19 Comments

Opinion – 20 October 2018

Madeleine Davies Church Times Clergy Discipline Measure: a harsh discipline?

Laudable Practice ‘And take this holy Sacrament to your comfort’: the heart of the 1662 rite

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Religious Trauma Syndrome. When Faith causes Harm

7 Comments

Living Ministry report published

The second set of findings from a 10-year research programme into how clergy can flourish in ministry has been published today by the Church of England. Research from the Living Ministry project into the wellbeing of 85 ordinands and clergy is featured in the study Negotiating Wellbeing: Experiences of Ordinands and Clergy in the Church of England. This qualitative study builds on quantitative findings based on responses from 761 clergy and ordinands published by the Living Ministry programme last year.

The accompanying press release is copied below the fold, and the report is available for download here.

Adam Becket has written about the report for Church TimesChange is worse than a rest, say stressed clergy.

Clergy struggle to cope with change, a new report on their well-being has said.

Published today, the report, Negotiating Wellbeing: Experiences of ordinands and clergy in the Church of England, says that periods of transition, for example coming to the end of a curacy, can cause physical and mental stress, and prompt clergy to question their vocation…

(more…)

10 Comments

Church of England responds to Gender Recognition Act consultation

The Church of England has today published its response (copied in full below the fold) to the UK Government’s consultation on Reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. You can read about that consultation, which opened in July and closes today, over here.

(more…)

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13 English bishops write to GAFCON

Thirteen evangelical bishops of the Church of England have written a letter in response to this document: Letter to the Churches – Gafcon Assembly 2018.

Their letter is titled Remaining Faithful within the Church of England.

The signatories are:

Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough
Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden
Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham
Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester
Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes
Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn
Alistair Magowan, Bishop of Ludlow
Nick McKinnel, Bishop of Plymouth
James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Mark Rylands, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Exeter
Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford
David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke
Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham

Readers who do not keep up with GAFCON statements may also be interested in:

Rev Dr Stephen Noll’s Commentary on the ‘Letter to the Churches’

Chairman’s Letter – October 2018

Nigerians join Ugandans not attending Lambeth 2020

32 Comments

Reactions to the letter from eleven bishops

Updated again Thursday

The Church Times has reported on the letter published on Monday, see Evangelical bishops hint at split if marriage teaching is changed.  This mentions that the Bishop of Liverpool tweeted:

 “It’s good to talk. Letters like this contribute to the conversation, but they will not and should not replace or pre-empt the process by which the Church of England as a whole expresses the radical new Christian inclusion to which we’re called.”

To date the letter remains unreported in the secular media.

There have been several articles written in response. Two of these are written by bishops:

Other responses include:

Stephen Parsons Eleven English Bishops teaching about Sex and Marriage

Andrew Lightbown Talking of the evangelical bishops letter

Marcus Green a never failing stream

Two campaigning groups have also issued statements:

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Evangelical bishops write to Living in Love and Faith…

Updated 13.00 Monday

Christian Today has a report this morning, headlined as: EXCLUSIVE: Evangelical bishops issue blunt warning to Church of England on sexuality which says that :

Anglican evangelical bishops have warned of ‘major problems’ and the danger of division if the Church of England changes its stance on sexuality.

Eleven leading evangelical bishops have issued a joint letter in which they say that the traditional Christian view of sex as being for heterosexual marriage alone ‘is the teaching of Scripture’ and ‘therefore expresses the character and will of God’…

…The letter has been signed by the Bishops of Carlisle, Shrewsbury, Durham, Ludlow, Birkenhead, Willesden, Peterborough, Plymouth, Blackburn, Maidstone and Lancaster…

Four of the above are diocesans (Carlisle, Durham, Blackburn, Peterborough), the others are all suffragans, and the See of Shrewsbury is currently vacant.

The article also reports that the full text of the letter can be found at the website of the Church of England Evangelical Council. At the time of writing (noon on Monday) what can be found there is only the following:

A letter from evangelical bishops ​to the ‘Living in Faith and Love’ coordinating group

Bishop Julian Henderson, President of CEEC, writes : ‘In response to repeated requests from around the country, a number of evangelical bishops have produced a letter which they are sending to Bishop Christopher Cocksworth and the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) Coordinating Group. It asks that the LLF work takes seriously the biblical evidence and the church’s traditional understanding of it regarding identity, marriage and relationships, hears the voice of the Anglican Communion and understands that for many evangelicals, change in the Church of England’s teaching and practice has serious consequences. We are aware that a position of no change equally has serious consequences for others and our letter therefore assures the LLF Coordinating Group of our prayers as they wrestle to know the mind of Christ.’
 

Update

The full text of the letter is now linked, and can be found here.

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