Thinking Anglicans

General Synod papers published

The Church of England has issued the press release below about papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod.

See the previous article for my list of papers.

New links between Church of England and black-majority churches

Church of England congregations will be able to share mission and ministry with a range of churches in their area more easily under plans due to receive final approval by the General Synod next month.

A long-anticipated overhaul of rules underpinning ecumenical relations is expected to open the way for parishes to take part in joint worship with more churches than previously possible.

For the first time this will include churches without a large national structure – something which will particularly affect newer independent evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic groups including many black-led churches.

The move – part of a drive to simplify ecclesiastical law – is among several significant legislative changes being considered at Synod which meets in York from July 6-10.

Dr Joe Aldred of Churches Together in England, who serves as an Ecumenical Representative for Pentecostals on General Synod and is a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy, welcomed the change.

He said: “This is a great moment for relations between the Church of England and Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations and congregations, including many black-led churches, as we share the task of building the Kingdom of God in this country.

“In working together and worshipping together our churches have the potential to transform their neighbourhoods.

“The shape and style of the Church in England has changed considerably over the years and this legislation reflects the new reality on the ground.

“Through the work of the Pentecostal Presidency in Churches Together in England, I have seen just what is possible by strengthening relationships, engaging in prayer and mission together and I hope and pray this change in legislation will mean we can do even more together.”

In one of the most broad-ranging agendas in recent years, Synod will also discuss national and international issues from nuclear proliferation and responses to climate change to the future of the NHS.

There will be a major debate on the Church of England’s work on safeguarding and Synod will be asked to endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092) to be published with the second set of papers next week.

Synod will also have an opportunity for a detailed update on progress on the episcopal teaching document on human sexuality and marriage and to engage with those working on it through a series of seminars and workshops. Find out more about online roulette and how to play roulette and win.

The document, due to be completed in 2020, will be entitled Living in Love and Faith: Christian teaching and learning about human sexuality and marriage.

Synod papers published today also include the final report of the Church of England’s Cathedrals Working Group which sets out new ideas to help secure the cathedrals for the future.

Further details on the Cathedrals Working Group report are set out in a separate press release.

Notes to editors

A full set of papers from the first circulation is available here. A second circulation will follow and will be available on Friday June 22.

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July General Synod – online papers

Update Links to almost all the papers are now (22 June) available and have been added below.
Update Remaining links added (5 July)
Update All papers are available to download via Dropbox

The first batch of papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online. The remaining papers will be issued on 22 June and I will add links when these become available.

Papers in numerical order with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets from Friday 6 to Tuesday 10 July 2018 in York.

GS 2090 Agenda



Opinion – 13 June 2018

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England Seascapes: a retreat for those being ordained.

Jonathan Clatworthy St Bride’s blog Food with dignity – The origins of the Eucharist
[first of a series]

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the Church 5: open membership

Emma Percy Women and the Church Install Updates

Sam Wells preached this sermon at the Service of Hope for LGBTI equality in the Church of England held at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Clapham, on 7 June: Not until you give me your blessing

Simon Cross After evangelicalism: tipping over the certainty curve

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Are Abuse Survivors Prophets to the Church?


Lessons learned from the Mawer report on the See of Sheffield

Updated Friday

press release from the Archbishops’ Council
Lessons for the National Church Institutions following Independent Reviewer’s report on Sheffield

Following the publication of Sir Philip Mawer’s independent review into the nomination to the See of Sheffield, William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, has published a ‘lessons learned’ review in response to Sir Philip’s fourth recommendation.

He said: “I would like to add my thanks to that of the Archbishops to Sir Philip for his review, and in particular for suggesting that I review the lessons to be learned for the National Church Institutions from the handling of the process after Bishop Philip North’s nomination.

“Having done this, I hope that my suggestions for a way forward will ensure that those nominated to a see, as well as the dioceses in question, will be better supported by the National Church Institutions both before and after the announcement.

“We have already put this learning into practice and have reaped the benefit of this in the announcement of the new Bishop of London last December and the new Bishop of Bristol in May.

“We will continue to learn from each nomination, keeping to our commitment to mutual flourishing in every process.”

The full text of the review is available here.


Sir Philip’s report can be found here.

The House of Bishops response to Sir Philip’s report can be found here.


Forward in Faith has issued this press release: Nomination to the See of Sheffield: Lessons Learned

…Like Mr Nye, we look forward to news of the progress of the Implementation and Dialogue Group in carrying out its task of remedying this lack of education about the Five Guiding Principles and the 2014 settlement more generally. We hope that, when the next traditional catholic is nominated to a diocesan see, the fruit of its work will be seen in much more generous responses within and beyond the diocese concerned.

The House of Bishops’ Declaration also said, ‘It will be important that senior leadership roles within dioceses continue to be filled by people from across the range of traditions.’ The non-implementation of this commitment over the last four years suggests that educational work might usefully begin within the House of Bishops itself.


Supreme Court refuses South Carolina petition

The Episcopal News Service reports:
US Supreme Court refuses to hear South Carolina Episcopal Church property case
Breakaway group vows to continue legal fight

The United States Supreme Court refused June 11 a petition by a group that broke away from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina asking it to review a state court ruling that said property, assets and most of the diocese’s parishes must be returned to the Episcopal Church and its recognized diocese, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

The petition for a writ of certiorari from a group that broke away from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina asked the court to consider “whether the ‘neutral principles of law’ approach to resolving church property disputes requires courts to recognize a trust on church property even if the alleged trust does not comply with the state’s ordinary trust and property law.”

The breakaway group said in its Feb. 13 petition that the majority of the South Carolina Supreme Court justices did not take the “neutral” approach.

The high court justices discussed the case (17.1136) during their June 7 conference and denied the request without comment on June 11…

The (ACNA-affiliated) Diocese of South Carolina has issued this press release:
Diocese’s Petition for Cert Denied by United States Supreme Court

…The Diocese of South Carolina will now return to our state courts, where the case has been remitted to the Dorchester Courthouse where it originated. An element of TEC‘s argument for the United States Supreme Court to deny our petition was the “fractured” nature of the South Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling. Constitutional issues aside, the Diocese believes the conflicted nature of the current State Supreme Court ruling is virtually unenforceable as written. Interpretation and implementation of that ruling, given its five separate opinions, with no unified legal theory even among the plurality of the court, means there are still significant questions to resolve.

The Diocese remains confident that the law and the facts of this case favor our congregations. We plan to continue to press both to their logical conclusion, even if that requires a second appearance before the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Statement by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Diocesan Bishop: “While, obviously, we are disappointed that the Court did not review this case, our hope remains steadfast in our Heavenly Father. There are many unresolved legal questions which remain before the State Court as well as matters for prayerful discernment as we seek to carry out the mission to which we are called in Jesus Christ. We shall seek his guidance for both.”

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina issued this:
US Supreme Court Decision

… Today’s decision does not cause an immediate change in the physical control of the properties, according to Thomas S. Tisdale Jr., Chancellor of TECSC. It is now up to the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Common Pleas to execute the lower court’s decision.

TECSC and The Episcopal Church on May 8 asked the state court to place diocesan property and assets under control of TECSC‘s trustees, hand over ownership of property of the 28 affected parishes to The Episcopal Church and TECSC, and appoint a Special Master to oversee the transition.

The Episcopal Church has been hoping to engage with leaders of the breakaway group since the state Supreme Court ruling in August. Bishop Adams and other diocesan leaders have been seeking direct contact with people in the affected parishes, offering a “Frequently Asked Questions” publication and arranging individual meetings to work with those who want to remain in their home churches as Episcopalians.

Direct talks are even more important now that the Supreme Court has ruled, the Bishop said. “We invite people in each of the parishes affected by this decision to read the FAQ document and get in touch with me directly, so we can discover how best to work together for the good of the parish, the diocese and the whole Church,” Bishop Adams said…

The FAQ document mentioned above can be found here.


More reporting on the Bishop of Maidstone's letter

Updated again Tuesday afternoon

The reply from the Bishop of Maidstone to the Diocese of Lichfield ad clerum continues to get coverage.

We first reported this in our roundup of 6 June, which included a link to Colin Coward’s Open Letter to Archbishops Justin and Sentamu re: +Maidstone.

Since then:

Savi Hensman wrote about this at Ekklesia Bishop’s call to deny communion defies church on LGBTI welcome.

David Ison wrote about this at ViaMedia News Welcome, Disorder & Hypocrisy in the Church of England.

The Church Times reported David Ison’s article: Dean of St Paul’s enters debate on Lichfield’s ‘inclusion’ letter.

The Times (£) reported Gays and unmarried lovers should repent, bishop insists.

The Sunday Times (£) reported Gay Christians ‘being forced out’ by evangelical churches.

And Colin Coward has written a second article: A bishop authorised to discriminate against LGBTI people.


catholicity and covenant How +Maidstone gets ‘worthy reception’ wrong

Colin Coward has written The Archbishop of York refers matters to the Pastoral Advisory Group.


Opinion – 9 June 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of worthiness and sacraments

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love A bishop authorised to discriminate against LGBTI people

Savi Hensman Ekklesia Bishop’s call to deny communion defies church on LGBTI welcome

Meg Warner ViaMedia.News Sex & the Single Girl

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Inclusion is more than being nice


Abuse survivors respond to safeguarding liturgy resources

We linked previously to the resources published by the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England, Towards a Safer Church.

Today the Church Times has a news report: Survivors of clerical abuse object to C of E safeguarding liturgy guide.

SURVIVORS of clerical sex abuse have criticised the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England, saying that the safeguarding liturgy guide that it published last week had not been informed or approved by survivors, as had been claimed (News, 1 June).

The liturgy guide, Towards a Safer Church: Some liturgical resources, states that, while most of the Bible readings, prayers, hymns, and set liturgy were already in general use, the texts had been supplemented by new material, including prayers suggested by survivors.

An accompanying blog written by the Bishop of Stockport, the Rt Revd Libby Lane, said that the content had been “chosen in consultation with survivors”…

The article then refers to a letter, which can – and should – be read in full here, from eight survivors (scroll down to fourth item).

Sir, — We are survivors of physical and sexual abuse by office-holders in the Church. Our abusers include bishops, a dean, an archdeacon, several parish clergy, and at least one Reader. We are just a few of the scores of victim survivors who are forced to struggle for justice against the deaf and intransigent hierarchy of the Church.

Last week, one more example was added. The Liturgical Commission published a set of resources (“Safeguarding liturgy for survivors is published”, News, 31 May), which, it said, had been “chosen in consultation with survivors”. This was not true, as the compilers presumably knew.

One of our number, Graham Wilmer, who reviewed the collection, is very unhappy that his comments about it have been taken out of context and used without his permission in the launch material. No other survivors appear to have been consulted. MACSAS, the organisation for Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors, was not approached; nor was the collection seen or approved by those survivors who sit on the National Safeguarding Panel — the only national Church of England body with representative victims of abuse…

In the news report, the Bishop of Hereford, vice-chair of the Liturgical Commission, responds:

…“We apologise if survivors on the National Safeguarding Panel feel that they were not adequately consulted,” he said.

“The resources were referenced at the April meeting, and one survivor representative on the group — along with survivors from other parts of Church life — had been consulted in depth, and he commended them at that meeting.

“Our prayer is that they will be used by all those involved in safeguarding as part of our commitment to make our churches a safer place for all. As a commission, we are committed to reviewing and supplementing these resources as their use becomes more widespread.”

One of the survivors, Janet Fife has written two articles at Surviving Church which analyse the perceived failings of these resources in much more detail.

‘Towards a Safer Church’ Part 1 by Janet Fife

Towards a Safer Church A Critique Part 2 by Janet Fife


Inclusive Church Annual Lecture 25 July 2018


The annual lecture organised by Inclusive Church will this year be delivered by Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall.

The lecture title is: Faith and LGBT: Building Bridges in a Polarised World.

The lecture will be in Leicester Cathedral on the evening of 25 July, and will follow a short AGM. The proceedings begin at 6.45 p.m.

Full details and booking (needed for catering purposes) can be found here.

Everyone is invited.


Opinion – 6 June 2018

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News Changes – Facing the Strange…

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love How comfortable are the bishops with the Love that Dares to Speak its Name?

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the Church 4: beyond church services

The Bishop of Maidstone has written this Reply from Bishop Rod Thomas to the Bishop of Lichfield’s ad clerum on ‘Welcoming and Honouring LGBT+ people’ in the diocese. We linked to the ad clerum here.
Colin Coward has written this Open Letter to Archbishops Justin and Sentamu re: +Maidstone in response.

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Encouragement for Churches: 4 Points On Welcoming Children


Brazilian Anglicans vote to marry same-sex couples

Updated Tuesday morning

Savi Hensman reports at Ekklesia:

Brazilian Anglicans’ ‘yes’ to marrying same-sex couples

The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil has decided to open up church marriage to same-sex couples. On 1 June 2018 its synod voted by a huge majority – 57 in favour, three against and two abstentions – to amend the rules (canons) on who could marry.

“I felt the decision was a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work. This widens our boundaries, allowing us to be more welcoming to the diversity of people in our country”, said the Primate (most senior bishop), Francisco de Assis da Silva.

This follows decades of discussion on sexuality, with more intensive debate in recent years. A handful of churches in the Anglican Communion (and certain other denominations) already allow clergy to marry same-sex couples, though Brazil is the first in the South to say ‘yes’…

The Anglican Communion News Service now has this comprehensive report: Brazil’s Anglican Church changes its canons to permit same-sex marriage. This article includes comment from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, and lists the state of play on this topic in other provinces which have taken, or are contemplating, similar action.

As of 2 pm Monday, there is no other report on this in English elsewhere, except for the press release copied below the fold, which has appeared at Anglican Ink.



Towards a Safer Church: Liturgical Resources

On Friday, the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England published “safeguarding resources, for use in churches across the country, including Bible readings, prayers and suggested hymns, chosen in consultation with survivors” under the title Towards a Safer Church: Liturgical Resources.

There is a press release here, and the liturgical resources are available in PDF format here

The Chair of the Liturgical Commission, Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, in an introduction to the resources has written:

The Church needs to be at the vanguard of fostering a change of culture across society. Safeguarding is at the forefront of public consciousness and the Church needs to embody best practice in safeguarding in our network of parishes, schools and chaplaincies as part of our commitment to excellence in pastoral care.

Many of these resources are already being used widely across our churches, but we thought it would be helpful to gather them into one place for ease of access. Collectively they are neither the first word nor the last word on this subject, but they are offered in the hope that by God’s grace the Church may become a safer place where everyone is valued.

Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport, has also written about the resources here

The resources have been compiled by the Liturgical Commission and staff, in consultation with survivors, who have themselves suggested some of the resources, with the aim providing prayers and other resources for various occasions. This includes use with survivors and others directly affected, as well as events such as the commissioning of safeguarding officers in parishes and dioceses. Most of the material had been previously published (including commended and authorized liturgical texts), but it has been brought together in one place so that it is easier to find and to use.

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New Scottish Bishops elected

We reported here on the short-listed candidates for election as Bishop of Brechin and Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. The elections took place today and the Rev Canon Ian Paton has been elected as the new Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, and the Very Rev Andrew Swift has been elected as the new Bishop of Brechin.

Details are here in the official press release: New Bishops elected.


Opinion – 2 June 2018

Philip North Church Times The spreadsheet or the cross — time to choose
“A radical change of mindset is needed to close the vast gap in wealth between the dioceses”
and in response
Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of spreadsheets and the cross

Richard Coles Church Times The spiritual potential of Twitter
“Social media can align the values of the Kingdom and this world”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church ‘The Gift of Reproof’. Making peace with accusers

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