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:
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 groupBishop 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.’
The full text of the letter is now linked, and can be found here.73 Comments
Neal Michell The Living Church Outreach in the Smaller Church: Four Lessons
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Bible translations and dogma
Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of The Clash, Bonhoeffer, and the Church of England.
Bishop David Walker Viamedia.News My Struggles with Fear & Distrust
Ian Gomersall St Chrysostom’s Church News and Views Mother N and Father M
Jody Stowell Women and the Church God; She, He and everything in between26 Comments
General Synod February 2019
The Business Committee of the Church of England General Synod has agreed the outline timings for the February 2019 group of sessions.
Synod will meet from 2.30pm on Wednesday February 20 to 4pm on Saturday February 23 at Church House Westminster.
Following the workshops and seminars in York in July, there will be a update on progress with Living in Love and Faith and the plans for completing the project through a presentation as part of the main Synod agenda as well as a collection of fringe meetings.
It is anticipated that the timetable will be published in December.5 Comments
Updated Sunday evening
When we reported on this case in 2015 we used the headline: Ashers Bakery judgement generates controversy.
This week the UK Supreme Court issued its judgment. The full text is available here.
The Church of Ireland has published: Statement on Ashers bakery case judgment.
The Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Kearon, Chair of the Church of Ireland’s Church and Society Commission, made the following statement regarding the UK Supreme Court’s judgment in the case involving Ashers bakery on Wednesday, 10th October.
‘We welcome the affirmation of religious freedom and expression in this particular case. This is a complex issue which does involve the balancing of rights. The decision by the Supreme Court in this case affirms the rights of the business and does not significantly impact on the freedom of choice for the customer.’
The case is analysed in various places, including:
Disagreement with the decision has been expressed here:
Agreement with it came from:
Many more links here.
The Diocese of Canterbury has announced that the Bishop of Dover will retire in May 2019.
The Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury, has announced his intention to retire in May 2019. He has served in this role since February 2010, taking on additional responsibilities for the Channel Islands in 2014. Bishop Trevor will conclude his public ministry on 12 May at Canterbury Cathedral…
The Bishop of Dover exercises most of the functions of his diocesan bishop, allowing the Archbishop of Canterbury to concentrate on other things.2 Comments
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Institutional Narcissism and response to abuse survivors
Harriet Sherwood The Observer Church and state – an unhappy union?12 Comments
The Bell Society, which seeks to restore the reputation of Bishop George Bell, held a second Rebuilding Bridges conference on 5 October. See here for more information about the first conference, held in February. Note that this organisation is distinct from the George Bell Group.
One of the speakers on 5 October was Lord Carey. The full text of his remarks has been published by Archbishop Cranmer. He also discusses the separate case of Bishop Peter Ball.55 Comments
Colin Blakely ViaMedia.News Preaching to the Converted?
Tim Matthews Church Times Let’s dispel some myths about church-plants
“There is much more to them than smoothie bars and smoke machines”
Roy McCloughry Church Times A theology of pain
“Roy McCloughry considers the presence of God in the experience of pain”
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Toxic Masculinity -A problem for the Church?
Stephen Mattson Sojourners The Church Must Listen to Women
Diocese of London Why open up?
Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Celibacy: The Gift of Alone for the Whole Church
Erika Baker ViaMedia.News Lizzie’s Legacy – The Urgent Need for Signposting in Every Church3 Comments
Call for ‘Big Conversation’ on clergy care and well-being
The Church of England is being invited to take part in a ‘Big Conversation’ on a new deal to coordinate and improve its approach to clergy care and well-being, in a set of draft documents published today.
The suggested text of a Covenant for Clergy Care and Well-being, modelled on the Military Covenant, is published for consultation along with a set of proposed shared commitments between ministers, churches and the wider church.
The documents have been drawn up by a Working Group appointed last year following a debate at the General Synod which heard of the impact of stress, isolation and loneliness on clergy’s lives and ministries.
In a report published alongside the Covenant, the Working Group calls for shared responsibility for clergy well-being between ministers, churches, dioceses and the national church. It also sets a goal of a culture change in the Church of England towards greater concern for the health and well-being of its ordained ministers.
Canon Simon Butler, who chaired the Working Group, said: “We are calling for a ‘Big Conversation’ on clergy care and well-being and we are providing the framework for this to happen. Our aim is not to be prescriptive, but to promote a conversation which will lead to action across all levels of the church, from members of local churches through to the Cathedrals and National Church Institutions.
“Our goal is to bring about a culture change in the Church towards greater awareness of our shared responsibility to promote clergy care and well-being and a significant move towards a preventative approach alongside responsive care.
“The Working Group is very keen to listen to the responses before taking that into the final document for the Synod next summer. We are hoping that the Covenant and the report will be debated by every Diocesan Synod by the end of July 2020.”
The draft paper ‘A Covenant for Clergy Care and Well Being’ can be found here.
Details on the membership of the Working Group and last July’s General Synod debate can be found here.
We reported on the setting up of the working group here.
Madeleine Davies writes at length on the report for Church Times: Clergy burdened by unrealistic job specs, C of E told.3 Comments
Dr John Sentamu has announced that he will retire from his post as Archbishop of York on 7 June 2020, Trinity Sunday, 3 days prior to his 71st birthday. The official announcement is here.
Some press reports
Adam Becket Church Times Archbishop Sentamu announces his retirement — but not for another 21 months
Joe Cawthorn Yorkshire Evening Post Archbishop of York John Sentamu has announced his retirement date
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Archbishop of York says he will retire in 2020
Victoria Ward and Jamie Merrill The Telegraph Sentamu retirement opens door for Church of England’s first female archbishop34 Comments