Thinking Anglicans

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

55 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…)

20 Comments

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…)

6 Comments

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:

15 Comments

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.

78 Comments

Opinion – 13 October 2018

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 between

27 Comments

General Synod February 2019

Press release from the Church of England

General Synod February 2019
12/10/2018

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

Church of Ireland welcomes Ashers Bakery decision

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:

Update
Many more links here.

53 Comments

Bishop of Dover to retire in May 2019

The Diocese of Canterbury has announced that the Bishop of Dover will retire in May 2019.

Bishop of Dover announces retirement

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

Opinion – 10 October 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Institutional Narcissism and response to abuse survivors

Harriet Sherwood The Observer Church and state – an unhappy union?

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Toxic Masculinity & Our Use of Pronouns
… and in response …
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The myth of the masculine God

12 Comments

Lord Carey speaks at Rebuilding Bridges conference

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.

Lord Carey challenges Bishops to break their silence on the ‘significant cloud’ hanging over the name of Bishop George Bell

55 Comments

Opinion – 6 October 2018

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”

26 Comments

Opinion – 3 October 2018

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 Church

3 Comments