The Title IV Reference Panel for the discipline of bishops – composed of Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops Cate Waynick, and Bishop for Pastoral Development Todd Ousley – announced it voted earlier today, pursuant to Episcopal Church Canon IV.11.3, to refer to a Hearing Panel the matter related to Bishop William Love’s November 10, 2018 Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive. Bishop Love’s pastoral letter and pastoral directive referred to the 2018 Resolution B012 of the General Convention. Under the Canons, the Hearing Panel will conduct a proceeding and then “reach a determination of the matter by (a) dismissal of the matter or (b) issuance of an Order.” (Canon IV.13.12)…
…Love, who is one of an estimated 135 bishops and bishops-elect who are in Minneapolis this week for the fall House of Bishops meeting, was informed of the decision at about the same time as The Episcopal Church issued a late-afternoon press release on the update in his case. He told Episcopal News Service on Sept. 19 that he was “thankful” that the matter had made it to the hearing panel, as he denied that he had done anything wrong.
“What I tried to do as best I can, by the grace of God, is to be faithful and obedient to that which I believe the Lord has called me to, even though it sometimes can be very difficult, and sometimes it’s not politically correct,” he said…
…Love told ENS on Sept. 19 that he thought he was upholding his vows by taking the position he did, not violating them.
“I chose to take the action that I did, trying to be faithful and obedient to my understanding of what I believe God has revealed through Holy Scripture, what the church has taught for over 2,000 years and what the wider Body of Christ has been asking us to do,” he said.
He added that he had no intention to lead Episcopalians away from the church over the issue, though some in his diocese have told him they would not stay if same-sex marriage is allowed there.
I am currently at the fall House of Bishops’ Meeting in Minneapolis, where I was informed earlier this afternoon, that the Title IV Reference Panel for the discipline of bishops has met and voted (in accordance with the Canons of the Church) to refer to the Hearing Panel the matter related to my November 10, 2018 Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive regarding the 79th General Convention 2018 Resolution B012.
I greatly appreciate the Reference Panel’s decision to expedite the process by referring this matter directly to the Hearing Panel, where I will have the opportunity to address the concerns raised by the issuance of the November 10, 2018 Pastoral Letter and Directive (which upholds the Church’s traditional understanding and teaching on marriage.
Now that the Reference Panel has acted, canonical timelines will be put in place, ensuring that the remainder of the Title IV Process should move much more quickly. It is my hope and prayer that God’s will, will ultimately be accomplished whatever the outcome of the Title IV proceedings.
I appreciate so much all of you who have been holding me and the Diocese of Albany up in prayer. I will keep you posted as I learn more.
The Archdeacon of Rochdale was today (Thurs) elected as the next Bishop of Monmouth.
The Venerable Cherry Vann secured the necessary two-thirds majority vote from members of the Electoral College on the last day of its meeting at Newport Cathedral.
The announcement was made by the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, President of the Electoral College.
He said, “I am looking forward enormously to working with Cherry. She has a huge amount that she will be able to contribute to the life, not only to the Diocese of Monmouth, but also to the Church in Wales.
“One area I know is very close to her heart is the church’s ministry in post-industrial areas where community life, and church life in particular perhaps, has suffered enormously. The diocese, a little while ago, appointed a new archdeacon with responsibility for those areas, but having a bishop with great experience of them will be a huge morale boost for them.”
Bishop Elect Vann said the challenges facing churches in south-east Wales were the same as those in the north-west of England. She said, “The towns around Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Ashton are significantly challenged, both economically and in terms of church life. We’ve done some statistics, and a very, very small percentage of the population are going to our churches. This is something that we have been working hard to address in the Manchester area and I look forward to bringing some of the wisdom and knowledge I’ve gained from there to Newport and the Diocese of Monmouth.
“It struck me when I read the diocesan profile how similar Monmouth Diocese is to Manchester, on a smaller scale, but the challenges are the same, the demographics are the same and it’s really good to be here to lead the people of Newport in the next challenges that lie ahead.”
Originally from Leicestershire, Bishop Elect Vann has served as Archdeacon of Rochdale, in the Diocese of Manchester, for the past 11 years. She trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge, and was ordained as a deacon in 1989. Among the first women to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1994, she has spent her entire ministry so far in the Diocese of Manchester, in Flixton, Bolton and Farnworth. She is also an honorary canon of Manchester Cathedral and a former chaplain to deaf people.
Ms Vann holds senior posts in the governance of the Church of England. She has been Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York since 2013 and is an ex-officio member of the Archbishops’ Council.
A talented pianist, Ms Vann is both an Associate of the Royal College of Music (ARCM) and a Graduate of the Royal Schools of Music. She conducts the Bolton Chamber Orchestra.
Ms Vann will be the Bishop Elect until the appointment is formally confirmed by the Archbishop at a Sacred Synod service. She will be then be consecrated as bishop at Brecon Cathedral – the seat of the current Archbishop – and enthroned as the 11th Bishop of Monmouth at Newport Cathedral.
Watch a short film of the Archbishop and the Bishop Elect Cherry Vann:
on Thursday, 19 September 2019 at 10.30 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England
The Church of England’s College of Bishops met earlier this week. The college comprises all diocesan and suffragan bishops and meets twice a year. A very brief press release has been issued and is copied below.
College of Bishops
The College of Bishops met in Oxford from 16th to 18th September 2019.
Time was spent in prayerful reflection. The bishops reviewed the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group and considered progress to date of Living in Love and Faith, the Church of England’s teaching and learning resources on relationships, marriage, identity and sexuality, which are currently under development.
The College also reflected on the national situation, discussing the outlook for Brexit.
They also considered the vision for theological education and explored ministry plans in dioceses.
Oxford University dons have been accused of trying to avoid ‘damning criticism’ of their ill-fated effort to force out a college dean by having their names removed from a report.
Trustees at Christ Church college have spent more than £1 million on legal fees during a year-long feud with the dean, the Very Reverend Professor Martyn Percy.
The senior dons levelled charges of ‘immoral, scandalous or disgraceful conduct’ against the dean – but the case was thrown out at a tribunal chaired by retired High Court judge Sir Andrew Smith earlier this year.
Now Jonathan Aitken, the former Tory Minister and a Christ Church alumnus, has alleged that further funds are being spent to ensure that the names of some of the accusers are redacted from the 110-page tribunal report, which the dean’s supporters want published in full.
In a letter to Baroness Stowell, chairman of the Charity Commission, he wrote: ‘It is now known that some parts of the tribunal’s report… contain devastating criticisms of individual members of the governing body, particularly those officers of the college who led the attack on the dean.
‘It is those same officers who are now fighting the battle to have the tribunal report redacted.
‘They are, without the authority of the full governing body, instructing more expensive lawyers (paid for by charitable funds) to provide them with opinions to justify the attempted censorship.’
Calling on the Charity Commission to intervene, Mr Aitken claims the college has already spent £1.6 million on bringing the tribunal and the bill could soar to more than £2 million.
‘The scandal of wrongful charitable governance at Christ Church has grown, is continuing to grow and will soon become notorious as a result of media coverage, action by angry members of the wider Christ Church community, withdrawal of support by charitable donors and possible questions in Parliament,’ he added…
…Alongside his letter to the charity commission, Aitken gave Cherwell the following comment, “Like many members of the Christ Church Alumni Association, I regard it as a scandal of governance that the full Governing Body of the College has been refused sight of a full, unredacted copy of the Tribunal’s findings and reasons for clearing the Dean of all charges.”
“The notion that a small cabal of anti-Dean Dons can censor the Tribunal’s report is an attempt at self-serving protection for themselves because they are severely criticised in the Appendices of the report.”
“The wounds at Christ Church need to be healed, in the longer term, by a sustained effort by all parties towards truth and reconciliation. This remains impossible as long as the truth contained in the Tribunal’s findings is not allowed to be seen by the Governing Body. In my mind the big question is: ‘Can the Governing Body govern itself?”
…In a recent letter to undergraduates, Dean Martyn Percy said: “I am writing to thank you for your support of Christ Church over these past months. This has not been an easy year for the House, but I want to reassure you that we are committed to Christ Church and its flourishing. Like a family, even in the midst of difficult times, we retain our core purposes and identity.
“It will take time to reflect on the events of the past year, and we would ask you to allow us the space to do this. The House will need to carefully consider the tribunal process and, more generally, its governance arrangements. The latter will be reviewed through an independent review as has been recommended by the Charity Commission. I ask you to please bear with us whilst we undertake this important work. As you can appreciate, we will not be commenting further until the review has been concluded.”
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Richard Charles Jackson MA MSc for election as Bishop of Hereford.
Published 3 September 2019
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Richard Charles Jackson MA MSc, Bishop of Lewes, for election as Bishop of Hereford in succession to the Right Reverend Richard Michael Cokayne Frith BA MA, who is due to retire on 30th November 2019.
Richard was educated at Christ Church, Oxford and Cranfield University and trained for ministry at Trinity College, Bristol. He served his title at All Saints, Lindfield in the Diocese of Chichester and was ordained Priest in 1995.
In 1998, Richard was appointed Vicar of Holy Trinity, Rudgwick and in 2005 took up the additional role of Rural Dean of Horsham. Richard became Diocesan Adviser for Mission and Renewal in 2009 and took up his role as Bishop of Lewes in 2014.
The Hereford Diocesan website has more details here, and the Chichester website has this.
The Church of England has published its Ministry Statistics for 2018 today. Available are the Ministry Statistics 2018 themselves and a commentary provided by the Revd Dr Mandy Ford, interim Director of Ministry. In addition detailed diocesan tables can be found in a separate excel file. There is also the following press release.
Ministry Statistics published
The number of female clergy in the Church of England continues to rise with more women than men entering training for ordained ministry for the second year running, according to statistics published today.
More women, 54%, than men began training for ordained ministry in 2018, for the second year running. Just under a third, or 30%, of the estimated 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England were female compared to 27% in 2014, according to Ministry Statistics for 2018.
The report also shows the proportion of senior posts such as dean or bishop occupied by women rose from 23 per cent to 25 per cent over the last year. The figures do not take into account six new appointments of female bishops this year, bringing the total so far to 24.
The proportion of people identifying as from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds starting training for ordained ministry in the Church of England rose to 8% in 2018, compared to 4% in 2016.
Around a third, or 33%, of people beginning their training last year were under 35 years old and more than half, or 53%, were under 45.
Meanwhile the number of men and women being ordained as deacon rose from 485 in 2016 to 535 in 2019.
The figures have been released as the Church of England seeks to fulfil a key target of a 50% increase in the number of candidates for ordination as part of its programme of Renewal and Reform.
Mandy Ford, Interim Director of the Ministry Division of the Church of England, said: “I am thankful for the hard work and prayers of the parishes and dioceses in helping us to increase the numbers of people coming forward for ordained ministry, a key aim of the Renewal and Reform programme.”
Ministry Statistics 2018 and commentary can be found here.
Renewal and Reform is part of a programme to ensure that the Church of England once more becomes a growing church for all people in all places.
on Wednesday, 28 August 2019 at 1.05 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of England
A group of Church of England bishops has issued an open letter on the prospect of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and the need for national reconciliation, notwithstanding the potential prorogation of Parliament.The full text and list of signatories can be found here: Bishops issue open letter on Brexit.
“It is an unexpected privilege to be asked to chair this proposed Citizens’ Forum on Brexit. In the past this kind of gathering has, in many places and in difficult situations, opened the way for careful deliberation if at the right time and genuinely representative.
“I am honoured to be approached and would be willing to accept in principle, subject to some conditions which have not yet been met. The main three are first, and indispensably, that the forum should not be a Trojan horse intended to delay or prevent Brexit in any particular form. That power can only be exercised by the government and MPs in parliament. A forum must be open to all possibilities. Second, that it has cross party support (although its members will not be politicians). Third, the process must have time to be properly organised.
“Jesus Christ is the source of reconciliation and healing for individuals and society. It is obviously right that among many others the churches should contribute to the emergence of a dynamic and united country post-Brexit, however it may be achieved. Every one of us must play the part they can in this task.
“The need for national healing and eventually for a move towards reconciliation is essential, and will take much time, a deep commitment to the common good, and contributions from every source. This Forum is only one of many different efforts being made inside the political world and across the country before and after Brexit. Every effort counts.
“Let us pray for all those in government, parliament and political leadership. Let us pray for the people of this country whose lives will be affected in many ways by the momentous decisions that are made.”
As required by Christ Church’s Statutes, an internal tribunal was convened to consider a complaint raised against the Dean in September 2018. Following a thorough investigation, the tribunal has decided that the charges are not upheld and that there is no cause to remove the Dean as Head of House. However, the tribunal made some criticism of the Dean’s conduct and found that there was one breach of his fiduciary duty.
We can therefore announce that Martyn Percy will resume his duties as Dean of Christ Church, on his return from holiday on 27th August. The complaint process has now concluded.
Following the announcement by Christ Church this evening, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, has issued this statement:
“I am delighted to learn that this matter is now resolved. I look forward to seeing Martyn return to the Cathedral and his duties as Dean of Christ Church. This news will be widely welcomed across the Diocese of Oxford. These have been testing times for all involved, and my prayers are with Martyn and Emma, the Chapter and wider College in the coming months.”
Two items relating to Church of England safeguarding in today’s Church Times.
First a letter from Martin Sewell, which can be accessed here (scroll down to fourth item). Do read the whole letter, what follows is only an extract:
Safeguarding case is not as complex as claimed
Sir Roger Singleton (Letters, 9 August) describes the case of the Revd Matt Ineson as “very complex”. I disagree; it is undoubtedly a serious matter, not least to the parties concerned, but anyone with experience of child-protection trials will know that this dispute presents few difficulties out of the ordinary compared with other cases that principally turn on disputed testimony…
…Mr Ineson undoubtedly disclosed his abuse to the police, his lawyers, and various bishops. All that needs to be resolved is to whom, when, in what terms, what was done with the information, and whether the bishops’ actions met the requisite standards of their office. They are entitled to a presumption of innocence, and proof must be on the balance of probabilities. It really is not that hard.
The prompt resolution of disputes depends on well-developed good practice. Essential requirements are: an agreed comprehensive chronology; an agreed summary of facts not in dispute; an agreed summary of facts in dispute; an agreed summary of issues to be determined; case summaries from either side, identifying any relevant law and guidelines; and a decent index. The skill is all in the preparation of these documents. Once they are in place, most of the judgment writes itself.
I have long argued that the Church needs to employ one or two specialist lawyers to sort these things out. We seem to pay a lot of money to expensive lawyers who advise that these matters are complex. We should invest a little in those who do the majority of this kind of work and for whom it is utterly routine.
Securing a clean and competent review is relatively easy, but the survivors I talk to doubt the Church’s commitment to running a simple and fair fact-finding process. Talk of a learned-lessons review sounds reasonable, but actually represents a deliberately narrow defining of the process, one that excludes the more embarrassing aspects of the case.
If past reviews are anything to go by, any such process will not even result in a free debate of any report at the General Synod and will be quietly consigned into the same oubliette into which past reviews have disappeared without trace or noticeable change.
Speaking to the BBC Sunday programme, Kate Blackwell QC, an expert in such inquiries, described the review as “compromised before it’s even started”. Sir Roger and his team need to go back to the drawing board urgently. The Church still doesn’t get it.
General Synod member for Rochester diocese
Keith Makin, a former director of social services with more than 30 years experience in the social care field, will lead the independent lessons learnt review which will consider the response of the Church of England and its officers to the allegations against John Smyth. Keith has led on a number of serious case reviews and has chaired several local safeguarding partnerships…
There is more detail about Keith Makin, and at the bottom of the release there are links to earlier statements from the church about this case.
The Terms of Reference are over here. There are 9 pages of detail, but it starts this way:
These instructions set out the basis on which the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England commissions Keith Makin (“the Reviewer”) to undertake a review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations relating to the conduct of the late John Smyth QC.
The Review will consider the response of the Church of England and its officers to those allegations, and the response of other organisations, namely Winchester College, the Titus Trust, and the Scripture Union, to the extent that those organisations are willing to co-operate. The approach of those organisation to the Review at the time of its commencement is as follows:
Winchester College. Winchester College has stated that it anticipates that it will cooperate with the Review, providing all relevant information on a voluntary basis, i.e. with the status of an Interested Party rather than a Subject Organisation. In such a capacity, subject to the matter of any live litigation, Winchester College will share its own findings and answer any questions so far as it reasonably can.
The Titus Trust. The Titus Trust has stated that it is restricted in its participation in the review by ongoing legal action and it is not able to engage in the Review until this has been resolved.
The Scripture Union. The Scripture Union has confirmed that it will not participate in the Review.
These instructions are given by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) of the Churchof England, acting on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council. This document should be read alongside, and forms part of, the agreement between the Reviewer and theArchbishops’ Council in relation to this review (“the Agreement”), in particular, provisions relating to confidentiality and data protection…
There has been extensive media coverage of this announcement: