Thinking Anglicans

A response to the bishops’ statement on Brexit

The Reverend Al Barrett is the incumbent of Hodge Hill Church – a partnership between St Philip & St James (Church of England – Birmingham Diocese) and Hodge Hill United Reformed Church. He blogs regularly at This estate we’re in and he has written this: “Not peace, but a sword”: a response to the bishops’ statement.

This is quite a long analysis and deserves to be read in full  He starts out this way:

There is, I realise, something slightly perverse about criticising a unanimous statement, from the Church of England’s bishops, attempting to speak with urgency into a time of profound national division. I also realise it’s not the first time I’ve responded publicly, and critically, to a statement made by my denomination’s senior leadership at a moment of political ‘crisis’. I’m sure there are words for people like me, and ‘irritant’ is probably the politest of them.

But these are indeed critical moments in our national life, and thankfully our bishops rarely presume to have ‘the last word’ in such moments. With whatever authority they seek to speak, their interventions are invitations (implicit or explicit) to further reflection and conversation – and it is to that implicit invitation that I cannot help but respond – with some ‘wonderings’ that can claim no more authority than the bishops’ statement, and certainly no more claim to be ‘the last word’ of a vital ongoing conversation.

I can only imagine the anguished discussions, in person, on the phone, by email, between the bishops in the process of agreeing this unanimous statement. The felt importance of presenting a ‘united front’, a single message – when they will no doubt have, among themselves, had passionate disagreements about the content, the tone, and even whether they should be saying anything public at all. I feel for them in those struggles. None of this is easy. To say anything, as much as to say nothing, is risky, costly, weighty in its responsibility…

And here is his concluding paragraph:

…Here, then, is the dilemma confronting the Church of England, in a nutshell: how do we ‘own up’ with penitent honesty to our own profoundly imbalanced and compromised social location and institutional reality (dominated by White, upper-/middle-class men), while seeking complex solidarities with diverse and marginalized ‘others’ who present challenges to both the church and wider society, and courageously challenging the powers-that-be where power is both concentrated and abused? The answer must, surely, include a willingness to give up – or be stripped of – most of the traces of institutional power that the Church of England, especially, continues to benefit from – even that of presuming to speak into political debate with some kind of ‘authoritative voice’. It must also, equally certainly, include an unshakeable commitment to listen acutely, attentively, enduringly, and with a radical receptivity, to the many within, and beyond the Church who are not White, or not middle-class, or not male, in ways that challenge and change us, to our very DNA. Only in the context of that ongoing commitment to listening, repentance and change can we humbly and courageously seek to ‘speak truth to power’.

But do, please, read the whole thing.

19 Comments

Opinion – 28 September 2019

Rachel Mann Church Times How Life of Brian drew me to Christianity
“Church leaders who condemned the film on its release 40 years ago missed its evangelistic potential”

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Andrew Lightbown Theore0 That under her we may be godly and quietly governed.

Church Times Leader Under judgment

1 Comment

Bishops call for respect on all sides amid Brexit debate

Updated to add press reports and comment

Press release from the Church of England

Bishops call for respect on all sides amid Brexit debate
27/09/2019

The bishops of the Church of England have issued a call for respect on all sides amid growing acrimony over the debate on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

A joint statement issued on behalf of the Church of England’s College of Bishops calls for a new tone of listening and respect in debates and describes the use of language in some cases as “unacceptable”.

It calls for the 2016 referendum to be honoured and for the rule of law and impartiality of the courts to be upheld.

It adds: “We should speak to others with respect. And we should also listen. We should do this especially with the poor, with the marginalised, and with those whose voices are often not heard in our national conversation.

“We should not denigrate, patronise or ignore the honest views of fellow citizens, but seek to respect their opinions, their participation in society, and their votes.”

The full statement reads as follows:

As Bishops of the Church of England, we make this statement conscious of the great challenges to our nations and to their leaders. In writing, we affirm our respect for the June 2016 Referendum, and our belief that the result should be honoured.

In the last few days, the use of language, both in debates and outside Parliament, has been unacceptable.

We should speak to others with respect. And we should also listen. We should do this especially with the poor, with the marginalised, and with those whose voices are often not heard in our national conversation. We should not denigrate, patronise or ignore the honest views of fellow citizens, but seek to respect their opinions, their participation in society, and their votes.

The teachings of Jesus Christ call for us to be generous and humble servants; virtues which are for all leaders, whatever their faith.

We call on politicians to adhere rigorously to the rule of law and on all to respect and uphold the impartiality of the courts and our judiciary.

Our concern is also for the structure and the constitution of the United Kingdom. To use the words of Jesus, we must renew the structures that enable us to “love one another”. Changes to our principles and values of government, if necessary, should be through careful planning and consultation.

It is easy to descend into division and abuse – climbing out and finding unity again takes far longer. Further entrenching our divisions, whether from uncertainty or from partisanship, is not worthy of our country nor the leadership we now need. We are a body that understands from our own experience the dangers of division. It is our view and most solemn warning that we must find better ways of acting.

Further information:

  • The statement was drafted by a group of senior bishops on behalf of the Church of England’s College of Bishops following its three-day residential meeting in Oxford last week.
  • The Church of England is encouraging individuals, churches and other organisations to help make social media and the web more widely positive places for conversations to happen by signing the Digital Charter, a voluntary pledge. Find out more and sign up to the Digital Charter here.

Press reports

Church Times Love one another, Bishops urge politicians

The Guardian Language in Brexit debate unacceptable, say C of E bishops

Daily Mail All 118 archbishops and bishops in the Church of England condemns ‘unacceptable’ language used by MPs

Christian Today Language in Brexit debate has become ‘unacceptable’, say bishops

Premier Anglican bishops: Hostility in Brexit debate ‘not worthy of our country’

Comment

David Walker ViaMedia.News Rhetoric of a Playground Bully or Political Discourse?

Barbara Glasson President of the Methodist Conference Statement on political situation

Archbishop Cranmer Bishops urge Boris to get on and deliver Brexit

26 Comments

Bishops comment on Parliamentary proceedings

Updated

The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines  published this comment on the proceedings in the House of Commons yesterday: Language and leadership

The language used in the House of Commons last night is probably unprecedented. Drawing the name of a murdered MP into the fight was, at the very least, questionable. To describe the contribution of female MPs, pleading with the PM to moderate his language in the light of violence and death threats, as ‘humbug’ is appalling.

I am the bishop of a diocese in which Jo Cox is remembered with massive affection and in which there is great sensitivity to utilisation of her for political purposes. Her family are not just names to be traded.

Words are not neutral – they can become weapons. Words in the mouth of leaders can shape the language and behaviour of all sorts of people, and not always positively. The challenge of leadership is to lead, to behave like the adult in the room, to see the big picture, to hold the long-term perspective, and not to lose sight of the key issue…

The Church Times reported this as:  Baines challenges Johnson over ‘destructive language’

Premier Radio reported on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks in the House of Lords yesterday: Justin Welby says in House of Lords that parliament’s reputation has sunk “very, very low”.

The Church Times reported thus: Divisiveness is shaking the country apart, warns Welby

The Archbishop in fact made two interventions yesterday, here are the transcripts:

Does the Minister agree that Parliament has, justifiably or not, seen its reputation sink very low over the last few months and that one of the ways of dealing with that is transparency? Regardless of how many letters there may or may not be, will he therefore undertake that the Government will be completely transparent and honest in the spirit and not merely the letter of the law about the actions they take over the next few weeks in connection with an extension?

My Lords, this debate –for want of a better word–demonstrates, I am sure the noble Lord would agree, the total division across Parliament. It is only a shadow of the immense divisions across the country, which the bishops find at every level, as they are immersed in every local community. The divisions are shaking this country apart. They are shaking us apart in all our great institutions, whether it is Parliament or the courts, which are portrayed as having launched a coup d’état–a slightly unlikely idea–and it is causing serious damage to our economy. We are hearing in our debates the incapacity of Parliament not only to make a decision but to find any way through the deadlock. The divisions are so deep that we cannot expect, I fear, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, suggested, that cross-party work could bring a decision on what we do, but can we not at least ask the Government to look for alternative means of setting a path to making a decision?

At the moment, all we hear regarding a decision is that one side says it is definitely this and the other side says that. I am used to this in an organisation that is split at every level; I am well aware of division, so I am speaking from deep familiarity. The way forward must be, as we have done on numerous occasions, to work out how to get to a decision, because the present means of handling it through Parliament is not working. We need to draw on wider experience, on mediation and other forms, so that Operation Yellowhammer and the Statement that we have heard at least form part of a clear plan to arrive at a firm decision. Does the Minister agree?

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, said this yesterday in response to the reading in the Lords of the Prime Minister’s statement:

My Lords, speaking on behalf of these Benches, I struggle to have to say that I was shocked as I listened to the repeat of the Statement. I could not believe that I was hearing it, from someone who knows that the nation is deeply divided and needs to find ways of working together. We need humility, repentance when necessary and an approach that listens carefully to the views of others rather than simply “Attack, attack, attack”. The Leader was not in the House earlier when my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury was here, but I encourage her to read his comments about the need for reconciliation–to find a different way forward to work together that is good for the nation. In one sense I am simply adding to the mood of the House as a whole, but I come at it from a very different point of view; I am not part of a political party and I have no axe to grind. I simply want to reflect that this was terrible. It was shocking. It is not worthy. I am sorry.

And today, Thursday. the Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun, said this:

My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord for repeating the Statement and for making and underlining the commitment that the Government will obey the law. May I test that a little further? It seems to me that, in the current very fractious debate, what is needed is to respect the impartiality of those institutions upholding the constitution and the law. Will the Minister counsel his colleagues to use language that is appropriate and not excessive and that reflects respect for our institutions, the taking of personal responsibility and a degree of restraint? When Prayers are said by Bishops in this House, we pray every day for the well-being of all the estates in this realm. We all have a duty to make our own contribution towards that.

21 Comments

Opinion – 25 September 2019

Wesley Hill The Living Church Bibles for the Ages

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Long-term effects of Church Abuse

Helen King ViaMedia.News Wider Still & Wider…

17 Comments

Episcopal House of Bishops considers Lambeth 2020 exclusions

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church recently met, and one of the topics discussed was the exclusion of same-sex spouses from the invitations to attend the Lambeth Conference next year. That was reported on here in detail in earlier articles, starting here, and continuing here, then here, and also here, and finally here.

Following this week’s meeting this message was issued:

A Message of Love and Solidarity from the Bishops and Spouses to The Episcopal Church
For many bishops and bishops’ spouses of The Episcopal Church, next summer’s Lambeth Conference has become the occasion for a mixture of joy and sorrow, hope and disappointment. We cherish the bonds of affection that we enjoy with our Anglican siblings around the world. Gathering in prayer, study, and fellowship with our spiritual family is a gift for which we are profoundly grateful.

We, bishops and spouses choose to remain in community with each other as we navigate this passage in our common journey. We choose to remain one in the love of Jesus.

Our hearts are, however, troubled. The Lambeth Conference 2020 intentionally recognizes and underscores the important role bishops’ spouses play in the ministry of the episcopate. And yet, spouses of bishops in same-gender marriages have received no invitation to participate. Their exclusion wounds those who are excluded, their spouses, and their friends within and beyond the House of Bishops.

After faithful soul-searching, each bishop and spouse will arrive at a decision about how best to respond in the name of Christ. Some will attend and offer loving witness. Some will opt to stay at home as a different way to offer loving witness. Some will dedicate the resources not spent for Lambeth attendance to on-the-ground partnership projects as an alternative manifestation of our commitment to the Anglican Communion.  Others will find different avenues to express the unwavering love of Jesus Christ.

The community of bishops and spouses supports and stands together in solidarity with each of our brothers and sisters in this Episcopal Church as they make these decisions according to their conscience and through prayerful discernment and invite the siblings of The Episcopal Church to join us in that solidarity.

More information about how this statement came about is contained in several news stories about the meeting:
House of Bishops opens fall meeting with discussions of same-sex spouse exclusion from Lambeth 2020

…Curry alluded in his sermon to the variety of responses that Episcopal bishops are considering.

“We are going to Lambeth, but some of us can’t and some of us won’t. We’ll each have to make a decision of conscience, and that decision of conscience must be respected,” Curry said, adding that he will attend. “I’m going as a witness to the way of love that Jesus has taught me…”

Bishops step up preparations for Lambeth Conference amid anxiety over spousal invitations

…Should Episcopal bishops skip the conference in protest? Should they go and make their objections clear while in England? Should the spouses who were invited take their own principled stands, and what would that look like? Should the House of Bishops agree on a unified response to what some see as an injustice?

Such questions were to be raised during an afternoon session Sept. 19 in which the spouses accompanied the bishops. That session was closed to reporters, to allow for open and honest conversations, but earlier in the day, Episcopal News Service was able to sit in on the smaller group discussion and listen to about 15 of the bishops share their thoughts, sometimes conflicted, on the best paths forward.

Glasspool opened the discussion with a pragmatic approach.

“Let’s prepare ourselves as best we can, whether we’re making our witness at home or in England,” Glasspool said. She plans to travel to England with her wife, Becki Sander, even if Sander won’t be able to attend official Lambeth gatherings.

Glasspool also cautioned her fellow bishops not to let this one issue dominate discussions at Lambeth, especially if doing so might provoke a conservative reaction, such as a new statement opposing same-sex marriage.

“If you take away all the fear and all my anxiety and all everybody else’s anxiety and ratchet it down, it’s a two-week conference. … My hope for us is that we can prepare as best we can, that we don’t go in blind,” she said…

House of Bishops’ fall meeting grapples with range of issues, from reconciliation to innovation.

..Same-sex marriage also figured into the bishops’ discussions of the upcoming Lambeth Conference 2020, a gathering in England of all active bishops in the Anglican Communion. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby chose to invite openly gay and lesbian bishops but not their spouses, so part of the Episcopal bishops’ planning has involved deciding how to respond to that exclusion.

Welby’s decision is expected to affect at least three Episcopal bishops with same-sex spouses: New York Bishop Assistant Mary Glasspool, Maine Bishop Thomas Brown and the Rev. Bonnie Perry, who will be consecrated bishop of Michigan in February. All three attended the House of Bishops meeting in Minneapolis with their spouses.

Brown told Episcopal News Service on the first day of the meeting that he and his husband, the Rev. Thomas Mousin, were still deliberating over whether to go to England for the Lambeth Conference.

“We continue to be in prayer as a family, along with other bishops in the world … who have reached out arms of support and encouragement,” Brown said…

54 Comments

Opinion – 21 September 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Keith Makin and the Smyth review.

David Ison ViaMedia.News An Anglican Communion at a Crossroads?

5 Comments

Bishop of Albany to face disciplinary hearing

Updated

We last reported on the case of the Bishop of Albany in January.

Yesterday, The Episcopal Church issued a press release: Further Action on Bishop William Love’s November 10, 2018 Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive.

September 18, 2019

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)…

The Episcopal News Service has published a report, updated on 19 September: Albany Bishop William Love to face hearing in disciplinary case for blocking same-sex marriage. It includes comments from Bishop Love:

…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.

Update

The Diocese of Albany has published this message from Bishop Love

Dear Friends in Christ,

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.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,

+Bill

3 Comments

Cherry Vann to be the next Bishop of Monmouth

From a Church in Wales press release:

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:

http://bit.ly/2lXNJRm

5 Comments

College of Bishops

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

18/09/2019

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.

4 Comments

Opinion – 18 September 2019

Janet Fife Surviving Church Bishops-Free from the ‘bondage of corruption’?

Jeremy Pemberton From the Choir Stalls On Not Sharing the Peace

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England Called to the Priesthood, Called to be Lay

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Focus on prevention

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News The (Rebel) Alliance of Allies

29 Comments

Dean of Christ Church: some updates

We last reported on the tribunal hearing relating to the Dean of Christ Church on 21 August. Since then there have been some developments in the story.

30 August Church Times Dr Percy and his college face large legal bills

8 September Mail on Sunday ‘Bullying’ Oxford University dons are accused of using more than £1 million of charity cash to remove their names from damning report against dean

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…

9 September Third Sector Former Cabinet minister urges regulator to intervene in Oxford college case

13 September Cherwell Christ Church blasted by former minister which includes:

…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?”

And this:

…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.”

13 September Church Times Andrew Brown Press: Christ Church, Oxford, saga won’t go away

Update

17 September Telegraph Oxford alumni attack college over ‘bitter campaign’ against dean

 

11 Comments

Opinion – 14 September 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Truth and Integrity in Politics and Religion

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Shhh….It’s Secret!!

Philip Welsh Church Times Give parents room to breathe at baptisms
“The promises demanded in Common Worship are too didactic, argues Philip Welsh. A small act of rebellion is required”

39 Comments

Opinion – 7 September 2019

Nick Baines Church Times What is truth, when we have a PM who lies?
“Trust is a casualty of this political crisis, says Nick Baines. The consequences could be far-reaching”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Who is my enemy? When the Church needs to listen better.

Wyn Beynon Inclusive Church Male Headship and Patriarchal Theologies

81 Comments

Opinion – 4 September 2019

Gilo Surviving Church Safeguarding the Secrets Pt 2 (NST)

David and Yvonne Shemmings Community Care Learning from survivors of church sexual abuse

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Collective Sin and Mrs Cook

Stephen Kneale Building Jerusalem If you really want to be a resource church, send your trainees to those best placed to train them

21 Comments

Richard Jackson to be next Bishop of Hereford

Press release from Number 10

Bishop of Hereford: 3 September 2019

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.

22 Comments

Ministry Statistics for 2018

Updated on Tuesday to add press reports

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.

Further information:
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.

Update

Press reports

The Guardian Proportion of trainee C of E priests from BME background doubles
“Church of England data shows 8% of ordinands were BME last year, up from 4% in 2016”

Church Times Growth in clergy vocations slows

Daily Mail Good heavens! Average age of a new vicar is now 40 as congregation numbers continue to shrink

Christian Today More women training for the priesthood in the Church of England

Premier Ethnic minorities training for ministry in C of E doubles

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