Thinking Anglicans

General Synod questions

Last month General Synod members were invited to submit questions for written answer. The 56 questions and their answers are now available for download.

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Opinion – 23 November 2019

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News The Challenge of Faith in the Quantum Era

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Using our imagination – What could the Church become?
A Prince and an Abuser

Bosco Peters Liturgy Laying on Hands

Women and the Church The Open Wound of Mutual Flourishing

Two Church Times articles by Madeleine Davies about the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund
The ‘magic money tree’: SDF, a progress report
“As £136 million is allocated to dioceses for projects designed to turn around numerical decline, Madeleine Davies explores what evaluation is under way”
Revitalising mission — but at what cost?
“In the second part of a series on SDF funding, Madeleine Davies looks at the impact of resource churches”

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Original safeguarding complaint against Dean of Lincoln declared void

Lincoln diocese issued this brief statement yesterday:

The Venerable Mark Steadman has been appointed as acting Dean of Lincoln

The Rt Revd Dr David Court, acting Bishop of Lincoln, has appointed the Venerable Mark Steadman, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey, as acting Dean of Lincoln from Friday 22nd November 2019. This decision is to enable the continuing governance and functioning of the cathedral. Mr Steadman continues in role as Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey alongside his new duties.

The Lincolnite has two news reports that shed further light on what has recently happened:

The most surprising item in the first report is this:

Dean Christine Wilson added that on Monday, the President of Tribunals made a determination that a complainant and the bishop had not followed the proper process at the outset and therefore the complaint, which led to Christine’s absence, was void and invalid.

The President of Tribunals stated that this was “unfortunate” and the complainant may wish to issue another complaint.

It now appears that this is likely to happen, which leaves the cathedral without their dean for a further period of time.

She added that she had over the last seven months respected the processes of the church throughout the inquiry and cooperated fully.

And this is further amplified in the second report:

…A Church of England spokesperson said: “The Church is taking this issue very seriously and is aware how difficult it is for all parties involved.

“As the Dean said in her statement, the President of Tribunals made a determination that the complainant and bishop had not followed the proper process at the outset, that this was ‘unfortunate’ and the complainant may wish to issue another complaint.

“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team will be issuing another complaint, however, it should be noted that the President of Tribunals made no decision on the actual substance of the complaint.

“Nothing further can be said as this process continues but we ask prayers for everyone involved…”

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Review of Trevor Devamanikkam case

Update The Guardian has the background to this story: Church of England reviews its handling of sexual abuse case.
“Matthew Ineson said his claims that a vicar had raped him when he was 16 were ignored”

Update 2 Matthew Ineson has written about the review in a comment below.

Update 3 (Monday) Church Times has now covered this story Devamanikkam review challenged by survivor.

Press release from the Church of England

Review of Trevor Devamanikkam case
22/11/2019

Safeguarding consultant Jane Humphreys has been appointed as the independent reviewer into the Church of England’s handling of the allegations relating to the late Revd Trevor Devamanikkam.

Jane brings more than 30 years of experience from the statutory sector having previously been a director of children’s and adult services (see biography below).

The aim of the review is to identify both good practice and failings in the handling of these allegations, in order that the Church of England can take steps to enhance and improve its response to allegations of abuse and thereby ensure a safer environment for all.

The reviewer will look at written and verbal evidence from the survivor who brought the original allegation of abuse.

The reviewer will also make contact with the relevant archbishop and bishops as well as those safeguarding professionals in the Church who dealt with the allegations and external agencies.

The review will be published in full except for jigsaw identification details.

Melissa Caslake, the Church of England’s national director of safeguarding, said: “We are very pleased that Jane has agreed to take on this vital piece of work to enable the Church to learn lessons. We have listened to concerns about the importance of independence in this work and we believe Jane’s wealth of professional experience fits this criterion. We hope the review will be completed and published during 2020.”

Jane Humphreys said: “As an independent reviewer I am committed to working in a transparent way and will ensure that anyone who wishes to provide evidence to the Review will be heard. I will also ensure that all relevant documents relating to the Church’s handling of this case are looked at so lessons can be learnt to enable the Church to be a safer place for all.

Jane is a highly experienced Senior Social Care Consultant, and previous Director of Children’s and Adult’s Services with a career spanning more than 30 years. Having trained as a social worker she worked in a number of local authorities becoming a director of children’s and adult services in 2008. She currently specialises in change management and has a proven track record of directing service reviews and ensuring preparation for Ofsted and CQC inspections. Jane is also undertaking some work for the Local Government Association as a children’s improvement adviser. She is committed to supporting families and service users, and driving improvements in service delivery in a range of organisations. She also has broad based expertise in chairing Adult and Children Safeguarding Boards.

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CTE blocks appointment of person in same-sex marriage

Updated

This story is of Anglican interest as the Church of England is a constituent member of Churches Together in England.

The Church Times reports today that CTE block appointment of fourth president because the nominee is in a same-sex marriage

THE appointment of a new President of Churches Together in England (CTE) has been blocked because the nominee is in a same-sex marriage.

There are six Presidents of CTE, the Churches’ ecumenical instrument. They include the Archbishop of Canterbury and the RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols. The fourth presidency became vacant in October 2018, when Billy Kennedy finished his four-year term.

In May, Hannah Brock Womack, an active Quaker, was formally appointed to the position by the fourth presidency group: Quakers in Britain; the Lutheran Council of Great Britain; the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England; German-Speaking Lutheran, Reformed, and United Congregations in Great Britain; and the Church of Scotland.

On learning that Ms Womack had recently been married to a woman, however, a majority of the member Churches of CTE, through its enabling group, voted in September to request that the fourth presidency group “refrain from enacting its Presidency, leaving the Fourth Presidency as an ’empty chair’ for the current term of office”.

The CTE was due to publish its decision in a statement today: “Over recent months CTE has been engaging with the reality of living with diversity, acknowledging that although so much unites us as Churches, we remain in disagreement over certain issues…

The CTE Statement is here: Churches Together in England statement on the Fourth Presidency

The Quakers in Britain have issued this: Churches’ plan for new President falters because of equal marriage which is copied in full below the fold.

Update There is also this article: Walking together with difficulty.

(more…)

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Archbishops issue General Election message

The archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued this press release:

Time to ‘leave our echo chambers’ and listen to others, say Archbishops in General Election message.

The full text of the message is available as a PDF here.

A direct link to the video which shows the archbishops reading the message is here.

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New Church of England document on Christian-Jewish relations

The Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England has published a teaching document entitled God’s Unfailing Word.  This is available as a PDF here.

There is a press release:

Church of England teaching document calls for repentance over role of Christians in centuries of antisemitism

Christian theology played a part in the stereotyping and persecution of Jewish people which ultimately led to the Holocaust, a new reflection on Christian-Jewish relations issued by the Church of England acknowledges.

The teaching document, entitled God’s Unfailing Word, is the first authoritative statement on the subject from the Church of England. It speaks of attitudes towards Judaism over many centuries as providing a “fertile seed-bed for murderous antisemitism”.

It urges Anglicans and other Christians not only to repent of the “sins of the past” towards their Jewish neighbours but to be alert to and actively challenge such attitudes or stereotypes.

The document, published by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, encourages Christians to rediscover the relationship of “unique significance” between the two faiths, worshipping one God, with scriptures shared in common.

The Christian-Jewish relationship should be viewed as a “gift of God to the Church” to be received with care, respect and gratitude, it makes clear.

Christians should, therefore, be mindful of the difficult history of the two faiths and apply sensitivityin the use of some passages of scripture and liturgy, hymns and art as well as in sharing their faithwith Jewish people and in discussions about Israel.

The document includes an honest and challenging afterword by the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, in which he speaks of “profound friendship” but also a “substantial misgiving” on the question of evangelism.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, responds in a foreword, describing the Chief Rabbi’s reflection as doing Anglicans a “great service” and making clear that Christians sharing their faith must do so with “gentleness and grace” and recognising the “weight of that history”.

The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Faith and Order Commission, said: “Assumptions about Judaism and Jewish people, past and present, colour Christian approaches to preaching, teaching, evangelism, catechesis, worship, devotion and art, whether or not Christian communities are conscious of their Jewish neighbours, near and far; teasing out those assumptions and exploring them theologically is therefore a challenge that pertains to the whole Church.

“That challenge is also, however, a precious opportunity. As the first ‘principle’ underpinning this report states, we are convinced that ‘the Christian-Jewish relationship is a gift of God to the Church, which is to be received with care, respect and gratitude, so that we may learn more fully about God’s purposes for us and all the world’.”

The Church Times has a news report, which gives some background information: New book seeks to repair the harm done to Jewish people.  And also has a helpful page containing extracts from the document.

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Opinion – 16 November 2019

Giles Fraser UnHerd The battle to believe in God
“Don’t kid yourself that atheism is a modern invention — it’s as old as religion”

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Complaints

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Inside, Outside – XR, Church & Change

The following two articles follow on from the Church Times article by Philip North that I linked to last week.
Ian Paul Psephizo Do we need to take Jesus to our urban areas?
Philip North Psephizo On taking Jesus to our urban areas: a response

45 Comments

Opinion – 13 November 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Church as a Refuge. Reflections on a proposed Conference

Savi Hensman Equal Relationships, 40 years on

Ian Blair ViaMedia.News Remembrance, Inclusion & Identity

Laudable Practice Praying for the parish is more important that praying for the diocese

41 Comments

Opinion – 9 November 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Establishment dynamics. How secrecy and defensiveness harm the Church.

Peter Leonard ViaMedia.News Remembering – An Active Choice?

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News The All-Seeing Eye

Kate Wharton Single Minded The Billy Graham Rule

Philip North Church Times We don’t need to bring Jesus to urban estates
“The Church’s task is to demonstrate that he is already present, not to provide all the answers”

Sara Batts-Neale Church Times The tyranny of the perfect wedding
“Sara Batts-Neale’s ministry to her wedding couples extends to their bank balance”

40 Comments

Civil partnerships extended to opposite-sex couples

Updated

Both Houses of Parliament have now approved The Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019. The regulations will come into force no later than 2 December.

There is an accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

There is also an extremely helpful House of Commons Library briefing paper, Civil partnership for opposite sex couples (full text available as a PDF here).

This change applies only to England and Wales. It is for the Scottish Parliament to decide on whether to do this in Scotland too, but the Scottish Government has introduced a bill to do so.

The regulations do not permit opposite-sex couples who enter a civil partnership to subsequently convert their relationship into a marriage (as is the case for same-sex couples). The Government has conducted a separate consultation on conversion rights generally, but has not yet announced the outcome of that, or decided what actions it will take. Further regulations relating to this may be made in 2020.

The position of the Church of England on this new form of civil partnership has not yet been announced.  I will update this post when it does. But it does seem unlikely that the policy statement of 2005 can be applied unchanged now.

There is further discussion of these regulations at Law and Religion UKCivil partnerships, marriage registration, stillbirths – update.

And Russell Sandberg has written Religion and Opposite Sex Civil Partnerships: An Update.

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Bishop of Dorchester to retire

The area bishop of Dorchester in the diocese of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, has announced he will retire on 4 October 2020. Details are on the diocesan website.

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Martin Gorick to be next Bishop of Dudley

Press release

Suffragen [sic] Bishop of Dudley: 4 November 2019

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Martin Charles William Gorick, MA, to the Suffragan See of Dudley, in the Diocese of Worcester,

Published 4 November 2019
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Martin Charles William Gorick, MA, Archdeacon of Oxford, in the Diocese of Oxford, to the Suffragan See of Dudley, in the Diocese of Worcester, in succession to the Right Reverend Graham Barham Usher BSc, MA, following his translation to the See of Norwich.

Martin was educated at Selwyn College, Cambridge and trained for ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon. He served his title at St John the Evangelist, Birtley in the Diocese of Durham and was ordained Priest in 1988. In 1991, Martin was appointed as Chaplain to the Bishop of Oxford. He became Vicar of Smethwick Old Church in the Diocese of Birmingham in 1994 and was additionally appointed Area Dean of Warley in 1997. Martin was appointed as Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon in the Diocese of Coventry in 2001 where he was also Hon. Chaplain for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He took up his current role as Archdeacon of Oxford and Residentiary Canon of Christ Church in 2013 and also serves as Diocesan Inter-faith Advisor. He is married to Katharine who is County Lead for Visual Impairment in Oxfordshire and they have three adult children.

More details on the Worcester diocesan website

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Opinion – 2 November 2019

Ian Paul Psephizo Is it time to scrap the ‘curacy’?

Andrew Lightbown theore0 Speaking of liturgy (and theological formation)

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Imagination Deficit. Bishops and Survivors

Peter Sheppard  Catholic Herald Thousands of medieval churches face ruin. Who will save them?

David Walker ViaMedia.News The Fallout from Tribal Scrums

56 Comments

Opinion – 30 October 2019

Helen King ViaMedia.News Safeguarding & Sexuality – Are We Throwing Money In the Right Direction?

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Ancient and Modern : When is church music ‘Good’?

Leo Benedictus The Guardian Churches in nightclubs and Anglican gyms: can the C of E win back city dwellers?

60 Comments

Opinion – 26 October 2019

Bosco Peters Liturgy A Schism’s Consecration

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Life after Trauma. Charities who work for peace and the healing of Survivors

David Ison ViaMedia.News Unity or Truth?

Julia Baird The Sydney Morning Herald In praise of the oddities and outliers resisting bonkers fundamentalism in Sydney

Rosalind Brown Church Times The lectionary silences women’s experiences
“It is time to make the stories of female biblical characters more visible during public worship”

56 Comments

Opinion – 23 October 2019

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News “Don’t Go Listening to Lies….”

Stephen Kneale Christian Today Is your church too dependent on charitable status?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Open Letter to Keith Makin re: John Smyth Review

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Archbishop Glenn Davies says “Please, leave us”

… and other news from Australia and New Zealand

updated to add another press report

updated Thursday to add reaction from leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand

During his presidential address to the Sydney diocesan synod a week ago, Archbishop Glenn Davies said:

My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our Church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture. Please leave us. We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.

There is a report on the diocesan website here: Guarding the faith in a changing world. The full hour-long address is available as a pdf and a video.

Four days after his address The Sydney Morning Herald published this piece by the archbishop, My words were for the bishops and I stand by them, which included this:

When I said “Please, leave us”, my words were directed at bishops of the church, and those who wish to change our doctrine, and I stand by those words. The words were not directed at members of our congregations, especially those who identify as gay, whether single or married.

The archbishop’s remarks attracted a lot of attention – see the press reports below.

The Melbourne diocesan synod also met last week and voted to record its “sorrow” over the decision by the diocese of Wangaratta to bless same-sex marriages.

There are also reports that Archbishop Davies and other Australian bishops took part in the consecration of a GAFCON bishop in New Zealand at the weekend.

Archbishop Davies’s remarks gathered a lot of attention in the press, and there is also coverage of the other news from Australia and New Zealand.

update

Anglican Taonga Church denounces ‘crossing boundaries’
Leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand have spoken out against boundary-crossing by Anglican bishops who supported the ordination of a bishop for a break-away church last Saturday.

Press reports and comments

The Sydney Morning Herald Archbishop accused of trying to ‘split’ Anglican church over same-sex marriage

The Guardian ‘Please leave’: why the Sydney archbishop’s same-sex marriage message has Anglicans rattled
“The blunt words of Sydney archbishop Glenn Davies come at a critical moment for Australian churches and demands for religious freedom”

The Guardian Anglican churches reject Sydney archbishop’s stance on same-sex marriage
“Churches in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria say they welcome everyone and his comments cause ‘deep distress'”

Julia Baird The Age Even conservative rectors shuddered: why Sydney Archbishop’s words hurt

Eternity News I wanted bishops to leave, not LGBT people, says Sydney’s Glenn Davies

The Guardian Melbourne Anglicans vote to express ‘sorrow’ over blessing of same-sex marriages

The Sydney Morning Herald ‘Crisis point’: the Anglican church is riven by worse divisions than ever before

Craig D’Alton humane catholic Melbourne Synod 2019, and beyond

VirtueOnline Christchurch: GAFCON Consecrates New Evangelical Diocesan Bishop

Eternity News NZ gets two Anglican Churches. Maybe Australia will too

update

The Guardian British bishop rebukes Sydney Anglican leader’s call for gay marriage supporters to leave church
“Bishop of Liverpool says he regrets that Archbishop Glenn Davies ‘seems to want to exclude people rather than to engage with them'”

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Opinion – 19 October 2019

Peterson Feital ViaMedia.News Toxic Masculinity and the Church

Ian Paul Psephizo Should clergy count their days and hours?

Eve Poole Church Times How to break free from a culture of overwork
“Christians must model a different way of living, says Eve Poole. Help is at hand from Oscar Wilde and the latest research”

Joel Hollier The Guardian I’m gay, married, and not leaving my church

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News The Rainbow of Non-violent Advocacy

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Statistics for Mission 2018

Updated Friday morning to add some press reports
Updated Monday morning to add link to diocesan tables

The Church of England has published two sets of statistics today.

There is an accompanying press release, Church engages millions through apps and social media, which concentrates on the digital report. It is copied below the fold.

Update: Detailed Diocesan tables (excel file) are now available.

Press reports

Church Times Enquirers’ courses are attended mainly by churchgoers, statistics suggest

Telegraph Church of England’s prayer apps used a record five million times, while attendance figures fall

Christian Today Church of England’s digital reach grows as service attendance continues to fall

(more…)

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