Thinking Anglicans

Suffragan See of Ludlow not to be filled

The Rt Revd Alistair Magowan, the Suffragan Bishop of Ludlow in the Diocese of Hereford, retired on 30 April 2020. The Diocese has now announced that he will not be replaced; there is an explanation of this decision here. As with his recent predecessors the bishop was also Archdeacon of Ludlow. The plan is to replace the existing combined Bishop/Archdeacon of Ludlow role with a full time Archdeacon.


Bishop of Bristol to take up national safeguarding role

Press release from the Church of England

Bishop of Bristol to take up national safeguarding role

The Bishop of Bristol, Bishop Viv Faull has been appointed a deputy lead bishop for safeguarding, with a focus on liaison with diocesan bishops on behalf of the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) and with the wider Anglican Communion, and to speak on safeguarding in the House of Lords.

She will work closely with the lead safeguarding bishop, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs and the other deputy lead Bishop Debbie Sellin who took up their roles earlier this year. All three bishops will continue to work closely with Melissa Caslake the Church of England’s national director of Safeguarding to continue to develop the Church’s safeguarding practice.

Speaking about her appointment Bishop Viv said:

“I was a Chester Diocesan ordinand when Victor Whitsey was Bishop, and a Deacon in Gloucester when Peter Ball was Bishop. Though they did me no individual harm I have seen the great harm done to others and the whole Church of God. Safeguarding has therefore been an urgent concern throughout my time as Dean in Leicester and in York where I led changes of process and culture and learnt much. I am aware of how much the Church still has to learn and will do my best to contribute to debates and to enable fellow diocesan bishops to participate fully and be supported in their roles.”

Bishop Jonathan said: “We are delighted that Bishop Viv has agreed to take up this role bringing her long experience of ministry and absolute commitment to good safeguarding. She will play a key role as a link between the NSSG and other bishops, as well as with the wider Anglican Communion.”


Opinion – 29 July 2020

Andrew McKinnon University of Aberdeen Questioning the evidence for rapid growth of ‘orthodox’ Anglican churches in sub Saharan Africa
[A preprint of the original journal article is online here.]

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Clergy Discipline Measure – RIP?

Pam Bishop St Bride’s Liverpool The ‘New Normal’ in a Liverpool Anglican City Centre parish

John Gillibrand Ekklesia Equal marriage: time for full acceptance from all churches

1 Comment

Complaint made into how Welby dealt with a safeguarding complaint

Updated again Thursday morning

Channel 4 News reported on Monday evening: Church launches investigation into how Welby dealt with complaints about an alleged serial abuse

This programme can reveal that the Church of England has launched an investigation into how the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, dealt with complaints about a serial abuser of young men.

John Smyth was alleged to have beaten dozens of young men in the 1970s and 1980s.

One of those abused has now written to the Church of England, launching a formal complaint against Mr Welby, saying he failed to act properly when he learnt of the abuse.

More details are in the video (3 minutes).

The Church of England has responded with this statement:

It is in the public domain that when Lambeth was contacted in 2013 about an allegation against Smyth it liaised with the relevant diocese. This was to ensure that the survivor was being supported, police had been informed and that the bishop had contacted the Bishop of Cape Town, where Smyth was then living. However, since a formal complaint has now been received by the National Safeguarding Team, it is reviewing information and will obviously respond on this to the person who brought the complaint and take any further action if needed.

These issues will all be considered by the Makin Review which the Church commissioned last year into the Smyth case and is expected to publish into 2021.

The Telegraph has also reported on this: Church of England investigating complaint over how Archbishop of Canterbury dealt with abuse claims at Christian camps.

The i has this: Justin Welby: Church of England investigating complaint over how Archbishop of Canterbury dealt with child abuse claims


The Church Times reports: NST considers safeguarding complaint against Welby. This contains a lot of background detail and also mentions that

…The NST has avoided using the term “investigation” in its statement about the allegation against Archbishop Welby. The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, complained recently to the NST that it had caused confusion by using the same word for the both initial consideration of whether there is a case to be answered and the subsequent formal investigation instigated by a core group.

The NST talks instead of “reviewing information”…

It concludes thus:

…On Tuesday, Graham took issue with the C of E statement, saying that he had not been supported, beyond the offer of £100 for counselling; nor had the police ever been in touch with him.

On the matter of correspondence with Cape Town, he writes: “I have in front of me a copy of the letter the Church is referring to. On the simple matter of facts, it was not addressed to the Archbishop of Cape Town but to Bishop Garth Counsell, the Bishop of Table Bay. There is no evidence that this letter was in fact sent or received.

“What is undisputed is that John Smyth continued in his role as Director of the Justice Alliance of South Africa for a further three years, and that during that time he continued to meet and groom young men in Cape Town.”

A further detailed statement from the complainant can be found in two of the comments below.

On 2 February 2017, LBC’s Nick Ferrari interviewed Justin Welby about physical abuse at holiday camps: Archbishop Of Canterbury Responds To Child Abuse Reports

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told LBC he was “completely unaware” of physical abuse at a Christian holiday camp he worked at in the 1970s.

The Church of England has apologised after it emerged police hadn’t been informed of allegations about John Smyth until 2013.

Archbishop Justin Welby says he wasn’t aware of any claims of wrongdoing at the time they were colleagues…


Sheffield Cathedral to rebuild its music department

Earlier this week, Sheffield Cathedral issued this statement: Sheffield Cathedral Choir.

This prompted a large number of media reports, including:

Today the cathedral has published the full text of  The Dean’s Choir Address delivered at this morning’s Eucharist. It’s quite lengthy but I recommend reading it right through.


Opinion – 25 July 2020

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Conflicts of Interest and Church Discipline

Chris Phillips All Things Lawful And Honest Listening to the Laity

Meg Warner The Tablet Worship behind closed doors?
[Free registration is required to access this article.]


Lord Carlile questions lawfulness of Percy safeguarding investigation

LORD CARLILE, a leading QC, has suggested that the safeguarding investigation into the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, is potentially unlawful…

The Church Times reports:  QC has doubts over Percy investigation.

Lord Carlile is quoted as follows:

Speaking on Monday, he said: “I do not believe that the Church has got to grips with the fundamental principles of adversary justice, one of which is that you must disclose the evidence that you have against someone, and give them an equal opportunity to be heard as those making the accusation.

“And you cannot give them an equal opportunity if there are conflicts of interest involved. Anyone with a conflict of interest must leave the deliberations and take no further part. This is what lawyers understand as the law of apparent bias. It’s not to say that such people are biased: that’s often misunderstood. It is the appearance of bias that matters.

“Having people on a core group with a conflict of interest is simply not sustainable and is, on the face of it, unlawful.

“And to fail to allow the person accused to represent themselves, or be represented, in the full knowledge of the accusation, is not sustainable, and is, on the face of it, unlawful.”

The report also includes this:

…In the mean time, senior figures at Christ Church are continuing, in the words of some observers, to “weaponise” the investigation. At a recent meeting, members of the Governing Body were reportedly told by senior figures in the dispute that, with “new students potentially arriving in the autumn, the Dean is a safeguarding risk”, and that they were “constantly monitoring the risks the Dean poses”.

As a consequence, the Dean asked the NST for an unequivocal statement that he was not a safeguarding risk. The NST has complied: a statement has been posted this week on the C of E website: “The safeguarding issues referred to the NST are being looked at by an independent investigator and we would like to stress there is no evidence at this time that the Dean presents a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult. The referral is about whether safeguarding responsibilities were fulfilled.”

That statement can be found here:

Statement on Christ Church, Oxford

The lead bishop for safeguarding, Jonathan Gibbs, has previously written a letter stating that the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has no view about, and is not involved in, the wider issues relating to the College and the Dean at Christ Church, Oxford and this remains the case.  The safeguarding issues referred to the NST are being looked at by an independent investigator and we would like to stress there is no evidence at this time that the Dean presents a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult. The referral is about whether safeguarding responsibilities were fulfilled.

Along with this statement, the letter to the Church Times, was also published on the Church of England website  – this is the only place where updates on the independent investigation will appear. There have been no other briefings.

As Bishop Jonathan said in his letter there is no agenda behind this and we would like to thank all parties for their cooperation and hope that this safeguarding matter can be concluded quickly.


House of Bishops Meeting – 22 July 2020

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops Meeting – 22 July 2020

A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today on Wednesday 22 of July 2020 (by Zoom)

Updates were given to House on a range of matters including an update by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally in her capacity as the Chair of the Recovery Group, on the Church’s activities relating to Covid. This was followed by an update from the Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, the Chair of the Vision and Strategy Group, and an update from the Bishop of Leeds on the emerging work plan for the Governance Review Group,

The House then turned its attention to Legislative Reform and Simplification. The House endorsed a proposal for a green paper to be issued on clergy terms of service. The House agreed that a report with recommendations for fresh legislation for pastoral reorganisation should be presented to Synod with a view to a draft Measure on pastoral reorganisation being brought to the synod.

The House endorsed the direction of travel relating to the planning for and establishment of an Archbishops’ Commission on Racism.

The House then turned its attention to the report from the Implementation and Dialogue Group, agreeing to publish the report and request that it go on the agenda of a future General Synod.

Further matters discussed at the meeting included Budgets, the Anglican Communion and an update on Safeguarding.


Opinion – 22 July 2020

Peter Anthony All Things Lawful And Honest Sound Bite Theology

Archbishop Cranmer Archbishops go on consecration strike – they will make no more bishops

Jason Loch A Venerable Puzzle The Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary And Episcopal Appointments


Some updates on safeguarding matters

Updated Wednesday afternoon

Several developments relating to safeguarding in the Church of England.

The Insurance Post reports that Ecclesiastical Insurance had an apologetically-worded statement in its annual report, published not long after its appearance at the IICSA hearings: Briefing: Ecclesiastical’s child abuse claims shame – CEO Hews’ admission too little too late? Scroll down in the article for the full text of the EIO statement.

The Church Times reports: Two members are removed from core group in Percy case, owing to conflict of interest

TWO members of the core group set up to examine accusations of safeguarding breaches by the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy, have been removed after they were deemed to have a conflict of interest in the case, the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has confirmed…
…In May, Private Eye reported that the core group established by the NST of the Church of England earlier this year included two members of the college who had supported complaints against Dean Percy, including the Senior Censor, Professor Geraldine Johnson (News 29 May). The Dean is not represented on the core group, although one of the two college members was reportedly asked to represent him and declined. It is assumed that these are the two members removed from the core group…

The article goes on to report the question asked by Martin Sewell (and answered by the Bishop of Huddersfield) at the General Synod meeting on 11 July about whether, by including complainants in the core group, the Church had “embraced the concept of ‘unconscious bias'”.

Martin Sewell also had a letter in the Church Times last week Anonymity and representation in safeguarding (scroll down)

Sir, — The inauguration of the ministry of the new Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, was a great joy to many in the Church who know his writings and enthusiasm for spreading the gospel. It is a shame that, for reasons outside his control, it occurred under the shadow of the suspicion that he enjoyed the privilege of anonymity while a safeguarding complaint was considered against him, whereas Lord Carey found the fact of his investigation in the hands of the press within three hours of his being notified.
This was wholly unnecessary. Had the recommendations of the C­­­arlile report been accepted and implemented in full, everyone under inquiry would have enjoyed anonymity pending investigation and there would have been a level playing field for both men.
Furthermore, Lord Carlile recommended that the respondent be given representation at the core group table: a recommendation that, had it been implemented, would have avoided the current débâcle over Dean Percy. In his report on Bishop Bell, Lord Carlile wrote: “There was no discussion whatsoever of the need to ensure the justice of the case by examining the facts from Bishop Bell’s standpoint. This issue seems to have been totally abandoned.”
One suspects that this is equally true in the Percy case, but we cannot know, as the Dean is refused access to the minutes.
Finally, the House Bishops Guidelines have not been updated over two years after they accepted the Carlile recommendations — except the one about anonymity –though they have applied that one in favour of someone they wish to advance.
I hope and believe that Archbishop Cottrell has the commitment to justice to drive forward the necessary change, by implementing all review recommendations, from the office to which he has now been called.

Stephen Parsons at Surviving Church has a detailed further analysis of the NST’s Core Groups and the Carlile recommendations in Revisiting the Carlile Review: A Critique of Church Core Groups? This deserves reading in full, but he concludes thus:

…Can we detect in any way that the Core Group was being ‘managed’ to satisfy the needs of the Church communications department and its desire for good PR?  Were the Archbishop and Bishop of Chichester making statements suggested to them by their highly remunerated reputation managers?  If Carlile’s critical Review is pointing us in this direction, then it follows that similar pressures will also be at work in the 2020 Percy Group.  Are Core Groups, in other words, subject to being managed to suit the purposes of the reputation launderers working for the Church? In the comments I made about Bishop Jonathan’s responses to questions at the recent Synod, I suggested that the management of safeguarding issues was being handed over to a team of lawyers.  Such lawyers would be the ones seeking to defend the Church and protect its good name.  Now, after reading the Carlile report again, I am left wondering whether it is in fact the power of reputation managers and communication departments that we see operating behind the scenes and making the decisions for our Church.  If that is the case, then our Church will not be taking too seriously the cause of transparency, justice and truth.  These and other Christian values like honesty and right dealing may only ever be paraded in public when they can serve the purposes of good PR!

This rereading of the Carlile report and the way that it revealed rampant ‘unconscious bias’, to quote from Martin Sewell’s question at last Synod, allows us to point once again to our ongoing concerns over the Percy Core Group. Conflicts of interest still abound there. Quite apart from the inappropriate placing of two complainants in the Group, there are the collusions we have pointed to before between firms of lawyers, reputation managers and those at Christ Church who have manipulated the Church and the NST to operate in their interests. If the incompetence of the Bell Core Group was a scandal, the sheer apparent malevolence at work in this present Percy Group is one which is driving out all pretensions to ethical behaviour and Christian values. We seem to be witnessing evil and corruption on a grand scale. Will the Church at the national level be able to rescue this situation and allow it to come through this appalling crisis?


There is a further article today, by Martin Sewell at Archbishop Cranmer:
Martyn Percy is challenging an entire cultural mindset of establishment privilege.


Tony Blair And The Bishopric Of Liverpool

In 1997 Prime Minister Tony Blair vetoed the Church of England’s nominee for the Bishopric of Liverpool. The incident has largely faded from the public consciousness, but thanks to documents inadvertently released by the Cabinet Office Jason Loch can now show us some of the behind-the-scenes drama of this remarkable event. Read it here: Tony Blair And The Bishopric Of Liverpool.


Opinion – 18 July 2020

Janet Fife Surviving Church Deliverance Ministries: Do They Deliver?

Jessica Martin Church Times Sex and religion: When it all started to go wrong/right (delete as applicable)
“In fact, neither of the narratives about sex is right”

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back….But We Will, Unless…

Elizabeth Anderson Earth & Altar Purity and Danger: Eucharistic safety in a time of pandemic


Statement about Episcopal Consecrations

From Lambeth Palace website

A statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Together with the Archbishop of York, in consultation with the Bishop of London, and after conversation with the House of Bishops, I have put forward new arrangements for the consecration of bishops.

These new arrangements are made in the light of the pandemic and in awareness of the sad reality that not all in the Church of England agree on issues of ordination, and yet all are committed to upholding the Five Guiding Principles.

We have agreed that the Metropolitan will normally ask another bishop to be the chief consecrator. Three bishops are required to consecrate a person as bishop. From now on the Archbishops will ask three bishops to lay on hands with other bishops present and associating with the ordination but not in fact laying on their hands.

St Swithun’s Day (15th July 2020) will see two consecration services happening under the new arrangements in Lambeth Palace Chapel. They will be held under careful guidelines because of the Coronavirus pandemic, with strict limits on the numbers attending.

I will be at both consecrations. As Metropolitan, I will receive the oaths from all three people to be ordained bishop showing jurisdiction over them. Having received the oaths I will then lead all present in a prayer of penitence given our divisions and the sadness that we go on being divided as a church.

I will preach at both services and the Bishop of London (Sarah Mullally), as Dean of the Province of Canterbury, will welcome the new bishops at both services.

I will also give each bishop their symbols of office – a ring, cross and staff and pronounce the blessing at the end of both services.

We are not stepping back under these new arrangements, rather we are stepping forward to work within the Five Guiding Principles and we invite all to walk with us to embrace those principles and pray for an end to the divisions which remain in our church, for which we grieves and are repentant.

Hugh Nelson and Ruth Bushyager will be consecrated by the Bishop of London assisted by the Bishop of Guildford and the Bishop of Dover.

Will Hazlewood will be consecrated by the Bishop of Richborough assisted by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet and The Bishop of Fulham.

It is unfortunate that during the pandemic it is not possible to hold the services in a Cathedral as normal so many friends and family will not be able to be present. The services are both going to be live streamed.

I am delighted to be with all three bishops as they begin their ministry. Please pray for them and for the dioceses in which they will serve.


Opinion – 15 July 2020

Stephen Cottrell Yorkshire Post Let’s head to a more caring ‘new normal’
The text of the article is also available on the Archbishop’s website.

Surviving Church ‘They’: A Talking Head

Peter Webster Webstory The pandemic and the idea of a national church


Confirmation of Election of the next Bishop of Chester

News from the Archbishop of York

The Confirmation of Election of the Rt Revd Mark Tanner as the next Bishop of Chester

Bishop Mark Tanner will be confirmed as the Bishop of Chester at 11am on Wednesday 15 July 2020, in a service broadcast entirely online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The service will be broadcast on YouTube and on the diocesan website.

The service will include music from Chester Cathedral’s Nave Choir, a reading and prayers from young people in the diocese, and the new Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell will give the address. Prayers will be offered for Bishop Mark, the Diocese of Chester, the Northern Province of the Church of England, and for our country, as well as for the wider world.

Commenting on the service, Bishop Mark said: “I am so grateful that we can gather in prayer and worship as we begin this next phase in the life of Chester Diocese. During the lockdown, as so much has been stripped away, we have glimpsed some of the ways Christ holds out hope and love and invites each of us. This is the hope and peace in which we meet and it will be lovely if you can join us.”

Archbishop Stephen said: “I am pleased to be confirming Bishop Mark as Bishop of Chester, made even more special as it will be the first Confirmation of Election that I have undertaken as Archbishop of York. My prayer is that Mark will take time to discern where God is leading the Diocese of Chester and that together Christians can be of one heart and mind as they seek to share the Good News of the love of Jesus Christ with the people in the North West of England.”

1 Comment

Episcopal Consecrations: Lewes, Horsham, St Germans

Updated on Monday and again on Tuesday

Three suffragan bishops will be consecrated in Lambeth Palace chapel on 15 July: Will Hazlewood as Bishop of Lewes, Ruth Bushyager as Bishop of Horsham, both in the Diocese of Chichester, and Hugh Nelson as Bishop of St Germans in the Diocese of Truro.

Forward in Faith has issued this press release: Statement regarding the Consecration of The Revd Prebendary Will Hazlewood. In this they say that Prebendary Hazlewood will be consecrated in a separate service from the other new bishops. In his case the Bishop of Richborough will act as the Archbishop’s delegate as chief consecrator, and the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and of Fulham will act as co-consecrators. This is because “all candidates must experience the sacramental assurance and joy of full communion with the bishops who ordain them”.

I assume that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be the chief consecrator for the other two new bishops, but I can find nothing online to confirm this. [But see the comments.]

Update 1

The Diocese of Chichester has published links for the livestreaming of the two consecration services

MORNING SERVICE: Consecration of the Bishop of St Germans and the Bishop of Horsham at 11.30 am

AFTERNOON SERVICE: Consecration of the Bishop of Lewes at 2.30 pm

Update 2

The Diocese of Chichester has issued this statement from the bishops-designate of Horsham and Lewes: A daunting and exciting venture of faith. In part it says

It is untrue to say [as some are reporting] that Prebendary Will Hazlewood declined to be consecrated as bishop of Lewes by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The arrangements for consecrations are the sole responsibility of the Archbishop: we are thankful for the distinctive arrangement he has made for a traditionalist provision.

but do read it all.

For another view read this statement from WATCH.


General Synod reports

Updated Sunday (twice)

Reports on today’s virtual meeting of General Synod

Video of the whole day’s proceedings

The presidential address was given by the Archbishop of York, but with contributions from others.
Video of the address
Full text of the presidential address
Official press release: Church must ‘learn afresh how to share the gospel’, Archbishop of York tells Synod

Church Times reports Archbishop of York: God wants a Church of ‘glorious and profligate diversity’
Welby browned off after grilling on church closures
Commissioners are trying to help cathedrals to weather financial crisis, Dr Poole tells Synod

The Guardian ‘Tribal and divided’: Church of England faces turbulent times

Yorkshire Post Newly confirmed Archbishop of York speaks of ‘devastating impact’ of pandemic in first public address

Glasgow Times Bishop of Manchester defends tweets criticising Dominic Cummings


Andrew Nunn Unprecedented

Stephen Lynas Oh Zoom! You chased the day away


Opinion – 11 July 2020

Emma Percy Modern Church Safeguarding, Vulnerable Adults or Adults at Risk? What’s in a Word?

Adrian Chiles The Guardian I’m glad to be back in church – even if there’s hand sanitiser instead of holy water

Andrew Brown Religion Media Centre Church Commissioners spend £24m to ‘create 50,000 disciples’

Giles Fraser UnHerd How HR is strangling the Church of England

Sarah Mullally ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…So We Need to Take Care of Our Mental Health

Stephen Trott Church Times The C of E needs to be leaner and fitter
“There is too much control from the centre, and power should be returned to parishes”


General Synod – preview and comment

General Synod meets tomorrow and the Church of England has put out this press release today: General Synod members to meet remotely.

A further paper has been added to the Church of England website.

GS Misc 1251 – Covid-19 General Synod Update

Two Synod members preview tomorrow’s meeting.

Stephen Lynas I’ve just seen a face
Andrew Nunn Zooming into Synod

Some bloggers have been looking at the questions and answers.

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church  General Synod and the Questions around Safeguarding
Richard Bastable All Things Lawful And Honest Archiepiscopal Contradictions II

My favourite is the breath of fresh air in the answer given by Rogers Govender, the Dean of Manchester, to question 121, which I have copied below the fold.



Confirmation of Election of Stephen Cottrell as the Archbishop of York

Updated Thursday morning

As was announced in May Stephen Cottrell will be confirmed as the next Archbishop of York tomorrow, Thursday 9 July 2020, at 11am. The proceedings will be via video conference.

You will be able to watch the live stream of the service from this page.


Download the Order of Service in PDF

Second update

Bishop Stephen’s election as Archbishop of York was duly confirmed. A recording of the confirmation service is available on YouTube.