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Ellie Singer Earth & Altar From Analog Neighborhood To Digital Community4 Comments
House of Bishops Meeting – 29 September 2020
A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today Tuesday 29 September 2020 via Zoom.
The focus of the meeting was a reflective practice consideration of the Church’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic to date, lessons learnt over the recent months and priorities for the future. The House agreed that its priorities for the future will include working closely with the local civic authorities to deal appropriately with the next phase of the pandemic across the regions.
The House also received updates from the various works streams operating under the auspices of the Emerging Church Groups. An overview by the Chair of the Co-ordinating Group, the Bishop of Manchester was followed by brief reports from the Chair of the Recovery Group, the Vision and Strategy Group, the Governance Group and the Transforming Effectiveness Group.
The House was then updated by the Director of Safeguarding on a range of safeguarding matters.
The House welcomed last week’s announcement by the Archbishops regarding the proposed interim pilot support scheme for survivors which will offer immediate support for those who have come forward. A permanent survivor redress scheme will be established with the final sum involved, to ensure full funding of the redress scheme, not yet finalised.
The House expressed support for the Archbishops’ Council’s statement last week giving a commitment to pursue the principle of independent safeguarding and agreed with the Council’s recognition of the need for greater independence and transparency of safeguarding.
In its reflective practice session in the second half of the meeting, the House reflected on the Church’s response to Covid-19 and the lessons learnt since the pandemic began. As well as underlining the importance of worship in church buildings for the health and soul of the nation, the House reviewed how the Church could go on learning from the many positive developments of recent months, such as the growth of online worshipping communities, the huge success of Church’s digital engagement and the Church’s enhanced outreach via digital media to younger people and BAME communities. The reflection began with an introduction by the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed by plenary discussion introduced by the Bishop of London. The refection concluded with a discussion and feedback led by the Archbishop of York.14 Comments
Church of England press release: Safe Spaces launches to offer support to survivors
A new service providing vital support for survivors of church-related abuse has become operational today.
Safe Spaces, commissioned by the Anglican and Catholic Churches in England and Wales, will be run by Victim Support, a national charity with a track record of providing survivor support.
Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, Church in Wales or the Catholic Church of England and Wales.
Safe Spaces comprises a team of trained support advocates, who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence and who have received additional specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church.
The service is for those who may have experienced any form abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse (including spiritual abuse), domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour.
The Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, Deputy Lead Safeguarding Bishop for the Church of England, said: “I’m delighted that this service will shortly be available to offer support and advice to survivors of abuse.
“I want to express my thanks to all those who have helped to bring the project together, particularly the survivors who have given of their time and energy.
“In Victim Support, we have an excellent operational lead, and we look forward to continuing a constructive partnership with then as well as the other denominations involved.
“I commend the service for use and hope colleagues will do all they can to promote it locally.”
The service will run for an initial two years, with a view to extending this. It has been paid for by the Catholic and Anglican churches involved, supported by a grant from Allchurches Trust.
Victim Support press release: Victim Support launches Safe Spaces for survivors of church-related abuse
Victim Support (VS) has today (29 September) launched its new service, Safe Spaces, a joint Anglican and Catholic Church in England and Wales (CCEW) project to provide a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse.
Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, the Catholic Church of England and Wales or the Church in Wales.
The service comprises a team of trained support advocates, who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence. They have received specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church…
Safe Spaces website
Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, the Catholic Church of England and Wales or the Church in Wales.
Victim Support have been commissioned to run this national service, providing remote support through our helpline, live chat serviceand website. Remote support is provided for as long as the survivor needs. This can be advocating for the survivor, giving them support, providing information (including information on church and police procedures), understanding individual needs and jointly working on individual support plans. If face-to-face support is also required, contact and referrals will be made with appropriate local organisations depending on need…
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Updated again Saturday evening
Press release today: Unanimous support from Archbishops’ Council on safeguarding proposals
The Archbishops’ Council, at its meeting on Wednesday (Sept 23), voted unanimously for safeguarding proposals to offer both immediate practical support to survivors of abuse and also to strengthen independence in the Church’s safeguarding work.
The Council approved a proposed plan for an interim pilot support scheme for survivors and agreed to draw down reserves for an initial support fund to support those who have come forward. The Council also committed to urgently pursue the principle of independent safeguarding recognising the need for greater independence and transparency of safeguarding.
The pilot scheme is designed to enable the Church to respond in particular to those survivors’ cases which are already known to the Church, where the survivor is known to be in seriously distressed circumstances, and the Church has a heightened responsibility because of the way the survivor was responded to following disclosure. Experience with these pilot cases will help inform the setting up of the Church’s full redress scheme for victims and survivors of abuse as that is developed. Part of the value of a pilot scheme is that it will enable the Church to explore different ways of working and to learn important lessons for the future.
The full paper put to the Council contained further details of how the interim pilot support scheme would be run.
The vote followed a detailed discussion by Council members on the importance of safeguarding in the Church including a presentation from the national director of safeguarding Melissa Caslake and input from the lead safeguarding bishop, Jonathan Gibbs.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said:
“Today the Council discussed the safeguarding challenges that face our Church. We acknowledged how we have responded badly to survivors, and what that means for the Council as a trustee body. It was a long, honest and soberingly frank discussion. There were some very personal reflections and comments, including from both of us. This reflects the seriousness with which the Council took the proposals under discussion. The issue of independence is something we have taken a personal lead on and are very committed to. We are glad that we the Church is now going to make this happen. Along with providing redress for victims and survivors this is the next step we must take. Today’s meeting and these decisions feel like a turning point. As we await IICSA’s report into the Church of England we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed. We are profoundly sorry for our failings, but today our words of sorrow are matched by actions that will believe will lead to real change. We hope that this will provide some hope for the future.”
Bishop Jonathan Gibbs said: “While there is much work now to be done the decision to start a support fund is an important and vital step in our response to survivors. This is an endorsement by the Archbishops’ Council of General Synod’s unanimous vote in February for a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress.’
The press release says: and also to strengthen independence in the Church’s safeguarding work and the archbishops are quoted as saying: The issue of independence is something we have taken a personal lead on and are very committed to. We are glad that we the Church is now going to make this happen. But there is absolutely no explanation of what this means.
Updates: see in the comments below for some helpful explanations of what is meant.
Also, this recruitment advertisement appeared earlier this week: Development Manager (Redress Scheme)
The Church Times has this report: New scheme ‘marks turning point’ in Church’s treatment of survivors.
Updated Friday, Saturday, Wednesday and Thursday (1 October)
The meeting of General Synod took place today as planned and completed all stages of the General Synod (Remote Meetings) (Temporary Standing Orders) Measure. At the end of the meeting the Measure was given final approval, with 14 bishops, 42 clergy and 45 clergy voting in favour. There were no votes against and just two abstentions (both in the House of Laity). There is a press release here.
The meeting started with a joint presidential address by the two archbishops. There is an official press release summarising the address here, and the full text of the Archbishop of York’s contribution is here.
Andrew Nunn reports on the meeting: All done and dusted.
The Church Times has these two reports.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s contribution to the presidential address is now online.
Thursday 1 October Update3 Comments
Suffragan Bishop of Stafford: 10 September 2020
The Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Matthew John Parker to the Suffragan See of Stafford.
Published 24 September 2020
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Matthew John Parker BA MA, Archdeacon of Stoke-upon-Trent in the diocese of Lichfield to the Suffragan See of Stafford, in the diocese of Lichfield, in succession to the Right Reverend Geoffrey Peter Annas who retired last year.
Matthew was educated at the University of Manchester and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at St Mary the Virgin, Twickenham in the diocese of London and was ordained Priest in 1989.
In 1991, Matthew was appointed Curate of St George, Stockport and Chaplain of Stockport Grammar School in the diocese of Chester. In 1993, Matthew moved to St Mark’s Edgeley as Priest-in-Charge and in 1994 became Team Vicar in the Stockport South West Team Ministry.
In 2000, Matthew was appointed Team Rector of Leek and Meerbrook Team Ministry in the diocese of Lichfield and in 2007 was additionally appointed Rural Dean of Leek. In 2013, Matthew took up his current role as Archdeacon of Stoke-upon-Trent in the diocese of Lichfield.
There are more details on the Lichfield diocesan website.4 Comments
The papers for tomorrow’s meeting of General Synod are here; they now include
which have been added since my previous post.
According to the order paper a presidential address has been added to the agenda.
The Church of England issued the following press release today.
Special session of General Synod to go ahead amid new Covid-19 measures
A special session of the Church of England General Synod, needed to pass urgent legislation enabling Synod to continue to operate amid the challenges of the pandemic, will go ahead in London on Thursday. (more…)0 Comments
The Church of England Communications Unit has today issued this press release: Offering hope as we face a second wave – Archbishops’ letter to bishops.The press release is copied in full below.
The full text of the letter, which is addressed to “All Bishops” is available here (PDF). It reads as follows:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
23 September 2020
It is clear that we now have to gear up for a second wave of the coronavirus. This is hard. Many people were starting to believe things could return to normal. They can’t. But neither are we in the same place as before. We have learned a great deal. In our leadership of the Church and in the witness we show to our nation we need to be determined, resilient and hopeful. We will need to be more critical in our response to restrictions that are above and beyond government regulations, helping the church at the local level, in parish and diocese, steer a course that is marked by responsible action towards each other, care for the most vulnerable, and witness for the poor and disadvantaged who are suffering disproportionately. All this is the nature of love.
Our national situation is much more complicated than it was in March. The divisions are deeper. There is public and reasonable concern about hunger – especially amongst children – and homelessness, with an expected rapid rise in evictions. Domestic violence remains a major issue which is concealed.
We are also in a situation which threatens the recovery from the huge decline in the economy in the second quarter. The most vulnerable to this second wave are the small companies who employ the most people, and especially those in the hospitality industry. It will be for us and others to encourage the banks, who received such help in 2009, to be equally merciful to others as the nation was to them. St Matthew 18:23-35 seems highly relevant.
The poor, the elderly and isolated are especially vulnerable. There will be growing nervousness about Christmas, about mental health and many other issues that cannot be considered in this very short letter.
We are called to be responsible, but we are also called to resilience and prophetic speech. We have the networks, long since mobilised, and the partnerships to serve especially the hungry and homeless. Our schools are a particular treasure.
However, there will also be a sense of tiredness; the weariness which comes with dealing with yet another threat and difficulty. To face this, we must continue to encourage one another and bear one another’s burdens. We must in our meetings be transparent with each other, able to say difficult things in a way that avoids mistakes being made through unwilling acquiescence to the perceived view of the majority.
Most of all we need to draw close to Christ, and continue to offer the hope and stability of the gospel. It is this gospel joy, even in the darkest times, that alone can help us through this crisis, bringing hope and an eternal perspective to the very pressing trials of the moment.
We are so grateful for our partnership with you in this work. Do feel free to share this letter as you see fit. And please be assured of our prayers.
In the peace of Christ,
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop of York
Offering hope as we face a second wave – Archbishops’ letter to bishops
The Church has a vital role to play in offering hope and comfort to the nation as we face an expected second wave of the coronavirus, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said.
In a joint letter to the bishops of the Church of England, Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell set out a stark assessment of the challenges facing the country amid the pandemic including hunger, homelessness, mental health pressures and domestic violence.
But, they say, the Church of England, through its presence in every community, can play a vital role in serving the nation – especially those most in need – and in bringing hope to all through the gospel.
Churches are especially well placed, through networks and partnerships across the country, to help those in most need those who are hungry and homeless, they point out.
“Most of all we need to draw close to Christ, and continue to offer the hope and stability of the gospel,” the Archbishops write.
“It is this gospel joy, even in the darkest times, that alone can help us through this crisis, bringing hope and an eternal perspective to the very pressing trials of the moment.”
And they also highlight the particular pressures faced by small businesses after months of restrictions and issue a challenge to banks to show the same mercy to those in difficulties now as banks themselves received during the financial crisis.
Referencing the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18, they add: “It will be for us and others to encourage the banks, who received such help in 2009, to be equally merciful to others as the nation was to them.
“St Matthew 18:23-35 seems highly relevant.”7 Comments
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Barry Orford All Things Lawful And Honest Holy Useful
“Barry Orford replies to an earlier article … by Angela Tilby. He shares many of her concerns about theological formation.”
Thomas Plant All Things Lawful And Honest Deschooling Theology
“In a further contribution to debate on the future of theological formation, Tom Plant argues for the maximum possible decentralisation of ministerial education.”
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Anger that Challenges Injustice3 Comments
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Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law In Defence of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003: Measure and Management
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Vision and Strategy Group: Tuesday 15th September
A consultation hosted by the Archbishop of York took place online from 14 to 16 September and was attended by over 150 delegates.
The consultation — dubbed ‘Living Vision, Walking Strategy’ — was part of the ongoing work on the Church of England’s Vision & Strategy led by the Archbishop of York and expected to conclude in early 2021. The consultation was an opportunity for all the bishops and diocesan secretaries to work together on the Church of England’s mission, vision and priorities for the next 10 years.
The consultation opened with sessions on where the Church is presently and what we are learning from this experience. On Tuesday the consultation considered the particular challenges facing the Church both internally and externally and what the vision for the Church over the next ten years might be. The final day covered potential practicalities of committing to the work needed to put the strategy and vision into action at a national, diocesan and local level.9 Comments
House of Bishops Meeting – 17th September 2020
A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today Wednesday 17 September 2020 via Zoom.
At the second meeting of the House this autumn, the focus of the meeting was on strategic planning and the on-going work of the Emerging Church groups.
Earlier this week, 130 of the Church’s Bishops and most senior leaders in the regions met in a zoom forum entitled “Not the College” which was chaired by both Archbishops. The forum considered how the Church of England can boost its mission and outreach to all communities in this country.
Reporting back to the House in his capacity as Chair of the Church’s Vision and Strategy Group which sponsored the meeting, the Archbishop of York spoke of the Church’s addressing the spiritual need of a society which is going through an economic and health crisis. In particular Archbishop Stephen focused on the themes of inclusion and broadening the Church’s engagement with younger and more diverse groups.
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally in her capacity as Chair of the Recovery Group then updated the House on the recent ‘rule of six’ announcement by the government and how the announcement will affect church services and church related activities. These will continue to take place while building on the digital engagement and outreach which have been markers of the Church’s activities during the crisis.
The Chair of the Governance Review Group then gave an update on the various models of Church governance structures which are being considered by the group.
This was followed by a report from the Chair of the Transforming Effectiveness Group which is looking at what activities sit best at a local level and which are best resourced nationally. The House welcomed this initiative and agreed to feed in ideas and inputs to assist with structured conversations at diocesan and national levels about how all levels of Church activities are best supported.
The House then received an update on the financial position of dioceses and parish share, with the House supporting specific conversations and engagement with those dioceses facing financial strain.
This was followed by an update regarding ongoing plans for the 2022 Lambeth Conference. Although the Conference was unable to take place in 2020, supportive and productive dialogues are continuing between the Archbishop of Canterbury and his counterparts in all parts of the global Anglican Communion who are each facing the crisis in different ways.
The current position of the Church of England with respect to the distribution of Holy Communion and the use of the Common Cup during Covid was discussed with further theological reflection, discussion and work on this matter planned.12 Comments
Different views on individual communion cups:
Peter Anthony All Things Lawful And Honest A Shot of Salvation
“Peter Anthony reveals the murky racist past that lies behind the invention of individual communion cups in Nineteenth Century America and argues against their introduction in the Church of England for a number of theological and practical reasons.”
Steven Holmes Shored Fragments On the use of individual communion cups
Hilary Bogert-Winkler Montreal Diocesan Theological College Individual Communion Cups, Community, and Covid-19
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Richard Coekin and Jonathan Fletcher’s circle
Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News Solidarity, Oppression and the Church of England
Gilo Surviving Church Thoughts on the Elliott Review ‘translation’ by Archbishops Council17 Comments
Update: The Telegraph article is now available on the Archbishop’s website.
The Telegraph has published an article by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London today.
The Government must decentralise to survive Covid
Getting through the winter will only be sustainable if we resource, train and empower local parishes
When the covid pandemic began and lockdown took force across the country – shuttering shops and pubs, closing schools and barring places of worship – much of what we saw, heard and experienced was dictated and driven by “the centre”. Ministers and officials commanded our attention and determined the daily details of our lives. Few of us have experienced the sheer power of government like that in our lifetimes.
It makes sense to look instinctively for central direction in such an acute crisis, and we’re indebted to the roles many played in doing so, especially those who organised the NHS to cope with the increased demand. Within the Church there are lessons to be learnt about the role and importance of central guidance and its crucial interplay with government rules that exist for the benefit of all…
So here’s our challenge for the next phase of this complex, painful and hugely challenging time: let’s place our trust in the local, and make sure it is resourced, trained, informed and empowered. Some places will get things wrong – but that is true of central leadership too…
The Telegraph also has this news item: Exclusive: ‘Rule of six’ is damaging, Justin Welby tells Boris Johnson
Unfortunately these articles are behind a paywall, but there are freely available reports elsewhere.9 Comments
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The Dean of Hereford, the Very Revd Michael Tavinor, has announced that he will retire on 28 February 2021.5 Comments
Today’s Church Times has two safeguarding stories.
“THE Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, has apologised for “shortcomings” identified by an independent review of his diocese’s handling of a case of spiritual abuse. These failings “contributed to the distress of the survivors”, he said…”
You can read the full report and information about how the diocese is responding here.
“THE author of a strongly critical safeguarding review of the Church of England has condemned the revelation that the National Safeguarding Team (NST) responded to his recommendations by initiating closer ties between insurers, communications officers, and legal staff…”
All the papers for the meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod on 24 September are now available online.
Note from the Chair of the Business Committee, September 2020
Guide for Synod Members, September 2020
GS 2174 Agenda
GS 2176 General Synod (Remote Meetings) (Temporary Standing Orders)
GS 2176X Explanatory Note
GS Misc 1252 Note from Chief Legal Adviser
It should be noted that GS 2176 and GS 2176X and the timetable are revised versions of the papers originally published last month.12 Comments
A working party of the Ecclesiastical Law Society has been reviewing the operation of the Clergy Discipline Measure and has issued an interim report today. ELS members have been sent the following in an email; this is also available online. There are links to the report and an executive study below.
ELS WORKING PARTY ON THE CLERGY DISCIPLINE MEASURE 2003 – INTERIM REPORT
Members will be aware that earlier this year the ELS established a Working Party, under the leadership of Peter Collier QC, to review the operation of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. The Working Party has now produced its Interim Report which scopes out the issues to be addressed and provides an indication of direction of travel for reform. It is an impressive piece of work and merits careful reading in full, although an Executive Summary has also been produced.
The Interim Report indicates where further work is to be done in coming months, and this will be the subject of detailed consultation in due course in the expectation that a comprehensive Final Report will then follow. A notification inviting submissions will be circulated in due course.
The views stated in the Interim Report are not necessarily those of the ELS or its Trustees. The opinions expressed are those of the Working Party, whose membership is recorded in the Report. It represents an informed and expert consideration of a subject of pressing concern and considerable importance to the Church of England today. I commend it to you for study and comment, and in doing so I express the thanks of the Society to Peter and all the members for devoting their time and talents to this project.
Mark Hill QC
Chairman, Ecclesiastical Law Society
Church Times CDM review: lawyers press for an immediate change3 Comments