Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 31 March 2021

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Why Don’t You Just Leave?!

Anonymous Surviving Church A Bloody Shambles: Surviving Church Between Good Friday and Easter

Christopher Wells The Living Church Church Order: neither nostalgic no progressive

La Repubblica interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: “What I learnt from Covid, the threat of cancel culture and the truth on Harry & Meghan’s wedding”


Publication of detailed response to IICSA report

Press release from the Church of England

Publication of detailed response to IICSA report

The Church of England has today published its detailed responses to the recommendations of the IICSA report from October. As the report stated, the Church of England failed to protect some children and young people from sexual predators within their midst. While the Church will continue to apologise, the main focus is now recognising the distress caused particularly to victims and survivors and acting to improve its safeguarding structures and to change its culture.

The recommendations made by the Inquiry have been accepted in full. Our response document focuses on response to victims and survivors including redress, structure and independence, information sharing, revision of the Clergy Discipline Measure and external audits.

To successfully deliver these recommendations an IICSA safeguarding programme has been set up, with a governance structure to ensure the work is closely monitored. The Archbishops’ Council, who led the response to IICSA on behalf of the institutional church, will be responsible for ensuring the work is completed (with updates to the House of Bishops and General Synod).


Opinion – 27 March 2021

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Campaigning to create a Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community

David Ford Church Times Dare to think boldly about funding ministry
“Stop the competition for scarce resources: stipendiary posts should be allocated according to need”

Richard Peers ViaMedia.News It’s A Sin: The Myth of Homogeneity

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Patronage Legacy of Jonathan Fletcher


Scripture Union review of John Smyth case

The Scripture Union has published the Executive Summary of its review into the case of John Smyth. There is also an FAQ to explain it.

Note that this is one of three separate reviews being conducted in parallel. The others are organised by Winchester College and the Church of England. The FAQ document explains why the SU report is separate. It may be helpful to read the FAQ first.

Scripture Union Statement

Executive Summary of  the Scripture Union John Smyth Independent Case Review

John Smyth Independent Case Review FAQs


Opinion – 24 March 2021

James Hadley All Things Lawful And Honest Episcopal Soft Power
“The Rev’d Dr James Hadley finds the bishops’ protestations that there is no central plan to do away with the parish system disingenuous. Soft power, stealth, patronage and spin, allied with episcopal groupthink and the control of cash is just as powerful as a synodically agreed central policy.”

Emma Percy Modern Church Blog Queer Eye for a Fearful Church

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Towards a new Mission Statement for the Church of England

Timothy Goode ViaMedia.News ‘Oi Vicar, Why Don’t You Heal Yourself?’

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Refusing to play by House of Bishops’ rules


Review of Jonathan Fletcher case published

Updated again Wednesday morning

The independent review commissioned by Emmanuel Church Wimbledon from thirtyone:eight has been published.

The full report is available here (146 pages).

Here is the response of Emmanuel Church.

Another response from the external members of the Independent Advisory Group is here.


The Diocese of Southwark has issued this statement:

“The Diocese of Southwark is committed to learning lessons from independent safeguarding reviews and in the light of this report will continue to work with Emmanuel Church Wimbledon and the National Safeguarding Team. The abuse of power and control by those in positions of trust is unacceptable and we commend those who contributed to this review for their resilience and courage in coming forward to disclose painful experiences. It is of the utmost importance that support is offered to those in need who have been affected by the abusive behaviours detailed in the review. The Diocese has contributed to the review and will study the report findings and recommendations in detail. We will seek to ensure that the learning from the review will be implemented.

For clarification, whilst recognised as a church within the Diocese, Emmanuel Church Wimbledon is an independent ‘Proprietary Chapel’, and as such does not have parish status. Emmanuel Church Wimbledon is fully self-supporting and appoints its own clergy under the guidance of an appointed group of patrons. It is a private limited company registered with the Charity Commission. Anglican clergy at Emmanuel Church Wimbledon officiate with licences issued by the Diocesan Bishop.”

The National Safeguarding Team has issued this statement:

A spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team, NST, said: The Church is committed to learning lessons from all safeguarding situations and will continue to work together with Southwark Diocese on this case. The coercive and controlling behaviours described in the report are appalling and the priority must be to ensure support for those who have been brave enough to come forward. The NST has contributed to this review and does note the findings and recommendations which it will study in detail. The Team has developed over recent years and has seen a significant restructure including the commitment to move to independent oversight along with the development of the national casework management system. We fully welcome the learning and changes that will result from this report.”

Media coverage:



Sheffield Cathedral Visitation: Bishop issues his Determination

The Bishop of Sheffield has published his Determination, following upon the Visitation of his cathedral that he announced on 1 November.

The press release is here: Bishop of Sheffield publishes ‘Determination’ following Sheffield Cathedral Visitation or another copy is here.

The text of the determination itself (pdf) can be found either here, or alternatively over here.

The Sheffield Star reported: Sheffield Cathedral’s ‘bullying and blaming’ culture led to ‘fear of speaking out’.


Opinion – 20 March 2021

Giles Fraser UnHerd When conversion is abusive
“We all want others to change — but at what cost?”

Sarah Mullally ViaMedia.News We May be Winning the Fight Against the Virus, but We Risk Losing Something Else…

Andrew Village and Leslie Francis Church Times Eucharist in a time of lockdown
“Different practices have emerged”

The Spring 2021 issue of the Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal is devoted to articles on safeguarding. You can download a pdf copy here.


House of Bishops Meeting – Wednesday 17 March 2021

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops Meeting – Wednesday 17 March 2021

The House of Bishops met on Wednesday March 17 2021 remotely via Zoom.

The House engaged further with a number of issues including reviewing the work to date of the Governance Review Group and a consideration of the draft report and recommendations of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Group.

The Bishop of Manchester, in his capacity as Chair of the Coordinating Group of the Emerging Church Groups, updated the House on the revised Terms of Reference of the Committee and the workstreams that are feeding into the work of the Coordinating Group.

This was followed by an update from the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich who updated the House on the ongoing work of the Transforming Effectiveness workstream which is looking at how resources are best deployed across the Church.

The Bishop of Leeds then addressed the House in his capacity as Chair of the Governance Review Group. The Governance Group is reviewing the shape of the national governance structures and functions of the Church of England and is tasked with suggesting possible changes to simplify and improve the functioning and effectiveness of those structures.

The House considered (in regional groups and in plenary) the work the Governance Review Group had done to date. A final report from the Governance Review Group will be presented to the Co-Ordinating Group in the summer and further discussion and implementation planning will follow in the autumn.

The House was then addressed by the Bishop of London in her capacity as Chair of the Recovery Group who updated the House about the work of the Group and how the Church will respond to the various phases of the planned relaxation of the lockdown. The Bishop of London also spoke to plans for 23rd March and the One Minute Reflection to mark one year of lockdown measures.

The House was then given an update (up to the end of February) by the interim Director of Safeguarding on establishing an independent oversight structure for national safeguarding.

The House then held its first discussion on the draft report of the Archbishops’ Anti -Racism Task Force which will be publishing its report on 22nd April. The House was invited to consider the working draft of the Report and to give its views about the suggested implementation timetable and details of the Racial Justice Commission. The House was addressed by Revd. Arun Arora and Revd. Sonia Barron, authors of the draft report.

The House broke out into groups to discuss the draft with Archbishop of Canterbury speaking to the report in the final plenary session and suggesting some ways forward on the draft recommendations. The House noted the draft report and agreed to relay feedback from the meeting to the report’s authors.

The meeting concluded with a blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury.


Latest developments in Christ Church Oxford saga

Updated 23 March and again 24 March

Two separate news reports have been published today:

Much of this article reports an online AGM meeting last Saturday of the Christ Church Association which represents 9,000 past and present members of the college, and which spent 50 minutes scrutinising Christ Church’s treatment of its head, Dean Martyn Percy, which was strongly defended by Canon Sarah Foot, who referred to the recently published report by Sir Wyn Williams.

It also reports on a legal opinion commissioned by friends of the Dean, Edward Fitzgerald QC, a specialist in human rights law and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers in London, and his colleague Paul Harris. They  conclude that it would be “unlawful and improper to convene a second tribunal”. They go on to say that if the complaints were proven,  “… it seems very doubtful whether those facts could be regarded by any reasonable tribunal as sufficient to merit the severe sanction of dismissal…The sustained, repeated and entirely groundless campaign to drive the dean from his job would seem to fall within the definition of harassment in Sections 2 and 7 of the Protection from Harassment Act, 1997.”

This news report describes the safeguarding risk assessment measures taken by the College and Chapter, that were approved by Richard Woodley,the Oxford Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, who said:

“…because this was an “interim assessment of risk” rather than a formal risk assessment, it did not need to comply with the Safeguarding (Clergy Risk Assessment) Regulations 2016, which stipulate, among other things, that the person being assessed be consulted and given 14 days to query it, and, when it involved “certain facts which are in dispute . . . must set out the matter and the nature and the extent of the dispute”.

Also, it was an error for the name of the consultant who conducted an investigation into the alleged incident, to have appeared on the risk assessment document.  Kate Wood said:

“I have never undertaken a risk assessment in this matter or been party to the assessment of risk in any regard. I have never even seen the risk assessments conducted by the college and cathedral. My role was to conduct an initial investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment. This is a very different role to conducting a risk assessment. . .

“…I asked the college several times to publicly explain the error and to confirm that I had not conducted a risk assessment. I also asked the college to engage with those people who had been most vocal in criticising me on this false narrative. This public correction does not appear to have happened, though I am told that the error has now been corrected on the document.”

A spokesperson for Christ Church confirmed that Ms Wood’s name had been incorrectly included in an early “risk assessment draft”.

The Church Times also reports on the progress of the CDM action against the Dean: the Bishop of Birmingham, to whom the responsibility has been delegated by the Bishop of Oxford,  has decided to proceed to the tribunal stage, despite the Dean being unable to respond to the complaint due to illness.

Updates  (items published on 21 March)

Archbishop Cranmer If Martyn Percy kills himself, the Church of England will have blood on its hands

Surviving Church Averting a catastrophe in the Church of England. Is it too late

Oxford Diocese has published this (24 March): The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy which links to a letter from the Sub Dean. The same material is on the Christ Church website: Response from Christ Church Cathedral to public speculation.


Opinion – 17 March 2021

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Families – Love ‘Em, Hate ‘Em

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church When a Church fails to care. Facing institutional dishonesty

Robert Gilbert ViaMedia.News Pandemics, Parishes & the ‘National Church’

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Finding confidence in a radical vision of faith, sexuality and gender


Bishop of Willesden to retire

News from the Diocese of London

Bishop of Willesden to retire

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, has announced his intention to resign as from 30th September 2021. Bishop Pete has volunteered to stand down a year before his normal retirement date.

The Bishop of London is exploring with him another role, which would see him facilitating some of the transition and implementation work for the Diocese of London’s 2030 Vision. This will enable the potential appointment of a new Bishop of Willesden and provide an opportunity for the Diocese’s senior team in London to become more diverse.

Bishop Pete has been Bishop of Willesden since 2001. Before that, he served as Archdeacon of Northolt, as a Vicar in Harrow and as a Polytechnic Chaplain in Islington.

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, said:

“It’s been a joy and a privilege to serve the churches and people of North West London this past twenty years. I look forward to the next stage, helping the Diocese of London with our 2030 Vision – making it possible for every Londoner to encounter the love of God in Christ.”

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, said:

“Pete has shown extraordinary, untiring commitment to the Church in London for over 40 years. Half of those have been as Bishop, where he returned to serve the part of the capital he grew up in. Pete will leave the see of Willesden with a legacy that will live on. I’ve been particularly grateful personally for his support since I came to London, and I look forward to continuing our work together as we deliver our Diocesan 2030 Vision.”

A consultation has begun to help guide the appointment to the See of Willesden, ending on 12th April. Click here to view the consultation paper.


Opinion – 13 March 2021

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Changing Attitude resumes campaign for full equality of LGBTIQ+ people

Joanna Winn-Smith OneBodyOneFaith Living in Love and Faith

Nicholas Henshall ViaMedia.News Are ‘Leaders’ Biblical?

Richard Moy A Reasonable Enthusiast The Myth of Episcopal Oversight in the UK Church


Bishop of Bath & Wells to take early retirement

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, is to take early retirement on medical grounds as he continues his recovery from treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.

More details are on the diocesan wesbite.


Christ Church Publishes Independent Review

press release from Christ Church Oxford website

Christ Church Publishes Independent Review
Link to independent report (pdf)

Christ Church has published an independent report by President of Welsh Tribunals, Sir Wyn Williams, reviewing the handling of a sexual harassment complaint made by a junior member of staff against a senior member. Last month, Governing Body commissioned the review to provide external, transparent scrutiny of the disciplinary processes it has followed, including the setting up of a tribunal in accordance with its statutes.

In his report, Sir Wyn states the complainant “described events which, objectively, could amount to sexual harassment,” that “there was nothing which can be categorised as unfair or unjust in the way that information was provided to members of Governing Body prior to the making of the complaint,” and then that “a decision to the effect that the evidence was not sufficient would have been unreasonable.” He confirms “the processes followed were entirely consistent with the Statute and By-Laws” and concludes “I have no doubt that establishing a tribunal is a responsible use of charitable resource and in the best interests of Christ Church.”

Sir Wyn Williams was asked in his terms of reference to examine whether Governing Body members saw sufficient information about the allegation of sexual harassment to make properly informed decisions. He ruled that “I am satisfied the body of information provided was wholly sufficient to reach an informed decision.” Sir Wyn also looked for evidence of conflicts of interest in the decision-making process, and found that trustees acted “reasonably and objectively.”

The full report has been provided to the Charity Commission. Sir Wyn concludes his report stating that “there is no basis upon which the Charity Commission should be concerned about either (a) the decision to appoint a tribunal to hear and determine the complaint made against the Dean or (b) the process by which that decision was reached.”

Christ Church has previously expressed its condemnation of attempts by some through the media, social media, and a number of blogs, to undermine its disciplinary processes and in particular to intimidate the complainant. It is now hoped that these individuals will accept the outcome of Sir Wyn’s independent review, and allow the tribunal process to continue and reach a conclusion without further public comment, for the sakes of both the complainant and the respondent.


The Future of Brexit Britain

The Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Southampton is organising a webinar:
The Future of Brexit Britain – debates in the Anglican tradition

This event is linked to the publication of a book: The Future of Brexit Britain – Anglican reflections on national identity and European solidarity (SPCK, eds: Andrew Bradstock and Jonathan Chaplin).

You may register for this webinar here:
Webinar: 15th March 2021, 17:00-19:00 GMT


  • Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover
  • Bishop Robert Innes, Bishop in Europe
  • Dr David Muir, University of Roehampton
  • Bishop John McDowell, Primate of All Ireland
  • Bishop Philip North, Bishop of Burnley
  • Dr Adrian Pabst, University of Kent
  • Prof Linda Woodhead, University of Lancaster

Very little of the voluminous post-Brexit analysis in academia and the commentariat has focussed on what happened with the major organisations and institutions of civil society. This webinar provides an unusual opportunity to understand how the issues were seen and played out within England’s established church. Like much of England, the Anglican church was divided by Brexit. The essays in The Future of Brexit Britain explore why these divisions may have arisen. They examine the extent to which divides reflected broader patterns of popular opinion, attitudes to nationhood, education and social class, or may have reflected issues particular to the Church of England. The essays reflect the different perspectives found within the church on Brexit and on English, British and European identities In the first part of this two hour webinar the editors will outline some of the key questions raised in the book and discussion will explore those issues. In the second part the debate will look more widely at the contemporary role of Anglicanism in shaping ideas of national and international identities in England, Britain and the British Isles. (It is hoped that will be the first in an occasional series of events on the relationships between the major faith groups in England and national identity.)


Opinion – 10 March 2021

Rachel Treweek ViaMedia.News International Women’s Day – Choose to Challenge

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Charity Commission and its power to intervene in religious charities

Paul Thomas All Things Lawful And Honest A Nuptial Mess

Neal Michell The Living Church Against Non-Apologies


General Synod – April 2021

The draft timetable for April’s virtual meeting of the Church of England General Synod was published today, and is copied below.


Friday 23 April
12.30 pm – 7.00 pm
12.30 pm – 12.45 pm Opening worship
Introductions and welcomes
12.45 pm – 1.15 pm Business Committee Report
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
1.15 pm – 2.45 pm Draft Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure – Revision Stage
2.45 pm – 3.05 pm Adjournment/screen break
3.05 pm – 4.05 pm International Religious Freedom
4.05 pm – 4.45 pm Report of the Standing Orders Committee
4.45 pm – 5.00 pm Adjournment/screen break
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
5.00 pm – 5.45 pm Draft Legislative Reform (Church of England Pensions) Order
*5.45 pm – 7.00 pm Question Time

Saturday 24 April
9.15 am – 12.30 pm
9.15 am – 9.30 am Opening worship
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
9.30 am – 10.30 am Clergy Discipline (Amendment) Rules 2021
10.30 am – 10.55 am Appointment of the Chair of the Pensions Board
Appointment of the Chair of the Dioceses Commission
10.55 am – 11.15am Adjournment/screen break
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
11.15 am – 12.30 pm Draft Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure – Final Drafting and Final Approval

1.30 pm – 5.00 pm
1.30 pm – 2.45 pm Responsible Representation: Crown Nominations Commission Elections Review Group Report
2.45 pm – 3.00 pm General Synod elections 2020: allocation of seats Amendment Resolution
3.00 pm – 3.20 pm Adjournment/screen break
3.20 pm – 4.05 pm Safeguarding
4.05 pm – 4.30 pm Farewells
4.30pm – 5.00pm Deemed business
*5.00 pm Prorogation

Deemed Business:
Code of Practice under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003
Payments to the Churches Conservation Trust Order 2020
some of the proposed amendments of the Standing Orders

* not later than
Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk
Deadline for receipt of questions: 1200 hrs Tuesday 13 April


Chair of the Business Committee

Robert Hammond has been elected as chair of the General Synod Business Committee. The count was on Friday last week and the voting figures are available here.


Report on the Developments in Women’s Ministry in 2020

WATCH has published its 2020 annual Report on Developments in Women’s Ministry. It is available as a webpage and a pdf file. There is also a press release which is copied below the fold.