Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Lincoln announces his retirement

Press release from Diocese of Lincoln

To the people of the Diocese of Lincoln:

I am writing during the season of Easter, as we look forward to the celebration of Ascension Day and to the gift of the Holy Spirit at Whitsunday, the first Christian Pentecost, to announce my retirement as Bishop of Lincoln on the 31st December 2021 – more than ten years after I took up the post on the 19th September 2011 and as I approach my 69th birthday.

This will be preceded by a period of study leave during October to December in which I will reflect on the last ten years of ministry. I will do this by attending a retreat and undertaking guided study.

Of course, there will be time later for me to give thanks and for others to reflect on all that has happened in the Diocese during these ten years – to mark what has gone well and what has not gone so well; more of that later.

I hope my farewell service will be in Lincoln Cathedral on Sunday 21st November at Evensong at 3.45pm – COVID19 permitting.

I have not made this decision lightly, but after careful thought and prayer and after consultation with people of wisdom inside and outside the Diocese…

The press release goes on to explain the reasoning behind this timing.


Disruption to service

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Opinion – 28 April 2021

Jas ViaMedia.News Jas’ Story – Please. Be. Kind.
by Jas, a former drug addict, Bible College Student and now married lesbian

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Lesbians, Sex and the Church of England

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Responding well to Survivors. A Cautionary Tale from the Past


Suffragan Bishop of Lynn

Press release from Number 10

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Lynn: 28 April 2021

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Venerable Dr Jane Elizabeth Steen as the next Suffragan Bishop of Lynn.

From:Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published:28 April 2021

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Dr Jane Elizabeth Steen, MA LLM PhD, Archdeacon of Southwark, in the diocese of Southwark to the Suffragan See of Lynn, in the diocese of Norwich, in succession to the Right Reverend Cyril Jonathan Meyrick who resigned on 25th January 2021.


Jane was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge and trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge. She served her title at St John the Baptist, Chipping Barnet, in the Diocese of St Albans and was ordained Priest in 1997.

In 1999, Jane was appointed Chaplain to the Bishop of Southwark in the Diocese of Southwark. In 2005, she became Canon Chancellor at Southwark Cathedral, also serving as Diocesan Director of Ministerial Education and Canon Theologian.

In 2013, Jane took up her current role as Archdeacon of Southwark.

There are more details on the Norwich diocesan website.


Reactions to the CofE anti-racism task force report

Updated 29 April and 2 May and 6 May

Although there has been extensive media coverage of the recent report, aided by the recent BBC television documentary, there has been relatively little commentary on the content. Here is a small selection:

Church Times Leader comment: Welcomed to the table at last?

Jonathan Jong On ‘From Lament to Action’: the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce Report

Diocese in Europe Racial Justice: “From Lament To Action”

Telegraph Calvin Robinson The Church of England is institutionally woke

Archbishop Cranmer From Lament To Action: the report of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce


Nicholas Adams Lament and Action

Al Barrett #LamentToAction: making the invisible, visible

Mike Higton Theological Education in ‘From Lament to Action’

Ian Paul How should the Church respond to race?

Mike Higton (again) How should the church respond to race? – A reply to Ian Paul – kai euthus


Opinion – 24 April 2021

Archbishop Cranmer One Church of England diocese has spent £500,000 on 20 Non-Disclosure Agreements

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Bishop to the Archbishops opposed to equality of LGBTIQ+ people

David Wilbourne Church Times Bigger platoon at Bishopthorpe
“News of further appointments to the Archbishop of York’s staff has prompted David Wilbourne to recall his time as John Habgood’s chaplain”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Open Letter to +Emma of Penrith


General Synod – Day 2

Updated Sunday and Tuesday and 8 May

Today’s session started at 9.30 pm and a live video stream is available here.

Order Paper II – the morning’s business

Order Paper III – the afternoon’s business

Andrew Nunn writes about some of the business: Responsible representation.

Church Times Synod feels its way carefully towards greater diversity

Stephen Lynas summarises the day’s business: So sad to watch good love go bad.

Church of England press releases: Bishop tells General Synod to speak out against persecution of religious believers and atheists
Unanimous Synod support for new safeguarding code

Business Done – the official summary of both days’ business.


General Synod – Day 1

Updated Friday, Saturday, Sunday

The Church of England’s General Synod meets today (23 April) and tomorrow. The agenda and papers are here.

Today’s session starts at 12.30 pm and a live video stream will be available here.

Order Paper 1 – the day’s business

There are two previews of the business by Synod members.

Stephen Lynas I will be alone again…
Andrew Nunn The sun rises

Reports on the day’s business

Archbishop of York’s Presidential Address to General Synod
Andrew Nunn A moving beginning
The Guardian Archbishop of York commits C of E to racial justice after ‘sobering’ week
Episcopal News Service Bishop tells Church of England’s General Synod to speak out against persecution of religious believers and atheists
Church Times Archbishop of York: How I was saved by Grace
Church Times Action, not words, needed to protect freedom of religion or belief

Stephen Lynas summarises the day’s business: See my friends.
There is also a brief review from Andrew Nunn: Under pressure.

Business Done 23 April 2021 – the official summary of the day’s business.


House of Bishops Meeting – 20 April 2021

Church of England press release

House of Bishops Meeting – 20 April 2021

The House of Bishops met on Tuesday 20th April remotely via Zoom.


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Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce calls for urgent changes

Church of England press release

From Lament to Action: Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce calls for urgent changes to culture of Church of England

The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce has today published its report From Lament to Action proposing a suite of changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England.

It issues a warning to the Archbishops that a failure to act could be a “last straw” for many people of UK Minority Ethnic (UKME) or Global Majority Heritage (GMH) backgrounds with “devastating effects” on the future of the Church.

The report sets out 47 specific actions for different arms of the Church of England to implement across five priority areas: participation, governance, training, education and young people.

Without these changes the Church risks denying and disregarding the gifts of a significant part of the nation, the Taskforce makes clear.

(The press release is continued below the fold)

The full report is available here.

The text of the Archbishops’ statement in response to Anti-Racism Taskforce Report is here.

Information about the Anti-Racism Taskforce itself.



General Synod Questions


The questions, and answers, for this week’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available here. Supplementary questions will be taken on Friday at 6.00 pm.

An extra item has been added to the agenda regarding the late Duke of Edinburgh, and this has resulted in changes to the timings of other items. The latest timetable is here.


The timetable has been revised again to add a presidential address. This version is here.


Opinion – 21 April 2021

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Principles and Anti-Principles. Finding Nolan in Church Life

ViaMedia.News Lisa’s Story
by Lisa (a pseudonym), who is a trans woman from the North of England.


Is the Church Racist?

The BBC asked the question “Is the Church [of England] Racist?” in its Panorama programme on BBC One last night. The programme can be watched on the BBC iPlayer (but probably only from within the UK), where there is this summary.

Panorama investigates allegations of racism in the Church of England. A year after the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, admitted that the Church was still ‘deeply institutionally racist’, and that he was ‘ashamed’ of its record, reporter Clive Myrie meets vicars, curates and theological trainees to understand the scale of the problem. He hears stories of racist abuse and claims of a culture that creates a hostile environment for Christians of colour. Some say they have been told to ‘turn the other cheek’ when they have raised complaints, others say they have suffered in silence for fear of further discrimination or losing their jobs.

The Church of England has issued this press release: BBC Panorama programme ‘Is the Church Racist?’

Media reports include these; some may be behind a paywall.

BBC News Clergy speak out over ‘racism in Church of England’
BBC News Justin Welby tells Church of England to stop using NDAs amid racism claims
Church Times Clerics fear to take racism complaints further in C of E, BBC’s Panorama reports
The Guardian Church of England clergy ‘paid off to keep quiet about racism’
The Telegraph Racially abused church staff ‘forced to sign gagging orders to buy their silence’
Metro Picture of banana sent to black worker ‘wasn’t racist’, church rules


Bishop Emma Ineson appointed to new national role

press release from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and from the Archbishop of York

Bishop Emma Ineson to be Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Currently Bishop of Penrith, Bishop Emma will take up the position from 1st June 2021.

Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell have announced the Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson as the new Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Currently Bishop of Penrith, Dr Ineson will take up the position from 1st June 2021.

The role reimagines and replaces the existing position of Bishop at Lambeth – the post currently held by Bishop Tim Thornton, who announced his retirement earlier this year – in order to facilitate closer working between Lambeth Palace and Bishopthorpe.

Bishop Emma will work directly for both Archbishops and closely with the whole College of Bishops. As a senior member of the Archbishops’ teams, she will play a key role in work being done on the future of the Church of England, appointments and liaising with the House of Bishops.

She will also have specific oversight of the programme for the 2022 Lambeth Conference, having been chair of the conference’s working group since last year. She will not be Bishop to the Forces or Episcopal Commissary to the Falkland Islands, roles currently performed by the Bishop at Lambeth.

Bishop Emma has been the Bishop of Penrith in the Diocese of Carlisle since 2019. Prior to that she was Principal of Trinity College. She has also been a Bishop’s chaplain, and chaplain to the Lee Abbey community in Devon. In 2016 she was appointed as an Honorary Chaplain to the Queen.

She is author of two books – Busy Living: Blessing not burden (Continuum) and Ambition: What Jesus said about power, success and counting stuff (SPCK). She is married to Mat. They have two adult children and two black dogs.

Bishop Emma said: “I am absolutely delighted to be taking up this new role at such a time of great opportunity and challenge for the Church of England, as we emerge from the Covid pandemic. I am very much looking forward to working with the Archbishops and their teams at Lambeth and Bishopthorpe to enable the work of healing, renewal and hope that will be needed in the Church, and in wider society, in the coming years. We have good news to share in Jesus, and it will be a privilege to play whatever part I can in ensuring that good news is heard and received by all.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said: “I am truly delighted to welcome Bishop Emma to Lambeth Palace. I know she will bring her considerable wisdom, humour and humility to the role, as well as her wealth of experience as a chaplain, teacher and outstanding preacher. Archbishop Stephen and I are looking forward to working with Bishop Emma on issues relating to the Emerging Church, the role and nature of bishops meetings and the priorities we face.

“As we look forward to the Lambeth Conference, in which Bishop Emma will continue to play a crucial role, her authentic and practical ministry will be invaluable to the global Anglican Communion. I will be praying for her and her husband, Mat, as they prepare to join this community of communities at Lambeth Palace.”

The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell said: “I’m delighted that Emma has been appointed as Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Her theological depth and pastoral heart will be a huge blessing in this important ministry, not just to the Archbishops, but to the Church of England as we strive to be a simpler, humbler and bolder church.”


Opinion – 17 April 2021

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Implementing the IICSA recommendations

Cliff James Surviving Church Another review of Sex, Power, Control

ViaMedia.News Timothy’s Story
the first of a series of personal testimonies from LGBT Christians

Martin Warner Church Times An offer you can’t refuse? You can
“Moral judgements must be allowed to override financial ones”


Opinion – 14 April 2021

Martyn Percy Meander Bread for the World

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Towards humility? Anglican conservatives after Jonathan Fletcher

Vaughan S Roberts Socrel Dead and Gone: does embodied storytelling have a post-pandemic future?


Opinion – 10 April 2021

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Annual Report 2020 National Safeguarding Panel

Rosalind Lund Modern Church How Covid-19 may have Changed the Church Forever!

Linda Woodhead reviews ‘Sex, Power, Control: Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church’ for Surviving Church

Katy Canty Church Times Sector ministries: alongside parish and people
“Sector ministries are reaching places pastorally that others cannot”

LGBTQ Faith UK Reclaiming Lambeth I.10


April General Synod – online papers

The Papers for this month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online.

Papers with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets virtually on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 April. They can be downloaded as two zip files.

GS papers .zip folder
GS Misc papers .zip folder

The Agenda is here and the Report by the Business Committee (Guide to the April 2021 group of sessions) is here.


Synod members reading this might like to note that the deadline for the submission of questions is 12 noon on Tuesday 13 April 2021.


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Opinion – 7 April 2021

David Ison ViaMedia.News Is God Inhuman?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Wimbledon/Fletcher understanding of Church. Training Camp or Hospital?

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK “Net zero” in 2030 – a courageous decision?


Bishop of Barking to retire

The Rt Revd Peter Hill has announced that he will retire as Bishop of Barking on 4 August 2021. There are more details on the Chelmsford diocesan website.