Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office
Appointment of Bishop of Rochester: 31 March 2022
The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Gibbs for election as Bishop of Rochester.
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 31 March 2022
The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Gibbs, Suffragan Bishop of Huddersfield, for election as Bishop of Rochester, in succession to The Right Reverend James Langstaff following his retirement.
Jonathan was educated at Jesus College, Oxford and Jesus College, Cambridge and he trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at Holy Trinity Stalybridge, in the diocese of Chester and was ordained Priest in 1990.
Jonathan became Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Basle, Switzerland with Freiburg, Germany in 1992, before being appointed Rector of Heswall, St Peter and Good Shepherd, in the diocese of Chester in 1998.
Jonathan took up his current role as Suffragan Bishop of Huddersfield in 2014. He is married to Toni and they have three adult children and two grandchildren.
There are more details on the Rochester diocesan website.45 Comments
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Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office
Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral
The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham Cathedral, for election as Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 30 March 2022
The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham Cathedral, for election as Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in succession to The Very Reverend David Ison following his resignation.
Andrew was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and Queen’s College, Oxford and trained for ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his title at St Matthias, Torquay in the Diocese of Exeter and was ordained Priest in 1990.
In 1992, Andrew was appointed Assistant Chaplain at St Mary’s Rotterdam, based in the Diocese of Europe and to The Mission to Seafarers. From 1995, Andrew served as Team Vicar of St Columba, Fareham and in 1998 he became Bishop’s Chaplain in the Diocese of Portsmouth. In 2003, he was appointed Vicar of Goring-by-Sea, in the Diocese of Chichester, and in 2008 he became Residentiary Canon at Bristol Cathedral. He was additionally appointed Acting Dean in 2009. In 2010, Andrew served as Residentiary Canon and Rector of St Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey and, additionally, in 2014 he became Sub-Dean and Archdeacon of Westminster.
He took up his current role as Dean of Durham Cathedral in 2016.11 Comments
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House of Bishops – Thursday March 24
The House met on Zoom and began the meeting with an update on Ukraine, a review of current developments and the ongoing humanitarian and refugee crisis . The House took note of several the initiatives already underway on a national and international level and invited all to pray for those in Ukraine effected by the ongoing situation.
The House was then given an update on the financial situation in dioceses. The discussion included an assessment of the current and future inflationary environment and discussed possible mitigation opportunities for those affected.
The House then then turned its attention to Bishops and their ministries. Phase One of the most recent consultation was discussed with a summary of the context and key themes that emerged from the conclusion of this phase of the consultation. This was followed by a presentation by the Chair of the Diocese Commissions on the proposed Phase Two of the consultation. The House also reviewed proposals to join up the work of the Diocese Commission and the Transforming Effectiveness work stream to facilitate diocesan collaboration and develop more shared services.
The House then had a substantive discussion on proposed changes to the membership of the Crown Nominations Commission for the See of Canterbury. A full range of views were expressed on potential changes and will be submitted to the Consultation as a formal response from the House of Bishops.
The House was then given an update on the reform of the Clergy Discipline Measure with the House invited to take note and make comments and suggestions in preparation of the final report that will come to the House in May.
The House then turned its attention to Living in Love and Faith (LLF) related matters.
The House agreed to the plan for bishops’ engagement with LLF in 2022 and the proposal for LLF engagement at the July Synod in 2022.
The House also agreed to a proposal where members of the LLF Reference Group will accompany the bishops during parts of the College of Bishops meetings in the autumn of 2022. Their role will be to enrich the discussions by offering perspectives from outside the episcopal arena, ensure that the insights and sensibilities of diverse lived experiences and convictions are embedded in the discernment process, and act as a diverse sounding board.
The House also agreed to the formation of a Pastoral Consultative Group to support and advise dioceses on pastoral responses to circumstances that arise concerning LGBTI+ clergy, ordinands, lay leaders and the lay people in their care. The group will comprise a small group of bishops working together with external advisors who bring subject expertise as well as pastoral and lived experience.
The House then reviewed attempts to explore questions of gender identity and transition and agreed to seek and commission an appropriate group to take this work forward.
The meeting closed in prayer.12 Comments
‘Cathedrals are at the heart of Covid recovery’ says lead Dean
The Chair of England’s Cathedral Deans has called on all who value cathedrals to visit them and assist their recovery in the aftermath of Covid-19, as data from 2020 are published.
The Dean of Leicester, David Monteith, who Chairs the Church of England’s College of Cathedral Deans, was speaking as data from the height of Covid-19 restrictions was published, showing an expected fall in visitors and on-site worshippers.
“The simple message for everyone is ‘come and visit your cathedrals!'” he said.
“Cathedrals across the country are working hard to welcome back more visitors and worshippers and the picture has improved in the time since this data was gathered, but It remains a challenging environment not least because of current utility cost increases.
“Cathedrals and churches are here to support their communities including people who are still struggling following Covid-19, and as focal points for prayer and reflection and action in light of world events including the war in Ukraine.
“Local people have supported their cathedrals throughout, and we are grateful for the emergency grant funding which the Government and Church have provided, but this has now ended.
“Cathedrals serve congregations and wider communities through worship, heritage, education and civic events.
“They are landmarks which characterise our regions and are testaments to faith and witness across the centuries. We are committed – with the help of all who visit, worship, and value them, to ensuring they continue long into the future. We exist for God’s glory, for all the peoples of England and for those who join us from further afield.”
He was speaking as the Church of England published Cathedrals data from 2020, and – separately – the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) published visitor numbers from 2021, showing a 57 per cent reduction across all attractions, with St Pauls Cathedral and Westminster Abbey both named in the report.
The Church of England’s Cathedrals Data from 2020 showed a 64 per cent reduction between 2019 and 2020 in on-site worshippers throughout the week, largely owing to the Government’s closure of buildings for much of the year.
The data also showed that cathedrals stepped up to the challenge of providing worship and support remotely during the pandemic, through an increase in reaching congregations via online, telephone, email and postal means. By October 2020, when most buildings had reopened for worship, online services were still being offered in the vast majority of cathedrals, many of which continue to the present.
Cathedrals have now streamed thousands of online services to people around the world, while elsewhere the Church of England’s national online services have been seen more than 16 million times since the start of the pandemic, with many more services broadcast by local churches.
In recent weeks cathedrals have become the focus of prayer vigils and community gatherings following the invasion of Ukraine, with many lighting up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
Cathedrals will also host services and prayer events for the National Day of Reflection on March 23, marking two years since the first Covid-19 lockdown in England.
A 2021 study by the economic research agency Ecorys showed that cathedrals attracted over 9.5 million tourist or leisure visitors in 2019, an increase of 15 per cent on the 2014 total of 8.2 million.
The additional expenditure generated by these visitors was estimated to be £128 million in the local economies concerned which, combined with employment, resulted in a total of approximately £235 million in local spending per year.
More information:8 Comments
On 23 March 2022, David Hodge QC, acting as the Deputy Chancellor of Ely diocese handed down his judgment in the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Ely, on Re The Rustat Memorial, Jesus College Cambridge, in which he refused to grant a faculty to the College for the removal of the memorial. This has been reported in just about every British newspaper.
Full text of judgment (104 pages)
Summary of judgment (6 pages) (Recommended)
For a brief overview, see Law & Religion UK Rustat memorial: judgment
Jesus College Cambridge: Statement on the decision of the Consistory Court
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Updated 22 March
As you would expect, churches have called for peace in the war between Russia and Ukraine:
The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have both spoken by video to the Patriarch of Moscow: Welby, Kirill, and Pope Francis discuss peace in Ukraine by Paul Handley
The official statements from each side:
Analyses of this:
To understand the theological views of Patriarch Kirill, you need to study the viewpoint of the other Orthodox churches:
Religion News Service Jack Jenkins How Putin’s invasion became a holy war for Russia
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Dagmar Winter is Bishop of Huntingdon in the diocese of Ely. This is an edited version of her Presidential Address at the Ely Diocesan Synod on 5 March 2022.
The images on our screen are awful, reminding us of World War II.
There is a religious dimension to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which may in some quarters give rise to that old chestnut that religion is the cause of all wars. (John Lennon: “Imagine … and no religion, too.”) Religion is closely tied up with expressions of identity and what we hold most precious. Given human nature with its hunger for power, taking institutional religion away will not cause the end to all war.
The central question in the current war is whether the church and people of Ukraine are or are not part of the church and people of Russia. Some history will help.
In the tenth century a pagan Slavic people known as the Kievan Rus’ lived in present day Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. In c 988 St Vladimir, the ruler of the Rus’, converted to Christianity, was baptised and brought the rest of the people to baptism also. This event is known as the ‘Baptism of Rus’ and occurred in or near Kyiv. This is seen to the present day as a watershed moment in Russian history and one which, in the minds of some, unites the people of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine as the successors of the Kievan Rus’ and as a single, Orthodox Christian Russian people. Such is the importance of Vladimir that he is given the epithet ‘Equal to the Apostles’. (Note Putin’s Christian name!) Also, as Kyiv was the centre of the lands of the Rus’, it has a special status in Russian self-identity.
Over the next few hundred years empires came and went, peoples moved around and borders changed. In the sixteenth century a part of the church in modern-day western Ukraine came into communion with Rome.
The next important date is 1686 and there are two different understandings and interpretations of what happened. (Disputes over what happened at this time formed the basis of the arguments in 2018 about the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.)
One side of the story is that, with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire the Ecumenical Patriarch was not able to get to Kyiv for the consecration of a new Metropolitan and so asked the Patriarch of Moscow (the Moscow Patriarchate had been granted autocephaly — that is self-government — in 1589) to do so, but without the assumption that the church in Ukraine would become dependent on Moscow. The other side of the story is that, for whatever reason, the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1689 transferred authority over the Ukrainian Church to Moscow. Practically speaking, Kyiv did begin to look ecclesiastically to Russia and the difficulty of communication with Constantinople in Ottoman times to some extent forced this.
In more recent history the territory currently covered by Ukraine has, like much of central and eastern Europe, been controlled by different powers, not least the Soviet Union under which the church was oppressed. There were moves in the early 1990s to set up an independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine (the Kyiv Patriarchate), which led to one split with Moscow.
After the annexation of Crimea in 2014 President Poroshenko of Ukraine was instrumental in pushing for a decisive break with Moscow and the establishment of a self-governing (autocephalous) Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This happened in 2018 when the Holy Synod of Constantinople decided that the Ecumenical Patriarch should grant a ‘tomos’ (decree) of autocephaly and erect the new church under the leadership of Metropolitan Epiphany of Kyiv. This move caused a new schism between Moscow and Constantinople.
We see in Ukraine and Russia a clash of two world views in which statehood, nation and church are united.
In the Russian view as expressed (pretty much directly) by President Putin and Patriarch Kirill, Russia is seen to include Ukraine as one people in one church and, as essentially one nation, the descendants of Rus’, who naturally look to Moscow for civil and religious leadership.
Ukraine of course sees itself as a sovereign state with territory, borders and a distinct national identity and view of history. For example, Moscow was not even founded until nearly two centuries after the Baptism of Rus’. The independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine from Moscow is part of the evidence for this wider independence and natural, given that most (if not all) sovereign nations in the traditional orthodox territories have their autocephalous churches.
Meanwhile the Moscow Patriarchate is heightening further conflict with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. By ignoring the rule that you should not trespass on another’s jurisdiction, Moscow is setting up in Africa and offering material rewards to churches of the Patriarchate of Alexandria (which comes under the Constantinople Patriarchate) if they join Moscow. This is a significant flexing and expanding of Russian muscle, an ecclesiological echo of the invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian Church does not have a tradition of speaking truth to power. A particularly unpalatable aspect is the way that the Moscow Patriarch Kirill appears to be literally in Putin’s pay. He, Kirill, has been quoted urging Russian soldiers to fight, to use more high-tech equipment to protect the Fatherland while he himself has been shown to display and then attempt to hide the wearing of very high-end luxury items.
This is what happens when a church loses its critical distance from statehood and nationhood and conflates them with church and faith. There is here a literally hopeless tangle: of faith and historic ethno-nationalist identity, of theological/ecclesiological issues and acquisitive desire for influence, land, resources and people.
We should applaud those courageous Russian Orthodox priests who have voiced their protest against the war and their Church’s support of it.
Historical comparisons are always problematic and bound to be wrong at some level, nonetheless, the example of German Christians springs to mind, who under Hitler totally bought into the idea of a new dawn under German Christianity, a vile religious version of fascism.
Various important theological statements have been made, including the famous Barmen Declaration of 1934, but today I would like to quote from the Darmstädter Wort issued in 1947 in the post-war ruins. Despite some of its shortcomings, I believe it still has a poignant message for us about the church’s social and political mission, not least for our day where society is plagued both by political apathy and significant polarization.
Through Jesus Christ joyous liberation befalls us, liberation from the godless ties of this world in order to liberate us for free and grateful service to his creatures.
Do not let despair overwhelm you for Christ is Lord.
Say goodbye to all faithless indifference, do not allow yourselves to be seduced by dreams of a better past …, but in your freedom and in great sobriety be aware of your responsibility which all of us have for the building up of a better polity which serves the rule of law, welfare, peace and reconciliation of the peoples.
Seek first the Kingdom of God.2
The situation in Ukraine makes us feel so helpless. What can we do?
There is so much anxiety around: the pandemic, climate change, migration, the economy, and now the nightmare in Ukraine.
While applauding and appreciating the flow of information and the work of brave journalists who bring us the news, I don’t think it’s helpful for us or indeed for our children to expose ourselves to the endless torturous images of the wall-to-wall coverage. It will only either desensitize us or suck us into some black mental hole or both. I am concerned what this is doing to the mental health of our community, including especially children, where many have already suffered with lockdown isolation and pandemic fears.
Seek first the kingdom of God.
Following the tenets of the Christian faith, we hold to the truth of the ultimate weakness of the display of aggression.
I think it is not a distraction but essential that we should focus and refocus on the teaching of the Christian faith (Mt 28:16-20), on the values that have eternal quality: truth, freedom, justice, compassion, human dignity, respect, faith, hope and love.
This Lent, I would suggest to you, is a time in which to discover or rediscover how the church can be a school for discipleship, or a school of virtue.
And this Lent might just challenge us how serious we are about the fruits of our faith, indeed, its virtues.
Although Ukraine is a fair distance away, the conflict will undoubtedly affect us over the next few years, even if warfare is contained within the current region. We are interconnected through the international markets for goods from energy to arables, and the UNHCR estimates there could be 4 million refugees, maybe more. We cannot allow Ukraine’s neighbours to shoulder that alone.
Will we share supplies, accept restrictions and losses, offer hospitality directly or indirectly, will we encourage our politicians that we’re up for it — without the burdens only being born by those who are weakest in our midst, already battered by the current economic crisis?
We feel powerless but powerlessness is where the Christian story begins. Remember the story of the passion, the cruel torture?
And because we have a Lord who was caught up in simmering and often violent conflict between his people and an occupying force, we know that hope is mostly not a victory march but a small, whispered Hallelujah. Sustained by the love divine we encounter in Christ, a love that does not waiver. The journey is from Lent to Easter.
Hope means believing in spite of the evidence and then waiting and working for the evidence to change.
This includes listening for the voices of hope in our midst and encouraging them, the faithful committed work of people happening in parishes and projects, networks and communities.
When we pray to be generous and visible people of Jesus Christ, can we pray this Lent to learn to be a non-anxious and hopeful presence in this troubled world, because we know that what we hold dear, truth, freedom, justice, compassion, human dignity, respect, faith, hope and love, have an eternal quality that evil acts like brutal invasions and indiscriminate bombings will never have?
Of course we must keep ourselves informed of what is happening. But our focus should be:
“Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4:8)
It is our job to promote this in everything we do and say, often implicitly and sometimes explicitly.
Pray — keep an eye on the website of the Diocese in Europe.
As I understand, the most effective way at the moment of supporting refugees and displaced people from Ukraine is by donating money to one of the experienced relief agencies.
Local capacity for effective logistics has well reached its limit in the difficult circumstances, and loads of generous uncoordinated trucks arriving is not as helpful as it may seem to us.
We all want to help personally and tangibly, but for the time being, the best and most effective help we can provide is by donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee (note this is how the Red Cross asks for donations), or the Joint Emergency Appeal by the Church of England Diocese in Europe and USPG.
Note that the UK Government have said they will match public donations (pound for pound up to £20 million) to the Disasters Emergency Committee.
Write to your MP about visa flexibility for refugees.
Finally, we do well to remember the unspeakable suffering of so many peoples, in Yemen or Sudan, the Uigur in China, Syrians — the list, sadly, is very long.
Let us pray for ourselves as with and for all those caught up in horrific violence and warfare around the world:
O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
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It starts with
Same Sex Marriage Research 2022
Same sex marriage – a clear majority of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage is right despite the church’s refusal to permit same sex marriage.
Fast changing attitudes within society and the Church of England have led to a broad acceptance of same sex marriage, with well over half (55%) of those identifying as Anglican and living in England believing same sex marriage is ‘right’. What is more, nearly three quarters (72%) of those under 50 believe that it is ‘right’, despite the Church of England’s official stance against same-sex relationships.
The Poll, commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation and conducted over by YouGov, repeated a question asked about people’s attitudes to same-sex marriage in 2013, 2016 and 2020. It shows a constant increase over time in the number of people who self-identify as Anglican believing same-sex marriage is ‘right’ (from 38% in 2013 to 48% in 2020 to 55% in 2022) and a marked decrease in numbers believing it is ‘wrong’ (from 47% in 2013 to just 29% in 2022).
An overwhelming majority of the British public now clearly support same sex marriage, with just a fifth opposed to it. This is a significant change in just 9 years.
and continues with details of the poll results and links to the full results.
The Church Times has this report: YouGov poll: more than half of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage to be ‘right’.18 Comments