Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 30 April 2022

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding and the Search for Independence

Stephanie Pywell ViaMedia.News To Love and to Cherish… According to our Beliefs and Lifestyles

Richard Scorer The Free Thinker Child Protection and Religious Freedom


More criticisms of government plans for asylum-seekers

See previous post on this topic. Some more recent items:

Justin Welby  in the Telegraph Put humanity at the heart of our asylum system (I have not yet located a copy of this outside the paywall, but it is quoted extensively in the article below from Archbishop Cranmer.)

Paul Butler in the Independent ‘Rwanda refugees plan flies in the face of Christian teachings’ – Bishop of Durham

Arun Arora in The Northern Echo The Government policy that tears at the nation’s soul

Archbishop Cranmer How many millions of asylum seekers should the UK welcome?

Vatican News UK-Rwanda asylum deal raises human rights concerns

…Botswanan activist and lawyer, Alice Mogwe spoke with Vatican News on this latest deal between the UK and Rwanda, reflecting on its implications from the perspective of human rights. She is the President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)…

Contains link to audio interview (9 minutes)

Note this paragraph:

Concrete recommendations

In lieu of the controversial agreement, the FIDH president invites governments to stop focusing on the consequences of migration but rather coordinate efforts to stem the causes of migration.

“Nobody wakes up one day and decides to leave their country if there is good governance, if there is a rule of law, if human rights are in fact being protected and respected,” she says.

More so, she calls for a revision of the Asylum agreement, stressing that states need to comply with international human rights standards.

“What will happen to those who are vulnerable?” she asks. “What’s going to happen if children are separated? What’s going to happen if people fail to be recognized as refugees in Rwanda once they reach there?”


Bishop of Bath and Wells

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
There are more details on the diocesan website.

Bishop of Bath and Wells: 28 April 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Noel Michael Roy Beasley, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Bath and Wells.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 28 April 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Noel Michael Roy Beasley, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Bath and Wells, in succession to The Right Reverend Peter Hancock following his retirement.


Michael was educated at Imperial College, London and Oriel College, Oxford and trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham. He served his title in the Parishes of Newport, Chetwynd and Forton in the Diocese of Lichfield and was ordained Priest in 2000.

Michael became Chaplain of Westcott House, Cambridge in 2003 whilst also working as Senior Programme Manager for The Partnership for Child Development, a research group in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London. In 2008, he was made Vice Principal and Tutor in Mission at Westcott House and Director for The Partnership for Child Development. In 2010, he became Director of Mission, in the Diocese of Oxford and was appointed Honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford in 2014.

Michael has served in his current role as Suffragan Bishop of Hertford since 2015.


Opinion – 27 April 2022

Scot Peterson ViaMedia.News All Change: What Next for Living in Love and Faith?

Surviving Church The Kenneth Saga: End in sight?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church House of Survivors. A New Resource for the Church of England

Stephen Cottrell William Temple Foundation An Easter Vision

ViaMedia.News Living in Love and Faith: The Ozanne Foundation Responds


Smyth Review update

News from the Church of England

Smyth Review update

Following an update in January about timings on the Smyth Review the National Safeguarding Team, NST, has now provided a further update to the survivors and victims, who suffered the appalling abuse by the late John Smyth.

The reviewers are still continuing to receive important information, with some completely new people coming forward to make representations, including victims and people who knew Smyth over the years. There was an evidence deadline of September 2021, however it was considered important that these voices were heard to obtain a fuller picture as possible.

The approach the reviewers are taking to draft the report is to cover all the material in a largely chronological way, providing drafts covering the different periods and starting the representations process with those people named in the report as it progresses. This phased approach is considered more effective and helpful for all those involved, particularly survivors and victims, rather than presenting the full report to the NST all in one go. The first phase draft is expected to be with the NST within a month and it will continue to receive drafts over the summer months.

The Church (as stated by the Archbishop of Canterbury) is committed to full and unredacted publication of the report. The representations process, for all involved is expected to be complex, with the eventual date of publication being determined by this.

There will be further updates when more precise timings are known. Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors and support continues to be offered, please contact in the first instance.

1 Comment

Opinion – 23 April 2022

Sophie Grace Chappell ViaMedia.News Trans Figured: Experience Trumps Theory

Martin Sewell Surviving Church Bullying in the Church

Giles Fraser UnHerd Why Bishops should be political

James Crockford Church Times C of E prefers marble to people
“The Rustat judgment exposed flaws in the faculty process”


Opinion – 20 April 2022

The Guardian In pictures: Good Friday around the world

Martyn Percy Modern Church Testing Trials and Egregious Errors: Some Good Friday Reflections
The Revolutionary Seeds of Easter

Hattie McInerney ViaMedia.News The Invisible Privilege of Being Voiceless in the Church: Creating a Platform for Bisexual Christians

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Radical New Christian Inclusion – the Silence of the Bishops


Bishops criticise government plans for asylum-seekers

Updated Wednesday (twice) and again Friday (scroll down)
See also later article here.

The UK Government recently announced plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. This has been extensively reported in the media but in case you missed it, here are links to the official Home Office press release, and to the text of Home Secretary’s speech in Kigali.

Bishops of the Church of England have expressed criticism, including:

Archbishop of Canterbury

…And this season is also why there are such serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas. The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgement of God and it cannot. It  cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death. It cannot carry the weight of the resurrection that was first to the least valued, for it privileges the rich and strong. And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures…

Archbishop of York

…Or rather, Christ finds us. He comes to us, as he came to Mary Magdalene, and he asks why we’re crying and who we’re looking for.

He has returned to take us with him. Like Mary and like Elizabeth who will be baptised in just a moment, He know us by name. He shows us what really matters. He shows us what we should strive for, which is why, among so many other things that trouble our world at the moment, it is so depressing and so distressing this week to find that asylum seekers fleeing war, famine and oppression from deeply troubled parts of the world will not be treated with the dignity and compassion that is the right of every human being, and instead of being dealt with quickly and efficiently here on our soil, will be shipped to Rwanda.

We can do better than this. We can do better than this because of what we see in the Risen Christ a vision for our humanity, which breaks barriers down – not new obstacles put in the path. After all, there is, in law, no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. It is the people who exploit them that we need to crack down on, not our sisters and brothers in their need…

Bishop of Chelmsford

Full text of letter (PDF)

The Church Times has this: Rwanda off-shoring plan is ‘opposite of the nature of God’, Welby says and Government plans to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda denounced by faith leaders.

Press Association via Independent: Johnson accused of ‘disgraceful’ attack on Welby over Rwanda policy criticism

The Tablet Ruth Gledhill: Cardinal and Archbishop condemn Rwanda asylum plan

Telegraph Allison PearsonJudge yourself first, Justin Welby, before preaching to the rest of us

Archbishop Cranmer: Boris Johnson’s ‘disgraceful slur’ against the Archbishop of Canterbury

Guardian: No 10 goes into battle with archbishops over Rwanda asylum plan

Church Times Stephen Bates: Press: Tory papers turn on Welby for asylum ‘rant’

Church Times Angela Tilby: Welby’s Easter sermon deepened divisions

Church Times Prime Minister accuses senior clergy of misconstruing Rwanda proposal

Independent: Editorial: Justin Welby is right – the Rwanda plan raises troubling ethical questions (registration required)

Independent Cathy Newman: Thank heavens for Justin Welby: the Church has a duty to speak truth to power


Opinion – 16 April 2022

Archbishop Cranmer Maundy Thursday: there needs to be some foot-washing in Oxford

The Anglican Communion News Service has published several Easter messages from primates. You can find links to them (and messages from previous years) here.

Giles Fraser UnHerd Have I abandoned my flock?

Peter B Surviving Church A personal rethinking of the Passion and Easter story


Opinion – 13 April 2022

Grace Davie ViaMedia.News In Search of the ‘Optimal’

Vicky Brett ViaMedia.News Is the Conversion Therapy Ban a Muddle? A Response to Angela Tilby
[This refers to this Church Times article.]


Rustat Memorial: no appeal planned

See our earlier report dated 24 March.

Jesus College, Cambridge has recently published this statement: Church must drive change on racial injustice and contested heritage.

Jesus College is calling on the Church of England to change how it deals with matters of racial injustice and contested heritage – while announcing it will not appeal the Consistory Court judgment which prevents a celebratory memorial to Tobias Rustat being moved from its Chapel.

The College says the current process urgently needs reform as it stands in the way of a constructive and inclusive discussion on sensitive and important issues.

Sonita Alleyne OBE, Master of Jesus College, said: “Many students and members of the College community put their trust in the Church process, and understandably feel let down by the judgment and its misrepresentation of their views.

“The Consistory Court’s decision shows a lack of understanding of the lived experience of people of colour in modern Britain.”…

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued this: Contested heritage and racial justice: statement by the Archbishop which includes this:

I have questioned previously why it is so difficult to move the Rustat memorial in Jesus College chapel – which causes such pain and distress to people whose ancestors were sold into slavery – to a place where it can be understood in context. I stand by those comments.

Law & Religion UK has two posts:

According to a report in today’s Times (behind a paywall):

…Jesus College could face a £150,000 bill for losing the Tobias Rustat memorial case, despite declining to appeal because of the “significant” costs involved (James Beal writes).
Sources told The Times that although the college had not finalised its figures since the court case, staG had initially estimated fees of about £120,000.
The Rustat Memorial Group, made up of 70 alumni who clubbed together to fight the monument’s removal, spent £30,000 and have now requested that the college pay their costs. The Church of England court will rule on costs at a later date…

The Church Times had this: Jesus College will not appeal against Rustat judgment and also I still think Rustat memorial should go, says Archbishop Welby.

And the letter from 160 clergy can be found here.


Church of England recruits National Director of Safeguarding

Updated Friday 15 April

Readers may recall that the previous National Director, Melissa Caslake, resigned in January 2021. Since then Zena Marshall has been interim director. The substantive post has now been advertised, both on the CofE pathways website and in the Church Times:

There are some further web pages dedicated to this vacancy, hosted by Green Park recruitment consultants:

Welcome letter from William Nye   Background on the National Church Institutions

Role Description    Person Specification    How to Apply

Applications close on 21 April.

Update: there is a letter (scroll down) in the Church Times today from David Lamming which makes a number of criticisms of the advertisement. See further in the comments below.


Opinion – 9 April 2022

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley I Have Measured Out My Life in Hallelujahs

Terry Louden ViaMedia.News No Sex, Please? Remembering the Higton Debate

Susannah Clark Dialogue between an evangelical Christian leader and a person who has transitioned


Christ Church Oxford: Governance Review

The plans for this review have been published in an advertisement for the appointment of an Independent Chair, along with the full text of the Candidate Brief for the position of Independent Chair, Governance Review.

The advertisement says

…The Governing Body of Christ Church has resolved to commission a review of its governance. The purpose of the Review is to ensure that Christ Church’s statutes, by-laws, and governance arrangements meet the needs of the institution in the 21st century. The last comprehensive review of the foundation’s statutes was conducted in 2011. The Review will encompass the governance arrangements of all aspects of Christ Church, including the Cathedral, College, and School.

We now seek to appoint an independent Chair, who will, having consulted Governing Body, Chapter, and other parties, prepare a report setting out recommendations for the Governing Body to consider. The Chair will demonstrate appropriate knowledge of charity governance, an understanding of collegiate educational foundations, and ideally familiarity with the Church of England. They must have no current or recent connection with Christ Church.

At the conclusion of the Review, the Chair will be asked to prepare a report setting out recommendations for the Governing Body to consider. Christ Church has committed to publish the Review in full in 2023.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 29 April 2022


Opinion – 6 April 2022

Helen King sharedconversations What do the bishops think? LLF and trans people

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Towards an Understanding of Deference in the Church

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love House of Bishops overrides trans concerns

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Truth – The First Casualty in War


Opinion – 2 April 2022

Susanna Rust IPE magazine How we run our money: Church Commissioners for England
“Church Commissioners for England CIO, Tom Joy, tells Susanna Rust about the fund’s pursuit of genuine diversification and responsible investment.”

Chrissie Chevasutt ViaMedia.News Good News From Via Media: on Transgender Day of Visibility

Giles Fraser UnHerd Does Prince Andrew deserve forgiveness?
“There’s nothing moral about a mother’s love”

Robin Dunbar The Guardian The big idea: do we still need religion?
“In a world of scientific miracles, what does faith have to offer us?”


Anglican primates meet and issue statement

Updated 2 April

A meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion was held at Lambeth Palace from 28 to 31 March.
Afterwards a communique was issued: Communique of the March 2022 Primates Meeting. The full text of this is copied here below the fold.

The Church Times reports on the press conference held on 31 March: Lambeth Conference must not be dominated by sexuality again, say Primates.

Episcopal News Service reported it this way: Primates’ Meeting ends with statement on global concerns as bishops prepare for Lambeth Conference.

Anglican Communion News Service: Global Anglican leaders call for withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine