Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Swindon to retire

The Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, the Bishop of Swindon, has announced that he will retire on Sunday 30 April 2023.


Lambeth Palace safeguarding audit published

Press release from Lambeth Palace:
Lambeth Palace publishes its Independent Safeguarding Audit from SCIE

The independent audit by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) of Lambeth Palace’s safeguarding arrangements has been published today.

The audit, which was conducted in March 2022, involved reviewing a wide range of documentation as well as talking to staff members and focus groups. The purpose was to gain a greater understanding of the policies and culture of safeguarding that exists at Lambeth Palace, the office and residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The SCIE audit was part of a national safeguarding audit programme covering Church of England dioceses, cathedrals and palaces, which is now complete. This national programme seeks to support safeguarding improvements across governance and leadership, organisational culture, policies and practice guidance, case-work, responsiveness to (and support of) victims and survivors of abuse, and recruitment and training, ensuring that all offices have the best possible practice in place….

full text of press release continues below the fold

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) Independent Safeguarding Audit of Lambeth Palace can be read in full here: Independent Safeguarding Audit of Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace will be producing an action plan in response to the SCIE audit and the Independent Safeguarding Board report ‘Don’t Panic – Be Pastoral’, as well as the recommendations of the recent Church of England-wide Past Cases Review 2 project, in which Lambeth Palace participated. This will be published in due course.

In January Bishopthorpe Palace published its own Independent Safeguarding Audit from SCIE which can be found here.



What does CEEC want?

The Church of England Evangelical Council has published some new documents which give further detail on what it thinks should now happen in the Church of England.

John Dunnett, CEEC Director of Strategy and Operations sets out CEEC’s position in A Brief Overview of CEEC’s Position Post Living in Love and Faith.

Keeping Faith: Every Voice Matters is a 6 page PDF document in which:

CEEC calls on EVERY evangelical church, member and leader to:

  • share with your bishop(s) your dismay at the decision of the General Synod to ‘green light’ the bishops’ proposed Prayers of Love and Faith to affirm and celebrate relationships outside marriage between one man and one woman, which will often be sexually active

  • take appropriate actions in your context in response to this development

  • make sure that any action you take is known about within your local church and by CEEC (see next page for CEEC contact details)…

 A slightly older document about “Writing to your bishop” has this:

Download our simple tips and ideas for your letter.

You can find the names and email addresses of all the bishops here.


Opinion – 25 February 2023

Alice Goodman Prospect Clerical life: Will the Church of England survive?
“According to the census less than half the population is now Christian. But in my parish, I still see parents passing their faith down to their children”

A new Resources Guide is now available from the Lambeth Conference team.

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Agents of contamination and decomposition – transcript of the vlog: Unadulterated Love episode 3


February General Synod – electronic voting results

The electronic voting results from this month’s General Synod are now available online and are linked below.

LLF voting

The proposed amendments and the original motion from the LLF debate are in Order Paper V.

Final motion (as amended by 67) Item 11

Amendments to Item 11

Item 44
Item 45
Item 51
Item 52
Item 53
Item 54
Item 55
Item 56
Item 57
Item 58
Item 59
Item 60
Item 61
Item 62
Item 64
Item 65
Item 67
Item 68

Other electronic votes

Item 10 (motion on Cost of Living)
Item 69 (amendment to motion on Governance Review)
Item 502 (final approval of Amending Canon No. 42)
Item 506 (final approval of the Diocesan Stipends Funds (Amendment) Measure)
Item 514 (amendment to the Draft Diocesan Stipends Funds (Amendment) Measure)
Item 521 (amendment to the Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure)
Item 523 (That clause 2 stand part of the Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure)
Item 530 (amendment to the Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure)


Opinion – 22 February 2023

Christopher Cocksworth (Bishop of Coventry) The Living Church Living in Love and Faith: Where do things stand? Where do we go from here?

Andrew Rumsey Down in The Effra Cold Snap

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love GSFA and CEEC persecute LGBTQIA+ people who contaminate the Church


Safeguarding diocesan data 2019-21

New safeguarding data from a three-year period has been published by the Church of England today. The data is for new concerns and allegations reported to the Church in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and relates to all its work, not just to Church Officers. The reports range from concerns about possible risk to direct allegations of abuse. There is more detail in the press release.


Bishop of Edmonton to become CEO of CUF

The Rt Revd Rob Wickham, the Bishop of Edmonton, has today been appointed the new Group Chief Executive of Church Urban Fund (CUF). He will take up the role of CEO on 10 July 2023.

There are announcements on the London diocesan website and the CUF website.


GSFA primates criticise Church of England

This statement was issued today by the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches:
Statement of GSFA Primates on the CofE’s Decision regarding Blessing of Same Sex Unions.

That link above is to a .docx format file. Readers may find this PDF version more accessible.

The Anglican Communion Office has issued this response: Statement by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this response: Lambeth Palace responds to GFSA statement. [text copied below the fold]



Opinion – 18 February 2023

A Monument of Fame (Lambeth Palace Library blog) Back to the future: the Church Commissioners’ first computer

Martin Sewell Surviving Church Independent Safeguarding in the CofE. ‘When you give, let go’.

Simon Richiardi Surviving Church I kissed dating goodbye. Surviving a Church that practised ‘Biblical Marriage.’

K-Anonymous Surviving Church Innocent until proved guilty, except in the Church of England

Maggi Dawn Church Times God has many names: a solution to the inclusive-language dilemma

Andrew Nunn Looking back [at eighteen years on the General Synod]

Savitri Hensman ViaMedia.News Being Invisible While Anglicans Debate Marrying Same-Sex Couples


After LLF, what next?

Three separate items of interest have recently appeared:

“…This film explores the case for differentiation in the event that the trajectory set by the February 2023 General Synod is followed through on in July (the next General Synod) or thereafter.”

The aim of this short document is to clarify how ANiE can serve churches and clergy in the Church of England, and to be clear about what we are unable to offer in this context.


Anglican Consultative Council meets in Ghana

Updated Wednesday

ACC-18 is meeting in Accra, Ghana from 12 to 19 February. Full coverage is available from here, including videos. I will link only selected items here. Do visit the ACC-18 site for more material.

Archbishop of Canterbury addresses concern over global Anglican structures

Anglican Communion Office rebuts misleading claims about Church of England General Synod

ACC-18 Opening Press Conference (video)

Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address at ACC-18

Anglican Consultative Council welcomes new group to explore “structure and decision-making” to “address our differences in the Anglican Communion”


LLF voting figures

Anglican Futures have published some comments on the voting on the LLF motion and amendments at General Synod this week: They Think It’s All Over…. Is It Now?. This includes a very helpful table showing the voting figures for each item. I have copied this below; click on the table for a larger version. The full text of the amendments and the original motion are in this notice paper.

LLF voting figures

There has been comment that the House of Bishops exercised some sort of veto by having votes by houses. But in nearly every case all three houses voted the same way. In four cases (53, 56, 60, 62) the House of Laity voted in favour whilst the other two houses voted against. But in all four the amendment would have been defeated even if the vote had been of the whole synod.

Voting lists, showing how each member of Synod voted, will be published in due course, and we will then publish an article linking to them.


Reactions to Synod vote on LLF

Church Times Synod’s same-sex vote: first reactions

English bishops
Carlisle and Penrith
Exeter, Crediton and Plymouth
Truro and St Germans

Archbishop of Uganda
Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion
Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney
The Church of England Evangelical Council
Anglican Network in Europe

Charlie Bell All About Power: General Synod and the LLF Debate

Keith Sinclair CEEC: What’s next for Evangelicals in the Church of England

EQUAL (The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England)

Ian Paul What exactly happened at Synod on the Prayers for Love and Faith?

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Anglicans angry at same-sex blessings question Justin Welby’s ‘fitness to lead’


Opinion – 11 February 2023

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes No, the doctrine of marriage is not fixed

Andrew Goddard Psephizo What are the bishops claiming about marriage?

Helen King sharedconversations Would you Adam and Eve it?

Russell Dewhurst Law & Religion UK Canon B5 and the Prayers of Love and Faith

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Annual Report 2022 National Safeguarding Panel

Giles Fraser UnHerd God has no gender

Frank Cranmer Religion Media Centre Factsheet: Establishment and the Church of England


Living in Love and Faith

Updated to add press reports

General Synod completed its debate on Living in Love and Faith a short time ago after eight hours of debate. It passed the following motion.

That this Synod, recognising the commitment to learning and deep listening to God and to each other of the Living in Love and Faith process, and desiring with God’s help to journey together while acknowledging the different deeply held convictions within the Church:
(a) lament and repent of the failure of the Church to be welcoming to LGBTQI+ people and the harm that LGBTQI+ people have experienced and continue to experience in the life of the Church;
(b) recommit to our shared witness to God’s love for and acceptance of every person by continuing to embed the Pastoral Principles in our life together locally and nationally;
(c) commend the continued learning together enabled by the Living in Love and Faith process and resources in relation to identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage;
(d) welcome the decision of the House of Bishops to replace Issues in Human Sexuality with new pastoral guidance;
(e) welcome the response from the College of Bishops and look forward to the House of Bishops further refining, commending and issuing the Prayers of Love and Faith described in GS 2289 and its Annexes;
(f) invite the House of Bishops to monitor the Church’s use of and response to the Prayers of Love and Faith, once they have been commended and published, and to report back to Synod in five years’ time;
(g) endorse the decision of the College and House of Bishops not to propose any change to the doctrine of marriage, and their intention that the final version of the Prayers of Love and Faith should not be contrary to or indicative of a departure from the doctrine of the Church of England.

The voting was by houses.
Bishops: 36 in favour, 4 against, 2 recorded abstentions
Clergy: 111 in favour, 85 against, 3 recorded abstentions
Laity: 103 in favour, 92 against, 5 recorded abstentions

There is an official press release: Prayers for God’s blessing for same-sex couples take step forward after Synod debate.

Press reports

Church Times Bishops’ proposals to bless same-sex couples carried by Synod, despite sustained opposition
The Guardian Church of England votes in favour of blessings for same-sex unions
Telegraph Blessings for gay couples approved by Church of England for first time
Telegraph Church of England ostracised after it backs blessings for gay couples
BBC News Church of England backs plans to bless gay couples


General Synod – 6 to 9 February 2023

See separate post for the result of the Living in Love and Faith debate

This post will be updated as the meeting proceeds.

The Church of England’s General Synod is meeting this week. The timetable is here, the agenda is here and the papers are here.

Live Video etc

All sessions are streamed live on YouTube and remain available to view afterwards.

Monday afternoon – live from 1.45 pm
Tuesday morning – live from 10.15 am
Tuesday afternoon – live from 2.00 pm
Wednesday morning – live from 9.15 am
Wednesday afternoon – live from 2.00 pm
Thursday morning – live from 9.15 am
Thursday afternoon – live from 1.45 pm

There is an official Twitter account.

Order Papers

OP I – Monday afternoon
OP II – Tuesday morning
OP III – Tuesday afternoon
OP IV  – Wednesday morning
OP V – Wednesday afternoon
OP VI – Thursday morning
OP VII – Thursday afternoon

Business done

Monday 6 February
Tuesday 7 February AM
Tuesday 7 February PM
Wednesday 8 February AM
Wednesday 8 February PM
Thursday 9 February AM
Thursday 9 February PM

Official press releases

Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address
Bishop of London’s Living in Love and Faith Presentation [a pdf version is available here]
Archbishop delivers Loyal Address to The King
Synod: Archbishop delivers Loyal Address to The King
Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech in Living in Love and Faith debate
Safeguarding presentation to General Synod

Press reports and comment

Church Times
ISB remains off the Synod’s agenda despite members’ concerns
Synod, trust parishes to discount funeral and wedding fees when needed – this refers to this financial statement
Use language that unites not divides, Archbishop Welby asks, as the General Synod begins
Sexuality discussions opened our eyes to the harm we have done, says Bishop of London
Archbishop Welby praise’s King’s interfaith work in Loyal Address
Reforms to ordinands’ funding are welcomed by Synod, though costs are queried
General Synod: same-sex debate goes into overtime

Episcopal News Service
Church of England’s General Synod gets underway, with questions about same-sex marriage looming

The Guardian
Church of England to consider greener alternatives to burial
Church of England to consider use of gender-neutral terms for God
MPs should not influence church on same-sex marriage, says Justin Welby

Evening Standard
Too many LGBT people have heard ‘the words of rejection’ from Church of England

The Telegraph
Church of England looks at ‘human composting’
Archbishop of Canterbury: MPs won’t tell me what to do on gay marriage

Synod members’ blogs

Helen King
Forty years of foreplay: before the February 2023 General Synod
February 2023 General Synod: sex, sin and separation

Andrew Nunn
The final lap
Picking up speed
It could have been worse
Into extra time
A better story


Synod: another safeguarding update

For previous items, see More safeguarding updates.

Surviving Church has published this article by David Lamming: Will General Synod be allowed to debate the Independent Safeguarding Board? It appears that at present the answer is No.


Hattie Williams has a further detailed update in the Church Times: ISB remains off the Synod’s agenda despite members’ concerns

…By Friday, Mr Sewell had been informed by the Acting Clerk to the Synod, Jenny Jacobs, that the chair for the safeguarding items (the Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn) had ruled the motion out of order because it was not compliant with Standing Orders. Specifically, the following motion was not “relevant to and within the scope of its subject matter” of the original NST motion.

Mr Sewell and David Lamming, a former Synod member, redrafted their motion to refer to a previous motion from Dr Gibbs, carried by the Synod during its July sessions last year, which had requested “regular updates on progress at each group of sessions, especially concerning the strengthening of independent accountability and oversight of the Church’s safeguarding work at all levels” (News, 15 July 2022).

Over the weekend, however, this, too, was ruled out of scope, again, on the grounds that: “The ISB is not a workstream for which the NST is responsible.”


Pre-Synod News and Opinion

Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News No More Delay: A Call to General Synod

Charlie Bell For whom the Bell tolls A response to ‘The Church of England’s Doctrine of Marriage’, +Fulham et al

Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law Canon B5 and the Prayers of Love and Faith

Lorraine Cavanagh Modern Church What Price Unity?

Colin Coward‘s vlog – episode 2

Catherine Pepinster Religion News Service Church of England submits blessings for same-sex couples to fierce debate in Synod

Francis Martin Church Times MPs plan to put pressure on the C of E after Welby’s disestablishment remarks

Sarah Meyrick Church Times Fourteen bishops publish a defence of traditional marriage

Jayne Ozanne The Guardian One side of the C of E preaches LGBT+ acceptance, the other says I’m going to hell. This can’t go on

Andrew Davison Church Times We will bless couples, not just people

Church of England press: House of Bishops – Monday 20 January 2023
20 is clearly a misprint for 30.


Opinion – 4 February 2021

A Monument of Fame (Lambeth Palace Library blog) Partners at the Palace: the story of the wives of the Archbishops of Canterbury

Peter Reiss Surviving Church Unheard and Un-noticed but not uncommon – Why are we so bad at listening?