Thinking Anglicans

General Synod Questions

Updated Friday

The Questions (and answers) for this weekend’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod were sent to Synod members today. They can be found online here: Questions NP1.

The Business Committee has scheduled two hours for Questions at the July 2023 Group of Sessions of the General Synod. This is divided between 75 minutes on Friday 7 July and 60 minutes on Saturday 8 July.


The answers to several questions referred to supplementary information on the noticeboard. This is now available online: Questions NP1 (Annex).


Appointment of Bishop of Winchester

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office
There is more on the Winchester and Truro diocesan websites.

Appointment of Bishop of Winchester: 6 July 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro, for election as Bishop of Winchester.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 6 July 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro, for election as Bishop of Winchester, in succession to The Right Reverend Dr Timothy Dakin, following his retirement.

Philip was educated at Southampton University and Magdalen College, Oxford, before training for ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his title at St James’, Gerrards Cross and St James’, Fulmer, in the Diocese of Oxford, and was ordained priest in 1989.

In 1992, Philip was appointed Vicar of St James’, West Streatham, in the Diocese of Southwark. Between 1998 and 2006, Philip worked for the Church Pastoral Aid Society during which time he held several roles. From 2007, he served as Chaplain of St Michael’s, Paris, in the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe and, in 2012, he was appointed Chief Executive of the Church Mission Society.

In 2019, Philip took up his current role as Bishop of Truro. He is married to Ruth, a former strategic planner, and they have one adult daughter.


Leaders say only Canon B2 should be used for same-sex blessings

The Church Times reported yesterday that Church organisations urge Bishops not to commend blessings for same-sex couples.

As the story goes on to explain,

…A note at the foot of the letter, which has been sent to every bishop in the C of E, states that “all signatories are leaders of networks/organisations, but are signing in their personal capacities, recognising they cannot claim to speak for everyone that they lead.”

The full text of the letter, including the list of signatories, can be found here.


Opinion – 5 July 2023

David Bagnall ViaMedia.News Let’s Disagree to Agree: Rwanda and Homosexuality

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love How to be a Christian re-imaginer in an era of crisis


ISB controversy episode 7

Continuing from episode 6….

1. Ben Bradshaw asked the Second Church Estates Commissioner a question about the ISB in the House of Commons.

2. Francis Martin has interviewed Bishop Joanne Grenfell in the Church Times: Bishop of Stepney: ‘My fury when safeguarding is done badly’

3. There is an update from Gavin Drake which you can read here: When is a report not a report?  He writes:

Yesterday, I tabled a “further motion”, or “following motion” to be debated at the General Synod this weekend, about the Archbishops’ Council’s decision to get rid of its Independent Safeguarding Board. The motion – which is available here with a full background briefing – was ruled “out of order” on the basis that the presentation on developments at the ISB, which will take place on Sunday afternoon (9 July) is a “free standing” presentation which isn’t linked to a report. Well, what on earth is GS Misc 1341, a report by the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, Mr William Nye, on recent developments with the ISB, if it isn’t a report?

I’m not easily beaten. And so I’ve amended the motion with a preamble which links it directly with the Annual Report of the Archbishops’ Council. This motion has been tabled and, like yesterday’s motion, has been supported by other Synod members.

I have heard that this one has been accepted as being in order – so Synod members will be able to debate the Archbishops’ Council’s handling of the ISB after all. The new motion is below. I will draft an amended version of the background paper as soon as possible…

The text of the new motion is available on Gavin’s website page. A more easily readable version is available here:Following-Motion-Archbishops-Council-Report (PDF).

4. The Independent Safeguarding Board has issued a final document: Recent Developments: ISB Response to GS Misc 1341.It begins

This paper is provided in response to GS Misc 1341, which was written by the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, dated June 2023. The paper being presented to General Synod does not reflect the full picture and we provide this document to further inform General Synod members…

And the covering tweet from Steve Reeves says:

As @Jas_Sanghera_KN and I leave our formal roles on the ISB, we wanted to thank those who have engaged with us. We also wanted to demonstrate our commitment to transparency and honesty, by sharing additional context in light of recent Synod briefings.

5. Gavin Drake has now published his revised briefing paper.

6. Rosie Dawson at Religion Media Centre has written Archbishops’ Council blocked safeguarding governance review.

7. Anglican Futures has published When the Church fails – should the Government intervene?

8. Eastern Eye has published Exclusive: Church of England victimises whistle blowers.


ISB controversy episode 6

Earlier posts in this series were listed at the head of episode 3, then episode 4 follows, and the most recent past episode 5 is here.

1. ViaMedia.News has this morning published an article by Martyn Percy: The Foundations for Ecclesial Instability: the Rock on the Sands.

2. The Archbishops’ Council has issued invitations to abuse survivors and organisations of survivors to meet online this week with council members. Details are here (PDF format). Some survivors have objected to these meetings on various grounds. See for example this tweet. (alt version in Comments).

3. I discovered that my earlier link to GS Misc 1341 was broken. I have repaired it, but here it is again:
GS Misc 1341 Independent Safeguarding Board: recent developments. This is the official Archbishops’ Council explanation for recent events. The link inside this paper to GS 2215 also appears to be broken at present, so here is a local copy: GS 2215 Safeguarding June 2021.  But perhaps more useful now is the original unnumbered paper released on 25 February 2021, written by Malcolm Brown, Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England Proposed Interim Arrangements – 2021 (Phase 1). I would strongly recommend that all General Synod members review this paper before the weekend. Also of interest is the earlier 15 December 2020 press release.

4. Gavin Drake has tabled a following motion for General Synod to consider. The wording of the motion is:

This Synod —

  1. is dismayed by the recent decision of the Archbishops’ Council to disband the Independent Safeguarding Board and terminate the contracts of its members;
  2. notes that a Serious Incident Report has been made to the Charity Commission in respect of this governance decision;
  3. recognises and laments that any working relationship between many survivors and victims with the Archbishops’ Council has been broken;
  4. in consequence, calls upon the Archbishops’ Council, working with its Audit Committee, to commission an independent inquiry led by a senior lawyer (judge or King’s Counsel) into the safeguarding bodies, functions, policies and practice in and of the Church of England, to report within a maximum period of 12 months, and
  5. requires that the report of that Inquiry be fully debated by the Synod to enable it to make decisions about future safeguarding in the Church of England.

He has also written a background briefing paper which needs to be read in full by every General Synod member (9 pages).

5. The Church Times has published a report on Gavin Drake’s motion, see Hattie Williams Synod motion seeks debate on ISB affair and inquiry by a senior lawyer.

6. Rosie Dawson has written for The Living Church Synod Members Expect Heated Discussion of Safeguarding.

7. Religion Media Centre has published this by Tim Wyatt: Timeline: how the CofE has tried to stop sex abusers


Elliot Review Redux

Readers with long memories may perhaps recall an article from 2020 on Surviving Church by Gilo titled Thoughts on the Elliott Review ‘translation’ by Archbishops Council.

It has taken another three years to begin to get at the truth concerning this. The letter linked below has recently been sent to both archbishops.


Opinion – 1 July 2023

Tim Chesterton Inclusive Evangelicals From Rejection to Affirmation: My Personal Journey

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley “A Recipe for Red Tape” – the New Church of England Dioceses