Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 30 September 2023

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Why is it so difficult to talk honestly about the humanity of Jesus?

Neil Elliot NumbersMatters F’book, YouTube, Zoom, and Bums on Pews
Neil Elliot is the Statistics and Research officer for the Anglican Church of Canada.

Augustine Tanner-Ihm ViaMedia.News A Plentiful Harvest: Growth in Inclusive Churches


Appointment of Bishop of Peterborough

Press release from 10 Downing Street. Further coverage at Peterborough diocese and at Winchester.

The King has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Deborah Sellin, Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, for election as Bishop of Peterborough.

Appointment of Bishop of Peterborough: 28 September 2023


November General Synod – outline of business

The Church of England’s General Synod will meet in London from 13 to 15 November 2023. The Outline of Business has been published and is copied below the fold.


Opinion – 27 September 2023

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love A conversation about Christianity today in the Church of England

Martine Oborne ViaMedia.News Why Only 1 Diocesan Bishop in the Last 10 Appointments in the Church of England has been a Woman


Transforming Wigan

The Diocese of Liverpoool has published an independent review into its Transforming Wigan project. There was a brief summary (copied below) in its latest weekly email bulletin. The full story, with links to the review, is here.

We publish the Independent Review into the Transforming Wigan project

Today [22 September 2023] the Diocese of Liverpool publishes an independent evaluation of Transforming Wigan the first large scale change management project funded through the Church Commissioners Strategic Development Fund (SDF).
The report, from Kate Hudson of Intergras Consulting, provides a thorough appraisal of the project assessing its strengths and weaknesses. It shows that the project, which has now evolved into Church Wigan, highlighted that it hadn’t been able to solve the deep financial challenges it inherited. However, it has achieved great progress in creating local teams and helping mission across the town.

The report concluded that Transforming Wigan was ambitious, particularly in its aim to turn round the finances of the deanery. It recognises the ongoing financial burden of old buildings is being tackled through the Right Buildings review and commented the new structures through establishing the charitable Wigan Deanery Trust have made Church Wigan financially more efficient. They have greater autonomy on how funds are spent and ability to apply for grant funding.

Diocesan Secretary Mike Eastwood commented: “We always knew that the Transforming Wigan project would be a major challenge, even without the disruption of Covid. Being the first to embark on a missional journey such as this takes courage and it has been a challenge for all involved, and we didn’t get everything right. We also knew that Transforming Wigan would produce a great amount of learning that we, and the national church could benefit from. We are determined to do that. However, we can increasingly see the missional energy and dedication to facing the challenges that lie ahead with increasing confidence and excitement”.

You can read the full story and access the executive summary and full report here

Madeleine Davies has written a substantial article for the Church Times: Wigan transformation fails to hit its targets.


ISB: survivors write to Archbishops’ Council

The Church Times reports: Archbishops’ Council is retraumatising us, says group of abuse survivors

TEN survivors of church-based abuse have written to the Archbishops’ Councilcriticising their treatment after the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) was disbanded.

On Sunday evening, a letter was sent to the council by ten of the 12 people who had been awaiting a review of their cases by the ISB when it was disbanded without warning (News, 21 June). They write: “In the period since you closed the ISB we have been left in uncertainty and distress.”

The group criticise the announcement on 14 September that Kevin Crompton had been appointed as an “interim commissioner of independent reviews (News, 15 September). They say that the council’s handling of the situation has caused “harm” to members of the group…

There are more comments from survivors in the report. This in particular caught my eye:

“William Nye, the secretary-general, appears to be running the safeguarding show and making all the decisions, but there is no process to raise any concerns about him. He seems to be totally unaccountable.”

The full text of this letter is contained in the Church Times news article. It is also reproduced here, below the fold.



Soul Survivor: further developments

See previous report here (also recently updated).

Many further items: (already updated twice today)

…On Tuesday night, Soul Survivor Watford held a meeting for members, attended by around 200 people, to address the congregations’ concerns and answer questions.
The Telegraph understands that  a congregant asked a question “about saying goodbye to Mike” and that the question prompted applause from some other congregants…

I will update this article again if more items appear.


Bishop Keith Riglin RIP (1957-2023)

The College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church has today announced the death of the Right Reverend Keith Riglin, Bishop of Argyll & The Isles.

Bishop Keith Riglin RIP (1957-2023)


Opinion – 23 September 2023

Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News Trust is a Hard Thing to Come by Right Now…

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Neanderthal Christianity – what does it mean to be human?

Chrissie Chevasutt ViaMedia.News Keeping Students Safe: the Oxford LGBT Students Safe Churches Project


The College of Bishops: September 18 to 21

Press release from the Church of England

The College of Bishops: September 18 to 21


The College of Bishops has been meeting in Oxford over the last four days.

The meeting, which welcomed eight new or incoming bishops, began with an afternoon of retreat for prayer and study.

Discussions then included sessions on public affairs – including proposals raised by the Archbishops’ Commissions on families and households, social care, housing and racial justice; the importance of making missionary disciples; generous ecclesiology and episcopal well-being.

The bishops devoted the remaining time to discussing the work to take forward the introduction of Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples, the associated Pastoral Guidance and Pastoral Reassurance.

The College’s reflections will be taken forward to the House of Bishops meetings in October ahead of the meeting of General Synod in November.


The Church of England and Mandatory Reporting

The Church of England has published its response to the Government’s consultation on mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse.

The Church Times writes about the response here: We don’t know, but consider religious freedom, says C of E response on exceptions to mandatory reporting.

On the Seal of the Confessional the response has this to say.

Like many other historic churches, the Church of England includes in its practices the ministry of Confession and Reconciliation. In this ministry, someone can come to a priest and disclose anything they feel they may have done wrong. It is the practice of the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches to guarantee absolute confidentiality of what has been disclosed. This is often known as ‘the Seal of the Confessional’. The Seal is referred to in Canon Law, although the interpretation of the relevant legal provisions is contested.



Opinion – 20 September 2023

Jane Chevous Premier Christianity The silence from Christian leaders on Mike Pilavachi is hurting victims

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley The Church Decline Rag

Richard Scorer Surviving Church Mandatory Reporting versus the Seal of the Confessional

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Mired in Love and Faith

Steve Schlossberg The Living Church


Opinion – 16 September 2023

Theo Hobson The Spectator In praise of Justin Welby’s ‘less bossy’ Church of England

Helen King sharedconversations Two meetings down, one to go: Living with Difference


Soul Survivor: reactions to the investigation report

Updated again 19 September and 25 September

Previous report here.

The Church Times reported: Senior pastor of Soul Survivor under pressure as Pilavachi damage spreads

Premier Christian News has: Soul Survivor’s Rev Andy Croft ‘failed to act’ on Mike Pilavachi massage allegation, Church of England investigation finds

The Telegraph: Soul Survivor priest apologises for failing to act on Pilavachi abuse allegations and Victims say Soul Survivor vicar was ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ who should lose MBE

The full statement from New Wine: A statement from New Wine regarding the safeguarding investigation into Mike Pilavachi
There are numerous postings on social media questioning the accuracy of this statement. I will place some links to these in the Comments.

Update: New Wine has issued a further statement dated 15 September, in response to criticism of the 13 September statement, see link above.

Further update: latest Church Times report: New Wine to review its links with Pilavachi after attempt to distance itself fails 

And this 21 September statement can also be found at the same New Wine link above

21 September 2023

Many have been hurt by Mike Pilavachi’s behaviour. As the new Chair of Trustees, I have asked for a full and independent review into the nature and extent of our relationship with Mike Pilavachi and Soul Survivor, to ascertain if there were allegations about his conduct at any New Wine events, and to highlight what we can learn for the future. We are in the process of doing this and will report as soon as possible. In the meantime, I would again urge anyone affected to seek the support and care that is available. Our priority throughout the NST investigation has been to enable a safe space for survivors to come forward, be heard and be cared for.

Bishop Jill Duff, Chair of New Wine Trustees


ISB: interim commissioner appointed

press release

Update on work promised by former ISB – interim commissioner appointed


An interim commissioner of independent reviews has been appointed to ensure the work promised by the former ISB (Independent Safeguarding Board) can continue. Kevin Crompton, a senior safeguarding professional with experience in child and adult safeguarding and scrutiny in local authority setting, will start work this month.

The Archbishops’ Council had committed to setting in place arrangements to ensure that the case reviews and complaint responses promised by the former ISB would continue, where those met the terms of reference for the ISB, and as a result of feedback had also offered an independent advocacy service.

Kevin will commission and quality assure the reviews and complaints in line with the former ISB’s processes and will oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the completed Mr X review. Survivors with outstanding review requests can choose from a menu of reviewers including charities NSPCC and Thirtyone:eight along with Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel (DSAP) Chairs.  FearFree formerly FearLess) has been engaged to provide advocacy and support for the survivors with completed, active and pending reviews and complaints.

The majority of survivors have had an opportunity to feed into these arrangements but the Archbishops’ Council is aware of four individuals who had review requests with the former ISB but whose contact details have not been passed on. The former ISB office staff can be contacted at for information on how their review will proceed.

Kevin Crompton said: ‘I am pleased to have been offered this opportunity to make a contribution to this important piece of work. I am looking forward to working with survivors to ensure they have an independent review of their concerns. I also will do all I can to ensure that recommendations of such reviews are given proper consideration and are implemented within reasonable timeframes.’


If you or anyone you are in contact with are affected by this news and want to talk to someone independently, please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056


Archbishops’ Council statement on ISB June 2023


Appointment of Acting Diocesan Bishop of Coventry

Diocesan press release: Plans for the Diocese of Coventry during Vacancy-in-See

Following the announcement earlier this year that Bishop Christopher will be the new Dean of Windsor, he is now able to share the episcopal arrangements for the Diocese of Coventry during the Vacancy-in-See, which will begin in November 2023.

After working closely with Lambeth Palace over the summer he is delighted to announce that Bishop Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton, has agreed to become Acting Bishop of Coventry during the vacancy. Bishop Ruth will be supported by Bishop Saju Muthalaly, Bishop of Loughborough, as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese.

Bishop Ruth has been a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Bath & Wells for over seven years and has previously led the Diocese through a Vacancy-in-See period. Bishop Ruth will be based in the Diocese of Coventry for 4 days a week. Bishop Saju is currently ministering in our neighbouring Leicester Diocese as Suffragan Bishop and is able to give the equivalent of one day a week to the Diocese of Coventry…

And there is also this: Appointment of Bishop Ruth as Acting Diocesan Bishop.

Towards the end of the first press release there is also this:

Further Support
Following discussions with Bishop Ruth, Bishop Christopher has also invited Bishop Jonathan Meyrick, retired Bishop of Lynn, who lives in Oxford Diocese, to become an Assistant Bishop, and he has generously accepted. With Bishop Edward Condry, who is already active as an Assistant Bishop in the diocese, and Bishop Paul Thomas, Bishop of Oswestry and Assistant Bishop, we will have a strong team to support Bishop Ruth and Bishop Saju as they come to join us.

Bishop Christopher has also moved to strengthen our Archidiaconal Team so that, working with the Diocesan Secretary, the Acting Diocesan Bishop would have a well-resourced engine room of support with which to work and minister.

For further details or if you would like contact our Archdeacons, please see our webpage here.

Bishop Ruth will need to be made Acting Bishop of Coventry by an Instrument of Delegation under s.14 of the Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure 2007. Bishop Saju will need to be made an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Coventry for the period of the vacancy. Neither action needs further consultation with the Diocesan Synod.

The Diocese of Bath & Wells has published this: Bishop Ruth seconded to the role of Acting Bishop of Coventry


Opinion – 13 September 2023

Mark Clavier The Living Church A House-Going Parson Makes a Church-Going People

Sorrel Christian ViaMedia.News Young Christianity Today

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Is Christianity losing its sense of morality or finding new vision?

a member of the Anglican Survivors Group ViaMedia.News Are Churches Safe?


Independent Barrister to conduct a Review of ISB phase 1

press release 11 September 2023
Leading public law barrister to head review into Independent Safeguarding Board

A leading public law barrister is to head the independent review into the first phase of the Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), it was announced today.

The Archbishops’ Council has instructed Sarah Wilkinson, a barrister from Blackstone Chambers, to undertake a review of the ISB Phase 1. She is an experienced public law practitioner who has represented the Government both as sole and junior counsel in a wide range of high-profile judicial review cases.

The Archbishops’ Council has asked Ms Wilkinson to establish a clear account of the events from the conception, design and establishment of the ISB until the announcement of the termination of contracts of members, establish and identify the reasons for the action to terminate, and identify lessons to be learned based on the findings.

She will complete her review by the end of November and the Council will aim to publish this report as soon as possible following the end of November. This review will also inform the work of Professor Alexis Jay on the future of safeguarding.

The review was announced at the General Synod in July by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, and follows the statement issued by the Council on the future of the ISB.

Finding support
If you or anyone you are in contact with wish to talk to someone independently please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or visit

Alternatively, you may wish to contact the diocesan safeguarding team in your area or the National Safeguarding Team – email

There are also a range of other support services available.

Link to Blackstone Chambers: Sarah Wilkinson


Area Bishop of Woolwich, Dr Karowei Dorgu

In a letter to his diocese, the Bishop of Southwark has announced the death yesterday of the Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Revd Dr Karowei Dorgu. Update: further details, including a tribute from the Archbishop of Canterbury, now at the Southwark website.

Bishop Christopher writes:

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Bishop Karowei Dorgu. Bishop Karowei died peacefully after a long struggle with his health on Friday 8 September in the presence of his family at King’s College Hospital.

There will be time for proper tributes to be paid to him in due course — but for now I wish to convey my deepest sympathy to his wife Mosun, son Timi, twin sister Collette and the whole family. I express my gratitude for Bishop Karowei’s friendship and inspirational ministry — latterly as Bishop of Woolwich — where he brought much joy in his passion for the Gospel and loving encouragement to all whom he encountered. It was a privilege to join the family at his bedside and anoint him in his last hours, and I am grateful that the Archbishop of Canterbury came to pray with the family. We have lost a dear friend, brother and colleague and we will miss him greatly. I commend Bishop Karowei and his family to your prayers. May he rest in peace.


Opinion – 9 September 2023

Diarmaid MacCulloch ViaMedia.News Love Came Down at Christmas – For Some

Theos Is the UK a Christian Country?
“We asked a range of experts and thinkers how they would answer the question: Is the UK a Christian country?”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love A Brief Evolutionary Context for today’s Global and Christian Crises