Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 14 September 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Truth and Integrity in Politics and Religion

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Shhh….It’s Secret!!

Philip Welsh Church Times Give parents room to breathe at baptisms
“The promises demanded in Common Worship are too didactic, argues Philip Welsh. A small act of rebellion is required”

29 Comments

Opinion – 7 September 2019

Nick Baines Church Times What is truth, when we have a PM who lies?
“Trust is a casualty of this political crisis, says Nick Baines. The consequences could be far-reaching”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Who is my enemy? When the Church needs to listen better.

Wyn Beynon Inclusive Church Male Headship and Patriarchal Theologies

81 Comments

Opinion – 4 September 2019

Gilo Surviving Church Safeguarding the Secrets Pt 2 (NST)

David and Yvonne Shemmings Community Care Learning from survivors of church sexual abuse

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Collective Sin and Mrs Cook

Stephen Kneale Building Jerusalem If you really want to be a resource church, send your trainees to those best placed to train them

21 Comments

Richard Jackson to be next Bishop of Hereford

Press release from Number 10

Bishop of Hereford: 3 September 2019

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Richard Charles Jackson MA MSc for election as Bishop of Hereford.

Published 3 September 2019
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Richard Charles Jackson MA MSc, Bishop of Lewes, for election as Bishop of Hereford in succession to the Right Reverend Richard Michael Cokayne Frith BA MA, who is due to retire on 30th November 2019.

Richard was educated at Christ Church, Oxford and Cranfield University and trained for ministry at Trinity College, Bristol. He served his title at All Saints, Lindfield in the Diocese of Chichester and was ordained Priest in 1995.

In 1998, Richard was appointed Vicar of Holy Trinity, Rudgwick and in 2005 took up the additional role of Rural Dean of Horsham. Richard became Diocesan Adviser for Mission and Renewal in 2009 and took up his role as Bishop of Lewes in 2014.

The Hereford Diocesan website has more details here, and the Chichester website has this.

22 Comments

Ministry Statistics for 2018

Updated on Tuesday to add press reports

The Church of England has published its Ministry Statistics for 2018 today. Available are the Ministry Statistics 2018 themselves and a commentary provided by the Revd Dr Mandy Ford, interim Director of Ministry. In addition detailed diocesan tables can be found in a separate excel file. There is also the following press release.

Ministry Statistics published

The number of female clergy in the Church of England continues to rise with more women than men entering training for ordained ministry for the second year running, according to statistics published today.

More women, 54%, than men began training for ordained ministry in 2018, for the second year running. Just under a third, or 30%, of the estimated 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England were female compared to 27% in 2014, according to Ministry Statistics for 2018.

The report also shows the proportion of senior posts such as dean or bishop occupied by women rose from 23 per cent to 25 per cent over the last year. The figures do not take into account six new appointments of female bishops this year, bringing the total so far to 24.

The proportion of people identifying as from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds starting training for ordained ministry in the Church of England rose to 8% in 2018, compared to 4% in 2016.

Around a third, or 33%, of people beginning their training last year were under 35 years old and more than half, or 53%, were under 45.

Meanwhile the number of men and women being ordained as deacon rose from 485 in 2016 to 535 in 2019.

The figures have been released as the Church of England seeks to fulfil a key target of a 50% increase in the number of candidates for ordination as part of its programme of Renewal and Reform.

Mandy Ford, Interim Director of the Ministry Division of the Church of England, said: “I am thankful for the hard work and prayers of the parishes and dioceses in helping us to increase the numbers of people coming forward for ordained ministry, a key aim of the Renewal and Reform programme.”

Ministry Statistics 2018 and commentary can be found here.

Further information:
Renewal and Reform is part of a programme to ensure that the Church of England once more becomes a growing church for all people in all places.

Update

Press reports

The Guardian Proportion of trainee C of E priests from BME background doubles
“Church of England data shows 8% of ordinands were BME last year, up from 4% in 2016”

Church Times Growth in clergy vocations slows

Daily Mail Good heavens! Average age of a new vicar is now 40 as congregation numbers continue to shrink

Christian Today More women training for the priesthood in the Church of England

Premier Ethnic minorities training for ministry in C of E doubles

29 Comments

Opinion – 31 August 2019

Rachel Mann Church Times We should embrace our oddness

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Traumatising Narcissism, Survivors and Sexual Abuse

Mark Vernon Christian Today William Blake: The Christian prophet determined to open our immortal eyes

3 Comments

Opinion – 28 August 2019

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Nobody knows Nobody’s Friends

Karen Swallow Prior Christianity Today Screens Are Changing the Way We Read Scripture

8 Comments

Opinion – 24 August 2019

Stanley Monkhouse Rambling Rector O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself

Jonathan Clatworthy Modern Church Christian imperialism

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Trick or Treat?

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Losing Sleep Over Michaela – why children aren’t coming to church

31 Comments

Opinion – 21 August 2019

Archbishop Cranmer Clergy sexual abuse: why can’t the Church cleanse its own temple?

Gilo Surviving Church Safeguarding the Secrets part 1 – Nobody’s Friends

Anne Inman The Tablet Should we be calling priests ‘Father’?
“It is perhaps time for the dangers inherent in the use of ‘father’ as a form of address to be taken seriously”

Greg Sheridan The Spectator The West cannot survive without a re-energised belief in Christianity
“Most British people seem to take it on faith that to have faith is stupid”

Ian Ellis The Irish Times Serious dialogue: How different churches can enrich one another
“Rite&Reason: Receptive ecumenism seeks to learn from features of other denominations”

42 Comments

Opinion – 17 August 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Congregational dynamics and murder
The John Smyth Review – Is it fit for purpose?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Jesus: the Evidence; Channel 4, April 1984

Helen King sharedconversations Fight the good fight(s): the ordination of women and the human sexuality debate

Church Times Spiritual abuse: this way to the exit
Hattie Williams speaks to the authors of a new book that tracks a path through the maze of spiritual abuse

51 Comments

Opinion – 10 August 2019

Fergus Butler-Gallie Church Times When was the pre-Brexit Golden Age?

Lloyd Brown Farewell to Shadowlands The Church without borders: Reflections from the Diocese in Europe

29 Comments

Updated census and deprivation stats now available

The Church of England has updated its census and deprivation data. The Research and Statistics unit has mapped government statistics onto parish boundaries to produce parish-level census and deprivation information. The data can be downloaded from here and the summary parish census and deprivation statistics can also be explored on the interactive Church of England parish maps.

The Unit publishes other statistical data which we normally note here as they are published. But we missed the Parish Finance Statistics 2017 [and the 2017 diocesan tables (excel)] which were published in June 2019.

2 Comments

Changes to registration of marriages

Updated Friday evening and Sunday

Significant changes are about to take place in the way that marriages are registered in England and Wales. The changes will affect all clergy in the Church of England and the Church in Wales who conduct marriages. The implementation date has yet to be announced, but it is likely to be before the end of this year. The Faculty Office has issued the following summary of the changes and their implementation.

Marriage Law News
August 2019

You may already be aware that the way in which marriages are registered is set to change following the passing into law of the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 which, as well as providing for opposite-sex couples to be able to enter into civil partnerships, will allow for mother’s names to be included in Marriage Registers as well as/in place of father’s names. It also makes provision for significant changes in the way that marriages are registered.

Representatives of the Faculty Office and the Legal Offices of the Church of England and Church in Wales have been in discussion with the General Register Office (GRO) about the proposed changes which they under pressure from Government Ministers to bring into effect as soon as possible – and despite our collective representations, the GRO are currently proposing to bring in the changes before the end of the year. A number of issues remain to be resolved including the provision of a workable secure system to produce the new documentation and time to train the 20,000+ clergy who are able to conduct weddings in both Churches.

In essence the proposals will replace Marriage Registers and Marriage Certificates (issued at the time of the wedding) with a Marriage Document which will be prepared by the officiating priest before the wedding. At the ceremony, the Marriage Document will be signed by the couple, their witnesses and the officiating priest (in much the same way as the Registers are currently). The significant difference is that the couple will then need to ensure that the Marriage Document is deposited at the local Register Office within 7 days of the date of the wedding and the local Superintendent Registrar will then record the details and issue the couple with a Marriage Certificate (for which there will be a fee). The couple can ask someone to lodge the Marriage Document on their behalf (as in many cases they will, of course, be on honeymoon!) but it is their responsibility, NOT the officiating minister’s responsibility, to ensure that it is done.

As an interim measure, the Marriage Document will be available in a number of formats, including a manual format and a ‘type and print’ facility. The Regulations envisage that eventually there will be a secure online portal to which clergy will require access as there is provision for couples to be reminded by email from the General Register Office if they have not lodged the Document within the required period.

For marriages that currently take place by Superintendent Registrar’s Certificates, the SRC will be replaced by a “Marriage Schedule” which will be produced by the Register Office taking Notice of the Marriage and that Schedule will then be signed by all the parties including the officiating priest once the marriage has taken place and, again, will have to be lodged with the Register Office within 7 days.

Immediately following implementation, the existing marriage register books held in churches will need to be closed. The incumbent, or in a vacancy the Area/Rural Dean, will be responsible for closing the registers by striking through any unused entry spaces. One copy of the register will then need to be returned to the local Superintendent Registrar together with any unused marriage certificate stock. The other copy of the register is to be retained in the church until such time as it is to be deposited in the Diocesan Record Office.

There is a proposal that, in due course there will be a register book for marriages solemnized in Anglican churches in the same way as for baptisms, confirmations and burials. However that will be an internal matter for the CofE and nothing to do with the GRO and it will not be the legal record of marriages, nor will be certificates issued from it. The Legal Office will advise further on this in due course. It is not immediately clear if the Church in Wales has anything similar in mind.

Before the new system goes live, some training will be provided by the GRO. However, it is unlikely that the GRO will have the resources to provide face-to-face training for all clergy and there will need to be a degree of co-operation with the dioceses. The GRO will however provide “awareness” (probably online and by mail-out) and a dedicated helpline available Monday – Saturday as well as a 24 hour emergency line. It is also intended to provide a printed aide-memoire to be placed in the vestry and which will include the emergency numbers and reminder of the new system. As regard training on the new system, it has been agreed that the Diocesan Registrars will be the most appropriate point of contact for the GRO to co-ordinate this.

These changes are significant, both for clergy and the couples, and it is essential that all clergy who conduct marriages are aware of them to ensure that the law is complied with and that couples’ marriages are validly conducted and properly registered. As further details become available we will post details on our website and Church House, Westminster and The Representative Body of the Church in Wales will also communicate the details through the dioceses and any relevant national networks.

Faculty Office
5 August 2019

Church Times has published this article today: Unease at timetable for clergy to adapt to new marriage formalities.

Update 1

The Church of England issued the statement below today. Law and Religion UK have also covered this story here and here; their articles include comments on the timescale for these changes and the law governing them.

Marriage registration changes
09/08/2019

The Government plans to introduce a new system of registration for marriages, including church weddings, in England and Wales.

It is anticipated that the new system will replace traditional marriage registers with a new “marriage document” to be signed by the couple at the wedding and lodged with the local register office.

Although no date has been set for implementing the new system, representatives of the Church of England, together with the Church in Wales and the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, have been in discussion with the General Register Office on how it will be introduced.

It is expected that the General Register Office will provide training and information for clergy. Details will be announced as soon as possible.

The Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church of England’s Director of Mission and Public Affairs, said: “We are in close discussions with the General Register Office, who are working hard to ensure that the change in the system of registering marriages is as smooth and seamless as possible.

“I want to reassure clergy and couples planning a marriage that we are absolutely committed to making the new system work within the context of a Church of England marriage service and the GRO has promised to provide training and comprehensive user-friendly information for clergy.

“We are currently in discussion with the GRO about the exact shape that will take and will update clergy as soon as the details have been finalised.

“Although no firm date has yet been set for the introduction of the new system we are aware of the desire to implement it as soon as possible.

“A church wedding is a very special day where unique promises are made before God and in the presence of friends, family and the wider community in a timeless setting, marking the beginning of their married lives together.”

Notes

The question of changing the status of Clergy as marriage registrars has not arisen and the situation will remain the same as it is currently.

Update 2

Law and Religion UK includes more on this story in their weekly round-up.

20 Comments

Opinion – 7 August 2019

Martyn Percy delivered this lecture at Salisbury CathedralRedeeming Evangelism: Authentic Mission in the Church of England

Sumit Paul-Choudhury BBC Future Tomorrow’s Gods: What is the future of religion?
“Throughout history, people’s faith and their attachments to religious institutions have transformed, argues Sumit Paul-Choudhury. So what’s next?”

37 Comments

Opinion – 3 August 2019

There are important pieces by Martin Sewell and Stephen Parsons about who has power in the Church of England; we have added links to them in the article Matt Ineson challenges the National Safeguarding Team.

Hannah Malcolm Church Times Brian Cox’s quest for meaning
The Planets posed some searching questions for Christians”

Tim Stratford Dean of Chester Helter Skelters, Crazy Golf and LEGO®

2 Comments

Opinion – 31 July 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Further reflections on Deference in the Church

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley An Expert on Retail and Christianity Writes

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and others Washington National Cathedral Have We No Decency? A Response to President Trump

11 Comments

Opinion – 27 July 2019

David Hamid Eurobishop Deacons make history in the Diocese in Europe

Archbishop Richard Clarke The Irish Times Church of Ireland has put its survival over public engagement

Peter Allan Church Times Humanity’s third movement
“God’s work in creation is not finished”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Boris kippers and sacred truth

Simon Robinson ruminations, contemplations, stumblings On being assaulted in church

24 Comments

Bishops of Doncaster and Stafford to retire

The Bishop of Stafford, the Right Revd Geoff Annas, announced yesterday that he is to retire from his role at the end of November. There are details on the Lichfield diocesan website.

As pointed out in a comment on this post, the Bishop of Doncaster, the Right Revd Peter Burrows, announced his retirement some time ago. I have been unable to find an online announcement, but the Sheffield diocesan website does have details of his retirement service in September.

10 Comments

Opinion – 24 July 2019

Surviving Church Jane Chevous reflects on IICSA

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church An ethically challenged Church? Bullying and threats

Paul Bayes The Guardian Rough sleeping is not only a moral issue – it’s the measure of a just society

Georges Staelens Blogue de Georges Messes vespérales/Evening Masses

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love True and untrue images of God in the church

7 Comments

Opinion – 20 July 2019

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of Fresh Expressions, sacramentality and mission

Simon Taylor ViaMedia.News Does the Bible Really Say…that Creation is Straight?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The Christlike God – seamless creation and evolution

Sam Wells delivered the Inclusive Church 2019 Lecture Citizens of Heaven: Identity, Inclusion and the Church earlier this month. You can read the transcript or watch the video.

9 Comments