Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 19 January 2019

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Being who I am

Malcolm Doney and Martin Wroe Church Times Is Christian language to blame for falling church attendance?

Terence Handley MacMath interviews Natalie Collins, gender-justice specialist for Church Times
‘Christianity should be at the forefront of gender justice, but it isn’t’

Kelvin Holdsworth What’s in Kelvin’s Head How shall we pray for our elected representatives?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Churches – further reflections


Opinion – 16 January 2019

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau Can evangelicals evangelise?

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Candlemas: for schools and homes
The Bible in a Year?: Evangelicals, lectionaries and apps

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church ‘Concerned Anglicans’ in Oxford- who are they speaking for?
and Concerned Anglicans in Oxford. Are they all Anglican?

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Saving the Best Wine Until Last

Laudable Practice Giving Thanks for Elizabeth I


Opinion – 12 January 2019

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of being in Christ as the gateway to radical new inclusivity

Clare Hayns Consider the Lilies Head above the Parapet

Marcus Green The Possibility of Difference fake good news

Angela Tilby Church Times The trans guidance is not radical

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Church Times Evangelism isn’t just for the Evangelicals
“Progressive Christians have good news to impart, not pre-packaged solutions”


Opinion – 9 January 2019

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Church of England Safeguarding Guidelines: progress, regression or PR spin?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The mystical Jesus and non-dualism

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Steeplejacking – subversion and schism in the local Church


Bishop of Hereford to retire

The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Richard Frith has announced he is to retire in the autumn. His public ministry will end with a service at Hereford Cathedral on Saturday 23 November at 11am. The diocesan press release is here.


Opinion – 5 January 2019

Fergus Butler-Gallie Archbishop Cranmer Ding-Dong Merrily Online: what can the bust-up over Greggs vegan sausage roll tell us about the Nativity?

Richard Beck Experimental Theology Everyone Already Knows All the Answers

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church 2018 Safeguarding and looking to 2019 and beyond.


Safeguarding: PCCs must report serious incidents to Charity Commission

Hattie Williams writes for Church Times today:  Safeguarding: PCCs must report serious incidents to Charity Commission.

PCCs, Diocesan Boards of Finance, and religious communities are now required by the House of Bishops to report any “serious incidents” — safeguarding and non-safeguarding — to the Charity Commission, under new guidance published this week.

As part of the move, the C of E will start compiling national safeguarding statistics for the first time…

The guidance from the Church of England is in these four documents.

There is a press release from the Church of England, which is copied below.

New guidance on reporting serious incidents, approved by the Charity Commission


The Church of England has published today new House of Bishops’ guidance on reporting safeguarding and other Serious Incidents to the Charity Commission. This is the first time the Church of England has produced Charity Commission approved guidance.

The Charity Commission updated its guidance on Serious Incident Reporting in October 2018, with a particular focus on the reporting of safeguarding Serious Incidents following recent high-profile incidents in the charity sector. All PCCs and DBFs and most Religious Communities are charities and their trustees (eg PCC members, DBF directors) are required to report any Serious Incidents – both safeguarding and non-safeguarding – to the Charity Commission. (more…)


Opinion – 2 January 2019

David Walker ViaMedia.News Hope at the Hinge of the Year – Football and Fear-filled Futures

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Give us back our Benedicite! A task for General Synod?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding and the Falsely Accused


Opinion – 29 December 2018

Tim Wyatt Church Times Key reports in 2018: everything you need to know
“Too many long documents to read in 2018? Tim Wyatt provides a digest”

Richard Mammana Mockingbird Popsicles and Prayer Books

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Unconditional Love – a New Year Resolution for 2019

Kelvin Holdsworth What’s in Kelvin’s Head 10 Correct Opinions About Christmas Carols

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News When “the Goodies” become “the Baddies”…

Jonathan Cooper Independent Our Anglican Christmas has been tarnished by the church’s role as an enabler of LGBT hate


Opinion – 22 December 2018

Luke Miller Archdeacon of London Happy Anniversary

Cally Hammond Church Times Dear tokens of my passion
“Four years ago, Cally Hammond was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was Christmas.”

The Anglican Communion News Service has compiled a list of Christmas messages from Anglican Primates.

Jonathan Draper Modern Church ’tis the season

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau The meaning of the Magnificat

Sandra Palmer St Chrysostom’s Church News and Views The Ox and the Ass – inclusive nativities

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Open Letter to Meg Munn on Safeguarding
… in response to Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel First reflections…


Sarah Clark to be next Bishop of Jarrow

Press release from Number 10

Queen approves nomination of Suffragan Bishop of Jarrow
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Sarah Elizabeth Clark.

Published 20 December 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Sarah Elizabeth Clark, BA, MA, MBA, Archdeacon of Nottingham, in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, to the Suffragan See of Jarrow, in the Diocese of Durham in succession to the Right Reverend Mark Watts Bryant, BA, who resigned on the 8th October 2018.

The Dioceses of Durham and of Southwell and Nottingham have also announced the appointment.

Durham: New Bishop of Jarrow Announced
Southwell and Nottingham: Archdeacon Sarah Clark to be Bishop of Jarrow

The new bishop will be consecrated by the Archbishop of York at 11am on the 27th February in York Minster.


Libby Lane to be next Bishop of Derby

Press release from Number 10

Queen approves nomination of Bishop of Derby
The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Elizabeth (Libby) Jane Holden Lane for election as Bishop of Derby.

Published 18 December 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Elizabeth (Libby) Jane Holden Lane, MA (Oxon), Suffragan Bishop of Stockport, for election as Bishop of Derby in succession to The Right Reverend Alastair Llewellyn John Redfern, MA, PhD, following his resignation on the 31st August 2018.

More details are on the Derby diocesan website: Bishop Libby Lane named as next Bishop of Derby.


Opinion – 15 December 2018

The Episcopal Café Gaudete

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News “Enjoy But Don’t Inhale!”

Mark Savage BBC Meet the godfathers of the Christmas carol

Helen King sharedconversations Out in Africa?


General Synod Timetable for February

The Business Committee of General Synod has today published the timetable for the February 2019 Group of Sessions in London. The timetable can be downloaded here and an abbreviated version can be found below the fold.



PCC of St George’s Headstone – report by Independent Reviewer Sir William Fittall

Updated Friday, Saturday and Tuesday

This report was published yesterday; the press release is copied below.

St George’s PCC had requested, in accordance with the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, that episcopal sacramental and pastoral ministry in the parish be entrusted to a male bishop. Their requirements included this:

iii. whose marital status conforms with Apostolic teaching and practice expressed in the historic teaching and practice of the Church of England.

The PCC complained that the bishop proposed by the Bishop of London had remarried after divorce and was therefore unacceptable to them. In his report on their grievance Sir William concluded that

“the resolution making procedure set out in the House of Bishops’ Declaration concerns theological conviction in relation only to gender and ordained ministry. It does not extend to matters of marital status or indeed any other consideration. The PCC’s grievance against the decision of the Bishop of London to invite the Bishop of Fulham to provide episcopal ministry is therefore unjustified.”

Read the full report for the other parts of the PCC’s grievance.

press release

PCC of St George’s Headstone – report by Independent Reviewer Sir William Fittall

The report by Sir William Fittall, Independent Reviewer in relation to the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, can be found at the link provided below.

Grievance from the PCC of St George’s Headstone


Madeleine Davies Church Times London PCC’s criteria for accepting a bishop went too far, Sir William Fittall decides

Anglican Mainstream Church of England’s Independent Reviewer supports Bishop of London against parish refusing the Bishop of Fulham over divorce and remarriage

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Seven Bishops and a PCC: St George’s, Headstone


Report from the December House of Bishops

The Church of England House of Bishops met this week. The following report was issued today.

Report from the December House of Bishops

The House of Bishops met in London at Lambeth Palace from the 10th to the 12th of December.

The agenda was wide ranging. On the first day, the bishops considered the priorities for the Church over the three-year period 2020 to 2022. They reviewed progress with the Church’s body of work called Renewal and Reform, which is intended to bring more people to know the good news of Jesus Christ. They explored the Church’s mission with children and young people and made a renewed commitment to that mission. They agreed to examine some areas where Church law might be simplified.

On the second day the Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel, Ms. Meg Munn, addressed the House with her initial observations on taking the role. A more detailed briefing on safeguarding followed. The bishops engaged with the issues facing the nation in the current turbulent political climate. The Pastoral Advisory Group reported to the House on its recent work on gender, identity and sexuality.

On the third day the Bishops participated in exploratory work related to the Living in Love and Faith project.

The House of Bishops prayed for the nation and all our politicians at this challenging time.


Opinion – 12 December 2018

David Ison ViaMedia.News Are Christians Guilty of Exerting Peer Pressure to Make People “Fit In”?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church John Calvin and the Christian Right

Ian Paul Psephizo What are the church attendance statistics telling us?

Samuel Bray The Living Church A neglected gem: the Sunday first lessons in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Laudable Practice Another reason why we need Sunday Mattins

James Marston Eastern Daily Press What does a priest in training have to do?


Opinion – 8 December 2018

Erika Baker ViaMedia.News Toxic Debates & Disagreement

Maria Evans The Episcopal Café Ambrose of Milan

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of management and theology


“Church of England gags abuse victim with NDA”

Updated again Thursday and Friday (scroll down)

Channel 4 News broadcast a news item this evening (Wednesday): there is a link to the 5 minute video in this online article:

Exclusive: Church of England gags abuse victim with NDA

A woman who claims she was abused by a vicar has told Channel 4 News she was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – before she was allowed to read an official review accusing the Church of England of mismanaging her complaints…

…A 2012 inquiry ordered by the then Archbishop Rowan Williams into multiple failures in safeguarding in the Diocese of Chichester concluded: “A confidentiality clause should never be included in any agreement reached with a survivor. It is essential that there is complete transparency about any abuse that has occurred.” mismanaging her complaints…

The Telegraph has also covered the story: Church of England embroiled in NDA controversy after allegedly hushing up findings of harassment probe.

The Church of England has been accused of using non-disclosure agreements to hush up a sexual harassment case involving one of its vicars…

…However the institution is likely to face fresh scrutiny over its alleged use of an NDA, after the Archbishop of Canterbury, its most senior cleric, questioned their legitimacy this year.

He told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in March:  “A non-disclosure agreement seems to me to be dangerous because it creates suspicion, ‘Why are you doing an NDA? Surely you’re trying to cover something up’.”

The Diocese of Birmingham has published a document titled Lessons Learnt Review Statement.

A complaint has been made regarding the way in which the Church of England Birmingham handled and investigated a complaint made by an adult of alleged sexual abuse between 1989 and 1991.

Whilst we investigated the complaint with best intentions so as to honour the complainant’s feelings, and to sensitively communicate with all those involved, we accept that we fell short of achieving those aims.

We want to learn from the mistakes we have made, so as to make improvements to our policies and procedures.

With that objective in mind, the Bishops Safeguarding Management Group authorised an independent Lessons Learnt Review…


The Daily Mail has now also covered this story: Church of England ‘forced woman abused by a vicar to sign a non-disclosure agreement over her abuse claims’ then paid her £40,000 but denied liability

The Times also carried a short item in its News in Brief column.

The Church Times published Birmingham diocese defends gagging order for survivor.

The Birmingham Mail reported: Church cover-up claims over ‘sex pest Harborne vicar who walked around naked’.

The Diocese of Birmingham on Thursday afternoon issued this on its website:
Response to Channel 4 News story

In response to the news report and interview with Jo Kind on Channel 4’s news programme (Weds 5 Dec 7pm) we believe that it is important to clarify a number of elements of the story as reported in that instance.

Most importantly, we need to make clear that the Church of England – Birmingham has never restricted, or sought to restrict Jo from telling her story. This is not the purpose of the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement). It was and will always be her story to tell. The decision with regards to the NDA was made to protect the many contributors to the report, some of whom wish to remain unidentifiable, along with the many others whom this situation affects. The suggestion of asking Jo to sign the NDA was also made by the independent reviewer once the report had been finalised. We encouraged Jo to seek legal advice, which she did, before signing the NDA, rather than ‘forcing it on her’ as reported.

It is important to understand that Jo was not asked to sign a ‘confidentiality clause’. Such a clause would have prevented her from disclosing information contained within the reports that she was already aware of, or where elements were already in the public domain. Jo was asked to sign an NDA with the intention to prevent from sharing information not belonging to her that she was not previously aware of (for example elements within the report that refer to information provided from or by other individuals, along with factors that could lead to the identity of the contributors and others who have been affected by this from being identified).

Simply put, Jo is and always has been free to tell her story, but we need to protect others who do not want their story to be told. We needed to put measures in place to safeguard the contributions and identities of these others. For us to publically share personal details regarding private individuals, some of whom have requested anonymity, would be irresponsible, unethical and contravening their understanding of what their contribution is being used for. It is not about protecting the Bishop, protecting the Church of England – Birmingham or the wider Church, it is about protecting the identities and rights of private individuals. We have not attempted to cover up our failings in dealing with this case and have publically acknowledged them here:



Statement on structure of National Safeguarding Team

The Church of England has issued the statement below on the structure if its National Safeguarding Team.

Hattie Williams writes about this for Church TimesNew post advertised to ‘strengthen’ C of E’s restructured safeguarding.

Statement on structure of National Safeguarding Team

Following the establishment of the National Safeguarding Team in 2015 – replacing a 0.5 national post – the Archbishops’ Council has recently reviewed its structure and after consultation will be advertising for a Director of Safeguarding.

Secretary General’s letter to the College of Bishops about staffing developments at the National Safeguarding Team While this appointment is in process an interim director will lead the National Safeguarding Team and Sir Roger Singleton* has been appointed from January 2. This proposed change is about having the right structures in place to ensure good safeguarding is embedded across the Church in the most effective way possible.

*Sir Roger Singleton is a former Chief Executive of Barnardo’s and chaired the Independent Safeguarding Authority from 2007-2012. He also led the Independent Scrutiny Team which assessed the adequacy of the Church of England’s 2008-2009 Past Cases Review.

Secretary General’s letter to the College of Bishops about staffing developments at the National Safeguarding Team