Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 1 July 2020

Simon Weir Eastern Daily Press Bucket-list builder: churches and cathedrals
“Six stunning churches to visit after the Covid-19 lockdown”

Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England A Last Post

Rachel Jepson ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to 2020 Vision

Luke Irvine-Capel All Things Lawful And Honest Undone by doing


General Synod papers for 11 July

A number of papers for the informal and virtual meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod on 11 July are now available online. Links to them are below.

If any more appear I will add them to the list.

Handling of Questions in the Meeting of Synod Members
Members’ Guide to Virtual Synod Proceedings

GS 2171 – Audit Committee Annual Report
GS 2172 – Archbishops’ Council Annual Report (2019)
GS 2173 – Financial Update and AC Original Budget

GS Misc 1249 – Covid-19 Response
GS Misc 1250 – The Emerging Church of England

Notice of Delay – Corporation of Church House AGM


Opinion – 27 June 2020

Marcus Walker The Critic Bishops’ different hymnsheet
The Church of England has worked to broaden its diversity of background, but its diversity of opinion has declined

Malcolm Chamberlain ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…To Looking After No 1!

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Church and failures of corporate memory


Opinion – 24 June 2020

Fergus Butler-Gallie The Critic Oxford is fallen
“What do they know of faith who only multi-faith spaces know?”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Has Trump made the word ‘Evangelical’ toxic?

Ruth Worsley ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Ignoring Those We Do Not See

Daniel French The Spectator Could an underground church now emerge in Britain?

St Chrysostom’s Church News and Views Black Saints Matter

Peter Webster Webstory The churches and the future of theological research


Opinion – 20 June 2020

Peter Anthony All Things Lawful And Honest Is there a Doctor in the House?

Peter Crumpler Christian Today When Christ stood in Trafalgar Square

K Augustine Tanner-Ihm Church Times Black lives really do matter
“But does the Church really believe this”

Ian Paul Psephizo The end of the road for C of E growth strategies?

Gavin Collins ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Silence for the Sake of Unity

Stephen Stavrou All Things Lawful And Honest Erasing the Saints


Opinion – 17 June 2020

Pippa White The Westcott Blog Covid-19 & the Language of War

ViaMedia.News Lockdown Testimonies – Sue from Deaf Church

Augustine Tanner-Ihm ViaMedia.News #BlackLivesMatter: Living Between Malcolm X and Uncle Tom


Ministry Statistics 2019

The Church of England released its Ministry Statistics for 2019 today.

The accompanying press release (copied below) highlights that, for the first time, women made up the majority of deacons ordained, but there is much else in the report.

Statistics for earlier years are available here.

Women majority of deacons ordained last year, new report shows

Women made up the majority of deacons ordained in the Church of England last year for the first time, according to new statistics published today.

A total of 570 deacons were ordained in 2019, with women making up just over a half, or 51% of the new intake.

Deacons are the first of three orders of ordained ministry. Whilst all clergy continue as deacons throughout, the majority are also ordained as priests at the end of their first year of ministry.

The statistics show that women made up around 32% of the 20,000 active clergy last year, with a growing proportion of senior posts such as Bishops, Archdeacons and Cathedral Deans, occupied by women, from 25% in 2018 to 27% last year.

Women were in the majority starting training for ordained ministry for the third year running, with equal numbers of men and women sponsored to train for ‘incumbent’ posts – such as Rector or Vicar – over the last two years. However currently only 25% of incumbent posts are occupied by women.

The number of stipendiary, or paid clergy, remained stable, at 7,700, between 2018 and 2019, following a period of decline. There were 7,830 Readers or licensed lay ministers compared to just under 10,000 in 2010. Readers and licensed lay ministers are not ordained but can lead worship and preach in churches, among other roles.

The statistics show the number of stipendiary clergy from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds stood at 3.8%, while 7.8% of people entering training for ordained ministry last year were from a BAME background.

Out of a total of 550 people beginning training for ordained ministry last year, nearly a quarter, or 24%, were under 32 years old and more than two fifths, 44%, were aged under 40.

The Rt Revd Chris Goldsmith, Director of Ministry for the Church of England, said: “In recent years there has been an increasing diversity among our clergy, but we will not be content until those in public ministry truly reflect the whole church and the communities which they serve.”

He added: “The contribution of lay ministers to the mission and ministry of the church is hugely valued both in terms of sustaining the ongoing life of parishes and chaplaincies but also in the innovation and spiritual entrepreneurship increasingly characterising frontline expressions of the church as a Christian presence in every community.”

The Bishop of Derby, Libby Lane, who was consecrated as the first female bishop in the Church of England in 2015, said: “Women are now a widely visible presence among clergy in the Church of England – praise God. However there are still other under-represented groups whose vocations to ordination are being missed.

“I pray that the lessons learnt in encouraging women can make a difference for those who are not yet recognised, so Church of England clergy, at every level, better reflect the glorious diversity of our country.”

She added: “Last year marked 25 years since I was ordained priest. For over a quarter of a century women and men together have been selected, trained, ordained and appointed to serve in the Church of England.

“I thank God for the privilege of my ministry, and for the thousands of women and men who have shared this calling in that time.”

More information


Opinion – 13 June 2020

This week’s issue of Church Times has a series of comment articles on racism. There is also a related news item: Church leaders join the voices against racism.
The roots of racism in the Church are deep and thick – Catherine Nancekievill “has seen the challenges from within the Ministry Division”
The quietly privileged need to repent and commit themselves to change – Paul Butler “describes how he came to appreciate the importance of campaigning for racial equality”
Can the Church’s culture change? – White clerics should not remain silent about structural racism, says Rob Wickham
Racism is rife in this country, to0 – It is time for systematic change in Church and society, argues Arlington Trotman
If corona won’t get us, racism will – Anderson Jeremiah and Shemil Mathew find parallels between the death of George Floyd and the Covid-19 death rate among BAME people

Peter Francis & Charlie Gladstone A Statement from Gladstone’s Library – Black Lives Matter

Peterson Feital ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…But We Can Stop Hurting People!

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Outsider as the Prophet

Thomas Plant All Things Lawful And Honest From Anamnesis to Amnesia: how the Neo-Puritans in charge want to erase the Church’s memory


Opinion – 10 June 2020

Arun Arora The Guardian How can the Church of England speak about race when its leaders are so white?

David Hamid Eurobishop Racism is a sin. Full stop.

Paul Vallely Church Times George Floyd was an innocent victim

Archbishop of Canterbury on the Church’s response to racism (2 minute video)

Philip North ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Breathlessness

Nikki Groarke ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Preserving Bricks & Mortar

Edward Dowler All Things Lawful And Honest More than Bricks
“The Significance of Church Buildings”

Christopher Rogers Evening Standard The Church of England faltered when our country needed spiritual guidance


General Synod July 2020

Update Tuesday A press release was issued this morning; I have copied it below the timetable.
Update Saturday A note on the Handling of Questions in the Meeting of Synod Members has been added to the website. The Questions Notice Paper will be published by 10.00am on Wednesday 8 July.

A provisional timetable for a meeting of General Synod members on Saturday 11 July 2020 has been published today. This will be the informal remote meeting proposed by the officers of Synod last month when the residential meeting in York was cancelled. There are no details as yet about how this virtual meeting will be conducted.

The timetable is copied below.

GENERAL SYNOD: July 2020 Timetable
Saturday 11 July
10.30 am – 12.45 pm
10.30 am – 10.45 am Opening worship
Introduction and welcomes
10.45 am – 11.30 am Presidential Address
11.30 am – 11.45 am Pause for reflection
*11.45 am – 12.45 pm Question Time part one

1.30 pm – 4.30 pm
1.30 pm – 2.45 pm Response to Covid-19: Presentation followed by Questions
*2.45 pm – 3.00 pm BREAK
3.00 pm – 4.00 pm Question Time part two
4.00 pm – 4.15 pm Reflections and/or Scriptural thought
4.15 pm – 4.30 pm Closing worship
*4.30 pm Close of Business

* not later than
Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk.

Deadline for receipt of questions for the formal Question Time: 1200 hrs Tuesday 30 June 2020

Update – press release

Informal virtual meeting of General Synod members to take place

The timetable for an informal virtual meeting of General Synod members has been published.

The timetable for an informal virtual meeting of members of General Synod on Saturday July 11 has been published. This has the support of the Business Committee of the General Synod after it was confirmed that the residential meeting due to take place in York in July had been cancelled in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. The term of the current General Synod has been extended for a year with planned elections to the General Synod postponed until next autumn. Synod officers continue to explore options to enable the Synod to transact its business remotely if it is not possible to meet in person in November.

The timetable can be found on the Synod area of the Church of England website.


Opinion – 6 June 2020

James Gilder All Things Lawful And Honest A Church for All
“Want a Church for all? Be prepared to engage with the nitty-gritty.”

Peter Leonard ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Pretending!

Danny Pegg A New Beginning or a Curate’s Egg?
“A local and national reflection on the Church of England during the time of Coronavirus”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Clergy Discipline Measure. Time for Replacement?


Safeguarding data 2018

Press release from the Church of England

Safeguarding data 2018

Safeguarding data has been published today taken from annual safeguarding returns, collected by dioceses in 2018 and sent to the National Safeguarding Team. It also contains comparison on data collected over the three previous years 2015-17.

The majority of safeguarding-related concerns or allegations relate to children or vulnerable adults who attend or who have contact with the Church and their lives within the community.

Overall the number of concerns or allegations reported to dioceses in 2018 relating to children, young people and vulnerable adults in the Church was 2,504. This compares to 3287 in 2017, and is slightly higher than 2015 and slightly lower than 2016.

A quarter of concerns or allegations in 2018 required reporting to statutory authorities similar to 2017.

In 2018, 16% of all concerns (400 cases) relate to clergy, including retired and deceased clergy, a slight increase on the average for 2015-17 which was around 12%. There are currently around 20,000 active clergy in the Church.

Safeguarding-related disciplinary measures against clergy decreased in 2018 and combined with the increase in reports against clergy this suggests that more concerns are being raised earlier because there are greater overall numbers of reports but lower numbers of disciplinary cases.

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, a member of the National Safeguarding Steering Group, said:
“In any report about data of this nature, it is important to recognise that behind each statistic are real human lives and that this is a snapshot of the vital safeguarding work going on in all our 16,000 churches across the country. As the report states it is most likely that where there is an increase compared to previous years this reflects the impact of safeguarding training across the whole Church, and the increased likelihood that people will report concerns to their diocesan safeguarding adviser, where there may have been greater reticence in the past. The NST will continue to study trends over a longer period to inform its ongoing safeguarding work and has committed to publishing data on an annual basis.”


Dean of Bristol

Press release from Number 10

Reverend Canon Doctor Amanda Ford appointed Dean of Bristol: 3 June 2020

The Queen has approved that the Reverend Canon Doctor Amanda (Mandy) Ford be appointed Dean of Bristol.

Published 3 June 2020
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved that the Reverend Canon Doctor Amanda (Mandy) Ford, Canon Chancellor and Director of Discipleship and Ministry in the Diocese of Southwark, be appointed Dean of Bristol following the appointment of the Very Reverend Doctor David Hoyle MBE as Dean of Westminster.

There are more details on the Bristol diocesan website.

1 Comment

Opinion – 3 June 2020

Alison Webster ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to not Caring about Care

Russell Dewhurst All Things Lawful And Honest Table for One
“The lawfulness of Holy Communion celebrated without a congregation”

Together for the Common Good The Plague and the Parish: An Invitation to the Churches

Church Times Lockdown could change the Church permanently
Richard Giles, John Sadler, and Robert Warren “call for a radical rethink of the work of a parish priest”

Janet Fife Surviving Church The Church of England Gentlemen’s Club


Dean of the Arches and Auditor of the Chancery Court of York

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have both published the following announcement.

New Dean of the Arches and Auditor of the Chancery Court of York appointed

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are delighted to announce that Morag Ellis QC has been appointed as Dean of the Arches and Auditor on the retirement of Charles George QC. Morag will take up her duties on the 8th June 2020.

Morag was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1984 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2006. She began her career at 8, New Square (now Cornerstone Barristers) before moving to Francis Taylor Building in 2014. Morag was appointed Commissary General of the Diocese of Canterbury in 2011, and Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Southwark in 2013. In 2015 Morag was appointed as a Panel Chair to Clergy Discipline Tribunals and became a member of the Legal Advisory Commission of the General Synod in 2016. She was appointed as QC Church Commissioner in 2019. She is also a Reader licensed in the Diocese of Chelmsford.

The Archbishops would like to express their enormous thanks to Charles for his remarkable service over the last 11 years and wish him well as he steps down from the role.

The Dean of the Arches (Province of Canterbury) and Auditor (Province of York) is the most senior ecclesiastical judge in England and as Master of the Faculties is responsible for the regulation of the notarial profession in England and Wales and some overseas jurisdictions. The appointment is made jointly by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York with the approval of Her Majesty the Queen.


Opinion – 30 May 2020

Sam McNally-Cross All Things Lawful And Honest For the love of God, don’t sacrifice the poor.

Philip Murray All Things Lawful And Honest Thoughts and questions about ‘online Church’

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of bishops, truth, & the flimsy altar of political expediency

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church A letter from the future. Safeguarding in 2025

Peter Crumpler Christian Today Longing for a return to church

Rachel Treweek ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Social Distancing

Richard Bastable All Things Lawful And Honest Archiepiscopal Contradictions


The Church Commissioners Annual Report 2019

Press release from the Church of England

Church Commissioners for England publish their 2019 Annual Report

The Church Commissioners for England, the endowment fund of the Church of England, published today its Annual Report for 2019.

Key results include:

  • The Church Commissioners made a positive return of 10% in 2019
  • Value of Commissioners’ investment fund stood at £8.7bn (year end 2019)
  • Church Commissioners post eleventh successive year of positive returns
  • The total return averaged over the past 30 years at 8.5% per annum.
  • The Church Commissioners contributed approximately 15% of the Church’s annual running costs.
  • In 2019 £19.4m was awards in SDF to 11 projects in 11 dioceses.

To download a copy of the full report, please click here.

1 Comment

Opinion – 27 May 2020

Elizabeth Anderson Earth and Altar “Wash Your Own Feet”: on singleness and the domestic church

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Speeding up the Tortoise

Jamie Harrison ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Pre-Judging Our “Good Samaritans”

Christopher Craig Brittain Anglican Journal
The Eucharist and coming out of lockdown: A tract for these COVID-19 times
On virtual communion: A tract for these COVID-19 Times (Part II)


Opinion – 23 May 2020

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back….to Power Games & Inequality
The Guardian reports on this as Synod member attacks Church of England’s ‘self-obsession’ in pandemic

Zoë Ettinger Insider Inside 19 of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world
The photographs are also available here.

Tom Wright Church Times Don’t let the weak go to the wall again
“Society needs wise, statesmanlike leadership — not a mad rush back to profiteering”

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of ‘new vision,’ status, money and prayer.

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau When lockdown ends, what will ‘normal’ be like?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Iwerne Camps. All Change?

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Zooming Along


House of Bishops meeting

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops

A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today on Thursday, the 21st of May 2020 (by Zoom).

The meeting was a resumption of the previous meeting of the House of 19 May which was adjourned by the Chair due to technical issues.

Amongst the issues discussed by the House:

  • An update on the Church’s activity on COVID-19 with reflections and insights given by three Diocesan bishops as well as insights from Brendan McCarthy, Medical Ethics Health and Social Care Policy adviser, and continuing preparations for the gradual reopening of churches for prayer and worship, led by Bishop Sarah Mullally.
  • Updates from groups of bishops looking at coronavirus and its implications for the future of the Church of England were given, with a series of breakout groups further looking at issues including political and economic change, shifts in technology as well as the impact of demographic change.

The Archbishop of Canterbury led a Vote of Thanks on behalf of the House, to the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu for his dedicated ministry and service.

The next meeting will be held on 9 June 2020.