Suffragan Bishop of Dorchester: 24 November 2020
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Gavin Andrew Collins MA to the Suffragan See of Dorchester.
Published 24 November 2020
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Gavin Andrew Collins MA, Archdeacon of the Meon, in the diocese of Portsmouth to the Suffragan See of Dorchester, in the diocese of Oxford, in succession to the Right Reverend Colin William Fletcher OBE who resigned on 16 November 2020.
Gavin was educated in Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and worked as a solicitor in the City of London, before training for ministry at Trinity College Bristol. He served his title at St Barnabas, Cambridge, in the diocese of Ely and was ordained Priest in 1998.
In 2002, Gavin was appointed Vicar at Christ Church, Chorleywood, in the diocese of St Albans and, from 2006, he additionally served as Rural Dean of Rickmansworth.
In 2011, Gavin took up his current role as Archdeacon of The Meon in the diocese of Portsmouth.
Gavin is married to Christina, who is a Health Visitor, and they have three young adult children.7 Comments
House of Bishops – Monday 23rd November 2020 via Zoom
The House of Bishops met on the evening of Monday 23rd November, in the margins of Synod, and approved the Religious Communities Regulations 2020 as set out in (GS 2192) (“the Regulations”).
The Religious Communities Regulations set out the conditions a community must meet in order to be declared, under Canon DA 1, to be a religious community in the Church of England. These conditions include the requirement that all religious communities of the Church of England must comply with all House of Bishops Safeguarding policies and practice guidance.
This legislation follows on from a resolution at General Synod in February 2018. The resolution called on the Business Committee to provide a framework for religious life in the Church of England noting the historic importance of religious communities in the life of the faithful and celebrating the many new expressions of the religious life through Recognised and Acknowledged Communities.
Once approved by the House, the Regulations will be subject to approval by the General Synod.
The House then briefly received updates from the various works streams operating under the auspices of the Emerging Church Groups, with a forward look to the House of Bishops meeting in December, where they will be discussed in greater detail.0 Comments
Order paper 2 – details of the morning’s business
Order paper 3 – details of the afternoon’s business
The morning’s business started with a presentation from the Archbishop of York on Vision and Strategy, based on this paper: A Vision for the Church of England in the 2020s, ‘Christ centred and Jesus shaped. Simpler, humbler, bolder’. This is accompanied by A theological reflection on our emerging vision and priorities, ‘Salt for the earth, light for the world’ by Stephen Croft, Bishop of Oxford, and by this summary.
The other morning business was the Cathedrals Measure which received final approval.0 Comments
Last update – Tuesday morning
Order paper 1 – details of the afternoon’s business
The Archbishops gave a joint presentation to Synod, summarised in this press release: We must change to become a ‘simpler, humbler, bolder Church’ – Archbishops tell Synod. There are links to their full remarks here and here.
There was a debate on the response to the covid-19 pandemic (GS 2192) at the end of which this motion
That this Synod, recognising the profound challenge to life and wellbeing posed by the Covid-19 pandemic:
(a) call upon the whole church to hold in prayer all those ill, bereaved, unemployed or suffering mentally as a result of the virus, to pray for Her Majesty’s Government and all who hold responsibility for navigating the intractable dilemmas that Covid-19 poses;
(b) give thanks for the continuing selfless service of NHS and social care staff, scientists, and key workers in every sector, encouraging all to follow their example by affirming the common good over sectional interests;
(c) request the church’s representatives, in conversations with Her Majesty’s Government, to press the case for reducing social inequalities, especially the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME people, children living in poverty, disabled people, elderly people and those living with chronic health conditions, and to reflect concerns expressed by Synod in debate on this motion;
(d) express concern that the God given image, dignity and value of disabled and/or elderly people, including all those in residential care homes, are diminished when they are denied access to the same level of health care as the rest of the population;
(e) call on Her Majesty’s Government to preserve the United Kingdom’s foreign aid budget at 0.7% of GDP, sending a strong signal that the United Kingdom is a reliable partner for long-term economic, social, environmental and educational advancement across the globe;
(f) celebrate the role of churches in building mental and spiritual resilience to face the crisis and, affirming the role of worship and the sacraments as the source of Christian service and discipleship, call upon Her Majesty’s Government immediately to review the decision to curtail public worship during lockdown.
was passed by 401 votes to 4 with 8 recorded abstentions.
There was then the usual debate on the Report of the Business Committee (GS 2179). There was a counted vote on the motion to take note of this report with 207 votes in favour, 67 against and 29 recorded abstentions. The significant vote against might be explained by this speech from Jayne Ozanne.
The day’s business concluded with Questions.
Reports from members and the press
Stephen Lynas Can’t take my eyes off you
Andrew Nunn Crystal Maze
Church Times Synod highlights injustices in pandemic response4 Comments
Peter Leonard ViaMedia.News LLF – Patience & Pain
Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News LLF: Power, Fear & Our Inability To Do The Right Thing
Andrew Village and Leslie Francis Church Times The writing is on the wall for fragile rural churches
“The pandemic has exacerbated the crisis, and action is needed urgently”
Gilo Surviving Church BLM and Redress Schemes
[In this context BLM is a law firm – ed]
Lee Gatiss Church Society Initial thoughts on LLF
Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Mirror, Mirror : A Journey in Imagination for the Heterosexual Christian
Philip Murray Dinner at the Vicarage Wine for the Feast: the wine cellar and eschatology84 Comments
The questions (and their answers) for next week’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod have been published.17 Comments
Visitor and worshipper numbers to England’s cathedrals grew prior to lockdown
England’s cathedrals continue to play a huge role in the worship, heritage, and civic life of the country according to the latest figures from the Church of England.
In 2019, 1.3 million people attended services at cathedrals across the country, with midweek service attendance continuing to grow.
England’s cathedrals also attracted nearly 10 million visitors a year, the new data predating Covid-19 restrictions shows.5 Comments
Helen King ViaMedia.News Living in Love & Faith – Waiting for Godot
Diarmaid MacCulloch Modern Church Living in Love and Faith
David Monteith Dean of Leicester Living in Love and Faith
“No change but change?”
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church ‘Vulnerable Adults’ and Safeguarding literature.
Church of England Evangelical Council The Beautiful Story “a film to encourage and enable evangelicals to engage and contend in discussions about human sexuality”. It’s 32 minutes long. They have also published a fuller introduction and suggested ‘next steps’ for church leaders here.
Charlie Bell has published this response.
One of the papers, released ten days ago, for next week’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod is GS 2184 Response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s Final Investigation Report into the Anglican Church. This has been followed up today by the following press release.
Update on Church’s response to IICSA report
Following the publication (Oct 6) of its overarching IICSA report, the Church’s national governing bodies have all endorsed a motion apologising to victims and survivors and committing to urgently implementing the six IICSA recommendations. There will be a particular focus on independent safeguarding and redress for survivors and victims
Project groups will be set up including for independence and redress work streams. The independence workstream is about scoping the best structure for independent oversight of the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in place of the Archbishops’ Council. The House of Bishops also agreed that an interim arrangement is put in place prior to the establishment of this new body.
A further project group will also be set up to implement Recommendation 1 which proposes that diocesan safeguarding officers (DSOs) employed locally would be professionally supervised and quality assured by the National Safeguarding Team.
The Archbishops’ Council committed to finding significant additional financial resource to support the interim support scheme for survivors, which was announced in September, while work begins on a full redress scheme. The NST is in the process of appointing a new staff member to lead on the redress work.
It was agreed that workstreams must be undertaken in consultation with victims, survivors and all relevant Church bodies
The National Safeguarding Steering Group will establish a coordinating subgroup to oversee the work on all six IICSA recommendations and ensure they are implemented swiftly with the particular focus on independence and redress for survivors and victims. The recommendations also focus on CDM reform, information sharing and external audit.
A full background paper on these proposed changes has been published for a presentation and debate at General Synod which meets online from November 23-25 (timetable) with a further detailed response to the recommendations then to be drawn up, published and sent to IICSA.4 Comments
See also opinion on Living in Love and Faith here; I’ve been adding to this daily.
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Nourishing and enriching our innate goodness and love
Paul Wilkinson Church Times Threat that is keeping our solicitors busy
“The pandemic has spurred greater numbers to consider leaving their affairs in good order”
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding Complaint against Archbishop Welby dismissed13 Comments
The following statement has been issued by Lambeth Palace this morning.
Update on safeguarding complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury
The abuse carried out by the late John Smyth was horrific and support continues to be offered to survivors. The Makin review is currently looking at the Church’s handling of allegations about his abuse, including the response of other organisations involved.
A formal complaint made to the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in June, that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow correct safeguarding procedure when responding to an allegation against Smyth, has not been substantiated. The complaint referred to Lambeth’s response to allegations which first came to attention in 2013 and information relating to the specific issues raised has been reviewed. Information relating to a further complaint sent to the NST in August, about wider issues, has now also been reviewed and no safeguarding concerns have been identified. All the information reviewed will now be sent to the Makin Review, due to publish next year, for further scrutiny.
Archbishop Justin is deeply sorry for the abuse that was carried out by John Smyth. The Archbishop has committed himself to leading the change needed in the Church of England relating to safeguarding and is personally keen to listen to survivors and striving to keep developing and learning in his own ministry.
Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that giving information to this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors. Support can be offered to victims through the National Safeguarding Team’s survivor engagement worker Emily Denne, who can be contacted at email@example.com or do contact Keith Makin, the independent reviewer, direct at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments
See also opinion on Living in Love and Faith here.
David Brown Surviving Church Leaven. Challenging the Power of Culture in our Church
Brian Castle Church Times Comment: What the Government fails to grasp about public worship
“Theresa May was right to draw attention to the sinister precedent that the lockdown ban on gathering for services sets”
Ian Paul Psephizo Should church buildings close during lockdowns?3 Comments
More articles will be added as and when they are published.
Church Times leader comment LLF: it’s out, it’s long, it’s good
Anglican Communion News Service Church of England publishes major teaching resource on identity and sexuality
Religion Media Centre Living in Love and Faith: ‘What is means to be human’
The Times Church of England to rethink same-sex marriage (£)
Press Association (at the Daily Mail) Church of England decisions on sexuality and marriage `could be made within two years´
This PA article is also on the websites of a great many local newspapers.
The Living Church New C of E Resource for Discernment on Sexuality
Helen King sharedconversations Deleted sex scenes from Living in Love and Faith (1)
Deleted sex scenes from Living in Love and Faith (2)
Deleted sex scenes from Living in Love and Faith (3)
Deleted sex scenes from Living in Love and Faith (4)
LLF and IICSA, revisited
Helen King for Modern Church Living in Love and Faith: doing history
Nikki Groarke ViaMedia.News Scripture & Sexuality – Taking Nothing For Granted
The Church of England Evangelical Council Living in Love and Faith: evangelicals say they are ‘ready to engage and ready to contend’
Student Christian Movement A response to the Church of England’s ‘Living in Love and Faith’ resources
Alex Clare-Young Trans. Christian. Human. LLF: Call, Response, Prayer
Prudence Dailey Christian Today First impressions of the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith are very disappointing
David Baker Christian Today ‘Living in Love and Faith’: there may be much to encourage, but there is also every reason to stand firm
Oliver O’Donovan The Living Church Mapping the Terrain for Engagement on Human Sexuality
Colin Coward LLF: it’s long, complex, and fails LGBTI Anglicans
Andrew Symes Anglican Mainstream Living in Love and Faith: early thoughts
Christopher Cocksworth Living in Love & Faith – My Journey
Ann Memmott Ann’s Autism Blog Living in Love and Faith – How the CofE failed the autistic LGBT+ people43 Comments
Update I have been advised that the Living in Life book is available for download (without registration) from here as a single pdf file.
The Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith resources were published this afternoon, along with a press release (copied below). There is some introductory material at the first link below (Living in Love and Faith), but for most of the resources are in the Living in Love and Faith Learning Hub; to enter this requires registration.
Hard copies of the Living in Love and Faith book are (or will be) available from Church House Publishing or your favourite online bookseller (although none of the three that I tried have it in stock).
You can download the book from within the hub, but it does come in the form of 27 separate files.
Living in Love and Faith resources published as bishops issue appeal to Church to ‘listen and learn together’
The Church of England has published a landmark set of resources drawing together the Bible, theology, science and history with powerful real-life stories as it embarks on a new process of discernment and decision-making on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
The product of three years’ work by more than 40 people, led by the Bishop of Coventry, Living in Love and Faith includes a 480-page book, a series of films and podcasts, a course and an online library of other publications, in what is thought to be the most extensive work in this area by any faith group in the world.
It comes as the House of Bishops issues an appeal to the whole Church of England to participate in learning together, using the resources for open, honest and gracious discussion, listening and learning.
A group of bishops, chaired by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, will lead the process of discernment and decision-making about a way forward for the church in relation to human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
It is anticipated that the period of church-wide learning and engagement would take place during 2021. The House of Bishops would then bring the discernment and decision-making to a timely conclusion in 2022 which would then be put before Synod.
In a foreword to the Living in Love and Faith resources, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, acknowledge and apologise for the “huge damage and hurt” that has been caused particularly to LGBTI+ people within the Church.
“At the heart of our failure is the absence of a genuine love for those whom God loves in Christ, knowing as God does every aspect of all of our lives,” they write.
But addressing the future, they add: “Our prayer for the Church through this work is that collectively we demonstrate the same love to one another that we have experienced from God.”
The book opens with an account of how Jesus invited people to sit down together as he fed the 5,000. It notes how Jesus often sat down with people with radically different lives and views.
In their invitation to the church, the bishops say: “Our prayer is that as all of us, the people of God, take time to listen and learn together, our love for one another will be deepened and our faith in Jesus Christ strengthened so that His joy will be made complete in us.”
The Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, who oversaw the Living in Love and Faith project, said: “These learning resources are the fruit of an extraordinary collaborative process.
“This has involved intense and prayerful study and reflection as well as listening to as wide a range of voices and experiences as possible.
“Our hope is that through them people will be inspired by the Bible’s glorious and joyful vision of God’s intention for human life.
“Questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage are deeply personal with real life consequences. Engaging with these resources will be enriching and, at different points for different people, deeply challenging and uncomfortable.
“They ask us to examine afresh what it means for Christians to live in love and faith.
“We offer them in the hope that the whole of the Church of England will embrace this opportunity to learn and reflect together across difference for the sake of our unity in Christ.”
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who will lead the ‘Next Steps Group,’ said: “The challenges of the pandemic have underlined how we need each other more than ever.
“At the same time, we can see how deeply divided the Church is over these questions, and we must seek God’s will by learning together, listening to each other and to God.
“We will encourage and support churches to do this in ways appropriate to their local contexts over the coming year, inviting people to reflect on their learning, both as groups and individually.
“This must be a meaningful process with a clear way forward.
“However, it will not succeed without love, grace, kindness and compassion.”
Register to explore the Living in Love and Faith Learning Hub.
The members of the Next Steps Group are:
A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today Monday 9 November 2020 via Zoom
The House has now reverted to a schedule of monthly meetings with this meeting being the meeting for November.
As one of the first items of substantive business, a series of proposed amendments to the Standing Orders of the House were approved. As a result of recent demands brought on by the pandemic, the House endorsed the proposal for the Secretary of the House to be to be able to call a meeting of the House of Bishops with just 24 hours’ notice in circumstances of special urgency, rather than the current 7 days. The House agreed to two other procedurally related proposals.
The House then discussed the imminent publication and communication around the publication of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) resources planned for later that day. The House was addressed by Bishop Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Living in Love and Faith Co ordinating Group and parties working collaboratively on the launch, including the enabling officer of LLF and the Director of Communications.
The House then received an update on the work of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Housing, Church and Community Commission (HC&C). The update was given by the Bishop of Kensington and Charlie Arbuthnot, the co-authors of an interim report that was shared with the House. The interim report was discussed and the House approved the general direction of travel of the report and agreed to receive the final report in February 2021.
The House then heard from the Bishop of London in her capacity as the Chair of the Recovery Group charged with the Church’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. An overview of the current situation was given with an update on discussions on the Places of Worship Task Group and ongoing negotiations with the Government regarding the opening of churches for public worship. The House agreed that its December meeting will include a more detailed discussion on the regional impact throughout England of the pandemic.
The House was then updated by the Bishop of Huddersfield, (Bishop for Safeguarding) and the Director of Safeguarding on a range of safeguarding matters. The House noted and agreed that progress on the Interim Support Scheme must be made by the end of the year.
The House also received updates from the various works streams operating under the auspices of the Emerging Church Groups.
An overview by the Chair of the Co-ordinating Group, the Bishop of Manchester was followed by reports from the Chair of the Vision and Strategy Group, the Governance Group and the Transforming Effectiveness Group.
The House agreed, as part of the Vision and Strategy Group, to note and prepare for further discussion at the December meeting of the House on a series of proposals replacing the three Quinquennium Goals dating from 2010.
The House also agreed to offer comments and advice on the workplan of the Transforming Effectiveness group with further suggestions and proposals to be tabled at the December meeting. The House agreed to the same for the Governance group.
The Bishop at Lambeth informed the House that there will be a longer detailed decision on Emerging Church at the scheduled two day December meeting of the House.3 Comments
Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim The Harsh Truth Unlocked by Lockdown
Giles Fraser UnHerd Boris Johnson doesn’t get God
“This second lockdown has robbed church-goers of more than community”
Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff Church Times The Church’s sacramental ministry is not an optional extra
“The precautions in place in churches mean that there is no justification for suspending public worship”
Church Times Leader Worship banned
Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News Uphill Struggles and the Road to Peace11 Comments
The Church of England has issued its usual press release (copied below) in advance of this month’s meeting of its General Synod. Also released today are the papers for the Synod meeting; links to them are in my post below.
Church of England to detail Net-Zero bid at first online General Synod
The Church of England has clarified the scope and definition of net-zero following General Synod’s pledge to achieve net-zero by 2030.
Detail was shared with General Synod members today as papers were published for the forthcoming meeting of General Synod, the first full meeting of the Synod to be held remotely.
Today’s environmental publications follow a February 2020 motion setting the Church a target of cutting its carbon emissions year-on-year to reach Net Zero emissions by 2030.
Among other Agenda items, Synod will also debate the recent IICSA report endorsing a motion to urgently implement its recommendations, a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Archbishops’ Council budget and proposals for apportionment for 2021.
In legislative business, the Cathedrals Measure will receive its final drafting and approval and there will also be a number of items of Safeguarding legislation as the Church continues its work to strengthen its procedures in this area.
First official remote synod
In response to the challenges presented by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, special changes to Synod rules were approved in October enabling a full meeting to take place online.
This will be the first such official meeting of the Synod to take place online, over three days between Monday 23rd and Wednesday 25th November.
Dioceses and cathedrals consult on net-zero
Despite the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19 during the past nine months, the vast majority of dioceses and cathedrals have responded to a consultation to shape a definition and scoping of net-zero. This has been sent to General Synod members today for information ahead of its November meeting.
Of 35 dioceses and 23 cathedrals that replied, 81% of consultees agreed fully with the definition as now drafted (or with minor variations). Of those who did not fully agree, half still expressed a desire that it should go further.
Among the key details from the papers:
Revd Professor Martin Gainsborough, who moved the 2030 amendment, said that he was “hugely impressed” by the way in which the Environment Working Group has been working since the momentous vote in February.
“The definition of what is included for our net-zero carbon target seems the right one. It is also widely supported, as the consultation process relating to it shows,” he continued.
“It is now absolutely critical that the whole Church commits to this agenda. Of course, aspects of it will be challenging but I am convinced that if we work systematically and work together we can pull this off. What an achievement and what a legacy that would be.”
The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, the Church of England’s lead bishop for environmental affairs, welcomed the publication of the Synod papers.
He said: “In the months since Synod set its 2030 target for net-zero, despite the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, parishes, dioceses and cathedrals have demonstrated their urgency by completing the energy footprint tool and participating in a consultation on the scope of net-zero.
“While reaching our target remains a huge challenge and will require prayer and concerted and sustained action, this work moves us closer to having a reliable baseline for our current carbon impacts and a roadmap to achieving net-zero.”
The Church has also rolled out the Energy Footprint Tool, and since April 2020 (following the 2030 target introduction in February) the tool has seen 4,500 churches formally submitting their data or nearly a third of parishes in England. A further 1,500 churches tried the tool but did not submit their data.
The Environmental Working Group will next report back to General Synod in 2022, at which time a detailed roadmap will be reviewed.
Work will continue at all levels in the meantime with a national programme of church energy audits, renewable electricity tariffs through parish buying, ARocha’s Eco Diocese programme, events for Climate Sunday and a series of net-zero carbon webinars which are free for parishes.
The Papers for this month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online.
Papers with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets virtually from Monday 23 to Thursday 25 November. They can be downloaded as two zip files.
Synod members reading this might like to note that the deadline for the submission of questions is 12 noon on Wednesday 11 November 2020.0 Comments
This Measure was debated, and passed, by the Houses of Commons and Lords last month. It received Royal Assent today and came into force immediately. This month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod can now take place remotely.4 Comments
Helen King sharedconversations Waiting for publication: the week before Living in Love and Faith
Elizabeth Adekunle Via Media.News Wise Leadership: Needed Now More Than Ever!
Marcus Walker The Spectator If anything is essential, it’s worship4 Comments