Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 15 January 2022

The Guardian view on same-sex weddings in church: the zeitgeist is moving
“The Church of England should follow the example of Anglicans in Wales and Scotland, and give its blessing to gay and lesbian relationships”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Changing Attitude England’s campaign for equality

Martyn Percy Modern Church A Progressive Union for a Precarious Church

David Power Church Times Time’s up for stipendiary ministry
“The C of E should follow St Paul’s example, not secular trends”

Surviving Church Gangsterism and the Church of England
Gilo takes a hard critical look at the Safeguarding Culture and the Administration of the Church of England”

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Past Cases Review 2 project


Consultation launched on membership of the Crown Nominations Commission for future Archbishops of Canterbury

Press release from the Church of England

Consultation launched on membership of the Crown Nominations Commission for future Archbishops of Canterbury

The Archbishops’ Council has launched a consultation on a proposal to change the make-up of the body which nominates future Archbishops of Canterbury.

The proposal would give the worldwide Anglican Communion a greater voice on the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) for the See of Canterbury.

At present the entire Communion outside of England is represented by just one of the current 16 voting members, compared to six from the Diocese of Canterbury alone.

The proposal would increase the Anglican Communion representatives to five while reducing the number of members from the Diocese to three. As at present, there would also be nine other members from the Church of England, including six elected by General Synod.

The idea originated from the Diocese of Canterbury itself where the Diocesan Synod agreed a motion asking the Archbishops’ Council to consider decrease the representation of the Diocese of Canterbury on future CNCs for the See of Canterbury.

The consultation, which will include key partners from across the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, will run until March 31.

Responses will be collated in the spring with an expectation of a final proposal being put to the General Synod for a vote in July. If approved it would change the Synod’s standing orders, which govern CNCs.

The General Synod, as part of the consultation, will also debate the proposal within the consultation document at its next meeting next month.

Responding to the consultation

  • Download the consultation document. Translations of the document in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese will be available in due course. To request a translation, please use the email address below.
  • If you would like to respond, please complete the consultation response document and return it to the email address below. This consultation will close on 31st March 2022.
  • If you have any queries on this consultation, please contact Elise Sandham, Private Secretary to the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, by email on the address below.

Bishop of Maidstone to retire

The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, has announced his intention to retire on 2 October 2022 – see here (scroll down).


Appointment of Bishop of Salisbury

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office – there is more on the Diocese of Salisbury’s website.

Appointment of Bishop of Salisbury: 13 January 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester, for election as Bishop of Salisbury.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 13 January 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester, for election as Bishop of Salisbury, in succession to The Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam following his retirement.


Stephen trained for ministry at Chichester Theological College. He served his title at Sherborne Abbey with Castleton and Lillington in the Diocese of Salisbury and was ordained Priest in 1989.

He became Vicar of Branksome St Aldhelm from 1992 and was additionally appointed Rural Dean of Poole in 2000. In 2001, Stephen was appointed Sub Dean of St Albans, and took up his current role as Dean of Gloucester in 2011.

Stephen is a Church Commissioner and Lead Dean for Safeguarding. He is married to Carol and they have three adult children.


Opinion – 12 January 2022

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Tutufication of the Church: A Path for the Future?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Sorting out the disagreements about homosexuality
Harry Williams – Life Abundant or Life Resisting?

Peter Collier Ecclesiastical Law Society 50 Years of Safeguarding – 950 Years of Clergy Discipline: Where do we go from here?
There are links to a YouTube video of a lecture given in December 2021 and to an extended version of the text of the lecture.
There is a summary of the lecture in the Church Times.


Third Church Estates Commissioner

News from the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has announced the appointment of the Rev’d Canon Dr Flora Winfield as Third Church Estates Commissioner

Canon Winfield was ordained deacon in 1989 and priest in 1994. She has worked in parish and cathedral ministry, university and military chaplaincy, ecumenical and Anglican Communion relations, and humanitarian diplomacy, representing the Anglican Communion at the United Nations. Canon Winfield is currently the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor on Reconciliation.

As Third Church Estates Commissioner, Canon Winfield will join the Church Commissioners for England’s Board of Governors and will chair the Mission, Pastoral and Church Property Committee and the Bishoprics and Cathedrals Committee.

Welcoming the appointment, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “Flora has an exceptional record of service to the Church and will be a valuable addition to the Church Commissioners’ leadership.

“I am very pleased that Flora is joining the Church Commissioners, bringing to this role her breadth of ministerial experience, her extensive leadership and theological expertise and her service as a senior member of staff at Lambeth Palace.”

Commenting on her appointment, Canon Winfield said:” I welcome the opportunity to make this contribution to the life and work of the Church of England in a time of change, development and possibility, as we respond to Christ’s call to grow as disciples, building on our historic inheritance and looking forward together with confidence and hope.”

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, deputy chair of the Church Commissioners, said: “Flora’s deep faith, experience with the Church at a local and international level and passion for furthering the Kingdom of God makes her an ideal Third Church Estates Commissioner. I am very much looking forward to working with her in this role.”

Canon Winfield has taught ecclesiology and church history and has published books and articles in the field of ecumenical theology. In 2010, she was awarded a DD by Virginia Theological Seminary for her 20 years of service to the Communion as a theologian.

Canon Winfield has been a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London since 2010, is a Director of the Anglican Alliance, is a member of Chapter at Bradford Cathedral, and a Trustee of the Community of St Andrew. She assumes the role of Third Estates Commissioner on 1 February.

Further information:

Particular priorities for the new Third Commissioner will be:

  • A review of the church legislation which establishes the Commissioners’ role for oversight of change at parish, deanery and diocesan level (Mission and Pastoral Measure review – read it here).
  • The establishment of the co-regulation of cathedrals by the Commissioners in an important new partnership with the Charity Commission.
  • Reaching the Church of England’s carbon net zero targets for 2030.

Opinion – 8 January 2022

Theo Hobson The Spectator Divided we stand: Anglicans need to agree to disagree

Stewart Clem The Living Church Building for Humans: a primer on Christian Architecture

Mark Hill Law & Religion UK The Great Strasbourg Bake Off

Paul Hackwood Church Times Church faces a stark choice for the future
“The drive towards centralisation is not working. Power must be shifted downwards to parish clergy”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church CDM – A Case Study
Safeguarding. A follow-up account of Church discipline in operation


Opinion – 5 January 2022

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Collegiality and Tutufication

Duncan Wilson Worship Words A letter to Melchior

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Passionate Church Leadership and the Cause of Justice and Integrity

1 Comment

Opinion – 1 January 2022

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Diocese of Winchester: Questions about the Future

Paul Hackwood Church Times C of E’s crisis is about more than money
“Behind financial problems lie existential questions about purpose and vision”

Simon Jenkins The Guardian Churches could double as banks, or even serve beer. We can’t leave them empty
“These mainly listed buildings sit at the heart of almost every community – we are squandering a precious legacy”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The True Wilderness: Harry Williams’ guide to living from within the depth of experience


Opinion – 29 December 2021

Michael Coren tvo For a priest, Christmas week is among the hardest of the year

Jeremy Morris Ad fontes Gold, frankincense – and myth

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Christmas and Easter – A Proposed Revision

David Brown Surviving Church The Church of England and its Episcopal Leadership

Martyn Percy Modern Church Rickety Religion (Part Five: Post-Advent Values)

Martyn Percy Modern Church Time, Light, Truth and Christmas Hope

Janet Fife Surviving Church Vignette in the Vestry


Opinion – 22 December 2021

Martyn Percy Modern Church Rickety Religion (Part Four: Post-Advent Structures)

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News Drawing the Line?


General Synod – February 2022

The General Synod of the Church of England will be meet in London on 8-10 February 2022. The outline timetable has been circulated to Synod members and is copied below.

It came with the following note: “The Business Committee has set the timetable for the February 2022 group of sessions, which can be found attached. The current plan is for Synod to meet from Tuesday 8 February to Thursday 10 February, in person at Church House, Westminster. However, we will continue to monitor Government guidance and should this need to change, we will be in touch.”


Tuesday 8 February

1.45 pm – 7.00 pm
Opening worship and introductions, including formal introduction of the Prolocutors and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the House of Laity
Presidential Address
Business Committee Report
Pattern of Meetings 2024-2026
Racial Justice
*5.15 pm Questions

Wednesday 9 February

9.00 am – 12.30 pm
Legislative Business The Faculty Jurisdiction Rules (Amendment) Rules 2022

1.45 pm – 7.00 pm
Durham DSM: Challenging Slavery and Human Trafficking
Clergy Remuneration Review
Setting God’s People Free
Vision & Strategy group work

Thursday 10 February

9.00 am – 12.30 pm
Opening worship
Diversity, difference and disagreement: resources for effecting culture change
Motion on the Governance Review Group policy paper
Appointment of Chair of the Appointments Committee
Appointment of Chair of the Dioceses Commission

2.00 pm – 4.30 pm
Lichfield DSM: Persecuted Church
Canterbury CNC
*4.30 pm Prorogation

Meetings of Lower Houses of the Convocations and House of Laity

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

Deadline for receipt of questions: 1200 hrs Thursday 27 January


Dean of Bradford

The next Dean of Bradford in the diocese of Leeds will be the Revd Andy Bowerman. Here is the diocesan announcement.


Opinion – 18 December 2021

Martyn Percy Modern Church Rickety Religion (Part Three: Advent, Time and Structures)

‘Graham’ Surviving Church Will anyone ever be held to account over John Smyth?

Giles Fraser UnHerd Secular Christmas is a lie
“Only the Christian understanding of the festival makes sense”

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Evangelical Alliance: “Loving & Orthodox” or “Damaging & Dangerous”?

Russell Sandberg Law & Religion UK Christmas: a subversive legal history

Emma Beddington The Guardian Schmaltzy, saccharine or sinister? A brief guide to the worst Christmas carols
There are some readers’ letters in response: No crying he makes? Let’s sing the truth in our Christmas carols


Opinion – 15 December 2021

Martyn Percy Modern Church Rickety Religion (Part Two: The Advent of Structures)

Timothy Goode ViaMedia.News A Story of Transforming Love – and My Mother

Jeremy Marks ViaMedia.News The Thorny Question of Desire!


Meeting of the House of Bishops, 13 December 2021

Church of England press release

Meeting of the House of Bishops, 13 December 2021

The House of Bishops met remotely via Zoom for its final meeting of 2021 on Monday 13 December.

The House agreed with the current direction of travel of the proposed changes to the Standing Orders of the House of Bishops, which will permit UK Minority Ethnic / Global Majority Heritage (UKME/ GMH) to attend as observers. The House agreed to delegate the drafting and approval of the proposed changes to the Standing Committee of the House of Bishops.

The House was then addressed by the Bishop of Huddersfield in his capacity as the lead Bishop for Safeguarding and the Interim Director of Safeguarding. The House approved revisions of the guidance Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults, discussed at the last meeting of the House, which will come into effect at the beginning of July 2022.

The House then went on to take note of a report by the Triennium Funding Working group on Financial Planning for Ministry Support.

The House then turned its attention to preparations for discussions with diocesan secretaries at a joint informal meeting scheduled for February. The House noted the outline and proposed approach.

The House was then addressed by the Bishop of London in her capacity as chair of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF), Next Steps Group. The House was invited to reflect on issues raised in an interim report on a set of responses to the Living in Love and Faith resources. The House took note of the interim report.

The meeting closed in prayer.


Monmouth Enquiry and Review Report

Update There are reports in the Church Times: Monmouth review: Archbishop of Wales apologises and Review lists catalogue of errors in Monmouth and the Church in Wales.

The Church in Wales has published the Monmouth Enquiry and Review report today in a news item which is copied below.

The full (but redacted) report is here, and there is an overview here. There is also a statement from the current Bishop of Monmouth.

Monmouth Enquiry and Review Report

Provincial news Posted: 13 December 2021

In May 2020 the Bench of Bishops and the Representative Body of the Church in Wales established an Enquiry and Review into the events surrounding the retirement of the Rt Revd Richard Pain as Bishop of Monmouth in April 2019, and to review the procedures followed and decisions made by all those involved.

The Enquiry and Review Panel was chaired by the Rt Revd Graham James and the other members were Lucinda Herklots and Patricia Russell.

The Panel’s report has now been published, together with an overview of it written on behalf of the commissioners by the then Senior Bishop, now Archbishop, the Most Revd Andrew John, and the former chair of the Representative Body, James Turner. The overview explains that the report has been partially redacted in order to protect the anonymity of some of those involved.

The Commissioners commit to implementing the report’s recommendations quickly and comprehensibly. They also apologise profoundly for the Church’s failures highlighted in the report and, in particular, to those whose reputations, ministries and working life were damaged as these events unfolded.

In December 2018, the Church in Wales issued a statement which was included in an article in the Western Mail on 22 December and subsequently reused in a number of media reports. This statement had not been agreed with the members of the Diocese of Monmouth senior team and caused them considerable distress. It was misleading. The Church in Wales formally withdraws the statement and unreservedly apologizes for the hurt and distress it caused.


The Review Panel

Graham James was Bishop of Norwich from 1999 to 2019. He chaired the independent Paterson Inquiry which reported to Her Majesty’s Government in February this year.

Lucinda Herklots was Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Salisbury for nearly 15 years until November 2018. She is currently a Chapter member of Salisbury Cathedral and a governor of the local NHS hospital trust.

Patricia Russell is an ecclesiastical lawyer specialising in human resources and safeguarding matters. She was deputy registrar to the Dioceses of Winchester and Salisbury from 2014 to 2019.


Opinion – 11 December 2021

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Thirtyone:Eight and the Culture of the Titus Trust

Zachary Guiliano The Living Church Inns and Stables

Church Times Leader comment: Why does HTB get it right (and everyone else get it wrong)?

Church Times Gospel translations: That openeth the window, to let in the light
Madeleine Davies explores theories behind translations of the Gospels


Statistics for Mission 2020

The Church of England has published its Statistics for Mission 2020 report today. The accompanying press release is copied below. Reports for previous years can be found here under the heading Church attendance statistics.

Statistics for Mission 2020

The Church of England’s Statistics for Mission 2020 report has been published.

Figures published recently show that more than 9,000 churches (eight in 10 parishes) offered ‘Church at Home’ worship, such as online or dial-in services, during the March-July 2020 lockdown.

The full report also details in-person attendance figures for services which were, as expected, significantly lower than usual, amid legal restrictions on numbers because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most of the figures are based on an annual snapshot taken in October, which fell just before the second full national lockdown in England, when adult average weekly attendance was 57 per cent lower than 2019.

Despite the restrictions, the figures were still collected by the Church of England Research and Statistics Unit to record and recognise those things that churches were able to do in such difficult circumstances, understand the impact of the pandemic on church life and give context to future figures.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “The 2020 Statistics for Mission figures are very much in line with expectations and really underline the scale of the challenge churches faced in the first year of the pandemic.

“The main figures represent a snapshot in time in October last year, as the second wave of Covid-19 gathered momentum, while many churches in England were still closed for public worship, and all were under a legal requirement to limit numbers.

“The Advent and Christmas figures show this even more starkly – given the restrictions we all remember being introduced just a few days before Christmas last year.

“So they bear tribute to the resilience of local churches in the face of real challenges to which they responded in remarkable ways.

“We know that eight in 10 parishes offered ‘Church at Home’ online, via email, post and telephone during the first lockdown, helping sustain parish life when it was so dearly needed and also bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to some people for the first time.”


Opinion – 8 December 2021

LGBTQ Faith UK Yes Bishop. Sir Humphrey 2 – Church of England 0

Andrew Knight ViaMedia.News Blessings & Same-Sex Relationships

Martyn Percy Modern Church Rickety Religion: Advent Calling
“The first in a short series of Advent reflections on mission, money, sex, power, integrity and identity within the Church of England”

Jeremy Morris has fairly recently started a blog Ad fontes. His latest piece is The faith of poetry and the poetry of faith.