Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 19 September 2018

There was an ecumenical conversation on the Eucharist, organised by Liverpool Parish Church, on 8 September with introductory contributions from the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool and the Chair of the Liverpool Methodist District. The texts of their talks are available here. The Bishop of Liverpool has also published his contribution on his own website: The presence of Jesus.

Jo Kershaw Church Times Keeping the Catholic flame burning
“Let’s not lose the gift of laughter”

Kelvin Holdsworth Who would true valour sing?

Jeremy Morris Viamedia.News Time for “A New Evangelism”?

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First independent chair for Church of England’s National Safeguarding Panel

The Church of England has announced the appointment of the first independent chair for its National Safeguarding Panel with this press release:

Meg Munn, former MP and Government Minister, with a professional background in child and adult safeguarding issues, has been appointed as the first independent chair of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Panel (NSP). Meg attended her first Panel today where she was officially installed as Chair, taking over from Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop.

Meg Munn is a qualified social worker with 20 years’ experience and led children’s social services in York before being elected as a Member of Parliament in 2001. She spent 14 years in Parliament and was a government minister; in 2010 she established and chaired the All-Party Child Protection Parliamentary Group having previously chaired the All-Party Voice Parliamentary Group which worked for the prevention of abuse of vulnerable adults. Stepping down from parliament in 2015, Meg became an independent governance consultant and non-executive director.  She has been a member of the Methodist Church since her teenage years and lives in Yorkshire…

Press report

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian C of E appoints first independent chair of safeguarding
“Meg Munn insists apologies for past wrongs will mean nothing without deep cultural change”

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Opinion – 15 September 2018

Neil Patterson ViaMedia.News Sex, Lies & Voting Records
and in response
Jeremy Pemberton From the Choir Stalls Sex, hypocrisy and the body

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Tales of Unhappiness in Anglican Parishes

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of the future and Archbishop Justin’s potential legacy

The Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the Trades Union Congress earlier this week. You can watch or read his speech here.
For a summary read Hattie Williams in Church TimesFive years ago, Welby shamed Wonga. Now he names Amazon…
“Archbishop of Canterbury launches a scathing attack on the tax system in the UK”

The Archbishop’s speech provoked a lot of comment. Here is a very small sample.
Archbishop Cranmer Curate’s egg or Archbishop’s omelette? Welby tells TUC: gig economy is “reincarnation of an ancient evil”
Anoosh Chakelian New Statesman No, Archbishop Justin Welby isn’t “parroting” Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour
Nick Spencer Theos Arguments against Archbishops
Leader comment The Telegraph The Archbishop of Canterbury should stick to religion and stay out of politics
Tom Harris The Telegraph The church thinks dabbling in politics is cool, but it only hastens its decline

And here’s something the Archbishop wrote earlier this year for Huffington PostIs Mixing Faith And Politics Worth The Risk?

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English College of Bishops

The Church of England issued the very brief press release below this evening. There was an earlier press release on the adoption of a definition of antisemitism which we reported here.

College of Bishops

12/09/2018

The College of Bishops met in Oxford from 10th to 12th September 2018.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the bishops to engage with the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group and review progress of {italicise}Living in Love and Faith, the Church of England’s teaching resource on relationships, marriage, identity and sexuality, which is currently under development.

The bishops voted formally to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, including all its examples, on behalf of the Church, and issued a call to everyone in public life to reject any language or action which could cause prejudice, stigma or hatred towards people on the grounds of their religion, culture, origins, identity or beliefs.

Time was also spent in meditative retreat.

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Opinion – 8 September 2018

David Runcorn The gift of tears
“Suppressed, hidden, apologised for, writer and speaker David Runcorn asks us to look again at how God can use our tears”
The article refers to photographs of tears by Rose-Lynn Fisher; you can see some of them here.

Rachel Mann The Limits of Sex: The C of E, priggishness, and its violence against LGBT couples

Justin Welby Church Times Religious communities — a work in progress
“They face serious challenges — but there are signs of hope and renewal, says the Archbishop of Canterbury”

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Church of England numbers

The British Social Attitudes survey has today released a summary of some figures from its latest survey:

Church of England numbers at record low

The most recent British Social Attitudes survey reveals that the number of Brits who identify as Church of England has more than halved in the last fifteen years.

The proportion of Brits who describe themselves as ‘belonging to the Church of England’ is at a record low, halving in the last fifteen years, with the sharpest decline among 45 to 54 year olds.

The most recent British Social Attitudes survey reveals that the number of Brits who identify as Church of England has more than halved since 2002, falling from 31% to 14%.The sharpest decline happened among 45 to 54 year olds (35% in 2002 vs 11% in 2017). The proportion of people who describe themselves as Roman Catholic (8%), belonging to ‘other Christian affiliations’ (10%) and ‘of non-Christian faiths’ (8%) have remained fairly stable. 52% of people now say they have no religion, compared with 41% in 2002. Men are more inclined to say they follow no religion than women (57% compared with 48%)…

This has attracted the attention of the press.

Tim Wyatt Church Times British Social Attitudes finds ‘C of E’ respondents halved in 15 years

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church in crisis as only 2% of young adults identify as C of E

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Fears for Church of England’s future as people no longer turn to God in old age

Christian Today CofE facing ‘unrelenting decline’ as number of Brits identifying as Anglican halves in 15 years

There is also this press release from the Church of England.

British Social Attitudes survey

Dave Male, the Church of England’s director of Evangelism and Discipleship, has commented on the latest figures from the British Social Attitudes survey, showing a fall in the number of people self-identifying as Anglican.

He said: “The headline figure here only gives us part of the picture.

“It has been clear for some time that we have moved from an era of people automatically, and perhaps unthinkingly, classifying themselves as Church of England or Anglican to one in which identifying with a faith is an active choice.

“We also know from research that people, particularly younger people, are less aware of denominations.

“Yet Research, especially amongst young people, shows an increase in willingness to engage in faith.

“Our experience is that people – of all ages – haven’t stopped searching for meaning and answers in their life.

“Ultimately the Church exists to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

“That was never meant to be easy and that work goes on whatever the figures may say.”

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Opinion – 5 September 2018

Updated to add the Jeremy Pemberton article

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Sex, Lies and Honesty in the Church: An Anglican Response to James Alison

Jeremy Pemberton From the Choir Stalls Honest to God: responding to James Alison and Richard Peers

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Church Teams – What are they?

Richard Kew The Living Church Living with Cranmer’s Lectionary

Ian Paul Psephizo Why we all need printed Bibles

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Bishop of Reading to retire in 2019

The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, has announced that he will retire next year. His last official engagement will be on Easter Sunday. The Bishop of Reading is one of three area bishops in the diocese of Oxford.

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Opinion – 1 September 2018

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Religion: why faith is becoming more and more popular

Becky Clark Buildings for Mission Shout Out Loud: Why I welcome disagreement on caring for churches

Christopher Exeter Church Times The C of E must speak louder on medical ethics
“Society needs help to navigate the health issues arising from rapid technological advances”

‘Christians don’t like hearing the truth’
Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the first African Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, talks to Madeleine Davies for Church Times.
There’s a podcast of the interview here.

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Some reflections on Evangelical support for Trump
Here’s another article on the same topic from earlier this year
Michael Gerson The Atlantic The Last Temptation
“How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memory”

 

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Opinion – 25 August 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Defending the Church from Scandal -Catholic and Anglican Approaches

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of depression, anxiety, lies and liturgy

Ruth Hunt gave this year’s Inclusive Church lecture last month. A transcript is now available: LGBT and Faith: Building Bridges in a Polarised World. There is also a video.

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Opinion – 22 August 2018

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity New Wine United (2): LGBT Issues – “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted …”

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer CofE clergyman tells suicidal sex-abuse victim to “crawl back under a stone”, and that he “probably enjoyed” it

Marcus Green The Possibility of Difference flagging up issues of pride

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Peter Ball – legislation, then and now

David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK has written a three-part post concerning the public hearing of the Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the Peter Ball case study which took place 23 – 27 July 2018. I’ve listed the topics covered in each below. It’s all well worth reading.

Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (I) Legislative and other changes, to 2018 and beyond

Appointment of diocesan bishop
Permission to Officiate (PTO)
Timeline of events

Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (II)

Implications of a police caution
Sanctions applicable to bishops
Misconduct in public office
Mandatory reporting of safeguarding
Seal of the confessional

Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (III) What next after the IICSA Peter Ball Inquiry?

IICSA Final Report
Closing Statements of Peter Ball Inquiry
On-going work

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Ministry Statistics 2017

Updated Tuesday to add Church Times report

The Church of England has today issued its Ministry Statistics 2017 and a report on vocations. There is an accompanying press release, Growing numbers of young people train as priests, which starts:

Growing numbers of young people are seeking ordination to the priesthood, as the Church of England makes progress towards achieving a key target of recruiting more candidates for ordained ministry, according to new figures published today.

The number of people aged under 32 years old recommended for training for ordination this year rose by nearly a third, or 32%, to 169, compared to 128 in 2016, a report on vocations from the Church of England shows. This means nearly one in three, or 29%, of those entering training for the priesthood this year are expected to be under 32 years old.

The overall number of people recommended for ordination training is up 7% on last year, from 541 to 580. This follows a 14% increase the year before, putting the Church on course to achieving a key target of recruiting 50% more candidates for ordination by 2020.

The figures have been published alongside Ministry Statistics for 2017 showing just over 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England, with women making up nearly a third, or 30% of the total. But the number of clergy in paid positions in 2017 fell by 50 from 7,790 to 7,740 compared to 2016.

Nearly a quarter, or 23% of paid clergy in senior posts, such as Bishops, Cathedral Deans or Archdeacons were women in 2017, compared to 12% in 2012.

Meanwhile the vocations report shows that women are set to be the majority entering ordination training for the second year running, with 54% of this year’s recommended candidates being female.

Press reports

Harriet Sherwood The Observer Young people hear the call to rejuvenate ageing priesthood

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Rising numbers of women opt for priesthood as a second career

Madeleine Davies Church Times Ministry vocations rise again, though overall figures remain sobering

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Opinion – 18 August 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Leadership? What sort of leadership? What sort of Church?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Secrets, Transparency and the Age of the Internet

Church Times ‘Once we connect on to something, that’s it’
Pat Ashworth discovers the gifts that those with autism are bringing to the Church

Phil Johnson and David Greenwood Premier Christianity Why we need a new law to prevent churches from covering up abuse

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Opinion – 15 August 2018

David Wheeler-Reed The Conversation What the early church thought about God’s gender

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity New Wine United 2018 (1): The Lord is with you

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer John Smyth dies – just as the CPS gives police go-ahead for his extradition and prosecution

Carlo Uchello The Episcopal Café The Most Important (and Ignored) Day of the Year

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church John Smyth’s death -the aftermath

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Statement from victims of the late John Smyth QC and the Titus Trust

The statement below has been issued by four victims of the late John Smyth and the Titus Trust, and refers to a statement on the website of the Titus Trust, which is copied below the fold.

We are amongst the scores of victims viciously beaten by the late John Smyth QC whilst he was Chair of The Iwerne Trust.

We are appalled by the statement issued on Monday 13th August by the Titus Trust, which now runs the Iwerne network.

The statement says that the Titus Trust has “done all that [it] can to ensure the matter is properly investigated by the relevant authorities.” This is untrue.

The statement further says that the board of the Titus Trust was only informed of the allegations against John Smyth in 2014. This is also untrue.

The Revd The Hon David Fletcher was employed as the senior officer of the Iwerne Trust from 1967 until 1986, when he became a trustee. He served in that capacity continuously until August 2016, only resigning his post when the Iwerne Trust was closed in a bid to distance it from its successor. Revd Fletcher was also a trustee of the Titus Trust from its foundation in 1997 until the same date.

It is a matter of record that Revd Fletcher and numerous leaders of his movement have been fully aware of Smyth’s abuse for 36 years. Revd Fletcher commissioned a comprehensive report of Smyth’s abuses in the UK in March 1982. From 1993 he was in possession of a further report of Smyth’s abuse in Zimbabwe. These reports, which were stored in the loft of the Chair of the Titus Trust Giles Rawlinson, were not made available to any secular authorities until 2017, when they were requisitioned by Hampshire Police under warrant.

An earlier statement from the Titus Trust website says that Smyth’s abuse took place between 1978 and 1981. They know this to be untrue. Smyth’s abuse in the UK started in 1975 and continued until 1982 and probably until 1984. Rev Fletcher and other Iwerne Trustees then facilitated Smyth’s move to Africa, where he abused at least 60 children between 1985 and 2017.

The Titus Trust, under the leadership of Fletcher and Rawlinson, took over the Iwerne network in its entirety in 1997. Titus has continued to run holidays under the Iwerne brand until as recently as last week. To suggest that the two are completely separate is simply deceitful.

Since Smyth’s horrific abuses were publicly exposed in February 2017, the Titus Trust has flatly refused to engage with his victims, or even to enquire after our well-being, let alone to offer any form of support or redress. Their protestation of sympathy is cynical and disingenuous.

Had the Titus Trust acted on the information that was available to it since its foundation, Smyth’s abuse could have been stopped long ago. Our hearts go out to the 60 or more children of Zimbabwe and South Africa who suffered at the hands of John Smyth as we did, but needlessly.

We have no interest in the “thoughts and prayers” of the Titus Trust. We do not believe they are fit to work with children.

/ENDS

(more…)

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Opinion – 11 August 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Sexual Abusers and the Abused – the cost of forgiveness

Mark Vernon Church Times Century of the selfie

Sara Gillingham The Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale Being Intersex in the House of God

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Opinion – 8 August 2018

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity A Parable of Radical Inclusion: the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer John Smyth tortured Christian boys at Iwerne – where’s the CofE inquiry?

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New Directions for the Church 10: offer hope

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Peter Ball, Vicky Beeching, and Lizzy Lowe: lessons about abusive Christianity

 

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Opinion – 4 August 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The post IICSA Church of England – in Praise of Integrity

Paul Vallely Church Times Action matters more than words

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Opinion – 1 August 2018

Kelvin Holdsworth What’s in Kelvin’s Head Praying for Dr Pritchard

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity How should we respond in prayer to IICSA? – Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Evidence of shockingly prejudiced attitudes to LGBTI+ people in the Church of England

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of bishops, accountability, and governance

Jenn Strawbridge Young Clergy Women International  Tainted Love

Michelle Montrose Liverpool Parish Church Sermon preached on 29 July
[This is the sermon I heard at church on Sunday morning.]

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