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.3 Comments
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.16 Comments
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.
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.
Madeleine Davies Church Times London PCC’s criteria for accepting a bishop went too far, Sir William Fittall decides
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Seven Bishops and a PCC: St George’s, Headstone39 Comments
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.11 Comments
Updated again Sunday morning (scroll down)
There have been strong conservative responses to the recent announcement from the Church of England’s House of Bishops.
Christian Concern has published this: New CofE guidance on gender transition services follows “devastating trajectory”.
Lee Gatiss of Church Society has written Transitioning a Liturgy which helpfully includes links to previous materials from that source on this topic.
Ian Paul has written Wisdom and folly: the bishops’ guidance on transgender welcome.
Anglican Mainstream has published a more comprehensive roundup of conservative reactions, also including links to earlier articles. In addition there is this contribution from Andrew Symes: The secular, postmodern re-shaping of church and society (the relevant part comes towards the end).
GAFCON UK has published this Statement from Bishop Andy Lines following the Church of England’s guidance on liturgies to celebrate gender transition.10 Comments
The House of Bishops of the Church of England has today published this:
Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition.
The press release about it is headlined: Guidance for gender transition services published. The full text of that is copied below. (more…)12 Comments
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:
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: www.cofebirmingham.com/hub/safeguarding/lessons-learnt/.
The Church of England has issued the statement below on the structure if its National Safeguarding Team.
Hattie Williams writes about this for Church Times: New 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.6 Comments
Queen appoints Dean of York
The Queen has appointed Right Reverend Jonathan Hugh Frost as the Dean of York.
Published 26 November 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Jonathan Hugh Frost, BD, MTh, DUniv, FRSA, Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, in Winchester Diocese, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, York, on the elevation of the Very Reverend Vivienne Frances Faull, MA, as Bishop of Bristol, on 25 June 2018.
There are more details on the York diocesan website.17 Comments
The Church of England yesterday published its 2018 gender pay data for the National Church Institutions (NCIs). The accompanying press release (copied below) does not include links to the report (or to the restated 2017 report) but I have found them here:
The entry on the government gender pay portal is here.
Church of England National Church Institutions (NCIs) publish gender pay data for 2018
The National Church Institutions (NCIs) of the Church of England published today its gender pay gap report for 2018. Based on a snapshot date of 5 April 2018, today’s report covers one common pay policy for 491 staff across the seven legal entities, and a separate performance-related policy for 31 staff in the Investments department of the Church Commissioners. The data released today does not include clergy or employees within individual dioceses.
The NCIs also restated and published today the Gender Pay data from the previous year (2017).
In 2017 original published figures had calculated the gender pay gap as the percentage of a female’s average salary whereas regulations define the measurement against male’s average salary.
This had previously resulted in the 2017 gender pay difference being overstated. The reported mean gap in 2017 was 21% (previously stated it was 27%) and the median gap was 28% (previously stated it was 41%). The restated figures are published today.
The restated figures are now available on our website and will be shortly available on the government gender pay portal.
The 2018 data shows progress is being made by the NCIs in addressing the gender pay gap and have seen signs of improvement:
Gender Pay Gap
Commenting on the findings, Carole Harden, Interim Director of People and Change for the National Church Institutions said:
“This year’s results are encouraging as we continue to review pay structures, addressing any imbalances and barriers to females and opportunities for advancement within the NCIs. We are committed to improving this further as we focus on reducing the difference in pay between men and women in more highly paid roles, and improving the ratio of men to women in the most senior and most junior roles.”
Notes to Editors
The NCIs are separate legal entities, but they are a common employer under a statutory partnership. The present arrangements were established under the National Institutions Measure 1998.
The seven NCIs are:
The majority of NCI staff are based at Church House in Westminster, Lambeth Palace, the Church of England Record Centre in Bermondsey, and Bishopthorpe Palace near York.
* This covers support functions including HR, Finance & Resources, IT, Legal, Communications, and the Record Centre.3 Comments
Modern Church has published an interview in which Professor Linda Woodhead interviews Professor Gillian Evans:
A PDF of the full text of the interview is also available via a link at the end of the above article.
Prof G.R. Evans is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History in the University of Cambridge. She is author of The University of Oxford: a new history and writes regularly on higher education policy issues. She co-authored Managing the church?: Order and organization in a secular age with Martyn Percy in 2000. She lives in Oxford.
Linda Woodhead MBE is Professor of the Sociology or Religion at Lancaster University. She has been President of Modern Church since 2014. She is author with Andrew Brown of That Was the Church That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People. She is currently a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, USA.
The Bishop of Portsmouth has announced that the next Dean of Portsmouth will be Canon Dr Anthony Cane, currently Chancellor at Chichester Cathedral.
The diocesan website carries more information: Bishop announces new Dean of Portsmouth.
The cathedral website has Chichester Cathedral Cleric Is New Dean Of Portsmouth.
Chichester has this: Cathedral Chancellor is new Dean of Portsmouth and Chichester Cathedral Chancellor to be new Dean of Portsmouth.4 Comments
Updated Monday afternoon
The Bishop of Oxford has issued this statement: Diocesan Synod statement concerning the Dean of Oxford.
Saturday 17 November 2018: The Bishop of Oxford gave a statement to the meeting of the Oxford Diocesan Synod. The full text of the statement can be read below. Following media enquiries over the weekend the College confirmed that Martyn Percy has been suspended from his duties pending the tribunal’s outcome. Bishop Steven said; “As always in such circumstances, suspension is a neutral act and does not imply that the complaint will be upheld.”
The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy
You may be aware that a formal complaint has been made against the Dean of Christ Church, Martyn Percy.
Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean is also Head of an Oxford College. The Governing Body and Chapter have now requested that the complaint against Martyn, which relates to a governance matter, be properly reviewed by an independently chaired internal tribunal.
Martyn is a close colleague, widely respected across the Church and his absence is keenly felt. The tribunal must now conduct an impartial, thorough and fair review of the complaint that has been made.
I remain in close contact with Martyn and Emma and with the Subdean and Chapter and the wider college through this difficult period. I am monitoring the situation closely. I also want to see that any allegations of bullying are properly investigated. Meanwhile the Cathedral’s core work of prayer and the worship of God continues, albeit in very testing circumstances.
We wish Martyn a speedy recovery to full health following a period of sickness in recent weeks and commend all those involved in this difficult situation to the prayers of the diocese.
The most recent media reports are these:
Mail on Sunday: Corrections and clarifications which relates to this article, two weeks ago: Modernising Oxford University dean is taken ill after alleged ‘hellish bullying campaign by dons to oust him’
Earlier reports include: Church Times: Dean of Oxford, Martyn Percy, faces removal from office and this week the Church Times opinion columnist Angela Tilby wrote: A reforming dean may be unpopular.
Local Oxford coverage has included:
Oxford Mail: Dean of Christ Church in Oxford faces tribunal
Oxford Student: Christ Church Dean In Tribunal Over Pay
Cherwell Online: Christ Church dean faces coup
A fundraising site has been established here, which contains a summary of some of the points at issue in this case:
It appears therefore that Martyn’s position is a uniquely powerless one. It takes just seven complainants under the statutes of the college to request a tribunal to remove the Dean of Christ Church. Three strange steps appear to have led to this position.
First, the Dean was offered no proper investigation, at which evidence from both sides could be heard, read and weighed.
Second, there was no disciplinary hearing in which he could defend any allegations made against him.
Third, to avoid unnecessary conflict, processes of genuine mediation should always happen. Such mediation is entered into in good faith by both parties – rather than being used as a means to coerce and expedite a virtually immediate resignation, which is increasingly common in workplaces today.
In any normal place of work, a Tribunal would be the very final stage: and only if the investigation, disciplinary procedures and mediation had all failed. In Martyn’s case, the first three stages did not fail: it seems they were not really attempted.
Under the college statutes, the Dean has no grievance procedure available to him either, so he can’t complain about the treatment give[n] him. Consequently, he can do nothing about the bullying and harassment he has received. Under natural justice any person should have rights. But [the] Martyn doesn’t.
Finally, the Dean seems to have no right to free speech. To defend himself, he has to find his own legal costs. His speech is not free. If you think this is unjust, then please help the support fund.
Surviving Church: Oxford Bullying and the Church of England22 Comments
Updated Thursday to add press reports
The Church of England has published its Statistics for Mission 2017 today. The report can be downloaded here.
Also published today is a report on the Church of England’s digital reach: A year in numbers: 2018 digital report.
In addition there is a press release which is copied below.
Madeleine Davies Church Times Could the Christmas effect boost attendance through the year, Bishop asks
Christian Today Mixed picture for CofE in latest attendance figures
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Attendance at Church of England’s Sunday services falls again
Church of England press release
Christmas attendance at highest level for more than a decade
Attendance at Christmas services in the Church of England is at its highest level for more than a decade, according to new figures published today.
The latest annual Statistics for Mission report shows that while traditional Sunday attendance edged lower in 2017, in line with long-term trends, the numbers attending Christmas services increased by 3.4 per cent to 2.68 million.
It was the fourth successive rise in Christmas congregations since 2013 and the highest figure since 2006. Combined with figures for special services in churches during Advent, including carol services, there were nearly eight million attendances over the festive season.
The Statistics for Mission 2017 were published as #FollowTheStar, the Church of England’s campaign to encourage people to attend Advent and Christmas services this year, was launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
Meanwhile separate figures also published today show that the Church of England more than doubled its monthly reach on social media – from 1.2 million in 2017 to 2.44 million this year.15 Comments
The Church of England collected figures on the extent of social action by its churches were collected as part of the annual Statistics for Mission 2017 survey, and these have been published today.
Full extent of Church of England work to support local communities revealed
More than 33,000 social action projects – from food banks to debt counselling – are run or supported by churches, according to figures setting out for the first time the full scale of the Church of England’s service to communities.
The findings – which amount to the largest survey to date of the extent of the Church of England’s work with some of the most vulnerable in society – show that 80 per cent of congregations are involved in one or more forms of social action…
The full Statistics for Mission 2017 report will be available soon.
Press report3 Comments
Updated Tuesday morning (scroll down)
…The Oxford bishops are committed to building a Christ-like church and have identified three values as animators of this aspiration: compassion, contemplation and courage. By pledging to listen to the experiences of LGBTIQ+ Christians and allowing such experiences to help shape the future direction of the church, alongside the acknowledgment that ‘as a Church we have continually failed our sisters and brothers in Christ’ the bishops have shown real compassion. Listening, deep listening, is of course also the very heart beat of contemplative practice. In writing this letter, in the sure and certain knowledge that there will be some very real kick-back, and through their insistence, that silence does not serve the Church well, alongside a commitment to express their own views with integrity the Oxford bishops have been courageous, for courage is worked out in the most difficult, most contentious and most potentially divisive issues.
One of the most moving responses I have seen so far to the Oxford bishops’ letter on inclusion came from someone who said that she was surprised and delighted by the way in which the bishops made her feel part of the church by their words. Usually, this kind of official pronouncement makes gay people feel slightly ‘other’, a separate order of humanity within the church, but here the respondent was grateful to feel like she was genuinely listened to and part of the same church…
Marcus goes on to discuss at some length the article by Giles Goddard on Via Media to which we linked yesterday.
…The bishops also announce in the letter that they will be setting up a chaplaincy for LGBTI+ people and their families across the diocese. We very much look forward to seeing how this latest exciting development unfolds, and hope and trust that LGBTI+ people will continue to be integral to the development, delivery and dissemination of this important and innovative work.
…We would encourage other dioceses to consider following the Oxford lead, to meet with LGBTI representatives from within each diocese to listen to their concerns, and to say explicitly that LGBTI people are welcome in their diocese, and should be welcome in each and every parish.
The LGBTI community and their allies are looking for tangible proof that the words”radical new Christian inclusion” are being taken seriously by each diocese. It is in concrete proposals, such as the provision of LGBTI chaplaincies and the creation of LGBTI reference groups, that they will begin to be reassured that a truly inclusive welcome is sincerely being offered for all…
For a roundup of comment from a conservative viewpoint, see Anglican Mainstream’s post: Oxford Diocese promotes inclusion.
31 Oct 2018 – four bishops from one of the largest dioceses in the Church of England have written to 1,500 ministers setting out the bishops’ expectations of inclusion and respect for all and announces a new LGBTI+ chaplaincy team.
Silence is both painful and damaging for LGBTI+ people in the midst of continuing debate within the Church about human sexuality, say the bishops. Their letter, sent to all clergy and LLMs in the Diocese of Oxford, sets expectations of inclusion and respect towards all and affirms LGBTI+ people called to roles of leadership and service in the church.
The Oxford letter commends five principles for welcoming and honouring LGBTI+ people and looks at work underway in the Church of England to develop new pastoral guidance and teaching resources relating to human sexuality and same sex marriage.
A new chaplaincy team for LGBTI+ people, their families and loved ones is promised too. The chaplaincy team will also provide LGBTI+ insights and advice to clergy and bishops about being church together.
The Oxford letter concludes with a commitment from the bishops to continue to listen well to LGBTI+ people from a variety of perspectives, ‘including those seeking change in the Church of England’s polity and those seeking to live faithfully within it’…
The full text of the letter can be found here: Clothe Yourselves With Love.17 Comments
Updated Thursday to add some press reports
Adam Becket Church Times Cathedral attendance rose by three per cent last Christmas
Mike Wright The Telegraph Christmas Cathedral congregation numbers swell thanks to spiritually inquisitive, festival-going millennials
Christian Today England’s cathedrals continue to enjoy a strong turnout for Christmas services
Record numbers attend cathedrals at Christmas
Attendance at Christmas services in England’s cathedrals has broken records for the second year running, statistics published today show.
A total of 135,000 people came to Church of England cathedrals to worship on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 2017 – an increase of three per cent on the previous year, and the highest total since records began.
Attendances at Sunday worship in cathedrals throughout the year also continued to hold steady over a five-year period, while average weekday attendances continued their pattern of increase, with just over 18,000 attending in 2017, compared with 7,000 in 2000 when this data was first recorded. Over 10 years, the total number attending all regular services in cathedrals has increased by 10 per cent.20 Comments
Press release from Number 10
Queen appoints Suffragan Bishop of Ramsbury
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Andrew Paul Rumsey to the Suffragan See of Ramsbury.
Published 22 October 2018
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Andrew Paul Rumsey, MA, DThMin, Team Rector of Oxted in the Diocese of Southwark, to the Suffragan See of Ramsbury, in the Diocese of Salisbury, in succession to the Right Reverend Edward Francis Condry, MA, BLitt, DPhil, MBA, who resigned on the 12 May 2018.
There’s more on the diocesan website: New Bishop of Ramsbury Announced. Dr Rumsey will be consecrated on 25 January 2019.19 Comments
The second set of findings from a 10-year research programme into how clergy can flourish in ministry has been published today by the Church of England. Research from the Living Ministry project into the wellbeing of 85 ordinands and clergy is featured in the study Negotiating Wellbeing: Experiences of Ordinands and Clergy in the Church of England. This qualitative study builds on quantitative findings based on responses from 761 clergy and ordinands published by the Living Ministry programme last year.
Adam Becket has written about the report for Church Times: Change is worse than a rest, say stressed clergy.
Clergy struggle to cope with change, a new report on their well-being has said.
Published today, the report, Negotiating Wellbeing: Experiences of ordinands and clergy in the Church of England, says that periods of transition, for example coming to the end of a curacy, can cause physical and mental stress, and prompt clergy to question their vocation…