Thinking Anglicans

Living in Love and Faith – publication update

The Church of England has announced that its Living in Love and Faith teaching and learning resources will be published on the afternoon of November 9; the press release is copied below.

Church House Publishing is advertising the main volume for £19.99, and a 5-session course for groups for £4.99 (or £24.99 for a pack of six).

Press release

Living in Love and Faith – publication update
26/10/2020

The Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith teaching and learning resources, exploring questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage, will be published on the afternoon of November 9.

The resources, commissioned by the House of Bishops, will include a book, a series of films and podcasts and a course which have been developed over the last three years by a group of more than 40 people from across the Church.

They are intended to initiate a process of whole Church learning and engagement, within a clear timeframe, that will contribute to the Bishops’ discernment of a way forward in relation to questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

Exact timings will be confirmed closer to the date.

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WATCH and the Five Guiding Principles

Women and the Church has published an introduction and guide to the Five Guiding Principles. The Guide and two supporting documents can be found here:

There is also an earlier document from the Diocese of Chelmsford which is recommended in the code of behaviour

There is a press release which explains the intention of these documents: WATCH Publish an introduction and guide to the Five Guiding Principles. This is copied below the fold. (more…)

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Church of England Safeguarding: weekly roundup 24 October

See separate articles for the recently published reports on Victor Whitsey and on Stowe and Maids Moreton.

See also several relevant items in our twice-weekly comment roundups, first here, and then here.

Media coverage of the Whitsey report has been extensive:

Media coverage of the Maids Moreton case:

Other Church Times reports:

And see House of Bishops Meeting – Monday 19 October 2020.

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Events in the parishes of Stowe and Maids Moreton

The Diocese of Oxford has published a summary briefing and recommendations, along with the full report, from the independent review into events in the parishes of Stowe and Maids Moreton.

Press release (also copied below)

Summary briefing: this page includes all the recommendstions and diocesan responses (scroll down) and also links to a Seven Minute Briefing.

Full report

Press release:

In 2017 Peter Farquhar was murdered. His need for an emotionally close relationship had been exploited, and an intelligent, talented man was made vulnerable. Peter was a member of his local church; his strong personal faith featured in the abusive relationship, and his murderer, Ben Field, also had roles within the church.

This was an extraordinary and unusual case. Everyone who came into contact with the murderer, Ben Field, was manipulated by him. He made a pretence of being a committed Christian and gained the confidence of the people of Stowe Parish Church.

The Church and wider society need to be ever more vigilant of those who can be made vulnerable by the likes of Ben Field, simply because they are elderly or lonely. For this reason, the Diocese of Oxford commissioned an independent review to establish lessons learnt from the events in the parishes of Stowe and Maids Moreton.

The review, commissioned by the Diocese of Oxford Safeguarding Panel, was carried out by Dr Adi Cooper, OBE, an independent consultant in adult safeguarding and adult social care. Dr Cooper makes 13 recommendations for improving safeguarding awareness and prevention as well as supporting a shift to a more open culture within the Church of England around safeguarding in all its complexity for parishes.

“Although the events in the Parishes of Stowe and Maids Moreton were unusual, there is learning from them that can inform improvement in safeguarding policy and practice,” writes Dr Cooper. “The lessons from the harm done by Ben Field presents a challenge for the Church regarding specific themes: the abuse of trust in a religious paradigm, attitudes towards sex and sexuality, and safe recruitment both of clergy and volunteers.”

Responding to the report, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, said: “I welcome the report and the recommendations it contains. The events to which it relates have caused immense distress to many. Following the trial and conviction of Ben Field, the Diocese was determined to learn what further action was required to ensure that potentially vulnerable adults attending church are adequately protected from harm. This review helps to challenge the commonly-held view that safeguarding is solely about preventing child abuse, and it is a clarion call for further improvements to our work on LGBTI+ inclusivity, our selection processes for clergy and volunteers, and the training and support the Church provides.”

23 October 2020

Notes for editors:

  • The independent report and recommendations were published in full on 23 October. The Diocese will report progress against each of the recommendations during 2021.
  • We believe this to be the first independent review concerning the Ben Field case. A Domestic Homicide Review is due to report in 2021
  • The report and recommendations are published at oxford.anglican.org/events-in-stowe-maids-moreton/
  • For media enquiries, call Steven Buckley 07824 906839 or Liz Hudson on 07702 563211
22 Comments

Bishop Victor Whitsey: safeguarding review published

From the Chester diocesan website:

A Betrayal of Trust, the independent report into the Church’s handling of the allegations concerning the late Hubert Victor Whitsey, former Bishop of Chester, has been published today. The learning lessons review was carried out by His Hon David Pearl and independent safeguarding consultant Kate Wood.

The Church supported the police in an investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults by Whitsey dating from 1974 onwards when he was Bishop of Chester and from 1981 while he was retired and living in Blackburn diocese. A public apology was issued in October 2017 following this investigation which included a commitment to a learning lessons review…

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Suffragan Bishop of Berwick

Press release from Number 10

Suffragan Bishop of Berwick: Mark Wroe
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Mark Wroe BA MA, Archdeacon of Northumberland to the Suffragan See of Berwick.

Published 20 October 2020
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Mark Wroe BA MA, Archdeacon of Northumberland, in the diocese of Newcastle to the Suffragan See of Berwick, in the diocese of Newcastle, in succession to the Right Reverend Mark Tanner following his translation to the See of Chester. Mark was educated at St Mary’s University, London and Anglia Polytechnic University and trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at All Saints Chilvers Coton with St Mary the Virgin, in the diocese of Coventry and was ordained Priest in 1997.

In 2000, Mark was appointed Priest-in-Charge, and latterly Vicar of St Alban Windy Nook, Gateshead in the diocese of Durham. Mark took up the roles of Priest-in- Charge of St Barnabas and St Jude, and Vicar of Holy Trinity Jesmond in the diocese of Newcastle in 2007. In 2017, Mark was additionally appointed Area Dean of Newcastle Central Deanery. He took up his current role as Archdeacon of Northumberland in 2019, having been Acting Archdeacon since 2018.

There is more on the Newcastle diocesan website.

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House of Bishops Meeting – Monday 19 October 2020

Update The Church Times has written about the bishops’ meeting and a subsequent interview with the lead safeguarding bishop, Dr Jonathan Gibbs: Gibbs: independent body will supervise Church’s safeguarding.

Church of England press release

House of Bishops Meeting – Monday 19 October 2020
19/10/2020

A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today, Monday 19 October via Zoom.

From October, the House is now meeting once a month, a schedule which is likely to continue until Easter 2021.

The focus of the meeting was an opportunity for reflection and learning on the overarching IICSA report for the Anglican Church in England and Wales which was published on 6 October and had six recommendations for the Church of England.

The House discussed the two most significant themes from the report; proper redress for victims and survivors and greater independence in safeguarding decision making. The House was addressed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the lead safeguarding bishop and the National Director of Safeguarding. All spoke in favour of the motions put before the House (see below) and strongly urged the House to vote in their favour.

During the course of two plenary sessions and breakout groups the House reviewed the recommendations of the report, affirming that any response by the Church needs to be sensitive to, and mindful of, the views of victims and survivors.

The House unanimously endorsed a motion fully accepting the IICSA report, unreservedly apologising to victims and survivors for the harm done by the Church and committing itself to urgently implementing the recommendations.

The House also unanimously agreed with the proposal that the Church should move towards establishing an independent safeguarding structure, with a new trustee body responsible for safeguarding to take over responsibility for the Archbishops’ Council. The House also agreed that an interim arrangement be put in place for additional independent oversight of safeguarding, prior to the establishment of the new trustee body.

The House then underlined the importance of a full response to the IICSA report being released in the coming weeks.

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 given, followed by a brief report from the Chair of the Recovery Group, the Bishop of London regarding ongoing changes and updates to the guidance for worship, following the introduction of the tier system across the nation.

The Archbishop of York updated the House on the work of the Vision and Strategy Group and received the House’s endorsement for his work on developing a shared vision for the Church. Further updates were also given by the Governance Group and the Transforming Effectiveness Group.

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Primates unite to sign letter opposing UK internal market bill

This letter to the editor of the Financial Times has been signed by:

The Archbishop of Armagh
The Archbishop of Canterbury
The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Archbishop of Wales
The Archbishop of York

As the Anglican primates of the four nations of the United Kingdom and Ireland, we wish to highlight the grave responsibility of peers in the House of Lords today as they debate the UK internal market bill (Report, October 15).

We are taking the rare step of writing together because the decisions implemented in this bill will profoundly affect the future of our countries and the relationships between them.

The bill represents a profound shift in how trading relationships within the UK will be regulated and governed. This will not be a return to a trade regime that existed before UK joined the EU; it will be an entirely novel system, replacing one that evolved slowly and by careful negotiation over decades.

The Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd have made clear that the bill’s weakening of both the principles and the effect of devolved policymaking is of constitutional significance. Moreover, if the bill is made law without consent from devolved legislatures (as will happen if it is not amended to address their concerns), this will further undermine trust and goodwill among those who govern the different parts of the UK.

The bill is, of course, not just concerned with domestic law. It currently asks the country’s highest lawmaking body to equip a government minister to break international law. This has enormous moral, as well as political and legal, consequences.

We believe this would create a disastrous precedent. It is particularly disturbing for all of us who feel a sense of duty and responsibility to the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement — that international treaty on which peace and stability within and between the UK and Ireland depends.

The UK negotiated the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU to “protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions”.

One year on, in this bill, the UK government is not only preparing to break the protocol, but also to breach a fundamental tenet of the agreement: namely by limiting the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights in Northern Ireland law.

If carefully negotiated terms are not honoured and laws can be “legally” broken, on what foundations does our democracy stand?

We urge lawmakers to consider this bill in the light of values and principles we would wish to characterise relationships across these islands long after the transition period.

The Most Reverend John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh
The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Reverend Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Most Reverend John Davies, Archbishop of Wales
The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York

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No peerage for Sentamu?

Updated Tuesday

There has been a lot of coverage in the press over the weekend and this morning about why the recently retired Archbishop of York has not (yet?) been given a peerage. His three predecessors (Hope, Hapgood, Blanch) were. The three before that (Coggan, Ramsey, Lang) were all translated to Canterbury and in due course received the customary peerage for retiring Archbishops of Canterbury.

The Times Peerage snub for top black bishop John Sentamu

The Guardian John Sentamu peerage snub criticised as ‘institutional prejudice’

Independent John Sentamu: Former archbishop peerage ‘imminent’ after government accused of ‘blatant institutional prejudice’

Telegraph Downing Street insists life peerage for John Sentamu ‘imminent’ amid backlash over delay

Daily Mail ‘Snubbed’ archbishop WILL get his peerage: Downing St delayed honour for John Sentamu to make sure he wasn’t criticised by inquiry into child abuse

Yorkshire Post Accusations mount over peerage snub for former Archbishop of York John Sentamu

York Press Peerage snub for former Archbishop of York
John Sentamu peerage expected ‘imminently’ after criticism of Government

ITV Former Archbishop of York John Sentamu peerage expected ‘imminently’ after criticism of government

Update

Church Times Sentamu will get his peerage, government sources say

Yorkshire Post John Sentamu will have place in House of Lords after backlash over apparent snub

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Church of England Safeguarding: weekly roundup 16 October

A collection of material published in the past week related to Church of England safeguarding. See also additional items in our Opinion articles last Wednesday and  tomorrow.

BBC Radio 4 had this  Sunday programme interview including survivors and the Archbishop of York. The item starts 13 minutes into the programme.

The same radio station had a programme in its Moral Maze series, titled The Moral Authority of Organised Religion.

The Telegraph had a surprising item: Church of England’s ‘Safe Spaces’ helpline labelled ‘unsafe’ by abuse survivors

Today the Church Times has many relevant items, including:

The Church of England announced the terms of reference for the PCR2 Reference Group for National Church Institutions and Archbishops. Here is a direct link to the actual Terms of reference.

Parliamentary Questions to the Second Church Estates Commissioner included some on this topic.

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Bishop of Birkenhead to retire

The Bishop of Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair, has announced today that he is to retire on 08 March 2021, 14 years to the day after he was consecrated. Birkenhead is a suffragan see in the diocese of Chester.

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Church of England’s Anti-racism Taskforce launches

Church of England press release

A Taskforce set up to make bold changes to ensure greater racial equality in the Church of England has got under way, with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York joining its meeting today.

The Anti-Racism Taskforce will carry out preparatory work ahead of the launch of the Archbishops’ Commission to address racism in spring next year.

The nine members of the group will make recommendations for immediate action that can be taken by the Church of England to improve its record on racial justice and equality. They will also recommend the proposed remit and membership of the Commission.

Jointly chaired by Revd Sonia Barron, Director of Ordinands and Vocations for Lincoln Diocese, and Revd Arun Arora, a Vicar in the Diocese of Durham, the Taskforce is expected to complete its work by the end of January.

Revd Sonia Barron, Co-Chair of the Taskforce, and a former adviser to the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, (CMEAC) said: “The Taskforce has been set up at a critical time in the history of the Church of England, with the Black Lives Matter movement pushing racial justice right up the agenda. The Church has an opportunity that it cannot afford to miss – we cannot just pay lip service to issues of racism as we have done for so long. It is vital that we listen to all the different voices out there and having listened, fulfil our mission as a Church, by taking appropriate action.”

Revd Arun Arora said: “For more than thirty years the Church of England has been talking about racism, making recommendations and passing resolutions. Despite this the Church remains a place which is poorer for the lack of participation of all God’s people in the fullness of its life together. The time has now come for urgent implementation and action. The purpose of the Taskforce and Commission will not be to produce more reports but rather to directly address the sin of racism and those impediments that prevent the Church from fulfilling its call so that racial justice is both done and is seen to be done.”

The Taskforce and Commission, a joint project by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, were announced earlier this year amid rising concern about insufficient progress towards racial justice, equality and inclusion within the Church of England.

There are five serving bishops from UK minority ethnic (UKME) backgrounds currently in the Church of England. But there are no diocesan bishops currently from UKME backgrounds, following the retirement earlier this year of the former Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

Fewer than four per cent of serving clergy identify as being from a UKME background, according to the latest statistics. One in 10 of the people recommended this year for training for ordained ministry in the Church of England were from UKME backgrounds.

The General Synod voted in February to apologise for racism experienced by UKME people in the Church of England since the arrival of the Windrush Generation.

Speaking to the General Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said there was ‘no doubt’ that the Church of England was still ‘deeply institutionally racist’.

Notes to editors:

  • As part of its work, the Taskforce is examining more than 160 formal recommendations since 1985 on racial justice in the Church of England, the overwhelming majority made in reports from the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC) and its predecessor, the Committee on Black Anglican Concerns.
  • One of the aims is to identify any recommendations which have not yet been implemented that could be put into force immediately.

Taskforce members:

  • Revd Arun Arora (Co-Chair), Vicar of St Nicholas, Durham.
  • Revd Sonia Barron (Co-Chair), Lincoln Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations, former Adviser to Archbishops’ Council’s Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns.
  • Revd Dr Anderson Jeremiah, Lecturer, University of Lancaster, CMEAC member.
  • Annika Mathews, Lay Representative of the Church of England to the Churches Together England Enabling Group, former Church of England Youth Council member and Synod representative.
  • Joanna Moriarty, Partner (Charities and Social Enterprise) Green Park leadership and recruitment consultancy services.
  • Revd Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy, BAME Mission and Ministry Enabler (Leicester Diocese). CMEAC member.
  • Ben Nicholls, Youth worker at St Paul’s, Hammersmith.
  • Canon Dr Addy Lazz-Onyenobi, Deanery Lay Chair, Diocese of Manchester, CMEAC member and member of the Anglican Minority Ethnic Network (AMEN).
  • Ven Neil Warwick, Archdeacon of Bristol.
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Bishop of Rochester to retire

The Bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff, has announced today that he intends to retire at the end of July 2021. He was consecrated the Bishop of Lynn in 2004 (Norwich Diocese) and appointed Bishop of Rochester in 2010. In 2014 he entered the House of Lords as one of the 26 Lords Spiritual.

Simon Burton-Jones, Bishop of Tonbridge, will take on responsibility for the Diocese from then until the next bishop is in place.

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Statistics for Mission 2019

Updated Wednesday

The Church of England has published its Statistics for Mission 2019 and its 2020 digital report today.

Statistics for Mission provides the latest figures including:

  • Attendance at Church of England services
  • Baptisms
  • Marriages
  • Funerals
  • Youth provision
  • Enquiry and Christian basics courses

Detailed Diocesan tables (excel file) are also available.

There is a press release which concentrates on the digital report; it is copied below.

Update

David Keen has analysed the statistics: Last Chance To See…… Church of England Membership and Attendance Stats 2019. Do read what he has to say; it is very good.

Press release

More than 17,000 online services and events provided by Church of England parishes
12/10/2020

More than 17,000 online services and events are being provided by Church of England churches following the introduction of the lockdown and restrictions on public worship earlier this year, according to a new report published today. (more…)

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Episcopal retirements and appointments

Here at Thinking Anglicans we try to note announcements of the retirements of Church of England bishops and cathedral deans, and the names of their successors. We do not always succeed and I have just discovered that the Bishop of Lynn announced in June that he would be retiring on 25 January 2021.

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More about the IICSA report

Updated

See also Wednesday’s Opinion roundup.

Church Times Julie Conalty Comment: the IICSA report sheds light on darkness in the Church.

Religion Media Centre: Church of England concerned for its reputation rather than dealing with child sex abusers and the video recording of the media briefing (chaired by Andrew Brown) is here: Damning report says Church of England more concerned for reputation than dealing with sex abusers. (40 minutes, but well worth the time to watch).

Giles Fraser UnHerd Can the Church solve its paedophile problem?

Open letter regarding IICSA to the parish of St Margaret’s Rainham: Also in a PDF here.

Updates Friday

The Church Times today has a great deal more material related to the IICSA report:

Religion Media Centre also has Fact Sheet Abuse and the Church of England – timeline.

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Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Statement

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following personal statement following the publication of the IICSA report:

To fail on safeguarding casts a profound stain across every good thing we do. I have said this before and I continue to stand by it. But I am acutely aware as we come towards the end of this year that while there is a genuine commitment for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults to be the highest priority of all parts of the Church, it is evident we still have not got it right.

The report published today is a stark and shocking reminder of how so many times we have failed – and continue to fail – survivors. Apologies are vital, but they are not enough. We have to listen. We have to learn. And we have to act.

In calling for the enquiry, through a letter to the then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2014, I was aware that although it would be something that survivors had demanded it would also be a deeply painful process to tell their stories. I am very grateful to them for their courage. We cannot and will not make excuses and I must again offer my sincere apologies to those to have been abused, and to their families, friends and colleagues.

There is clearly much to respond to and an in-depth consideration of today’s report is vital. IICSA has shone a light on the past and present to help us better inform our future safeguarding work. They are owed our thanks which we give wholeheartedly. I pray this report and its recommendations will result in the changes needed to make our Church a safer place for all now and for future generations.

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IICSA publishes report on Anglican Church

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its long-awaited report on the Church of England and the Church in Wales. The report totals 154 pages.

Here is a link to the Recommendations section of the report. And here is a link to the Executive Summary.

Press releases:

Initial media coverage:

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Looking ahead to IICSA report on Tuesday

Updated

The Church Times has reported on the open letter published on Friday: see Archbishops pledge to act on IICSA report.

Surviving Church published this article by Gilo Looking ahead to IICSA report day on Tuesday.

By no means a comprehensive list. Just a brief visit across a number of things we may probably see further comment upon after the Inquiry makes its final Anglican report…

Gilo also was interviewed by the BBC Sunday programme (along with Bishop Jonathan Gibbs). Listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000n4vy (25 minutes in)

For the first time The Church of England has announced a scheme offering financial support to abuse survivors. Emily [Buchanan] gets reaction from one survivor and talks to the Church’s Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, the Rt Rev Jonathan Gibbs, about how he hopes this will pave the way to a full redress scheme in the near future.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Carlisle also made the news, but not in a good way: Bishop under investigation for giving paedophile Wiltshire vicar a reference.
Update: more detail here: Investigation after Bishop of Carlisle gives child abuse canon a character reference.

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Dean of Sheffield resigns

The Dean of Sheffield, the Very Revd Peter Bradley, has announced his resignation from the role of Dean with effect from 31 December 2020.

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