Thinking Anglicans

Reactions to the CofE anti-racism task force report

Updated 29 April and 2 May and 6 May

Although there has been extensive media coverage of the recent report, aided by the recent BBC television documentary, there has been relatively little commentary on the content. Here is a small selection:

Church Times Leader comment: Welcomed to the table at last?

Jonathan Jong On ‘From Lament to Action’: the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce Report

Diocese in Europe Racial Justice: “From Lament To Action”

Telegraph Calvin Robinson The Church of England is institutionally woke

Archbishop Cranmer From Lament To Action: the report of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce

Updates

Nicholas Adams Lament and Action

Al Barrett #LamentToAction: making the invisible, visible

Mike Higton Theological Education in ‘From Lament to Action’

Ian Paul How should the Church respond to race?

Mike Higton (again) How should the church respond to race? – A reply to Ian Paul – kai euthus

2 Comments

General Synod – Day 2

Updated Sunday and Tuesday and 8 May

Today’s session started at 9.30 pm and a live video stream is available here.

Order Paper II – the morning’s business

Order Paper III – the afternoon’s business

Andrew Nunn writes about some of the business: Responsible representation.

Church Times Synod feels its way carefully towards greater diversity

Stephen Lynas summarises the day’s business: So sad to watch good love go bad.

Church of England press releases: Bishop tells General Synod to speak out against persecution of religious believers and atheists
Unanimous Synod support for new safeguarding code

Business Done – the official summary of both days’ business.

0 Comments

General Synod – Day 1

Updated Friday, Saturday, Sunday

The Church of England’s General Synod meets today (23 April) and tomorrow. The agenda and papers are here.

Today’s session starts at 12.30 pm and a live video stream will be available here.

Order Paper 1 – the day’s business

There are two previews of the business by Synod members.

Stephen Lynas I will be alone again…
Andrew Nunn The sun rises

Reports on the day’s business

Archbishop of York’s Presidential Address to General Synod
Andrew Nunn A moving beginning
The Guardian Archbishop of York commits C of E to racial justice after ‘sobering’ week
Episcopal News Service Bishop tells Church of England’s General Synod to speak out against persecution of religious believers and atheists
Church Times Archbishop of York: How I was saved by Grace
Church Times Action, not words, needed to protect freedom of religion or belief

Stephen Lynas summarises the day’s business: See my friends.
There is also a brief review from Andrew Nunn: Under pressure.

Business Done 23 April 2021 – the official summary of the day’s business.

0 Comments

House of Bishops Meeting – 20 April 2021

Church of England press release

House of Bishops Meeting – 20 April 2021
22/04/2021

The House of Bishops met on Tuesday 20th April remotely via Zoom.

(more…)

1 Comment

Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce calls for urgent changes

Church of England press release

From Lament to Action: Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce calls for urgent changes to culture of Church of England

The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce has today published its report From Lament to Action proposing a suite of changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England.

It issues a warning to the Archbishops that a failure to act could be a “last straw” for many people of UK Minority Ethnic (UKME) or Global Majority Heritage (GMH) backgrounds with “devastating effects” on the future of the Church.

The report sets out 47 specific actions for different arms of the Church of England to implement across five priority areas: participation, governance, training, education and young people.

Without these changes the Church risks denying and disregarding the gifts of a significant part of the nation, the Taskforce makes clear.

(The press release is continued below the fold)

The full report is available here.

The text of the Archbishops’ statement in response to Anti-Racism Taskforce Report is here.

Information about the Anti-Racism Taskforce itself.

(more…)

3 Comments

General Synod Questions

Updated

The questions, and answers, for this week’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available here. Supplementary questions will be taken on Friday at 6.00 pm.

An extra item has been added to the agenda regarding the late Duke of Edinburgh, and this has resulted in changes to the timings of other items. The latest timetable is here.

Update

The timetable has been revised again to add a presidential address. This version is here.

16 Comments

Is the Church Racist?

The BBC asked the question “Is the Church [of England] Racist?” in its Panorama programme on BBC One last night. The programme can be watched on the BBC iPlayer (but probably only from within the UK), where there is this summary.

Panorama investigates allegations of racism in the Church of England. A year after the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, admitted that the Church was still ‘deeply institutionally racist’, and that he was ‘ashamed’ of its record, reporter Clive Myrie meets vicars, curates and theological trainees to understand the scale of the problem. He hears stories of racist abuse and claims of a culture that creates a hostile environment for Christians of colour. Some say they have been told to ‘turn the other cheek’ when they have raised complaints, others say they have suffered in silence for fear of further discrimination or losing their jobs.

The Church of England has issued this press release: BBC Panorama programme ‘Is the Church Racist?’

Media reports include these; some may be behind a paywall.

BBC News Clergy speak out over ‘racism in Church of England’
BBC News Justin Welby tells Church of England to stop using NDAs amid racism claims
Church Times Clerics fear to take racism complaints further in C of E, BBC’s Panorama reports
The Guardian Church of England clergy ‘paid off to keep quiet about racism’
The Telegraph Racially abused church staff ‘forced to sign gagging orders to buy their silence’
Metro Picture of banana sent to black worker ‘wasn’t racist’, church rules

16 Comments

Bishop Emma Ineson appointed to new national role

press release from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and from the Archbishop of York

Bishop Emma Ineson to be Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Currently Bishop of Penrith, Bishop Emma will take up the position from 1st June 2021.

Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell have announced the Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson as the new Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Currently Bishop of Penrith, Dr Ineson will take up the position from 1st June 2021.

The role reimagines and replaces the existing position of Bishop at Lambeth – the post currently held by Bishop Tim Thornton, who announced his retirement earlier this year – in order to facilitate closer working between Lambeth Palace and Bishopthorpe.

Bishop Emma will work directly for both Archbishops and closely with the whole College of Bishops. As a senior member of the Archbishops’ teams, she will play a key role in work being done on the future of the Church of England, appointments and liaising with the House of Bishops.

She will also have specific oversight of the programme for the 2022 Lambeth Conference, having been chair of the conference’s working group since last year. She will not be Bishop to the Forces or Episcopal Commissary to the Falkland Islands, roles currently performed by the Bishop at Lambeth.

Bishop Emma has been the Bishop of Penrith in the Diocese of Carlisle since 2019. Prior to that she was Principal of Trinity College. She has also been a Bishop’s chaplain, and chaplain to the Lee Abbey community in Devon. In 2016 she was appointed as an Honorary Chaplain to the Queen.

She is author of two books – Busy Living: Blessing not burden (Continuum) and Ambition: What Jesus said about power, success and counting stuff (SPCK). She is married to Mat. They have two adult children and two black dogs.

Bishop Emma said: “I am absolutely delighted to be taking up this new role at such a time of great opportunity and challenge for the Church of England, as we emerge from the Covid pandemic. I am very much looking forward to working with the Archbishops and their teams at Lambeth and Bishopthorpe to enable the work of healing, renewal and hope that will be needed in the Church, and in wider society, in the coming years. We have good news to share in Jesus, and it will be a privilege to play whatever part I can in ensuring that good news is heard and received by all.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said: “I am truly delighted to welcome Bishop Emma to Lambeth Palace. I know she will bring her considerable wisdom, humour and humility to the role, as well as her wealth of experience as a chaplain, teacher and outstanding preacher. Archbishop Stephen and I are looking forward to working with Bishop Emma on issues relating to the Emerging Church, the role and nature of bishops meetings and the priorities we face.

“As we look forward to the Lambeth Conference, in which Bishop Emma will continue to play a crucial role, her authentic and practical ministry will be invaluable to the global Anglican Communion. I will be praying for her and her husband, Mat, as they prepare to join this community of communities at Lambeth Palace.”

The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell said: “I’m delighted that Emma has been appointed as Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Her theological depth and pastoral heart will be a huge blessing in this important ministry, not just to the Archbishops, but to the Church of England as we strive to be a simpler, humbler and bolder church.”

55 Comments

April General Synod – online papers

The Papers for this month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online.

Papers with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets virtually on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 April. They can be downloaded as two zip files.

GS papers .zip folder
GS Misc papers .zip folder

The Agenda is here and the Report by the Business Committee (Guide to the April 2021 group of sessions) is here.

Timetable

Synod members reading this might like to note that the deadline for the submission of questions is 12 noon on Tuesday 13 April 2021.

(more…)

1 Comment

Bishop of Barking to retire

The Rt Revd Peter Hill has announced that he will retire as Bishop of Barking on 4 August 2021. There are more details on the Chelmsford diocesan website.

32 Comments

Publication of detailed response to IICSA report

Press release from the Church of England

Publication of detailed response to IICSA report
29/03/2021

The Church of England has today published its detailed responses to the recommendations of the IICSA report from October. As the report stated, the Church of England failed to protect some children and young people from sexual predators within their midst. While the Church will continue to apologise, the main focus is now recognising the distress caused particularly to victims and survivors and acting to improve its safeguarding structures and to change its culture.

The recommendations made by the Inquiry have been accepted in full. Our response document focuses on response to victims and survivors including redress, structure and independence, information sharing, revision of the Clergy Discipline Measure and external audits.

To successfully deliver these recommendations an IICSA safeguarding programme has been set up, with a governance structure to ensure the work is closely monitored. The Archbishops’ Council, who led the response to IICSA on behalf of the institutional church, will be responsible for ensuring the work is completed (with updates to the House of Bishops and General Synod).

11 Comments

Scripture Union review of John Smyth case

The Scripture Union has published the Executive Summary of its review into the case of John Smyth. There is also an FAQ to explain it.

Note that this is one of three separate reviews being conducted in parallel. The others are organised by Winchester College and the Church of England. The FAQ document explains why the SU report is separate. It may be helpful to read the FAQ first.

Scripture Union Statement

Executive Summary of  the Scripture Union John Smyth Independent Case Review

John Smyth Independent Case Review FAQs

37 Comments

Review of Jonathan Fletcher case published

Updated again Wednesday morning

The independent review commissioned by Emmanuel Church Wimbledon from thirtyone:eight has been published.

The full report is available here (146 pages).

Here is the response of Emmanuel Church.

Another response from the external members of the Independent Advisory Group is here.

Updates

The Diocese of Southwark has issued this statement:

“The Diocese of Southwark is committed to learning lessons from independent safeguarding reviews and in the light of this report will continue to work with Emmanuel Church Wimbledon and the National Safeguarding Team. The abuse of power and control by those in positions of trust is unacceptable and we commend those who contributed to this review for their resilience and courage in coming forward to disclose painful experiences. It is of the utmost importance that support is offered to those in need who have been affected by the abusive behaviours detailed in the review. The Diocese has contributed to the review and will study the report findings and recommendations in detail. We will seek to ensure that the learning from the review will be implemented.

For clarification, whilst recognised as a church within the Diocese, Emmanuel Church Wimbledon is an independent ‘Proprietary Chapel’, and as such does not have parish status. Emmanuel Church Wimbledon is fully self-supporting and appoints its own clergy under the guidance of an appointed group of patrons. It is a private limited company registered with the Charity Commission. Anglican clergy at Emmanuel Church Wimbledon officiate with licences issued by the Diocesan Bishop.”

The National Safeguarding Team has issued this statement:

A spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team, NST, said: The Church is committed to learning lessons from all safeguarding situations and will continue to work together with Southwark Diocese on this case. The coercive and controlling behaviours described in the report are appalling and the priority must be to ensure support for those who have been brave enough to come forward. The NST has contributed to this review and does note the findings and recommendations which it will study in detail. The Team has developed over recent years and has seen a significant restructure including the commitment to move to independent oversight along with the development of the national casework management system. We fully welcome the learning and changes that will result from this report.”

Media coverage:

Also:

54 Comments

Sheffield Cathedral Visitation: Bishop issues his Determination

The Bishop of Sheffield has published his Determination, following upon the Visitation of his cathedral that he announced on 1 November.

The press release is here: Bishop of Sheffield publishes ‘Determination’ following Sheffield Cathedral Visitation or another copy is here.

The text of the determination itself (pdf) can be found either here, or alternatively over here.

The Sheffield Star reported: Sheffield Cathedral’s ‘bullying and blaming’ culture led to ‘fear of speaking out’.

21 Comments

House of Bishops Meeting – Wednesday 17 March 2021

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops Meeting – Wednesday 17 March 2021
17/03/2021

The House of Bishops met on Wednesday March 17 2021 remotely via Zoom.

The House engaged further with a number of issues including reviewing the work to date of the Governance Review Group and a consideration of the draft report and recommendations of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Group.

The Bishop of Manchester, in his capacity as Chair of the Coordinating Group of the Emerging Church Groups, updated the House on the revised Terms of Reference of the Committee and the workstreams that are feeding into the work of the Coordinating Group.

This was followed by an update from the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich who updated the House on the ongoing work of the Transforming Effectiveness workstream which is looking at how resources are best deployed across the Church.

The Bishop of Leeds then addressed the House in his capacity as Chair of the Governance Review Group. The Governance Group is reviewing the shape of the national governance structures and functions of the Church of England and is tasked with suggesting possible changes to simplify and improve the functioning and effectiveness of those structures.

The House considered (in regional groups and in plenary) the work the Governance Review Group had done to date. A final report from the Governance Review Group will be presented to the Co-Ordinating Group in the summer and further discussion and implementation planning will follow in the autumn.

The House was then addressed by the Bishop of London in her capacity as Chair of the Recovery Group who updated the House about the work of the Group and how the Church will respond to the various phases of the planned relaxation of the lockdown. The Bishop of London also spoke to plans for 23rd March and the One Minute Reflection to mark one year of lockdown measures.

The House was then given an update (up to the end of February) by the interim Director of Safeguarding on establishing an independent oversight structure for national safeguarding.

The House then held its first discussion on the draft report of the Archbishops’ Anti -Racism Task Force which will be publishing its report on 22nd April. The House was invited to consider the working draft of the Report and to give its views about the suggested implementation timetable and details of the Racial Justice Commission. The House was addressed by Revd. Arun Arora and Revd. Sonia Barron, authors of the draft report.

The House broke out into groups to discuss the draft with Archbishop of Canterbury speaking to the report in the final plenary session and suggesting some ways forward on the draft recommendations. The House noted the draft report and agreed to relay feedback from the meeting to the report’s authors.

The meeting concluded with a blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

27 Comments

Latest developments in Christ Church Oxford saga

Updated 23 March and again 24 March

Two separate news reports have been published today:

Much of this article reports an online AGM meeting last Saturday of the Christ Church Association which represents 9,000 past and present members of the college, and which spent 50 minutes scrutinising Christ Church’s treatment of its head, Dean Martyn Percy, which was strongly defended by Canon Sarah Foot, who referred to the recently published report by Sir Wyn Williams.

It also reports on a legal opinion commissioned by friends of the Dean, Edward Fitzgerald QC, a specialist in human rights law and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers in London, and his colleague Paul Harris. They  conclude that it would be “unlawful and improper to convene a second tribunal”. They go on to say that if the complaints were proven,  “… it seems very doubtful whether those facts could be regarded by any reasonable tribunal as sufficient to merit the severe sanction of dismissal…The sustained, repeated and entirely groundless campaign to drive the dean from his job would seem to fall within the definition of harassment in Sections 2 and 7 of the Protection from Harassment Act, 1997.”

This news report describes the safeguarding risk assessment measures taken by the College and Chapter, that were approved by Richard Woodley,the Oxford Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, who said:

“…because this was an “interim assessment of risk” rather than a formal risk assessment, it did not need to comply with the Safeguarding (Clergy Risk Assessment) Regulations 2016, which stipulate, among other things, that the person being assessed be consulted and given 14 days to query it, and, when it involved “certain facts which are in dispute . . . must set out the matter and the nature and the extent of the dispute”.

Also, it was an error for the name of the consultant who conducted an investigation into the alleged incident, to have appeared on the risk assessment document.  Kate Wood said:

“I have never undertaken a risk assessment in this matter or been party to the assessment of risk in any regard. I have never even seen the risk assessments conducted by the college and cathedral. My role was to conduct an initial investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment. This is a very different role to conducting a risk assessment. . .

“…I asked the college several times to publicly explain the error and to confirm that I had not conducted a risk assessment. I also asked the college to engage with those people who had been most vocal in criticising me on this false narrative. This public correction does not appear to have happened, though I am told that the error has now been corrected on the document.”

A spokesperson for Christ Church confirmed that Ms Wood’s name had been incorrectly included in an early “risk assessment draft”.

The Church Times also reports on the progress of the CDM action against the Dean: the Bishop of Birmingham, to whom the responsibility has been delegated by the Bishop of Oxford,  has decided to proceed to the tribunal stage, despite the Dean being unable to respond to the complaint due to illness.

Updates  (items published on 21 March)

Archbishop Cranmer If Martyn Percy kills himself, the Church of England will have blood on its hands

Surviving Church Averting a catastrophe in the Church of England. Is it too late

Oxford Diocese has published this (24 March): The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy which links to a letter from the Sub Dean. The same material is on the Christ Church website: Response from Christ Church Cathedral to public speculation.

67 Comments

Bishop of Willesden to retire

News from the Diocese of London

Bishop of Willesden to retire

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, has announced his intention to resign as from 30th September 2021. Bishop Pete has volunteered to stand down a year before his normal retirement date.

The Bishop of London is exploring with him another role, which would see him facilitating some of the transition and implementation work for the Diocese of London’s 2030 Vision. This will enable the potential appointment of a new Bishop of Willesden and provide an opportunity for the Diocese’s senior team in London to become more diverse.

Bishop Pete has been Bishop of Willesden since 2001. Before that, he served as Archdeacon of Northolt, as a Vicar in Harrow and as a Polytechnic Chaplain in Islington.

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, said:

“It’s been a joy and a privilege to serve the churches and people of North West London this past twenty years. I look forward to the next stage, helping the Diocese of London with our 2030 Vision – making it possible for every Londoner to encounter the love of God in Christ.”

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, said:

“Pete has shown extraordinary, untiring commitment to the Church in London for over 40 years. Half of those have been as Bishop, where he returned to serve the part of the capital he grew up in. Pete will leave the see of Willesden with a legacy that will live on. I’ve been particularly grateful personally for his support since I came to London, and I look forward to continuing our work together as we deliver our Diocesan 2030 Vision.”

A consultation has begun to help guide the appointment to the See of Willesden, ending on 12th April. Click here to view the consultation paper.

19 Comments

Bishop of Bath & Wells to take early retirement

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, is to take early retirement on medical grounds as he continues his recovery from treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.

More details are on the diocesan wesbite.

7 Comments

Christ Church Publishes Independent Review

press release from Christ Church Oxford website

Christ Church Publishes Independent Review
Link to independent report (pdf)

Christ Church has published an independent report by President of Welsh Tribunals, Sir Wyn Williams, reviewing the handling of a sexual harassment complaint made by a junior member of staff against a senior member. Last month, Governing Body commissioned the review to provide external, transparent scrutiny of the disciplinary processes it has followed, including the setting up of a tribunal in accordance with its statutes.

In his report, Sir Wyn states the complainant “described events which, objectively, could amount to sexual harassment,” that “there was nothing which can be categorised as unfair or unjust in the way that information was provided to members of Governing Body prior to the making of the complaint,” and then that “a decision to the effect that the evidence was not sufficient would have been unreasonable.” He confirms “the processes followed were entirely consistent with the Statute and By-Laws” and concludes “I have no doubt that establishing a tribunal is a responsible use of charitable resource and in the best interests of Christ Church.”

Sir Wyn Williams was asked in his terms of reference to examine whether Governing Body members saw sufficient information about the allegation of sexual harassment to make properly informed decisions. He ruled that “I am satisfied the body of information provided was wholly sufficient to reach an informed decision.” Sir Wyn also looked for evidence of conflicts of interest in the decision-making process, and found that trustees acted “reasonably and objectively.”

The full report has been provided to the Charity Commission. Sir Wyn concludes his report stating that “there is no basis upon which the Charity Commission should be concerned about either (a) the decision to appoint a tribunal to hear and determine the complaint made against the Dean or (b) the process by which that decision was reached.”

Christ Church has previously expressed its condemnation of attempts by some through the media, social media, and a number of blogs, to undermine its disciplinary processes and in particular to intimidate the complainant. It is now hoped that these individuals will accept the outcome of Sir Wyn’s independent review, and allow the tribunal process to continue and reach a conclusion without further public comment, for the sakes of both the complainant and the respondent.

16 Comments

General Synod – April 2021

The draft timetable for April’s virtual meeting of the Church of England General Synod was published today, and is copied below.

GENERAL SYNOD: APRIL 2021
DRAFT TIMETABLE

Friday 23 April
12.30 pm – 7.00 pm
12.30 pm – 12.45 pm Opening worship
Introductions and welcomes
12.45 pm – 1.15 pm Business Committee Report
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
1.15 pm – 2.45 pm Draft Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure – Revision Stage
2.45 pm – 3.05 pm Adjournment/screen break
3.05 pm – 4.05 pm International Religious Freedom
4.05 pm – 4.45 pm Report of the Standing Orders Committee
4.45 pm – 5.00 pm Adjournment/screen break
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
5.00 pm – 5.45 pm Draft Legislative Reform (Church of England Pensions) Order
*5.45 pm – 7.00 pm Question Time

Saturday 24 April
9.15 am – 12.30 pm
9.15 am – 9.30 am Opening worship
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
9.30 am – 10.30 am Clergy Discipline (Amendment) Rules 2021
10.30 am – 10.55 am Appointment of the Chair of the Pensions Board
Appointment of the Chair of the Dioceses Commission
10.55 am – 11.15am Adjournment/screen break
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
11.15 am – 12.30 pm Draft Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure – Final Drafting and Final Approval

1.30 pm – 5.00 pm
1.30 pm – 2.45 pm Responsible Representation: Crown Nominations Commission Elections Review Group Report
2.45 pm – 3.00 pm General Synod elections 2020: allocation of seats Amendment Resolution
3.00 pm – 3.20 pm Adjournment/screen break
3.20 pm – 4.05 pm Safeguarding
4.05 pm – 4.30 pm Farewells
4.30pm – 5.00pm Deemed business
*5.00 pm Prorogation

Deemed Business:
Code of Practice under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003
Payments to the Churches Conservation Trust Order 2020
some of the proposed amendments of the Standing Orders

* not later than
Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk
Deadline for receipt of questions: 1200 hrs Tuesday 13 April

0 Comments