Thinking Anglicans

Archbishops will refuse debate on Blackburn letter

The Church Times carried a report recently: Synod should welcome bishops’ safeguarding letter.

A LETTER from the bishops of the diocese of Blackburn, which warned that the Church’s mission was “fatally undermined” by the abuse crisis (News, 21 June), should be formally welcomed by the General Synod, two lay members have suggested.

A motion commending its “victim-centred approach” as a “suitable model for developing reconciliation with those who have been wronged by our sins of commission and omission” has been proposed by Martin Sewell, of the diocese of Rochester, and David Lamming, of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich.

They are seeking the permission of the Archbishops to introduce this motion at the meeting in York next month, when the Business Committee submits report on the first day.

This week, they noted that the letter from Blackburn had been welcomed by a number of survivors, including Jo Kind, who addressed the Synod last year (News, 7 July 2018).

“In recent times, we have sought a general debate on a safeguarding theme. Presentations and questions are not the same thing,” they said.

Their suggested motion offered “an opportunity to enable the Church to embrace the important themes of repentance, listening with humility, and pastoral care”.

The archbishops have today rejected this proposal. Below you will find the text of the proposed motion and the text of the reply sent by the Bishop at Lambeth. Note that the proposal was not to debate the IICSA report at all but only the four page pastoral letter from the Blackburn senior clergy.

“This Synod welcome the terms of the Diocese of Blackburn ‘Ad Clerum’ letter dated  17th June 2019, reflecting
on the IICSA report, dated May 2019, on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball, and commend its victim-centred approach to all in authority within the Church as a suitable model for developing reconciliation with those who have been wronged by our sins of commission and omission.”

From: Tim Thornton
Date: 2 July 2019
To: Martin Sewell, David Lamming
Cc:
Subject: Proposal to ask permission to introduce a motion

Dear Martin and David

Thank you for the e mail you have sent to both the Presidents letting them know about your intention to ask permission to introduce a motion at the Synod in York.

I am writing to let you know that both the Presidents have considered your idea carefully and both feel it is not appropriate at this time and so will refuse you the permission you seek.

Of course your motion is an important one and the matters you raise are crucial for our life as a Church.  However as you both know the IICSA hearing is taking place at the same time as the York session and many of the key people in the NST and others (including the Bishop of Bath and Wells) are focussed on responding to the inquiry and listening carefully to the survivors and all who are giving evidence over this fortnight.

It is also the case that the Interim Report has only recently been published and the NSSG has even more recently sent in its response to the recommendations.  The Presidents do think it is right to allow some more time for people to read those reports and consider their views and reactions to the important and difficult material contained in the report. It is also important to allow the present hearing to take its course before we have a debate on these matters on the floor of Synod.

There are of course questions and space being given to Safeguarding on the Sunday of this session so there will be opportunity for voices to be heard.

I understand this will not be the answer you would like but I hope you can understand the Presidents have given your question thought and do not think that this particular session is the right time to allow for the proper preparation and the availability for all who would and should be there to take part in any such debate.

Yours

Tim

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 1

Updated

The transcript of the first day of this hearing, which covers both the Church of England and the Church in Wales, is available here.

Video recordings of today are now available here.

List of documents adduced today.

Witness statement of Bishop Sarah Mullally

The Church Times has published two reports of the hearing:

The Daily Mail has this: Almost 400 people in ‘positions of trust’ with the Church of England have been convicted of child sex offences, inquiry hears.

The timetable.for the remainder of the first week is here. The hearings are scheduled to last two weeks.

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Bishop of Burnley calls for Mandatory Reporting

See our earlier article Senior Blackburn clergy reflect on IICSA reports on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball.

The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme carried an interview by Donna Birrell with the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North (starts at 32 minutes, 45 seconds).

BBC Radio Cornwall has a longer version of this interview, listen over here.

A transcript of this (longer) interview is copied below the fold. (more…)

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Two cases of abuse involving evangelical Anglicans

Updated

The Daily Telegraph published a news article on 21 June: Minister ‘spiritually abused’ the vulnerable. This is behind a paywall, but the substance of it was subsequently reported elsewhere:

The original report prompted two statements, one from the Diocese of Southwark and another from Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.

In addition, Emmanuel Church has established a separate website to deal specifically with this, which is located here. It has links to several further documents, including the following:

Two notices dated April and May 2019 signed by the Bishop of Maidstone and 3 others.

Statements and a video recording from an event on 27 June, at which Vaughan Roberts, Sarah Hall (Emmanuel’s Safeguarding Officer) and Andrew Wales QC describe in some detail what the abuse consisted of, and what actions have been taken by Emmanuel Church and by others, in response to the disclosures received. The transcript is worth reading in full.

In a separate but related development, two statements were recently issued by the Anglican Mission in England:

To date, two articles have been published which comment on all of this:

Update

Church Times now has a further story  Fletcher faces allegations of naked beatings which includes the full text of a statement from Jonathan Fletcher:

“As part of a long-standing prayer group, I have in the past been involved in a system of mutual encouragement whereby we set ourselves targets in healthy and holy living and then imposed what I thought of as light-hearted forfeits if we failed.

“These included going without chocolate, cold baths and school-type gym shoe punishments. Although at the time we definitely did not think we were doing anything wrong, I’ve seen since that it could have caused much harm both to individuals and to the reputation of conservative evangelicalism for which I am profoundly sorry. Needless to say, this activity has now stopped.

“In addition, a number of people are reporting that I have had naked massages with them. I enjoy massage and benefit from it. To that end I regularly have it professionally administered. However, if I can avoid the cost by finding a male friend to administer, and in return receive, massage, I do.

“These sessions categorically do not have erotic or sexual overtones and I have never coerced or intended to coerce anyone into an arrangement. If any have felt pressurised by me to do this, I apologise.

“Again, I realise that in the position I have held in the past as an incumbent, it was unwise of me to involve anyone to whom I was also ministering and I apologise for doing so.

“I confirm that I no longer engage in public ministry.”

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Rose Hudson-Wilkin to be next Bishop of Dover

Press release from Number 10

Suffragan Bishop of Dover: 28 June 2019
Queen approves appointment of the Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin to the Suffragan See of Dover.

Published 28 June 2019
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, BPhil Ed, Hon LLD, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons and Priest in Charge of St Mary-at-Hill, in the Diocese of London to the Suffragan See of Dover, in the Diocese of Canterbury, in succession to the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, MA, who resigned on 31st May 2019.

Rose was born and raised in Jamaica. She was educated at Montego Bay High School for Girls and later at Birmingham University. She trained with the Church Army and was commissioned in 1982 as an Evangelist; she later trained for ordination at Queens Theological College on their part-time course, ordained deacon in 1991 and ordained priest in 1994 serving her title at St Matthew’s Church, Willenhall Road in the Diocese of Lichfield.

For sixteen and a half years she served as a priest in Hackney (Holy Trinity with St Philip, Dalston and All Saints, Haggerston). In 2007 she was appointed as a Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen and in 2010, she became the first woman appointed to the position of the 79th Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. In November 2014, she took on the additional responsibility as Priest in Charge of city Church, St Mary-at-Hill near Monument. She is an Honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral and a Priest Vicar of Westminster Abbey.

She has previously served as a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and also as one of the Panel of Chairs of the Synod. She has twice represented the Church of England at the World Council of Churches (in Zimbabwe & Brazil); she served as its priest representative on the Anglican Consultative Council for 9 years. She also served as a Selection Secretary for the Church of England, helping to select men and women seeking to test their vocation to the ministry. She does numerous preaching and speaking engagements nationally (and occasionally overseas). She was a member of the Broadcasting Standards Commission and has wide experience of media engagement including some religious broadcasting.

She is married to The Reverend Kenneth Wilkin, a Prison Chaplain and they have three adult children.

The Canterbury diocesan website states that her consecration will be on 19 November 2019.

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Church of England response to IICSA’s report

Press release from the Church of England

Church of England response to IICSA’s report
27/06/2019

The Church of England has published today its response to IICSA’s report on the Chichester diocese and Peter Ball case studies. This is ahead of next week’s wider IICSA hearing on the Anglican Church in England and Wales.

The timetable for the first week of the IICSA hearing on the Anglican Church in England and Wales is available here.

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Bishop of St Germans to be CofE’s Director of Ministry

The Church of England announced yesterday that Bishop Chris Goldsmith is to become its next Director of Ministry. The bishop is currently the suffragan Bishop of St Germans in the diocese of Truro, so that post will become vacant when he takes up his new position in September 2019.

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General Synod preview

Updated Saturday

General Synod meets in York next month and the Church of England issued its usual pre-Synod press release this morning, and this is copied below the fold. It concentrates on one item (youth violence and knife crime).

Madeleine Davies in Church Times has a fuller preview of the Synod agenda: Synod to focus on youth violence and knife crime.

There are two other Church Times articles.
Invest in refugees, Synod motion proposes
Synod will be asked whether it ‘gladly bears’ eucharistic presidency by Methodist presbyters as ‘temporary anomaly’

Update

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England urged to offer haven from knife crime

Izzy Lyons and Laura FitzPatrick The Telegraph Churches should become knife crime sanctuaries with weapon amnesty bins, General Synod to discuss

(more…)

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Church of England Safeguarding Data Report 2015-17

Updated Thursday

The Church of England issued the following press release today.

Safeguarding Data Report 2015-17
19/06/2019

Safeguarding data has been published today taken from annual safeguarding returns, collected by dioceses from 2015-17 and sent to the National Safeguarding Team. This is the first time that trends have been analysed over a three-year period.

The Church of England consists of more than 16,000 churches across the country; with around 1.14 million adults and children making up the regular worshipping community. This means it comes into contact with vast numbers of children, young people and adults every day of the week and safeguarding them is a priority. The majority of safeguarding-related concerns or allegations relate to children or vulnerable adults who attend or who have contact with the Church and their lives within the community.

In any report about data of this nature, it is important to recognise that behind each statistic is a person. Safeguarding is about everyone’s wellbeing and means the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture; it is about valuing every person as made in God’s image.

Update

Press reports

Madeleine Davies Church Times Safeguarding reports grow by a half in two years
The full text of the MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) press release referred to in this article is here.

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England finds 50% rise in abuse claims and concerns

 

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Senior Blackburn clergy reflect on IICSA reports on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball

Updated Friday

The bishops, dean and archdeacons in the Diocese of Blackburn have written to all clergy, readers and safeguarding officers in the diocese. They reflect on reflect on the IICSA reports on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball.

The press release states:

Since the recent publication of the report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) on the Diocese of Chichester and the Peter Ball case, Bishops’ Leadership Teams across the country have been strongly encouraged to read and reflect on the reports in their entirety.

Having done this in our Diocese, the Bishops, Archdeacons and The Dean of The Church of England in Lancashire were moved to send a message across our Diocese to urge others of the need to be ‘spending time with the report’; the reading of which they describe as a ‘powerful, emotional experience’.

The text of the letter follows below the fold and can also be viewed in its original form here.

Aban Quaynor writes about the letter in The Lancaster and Morecombe Citizen: Senior leaders in Diocese of Blackburn call on church to protect children from sex abuse.

SENIOR clergy in the Blackburn Diocese have written a joint letter to Christian faith leaders urging them to ensure ‘local churches are places where children and vulnerable adults are entirely safe’ from sexual abuse.

The letter … also states that members of the diocese should take a collective responsibility for abuse which has taken place within the wider church because ignoring it becomes a form of re-abuse…

This article is also published in the Lancashire Telegraph.

Stephen Parsons writes about the letter on his Surviving Church blog: The Blackburn Letter. A new beginning for the Church?

Update

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Child sexual abuse: the Blackburn Pastoral Letter is game-changer for the Church of England

Adam Becket Church Times Safeguarding not just about box-ticking, say senior clergy in Blackburn

(more…)

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July General Synod – online papers

Update 1: Synod members reading this might like to note that the deadline for the submission of questions is a week earlier than normal; it is 12 noon on Wednesday 19 June 2019.

Update 2 [18 June]: More online papers linked

Update 3 [21 June]: More online papers linked

Update 4 [3 July]: Link to Questions notice paper added.

Update 5 [5 July]: Links to more notice papers added

Update 6 [7 July]: links to more notice papers added

Update 7 [8 July]: links to more notice papers added

Update 8 [8 July]: link to The Archbishops’ Council Annual Report added

Update 9 [9 July]: link to second mailing zip file and final order paper added

The first batch of papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online. The remaining papers will be issued on 21 June and I will add links when these become available.

Papers with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets from Friday 5 to Tuesday 9 July in York.

The Agenda is here and the Report by the Business Committee (Guide to the July 2019 group of sessions) is here.

Timetable
[This is a revised version of the timetable originally noted here.]

First mailing .zip file
Second mailing .zip file

(more…)

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Safeguarding issues in an Essex school

There has been discussion recently in the media and on social media of an incident at a Church of England school in Essex. This involved a Church of England priest who has resigned as a governor of a church school and also as the local incumbent because he did not like the way that the school handled the gender transition of a child.

This discussion began on 25 May when the Mail on Sunday reported: Vicar resigns after being ‘silenced’ over a Church of England school’s plan to keep an eight-year-old pupil’s sex change a secret from parents.

That provoked a detailed press statement the same day from the Mermaids charity: Response to Mail on Sunday.It is worth reading..  You can read more about this charity here. It is recommended as a resource in Valuing All God’s Children, the Church of England’s guidance on challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, republished in Autumn 2017 (see page 39 here.)

The next day, 26 May, Christian Today reported: Vicar quits over transgenderism policy at Church of England school.

Premier published on 28 May: Read the letter from the CofE vicar resigning over the Church’s approach to sexuality.

Christian Concern published  a statement dated 31 May:  Statement from Reverend John Parker.

Subsequently Christian Today reported twice on responses from the Bishop of Chelmsford:

1 June ‘I’m at a loss to know where this comes from’ – bishop responds to transgender accusations

5 June Bishop of Chelmsford denies suggesting vicar could leave Church of England over transgender views

The Diocese of Chelmsford then published the full text of the bishop’s Ad Clerum which I recommend reading in full.

On 6 June, Premier published this report: Bishop defends actions after suggestion he told vicar to leave Church over transgender complaint.

You can find other articles published earlier by Christian Concern about this incident here and here (26 May),  also here and here (28 May).

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IICSA report on child sexual abuse in religious institutions

In addition to the several investigations  by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse into specific religious organisations, including the continuing investigation into the Church of England, IICSA’s separate Truth Project has recently published a Thematic Report: Child sexual abuse in the context of religious institutions.

The full report (92 pages) can be downloaded from this link.  There is also an executive summary available here.

IICSA also issued a press release: Shame and guilt stop survivors reporting child sexual abuse in religious institutions.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published a research report on child sexual abuse in religious institutions, based on accounts shared by survivors at its Truth Project.

The report includes data on religions with a significant presence in England and Wales, including the Anglican and Catholic Churches, Christian faith communities such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists and Methodists, and Islam and Judaism.

The report’s key findings include:

  • Those sexually abused in religious institutions were less likely to report the abuse at the time (69 per cent) than survivors (54 per cent) in the same institution.
  • Over half of survivors did not report the abuse due to feelings of shame (37 per cent) and guilt (18 per cent).
  • Half of victims (48 per cent) knew of others being abused by the same perpetrator.
  • One fifth (18 percent) of survivors reported a loss of faith as a consequence of the abuse.

The report also examines institutional failures, with most participants firmly believing others were aware of the perpetrator’s behaviour but did nothing. Sexual abuse was most frequently perpetrated by an individual with an official religious title, such as priest, vicar, imam or elder.

At the Truth Project, survivors are invited to make recommendations for change. Participants told the Inquiry that it needs to address the secrecy that comes from the sanctity of religious institutions and the assumption that religious figures are automatically moral…

The Church of England issued this press release in response: Statement on IICSA Truth Project report.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has recently published a research report on child sexual abuse in religious institutions, including the Anglican Church.  It is based on accounts shared by survivors at its Truth Project, and its conclusions and findings are disturbing and in many places shocking.

One of the report’s key findings includes that those sexually abused in religious institutions were less likely to report the abuse at the time (69 per cent) than survivors (54 per cent) in other institutions. We would urge anyone who wants to report abuse and find support to come forward and we promise they will be heard.

IICSA continues to shine a light on the safeguarding practices of religious institutions, including the Church of England, and we are working constructively with the Inquiry as we approach our wider Church hearing on July 1.  We commend those survivors who have had the courage to come forward to share their experiences to the Inquiry and in particular to the Truth Project, knowing how difficult this would have been.

We welcomed the findings and recommendations published by IICSA this month, on the Peter Ball and Chichester Diocese case studies. This states that the Church of England should have been a place which protected all children and supported victims and survivors but it failed to do this. It is absolutely right that the Church at all levels should learn lessons from the issues raised in both these reports and also strengthen our resolve to make the Church a safe place for all.

Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop

There has been some media coverage of this:

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An entirely different approach to survivors of abuse

Following the publication of the recent IICSA report on certain aspects of the Church of England (Chichester diocese and Peter Ball), there was very little immediate public response from senior people in the Church of England. This led Andrew Graystone to write a letter a week later to various bishops and some members of the Archbishops’ Council, calling for an entirely different approach to dealing with abuse survivors.  The Bishop of London invited Andrew to spell out what such an approach might entail.

This document is his answer: The Church of England and survivors.

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Support for the pastoral guidance on gender transition

We linked recently to reports of a meeting between three Church of England bishops and a delegation representing those who signed a petition some time ago asking the house of bishops to withdraw their guidance on using the existing Affirmation of Baptismal Faith liturgy to affirm trans people in their Christian faith after transition.

The website LGBTQ Faith UK has published a detailed critique of the most recent statement, which you can read here: Episcopally led, synodically governed.

The same website had earlier published a lengthy and detailed critique of the original petition. That can be found here: Why the bishops are right.

Both these analyses by Ann Reddecliffe  are commended for reading in full.

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Legal issues arising from the suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln

UPDATED

The suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln was reported earlier.

David Lamming has written a detailed analysis of the legal issues arising from this suspension. You can read this document here. (PDF)

He summarises as follows:

Whatever the nature or details of the “information” on which the Archbishop of Canterbury based his decision to suspend Bishop Christopher, in the light of the clear statement that “there has been no allegation that Bishop Christopher has committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult”, the legal basis for the suspension is at least doubtful. An appeal to the President of Tribunals that would clarify the legal position would seem to be justified and appropriate.

David is a retired barrister, whose professional interests include ecclesiastical law. He is a member of the House of Laity of the General Synod of the Church of England, elected from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

UPDATE

Another article has been published on this topic.
Philip Jones has written: Safeguarding and Suspension: The Case of the Bishop of Lincoln.
Do read both articles.

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Bishops meet those who oppose their transgender guidance

Regular readers will recall the petition that was raised urging the bishops to “revise, postpone or withdraw” this guidance. Our previous report is here: Further opposition to the bishops’ guidance on transgender services.

Christian Today now reports: Evangelicals hold talks with Church of England bishops over transgender guidance. The organisers of that letter met with a number of bishops. Subsequently, they have issued a statement, the full text of which is included here: The Church of England’s transgender guidance should be withdrawn  and is copied below the fold.

Update: the headline on the first of those two articles has been amended to read “Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics hold talks…”

The delegation attending the meeting consisted of: Dr Ian Paul, Dr Edward Dowler, Rev Rachel Marszalek, Rev David Baker. The bishops were the bishops of Coventry, Newcastle, and Exeter.

(more…)

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Church announces review into Bishop Whitsey case

The Church of England has today announced an Independent lessons learnt review into Bishop Whitsey case.

His Hon David Pearl has been appointed by the National Safeguarding Team as chair of the independent lessons learnt review into the Whitsey case. The Church supported a police investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults by the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey. The allegations dated from 1974 onwards when he was Bishop of Chester and from 1981 while he was retired and living in Blackburn diocese. Bishop Whitsey died in 1987.

The review is expected to be carried out in two phases and will include the case of Gordon Dickenson, once other Church processes have concluded. Dickenson, a former chaplain to Bishop Whitsey, was jailed in March after admitting sexually assaulting a boy in the 1970s.

Commenting on his appointment David Pearl said: “I am committed to ensuring that this Review will be both independent and transparent. The Review will examine all relevant documents and will hear from everyone who wishes to provide evidence to the Review.”…

The Terms of Reference of the Review are also published.

The Diocese of Chester has published this: Victor Whitsey Statement
[Note: this statement is much older and is not in response to today’s announcement.]

Joint statement from Archbishop of York and Bishop of Chester

“We can confirm that we have supported the police on an investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults by the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey (pictured right). The allegations date from 1974 onwards when he was Bishop of Chester and from 1981 while he was retired and living in Blackburn diocese. Bishop Whitsey died in 1987.

“We are deeply sorry and apologise to those individuals who have come forward to share their account of abuse by a bishop in the Church of England who was in a position of power and authority.  We appreciate that it is very difficult for individuals to come forward and to give their account. Sexual abuse is a heinous crime – and is an absolute and shameful breach of trust.  We acknowledge that for survivors, the effects of sexual abuse are lifelong.  We are offering pastoral support to all those who have come forward and continue to hold them all in our prayers.

We have supported the police investigation Operation Coverage, which has been comprehensive, and they have informed us that “should Right Reverend Hubert Victor Whitsey have been alive today, then the Police would have spoken to him in relation to 10 of the witness allegations.”

Anyone affected by today’s news should call the CCPAS helpline on 0303 003 11 11 who can offer help and signpost to church-related support and information or alternatively call the NSPCC 0808 800 5000. Anyone with further information on the case should go direct to the police on 101.

The Church will consider what lessons can be learnt from this case and whether any action needs to be taken as a result of what these enquiries have shown.”

 

Page last updated: 17th Oct 2017 11:01 AM
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General Synod Agenda for July

Update: An updated version of this timetable was issued on 14 June 2019.

The Business Committee of General Synod has today published the agenda for the July Group of Sessions in York.

The published information can be read here and is copied in full below the fold.

(more…)

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House of Bishops issues report of meeting and a statement on IICSA report

The Church of England’s House of Bishops has issued this statement:

Meeting of the House of Bishops

The House of Bishops met at Bishopthorpe Palace from 15th to 17th May 2019.

Brexit was on the agenda as the bishops discussed recent political developments and prayed for the nation.

The bishops discussed mission and ministry in covenant with the Methodist Church, financial priorities in Church funding over the next three years, and the ministry of confession. The bishops also spent time reviewing progress that has been made by the Living in Love and Faith working group.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s (IICSA) recently published report into the Church of England also received attention from the bishops who have additionally made a statement. [see below]

Elsewhere on the agenda the bishops gave time to the subject of women and men in ministry in the Church of England and mutual flourishing. They discussed the process for discerning how people are called to the ordained ministry.

The House of Bishops also took note of the recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Hong Kong and anticipated the Lambeth 2020 meeting in Canterbury next summer.

The additional statement referred to above is as follows:

Statement on IICSA report from members of House of Bishops

A statement from members of the House of Bishops in response to The Anglican Church Case Studies IICSA report:

“We write on behalf of the whole House following the publication last week of the IICSA report into the Peter Ball and Chichester Diocese case studies. We recognise that the publication of this report causes most hurt and concern to survivors themselves. It reopens wounds.

“At this week’s meeting of the House of Bishops, Archbishop Justin asked every one of us to read and study the full report in detail and we are absolutely committed to this. The Church has failed survivors and the report is very clear that the Church should have been a place which protected all children and supported victims and survivors. We are ashamed of our past failures, have been working for change but recognise the deep cultural change needed takes longer than we would like to achieve.

“We welcome the recommendations.

“The report will now go to the National Safeguarding Steering Group next month so the Church can formulate a detailed response to the findings and recommendations as we approach IICSA’s wider Church hearing in July.  The lead bishop for safeguarding has been asked to report back to the House and to General Synod.

“It is absolutely right that the Church at all levels should learn lessons from the issues raised in this report and act upon them”

Bishop Paul Butler
Bishop Christine Hardman
Bishop Peter Hancock
Bishop Sarah Mullally

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