Thinking Anglicans

Co-chair named for Wilkinson Jay response group

Church of England press release
Independent co-chair for safeguarding Response Group appointed

Lesley-Anne Ryder, an experienced CEO and chair who has worked in national and local government and the health and charity sectors, has been appointed the independent co-chair of the Response Group looking at two important reports on independence and safeguarding in the Church of England. These are from barrister Sarah Wilkinson and former IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) chair Alexis Jay.

Lesley-Anne brings a proven track record in leading complex change management and restructure programmes involving safeguarding professionals and volunteers in diverse organisations and is an experienced leader, coach and mentor of senior teams. She has more than 20 years’ experience of work supporting vulnerable adults and children and has played an active role in shaping Health and Social Care policy at a senior level in the NHS, worked on a Government department merger and continues with a range of charity work which has included being a supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care and chair of a local charity.

An independent recruitment firm was responsible for the selection of candidates and Lesley-Anne was interviewed by members of the Response Group including meeting with survivor representatives. One of the key criteria for selection was a professional, external voice who had not previously worked with the national Church. She will start work this week.

Speaking on her appointment Lesley-Anne said: “I am delighted to bring both my experience of leadership and managing complex change in a variety of settings, along with my personal experience and qualifications in engaging and supporting those whose trauma and circumstances have in some way stopped them having a voice. I believe that I inspire confidence, commitment and focus for those that I am called to lead and support, and that this role provides a unique opportunity for me to use my skills to the full. I have chaired several multidisciplinary boards, and I look forward to working closely with Bishop Joanne and the whole of the Response Group. I am an active member of my local church and work to support vulnerable people in my local community”.

The Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop and co-chair of Response Group, Joanne Grenfell, said: “I welcome this appointment and the wide-ranging professional experience Lesley-Anne will bring to this role. It is vital that we have an independent voice that can offer challenge and scrutiny while the work of the Response Group moves forward on these two important safeguarding reports.”

The ToR for the group have been updated to include this: Wilkinson and Jay Reports Response Group Terms of Reference

Some additional information is available at LinkedIn and at Anume.

The Church Times reported it this way (scroll down):

New independent co-chair for Response Group

THE independent co-chair of the group responding to recent reports on safeguarding in the Church of England (News, 15 March) has been appointed. It is Lesley-Anne Ryder, a former charity chief executive with experience of work supporting vulnerable adults and children. She has worked on social-care policy in the NHS, is a supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care, and chairs a local charity. The other co-chair of the Response Group is the Bishop of Stepney, Dr Joanne Grenfell, who is the lead safeguarding bishop. It is understood that the Response Group will conduct a consultation on responding to the recommendations in the reports by Professor Alexis Jay (News, 23 February) and Dr Sarah Wilkinson (News, 15 December 2023). The announcement on the C of E website, on Tuesday, says that an independent recruitment firm was responsible for the selection of candidates, and that Ms Ryder was interviewed by members of the Response Group and survivor representatives.

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LLF Programme Board members announced

The Church of England has published this: LLF Programme Board update.

Details of LLF Programme Board membership confirmed

Following an update last month on the new Programme Board to steer the next steps of Living in Love and Faith (LLF), progress has been made in forming this Board, together with the three working groups.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, has agreed to Chair the Programme Board, supporting the Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, in his ongoing work as the lead bishop of LLF.

Additionally, the Bishop of Stockport, Sam Corley, the Acting Bishop of Coventry, Ruth Worlsey and the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich will also serve on the Programme Board, with a further member to be appointed.

Ex Officio members will be Jamie Harrison, Chair of the House of Laity, Alison Coulter, Vice-chair of the House of Laity, Luke Miller, Prolocutor of the House of Clergy and Kate Wharton, Prolocutor of the House of Clergy. They will be supported by staff from the National Church Institutions (NCIs).

Full details of the membership of the three working groups – Pastoral Guidance, Pastoral Provision and Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF) – will be shared once all members have been appointed.

Together for the Church of England has published this Public Statement on LLF from Together (April 2024)   (This organisation is an amalgamation of GSGSG (General Synod Gender and Sexuality Group and MOSAIC (The Movement of Supporting Anglicans for an Inclusive Church).

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Bishop of Aston

The Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst, is to become the new Principal of the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham. Aston is a suffragan see in the Diocese of Birmingham.

Details are on the websites of the Diocese of Birmingham and the Queen’s Foundation.

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New Dean of Llandaff appointed

On Easter Day, the Dean of Llandaff announced his retirement:

On Easter 2, one week later, the Bishop of Llandaff announced his replacement:

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Bishop of Wakefield to retire

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, has announced that he will retire on 31 August 2024. He is one of five Area Bishops in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds.

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Oxford disciplinary tribunal decision

Updated 7 April and again 9 April

Law & Religion UK reports: Dean Richard Peers CDM decision

On 21 March 2024, the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Oxford handed down its Decision The Revd Canon Richard Peers – March 2024 and reasons in relation to facts and conduct.

Updates

Comments on this article remain closed.

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Suffragan Bishop of Burnley

Press release from the Prime Minister’s office

For further information see the Blackburn diocesan website.

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Burnley: 22 March 2024

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Dr Joseph Kennedy for appointment as Bishop of Burnley.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 22 March 2024

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Dr Joseph Kennedy, Vicar of Oxton St Saviour in the Diocese of Chester, for appointment to the Suffragan See of Burnley in the Diocese of Blackburn in succession to the Right Reverend Philip North, following his translation to the See of Blackburn.

Background

Joe was educated at Edinburgh University and at St Hugh’s College and Keble College, Oxford, and trained for ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. He served as a Curate in the Diocese of Oxford, at Stratfield Mortimer (St Mary) and Mortimer West End with Padworth, and at Abingdon, and was ordained Priest in 2003.

In 2005, Joe was appointed Dean of Chapel, Chaplain and Fellow at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and additionally served as Chaplain and Senior Member at Newnham College. In 2008, Joe took up the role of Principal, College of the Resurrection, Mirfield.

In 2011, Joe was appointed to his current role as Vicar of Oxton St Saviour, in the Diocese of Chester, additionally serving as a Lecturer and Tutor at St Mellitus College from 2015 until 2020, and as Rural Dean of Birkenhead since 2021.

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Safeguarding: Advert for Wilkinson/Jay Response Group Co-Chair

Updated

This advertisement has appeared on Guardian Jobs, originated by Charisma Recruitment.

The full text is copied below the fold.

Co-Chair

Employer
Church of England
Location
Remote
Salary
Unremunerated with reasonable expenses paid*
Closing date
8 Apr 2024*
Update
The asterisked items above show the advert as originally published.
The Salary line has been changed, and now reads: Supplier fee paid.
The closing date has also been changed to read 17 March.

(more…)

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Reparatory Justice: Oversight Group recommendations

Updated Tuesday

The Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice describes itself this way:

A seed for growth and change

In 2023, the Church Commissioners for England published a report into its historic links to African chattel enslavement. In penitence and hope, the Church Commissioners proposed a fund to address a legacy of racialised inequality that scars the lives of billions to this day.

The Church Commissioners appointed an independent Oversight Group to make their recommendations on how the fund should be used. This group is acutely aware that the crimes against humanity rooted in enslavement have caused damage so vast it will require patient effort spanning generations to address. They believe this fund represents a start to breaking the chains of discrimination.

The Oversight Group has a bold vision for the £100m Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice which they would like to see grow to £1bn and act as a catalyst for real change.

Other recent documents about this:

Church Times: Church Commissioners look for partners to boost reparatory-justice fund to £1 billion

Updates

Guardian Harriet Sherwood ‘It’s not a lot when you consider the harm’: Why bishop is calling for £1bn in C of E reparations for slavery (Interview with the Bishop of Croydon)

Archbishop of York We need a conversation about justice (Article in the Sunday Times)

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LLF: re-formation of working groups

press release

New programme board to help steer LLF next steps
08/03/2024

Lead Bishop gives update to Synod members

Following discussion at the February meeting of General Synod, further details of plans for a new Programme Board to oversee the ongoing work of Living in Love and Faith (LLF) have been shared with General Synod members.

The Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, the lead bishop for LLF, has written to Synod members to outline plans for a new oversight board and the re-formation of three working groups: the Pastoral Guidance Working Group, the Pastoral Reassurance Working Group and the Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF) Working Group.

Synod members have been invited to express their interest in joining the groups which will be formed of bishops, other clergy and laity.

In addition to these working groups, meetings with stakeholders will be organised to help enable progress ahead of a meeting of The House of Bishops’ meeting May.

Two formal groups will also be formed, as agreed following the commendation of the PLF:

  • A Pastoral Consultative Group – to aid bishops, diocesan staff and others with answers to the broad questions that arise from the implementation of PLF and other LLF work. This group will comprise a small number of bishops, supported by consultants.
  • An Independent Review Panel – to consider concerns about the implementation of the PLF and application of the Pastoral Guidance, and make recommendations for addressing justifiable concerns.

A timeline is being finalised to allow these groups to make progress ahead of the House of Bishops’ meeting later in May, which will feed into the General Synod sessions in July.

Read the full letter to Synod members from the Bishop of Leicester.

Church Times report on this: Synod members invited to apply to join LLF working groups

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Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway announces retirement

News from the The Scottish Episcopal Church

The Right Rev Kevin Pearson has announced today that he will retire as Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway on 31 August this year.

Bishop Kevin became the 15th Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway in July 2020 upon his translation from the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles…

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Jay report on Church of England safeguarding published

UPDATED

This report was commissioned by the Church of England and first announced on 20 July 2023. Details followed in August: see Future of Church Safeguarding.

The report is now published: The Future of Church Safeguarding (55 pages)

There is also a press release: Report into the future of safeguarding in the Church of England

And there is a video.

There is also this Legal Advice note (35 pages)

——–

The Church of England has issued a press release.

And there is this: Terms of Reference for the Jay and Wilkinson Reports Response Group

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Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, has announced with great sadness the unexpected death of his colleague, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham.

Paying tribute to Bishop Alan, Bishop Steven said: “Alan was a dear friend and colleague to many across the Diocese. Alan has deep friendships and pastoral relationships across both church and community in Bucks. He has offered remarkable leadership to our work in education and church schools over more than a decade. Alan has been a friend and advocate for survivors of abuse and a strong ally and supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community for many years.

“Alan had recently begun a well-earned sabbatical and was planning to use the time to plan and prepare for retirement in the next year. Alan loved God and loved God’s church with a rare passion. He was a bishop who prioritised the parishes and clergy in his care above everything else and served the people of Buckinghamshire with devotion over a long and demanding ministry.

“I will miss him as a friend and colleague. The Church has lost a wise, pastoral and prophetic bishop.”

There is more on the Oxford diocesan website.

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Correspondence re Secretary General

On 18 January, we published a letter addressed to the archbishops calling for the suspension and investigation of the Secretary General, William Nye. This letter was written by Martin Sewell and signed by 20 members of General Synod. The full text of the letter is here.

A reply to this letter was sent on 6 February from Carl Hughes, Chair of the Finance Committee of the Archbishops’ Council.

Martin Sewell replied to this on 8 February. The formal response is here, and there is also a covering note and an addendum.

Carl Hughes replied to this on 11 February.

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LLF: roundup of recent statements and news reports

Updated

Since we posted the statement of the Bishop of Newcastle on Thursday morning, there have been several further statements. Some of these have been linked in the comments, but I am repeating them all here, as not everyone reads all the comments…

The Church Times has carried several news reports so far:

These include quotes from others, including from Dr Tom Woolford, and the Bishop in Europe.

Monday Updates

Helen King has written: Processing the process: LLF continues which contains much detail concerning these recent events.

A second interim theological advisor has been appointed: Statement: Interim Theology Advisers

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have announced the appointment of a new interim Theology Adviser, the Revd Canon Dr Jessica Martin, currently Canon Residentiary for Learning and Outreach at Ely Cathedral, to work alongside the Revd Dr Tom Woolford. Tom and Jessica will work as Joint Interim Theology Advisers to the House of Bishops and Secretaries to Faith and Order Commission (FAOC), on secondment for a six-month period starting in March 2024. These interim roles are in place while a substantive recruitment process is underway for a permanent successor to the Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, who leaves the NCIs at the end of February to take up the role of Principal of Ridley Hall…

Tuesday Updates

Helen King has written a further blog article:One down, one to go: the LLF appointment saga continues

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LLF: over 130 General Synod members oppose “reset” and “settlement”

The Church Times reports:  Do not obstruct Synod’s decision on same-sex blessings, members say

MORE than 130 members of the General Synod have signed a letter expressing their view that the proposal of a “reset” of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process is unwise, and that talk of a “settlement” for those opposing the introduction of blessings for same-sex couples fails to honour decisions taken by the Synod.

Last week, the co-chairs of the LLF process, the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, and the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, co-wrote an article for the Church Times in which they argued for a “reset” of the process to allow for “reconciliation and bridge-building” (Comment, 26 January). (On Thursday, 1 February, Dr Hartley announced that she would be standing down as as co-chair of the LLF process. Story to follow)…

The report continues:

The GSGSG letter says: “It is clear that the mind of Synod, determined by due synodical process, is to implement those things agreed in February [2023], being new pastoral guidance to replace Issues in Human Sexuality and to introduce the full Prayers of Love and Faith, including the stand-alone services. It is also clear that Synod has rejected this implementation being dependent on an agreed settlement or structural provision. . .

“Any delay in moving forward will be seen as a failure by the House of Bishops to implement votes passed in Synod and a rejection of the courtesy of Synod in welcoming your proposals. This will not reset the tone of the debate in a positive direction, neither will it build trust for any reconciliation discussions on maintaining unity.”

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LLF: Statement from the Bishop of Newcastle

Updated 4 pm Thursday

Living in Love and Faith: A Statement from Bishop Helen-Ann
First published on: 1st February 2024

My first commitment, and priority, is to continue to respond to God’s calling to be Bishop of Newcastle, and I rejoice in this calling. It has become clear to me in the last 48 hours that there are serious concerns relating to the recent process of appointing an Interim Theological Advisor to the House of Bishops. This was, and is not, an LLF appointment, and neither Bishop Martyn nor myself were involved in it. Whilst the remit of the theological advisor is broader than any matters relating to LLF, there is no doubt that LLF remains front and centre in the life of our Church at this time. What has transpired in the last 48 hours has had a critically negative impact on the work Bishop Martyn and I were seeking, in good faith, to do. My role as co-lead bishop for the LLF process is now undermining my capacity to fulfil my primary calling, to lead and care for the people and places of the Diocese of Newcastle.

I am fully committed to the vocation and life of the Church of England, its place in our diverse communities across this land, and in the wider Anglican Communion. Mindful of different views within my own diocese, I am also fully committed to the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people. I do not believe these are mutually exclusive, and I am not naïve in saying this. As I approach the 10th anniversary of my consecration as a bishop, my decision to step down from my LLF role is not one I have taken lightly, but is one built on all I have learnt about being a bishop, both here and in Aotearoa New Zealand. I will continue to be involved in the LLF process as a diocesan bishop, and will endeavour to prayerfully and actively work towards fulfilling the commitments expressed above, and those already agreed to in General Synod.

+Helen-Ann Newcastle,

February 1st 2024.

Update

The Church Times has this: Bishop of Newcastle stands down from LLF over ‘serious concerns’ about interim adviser

This report is comprehensive, and I urge you to read it in full. But here are two excerpts:

…Earlier in the week, the Vicar of All Saints’, New Longton, the Revd Dr Thomas Woolford, a tutor at Emmanuel Theological College, was announced as the interim secretary to the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) and adviser to the House of Bishops, before a permanent post-holder takes up the position in September.

After his appointment, an article by Dr Woolford, published in 2019 on the website of Church Society, a conservative Evangelical organisation in the C of E, began to be circulated on social media.

In the article, Mr Woolford wrote: “I think it would be disastrous and desperately wicked if the Church were to prepare blessings for things we must not bless, alter the canons to accommodate worldly thinking, give up the standard of chastity for ordained office-holders, or sanction false teaching.”

Speaking shortly after Dr Hartley’s announcement, Dr Woolford distanced himself from the tone of the article. “I’m still a conservative on blessings and on sexuality; so that part hasn’t changed,” he said. “But I’d put a lot of things differently in light of the journey that we’ve been on in Synod and in the wider Church.”

And the report later continues:

…On Thursday afternoon, the Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, who chairs the FAOC, said that Dr Woolford’s was an “advisory role, not an executive role”.

“He is an adviser among other advisers, and advisers come from an appropriately diverse array of positions,” he told the Church Times, and emphasised that it was a six-month interim appointment.

“It’s testament to the very febrile nature of the Church at the moment that the appointment of a temporary adviser attracts so much interest and controversy, and I do regret that.”

He described Dr Woolford as a “a very able theologian indeed”, who understood that he had to “behave in a neutral way”.

The article by Dr Woolford can be found here.

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Bishop of Reading announces her retirement

The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Olivia Graham, has announced she will retire later this year, on 30 September.

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LLF bishops propose new commitments

Updated

The bishops of Newcastle and Leicester have written an article published today in the Church Times, in which they state that they intend to bring to General Synod in February some new proposals.

The full text of what they have written is here: Living in love, faith — and reconciliation.

The Church Times has a news report: LLF bishops respond to fears of schism over same-sex relationships.

Update

Unadulterated Love has this report: LLF “engagement opportunity” reveals Archbishops abandon radical new Christian inclusion

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Professor Alexis Jay to publish report in February

From the Future of Church Safeguarding website: Professor Alexis Jay to publish recommendations on Church

Professor Alexis Jay CBE has informed the Archbishops of Canterbury and of York that she will next month (February) deliver to them and publish her report on how to make Church safeguarding fully independent.

In her report, Professor Jay will make a series of recommendations on how Church safeguarding can be made independent, accountable, fair and trusted, in order to learn from the past and better protect all those involved in Church life from harm.

The report has been informed by extensive engagement with those with recent experience of Church safeguarding, both in person and online, including victims and survivors, safeguarding practitioners, members of the clergy and volunteers.

This engagement exercise, which Professor Jay extended to ensure that all those who wished to share their views had the opportunity to do so, has now finished.

Professor Jay, supported by the Future of Church Safeguarding Programme, which is independent of the Church, is now preparing her report and recommendations.

In the interests of transparency, Professor Jay will publish her report online on the Future of Church Safeguarding Programme website.

Further details about publication will be provided in due course.

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