Thinking Anglicans

Bishop Anthony Poggo to be the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion Office has announced today that the Right Revd Anthony Poggo is to be the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Former child refugee named as next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

A South Sudanese bishop who was forced with his family into exile before he was one year old, the Right Revd Anthony Poggo, has been named as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Anthony Poggo, the former Bishop of Kajo-Keji in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, is currently the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs.

Bishop Anthony was selected for his new role by a sub-committee of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee following a competitive recruitment process led by external consultants.

He will take up his new role in September, succeeding the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who steps down after next month’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, which is being held in Canterbury, Kent, from 26 July to 8 August…

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Lords Spiritual oppose Rwanda asylum policy

Church of England press release

Bishops’ letter to The Times on the Rwanda asylum policy

14/06/2022
All of the current Lords Spiritual have signed a letter to The Times voicing alarm about the Government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as early as today.

They wrote:

Sir,

Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation. Rwanda is a brave country recovering from catastrophic genocide. The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries. Those to be deported to Rwanda have had no chance to appeal, or reunite with family in Britain. They have had no consideration of their asylum claim, recognition of their medical or other needs, or any attempt to understand their predicament.

Many are desperate people fleeing unspeakable horrors. Many are Iranians, Eritreans and Sudanese citizens, who have an asylum grant rate of at least 88 per cent. These are people Jesus had in mind as he said when we offer hospitality to a stranger, we do it for him. They are the vulnerable that the Old Testament calls us to value. We cannot offer asylum to everyone, but we must not outsource our ethical responsibilities, or discard international law — which protects the right to claim asylum.

We must end the evil trafficking; many churches are involved in fighting this evil. This needs global co-operation across every level of society. To reduce dangerous journeys to the UK we need safe routes: the church will continue to advocate for them. But deportations — and the potential forced return of asylum seekers to their home countries — are not the way. This immoral policy shames Britain. 

The Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury; the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York; the Right Rev Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London; the Right Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham; the Right Rev David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham; the Right Rev John Inge, Bishop of Worcester; the Right Rev Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry; the Right Rev Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford; the Right Rev James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle; the Right Rev Alan Smith,  Bishop of St Albans; the Right Rev Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough; the Right Rev Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely; the Right Rev Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark;  the Right Rev Nicholas Baines, Bishop of Leeds; the Right Rev Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester; the Right Rev Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester; the Right Rev Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol; the Right Rev Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby; the Right Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; the Right Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester; the Right Rev Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Chelmsford; the Right Rev Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter; the Right Rev Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford; the Right Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich; the Right Rev Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham

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House of Bishops’ Meeting – 6th June 2022

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops’ Meeting – 6th June 2022
06/06/2022

The House of Bishops met on 6 June by Zoom.

Bishop Jill Duff was congratulated on her election as an elected suffragan to the House and Arun Arora was also congratulated on his appointment as Bishop of Kirkstall.

The Bishop of Fulham introduced a paper outlining the importance of Ecumenical texts and the proposal for a new and formalised process for their reception by the Church of England, with a particular emphasis on the role of Bishops as Guardians of the Faith. This follows recommendations by the Anglican Communion ecumenical body, IASCUFO, and the Anglican Consultative Council. The House agreed the approach set out in the paper.

The House then discussed the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) resource tentatively named The Gift of the Church and how the House will be offered opportunities to shape it once a draft version of the resource is shared in the coming weeks. The Gift of the Church is envisaged as an accessible, publicly available learning resource that supplements the LLF Book, and will be an additional resource for the bishops’ discernment process in autumn 2022.

The meeting concluded in prayer.

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Christ Church Oxford responds

Updated 1 June

Christ Church and Dr Martyn Percy: Our Response

A message from Christ Church Governing Body

Why this document?

In the past three years, Christ Church has held back from offering commentary on a series of damaging reports regarding its relationship with the former Dean, Dr Martyn Percy. Those reports related to a number of disputes between the institution and its Head of House, the earliest of which dates back to 2017 while the most recent concerned an allegation of sexual harassment made against Dr Percy by Alannah Jeune. During this time, despite attacks on it and its members by supporters of the former Dean, Christ Church has consistently tried to avoid making pronouncements in the hope of avoiding a destructive cycle of claim and counter-claim. The trustees (Christ Church’s Governing Body) have been mindful that they all have both a duty of confidentiality and a general duty to place the charity’s interests above their own and have sought to calm rather than inflame damaging media attention…

Read the whole document on the Christ Church website.

1 June update

A refutation of the above has been published on the Turbulent Priest website.

Some comments from colleagues and supporters of the former Dean. In every case, supporting evidence – written – is readily available for what is set out below….

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Bishops of Kirkstall and Penrith

The appointments of two suffragan bishops have been announced today. More details are on the Leeds and Carlisle diocesan websites.

Appointment of Bishop of Kirkstall: 27 May 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Arun Arora, Vicar of St Nicholas Church, Durham, and Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral, to the Suffragan See of Kirkstall, in the Diocese of Leeds.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 27 May 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Arun Arora, Vicar of St Nicholas Church, Durham, and Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral, to the Suffragan See of Kirkstall, in the Diocese of Leeds, in succession to The Right Reverend Paul Slater following his retirement.

Background

Arun studied Law and Politics at Birmingham University and worked as a solicitor after graduation. He was appointed Bishop’s Press Officer and Diocesan Communications Officer in the Diocese of Birmingham in 2000, and began training for ordained ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham in 2004. He served his title at St Mark’s, Harrogate, in the former Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, alongside serving as the Director of Communications for the Office of the Archbishop of York. He was ordained Priest in 2008.

In 2010, Arun was appointed Team Leader of Pioneer Ministries, Wolverhampton, in the Diocese of Lichfield. In 2012, he became the Director of Communications for the National Church Institutions. Arun took up his current role as Vicar of St Nicholas Church, Durham, in 2017, and was additionally appointed Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral in 2021.

Appointment of Bishop of Penrith: 27 May 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Robert Saner-Haigh, to the Suffragan See of Penrith, in the Diocese of Carlisle.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 27 May 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Robert Saner-Haigh, Residentiary Canon of Newcastle Cathedral and Director of Mission and Ministry for the Diocese of Newcastle, to the Suffragan See of Penrith, in the Diocese of Carlisle, in succession to The Right Reverend Dr Emma Ineson following her resignation.

Background

Rob was educated at Birmingham University and trained for ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his title at St Lawrence, Appleby, in the Diocese of Carlisle, and was ordained Priest in 2006.

Rob was appointed Bishop’s Chaplain and Assistant Priest at St Michael’s, Dalston, with Cumdivock, Raughton Head and Wreay in 2007. Alongside these roles, he also served as Director of Ordinands and Diocesan Initial Ministerial Education Officer. In 2010, Rob was appointed Priest-in-Charge of Holy Trinity, Kendal.

Rob took up his current roles as Residentiary Canon of Newcastle Cathedral and Director of Mission and Ministry for the Diocese of Newcastle in 2020.

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Martyn Percy’s departure from Christ Church

Updated again Thursday 19 May

Rosie Dawson reports for Religion Media Centre on the farewell service: Dean Percy’s parting shot: You think I am leaving in disgrace … I am not

Rosie Dawson attended Martyn Percy’s farewell service in Oxford on Saturday. In an interview conducted shortly beforehand he told her why he’s calling on congregations to withhold their giving from the Church of England, and why he’s not leaving quietly….

…Christ Church College, Oxford, where Martyn Percy had been the dean for eight years, refused to host any sort of farewell. The University Church of St Mary was proposed as an alternative venue but became unavailable once it became clear that the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, and the dean, who is also professor of theological education at King’s College London, could not agree on the content of the service.

In the end it took place in the 19th-century chapel of Exeter College just off Broad Street. The chapel is outside the jurisdiction of the bishop, and he did not attend…

…Following the settlement with Christ Church, the Bishop and Martyn Percy entered into discussions about what form a leaving service should take. In correspondence seen by the Religion Media Centre, Bishop Croft wrote that he was unable to allow him to preach. Dean Percy protested: “Your letter treats me with cruel indifference. It seems to me that you do not really want this service. You clearly think I am leaving in disgrace … I am not.”

The Diocese of Oxford said in a statement: “Mindful of Dr Percy’s stated intention to the bishop to leave the Church of England and also some concerns about Dr Percy’s behaviour behind the scenes, it was not possible to permit Dr Percy to preach at a leaving service organised by the diocese”.

There is a video of the sermon available here. And the text is published over here.

Update 1

The Church Times reports: Diocese of Oxford praises ‘hair-stroking’ complainant for going public. Much of this information was in a Telegraph article at the weekend, behind a paywall. But in addition:

…A statement by the diocese of Oxford, issued on Saturday, criticises Professor Percy and praises Ms Jeune: “We are deeply saddened by the inaccurate and unevidenced claims Dr Percy makes in his media interviews.

“We’ve long said that the actions of some of Dr Percy’s supporters have left people damaged and hurt. None more so than Alannah Jeune. It’s a courageous decision to tell her story given all that she has experienced, but hers is a powerful account that counters the vitriol sent her way. Her story deserves to be widely read.”

(I have checked with the diocese and that is the full text.)

Update 2

There is an audio recording of the entire service available here.

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House of Bishops – 9-11 May 2022

Update There was an earlier press release More clergy from UK Minority Ethnic backgrounds join House of Bishops.

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops – 9-11 May 2022 inclusive
12/05/2022

The House of Bishops held its first residential meeting in 2022, in York over three days. Joining the meeting for the first time were four participant observers of UK Minority Ethnic/ Global Majority Heritage (UKME/GMH) background who were formally welcomed by the House.

As the first substantive item, the House turned its attention to Governance reform. The House noted the update from the National Church Governance Project Board and the Board’s plan to establish the Episcopal Reference Group which will help shape how bishops and the Church of England National Services (CENS) will work together within the new governance model.

The House was then given an update on Racial Justice by the Archbishops’ Adviser on Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns with the House taking note of progress made to date.

The House was then informed of agreed spending plans on behalf the Triennium Funding Working Group which outlined details and spending plans that will be made public. Plans include a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation. The Church Commissioners for England intend to distribute £1.2 billion between 2023 and 2025, up 30% from £930 million in the current three-year period, and plan to maintain this level of funding in the subsequent six years.

The House was then given an update on the work of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) by its Chair. The Chair discussed the Board’s focus as it moves from phase one to phase two of its work and looked ahead to presenting at July Synod.

The House was then addressed by the Interim National Director of Safeguarding with an update on the work of the National Safeguarding Team including work to date on the Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2) which also included an update from the Chair of PCR2 Board.

The following day the House was addressed by the Bishop of London in her capacity as the Chair of the Next Steps Group of Living in Love and Faith (LLF). The House discussed the future discernment process of LLF and was joined by the Enabling Officer of LLF. In subsequent group work, the House detailed its aspirations for the discernment process as it relates to future engagement at the College of Bishops in the Autumn and July General Synod.

The Bishop of Kensington then updated the House on plans for the Centre of Cultural Witness, a new initiative launching in the Autumn to strengthen the Church’s public witness. The House took note and shared views on the development and scope of the Centre and ways in which Bishops and other prominent Christians can work towards the development of a distinctively public and Christian voice.

An update was then given on appointments to the Sees of Maidstone and Ebbsfleet which were both noted by the House.

The House was then addressed by the Vice Chair of the Clergy Conduct Measure Implementation Group who set out the final revised proposals for approval. The proposals were approved by the House, with a view that the reforms will establish a proportionate, efficient, and fairer system than the existing system

The House then turned its attention to developing the priority of a younger church, as part of the Vision and Strategy work stream. The House was addressed by the co-head of Vision and Strategy and the Head of Education , with later group and plenary work that focussed on the best ways to ensure the voices of children and young people are heard at both the national and diocesan level.

The House then looked at the future of education – particularly in the context of recent government white papers concerning a proposal that all schools have joined an academy trust by 2030. A series of proposals were approved by the House aimed at allowing dioceses and the whole church to engage in positive and proactive moves to secure the Christian character of Church of England schools and work towards full academisation.

On the final day the House was updated on recent progress towards Net Zero Carbon, including the findings of the Wayfinders Progress. The House endorsed both the Net Zero Carbon planning principles and diocesan milestones and agreed to annual reporting on carbon emissions and the Route map to Net Zero Carbon by 2030.

The House then heard how the Cathedrals Measure 2021 is being implemented by the Church Commissioners and noted the role of diocesan bishops. The House agreed to consider the proposed draft Church Commissioners guidance on cathedral visitations and provide input as part of the consultation.

As a penultimate item the Ministry team at Church House provided an update on theological education and resourcing for Ministerial Formation. The House endorsed their continuing work and the general direction of travel.

As a final item the House took note of reflections from UKME / GMH participants on the meeting, followed by general reflections from the House.

The meeting ended in prayer.

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See of Ebbsfleet – consultation

Press release from the Church of England

See of Ebbsfleet – consultation

12/05/2022

Following the resignation of the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, in September last year, a consultation on the way forward for the see has received a number of calls to consider relocating the post to be rooted in an individual diocese and diocesan college of bishops.

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet – one of the Church of England’s three ‘Provincial Episcopal Visitors’, who minister to traditional catholic parishes – has been responsible primarily for churches in the western half of the Church of England’s Province of Canterbury.

Following the initial consultation, a suggestion from the Archbishop of Canterbury to revive the suffragan See of Oswestry in the Diocese of Lichfield is currently being explored.

The proposal would involve a future Bishop of Oswestry living in the diocese and ministering to traditional catholic parishes in that and other dioceses of the West Midlands and South West of England.

No decisions have been taken. Initial consultations are currently underway within the Diocese of Lichfield, with The Society and in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Any proposal would then be considered by the Dioceses Commission this summer.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Provincial Episcopal Visitors – the Bishops Beverley, Richborough and Ebbsfleet – were created as part of the arrangements in 1992 which first enabled women to be ordained as priests.
  • The See of Oswestry was one of a number of sees created in the 19th Century but never filled
  • Further information about The Society (more fully, The Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda).
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Church Commissioners’ financial results for 2021

Press release from the Church of England

Church Commissioners reports strong financial returns in 2021 of 13.3%

11/05/2022

The Church Commissioners for England, which manages the endowment fund of the Church of England, published its financial results for 2021 today in its Annual Report.

The continued strong investment returns have enabled the Church Commissioners to increase its funding of the Church’s mission and ministry in the 2023-2025 triennium to an all-time high. The Commissioners will contribute £1.2 billion to the Church’s funding in the next three-year period, which will account for about 20% of the Church’s expenditure. The Church Commissioners plan to maintain that level of funding in the subsequent six years, subject to investment performance and market fluctuations, which would help the Church to plan for the medium and long term.

The Church Commissioners’ active investment approach and risk-mitigating diversification across a broad range of asset classes enabled it to generate returns of 13.3% in 2021, exceeding its target of CPIH +4%, and the Commissioners has beaten its return target over the last three, 10 and 30 year periods. The fund was valued at £10.1 billion as at the end of 2021.

The performance of the fund despite the uncertain environment of the last few years has enabled the Commissioners to maintain its funding commitment in the 2020-2022 triennium of over £900 million.

Alan Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, said: 

“Good governance and an excellent team are both essential for us to achieve the strong returns necessary to provide the maximum sustainable level of funding for the Church’s mission and ministry, whilst maintaining our responsible investment philosophy. I am pleased the Church Commissioners have been able to meet our funding commitments for the current triennium despite the volatile market environment we have experienced in recent years due to Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Our excellent long-term returns are also enabling us to put in place a strong funding plan for the next three to nine years. Our long-term outlook means we contribute the maximum amount of funds to the Church today whilst also maintaining our support for future generations.”

The Church of England today announced a 30% increase in its national funding for the next three-year period to support and develop ministry, particularly amongst young and disadvantaged communities. The press release can be found here.

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Church of England national funding to increase 30%

Press release from the Church of England

Church of England national funding to increase 30% to support and develop ministry especially with young people and disadvantaged communities

  • Nine-year funding plan will support a large increase in ministry and mission activity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in local communities across England
  • Focus on ministry among young people and disadvantaged communities
  • 2030 carbon net zero target also receives significant investment

The Church of England today announced plans for a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation.

The Church Commissioners for England intend to distribute £1.2 billion between 2023 and 2025, up 30% from £930 million in the current three-year period, and plan to maintain this level of funding in the subsequent six years.

In total, this would mean the Church Commissioners plan to distribute £3.6 billion to frontline work of the Church of England between 2023 and 2031, making the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council among the largest grant givers in the country.

The Church Commissioners’ distributions will account for approximately 20% of Church funding, whilst the biggest contribution comes from the faithful and generous giving of churchgoers across the country.

The core of the extra funding will be channelled into the revitalisation of parish and local ministry. The distributions will help fund dioceses’ plans to serve the nation by reaching more young and disadvantaged people, addressing issues of racial justice, and radically cutting the Church’s carbon footprint.

In line with the Church’s Vision and Strategy for the 2020s, funds will also be used to support parish churches and dioceses. This will include:

  • Continued funding for the Church in the poorest parts of the country, taking into account lessons from the recent independent review into Strategic Development (SDF) and Lowest Income Communities (LInC) funding.
  • Increasing the number of clergy in front-line ministry in parishes and chaplaincies, with the intent that the Church’s clergy better reflects the diversity of the nation that we serve.

In addition, the Church will lead by example in areas that are important not only to the Church but to wider society.

  • Enable thriving local churches across the country, making significant contributions to their local communities and delivering even more social action work
  • Support diocesan, parish and cathedral plans for the Church to become carbon net zero by 2030 – a target set by General Synod.
  • Fund measures that will make the Church more diverse.

(more…)

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Bishop of Croydon

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

There is more detail on the Southwark diocesan website.

Appointment of Bishop of Croydon: 3 May 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Dr Marlene Rosemarie Mallett, Archdeacon of Croydon, to the Suffragan See of Croydon, in the Diocese of Southwark.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 3 May 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Dr Marlene Rosemarie Mallett, Archdeacon of Croydon, to the Suffragan See of Croydon, in the Diocese of Southwark, in succession to The Right Reverend Jonathan Clark following his retirement.

Background

Rosemarie was educated at Sussex University and Warwick University, and trained for ministry at the South East Institute of Theological Education. She served her title at Christ Church, Brixton Road, in the Diocese of Southwark and was ordained Priest in 2005.

Rosemarie served as Priest-in-Charge at St John the Evangelist, Angell Town, from 2007 and was appointed Vicar in 2013, as well as being made Director of Ordinands for the Kingston Episcopal Area. In 2015, Rosemarie was additionally appointed Diocesan Director of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.

She took up her current role as Archdeacon of Croydon in 2020.

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Bampton Lectures 2022: Professor Alec Ryrie

The University Church in Oxford announces:

The Age of Hitler, and how we can escape it

This year’s lectures are given by Professor Alec Ryrie FBA, who  is Professor of the History of Christianity in the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham.

The age of Hitler is not the 1930s and 1940s: it is our own lifetimes. It is the period in which Western culture has come to define its values not by Christianity, but by the narrative of the Second World War. It is the period in which our most potent moral figure has been Adolf Hitler, and in which our only truly fixed moral reference point has been our shared rejection of Nazism.

Which is good: but it’s not enough. And even if defining our values this way was wise, it’s clear that this postwar, anti-Nazi moral consensus is unravelling, and our whole system of values coming under pressure. What is going to come next? These lectures will give an account of how the ‘secular’ values of the postwar world came about, and what will happen now that the age of Hitler seems to be passing. They will show that for a new shared system of values to emerge from our current turmoil, we will need to draw creatively both on the newer, secular, anti-Nazi value system and on the older Christian value systems which remain powerfully present in European and Western culture. And they will show that such a creative synthesis is not only desirable, but also possible – perhaps even likely.

Details can be found here. The dates are 10 May and 17 May. The lectures will be live-streamed and recorded.

The Bampton Lectures

The Bampton Lectures, founded by the will of the Revd John Bampton (1690-1751), first took place at the University Church in 1780. Over the centuries, these prestigious lectures – sometimes courting controversy, always intellectually stimulating – have covered a range of theological subjects. It is a condition of the Bampton Bequest that the lectures are published by the Lecturer. These lectures are delivered in the Trinity Term every year.

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More criticisms of government plans for asylum-seekers

See previous post on this topic. Some more recent items:

Justin Welby  in the Telegraph Put humanity at the heart of our asylum system (I have not yet located a copy of this outside the paywall, but it is quoted extensively in the article below from Archbishop Cranmer.)

Paul Butler in the Independent ‘Rwanda refugees plan flies in the face of Christian teachings’ – Bishop of Durham

Arun Arora in The Northern Echo The Government policy that tears at the nation’s soul

Archbishop Cranmer How many millions of asylum seekers should the UK welcome?

Vatican News UK-Rwanda asylum deal raises human rights concerns

…Botswanan activist and lawyer, Alice Mogwe spoke with Vatican News on this latest deal between the UK and Rwanda, reflecting on its implications from the perspective of human rights. She is the President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)…

Contains link to audio interview (9 minutes)

Note this paragraph:

Concrete recommendations

In lieu of the controversial agreement, the FIDH president invites governments to stop focusing on the consequences of migration but rather coordinate efforts to stem the causes of migration.

“Nobody wakes up one day and decides to leave their country if there is good governance, if there is a rule of law, if human rights are in fact being protected and respected,” she says.

More so, she calls for a revision of the Asylum agreement, stressing that states need to comply with international human rights standards.

“What will happen to those who are vulnerable?” she asks. “What’s going to happen if children are separated? What’s going to happen if people fail to be recognized as refugees in Rwanda once they reach there?”

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Bishop of Bath and Wells

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
There are more details on the diocesan website.

Bishop of Bath and Wells: 28 April 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Noel Michael Roy Beasley, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Bath and Wells.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 28 April 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Noel Michael Roy Beasley, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Bath and Wells, in succession to The Right Reverend Peter Hancock following his retirement.

Background

Michael was educated at Imperial College, London and Oriel College, Oxford and trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham. He served his title in the Parishes of Newport, Chetwynd and Forton in the Diocese of Lichfield and was ordained Priest in 2000.

Michael became Chaplain of Westcott House, Cambridge in 2003 whilst also working as Senior Programme Manager for The Partnership for Child Development, a research group in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London. In 2008, he was made Vice Principal and Tutor in Mission at Westcott House and Director for The Partnership for Child Development. In 2010, he became Director of Mission, in the Diocese of Oxford and was appointed Honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford in 2014.

Michael has served in his current role as Suffragan Bishop of Hertford since 2015.

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Smyth Review update

News from the Church of England

Smyth Review update
27/04/2022

Following an update in January about timings on the Smyth Review the National Safeguarding Team, NST, has now provided a further update to the survivors and victims, who suffered the appalling abuse by the late John Smyth.

The reviewers are still continuing to receive important information, with some completely new people coming forward to make representations, including victims and people who knew Smyth over the years. There was an evidence deadline of September 2021, however it was considered important that these voices were heard to obtain a fuller picture as possible.

The approach the reviewers are taking to draft the report is to cover all the material in a largely chronological way, providing drafts covering the different periods and starting the representations process with those people named in the report as it progresses. This phased approach is considered more effective and helpful for all those involved, particularly survivors and victims, rather than presenting the full report to the NST all in one go. The first phase draft is expected to be with the NST within a month and it will continue to receive drafts over the summer months.

The Church (as stated by the Archbishop of Canterbury) is committed to full and unredacted publication of the report. The representations process, for all involved is expected to be complex, with the eventual date of publication being determined by this.

There will be further updates when more precise timings are known. Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors and support continues to be offered, please contact jude.renton@churchofengland.org in the first instance.

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Bishops criticise government plans for asylum-seekers

Updated Wednesday (twice) and again Friday (scroll down)
See also later article here.

The UK Government recently announced plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. This has been extensively reported in the media but in case you missed it, here are links to the official Home Office press release, and to the text of Home Secretary’s speech in Kigali.

Bishops of the Church of England have expressed criticism, including:

Archbishop of Canterbury

…And this season is also why there are such serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas. The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgement of God and it cannot. It  cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death. It cannot carry the weight of the resurrection that was first to the least valued, for it privileges the rich and strong. And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures…

Archbishop of York

…Or rather, Christ finds us. He comes to us, as he came to Mary Magdalene, and he asks why we’re crying and who we’re looking for.

He has returned to take us with him. Like Mary and like Elizabeth who will be baptised in just a moment, He know us by name. He shows us what really matters. He shows us what we should strive for, which is why, among so many other things that trouble our world at the moment, it is so depressing and so distressing this week to find that asylum seekers fleeing war, famine and oppression from deeply troubled parts of the world will not be treated with the dignity and compassion that is the right of every human being, and instead of being dealt with quickly and efficiently here on our soil, will be shipped to Rwanda.

We can do better than this. We can do better than this because of what we see in the Risen Christ a vision for our humanity, which breaks barriers down – not new obstacles put in the path. After all, there is, in law, no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. It is the people who exploit them that we need to crack down on, not our sisters and brothers in their need…

Bishop of Chelmsford

Full text of letter (PDF)

The Church Times has this: Rwanda off-shoring plan is ‘opposite of the nature of God’, Welby says and Government plans to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda denounced by faith leaders.

Press Association via Independent: Johnson accused of ‘disgraceful’ attack on Welby over Rwanda policy criticism

The Tablet Ruth Gledhill: Cardinal and Archbishop condemn Rwanda asylum plan

Telegraph Allison PearsonJudge yourself first, Justin Welby, before preaching to the rest of us

Archbishop Cranmer: Boris Johnson’s ‘disgraceful slur’ against the Archbishop of Canterbury

Guardian: No 10 goes into battle with archbishops over Rwanda asylum plan

Church Times Stephen Bates: Press: Tory papers turn on Welby for asylum ‘rant’

Church Times Angela Tilby: Welby’s Easter sermon deepened divisions

Church Times Prime Minister accuses senior clergy of misconstruing Rwanda proposal

Independent: Editorial: Justin Welby is right – the Rwanda plan raises troubling ethical questions (registration required)

Independent Cathy Newman: Thank heavens for Justin Welby: the Church has a duty to speak truth to power

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Christ Church Oxford: Governance Review

The plans for this review have been published in an advertisement for the appointment of an Independent Chair, along with the full text of the Candidate Brief for the position of Independent Chair, Governance Review.

The advertisement says

…The Governing Body of Christ Church has resolved to commission a review of its governance. The purpose of the Review is to ensure that Christ Church’s statutes, by-laws, and governance arrangements meet the needs of the institution in the 21st century. The last comprehensive review of the foundation’s statutes was conducted in 2011. The Review will encompass the governance arrangements of all aspects of Christ Church, including the Cathedral, College, and School.

We now seek to appoint an independent Chair, who will, having consulted Governing Body, Chapter, and other parties, prepare a report setting out recommendations for the Governing Body to consider. The Chair will demonstrate appropriate knowledge of charity governance, an understanding of collegiate educational foundations, and ideally familiarity with the Church of England. They must have no current or recent connection with Christ Church.

At the conclusion of the Review, the Chair will be asked to prepare a report setting out recommendations for the Governing Body to consider. Christ Church has committed to publish the Review in full in 2023.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 29 April 2022

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Bishop of Rochester

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

Appointment of Bishop of Rochester: 31 March 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Gibbs for election as Bishop of Rochester.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 31 March 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Gibbs, Suffragan Bishop of Huddersfield, for election as Bishop of Rochester, in succession to The Right Reverend James Langstaff following his retirement.

Background

Jonathan was educated at Jesus College, Oxford and Jesus College, Cambridge and he trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at Holy Trinity Stalybridge, in the diocese of Chester and was ordained Priest in 1990.

Jonathan became Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Basle, Switzerland with Freiburg, Germany in 1992, before being appointed Rector of Heswall, St Peter and Good Shepherd, in the diocese of Chester in 1998.

Jonathan took up his current role as Suffragan Bishop of Huddersfield in 2014. He is married to Toni and they have three adult children and two grandchildren.

There are more details on the Rochester diocesan website.

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Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham Cathedral, for election as Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 30 March 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham Cathedral, for election as Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in succession to The Very Reverend David Ison following his resignation.

Background

Andrew was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and Queen’s College, Oxford and trained for ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his title at St Matthias, Torquay in the Diocese of Exeter and was ordained Priest in 1990.

In 1992, Andrew was appointed Assistant Chaplain at St Mary’s Rotterdam, based in the Diocese of Europe and to The Mission to Seafarers. From 1995, Andrew served as Team Vicar of St Columba, Fareham and in 1998 he became Bishop’s Chaplain in the Diocese of Portsmouth. In 2003, he was appointed Vicar of Goring-by-Sea, in the Diocese of Chichester, and in 2008 he became Residentiary Canon at Bristol Cathedral. He was additionally appointed Acting Dean in 2009. In 2010, Andrew served as Residentiary Canon and Rector of St Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey and, additionally, in 2014 he became Sub-Dean and Archdeacon of Westminster.

He took up his current role as Dean of Durham Cathedral in 2016.

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Churches appeal to Patriarch Kirill

Updated 22 March

As you would expect, churches have called for peace in the war between Russia and Ukraine:

The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have both spoken by video to the Patriarch of Moscow: Welby, Kirill, and Pope Francis discuss peace in Ukraine by Paul Handley

The official statements from each side:

Analyses of this:

To understand the theological views of Patriarch Kirill, you need to study the viewpoint of the other Orthodox churches:

Updates

Religion News Service Jack Jenkins How Putin’s invasion became a holy war for Russia

Church Times Jonathan Luxmoore Patriarch Kirill backs Putin’s denial of Ukrainian independence

Archbishop Cranmer Why doesn’t Patriarch Kirill excommunicate Putin forthwith?

Toronto Star Michael Coren Ukraine’s suffering mirrors that of Easter — we must help this proud nation rise again

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