Thinking Anglicans

See of Ebbsfleet – consultation

Press release from the Church of England

See of Ebbsfleet – consultation


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).

Church Commissioners’ financial results for 2021

Press release from the Church of England

Church Commissioners reports strong financial returns in 2021 of 13.3%


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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?”


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.


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.


Smyth Review update

News from the Church of England

Smyth Review update

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 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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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


Bishop of Blackburn to retire

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, has announced that he will retire in July, immediately after the Lambeth Conference. There are details on the diocesan website and in an open letter from the bishop to his diocese.


Dean of Carlisle announces retirement

The Dean of Carlisle, the Very Revd Mark Boyling, has announced that he will retire later this year. Details are on the diocesan website.


Anglicans respond to the crisis in Ukraine

Anglican responses to the Ukrainian crisis include the following.

The archbishops of the Church of England issued a Pastoral letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with A Prayer for Ukraine, and urged that Churches prepare for National Day of Prayer for Ukraine. Ely Cathedral provided a translation into Ukrainian.
The Archbishop of York also spoke about Ukraine in a debate in the House of Lords.

The Scottish Episcopal Church issued Primus on Ukraine crisis: “Let us pray today for peace”.

The Church in Wales issued Ukraine – A statement from the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John

The Church of Ireland has published Prayers in a time of war in Ukraine.

The Diocese in Europe has a chaplaincy in Kyiv and several in Russia, and has issued this invitation Prayers Across Europe for Peace in Ukraine (includes Youtube link):

All are invited to join together for
Prayers Across Europe for Peace in Ukraine

Tuesday 1st March
1800gmt / 1900cet / 2000eet (Kyiv) / 2100gmt+3 (Moscow)

Led by: Bishop Robert Innes
Rev’d Canon Malcolm Rogers, Chaplain of St Andrew’s, Moscow and Area Dean of Russia and Ukraine and Representatives of Christ Church, Kyiv

Also there is Bishop Robert Prays for Ukraine (for Chaplaincy Service use) which includes a video link.

Earlier, the CofE published ‘Please pray for peace for Ukraine’: the Church of England congregation which meets in Kyiv.

There is much discussion about the religious aspects of the dispute. Commenters include:

Church Times reports:

Church of England ditches shares in Russian firms

‘A repeat of Cain’s sin’: Orthodox leaders condemn Russian attack on Ukraine

Ukraine invasion is ‘a call to action’, Cottrell tells Lords

Ukraine invasion: Church leaders and charities react with horror and dismay


Bishop of Kensington to lead new Centre for Cultural Witness

News from the Church of England

Bishop of Kensington to lead new Centre for Cultural Witness

  • Bishop Graham Tomlin to lead work to explore how the Church can explain and share with others its profound and transforming story in public.
  • Project to be based based at the Lambeth Palace site and run in partnership with prominent UK-based theological faculties.
  • Output to include a magazine website, explaining aspects of Christian faith in accessible language and Christian perspectives on culture and contemporary life.
  • It will offer a learning and training programme for senior Christian leaders and emerging communicators, and theological research into the task of Cultural Witness in the contemporary context.

The Bishop of Kensington, Dr Graham Tomlin, will step down in August 2022 to lead the new Centre for Cultural Witness, a project to underpin the Church’s work of being a Christian presence in every community, by exploring how the Church can communicate and share with others its profound and transforming story in its public witness.



Dean of Canterbury to retire

News from the Diocese of Canterbury

The Dean of Canterbury, The Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, has announced that he will cease to be Dean at midnight on 16 May 2022, the eve of his 75th birthday…

The Church Times covers this story here.


Bishop of Kingston to retire

News from the Diocese of Southwark

The Bishop of Kingston, The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, announced today that he will be concluding his term of office on 17 October 2022, the 20th anniversary of his consecration. He is one of the longest-serving stipendiary bishops in the Church of England…


Assistant Bishop of Bangor announced

News from the Church in Wales

Assistant Bishop of Bangor announced

One of the first women to become a priest in the Church in Wales will be consecrated as a bishop next month.

Mary Stallard, who has served as Archdeacon of Bangor for the past four years, has been nominated as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Bangor. She will share the leadership of the diocese while the Bishop of Bangor, Andrew John, serves as Archbishop of Wales.

Mary will be consecrated as a bishop at Bangor Cathedral on February 26. The new Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Lomas, will also be consecrated at that service…