The House of Bishops of the Church of England met for three days this week, and afterwards issued this press release.
House of Bishops Oct 30 – Nov 1, 2023
The House of Bishops has held its annual autumn residential meeting, spending time in prayer and discussing matters including the war in Gaza, safeguarding, finance, youth evangelism, and Prayers of Love and Faith. The meeting was held at Cookham, Berkshire.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, updated Bishops on his recent visit to Jerusalem and led a discussion on the war in Israel and Gaza. The Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun, the Church of England’s representative on the Holy land Coordination Group, led a time of prayer.
The House then discussed proposals for a National Redress Scheme for victims and survivors of abuse, ahead of draft legislation coming to Synod this month.
Bishops also heard updates on the Safeguarding Programme arising out of the recommendations from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) Inquiry Report on the Anglican Church.
This included Recommendations One and Eight, covering diocesan safeguarding officers and national safeguarding standards and audits as well as information sharing and the national casework management system.
Bishops also spent time reflecting on their recent decisions about the process of introducing Prayers of Love and Faith and discussed the upcoming meeting of Synod.
On Tuesday bishops heard updates on Diocesan finances and clergy retirement housing support. They also discussed the operation of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015, which ensures that vacancies on the Bishops’ Bench in the House of Lords would be filled first by female diocesan bishops for 10 years or until parity is achieved.
The House reviewed guidance for good practice in praying for others, including a briefing document on conversion therapy.
Bishops also engaged with ongoing work to meet the challenge of ensuring that a church with a flourishing children, youth, and families’ ministry is within reach of every child or young person in England.
On Wednesday bishops considered questions around interventions in public life.
During the three days bishops attended the local parish church, Holy Trinity, Cookham, for services of morning prayer and Holy Communion.