Thinking Anglicans

House of Bishops Meeting – 17th September 2020

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops Meeting – 17th September 2020
17/09/2020

A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today Wednesday 17 September 2020 via Zoom.

At the second meeting of the House this autumn, the focus of the meeting was on strategic planning and the on-going work of the Emerging Church groups.

Earlier this week, 130 of the Church’s Bishops and most senior leaders in the regions met in a zoom forum entitled “Not the College” which was chaired by both Archbishops. The forum considered how the Church of England can boost its mission and outreach to all communities in this country.

Reporting back to the House in his capacity as Chair of the Church’s Vision and Strategy Group which sponsored the meeting, the Archbishop of York spoke of the Church’s addressing the spiritual need of a society which is going through an economic and health crisis. In particular Archbishop Stephen focused on the themes of inclusion and broadening the Church’s engagement with younger and more diverse groups.

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally in her capacity as Chair of the Recovery Group then updated the House on the recent ‘rule of six’ announcement by the government and how the announcement will affect church services and church related activities. These will continue to take place while building on the digital engagement and outreach which have been markers of the Church’s activities during the crisis.

The Chair of the Governance Review Group then gave an update on the various models of Church governance structures which are being considered by the group.

This was followed by a report from the Chair of the Transforming Effectiveness Group which is looking at what activities sit best at a local level and which are best resourced nationally. The House welcomed this initiative and agreed to feed in ideas and inputs to assist with structured conversations at diocesan and national levels about how all levels of Church activities are best supported.

The House then received an update on the financial position of dioceses and parish share, with the House supporting specific conversations and engagement with those dioceses facing financial strain.

This was followed by an update regarding ongoing plans for the 2022 Lambeth Conference. Although the Conference was unable to take place in 2020, supportive and productive dialogues are continuing between the Archbishop of Canterbury and his counterparts in all parts of the global Anglican Communion who are each facing the crisis in different ways.

The current position of the Church of England with respect to the distribution of Holy Communion and the use of the Common Cup during Covid was discussed with further theological reflection, discussion and work on this matter planned.

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Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

I note this paragraph in the above account of the September 2020 H.o.B. Meeting: “Reporting back to the House in his capacity as Chair of the Church’s Vision and Strategy Group which sponsored the meeting, the Archbishop of York spoke of the Church’s addressing the spiritual need of a society which is going through an economic and health crisis. In particular Archbishop Stephen focused on the themes of inclusion and broadening the Church’s engagement with younger and more diverse groups.” Having experienced the eirenic teaching and ministry of Archbishop Stephen (+York) last year in New Zealand at our ‘Anglo-Catholic Hui’;… Read more »

Michael
Michael
1 month ago

<The current position of the Church of England with respect to the distribution of Holy Communion and the use of the Common Cup during Covid was discussed with further theological reflection, discussion and work on this matter planned.> So no urgency, just more reflection. For laity and parish clergy alike, this must be resolved – see the Letters in today’s Church Times. It never ceases to amaze me that senior clergy, who can celebrate and receive communion in both kinds, have no concept of how frustrating it is, for ordinary worshippers, firstly to be locked out of church for several… Read more »

RPNewark
RPNewark
1 month ago

I might take more interest in the press release if the writer could manage to get the day/date right!

Wednesday was the 16th; The 17th was Thursday.

More schoolboy errors and a distinct failure to proof-read before publication.

Hopeless.

David Lamming
David Lamming
1 month ago

Report of the House of Bishops meeting on 4 September 2020: “The current position of the Church of England with respect to the distribution of Holy Communion and the use of the Common Cup during Covid was then discussed with further reflection, discussion and work on this matter planned for future meetings.” Report of the House of Bishops meeting on 17 September 2020: “The current position of the Church of England with respect to the distribution of Holy Communion and the use of the Common Cup during Covid was discussed with further theological reflection, discussion and work on this matter… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lamming

It seems the bishops are damned if they do (theological reflection) and damned if they don’t. Either way, I fancy they may be rather more theologically informed than six barristers.

Charles Clapham
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

But the presenting issue was the legality of the individual cups under canon law – and on that specific issue there’s no reason to assume the bishops (or strictly speaking, their legal advisory group) are better informed than a group of barristers. I’ve no doubt that theologically and symbolically a single shared cup is better than individual ones, and I would have thought most of us would agree on this. But that’s not the choice before us. So the question is whether parishes which make a pastoral judgement to introduce individual communion cups at this present time, on the basis… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Charles Clapham
Michael
Michael
1 month ago

I entirely agree with you Charles Clapham. The best reassurance that the House of Bishops can offer, is that when a covid vaccine is in circulation, they will feel more confident about restoring communion in both kinds for the laity. If such a vaccine remains elusive, communion in one kind for the laity will slide into permanence,except where local clergy decide otherwise as you noted. I have noticed during my extensive research into this vexing matter that all those who defend communion in one kind are in the ordained ministry, including in this thread, and all those who wish to… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

Michael, much as I appreciate how important receiving in both kinds is for you, please don’t turn this into a ‘them and us’ issue, clergy vs laity. Advice on Communion from the House of Bishops Recovery Group reads: “The president alone should always take the wine, consuming all that has been consecrated; other communicants should receive the bread only, in the hand. As the Liturgical and Faith and Order Commissions have made clear, this is still ‘complete communion’ [my italics].” How can this be a conspiracy against the laity when the Liturgical Commission has 5 lay members and the Faith… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago

You are right, Charles. I was clumsily making the point that as an episcopally ordered church the final arbiter should be the bishops, either collectively of individually (provided any ruling is not contrary to Canon Law) and that this requires a time of theological reflection. I also agree – assuming the bishops wish to discourage the practice – that they will be all too aware of their own limits, particularly as those churches advocating individual cups tend to sit as light to episcopal rulings as they do to the Canons. Where I do part company with you is when you… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

On the matter of ‘The Common Cup’ (if I may intervene as a priest in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where our situation is much less dire than in the U.K.) We have for some time during the pandemic now been limited to dispensing Holy Communion in ‘One Kind’ – the ‘Host only’, for general consumption. This prevents any possible contamination from the normal ‘Common Cup’. We have decided not to adopt the common Protestant use of individual cups, as being both un-Scriptural and un-Anglican This has been accepted by even the more Catholic amongst us, who might have… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Father Ron Smith
Kate
Kate
1 month ago

“Not the College” is presented here as being about mission and outreach but the press release for the event itself concentrated on “the particular challenges facing the Church both internally and externally and what the vision for the Church over the next ten years might be.’ https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/vision-and-strategy-group-tuesday-15th-september This gives at least the impression that mission and outreach are seen as a response to the challenges facing the church rather than responding to an ache to bring the Good News to our communities. This unfortunate impression – let’s hope it is no more than an impression – is compounded by Archbishop… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

I thought “Not the College” was an entirely separate event from the Vision and Strategy group meeting.

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