Thinking Anglicans

House of Bishops Meeting – 22 July 2020

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops Meeting – 22 July 2020
22/07/2020

A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today on Wednesday 22 of July 2020 (by Zoom)

Updates were given to House on a range of matters including an update by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally in her capacity as the Chair of the Recovery Group, on the Church’s activities relating to Covid. This was followed by an update from the Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, the Chair of the Vision and Strategy Group, and an update from the Bishop of Leeds on the emerging work plan for the Governance Review Group,

The House then turned its attention to Legislative Reform and Simplification. The House endorsed a proposal for a green paper to be issued on clergy terms of service. The House agreed that a report with recommendations for fresh legislation for pastoral reorganisation should be presented to Synod with a view to a draft Measure on pastoral reorganisation being brought to the synod.

The House endorsed the direction of travel relating to the planning for and establishment of an Archbishops’ Commission on Racism.

The House then turned its attention to the report from the Implementation and Dialogue Group, agreeing to publish the report and request that it go on the agenda of a future General Synod.

Further matters discussed at the meeting included Budgets, the Anglican Communion and an update on Safeguarding.

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Filigree Jones
Filigree Jones
12 days ago

The items on clergy terms of service and fresh legislation for pastoral reorganisation are ones to watch and are presumably about facilitating cuts to the number of stipendiary clergy posts across the Church of England. Likely to include simplified mechanisms to abolish posts/ make post holders redundant, maybe a slimming down of the compensation package (too expensive at present), and powers to move clergy from one post to another. Expect to see more dioceses making central appointments to support this work, such as the one currently being advertised by Worcester. Alongside this the possible introduction of ‘golden handshakes’ for older… Read more »

North End Anglican
North End Anglican
11 days ago
Reply to  Filigree Jones

With regards to Filigree Jones’ latter point, as someone who recently went through the discernment process as a candidate below 40 for self-supporting ministry, I encountered some suspicion that I wasn’t putting myself forward for stipendiary ministry, as if that equated to a lack of commitment on my part. As Filigree Jones rightly notes, an intentional focus on promoting SSM may be required as we head into the future, though younger candidates will have to be encouraged by a more positive attitude towards SSM than I faced in the Church immediately pre-Covid.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
11 days ago

References to so many ‘Groups’ and so little on what they are producing beyond ‘updates’:
 
the Recovery Group;
the Vision and Strategy Group;
the Governance Review Group;
the Implementation and Dialogue Group
 
Together with
Legislative Reform and Simplification:
a green paper to be issued on clergy terms of service;
a draft Measure on pastoral reorganisation;
planning for and establishment of an Archbishops’ Commission on Racism.
 
So little reported about so much.

Kate
Kate
11 days ago

It feigns transparency while saying absolutely nothing.

Simon Butler
Simon Butler
10 days ago
Reply to  Kate

I am chairing the legislative reform process – and I’m not a member of the House of Bishops. The process is completely transparent: there are no firm proposals yet, so if you want to suggest some ideas, please write to me.

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
11 days ago

Taken out of context, I know, but ‘The House endorsed the direction of travel’ is a wonderfully neat summary of how the HofB has become little more than a rubber-stamping function for The Lambeth School of Business Studies.

Simon Butler
Simon Butler
10 days ago

The direction of travel was proposed by the Legislative Reform Committee not Lambeth Palace. We expressed a desire to have our proposed direction of travel supported by the Archbishops Council and the House of Bishops, as they are the policy direction bodies. But the ideas come from all sorts of people, with plenty of time for TA regulars to move from criticism-as-standard to a more engaged and constructive approach

Worryin' Moobs
Worryin' Moobs
11 days ago

A statement worthy of Sir Humphrey himself. You can imagine the conversation… Bishop: I have the press release here – ‘Bishops plan mass Clergy Cull’ Advisor: The optics are not good. You need to put a positive spin on it. Bishop: How about this ‘Bishops increase central funding’ Advisor: Still far too clear. How about this ‘The House then turned its attention to Legislative Reform and Simplification. The House endorsed a proposal for a green paper to be issued on clergy terms of service. The House agreed that a report with recommendations for fresh legislation for pastoral reorganisation should be… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
10 days ago
Reply to  Worryin' Moobs

Today’s CT letter from Simon Grigg (St Paul’s, Covent Garden) is absolutely magnificent. In a few pithy sentences he calls out the lack of bishops’ leadership, accountability and pastoral skills. He draws attention to the freezing of ordinary stipends while bishops get a 2% pay rise. He scorns the ever increasing growth of middle management to (my words) arrange terminal care for the institution. It has bothered me for years that though bishops and their advisers pressurise parish clergy to pull the church out of the doldrums as if it’s our fault that the patient is terminally ill, the truth… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
10 days ago

Second letter here (though do also read the first one from TA commenter Malcolm Dixon too)

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/24-july/comment/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor

Simon Butler
Simon Butler
10 days ago
Reply to  Worryin' Moobs

Actual discussion. Legislative Reform Committee: we have lots of ideas to improve how the church handles clergy terms of service – improved capability processes, revision of the Canons to reflect the Priestly task in 21st century etc – and the inoperable Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011. Bishops: interesting. LRC: before we begin a challenging piece of work, we want to know that the Archbishops Council and Bishops are happy for us to bring forward proposals for discussion before legislating. Bishops/AC: great. Better to consult via a green paper so that we get the best possible legislation. That’s the reality: not… Read more »

Paul
Paul
9 days ago
Reply to  Worryin' Moobs

“The House agreed that a report with recommendations for fresh legislation for pastoral reorganisation should be presented to Synod with a view to a draft Measure on pastoral reorganisation being brought to the synod.’ ”
 
That should ensure that the matter remains in the long grass for at least another five years.”

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
11 days ago

Michael, Could not agree more with comments. A tribe of Bishops being led by the nose of Welby business school.
 
Lacking any spiritual or pastoral content to a nation deeply in need of such help, after being ignored in the pandemic.
 
Fr John Emlyn

Filigree Jones
Filigree Jones
10 days ago

In fairness, this is just a press release noting business transacted. It doesn’t expand on any of the items and that is not its purpose. As Simon Butler correctly points out, more information and opportunities to engage with any proposals will be available in due course.   That said, I do believe that trust in episcopal leadership is objectively low at the moment, compared with what it has been and ought to be. Nowhere is that more felt than around the emotive issue of clergy deployment, terms of service and pastoral reorganisation. There is now a dawning realisation that life… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
10 days ago

The Church operates on the basis of two entirely separate models of funding ministry.   Although the parish share scheme funds the stipends and pensions of rank-and-file clergy and is susceptible to the solvency of parishes, bishops’ stipends and pensions are funded by the Church Commissioners, dependent on the fund’s ability to generate investment income – not on the solvency of parishes.   This is an unusual arrangement. Normally, senior executives’ remuneration is contingent on performance. Now, if the bishops were solely responsible for the Commissioners’ investments following a healthy year, a 2% pay rise seems a modest increase. And… Read more »

Angusian
Angusian
9 days ago

Topics all very worthy of a major corporation no doubt, but where is the voice of concern over the genocide of Uighers, concern for individual clergy for whom bishops are supposedly responsible.

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