Thinking Anglicans

House of Bishops – Thursday March 24

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops – Thursday March 24
25/03/2022

The House met on Zoom and began the meeting with an update on Ukraine, a review of current developments and the ongoing humanitarian and refugee crisis . The House took note of several the initiatives already underway on a national and international level and invited all to pray for those in Ukraine effected by the ongoing situation.

The House was then given an update on the financial situation in dioceses. The discussion included an assessment of the current and future inflationary environment and discussed possible mitigation opportunities for those affected.

The House then then turned its attention to Bishops and their ministries. Phase One of the most recent consultation was discussed with a summary of the context and key themes that emerged from the conclusion of this phase of the consultation. This was followed by a presentation by the Chair of the Diocese Commissions on the proposed Phase Two of the consultation. The House also reviewed proposals to join up the work of the Diocese Commission and the Transforming Effectiveness work stream to facilitate diocesan collaboration and develop more shared services.

The House then had a substantive discussion on proposed changes to the membership of the Crown Nominations Commission for the See of Canterbury. A full range of views were expressed on potential changes and will be submitted to the Consultation as a formal response from the House of Bishops.

The House was then given an update on the reform of the Clergy Discipline Measure with the House invited to take note and make comments and suggestions in preparation of the final report that will come to the House in May.

The House then turned its attention to Living in Love and Faith (LLF) related matters.

The House agreed to the plan for bishops’ engagement with LLF in 2022 and the proposal for LLF engagement at the July Synod in 2022.

The House also agreed to a proposal where members of the LLF Reference Group will accompany the bishops during parts of the College of Bishops meetings in the autumn of 2022. Their role will be to enrich the discussions by offering perspectives from outside the episcopal arena, ensure that the insights and sensibilities of diverse lived experiences and convictions are embedded in the discernment process, and act as a diverse sounding board.

The House also agreed to the formation of a Pastoral Consultative Group to support and advise dioceses on pastoral responses to circumstances that arise concerning LGBTI+ clergy, ordinands, lay leaders and the lay people in their care. The group will comprise a small group of bishops working together with external advisors who bring subject expertise as well as pastoral and lived experience.

The House then reviewed attempts to explore questions of gender identity and transition and agreed to seek and commission an appropriate group to take this work forward.

The meeting closed in prayer.

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Simon Sarmiento
Admin
1 month ago

I wrote the following on FB earlier today, and am repeating it here. This was in a post specifically concerned with the sentence about gender identity etc.

“As usual with HoB statements, I do not understand it. What exactly do they mean? I wonder if they even know themselves. I went back to re-read the latest HoB statement, to make sure I understood (as far as one can) the context in which this sentence had been written. I am no wiser.”

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

Is anything from on high in the C of E ever written in plain English? Our diocesan synod received a report on the diocesan growth strategy that was well-nigh incomprehensible. In response to a question, we have been assured that future reports will be jargon-free…

Froghole
Froghole
1 month ago

The bench might need to be thinking about the tsunami which may be coming if the war continues: (i) permanently elevated inflation eviscerating clerical incomes; (ii) petrol rationing, which might destroy many churches (viz. bans on driving on Sundays: this did happen in the Netherlands in 1973 when it was one of the countries embargoed by OPEC); (iii) congregations ceasing to give much as they prioritise their own survival; and (iv) the ensuing overall loss of income, which would wreck the finances of the Church and could result in large-scale collapse, with plentiful redundancies for those on Common Tenure (i.e.,… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Maybe next time the discussion will centre around how to run their ministries with a chaplain and a secretary. If parish income drops I can see PCCs opting to fulfil their responsibilities as parish trustees, rather than paying the ever spiralling costs of diocesan and provincial administration.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

I told my PCCs a few years ago that it was possibly unlawful for them as trustees to compromise the maintenance of the buildings in order to pay the (voluntary) parish share. They listened and paid half. The diocese then did a deal to ratify the new arrangement. Is it a consequence of this that after more than two years I’ve not been replaced? I hear that one plan is that the civic church in the Market Square will be served by a part-time House for Duty parson. So much for town centre ministry.

Rev Colin C Coward
1 month ago

The House of Bishops has decided for a second time, and despite repeated representations to the LLF Next Steps Groups, that it would be a bad idea, to go ahead, after reviewing previous attempts to explore questions of gender identity and transition, “to seek and commission an appropriate group to take this work forward.” I have come to the conclusion that the House of Bishops’ actions are designed to avoid them having to take responsibility for making a decision about the place of LGBTQIA+ people in the Church of England. The Bishops lack Christian conviction and courage to decide for… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
1 month ago

It didn’t take them long to move on from the human trauma of war to diocesan finances and affirming their own roles did it? No mention of whether the HofBs could speak with one voice to the hostile environment, to the fact that refugees who come here are, effectively, left to their own devices, with little or no assistance when it comes to integration, work, healthcare, social security etc, as happens across the EU. God forbid that anything should ever get in the way of our internal agenda of self-preoccupaton. Yet again, the little Church of England is so obsessed… Read more »

Ann Reddecliffe
Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

I really do not understand why the bishops keep coming back to the idea of a working party to explore gender identity and transition. Every time it is suggested, they eventually realise that forming a new group is a bad idea and potentially a harmful one.
There is already an extensive amount of material on the subject in the LLF library. Perhaps the bishops could commit themselves to actually reading the material they already have.
How would this fit into their published LLF timeline anyway?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

I suspect one of the things behind further steps on gender transition and related issues is a change of climate which has been taking place. There has been a kickback in the past 2 or 3 years, as some feminists and people like JK Rowling have tried to re-frame the status of people who have transitioned to live as women (a) as a threat to women and women’s spaces; (b) an invasion of what it means to be a woman, with the argument being that that identity is biological rather than a perceived psychological sense of gender – mainly to… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
1 month ago

On that opaque statement about commissioning ‘an appropriate group’ to ‘take forward’ the work of exploring ‘questions of gender identity and transition’, this has been put forward by the Next Steps Group, discussed already by them with several people who are trans, been advised against by these people on the grounds that there’s quite enough material in the LLF Hub and there’s nothing new to explore, and now the HoB announces it’s doing it anyway. So what was the point of asking our trans sisters and brothers?? This is a very worrying development.

Christina Beardsley
Christina Beardsley
1 month ago

The House of Bishops appears to have forgotten its own unequivocal guidance about trans people: “The Church of England welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people, equally with all people, within the body of Christ, and rejoices in the diversity of that body into which all Christians have been baptized by one Spirit.” https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/guidance-welcoming-transgender-people-published

Dave
Dave
1 month ago

“The House met on Zoom and began the meeting with an update on Ukraine, a review of current developments and the ongoing humanitarian and refugee crisis . The House took note of several the initiatives already underway on a national and international level and invited all to pray for those in Ukraine effected by the ongoing situation.” …. inspired by the example of Pope Francis the House agreed to the purchase and delivery of three fully equipped ambulances to be sent to the war torn areas, to be driven there by the bishops of X Y and Z who would… Read more »

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