Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 3 April 2021

Savitri Hensman Ekklesia C of E: siding with power or choosing resurrection?

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Sex, Power, Control – Changing Attitude, LLF and the House of Bishops

Janet Fife Surviving Church Smyth, Fletcher and Fife

Anglican Communion News Service Primates’ Easter Messages 2021

Christopher Wells continues his reflections on hierarchy for The Living Church
The Evangelical Edge
Sursum Corda

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Kate
Kate
13 days ago

I broadly agree with Colin Coward but how many people here think that the bishops will put forward next steps in 2022? My prediction is that early next year they will say proper debate has been impossible while churches have been closed and they will suggest delaying until (at least) 2024.

David Keen
David Keen
11 days ago
Reply to  Kate

It wouldn’t just be the bishops saying proper debate has been impossible. We had our LLF day for the diocese a couple of weeks ago, and most of our breakout group agreed that we needed more time to do this well – to get out of covid, to meet face to face, to adapt the materials to context (e.g. adults with learning difficulties) etc. We’re being asked for feedback by the end of the autumn, there’s no way we’re going to manage that, without rushing the process, or doing it in a way which doesn’t involve the whole parish, which… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
11 days ago
Reply to  Kate

I think they’ll be very happy to delay the process as long as possible in order to put off having actually to make a decision. In the meantime this, from the Guardian today, shows that the whole thing is going to diminish into irrelevance anyway as decent people forsake a toxic church.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/05/americans-religion-rightwing-politics-decline?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Tim Chesterton
13 days ago

Thank you Janet for a very moving article.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
12 days ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

A moving and powerful piece indeed by Janet, worth heeding especially in churches or dioceses in which skill at evangelism is sometimes treated as overriding human cost.

Clare Amos
Clare Amos
12 days ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

I also want to say how powerful – and brave – I found Janet’s reflection.

Andrew
Andrew
12 days ago

‘The prime minister, Boris Johnson, praises “greed” as a driving force for society. Yet bishops have mainly stayed silent’. (Hensman) This throwaway remark, to a private gathering of MPs, though swiftly retracted, has been widely misconstrued. I don’t think the PM was praising greed as the driving force for society. He was merely noting the foundational principle of capitalism, going back to Adam Smith. The butcher and baker weren’t selling their products for purely altruistic reasons. They were in healthy competition with each other to make a profit, while at the same time serving the community. The bishops couldn’t reasonably… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Adam Smith has often been misconstrued. Deliberately, by some.
I believe Mr. Smith was promoting the idea of enlightened self-interest: By selling products that benefit others, they help themselves.
Mr. Smith is no Gordon Gekko.

I’d like to think that’s what the PM was promoting.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

In 2013, Boris Johnson praised greed – just five years after the crash, holding ‘the Gordon Gekkos of London’ up as a model – along with inequality and envy (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/27/boris-johnson-thatcher-greed-good). In the context of the pandemic, the evidence suggests that vaccine-related successes have been reliant on cooperation (https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/greed-my-friends/) and altruism, while it is public funding which has made it possible to develop vaccines at such speed (https://theconversation.com/covid-19-vaccines-are-a-victory-for-public-research-not-greed-and-capitalism-158164).

There is a difference between functioning within the legal and financial framework of a particular society (as charities may be obliged to do) and promoting values.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
12 days ago

RE: Janet Fife Surviving Church Smyth, Fletcher and Fife

“One of the revelations from the SU report [“Scripture Union criticised for silence about John Smyth”, Church Times, March 26] is that Bishop Paul Butler, at the time President of Scripture Union and Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, was told in 2015, yet appears to have done nothing, and Smyth was not stopped until the first media report” [in 2017 – Ed]…We believe that the failures in Scripture Union’s past are being mirrored by failures in the present”

Indeed – and at a very high level within the church hierarchy.

Last edited 12 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
12 days ago

I think some caution is necessary before making assertions about Bishop Butler’s possible inaction in 2015. The truth is we don’t know and, as usual, the chronology is important. It has been claimed that the Bishop of Ely and the Archbishop of Canterbury received information about Smyth earlier in 2013, and the church in South Africa was tipped off about him then. Also, Smyth, having left the country to live in Africa as long ago as the 1980s (in the early years returning occasionally to appear in important trials here), had ceased to be a safeguarding risk in the UK… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
12 days ago

Not certain how the typo happened, but the penultimate paragraph should read:
“As to matters at the South African end, and the Bishop’s role as President of the Scripture Union, we must wait for further evidence.”

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