Thinking Anglicans

13 English bishops write to GAFCON

Thirteen evangelical bishops of the Church of England have written a letter in response to this document: Letter to the Churches – Gafcon Assembly 2018.

Their letter is titled Remaining Faithful within the Church of England.

The signatories are:

Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough
Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden
Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham
Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester
Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes
Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn
Alistair Magowan, Bishop of Ludlow
Nick McKinnel, Bishop of Plymouth
James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Mark Rylands, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Exeter
Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford
David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke
Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham

Readers who do not keep up with GAFCON statements may also be interested in:

Rev Dr Stephen Noll’s Commentary on the ‘Letter to the Churches’

Chairman’s Letter – October 2018

Nigerians join Ugandans not attending Lambeth 2020

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Reactions to the letter from eleven bishops

Updated again Thursday

The Church Times has reported on the letter published on Monday, see Evangelical bishops hint at split if marriage teaching is changed.  This mentions that the Bishop of Liverpool tweeted:

 “It’s good to talk. Letters like this contribute to the conversation, but they will not and should not replace or pre-empt the process by which the Church of England as a whole expresses the radical new Christian inclusion to which we’re called.”

To date the letter remains unreported in the secular media.

There have been several articles written in response. Two of these are written by bishops:

Other responses include:

Stephen Parsons Eleven English Bishops teaching about Sex and Marriage

Andrew Lightbown Talking of the evangelical bishops letter

Marcus Green a never failing stream

Two campaigning groups have also issued statements:

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Evangelical bishops write to Living in Love and Faith…

Updated 13.00 Monday

Christian Today has a report this morning, headlined as: EXCLUSIVE: Evangelical bishops issue blunt warning to Church of England on sexuality which says that :

Anglican evangelical bishops have warned of ‘major problems’ and the danger of division if the Church of England changes its stance on sexuality.

Eleven leading evangelical bishops have issued a joint letter in which they say that the traditional Christian view of sex as being for heterosexual marriage alone ‘is the teaching of Scripture’ and ‘therefore expresses the character and will of God’…

…The letter has been signed by the Bishops of Carlisle, Shrewsbury, Durham, Ludlow, Birkenhead, Willesden, Peterborough, Plymouth, Blackburn, Maidstone and Lancaster…

Four of the above are diocesans (Carlisle, Durham, Blackburn, Peterborough), the others are all suffragans, and the See of Shrewsbury is currently vacant.

The article also reports that the full text of the letter can be found at the website of the Church of England Evangelical Council. At the time of writing (noon on Monday) what can be found there is only the following:

A letter from evangelical bishops ​to the ‘Living in Faith and Love’ coordinating group

Bishop Julian Henderson, President of CEEC, writes : ‘In response to repeated requests from around the country, a number of evangelical bishops have produced a letter which they are sending to Bishop Christopher Cocksworth and the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) Coordinating Group. It asks that the LLF work takes seriously the biblical evidence and the church’s traditional understanding of it regarding identity, marriage and relationships, hears the voice of the Anglican Communion and understands that for many evangelicals, change in the Church of England’s teaching and practice has serious consequences. We are aware that a position of no change equally has serious consequences for others and our letter therefore assures the LLF Coordinating Group of our prayers as they wrestle to know the mind of Christ.’
 

Update

The full text of the letter is now linked, and can be found here.

78 Comments

Opinion – 13 October 2018

Neal Michell The Living Church Outreach in the Smaller Church: Four Lessons

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Bible translations and dogma

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of The Clash, Bonhoeffer, and the Church of England.

Bishop David Walker Viamedia.News My Struggles with Fear & Distrust

Ian Gomersall St Chrysostom’s Church News and Views Mother N and Father M

Jody Stowell Women and the Church God; She, He and everything in between

27 Comments

General Synod February 2019

Press release from the Church of England

General Synod February 2019
12/10/2018

The Business Committee of the Church of England General Synod has agreed the outline timings for the February 2019 group of sessions.

Synod will meet from 2.30pm on Wednesday February 20 to 4pm on Saturday February 23 at Church House Westminster.

Following the workshops and seminars in York in July, there will be a update on progress with Living in Love and Faith and the plans for completing the project through a presentation as part of the main Synod agenda as well as a collection of fringe meetings.

It is anticipated that the timetable will be published in December.

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Church of Ireland welcomes Ashers Bakery decision

Updated Sunday evening

When we reported on this case in 2015 we used the headline: Ashers Bakery judgement generates controversy.

This week the UK Supreme Court issued its judgment. The full text is available here.

The Church of Ireland has published: Statement on Ashers bakery case judgment.

The Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Kearon, Chair of the Church of Ireland’s Church and Society Commission, made the following statement regarding the UK Supreme Court’s judgment in the case involving Ashers bakery on Wednesday, 10th October.

‘We welcome the affirmation of religious freedom and expression in this particular case. This is a complex issue which does involve the balancing of rights. The decision by the Supreme Court in this case affirms the rights of the business and does not significantly impact on the freedom of choice for the customer.’

The case is analysed in various places, including:

Disagreement with the decision has been expressed here:

Agreement with it came from:

Update
Many more links here.

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Bishop of Dover to retire in May 2019

The Diocese of Canterbury has announced that the Bishop of Dover will retire in May 2019.

Bishop of Dover announces retirement

The Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury, has announced his intention to retire in May 2019. He has served in this role since February 2010, taking on additional responsibilities for the Channel Islands in 2014. Bishop Trevor will conclude his public ministry on 12 May at Canterbury Cathedral…

The Bishop of Dover exercises most of the functions of his diocesan bishop, allowing the Archbishop of Canterbury to concentrate on other things.

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Opinion – 10 October 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Institutional Narcissism and response to abuse survivors

Harriet Sherwood The Observer Church and state – an unhappy union?

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Toxic Masculinity & Our Use of Pronouns
… and in response …
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The myth of the masculine God

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Lord Carey speaks at Rebuilding Bridges conference

The Bell Society, which seeks to restore the reputation of Bishop George Bell, held a second Rebuilding Bridges conference on 5 October.  See here for more information about the first conference, held in February. Note that this organisation is distinct from the George Bell Group.

One of the speakers on 5 October was Lord Carey. The full text of his remarks has been published by Archbishop Cranmer.  He also discusses the separate case of Bishop Peter Ball.

Lord Carey challenges Bishops to break their silence on the ‘significant cloud’ hanging over the name of Bishop George Bell

55 Comments

Opinion – 6 October 2018

Colin Blakely ViaMedia.News Preaching to the Converted?

Tim Matthews Church Times Let’s dispel some myths about church-plants
“There is much more to them than smoothie bars and smoke machines”

Roy McCloughry Church Times A theology of pain
“Roy McCloughry considers the presence of God in the experience of pain”

26 Comments

Opinion – 3 October 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Toxic Masculinity -A problem for the Church?

Stephen Mattson Sojourners The Church Must Listen to Women

Diocese of London Why open up?

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Celibacy: The Gift of Alone for the Whole Church

Erika Baker ViaMedia.News Lizzie’s Legacy – The Urgent Need for Signposting in Every Church

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Clergy Well-being

Press release from the Church of England

Call for ‘Big Conversation’ on clergy care and well-being
02/10/2018

The Church of England is being invited to take part in a ‘Big Conversation’ on a new deal to coordinate and improve its approach to clergy care and well-being, in a set of draft documents published today.

The suggested text of a Covenant for Clergy Care and Well-being, modelled on the Military Covenant, is published for consultation along with a set of proposed shared commitments between ministers, churches and the wider church.

The documents have been drawn up by a Working Group appointed last year following a debate at the General Synod which heard of the impact of stress, isolation and loneliness on clergy’s lives and ministries.

In a report published alongside the Covenant, the Working Group calls for shared responsibility for clergy well-being between ministers, churches, dioceses and the national church. It also sets a goal of a culture change in the Church of England towards greater concern for the health and well-being of its ordained ministers.

Canon Simon Butler, who chaired the Working Group, said: “We are calling for a ‘Big Conversation’ on clergy care and well-being and we are providing the framework for this to happen. Our aim is not to be prescriptive, but to promote a conversation which will lead to action across all levels of the church, from members of local churches through to the Cathedrals and National Church Institutions.

“Our goal is to bring about a culture change in the Church towards greater awareness of our shared responsibility to promote clergy care and well-being and a significant move towards a preventative approach alongside responsive care.

“The Working Group is very keen to listen to the responses before taking that into the final document for the Synod next summer. We are hoping that the Covenant and the report will be debated by every Diocesan Synod by the end of July 2020.”

The draft paper ‘A Covenant for Clergy Care and Well Being’ can be found here.

Details on the membership of the Working Group and last July’s General Synod debate can be found here.

We reported on the setting up of the working group here.

Madeleine Davies writes at length on the report for Church Times: Clergy burdened by unrealistic job specs, C of E told.

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Archbishop of York to retire – in June 2020

Dr John Sentamu has announced that he will retire from his post as Archbishop of York on 7 June 2020, Trinity Sunday, 3 days prior to his 71st birthday. The official announcement is here.

Some press reports

Adam Becket Church Times Archbishop Sentamu announces his retirement — but not for another 21 months

Joe Cawthorn Yorkshire Evening Post Archbishop of York John Sentamu has announced his retirement date

BBC News Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu to retire

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Archbishop of York says he will retire in 2020

Victoria Ward and Jamie Merrill The Telegraph Sentamu retirement opens door for Church of England’s first female archbishop

34 Comments

Opinion – 29 September 2018

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News “Welcome to My Church!”

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of sexuality, continence and pretense

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Was Jesus heterosexual?

15 Comments

Opinion – 26 September 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving ChurcChurch Safeguarding and the Needs of Survivors
[This post refers to the document: Key Roles and Responsibilities of Church Office Holders and Bodies Practice Guidance.]

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Bishops – Please Show Us Your Workings

Richard Peers has published a series of four posts on mission on his blog Quodcumque – Serious Christianity.

(1): Mindfulness for Mission – there is no God Shaped Hole
(2): Learning for Mission – it’s all about memory
(3): Seriousness for Mission – the easier we make it the less attractive it is
(4): Morality for Mission: why people think the church is immoral

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Opinion – 22 September 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Morale of the Clergy of the Church of England

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Sex, flags and the Bishop of Ely

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of God to the church and in the public square

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Is Good Disagreement Possible?

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How Anglicans tipped the Brexit vote

Greg Smith and Linda Woodhead have published research on “Religion and Brexit: populism and the Church of England”. The article, in the journal Religion, State and Society, is here. They have also published a summary on the LSE Brexit blogHow Anglicans tipped the Brexit vote. It starts:

Two-thirds of Anglicans voted for Brexit, a much higher proportion than in the country as a whole. Greg Smith (William Temple Foundation) and Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University) look at the reasons for the disparity and note that the divergence between the beliefs of UK evangelicals – including the Archbishop of Canterbury – and ‘normal’ Anglicans.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has been busy again attacking the markets and calling for more welfare. His views are at variance with those of ordinary Anglicans, two-thirds of whom think that welfare spending is too high.

Research we have just published reveals an equally significant ‘values gap’ when it comes to the EU. ‘In the run up to the referendum of 2016 Welby was against Brexit but in the vote Anglicans strongly supported it…

The Economist has also published a related article: The Church of England’s views rankle with the laity.
“The clergy is more left-wing than its flock on politics–but more conservative on social matters”

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Brexit: Why the Church should not stay silent

This week, the Church Times has a major feature on Brexit, with articles from a range of experts, spread over ten pages.

The following (related) items have been published on the website in advance:

The whole set is now published. The Church Times has a leader: Second thoughts on Brexit.

And Dave Walker has this Brexit cartoon.

Ten further articles are currently linked from this page.

26 Comments

Communion Partner bishops issue FAQ on same-sex marriage

We reported previously on developments within TEC concerning the implementation of resolution B012:

TEC adopts compromise solution on same-sex marriage

Diocese of Albany considers same-sex marriages

There was an earlier ENS report which we missed: Diocesan bishops who blocked same-sex marriages take reluctant first steps toward allowing ceremonies.

Now, Communion Partners has issued this:

FAQ on the 79th General Convention Answers from Communion Partner Bishops of the Episcopal Church to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Provisions for Same-sex Marriage.

This includes a comparison between the position of Communion Partners and The Society.

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Opinion – 19 September 2018

There was an ecumenical conversation on the Eucharist, organised by Liverpool Parish Church, on 8 September with introductory contributions from the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool and the Chair of the Liverpool Methodist District. The texts of their talks are available here. The Bishop of Liverpool has also published his contribution on his own website: The presence of Jesus.

Jo Kershaw Church Times Keeping the Catholic flame burning
“Let’s not lose the gift of laughter”

Kelvin Holdsworth Who would true valour sing?

Jeremy Morris Viamedia.News Time for “A New Evangelism”?

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