Thinking Anglicans

Archbishops issue General Election message

The archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued this press release:

Time to ‘leave our echo chambers’ and listen to others, say Archbishops in General Election message.

The full text of the message is available as a PDF here.

A direct link to the video which shows the archbishops reading the message is here.

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New Church of England document on Christian-Jewish relations

The Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England has published a teaching document entitled God’s Unfailing Word.  This is available as a PDF here.

There is a press release:

Church of England teaching document calls for repentance over role of Christians in centuries of antisemitism

Christian theology played a part in the stereotyping and persecution of Jewish people which ultimately led to the Holocaust, a new reflection on Christian-Jewish relations issued by the Church of England acknowledges.

The teaching document, entitled God’s Unfailing Word, is the first authoritative statement on the subject from the Church of England. It speaks of attitudes towards Judaism over many centuries as providing a “fertile seed-bed for murderous antisemitism”.

It urges Anglicans and other Christians not only to repent of the “sins of the past” towards their Jewish neighbours but to be alert to and actively challenge such attitudes or stereotypes.

The document, published by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, encourages Christians to rediscover the relationship of “unique significance” between the two faiths, worshipping one God, with scriptures shared in common.

The Christian-Jewish relationship should be viewed as a “gift of God to the Church” to be received with care, respect and gratitude, it makes clear.

Christians should, therefore, be mindful of the difficult history of the two faiths and apply sensitivityin the use of some passages of scripture and liturgy, hymns and art as well as in sharing their faithwith Jewish people and in discussions about Israel.

The document includes an honest and challenging afterword by the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, in which he speaks of “profound friendship” but also a “substantial misgiving” on the question of evangelism.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, responds in a foreword, describing the Chief Rabbi’s reflection as doing Anglicans a “great service” and making clear that Christians sharing their faith must do so with “gentleness and grace” and recognising the “weight of that history”.

The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Faith and Order Commission, said: “Assumptions about Judaism and Jewish people, past and present, colour Christian approaches to preaching, teaching, evangelism, catechesis, worship, devotion and art, whether or not Christian communities are conscious of their Jewish neighbours, near and far; teasing out those assumptions and exploring them theologically is therefore a challenge that pertains to the whole Church.

“That challenge is also, however, a precious opportunity. As the first ‘principle’ underpinning this report states, we are convinced that ‘the Christian-Jewish relationship is a gift of God to the Church, which is to be received with care, respect and gratitude, so that we may learn more fully about God’s purposes for us and all the world’.”

The Church Times has a news report, which gives some background information: New book seeks to repair the harm done to Jewish people.  And also has a helpful page containing extracts from the document.

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Opinion – 16 November 2019

Giles Fraser UnHerd The battle to believe in God
“Don’t kid yourself that atheism is a modern invention — it’s as old as religion”

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Complaints

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Inside, Outside – XR, Church & Change

The following two articles follow on from the Church Times article by Philip North that I linked to last week.
Ian Paul Psephizo Do we need to take Jesus to our urban areas?
Philip North Psephizo On taking Jesus to our urban areas: a response

45 Comments

Opinion – 13 November 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Church as a Refuge. Reflections on a proposed Conference

Savi Hensman Equal Relationships, 40 years on

Ian Blair ViaMedia.News Remembrance, Inclusion & Identity

Laudable Practice Praying for the parish is more important that praying for the diocese

41 Comments

Opinion – 9 November 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Establishment dynamics. How secrecy and defensiveness harm the Church.

Peter Leonard ViaMedia.News Remembering – An Active Choice?

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News The All-Seeing Eye

Kate Wharton Single Minded The Billy Graham Rule

Philip North Church Times We don’t need to bring Jesus to urban estates
“The Church’s task is to demonstrate that he is already present, not to provide all the answers”

Sara Batts-Neale Church Times The tyranny of the perfect wedding
“Sara Batts-Neale’s ministry to her wedding couples extends to their bank balance”

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Civil partnerships extended to opposite-sex couples

Updated

Both Houses of Parliament have now approved The Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019. The regulations will come into force no later than 2 December.

There is an accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

There is also an extremely helpful House of Commons Library briefing paper, Civil partnership for opposite sex couples (full text available as a PDF here).

This change applies only to England and Wales. It is for the Scottish Parliament to decide on whether to do this in Scotland too, but the Scottish Government has introduced a bill to do so.

The regulations do not permit opposite-sex couples who enter a civil partnership to subsequently convert their relationship into a marriage (as is the case for same-sex couples). The Government has conducted a separate consultation on conversion rights generally, but has not yet announced the outcome of that, or decided what actions it will take. Further regulations relating to this may be made in 2020.

The position of the Church of England on this new form of civil partnership has not yet been announced.  I will update this post when it does. But it does seem unlikely that the policy statement of 2005 can be applied unchanged now.

There is further discussion of these regulations at Law and Religion UKCivil partnerships, marriage registration, stillbirths – update.

And Russell Sandberg has written Religion and Opposite Sex Civil Partnerships: An Update.

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Bishop of Dorchester to retire

The area bishop of Dorchester in the diocese of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, has announced he will retire on 4 October 2020. Details are on the diocesan website.

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Martin Gorick to be next Bishop of Dudley

Press release

Suffragen [sic] Bishop of Dudley: 4 November 2019

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Martin Charles William Gorick, MA, to the Suffragan See of Dudley, in the Diocese of Worcester,

Published 4 November 2019
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Martin Charles William Gorick, MA, Archdeacon of Oxford, in the Diocese of Oxford, to the Suffragan See of Dudley, in the Diocese of Worcester, in succession to the Right Reverend Graham Barham Usher BSc, MA, following his translation to the See of Norwich.

Martin was educated at Selwyn College, Cambridge and trained for ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon. He served his title at St John the Evangelist, Birtley in the Diocese of Durham and was ordained Priest in 1988. In 1991, Martin was appointed as Chaplain to the Bishop of Oxford. He became Vicar of Smethwick Old Church in the Diocese of Birmingham in 1994 and was additionally appointed Area Dean of Warley in 1997. Martin was appointed as Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon in the Diocese of Coventry in 2001 where he was also Hon. Chaplain for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He took up his current role as Archdeacon of Oxford and Residentiary Canon of Christ Church in 2013 and also serves as Diocesan Inter-faith Advisor. He is married to Katharine who is County Lead for Visual Impairment in Oxfordshire and they have three adult children.

More details on the Worcester diocesan website

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Opinion – 2 November 2019

Ian Paul Psephizo Is it time to scrap the ‘curacy’?

Andrew Lightbown theore0 Speaking of liturgy (and theological formation)

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Imagination Deficit. Bishops and Survivors

Peter Sheppard  Catholic Herald Thousands of medieval churches face ruin. Who will save them?

David Walker ViaMedia.News The Fallout from Tribal Scrums

56 Comments

Opinion – 30 October 2019

Helen King ViaMedia.News Safeguarding & Sexuality – Are We Throwing Money In the Right Direction?

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Ancient and Modern : When is church music ‘Good’?

Leo Benedictus The Guardian Churches in nightclubs and Anglican gyms: can the C of E win back city dwellers?

60 Comments

Opinion – 26 October 2019

Bosco Peters Liturgy A Schism’s Consecration

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Life after Trauma. Charities who work for peace and the healing of Survivors

David Ison ViaMedia.News Unity or Truth?

Julia Baird The Sydney Morning Herald In praise of the oddities and outliers resisting bonkers fundamentalism in Sydney

Rosalind Brown Church Times The lectionary silences women’s experiences
“It is time to make the stories of female biblical characters more visible during public worship”

56 Comments

Opinion – 23 October 2019

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News “Don’t Go Listening to Lies….”

Stephen Kneale Christian Today Is your church too dependent on charitable status?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Open Letter to Keith Makin re: John Smyth Review

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Archbishop Glenn Davies says “Please, leave us”

… and other news from Australia and New Zealand

updated to add another press report

updated Thursday to add reaction from leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand

During his presidential address to the Sydney diocesan synod a week ago, Archbishop Glenn Davies said:

My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our Church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture. Please leave us. We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.

There is a report on the diocesan website here: Guarding the faith in a changing world. The full hour-long address is available as a pdf and a video.

Four days after his address The Sydney Morning Herald published this piece by the archbishop, My words were for the bishops and I stand by them, which included this:

When I said “Please, leave us”, my words were directed at bishops of the church, and those who wish to change our doctrine, and I stand by those words. The words were not directed at members of our congregations, especially those who identify as gay, whether single or married.

The archbishop’s remarks attracted a lot of attention – see the press reports below.

The Melbourne diocesan synod also met last week and voted to record its “sorrow” over the decision by the diocese of Wangaratta to bless same-sex marriages.

There are also reports that Archbishop Davies and other Australian bishops took part in the consecration of a GAFCON bishop in New Zealand at the weekend.

Archbishop Davies’s remarks gathered a lot of attention in the press, and there is also coverage of the other news from Australia and New Zealand.

update

Anglican Taonga Church denounces ‘crossing boundaries’
Leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand have spoken out against boundary-crossing by Anglican bishops who supported the ordination of a bishop for a break-away church last Saturday.

Press reports and comments

The Sydney Morning Herald Archbishop accused of trying to ‘split’ Anglican church over same-sex marriage

The Guardian ‘Please leave’: why the Sydney archbishop’s same-sex marriage message has Anglicans rattled
“The blunt words of Sydney archbishop Glenn Davies come at a critical moment for Australian churches and demands for religious freedom”

The Guardian Anglican churches reject Sydney archbishop’s stance on same-sex marriage
“Churches in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria say they welcome everyone and his comments cause ‘deep distress'”

Julia Baird The Age Even conservative rectors shuddered: why Sydney Archbishop’s words hurt

Eternity News I wanted bishops to leave, not LGBT people, says Sydney’s Glenn Davies

The Guardian Melbourne Anglicans vote to express ‘sorrow’ over blessing of same-sex marriages

The Sydney Morning Herald ‘Crisis point’: the Anglican church is riven by worse divisions than ever before

Craig D’Alton humane catholic Melbourne Synod 2019, and beyond

VirtueOnline Christchurch: GAFCON Consecrates New Evangelical Diocesan Bishop

Eternity News NZ gets two Anglican Churches. Maybe Australia will too

update

The Guardian British bishop rebukes Sydney Anglican leader’s call for gay marriage supporters to leave church
“Bishop of Liverpool says he regrets that Archbishop Glenn Davies ‘seems to want to exclude people rather than to engage with them'”

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Opinion – 19 October 2019

Peterson Feital ViaMedia.News Toxic Masculinity and the Church

Ian Paul Psephizo Should clergy count their days and hours?

Eve Poole Church Times How to break free from a culture of overwork
“Christians must model a different way of living, says Eve Poole. Help is at hand from Oscar Wilde and the latest research”

Joel Hollier The Guardian I’m gay, married, and not leaving my church

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News The Rainbow of Non-violent Advocacy

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Statistics for Mission 2018

Updated Friday morning to add some press reports
Updated Monday morning to add link to diocesan tables

The Church of England has published two sets of statistics today.

There is an accompanying press release, Church engages millions through apps and social media, which concentrates on the digital report. It is copied below the fold.

Update: Detailed Diocesan tables (excel file) are now available.

Press reports

Church Times Enquirers’ courses are attended mainly by churchgoers, statistics suggest

Telegraph Church of England’s prayer apps used a record five million times, while attendance figures fall

Christian Today Church of England’s digital reach grows as service attendance continues to fall

(more…)

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2020 General Synod Elections: Inclusive Church launches campaign leaflet

Nic Tall is Election Campaign Coordinator for the IC and partners’ 2020 Synod Campaign. Inclusive Church has published this article by him: 2020 Synod Elections: Shaping the future of the Church of England.

Should same sex couples be able to marry in church?  How can the church respond to the climate emergency?  How do we equip the church for the challenges of mission and ministry in the 21st Century?  Do you ever find yourself asking these questions?  And do you ever wonder who in the church has the job of answering them?

In the Church of England the big questions of the day are debated by the General Synod.  It can seem like a remote body, with little effect at parish level and no place for ordinary clergy and churchgoers, but that is a common misperception.  Many significant changes in how local churches operate come from decisions in General Synod, and the policies of the national church are shaped and decided in Synod.  Next year will see full elections for the next five year term of the General Synod, and whoever is elected will have a voice in how the church grapples with the big issues and shape its future.

Could you serve on General Synod?  Maybe you know someone you could encourage to stand for election.  The Church needs a diverse range of people on Synod, different ages, backgrounds and experience to represent the full breadth of the Church.  Inclusive Church is leading a campaign to organise for the 2020 elections, working in partnership with other inclusive organisations across the life of the church.  We have just launched our main campaign leaflet, saying what will be happening and how you can be involved.  Please download it here, and share it far and wide among people you know in the church who have inclusive values…

The campaign leaflet, Planning for the 2020 Elections to the General Synod, contains more detailed information:

Who is organising the Inclusive Synod Campaign?
This campaign is being organised by a coalition of key organisations from across the full breadth of traditions in the Church of England – evangelical, catholic, liberal. We represent the broad mainstream of the Church, those who want our national Church to be for everyone, regardless of gender, age, disability, tradition, race, socio-economic background or sexuality. Members include Inclusive Church, WATCH, One Body One Faith, Ozanne Foundation, Affirming Catholicism, Accepting Evangelicals, Modern Church, the Society of Catholic Priests, the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the C of E, the Progressive Christianity Network and Thinking Anglicans. We are the only campaign for Synod organising across the whole of the Church…

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Opinion – 12 October 2019

Ian Blair ViaMedia.News On Brexit, Becket and Signs of the Times

Janet Fife Surviving Church The Gospel, Victims and Common Worship pt 2

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Crowd Psychology and the Church

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley The Mathematics and Psychology of the Peace

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Identity Depression & the Church’s Culpability

Felicity Cooke and Lizzie Taylor WATCH Trust and Transparency: Essentials for Mutual Flourishing

Loretta Minghella gave this talk (a 31 minute audio) at the WATCH AGM earlier this month.

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Two reports about the Christ Church Oxford dispute

Updated

Two news articles about the dispute concerning the Dean, Martyn Percy, have appeared on the same day. Each contains new information, but there is surprisingly little overlap. Do read both articles all the way through. (Warning: the FT piece is very long.)

Church Times Christ Church continues to struggle to find peace

A NEW row is brewing in Christ Church, Oxford, despite the exoneration of the Dean, the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy (News, 30 August). The Cathedral Chapter has now sought its own legal advice about the actions of a group of senior dons who accused the Dean of “immoral, scandalous, and disgraceful behaviour” (News, 5 November 2018).

As a consequence, there are reports that members of the Chapter have, in turn, been harassed and threatened with legal action. On Wednesday, Dr Percy declined to comment.

The small group of dons used an estimated £1.6 million of college funds to pursue the Dean, who is also Head of House (i.e. Master of the college) after he raised questions about governance and pay scales, including his own. He was cleared of all charges in August, in an internal inquiry led by Sir Andrew Smith, who produced a judgment of more than 100 pages. It is this document that is at the centre of the new row…

Financial Times Scheming spires: trouble at Oxford’s Christ Church

Update: this second article, which was available freely earlier today, has now gone behind a paywall. I am sorry about the inconvenience. See comments below about possible ways around this.

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Archbishop responds to Church Times leader on Brexit

The Church Times has a news report today (which covers other episcopal Brexit responses too) This is how to honour the referendum: Welby clarifies Bishops’ statement. In it the Archbishop of Canterbury  makes a fairly lengthy response to last week’s leader column. Do read it all.

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Channel Islands Commission publishes recommendations

Press release from the Church of England

Channel Islands Commission publishes recommendations
09/10/2019

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on the relationship of the Channel Islands to the wider Church of England has published its final report, including a recommendation for Episcopal oversight of the Islands to be transferred to the Bishop of Salisbury.

(more…)

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