Thinking Anglicans

English College of Bishops

The Church of England issued the very brief press release below this evening. There was an earlier press release on the adoption of a definition of antisemitism which we reported here.

College of Bishops

12/09/2018

The College of Bishops met in Oxford from 10th to 12th September 2018.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the bishops to engage with the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group and review progress of {italicise}Living in Love and Faith, the Church of England’s teaching resource on relationships, marriage, identity and sexuality, which is currently under development.

The bishops voted formally to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, including all its examples, on behalf of the Church, and issued a call to everyone in public life to reject any language or action which could cause prejudice, stigma or hatred towards people on the grounds of their religion, culture, origins, identity or beliefs.

Time was also spent in meditative retreat.

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Church of England bishops adopt antisemitism definition

Press release from Church of England

Bishops adopt international definition of antisemitism

During the annual residential meeting of the College of Bishops, which is taking place in Oxford, they agreed a joint statement endorsing the IHRA definition of antisemitism – including all of its examples – on behalf of the Church.

They also issued a call to everyone in public life to reject any language or actions which could cause “prejudice, stigma or hatred towards people on the grounds of their religion, culture, origins, identity or beliefs”.

The Church of England’s interfaith team and national advisers already use the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism as the benchmark in their work and ministry.

However, the bishops noted the “necessity of making explicit” the Church’s adoption of and adherence to the definition without qualification or exemption.

Last week the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also spoke of the need for the Church of England to adopt the definition formally.

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, said: “The Jewish community, among whom I live in Salford, carry with them the vivid memory and scars of the Holocaust; they know all too well that antisemitism is never far below the surface of our society.

“Today’s statement from the Church of England bishops assures them that we will continue to reject such prejudice and bigotry firmly, in line with our practice over 75 years.

“At the same time we will continue to speak out critically when governments here and elsewhere act in ways that our faith calls us to challenge.”

The full statement adopted by the College of Bishops reads:

“In the context of 75 years of friendship marked by the establishment of the Council of Christians and Jews, the Church of England’s College of Bishops now notes the necessity of making explicit its adoption of and adherence to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, including all examples, without qualification or exemption.

“We urge anyone involved in our political, spiritual and national life to reject all language and activity that leads to prejudice, stigma or hatred towards people on the grounds of their religion, culture, origins, identity or beliefs.”

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Christians and Muslims protest Blackpool visit of Franklin Graham

Harriet Sherwood reports in the GuardianMuslim group calls for preacher linked to Trump to be denied UK visa:

Britain’s leading Muslim organisation has called on the Home Office to refuse a UK visa to a prominent US evangelical preacher with links to Donald Trump and a track record of Islamophobic and homophobic statements.

Franklin Graham, the son of the evangelist Billy Graham, has been invited to preach at a Christian festival in Blackpool this month.

The preacher, who said Trump’s election victory was evidence that “God’s hand” was at work, has called Islam “evil” and “wicked”, claimed Barack Obama’s “problem is that he was born a Muslim” and said Satan was the architect of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

The Muslim Council of Britain has joined three MPs, including a government whip, in demanding the Home Office apply its criteria on hate speech to Graham’s visa request…

Meanwhile, other Christians in Blackpool have issued this press release.

INCLUSIVE CHRISTIANS TO RESIST FRANKLIN GRAHAM

Christians in Blackpool are planning a series of inclusive services to protest against the visit of a controversial preacher.

Coinciding with the Festival of Hope at which American evangelist Franklin Graham will be principal speaker, the Rainbow Weekend aims to stand in solidarity with LGBT people of faith and resist what they believe to be a message of intolerance.

Mr Graham has previously courted controversy for his views on Islam, transgender people, women’s rights, and same-sex relationships – claiming Satan is behind same-sex marriage. He is also an outspoken defender of Donald Trump.

Mr Graham’s visit has led to local MPs Gordon Marsden and Paul Maynard expressing concerns about the Festival of Hope, with Mr Marsden suggesting Mr Graham’s views constituted hate speech and were “incompatible with what Jesus said in the Bible”. A petition asking that Mr Graham is not granted a visa gained more than 8,000 signatures.

The Rainbow Weekend, a series of inclusive services and a prayer meeting on 22nd and 23rd September, is a collaboration between inclusive churches in the town and Open Table, a network of LGBT-affirming churches across England and Wales. During the weekend ‘Big Jesus’, a 4-metre high representation of Jesus wearing a rainbow sash, will be on walkabout in the town centre with a message of Jesus’ love for all people including LGBT people. ‘Big Jesus’ has walked in Pride parades throughout the UK from Brighton to Glasgow with the message that Jesus always spent time with marginalised people and would welcome and embrace the LGBT community.
In addition to affirming LGBT people, the Rainbow Weekend will also represent a Christian act of solidarity with Lancashire’s Muslim communities in the face of Mr Graham’s dangerous anti-Islamic prejudice.

Andrew Page, an elder in the United Reformed Church and one of the organisers, said: “Inevitably there have been calls for Mr Graham not to be allowed to preach in Blackpool. No doubt there will be people loudly protesting Franklin Graham and the Festival of Hope. Some of us as Christians wanted to send out a positive message that Mr Graham does not speak in our name. We are countering Mr Graham’s toxic rhetoric by welcoming and affirming LGBT people and others excluded by his version of Christianity.
“And so we have the Rainbow Weekend. We’re welcoming and including those who Mr Graham would marginalise. It’s going to be a great time of faith, celebration and affirmation.”

Nina Parker, the pastor of Blackpool’s Liberty Church, said: “As a Christian and as a leader of a church that particularly welcomes LGBT people, I’m horrified that other local churches are inviting someone with this record of hate speech.” She added that Mr Graham’s presence would be “extremely destructive in the area” especially in relation to interfaith relationships.

The disappointment with local churches was echoed by Claire Fox, a Christian who lives in Blackpool. She explained: “The disappointment for me isn’t that Franklin Graham is coming to Blackpool but that churches in Blackpool have invited him. They have not withdrawn their invitation despite knowing what damage they are doing. Much work was done to build bridges, and it seems that the organisers of the Festival of Hope have treated all these efforts with contempt.”

Tracy Charnock, the vicar of Holy Trinity South Shore, said: “I would like to make known my deep disappoint in local Christians and senior leaders of the Church, who have shown support (often through their silence) towards a man who has, on many occasions, preached hate. I rejoice in the diversity of this town of Blackpool and I hold the utmost respect for peoples of any faith or no faith. It’s also wonderful to celebrate the strong LGBT presence in Blackpool that makes this town so vibrant. I thank God that he has created us and loves us for who we are. I pray that this will be the resounding message of the Rainbow Weekend.”

Andrew Sage, the vicar of St Stephen’s on the Cliffs, added: “We are so nervous about this visit and the damage it will do. We cannot stay silent in the face of such dangerous and outspoken prejudice. To be clear. we are not against the Mission, but we are opposed to Franklin Graham leading it. To our minds, remaining silent is not to remain neutral, and is not an option. We wish to make it clear that the invitation to Franklin Graham to come to Blackpool is ‘Not in our name.’ How else would we be able to look our Muslim and LGBT brothers and sisters in the eye?”

Kieran Bohan, one of the co-ordinator of the Open Table network, said: “We are happy to support this and see such good partnership in solidarity against a divisive message from the mis-named Festival of Hope. We believe that the affirming celebration of the Rainbow Weekend is a perfect act of non-violent resistance.”

The Rainbow Weekend will begin on Saturday 22nd September with an inclusive communion service at Holy Trinity Church in South Shore (at 5pm), followed by an evening prayer meeting at North Shore Methodist Church (from 7pm). Sunday 23rd September sees a Songs of Praise event hosted by St Stephen’s on the Cliffs Church, including a thanksgiving service for people working in theatre and entertainment (at 3pm). The weekend culminates with a celebration service of informal, contemporary worship at Liberty Church (on Sunday at 6.30pm).

Blackpool Tower will fly the Rainbow Flag and be lit in rainbow colours throughout the weekend to show support for the LGBT community. The Rainbow Weekend organisers are delighted the Council have clearly demonstrated their support on one of Blackpool’s busiest Illuminations weekends, when thousands of people will come to the resort for the World Fireworks Championships on the Friday evening.

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Religious Education: Final Report from CoRE

The Commission on Religious Education has published its final report.

The Final Report of the Commission on Religious Education, Religion and Worldviews: the way forward.  A national plan for RE, has been published. It sets out a National Plan for RE comprising of 11 recommendations, and calls on the Government to consider and adopt it.

The National Plan is built around a National Entitlement which sets out what all pupils up to the end of Year 11, in all publicly funded schools, should be entitled to be taught.  The National Entitlement reflects a new and inclusive vision for the subject, fully embracing the diversity and richness of religious and non-religious worldviews.  It will ensure a strong academic basis for the subject in all schools.  The National Plan provides for flexibility of approach in the translation of the National Entitlement into programmes of study in schools, ensuring that Headteachers are able to choose the approach that is most appropriate for their pupils.

There is a lengthy Press Release which gives all the background information.
There is both the Full Report and an Executive Summary.

The Church of England has responded with a press release.

The Church Times reports: Commission calls for overhaul of Religious Education in final report

Other media reports include:

Observer:  Call for atheism to be included in religious education

BBC: ‘Teach religion and worldviews instead of RE’

TESCall to change RE to ‘religion and world views’

The National Secular Society has given it only a qualified welcome: Replace RE with ‘religion and worldviews’, says commission.  Humanists UK were much more generous: Humanists UK welcomes landmark Commission on RE recommending new subject ‘Religion and Worldviews’.

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Church of England safeguarding: some updates

Martin Sewell has written another article at Archbishop Cranmer entitled It is pointless pouring the new wine of safeguarding into the old wineskins of arcane ecclesiology.

The Church of England media report on Monday told us that “a senior church figure” had been invited by the police to discuss an alleged failure to report a serious sexual offence. Following the case of Sir Cliff Richard, official police hesitance and revised guidelines apparently prevented further identification of who was involved and that ought to be respected, even though this particular genie was well out of the bottle. The controversy is a longstanding one, pre-dating the Cliff Richard case, and many know what this is all about, but let us do what Lord Carlile suggested when he reviewed the mistakes made in the case of Bishop George Bell.

Interestingly, the Church of England originally immediately repudiated that Carlile recommendation, yet in Monday’s media announcement they coyly adopted the police reticence and applied the principle in this case, though whether this is an official embracing of the wisdom of Carlile’s proposition or a ‘one off’ exception is unclear. This matters.

We need a debate on the principles of these cases in the abstract, because tainted by excessive sympathy or disapprobation of any individual or set of circumstances may well lead us astray.

While following this aspect of the debate amongst colleagues with a special interest in Safeguarding policy, a simple question arose: ‘Do the same rules apply to the most junior of deacons as to an archbishop?’ Essentially: ‘Is there equality under the law within the ecclesiastical community?’

It seems to me that the answer to that question may not be quite as simple as one may think, and we need to grapple with the complexity of the debate without being bogged down by unique contexts and individual circumstances…

The whole article is well worth reading.

Stephen Parsons has published an article, containing a huge amount of detail on the case which underlies the arguments made above, titled The Matt Ineson story continued. There is even more information in the comments to that article.

The Telegraph news report mentioned is here (registration required): Bishop of Oxford to face police questioning over allegations of sex abuse cover-up. The Oxford Mail report of the diocesan response is here: Abuse claims were not ignored insists Oxford Diocese.

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Opinion – 8 September 2018

David Runcorn The gift of tears
“Suppressed, hidden, apologised for, writer and speaker David Runcorn asks us to look again at how God can use our tears”
The article refers to photographs of tears by Rose-Lynn Fisher; you can see some of them here.

Rachel Mann The Limits of Sex: The C of E, priggishness, and its violence against LGBT couples

Justin Welby Church Times Religious communities — a work in progress
“They face serious challenges — but there are signs of hope and renewal, says the Archbishop of Canterbury”

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Church of England numbers

The British Social Attitudes survey has today released a summary of some figures from its latest survey:

Church of England numbers at record low

The most recent British Social Attitudes survey reveals that the number of Brits who identify as Church of England has more than halved in the last fifteen years.

The proportion of Brits who describe themselves as ‘belonging to the Church of England’ is at a record low, halving in the last fifteen years, with the sharpest decline among 45 to 54 year olds.

The most recent British Social Attitudes survey reveals that the number of Brits who identify as Church of England has more than halved since 2002, falling from 31% to 14%.The sharpest decline happened among 45 to 54 year olds (35% in 2002 vs 11% in 2017). The proportion of people who describe themselves as Roman Catholic (8%), belonging to ‘other Christian affiliations’ (10%) and ‘of non-Christian faiths’ (8%) have remained fairly stable. 52% of people now say they have no religion, compared with 41% in 2002. Men are more inclined to say they follow no religion than women (57% compared with 48%)…

This has attracted the attention of the press.

Tim Wyatt Church Times British Social Attitudes finds ‘C of E’ respondents halved in 15 years

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church in crisis as only 2% of young adults identify as C of E

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Fears for Church of England’s future as people no longer turn to God in old age

Christian Today CofE facing ‘unrelenting decline’ as number of Brits identifying as Anglican halves in 15 years

There is also this press release from the Church of England.

British Social Attitudes survey

Dave Male, the Church of England’s director of Evangelism and Discipleship, has commented on the latest figures from the British Social Attitudes survey, showing a fall in the number of people self-identifying as Anglican.

He said: “The headline figure here only gives us part of the picture.

“It has been clear for some time that we have moved from an era of people automatically, and perhaps unthinkingly, classifying themselves as Church of England or Anglican to one in which identifying with a faith is an active choice.

“We also know from research that people, particularly younger people, are less aware of denominations.

“Yet Research, especially amongst young people, shows an increase in willingness to engage in faith.

“Our experience is that people – of all ages – haven’t stopped searching for meaning and answers in their life.

“Ultimately the Church exists to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

“That was never meant to be easy and that work goes on whatever the figures may say.”

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Diocese of Albany considers same-sex marriages

Updated to include further letter from Bishop Love

The Albany Times-Union reported earlier this week, following extended interviews with Bishop William Love and other members of the Albany diocese: Facing a schism: A bishop, gay marriage and the Episcopal diocese of Albany.

… this past July, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church issued Resolution B012, a compromise aimed at allowing gay couples to marry at their home churches in the eight dissenting dioceses across the country – Albany among them – where gay marriage remained forbidden.  In response, Albany Bishop William Love issued a soberly worded letter calling the resolution “problematic and potentially damaging,” adding, “The vast majority of the clergy and people of the Diocese, to include myself, are greatly troubled by it.”

He called for a special meeting of clergy – scheduled for Thursday at the Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich.  What may come of it, no one knows – not clergy, not laypeople, not Love himself, who sat for a two-hour-and-15-minute interview one Friday morning in August. From his standpoint he’s the one now trapped in canonical limbo, “where our diocesan canons state one thing, and the General Convention says something else. And we have to figure out how to deal with that tension.”

But no matter what their role in the church or where they stand on the issue of gay marriage, nearly all of the 19 people who commented for this story by phone or email described a diocese in the thick of complex, ongoing and difficult change. Love was blunt in his own assessment: “We’re in the midst of a major schism.”

Before the meeting yesterday, Leander Harding wrote an article for Covenant, titled Being Disarmed in which he said:

Bishop Bill Love and the clergy of the Diocese of Albany will meet today (Sep. 6) to discuss our response to the actions of the latest General Convention. The choices seem rather straightforward to me. Either we make our peace with serving in a church that endorses same-sex marriage as part of its normative teaching, and we make an accommodation for those parishes in favor of such rites. Or we leave individually or in some corporate sense, as has been the case with Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, San Joaquin, and South Carolina.

In the time I have been in the diocese I have never heard the bishop or any of the leading clergy counsel secession. Anything like that would in my view be an institutional disaster. We are a diocese primarily made up of struggling small-town churches. We are part of the Rust Belt, and the economic turnaround has yet to appear in most of our communities. The major regional export is young people. A healthy dose of bitter controversy would be just the thing to sink our little fleet of ships already struggling to stay afloat.

Overall, I think our diocese is strong in faith and spiritual vitality, but institutionally we are fragile and weak. We don’t have many people, we don’t have much money, our missionary context is a combination of dying rural communities and the see city, which ranks as one of the most secular in the country. The theological convictions of the bishop and a majority of the clergy in the diocese are vastly out of sync with the majority of the Episcopal Church in theology, ethos, and style…

So far there is no substantive report of the meeting, though a press release is promised soon. The Albany Times-Union had only this: Albany Episcopal Diocese discusses resolution on same-sex marriages.

…Albany Bishop William Love, who spoke with The Times Union following the meeting, said the time was used to pray, worship and converse in private.

“Today was a chance for us to come together and for me to be able to hear from the clergy of the diocese and for them to be able to hear from me,” Love said. “It gave us an opportunity to come together as brothers and sisters of Christ and just say, ‘OK, this is what was put before us,’ and to figure out how best to be faithful to the lord and work through these issues.”

Love said the meeting was held in an executive session but a press release on the generalities of the discussion will be put out soon…

Update

Episcopal Café has published the full text of a letter from Bishop Love: Albany clergy meet… no defined path forward yet.

…As I mentioned in my letter of invitation to the clergy, the purpose of the meeting was NOT for me to issue a proclamation at that time on how B012 will be carried out in the Diocese of Albany, but rather for me to share with them some of my thoughts regarding B012; to clarify my understanding of what it does and doesn’t say; and to give me a chance to listen to the thoughts and concerns of the clergy.

Ultimately, as the Bishop, I will make a decision regarding my response to B012 and how it will be dealt with in the Diocese of Albany. That decision will be made thoughtfully and prayerfully and will be openly shared with the whole Diocese prior to December 2 nd .

While, I know there are some who would like me to simply say today what I am going to do, it is not simply a matter of being for or against same-sex marriage. As a result of the complexity of B012, there are a multitude of implications not only for same-sex couples wishing to be married in their home parish, but also for the clergy and parishes involved; for my role and ministry as Bishop; for the Diocese of Albany and its relationship with the wider Anglican Communion and body of Christ.

Whatever decision I and or the rest of the Church make regarding B012, there will be consequences. There is no escaping that. My ultimate desire as your Bishop, is to be faithful and obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ, discerning not my will, but His will in knowing how best to lead the Diocese of Albany in such a way that He will be glorified and His Church and people be blessed. Please keep me and our Diocese in your prayers.

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Opinion – 5 September 2018

Updated to add the Jeremy Pemberton article

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Sex, Lies and Honesty in the Church: An Anglican Response to James Alison

Jeremy Pemberton From the Choir Stalls Honest to God: responding to James Alison and Richard Peers

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Church Teams – What are they?

Richard Kew The Living Church Living with Cranmer’s Lectionary

Ian Paul Psephizo Why we all need printed Bibles

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Bishop of Reading to retire in 2019

The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, has announced that he will retire next year. His last official engagement will be on Easter Sunday. The Bishop of Reading is one of three area bishops in the diocese of Oxford.

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Opinion – 1 September 2018

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Religion: why faith is becoming more and more popular

Becky Clark Buildings for Mission Shout Out Loud: Why I welcome disagreement on caring for churches

Christopher Exeter Church Times The C of E must speak louder on medical ethics
“Society needs help to navigate the health issues arising from rapid technological advances”

‘Christians don’t like hearing the truth’
Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the first African Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, talks to Madeleine Davies for Church Times.
There’s a podcast of the interview here.

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Some reflections on Evangelical support for Trump
Here’s another article on the same topic from earlier this year
Michael Gerson The Atlantic The Last Temptation
“How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memory”

 

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Archbishop Welby addresses UN Security Council

Episcopal News Service has a comprehensive report: Church ‘cannot, will not walk away’ from reconciling role in global conflict, Archbishop of Canterbury tells UN.

Churches are the on the front line of mediation efforts across the world, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the United Nations Security Council on Aug. 29, in part because they are often “the only functioning institutions in a fragile or pre-conflict situation.”

He said that churches and other faith communities are “intimately present where there are conflicts; we cannot and will not walk away from them.” He cited the role of Sudanese Anglican Primate and Archbishop Justin Badi Arama in peace efforts in South Sudan.

Welby repeatedly stressed that mediation must take place within the context of reconciliation.

“Where mediation is about resolving conflict, reconciliation is the process of transforming violent conflict into non-violent co-existence where communities have come to terms with history and are learning to disagree well,” he said during a briefing that made him the first archbishop of Canterbury to address the Security Council. “Mediation by itself, however skilled, is like using a garden hose to put out a forest fire, when what you need is rain over the whole area to let new life grow and sustain itself.”

The full text of his speech is available here.

A video recording of it is over here.

 

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New Bishop of Truro announced

The appointment has been announced of Canon Philip Mounstephen as the 16th Bishop of Truro.

Downing Street reports:

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Philip Ian Mounstephen, MA, Executive Leader of the Church Mission Society, for election as Bishop of Truro in succession to the Right Reverend Timothy Martin Thornton, MA, following his resignation on 31 August 2017.

There is more information on the Truro diocesan website:

Philip is currently the executive leader of Church Mission Society, a role he has occupied since 2012. Prior to that, Philip was chaplain of St Michael’s Church, Paris. He has also previously worked for the Church Pastoral Aid Society in a number of roles, serving as deputy general director from 2004 to 2007.

Philip, 59, was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England in 1988 and priested the following year, serving his curacy in Gerrards Cross and Fulmer in the Diocese of Oxford. From 1992 to 1998 he was the Vicar of St James’ Church, West Streatham, in the Diocese of Southwark.

Philip has significant family roots in Cornwall with several generations of his ancestors living in Tregony from the mid-18th century, before moving to Truro.

It also quotes the bishop-designate:

Philip said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been called to lead the Diocese of Truro in mission and ministry. With my family roots in Cornwall I am very well aware of what a rich Christian heritage we have. I rejoice in Cornwall’s strong sense of identity and I look forward under God into leading us in what I hope and pray will be a fruitful and exciting future.”

 

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Archbishop of Sydney proposes ‘Distinctive Co-existence’ for ACANZP

sydneyanglicans.net reports: Archbishop presents proposal for NZ Anglican future.

Archbishop [of Sydney] Glenn Davies has addressed some of the leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (ACANZP), proposing ‘Distinctive Co-existence’ as a solution to the issues facing the Church after their Synod’s decision to allow the blessings of same gender relationships….

…The essence of the Archbishop’s proposal was what he called ‘Distinctive Co-existence’, modelled on the jurisdiction of Anglican Churches in continental Europe.

“It is interesting that within Europe there are two overlapping Anglican Churches: the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe under the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC).  Each has differing constitutions and canons, yet they share the same Anglican heritage. Could not the model of continental Europe provide a new way forward for Aotearoa and Polynesia?”

The full text of the archbishop’s proposal is available here.

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Opinion – 25 August 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Defending the Church from Scandal -Catholic and Anglican Approaches

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of depression, anxiety, lies and liturgy

Ruth Hunt gave this year’s Inclusive Church lecture last month. A transcript is now available: LGBT and Faith: Building Bridges in a Polarised World. There is also a video.

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Opinion – 22 August 2018

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity New Wine United (2): LGBT Issues – “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted …”

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer CofE clergyman tells suicidal sex-abuse victim to “crawl back under a stone”, and that he “probably enjoyed” it

Marcus Green The Possibility of Difference flagging up issues of pride

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Victims launch claim against John Smyth camp leaders

News release

Tuesday 21st August 2018      1430

VICTIMS LAUNCH CLAIM AGAINST JOHN SMYTH CAMP LEADERS

A group of men who say they were groomed and beaten by the English barrister John Smyth have launched a legal claim against the Titus Trust, which runs the notorious Iwerne holidays network.

One victim, who did not wish to be identified, said “The abuse we suffered as a consequence of attending Iwerne camps has had a devastating effect on all of our lives.  We have been compelled to take this course of action because of the unwillingness of the Titus Trust to accept any responsibility for what happened.”

Since John Smyth’s abuse came to public attention in February 2017, Titus Trust has consistently refused to speak to the men, to help identify other victims or to provide for the counselling they all need.   Victims’ advocate Andrew Graystone said “I have personally written to every individual Titus Trustee more than once, pleading for them to do their duty as trustees and as Christians, and help the victims.  Not one has responded.  The refusal of the trustees to offer any help to Smyth’s victims has massively compounded their suffering.”

The victims have instructed Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon Solicitors to pursue their claim against Titus Trust.  Scorer has frequently represented victims of abuse In a church context. He said “No reasonable person could believe that the Titus Trust is anything other than the legal successor to the Iwerne Trust. If the current trustees of the Titus Trust persist in claiming that they bear no responsibility, we will be forced to launch additional claims against the individual surviving trustees of Iwerne, namely David Fletcher and Giles Rawlinson.”

Titus Trust is the legal successor to the Iwerne Trust, which continues to run camps under the Iwerne brand. Iwerne provides a programme of intensive Christian discipleship based around activity holidays. The programme has run continuously since 1930. The most recent Iwerne holidays were held this month.

John Smyth QC was the chair of the Iwerne Trust from 1975 to 1982.  He resigned when the trust became aware that he was using the network to recruit young men for abuse.  Smyth died at his home in South Africa on 11th August, just eight days after Hampshire Police had summoned him for formal questioning in connection with the offences.

For further information contact Andrew Graystone

andrew.graystone1@btinternet.com

07772 710090

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Peter Ball – legislation, then and now

David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK has written a three-part post concerning the public hearing of the Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the Peter Ball case study which took place 23 – 27 July 2018. I’ve listed the topics covered in each below. It’s all well worth reading.

Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (I) Legislative and other changes, to 2018 and beyond

Appointment of diocesan bishop
Permission to Officiate (PTO)
Timeline of events

Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (II)

Implications of a police caution
Sanctions applicable to bishops
Misconduct in public office
Mandatory reporting of safeguarding
Seal of the confessional

Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (III) What next after the IICSA Peter Ball Inquiry?

IICSA Final Report
Closing Statements of Peter Ball Inquiry
On-going work

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Ministry Statistics 2017

Updated Tuesday to add Church Times report

The Church of England has today issued its Ministry Statistics 2017 and a report on vocations. There is an accompanying press release, Growing numbers of young people train as priests, which starts:

Growing numbers of young people are seeking ordination to the priesthood, as the Church of England makes progress towards achieving a key target of recruiting more candidates for ordained ministry, according to new figures published today.

The number of people aged under 32 years old recommended for training for ordination this year rose by nearly a third, or 32%, to 169, compared to 128 in 2016, a report on vocations from the Church of England shows. This means nearly one in three, or 29%, of those entering training for the priesthood this year are expected to be under 32 years old.

The overall number of people recommended for ordination training is up 7% on last year, from 541 to 580. This follows a 14% increase the year before, putting the Church on course to achieving a key target of recruiting 50% more candidates for ordination by 2020.

The figures have been published alongside Ministry Statistics for 2017 showing just over 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England, with women making up nearly a third, or 30% of the total. But the number of clergy in paid positions in 2017 fell by 50 from 7,790 to 7,740 compared to 2016.

Nearly a quarter, or 23% of paid clergy in senior posts, such as Bishops, Cathedral Deans or Archdeacons were women in 2017, compared to 12% in 2012.

Meanwhile the vocations report shows that women are set to be the majority entering ordination training for the second year running, with 54% of this year’s recommended candidates being female.

Press reports

Harriet Sherwood The Observer Young people hear the call to rejuvenate ageing priesthood

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Rising numbers of women opt for priesthood as a second career

Madeleine Davies Church Times Ministry vocations rise again, though overall figures remain sobering

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Opinion – 18 August 2018

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Leadership? What sort of leadership? What sort of Church?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Secrets, Transparency and the Age of the Internet

Church Times ‘Once we connect on to something, that’s it’
Pat Ashworth discovers the gifts that those with autism are bringing to the Church

Phil Johnson and David Greenwood Premier Christianity Why we need a new law to prevent churches from covering up abuse

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