Thinking Anglicans

Living With Difference group: members named

press release

Living in Love and Faith – first facilitated group conversation held


The first meeting of the ‘Living With Difference’ group –  who have been invited to be part of a series of three facilitated conversations around the Prayers of Love and Faith – was held on Thursday September 7.

The members of the group are:

  • Ade Adebajo (Elected member of the London Diocesan Synod)
  • Ruth Bushyager (Bishop of Horsham)
  • John Dunnett (National Director, Church of England Evangelical Council)
  • Simon Friend (Co-Convenor of the Evangelical Forum for General Synod)
  • Giles Goddard (Vicar, St John’s Church Waterloo)
  • Jamie Harrison (Chair of the House of Laity, General Synod)
  • Sarah Jackson (CEO, Church Revitalisation Trust)
  • Helen King (Vice-Chair, General Synod Gender & Sexuality Group)
  • Karen Lund (Archdeacon of Manchester)
  • Kate Massey (Vicar, St Paul’s Stockingford)
  • Judith Maltby (Chaplain, Fellow & Dean of Welfare, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University)
  • Tom Middleton (Director of Forward in Faith and Secretary of the Council of Bishops of The Society)
  • Sarah Mullally (Bishop of London, Co-Chair of the LLF Implementation Steering Group)
  • Mark Nam (Assistant Curate at United Church in Longwell Green and St, Anne’s, Diocese of Bristol)
  • Neil Patterson (Diocesan Director of Vocations and Ordinands, Hereford)
  • Vaughan Roberts (Rector of St Ebbe’s, Oxford)
  • Jonathan Sedgwick (Archdeacon of Southwark)
  • Charlie Skrine (Rector, All Souls Langham Place)
  • David Walker (Bishop of Manchester)

Notes to Editors:

The group will aim to reflect the spectrum of views held and work to offer back to the Bishops an understanding of how their proposals can be taken forward, reflecting the issues raised in the conversations. The group will meet for three full days, in London, on September 7, 12 and 28.

This is scheduled to feed into meetings of the College of Bishops in September and the House of Bishops in October.


Soul Survivor/NST investigation concludes

See previous report here.

Today, there have been two announcements:

The full texts of both are copied below the fold.

The Telegraph has this report (£): Soul Survivor’s Mike Pilavachi ‘used spiritual authority to control victims’, report finds



Opinion – 6 September 2023

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love What is the Christian story today?

Helen King sharedconversations Being back in the room


Bishop David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese in Europe, announces retirement

Bishop David Hamid, suffragan bishop of the Diocese in Europe and one of the longest serving bishops in the Church of England, has announced his plans to retire in February 2024. Details are on the diocesan website.


Opinion – 3 September 2023

Theo Hobson The Spectator The time is ripe for a liberal revival of the Church of England

Giles Fraser UnHerd Has the Church stopped working?

Kelvin Holdsworth What’s in Kelvin’s Head The Friends of St Eucalyptus


LLF in the Autumn

Today’s Church Times contains two news reports which relate to the continuing discussions leading up to the November General Synod meeting.

Reference is made in the above to an article by Helen King, which we first linked to on 19 August: The autumn of Living in Love and Faith.  This contains a list of meeting dates for many groups in the forthcoming weeks.

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Appointment of Bishop of Birmingham

Press release from 10 Downing Street. Further coverage at Birmingham diocese and at Ridley. The new bishop will be consecrated on 30 November 2023.

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Dr Michael Volland for election as Bishop of Birmingham.

Appointment of Bishop of Birmingham: 31 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Dr Michael Volland, Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, for election as Bishop of Birmingham, in succession to The Right Reverend David Urquhart, following his retirement.

Michael was educated at Northumbria University, King’s College London and Durham University and trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at Gloucester Cathedral and was ordained Priest in 2007.

In 2009, Michael was appointed Director of Mission at Cranmer Hall, Durham, and additionally served as Chaplain to Durham Army Cadet Force from 2012 and as Team Leader and Mission Priest for the East Durham Mission Project and also Area Dean of Easington from 2014. In 2015, Michael was appointed Director of Context-Based Training and Pastoral Tutor at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and in 2017 he took up his current role as Principal of Ridley Hall. Since then he has also served as President of the Cambridge Theological Federation and Chair of the Theological Education Institutions Principal’s Steering Group.


The Times surveys Church of England clergy opinions

Updated Thursday and Saturday

The Times today has a front page story, headlined Britain is no longer a Christian country, say frontline clergy. It begins like this:

Times survey shows priests’ desire for dramatic shifts in doctrine
on issues such as sex, sexuality, marriage and the role of women

Key moments

Britain can no longer be described as a Christian country, three quarters of Church of England priests believe, according to a landmark survey conducted by The Times.

The most wide-ranging poll carried out among frontline Anglican clergy, and the first survey of Church of England clerics conducted in almost a decade, has found a strong desire among rank-and-file priests for significant changes in church doctrine on issues such as sex, sexuality, marriage and the role of women to bring it into greater line with public opinion…

The full story is behind a paywall, but…

The Church Times now also has a report on this, Times clergy poll finds almost 50-per-cent support for same-sex weddings.

ALMOST half (49.2 per cent) of the C of E clergy respondents to a new poll would officiate at same-sex weddings if they were permitted to do so, and 59 per cent would bless gay relationships. Almost two-thirds said that the Church should no longer teach that sex belonged only in marriage…

Update Thursday

A second tranche of results has been published: Most Church of England priests support gay conversion therapy ban

Key points
  • Greater support for assisted dying, but majority still in opposition
  • Anglican bishops should share their Lords seats with other faith leaders
  • A lack of faith in reaching net zero

More than two thirds of Church of England priests back the government’s plan to introduce a ban on conversion or so-called “gay-cure” therapy, with less than a fifth against it, a Times survey has found…

Meanwhile, there is a critique of the survey here: What do Anglican clergy think about ‘Christian’ Britain, sexuality, and clergy morale?

Update Saturday

A third tranche of results: Only 13% of Church of England priests back the Tories

Also questions about support for the Archbishop of Canterbury

And there is a note on methodology

How we polled the priests

The Times worked closely with academics and polling experts to devise the survey, which was sent to a random sample of 5,000 priests with English addresses from Crockford’s Clerical Directory of Anglican clergy. It received 1,486 responses and results were analysed from the 1,185 in active ministry.

The Times followed the same methodology used by YouGov and the University of Lancaster for the last survey of Church of England priests in 2014 and received a similar number of responses. The age and sex of our respondents tallied extremely closely with the overall breakdown for the church’s entire body of active priests.


Opinion – 26 August 2023

Paul Roberts Inclusive Evangelicals Can you be Evangelical and not agree with the CEEC?

Mark Michael The Living Church When Rights Conflict: Sex Abuse Reporting & the Confessional


What do Bishops have in common with NHS managers?

Richard Scorer and Martin Sewell have written at Surviving Church: Why Prof Jay must impose an external Safeguarding Regulator on the CofE

This week, the Lucy Letby case has brutally exposed the lack of regulation and accountability of NHS managers (link to Lucy Letby: NHS managers must be held to account, doctor says – BBC News). Whereas clinicians are subject to professional scrutiny and accountability by independent regulators, NHS managers are not, even when (as in the Letby case) they may have prioritised the reputation of a hospital over patient safety.  This is a feature they share with those in leadership and managerial roles in religious organisations. Both NHS managers and Bishops are amongst the dwindling band of professionals still not subject to independent regulation. This urgently needs to change, and as far as religious bodies are concerned, Professor Jay’s taskforce on independent regulation of safeguarding in the Church of England has an opportunity to set this change in motion…

Do read the whole article.


Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Swindon

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office. There is more on the Bristol diocesan website. He will be consecrated on 30 November 2023.

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Swindon: 24 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Venerable Neil Warwick for appointment to the Suffragan See of Swindon, in the Diocese of Bristol.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 24 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Venerable Neil Warwick, Archdeacon of Bristol, for appointment to the Suffragan See of Swindon, in the Diocese of Bristol, in succession to The Right Reverend Dr Lee Rayfield, following his retirement.

Neil was educated at Nottingham University and trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at St Lawrence, Towcester, in the Diocese of Peterborough, and was ordained Priest in 2006. Neil was appointed Vicar of Earley St Nicolas, in the Diocese of Oxford, in 2009.

In 2019, Neil took up his current role as Archdeacon of Bristol, in the Diocese of Bristol.


Opinion – 19 August 2023

Helen King sharedconversations The autumn of Living in Love and Faith

Karen O’Donnell ViaMedia.News Bodies at Prayer

David Newman Inclusive Evangelicals Evangelical unity and diversity

David Runcorn Inclusive Evangelicals How contraception has changed marriage


Dean of Worcester to retire

I did not notice any earlier announcement, but Worcester Cathedral has the news today that their Dean, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, will officially retire on Friday 25 August.


Appointment of Dean of Truro

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office. There is more on the Truro Cathedral website.

Appointment of Dean of Truro: 17 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Simon Robinson, Residentiary Canon and Interim Dean at Truro Cathedral, for appointment as Dean of Truro.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 17 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Simon Robinson, Residentiary Canon and Interim Dean at Truro Cathedral, for appointment as Dean of Truro, in succession to The Very Reverend Roger Bush, following his retirement.

Simon was educated at Warwick University and trained for ministry on the Southern Theological Education Training Scheme. He served his title in the Parish of Freshford, Limpley Stoke and Hinton Charterhouse in the Diocese of Bath and Wells and was ordained priest in 2013. Simon was appointed Vicar of the Parish of Minehead in 2015. In October 2022, Simon took up his current role as Interim Dean and Canon Missioner at Truro Cathedral.


Future of Church Safeguarding

Updated Wednesday

This website is now live: Future of Church Safeguarding

The Future of Church Safeguarding Programme (the Programme) has been set up to recommend a model for fully independent safeguarding within the Church of England.

As part of the Programme we will gather a range of views to better understand what needs to be improved or what is already working well in Church safeguarding processes – processes in place to protect people from harm.

We also want to hear opinions about how to achieve a safeguarding body that is independent, fair and impartial.

The Programme operates entirely independently from the Church, and is led by Professor Alexis Jay OBE, who previously chaired the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

Professor Jay expects to complete her report for The Archbishops of Canterbury and of York by the end of December 2023 and will publish the report herself to ensure full transparency.

The website contains much additional information about how this programme will operate.



Safeguarding: more unfinished business (Smyth)

Updated Sunday

Not all unfinished safeguarding business in the Church of England relates to the fiasco surrounding the ISB.

Another major item yet to be reported on is the abuse perpetrated by John Smyth, which has been known about since the 1980s. The formal investigation only got underway in 2019. The Church Times has just published a very detailed and thorough history of the delays in completing this review, which still appears to be many months away from publication. The management of this review lies in the hands of the National Safeguarding Team.

Madeleine Davies writes: Smyth survivors still waiting, five years after being promised church review

IT IS five years this week since the “lessons-learned” review of the abuse perpetrated by John Smyth was promised, and ten years since the Archbishop of Canterbury was formally told about the abuse…

As she reports, Andrew Graystone says:

“The Church decided that the task of reviewing a case lasting over 40 years with more than a hundred victims could be handled by one part-time reviewer contracted for just two days a week, with a part-time assistant. The Church either didn’t recognise the scale of the review it was launching, or simply didn’t care.”

The lack of an independent accountability body to monitor the progress and scope of the review, and to ask Mr Makin “awkward questions”, was also a problem, he said. Conducting reviews was a “lucrative process”, he said, pointing to a leak by the NST in 2019 which revealed that Mr Makin’s rate was £650 per day.

Update on Mr X

Another item where action by the NST remains outstanding is reported today in the Sunday Times by Katie Gatens: I was abused as a choirboy. Decades later the Church of England betrayed me again. (behind a paywall, but see this comment on Twitter)

This is the same “Mr X” case on which the now defunct ISB produced a report, back in May: ISB reports on how Church failed in responding to an abuse survivor.


Opinion – 9 August 2023

Anon ViaMedia.News WWBD? What Would Barbie Do?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Debate and Non-Communication within the Church of England

Jason Loch A Venerable Puzzle When Is Advice Not Advice?

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Lambeth Conference 2022 final report


For earlier reports of last year’s Lambeth conference, go here.

The Living Church reports on the publication of its final report: Final Tweaks to Controversial Lambeth Calls Released.

The text of the calls is here, in multiple languages.

The electronic text of the complete report is here,  in several languages, but apparently not in English. The latter is available on paper only, it seems.


Although no English language PDF is offered, most of the information can be found by following links from this website page.


Opinion – 5 August 2023

Helen King ViaMedia.News Missing, Between Synods

Theo Hobson ViaMedia.News Holy Discomfort: Time to Restore the Unity of the Church?


Christ Church Oxford: Peter Moger appointed Sub Dean

Christ Church press release: Revd Canon Peter Moger appointed new Sub Dean

Today it was announced that His Majesty The King has approved the appointment of the Revd Canon Peter Moger as the new Sub Dean of Christ Church.

Canon Moger joins us from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, where he was based in Stornoway and served as Episcopalian priest to the Isle from 2019. Before this he was Canon Residentiary and Precentor of York Minster from 2010, where he oversaw the Music Department and shared in the governance of the Minster. Canon Moger read Music at Merton College, Oxford, and has written several books on Church Music, as well as acting as Secretary to the Liturgical Commission…

10 Downing Street announcement: Appointment of Residentiary Canonry of the Cathedral Church of Christ Oxford: 4 August 2023

…The King has approved The Reverend Canon Peter Moger, Priest in Charge of St Peter, Stornoway and St Moluag, Eoropaidh, in the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles, be appointed to a Residentiary Canonry of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Oxford, in succession to the Very Reverend Richard Peers, following his appointment as Dean of Llandaff Cathedral…