Thinking Anglicans

Church Commissioners’ financial results for 2021

Press release from the Church of England

Church Commissioners reports strong financial returns in 2021 of 13.3%


The Church Commissioners for England, which manages the endowment fund of the Church of England, published its financial results for 2021 today in its Annual Report.

The continued strong investment returns have enabled the Church Commissioners to increase its funding of the Church’s mission and ministry in the 2023-2025 triennium to an all-time high. The Commissioners will contribute £1.2 billion to the Church’s funding in the next three-year period, which will account for about 20% of the Church’s expenditure. The Church Commissioners plan to maintain that level of funding in the subsequent six years, subject to investment performance and market fluctuations, which would help the Church to plan for the medium and long term.

The Church Commissioners’ active investment approach and risk-mitigating diversification across a broad range of asset classes enabled it to generate returns of 13.3% in 2021, exceeding its target of CPIH +4%, and the Commissioners has beaten its return target over the last three, 10 and 30 year periods. The fund was valued at £10.1 billion as at the end of 2021.

The performance of the fund despite the uncertain environment of the last few years has enabled the Commissioners to maintain its funding commitment in the 2020-2022 triennium of over £900 million.

Alan Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, said: 

“Good governance and an excellent team are both essential for us to achieve the strong returns necessary to provide the maximum sustainable level of funding for the Church’s mission and ministry, whilst maintaining our responsible investment philosophy. I am pleased the Church Commissioners have been able to meet our funding commitments for the current triennium despite the volatile market environment we have experienced in recent years due to Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Our excellent long-term returns are also enabling us to put in place a strong funding plan for the next three to nine years. Our long-term outlook means we contribute the maximum amount of funds to the Church today whilst also maintaining our support for future generations.”

The Church of England today announced a 30% increase in its national funding for the next three-year period to support and develop ministry, particularly amongst young and disadvantaged communities. The press release can be found here.


Church of England national funding to increase 30%

Press release from the Church of England

Church of England national funding to increase 30% to support and develop ministry especially with young people and disadvantaged communities

  • Nine-year funding plan will support a large increase in ministry and mission activity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in local communities across England
  • Focus on ministry among young people and disadvantaged communities
  • 2030 carbon net zero target also receives significant investment

The Church of England today announced plans for a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation.

The Church Commissioners for England intend to distribute £1.2 billion between 2023 and 2025, up 30% from £930 million in the current three-year period, and plan to maintain this level of funding in the subsequent six years.

In total, this would mean the Church Commissioners plan to distribute £3.6 billion to frontline work of the Church of England between 2023 and 2031, making the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council among the largest grant givers in the country.

The Church Commissioners’ distributions will account for approximately 20% of Church funding, whilst the biggest contribution comes from the faithful and generous giving of churchgoers across the country.

The core of the extra funding will be channelled into the revitalisation of parish and local ministry. The distributions will help fund dioceses’ plans to serve the nation by reaching more young and disadvantaged people, addressing issues of racial justice, and radically cutting the Church’s carbon footprint.

In line with the Church’s Vision and Strategy for the 2020s, funds will also be used to support parish churches and dioceses. This will include:

  • Continued funding for the Church in the poorest parts of the country, taking into account lessons from the recent independent review into Strategic Development (SDF) and Lowest Income Communities (LInC) funding.
  • Increasing the number of clergy in front-line ministry in parishes and chaplaincies, with the intent that the Church’s clergy better reflects the diversity of the nation that we serve.

In addition, the Church will lead by example in areas that are important not only to the Church but to wider society.

  • Enable thriving local churches across the country, making significant contributions to their local communities and delivering even more social action work
  • Support diocesan, parish and cathedral plans for the Church to become carbon net zero by 2030 – a target set by General Synod.
  • Fund measures that will make the Church more diverse.



Archbishop Welby apologises to Indigenous peoples of Canada

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for the “terrible crime” of the Anglican Church’s involvement in Canada’s residential schools – and for the Church of England’s “grievous sins” against the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

The Archbishop spent last weekend visiting Indigenous Canadian reserves, meeting with Indigenous leaders and Anglicans, and listening to residential school survivors, as part of a five-day visit to Canada.

Read the full Lambeth Palace press release here, and also Read Archbishop Justin’s apology to the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Scroll down to the end of the first link for some background information on the Anglican connection to Canadian residential schools.

Media reports from church and Canadian mainstream sources:

The Church Times: ‘We built hell and put your children in it’: Welby apologises to Indigenous Canadians.

The Anglican Journal: ‘Apologies are cheap … unless accompanied by action’: In Canada for 6 days, archbishop of Canterbury re-commits to reconciliation

The Globe and Mail: Archbishop of Canterbury apologizes to residential school survivors for Anglican Church’s role in ‘building hell’.

Reports from CBC News:


Opinion – 7 May 2022

Christopher Yoder The Living Church The Scouring of the White Horse

Andrew Graystone Church Times ‘Re-dressing’ victims’ wounds

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Post Traumatic Church Induced Stress (PTCIS) Is it a Problem?


Opinion – 4 May 2022

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Music in Worship: Questions that need to be asked.

Amy Kenny Earth & Altar Celebrating the Wheelchair: an excerpt from My Body is not a Prayer Request

Mark Chapman ViaMedia.News It’s Not Just About the Bible

Peter Webster Webstory Michael Ramsey and the Lambeth Conference


Bishop of Croydon

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

There is more detail on the Southwark diocesan website.

Appointment of Bishop of Croydon: 3 May 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Dr Marlene Rosemarie Mallett, Archdeacon of Croydon, to the Suffragan See of Croydon, in the Diocese of Southwark.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 3 May 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Venerable Dr Marlene Rosemarie Mallett, Archdeacon of Croydon, to the Suffragan See of Croydon, in the Diocese of Southwark, in succession to The Right Reverend Jonathan Clark following his retirement.


Rosemarie was educated at Sussex University and Warwick University, and trained for ministry at the South East Institute of Theological Education. She served her title at Christ Church, Brixton Road, in the Diocese of Southwark and was ordained Priest in 2005.

Rosemarie served as Priest-in-Charge at St John the Evangelist, Angell Town, from 2007 and was appointed Vicar in 2013, as well as being made Director of Ordinands for the Kingston Episcopal Area. In 2015, Rosemarie was additionally appointed Diocesan Director of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.

She took up her current role as Archdeacon of Croydon in 2020.


Bampton Lectures 2022: Professor Alec Ryrie

The University Church in Oxford announces:

The Age of Hitler, and how we can escape it

This year’s lectures are given by Professor Alec Ryrie FBA, who  is Professor of the History of Christianity in the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham.

The age of Hitler is not the 1930s and 1940s: it is our own lifetimes. It is the period in which Western culture has come to define its values not by Christianity, but by the narrative of the Second World War. It is the period in which our most potent moral figure has been Adolf Hitler, and in which our only truly fixed moral reference point has been our shared rejection of Nazism.

Which is good: but it’s not enough. And even if defining our values this way was wise, it’s clear that this postwar, anti-Nazi moral consensus is unravelling, and our whole system of values coming under pressure. What is going to come next? These lectures will give an account of how the ‘secular’ values of the postwar world came about, and what will happen now that the age of Hitler seems to be passing. They will show that for a new shared system of values to emerge from our current turmoil, we will need to draw creatively both on the newer, secular, anti-Nazi value system and on the older Christian value systems which remain powerfully present in European and Western culture. And they will show that such a creative synthesis is not only desirable, but also possible – perhaps even likely.

Details can be found here. The dates are 10 May and 17 May. The lectures will be live-streamed and recorded.

The Bampton Lectures

The Bampton Lectures, founded by the will of the Revd John Bampton (1690-1751), first took place at the University Church in 1780. Over the centuries, these prestigious lectures – sometimes courting controversy, always intellectually stimulating – have covered a range of theological subjects. It is a condition of the Bampton Bequest that the lectures are published by the Lecturer. These lectures are delivered in the Trinity Term every year.


Opinion – 30 April 2022

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding and the Search for Independence

Stephanie Pywell ViaMedia.News To Love and to Cherish… According to our Beliefs and Lifestyles

Richard Scorer The Free Thinker Child Protection and Religious Freedom


More criticisms of government plans for asylum-seekers

See previous post on this topic. Some more recent items:

Justin Welby  in the Telegraph Put humanity at the heart of our asylum system (I have not yet located a copy of this outside the paywall, but it is quoted extensively in the article below from Archbishop Cranmer.)

Paul Butler in the Independent ‘Rwanda refugees plan flies in the face of Christian teachings’ – Bishop of Durham

Arun Arora in The Northern Echo The Government policy that tears at the nation’s soul

Archbishop Cranmer How many millions of asylum seekers should the UK welcome?

Vatican News UK-Rwanda asylum deal raises human rights concerns

…Botswanan activist and lawyer, Alice Mogwe spoke with Vatican News on this latest deal between the UK and Rwanda, reflecting on its implications from the perspective of human rights. She is the President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)…

Contains link to audio interview (9 minutes)

Note this paragraph:

Concrete recommendations

In lieu of the controversial agreement, the FIDH president invites governments to stop focusing on the consequences of migration but rather coordinate efforts to stem the causes of migration.

“Nobody wakes up one day and decides to leave their country if there is good governance, if there is a rule of law, if human rights are in fact being protected and respected,” she says.

More so, she calls for a revision of the Asylum agreement, stressing that states need to comply with international human rights standards.

“What will happen to those who are vulnerable?” she asks. “What’s going to happen if children are separated? What’s going to happen if people fail to be recognized as refugees in Rwanda once they reach there?”


Bishop of Bath and Wells

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
There are more details on the diocesan website.

Bishop of Bath and Wells: 28 April 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Noel Michael Roy Beasley, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Bath and Wells.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 28 April 2022

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Dr Noel Michael Roy Beasley, Suffragan Bishop of Hertford, for election as Bishop of Bath and Wells, in succession to The Right Reverend Peter Hancock following his retirement.


Michael was educated at Imperial College, London and Oriel College, Oxford and trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham. He served his title in the Parishes of Newport, Chetwynd and Forton in the Diocese of Lichfield and was ordained Priest in 2000.

Michael became Chaplain of Westcott House, Cambridge in 2003 whilst also working as Senior Programme Manager for The Partnership for Child Development, a research group in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London. In 2008, he was made Vice Principal and Tutor in Mission at Westcott House and Director for The Partnership for Child Development. In 2010, he became Director of Mission, in the Diocese of Oxford and was appointed Honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford in 2014.

Michael has served in his current role as Suffragan Bishop of Hertford since 2015.


Opinion – 27 April 2022

Scot Peterson ViaMedia.News All Change: What Next for Living in Love and Faith?

Surviving Church The Kenneth Saga: End in sight?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church House of Survivors. A New Resource for the Church of England

Stephen Cottrell William Temple Foundation An Easter Vision

ViaMedia.News Living in Love and Faith: The Ozanne Foundation Responds


Smyth Review update

News from the Church of England

Smyth Review update

Following an update in January about timings on the Smyth Review the National Safeguarding Team, NST, has now provided a further update to the survivors and victims, who suffered the appalling abuse by the late John Smyth.

The reviewers are still continuing to receive important information, with some completely new people coming forward to make representations, including victims and people who knew Smyth over the years. There was an evidence deadline of September 2021, however it was considered important that these voices were heard to obtain a fuller picture as possible.

The approach the reviewers are taking to draft the report is to cover all the material in a largely chronological way, providing drafts covering the different periods and starting the representations process with those people named in the report as it progresses. This phased approach is considered more effective and helpful for all those involved, particularly survivors and victims, rather than presenting the full report to the NST all in one go. The first phase draft is expected to be with the NST within a month and it will continue to receive drafts over the summer months.

The Church (as stated by the Archbishop of Canterbury) is committed to full and unredacted publication of the report. The representations process, for all involved is expected to be complex, with the eventual date of publication being determined by this.

There will be further updates when more precise timings are known. Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors and support continues to be offered, please contact in the first instance.

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Opinion – 23 April 2022

Sophie Grace Chappell ViaMedia.News Trans Figured: Experience Trumps Theory

Martin Sewell Surviving Church Bullying in the Church

Giles Fraser UnHerd Why Bishops should be political

James Crockford Church Times C of E prefers marble to people
“The Rustat judgment exposed flaws in the faculty process”


Opinion – 20 April 2022

The Guardian In pictures: Good Friday around the world

Martyn Percy Modern Church Testing Trials and Egregious Errors: Some Good Friday Reflections
The Revolutionary Seeds of Easter

Hattie McInerney ViaMedia.News The Invisible Privilege of Being Voiceless in the Church: Creating a Platform for Bisexual Christians

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Radical New Christian Inclusion – the Silence of the Bishops


Bishops criticise government plans for asylum-seekers

Updated Wednesday (twice) and again Friday (scroll down)
See also later article here.

The UK Government recently announced plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. This has been extensively reported in the media but in case you missed it, here are links to the official Home Office press release, and to the text of Home Secretary’s speech in Kigali.

Bishops of the Church of England have expressed criticism, including:

Archbishop of Canterbury

…And this season is also why there are such serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas. The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgement of God and it cannot. It  cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death. It cannot carry the weight of the resurrection that was first to the least valued, for it privileges the rich and strong. And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures…

Archbishop of York

…Or rather, Christ finds us. He comes to us, as he came to Mary Magdalene, and he asks why we’re crying and who we’re looking for.

He has returned to take us with him. Like Mary and like Elizabeth who will be baptised in just a moment, He know us by name. He shows us what really matters. He shows us what we should strive for, which is why, among so many other things that trouble our world at the moment, it is so depressing and so distressing this week to find that asylum seekers fleeing war, famine and oppression from deeply troubled parts of the world will not be treated with the dignity and compassion that is the right of every human being, and instead of being dealt with quickly and efficiently here on our soil, will be shipped to Rwanda.

We can do better than this. We can do better than this because of what we see in the Risen Christ a vision for our humanity, which breaks barriers down – not new obstacles put in the path. After all, there is, in law, no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. It is the people who exploit them that we need to crack down on, not our sisters and brothers in their need…

Bishop of Chelmsford

Full text of letter (PDF)

The Church Times has this: Rwanda off-shoring plan is ‘opposite of the nature of God’, Welby says and Government plans to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda denounced by faith leaders.

Press Association via Independent: Johnson accused of ‘disgraceful’ attack on Welby over Rwanda policy criticism

The Tablet Ruth Gledhill: Cardinal and Archbishop condemn Rwanda asylum plan

Telegraph Allison PearsonJudge yourself first, Justin Welby, before preaching to the rest of us

Archbishop Cranmer: Boris Johnson’s ‘disgraceful slur’ against the Archbishop of Canterbury

Guardian: No 10 goes into battle with archbishops over Rwanda asylum plan

Church Times Stephen Bates: Press: Tory papers turn on Welby for asylum ‘rant’

Church Times Angela Tilby: Welby’s Easter sermon deepened divisions

Church Times Prime Minister accuses senior clergy of misconstruing Rwanda proposal

Independent: Editorial: Justin Welby is right – the Rwanda plan raises troubling ethical questions (registration required)

Independent Cathy Newman: Thank heavens for Justin Welby: the Church has a duty to speak truth to power


Opinion – 16 April 2022

Archbishop Cranmer Maundy Thursday: there needs to be some foot-washing in Oxford

The Anglican Communion News Service has published several Easter messages from primates. You can find links to them (and messages from previous years) here.

Giles Fraser UnHerd Have I abandoned my flock?

Peter B Surviving Church A personal rethinking of the Passion and Easter story


Opinion – 13 April 2022

Grace Davie ViaMedia.News In Search of the ‘Optimal’

Vicky Brett ViaMedia.News Is the Conversion Therapy Ban a Muddle? A Response to Angela Tilby
[This refers to this Church Times article.]


Rustat Memorial: no appeal planned

See our earlier report dated 24 March.

Jesus College, Cambridge has recently published this statement: Church must drive change on racial injustice and contested heritage.

Jesus College is calling on the Church of England to change how it deals with matters of racial injustice and contested heritage – while announcing it will not appeal the Consistory Court judgment which prevents a celebratory memorial to Tobias Rustat being moved from its Chapel.

The College says the current process urgently needs reform as it stands in the way of a constructive and inclusive discussion on sensitive and important issues.

Sonita Alleyne OBE, Master of Jesus College, said: “Many students and members of the College community put their trust in the Church process, and understandably feel let down by the judgment and its misrepresentation of their views.

“The Consistory Court’s decision shows a lack of understanding of the lived experience of people of colour in modern Britain.”…

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued this: Contested heritage and racial justice: statement by the Archbishop which includes this:

I have questioned previously why it is so difficult to move the Rustat memorial in Jesus College chapel – which causes such pain and distress to people whose ancestors were sold into slavery – to a place where it can be understood in context. I stand by those comments.

Law & Religion UK has two posts:

According to a report in today’s Times (behind a paywall):

…Jesus College could face a £150,000 bill for losing the Tobias Rustat memorial case, despite declining to appeal because of the “significant” costs involved (James Beal writes).
Sources told The Times that although the college had not finalised its figures since the court case, staG had initially estimated fees of about £120,000.
The Rustat Memorial Group, made up of 70 alumni who clubbed together to fight the monument’s removal, spent £30,000 and have now requested that the college pay their costs. The Church of England court will rule on costs at a later date…

The Church Times had this: Jesus College will not appeal against Rustat judgment and also I still think Rustat memorial should go, says Archbishop Welby.

And the letter from 160 clergy can be found here.


Church of England recruits National Director of Safeguarding

Updated Friday 15 April

Readers may recall that the previous National Director, Melissa Caslake, resigned in January 2021. Since then Zena Marshall has been interim director. The substantive post has now been advertised, both on the CofE pathways website and in the Church Times:

There are some further web pages dedicated to this vacancy, hosted by Green Park recruitment consultants:

Welcome letter from William Nye   Background on the National Church Institutions

Role Description    Person Specification    How to Apply

Applications close on 21 April.

Update: there is a letter (scroll down) in the Church Times today from David Lamming which makes a number of criticisms of the advertisement. See further in the comments below.


Opinion – 9 April 2022

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley I Have Measured Out My Life in Hallelujahs

Terry Louden ViaMedia.News No Sex, Please? Remembering the Higton Debate

Susannah Clark Dialogue between an evangelical Christian leader and a person who has transitioned