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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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There we are: Evangelicals are hidebound and change-allergic, straining attempts at compromise. Never mind that Archbishop Welby – who, as the Times itself says, "backed the push for female bishops" – is himself widely known as an evangelical.
There's also a glitch in the Times saying that Libby Lane's appointment will test the compromise. If Thomas' concern is male oversight for conservative churches, why wouldn't he be satisfied with a female suffragan who draws her authority from a male bishop? He should have been asked, don’t you think?
Nor does the article's grasp of history sound much better. Not when the story says, "The tradition of all-male bishops dates to the Church of England’s break with Rome five centuries ago, in the days of King Henry VIII."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture Women * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
Listen to it all (a little over 3 1/2 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Advent Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Theology: Scripture
Currently, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Durham, London and Winchester automatically take seats in the House of Lords. The remaining 21 seats are occupied by Bishops in order of seniority (length of service). Under the current system, it would be many years before women bishops were represented in the Lords.
The Government’s Bill, which is supported by the Church of England, proposes a modification of this rule for the next ten years....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Women * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
Women bishops would be fast-tracked into the House of Lords, under government proposals set out... [yesterday].
Ministers want to change the law to allow female bishops to take up the "spiritual" seats in the Lords, when they become available.
Usually they are allocated to the most senior or longest-serving bishops.
On Wednesday, Reverend Libby Lane was announced as the first female bishop for the Church of England - a month after a historic change to canon law.
The general synod voted to back plans for female bishops in July and formally adopted legislation on 17 November.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Women * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
A parish priest, the Revd Libby Lane, is to be the first woman bishop in the Church of England, it was announced on Wednesday, one month to the day after the passing of legislation to enable women's consecration.
Ms Lane, Vicar of St Peter's, Hale, and St Elizabeth's, Ashley, will become the Bishop of Stockport, a suffragan post in the diocese of Chester, when she is consecrated in York Minister on 26 January.
"This is unexpected and very exciting," she said, after the announcement was made in Stockport Town Hall. "I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment. But most of all I am thankful to God."
The Archbishop of Canterbury said that he was "absolutely delighted. . . Her Christ-centred life, calmness, and clear determination to serve the Church and the community make her a wonderful choice."
Read it all.
Parents have spoken of their disgust after a clergywoman told children that Father Christmas is not real.
Rev Margaret McPhee made the mistake during a choir concert for primary school children from Stalham Academy, in Norfolk.
During the service at St Mary's Church in the town, the curate asked pupils what they thought Christmas was about.
When one child said "Father Christmas", she replied that he was make-believe and not real.
Read it all.
When we meet in the Crewe YMCA, she has just been touring the building surrounded by a small cloud of cameras and journalists and is preparing to say goodbye to her congregation at a party this evening. They only found out this morning that she would be leaving them to become a bishop. When we talk about the church at St Peter’s Hale, Lane seems a little emotional as she is clearly sad to be leaving them behind, but for the rest of the interview, she is as polished as any politician I’ve ever interviewed.
The first ever woman bishop, appointed after years of campaigning and fighting in the Church of England, is so keen not to cause any more fights that she tries to avoid saying anything particularly striking during the interview. She refuses to put herself on one side or another when I ask whether she sees herself as a liberal, a conservative, an evangelical, or something else. Speaking in that special Anglican way – a slightly slower-than-usual pace of words that linger a little longer over vowels, especially ‘God’, which becomes ‘Go-od’, and thoughtful-sounding pauses – she says:
‘I would describe myself as a Christian and as a passionate Anglican and that’s how I would describe myself. I have been formed and shaped by a whole breadth of the Church of England’s tradition and experience and been really enriched by that and I want to hold onto that breadth and the richness that I have got in Christ and all the traditions of the Church.’
Read it all.
The Rev Libby Lane supports Manchester United and does a mean line in solving cryptic crosswords. And, as of January, she will be consecrated to the highest office in the Church of England yet held by a woman.
Yesterday Mrs Lane, 48, was named as the first female bishop only weeks after the church voted to clear the way with one of the most significant reforms in its history.
The Oxford graduate and her husband were one of the first couples to be ordained together in 1994 when the church lifted its ban on women entering the ministry after 70 years of theological and political controversy. She is also the dean of women in ministry for the diocese of Chester, and has spent the vast majority of her 20-year church career serving in the northwest.
Read it all (requires a subscription) and the Times also has an accompanying editorial on this news 'The first female bishop is long overdue, but the greater battle lies ahead'.
Fair returns to savers, fair interest rates on loans and the aspiration to be a flagship credit union are among the aims of the Churches' Mutual Credit Union Ltd (CMCU) which has received formal authorisation from the regulatory authorities today. This has been a rigorous process undertaken by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. CMCU plans to begin to offer its services to those eligible for membership from February 2015.
CMCU has been formed for and with the help of the Church of England, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales. CMCU President, Canon Antony MacRow-Wood, said, "I am delighted at the news of authorisation. CMCU will help many, even in its first year of operation and, in due course, it should become a significant financial resource to the church and individuals throughout England, Wales and Scotland. CMCU will enable a virtuous re-cycling of money within the church community, through a combined portfolio of savings and loan products."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance The Banking System/Sector * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Development and Appointments Group would like to thank Lord Green for this report and for his leadership of the group charged by us and the Archbishops to review the way in which the Church prepares clergy for senior posts and how they are encouraged to develop and grow in their discipleship and leadership in mission once they are appointed. I would also like to thank the members of various task groups who contributed as ideas were developed, and those who have taken part over the longer term - in shaping source material through being members of nomination panels, participating in diocesan consultations for bishops and deans and participating in research projects. This work has emerged from a long period of reflection on the complexity of senior clerical leadership - a ministry in which we are called to be priests, prophets and theologians as well as to be leaders of Christ' great gift, the Church - a body which needs constant nurturing and stewarding to ensure that its organisational life flourishes and resources our call to mission.
The report challenges the nature and quality of the support currently provided in both areas - a challenge we must take seriously as we become increasingly aware of the extent of the issues facing the Church in its witness to and sharing of the Gospel.
Read it all and follow the link to the full report.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Pastoral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Downing Street have today announced that the new Bishop of Stockport - and the first woman bishop in the Church of England - will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter's, Hale, and St Elizabeth's, Ashley.
As Bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minster on Monday 26 January 2015.
Libby Lane was ordained as a priest in 1994 and has served a number of parish and chaplaincy roles in the North of England in the Dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. For the past 8 years she has served as Vicar of St. Peter's Hale and St. Elizabeth's Ashley.
She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the North West.
Read it all.
The Church of England is poised to announce the appointment of its first female bishop marking the end of centuries of all-male leadership.
The Daily Telegraph understands that a female priest has been chosen as the new Bishop of Stockport which has been vacant since May when the previous holder, the Rt Rev Robert Atwell, was made Bishop of Exeter.
The historic appointment comes just four weeks after the Church of England’s ruling General Synod formally enacted a change to canon law opening the episcopate to women for the first time, ending 40 years of legislative wrangling and almost a century of campaigning.
Read it all.
In a speech to the Ecclesiastical Law Society in Westminster that offered a staunch defence of the Church of England as an important counterweight to the upheaval created by successive governments, Mr Grieve said: “The desire for addressing [public] discontent is genuine, but we often seem to lurch from efforts at promoting optimism based on economic indicators to hand-wringing expressions of sympathy with our electorate’s concerns.
“There seems little sign at present that any of these exertions are really helping restore the nation’s confidence in existing or reformed political processes and institutions.”
He seized on plans concocted by Chris Grayling, the justice minister, to repeal the Human Rights Act and found a “British bill of rights”.
“I think this proposal is illustrative of a growing trend, which affects successive governments irrespective of party,” he said. “Those in power are failing to look at issues in the round and in the long term.”
Read it all.
Fighting the "evil giant" of climate change and ending violence against women and girls should be among the key themes for new global development goals from 2015, the Bishop of Sheffield has told the House of Lords.
The Rt Rev Steven Croft said there had been "major" achievements as a result of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by world leaders in 2000.
Read it all.
A radical overhaul of the Church of England's leadership is under way.
A key report, still unpublished, sets out a programme of "talent management" in the Church. The report has been signed off by the two Archbishops, and a £2-million budget has been allocated. It was discussed by all the bishops in September, and the House of Bishops on Monday. A spokesman said on Wednesday that the Bishops "welcomed the implementation plan prepared in the light of those discussions. Details will be published next month."
The Church Times has seen the report, Talent Management for Future Leaders and Leadership Development for Bishops and Deans: A new approach, prepared by a steering group chaired by Prebendary the Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, the former HSBC chairman. It speaks of a "culture change for the leadership of the Church", and outlines a two-stage process.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Anglican-Lutheran International Co-ordinating Committee (ALICC) held its second meeting at the Mariners’ Club, Hong Kong, 19 to 25 November 2014, under the leadership of the Rt Revd Dr Tim Harris of the Anglican Church of Australia (acting co-chair as Archbishop Mauricio was unable to attend), and of Bishop Michael Pryse of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
The meeting was hosted by the Anglican Communion and the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui. The Committee warmly appreciated the generosity and the hospitality received from the Mission to Seafarers.
The Committee continued its work of mapping Anglican and Lutheran relationships around the world. In order to fulfill its role to be a catalyst for such relationships, it drew up a template of the differing patterns of relationships and the contexts in which they are lived out. For example, some are national churches meeting with other national churches, while others share the same geography. Some have relatively the same demographics, while in other places one church is much larger than the other. The Committee hopes to provide examples of the kinds of joint initiatives which might be appropriate for some rather than others.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Reports & Communiques Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Lutheran * Theology
The Bishop of Truro, together with a group of cross-party MPs, has criticised the effectiveness the benefits system in a comprehensive report into Britain's hunger crisis released today.
The Feeding Britain report was published by the all-party parliamentary inquiry into hunger and food poverty, led by Labour MP Frank Field and the Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, and was compiled with funding from the Archbishop's charitable trust.
The report said that benefit-related problems were the reason most often given for people resorting to a food bank. Problems with the administration of benefits, creating delays or income gaps which create emergency needs were some of the problems cited.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Poverty Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
The Church of England said it was in the process of filing shareholder resolutions on climate change at BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
"The resolution is intended to challenge the companies to run their businesses so that they participate constructively in the transition to a low carbon economy", The Church of England wrote in a blog. (bit.ly/1tUBUlN)
The Church said it chose BP and Shell because they have the biggest carbon footprints of all the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Read it all and make sure to read the whole C of E blog post also.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Stock Market * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Koran should be read at the next Coronation, says Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the retired Bishop of Oxford. Or at least, he said in the House of Lords, such a reading had gone down very well in Bristol cathedral before a service last year for the mayor and high sheriff, who were both Muslims. The bishop thought, the next Coronation should reflect similar “hospitality”.
This seems to me damagingly misconceived. For a start, look at it from the Muslims’ point of view. The Koran is not just another book, not even one that is holy, as the Bible is held to be by Christians. The Koran is the uncreated word of God. That is the universal belief. It wasn’t composed by Mohammed. It cannot be changed....
The central fact to grasp about the Coronation is that it is not a mere jumble of colourful ceremonial but a service of Holy Communion. Inserted into this is the anointing and crowning of the monarch. This is less clear from films of the Coronation, which cut out, for example, the reception of the Sacrament by the Queen.
The reason for the “privileging” of one religion is simple: the Church of England is established. The monarch is the head of state and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. It might not seem that the Queen interferes in the running of the Church, but then how much does she interfere in the running of the country? She is a constitutional monarch, but that does not make the constitution unimportant.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
What do we make of the latest statistics about cathedral attendances?
I've been a cathedral dean for half my ministry, and was a canon residentiary before that. So I once knew a fair amount about Coventry Cathedral and Sheffield Cathedral. 12 years at Durham completes a trio of three very different cathedrals (and if you count my years as an honorary vicar choral at Salisbury, that makes four).
In the last decade or so, the rhetoric has been that cathedrals are 'a success story of the Church of England'. (Some immodestly replace the indefinite article with the definite.) I've often wondered what this means, and whether success/failure language ought to belong to the way we perceive church life. In the heritage sector, there is now much more talk about the importance of 'intangible values', not just the things we can observe and measure. I'm not the only one to worry that church growth/fresh expressions language is seduced by the easy appeal of measurables ('bums on seats'). I doubt if these are what ultimately matter when it comes to understanding the dynamics of a faith community.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
A group of evangelical clergy are protesting about an article written in their Diocesan newspaper by a member of the senior staff team that promotes the acceptance of same sex relationships. Dr Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, writes what appears to be a brief review of two books on the subject. In one paragraph he praises More Perfect Union by Alan Wilson, then he contemptuously dismisses “Is God anti-gay?” by Sam Allberry, in four sentences. (Sam’s book is a clear and concise survey of the biblical texts and the real live issues for Christians with same sex attraction.) Percy concludes with his own sermon arguing for complete change in the biblical doctrine of Christian marriage...
..once again we have to flag up this tendency, no doubt occurring in many other Dioceses as well, of church leaders using their position and official institutions to promote heresy, causing confusion, anger and disunity.
In another Diocese, which I can’t name at the moment, a number of clergy in civil partnerships have been appointed to senior posts, to the extent that even some moderates feel that this kind of ‘affirmative action’ is getting out of hand. Of course all these clergy have given assurances that their relationships are non-sexual, but they make no secret of their opposition to the C of E’s current teaching and their support for the ‘inclusion’ ethic. For some evangelicals, the appointment of one of these revisionists to be in charge of the training of all curates in the Diocese has proved the last straw. Or has it? This situation is not unique. As revisionists continue their takeover of Diocesan administrations, the few conservatives left in senior positions tend to keep their heads down and work for ‘peace’, seeing protesting biblically faithful clergy as equally a problem to be managed as the campaigning inclusionists.
Read it all
The suffragan see of Maidstone in Kent, vacant since 2009, is to be revived to accommodate a conservative Evangelical bishop, it was announced on Thursday.
The appointee will take a conservative view on male headship. Such a bishop was promised by the House of Bishops during the debates over women bishops, to reassure conservative Evangelicals who opposed the change that they were still welcome in the Church of England.
The Dioceses Commission agreed unanimously on Thursday with a proposal from the Archbishop of Canterbury that this conservative Evangelical bishop be appointed to the see of Maidstone.
In the build-up the meeting of the General Synod in July, a note from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Synod acknowledged that the "normal processes" for appointing bishops had not yet selected an Evangelical with the conservative Evangelical position on headship.
Read it all.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined Pope Francis and other world Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders in Rome today to sign a historic declaration to end modern slavery.
The ground-breaking Global Freedom Network – which launched with backing from Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis in March 2014 [link] – brings together faith leaders in a commitment to eradicate modern slavery by 2020 throughout our world and for all time.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Globalization Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Violence Women * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The next Bishop of Plymouth is to be the Rt Revd Nick McKinnel .
Currently the Bishop of Crediton in Devon, he will be ‘translated’ across back to Plymouth, where he spent 18 years in ministry as Rector of the Minister Church of St Andrews.
He was made Bishop of Crediton in 2012 but his experience of Plymouth made him a good candidate to become the Bishop of the city and the surrounding area, which includes Torbay.
Read it all and you may read more there.
One of Islam’s most senior clerics is due to travel to Britain this week to take part in a debate organised by Ukip on religious extremism.
The Grand Mufti of Egypt is expected to meet Nigel Farage and will join a panel discussion on youth radicalisation, according to the party’s communities spokesman, Amjad Bashir.
Mr Bashir, an MEP and one of the party’s most prominent Muslims, has billed the event as an opportunity to remind young people of “the teachings of their religion and developing strategies for combating religious intolerance”.
Shawqi Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam is Egypt’s leading religious authority. He has become one of the most prominent Muslim critics of Islamic State, denouncing it as “an extremist and bloody group that poses a danger to Islam and Muslims”.
Read it all (requires subscription)
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Middle East Egypt * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The first woman bishop in the Church of England could be selected this week.
Candidates for bishop of Southwell and Nottingham are being interviewed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Applications from women have been considered for the vacancy. After the interviews, a preferred candidate and a second preference will be put forward.
No announcements will be made until 2015 as the appointment needs to be approved by the Queen on the recommendation of the prime minister.
Read it all.
The debate about the monarchy will spring back to life when Her Majesty the Queen dies, as sadly we all must, but the next coronation will still be a huge state occasion, a moment that redefines the nation. That is why, for the first time, people of other faiths will be invited to take part.
That's a fact, in my understanding, although the Church of England will not yet admit it. The Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders who will devise and put on the service refuse to talk about a future coronation publicly, saying that to do so while the Queen is still alive would be "very improper". But privately, in conversations over the past 18 months, they have told me they accept the need to be "hospitable" to other faiths.
So Muslims, Hindus, Jews and others can expect an invitation to play some part in this grand occasion, which has been explicitly and exclusively Christian for a thousand years.
This dramatic shift will dismay traditionalists, as did Lord Harries on Friday.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Churches
A woman has been appointed as a canon chancellor at Exeter Cathedral for the first time in its 900-year history.
Canon Anna Norman-Walker, a former nurse, told BBC News the Church of England was "on the move" over its position on female clergy.
In November, following intense debate, the church formally adopted legislation to allow female bishops by 2015.
Jonathan Draper, Dean of Exeter Cathedral, said the new canon brought "great gifts and energy".
Read it all.
Perhaps the significance of Kennedy is ultimately found in his tragic and untimely death and that is why November 22 has been singled out in his memory, eclipsing Lewis' death. But it seems to me that Lewis' significance is found in his life and work. JFK's importance is found in what could have been had he lived (and perhaps a little too romanticized in the process), as well as the continued controversy generated by conspiracy theorists as to how many assassins were involved that day. But I think Lewis' importance is found in not what might have been, but in what he contributed prior to his death, challenging us to rethink our view of the world and the significance of a "mere Christianity" in which an orthodox understanding of Jesus was essential, while poking at that mere Jesus with some new and different questions.
November 22 seems to have been dedicated to JFK by default because of his untimely death. Lewis continues to be read and discussed and pondered in an ever-continuing stream of new books, in coffee shops and pubs and taverns and at conferences. The significance of Lewis' contribution cannot be limited to one day a year....
Lewis' death may get no attention, but his life and work cannot be eclipsed.
Read it all (from 2013 but still worthwhile).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Laity * Culture-Watch Books * Theology Apologetics Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology
Rev Engin Yildirim, from the Church of the Resurrection (a Turkish language parish in Istanbul) has sent details of a privileged meeting when he and other Christian clergy greeted Pope Francis on Saturday 30 November 2014 during his official visit to the country.
Read it all and make sure not to miss the picture. For those interested in the background of the parish you may read more here and the parish website is there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * General Interest Photos/Photography * International News & Commentary Europe Turkey * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis
The former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, has said readings from the Koran should feature in the next Coronation, when Prince Charles succeeds to the Throne.
In a debate on the role of religion in British public life, Lord Harries, now an independent peer, praised what he called "the hospitality" shown in a service last year at Bristol Cathedral.
However, Douglas Murray, author and associate editor of The Spectator, disagreed saying: "A lot of people will think this is an example of Anglican leaders not having faith in their own faith."
Listen to it all (6 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
My love for the Prayer Book began in very early childhood, before I could read - when I could only listen to it. Of course, it was the only book used then. Later, when I could read, during long, boring sermons I would read it and specially loved the instructions - for instance, those to priests for giving holy communion in time of pestilence. That conjured up pictures in my childish mind of the priest walking with the sacred vessels through the almost deserted village, almost certainly to become ill himself; or the prayers for when in danger on the sea, knowing that they would have been read by everyone on board, and the ship would almost certainly founder.
There is so much history, romance, and great beauty in it. And the prayers like the General Thanksgiving and the prayers after communion are so superb that they meet my need in praying much better than my own words do, and I still use them in private prayer.
I enjoy services in other denominations, like those of the Reformed Church, or going to a Roman Catholic mass with a friend - but what is essential to me is an atmosphere of devotion and concentration on God. If there's a great deal of happy-clappy singing and announcements of birthdays, and so on, I can see that it binds people together, but I don't personally find it's useful to me. I want silence, so I can concentrate on God - not just talking to him and giving him a list of my requirements.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity * Culture-Watch History Poetry & Literature * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Watch it all (only 5 1/4 minutes) and see what you make of it.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Sunday morning is an inconvenient time for church services because people are busy shopping and doing DIY, the Church of England has admitted.
Worshippers are increasingly turning their backs on the centuries-old practice of attending worship on Sundays because of other leisure and social “commitments”, it said.
The admission came alongside new figures showing that attendances at midweek services in cathedrals have doubled in a decade while numbers in the pews in parishes on Sundays continue to fall.
The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, said many people still crave quiet reflection, but are seeking out less “pressurised” times in the week to worship than Sunday mornings.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary England / UK
The number of people attending midweek services at cathedrals has doubled in the past 10 years, show new figures published today from the Church of England's Research and Statistics department. One of the factors attributed is the need for a place of peace in increasingly busy lives.
Midweek attendance at cathedrals was 7,500 in 2003 rising to 15,000 in 2013 (compared to 12,400 in 2012). In a Church of England podcast published today the Dean of Lichfield, Adrian Dorber, said he has seen the need for people wanting a short snatch of peace midweek in what are now very pressurised lifestyles. "At the weekend you've got commitments with children doing sport, shopping, household maintenance - life's run at the double these days and weekends are very pressurised and committed. Taking out half an hour or an hour every week is much more negotiable."
Anecdote to Evidence research published earlier this year showed that that the highest motivating factors for Cathedral attendance were peace and contemplation, worship and music and friendly atmosphere.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Bishop Robert completed the third of his official Cathedral installations on Saturday 22 November 2014 with a rousing service in the Pro-Cathedral of Holy Trinity, Brussels – the church where before consecration he served as Parish Priest.
You can find pictures here and his sermon there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium
She notes with sadness the general absence of religious coverage in the media – “until there is a crisis, and then, all of a sudden, our voice is needed”. But rather than complain of prejudice, this practical, roll-up-your-sleeves -and-get-on-with-it Christian feels the onus is on churches to say something that is worth printing and broadcasting. And she doesn’t mean Thought for the Day. The mere mention makes her shudder.
Many of the first wave of women priests in the Church of England had been waiting for years, even decades, to be allowed the chance to follow their vocation. Alison Joyce, though, grew up in Sussex, in a house where religion was rarely mentioned.
“My parents were occasional churchgoers, but had no sense of Church membership. I can remember, when I was exploring faith in my mid-twenties, pinning my poor mother to the kitchen wall and saying: ‘Explain the doctrine of the Trinity to me.’ There was fear in her eyes.”
Canon Joyce, you may have gathered, is not one for half-measures. It was during her postgraduate studies at Bristol that she found Anglicanism, but only after “a church crawl. I also went to the Orthodox, the Methodists, the Catholics and the Plymouth Brethren. As a non- churchgoer, I needed to know what was out there.”
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Take the time to watch it all (about 16-19 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Make new Friends… there are some great examples of Church Friends Groups in the diocese. They take a bit of effort to get going, but can typically double the number of people involved in supporting the heritage of the church and help with fund raising. National Churches Trust offers a useful guide – ask us for a copy.
Arrange an exhibition… this can be a great way to engage local people, especially if this can involve children. Is there a local history link that you could make? Don’t forget that the ‘Lindisfarne Legacy’ pop-up exhibition is still available for free use by churches to help complement local events.
Design a trail… what are the ten most interesting things about your church, churchyard or immediate surroundings? Why not create a short trail leaflet to encourage visitors to explore and appreciate the significance of your church? We can send you an advice sheet and a template you could use for this.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture * Theology
[Archbp Justin Welby]...also told reporters that he could not say with any certainty when the first women might be appointed bishop. "The Archbishops have just one vote out of 14 [on the Crown Nominations Commission], and our ability to control or prevent appointments is very limited. I know there are some very good people, and we hope that some will also find their way on to the bishops' bench."
If bishops retire as expected, Archbishop Welby said, women could make up half the College of Bishops within ten to 15 years.
Campaigners for women bishops reacted with pleasure to the news that the long road to allowing women into the episcopate had now ended. The chairwoman of WATCH (Women and the Church), Hillary Cotton, told the BBC that the move was highly significant.
"It is not just about having women wearing purple, it is about changing the culture of the Church to be more equal."
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Nobody can deny that Mr Welby has tried hard to keep the family intact. He has visited Anglicans in almost every part of the globe and was well received everywhere. But this week he acknowledged the deep divisions which, he told the synod, may be “too much to manage”. Anglicanism, he went on, is in a state so delicate that “without prayer and repentance, it is hard to see how we can avoid some serious fractures.” Mr Welby also acknowledged for the first time that the splits are so great that the Lambeth conference, a once-a-decade gathering of global Anglican bishops, might never happen again.
The split is mainly but not solely over same-sex relations. At one end of the spectrum, the Episcopal church in America has consecrated an openly lesbian bishop; at the other end, African bishops have supported harsh anti-gay laws. By comparison, the issue of female bishops is not so divisive. But developing-world conservatives are also dismayed when their northern colleagues make liberal theological noises—by suggesting, for example, that Jesus might not be the only way to salvation.
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Anglicans and Episcopalians from Communion provinces worldwide are being invited to share their thoughts on the ministry priorities and qualities of the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
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He served his title at the parish of Bottesford with Ashby, Scunthorpe in Lincoln Diocese from 1978 to 1980. He then returned to New York City where he served as curate at the Church of the Epiphany and Assistant Director of Trinity Institute, Trinity Wall Street, from 1980 to 1985. From 1985 to 1990 he was Executive Director of the Thompson Center, an ecumenical lay and clergy education programme in St Louis, Missouri.
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Amid loud sighs of relief in many quarters, and muffled moans from a traditionalist minority, the Church of England has cleared the last procedural obstacle to the appointment of women bishops. At a meeting on Monday of the church's General Synod, only around 30 of the 480 people present raised their hands against the necessary change in canon law. This means that a woman could be wearing episcopal purple by the end of the year, and a lady could join the ranks of the "lords spiritual"—Anglican prelates who sit in the upper chamber of Parliament—by next spring.
This was a big but expected landmark; a Synod vote two years ago, in which the measure narrowly failed to gain the approval of lay delegates, looks in retrospect like a rather weird anomaly. The change was overwhelmingly favoured by the leadership of the church, the clergy (one-third of which is female), and by public opinion—which matters for a church which aspires to be spiritual voice of a whole nation, however diverse or secular. The feelings of low-church evangelicals who oppose women bishops have to some degree been assuaged by a promise that one of their number will be appointed to high office; among high-church opponents, quite a few have taken up an offer to join the Roman Catholic church. So hard-line opposition to ladies in purple has gradually faded.
If this week is remembered as an important one by church historians, it may be for a different reason: it was the moment when the archbishop of Canterbury finally acknowledged that the Anglican Communion, the global family of churches numbering about 80m of which he is head, may be impossible to hold together.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Women * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
It is perfectly understandable that an organisation that believes in resurrection ought to be generally less anxious about the prospect of its own impending death. Or perhaps this lack of anxiety is a form of denial. Whatever the explanation, it seems that the Church of England continues to slip quietly into non-existence; at present it’s on the gentle downward gradient of a 1% loss in membership a year.
The bishop of Truro recently told his diocese that, unless this trend is reversed, the Cornish church will be unsustainable in about six years. Likewise, the bishop of Blackburn has said that the Anglican church is set to go the same way as Lancashire’s cotton mills. But despite these apocalyptic prognostications from the top brass, individual churches just keep on keeping on, often oblivious to the noises-off that speak of death. And I think that the churches are right and the bishops are wrong.
About a million people go to a Church of England church each week. It’s not the glory days of the church, admittedly. But just compare: the membership of the Conservative party is just 134,000 and has been very nearly halved since David Cameron took over. Membership of the Labour party is higher, at about 190,000. And the Lib Dems have just 44,000. But add them all together, and even throwing in Ukip for good measure, and you still don’t have half the number of people who go to church.
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The final barrier to women becoming bishops was removed on Monday, when the General Synod, meeting in Westminster, voted to promulge and execute the Amending Canon.
After the vote in July, which gave final approval to the women bishops Measure...and subsequent parliamentary approval, members of the Synod voted by a simple majority to formally enact the change in the law. A small minority of about 30 members voted against.
Speaking after the vote, the Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the result, admitting that the process has taken a "very, very long time".
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Update: I see an RNS story is there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Women * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Half of the most senior bishoprics in the Church of England could be held by women in ten years’ time, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today after the general synod voted to permit their consecration.
The church was also challenged to end the next area of “prejudice” and appoint its first gay bishop.
The Most Rev Justin Welby hailed a “completely new phase” of the church’s existence and said that it could take as little as ten or 15 years for women to make up half of the house of bishops, the church’s senior leadership.
“It depends on how many people retire,” Archbishop Welby said. The church was building a large pool of candidates for its highest offices where “gender is irrelevant”, although he would not give any indication of which diocese would be the first to be overseen by a woman.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Women * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Western governments have to be aware that there is no such thing as a clear distinction between moderate and terrorist Islamist organizations nor a clear distinction between mainstream Islamic organizations and Islamist (or Islamic political) organizations. In fighting Islamic State and preparing to tackle returning jihadis, as well as in preventing future jihadis from leaving their country, Western governments should not turn for ‘moral compensation’ to whatever non-terrorist organizations they know, believing they are radically different from the terrorist organizations.
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A British Muslim activist is to speak before the Church of England's general synod on November 18 -- the first time a non-Christian has addressed the assembly.
Counter-extremism campaigners, however, have expressed disappointment that the Church would choose an activist accused of connections with extremist groups.
Fuad Nahdi, director of the British Islamic organization Radical Middle Way [RMW], has a long history of working with activists and groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, described by the former head of the MI6 as being, "at heart, a terrorist organization;" and Jamaat-e-Islami, the Brotherhood's South Asian cousin, responsible for acts of genocide during Bangladesh's 1971 Independence war.
In 2006, however, the journalist Martin Bright reported that the initial government-funded events organized by RMW were conducted in collaboration with the Federation of Student Islamic Societies and the Young Muslim Organization -- groups that Bright described as "heavily influenced by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group... which is committed to establishing Islamic rule under sharia law."
In 2008, while still receiving government funds, speakers at RMW's events included an outspoken supporter of Osama Bin Laden, Kemal el-Helbawy, who founded a number of Muslim Brotherhood institutions in the UK. El-Helbawy has said, "[The Palestinian cause] is an absolute clash of civilizations: a satanic program led by the Jews and those who support them, and a divine program carried by Hamas and the Islamic Movement in particular and the Islamic peoples in general."
The same year, counter-terrorism expert Shiraz Maher revealed that RMW appeared to be supporting a campaign run by the global Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global network dedicated to imposing sharia law through armed jihad. Hizb ut-Tahrir publications sanction the killing of Jewish "women, children and elderly"; describe human rights as the "trumpets of the Kuffar [derogatory term for non-Muslims]"; and label Muslims who oppose their agenda as apostates who should be killed.
Today, speakers listed on the RMW's website include preachers such as Jamal Badawi, Muslim Belal and Suhaib Webb.
■Badawi, a Muslim Brotherhood cleric, has described suicide bombers and Hamas terrorists as "freedom fighters" and "martyrs," and advocates for the right of men to beat their wives.
■Muslim Belal is a "performance poet" who composes nasheeds (Islamic songs without instruments) that promote fundamentalist Islam. One of his nasheeds expresses support for the Al Qaeda operative and convicted murderer, Aafia Siddiqui.
■Suhaib Webb is an Islamic preacher who, according to FBI surveillance documents, spoke at a dinner in 2001 alongside Al Qaeda operative, Anwar Al-Awlaki, in order to raise £100,000 for the legal defense of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (aka H. Rap Brown), an Islamic fundamentalist who murdered two American police officers.
Even without RMW, Nahdi's connections are troubling. In 1992, Nahdi founded Q News, an Islamist youth magazine that promoted Jamaat-e-Islami ideology...
What is most troubling is that the first non-Christian to address the Church of England synod can be linked to extreme Islamist networks. By inviting Fuad Nahdi, the Church is lending credence to the notion that only radical Islamism can represent British Islam.
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hussaini, an Islamic scholar and interfaith advocate, told the Gatestone Institute:
"For far too long, Lambeth Palace and the Anglican interfaith establishment have colluded with and promoted Muslim public relations actors with Islamist connections and a history of double discourse, like Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin of the Muslim Council of Britain and Fuad Nahdi of Radical Middle Way."
"In the context of the heinous persecution of Christian minorities in the Muslim world, the Lambeth Palace-sponsored political spectacle of showcasing Muslims who routinely condemn ISIS, but themselves have Islamist associations with Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim Brotherhood or other groups and individuals, is a dismal exercise in hypocrisy to the suffering of those non-white and non-Western Christian people who have so badly been let down by the liberal Western Church of England."
The Church is deliberately legitimizing extremist ideology. What hope, then, is there for those lonely, genuine moderates within Britain's Muslim community?
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It is troubling that the first non-Christian to address the Church of England synod can be linked to extreme Islamist networks. By inviting Fuad Nahdi, the Church is lending credence to the notion that only radical Islamism can represent British Islam. What hope, then, for those genuine moderates within Britain’s Muslim community?
So writes Sam Westrop for the Gatestone Institute, in a rather smeary piece entitled ‘The Church of England Chooses Extremist Islam‘, in which he twists together a few frayed threads of tenuous association to weave a desperate anti-Anglican fiction of “Church conspires with Islamists just like it always has” kind of narrative. You know, the sort where the sapless Church of England caves in to corruption, compromises with iniquity, dances with demons and cavorts with the Devil. The social objective is a brave new world of undiscerning inclusion; the method is imaginative interfaith dialogue where Christian orthodoxy is safely caged away in episcopal notions of diligence and adequacy. This is sludge-dredging masquerading as theo-political scholarship, all swallowed hook, line and sinker by Donna Rachel Edmunds for the frenzied Breitbart UK, without so much a theological reflection or rational rumination. As sure as tweet follows blog, it is now doing the rounds in email boxes and social media feeds around the world to the manifest glee of the apocalyptic fellowship of the teleological clash of civilisations...
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During the last eighteen months or so I have had the opportunity to visit thirty-six other Primates of the Anglican Communion at various points. This has involved a total of 14 trips lasting 96 days in all. I incidentally calculated that it involves more than eleven days actually sitting in aeroplanes. This seemed to be a good moment therefore to speak a little about the state of the Communion and to look honestly at some of the issues that are faced and the possible ways forward.
A Flourishing Communion
First of all, and this needs to be heard very clearly, the Anglican Communion exists and is flourishing in roughly 165 countries. There has been comment over the last year that issues around the Communion should not trouble us in the Church of England because the Communion has for all practical purposes ceased to exist. Not only does it exist, but almost everywhere (there are some exceptions) the links to the See of Canterbury, notwithstanding its Archbishop, are profoundly valued. The question as to its existence is therefore about what it will look like in the future. That may be very different, and I will come back to the question.
Secondly, Anglicanism is incredibly diverse. To sit, in the space of a few months, in meetings with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Primate of Australia, the Primate of South Africa, the Moderator of the Church of South India, the Primate of Nigeria and many others is to come away utterly daunted by the differences that exist. They are huge, beyond capacity to deal with adequately in the time for this presentation...
In an age of near instant communication, because the Communion exists, and is full of life, vigour and growth, of faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and love for him, everything that one Province does echoes around the world. Every sermon or speech here is heard within minutes and analysed half to death. Every careless phrase in an interview is seen as a considered policy statement. And what is true of all Provinces is ten times more so for us, and especially us in this Synod. We never speak only to each other, and the weight of that responsibility, if we love each other and the world as we should, must affect our actions and our words.
At the same time there is a profound unity in many ways. Not in all ways, but having said what I have about diversity, which includes diversity on all sorts of matters including sexuality, marriage and its nature, the use of money, the relations between men and women, the environment, war and peace, distribution of wealth and food, and a million other things, underpinning us is a unity imposed by the Spirit of God on those who name Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This diversity is both gift and challenge, to be accepted and embraced, as we seek to witness in truth and love to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, the potential of the Communion under God is beyond anything we can imagine or think about. We need to hold on to that, there is a prize, the quest for which it is worth almost anything to achieve. The prize is visible unity in Christ despite functional diversity. It is a prize that is not only of infinite value, but also requires enormous sacrifice and struggle to achieve. Yet if we even get near it we can speak with authority to a world where over the last year we have seen more than ever an incapacity to deal with difference, and a desire to oversimplify the complex and diverse nature of human existence for no better reason than we cannot manage difference and dealing with The Other.
the future of the Communion requires sacrifice. The biggest sacrifice is that we cannot only work with those we like, and hang out with those whose views are also ours. Groups of like-minded individuals meeting to support and encourage each other may be necessary, indeed often are very necessary, but they are never sufficient. Sufficiency is in loving those with whom we disagree. What may be necessary in the way of party politics, is not sufficient in what might be called the polity of the Church.
In this Church of England we must learn to hold in the right order our calling to be one and our calling to advance our own particular position and seek our own particular views to prevail in the Church generally, whether in England or around the world. We must speak the truth in love.
In practice that has to mean the discipline of meeting with those with whom we disagree and listening to each other carefully and lovingly
I have not called a Primates’ Meeting on my own authority (although I could) because I feel that it is necessary for the Anglican Communion to develop a collegial model of leadership, as much as it is necessary in the Church of England, and I have therefore waited for the end of the visits to Provinces.
If the majority view of the Primates is that such a meeting would be a good thing, one will be called in response. The agenda for that meeting will not be set centrally, but from around the Primates of the Communion. One issue that needs to be decided on, ideally by the Primates’ meeting, is whether and if so when there is another Lambeth Conference. It is certainly achievable, but the decision is better made together carefully, than in haste to meet an artificial deadline of a year ending in 8. A Lambeth Conference is so expensive and so complex that we have to be sure that it is worthwhile. It will not be imposed, but part of a collective decision.
The key general point to be established is how the Anglican Communion is led, and what its vision is in the 21st century, in a post-colonial world? How do we reflect the fact that the majority of its members are in the Global South, what is the role of the Instruments of Communion, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, and what does that look like in lived out practice?
Read it all from CofE General Synod 17th to 18th November 2014 Links.
Report on Tuesday Afternoon Business and Spare Room Subsidy Removal and Audio
- Anglican-Methodist Covenant - Report and Resolution from the Council for Christian Unity (GS 1971), to which is appended the Final Report from the Joint Implementation Commission - Passed
- Diocesan Synod Motion Spare Room Subsidy (GS 1965A and GS 1965B) - Passed
- Possible Contingency Business
- Farewells and Prorogation
[more to follow]
Report on Tuesday Morning Business and Audio
- Violence against Religious Minorities in Iraq and Syria - Presentation under Standing Order 97 [Background Paper GS 1068] [Audio]
- - 507 Draft Diocesan Stipends Funds (Amendment) Measure (GS 1969 and GS 1969x) - Draft Measure for First Consideration - Passed
- - 505 Draft Naming of Dioceses Measure (GS 1935A and GS 1935Y) - Draft Measure for Revision - Passed
Monday November 17th
Report on Monday Afternoon Business, the Women Bishops Canon Enactment and Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy.
Audio Part 1 and Audio Part 2 [Draft amending Canon No 35 to Questions]
- Introductions, Report on progress of Measures and Statutory Instruments, Business Committee Report
- Amending Canon No. 33 (GS 1926D) enactment of Women Bishops provision - this was enacted [CofE Media Report]
- Presidential Address by Archbishop of Canterbury - Read and watch here
- Legislative Business:
- - 501-2 Draft Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (Amendment) Measure (GS 1919B and GS 1919Z) - Draft Measure for Final Drafting and Final Approval - Passed
- - 503-4 Draft Church of England (Ecclesiastical Property) Measure (GS 1921B and GS1921Z) - Draft Measure for Final Drafting and Final Approval - Passed
- - 506 Draft Amending Canon No. 35 (GS 1964A) - Draft Amending Canon for Revision and Final Drafting
- - 508 Draft Scheme amending the Diocese in Europe Constitution 1995 (GS 1968 and GS 1968x) - Passed
- Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy (GS 1970) - A member of the House of Clergy to move: ‘That the Synod do take note of this Report.’ which duly happened [Report]
- Questions and Answers
■ Press release about Agenda
■ Press Reports
■ Daily Agenda and Timetable and Brief Agenda and Papers
■ Live Video Feed when in session or listen here for prior recordings
■ Twitter: #synod and it may be worth following: CofE Official Synod tweets; and @C_of_E if interested.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, the Anglican Bishop of Wakefield, lit candles and prayed yesterday in St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds for the couple and their unborn daughter who were burned to death in Pakistan last week.
Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, who had three children, were attacked by a mob of 1,200 that had gathered after rumours they had desecrated the Koran. It is thought the mob burned them to death at the brick kiln where they worked.
Cardinal Nichols, president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, said: “This is a horrific and tragic event which sullies the reputation of a great nation. Surely all people of true religious spirit will, in response, turn to God in prayer, seeking forgiveness for the violence and destruction of life, pleading for peace in our troubled world.
“For my part I pray for the repose of the souls of the couple and their unborn child.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary Asia Pakistan * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations
Setting aside the fact that Jesus had “connections” with prostitutes, tax collectors, religious zealots and one or two occupying Romans; and that British prime ministers and foreign secretaries have routinely made “connections” with a few murderous autocrats and “extremist groups” in their time; and that the Supreme Governor of the Church of England herself has shaken hands with Martin McGuinness, dined with dictators and bestowed honours upon nihilist thugs like Nicolae Ceausescu and Robert Mugabe inter alia, it is clear that if we are to coexist with Muslims at home and understand the religious inspiration of extremism at home and abroad, we must apprehend and challenge extremist ideology from within. It is not for the Church of England to define the tenets of ‘moderate’ Islam: it is for Muslim scholars to formulate their own 95 Theses and pin them to the principal gateway to Mecca.
Fuad Nahdi is an academic ally in this process of reformation: his mould-breaking Radical Middle Way (RMW) does indeed have “a long history of working with activists and groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood” (which is, as Westrop observes, “at heart, a terrorist organization”) because “working with” includes notions of historical correction, religious enlightenment and diplomatic struggle. Was Senator George Mitchell “working with” the IRA in the late 1990s? Was the IRA not “at heart, a terrorist organization”? Was this “working with” not morally justifiable in pursuit of the Good Friday Agreement that led to lasting peace?
The problem with a phrase like “working with” in the context of terrorism is that it denotes complicity and conveys a sense of collaboration. That was plainly Westrop’s intention here: to tarnish Fuad Nahdi by association, trawling the internet to bolster a prejudice. Of course, you can list organisations like the Federation of Student Islamic Societies and the Young Muslim Organization – groups “heavily influenced by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group… which is committed to establishing Islamic rule under sharia law”. But Fuad Nahdi has also been working with Toby Howarth, recently appointed Bishop of Bradford.
How troubling is that?
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The Right Reverend Paul Bayes will be officially installed in his new position as Bishop of Liverpool during a special service at the city's Anglican Cathedral.
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Attendance at C of E churches continues to decline slightly, the latest statistics have revealed. In 2013, the average weekly attendance across England was 1,009,000, two per cent of the population. In 2012, this figure was 1.05 million.
The latest figures come from Statistics for Mission 2013, which was released on Monday. The report suggests that, on an average Sunday in October last year (when the figures were collated), a total of 849,500 people attended a C of E service.
In another measure, the Usual Sunday Attendance, 784,600 people attended. Forty years ago, the Usual Sunday Attendance figure was approximately 1.25 million, but population increases mean that the percentage of English residents who attend church has halved, from three to 1.5 per cent over this period.
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[The] Rev Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, executive religion editor for the Huffington Post, moderated the panel discussions. The Christian voice was heard loudly along with other faiths, political experts and US journalists: Bishop Prince Singh from the Episcopal Church, noted that the forum had gathered on the Hindu festival of lights known as Diwali, and said that it was a spiritual discipline to resist the urge to demonize opponents and instead to strive to bring light rather than heat to conversations on potentially divisive issues. This was very much the theme of the forum.
In his day job Paul blogs and hosts a weekly Huff Post podcast dedicated to exploring how religious ideas and spiritual practice inform and shape our personal lives, our communities and our world. Huff Post has an openly liberal/left commentary but does not shy away from debate. They welcome comment but have banned anonymity.
In a moving podcast he recently investigated mental health interviewing Kay and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, whose son lived with mental illness until his tragic suicide.
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The Anglican Diocese of Southwark has received accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation as a Living Wage employer.
This means that everyone who regularly works in the diocesan offices in Chapel Court off Borough High Street receives at least the London Living Wage of £9.15 per hour.
"The Diocese of Southwark is proud to join more than 1,000 employers nationwide who are determined to help people earn enough to provide their family with the essentials of life by paying the Living Wage, which more accurately reflects the real cost of living," said diocesan secretary Simon Parton.
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The truth is we all lose out from the inequity of low pay. Billions of pounds are spent each year on topping up the incomes of low paid workers at a time when public finances are very tight. Demand is sucked out of the economy by the lack of spending power of a fifth of the workforce. And where inequality grows, we all become diminished. It makes us all poorer.
But amidst this darkness, some light has begun to shine through, and many of you are part of that light, as you have embraced the principle of paying a Living Wage. Over 1,000 employers – from Local Councils, to small and large private businesses, are now accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. The number of Living Wage Employers in the FTSE 100 has risen from four to 18.
I would like to thank you, and the other organisations here that not only support work on the Living Wage but are also accredited themselves. You are leading the way for responsible employers.
The other good news we heard recently is that the Living Wage has now been increased by 2.6%, in line with the actual cost of living.
But there is still a long way to go....
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In closing, permit me to highlight three areas of Simeon’s ministry which have greatly challenged me in my reflections and which, if we were to follow them, would have the potential to rejuvenate our ministry.
1 Giving priority to an effective devotional lifestyle, with a commitment to spending ‘quality’ time in Bible study and prayer.
2 A commitment to living a holy life, recognizing the need of the renewing and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
3 That, along with Simeon, our understanding of the purpose of our preaching would be: ‘Sir, we would see Jesus’ (John 12:21).
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Christology Pastoral Theology Soteriology Theology: Scripture
He grew downward in humiliation before God, and he grew upward in his adoration of Christ.
Handley Moule captures the essence of Simeon's secret of longevity in this sentence: "'Before honor is humility,' and he had been 'growing downwards' year by year under the stern discipline of difficulty met in the right way, the way of close and adoring communion with God" (Moule, 64). Those two things were the heartbeat of Simeon's inner life: growing downward in humility and growing upward in adoring communion with God.
But the remarkable thing about humiliation and adoration in the heart of Charles Simeon is that they were inseparable. Simeon was utterly unlike most of us today who think that we should get rid once and for all of feelings of vileness and unworthiness as soon as we can. For him, adoration only grew in the freshly plowed soil of humiliation for sin. So he actually labored to know his true sinfulness and his remaining corruption as a Christian.
I have continually had such a sense of my sinfulness as would sink me into utter despair, if I had not an assured view of the sufficiency and willingness of Christ to save me to the uttermost. And at the same time I had such a sense of my acceptance through Christ as would overset my little bark, if I had not ballast at the bottom sufficient to sink a vessel of no ordinary size. (Moule 134f.)He never lost sight of the need for the heavy ballast of his own humiliation. After he had been a Christian forty years he wrote,
With this sweet hope of ultimate acceptance with God, I have always enjoyed much cheerfulness before men; but I have at the same time laboured incessantly to cultivate the deepest humiliation before God. I have never thought that the circumstance of God's having forgiven me was any reason why I should forgive myself; on the contrary, I have always judged it better to loathe myself the more, in proportion as I was assured that God was pacified towards me (Ezekiel 16:63). . . . There are but two objects that I have ever desired for these forty years to behold; the one is my own vileness; and the other is, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ: and I have always thought that they should be viewed together; just as Aaron confessed all the sins of all Israel whilst he put them on the head of the scapegoat. The disease did not keep him from applying to the remedy, nor did the remedy keep him from feeling the disease. By this I seek to be, not only humbled and thankful, but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Saviour continually. (Carus, 518f.)Please do read it all.
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When Simeon moved to put benches in the aisles, the church wardens threw them out. He battled with discouragement and at one point wrote out his resignation.
"When I was an object of much contempt and derision in the university," he later wrote, "I strolled forth one day, buffeted and afflicted, with my little Testament in my hand … The first text which caught my eye was this: 'They found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; him they compelled to bear his cross.'"
Slowly the pews began to open up and fill, not primarily with townspeople but with students. Then Simeon did what was unthinkable at the time: he introduced an evening service. He invited students to his home on Sundays and Friday evening for "conversation parties" to teach them how to preach. By the time he died, it is estimated that one-third of all the Anglican ministers in the country had sat under his teaching at one time or another.
Read it all.
He stood for many years alone—he was long opposed, ridiculed, shunned—his doctrines were misrepresented—his little peculiarities of voice and manner were satirized—disturbances were frequently raised in his church or he was a person not taken into account, nor considered in the light of a regular clergyman in the church.--as quoted in William Carus, Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon (New York: Robert Carter, 1848), p.39
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O loving God, who orderest all things by thine unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see thy hand; that, following the example and teaching of thy servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve thee with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
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New Church of England statistics for 2013 published today show that an average of one million people attend services each week, down about 1% on the previous year
The one million figure relates to regular weekly parish and cathedral services and does not include other core services carried out by the Church of England on a regular basis. With some 2,000 baptisms, 1,000 weddings and 3,000 funerals conducted every week it is estimated that a further half a million people attend a service conducted by a Church of England minister every week. In addition the count (which takes place in October) does not include the many carol and nativity services during Advent and many other regular services responding to community need. The services carried out by the Church of England's chaplains in hospitals, prisons, schools, universities and military bases are also excluded from the attendance totals.
Figures for Christmas attendance show a stable trend, with 2.4 million people attending services on Christmas Eve and Day - where figures have hovered around the 2.5 million mark over the past decade.
Read it all and the full data set pdf is there.
The Queen has led the nation in remembering service personnel who have died during conflicts, as Remembrance Sunday services are held around the UK.
A two-minute silence was observed before the monarch laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in central London.
Events are being held across the UK and abroad, including in Afghanistan.
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When the congregation of St Saviour’s in the Latvian capital of Riga welcomed a new Priest in Charge they made a little bit of church history. While the Church of England has just accepted the principle of women bishops, the Rt Rev Jēruma-Grīnberga has held the title as a bishop in the Lutheran church in Britain before returning to her family homeland.
Five years ago, at a ceremony in central London, Jāna, who was born in Britain and whose parents were Lutheran refugees, was consecrated as head of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain.
She takes over the church in Riga which itself has a young, revitalised history. After Latvia regained its independence in 1991 the English-speaking congregation was re-formed and has had a formal pastor since 1995.
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He served his curacy at Sunderland Saint Mary and Saint Peter, in the Diocese of Durham from 1992 to 1996. Since 1997 he has been involved with the Company of Mission Priests. From 1996 to 2002 he was Vicar of Hartlepool Holy Trinity in Durham Diocese and from 2000 to 2002 he was Area Dean of Hartlepool. From 2002 to 2008 he was Priest Administrator at the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham and from 2004 to 2007 he was also Priest-in-Charge of Hempton and Pudding Norton in the diocese of Norwich.
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The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham has taken to BBC Radio today (Sunday 2nd November) to discuss the weeks event relating to safeguarding and his work as the chair of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Board.
The Bishop was interviewed on the Radio 4 Sunday programme and then directly following that for BBC TEES and BBC Newcastle. Those interviews can be heard via the BBC iPlayer at the links provided here.
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Working with his Rugby contemporary R. H. Tawney, the seminal Labour thinker, and William Beveridge, the architect of the welfare reforms which sought to banish the five giants of want, idleness, squalor, ignorance and disease, Temple’s book Christianity and Social Order, published in 1942, provided a challenging theological gloss to this vision: “. . . there is no hope of establishing a more Christian social order except through the labour and sacrifice of those in whom the Spirit of Christ is active, and that the first necessity for progress is more and better Christians taking full responsibility as citizens for the political, social and economic system under which they and their fellows live.”
After Temple’s death at the age of 63 after being Archbishop of Canterbury for only 30 months, Bishop Barry of Southwell asked angrily in The Spectator: “Is the Church so rich in prophets that it can afford to squander the gifts of God?” A contrasting view, expressed by Hensley Henson, was that he died just in time “for he had passed away while the streams of opinion in Church and State, of which he became the outstanding symbol and exponent, were at flood, and escaped the experience of their inevitable ebb”.
Although a much different world than that of 60 years ago, the weight of Temple’s greatness is still felt. Once described as “a man so broad, to some he seem’d to be Not one, but all Mankind in Effigy”, his wide informed vision checks our growing narrowness and self-obsession, his realism our Utopian perfectionism, his generosity of heart a worthy riposte to the mood of cynicism and anger epitomising the age and his statesmanship a powerful reminder of what it is to serve as the national church.
O God of light and love, who illumined thy Church through the witness of thy servant William Temple: Inspire us, we pray, by his teaching and example, that we may rejoice with courage, confidence and faith in the Word made flesh, and may be led to establish that city which has justice for its foundation and love for its law; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
With his hipster beard, his trendy bow tie and numerous tattoos sprawled all over his body, Rob Popejoy is clearly no ordinary man of the cloth.
Instead, this 30-year-old college chaplain travels on his skateboard, sings along to hip-hop - and even bares his tattoo-laden chest for part-time modelling.
Not only does Mr Popejoy use a motorbike to get to work, he is also covered in body art, including a huge tattoo of Jesus, which stretches across his chest.
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When Cardinals Donald Wuerl of the Washington Archdiocese and Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stopped by for a visit to the ordinariate community of St. Luke’s at Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, the cardinals and priests halted in the church on the way out to sing together the hymn Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy.
In a quiet way, it was a remarkable, unplanned scene: Fathers Mark Lewis and Richard Kramer, who had begun their ministries as Episcopal priests, singing a hymn to the Virgin Mary with two cardinals of the Catholic Church, Msgr. James Watkins, pastor of Immaculate Conception, and several priests from Rome, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of then-Pope Benedict XVI’s Anglicanorum Coetibus.
Issued Nov. 4, 2009, Anglicanorum Coetibus is an apostolic constitution that provided for personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church. The document allows former Episcopalians and Anglicans to bring elements of their patrimony, including their distinctive liturgy, into the Catholic Church.
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Muslim leaders have a duty to warn their own followers about the “indescribable tragedy” of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and around the world, the Prince of Wales has insisted.
He said that faith leaders must ensure their followers respect believers in other faiths “rather than remaining silent”.
His comments came in a special message recorded for the publication of a new report which concludes that Christians are the “most persecuted religious minority” in the world and that Muslim countries dominate the list of places where religious freedom is most under threat.
While emphasising the importance of his own personal Christian faith, he also signalled that he saw his role as to “defend” followers of other faiths including Islam.
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The Vatican-sponsored gathering, on the "Complementarity of Man and Woman," will take place 17-19 November and feature more than 30 speakers representing 23 countries and various Christian churches, as well as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism and Sikhism.
The conference will aim to "examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society," according to organisers.
Speakers will include Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Great Britain, and Anglican Bishops N.T. Wright and Michael Nazir-Ali.
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The Rev'd Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer for the Church of England said "Church of England schools have always been committed to providing a high quality education for all young people, of all faiths and none.
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Archbishop Justin Welby said: “This week you have gathered to consider how our Anglican Communion can be more effective in working together and collaborating with other faith communities and secular partners to end modern slavery.
“It is a huge and daunting challenge – but it is a task that we must face. Evil will thrive if humanity stands by and does nothing while the most vulnerable suffer at the hands of traffickers and slavers.”
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But I am besides my purpose when I fall to bewail the cold affection which we bear towards that whereby we should be saved, my purpose being only to set down what the ground of salvation is. The doctrine of the Gospel proposeth salvation as the end, and doth it not teach the way of attaining thereunto? Yes, the damsel possessed with a spirit of divination spake the truth: "These men are the servants of the most high God who show unto us the way of salvation" [Acts 16:17] -- "a new and living way which Christ hath prepared for us through the veil, that is, his flesh," [Heb 10:20] salvation purchased by the death of Christ.
--Learned Discourse on Justification (my emphasis)
O God of truth and peace, who didst raise up thy servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion: Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
There was a young man of divinity
who could not believe in the Trinity
But he won his degree
And episcopal see
By fixing his eyes upon finity.
--Sheldon Vanauken, Under the Mercy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985), p. 106 [emphasis his]
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I wrote about poppies last year. You write about them at your peril....
This week I read a piece about an ITV newscaster who had opted not to wear a poppy on screen. It wasn't that she was against it: she did wear one when not in front of the camera. Her argument was that ITV didn't allow her to wear anything as a broadcaster that identified her as a supporter of other charities such as breast cancer awareness, mental health or child poverty (I've forgotten her actual examples). So why, she argued, should the poppy, paid for and worn in support of the Royal British Legion, be an exception to that rule?
I admire the logic and the ethics, but I'm afraid she is misreading the symbolism. She hasn't quite cottoned on to what the public mostly think they are doing when they wear the poppy. In social sciences-speak, she has got the semiotics wrong.
The poppy is far more than the logo of a particular veterans' charity. As the poppy field in the Tower of London moat demonstrates, it is not quite like most other symbols.
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More than four in 10 Anglican clergy would support loosening ties between church and state or severing them altogether, a major new study on attitudes in the pulpit in the UK shows.
The research also found that a significant minority of serving clerics would support breaking up the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion and even the Church of England itself along doctrinal lines amid disputes over issues such as homosexuality and the interpretation of the Bible.
Polling by YouGov for the Religion and Society Programme, an academic unit based at Lancaster University, also found that just over half of serving Anglican clergy believe Christians in Britain are suffering discrimination from the Government through the application of equality laws.
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Churches have condemned the British Government as un-Christian over its rejection of rescue missions for refugees drowning in the Mediterranean.
Bishop Patrick Lynch, who speaks for the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales on migration, said the decision not to support rescues was “a misguided abdication of responsibility” to thousands of desperate people fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East and Africa.
He said that as Europe’s “leading naval power” the UK has a moral responsibility to step in to save those risking death in attempting to reach Europe.
The Anglican Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith, said the decision was one he would “lament”.
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Sharing the life-giving good news of Christ has been affirmed as a top priority for the Church of England in east London and Essex.
The Synod, or church regional assembly, of Chelmsford Diocese has heard heart-warming stories from some of the many hundreds of parishes which put on evangelistic and mission weekends and other events in 2014, the centenary year of the diocese.
All parishes have been urged by the Synod to embed this good practice in parish life in 2015 and beyond so that more people can hear the good news. Each deanery, benefice, Bishop's Mission Order and Fresh Expression of Church is also called on to make plans for evangelism.
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The former Archbishop of York, Lord Hope of Thornes, has resigned from formal ministry in the Church of England after almost 50 years after an independent inquiry found "systemic failures" in bringing a paedophile priest to justice.
It follows the publication last week of a critical report into his handling of allegations against Robert Waddington, the former Dean of Manchester, who abused choirboys and school pupils in York, Manchester, London, Carlisle and Australia, over five decades.
The inquiry, overseen by Judge Sally Cahill QC, found that Lord Hope, who dealt with two of the cases, did not refer the accusations to police or to child protection agencies.
Instead, he revoked Waddington's right to conduct services but no further action was taken amid concerns over Waddington's health.
Judge Sally Cahill said Lord Hope's actions meant "opportunities were missed" to start an investigation which may have led to a prosecution before Waddington's death in 2007.
Lord Hope said last week that he deeply regretted not having been more proactive in helping victims come forward.
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... I am deeply ashamed that the Church was not vigilant enough to ensure that these things did not happen, failing both to watch and to act, where children were at serious risk.
Any act of abuse committed by someone in a position of authority in the Church is a matter for shame and requires deep repentance. We are called as individuals and corporately to a higher standard and to show God’s love and care as revealed in Jesus Christ. Those who trusted us in this only to be grievously wounded deserve not only our wholehearted apology but also the assurance we will keep a watchful eagle’s eye and act swiftly.
Those I have spoken to have expressed clearly that it is important for them to know whether new policies and procedures adopted after 2004 have created a new culture in the Church of England as a whole, which will ensure that all God’s children are protected. Those concerns are reflected in the report’s recommendations.
I commissioned an independent judge-led inquiry on 13th July 2013. The Judge was asked to investigate how the Church responded to the allegations made in 1999 and 2003/04 that Robert Waddington, a former Dean of Manchester Cathedral, had abused a child in the 1960s when he was headmaster of a school in the Diocese of North Queensland, Australia and also a Manchester choirboy in the 1980s when he was the Dean of Manchester.
In its conclusions the Inquiry has identified systemic failures in the Church’s failing to implement or follow its own procedures and guidelines on the reporting of incidents...
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The "absolute confidentiality" afforded to disclosures made under the seal of confession will be a matter for debate in the General Synod this month.
The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said last week that he had "every sympathy" with the view, expressed by a survivor who reported abuse to the Cahill Inquiry..., that disclosures that gave rise to safeguarding concerns should not be treated as confidential.
Dr Sentamu told The Times: "If somebody tells you a child has been abused, the confession doesn't seem to me a cloak for hiding that business. How can you really hear a confession about somebody abusing a child and the matter must be sealed up and you mustn't talk about it?
"When a child reports abuse, you have an obligation - a duty - to take the matter to the police. If the person who has done it comes and tells you 'I've abused someone, but I'm in a confessional now,' it needs teasing out. I have listened to those who have been abused, and what I've heard leads me to ask a question: 'Are we really serious about what Jesus said about children or not?'"
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A campaign to tackle domestic violence set up by the Anglican mission agency Us (formerly USPG) has touched the hearts of church-goers in Britain and Ireland.
The campaign focuses on the work of the Anglican Church in Zambia to support women who face violence – but is part of a wider concern of Us to address domestic violence worldwide. According to the UN, up to 70 per cent of women worldwide experience violence at some point in their lifetime.
Churches and church-goers were invited by Us to order and wear friendship bracelets as a reminder to pray for women. In addition, Us invited people to write messages of support for women in Zambia – with hundreds responding. The messages will be distributed among women in Zambia.
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I, a lay Anglican, am reassured by this. I want the clergy to be a bit more left-wing than me. It’s a sign that they are deeply involved in the lives of the poor, that they have a sense of solidarity with them and give those on welfare the benefit of the doubt. It is proper that a large sector of them should advocate a greater redistribution of wealth, and criticise capitalism. (There are plenty of other voices to cheer capitalism.) Ideally, they should do with great caution, rather than Guardian-leader self-righteousness. But it’s OK for a few to dabble in more radical campaigning – that’s part of the Christian tradition. Overall, the survey suggests to me that the Church is in pretty good shape.
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Hanging on by a wing and a prayer, the Lords Spiritual fight for their survival, writes David Maddox
For constitutional geeks the years 1871 and 1920 bear a special significance in terms of reform of that much debated body the House of Lords. The first date was the removal of the Irish Episcopalian bishops from the Upper Chamber, when it was finally accepted that Roman Catholicism and Presbyterian Protestantism were the churches of its peoples. The second was the removal of Welsh bishops, making the Lords Spiritual – as they are collectively known – an English-only body.
It is worth noting that there were never any Scottish bishops given seats in the House of Lords, because of the success of Scotland’s politicians in keeping the Church separate in their negotiations for the 1707 Act of Union.
So with this in mind, Archbishop Justin Welby’s appearance at the Press Gallery lunch yesterday was poignant at a time when political reform, devolution and English votes for English laws are so high on the agenda.
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ChurchCare, the buildings division of the Church of England, welcomed the announcement today by Culture Secretary Sajid Javid of £8.3 million in grants for 31 English cathedrals. The money has come from a government-sponsored fund set up to support vital repairs to some of England's most important historic buildings.
Mr Javid announced that the grants will provide 25 Church of England and six Catholic cathedrals with grants worth between £15k and £600k for repairs ranging from roofs, stonework and structural work through to detailed work on intricate stained glass windows.
The successful applicants will receive £8.3 million of money made available as part of the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund. This is the second round of grants from the £20 million Fund, which was announced in the Chancellor's March budget. The third round with £7 million to award will close on 21 January 2015 and all projects awarded money will be complete by March 2016.
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Whilst recognizing the well-established place of the ministry of absolution in the life of the CofE, the Council also acknowledged the responsibility of the Church to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm, and the force of the argument that the legal framework of the Church should be such as to enable those who present a risk to children and vulnerable adults to be identified.
The Council therefore decided to commission further theological and legal work to enable it to review, in consultation with the House of Bishops, the purpose and effect of the un-repealed proviso to the Canon of 1603, with a view to enabling the Synod to decide whether it wished to legislate to amend it. At its November meeting, the Council will consider the terms of that review and who should conduct it, with a view to putting their proposals in those respects to the House of Bishops when it meets in December.
On the afternoon of 17 November, General Synod is to debate a motion to take note of the draft Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy, (GS 1970). Responsibility for approving any final version will rest with the Convocations following the ‘take note’ Synod debate.
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The UK should not view immigration as a "deep menace", the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.
Part of the country's "strength and brilliance" lay in its long tradition of welcoming foreigners, the Most Reverend Justin Welby said.
But the process of immigration must be managed "prudently" to avoid "over-burdening our communities", he added.
He also said clergy had noticed a rise in "minor-racist, anti-foreigner, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic" sentiment.
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As a prerequisite for the job of being a Church of England priest, it would seem not unreasonable to expect a belief in God to be fairly essential.
But this is not the case, according to a poll of Anglican clergy which found that as many as 16 per cent are unclear about God and two per cent think it is no more than a human construct.
It is 30 years since David Jenkins, then the Bishop of Durham, caused controversy by casting doubt on the resurrection, but it appears that such unorthodox views are widespread amongst Britain’s priests.
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Q: Can you give us a sneak preview of your lecture here?
A: I'll be talking about the history and current ministry and mission and significance of Westminster Abbey, so I have quite a lot of images and I can give people, I hope, something like a tour by proxy as it were of Westminster Abbey.
I'll also talk about some of the great events that I've been privileged to be involved in over the past couple of years at Westminster Abbey that I know many, many people in the United States were aware of.
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If anyone isn’t aware that the Church of England is slowly walking down the statistical road to oblivion, the publication of the 2015 British Election Study last week should be enough to convince them that this is not just the dream of hopeful secularists.
This wide-ranging and extensive survey carried out earlier this year takes a look at historical trends of religious affiliation according to denomination and age. What we see is that Roman Catholics are doing pretty well, with their numbers staying more-or-less stable over the last 50 years, whereas the number of Anglicans has halved and other Christian denominations have fared even worse, dropping down by about two thirds.
Christianity still has its nose ahead in the overall statistics nationally at 48 per cent, just in front of the ‘Nones’ at 45 per cent, with other religions, including Islam, making up the final 7 per cent.
Read it all and follows the links as well.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
But one thing which is not mentioned in the press reports is the question of clergy and the numbers in stipendiary ministry. As I have argued elsewhere, I am not sure there are many examples in history where churches sustain growth without stipendiary ministry. This is not because I believe in clericalism, but simply because setting people aside for ministry is essential to create the support and investment which sees individuals and congregations flourish and grow. It is the principle which was at work in Corinth, when Paul was able to devote himself fully to his apostolic ministry when he received the gift from the Macdeonian Christians in Acts 18.5.
This means that the decision some years ago to raise the average age of those entering training by 10 years over about 10 years was catastrophic for ministry and church growth in the long term, because it has led to the prospect of a whole cohort of clergy retiring at the same time, and a rapid drop in the number of stipendiary clergy in post. It is perhaps the single most devastating self-inflicted wound of the C of E. But it also means that dioceses which are encouraging vocations and generating ordinands are likely to be ones with the best chance of turning around decline and seeing numerical growth.
When I was responsible for admissions in the theological college I was part of, I did an analysis of where ordinands were coming from, so we could partner with them. But I also did some analysis that I have not seen elsewhere, but which seems pertinent. Dioceses vary in size, so you would expect larger dioceses to have more people in training for ministry. But the really interesting question is, which dioceses are generating more ordinands for their size? This is relatively easy to find out, since figures on Usual Sunday Attendance (USA) and the number of ordinands in training per diocese are available from different sources. They tell a striking story:
The Diocese of London had twice as many ordinands per church attender as the second most ‘productive’ diocese.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
The death of Stephen Sykes at the end of September — after many years of debilitating illness borne with great courage — has deprived the Anglican family of an unusually resourceful and penetrating theologian, who had a massive influence on a generation of younger theologians learning their trade in the 1960s and ’70s. When I went to Stephen for supervision in my student days, I found a teacher of exceptional commitment and integrity — and a very demanding one, who would relentlessly question clichés, inspirational vagueness, and attempts to be too clever. At a time when British theology departments were rather dominated by a combination of sceptical biblical scholarship and extremely cautious philosophy of religion, it was bracing and encouraging to find someone who believed so strongly in the actual study of doctrine as a serious intellectual exercise. The volume of essays on Christology (Christ, Faith and History) that Stephen edited with John Clayton in 1972 was and remains a significant moment in the revival of British systematic theology.
Part of the impetus for this came from Stephen’s unusual level of acquaintance with continental European theology, and he played a unique role in opening up conversations between continent (especially Germany) and island in areas other than New Testament scholarship. As so often, he saw his role as that of a bridge-builder and catalyst: much of his most important early work was in getting groups of theologians together to collaborate in fresh areas. I had the privilege of working with him and others on a book about Karl Barth in the late ’70s, when Barth was still shamefully little studied in the U.K. But he also produced significant work under his own name alone: a lucid little book on Schleiermacher, studies on atonement and ecclesiology, and of course some really groundbreaking work on Anglican identity. He was never happy with the rather lazy idea that there was no real theological distinctiveness about being Anglican — though he was also very suspicious of what he considered the Anglo-Catholic kidnapping of Anglican identity by means of an unhistorically narrow theology of the episcopate.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Following the legislative business, there will be a Take Note debate on the Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy. This is a draft document prepared by the Convocations of York and Canterbury which updates the existing Guidelines dating from 2003 to take account of new developments in secular and Church legislation and pastoral practice, as well as liturgical developments. Following comment by General Synod, the draft Guidelines will return to the Convocations for further consideration. After a short period of worship, the day will conclude with Synod Questions.
Tuesday 18th November will start with Holy Communion which will lead into a presentation by a panel of speakers moderated by the Bishop of Coventry on Violence against Religious Minorities in Iraq and Syria. The panel will include the Rt. Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Great Britain, who is one of our regular Ecumenical representatives on Synod and who is in close touch with churches in Iraq and Syria, Dr.Fuad Nahdi Executive Director of the Radical Middle Way and Founding Editor of the pioneering Q-News and the Revd Dr Rachel Carnegie, the Co-Director of the Anglican Alliance. There will be opportunities for Synod members to pose questions to the panel.
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