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--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude reports on his conversations with David Porter - from 'A Conversation with Colin Coward 18th April 2015' at St Brides, Liverpool
OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.Listen to it all below - quote is from 11 mins 20 seconds in.
I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.
The previous report from January 23rd, 2015 on a meeting with David Porter is here
Using the words of Laurence Binyon’s The Fallen--watch it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe France
Tower Hamlets: 67.5% Remain
The Area Dean of Tower Hamlets, the Revd Andy Rider
“What is clear from the referendum result is that Westminster is out of touch with vast numbers of the British public. . . The communities of Tower Hamlets benefit in part from London’s wealth, and, as a multicultural cosmopolitan slice of London, we were never going to be won over by the rantings of Nigel Farage. What we must remember, though, is that London’s East End was welcoming immigrants from across Europe for at least 250 years before even the EEC was going through its birth pains. Welcome and generosity is what typifies many in this borough.
“Westminster has to listen. Too many are fed up with too few who have it all. Let this be, in Tower Hamlets, London, and across our lands, a turning-point in history where we live what we believe: if anyone matters, then everyone matters.”
Read them all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The uncertainty generated has left a series of questions that serves no-one well, least of all the alleged victim.
For that reason, we welcome an announcement this week that the Church of England has launched an independent review into the processes regarding the settlement.
The review is a matter of standard procedure and is not intended to undermine the original decision, but we trust its remit will go beyond mere process without adding further to the distress of the woman involved.
Bell was too important a figure to have his reputation trashed without full transparency and disclosure in the public domain.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Sexuality Violence * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
I am writing to you as the Presidents of the General Synod to ask that an emergency motion on the outcome of last week's Referendum should be placed on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting in July.
It's now clear that our nation has suffered its biggest cataclysm since the last War. Its causes are complex and it's too early to understand them fully. However, we can now see that the future looks deeply uncertain politically, economically and in terms of the UK's place in the world of tomorrow.
It has, I admit, worried me greatly that our national church has not spoken as an institution about the Referendum. We have all known that the vote was coming since the general election of 2015. It would have been possible to schedule a General Synod debate in February 2016 even though the Referendum date was not yet known when the agenda was being planned. I find it extraordinary that in the face of a national decision wth such momentous ethical and social justice aspects to it (and I would add, theological too), the Synod and the House of Bishops have been collectively silent. It feels to me like a failure of spiritual leadership towards the people of England.
I did not anticipate that the Church of England would take a position on the European Union (though that is in marked contrast to the other national church in these islands, the Church of Scotland). Nor do I expect this now. However, at a time when England is so divided between London and the provinces, when the future of the Union here in Britain is at real risk, and when the entire continent of Europe is facing unprecedented turmoil, it seems to me all the more essential to allow a proper debate to help our nation find wisdom and stability as we move into an unmapped landscape.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Church House Publishing has released an infographic to mark a new milestone in its Church of England apps programme, with over 200,000 first-time downloads.
The infographic reveals that many of those who download the apps are using them routinely as part of their prayer life. Use of the Daily Prayer app - shortlisted for App of the Year at the Premier Digital Awards - was up 300% in May 2016 compared to the previous year, with 12,500 monthly users - enough to fill St Paul's Cathedral five times over. App downloads now account for around one in five Church House Publishing products distributed by Anglican charity Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd under an agreement with The Archbishops' Council.
Thomas Allain-Chapman, Publishing Manager, said: "Apps like Reflections and Lectionary have moved from being novelties to being normal for our users. Their great appeal lies in allowing instant, fuss-free access to resources for prayer and Bible study worship wherever you are."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK
Leaders of Britain’s main faith communities have united in condemning intolerance amid mounting reports of xenophobic and racist abuse in the wake of the EU referendum result.
The Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, the Catholic archbishop of Westminster, the chief rabbi and senior imams have all spoken out against division and expressions of hatred.
In Brussels, the United Nations human rights chief said he was deeply concerned about reports of attacks on minority communities and foreigners. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein urged the UK authorities to prosecute those responsible, saying racism and xenophobia were “completely, totally and utterly unacceptable in any circumstances”.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Other Faiths Islam Judaism * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Dr Martin Davie is a leading Anglican theologian who served until recently as theological adviser to the Church of England’s House of Bishops. He is disturbed by the way this new myth is becoming increasingly influential amongst Anglicans in the British Isles and his recent blog article ‘Why The Arguments For A Third Way Do Not Work’, which can be read here, is a compelling exposure of a dangerous deception.
He demonstrates that the ‘Third Way’ is based on a very superficial reading of both the Bible and Church history..
This article should be of interest to the whole of the Anglican Communion, not just those in England. The ‘Third Way’ encourages a false sense of ‘business as usual’ while TEC continues to provide substantial funding for the work of the London based Anglican Communion office’s attempts to orchestrate the life of the Communion around this myth.
The actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury strongly suggest that he himself has embraced the ‘Third Way’. There was some hope after the Canterbury 2016 Primates Meeting of an effective restraint on TEC and other revisionist provinces, even though Archbishop Welby refused to use the term ‘discipline’. These hopes were dashed by the active engagement of TEC in the April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka and it became clear that for all intents and purposes the Archbishop sees TEC’s controversial teaching on sexuality, even to the extent of removing any reference to gender from its marriage canon, as a matter on which Anglicans are free to have different beliefs.
If this myth is not persistently challenged and exposed, the consequences for the Anglican Communion will be tragic..
Read it all
An independent review of the processes used in the George Bell case has been announced today in accordance with the House of Bishops guidance on all complex cases.
The House of Bishops practice guidance states that once all matters relating to any serious safeguarding situation have been completed, the Core Group should meet again to review the process and to consider what lessons can be learned for the handling of future serious safeguarding situations. A review has always been carried out in any case involving allegations against a bishop.
The review will be commissioned by the Church of England's National Safeguarding Team, on the recommendation of the Bishop of Chichester, to see what lessons can be learnt from how the case was handled. The case involves the settlement in 2015 of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929-1958.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Sexuality Teens / Youth Violence * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Those who voted to stay within the EU need to acknowledge the overwhelming majority of Leave voters who are not part of the racist fringe that disfigures our society. Men and women who believe with integrity that their vote will help us get something of our identity and even our country back. We need to engage with those who have seen little by way of economic benefit from EU membership, as their towns and villages have suffered decline, and who hope that a more independent Britain offers a chance for change. Understanding and working with these, our fellow citizens for the future of our country, is both essential and urgent, not least so that the future we forge together remains outward looking and closely connected to our continental neighbours. Sadly, too much of what I have read by way of comment from the Remain constituency in these last few days feels engulfed in and paralysed by a bereavement that most UK voters do not share, and for whom even the present turmoil in our political parties and the financial markets may be a sign that for once they have stood up and been counted.
The challenge for Leave voters is perhaps even more urgent, to join in with and even lead immediate moves to isolate those who are trying to use the referendum decision as a building block for a resurgence of racist aggression.
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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 * Economics, Politics Economy Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Referendum debate has been a divisive, brutal, dehumanising, victimising, bitter experience, and at times not even a debate; but now that the campaign is over, the UK must learn from its mistakes, and move towards reconciliation and healing within communities, church voices across the UK have said.
Primates, bishops, archdeacons, chaplains, and academics made their views clear this week on how the country — its people and Government — had conducted themselves throughout the campaign, and on what the next step should be both for the Church and communities across the UK.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Church of Wales * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
It is the fissure of the state. The people have met the people: they looked and evaluated, and the greater soul has chosen to be more free, noble, ingenious and generous. The majority apprehends the future of British civilisation in terms of its own manners and morals; in its native religious and political institutions. The whole entrenched elite Establishment – Monarchy, Parliament, Government and Church – has been confronted by an epoch-making movement of ordinary people, including humble, devout and sincere Christians who have been tarnished with the whiff of sin and smeared with racism, all because they believe in democracy, national self-determination, and the ability to sack those who make their laws.
The opinion pollsters got it wrong (again), and the markets backed the wrong horse. They have been humbled in their vanity. We now face a myriad of questions and fractured horizons. Our European ‘relationship’ has changed: we have not ceased to love; we simply wish to live apart. We are no less important, and they no less appreciated: we are simply better equipped for self-exploration and destined for global commitment. It is our vocation; our national fulfilment.
23rd June will hereafter be known as Independence Day UK. It marks the resurgence of our democracy, and the restoration of the people’s sovereignty. Many have longed for it, hoped for it, prayed for it and worked for it. We now need different priorities and a new orientation. This is our opportunity for autonomy, transformation, a higher reality and universal benevolence.
This was always about how and by whom we are governed; not immigration and not GDP. We can muse tomorrow about how we heal such profound division in society, but today is our Independence Day. Rejoice! Praise the Lord! God Save the Queen!
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The outcome of the EU referendum is now clear.
Within our parishes and across our country, people will be reflecting on the result in different ways. Those who voted Leave will be happy that their voice was heard, and hopeful for our country’s future outside the EU. For those who voted Remain, this will be a day of profound regret and even sorrow. The close final result will only have strengthened these feelings all round.
There will also be those who have felt disengaged from the long political campaign, and who still feel dismayed at the bitterness with which it was often conducted. It will be vital for us all, as we accept the result and deal with what it means, to understand and respect those who take different views of the same event.
In the debates that will come, we will be most effective if we now seek to heal the divisions of the past campaign. However, those divisions were about such deep issues of national identity and indeed self-identity that doing so will be a difficult and costly task. In the Church, it will be achieved through a renewed focus on what is unchanged, and on what is unchangeable.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the Referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union.
The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.
”The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world, and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.
“As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward-looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.
”The referendum campaign has been vigorous and, at times, has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage — being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope, and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.
”As those who hope and trust in the living God let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minster David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.”
(Found in a number of places including there).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
..It seems likely that in the months to come there will be strong pressure on Evangelicals in the Church of England who are not willing to go all the way in accepting same-sex relationships to at least adopt this kind of third way approach and so in this post I want to explain why I think the three arguments for this this approach noted above are mistaken.
The reason that the first argument is mistaken is because it does not do justice to what St. John is saying in John 1:14.
For advocates of the third way approach grace is understood to mean unconditional love and acceptance and so living a life of ‘grace and truth’ means showing unconditional love and acceptance to those with whom we disagree even while upholding the truth of our own position. In terms of the current debate about sexuality this means that Evangelicals who hold a conservative approach to sexual ethics should be willing to love and accept those who take a more liberal position.
The problem with this argument is that it fails to read John 1:14 against the background of the Old Testament. As a number of commentators have pointed out, the pairing of ‘grace’ and truth’ in John 1:14 is a deliberate echo of the regular pairing of ‘steadfast love’ and ‘faithfulness’ as a description of God in Old Testament passages such as Genesis 24:27, Exodus 34:6 and Psalm 25:10.  God’s ‘grace’ is his steadfast and merciful love to his oppressed and disobedient people and God’s ‘truth’ is his faithfulness to his promises to be merciful. Both of these are manifested in Jesus, the person in whom the God of the Old Testament is incarnate, because through his death and resurrection he delivers God’s people from sin and death and thus shows God’s faithfulness to his promises and hence his truthfulness.
The relevance of this to the debate about sexuality is that sexual sin, including the sin of same-sex sexual activity, is part of the life of sin and death from which God in Christ has delivered his people (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Romans 1-8 throughout) with the corollary that such sin should no longer form part of their lives. As St. Paul puts it in Romans 6:12-14, because the grace of God means that we have died and risen with Christ:
‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.’
A church, therefore, that is willing to accept same-sex sexual activity (or any other form of sexual sin) is a church that has ceased to truly believe in the grace and truth of God revealed in Jesus Christ...
Members of the Church’s decision making General Synod have been issued with a manual setting out how to discuss the fraught subject of sexuality without offending each other too much.
It comes ahead of a special series of “shared conversations” on the issue set to take place behind closed doors when the Synod meets in York next month.
“Facilitators” trained in conducting negotiations in warzones have been called in to help Anglicans resolve their differences over issues such as same-sex marriage after a similar tactic helped break the deadlock over women bishops.
Press and the public are to be banned from the three-day session in which bishops, priests and lay members with differing views and backgrounds will be asked to join in small-group discussions to speak frankly away from the glare of publicity.
The 14-page booklet, entitled “Grace and Dialogue”, amounts to an etiquette guide for the talks, advising members on everything from where to sit to body language and even facial expressions.
The special sessions are being organised by Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff, who helped lay the foundations for the Northern Ireland peace process through talks with paramilitaries in the 1990s.
He said that while they might not ultimately avert a split in the church over sexuality, they might at least make it less acrimonious.
“I’ve never said that the shared conversations process should be measured on its ability to stop fracture,” he explained.
“I’ve always said that it should be measured on its ability as to even how you fracture.
“Because the reality is that throughout Christian history there have been deep issues about which we have differed at various points and it has not always been possible to maintain the unity of the church in those contexts.
“That is the history of the church, that is the reality.
“What these conversations are about is to show … that even when we disagree deeply we disagree well.”
Read it all
At next month’s General Synod, the Church of England will try a new approach to avoiding a disastrous formal schism over homosexuality. After two days of discussing legislative matters in open session and once all outsiders have left, the 550 representatives from around the world will break into groups of 20 for three days of intensive and personal discussions about sexuality.
The idea is not to reach agreement – 30 years of wrangling have established that this is quite impossible – but to try to bring people on both sides of the debate to see their opponents as fellow Christians. Conservative evangelicals have denounced the scheme as an attempt to manipulate opinion, which of course it is. The question is whether it will work.
What’s new about this approach is that the manipulation that Justin Welby’s strategists have in mind is not to be carried out from the top down. It is hoped that the process of facilitated conversations will allow the church’s activists gathered in the synod to take note of the social changes that are happening in their own congregations and their own families, where acceptance of gay people is becoming much more common.
This week a book of evangelical reflections on sexuality was published in which the bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, announced he had been “profoundly changed” by encounters with lesbian and gay Christians in his own family...
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A new congregation to provide an opportunity for worship, mutual support and encouragement for Christians in the LGBTI community is being launched this summer.
“There has been a need for something like this for some while” says Revd Monica Arnold. “While debate rages on, passionately, at the highest levels of the Church of England, LGBT people continue to live with the realities of their daily life and the mixed reception many receive in parishes. An opportunity to worship and enjoy fellowship without hiding or denying a fundamental aspect of their identity is so important to all aspects of healthy life.
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, Rt Revd Clive Gregory warmly welcomed the initiative:
“Enabling this congregation to meet is important and I am delighted to hear of St Matthew’s offer of hospitality. I understand why LGBTI Christians feel the need for a place to meet and worship where they can feel secure and supported in their God-given sexual identity.
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..The process of appointing a new diocesan bishop is long and complex, and one of the last hurdles has now been passed in the appointment of [the] Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave as the 99th Bishop of Lichfield..
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Mark is married to Sally and they have three adult children. They met in Kenya while volunteers with the Church Mission Society and have a lifelong commitment to mission.
Mark trained for ordination at Ridley Hall Cambridge after working in the catering industry in Edinburgh. Sensing a call to serve in urban areas, Mark was ordained in Manchester Diocese in 1982 and served as a curate in Burnage. Mark and Sally then went to Kenya with the Church Mission Society where Mark taught in a Theological college, later becoming the Principal. Returning to UK, Mark was appointed Rector of Christ Church Harpurhey where he served from 1996 to 2009. He was then appointed Archdeacon of Manchester. Mark's role as Archdeacon of Manchester included being a Residentiary Canon at the Cathedral and significant involvement in Greater Manchester Churches together.
Mark said, "I am honoured and thrilled to have been appointed the next Bishop of Bolton. Greater Manchester is a fantastic place to live and serve, and I am looking forward to getting to know and love the communities and churches of Rossendale, Salford, Bury, Bolton and parts of Wigan for which I will have particular responsibility as Bishop of Bolton.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Missions Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
In many ways disagreement is healthy. It shows that people really care about things, and perhaps disagreement is an inevitable corollary of all change: it’s often about who has to change, the cost of change, and who has to pay it.
But disagreement can also be divisive, destructive and dangerous to our health, both individually and collectively. It can disguise the many things we do agree about; it can distort people’s understanding of what being a Christian means; and it can dismay and divert those who would otherwise join us.
If disagreement is inevitable then we have to learn to do it better. This suggests finding ways that enable us to understand fully what we disagree about, and why.
These notes set out some ways to help us turn debate and confrontation into dialogue, empathy, shared understanding and the commitment to love each other even when – perhaps especially when – we are deeply opposed.
Read it all (15 page pdf).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Don’t you just love the Church of England’s concept of ‘neutrality’ in the matter of the EU Referendum? A whole sea of bishops has endorsed the Remain campaign (that list has since extended, and is still doing so, and not a single one has demurred over the Cameron-Osborne strategy of terrorising the electorate with ‘Project Fear’). The Archbishop of York declared for Remain a few days ago, and now the Archbishop of Canterbury has done the same (with an emotive video appeal) following his recent smearing of a prominent BeLeaver with the allegation of “legitimising racism”. This coordinated completely coincidental archiepiscopal outpouring of Europhilia comes just a fortnight before the crunch vote which will determine whether we remain party to European political integration, or revert simply to being a member of a looser trade bloc, which is what we were told we were joining in 1973, and so affirmed in 1975. The Prime Minister must be delighted that the Established Church is doing the Establishment’s bidding.
Justin Welby is keen to stress that the Church of England does not have an official line on the EU Referendum. It’s just that it appears so. Imagine if the Government had declared itself to be neutral on the matter, and one by one the Cabinet had toured the TV studios to endorse ‘Stronger In’ while slagging off leading BeLeavers. Do you not think people might detect a hint of predisposition, if not a prejudiced and pre-ordained agenda? It is surely a façade of institutional neutrality which permits the full weight of its collective leadership not merely to express a “personal view”, but to dedicate its entire Church House and Bishopthorpe/Lambeth Palace communications machinery (and so staff and financial resources) to ensure the effective dissemination of that message in the national and social media. This amounts to a ‘non-party campaign‘ under Electoral Commission rules. And to endorse ‘Remain’ with appeals to Christian moral responsibility, as John Sentamu does, is verging on the abuse of religious office and the exertion of undue spiritual influence, which, for some, is a grave matter indeed.
This is not an argument for bishops and archbishops to butt out of the secular political sphere (if such a thing exists): it is a plea for spiritual integrity and reflexive honesty in institutional positionality. One could not credibly assert that the institution of Monarchy is politically neutral on the matter of EU membership if the Queen slags off Boris/Gove/Farage while the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are singing the enlightened praises ‘Remain’. The institution of Monarchy is not castles, palaces and Crown Jewels: it is princes and kings – living people – in communion with history and ancestry. And so it is with the Church of England: the church is its people. When bishops and archbishops unite to express a unanimous view, it is the church that speaks. Their professed Referendum ‘neutrality’ is a convenient agnostic cloak for a pathological Europhile disposition: everyone knows it’s a ruse to sustain the peace between the pro-EU bishops and the majority Brexit-leaning laity. There is no convenient via media in this referendum: either we remain or leave. It is a very un-Anglican assignation.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe
The referendum has lit the blue touchpaper on a "debate" which is almost entirely undefined in its scope. As we have seen over the past weeks, everything and anything can be dragged into the campaign - which has been used by many as a proxy for every grievance they might have about politics and the political process.
So, we have been in a game with no game plan and no rules of conduct.
What has happened is detrimental to politics and the political process. Both sides have used misleading figures and information to conduct an argument that has been more like a childish spat in the playground than a measured examination of the issues. The electorate have been fed with ever more cooked statistics and exaggeration. It's virtually impossible for the average voter to discover some facts....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
For example, we need to think and plan for what ministries and leadership our churches, chaplaincies and fresh expressions need (including how to give effect to the decision to increase the number of ordinands by 50% by 2022).....
And we need to expect God to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, that he will take us to places and people that we cannot yet conceive and in ways we may not yet understand. We hope that every diocese will seek to articulate their own narrative of hope, informed by their context, enriched by all that God has been doing and continues to do, and confident of God’s promises for the future. We hope that every parish will similarly look honestly and prayerfully at how and where God has been leading and where he may be taking us next. As the writer of Lamentations says:
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness
Renewal & Reform is built on hope. And hope is a very, very good thing.
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Behind closed doors and in groups of up to 20, bishops, priests and lay members will discuss their views on homosexuality when General Synod, the church’s parliament, meets in York from July 8.
David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s adviser organising the “shared conversations”, admitted that they would not prevent a split within the church over...[same-sex marriage], but said that clerics should be judged on “how we fracture”.
To that end, the church has produced a manual entitled Grace and dialogue: shared conversations on difficult issues, which says that the debate over sexuality is damaging the Church of England and putting off those who might consider joining.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
A split over ..[same-sex] marriage in the Church of England may be unavoidable, the Archbishop of Canterbury's chief of staff admitted on Friday, despite desperate behind-the-scenes discussions to reconcile opposing factions.
The Church's governing body will enter into secret talks next month in an effort to "change the tone of the debate" over teaching on same-sex relationships. But David Porter, who also heads up the discussions known as Shared Conversations, said they may fail to prevent a split.
Read it all from Christian Today.
A prayer vigil was held last night in St Peter’s, Birstall, after the murder of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, outside her constituency advice surgery in the West Yorkshire town.
The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, and the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, took part in the service, which was attended by about 300 constituents, as well as fellow MPs, among them Yvette Cooper, Naz Shah, Dan Jarvis, Rachel Reeves, and Mary Creagh.
Bishop Gibbs told mourners that the attack on the 41-year-old mother of two had left people “overwhelmed by shock, grief and a sense of loss.
“We are here for each other, and I know and I hope and I pray that we will be here for each other in the days ahead,” he said. “’Jo grew up in this community, she loved this community and she served this community. And, in the end, she gave her life for this community.”
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The Agenda for the July meeting of the General Synod is published today. Members will gather in York on Friday 8 July until Saturday 9 July. A key focus during these two days will be how the Church's vision for a growing, confident and hopeful church can be put into action through the Renewal and Reform Programme.
The Church's governing body will discuss the vision and narrative for Renewal and Reform and key changes to legislation to make innovation and change easier for those engaged with church life at all levels. The Legislative Reform Measure will make it possible to amend or repeal some Church legislation by means of Orders approved by the Synod. Several other proposed pieces of new legislation will consolidate existing provisions into a more user-friendly form and repeal provisions which are obsolete. There will also be an opportunity for Synod to discuss a report from the Development and Appointments Group updating Synod on the progress of their work on the training and development of senior Church leaders.
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The Church of England has today launched a search for its first Head of Digital Communications.
The advertisement for the new post states the Church is seeking someone to "take risks for the Gospel in exploring how digital engagement can lead to spiritual and numerical growth."
The job description for the new role suggests the postholder will be responsible for "leading a team developing and implementing digital evangelism, discipleship and digital communication strategies for the Church of England".
Commenting on the new post the Rev Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Church of England said: "We are looking for someone who is as confident and comfortable talking about Jesus as they are talking about the latest developments in tech and social media. As a digital evangelist they will utilise the best of digital to proclaim the Gospel.
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In life there is much to fear. Over and again the Psalm describes those things we might be afraid of – the fears we harbour individually as well as the fears we share corporately. Fear makes us want to flee – from God, from one another, often even from ourselves. But over and again that fear is turned into wonder as we see that God is before, behind and beyond it.
Over the 63 years and the 90 years there has been much to fear: at times of personal challenge or national crisis. But just as the psalmist sees through fear to something more stirring and more extraordinary, so we look back on Your Majesty’s 90 years in the life of our nation with deep wonder and profound gratitude. Through war and hardship, through turmoil and change, we have been fearfully and wonderfully sustained.
The one who turns fear to wonder is Jesus.
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The House of Bishops has issued a wide-ranging critique of the welfare system, in a discussion paper that refers to the system’s inability to tackle an “enemy which threatens the well-being of our people”.
Starting from the “Five Giant Evils” identified in the 1942 Beveridge report, on which the welfare state was based — Want, Disease, Squalor, Ignorance, and Idleness — the Bishops’ paper adds “a giant which all can see around them, which most experience at some time in their lives, but which few will name. It is the Enemy Isolation.”
The 17-page paper, Thinking Afresh about Welfare: The enemy isolation, has been produced by the Director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, in association with the Bishops of Norwich, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, and Truro. It contains echoes of the House’s pre-election pastoral letter of 2015.
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In closing, I would like to make three final observations. First, I keep being told that there are ‘good arguments’ for the Church to change its teaching on this issue. If there are, then where are they? Jeffrey John is a leading figure in this debate, so how come he offers us here such a poorly researched, implausible and incoherent case? Why is the case being made by SEC, a sister church in the Communion, so thin?
Secondly, what is Jeffrey John doing from the pulpit? He consistently makes the claim that texts ‘must mean this’ when they probably don’t, that Paul ‘certainly would have thought this’ when the majority think he wouldn’t, and that ‘this is what Jesus does’ when the gospels writers suggest the opposite. It is one thing to make a case, even a contentious one; it is quite another to disguise from your listeners that there is another possibility. It is a bit like saying ‘I am not interpreting the Bible; I am simply telling you what it says.’ It is a naked power play, and is wrong whoever does it. Some would call this dishonest; others might label it deceptive. It doesn’t seem to me to be a legitimate way to feed sheep....
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Update: Robert Gagnon has written on the passage in question there.
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Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, is to give a keynote address at a gathering of academics and social activists at a conference taking place in the Cayman Islands, sponsored and hosted by the “Queering Paradigms Network” of Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.
The organisation’s website states:
The Queering Paradigms network is dedicated to examining the current state and future challenges of queer studies from a broad trans-disciplinary and polythetic perspective, and by interrogating numerous social, political, cultural and academic agendas.The programme of the conference, which can be seen here, describes a very comfortable venue in one of the most expensive locations in the world. It is not apparent who is funding the meeting, or the budget of the department of Comparative Religion, Gender and Sexuality at Canterbury Christ Church University. Many of the nearby Caribbean nations are trying to resist the imposition of the new sexual ethics of the wealthy nations, and this attempt to retain traditional family values will be strongly criticised during the conference...
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The Just Finance Network, formerly known as the Church Credit Champions Network (CCCN), has proposed a nationwide roll out of ‘credit champions’ to help people manage money and debt.
The scheme has already been piloted in churches in London, Southwark and Liverpool and has trained more than 260 volunteers. Organisers believe it is now ready to go nationwide.
Of the Church Credit Champions Network, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, said that desperate people had been exploited by unscrupulous credit providers locking them into a crippling spiral of debt.
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The leader of the Scottish Episcopal Church has conceded that a vote on same-sex marriage this week risks putting it at odds with the remainder of the Anglican Communion.
The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, said the potential split was “a very serious issue” for the Scottish church but added that all sides were committed to maintaining unity.
Members of the church will be asked on Friday to consider a change to canon law, which currently states that marriage must be between a man and a woman, at its General Synod.
Read it all from the (London) Times (requires subscription).
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The conference, which is now in its seventh year, was founded by Professor Bee Scherer, director of the INCISE research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. He said, “Local activists approached us last year at the QP6 conference in Canterbury with the view of bringing QP to the Caribbean region; after the success of QP in South America (Rio 2012, Quito 2014) we agreed to support them.”
The conference has attracted criticism from conservative political and religious groups who are opposing LGBTIQ rights and equality, the organisers stated this weekend in a press release.
Although one of the key note speakers is an Anglican bishop, activists said it was sad to see how some churches have tried to boycott the conference rather than engage in a democratic dialogue with experts from all over the world who are coming to the Cayman Islands to share their knowledge and expertise with the public.
“I hope that we will see a fruitful dialogue and not just picketing and shouting,” said Scherer. “We have invited the Rt Hon Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, as one of the keynote speakers...
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A discussion paper 'Thinking Afresh About Welfare' has been released today by the Church of England.
The paper, by Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of the Mission and Public Affairs Division of Archbishops' Council, was endorsed by the May meeting of the House of Bishops as a discussion document.
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..Highbury Corner magistrates heard the Anglican priest kicked a paramedic twice in the leg before punching him and trying to bite him, on Charing Cross Road, in Covent Garden.
As police intervened, the priest from St Mary's Church in Ilford, east London, kicked an officer in the face, the court was told.
When asked which embassy would grant him diplomatic immunity, the priest said "the Vatican" and swore at officers.
Jones, who has previous convictions for a bomb hoax, affray, possession of cannabis, fraud, and criminal damage, now faces formal church disciplinary proceedings..
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The consequences of this widespread dislike to “dogma” are very serious in the present day. Whether we like to allow it or not, it is an epidemic which is just now doing great harm, and specially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a “jelly-fish” Christianity in the land: that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power. A jelly-fish, as everyone knows who has been much by the seaside, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little, delicate, transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defence, or self-preservation. Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is,“No dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine.” We have hundreds of “jelly-fish” clergymen, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions; they belong to no school or party: they are so afraid of “extreme views” that they have no views at all. We have thousands of “jelly-fish” sermons preached every year, sermons without an edge, or a point, or a corner, smooth as billiard balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint.—We have legions of “jelly-fish” young men annually turned out from our Universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion, and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth.--JC Ryle, Principles for Churchmen (London: William Hunt+Co, 1884), pp. 97-98 (my emphasis)
Their only creed is a kind of “Nihilism.” They are sure and positive about nothing. And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of jelly-fish worshippers,respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than colour-blind people can distinguish colours. They think everybody is right and nobody wrong, every-thing is true and nothing is false, all sermons are good and none are bad, every clergyman is sound and no clergyman unsound. They are “tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;” often carried away by any new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, be-cause they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to “render a reason of the hope that is in them.” All this, and much more, of which I cannot now speak particularly, is the result of the unhappy dread of “dogma” which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many Churchmen, in these latter days.
I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrow¬ful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. “Dogma” and positive doctrine are at a dis¬count just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural re-sult, and meet us in every direction. Never was it so important for lay-men to hold systematic views of truth, and for ordained ministers to “enunciate dogma” very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Adult Education Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
A deal to avert the break-up of the worldwide Anglican Communion risks collapse amid signals that African churches are reassessing ties with the Church of England over the issue of same-sex marriage.
The new leader of a powerful bloc of traditionalist bishops and archbishops - seen as representing the majority of the world’s estimated 80 million Anglicans - said the Church of England had recently crossed a “line” with a series of decisions seen as endorsing a more liberal stance on homosexuality.
The Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, the Archbishop of Nigeria, said many traditionalists now view the British branches of Anglicanism in a similar light to The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US which has been accused of “heresy” for ordaining openly gay bishops and endorsing same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Okoh – recently elected as chairman of the influential “Gafcon” (Global Anglican Future Conference) group of clerics – also pointedly gave his backing to a new breakaway network of churches in England, set up outside the control of the Church of England.
His intervention is the clearest sign yet of a renewed threat of schism within Anglicanism.
It follows the decision by one Nigerian diocese last week to break off ties with the Church of England Diocese of Liverpool because of the appointment of an American bishop who supports same-sex marriage to a special role in the area.
Last month there was also anger among traditionalists after a cleric from the Church of England’s Oxford diocese took part in a celebration of Desmond Tutu’s daughter’s same-sex wedding in South Africa.
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..I received a message from our Primate in Nigeria, who is currently the Chairman of GAFCON today about a partnership that is in the Western news. That there is a three way Diocesan partnership between the Diocese of Liverpool, England, the Diocese of Akure, Nigeria and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in the United States.
Also, that recently, the Diocese of Liverpool made the assisting Bishop of Virginia, Susan Goff, an assisting Bishop in Liverpool. Susan Goff is in favour of blessing same sex unions and this has been a part of the litigation against the orthodox in Virginia.
Therefore, in view of the above and being aware of the fact that Nigeria does not support same sex marriage, we in Akure Diocese cannot have any link with Liverpool Diocese.
We pray that Jesus Christ, The Owner of His Church will reveal Himself to us anew in Jesus name.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop of Akure Diocese.
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It is one church separated by a border - but this week Anglicans in the Church of England and in the Scottish Episcopal Church face falling out over the issue of same-sex marriages.
In the progressive corner is the Scottish Episcopal Church - in effect the Anglican church in Scotland - which is preparing to vote for clergy to be allowed to carry out same sex marriages. Meanwhile, its southern neighbours, the Church of England, is on the reactionary side, opposing any such move.
Members of the Scottish Episcopal Church will be asked if they back a change to canon law which currently states that marriage must be between a man and a woman, at the Church’s General Synod in Edinburgh on Friday.
Read it all from The Herald.
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A growing number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity, according to churches, which have conducted mass baptisms in some places.
Reliable data on conversions is not available but anecdotal evidence suggests a pattern of rising church attendance by Muslims who have fled conflict, repression and economic hardship in countries across the Middle East and central Asia.
Complex factors behind the trend include heartfelt faith in a new religion, gratitude to Christian groups offering support during perilous and frightening journeys, and an expectation that conversion may aid asylum applications.
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The release of Church of England ministry statistics this week confirms once again the “ageing crisis” of Anglican clergy. Signs of change are evident, but it remains the case that there are almost twice as many clergy aged over 60 as under 40.
You would be forgiven for questioning the veracity of that data after walking into the church where I serve, however. St Luke’s Kentish Town has a clergy stock blessed with a vicar in his mid-30s, a curate just shy of 30, and me, as ordinand, aged 26. At the last count, the average age of the 200-strong congregation was 27. This is perfectly in keeping with our young north London location, but pitches us – clergy and congregation – as significantly more youthful than the Church of England as a whole.
Vicars needed: the Church of England's fight to fill its vacancies in the north
While the church realises that there are unusual enclaves such as ours, misconceptions are common about what really goes on in them. To be clear, this is not just the young leading the young. We (and many like us; we might be uncommon but are in no sense unique) are normal parishes, seeking to present and represent Jesus Christ faithfully to those around us, irrespective of age.
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Falling numbers of stipendiary clergy in the Church of England, reported in the latest statistics, show the urgent need for more ordinations, the Director of Ministry for the Archbishops’ Council, the Ven. Julian Hubbard, has said.
The statistics, released yesterday, reveal that, while the total number of ordained ministers has remained at around 20,500 from 2012 to the end of last year, the number of stipendiary bishops, priests, and deacons fell from 8006 in 2012 to 7661.
The number of stipendiary women clergy has risen slightly every year, but has not offset the decline in numbers of men.
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The Church of England is facing a growing crisis of ageing clergy, with a quarter of its ministers aged over 60.
Although the number of people being ordained has increased in the past four years, new figures published by the church show that only 13% of its ministers are under the age of 40.
“While the number of stipendiary ordinations showed a welcome increase between 2012 and 2015, this is not sufficient to redress the gathering effect of clergy retirements predicted over the next 10 years,” said Julian Hubbard, the C of E’s director of ministry. “With 25% of stipendiary clergy aged 60 or over, at present rates of ordination this trend will have a material and growing impact on the number of those available to serve in ordained roles across the dioceses.”
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In these times of flux and challenge, when Britain’s post-imperial place in a globalized world has rarely been so minutely scrutinized and the nation’s very identity can appear to be little more than a work in progress, pity the poor parish priest.
Ever since Henry VIII broke with papal authority in the 16th century, the Anglican Church has stood at the nation’s core. In towns and villages across the land, churches offered formal services and a deeper succor for those seeking life’s meaning or, perhaps, just companionship among the like-minded.
Still, at the highest levels — ecclesiastical as much as political — 26 Anglican bishops sit in the House of Lords, the upper house of Parliament, where they are known as the Lords Spiritual
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The Church of England has released new Ministry Statistics giving trends in ministry over the period between 2012 and 2015.
The statistics show that total ordained ministry over the last 4 years has remained stable, with over 20,000 ordained people serving the church in various roles.
The number of stipendiary clergy has fallen from 8,300 to 8,000 between 2012 and 2015.
The proportion of stipendiary clergy who are women increased from 24% in 2012 to 27% in 2015. And 19% of senior staff in 2015 were women, up from 12% in 2012.
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...today, we witness a growing interdependence of nations in a globalising world and an increasing number of interconnected political challenges far exceeding the capacity of nation-states to handle them. Because the common good is increasingly trans-national, clinging to maximum sovereignty at the national level won’t always be the right way to promote the goals of justice, peace, freedom and solidarity, even within the UK.
To address these adequately, we need not only inter-governmental cooperation among independent nation states but also effective trans-national institutions.
I submit that the EU, for all its numerous failings and limitations, is one of these necessary institutions.
In the face of an increasing number of border-defying challenges such as security threats, structural and regional deprivation, environmental degradation, threats to peace on Europe’s eastern borders and the immense challenge of the refugee crisis on its southern borders, we need a robust authority with a remit for the common good across European public space.
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The 2015 report (due out quite soon) will be much more specific about the particular operational issues, and lists
Failure to recruit sufficient new clergy and lay leaders
Failure of new initiatives to deliver church growth
Failure of safeguarding processes, and impact of national enquiries (such as the Goddard report)
Failure to gain support for the Renewal and Reform programme
Financial insolvency in a significant part of the church
IT capacity and security.
I wonder how that compares with your own list? I suspect most people would suggest that there is one very significant strategic risk for the church as a whole which isn’t covered by the above list of operational risks: the danger of schism over a major issue of belief or practice. Reading newspaper headlines, or attending to the internal workings of the Church, it would be hard not to notice that the debate on sexuality and its outcome is the ‘major issue’ currently threatening the future of the C of E as we know it.
If that is the case, why would any diocesan bishop act in a way to exacerbate this risk? Yet in the last month, two appear to have done just that.
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We were twinned with The Diocese of Akure in Ondo Sate of Nigeria.They have broken their ties with our diocese over the appointment of the Rt Revd Susan Goff as a Hon. Assisting Bishop in our diocese. We remain open to resume this link as we seek to walk together with all parts of the communion.
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Reports that the Acting Bishop of Oxford, Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, gave his permission for Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker to lead a celebration of a same-sex wedding raise a number of questions to which answers are not forthcoming. A photograph showing Revd Charlotte Bannister Parker officiating, as the couple exchanged rings and made vows, was published in a South African newspaper more than two weeks ago, yet Reform have been told that Bishop Colin is having to take advice before commenting on the following:
Was the Acting Bishop of Oxford aware of the nature of the 'celebration' when he gave permission to Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker to lead it?
Has the Acting Bishop of Oxford seen the liturgy/ order of service used?
Does the Acting Bishop of Oxford believe that a 'celebration' of a marriage that re-enacts the giving and receiving of rings and the making of promises to one another and according to the report the 'pronouncement that we now 'recognise you as wife and wife' falls within the terms of the Bishops' Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage?
Does the Acting Bishop of Oxford believe that a 'celebration' of a marriage that re-enacts the giving and receiving of rings and the making of promises to one another and according to the report the 'pronouncement that we now 'recognise you as wife and wife' is consistent with the express terms of Lambeth 1:10?
If so, what would else would need to happen for this to be considered a 'blessing'?
Meanwhile, the House of Bishops have been discussing plans for the forthcoming 'shared conversations' at General Synod.
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It has come to the attention of Reform, that the Bishop of Liverpool, The Right Reverend Paul Bayes, has appointed Bishop Susan Goff as an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Liverpool. Susan Goff is a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Virginia in The Episcopal Church. In July 2016, she voted in favour of changing the definition and purpose of marriage according to in Canons of The Episcopal Church. This alteration to the Canons was the action that led the Primates of the Anglican Communion, gathered in Canterbury earlier this year, to require The Episcopal Church to step down from representing the Communion or being involved in decision making on matters pertaining to doctrine or polity.
Susie Leafe, Director of Reform said, "The Bishop of Liverpool has chosen to bring the conflicts that have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion in to the heart of this diocese. The long standing link with Akure Diocese, in Nigeria, has been severed for the sake of closer ties with The Episcopal Church. The decision to appoint Susan Goff as an Honorary Assistant Bishop is a provocative and divisive step which is obviously unacceptable from someone who holds themselves out as a focus of unity. Members of the Dioceses of Liverpool are entitled to expect that their bishop should respect and not simply ignore the settled will of the Communion."
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An historic moment in the lives of the dioceses of Virginia and Liverpool occurred Monday, May 2, 2016 at Shrine Mont Retreat Center when the Rt. Rev Susan Goff was commissioned by Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia, and Paul Bayes, bishop of Liverpool, as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.
Bishop Bayes presented the letters commissary to Bishop Goff and both Bishop Bayes and Bishop Johnston prayed over her while the room spontaneously rose to its feet with applause, love and affection.
The dioceses of Liverpool and Virginia are companion dioceses, focusing on Jesus and Justice, that together, a bigger church might make a bigger difference in the world. This exciting appointment is more than just in title. As part of the link, Bishop Goff has visited Liverpool and her ministry of teaching and support has been very much welcomed not just by women in the diocese but by all.
“The link with the Diocese of Virginia has been important to us in Liverpool for many years,” said Bayes. “At my installation eighteen months ago it was a privilege to welcome Bishop Shannon Johnston as a guest of honour. Now, with Bishop Susan Goff’s appointment as one of our assisting bishops, we are able to strengthen our bond still further. Bishop Susan is no stranger to Liverpool and we look forward to being enriched by her wisdom as a teacher and pastor of pastors whenever she visits us.”
Among Bishop Goff's first responsibilities in Liverpool, she will be leading the retreat and preach at the ordination of priests with Bishop Bayes in June and speaking at the clergy conference in July.
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10 May 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Charles Ryle, the 1st Bishop of Liverpool.
Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of the day, invited John Ryle to become Bishop of Liverpool in 1880.
The new Bishop was from the Evangelical wing of the Church of England. He was surprised to receive the invitation and was concerned that he was too old for the task. Disraeli assured him that he would live for a few years yet and was proved correct.
He began his ministry on July 1st 1880 and came to live at the Bishop’s Palace in Abercromby Square, Liverpool with his wife and daughter Jessie.
Every third year he delivered his Episcopal Charge to the clergy of the Diocese and held a Diocesan conference annually. The charge in 1881 set the tone for his future ministry; throughout his episcopate - he made it a priority to recruit more clergy and lay ministers and built many more churches. Before clergy were ordained they attended a retreat at Bishop’s Palace and the Bishop gave a series of addresses. Diocesan clergy could call on their Bishop on any Tuesday morning.
The Bishop valued the work of the Scripture Readers who were paid lay workers. There were about 50 licensed Readers in the Diocese.
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Only two per cent of Anglicans in England and Wales are converts, a new study suggests.
The director of the Benedict XVI Centre at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Dr Stephen Bullivant, has gathered statistics on religious affiliation from the annual British Social Attitudes surveys. His report, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales, launched on Tuesday in the House of Commons, deals mainly with the Roman Catholic Church, but looks at other denominations for comparisons.
His deduction is that, in a group of 100 Anglicans, 93 will have been brought up as such, five will have started life in another Christian denomination, and only two would have belonged to no religion. (The sample group was 1681 Anglicans.)
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Wales * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary England / UK --Wales
In 2008, Christine was appointed Vicar of St Mary and St Lawrence, Goring-by-Sea, and it was during this period that her middle daughter died from cancer. Within a year of being at Goring-by-Sea, she was recruited as Archdeacon of Chesterfield in 2010.
Christine is also a non-executive director of Ecclesiastical Insurance, and has held several national church posts, including membership of the General Synod, the Anglican Communion Indaba conversations that seek to energise mission and build the international community of Anglican Christians through respectful listening, one of the eight female participant observers on the House of Bishops, and as a vocations consultant and selector, helping to discern those who are to be recommended for ordination. Christine has also been a member of Derby Cathedral Council.
“I was thrilled, and a little daunted, to be offered the post of Dean of Lincoln,” said Christine.
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The Columba Declaration has been discussed for the past 15 years and officially ties the two churches, which have been seperate since the 16th century Reformation. It was passed at the Scottish Church's general assembly on Wednesday. The CoE's general synod passed the measure in February.
The Archbishop of Canterbury became the first CoE leader to join a debate at the general assembly and urged support for the report. Justin Welby acknowledged significant differences in the doctrines of the two churches but said the Columba Declaration provided a framework to affirm common ground.
Earlier in the assembly's five day meeting the CoS agreed to accept ministers who are in same-sex marriages, something the CoE has not done.
"We won't always necessarily find ourselves walking in step with one another, something I've been particularly conscious of, as, like you, we have been considering the issues around same-sex marriages, and following your earlier debate on ministers in same-sex marriages," Welby said in his address.
"But what we believe we are providing in this report is a sound framework for us to affirm and build on the agreement we have, for the sake of our common witness to Christ."
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Teaching of Christianity in schools is set to be transformed by a new resource from the Church of England, launched today. Understanding Christianity is a set of comprehensive materials and training which will enable pupils from age 4 to 14 to develop their understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to making sense of the world and their own experience within it.
Available to all schools across the country the resource was written by a team of RE advisers from RE Today Services, in collaboration with more than 30 expert teachers and academics, and has been trialled in over 50 schools.
Understanding Christianity was commissioned by the Church of England Education Office with the generous support of Culham St Gabriels, The Sir Halley Stewart Trust, the Jerusalem Trust and an anonymous donor.
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The House of Bishops of the Church of England met on 23-24 May 2016.
On its first day the Bishops received an update on the shared conversations process, received a report from the Faith and Order Commission and discussed the contribution and vision of the Church of England on Education. A substantial amount of time was spent on safeguarding including receiving the report of the Elliot Review from the Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally.
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The Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker, 52, is an assistant priest at St Michael and All Angels Summertown in the Diocese of Oxford, and acts as the Bishop’s Advisor for Special Projects, including inter-faith initiatives. She is an Associate Faculty Member of the Theology Department at Oxford University, and has a long Oxford pedigree, having been previously on the staff of the University Church of St Mary’s.
On 7th May, according to reports in Cape Town’s City Press, she officiated at a same-sex marriage in South Africa. Oxford has a long standing relationship with the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman in South Africa. Rev Bannister-Parker lived there for a while in 2008, helping the Church to develop its HIV/AIDS ministry.
Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, the daughter of Desmond Tutu who has long been an advocate for the Anglican Church to welcome fully same sex relationships and bless gay marriage, was ordained in the Episcopal Church USA and now works as the Executive Director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
Questions are now being asked about the participants in this story. A licensed clergywoman in the Church of England has conducted what looks very much like a same sex marriage or certainly a blessing of a civil marriage, even though it is in a different Province. Many clergy travel overseas to conduct the increasingly lavish weddings of their parishioners or relatives – when they do so, are they bound by the canons of the Church of England? Were Revd Bannister-Parker’s actions approved by her parish Rector and by the Diocese of Oxford, given the high profile nature of the ceremony? Is there any connection between the Tutu Foundation funds and the Diocese of Oxford’s “Special Projects”?
Today the media reports that Revd Tutu-van Furth has resigned as a licenced priest in the Diocese of Cape Town, as the Province does not accept clergy in same sex marriages. Rev Bannister-Parker should do the decent thing and do the same, having acted in a manner contrary to her ordination vows where she promised to uphold the doctrines of the Church and abide by the teachings of Scripture.
Readers may like to read the City Press article and look at the photo again, and decide for themselves what was happening on that day. We are also free to ask whether there will be similar ceremonies taking place in England soon, with equally strong denials from official spokesmen that they have anything to do with ‘weddings’ or ‘blessings’.
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And Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s giggle rang out over the Mont Rochelle Hotel’s terrace near Franschhoek, as his wife Leah rocked beside him.
Marceline had been a little overeager, leaning in for a kiss before Reverend Charlotte Bannister-Parker – who led the ceremony – had decreed they were married.
“No! Not yet!” shrieked Mpho.
However, soon enough Bannister-Parker said: “We now recognise you as wife and wife. You may kiss each other.”
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The acting Bishop of Oxford authorized one of his clergy to perform a same-sex blessing. On 3 May 2016 the Rev. Charlotte Bannister-Parker, (pictured) an associate priest at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford presided over the blessing of the marriage of the Rev. Mpho Tutu and Dr. Marceline van Furth at Sir Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle Hotel in the Western Cape.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Oxford said: “The Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker accepted the invitation of Mpho Tutu to lead a celebration of her marriage to Marceline van Furth in her capacity as a friend of the family. She did so with the permission of both the Bishop of Saldanha Bay, the Rt Revd Raphael Hess, and the Acting Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher.”
Read it all and an update with some wriggling from the Diocese of Oxford here
..The Rev Canon Tutu is executive director of her parents’ eponymous charitable foundation and divorced with two children. She married her long-time partner Marceline Van Furth, an atheist academic who is also divorced with children, in her native Netherlands in December.
The pair held a second ceremony that was attended by the Tutus and officiated by Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker, a priest from Oxford, on Sir Richard Branson’s wine farm in Franschhoek earlier this month.
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The Evangelical Alliance has cautioned against plans for new laws to tackle extremism, announced in today's Queen's Speech.
Head of public policy Simon McCrossan commented:
"It's extreme to try and tell religious groups what they can and can't teach under the guise of fundamental British values. It's extreme to threaten to send Ofsted inspectors into churches if they don't teach British values. This government's trying to fight extremism with extremism and the main casualty will be our fundamental freedoms.
"We are deeply concerned that the definitions of 'extremism', especially the extension of 'non-violent extremism', threaten to trample on the freedoms that have been hard won, long enjoyed, and underpin our democracy. To date, the definitions are so broad there could be many unforeseen consequences to fundamental freedoms in our plural multi-faith society."
The Evangelical Alliance has previously spoken out against government plans to regulate out of school settings, and the threat of Ofsted inspections over a wide variety of clubs and societies, including churches that provide youth and children's work in every corner of the UK.
Read it all and there is an article on the context from Lapidomedia here
(For the original piece to which this is responding please see here--KSH).
There are likely to be many Anglicans, not least in the Church of England, who will welcome the idea that there might be a viable ‘third way’ between supporting same-sex marriages and simply maintaining the Church’s traditional position. However, I would want to argue that there is in fact no viable ‘third way’ on this issue. This is for three reasons.
First, the position of those advocating for LGBT equality has moved on since the days when a blessing of same-sex partnerships might have been seen as acceptable.
Now that same-sex ‘marriage’ is legal in an increasing number of jurisdictions around the world, including England, Scotland and Wales, LGBT advocates will not be content with anything less than the Church coming into line with society and practicing ‘equal marriage’ as well. For example, those Gay and Lesbian Christians such as Canon Jeremy Pemberton who are already ‘married’ are not going to be content with anything less than the Church’s full recognition of their marital status.
Furthermore, even the recognition of same-sex ‘marriages’ is now a relatively conservative position. The new focus of LGBT activism is now the call to move beyond the ‘heteronormative gender binary’ (the idea that humanity is divided into men and women) and recognise a whole multiplicity of different gender identities (Facebook UK now gives you seventy one gender options to choose from) and a whole range of forms of personal relationship to suit these different identities....
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Choirs may be the ultimate training ground for hopeful boy bands and ensembles. Choristers—who in British and American cathedral choirs usually range from eight to 13, with continental choirs retaining their singers until the age of 19—typically rehearse together daily, making their decision to team up in ensembles of their own making less risky. They form an immediate talent pool of skilled musicians who enjoy making music together, and know one another’s musical likes and personalities. “[British cathedral] choirs are an ideal place for future bandmates to grow up in,” says Simon Kirk, director of music at St John’s College School, which educates the boy choristers of St John's College Chapel in Cambridge. “You work as part of a professional team that tours and records. From the age of nine to ten, the boys work as professional musicians.”
When Barnaby Smith graduated from Westminster Abbey Choir School at 13, he already knew that he wanted to keep singing with some of his fellow choristers. Several years later, four of them formed the acapella ensemble Voces8, which has since won numerous competitions and is now the singers’ full-time occupation. “A small ensemble is like a family,” Mr Smith explains. “Having sung in a boys’ choir was vital. Choir school is a very professional environment where boys depend on one another. It’s not something you do on your own.”
Though top-level choirs are fertile band-making territory, establishing an ensemble can be awkward if it takes place while the boys are still choir members. “You decide who you get along with,” explains Louis Weise, a 17-year-old member of the St Thomas Choir in Leipzig. “If you’re going to do additional rehearsals together and also try to make money together, you really have to get along.”
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Responding to asylum seekers and developing younger people as leaders will be among the topics at a refreshed Fresh Expression conference this year.
The November conference will also look at whether those attracted to Fresh Expressions events are from non-church backgrounds, or whether they are returning after feeling rejected by traditional church settings.
Jointly run by Fresh Expressions and the Diocese of Leicester, there will be 16 talks and 25 pairs of consultants will be on hand to share their expertise.
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What should the church commissioners, who are responsible for its £7 billion investment portfolio, do? They are charity trustees. They have a duty to make a return on the funds entrusted to them. And every penny they can raise means another pound from the collection plate can be used for something else. The answer is, of course, that they must exercise judgment.
The good news is that they are already allowed to. The church commissioners do not, as a result, invest in pornography, tobacco, gambling, non-military firearms, high interest rate lending or human embryonic cloning. But on tax abuse, surely the clearest measure of a company’s social responsibility, they’re not so clear.
Their advisers stated three years ago that “tax ethics should be a subject for investor engagement where it appears that a company’s approach is blatantly aggressive or abusive”. In other words, investment in such companies is permitted so long as the church makes clear that it expects high ethical standards on tax. In this respect, the commissioners have clearly failed.
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The Bishop of Salisbury has called for environmental issues take a more prominent role in the debate over Britain's future in the EU.
Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam said Britain has taken stand on the environment in recent years which has made other countries "clean their acts up".
The Church of England speaker on climate change also called for the voices of younger voters to be heard ahead of the June 23 referendum.
“It is not the job of a Bishop to push people to vote in any particular way," he said. "The scope of the debate, however, is something where I do have a duty to speak out.
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The Church Commissioners for England have announced their latest financial results with the publication of their annual report.
The Church Commissioners' total return on their investments in 2015 was 8.2 per cent, exceeding their long-term target rate by 2%. Over the past 30 years the fund has achieved an average return of 9.7% per annum. After taking account of expenditure, the fund has grown from £2.4bn at the start of 1995 to £7.0 billion at the end of 2015.
In 2015, the charitable expenditure of the Commissioners was £218.5 million, accounting for 15% of the Church's overall mission and ministry costs. Commissioners-funded projects ranged from clubs and drop-ins to youth work and food bank hubs, all supported by local churches.
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The Church Census 2016 will not go ahead, Churches Together in England (CTE) has said, after the Church of England became the latest denomination to decline to participate, on the grounds of concerns over the administrative workload and time constraints.
The general secretary of CTE, the Revd Dr David Cornick, said on Wednesday: “Our understanding is that the census will not now be taking place in October, and we have informed our members of this.
“The steering group, and a number of national church leaders, have realised that too much remains to be done in too short a time for that to be feasible. Given those circumstances, the data produced would not have been accurate or useful enough to justify the exercise. The steering group will be meeting again to consider how to proceed in the light of this.”
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It is not a surprise that York Minster clergy are offering Zen meditation. Last year Canon Michael Smith gave a ‘blessing’ on the Gay Pride march which assembled in front of the Minster before processing through the city, with the full backing of the Dean. This is a place which seems to have abandoned Christian doctrine in any meaningful sense of the word.
But this does not explain why the Diocese as a whole, under the leadership of the Archbishop of York, is simply not mentioning the big prayer and evangelism initiative which Dr Sentamu himself is promoting nationally. It’s one thing for his Diocese to talk about Jesus publicly while in the background there are some clergy secretly blessing gay relationships or holding Zen meditation. It’s another thing altogether for the Diocese to openly support worship of a different god in the precincts of its main worship centre, and hide an initiative which promotes prayer at Pentecost for the coming of God’s Kingdom and sharing faith in Christ.
This raises several questions. First, who is in charge in the Diocese of York? Second, how can the Archbishop expect to unite the Church of England in prayer and mission when there is such complete confusion in his own back yard about what we believe and whom we worship?
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In the interview, the Archbishop said: “This week of prayer seems to have touched a chord that none of us really expected to the degree it’s happened. Port Stanley Cathedral in the Falkland Islands has joined in Thy Kingdom Come. There’s people in Israel and all across the UK. People find they’re motivated and excited about praying with others for those who they long to find the love of Jesus Christ.”
The week of prayer will culminate this weekend with special ‘Beacon’ worship events in numerous cathedrals around the country, led by bishops and contemporary worship leaders. The event at Canterbury Cathedral, led by Archbishop Justin Welby, Pete Hughes and Hannah Heather, with worship led by Seth Pennock and Tim Hughes, will be broadcast live on Facebook.
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Leading voices in the world of education come together in a new book to show how their approach to education can transform young lives for the better.
Schools for Human Flourishing is a collaboration between Woodard Schools, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network and the Church of England Education Office. Set against a background where evidence shows the young are increasingly stressed by modern life this book will be of interest to teachers, students and their parents.
Authors from a range of school settings from inner city London to the privilege of public school, from church schools in England to a school born out of the fragmentation of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, show how they bring fresh approaches to learning and prioritising progress for each child.
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We are looking for a wise and godly Vicar who is
--firmly grounded in the Bible, both in personal life and teaching;
--devoted to prayer and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit;
--an effective communicator able to interpret and apply scripture to the culture and society we inhabit
--an experienced, collaborative, friendly and approachable leader.
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'For 200 years the Church of England has been a stable and consistent provider of education for children in communities across the country. Our aim has always been to focus on academic excellence in an environment which equips young people to live life in its fullness. Working in partnership with government and regional school commissioners, the Church of England Education Office will continue to aspire for the best educational experience for all. Where academisation is the best way forward, the Church of England will take an active role through its Dioceses, as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding.
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Jesus Christ calls every person to follow him. As Christians it’s our duty and joy to share that invitation. That’s why the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are inviting every church in England to join a week of prayer this Pentecost, from 8-15th May — let’s pray for every Christian to receive new confidence and joy in sharing this life-transforming faith.
Read more about it there.
Whilst there are places of growth, the overall pattern is one of slow but continuing decline in church attendance and discipleship. We want to grow more confident in sharing our faith and enabling others to meet and follow Christ. We also need to place a greater focus on releasing and nurturing the gifts of laity and clergy so that ministry is increasingly a shared venture.
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The chatter is getting louder. More voices are joining in all the time as people of all ages and from all backgrounds begin to talk more openly about death, dying and funerals. And Christians have much to contribute: after all in Easter services every year, if not every Sunday, we remember and celebrate our great hope that death is not the end, and that God will bring comfort for the bereaved.
And now the big conversation is really emerging in our culture. The taboo around death and dying is being pushed and challenged . Almost every week there are articles, opinion pieces and comments about death and funerals, sometimes triggered by the death of well-known individuals, and sometimes triggered by personal events. Movements such as Death Café are growing quickly as people begin to face the issues, whether making good financial plans or talking more widely about bereavement and loss.
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Although a consistory court has a discretion to take into account pastoral considerations relating to a bereaved family, the churchyard rules must not be disregarded when erecting memorials in a churchyard.
Unauthorised memorials that violate those rules are a trespass, and liable to be removed by the PCC or on the orders of the Chancellor of the diocese. The fact that there were older memorials that had been installed without authorisation in the churchyard was not a reason for allowing more recent unauthorised memorials to remain there, the Consistory Court of the diocese of Durham said.
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The Church Commissioners for England have taken home two prizes at this year's Portfolio Institutional Awards - the Best Charity / Fund / Trust Award for the first time since 2013, and the Best Implementation of Responsible Investment Award for the second year in a row.
The awards come as the Church Commissioners have also been given the highest AAA rating in this year's Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) Global Climate 500, coming 10th in the index. The rating recognises the work done by the Commissioners to mitigate the investment risks of climate change through engagement and shareholder resolutions, as well as the Commissioners' support for low carbon investment.
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Religious education is not just like learning French. At the Passover meal a few days ago the youngest there asked: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Unless you are taking part in the meal in the prescribed way, it is not different. If you are, the question has a deep resonance, which is even picked up in Christian Easter rituals (in which a cantor sings the Exsultet (or Easter proclamation) before a lit candle in the dark, with a repeated phrase “This is the night...”).
I fear that the dreary headteachers think we are all the same. They think religion is much of a muchness and a private thing like violin practice. Just as one lot of teaching unions holds its conference over Easter weekend, God forgive them, so the headteachers held theirs this weekend over the Orthodox Easter Sunday. They prefer resolutions to absolution and unholy union business to Holy Communion.
The fundamental question is: whose children do they think they are teaching? It is as though they thought children belonged to the state and must be protected from the beliefs of their parents.
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It’s so easy to take things for granted, but what we learned is that people certainly want to be thankful for the people and things that they hold especially dear. What a place of worship or a Christian community can do is provide space and time for people to be able to do that in the midst of their busy lives. Thankfulness and gratitude are at the heart of generosity, which is a response to knowing the love of God.
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The Archbishop is to celebrate Ascension Day at St John the Baptist & All Saints Easingwold on Thursday 5 May at 7.30pm – all welcome. He is visiting Strensall Barracks to meet with soldiers and their families at Hurst Hall on Saturday 7 May at 10.15am and following this, is to join in the fundraising paper-chain event with Kidz Club – linking St Mary’s Church to the Methodist Church. An ‘Ask the Archbishop’ question and answer is taking place at The Ship Inn, Strensall at 11.45am on Saturday– all welcome. Join the Archbishop at St Helen and the Holy Cross Church, Sheriff Hutton for a 10.30am Eucharist on Sunday 8th May– all welcome.
In a busy week which includes a community soup lunch at Oulston on Tuesday and meeting with USA/UK Youth interns on Wednesday, the Archbishop will also be leading Pilgrimage Prayers at 11 local churches and calling in at eight schools at Husthwaite, Crayke, Shipton, Brafferton, Alne, Easingwold, Sutton on the Forest and Huby. The Archbishop will also be meeting the community at Easingwold Market Place on Friday morning.
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We have now had confirmed what many recognised to be true from the outset of this tragedy. Yet there remain unanswered questions and unresolved accountabilities. No judicial action can bring back the lives of those who were lost or undo the sorrow of those who continue to mourn them. And we cannot escape the reality that this verdict comes too late for some who did not live to see the consummation of their tireless quest.
At the heart of the Christian faith is a narrative of justice, and justice must be allowed to take its course. But our Christian message is also one of forgiveness, grace and mercy. It is only now that some of the wounds can begin to heal and that some of the hurts can begin to be released – truth and justice are crucial to that process, but grace and mercy must also play their part in the journey forward.
Now is the time for us to show our true dignity; we must not now become consumed by bitterness, recrimination and hate, as we allow justice to take its course. We continue to pray for the families of the 96 and everyone whose lives are affected and scarred by this tragedy.
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The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, is to become the 44th Bishop of Oxford in the summer, Downing Street announced on Tuesday morning. The see has been vacant for 18 months, since the Rt Revd John Pritchard retired in October 2014.
Dr Croft has been Bishop of Sheffield since 2009. He said that he was excited about his new position in one of the Church of England’s largest dioceses. “We have had seven really happy, fulfilling years in Sheffield. I will miss the people I work with the most. But I am looking forward to that new challenge.”
The three area bishops will free him to focus on strategy and a personal ministry of mission and evangelism, he says. “Initially, I will listen and discern what is happening locally, but I would hope to be engaged with adults and young people in places where they are — schools and workplaces.”
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One of Liverpool’s historic churches is set to be sold to the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox church.
St Paul’s in Old Swan has become too expensive to be retained by the Church of England - but locals are angry at the plans which would also see the graveyard moved.
The last service was held in St Paul’s Stoneycroft on Easter Sunday and services have now been joined with the neighbouring St Anne’s parish.
A note on the St Anne’s website from vicar Emma Williams said they now hope the Egyptian Coptic Church (ECC) will take over the St Paul’s site.
The church was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, who at the time St Paul’s was built had been appointed to design Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.
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"If you have a very rigid curriculum, there will be an increasing mismatch between what lecturers are doing in their research time and what they're having to teach," Zachhuber seeks to explain.
"The major driver for change for theology and religion is the dramatic change in the way religion is seen and practiced in the UK," Zachhuber continues. "The dominance of the Church of England has been receding but at the same time religion hasn't disappeared. We want to offer to potential students what is interesting for them and that has changed a lot in the last 30 years."
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The new Bishop of Oxford is to be the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Downing Street announced today. Bishop Steven succeeds the Rt Revd John Pritchard, who retired in October 2014 after seven years in post.
Bishop Steven, who is 58, is currently Bishop of Sheffield, a role he has held since 2009. He serves on the Archbishop’s Council and Chairs the Ministry Council of the Church of England. He has been a member of the House of Lords since 2013.
He has a passion for mission and evangelism and for finding creative ways of sharing the Gospel. He is the co-author of the Emmaus and Pilgrim courses, both of which are resources to help people engage with the Christian faith.
Read it all and the official announcement is here and there are more links and background from David Pocklington here
The Christian claim from the beginning was that the question of Jesus's resurrection was a question, not of the internal mental and spiritual states of his followers a few days after his crucifixion, but about something that had happened in the real, public world.
This "something" left, not just an empty tomb, but a broken loaf at Emmaus and footprints in the sand by the lake among its physical mementoes. It also left his followers with a lot of explaining to do, but with a transformed worldview which is only explicable on the assumption that something really did happen, even though it stretched their existing worldviews to breaking point.
What I want to do here is to examine this early Christian claim, to ask what can be said about it historically, and to enquire, more particularly, what sort of "believing" we are talking about when we ask whether we - whether "we" be scientists or historians or mathematicians or theologians - can "believe" that which "the resurrection" actually refers to.
Read it all from ABC Australia.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter * Theology Christology Eschatology Theology: Scripture
What difference does it make that Christ is risen? I’m not asking what difference we would like it to make: I guess we want resurrection to be the answer to our questions, the happy ending to all our doubts and fears. I’ve spoken about ‘before’ and ‘after’, but I don’t mean that Easter is closure. Far from it: it pulls us into new journeys whose end we can never predict. So how does Easter change everything?
What it doesn’t do is to wind back the clock, as if this wilting daffodil could somehow regain its freshness and vitality. It’s the opposite. Easter winds the clock forward to the time where there will be a new heaven and a new earth, where everything we know is transformed. The Easter garden where Jesus comes to Mary and calls her by name – this is the paradise that an ageing, hurting world has looked forward to since time began. She thinks he is the gardener, and of course he is, exactly that, the divine Gardener who by rising on the first day of the week has begun to re-make creation and bring beauty out of ashes. And this new Eden is our destiny as human beings caught up in the renewal of creation that is Easter. Our first reading said: ‘when Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory’. It is coming, yet it has already begun: with Mary in the garden, with the disciples Jesus greets, with those who have not seen yet believed, with all who worship and love and follow him on this Easter Day.
For Easter takes our fear away, and gives us back our lives.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained
Bishops and other prominent Christian figures have called on the new Work and Pensions Secretary, Stephen Crabb, to reverse cuts to welfare for the disabled.
Mr Crabb, a former Welsh Secretary, and a Christian, was promoted to the post after the departure of Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned saying that further planned cuts to disability benefit were a step too far. Mr Crabb reversed those cuts, which had been announced in the Budget by the Chancellor, George Osborne....
An open letter, signed by four bishops — including the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan; and the leader of the Iona Community, the Revd Peter MacDonald; and the directors of the think tank Ekklesia and the Centre for Welfare Reform — welcomes the reversal of cuts to Personal Independence Payments. Mr Crabb is urged, however, to go “even further”, and to reverse earlier changes to the payments, which are said to have left thousands of people housebound.
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In this tomb, also, you may see, A pledge to us...Yes, verily, it is a pledge,
Of Christ's power to raise us to a spiritual life — The resurrection of Christ is set forth in the Scriptures as a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers; and by the very same power too, that effected that. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul draws the parallel with a minuteness and accuracy that are truly astonishing. He prays for them, that they may know what is the exceeding greatness of God's power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." And then he says, concerning them, "God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us usi together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus^" Here, I say, you see Christ dead, quickened, raised, and seated in glory; and his believing people quickened from their death in sins, and raised with him, and seated too with him in the highest heavens. The same thing is stated also, and the same parallel is drawn in the Epistle to the Romans ; where it is said, "We are buried with Christ by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." But can this be effected in us ? I answer, Behold the tomb ! Who raised the Lord Jesus? He himself said, " I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again...."
--"Horae homileticae, Sermon 1414
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In parallel, I got to know Kit’s parishioners who worship at St James’, as well as the group of people who support Kit - all full of faith, kindness, generosity of spirit, care and consideration for each other (and a knowledge of the Bible that puts me to shame!). I saw and experienced, first hand, the positive differences that the church can make in a local community, and the value of community that the church can offer to those that seek it.
And I found myself being steadily drawn back to God and my faith. There wasn’t any ‘sudden moment’, just a growing recognition that I wanted this to be part of my life again. I now attend Kit’s church every Sunday when I remind myself to be considerate, loving and helpful to others; to be kind; to be generous…and I find this weekly reminder a very helpful ‘pause’ in my busy life. And I have also experienced, first hand, the value and power of prayer.
I have enjoyed immersing myself in supporting Kit’s church, seeking to bring my business experience to bear to the PCC and our Finance and Buildings committees. We are currently wrestling with the usual realities of a roof that needs a major overhaul, and a need for funding!
Read it all and do not miss the photo and the further link for more.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * General Interest Photos/Photography
When all is done, the hell of hells, the torment of torments, is the everlasting absence of God, and the everlasting impossibility of returning to his presence...to fall out of the hands of the living God, is a horror beyond our expression, beyond our imagination.... What Tophet is not Paradise, what Brimstone is not Amber, what gnashing is not a comfort, what gnawing of the worme is not a tickling, what torment is not a marriage bed to this damnation, to be secluded eternally, eternally, eternally from the sight of God?--From a sermon to the Earl of Carlisle in 1622
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