The Church of England announced yesterday that Bishop Chris Goldsmith is to become its next Director of Ministry. The bishop is currently the suffragan Bishop of St Germans in the diocese of Truro, so that post will become vacant when he takes up his new position in September 2019.0 Comments
Marcus Green ViaMedia.News Does the Bible Really Say…that St Paul ‘Hates Gays’?
George Sumner The Living Church Why should Anglicans want to be a Communion?
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church John Smyth and the question of Anglican membership66 Comments
General Synod meets in York next month and the Church of England issued its usual pre-Synod press release?this morning, and this is copied below the fold. It concentrates on one item (youth violence and knife crime).
Madeleine Davies in?Church Times?has a fuller preview of the Synod agenda: Synod to focus on youth violence and knife crime.
There are two other Church Times articles.
Invest in refugees, Synod motion proposes
Synod will be asked whether it ‘gladly bears’ eucharistic presidency by Methodist presbyters as ‘temporary anomaly’
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England urged to offer haven from knife crime
Izzy Lyons and Laura FitzPatrick The Telegraph Churches should become knife crime sanctuaries with weapon amnesty bins, General Synod to discuss11 Comments
The Church of England issued the following press release?today.
Safeguarding Data Report 2015-17
Safeguarding data has been published today taken from annual safeguarding returns, collected by dioceses from 2015-17 and sent to the National Safeguarding Team. This is the first time that trends have been analysed over a three-year period.
The Church of England consists of more than 16,000 churches across the country; with around 1.14 million adults and children making up the regular worshipping community. This means it comes into contact with vast numbers of children, young people and adults every day of the week and safeguarding them is a priority. The majority of safeguarding-related concerns or allegations relate to children or vulnerable adults who attend or who have contact with the Church and their lives within the community.
In any report about data of this nature, it is important to recognise that behind each statistic is a person. Safeguarding is about everyone’s wellbeing and means the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture; it is about valuing every person as made in God’s image.
Madeleine Davies?Church Times?Safeguarding reports grow by a half in two years
The full text of the MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) press release referred to in this article is here.
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England finds 50% rise in abuse claims and concerns
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Mandatory Reporting and the Church of England
Mark Clavier The Living Church?The Church of the Introverts2 Comments
The bishops, dean and archdeacons in the Diocese of Blackburn have written to all clergy, readers and safeguarding officers in the diocese. They reflect on reflect on the IICSA reports on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball.
The press release states:
Since the recent publication of the report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) on the Diocese of Chichester and the Peter Ball case, Bishops’ Leadership Teams across the country have been strongly encouraged to read and reflect on the reports in their entirety.
Having done this in our Diocese, the Bishops, Archdeacons and The Dean of The Church of England in Lancashire were moved to send a message across our Diocese to urge others of the need to be ‘spending time with the report’; the reading of which they describe as a ‘powerful, emotional experience’.
The text of the letter follows below the fold and can also be viewed in its original form here.
Aban Quaynor writes about the letter in?The Lancaster and Morecombe Citizen: Senior leaders in Diocese of Blackburn call on church to protect children from sex abuse.
SENIOR clergy in the Blackburn Diocese have written a joint letter to Christian faith leaders urging them to ensure ‘local churches are places where children and vulnerable adults are entirely safe’ from sexual abuse.
The letter … also states that members of the diocese should take a collective responsibility for abuse which has taken place within the wider church because ignoring it becomes a form of re-abuse…
This article is also published in the Lancashire Telegraph.
Stephen Parsons writes about the letter on his Surviving Church blog:?The Blackburn Letter. A new beginning for the Church?
Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Child sexual abuse: the Blackburn Pastoral Letter is game-changer for the Church of England
Adam Becket Church Times Safeguarding not just about box-ticking, say senior clergy in Blackburn8 Comments
Meg Warner ViaMedia.News Does the Bible Really Say….that Sodomites were sodomites?
Laudable Practice?Newman, Keble, Pusey: High Church Parsons on Trinity Sunday
John Barton Church Times Richard Hooker and Puritans: Of sundry things, in the light of reason
“Richard Hooker’s engagement with the Puritans has much to teach those who debate scripture today”
Paul Bayes Thinking in Liverpool?Believing in the Public Square66 Comments
Update 1: Synod members reading this might like to note that the deadline for the submission of questions is a week earlier than normal; it is 12 noon on Wednesday 19 June 2019.
Update 2 [18 June]: More online papers linked
Update 3 [21 June]: More online papers linked
The first batch of papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online. The remaining papers will be issued on 21 June and I will add links when these become available.
Papers with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets from Friday 5 to Tuesday 9 July in York.
First mailing .zip file?[This contains some papers not yet otherwise available online]12 Comments
Sue Wallace Precentor Sue Smoke – Part 1
Smoke – Part 2
“In this Pentecostal time of year it seemed a really good time to talk about incense, which seems to me to be a bit like the Marmite (you either love it or you hate it!) of the liturgical world!”
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church A Church that cares for Survivors?
Michael Fitzpatrick The Episcopal Café?False Gospels?
“Many of my fellow Anglicans do not seem as excited as I am about the upcoming Lambeth Conference…”
There has been discussion recently in the media and on social media of an incident at a Church of England school in Essex. This involved a Church of England priest who has resigned as a governor of a church school and also as the local incumbent because he did not like the way that the school handled the gender transition of a child.
This discussion began on 25 May when the Mail on Sunday reported: Vicar resigns after being ‘silenced’ over a Church of England school’s plan to keep an eight-year-old pupil’s sex change a secret from parents.
That provoked a detailed press statement the same day from the Mermaids charity: Response to Mail on Sunday.It is worth reading.. ?You can read more about this charity here. It is recommended as a resource in Valuing All God’s Children, the Church of England’s guidance on challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, republished in Autumn 2017 (see page 39 here.)
The next day, 26 May, Christian Today reported:?Vicar quits over transgenderism policy at Church of England school.
Premier published on 28 May:?Read the letter from the CofE vicar resigning over the Church’s approach to sexuality.
Christian Concern published ?a statement dated 31 May:??Statement from Reverend John Parker.
Subsequently Christian Today reported twice on responses from the Bishop of Chelmsford:
The Diocese of Chelmsford?then published the full text of the bishop’s Ad Clerum?which I recommend reading in full.
On 6 June, Premier published this report:?Bishop defends actions after suggestion he told vicar to leave Church over transgender complaint.36 Comments
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Safeguarding in the Churches. Dreams for the future
Unity and conservative Christian groups
David Gillett ViaMedia.News Does the Bible Really Say that….Same-Sex Love is Wrong?
Jeremy Pemberton?Openly?The Anglican Communion must act against the Church of Nigeria’s homophobia
Jonathan Clatworthy Chateau Clateau?The biblical power of the moon2 Comments
Two recent news reports from Kenya:
Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Bishops on Sunday welcomed gay worshippers to fellowship with them but held on to the principle of not officiating their marriages in church.
This came after the high court ruling that declined to repeal sections of the penal code that criminalized same-sex relationships…
ACK Church shuts doors on gay marriages but welcomes gay worshippers?(emphasis added)
The Anglican Church has declared it will not officiate same sex marriages.
The stand comes just weeks after the High Court in Kenya declined to declare unconstitutional some parts of the Penal Code which criminalises same sex relationships.Today, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby from the Church of England said the Anglican Church believes in the biblical definition of marriage and relationships. He however noted that with the modern world, Christians should learn to respect each other’s differences in order to preach God’s word.
He said there exists so many differences in the world that the church has to deal with.”My own view of the Christian marriage is the traditional marriage (between a man and woman),” said Welby who is in the country for a visit. Welby steered clear of the Kenyan court ruling, which is the latest upset of the global gay community saying he is not fit to directly comment on it.
“But just so you know in England, it is not currently possible to have same sex marriage in the church,” he said. Same sex marriage is however legal in England…
The Anglican Church of Kenya has published this video recording?of a Press Briefing by the Archbishop of Kenya And the Archbishop of Canterbury at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi. So you can see and hear for yourself exactly what the two archbishops actually said.
To understand how all this is.viewed from a GAFCON perspective, you need to study this lengthy article by Phil Ashey whose formal position is?President & Chief Executive Officer of the American Anglican Council?and leads the GAFCON Lawyers Task Force.
He refers to the video recording:
At about 3:00-3:37 in the video you can listen to what Archbishop Justin Welby says about the upcoming Lambeth Conference 2020.? He says that the Lambeth Conference of Bishops has always been marked “by controversy” since it began in 1867.? He notes that the Lambeth Conference scheduled for 2020 has not met since 2008.? He notes that “When we are able to meet together rather than…not communicating, not meeting together we are able to listen to each other. And so we will see what happens in the Lambeth Conference when we get there.”
And further on he continues:
Beginning at 3:56 Archbishop Welby says “the Bible is clear,” and that “my own personal view, which I have stated on numerous occasions in public…is the traditional view of Christian marriage…which has always been the view of Christian marriage…”
But note what else he says and what he does not say:
- That he is also “deeply torn” on the traditional definition of Christian marriage as between a man and a woman for life, and that he confesses publicly that “I am equally convinced that it may be that I am wrong… and that “Anglican theological methodology never closes things down.“
- That, therefore, he believes that Marriage is a secondary issue over which Anglicans can agree to disagree;
- That he would approve the Church of England’s blessing of same-sex “unions” as a way to gain traction within English culture;
- That he approves the public, liturgical celebration of “gender-transitions” in rites approved by the Bishops of the Church of England that are almost identical to baptism;
And there is a lot more about what is wrong with the Church of England and the Lambeth Conference which you can read for yourself.
But earlier in the article Ashey says this about Archbishop Ole Sapit:
With regards to the question about the Kenyan Supreme Courts recent decision against legalizing same-sex marriage, he applauds the Supreme Court for upholding the traditional view of marriage as between a man and a woman for life, for not introducing into the laws of Kenya a redefinition of marriage contrary to the teaching of the ACK;
The recent Kenyan Supreme Court decision was not about same-sex marriage per se, but about retaining the criminalisation of homosexuals generally. It seems nobody is prepared to comment on this, although the primates of the Anglican Communion have previously spoken quite clearly.51 Comments
In addition to the several investigations ?by the?Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse?into specific religious organisations, including the continuing investigation into the Church of England, IICSA’s separate Truth Project has recently published a Thematic Report: Child sexual abuse in the context of religious institutions.
IICSA also issued a press release:?Shame and guilt stop survivors reporting child sexual abuse in religious institutions.
The report includes data on religions with a significant presence in England and Wales, including the Anglican and Catholic Churches, Christian faith communities such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists and Methodists, and Islam and Judaism.
The report’s key findings include:
- Those sexually abused in religious institutions were less likely to report the abuse at the time (69 per cent) than survivors (54 per cent) in the same institution.
- Over half of survivors did not report the abuse due to feelings of shame (37 per cent) and guilt (18 per cent).
- Half of victims (48 per cent) knew of others being abused by the same perpetrator.
- One fifth (18 percent) of survivors reported a loss of faith as a consequence of the abuse.
The report also examines institutional failures, with most participants firmly believing others were aware of the perpetrator’s behaviour but did nothing. Sexual abuse was most frequently perpetrated by an individual with an official religious title, such as priest, vicar, imam or elder.
At the Truth Project, survivors are invited to make recommendations for change. Participants told the Inquiry that it needs to address the secrecy that comes from the sanctity of religious institutions and the assumption that religious figures are automatically moral…
The Church of England issued this press release in response:?Statement on IICSA Truth Project report.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has recently published a research report on child sexual abuse in religious institutions, including the Anglican Church.? It is based on accounts shared by survivors at its Truth Project, and its conclusions and findings are disturbing and in many places shocking.
One of the report’s key findings includes that those sexually abused in religious institutions were less likely to report the abuse at the time (69 per cent) than survivors (54 per cent) in other institutions. We would urge anyone who wants to report abuse and find support to come forward and we promise they will be heard.
IICSA continues to shine a light on the safeguarding practices of religious institutions, including the Church of England, and we are working constructively with the Inquiry as we approach our wider Church hearing on July 1.? We commend those survivors who have had the courage to come forward to share their experiences to the Inquiry and in particular to the Truth Project, knowing how difficult this would have been.
We welcomed the findings and recommendations published by IICSA this month, on the Peter Ball and Chichester Diocese case studies. This states that the Church of England should have been a place which protected all children and supported victims and survivors but it failed to do this. It is absolutely right that the Church at all levels should learn lessons from the issues raised in both these reports and also strengthen our resolve to make the Church a safe place for all.
Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop
There has been some media coverage of this:
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Patronage and Power Abuse in the Church
Michael Roberts Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin The Church of England and Creationism.
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love?Holding the House of Bishops to account – Sara Gillingham’s challenge
Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of LLF (Living in love and faith)
Martyn Percy ViaMedia.News Does the Bible Really…Give Us a Clear Definition of Marriage?
Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity?Inclusive, Expanded … He, She … – what language should we use about God in our worship?49 Comments
Following the publication of the recent IICSA report on certain aspects of the Church of England (Chichester diocese and Peter Ball), there was very little immediate public response from senior people in the Church of England. This led Andrew Graystone to write a letter a week later to various bishops and some members of the Archbishops’ Council, calling for an entirely different approach to dealing with abuse survivors. ?The Bishop of London invited Andrew to spell out what such an approach might entail.
This document is his answer:?The Church of England and survivors.16 Comments
Helen King sharedconversations?Intersex in history
Janet Fife Surviving Church Coming to terms with the Bible
Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity?My story: 25th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women – to live is to change.
Elaine Bielby Diocese of York Twenty-Five years of women as priests in the Diocese of York
Three of the 39 women who were ordained priest in York Minster in May 1994 write?about their memories of the day .
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love I repeat: The Church of England is systemically abusive
David Pocklington Law & Religion UK?Different perspectives of the CDM25 Comments
We linked recently to reports of a meeting between three Church of England bishops and a delegation representing those who signed a petition some time ago asking the house of bishops to withdraw their guidance on?using the existing Affirmation of Baptismal Faith liturgy?to affirm trans people in their Christian faith after transition.
The website LGBTQ Faith UK has published a detailed critique of the most recent statement, which you can read here:?Episcopally led, synodically?governed.
The same website had earlier published a lengthy and detailed critique of the original petition. That can be found here: Why the bishops are?right.
Both these analyses by?Ann Reddecliffe ?are commended for reading in full.18 Comments
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Bishops and conservatives meet in secret to reinforce the abuse of LGBTI+ people
[see below for the background to this]
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Photo exhibition celebrates 25 years of female priests
“Images of 12 women from Southwark diocese capture variety of a priest’s work”
Bosco Peters Liturgy?Children in Church
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church?Wittgenstein’s ideas and the Bible. Some reflections
and Communication speak and the House of Bishops
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love?A Christian Vision of Seamless Reality
Meg Warner ViaMedia.News Does the Bible Really Say…that Sex Outside of Marriage is Wrong?37 Comments
The suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln was reported earlier.
David Lamming has written a detailed analysis of the legal issues arising from this suspension. You can read this document here. (PDF)
He summarises as follows:
Whatever the nature or details of the “information” on which the Archbishop of Canterbury based his decision to suspend Bishop Christopher, in the light of the clear statement that “there has been no allegation that Bishop Christopher has committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult”, the legal basis for the suspension is at least doubtful. An appeal to the President of Tribunals that would clarify the legal position would seem to be justified and appropriate.
David is a retired barrister, whose professional interests include ecclesiastical law. He is a member of the House of Laity of the General Synod of the Church of England, elected from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.
Another article has been published on this topic.
Philip Jones has written:?Safeguarding and Suspension: The Case of the Bishop of?Lincoln.
Do read both articles.
Regular readers will recall the petition that was raised urging the bishops to “revise, postpone or withdraw” this guidance. Our previous report is here:?Further opposition to the bishops’ guidance on transgender services.
Christian Today now reports:?Evangelicals hold talks with Church of England bishops over transgender guidance. The organisers of that letter met with a number of bishops. Subsequently, they have issued a statement, the full text of which is included here:?The Church of England’s transgender guidance should be withdrawn??and is copied below the fold.
Update: the headline on the first of those two articles has been amended to read “Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics hold talks…”
The delegation attending the meeting consisted of: Dr Ian Paul, Dr Edward Dowler, Rev Rachel Marszalek, Rev David Baker. The bishops were the bishops of Coventry, Newcastle, and Exeter.35 Comments