Category : England / UK

The Latest letter from the Archbishops to the Church of England on the Coronavirus Situation

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives

We are writing further to you given the rapidly changing nature of the situation in our country at present. We want to thank you for the ministry you are exercising and for the creative and imaginative ways in which you are responding to the crisis and showing the love and care of Christ to the communities we serve, particularly to the most vulnerable in our society.

As we move towards Passiontide, focussing on what Jesus did for us on the cross, more than ever this is brought into stark focus. We want to reiterate the advice we have already sent. The government is asking us to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We call upon all our churches and church leaders, clergy and lay, to follow this advice.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General

Latest letter from C of E’s Archbishops on how to Proceed given the pandemic and the Government’s instructions

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, it is imperative that for the health of the nation and in order for the National Health Service itself to manage the increase in those
requiring medical help, the Church of England strictly observes the new guidelines on staying at home and only making journeys that are absolutely necessary, such as shopping for essential
items and to take daily exercise.

Our church buildings must now be closed not only for public worship, but for private prayer as well and this includes the priest or lay person offering prayer in church on their own. A notice
explaining this should be put on the church door (please find template attached). We must take a lead in showing our communities how we must behave in order to slow down the spread of
the Coronavirus.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Britain Placed Under a Virtual Lockdown by Boris Johnson

Facing a growing storm of criticism about his laissez-faire response to the fast-spreading coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that he would place Britain under a virtual lockdown, closing all nonessential shops, banning meetings of more than two people, and requiring people to stay in their homes, except for trips for food or medicine.

People who flout the new restrictions, the prime minister said, will be fined by the police.

The steps, which Mr. Johnson outlined in a televised address to the nation, bring him into alignment with European leaders like President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who have all but quarantined their countries in a desperate bid to slow the outbreak.

“No prime minister wants to enact measures like this,” a grave Mr. Johnson said. “I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.”

But while these were the most draconian restrictions placed on the British people since World War II, Mr. Johnson is still leaving a bit of breathing room.

Read it all. Also, those interested may read Mr. Johnson’s full remarks there.

Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine

(Christian History Magazine) Patrick the Saint

Despite his success as a missionary, Patrick was self-conscious, especially about his educational background. “I still blush and fear more than anything to have my lack of learning brought out into the open,” he wrote in his Confession. “For I am unable to explain my mind to learned people.”

Nevertheless, he gives thanks to God, “who stirred up me, a fool, from the midst of those who are considered wise and learned in the practice of the law as well as persuasive in their speech and in every other way and ahead of these others, inspired me who is so despised by the world.”

Over and over again, Patrick wrote that he was not worthy to be a bishop. He wasn’t the only one with doubts. At one point, his ecclesiastical elders in Britain sent a deputation to investigate his mission. A number of concerns were brought up, including a rash moment of (unspecified) sin from his youth.

His Confession, in fact, was written in response to this investigation. Reeling from accusations, Patrick drew strength from God: “Indeed he bore me up, though I was trampled underfoot in such a way. For although I was put down and shamed, not too much harm came to me.”

If Patrick was not confident about his own shortcomings, he held a deep sense of God’s intimate involvement in his life. “I have known God as my authority, for he knows all things even before they are done,” he wrote. “He would frequently forewarn me of many things by his divine response.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church History

Church of England launches Vision for Higher Education

Speaking at the official launch of Faith in Higher Education, the Church of England’s lead bishop for Higher Education, Tim Dakin, who is the Bishop of Winchester, said:

“Higher Education is at a crossroads. Shaping its overall vision is therefore as crucial as the issues of funding and governance and of recognising anew its contribution to social mobility and economic prosperity.

“This Vision is a fresh articulation of what higher education is for: It offers a faith-based hope for humanising higher education: as enriching both the student and common good of all.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(DM) Church of England to launch a ‘Google Maps for graves’ within five years enabling family historians to search for burial records and locations in an online database

Tim Viney, owner and managing director of Altlantic Geomatics, told MailOnline: ‘Across the country there are thousands of burial grounds, each with important assets, buildings and infrastructure.

‘These valuable assets, in particular memorials and gravestones, must be maintained, records kept of where they are, what they look like.

‘The estimated 35,000,000 burial records relating to the Church of England burial grounds are a huge resource yet they are currently difficult to access.

‘We are delighted to be working with the Church of England with whom we propose a systematic approach across the country to map their churchyards.

‘Integrating the map with images of the memorials and the historic records will protect the records but also make them accessible online.

‘We are in discussion with potential partners to source investment to facilitate a rapid deployment across the country.

‘This is certainly an exciting and challenging project”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(PCN) Dean’s Beans: Blackburn Cathedral launches new coffee business

Blackburn Cathedral is launching its very own blend of coffee in the latest of its drinks businesses set up to boost its mission and ministry.

Hot on the heels of the first ever cathedral branded gin, Dean’s Beans Coffee has been produced by a local company and will be sold in the cathedral’s cafe.

Like its gin business, it’s hoped the coffee will soon be stocked in supermarkets.

Named in honour of the Dean of Blackburn Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones, Dean’s Beans retails at £5 a 225g bag for both ground and beans.

A tea business is expected to launch later this year too.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Mirror) Abortion rates hit record levels as parents worry about cost of bringing up children

Abortion rates have hit a record high in England and Wales as parents are becoming more conscious of the costs of bringing up a child.

Office for National Statistics figures show 24% of females who fell pregnant in 2018 chose a termination.

Up from 22.7% the previous year, it was the highest percentage since records began 30 years ago.

Abortion care charity BPAS suggests financial concerns are putting women off. Clare Murphy, director of external affairs, said: “We’ve seen an increasingly cautious approach, likely to be driven by factors from the two-child limit to Brexit .”

The Government’s policy of limiting welfare benefits to two children prevents parents from seeking extra funding for a third child, if born after April 2017.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Wales, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics

(Psephizo) Peter Ould–Do we know what Anglicans think about same-sex marriage?

I could go on, but the point is clear – the poll does not represent what the press release claims it does. It is not a reflection of Church of England members in the pews, it does not show any change in support for same-sex marriage in the past four years and it uses terms with little or no qualification in a manner that misleads the reader as to the meaning of the poll. That most of these issues have been pointed out on a previous occasion but have been ignored by the authors demonstrates a deliberate choice to perpetuate these errors for the sake of a political cause.

I close with a challenge to Jayne Ozanne and her self-referential Foundation. As described above, one very easy way to correct these errors would be to ask at least one extra question around church attendance. If Jayne Ozanne were to repeat the exercise, I will happily fund the asking of this extra question, the wording of which would be determined by a neutral third party to the agreement of both parties. My hypothesis is that by looking at church attendance statistics you would see that (a) the majority of these “Anglicans” are not active church members at all and (b) the active church members would hold statistically significantly different views on the subject to the non-church-attending respondents. In fact, this kind of work has been done before, by Mark Regnerus in the States. What he found was that nominal, non-church-attending respondents were indistinguishable from the general population, not only on this issue but on sexual morality more broadly, whilst it was active, church-attending members who held views on all these issues quite out of step with the wider culture. Were the Ozanne Foundation poll to make this kind of enquiry, and find something similar, then it would be significant—but rather awkward.

Proper academic inquiry, including in the area of quantitative study, is open to further information and to clarification and stratification in this manner. It adds to the body of human knowledge, it helps to deepen our understanding of sociological issues. There is no good reason why the Ozanne Foundation should refuse such an offer unless they were afraid that the results such an extra question would generate would undermine their position, but in the area of academic research that is not a good enough reason not to explore a subject in greater detail.

The challenge is clearly there – the issues with the poll have been on numerous occasions and now a cost free option exists to correct them.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sociology

(C of I) Archbishop Michael Jackson–A Prayer in the Time of the Coronavirus

Posted in --Ireland, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer

Church of Ireland Guidance in relation to the Coronavirus Threat: Communion in One Kind and No passing of the Peace

2. Physical interaction during services, including the Sign of Peace, should be suspended. Clergy may choose to give the congregation permission to carry out an alternative Sign of Peace that does not involve hand contact (e.g. a smile, nod or bow) if so wished. Shaking hands on greeting and departure at religious services/gatherings should be suspended. Observe good hand and general hygiene – thorough hand–washing with soap or sanitisers and disposal of tissues.

3. Stay at home if you feel ill and display influenza–like symptoms. The symptoms to be aware of in the case of the coronavirus include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, and fever. Do not come to church services until you feel well.

4. The Church’s duty of care extends to members of the clergy. If you have influenza–type symptoms, do not call the clergy for pastoral visitation. Pastoral support for parishioners who are unable to attend church services should be provided by telephone or online (e.g. Skype).

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church of Ireland, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry

(Telegraph) Inside Eyam, the village of the damned that self-isolated during the plague

It may seem a strange badge of honour but, Joan Plant says, Eyam will always be proud of its plague history, especially with its reputation now resonating across the globe for communities who have cut themselves off in the face of a new virus.

“It helps to know that this horrible time our ancestors endured is making a difference today,” she says. “That is so powerful for us as a village.”

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, History

(Church Times) Lincoln diocese ‘living beyond its means’

The diocese of Lincoln — the wealthiest in the Church of Eng­­­­land, with the lowest level of giving — has warned that it cannot continue to sell its assets to balance the books.

This week, a rector in the diocese, who is also a member of the Arch­bishops’ Council’s Finance Com­­­­­mittee, suggested that its historic wealth had “blinded us to the real costs of mission and min­istry”, and that it would be “immoral” to ex­­haust it.

A statement issued by the diocese last week notes that it is running an annual cash deficit of about £3 million, “which has been steadily increasing for some years, and is not sustainable”.

“For several years, bridging the gap between the parish share income and the clergy stipend costs has been met by disposing of our assets,” it says. “Although this does result in an immediate injection of funds, we lose a proportion of the interest (in­­come) on the greater amount of the asset, thus putting further pressure on our finances.

“Whilst the diocese has some his­­­toric assets, by 2021 we will have reached the safe limit of what we can sell off to pay the deficit with­­­­out caus­ing damage to those assets.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Express) Anger Bubbles over in Debate in House of Lords on war widows’ pensions

The Treasury has been at the centre of the resistance to demands for change highlighted by our War Widows’ Pensions Crusade.

In 2015 the Government ruled war widows could keep the £7,500-a-year “killed in active service” pension if they remarried.

But around 300 widows missed out as they’d remarried before then and the law was not backdated.

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, said the “particular scandal of this situation is that it only applies to those where the incident causing the death occurred between April 1973 and April 2005”.

Those widowed before or after didn’t lose their benefit if they remarried, he said. “This is complete nonsense and is shameful. It must be put right.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Pensions, Politics in General

(C of E) Competitions launched for church projects tackling housing crisis

Two competitions aimed at helping local churches to support people in housing need – from advocacy and advice for vulnerable tenants to ‘micro-housing’ schemes on church land – are launched today by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community.

The Project Lab competition, run in partnership with the Cinnamon Network, will identify five church projects working to support local people with housing needs and building community. These might include mentoring and befriending services, tenancy training and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable clients, including mediating with landlords.

The five finalists will be invited to an event in July, at which they will present their projects to an audience of philanthropists and a panel of judges. Two winning projects will receive a £30,000 development grant and there are up to five places available on the two-year ‘Cinnamon Project Incubator’ – where projects will receive support from industry professionals to develop their initiative.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Housing/Real Estate Market, Religion & Culture

(Sun Telegraph) Why millennial atheists like me are embracing church

During the noughties, many teenage contemporaries were attracted to the shouty certainty of the ‘New Atheism’, just as today’s youngsters choose the climate change pulpit to lecture older generations. Shamefully, I accused my mother – a consummate do-gooder – of child abuse for baptising me without my consent. The canard “If you’re not a socialist at 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 30, you have no brain”, may be trite but it reflects a fundamental truth; maturity often involves the realisation that we can learn much from the past.

Indeed, the Church of England still safeguards our architectural and artistic inheritance. National identity is inseparable from its defining texts, the King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer. It is impossible to interpret much great art or literature created before the 1900s without some Bible knowledge.

But perhaps the most important lesson is how churchgoing takes us outside the trivia of our own lives – the preoccupations and obsessions induced by social media and that sense of ourselves as the star of our own B-movie biopic. It enables us to escape – if temporarily – such narcissism, focusing on the wider world and taking a longer view. For me it is at least a partial antidote to the illusory optimism, anxiety and depression that has defined my generation.

Read it all.

Posted in Atheism, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Young Adults

(BBC) St Paul Cathedral’s bomb plot: ISIS supporter Safiyya Shaikh pleads guilty

A supporter of the banned Islamic State terror group has admitted plotting to blow herself up in a bomb attack on St Paul’s Cathedral.

Muslim convert Safiyya Shaikh went on a reconnaissance trip to scope out the London landmark and a hotel.

The 36-year-old, born Michelle Ramsden, was arrested after asking an undercover police officer to supply bombs.

At the Old Bailey, Shaikh, of west London, admitted preparing an act of terrorism and will be sentenced in May.

She was considered such a threat that MI5 made her the highest-level priority for investigation in the weeks before her arrest, according to Whitehall security sources.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

Meir Soloveichik for Eric Liddell’s Feast Day–Finding God in the Olympic Footrace

While Americans rightly exult in the achievements of U.S. medalists, “Chariots of Fire” also serves as a reminder that athletics and even patriotism only mean so much. When Liddell is informed that a qualifying heat takes place on Sunday, his Sabbath, he chooses not to compete in that race. The camera cuts from athletes at the Olympics to Liddell reading a passage in Isaiah: “Behold the nations are as a drop in the bucket . . . but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings, as eagles. They shall run, and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” David Puttnam, a “Chariots of Fire” producer, wrote me that the verses were “specifically selected by the actor, the late Ian Charleson, who gave himself the task of reading the entire Bible whilst preparing for the film.”

The Isaiah passage is liturgically important for Jews: Parts of it are declaimed in synagogue on the Sabbath when we read God’s command to Abraham to leave the center of civilization and found a family, and a faith, in a new land. Isaiah reminds Jews that Abraham’s children have encountered much worse than what Harold Abrahams experienced. While most nations now rest on the ash heap of history, the biblical Abraham’s odyssey continues. The countries competing in today’s Olympics come and go, while those who “wait upon the Lord” endure.

“Chariots of Fire” also offers a message for people of faith who have grown troubled by the secularization of society and the realization that they are often scorned by elites. Like Liddell, we may be forced to choose religious principle over social success. Hopefully, however, we will be able to use our gifts to sanctify this world. As Liddell’s father told his son in the film: “Run in God’s name, and let the world stand back in wonder.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Scotland, Anthropology, Church History, Missions, Sports, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Eric Liddell

God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering thy athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom thou didst bestow courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race that is set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in --Scotland, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(Unherd) Giles Fraser–Churches are closing down — I won’t let mine be one of them

A report for the Church Buildings Council has claimed that the Church of England is currently closing more church buildings than at any time since the sixteenth century. And the weight of these closures is falling predominantly in urban areas. Since 1969, about ten percent of the C of E’s churches have been turned into carpet warehouses or yuppie flats or Mosques. I won’t allow mine to be one of them.

But the powerful argument made by hard pressed parish clergy up and down the country is that they didn’t get ordained to become glorified building’s managers. A church is not the building, it is the people. And so many congregations retreat from their cold and leaky building into the local school hall or community centre. The problem here, however, is that the church building is not a mere bricks-and-mortar encumbrance, it is a way of being rooted in a community — a powerful expression of the physical presence of the Christian community over time.

In the vestry of my church is a list of Rectors of the parish going back to 1212. In 1876, the local authorities forced the old church at the Elephant and Castle to be demolished to make way for road widening. A new church was built a few hundred yards away, only to be destroyed by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz. Again it was rebuilt. The bricks of my church are not an inconvenience, a distraction — they are a statement of Christian defiance. And under its roof, Christians from all over the world seek shelter.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Mirror) The Rev. Paul Nicolson–‘I’m an 87-year-old vicar – but when I acted homeless, I was suddenly invisible’

While several people entering or leaving Church House stopped for a chat, most walked by as if I was not there.

That invisibility while lying on the pavement must be very depressing for long term street homeless people.

£14.38 was put into my mug which I gave to one of the three street homeless people begging outside Tottenham who I pass on my journey home. I am planning another session in the role of beggar opposite Downing Street.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(ESPN FC) Manchester City to appeal 2-year UEFA competition ban for FFP (financial fair play) violations

Manchester City will appeal UEFA’s decision to ban the club for two seasons from European competition — including the Champions League — after the governing body found them guilty of breaching financial fair play rules.

UEFA announced on Friday that the reigning Premier League champions will be excluded from the Champions League for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns and have also been fined €30 million ($33 million) for “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts” and failing “to cooperate in the investigation,” according to findings by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber.

In response, City said they were “disappointed but not surprised” by the ruling and gave notice of their intention to lodge an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sources have told ESPN that City believe UEFA’s process has been flawed and that they remain confident they will be cleared of any wrongdoing once their appeal is heard by an independent body. Sources have told ESPN that, until then, the club will go about their business “as usual.”

Read it all.

Posted in Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Men, Sports

Church of England backs sports ministry

Sports and fitness activities are to be championed as part of plans by the Church of England to reach more people with the message of the Christian faith and promote the wellbeing of communities, it is announced…[yesterday].

Seven dioceses across the country in areas such as Birmingham, Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire, Norfolk and Surrey, are to take part in pilot projects to include sport and wellbeing into their mission.

The dioceses hope to help provide a range of different activities from personal fitness classes to holiday football clubs, outdoor pursuits and even sports quizzes. In the Diocese of Gloucester, the Church of England is planning to develop a network of sport and wellbeing centres with participants invited to explore and respond to the Christian faith.

In Lancashire, in the Diocese of Blackburn, sports quizzes are already arranged for churches by the group Christians in Sport and churches have been active in setting up holiday sports schemes and personal fitness classes.

Training for lay and ordained leaders in sports and wellbeing ministry is being provided as part of the programme by Ridley Hall, the Anglican theological college in Cambridge.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sports

(C of E) Overwhelming support for General Synod safeguarding motion

General Synod voted unanimously today to endorse the Church’s response to the five recommendations from IICSA and urged its national safeguarding steering group to work towards a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress for survivors.

The debate was opened by the lead bishop for safeguarding, Bishop Peter Hancock who shared personal reflections on his time as lead bishop along with outlining the Church’s response to the IICSA recommendations. The Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, takes over as lead safeguarding bishop in April.

Read it all and please note the links to the various speeches.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(CEN) Andrew Carey–The C of E Bishops are playing a game of power politics

Last week’s College of Bishops meeting was described by one unnamed evangelical bishop as a ‘bruising experience’. Out of it emerged a statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York apologising for the House of Bishops’ statement on civil partnerships in which it had set out the orthodox position of the Church of England.

The Archbishops wrote: “We… apologise and take responsibility for releasing a statement … which we acknowledge has jeopardised trust. We are very sorry and recognise the division and hurt this has caused.”

Predictably, of course, this apology has done far more damage than the original statement. Liberals took it as a pseudo-apology along the lines of ‘sorry for offending you’, or ‘sorry for being caught out’. Many others took it as an apology for the actual statement and therefore a rejection of the Church of England’s teaching on marriage. Others took it as a clever bit of spin in which the Archbishops could head off liberal outrage, while still maintaining faith with evangelicals and traditionalists. That latter interpretation does the Archbishops no favours at all because it portrays them in similar terms to Iannucci’s Thick of It as spin doctors desperately and incompetently triangulating to win their nihilistic game of power politics.

The Bishop of Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Martin Seeley, is the latest Diocesan Bishop to break ranks with the Bishops’ pastoral statement on civil partnerships. He revealed that he and other colleagues had asked that the document be withdrawn but a majority of bishops decided against this course of action. From this insight, it is clear that we are beginning at last to see a bit of an honest open ‘fight’ in the House of Bishops. This is about time too. And I also hope that this division is openly revealed in the General Synod as it meets this week.

If we have this aim of achieving ‘good disagreement’ let us at least be open about it rather than hide it behind closed doors. It cannot be ‘good disagreement’ if it is hidden behind the superficial smiles representing faux Anglican ‘niceness’.At the moment suspicions are festering and we in the Church of England are in that anxious and fretting place – the calm before the storm.

The problem with processes such as Living in Love and Faith is that most of the debate and discussion takes place behind closed doors in a process that many of us simply don’t trust. I have always believed that this process is in place simply to kick the can down the road rather than leading to a place where a decision can be made about the future direction of the Church of England. I am much more likely to be convinced if this was an open discussion in the Church of England.

It would be much more honest to recognise the profound differences we have over human sexuality and decide how the two sides in this debate are going to co-exist – if they ever can – in the same Church.Does the future now lie in some kind of formal distancing of relationships from which different networks and forms of oversight can emerge?

–This column appeared in the Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2020, edition (subscriptions are encrouaged)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Martin Sewell–Safeguarding: the Church of England’s house is slowly being rebuilt

Our proposals sought to record our collective lament at our sins of omission and commission, and (for the second time of asking) we commended the text of the excellent Blackburn Ad Clerum. Then and now these suggestions were rejected: the first time our Archbishops thought it premature; this time, seeking to preface our acceptance of the IICSA recommendations with sentiments of repentance, and endorsing the pastoral response which our victims had welcomed, were ruled technically out of order. We can play with the idea of repentance being ‘out of order’ in this context at a future juncture: this is not the time for mischief-making, however tempting.

Our purpose in going beyond the anaemic and prosaic was to make this debate a cultural turning point from which we might begin to move on from the necessary demolition – of structures, attitudes, policies etc. – toward a more positive future.

We thought it important that such an initiative should come from below, for we saw that it is no longer sufficient for the House of Bishops alone to direct our response. Archbishop Justin has previously acknowledged that a change to the culture of deference is needed. We were taking him seriously. It is liberating and deserves to be taken seriously. “Trust me, I’m a Bishop” is no longer a sound principle: the whole of the Church, from top to bottom, must own its priorities, and discussing these at Synod seemed to be a healthy place to start.

Our proposals additionally committed Synod to accepting the final IICSA proposals promptly, on the basis that it was inconceivable that we would pretend to know better after all the embarrassment of the IICSA evidence and submissions. Our track record does not merit once again wandering off on a Safeguarding frolic of our own.

Our final proposal dared to engage bluntly with the issue of proper reparation. We were mindful of the story of ‘Tony’ in the insurance press. He told his story on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, and explained how survivors have endured very low levels of compensation because they cannot afford to take matters to court and lose. The power imbalance in the negotiations is immense.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(NYT Op-ed) Ross Douthat–The Age of Decadence

The farther you get from that iPhone glow, the clearer it becomes: Our civilization has entered into decadence.

The word “decadence” is used promiscuously but rarely precisely. In political debates, it’s associated with a lack of resolution in the face of threats — with Neville Chamberlain and W.B. Yeats’s line about the best lacking all conviction. In the popular imagination, it’s associated with sex and gluttony, with pornographic romances and chocolate strawberries. Aesthetically and intellectually it hints at exhaustion, finality — “the feeling, at once oppressive and exalting, of being the last in a series,” in the words of the Russian poet Vyacheslav Ivanov.

But it’s possible to distill a useful definition from all these associations. Following in the footsteps of the great cultural critic Jacques Barzun, we can say that decadence refers to economic stagnation, institutional decay and cultural and intellectual exhaustion at a high level of material prosperity and technological development. Under decadence, Barzun wrote, “The forms of art as of life seem exhausted, the stages of development have been run through. Institutions function painfully. Repetition and frustration are the intolerable result.” He added, “When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent.” And crucially, the stagnation is often a consequence of previous development: The decadent society is, by definition, a victim of its own success.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Canada, Economy, England / UK, Europe, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Christian Today) Ben Bradshaw MP warns Church of England its established status is at threat over civil partnerships stance

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw today told the House of Commons that “serious questions” will be asked about the Church of England’s established status if it stands by its position on opposite-sex civil partnerships.

In the Commons on Thursday, Mr Bradshaw grilled Andrew Selous, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, on the guidance….

“It is bad enough that the Church still treats its LGBT+ members as second-class Christians, but to say to the child of a heterosexual couple in a civil partnership that they should not exist because their parents should not have had or be having sex is so hurtful,” he said.

“Will he tell the bishops that unless this nonsense stops serious questions will be asked in this place about the legitimacy of the established status of the Church of England?”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Church of England, Church/State Matters, England / UK, History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Safeguarding amendments to give Synod motion ‘more teeth’ are rejected

Survivors of clerical abuse welcomed amendments to next week’s General Synod motion on safeguarding, in a letter to members that laments that the Church has made “no progress at all” in caring for victims and survivors. It was ruled on Wednesday, however, that the amendments were out of order and could not be moved.

“We need you to acknowledge that you do not have the competence or the right to clear up your own mess,” the ten survivors write. “We need independent people we can go to to report abuse and find support; people who are not part of the Church, and don’t wear the same uniform that our abusers wore. We need you to use your power as a Synod to establish a properly funded scheme for support, compensation and redress for victims of church abuse.”

The existing motion, to be debated on Wednesday morning, endorses the Archbishops’ Council’s response to the five recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in May (News, 9 May 2019).

“Is that all?” the survivors ask. “We believe that you should go much further. . . The motion before you is anodyne, but the amendments we have seen seem to have some teeth.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Archbishop Justin Welby launches the Church of England’s first ever Green Lent campaign

Thousands of people will take action to help tackle Climate Change as part of the Church of England’s first ever official green Lent campaign, launched today by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Environmentalists, activists and climate experts gathered at Lambeth Palace for the official launch of LiveLent 2020 a set of 40 daily reflections, actions and prayers.

It comes on the same day Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially launched the UK’s COP26 strategy ahead of the crucial UN climate talks in Glasgow in November, alongside Sir David Attenborough, climate expert Lord Stern and the outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.

Those attending the launch were invited to add personal climate commitments to a ‘pledge-tree’, before a panel of expert climate academics, influencers and activists was chaired by the Archbishop.

#LiveLent 2020 is based on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book, Saying Yes to Life, by Dr Ruth Valerio.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lent, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship