Category : Church of England

More Music for Easter–How Great Thou Art

Listen to it all (and enjoy the inside of the Cathedral).

Posted in Church of England, Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

The Archbishop of York’s 2021 Easter Sermon

It’s the most profound question in the world. Who are you looking for? I mean, what are you really looking for? What is it that you seek? Whom will you follow? How will you set the compass of your life?

And then he speaks her name. For a moment she’s on time. That tender moment where time and eternity fuse together in the moment of recognition. Her eyes are opened – there – in the dawning of a new day and a whole new humanity. A spring of hope for the world that will never run dry; a love that can never be too late. Jesus: the early bird, the song thrush singing before the dawn; the pelican who feeds her young with her own shed blood; the crucified one who took upon him our flesh and plumbed the depths of grief, has been raised up. And all of God was with him in his dying. And all of us are with him in his rising.

She cries out, ‘Rabbouni! Teacher’; and she holds onto him for dear life. He is the one to follow. He is the one to build a life upon.

But she’s too early again. It is not yet that day when we are with God in paradise. There is work to be done. This new thing that you are seeing. It is for everyone. It must be shared.

Gently, he prises her hands away. ‘Do not cling to me. I have not yet ascended… but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father to my God and your God.’

The endless message of Easter. The timeless message. I am rising.

She thought he was the Gardener. She was right. He is the gardener: the new Adam tending a new creation, re-planting the seeds of human destiny.

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Church of England, Easter, Eschatology, Preaching / Homiletics

A Prayer for Maundy Thursday from the Church of England

Posted in Church of England, Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2021 Ecumenical Easter Letter

Across the world we look towards the promise of the vaccine, and rebuilding society after the tumult of the last year. We take our places as salt and light in the world, remembering that, as Christians, we are called to keep our eyes fixed not on ‘normal’ life, but on the eternal life Jesus promises us in His Kingdom. That is our ultimate hope and our salvation. May we find comfort and hope in the God who died for us, and may we proclaim His name in the confidence that He is risen indeed.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ecumenical Relations, Holy Week

The Church of England’s detailed response to IICSA report

The Church of England has…published its detailed responses to the recommendations of the IICSA report from October. As the report stated, the Church of England failed to protect some children and young people from sexual predators within their midst. While the Church will continue to apologise, the main focus is now recognising the distress caused particularly to victims and survivors and acting to improve its safeguarding structures and to change its culture.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Church Times) Chelmsford diocese to lose stipendiary clergy posts

Chelmsford diocesan synod has formally approved a proposal to cut 61 stipendiary clergy posts by the end of 2021; a possible 49 more posts are to go if the financial situation does not improve.

The cuts come five years in advance of the original proposal for 2025, in the light of the pandemic. But plans have been in place since 2011 — when 47 per cent of stipendiary clergy were due to retire within the decade — to reduce clergy posts to the minimum sustainable number of 215 (News, 9 June).

A traffic-light system will operate, where posts “to be retained or filled if vacant” are classified as Green, and those “desirable and should be retained if finances permit” are Amber. Red posts are those “unlikely to be filled with a full-time stipendiary incumbent, and other options for enabling ministry should be considered.”

Benefices in the Red category which are unable to cover the average £80,180 costs of a full-time stipendiary priest will be invited to discuss alternatives, such as interim ministry, a self-supporting priest, or a licensed lay minister.

Read it all.

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

An update on the safeguarding complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury

A formal complaint made to the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in June, that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow correct safeguarding procedure when responding to an allegation against Smyth, has not been substantiated. The complaint referred to Lambeth’s response to allegations which first came to attention in 2013 and information relating to the specific issues raised has been reviewed. Information relating to a further complaint sent to the NST in August, about wider issues, has now also been reviewed and no safeguarding concerns have been identified. All the information reviewed will now be sent to the Makin Review, due to publish next year, for further scrutiny.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

Church of England’s Anti-Racism Taskforce launches

A Taskforce set up to make bold changes to ensure greater racial equality in the Church of England has got under way, with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York joining its meeting today.

The Anti-Racism Taskforce will carry out preparatory work ahead of the launch of the Archbishops’ Commission to address racism in spring next year.

The nine members of the group will make recommendations for immediate action that can be taken by the Church of England to improve its record on racial justice and equality. They will also recommend the proposed remit and membership of the Commission.

Jointly chaired by Revd Sonia Barron, Director of Ordinands and Vocations for Lincoln Diocese, and Revd Arun Arora, a Vicar in the Diocese of Durham, the Taskforce is expected to complete its work by the end of January.

Revd Sonia Barron, Co-Chair of the Taskforce, and a former adviser to the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, (CMEAC) said: “The Taskforce has been set up at a critical time in the history of the Church of England, with the Black Lives Matter movement pushing racial justice right up the agenda. The Church has an opportunity that it cannot afford to miss – we cannot just pay lip service to issues of racism as we have done for so long. It is vital that we listen to all the different voices out there and having listened, fulfil our mission as a Church, by taking appropriate action.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, England / UK, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

JI Packer RIP

Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet — which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! — declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.)

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 ESV

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. J.I. Packer, a treasured faculty member, author, churchman, and friend.

James Innell Packer died July 17th in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was ninety-three, and humorous, gracious, and prayerful even in his final days.

One of the most widely-respected systematic theologians of the twentieth century, Jim drew his inspiration primarily from Scripture, but was deeply influenced by the works of John Calvin and the English Puritans. Jim brought seventeenth-century Puritan devotion to life for his twentieth- and twenty-first-century students. While named as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals by Time Magazine in 2005 and author of one of the best-selling Christian books of all time, Knowing God, Jim Packer’s description of himself was as an “adult catechist.” “Theology, friends, is doxology” is a phrase students recall, and in many respects, the adage that shaped his lengthy career.

From his youth as the son of a railway clerk in Gloucester, England, Jim won a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he was noted as a remarkable student with a brilliant intellect. Growing up in a nominal Anglican home, Jim became a Christian early in his time at Oxford, largely through the InterVarsity Fellowship Christian Union and St. Aldate’s Anglican Church.

Following his undergraduate degree, Jim taught Greek at Oak Hill Theological College in London. He quickly felt drawn to further study, and commenced his studies in theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He was awarded an MA and DPhil, writing his dissertation on Puritan Richard Baxter’s doctrine of salvation under Geoffrey Nuttall. “It was the Puritans,” Jim noted, “that made me aware that all theology is also spirituality.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Church of England, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Evangelicals, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer for the Day from the Church of England

Almighty God,
who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us
you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Church of England, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

(Northwich Guardian) Church responds to villager’s anger over lowered headstones in Whitegate

“If a memorial is found to be loose or dangerous, the PCC will attempt to make contact with memorial owners and advise them that urgent maintenance is required.

“Laying a headstone flat is a last resort, and only carried out if the headstones are deemed to be dangerous.

“All memorial owners agree to follow the diocesan churchyard regulations, which are on constant display in the porch of St Mary’s.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Death / Burial / Funerals

(Church Times) Stephen Torr–The right way (and some wrong ways) to be the Church in a pandemic

FOR many people, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought and will bring seemingly meaningless destruction to their lives. To explain too much is to offer nothing of use to them and us.

In time to come, we can reflect on how this experience may change how we treat each other and creation. But for now, what the Church needs to be is a people who, empowered by the Spirit, can live with the paradox of simultaneously affirming the core testimony in word and deed, as well as offering our laments to God about the world’s pain. Anything else would be less than the honest and open relationship that God desires with us.

The practical challenges are many, if we take this seriously. We have had a day of prayer in which we put candles in our windows as a hope-filled reminder of Jesus, the light of the world. How might we do something that creates national space for lament as well?

We created hope-filled collects for people to pray; but where are the collects that are inspired by the psalms of lament and Book of Job — prayers that have teeth, and bring honest, raw language to God about what many feel as we try to work through this time.

In order to aid the world, the Church must embody an honest relationship with God and lead others to do the same. Senior leaders and all others in the Church must not overlook the lament genre, which has such an important place in scripture for just such times as these.

So, as we walk this road together, let us think afresh how we might enable a deeper, richer level of honesty with ourselves and with God, as we cling to the hope of the resurrection that reaches into eternity.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Theology

Coronavirus: Archbishops call for national day of prayer and action

We are good in this country at holding our nerve and steadying one another. But a pandemic is something else; you can’t touch the virus, see it or even know where it is. It may be spread by those who don’t even know they are infected. It is very serious for some, very mild for many. Nevertheless, the effect of the virus could drive us apart. To some extent it must do.

When someone we care for has it they must be isolated. That is particularly so for older people and the most vulnerable, the ones by whose bed we want to sit, and hold their hand, express our love with touch. As in epidemics throughout history the effects of this fear disturb us very deeply, and dread comes upon us.

The answer to conquering this fear is love that we receive. The tears of the child wakened by a bad dream are stilled by the embrace of someone who loves them. The uncertainty of someone of great age is often quietened with a familiar voice. The words of a friend can enable us to challenge the fears of illness to reduce our sense of threat. The UK has a culture of caring, expressed through the NHS, in Social Care, and in many other ways.

All of us, now, face a common threat, COVID-19. The question is, how do we find hope in these difficult circumstances? Hope comes both from what we can do and who we are.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England, Spirituality/Prayer

The Archbishop of York appoints a new Archdeacon of Cleveland

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has today announced the appointment of The Revd Dr Amanda Bloor as the new Archdeacon of Cleveland.

Amanda is currently Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity Bembridge on the Isle of Wight and Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Portsmouth. Ordained in 2004, she has previously served as Chaplain and Diocesan Advisor in Women’s Ministry to the Bishop of Oxford, and as Area Director of Ordinands for Berkshire. She undertook Doctoral research in Clergy Wellbeing and has a keen interest in the flourishing of those engaged in ministry. She is also a Chaplain to the Army Cadet Force. Amanda is married to Mark and has two grown-up daughters.

Archbishop Sentamu said: “I very much look forward to welcoming Amanda to the Diocese of York and especially to her new ministry in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland. As well as her experience in a bishop’s team, her research on clergy wellbeing stands her in good stead to support everyone whose work and calling is to serve others in Jesus’ name.”

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(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?”

Read it all.

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

(C of E) Advent weekly reflections: Looking deeper

Advent calls us to look at the deeper truths of life. It calls us to see God at work even when everything looks bleak and hopeless. It calls us to see injustice and inequality behind the apparent wealth and ease of our society.

This is why we read the prophets in Advent. They were truth-tellers. Uncomfortable, awkward, at times offensive.

Read it all.

Posted in Advent, Church of England, Theology

(Mirror) Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says Jesus would not have got a UK visa

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says Jesus would not have got a UK visa under the points-based system being proposed by the government.

The clergyman, who has been outspoken about social justice, said there would have to be a “shortage of carpenters” in Britain for Jesus to be granted entry during an event at the CBI conference in London.

He said: “Our founder Jesus Christ was of course not white, middle class and British – he certainly wouldn’t have got a visa – unless we’re particularly short of carpenters.”

The Archbishop was talking as part in a discussion on social inequality chaired by the BBC Business Editor Faisal Islam who shared a clip on his Twitter feed.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(AM) Andrew Symes on the recently concluded Renew conference

Earlier in the Conference, Archbishop Ben had shared more of his background. His father had been brought to Christ and mentored by young missionaries from England, who made huge sacrifices by journeying to Nigeria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of them died there, some within weeks of arrival; their love for the Lord and for the people made a huge impression on Kwashi senior and his son Ben who became an Archbishop and now General Secretary of Gafcon. “The gospel is the means of saving the world, and God has put it in our hands”, he said. “We must pass it on to the next generation with joy and conviction, hot and fresh”.

This for Kwashi is the central driving motivation for Gafcon. In the churches of the West, theological debate about the essentials of Christianity was “watering down the gospel, destroying faith, taking the church captive”. Gafcon as a series of conferences and a global movement has re-established faithful Anglicanism and provided structures for it to continue and thrive. Anglican groupings have emerged, clearly separated from ‘official’ structures which have embraced heresy, such as the thriving Church in North America, and now new initiatives in New Zealand, Scotland and Brazil. In Africa, those with an anti-gospel agenda “use money to play with people’s lives”, Kwashi warned, but those who identify with Gafcon “are not willing to be sold”.

The theme of the Renew Conference, attended by nearly 500 people from 270 churches, was “multiplying ministries in the light of eternity”. Certainly Ben Kwashi’s ministry in Nigeria, and his current additional responsibilities with Gafcon exemplify this. The truths of the future coming of Christ, and the destiny of all human beings, as a comfort for believers and motivation for mission were outlined in Bible expositions by other speakers. “We can cope with suffering, but not hopelessness”, said Andy Mason, reminding us from the gospel of Luke that the King has come, the King will come, it will be a shock, and we are told how to prepare. A particularly excellent systematic treatment of the subject of hell by Kendall Harmon from the ACNA Diocese of South Carolina explained why and how the loss of this uncomfortable teaching in churches has coincided with the rise of secularism in society, and how recovering a sober and biblical understanding of judgement is vital for the evangelistic project founded on love and concern for the lost.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

Two Anglican Giants on Sunday Morning

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church of England, Church of Nigeria, Photos/Photography

(BBC’s Panorama–Scandal in the Church of England

Watch it all (30 minutes).

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

Anglicans and Catholics make joint submission to Foreign Office review on persecuted Christians

From there:

The Church of England and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have made a joint submission to the Independent Review of Foreign and Commonwealth Office support for persecuted Christians.

In a joint letter accompanying the submission, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said that in many places “our Christian sisters and brothers face persecution of an intensity and extent unprecedented in many centuries.”

However, the Archbishops added that these threats to freedom of religion or belief are not restricted to Christians alone, but are a widespread experience of the followers of other faiths.

“We ask Her Majesty’s Government to take note of the practical recommendations offered by our Churches in this Submission and to take meaningful action not only in protecting Christians facing persecution but also in promoting freedom of religion and belief more widely,” they said

(follow the link to see the 2 full letters).

Posted in Church of England, Ecumenical Relations, Globalization, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Roman Catholic

(C of E) More than 900 reports of potential modern slavery recorded through app

Drivers using a pioneering app to gather information on modern slavery in hand car washes made more than 900 reports of potential cases over a five-month period, according to research published today.

The Safe Car Wash app, which allows drivers to respond to a check list of key factors that may suggest modern slavery or labour exploitation in hand car washes, has been downloaded 8,225 times since its launch by the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales last year.

Between June and December 2018 there were 2271 completed entries using the app, with 41 per cent, or 930 reports, where after responding to a number of questions, users were told there was a likelihood of modern slavery at the hand car wash. They were then asked to call the Modern Slavery Helpline and their anonymised findings were shared in real time with police and the Gangmasters’ and Labour Abuse Authority.

Analysis by the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab in a new policy report released today showed that nearly half of reports, or 48 per cent, commented that workers did not have access to suitable protective clothing such as gloves or boots, despite many hand car washes typically requiring their workers to use potentially harmful chemicals such as hydrochloric acid.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Christian Today) On what should have been Brexit weekend, churches and cathedrals open their doors for prayer and dialogue

The first weekend after the UK was supposed to leave the European Union, churches and cathedrals are offering spaces for conversation and prayer on Brexit.

Many churches across the country are holding prayer vigils this weekend on what should have marked the start of a new post-Brexit era for the UK.

But after another week of votes and debates failed to break the deadlock on Brexit, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are inviting people to come together in dialogue and prayer as part of five days of prayer for the nation and its future relationship with the European Union.

Cathedrals across England have answered that call. On Friday, Leicester Cathedral hosted a prayer vigil led by the Bishop of Loughborough, Guli Francis-Dehqani, Chair of the European Council of Churches, while Wakefield Cathedral has been inviting members of the public to come and write down their prayers for peace and for each other on prayer cards.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Lancashire Telegraph) Blackburn Cathedral promises no repeat of Islamic call to prayer

The controversial incident, involving a white-robed Muslim cleric or Imam, took place during a pre-Armistice Day concert by the town’s music society.

It came during a performance to 400 people of Karl Jenkins’ work The Armed Man (A Mass for Peace) which included the often-omitted second movement containing the call to prayer.

This was given by a local Imam and contains the phrase ‘there is no other God but Allah’.

Following a film of the event in the nave on Saturday, November 10, being posted on the internet, the Cathedral authorities came under criticism from Christian traditionalists. The Rev Kevin Logan, former vicar of Christchurch in Accrington, said: “It was inappropriate. It was wrong but we are all fallible and make mistakes. It should not happen again.”

The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones, said: “I only found about the inclusion of the Islamic call to prayer minutes before the performance.

“It was inappropriate and should not have happened in the Cathedral.

“I am sorry it took place and I am sorry if anyone was offended by it.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, England / UK, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Spectator) Harry Mount reviews ‘A Field Guide to the English Clergy: A Compendium to Diverse Eccentrics, Pirates, Prelates and Adventurers; all Anglican, some even practising’

As the wordy title of this book and the name of its author suggest, this is a faux-archaic, fogeyish journey around England’s oddest vicars. The Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie is, though, the real thing: a young curate in the Church of England. Yes, he’s given to sometimes tiresome jocularity: he describes himself as ‘a Bon Viveur first and foremost, with a soupçon of Roguishness and Prodigality’. But, still, his essential thesis is right: the Church of England has produced some real oddballs in its time, and this is an entertaining gallop through several centuries’ worth of them.

For 400 years after the Reformation, the Church of England was the ideal Petri dish for nurturing eccentricity. Take plenty of money, lots of free time, a good education, power and class confidence, and vicars were bound to overindulge their whims. Well, at least until the second half of the 20th century — when the collapse of religious feeling, the decline of the Church’s wealth and power, and the selling-off of the finest vicarages and rectories brought a sad end to clever, rich, eccentric, educated vicars….

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Church of England, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Church Times) Philip Barnes–Anglo-Catholic mission: a landscape alive with God’s presence

Those planning the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage give a good deal of thought and attention to the way in which that sacramental life is presented to these young pilgrims. There is a vitality and an energy of delivery which would be beyond the possibility of most parishes churches Sunday by Sunday, and the setting of worship in a Big Top with a vibrant team of musicians does much to engage the imagination and attention of the teenager. It remains the single most important mission event to young Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England. What Catholic mission at a parish level can emulate is its commitment to mission through participation.

In the sacraments, the young participate on the same level as those of us who are older. They are treated as adults, and are extended the same respect, trust, and honour. For most Anglo-Catholic parishes, young people contribute to the parish mass as musicians, servers, and readers. Having a part to play in liturgical worship makes the experience of coming to church far more effective and engaging for most young people. “The candle holds the child, not the child the candle,” as the old Anglo-Catholic aphorism puts it.

Alongside this, good Catholic mission to the young provides opportunities for authentic conversations where they can talk about what is going on in their hearts and lives. One of the striking features of going on pilgrimage to Walsingham is the opportunity to make a sacramental confession. After a thought-provoking act of worship, this year’s youth pilgrims were invited to do just that, and experienced priests were available for them to talk to.

The number of teenagers who wanted to make a confession was remarkable. They knew they didn’t have to pretend that they were better than they are, or something that they were not. This was a context in which what they said would go no further, and they need have no anxiety about admitting fear or failure. They knew they would not be judged or censured, just challenged to grow. They left with a sense of being honoured, that radical for­giveness is possible, and that we are not defined by our faults but by our infinite potential.

This sort of Catholic mission transforms lives….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Parish Ministry

OneBodyOneFaith responds with a letter to Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, in response to his letter to TEC

Dear Mr Nye,

You will be aware that your previously undisclosed letter to The Episcopal Church has been met with anger, frustration and disappointment by many across the Church of England, on whose behalf you presume to speak. We wish to add the voices of our members to those calling for a more courageous, just and Christ-like response to what has become – we wish it were not so – the issue on which many will judge our church, and find it sorely wanting.

Your letter raises a wide range of issues – about governance and accountability, about process, about how the Holy Spirit might move in the lives and structures of the Body of Christ across generations and nations, about simple pastoral care and concern for those who don’t fit the received ‘norms’ we’ve imposed on people down the years. In particular, your focus on procreation seems to ride roughshod over all those who have ever known the anguish of unwanted childnessness, or the loss of a pregnancy. To them, and to all who bear the human costs of your carefully chosen words, we say: not in our name.

Perhaps we should share something of the response of LGBT people to the developments in TEC, since our voices so often seem absent in your pronouncements. We saw in ECUSA’s brave and costly decision some hope that change might come for us too. We saw our brothers and sisters listening intently to the Spirit speaking through the Body – and having listened, acting with courage, integrity and the determination to keep walking with Christ and with one another. And if it should prove impossible, to know that walking with Christ is our highest calling.

Your suggestion that such a move represents a challenge to our mission could not be further from the truth; our experience is that the inertia and simple refusal to listen which has characterised the Church of England for decades continues to be the single biggest missional disaster of our generation.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Church Times) Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, writes a letter which warns TEC (The Episcopal Church) about same-sex marriage rites

Proposals to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States will increase pressure in the Church of England to “dissociate” itself, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, has warned.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Mr Nye writes that, if the rites — written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples — are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, “the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC [the Episcopal Church], in all manner of ways, would increase”. Such a move would also be “potentially damaging” to work in the C of E to create a new teaching document on sexuality (News, 30 June), he writes.

He goes on to warn that, if provision is not made for traditionalists in the Episcopal Church, it would be a “serious blow for interfaith relations, negatively impacting Christians around the world especially in areas where they are persecuted minorities, as well as harming the stringent efforts to reinforce moderation in religious expression in countries like ours which are affected by terrorism”. The Episcopal Church’s promulgation of the new liturgies is, he writes, “at the least, unhelpful to those of us seeking to bring the Church of England’s deliberations to a good outcome”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

The C of E’s Statement on the Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy

Following the Publication of the Integrated Communities Strategy, the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council has issued the following statement:
“We welcome this Green Paper as a very positive step towards a national debate and programme of action to make our communities places where everyone – whatever their background – can live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities.

“This aim is entirely at one our vision for the nation, committed to the common good, recognising all as made in the image of God.

“We also warmly welcome the importance accorded in this document to the place of faith institutions in building integration.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England

John Stott on Billy Graham–Walking Together to Glory

John R. W. Stott first met Billy Graham in the 1940s, while sharing an open-air meeting at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park. Their shared concern for evangelism led to a close association during Graham’s 1954 Harringay crusade, which captivated London nightly for nearly three months. Over the next 50 years, the two men’s lives would frequently intertwine, through shared leadership in significant ventures like the Lausanne International Congress on World Evangelization and in personal friendship. In 2007, Stott offered these unpublished reminiscences:

Integrity. If I had to choose one word with which to characterize Billy Graham, it would be integrity. He was all of a piece. There was no dichotomy between what he said and what he was. He practiced what he preached.

Finance. When Graham first came to London, a considerable group of church leaders was wondering whether to invite him to preach there. They were critical, but he had anticipated their questions. He was able to say that he received a fixed salary, less than most salaries paid to the senior pastors of large churches, and he received no “love offerings” (unaccounted extras). As for crusade finances, they were published in the press during each crusade.

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