Watch it all (30 minutes).
— John Harvey 💜 (@Mr_John_Harvey_) April 29, 2019
Watch it all (30 minutes).
— John Harvey 💜 (@Mr_John_Harvey_) April 29, 2019
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).
Anglicans and Catholics make joint submission to Foreign Office review on persecuted Christianshttps://t.co/bWT5KbFH4E
The submission was accompanied by a joint letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster. pic.twitter.com/YBFTsd9ufE
— churchstate (@churchstate) April 17, 2019
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.
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.
— the UK church (@theUKchurch) March 30, 2019
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.
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 https://t.co/RQeURNip3q
— Lancashire Telegraph (@lancstelegraph) November 20, 2018
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….
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….
"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."
— Fr Angela Rayner (@OSacrumCorIesu) September 14, 2018
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Members of Synod, meeting in York, supported a call for the House of Bishops to consider preparing nationally commended liturgical materials to mark a person’s gender transition.
The motion also recognises the “need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church”.
It was moved by the Revd Christopher Newlands on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod.
One of the most difficult debates facing General Synod when it meets in July arises not from the main business agenda, but from a diocesan motion from Blackburn Diocese, which will be proposed by Revd Chris Newlands:
That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, calls on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.
I was approached to discuss this with Chris on last weekend’s Sunday programme on Radio 4, and if you want to see how complex and challenging this debate is going to be, then you can listen to our discussion on iPlayer starting at 30 minutes into the programme. The difficulties start (as is often the case in such debates) with the language; the question here is less about ‘gender’ (that is, socially constructed roles of men and women) but ‘sex identity’ (that is, whether someone is a biological man or woman) as is evident from Chris’ own language. That is why, in informed discussions, the situation we are faced with is described as ‘gender identity disorder’ or more commonly ‘gender dysphoria’. Chris is right to emphasise the serious and distressing nature of the pastoral issue—but unfortunately my agreement with him on this, and my explaining my personal experience of that amongst friends and family was edited out (the discussion was pre-recorded) in order to create a sense of ‘liberal pastoral care’ versus ‘traditionalist dogma’ on the programme. There is no doubt at all that this is how many will seek to configure the Synod debate.
Prayer has the power to carry all who are suffering alone towards “healing and renewal” in Christ, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Thursday.
Archbishop Welby was speaking to Christian journalists about the “extraordinary” growth of the Pentecost prayer initiative, Thy Kingdom Come, at Lambeth Palace.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians of many denominations in 85 countries around the world are taking part in the second annual “great wave of prayer” during the ten days between Ascension Day, on Thursday of last week, and Pentecost on Sunday.
Listen to it all.
In response to the ruling of the European Court of Justice on the wearing of headscarves a Church of England spokesman said:
“This ruling raises significant questions about freedom of religion and its free expression. Whether it be Sikhism and the wearing of turbans and kara through to the wearing of a cross.
“In preferencing ‘freedom to conduct a business” above the free expression of faith the ruling potentially places corporate interest above those of the individual.
Equally troubling is the assumption of “neutrality” within the ruling. The imposition of blanket bans – whilst often seeking honourable outcomes – may represent a worldview based on dogmatic or ideological assumptions which may unjustly limit individual rights.”
In its Declaration of May 2014, the House of Bishops made the point that these Guiding Principles ‘need to be read one with the other and held together in tension, rather than being applied selectively’. Thus, while affirming unequivocally that all orders of ministry are open to all without reference to gender, we also assert that those who are unable to receive the priestly or episcopal ministry of women continue to be fully part of the life of our church – and not just for an interim or limited period.
Furthermore, the Declaration (in paragraphs 11 and 12) clearly envisages the possibility of there being diocesan bishops who might not ordain women, and indicates the arrangements which should be made in such circumstances. These arrangements are in a sense the mirror image to the provision made for those unable to receive the ministry of a woman bishop (or indeed of a male bishop who ordains women). It was precisely to meet circumstances such as the nomination of Bishop Philip that we made these provisions.
The settlement which we put in place in 2014 is, I believe, a structural expression of conviction and grace. It has in practice, as is clear from across our own Diocese, enabled us to maintain a high level of fellowship across profoundly held differences of theological and ecclesiological conviction. In this context, my own view is that Bishop Philip’s nomination to the See of Sheffield was entirely consistent with the 2014 Declaration by the House of Bishops. That nomination must also have been made with the agreement of most (perhaps all) of the six Sheffield Diocesan representatives on the Crown Nominations Commission. I note also the number of senior ordained women who have made public their support for Bishop Philip.
Reactions from North’s supporters among the clergy run the gamut from horror to outright despair. Rebecca Feeney, an ordinand training for the priesthood at St Stephen’s House, commented that: “There has been consistently misleading and polarising rhetoric about the Catholic position, which has resulted in immense negative press about Bishop Philip – someone a lot of women, myself included, would not have trained or be training for priesthood without. For many, he is a living embodiment of what mutual flourishing means, and in light of this, the treatment he has received is particularly strange and cruel.”
Fergus Butler-Gallie, an ordinand at Westcott House, fired a mighty broadside: “I’d say that any affirmation that involves the personal smearing of a brother or sister in Christ is no affirmation at all and that, if anything, it makes the church look even more like a genitally-obsessed bunch of do-gooding hobbyists than ever before.
“The fact that the highest paid clergyman in the Church of England (Martyn Percy) can use the deanery of an Oxford college as a sniper’s post to take down a convincing advocate for the very poorest in society (with a columnist for the Guardian feeding him his ammunition) will send one message and one message alone – we care more about our own sub-Freudian internal wranglings than we do about the care of God’s people.”
Future prospects for the unity of the church are grim. This episode has sent a clear message to conservative Anglo-Catholics that they are not wanted. The same logic that barred North from his diocesan post will surely be applied to suffragans before long.
In recent months Exeter Cathedral has been on a journey of self-evaluation and change. That process has raised some challenging issues, not least financial. While some progress has been achieved, there are still many challenges ahead.
In that context, and having reached the age of 65 last month, after considerable thought and reflection the Dean, the Very Rev Jonathan Draper, has announced that he will retire at the end of August this year. He and his wife Maggie are on leave this week, and on his return Jonathan will be on sabbatical. He has been Dean for over five years and has achieved considerable change including renewing the outward focus to the city and county, and giving the Cathedral a greater mission focus. His preaching ministry has been greatly appreciated. He has led the huge improvements to the repair and maintenance of this historic building, leaving a legacy for generations to come.
Jonathan has been 34 years in ministry in places as diverse as London and York, in parishes, cathedrals and in theological education. Our prayers and thoughts are with Jonathan, Maggie and their family at this time.
….the recent Bishop Philip North episode ought to make us suspicious. The theology of inclusion and equality didn’t apply to +Philip, whose great mistake was to believe what all Christians in all places at all times (until Karl Marx) have believed – about the orders of the Church.
The three-card trick that Professor Percy and his cultural fellow-travellers play is to refuse to exclude anyone except those who don’t agree with them. You only get to be included in the equality stakes once you have accepted their moral and political presuppositions. So, of course, they do actually discriminate between anyone who shares their basic world view and those who don’t.
They pretend they are relativists by claiming that all views are equally legitimate, but become absolutists if you challenge their relativism. In other words, their ideas of equality and relativism are actually practised by placing their value above those who disagree with them, and discriminating against anyone who has the audacity and moral turpitude to dissent.
Meanwhile, they claim the higher moral ground by pretending to be something that they are not – outlawing discrimination while practising it.
Philip North’s appointment to Sheffield was a litmus test. I had to admit that I was wrong about my first hypothesis when he was elected. But the great advantage of having views that constitute hypotheses is that one can test them and change them.
But the more important test was to come – the commitment to mutual flourishing, mutual respect; the promise that inclusion and diversity meant what they said, and were not just closet weapons to lull the traditionalists into wistful trust before expelling them.
The North appointment was a serious test for the much vaunted ‘Good Disagreement’ that Archbishop Justin Welby has staked his archiepiscopal strategy on.
It has all gone badly wrong….
Reform members throughout the country are disappointed but not surprised by the news that Bishop Philip North will not be the next Bishop of Sheffield.
The furor that has followed his nomination reveals the arrogance and assumptions of those who believe, “that it is not enough to assert that due process and the five guiding principles have been observed. If they have produced a situation that causes distress … then they need to be reviewed…”1.
The attitude of those who have campaigned against Bishop Philip North calls into question the future of the five principles, which undergirded the settlement that allowed women to enter the episcopate.
I am deeply saddened that Philip North has felt forced to withdraw from his nomination as the next Bishop of Sheffield. It will be a huge loss to Sheffield and is a body blow to the concept of ‘mutual flourishing’ which lay at the heart of the agreement to introduce women bishops in the Church of England.
Philip has huge gifts to offer the Church, and his leadership in Sheffield would have given a great boost to mission.
However, the damage to the principles on which the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests is based, is profound.
This is a personal decision which I understand and sadly accept. However what has happened to Bishop Philip clearly does not reflect the settlement under which, two and a half years ago, the Church of England joyfully and decisively opened up all orders of ministry to men and women. It also made a commitment to mutual flourishing: that those who ‘on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests, will continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contribute to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.’
There will be continuing debate in the coming days and weeks of lessons to be learned, how that learning might inform and inspire us to act as a Church in our dealings with one another and how, when we disagree, to disagree Christianly, remembering at all times that our identity is in Christ alone.
After weeks of protest at his appointment, the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, has decided he cannot be the next Bishop of Sheffield.
Downing Street has just announced that Bishop North, who has spent the past few days on retreat, has withdrawn his acceptance of the nomination to the see, made at the end of January (News, 3 February).
“It is with regret and sadness that I have decided that I am unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield,” he said in a statement.
The controversy stems in part from his continued membership of a Church of England group known as the Society, which does not recognise women priests.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, had previously said that the church would support his appointment.
Last week he received support from 36 members of female clergy in the Blackburn diocese, as well as three women bishops.
But local groups in Sheffield had protested his appointment. A new group called Sheffield Action on Ministry Equality wrote an open letter saying it had left them “deeply troubled”.
An Anglican bishop has turned down a promotion after fellow clergy in his new diocese objected to his stance against ordaining women priests.
Philip North had been chosen as the next Bishop of Sheffield but said the level of opposition meant accepting the offer would be counter-productive.
He said he had withdrawn for “personal reasons” but added the “attacks” against him were “extremely hard”.
The Archbishop of York urged members to “disagree Christianly”.
It is with regret and sadness that I have decided that I am unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield.
The news of my nomination has elicited a strong reaction within the diocese and some areas of the wider Church. It is clear that the level of feeling is such that my arrival would be counter-productive in terms of the mission of the Church in South Yorkshire and that my leadership would not be acceptable to many.
I am grateful for the love, prayers and care that have been shown me over recent weeks by numerous people, especially the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Blackburn and the clergy of the Blackburn Diocese. In particular I would like to thank the Bishop of Doncaster and the diocesan team in Sheffield for their support.