Category : Church of England (CoE)

National virtual service for Palm Sunday to be led by the Bishop of Manchester

Christians are to be encouraged to make their own paper or card ‘palm’ crosses and display these in their windows in a national virtual church service for Palm Sunday to be broadcast by the Church of England.

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, will put a paper ‘palm’ cross in the window of his Salford home in a national service he will lead for Palm Sunday, marking the start of Holy Week and Easter.

The Holy Communion service will be broadcast at 9am on the Church of England’s Facebook page and Church of England website, with readings from the Archdeacon of Manchester, Karen Lund and prayers by Lucy Hargraves from St Peter’s Church in Bolton. All three record contributions from their own homes in keeping with the rules on physical distancing.

In his sermon, Bishop David will speak of the strength and mutual support from the crowd that he addressed in Manchester city centre following the Manchester Arena attack in 2017

At a time when gatherings are no longer permitted in order to stop the spread of coronavirus, he said support and comfort was being drawn from events such as virtual church services and campaigns such as #ClapForCarers to thank NHS staff and key workers.

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Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Health & Medicine, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Church Times) Philip Williamson–A History of Prayer amidst Wars, famines+pandemics

National acts of special worship could be either particular prayers or whole church services. Until the 1850s, the services were for use on special fast or thanksgiving days. These were usually ordered by royal proclamation, for observance by the whole population. As they were often appointed for weekdays, all work was suspended as on Sundays.

In England and Wales, and in Ireland, these prayers and services involved departures from the Book of Common Prayer. New texts were supplied by special forms of prayer, long series of which are often found in parish records.

The original rationale for these occasions was provided by the conceptions of “special providences” and divine judgements, drawn especially from Old Testament examples of afflictions suffered under the kings of Israel. Dislocations in the natural world as well as in human affairs were seen as God’s punishments for the collective sins of the kingdom, to be assuaged by simultaneous penitence, petitionary prayers, and promises of repentance.

A preface in the forms of prayer used during plague epidemics in the 16th and 17th centuries declared:

We be taught by many and sundry examples of holy Scriptures, that upon occasion of particular punishments, afflictions, and perils, which God of his most just judgement has some times sent among his people to show his wrath against sin, and to call his people to repentance and to the redress of their lives: the godly have been provoked and stirred up to more fervency and diligence in prayer, fasting, and alms deeds, to a more deep consideration of their consciences, to ponder their unthankfulness and forgetfulness of God’s merciful benefits towards them, with craving of pardon for the time past, and to ask his assistance for the time to come to live more godly, and so to be defended and delivered from all further perils & dangers. . . (1563)

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

A paper from the London College of Bishops:The Eucharist in a time of Physical Distancing

Consistent with this position, we offer several options for parishes as long as the current physical distancing restrictions apply:

  1. Some parish churches may wish temporarily to suspend the celebration of Holy Communion until they are able to meet together in person again. We are already having to cease the practice of public Baptism for the duration due to the restrictions placed upon us, and so a church may choose to do the same with the other dominical sacrament. As one incumbent put it recently: “We will take this opportunity to fast from the Sacrament while we feast on the Word.”
  1. To ensure congregational involvement, where a parish church wishes to continue to celebrate the eucharist within the current advice issued by the London College of Bishops, and only the priest can be present, it should, whenever possible, be livestreamed, so that others can at least (as Cranmer put it) “see with our eyes” even if they cannot “smell with our noses, touch with our hands and taste with our mouths.” This enables the kind of spiritual reception that is at the heart of the sacrament, even if physical partaking is not possible.
  1. If that is not feasible, at the very least, it should be clearly advertised in the parish and among the congregation when the Holy Communion is to be celebrated in the home of the priest, with or without the presence of another member of that household. Such public advertising is insisted on in the ‘Exhortations’ in the BCP that are inserted between the Prayer for the Church Militant and the Confession. This way, others can be invited to pray and perhaps read the Scriptures at that time, so that the service takes place within some kind of extended communal act of worship in that parish, even if dispersed, and does not become merely a private act of devotion. Some prayers that would enable people to take part in such a celebration might be prepared.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Eucharist, Sacramental Theology

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.

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

A message from the Archbishop of Canterbury to school leaders and teachers

This is a particularly unusual and painful time for everyone, not least the many students and staff who have found themselves adjusting to such an unexpected change in educational provision. I know that children and young people will be feeling a range of emotions as they face their school year ending so suddenly and in such uncertain circumstances, and students, teachers and parents remain very much in my prayers.

I know I speak for all the bishops across the Church of England in expressing my heartfelt thanks to all the school leaders and teachers who are working hard in these extremely challenging circumstances to maintain educational provision for vulnerable children and children of key workers. Keeping these children safe in school is vitally important as we fight this pandemic together, and we cannot thank you enough for your continued efforts.

On top of this, you are putting a huge amount of effort in to provide food or distribute vouchers to ensure all those entitled to free school meals receive that support. Schools are also providing resources to help children staying at home to continue learning and make progress in their education. School leaders and teachers are serving their communities and caring for students in ways that are truly inspiring.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Education

Archbishops call for Church of England to become radically different as public worship put on hold to help stem spread of coronavirus

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are calling for Church of England churches to put public worship on hold and become a “different sort of church” in the coming months to face the challenge of coronavirus.

In a joint letter, Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu said it was now necessary to put public services on hold until further notice.

But they said that far from having to “shut up shop”, the Church of England must face the challenge by becoming a radically different kind of church rooted in prayer and serving others.

It comes after the Government announced unprecedented peacetime measures to try to control the spread of the virus, with restrictions on public gatherings, transport and working.

The Archbishops expressed the desire that church buildings may, where practical, remain open as places of prayer for the community, observing social distancing recommendations.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine

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.”

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

(Church Times) Withhold chalice and minimise contact during worship, Archbishops tell clergy

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have advised members of the clergy to suspend both the administration of the chalice and physical contact during the Peace, in light of the increase of coronavirus cases.

On Wednesday morning, 387 people in England had tested positive for Covid-19. The total number of cases in the UK was 456. So far, more than 27,000 people have been tested. Six people have died, all of whom are reported to have had significant underlying health conditions.

The previous advice from Church House left it to the priest’s discretion whether to suspend the administration of the chalice and offer communion in one kind only.

A letter to all clergy from the Archbishops on Tuesday, however, said that national suspension of the administration of the chalice and physical contact was “necessary” given the increased infection rate. This puts the Church of England guidance in line with that issued this week by the Church in Wales and Scottish Episcopal Church.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry

(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”

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

Dean of pioneering training college to be new Bishop of Sherwood

Downing Street today announced that the Revd Dr Andrew Emerton, Dean of St Mellitus College, has been appointed as the next Bishop of Sherwood in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.

St Mellitus College is one of the largest of the Church of England’s theological training institutions with a growing reputation for pioneering approaches to training. Andy has been involved with St Mellitus since its earliest days, joining the staff team as Assistant Dean in 2008 and becoming Dean in 2015.

As Suffragan Bishop, Andy will work closely with the Diocesan Bishop, the Right Revd Paul Williams, in overseeing the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.

“It is a huge privilege to be called to serve as a bishop in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham,” said Andy. “It will be a delight to work with Bishop Paul and the clergy and lay leaders of the diocese to contribute to the vision for Growing Disciples and to help build confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ across a diverse range of churches and local communities. I am excited and hopeful about this next stage of ministry.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(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.

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

(The Lincolnite) Last resident canon to leave Lincoln Cathedral

The resignation of the Precentor has left Lincoln Cathedral without a single permanent residential canon.

The Reverend Canon Sal McDougall has announced that she will leave the cathedral in May after three years in her current post.

Lincoln Cathedral credited her with playing a key role in developing and organising its special services.

“It is a tremendous privilege to be responsible for the worship and music in such an incredible place,” The Reverend Canon Sal McDougall said.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(CEN) Archbishop of York returns from Pacific tour

The Archbishop of York concluded a three-week visit to Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand by preaching at a joint Anglican and Roman Catholic Ash Wednesday service at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Invited by the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Archbishop began his visit in Fiji, where he met with Archbishop Fereimi Cama and the country’s President Jioji Konrote.

He spent time with clergy, preached at a Eucharist service at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Suva and visited St Christopher’s orphanage in Nakasi where he was able to meet the staff and children who live there.

On his return to the UK, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said, “I last visited Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand in 2015 and it was wonderful to return and see familiar faces as well as new ones. Meeting people who have a heart for their communities and a desire to promote the common good and work together in this was truly heartwarming.

“My prayer for The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is that they will be confident in the message that they have to share about our Creator God who loves us and wants us to know him more through his Son Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Every Blessing,” he added.

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Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE)

(VM) Canon Giles Goddard offers some thoughts on the Living in Love & Faith Project

To be on the LLF Co-ordinating Group at the moment feels weird. We review and revise and re-edit the resources, on the basis of feedback from a wide range of people – more or less equally balanced between progressives and conservatives. We are working in the heat of the moment, and yet, because all is not yet ready for publication, we are working away from the public eye.

I think that what is emerging is something which just might do what Jeremy hopes it might. Films which tell real people’s stories, offered to us with vulnerability and trust, from across the spectrum. A book which opens up the variety of human relationships and understandings of sexuality and gender, recognising that we are, as a Church, in an unprecedented situation where there is a strong desire for unity but also deep questions about whether that must also require uniformity.

But I am so close to the process that I fear I may have lost my sense of perspective. And I know that the hinterland to which I am closest, the LBGTI+ community, is tired of waiting, tired of scraps from the table, tired of being fobbed off. LLF is a process; it will involve more talking, more listening, with a clear timetable for some decisions, but the timetable is not quick and any decisions to be made are far from being considered, let alone recommended. Meanwhile, opinion continues to change and more and more Christians accept the possibility of equal marriage.

Many people have said to me – ‘why can’t the Church just change? Why’s it all taking so long?’ To which my reply is that if we were a different Church, we could indeed have just changed a long time ago. If we were a Church made up only of progressive Christians, of people who are relaxed about the diversity of ways in which God created humans, then it would be easy to change. But we aren’t: we are a Church which includes many more conservative Christians, and many of us, including me, were brought to faith within those more conservative churches… and the eye cannot say to the hand, I do not need you.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(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.

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

(Leicestershire Live) Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani to spend night sleeping on streets

The bishop of Loughborough is to spend a night sleeping rough on the streets of Leicester.

Church of England bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani will take to the streets with other volunteers from the charity The Bridge, equipped with only cardboard, a sleeping bag, flasks and the clothes on their back for warmth.

The event, called The Big Sleep, will take place on Thursday March 26 on the De Montfort University and University of Leicester campuses.

The sleep out is just one of 30 projects Bishop Guli is undertaking over the next month-and-a-half as part of a Lent Pilgrimage, called The Salt of the Earth pilgrimage.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(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.”

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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.”

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

(Yorkshire Post) Knaresborough’s Pancake Bell sounds again – 82 years after vicar locked out the ringers

Today, the fast, repetitive chime of a single bell was heard again, though the campanologists who revived it were afraid it would fall on deaf ears.

“No-one notices church bells any more,” lamented Derrick McRobert, who performed the five-minute ritual single-handed.

The Shrovetide bell was once part of the soundtrack of life across England, but it continues in only a few Yorkshire parishes, Bingley and Scarborough among them. It used to sound at 4am, in order to wake the congregation, but as the centuries went on it got later and later.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(PCN) Contactless giving now available at 300 more C of E churches

Giving an offering via contactless is about to get a whole lot easier in another 300 churches in the UK.

The Church of England has embarked on a new partnership with Visa, SumUp and Caution Your Blast to enable 300 more churches across the UK to accept contactless donations.

With more consumers choosing to make payments with card, mobile and contactless enabled devices, the partnership will offer more options for churchgoers wanting to donate.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Stewardship

(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.

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

(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.

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

(FT) Behind closed doors: modern slavery in Kensington, featuring the C of E parish Saint John’s, Notting Hill

….the domestic worker from Mindanao in the southern Philippines ended two years of overwork, underpayment and underfeeding by slipping through a throng of people and into the street. As she headed between the elegant Victorian apartment blocks of Harrington Road, she asked for God’s help.

“As I’m walking, I’m praying, ‘Lord, bring me to your people,’” Canuday recalls.

Her prayer was answered. After a little more than two miles, Canuday, a slight, round-faced woman who is now 50, heard Filipino religious music coming from a west London church. When she followed it, she found herself at a service being conducted in Tagalog, the country’s most widely spoken language.

Members of the congregation sat her down, gave her coffee and food and offered reassurance. Today, Canuday remembers the event as an act of divine providence. “God took me to beside people who took care of me,” she says. “They said, ‘Don’t worry; don’t worry — relax.’”

Canuday’s reception at St John’s, Notting Hill — a prominent Gothic-revival building that houses London’s only Tagalog-language Church of England congregation — represented a rare nugget of good fortune for an overseas worker fleeing an abusive employer in the UK.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture, Violence, Women

(Church Times) Climate battle must start right now, says Bishop Holtam

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nick Holtam, the Church of England’s lead bishop on environmental issues, is writing to all bishops and diocesan secretaries this week, in response to the target set at the General Synod last week to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero by 2030.

The most immediate problem facing the C of E is that it has no idea what its carbon footprint is at present. Bishop Holtam will ask parishes to use a new Energy Footprint Tool to measure the energy they use. The online tool also generates a dashboard to show churches how they compare. For details, see cofe.io/footprint.

Responding to the new target, 15 years before the official recommendation, the Bishop said: “We aren’t under any illusion that this will be easy. Synod’s target sets a serious challenge for the whole Church to examine urgently the steps necessary to achieve the kind of year-on-year carbon reductions we need. This is a national goal which will need more than 16,000 local plans supported by the right policies and resource.

“But the science tells us there’s no time to lose if we are to limit the warming of the planet humans are causing. The tone at Synod was overwhelmingly that Christians should respond urgently to our calling to safeguard God’s creation, and go as fast as we can.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, CoE Bishops, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship

(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.

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

([London] Times) Oversized vicarages send wrong message to the poor, warns rector

Plush vicarages put off working class Christians claims a priest as the Church of England warns of a “serious threat” to its future in poorer areas.

In a debate about struggling to reach people on low-income backgrounds, Rev Canon Chris Tebbutt, rector of Canford Magna, Salisbury, said he had forged much better relationships with his community after giving up a seven-bedroom “manor house” to live in a new local development.

“Clergy housing is a hugely important factor for mission and evangelism,” he said. “Inappropriate housing sends out totally the wrong message to the community.” The vicarage is now occupied by an archdeacon, he added.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Housing/Real Estate Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

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.

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

The Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to the Archbishop of York at what would have been the latter’s final General Synod

Archbishop Justin Welby praised the Archbishop of York who is currently travelling in the Pacific. He said: “He (John Sentamu) has gone to visit parts of the world which are suffering the effects of climate change right now. He has gone typically to respond to an invitation for him to go and preach and be alongside those who are suffering: a pattern of his life throughout his ministry.”

The Archbishop continued: “Speaking about Sentamu when he’s not here is both dangerous but also deeply liberating for it means we can show our gratitude, thanks and love for him without him being able to stop us.”

Recalling the Archbishop of York’s work on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Archbishop Justin added that “he has said that he himself was stopped at least eight times by the police”. The Archbishop of Canterbury continued: “To honour his memory, his lifelong, bitter cruel and wicked experience of institutional racism which has existed and does exist within the Church of England we must be dedicated to actions not just words.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE)

Church of England General Synod approves Channel Islands legislation

The report, published in October 2019, includes a recommendation for Episcopal oversight of the Islands to be transferred to the Bishop of Salisbury.

Members of Synod, including the Dean of Guernsey and the Bishop of Winchester, spoke in favour of the motion. The Dean of Guernsey said the motion had widespread support in the Islands.

The General Synod of The Church of England has approved recommendations by the Archbishop’s Commission on the relationship of the Channel Islands to the wider Church of England.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE)

(Church Times) General Synod accepts that ‘serious money’ must be found for abuse survivors

Calls for “proper” and “just” redress for survivors of clerical abuse, with “serious money”, were made in an emotional debate on safeguarding in the General Synod on Wednesday morning.

The Synod voted unanimously for an amended motion to endorse the response of the Archbishops’ Council to the recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The amendment, brought by the next lead Bishop of safeguarding, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, asked that the original motion be reinforced by “concrete actions”. Earlier attempts to strengthen it had foundered (News, 7 February). Dr Gibbs’s amendment also urged the National Safeguarding Steering Group to commit to a “fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress for survivors” and to update the Synod on the progress on the IICSA recommendations not later than 2021.

Redress was a small phrase with large implications, Dr Gibbs said. “It will mean serious money [and] changes in ways we handle claims and complaints.” Safeguarding responses must be “shaped by the righteousness and compassion of God’s Kingdom, not by the short-term and short-sighted financial and reputational interests of the Church,” he said.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Stewardship, Theology, Violence