Category : Church of England (CoE)

(Prospect) Alice Goodman–Clerical life: Ordination season

In the US, where I studied for my Masters in Divinity (the professional degree for clergy across most of the churches in North America) it takes at least three years to prepare for ordination. I studied the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, the history of Christianity, the philosophy of religion, moral theology, systematics, homiletics and pastoral care and counselling. I have my old ring-bound notebooks stacked in the wardrobe, and it comforts me to know they’re there if I ever forget what was said in that seminar on “Revelation, Faith, and the Nature of Tradition.”

You learn the history of liturgy, and how and why the church’s ceremonies have taken the shapes they have. There’s Field Education, the North American name for the attachments and placements we have here. Finally, before your General Ordination Examination, you go off to a hospital for an intensive programme of chaplaincy training combined with group therapy: the dreaded Clinical Pastoral Education. You learn how to listen to what’s not being said as much as to what is. You learn what your own baggage is, and how to check it. Some people concentrate on one part or another of the curriculum, but everyone has the basics and for everyone—whether they’re 20 or 60—it takes three years.

Over here it’s quite different. Alarmingly so. In the Church of England, the training you get depends, first of all, on your age. Ordinands over 40 tend to be funnelled into a shorter programme. The three-year course is primarily for younger ordinands, and those who have been talent-spotted for preferment. A full-time residential programme is for the lucky few. In a new development, one theological college and at least one diocese are trialling a scheme for ordinands to move in a single year from the selection interviews to the bishop’s laying-on of hands and anointing that makes them priests. This is aimed at what are referred to as “mature Christians.” Apparently, they are people who have been active in their church for a long time, and have retired with a really good final salary pension scheme, or are independently wealthy. The Church of England has decided that the learned clergy that the Elizabethans pushed for are a limiting factor to the survival of the institution.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

(ITV) Grenfell victims remembered at Westminster Abbey service on fifth anniversary

Attendees included former prime minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Housing Secretary Michael Gove, building safety and fire minister Stephen Greenhalgh, and shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy.

Opening the service, the very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, said the loss and anguish “are still vivid and sharp” as the congregation gathered “in sorrow and in pain”.

He said: “Here we renew our commitment to remember those we have lost.

“We gather as those who look for justice and a renewed commitment to securing safety in our homes, safety in times of fire.

“Grateful for the support of the communities and individuals that have sustained the bereaved and the survivors over the last five years, we meet in faith and hope looking to a better, safer, surer future.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

(Church Times) Bishops unite to condemn ‘shameful’ Rwanda plan for asylum-seekers

The Government’s “offshoring” policy, under which the first people are due to be deported to Rwanda as early as Tuesday, “should shame us as a nation”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and 23 other bishops, have said.

The policy was included in the Nationality and Borders Act, which came into law in April despite objections and attempted amendments from bishops and other peers (News, 29 April). It was explicitly criticised by Archbishop Welby in his Easter sermon (News, 27 April), and reportedly by the Prince of Wales last week, who is said to have called it “appalling” in a private conversation.

Last week, campaigners failed to win an injunction against the policy in the High Court, which ruled that it was in the “public interest” for the Government to carry it out. An appeal on Monday was rejected for the same reason. A full hearing on whether the policy is lawful is due to take place next month.

In a letter due to be published in The Times on Tuesday, the full complement of bishops who sit in the House of Lords have written: “Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation.” The letter continues: “The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries.”

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Rwanda

(C of E) Sowing seeds: how a patch of wasteland became heart of community

In just a few years, a patch of once unused land in the middle of the Quarrendon estate in Aylesbury, Bucks, has been transformed into the beating heart of the community by the local church.

The once neglected scrap of land surrounding St Peter’s Church, has been turned into a multipurpose green space – simultaneously a community garden, an exercise site, a place to grow food, an outdoor classroom, and a tranquil spot in the centre of the estate.

In partnership with local organisations, St Peter’s regularly takes referrals from the local GP surgery, known as ‘social prescribing.’

It also welcomes schools, the local Adult Education Centre, and the Youth Offenders Probation Service – where young adults learn new skills in landscaping and horticulture to help get them back into employment.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Tablet) Why Queen Elizabeth II is a ‘missionary’ for Christianity

The Queen’s faith has been a “consistent” feature of her reign and since 2000 she has increasingly spoken about it, making her something of “a missionary” for Christianity, the former editor of The Tablet, Catherine Pepinster has said.

Speaking at a special Tablet webinar on the eve of the celebration of her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee about her new book, Defenders of the Faith: The British Monarchy, Religion and the Next Coronation, Pepinster said that it was when she was researching a previous book, The Keys and the Kingdom: The British and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis, she realised what a significant figure Elizabeth II was in terms of religion in Britain.

Her new book looks at the Queen’s personal faith and also her public role as the supreme governor of the Church of England, with a special focus on the coronation and the future of the monarchy.

The author and commentator stressed that while the Queen is Defender of the Faith, she was also a defender of other faiths in a religiously diverse Britain.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Cambridge Independent) Jesus College will not pay legal costs for Rustat Memorial Group’s defence

The legal costs of the 65 alumni who successfully petitioned to keep the memorial to slave trade investor Tobias Rustat on the west wall of Jesus College chapel will not be paid by the college following a ruling by David Hodge QC of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Ely.

Jesus College Chapel. Picture: Keith HeppellJesus College Chapel. Picture: Keith Heppell
A three-day hearing took place in February to determine whether the diocese would approve Jesus College’s request to remove the memorial to an exhibition space elsewhere on college grounds.

The hearing was overseen by David Hodge, who had been appointed as deputy chancellor to consider the college’s petition. In late March, the verdict was issued in a 108-page statement: the memorial will stay where it is. The unsuccessful case cost Jesus College £120,000.

David Hodge QC accepted, in his ruling date June 5, 2022 and made public on June 7, that it is convention for unsuccessful parties to pay the legal fees for the winning party in conventional hearings, but “that general rule does not apply in contested faculty proceedings in the consistory court,” he wrote.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Race/Race Relations, Stewardship

(Guardian) Archbp Justin Welby–‘Is a world without violent conflict really possible?’

The effort we are rightly making to support Ukraine in defending itself against aggression needs to be matched by efforts towards negotiation, dialogue, reconciliation and peace. You cannot have one without the other. Our challenge is to put in place the infrastructures of reconciliation and the architecture of peacebuilding that enable disagreement to happen robustly, but not violently.

In a culture that often expects instant results and gratification, this work does not happen overnight. There is no “kiss and make up” moment. More often, there is the gradual transformation – sometimes over generations – of enmity and hostility to respect and trust. I clearly remember a leader in Northern Ireland being interviewed on the radio in the early summer of 1998, a few weeks after the signing of the Good Friday agreement. He was asked whether reconciliation had been “achieved”, and responded that the idea that something called reconciliation could be achieved in weeks, after 30 years of the Troubles and several centuries of bitterness, was absurd.

Deep wounds take a long time to become scars. Each of us carries our own pain, which makes it difficult to apologise and to forgive where we have wronged and been wronged. When we look towards reconciliation, we must also recognise – and have compassion for – our own conflicted and hurting hearts. Reconciliation is often risky and always costly – but it is less costly than the alternative.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Violence

A Prayer for Pentecost from the Church of England

God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
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 (CoE), Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Two church musicians awarded for long service

The Queen is not the only one to be celebrating a Platinum Jubilee — two musicians received lifetime service awards from their church communities last month, with a combined contribution of 135 years.

Heather Braddock has been singing in the choir of Christ Church, Woodford, in the diocese of Chester, since the coronation in 1952, when she was 11 years old. On Easter Day, she was presented with a long-service medal and certificate from the Royal College of Musicians, in recognition of 70 years’ continuous service. The congregation also gave her a new sound system.

Ms Braddock, a former secretary in the NHS, has been running the choir for the past 20 years, and served as the PCC secretary for more than 28 years. She is married to Malcolm; their son, Canon Andrew Braddock, is the Interim Dean of Gloucester Cathedral.

She said: “It has been, and remains, a privilege and a joy to sing in, and serve, the choir here. Thank you to all the church family for their kindness and support. And here’s to our ongoing musical tradition here at Woodford.”

Read it all.

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

The Revd Canon Arun Arora Appointed As The New Bishop Of Kirkstall In The Anglican Diocese Of Leeds

{the] Revd Canon Arun Arora will take up the role of Bishop for the Leeds Episcopal Area after five years as Vicar of St Nicholas Church in the heart of Durham City. The appointment is a return to Yorkshire, where he served his curacy at St Mark’s Church in Harrogate.

“It is a joy and a privilege to be called to be Bishop of Kirkstall and to join the work that God is doing in Leeds. It is a particular delight to be returning to the Diocese where I was ordained and served my curacy, where my wife and I first lived and where our daughter was born,” said Canon Arora.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Arun added: “I am a city boy at heart and am excited at the thought of serving an increasingly confident and growing church in this vibrant city. I’m looking forward to working with the churches of Leeds and civic, commercial, educational and cultural partners in a common cause to bless the city and its people.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Church Times) Cathedral safeguarding processes were too slow to stop sex offender

Three cathedrals have been criticised for safeguarding failings in the case of William Scott Farrell, a sex offender.

Mr Farrell, a former director of music at Rochester Cathedral. was sentenced to five years imprisonment in August 2019 for sexual offences involving children (News, 16 August 2019).

The “lessons-learnt” review, which was published on Thursday, found that there were “a number of opportunities” to challenge his behaviour that were missed by the cathedrals that employed him. The review makes 11 recommendations to the Church of England to “improve culture, support and develop existing good practice, remove barriers, and improve safeguarding outcomes”.

In 2019, Mr Farrell pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency with a boy under 16 (relating to three different victims), which occurred while he was assistant organist of Ely Cathedral from 1999 to 2002, and to two counts of voyeurism and one count of taking indecent images of a child, committed in Rochester (News, 31 May 2019).

Mr Farrell was also employed by Newcastle Cathedral between 2002 and 2008. He was not charged with any offences the occurred during this time; however, the review found that there were “a number of concerns raised and missed opportunities to deal with inappropriate behaviour” during his time in Newcastle.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry

Canon Rob Saner-Haigh will be the new Bishop of Penrith

Prior to joining our Diocese in 2020, Rob ministered in Cumbria for 15 years, so this is a return to a county he knows extremely well and where he had served all his ordained ministry before moving to the North East.

Speaking about his move, Rob said: “It has come as something of a surprise to be appointed to this post back in Cumbria where I have spent most of my ordained ministry. I have loved being part of Newcastle Diocese and it has been such a blessing to get to know different people and parishes over the past couple of years. It all started on Zoom, of course, but more recently it has been a great joy to get out and about across the Diocese and to be part of the community at the cathedral.

“I’m grateful for the kindness, warmth, humour and deep faith of those I’ve worked with, and for such great colleagues. Over the past couple of years, we have re-shaped the Mission and Ministry Team and I am excited to see the many different ways in which they are already serving local parishes and supporting different ministries.

“As I return to Cumbria, I want to say a huge thank you. It has been a privilege to be part of this diocese, and you will all remain very much in my prayers as you seek to serve your communities and share the love and hope of God with them.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(FT) Walsingham–The Norfolk Lourdes: England’s lost Holy Land

Somewhere in an English village — amid the cul-de-sacs and pubs, vegetable patches and garden gnomes, the GP’s surgery and the miniature steam railway — lies the spot where the Virgin Mary came down from heaven.

Walsingham, Norfolk, is a sleepy place (though not as sleepy as the neighbouring village of Great Snoring). Nonetheless, it was here in 1061 that the Virgin supposedly appeared to Richeldis de Faverches, a Saxon noblewoman. Mary instructed her to build a replica of the house at Nazareth where archangel Gabriel had brought the news that she was to bear the Son of God.

You might wonder if there were more urgent prophecies to relate to a Saxon in the England of 1061 — but, in any case, the noblewoman set about following her instructions. It is said that one night, while she prayed, the building materials she had provided miraculously assembled themselves into the “Holy House” of Walsingham.

For half a millennium, Walsingham thrived as a centre of pilgrimage, alongside Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago. English kings came to pray here. The Milky Way became known as “The Walsingham Way” because its celestial sweep recalled the movement of pilgrims towards the bright star of its shrine. Walsingham, so the saying went, was “England’s Nazareth”.

Read it all (subsciption).

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

Cathedrals have a mission to show the ‘heart of Jesus’ to a suffering world, Archbishop tells conference

Speaking on the closing day of the National Cathedrals Conference, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell praised the ‘precious and important’ contribution of the cathedrals, emphasising their role of service and teaching to their communities.

He said cathedrals had a mission to show the ‘heart of Jesus’ in world of “so much hurt and so much confusion and so much uncertainty.” The heart of Christian teaching and mission is to open the heart of Jesus to everyone, he told the conference.

“Our primary vocation is to be the place that serves and teaches… to be the Church which is aligned with that which is basic and obvious to our Christian faith, which is to show the heart of Jesus to others both from our teaching and preaching and evangelising and through the service that we offer,” he said.

In his speech, the Archbishop urged cathedrals to see themselves as a ‘work in progress’ and to continue asking the ‘hard missional questions’ about how to transmit the Christian faith in a changing world.

Read it all.

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

(Telegraph) Marriages in places of worship hit record low

A couple’s wedding day is traditionally considered one of the most important in life, but churches have become increasingly spared from hosting nuptials.

Marriages in places of worship have hit a record low, new figures revealed on Thursday, accounting for less than a fifth of all ceremonies for the first time.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data on marriages in England and Wales in 2019, analysed by age, sex, previous marital status and civil or religious ceremony.

It found that in 2019, religious ceremonies accounted for less than one in five (18.7 per cent) of opposite-sex marriages, a decrease from 21.1 per cent in 2018 and the lowest percentage on record; for same-sex marriages, 0.7 per cent of marriages were religious ceremonies.

Researchers said that the reason for the decline was down to “couples choosing to live together rather than marry, either as a precursor to marriage or as an alternative”.

Read it all.

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

(Church Times) Bishops challenge Government on cost-of-living and climate crises

Bishops in the House of Lords continued to challenge the Government’s response to the cost-of-living and climate crises this week, as debates on the Queen’s Speech of last week (News, 13 May) entered a fourth day.

On Monday, debate focused on economic development, energy, and the environment. The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, said: “The climate crisis is the multiplying factor for all the other crises we face.”

In his maiden speech, Bishop Seeley dedicated much of his time to environmental issues. “Global temperature rises will dramatically increase the global refugee crisis and food shortages, and the geopolitical impact will continue to be magnified,” he said.

“We must pursue the determined course set at COP26, where we take actions —challenging actions — now, for the sake of the long term.”

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, who is the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment, wrote of the agreement at COP26 that “progress was made . . . but not enough” (Comment, 18 November 2021).

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecology, Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Cathedrals can light the way to Net Zero says Bishop Usher

Addressing the National Cathedrals Conference in Newcastle, Graham Usher, who is Bishop of Norwich, said that cathedrals can show the way in making changes for achieving Net Zero carbon across the whole Church by 2030, with a route map due for a vote at General Synod in July.

Cathedrals have an impressive track record within the heritage sector, with Gloucester Cathedral becoming the first Grade 1 listed building to install photovoltaic panels in 2016.

Many others have followed suit with green adaptations including solar panels, replaced light fittings, draft exclusion and in some places re-designed precincts to give greater access to green space and a chance for biodiversity to thrive.

The host venue, Newcastle Cathedral, was praised for the installation of an air source heat pump as part of a major recent renovation.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Church Times) See of Oswestry might be revived to serve traditionalists

The revival of the suffragan see of Oswestry in the diocese of Lichfield is being considered by the Archbishop of Canterbury to provide alternative episcopal oversight in the Province of Canterbury.

The suggestion comes after the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, resigned in September to become a Roman Catholic (News, 10 September 2021). Bishop Goodall had, since 2013, been one of three Provincial Episcopal Visitors — a “flying bishop” — supporting traditionalist congregations in the Church of England that are unable to accept the ministry of women as priests or bishops.

To fulfil this ministry, he served as an honorary assistant bishop in ten dioceses in the Canterbury Province. The Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Revd Norman Banks, also provides episcopal oversight in the Province.

A statement from House of Bishops on Thursday of last week said that a consultation on Bishop Goodall’s successor had resulted in “a number of calls to consider relocating the post to be rooted in an individual diocese and diocesan college of bishops. . .

“A suggestion from the Archbishop of Canterbury to revive the suffragan see of Oswestry in the diocese of Lichfield is currently being explored.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Guardian) Social supermarkets offer choice and self-esteem to hard-up workers

In the crypt of a 283-year-old London church, you would not normally expect to see displays of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish next to shelves of tinned food, toilet rolls and nappies, and customers with baskets doing their weekly shop.

But from September, that will be the scene at the City of London’s first social supermarket, which is to open in the vaults of Christ Church Spitalfields, a Nicholas Hawksmoor-designed church close to the financial district. It will replace a food bank set up during the pandemic that has been used by 20 to 70 families a week during the past year.

Small social supermarkets have been springing up across the UK in recent years, some of them having started out as food banks. (At a social supermarket users pay for their groceries, but get a large discount.) They cater for low-income families – in the case of Christ Church these are referred by the local primary school – and pay a membership fee and/or a weekly fee for their shop.

Read it all.

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

Notes from the most recent meeting of the C of E House of Bishops meeting

As the first substantive item, the House turned its attention to Governance reform. The House noted the update from the National Church Governance Project Board and the Board’s plan to establish the Episcopal Reference Group which will help shape how bishops and the Church of England National Services (CENS) will work together within the new governance model.

The House was then given an update on Racial Justice by the Archbishops’ Adviser on Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns with the House taking note of progress made to date.

The House was then informed of agreed spending plans on behalf the Triennium Funding Working Group which outlined details and spending plans that will be made public. Plans include a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation. The Church Commissioners for England intend to distribute £1.2 billion between 2023 and 2025, up 30% from £930 million in the current three-year period, and plan to maintain this level of funding in the subsequent six years.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

The Bishop of Durham calls for end of the Two Child Limit

Bishop of Durham calls for the end of the Two Child Limit with Private Members Bill

Today, a Private Members’ Bill which would abolish the two child limit to Universal Credit was drawn from the ballot, to be introduced in the coming session by the Bishop of Durham. For the last five years, support provided by the child element of Universal Credit has been limited to the first two children. The Universal Credit (Removal of Two Child Limit) Bill would remove the restriction introduced in 2016 and reinstate entitlement of support for all children and qualifying young people.

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler said about the bill: “There is a huge amount of evidence that says that the two child limit is pushing larger families into poverty. There were significant concerns about this raised at the time the limit was introduced, and they have proved true five years later.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to begin the day from the Church of England

Risen Christ,
faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:
teach us by the power of your Holy Spirit to hear your voice
and to follow your command,
that all your people may be gathered into one flock,
to the glory of God the Father.
Amen (slightly edited).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

C of E national funding to increase 30% to support and develop ministry especially with young people and disadvantaged communities

The Church of England today announced plans for a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation.

The Church of England today announced plans for a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation.

The Church Commissioners for England intend to distribute £1.2 billion between 2023 and 2025, up 30% from £930 million in the current three-year period, and plan to maintain this level of funding in the subsequent six years.

In total, this would mean the Church Commissioners plan to distribute £3.6 billion to frontline work of the Church of England between 2023 and 2031, making the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council among the largest grant givers in the country.

The Church Commissioners’ distributions will account for approximately 20% of Church funding, whilst the biggest contribution comes from the faithful and generous giving of churchgoers across the country.

Read it all.

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

(C ofE) See of Ebbsfleet – consultation

From there:

Following the resignation of the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, in September last year, a consultation on the way forward for the see has received a number of calls to consider relocating the post to be rooted in an individual diocese and diocesan college of bishops.
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet – one of the Church of England’s three ‘Provincial Episcopal Visitors’, who minister to traditional catholic parishes – has been responsible primarily for churches in the western half of the Church of England’s Province of Canterbury.

Following the initial consultation, a suggestion from the Archbishop of Canterbury to revive the suffragan See of Oswestry in the Diocese of Lichfield is currently being explored.

The proposal would involve a future Bishop of Oswestry living in the diocese and ministering to traditional catholic parishes in that and other dioceses of the West Midlands and South West of England.

No decisions have been taken. Initial consultations are currently underway within the Diocese of Lichfield, with The Society and in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Any proposal would then be considered by the Dioceses Commission this summer.

Please also see the statement from The Society’s Council of Bishops in response to this there.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Prospect) Martyn Percy: Why I’m leaving the Church of England

The Church of England badly needs an independent regulatory body to oversee its safeguarding and begin to address the culture of bullying and harassment afflicting many clergy. Some congregations might also be grateful for basic human resources expertise being available to parish churches. The need for an impartial regulator is obvious when one realises that a nervous, declining church, losing its way, quickly collapses into being a members-only club, in which deference to episcopal authority and loyalty to patronage are the only ways to get on.

Such a regulator could firmly bind the CoE to the principles that govern other areas of public life, with authority to call the leadership to account. Good models exist in other professions—the General Medical Council and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, to name but two. The Church must find a way to divorce itself from the political, weaponised, amateur and contorted behaviour that causes people to become ill, self-harm and even commit suicide over these allegations.

Currently, the CoE properly serves few of those with a stake in the safeguarding process. Respondents and claimants alike have been known to cite the conduct of bishops and diocesan safeguarding advisers (DSAs) as further sources of abuse and trauma. Significant numbers of DSAs seem not to know what NST policies consist of (they are, in any case, notoriously fudgy). Core groups, which try to determine the facts of an allegation and the risk that the accused may pose, are also a problem. Most members lack basic legal training or relevant expertise. In fact, they lack adequate training full stop. The minutes of a core group meeting, making life-changing or employment-ending decisions, are sometimes forgotten or entirely mislaid. Where minutes might exist, both respondents and claimants are frequently denied access. If they eventually get to see them, there is no mechanism for challenging or correcting them.

Neither respondent nor claimant has a right to representation at a CoE core group and there is no obvious mechanism for fact checking. Intense and unbounded pastoral gossip sessions ought to have proper checks and balances. There is nothing to stop the train of thought hurtling along, driven by catastrophising and a desire to manage reputational risk. These trains have no braking mechanism, as Father Alan Griffin found to his cost.

Read it all.

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

(C of E) More clergy from UK Minority Ethnic backgrounds join House of Bishops

Three clergy from UK Minority Ethnic/Global Majority Heritage backgrounds have been elected to serve on the House of Bishops as part of action towards making the leadership of the Church of England more representative, it was announced today.

[The] Revd Canon Arun Arora, co-chair of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce, Revd Canon Dr Chigor Chike, Chair of the Anglican Minority Ethnic Network and Revd Shemil Mathew, Vice Dean of Emmanuel Theological College, have been elected to serve as ‘participant observers’ at the House of Bishops.

Their election brings the number of people from UKME/GMH backgrounds on the House of Bishops to 11, with eight bishops – one diocesan and seven suffragans – either members or participant observers.

Under the scheme approved earlier this year by a Committee of the House, at least 10 UKME/GMH people will take part in meetings of the House – either as existing members or “participant observers”.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

C of E to provide up to £3 million to boost diocesan discretionary funds in face of rising cost of living

Decisions about the distribution of grants will be made at diocesan level but it is expected that people from the following groups will be eligible to apply:

–Stipendiary clergy, including curates
–Self-supporting ministers with a provided house (‘House-for-Duty’)
–Salaried lay workers employed by the diocese or parishes such as youth and children’s workers
–Retired clergy carrying out a specific role in support of Diocesan ministry as agreed by or at the request of a Bishop or Archdeacon

A Church of England report published last year backed targeted support for clergy facing financial challenges such as those with larger families or with no additional household income other than the stipend.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance & Investing, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Guardian) God’s own gardens: why churchyards are some of our wildest nature sites

They are in nearly every village, town and city across the UK, thousands of church buildings peppering the landscape. But while many may no longer be in regular use, the churchyards surrounding them – quiet, peaceful and often ancient – amount to what Olivia Graham, the bishop of Reading, equates to “a small national park”. The land beyond the church gate is some of the most biodiverse in the UK because it has largely stayed untouched.

“A churchyard is a little snapshot of how the countryside used to be,” says Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Pippa Rayner, who is working on Wilder Churches, a new initiative with the diocese of Bath and Wells “to enhance churchyard biodiversity across the county”.

“Very often in a highly industrialised rural landscape, the fields around villages may be covered in agricultural chemicals. You often find that the churchyard is the one place in the area where they haven’t been using chemicals,” says Rayner. “The fact that they generally have been managed differently to the rest of the countryside, and they have been looked after in a different way, has enabled species to still be there,” she adds.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Parish Ministry

After 800 years, Church of England apologizes to Jews for laws that led to expulsion

The Church of England on Sunday apologized for anti-Jewish laws that were passed 800 years ago and eventually led to the expulsion of Jews from the kingdom for hundreds of years.

A special service held at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford was attended by Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and representatives of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to mark the Synod of Oxford, passed in 1222.

The synod forbade social interactions between Jews and Christians, placed a specific tithe on Jews, and required them to wear an identifying badge. They were also banned from some professions and from building new synagogues. The decrees were followed by more anti-Jewish laws, and eventually the mass expulsion of England’s 3,000 Jews of the time in 1290.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) St Paul’s Cathedral to admit girls to choir for first time in 900 years

St Paul’s Cathedral is to admit girls to its internationally renowned choir, breaking a tradition stretching back 900 years.

The move comes 31 years after Salisbury became the first Anglican cathedral in England to offer girls places in its choir. Many others, including York Minster, Durham and Exeter, have followed suit.

St Paul’s choir performs at services and events of national importance as well as daily liturgies and three times on Sundays. It will perform at a service of thanksgiving next month for the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

The choir currently comprises 22 choristers alongside professional singers known as vicars choral. The first girls will join in 2025 after boarding school facilities have been expanded and funds raised for scholarships.

Read it all.

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