Category : Church of England (CoE)

A Telegraph Article on the new Statistics–Church of England sees regular attendance rise but churchgoers struggle to make traditional Sunday services

The number of overall churchgoers rose in the past year, despite a decline in attendance at traditional Sunday services, the latest figures reveal.

The Church of England’s annual survey said that the number of those attending at least once a month grew by around 2,000 to 1.138 million churchgoers last year.

At the same time, regular Sunday attendance fell by 2.9 per cent to 756,000 and regular weekly attendance also fell by 2.9 per cent to 895,000.

Various clerics told The Telegraph that people’s busy modern lives – which increasingly mean working across seven days of the week – were partly behind the Sunday decline.

However, that hasn’t phased regular attendees, who have taken advantage of new initiatives to hold services at more convenient times and places for congregants….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE)

The Church of England releases its Latest Statistics in Mission Report

The latest annual Statistics for Mission report shows that while traditional Sunday attendance edged lower in 2017, in line with long-term trends, the numbers attending Christmas services increased by 3.4 per cent to 2.68 million.

It was the fourth successive rise in Christmas congregations since 2013 and the highest figure since 2006. Combined with figures for special services in churches during Advent, including carol services, there were nearly eight million attendances over the festive season.

The Statistics for Mission 2017 were published as #FollowTheStar, the Church of England’s campaign to encourage people to attend Advent and Christmas services this year, was launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Meanwhile separate figures also published today show that the Church of England more than doubled its monthly reach on social media – from 1.2 million in 2017 to 2.44 million this year.

Read it all and make sure to follow the links.

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

London Diocese announces first Resource Churches

The Diocese of London has announced the first stage of its strategy to create resource churches across the diocese. Initially, 19 churches have been designated as London resource churches.

Resource churches are part of the growth strategy of the London Diocese that builds on our 30-year history of church planting across every tradition, which itself is part of a long history of church planting stretching back into the 19th century. They will work with their area bishops to help to revitalise existing parish churches where we are looking to build confidence and stimulate growth, start new worshipping communities in areas where there is scope for new initiatives, and develop missionally-minded leaders and create resources for the wider Church. Every parish in the diocese was given an opportunity to express interest in becoming a resource church. The diocesan senior leadership team recently approved the final list.

London resource churches will receive a planting curate, a three-year post which will see them trained in the resource church before planting out after one to three years. These curates will be prepared to start new worshipping communities or help revitalise parish churches around the diocese, as well as being fully trained to incumbent status and deployable throughout the Church of England. A grant awarded to London from the Strategic Development Fund will finance 15 of these posts. In addition, the Diocese of London will assign curates from their existing diocesan allocation as planting curates in these resource churches over the next six years.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(Church Times) Find a way for the UK and EU to coexist, Archbp Welby and Bishop Bedford-Strohm tell politicians

In a joint statement issued by Lambeth Palace on Friday morning, Archbishop Welby and Dr Bedford-Strohm said: “European relationships are changing, not least as a result of Brexit. We do not know what will happen and what the relationship between the UK and EU will look like after 29 March 2019. However, what we do know is that the relationship between the Church of England and the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland goes back over many centuries — long before the European Union.

“As churches, we urgently appeal to all politicians to find fair and sustainable solutions for the future coexistence of the UK and the EU. United in Christ we are drawn together in hope, faith and love, and those things which divide us are of much lesser importance.”

Last week, during a Q&A at Great Yarmouth Minster, the Archbishop said that there was “no necessary defeatism, no necessary outcome either to staying in Europe or leaving. . . The big problems in our society of inequality, of unfairness, of the abandonment of an understanding of a moral and ethical framework which helps us choose how to treat people — that is the thing that will decide our future. . . Being in Europe or being out is obviously important, but there is as much hope out as in or in as out.’’

Read it all and the full joint statement may be found there.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General

(Economist) The Church of England plays a big role in acts of remembrance

The Church of England plays a central but slightly awkward role in commemorating war dead. In the everyday life of England’s bustling, multicultural cities, the existence of an established church, historically privileged but commanding the active loyalty of only a small minority, can seem like a curious anachronism. But at certain occasions and seasons, the Church of England comes into its own as a focus of national emotion.

One such time is the national remembrance of war dead, which takes place every year around the anniversary of the armistice that ended the first world war, which came into effect on 11th November 1918. This year’s commemorations have an added poignancy because a century has passed since the guns fell silent….

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

The Bp of Oxford on WWI–this is our Long Story

We are wise enough to know now that the battles our grandparents fought did not end at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when the artillery fell silent on the Western Front. The battles against tyranny and isolation and prejudice and inequality continue. The search for purpose and meaning and love continues still. Those battles need to be set in an eternal perspective. They recur in different ways in each generation.

Paul writes of that new and eternal perspective which flows from one person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God has reconciled us to himself through Christ. The destiny of humankind is not fragmentation and war but common purpose and unity and a new creation. We are part of this bigger story. God has now entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation. It is our mission, in every generation, to work for peace and freedom and justice with the same commitment shown by the generation who fought the Great War.

As we look back one hundred years it is possible to see in our nation then a greater common purpose than we see today. We are not blind to the weaknesses of the war generation nor to the mistakes that were made. But we do see a commitment to a common cause, a confidence in the values of peace and truth and the common good, a desire to see the world reconciled and a willingness to face together the great challenges of the age.

Such common cause today defeats us. We are finding it difficult as a nation even to rethink and reimagine our relationship with Europe in a way that brings unity and common purpose. We grow more not less fragmented along lines of race and religion and politics and wealth. Our common discourse all too easily admits the language of hate and violence.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, History, Military / Armed Forces

John Stott gives an introduction to the life and work of Charles Simeon

John Stott on Charles Simeon at Taylor University from Randall Gruendyke on Vimeo.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

Charles Simeon on Easter–a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers

In this tomb, also, you may see, A pledge to us…Yes, verily, it is a pledge,

Of Christ’s power to raise us to a spiritual life -The resurrection of Christ is set forth in the Scriptures as a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers; and by the very same power too, that effected that. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul draws the parallel with a minuteness and accuracy that are truly astonishing. He prays for them, that they may know what is the exceeding greatness of God’s power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” And then he says, concerning them, “God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us usi together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus^” Here, I say, you see Christ dead, quickened, raised, and seated in glory; and his believing people quickened from their death in sins, and raised with him, and seated too with him in the highest heavens. The same thing is stated also, and the same parallel is drawn in the Epistle to the Romans ; where it is said, “We are buried with Christ by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” But can this be effected in us ? I answer, Behold the tomb ! Who raised the Lord Jesus? He himself said, ” I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again….”

–Horae homileticae, Sermon 1414

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

Paul Carr: Are the Priorities and Concerns of Charles Simeon Relevant for Today?

There is a strong argument for reforming the Church from within rather than through schism and we have a practicable model for pastoral care and social action. In closing, permit me to highlight three areas of Simeon’s ministry which have greatly challenged me in my reflections and which, if we were to follow them, would have the potential to rejuvenate our ministry.

1 Giving priority to an effective devotional lifestyle, with a commitment to spending ”˜quality’ time in Bible study and prayer.

2 A commitment to living a holy life, recognizing the need of the renewing and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

3 That, along with Simeon, our understanding of the purpose of our preaching would be: ”˜Sir, we would see Jesus’ (John 12:21).

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE)

(CT) Charles Simeon–Evangelical Mentor and Model

When Simeon moved to put benches in the aisles, the church wardens threw them out. He battled with discouragement and at one point wrote out his resignation.

“When I was an object of much contempt and derision in the university,” he later wrote, “I strolled forth one day, buffeted and afflicted, with my little Testament in my hand ”¦ The first text which caught my eye was this: ‘They found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; him they compelled to bear his cross.'”

Slowly the pews began to open up and fill, not primarily with townspeople but with students. Then Simeon did what was unthinkable at the time: he introduced an evening service. He invited students to his home on Sundays and Friday evening for “conversation parties” to teach them how to preach. By the time he died, it is estimated that one-third of all the Anglican ministers in the country had sat under his teaching at one time or another.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

John Piper on Charles Simeon: We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering

He grew downward in humiliation before God, and he grew upward in his adoration of Christ.

Handley Moule captures the essence of Simeon’s secret of longevity in this sentence: “‘Before honor is humility,’ and he had been ‘growing downwards’ year by year under the stern discipline of difficulty met in the right way, the way of close and adoring communion with God” (Moule, 64). Those two things were the heartbeat of Simeon’s inner life: growing downward in humility and growing upward in adoring communion with God.

But the remarkable thing about humiliation and adoration in the heart of Charles Simeon is that they were inseparable. Simeon was utterly unlike most of us today who think that we should get rid once and for all of feelings of vileness and unworthiness as soon as we can. For him, adoration only grew in the freshly plowed soil of humiliation for sin. So he actually labored to know his true sinfulness and his remaining corruption as a Christian.

I have continually had such a sense of my sinfulness as would sink me into utter despair, if I had not an assured view of the sufficiency and willingness of Christ to save me to the uttermost. And at the same time I had such a sense of my acceptance through Christ as would overset my little bark, if I had not ballast at the bottom sufficient to sink a vessel of no ordinary size. (Moule 134f.)

He never lost sight of the need for the heavy ballast of his own humiliation. After he had been a Christian forty years he wrote,

With this sweet hope of ultimate acceptance with God, I have always enjoyed much cheerfulness before men; but I have at the same time laboured incessantly to cultivate the deepest humiliation before God. I have never thought that the circumstance of God’s having forgiven me was any reason why I should forgive myself; on the contrary, I have always judged it better to loathe myself the more, in proportion as I was assured that God was pacified towards me (Ezekiel 16:63). . . . There are but two objects that I have ever desired for these forty years to behold; the one is my own vileness; and the other is, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ: and I have always thought that they should be viewed together; just as Aaron confessed all the sins of all Israel whilst he put them on the head of the scapegoat. The disease did not keep him from applying to the remedy, nor did the remedy keep him from feeling the disease. By this I seek to be, not only humbled and thankful, but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Saviour continually. (Carus, 518f.)

Please do read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

Charles Simeon as described by (Bishop of Calcutta) Daniel Wilson

He stood for many years alone, he was long opposed, ridiculed, shunned, his doctrines were misrepresented, his little peculiarities of voice and manner were satirized, disturbances were frequently raised in his church or he was a person not taken into account, nor considered in the light of a regular clergyman in the church.

–as quoted in William Carus, Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon (New York: Robert Carter, 1848), p.39

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

A Church of England Prayer for Remembrance Day/Veterans Day/Armistice Day 2018

Ever-living God,
we remember those whom you have gathered from the storm of war
into the peace of your presence;
may that same peace calm our fears,
bring justice to all peoples
and establish harmony among the nations,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Military / Armed Forces, Spirituality/Prayer

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–What does the recent letter from the Oxford Bishops mean?

The bishops appear here to be following the lead of The Episcopal Church in the United States, which others in the Anglican Communion believed tore the fabric of the Communion and damaged relations, since TEC effectively said ‘We are going to do what we are going to do, and not be hindered by the views of others’. I think the citing of the Church in Wales in the Ad Clerum is highly provocative in this regard, since the bishops there have decided to offer provision for blessing SSM even where their Synod held back. It seems that the bishops regards Christian unity, both within the diocese and between other dioceses and wider Church of England teaching as secondary to their desire to do something. Once more, it is hardly a position which reflects ‘humility’ or ‘some hesitation’.

The whole letter invites the question: ‘Do any of these bishops actually believe in the Church of England’s current teaching on marriage, teaching which, in their ordination vows, they committed not only to uphold, but to teach?’ It is difficult to offer any other answer than ‘No’, and this in turn invites the question of how they expect those who do believe this teaching to respond….

I confess that I searched the Ad Clerum in vain for any clue that any of this teaching of Paul had shaped any of the thinking that the bishops presented—and since Paul explicitly mentions sexual ethics here, you might have expected at least some reference to it. For Paul, the inclusive love of God, and our love for one another, are rooted in this transformation and call to holiness that we have met in the face of Christ. The unity of love flows out of this shared understanding of what God has done for us in Christ, and what we therefore have to offer the world.

The bishops don’t appear to set much store by unity; their agenda takes priority. Holiness doesn’t get a mention; what matters is being ‘authentic’. The wider view of Christians through history and around the world on this matter cannot hold back their sense of urgency to change. And the apostolic message we find in Paul does not constrain them or shape their thinking, at least as far as this letter demonstrates.

If they are signalling here that they are departing from the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, why would anyone in the diocese who remains part of that church not now seek alternative episcopal oversight? Indeed, one might wonder whether the letter is not intended to provoke just that.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Church Times) Dean of Oxford, Martyn Percy, faces removal from office

A formal complaint has been made against the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy. He will have to appear before a tribunal to defend himself, and may be removed from office.

The Cathedral Chapter and the college’s Governing Body, having seen the evidence presented by the complainants, have agreed that there is a case to answer, which, if proved, could constitute good cause for the removal of the dean from office. It is understood that there is a range of views on the issue in the Chapter.

No details of the complaint have been made public, but it is believed to relate to an issue of poor governance raised by Dr Percy, including the setting of senior salaries at Christ Church, among them his own.

The tribunal process itself raises further questions about governance. It is understood that Dr Percy was given no opportunity to challenge any of the evidence against him. Dr Percy is not talking to the press, but a college insider said: “Chapter and Governing Body did not invite the Dean to give any response to the complaint, or put forward any documents of his own before making their decision.”

Read it all.

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