Category : Church of England (CoE)

Bp Graham Tomlin–Grenfell’s silent protest sends a loud message

People walk silently, some quietly holding placards, faces serious and taut. Occasionally an arm stretches around a neighbour’s shoulder. A few tears are shed. A line of firefighters stand to attention, helmets at their feet while the crowd shuffles past. The predominant colour is green. Every now and again the march comes to a halt as a road is crossed, or an ambulance rushes past, and slowly, the thousands of people wend their way to the base of Grenfell Tower.

On the 14th day of every month since last June, a remarkable event has taken place around the streets of North Kensington. The Grenfell Silent March was the idea, among others, of a young man called Zeyad Cred.

I met Zeyad for the first time a few days after fire destroyed the tower block, when he was one of a group of local people hastily brought together to meet with the Prime Minister so she could hear the concerns of the immediate community around Grenfell.

I remember him then as articulate and thoughtful, with a controlled anger that occasionally broke out into passionate speech. Today, he and a group of others solemnly and expertly marshal the crowd in hi-vis jackets as it wends its way around the streets, stopping for a minute’s silence to view the ruins of Grenfell Tower, before a few short speeches are made and the crowd disperses.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Church Times) Bishop of London relishes diversity in the city at interfaith Iftar

At one of her first public engagements since being installed last month (News, 17 May), Bishop Mullally said that diversity in London was something to be proud of.

She was speaking to more than 100 young people, including representatives from schools across London, at an Iftar organised by the Naz Legacy Foundation.

The event, at the St John’s Wood Synagogue, ended with the breaking of the Ramadan fast at sunset. The speakers were Bishop Mullally; the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols; and the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.

Bishop Mullally said: “One of the great joys of coming back to London is its diversity. There is something in that diversity that we should be proud of. The opportunity of interfaith dialogue is that we can gain an understanding of each other. . . As people of faith, we have an ability to strengthen this city. We hold the opportunity to strengthen a city that is already strong.”

Bishop Mullally praised the young people who were there to talk about interfaith matters, noting that “today itself is a small step, but it has an enormous impact”….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(BBC) Abuse inquiry seeks Peter Ball statement from Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales has been asked to give a witness statement to a public inquiry about a paedophile bishop who was jailed after abusing young men.

Peter Ball, 85, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for offences against 18 teenagers and men.

The former Bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester carried out the abuse between the 1970s and 1990s.

Prince Charles exchanged a series of letters with Ball, whose Gloucester diocese covers his Highgrove home….

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Archbp Cranmer blog) Adrian Hastings–When did Transgenderism supplant Anglican orthodoxy as a qualification for Holy Orders?

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Minute’s silence for London Bridge terror attack victims

A minute’s silence has been honoured and a church service held in memory of those murdered in the London Bridge terror attack, exactly a year ago.

Eight died and 48 were injured by three men who drove into pedestrians, then stabbed people in Borough Market.

Their loved ones lit candles at the Southwark Cathedral service, which was attended by the prime minister and members of the emergency services.

An olive tree was planted using compost from floral tributes.

At the cathedral, Dean of Southwark, the Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, read the names of those killed in the attack.

He praised the “dedication” of the emergency services and prayed for their “continued safety and protection”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Church Times) Bp Philip North–The spreadsheet or the cross — time to choose

The first Christians dealt with their wealth in so daring and counter-cultural a way that it proved powerfully attractive (Acts 2.44). Property and income was pooled so that there was no distinction between rich and poor, slave and free.

Yet this was no crypto-Marxist, hippy commune. Resources were shared because this was a community founded on the sacrificial love of the cross. Those dependent on Christ’s sacrifice knew that they were dependent also on each other. Those whose lives had been saved by the freely offered love of the cross could live only to the same values of generosity, gift, and grace.
It is interesting to see how far we have fallen. Anglican leaders (me included) love to rail against social inequality and the ever growing divide between rich and poor. Yet any analysis of the data shows that, across our own diocesan structures, we graphically model the inequality we so freely condemn.

The heart of the issue is that each diocese is its own independent charity, and that some have inherited vast historical assets, whereas others have not. While direct comparison is difficult because of the different accounting methods employed by different dioceses, the broad picture is so striking as to be unarguable.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(CEN) House of Bishops wants Church of England to be more effective in youth ministry

The House of Bishops has committed to prioritising the Church’s involvement with children and young people more effectively in the future.

The House of Bishops met in York at Bishopthorpe Palace on 21-22 May where they discussed safeguarding, the Lambeth Conference in 2020, the future of ministry, and engaging children and young people more completely in the life of the Church.

The House discussed the mutual and complementary roles played by Church, school and family in shaping young people’s perceptions of faith and ideas were shared on how all three could collaborate more closely together.

The conversation took place in the context of the Church’s broader work on Setting God’s People Free; encouraging people to live out their commitment to Christianity seven days a week.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

(Christian Today) Could sexuality be a thorn in the side of the Anglican-Methodist unity pact?

What is perhaps a more pressing question is what would happen to the Anglican-Methodist Covenant were either church to change its opposition to gay marriage. Would a sudden change by the Methodist Conference in 2019 or 2020 scupper the long proposed deal…?

It certainly might make the strong conservative base on the Church of England’s ruling general synod less enthusiastic.

But difference in teaching on sexuality is not officially a block on sharing ministry.

The Church of England is already in direct ‘communion’ with its sister Anglican churches in Scotland and the US. This means that priests in both churches are recognised as such by the Church of England and so they can, as long as the local bishop agrees, come and minister in CofE parishes.

Both the Episcopal Church in the US and the Scottish Episcopal Church permit same-sex marriage, and while they faced sanctions from the wider Anglican Communion, they remain in communion with the CofE.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) 30 years after Margaret Thatcher drove in the first pile of the Canary Wharf project, Rebecca Paveley investigates whether the Church missed an opportunity

The Church’s presence in the area over the past decades has shifted and evolved as it, too, has struggled to keep up with the pace of change. There is no physical church space on the Wharf, although there is a multifaith prayer room and a chaplaincy, which came much later in the development (News, 18 February 2000). In a valedictory lecture three years ago, the last Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, who was Bishop of Stepney from 1992 to 1995, described how “sympathy with vulnerable local communities” had resulted in “sustained opposition to major new developments, notably Canary Wharf, where no attempt was made to establish a Christian presence”.

Could the Church have done more to secure such a presence? Bishop Newman says that, even with hindsight, the answer to that question is not clear.

“In the early days, the Church took a prophetic stance, and saw the Wharf as a threat to the local community. Was it short-sighted, or was it principled? The answer is probably both. It may be that by taking a stance we lost out on opportunities to be involved. . . Thirty years ago, the Church was in the twilight of a particular era when it may have had a bit more influence than it has now.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(C of E) Towards a Safer Church: Liturgical Resources

Safeguarding resources, for use in churches across the country, including Bible readings, prayers and suggested hymns, chosen in consultation with survivors, have been published…[yesterday].

Many of the resources are already in general use and are supplemented by new material, including prayers suggested by survivors. The materials, to support a variety of pastoral circumstances, range from a safeguarding prayer that could be used to conclude a day of safeguarding training, to a litany of penitence for past failures. They have been put together and published by the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission and commended by the House of Bishops. They will be updated by the Commission as new materials evolve.

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

The Bishop of Norwich announces his retirement

In his announcement, Bishop Graham says:

“I intend to retire as Bishop of Norwich early next year, and will conclude my public ministry at a service in Norwich Cathedral on Sunday 25 November 2018, the final Sunday of the Christian year.

“I will use the following weeks to draw my involvement with many local organisations and charities to a close, and also to disengage from a number of national responsibilities.

“It’s been a privilege and honour to serve as Bishop of Norwich for almost 19 years, and Julie and I will find it hard to leave. We are returning to Cornwall (to Truro) but the Diocese of Norwich and her people will always have a big place in our hearts. Thank you for all your support.

“Please pray for us as we prepare for this new chapter in our lives, as well as for those who will be responsible for the appointment of my successor.

“May God continue to bless you and this diocese.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(AM) Andrew Symes–Church of England: A House Divided

Are there limits to the diversity found in the Church of England? A look at recent communications from two leaders shows the seemingly unbridgeable gulf in how different groups understand the essence of the Christian faith and the mission of the church.

Model 1: God converts a conservative church by speaking through his activity in the world.

Firstly Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church Oxford, in an essay for Modern Church outlines familiar criticisms of the ‘evangelical’ leadership of the C of E, and proposes a very different model for the Church’s engagement with the world. He begins by reflecting on two best-selling publications.  The first of these books, Faith in the City (1985), focuses on the world, and how the Kingdom of God can be found and nurtured there, in helping the poor and challenging injustice, not on building up the church. This, in Percy’s view, reflects better the priorities of Jesus.

The second book, Mission-Shaped Church (2004), reveals the increasing influence of evangelicals; the focus is on developing homogenous groups of believers rather than socio-political involvement in the world. Percy sees this as a ‘shift to the right’, with its roots in the 1990’s Decade of Evangelism, which was “not successful”, claims the Dean. church attendance numbers have continued to decline, and while evangelicals have become more prominent in the C of E’s leadership, the British public have been alienated by a ministry that just “shouts louder” and yet is not heard. What is needed, according to Percy, is an “authentic and humble” Church, which listens to and observes what God is doing in the world, and joins in, rather than evangelistic initiatives which “achieve very little”….

Model 2: God speaks through the bible to individuals, church and world

When this recent articulation of a revisionist approach is set alongside an orthodox one, it can be seen more clearly why the theological crisis and confusion in the Western church is not just about sexuality.

Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone, recently gave a talk to Church Society entitled “Flourishing in the Church of England today”. Thomas begins by saying he will partly answer the question of whether conservative evangelicals such as himself can continue to occupy a space and grow and develop within the C of E. But then he questions whether to accept simply being part of a minority protected group within a theologically plural and heterodox church is a valid goal, and insists on a ministry of ‘contending for the faith’, to fight from within the C of E for its continued identity as an apostolically faithful church.

Unlike Martyn Percy, who makes no effort to engage with Scripture in his 4000 word essay, Thomas takes his listeners straight to Psalm 1 and Ephesians 4. The compilers of the Psalter, he notes, don’t choose a hymn of praise to God as an introduction to the collection, but start with human beings and the choice facing each individual, to follow the world, or God’s law. The consequences of this choice are stark: “flourishing”, pictured as a fruitful tree, or dryness, lifelessness and dispersal. A New Testament image of flourishing is the healthy body, which Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16 uses as a metaphor for God’s people, built up by God’s word as brought to them by gifted servants, and active in good works. In both cases, there are warnings about hindrances to flourishing in obedience to God’s word – those not following God’s way, and those bringing in the confusion of false teaching. This is why the task of the church must be both to teach the truth and refute error….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England (CoE), Theology

(Wired) Jesus would like to connect with you on LinkedIn! Inside the Church of England’s digital conversion

On a chilly Saturday in February, about sixty Christians packed into a church hall in Shoreditch, east London. But they hadn’t come to discuss theology or argue about women bishops. They had come to code. From morning to evening, the delegates at the first Church of England Digital Labs batted around ideas, sketched out wireframes, discussed user interfaces and began building websites, apps, and social media campaigns. A panel of judges then picked out the two best ideas, which will be funded, fully developed and released by the Church of England later this year.

The mastermind behind this unlikely Christian hackathon was Adrian Harris, the head of digital for the Church of England. A mild-mannered man in his thirties, Harris was happily making a career for himself in digital communications – working at Bupa, Tesco, and the Conservative Party – when he was recruited by the Church of England in 2016.

His appointment was effectively an admission by the church that it had fallen badly behind on digital media and new technologies. “It was half of a junior staff members’ time,” he says. “It was a bare bones operation – I think the web budget was ten grand a year. It was neglected.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

A BBC Radio 4 Profile on the New Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally

Sarah Mullally, appointed this week as the first woman Bishop of London, the third most senior position in the Anglican Church. A former nurse and senior civil servant, she was ordained in 2001. Her surprise appointment followed a brief spell as Bishop of Devon in Crediton. She’s expected to attract criticism from more conservative elements of the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical elements of the church. Mark Coles profiles the most senior woman in the Anglican Church.

Listen to it all (a little under 14 minutes).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Church Times) Want to know about God? Just ask Alexa

The Church of England has launched an “Alexa skill” that provides answers to questions about faith and prayer, and can find a church to attend on the basis of the user’s location.

Launched on Wednesday night, the skill is compatible with all Amazon Echo and Alexa devices. Users can ask questions such as “Who is God?” and “How do I become a Christian?” besides making the device read specific prayers or prayers for different situations or periods of the day.

The skill is similar to an app on a smartphone or tablet, and is one of the “first significant faith-based resources” for Alexa, the C of E’s head of digital, Adrian Harris, says.

It works alongside the website A Church Near You to help users find their nearest church events and services.

Users can launch the C of E skill on Alexa by saying “Alexa, open the Church of England.” A full list of commands is available online.

 

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Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology