Category : CoE Bishops

Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani to lead Church of England drive to tackle housing crisis

Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, the next Bishop of Chelmsford, is to become the Church of England’s Lead Bishop for Housing to spearhead the Church’s efforts to help ease the UK’s crippling housing crisis.

The announcement comes ahead of the publication next month of the findings of a major two-year commission, set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, examining the role of the Church in tackling housing inequality and examining possible solutions.

Bishop Guli, currently the Bishop of Loughborough, will take up the new role later this year when she becomes Bishop of Chelmsford.

The new post will involve leading efforts to implement the recommendations of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community which will be published in late February.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

The C of E House of Bishops first Meeting of 2021 releases a report

The bishops began with discussion and an acknowledgment of the ongoing seriousness of the pandemic, the rising death toll and the ongoing difficulty, sadness and loss faced by many. As a House and in breakout groups, the bishops continued to be mindful of the damage Covid-19 continues to wreak in our communities but expressed hope that the vaccines now being rolled out offer light at the end of this tunnel.

The House then turned its attention to the current and multi-year post-Covid environment, with broad discussion over the potential long-term impact of Covid-19 in a number of key areas. The House recognised the opportunities afforded by new kinds of engagement through the internet while regretting that many communities could not meet physically or in familiar ways, while underscoring the importance of Holy Communion for individuals and churches.

The bishops welcomed the creative, innovative ways ministers were finding to extend the Church’s outreach by streaming worship online and by developing other ways of building community online. The House affirmed it would be premature to make decisions on the eucharist in a digital medium and the administration and reception of Holy Communion, particularly in a time of national pandemic and resolved to undertake further theological and liturgical study and discussion on these issues over the coming months.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

The Bishop of Durham supports protections for children in covert intelligence bill

The Church of England’s Lead Bishop for Children and Families is supporting moves in the House of Lords today to introduce legal protections for children from being used in undercover operations by police and other authorities.

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, is backing cross-party amendments to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill which is currently before the Lords for report stage.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) London Mayor Khan urges PM Johnson to close places of worship as Covid cases surge

Places of worship in the capital should shut immediately because of the risks of Covid infection, Sadiq Khan has said, amid signs that churches, mosques and synagogues are already closing their doors.

In a letter to the prime minister setting out his reasons for declaring a major incident in London, the mayor urged Boris Johnson to order places of worship to close, among other measures to tackle the crisis.

Under the lockdown restrictions, places of worship in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are permitted to remain open. The Scottish government has ordered them closed.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

The Bishop of Sheffield’s 2020 Christmas Sermon

Second, face. I wonder how you feel about your own face. Certainly, it bears a lot of your history. It’s true, isn’t it, that a lot of what we go through in life gets etched into our faces; and it’s also true that we read a lot about others by looking at their faces. That’s why face-coverings have made it so hard for us to relate well to one another: we all instinctively try to look one another in the face. We know the value of our masks: we have learned that we can catch and can transmit the virus through mouth and nose, so we readily wear our masks in order to protect ourselves and others. But it is a deprivation: faces matter in relationships.

So, then think about the face of the baby Jesus then, and about Mary and Joseph, looking down, with love beaming out of their faces at the new-born Christ-child. The truth at the heart of the Christmas story is an extraordinary one – that in the birth of Jesus, God himself has come among us, God became incarnate, made human for us. Listen again if you would to the first and last words of our Gospel reading tonight: in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God; and the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Christians believe that when we look into the face of Jesus, we see the face of God revealed. And we believe that what we see in that face is grace and truth. Of course, these days, we mostly use the word grace to describe physical movement – in dance perhaps, like Oti Mabusi on Strictly, full of grace. But the Bible uses the word to describe Jesus’ character, and the character of God – not referring to physical movement, though yes, still referring to a kind of beauty. But it is the beauty of mercy, of generous favour, of undeserved kindness.

And of course these days, we mostly use the word truth in relation to facts – and perhaps in the USA and in the UK too, 2020 has seen at least the start of a return of respect for facts, for science, for experts after several years in which we have endured the politics of fake and fantasy. But when the Bible speaks about the truth which we see in the face of Jesus and in the face of God, again it refers to character – to trustworthiness and integrity, reliability and steadfastness.

Read it all.

Posted in Christmas, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics

St Helen’s Bishopsgate announces “broken partnership” with House of Bishops

St Helen’s Bishopsgate, following much prayer and reflection, has announced a state of broken partnership with the House of Bishops of the Church of England.

St Helen’s and many other churches have over a prolonged period called for and prayed for Bishops, as the denomination’s senior leaders, to uphold their vows to teach what the Bible says, including in the area of sex and marriage, and to deny false teaching and practice. Instead theHouse of Bishops is divided on sex and marriage; its official orthodox doctrine is expressly undermined by how some bishops speak and act, and by the failure to speak and act of many others. This has resulted in a muddled message and confusion for churchgoers across England.

Despite their consecration vows, Bishops have overseen the appointment to influential leadership positions of people who openly advocate change to the Church of England’s doctrine and/or forms of service, and Bishops have permitted alternative services and events that do not uphold the Church of England’s stated doctrinal position on sexual ethics.

Seven years ago the House of Bishops published the Pilling Report which called for ‘facilitated discussions’ on sexuality. Earlier this month the House of Bishops published the Living in Love and Faith book, course, and library of resources which call for yet further discussion. Living in Love and Faith demonstrates the division in the House of Bishops with some sections setting out the orthodox biblical teaching but others erroneous alternative views. The overall effect suggests that the clear biblical teaching on sex and marriage is not clear. The House of Bishops is responsible for upholding biblical doctrine in the Church of England. Whilst St Helen’s is encouraged by the faithful work of some involved in the LLF project, the clarity and consistency of the bible’s teaching on sex and
marriage is in marked contrast to theHouse of Bishops’ muddled message.

In good conscience, St Helen’s is no longer able to remain in gospel partnership with theHouse of Bishops until they again speak and act consistently in accordance with the plain reading and plain teaching of scripture on sex and marriage, as recognised by the church down the centuries.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Next Bishop of Chelmsford announced

Downing Street has announced that the Right Reverend Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani will be the next Bishop of Chelmsford, succeeding the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, who became Archbishop of York earlier this year.

Bishop Guli is currently Bishop of Loughborough in the Diocese of Leicester, a post she has occupied since late 2017.

Speaking about her appointment, Bishop Guli said “It is a great privilege to be appointed as the next Bishop of Chelmsford. I know there are many challenges ahead both in the church and wider society, not least as a result of the pandemic. However, I am hopeful about the future.

“I want to thank my friends and colleagues in Leicester Diocese where I have been very happy. I will be sad to say goodbye, but at the same time I am very excited about this next chapter in my ministry”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Bishop of Durham on the urgent action needed to tackle poverty in the pandemic

Living standards for low income families have worsened since the summer amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the findings of a new report by the Church of England Child Poverty Action Group. The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, writes about how urgent action is needed to tackle poverty and destitution.

At times like this, when nearly everyone is struggling in some way, it is tempting to turn in on ourselves, as individuals and as a nation. We saw this during the first lockdown when people stock-piled essential supplies and in the recent decision to reduce the UK’s foreign aid budget.

Fortunately, though, the overwhelming response to the pandemic has been to reach out generously to those in need through the spontaneous emergence of local mutual aid schemes across the country, alongside countless everyday acts of kindness and neighbourliness.

The call to ‘remember the poor’ runs through the Bible. The ‘Poverty in the Pandemic’ report that we are publishing today with the Child Poverty Action Group is a modern-day call to remember the poor. Based on a survey of nearly 700 low-income families with children, it offers a stark insight into the experiences of these families, many of whom have seen their lives turned upside down by the pandemic. This year has been a difficult one for many of us, but these challenges are a lot harder when you are short of money.

Sudden loss of earnings, increased living costs, navigating a complex benefits system, falling into debt – these are just some of the challenges facing families during the crisis. Financial worries are adding considerably to the pressures on families, pushing many of them to breaking point….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Bishop of Portsmouth Christopher Foster announces his retirement

“It has been a privilege to serve as bishop in this diocese for over a decade,” he said. “Because we are a small diocese with a family feel, our clergy and lay people have been able to collaborate effectively and respond quickly to changing circumstances – as the past year has shown.

“Over the past 10 years, I have seen courage, generosity and resourcefulness as our congregations have faithfully shared God’s love, through prayer, worship and serving others. I look forward to working with those fellow disciples over the coming months to continue discovering what the post-Covid Church will look like as we renew our commitment to respond collaboratively in changing times.

“It may seem surprising that I should make this announcement just before Christmas, but the timing means that the period that the Diocese of Portsmouth will be without a diocesan bishop will be as short as possible.

“Thank you to all those who have prayed for us and worked alongside us over the past 10 years, in the churches and communities of south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Sally and I will be sorry to leave so many valued friends and colleagues.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Inside Time) ‘Prisons should get virus jab first’

Further calls for prisoners to be prioritised for coronavirus jabs have come from the American Medical Association and a team of Oxford University researchers led by Professor Seena Fazel.

Ann Norman, who represents thousands of prison healthcare staff as the Royal College of Nursing’s professional lead for criminal justice, said: “I think there’s some lobbying there to do, but absolutely I believe prisoners are some of the most vulnerable people, and as such should be made a priority.”

Deborah Coles, Director of the charity INQUEST, said: “Clearly on both public health and human rights grounds, people in all detention settings must have high priority in receiving the vaccine.”

The Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester, said: “I would hope that Government would be sensible enough when [the vaccine] comes on stream to make sure it’s used in prisons sooner rather than later.”

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “In principle, prison staff and prisoners should be towards the front of the queue, given the risk that prisons pose as epidemiological pumps.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Prison/Prison Ministry

(OM) Gavin Collins is announced as New Oxfordshire Bishop

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Venerable Gavin Collins as the next Bishop of Dorchester.

Due to lockdown restrictions, the Bishop of Oxford is announcing the news at an online meeting to be streamed from Dorchester Abbey with over 100 civic leaders and local clergy in attendance.

The online announcement will be followed by a visit to St Mary’s Church in Chipping Norton later today, where volunteers are supporting over 200 families during lockdown through an initiative called Mary’s Meals.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

JC Ryle on the Final Judgment and its outcome

The state of things after the judgment is changeless and without end. The misery of the lost, and the blessedness of the saved, are both alike forever. Let no man deceive us on this point. It is clearly revealed in Scripture. The eternity of God, and heaven, and hell, all stand on the same foundation. As surely as God is eternal, so surely is heaven an endless day without night, and hell an endless night without day.

–Expository thoughts on the gospels, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A letter to clergy from Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell and the Bishop of London on the recently proposed Lockdown

We are grateful for people’s energy, hard work and creativity in making this happen and we hope and pray this will continue. We are grateful that the new guidelines being introduced on Thursday not only allow churches to remain open for private prayer but also enable online worship to be broadcast from the church building. We were cautious about these issues during the first lockdown – perhaps overly so – but in this second lockdown we want to encourage church buildings to remain open for private prayer wherever possible, making sure that their buildings are Covid secure in the ways that we have learned in recent months, and to broadcast services from their church buildings. However, if you do not have the resources or wherewithal to do this, please do not feel that you have failed in any way. The good thing about provision of worship online, is that people can join in from anywhere and therefore we can support each other more easily in this endeavour. Our national digital team will continue to offer training and support and provide national services each week.

However, worship online still means that the people of God do not have access to the sacraments which are so central to our life in Christ. This is a huge loss and since we were not consulted about the lockdown provisions, we fully intend to speak with government about why certain exemptions are made and not others, emphasising the critical role that churches play in every community. The sacramental life of the church cannot be seen as an optional extra. Nor can we separate out our worship from our service, it is always both and not either or.

Nevertheless, we will of course abide by the law and ask you to do the same. We must do all that we can to keep our communities safe and to enable the NHS to manage this crisis. The Recovery Group chaired by the Bishop of London will be issuing specific guidance in the next day or two.

Bearing in mind our primary vocation as the Church of Jesus Christ to pray and to serve we call upon the Church of England to make this month of lockdown a month of prayer. More than anything else, whatever the nation thinks, we know that we are in the faithful hands of the risen Christ who knows our weaknesses, tiredness and struggles and whose steadfast love endures for ever.

Read it all.

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

(Diocese of Derby) Malcolm Macnaughton named as next Bishop of Repton

Downing Street has announced that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the nomination of the Revd Canon Malcolm Macnaughton, presently Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of York, as the next Suffragan Bishop of Repton in the Diocese of Derby.

Malcolm was educated at Queens’ College Cambridge and trained for ministry at Ridley Hall. He served his title at St Andrew’s Haughton-le-Skerne, in the diocese of Durham, and was ordained Priest in 1982. Malcolm was appointed Priest-in-Charge at the Anglican Methodist Local Ecumenical Partnership of All Saints, Newton Hall in the diocese of Durham in 1985. In 1990, he became Team Vicar of St John’s Hoxton in the diocese of London, and served as Area Dean of Hackney from 1994 to 1999. In 2002, he was appointed Team Rector in the Hambleden Valley Group of Churches in the diocese of Oxford, and became Area Dean of High Wycombe in 2005. Malcolm took up his current role as Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of York in 2007.

Malcolm is married to Pam, an ordained pioneer minister and a leadership specialist with the Church Pastoral Aid Society.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Mark Wroe announced as the Next Bishop of Berwick

Mark was educated at St Mary’s University, London and Anglia Polytechnic University and trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at All Saints Chilvers Coton with St Mary the Virgin, in the diocese of Coventry and was ordained Priest in 1997. In 2000, Mark was appointed Priest-in-Charge, and latterly Vicar of St Alban Windy Nook, Gateshead in the diocese of Durham. Mark took up the roles of Priest-in-Charge of St Barnabas and St Jude, and Vicar of Holy Trinity Jesmond in the Diocese of Newcastle in 2007. In 2017, Mark was additionally appointed Area Dean of Newcastle Central Deanery.

Mark took up his current role as Archdeacon of Northumberland in 2019, having been Acting Archdeacon since 2018. He is married to Caroline (a renal consultant and research professor) and they have three school age children. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and growing up in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, Mark knows the North East well.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(C of E) House of Bishops Meeting – Monday 19 October 2020

During the course of two plenary sessions and breakout groups the House reviewed the recommendations of the report, affirming that any response by the Church needs to be sensitive to, and mindful of, the views of victims and survivors.

The House unanimously endorsed a motion fully accepting the IICSA report, unreservedly apologising to victims and survivors for the harm done by the Church and committing itself to urgently implementing the recommendations.

The House also unanimously agreed with the proposal that the Church should move towards establishing an independent safeguarding structure, with a new trustee body responsible for safeguarding to take over responsibility for the Archbishops’ Council. The House also agreed that an interim arrangement be put in place for additional independent oversight of safeguarding, prior to the establishment of the new trustee body.

The House then underlined the importance of a full response to the IICSA report being released in the coming weeks.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–On bishops, creation and the environment

Last week, the Diocese of Oxford posted a video, the first in a planned series of four, in which Olivia Graham, the recently-appointed bishop of Reading, gave a short theological introduction to the reasons why Christians should be concerned about the environment. In it, I think she said some unusual and (it turned out controversial) things:

2.48 The incarnation isn’t a single birth, but it began 14 billion years ago with an event we call the Big Bang. At that moment, God poured Godself into the emerging universe…every particle of it charged with the incarnate presence of God. The whole earth, then, is God’s body, the whole cosmos is incarnational…

3.22 Creation and incarnation are not two separate events, but one process of God’s self-giving and self communication.

4.22 All that happens is sustained and sanctified; every act of evolving nature is an act of God, because every act of nature’s growth is the energy of divine love. Evolution is not only of God, but is God incarnate.

5.00 Can there be any separation between the sacred and the profane?

5.16 Father, we praise you with all your creatures…they are filled with your presence and your tender love.

5.41 Today you [Jesus] are alive in every creature in your risen glory.

I wasn’t really surprised that there was a reaction to this, since anyone who knows a bit of biblical theology will have spluttered into their tea cups. Simply put, it is a central affirmation of Scripture, and of all orthodox theology in the Judeo-Christian tradition, that God is distinct from God’s creation, and should not be confused with it—in striking contrast to a whole range of other religious traditions. The term ‘incarnation’ does indeed mean ‘taking on flesh’, and by implication means that that which is incarnated was not previously embodied. This both means that the incarnation, the coming of the Word of God in human form, was a unique event, is theologically surprising (since God does not have a body), and that it is also something we bodily humans cannot do; our mission can never be ‘incarnational’, since (unlike God) we are have never been unbodied—even if our mission engagement is contextual and takes the form of concrete actions (which are much more helpful terms).

The idea that every act of creation is an act of God is bizarre—are the slaughter of one creature by another, and the previous mass extinctions, all acts of God? I think Stephen Fry’s position, that these are a source of offence to the idea of a loving God, is much more persuasive! Yes, there can be a separation of the sacred and profane; the only time when this separation is finally ended is when heaven comes down to earth in the New Jerusalem at the end of this age. No, all God’s creatures are not filled with God’s presence; if so, then there is no need for redemption. And Jesus is not yet alive in every creature—if so, then we would have nothing to proclaim.

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

Bp of Birkenhead to Retire

The Bishop of Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair, has announced that he is to retire on 08 March 2021, 14 years to the day after he was consecrated.

Announcing the news, Bishop Keith said that he was thankful to God for calling Bishop Mark to the role of Bishop of Chester and said that he is hoping that his retirement in March will help the process of the appointment of two new suffragan bishops of Stockport and Birkenhead.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Prayers for Bishop Nazir-Ali on behalf of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, October 4, 2020, as we, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and ministry…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, October 2, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Durham urge Government to expand free school meals to avoid “harrowing” Christmas for thousands

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Durham have urged the Government to extend free school meals as they highlight the “harrowing” number of families who could be destitute by Christmas.

Writing in TES today, Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Paul Butler called on the Government to provide free school meals to every child whose family is on universal credit, andexpand holiday provision to all children on free school meals.

According to food bank charity the Trussell Trust, 46,000 food parcels will need to be provided by their network to people in crisis between October and December 2020 – an increase of 61% on last year.

They estimate an additional 670,000 people will be destitute by the end of the year, a prediction Archbishop Justin and Bishop Paul describe as “harrowing”.

The Archbishop and Bishop said it will be “vital for those most disadvantaged” that schools in their communities stay open, but that teachers “can only do so much on their own” and need appropriate funding to help tackle child hunger and poverty.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Pandemic response is too centralised, say Archbishop Welby and Bishop Mullally

When the coronavirus pandemic began and lockdown took force across the country – shuttering shops and pubs, closing schools and barring places of worship – much of what we saw, heard and experienced was dictated and driven by “the centre”. Ministers and officials commanded our attention and determined the daily details of our lives. Few of us have experienced the sheer power of government like that in our lifetimes.

It makes sense to instinctively look for central direction in such an acute crisis, and we’re indebted to the roles many played in doing so, especially those who organised the NHS to cope with the increased demand. Within the Church there are lessons to be learnt about the role and importance of central guidance, and its crucial interplay with government rules that exist for the benefit of all.

But with a vaccine still far from certain, infection rates rising and winter on the horizon, the new normal of living with Covid-19 will only be sustainable – or even endurable – if we challenge our addiction to centralisation and go back to an age-old principle: only do centrally what must be done centrally.

As a country, this principle is in our DNA. In the Church of England, we have been committed to localism for centuries.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(York Press) The Making of two new bishops to be livestreamed from York Minster

Two new Bishops will be consecrated in separate services taking place at York Minster on Monday 21 September.

The Revd Canon Sophie Jelley, former Director of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry in the Diocese of Durham and Canon Missioner at Durham Cathedral, will be consecrated as Bishop of Doncaster in the Diocese of Sheffield. Sophie will be consecrated in the morning by The Archbishop of York, The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, assisted by the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler and the Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox.

In the afternoon, the Revd Dr Andrew Emerton, former Dean of St Mellitus College, will be consecrated as Bishop of Sherwood in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. Andrew will be consecrated by the Bishop of Durham, the Revd Paul Butler, assisted by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally and the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Paul Williams. The Archbishop of York will preside at both services.

The consecration services will take place in the context of the Eucharist and will include readings, prayers, music and a sermon.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

New Theological College announced for North West England

The Bishops have established a multi-disciplinary implementation team led by the Rt Rev Philip North, together with the Rt Rev Beverley Mason and the Rt Rev Emma Ineson.

Bishop Philip said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to develop a new outstanding theological college in the North West to serve the Church in the region and beyond.”

The new independent college will offer part-time and full-time formational, vocational training for lay and ordained leaders of the Church and become the sole regional theological educational partner for the North West dioceses.

Bishop Emma noted: “The team recognise that change can be unsettling but we are committed to building on the strengths of three current providers, and the six dioceses they serve, so that the new college can be both an outstanding centre of excellence in theological education, and be better able to respond to the rapidly changing needs of the Church across the region.”

As part of responding to the needs of the region, the new college will seek to provide pathways for groups that have previously found it difficult to access training. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, explained “there are many people who are called by God, but who currently find it hard to access the training they need. My episcopal colleagues and I are determined that this new college will enable people from diverse backgrounds to pursue ministry in the Church of England.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Seminary / Theological Education

Bishop Stephen Cottrell: safeguarding statements

Statement from Bishop Stephen

“Ten years ago I was approached about a safeguarding allegation regarding a priest. I was able to see the survivor and begin to hear what was a difficult and harrowing story. However, I was moving between roles at the time and although I did speak with colleagues about the actions that needed to be taken, I failed to ensure that these were properly documented and followed through in the way I would expect. Now that I have discovered that this incident was not followed up as it should have been, I am deeply distressed and extremely sorry. Because this has recently come to light, I am both thankful that it is being addressed properly now, but also mindful that in my new position as Archbishop of York it is absolutely essential that I am open and transparent about the need for the whole of our church to be scrupulously honest with each other about any failings in safeguarding.

“In the past, the Church of England has been too quick to protect its own reputation and slow to admit its failings. This must change. Those in public office should be subject to scrutiny. Good safeguarding is an absolute priority for the Church of England and for me personally.

“In the diocese of Chelmsford where I have served for the past 10 years, I have been helped by survivors I have worked with as well as a first rate safeguarding team to have a much greater understanding of why safeguarding itself is so important and how we must be prepared to confront our failings and learn from them. Therefore, although I am embarrassed that I did not follow this up as scrupulously as I should have done 10 years ago, I want to go on the record about what has happened in order to demonstrate a new spirit of openness and transparency over how we ensure that the church is as safe as it can be, that survivors are listened to and dealt with honestly, and perpetrators brought to justice.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Anglican Bishops warn of ‘Environmental Racism’

The Archbishop of Canterbury together with the Bishops of Salisbury, Oxford, Truro, Dover, Woolwich, Sherborne, Loughborough, Kingston, Reading and Ramsbury, and former Archbishop Rowan Williams have joined a list of eight archbishops and 38 bishops worldwide in signing an open letter stating that black lives are predominantly affected by the effects of climate change, as well as police brutality and the spread of COVID-19.

Published by the Anglican Communion’s Environmental Network, the letter reads (extract):

The world is slow to respond to climate change, hanging on to an increasingly precarious and unjust economic system. It is predominantly Black lives that are being impacted by drought, flooding, storms and sea level rise. The delayed global response to climate injustice gives the impression that #blacklivesdontmatter. Without urgent action Black lives will continue to be the most impacted, being dispossessed from their lands and becoming climate refugees.

We stand at a Kairos moment – in order to fight environmental injustice , we must also fight racial injustice.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joseph Butler

O God, who dost raise up scholars for thy church in every generation; we praise thee for the wisdom and insight granted to thy bishop and theologian Joseph Butler, and pray that thy church may never be destitute of such gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

(Express+Star) Bishops looking forward to reopening churches for socially-distanced private prayer

Places of worship will be allowed to reopen for individual prayer from Monday, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced last week.

The ruling around individual prayer means a single person or household can enter a place of worship to pray on their own, but not as part of a group, led prayer or communal act.

They also must ensure they are socially distanced from other individuals and households.

The announcement excludes services, evensong, informal prayer meetings, mass, Jummah and Kirtan, as well as baptisms and weddings.

Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester and Rev. Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield, have both welcomed the decision by the government, but also voiced a note of caution going forward.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(CEN) Bishops take the knee

Bishops across the country led Anglicans in ‘taking the knee’ to mark the death of American George Floyd and to highlight injustice in British society.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Martyn Snow, led others in kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time that a US police officer knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck.

Bishop Snow said: “I am deeply shocked by the appalling brutality we have seen against black people in America and I stand alongside those who are suffering and peacefully calling for urgent change, as well as committing to make changes in our own lives and the institutions we are part of.

“Structural and systemic racial prejudice exists across societies and institutions and we must act to change that, as well as addressing our own unconscious biases that lead us to discriminate against others.” Earlier this year he led the General Synod in a vote to apologise for racism in the Church.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

C of E Bishops revise and produce further guidance for parish life in the midst of the Covid19 Pandemic

It has been issued in light of the easing of restrictions on individual private prayer in places of worship, the reduction in death rates linked to Covid-19 and the pastoral needs of those who have been bereaved. It is in line with guidance from Public Health England.

In keeping with the Church of England’s wider approach to a phased reopening of places of worship, it will be up to each diocesan bishop and senior team how they use the guidance to support churches and cathedrals depending on their local context.

The House noted that this guidance is permissive and not prescriptive. If a building could not open because staff were ill or shielding or could not be easily cleaned, for example, it would be a local decision by those with authority over the building as to whether the permission was used or not.

The funeral may take place at a local crematorium or cemetery if the decision is taken not to open the church as is the case now.

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

(BBC) Bishop of Lincoln faces safeguarding disciplinary proceedings

The Bishop of Lincoln will face disciplinary proceedings in relation to a safeguarding children inquiry.

Bishop Christopher Lowson, who was suspended last year, faces allegations he “failed to respond appropriately to safeguarding disclosures”.

The Church of England said there was no allegation the bishop “committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult”.

Officials also confirmed the bishop’s suspension would continue

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