Category : CoE Bishops

(Church Times) Gambling ‘is bad for your health’, says bishop Alan Smith of Saint Albans

GAMBLING should be treated as a “major health issue”, like smoking, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, has said. He was speaking after figures were published which suggest that most people in England gambled last year.

The Health Survey for England 2018, published on Wednesday, showed that 53 per cent of people had gambled in 2018, including buying lottery tickets. More men gamble than women: 56 per cent of men against 49 per cent of women.

For the survey, 8178 adults (aged from 16) and 2072 children were interviewed in England.

Dr Smith said: “With almost half the country gambling, it looks as if this is becoming a major health issue, which requires a response akin to tackling smoking in the last century.

Read it all.

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

(Yorkshire Post Letters) Our churches are very much open for business says the Bishop of Ripon

From: The Right Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon.

BARRY Ewbank asks (The Yorkshire Post, November 30) “how do we come to a decision as to which churches stay open and which ones close?” Church buildings are both a blessing and a burden to local communities, yet at a fundamental level, and particularly so in rural contexts, these buildings represent a profound commitment to place.

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

The recent sermon preached by new Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin

The prophet Isaiah speaks of a God who has knowledge of us before we were born. A God who has chosen us to be his messengers of Good News and has given us a name. The giving of the name is important as it is meant to reflect something of the character of the messenger. In the New Testament reading Jesus speaks of making known God’s name, “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world.” His name is his bond, you can trust him, because you know what he is like. I am reminded of the words of the psalmist, “Some trust in chariots, some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Such confidence! The name that was once so sacred and could not be spoken, is now available to all – we have access to him through the coming of the Lord Jesus – ‘Emmanuel, God with us.’ Another name carrying much meaning.

God’s presence in our midst changes the kind of relationship we have with him and with each other. This is at the heart of the Good news message we are called on to share. Jesus captures it brilliantly in our New Testament reading. Here we discover a kind of symbiotic relationship – “All mine are yours and yours are mine”. We are deeply mistaken if the kind of relationship we seek with God is so personal and private that we exclude our brothers and sisters around us or indeed as we are in Kent, on the frontier if we exclude our brothers and sisters from another mother!

I am reminded of the quote, “I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see, I sought my God but he eluded me, I sought my brother and I found all three.” The name Emmanuel, which will be highlighted in the Christmas season, captures the kind of relational work that is at the heart of God’s kingdom and which we are called to be engaged in. To do this kind of work, we need to commit to working together not apart. To build the body of Christ together; not to create mini kingdoms according to the numerous labels that that we appear to attach ourselves to.

If we are going to experience that oneness of purpose that Jesus prayed for then we will need to seek to be identified more with the name of Jesus. For too long we have been embarrassed to be associated with him. We have kept him hidden in our beautiful churches and cathedrals that we visit on our terms, for weddings, baptisms, funerals or other such special occasions like Christmas or the mandatory school service. If we are going to ignite the communities from which we come, indeed the county of Kent, then everyone of us will need to reassess our relationship with the name of Jesus.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Preaching / Homiletics

Announcement of New Bishop of Doncaster

The next Bishop of Doncaster will be the Revd Canon Sophie Jelley Downing Street has announced today. The Revd Canon Jelley is currently the Director of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry in the Diocese of Durham, and Canon Missioner at Durham Cathedral, a role she has held for four years.

The role of the Bishop of Doncaster has been vacant since the retirement of the Rt Revd Peter Burrows in September 2019. Sophie will be the seventh Bishop of Doncaster in the Church of England.

The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, said:

“I am truly delighted that Canon Sophie has accepted the invitation to be the next Bishop of Doncaster. She is a devoted disciple of Jesus and a highly gifted priest, with an almost uncanny ‘fit’ to the role description we drew up. She has a wealth of experience, as an incumbent, a residentiary cathedral canon and a member of a bishop’s senior staff team. Her energy, creativity and passion will enrich our Diocese, and I am looking forward hugely to forging a collaboration with her.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Two Church of England Bishops Respond to an open letter on abortion

Further to the letter ‘Abortion Pledges,’ (Times – 28/11/19) we are grateful to the signatories for raising concerns in connection with this important and emotive subject.

The Church of England’s stated position combines principled opposition with a recognition that there can be strictly limited conditions under which abortion may be morally preferable to any available alternative. This is based on our view that the foetus is a human life with the potential to develop relationships, think, pray, choose and love. Those facing unwanted pregnancies realise the gravity of the decision they face: all abortions are tragedies, since they entail judging one individual’s welfare against that of another (even if one is, as yet, unborn). Every possible support, especially by church members, needs to be given to those who are pregnant in difficult circumstances and care, support and compassion must be shown to all, whether or not they continue with their pregnancy.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Theology

The Bishop of Sheffield makes a statement in relation to the Franklin Graham Tour for 2020

“I’m afraid I cannot support the Graham Tour mission event at the FlyDSA Arena on 6 June next year, at which Franklin Graham is due to speak, and so will not be encouraging parishes in the Diocese of Sheffield to support it either. Mr Graham’s rhetoric is repeatedly and unnecessarily inflammatory and in my opinion represents a risk to the social cohesion of our city.

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

Archbishop Sentamu’s sermon at the Consecration of Rose Hudson-Wilkin as Bishop of Dover and Olivia Graham as Bishop of Reading

St Hild was an outstanding figure in the early English Church. She was a bringer of light. She and her monastic female and male companions contributed directly and indirectly to the conversion of England. St Bede’s account of Whitby Monastery under her, reveals Hild as the first great English female saint.

Through Hild’s faith and Rule of Life in teaching and example, Whitby monastery became a centre for the conversion of the laity – bringing salvation to many living at a distance – such as the Monastery’s famous son, Caedmon, a servant labourer on the monastic estate. Hild’s prophetic foresight recognised the potential of Caedmon’s poetic and musical gifts, gifts she fostered when she called him to join her monastery.

She taught Caedmon Holy Scripture inspiring him to compose the first Christian poem in vernacular as well as turning sacred scripture into song. Thus the earliest vernacular expressions of Christian devotion came out of Whitby.

According to St Bede, Whitby Monastery during the lifetime of Hild was “the pre-eminent centre of learning in Anglo-Saxon England and made a unique contribution to the Church at a time when its fortunes were at their nadir, particularly as the priests and bishops it trained were in desperately short supply”.

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Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Preaching / Homiletics

(BBC) Rose Hudson-Wilkin: First black female bishop consecrated

The first black woman to become a Church of England bishop has been consecrated at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Rev Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin was consecrated as the Bishop of Dover during the ceremony in London.

Dr Hudson-Wilkin said: “I’m excited, I’ve got lots of new people to meet, to get to know, and that fills me with joy.”

The former chaplain to the speaker of the house succeeds the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott who retired in May.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Telegraph) Betting firms deploy AI to get gaming machine addicts to ‘cool off’ from their gambling

Betting firms are installing Artificial Intelligence (AI) on all gaming machines which spots addictive behaviour and switches them off to stop punters playing….

Betting firms are also introducing a separate mandatory automatic alert which triggers when any player has spent 20 minutes on a machine forcing them to take a shorter 20 second “cooling off” period with staff also alerted.

Dr Alan Smith, the bishop of St Albans and a campaigner on gambling, said it was a “first step” but he questioned that 20 or 30 second breaks were too short and called for an independent academic review of its effectiveness.

‘It is strange that industry chiefs are fighting any further regulation for their remote operations while at the same time trumpeting their efforts on the high street,” said Dr Smith.

“What we have seen so far, however, continues to put the onus of responsibility on the consumer and not on the industry who are then free to create and then promote addictive gambling products.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Bishop of Dover: The Rev Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin to be consecrated today

The first black woman to become a Church of England bishop will be consecrated during a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral.

In June it was announced chaplain to the speaker of the house, The Rev Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin, will be the new Bishop of Dover.

She said she feels a “bit like a bride” ahead of Tuesday’s consecration.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Premier) Colin Fletcher, One of longest-serving bishops, to retire

Bishop Colin added one the great challenges he’s had over the years is to do with appointments.

“I’ve now appointed a huge percentage of the clergy who work in this part of the world and something I’ve come to recognise is that you make a good appointment, both the parish the person concerned flourish,” he said.

“Make a bad appointment and both the individual and the parish suffers as a result. One of the great challenges is to really focus on those appointments and try as best we can to use prayer and discussion to get them right for all concerned.”

Bishop Colin’s work involves him supporting about 200 churches in Oxfordshire. He also has strong links with a variety of groups, such as Creation Theatre Company, Oxford Inspires and Bible Reading Fellowship.
He said one of the beauties of serving in the area is the variety of the job.

“Oxford includes areas of considerable deprivation in places like the edge of Banbury, as well as places of huge wealth in many of our villages and towns, and of course beautiful countryside all around. So every day is different,” he said.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

New Bishop of Dudley announced

In his current role, Martin has particular responsibility for the churches and clergy in the city of Oxford, as well as being Diocesan Interfaith Adviser. He has held strategic responsibility for growing new congregations of all shapes and sizes across the three counties that make up the Diocese of Oxford, overseeing an ambitious £5 million bid to support church revitalisation and planting, fresh expressions of church and pioneering ministry in major new housing areas. Martin has always enjoyed the Church of England’s connections with people and places outside the church, and oversees and supports the work of over 100 chaplains in prisons, schools, colleges, military bases and hospitals.

Martin was ordained in 1987 and prior to moving to Oxford in 2013, was Vicar of ‘Shakespeare’s Church’ in Stratford-upon-Avon where he was also Chaplain to the Royal Shakespeare Company. From 1994-2001, Martin was Vicar of Smethwick Old Church and Area Dean for the Black Country Deanery of Warley. He has also worked as Bishop’s Chaplain for Richard Harries in Oxford and started his ordained life as Curate of Birtley, an industrial and mining town near Gateshead in the Diocese of Durham.

On his appointment, Martin said: “I’m looking forward to joining God’s people in Dudley and the wider Diocese of Worcester as they seek to live lives of love, compassion, justice and freedom. We’re currently living in a challenging times with many divided communities. The Church has a key role to play in offering a place of safety and sanctuary where all people can come together to share their common humanity under God. As Bishop of Dudley, I would want to lead that work while supporting and encouraging all in our congregations to live out their faith in Jesus at home, at work and at school as well as in church.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Bishop of Kensington Graham Tomlin–Two years on since Grenfell, nothing much has changed

We sat with one young mother of three, in her small flat in one of the blocks near the shell of Grenfell Tower. She lives in what is euphemistically called ‘temporary accommodation’ (some in her block had been in such a state for twenty years or more). The block had been without hot water for many weeks. When it was finally fixed, within a week she was then told to move her family to another flat in the block as the owners wanted it back. If she refused, the only options were a flat in Essex miles away from her children’s schools or homelessness. The lock on the door to the ground floor balcony did not work, making the apartment vulnerable to intruders. Doors were hanging loose from kitchen cabinets making them unusable, and mouse droppings were scattered across the floor despite her putting down traps. Because the flat was offered by the Council yet administered by a Housing Association, it was hard to know who to complain to. As a result, repeated calls to the landlord had yielded little change. Talking to tenants in the block, the repeated claim was that they would say ‘we will get back to you’ and never did. Similar stories are found all over north Kensington, people reluctant to complain in case they are branded troublemakers, echoing the story of Chloe Williams, who faced eviction from her one bedroom council flat in Kensington after complaining about rats, mice, cockroaches and bedbugs in her home.

All this is happening in one of the wealthiest boroughs of the country. Many feel our drastically reduced social housing stock has become in the words of one resident a ‘dumping ground of the most vulnerable in our society’. It comes so low down on our list of priorities, that the people who live in it, including many of the most vulnerable, feel abandoned. If a society can be judged on how it treats it poorest and most defenceless people, we are not doing well. The people we met repeatedly feel fobbed off, uncared for, and that the very people who are responsible for their housing don’t seem to care enough to pick up the phone or arrange repairs.

Which brings us back to Grenfell United. The kinds of change GU have been campaigning for – stronger regulation and a change of culture around health & safety standards (including the removal of unsafe cladding) and a proper tenant voice – should not be hard to establish. The financial crash led to tighter regulation of financial institutions so that if a bank mis-sells there are clear penalties. If a school is not run properly there is an inspection system to label it as ‘needs improvement’. Yet tenants with landlords who fail to maintain their property, rendering it unsafe, have no effective remedy, other than repeated attempts to get landlords to listen. And that didn’t stop Grenfell happening.

Two years on since Grenfell, nothing much has changed….

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

Bishop Alan Smith says society must not accept child gambling ‘crisis’ following report

Responding to the 2019 Young People and Gambling report which was published on Wednesday, Bishop Alan said:

“This new evidence from the Gambling Commission provides welcome and much-needed insight into the world of gambling that children are living in

“There continue to be 55,000 children classed as “problem gamblers” and a further 87,000 at risk. While this remains a national scandal, the Commission uses detached phrases such as: “The 2019 results do not represent a significant increase over time.”

“Tens of thousands of families could be living in a nightmare with their child’s level of gambling activity. When the average spend on gambling by children is £17 per week it is evidence of potential serious family finance problems….

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Religion & Culture

(Premiere) Bishops push for better support for women released from prison

The Bishop of Newcastle, together with the Bishop of Gloucester, hosted an event in the House of Lords on Tuesday 15 October to highlight the importance of finding suitable accommodation for women released from prison.

The event, supported by the Church Commissioners and Dame Caroline Spelman MP, brought together people and organisations from across the country who work with women in prison, in the community through Women’s Centres, housing providers and MPs. The event showcased powerful examples of how people are working to drive change for disadvantaged women.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Women

(Church Times) This is how to honour the referendum: Welby clarifies Bishops’ statement

A binary “winner-takes-all” approach to Brexit does not honour the result of the 2016 Referendum, the Archbishop of Canterbury said this week.

Archbishop Welby has written to clarify the College of Bishops’ statement, issued two weeks ago. He repeats his view that a no-deal Brexit would be a “moral failure”, an expression that attracted “intense criticism”, he reveals.

The College of Bishops produced a statement a fortnight ago which included the sentence: “In writing, we affirm our respect for the June 2016 Referendum, and our belief that the result should be honoured” (News, 4 October).

Archbishop Welby argues, in response to criticism of the statement, in the Church Times and elsewhere: “To honour or respect the 2016 Referendum result is not to sign up to Brexit at any cost.

“Honouring the result means no more than paying proper attention to an outcome that saw 52 per cent of those who voted favouring leave, but 48 per cent favouring remain.”

He goes on: “It does not mean that the Bishops have aligned themselves with any particular political party, faction, or wing within a party.”

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

(Church Times) Love one another, C of E Bishops urge politicians

The language used in debates both inside and outside Parliament has become “unacceptable”, the Church of England’s bishops have said in a joint statement.

The College of Bishops published a statement on Friday which argues that the tenor of the political debate is “not worthy of our country”.

The declaration, which was drafted by a group of senior bishops and put out in the name of all 118 bishops, reads: “In the last few days, the use of language, both in debates and outside Parliament, has been unacceptable.

“We should speak to others with respect. And we should also listen. We should do this especially with the poor, with the marginalised, and with those whose voices are often not heard in our national conversation.

“We should not denigrate, patronise or ignore the honest views of fellow citizens, but seek to respect their opinions, their participation in society, and their votes.”

The statement was released a few hours after the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, joined calls for the Prime Minister to apologise for his “destructive” language in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Language, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * South Carolina, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop William Walsham How

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst humble Thyself to become man, and to be born into the world for our salvation: teach us the grace of humility, root out of our hearts all pride and haughtiness, and so fashion us after Thy holy likeness in this world, that in the world to come we may be made like unto Thee; for Thine own Name’s and mercies’ sake.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

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

Richard Jackson Announced as the new Bishop of Hereford

The next bishop of Hereford will be Richard Jackson. Bishop Richard, who is currently Suffragan Bishop of Lewes in East Sussex, will take up his role in the New Year and will be the 106th Bishop of Hereford, a church position that dates back to 676.

Bishop Richard said: ‘I am immensely humbled to have been chosen to become the next Bishop of Hereford. This beautiful diocese is in my DNA. I’ve traced my family tree and if I took a journey visiting churches from Leominster to the Welsh Border, I would be able to see the graves of my ancestors dating back to the 13th Century.

Hereford is a mainly rural diocese, covering Herefordshire, the south of Shropshire, a portion of Worcestershire and several parishes in Wales on the English-Welsh border. It includes the city of Hereford and the towns of Telford, Ludlow, Much Wenlock, Bridgnorth, Church Stretton, Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury, Leominster, Bromyard and Kington.

Bishop Richard, who is known for his work as a pastoral and teaching bishop, said: ‘I am looking forward to talking to the people of our diocese about the good news of Jesus Christ. In uncertain times, what the Bible says and the example of Jesus’s life are timeless, guiding us through our complex modern world.

‘I hope I can energise people to consider that the Christian life – with all its joy, peace and purpose – is for everyone, young and old. I would like to think that I could help, support and inspire people to follow Christ in their daily lives,’ he said.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

A group of Church of England Bishops issue an open letter on Brexit

Seeing the evidence of division in every part of England, we are deeply concerned about:

  • Political polarisation and language that appears to sanction hate crime: the reframing of the language of political discourse is urgent, especially given the abuse and threats levelled at MPs doing their job.
  • The ease with which lies can be told and misrepresentation encouraged: leaders must be honest about the costs of political choices, especially for those most vulnerable.
  • The levels of fear, uncertainty and marginalisation in society, much of which lies behind the vote for Brexit, but will not be addressed by Brexit: poor people, EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in Europe must be listened to and respected.
  • The Irish border is not a mere political totem and peace in Ireland is not a ball to be kicked by the English: respect for the concerns on both sides of the border is essential.
  • The sovereignty of Parliament is not just an empty term, it is based on institutions to be honoured and respected: our democracy is endangered by cavalier disregard for these.
  • Attention must be paid not only to the Union, but also to the meaning of Englishness.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Martin Sewell: “Shabby and shambolic” – the CofE still conspires against truth and justice in historic sexual abuse

In a church that has nominally (if belatedly) embraced “Transparency and Accountability”, rejected clergy deference and pledged to “put the interests of the victim first”, it is surely not asking too much for a full and frank response to be issued to these important and prima facie legitimate concerns about the way the review is being handled. One of the problem areas also identified by the survivors lawyers at IICSA is the Church of England’s “Byzantine procedures”.

In this case, it is by no means clear who is driving the decision to limit the terms of the review. Is it the Archbishops, the House of Bishops, the Archbishops’ Council, the National Safeguarding Team, the National Safeguarding Supervisory Group, the acting National Safeguarding Director, the incoming National Safeguarding Director, the Lead Safeguarding Bishop, or the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council and Secretary General of the General Synod? Is the decision administrative or executive, individual or collective? One only has to list the potential decision-makers to illustrate the lawyer’s point. Grappling with this organisation and its confusing structures is extraordinarily difficult for an aggrieved individual. It should not be like this.

It is therefore legitimate to pose three simple and direct questions:

1) Who in the Church of England has the power to change these decisions?

2) Who will accept responsibility for not changing them if we want to challenge these matters in detail at the next meeting of the General Synod?

3) How do we change the decision-maker if access to justice is denied?

I do, of course, refer to justice to accused and accuser alike, which can only emerge from fair and independent process. In short, if the shabby and shambolic behaviour continues, who carries the can?

Read it all.

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

(AH) Rodney Hacking–St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Renewal of the Anglican Episcopate

Ignatius offers a fascinating insight into the heart of a true man of God given over to His will. It is tempting to want to leap from his example and vision of episcopacy to its practice within our own Church at this time, but such a leap needs great care. A bishop in the first decade of the second century cannot fairly be compared even to one of 250 years later let alone in the Church of today. The three-fold ministry was still in an early stage of its development. Even though Lightfoot has cogently argued that a case can be made for regarding episcopacy as being of Apostolic direction, and therefore possessing Divine sanction, long years of evolution and growth lay before it. At this stage too the Church across the Roman Empire faced the daily possibility of considerable persecution and martyrdom. That demanded a particular kind of shepherding and witness.

On the other hand a bishop at the beginning of the third millennium might profitably and properly ask (or be asked) whether endless committees and synods are really the way in which their lives are to be laid down for their flock? An institution requires administration, but in the New Testament list of charisms, administrators are quite low in the order of priorities, and of its pastors at this time the Church has other, more pressing, needs. Rather than imposing upon an already disheartened clergy systems of appraisal (mostly copied from secular models of management) it would be good for parish priests to experience bishops as those who were around so much that they could afford regularly to ”˜drop in’ and just be with them. It is hard to expect the parish clergy to make visiting a priority if their fathers in God do not set an example.

In some dioceses the more obviously pastoral role has sometimes been exercised by a suffragan but as more and more diocesan bishops, at least within the Church of England, are being selected from the ranks of the suffragans the temptation is for those who are ambitious to prove their worth more as potential managers than those given to the ”˜Word of God and prayer’ (Acts 6.2). If the communities within which the bishops are to exercise their ministry of unity and care are too large for them to do their work has not the time come to press for smaller dioceses and for bishops to strip themselves of the remnants of the grandeur their office once held and be found, above all, with their clergy and amongst the people, drawing them together into the unity for which Christ gave himself?

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Posted in Church History, CoE Bishops, Theology

(Church Times) Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) planned to persuade bishop ‘to take a less active role’ in claimant’s pastoral care

The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) planned to pressure a bishop to withdraw pastoral support from a survivor of abuse because it might prejudice a claim, redacted documents seen by the Church Times suggest.

The survivor, Julian Whiting, alleges that he was abused by a pupil and two housemasters of the Blue Coat School in Birmingham. Neither adult was a cleric. Several years later, in 2012, Mr Whiting approached the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, who is President of Blue Coat, for pastoral help.

In a letter to a redacted recipient dated April 2013, the casualty-claims employee for EIG in Manchester states: “I feel we may need you to help persuade the Bishop of Birmingham to take a less active role in his pastoral care of a claimant which we feel could have a knock-on effect to the current outstanding abuse claims we have for a Julian Whiting.”

He then says of the Blue Coat allegation: “Importantly, he [Julian Whiting] has never pursued a formal claim. There has been a lot of email traffic, but the position is that until the claimant properly formulates the claim, we have rightly shown little interest in the matter.

“What has recently complicated matters is that the Bishop of Birmingham in his role as Blue Coats [sic] School President has met with Whiting to hear his story. Whilst I fully understand the position taken that there is a pastoral care aspect here, my concern is that a continued dialogue with the Bishop and Whiting could prejudice the positioning we have taken in respect of the two claims.” (Mr Whiting was also pursuing a claim that, in 2009, he was groped by a church employee at a social event at Lambeth Palace.)

Read it all.

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

A Wokingham Today Profile Piece on the New Bishop of Reading, Olivia Graham

She pledged to work with churches to help they understand what those words would mean and how they should relate to the communities around them. And in a week where it was revealed that the number of people who call themselves a Christian is declining, the bishop-designate said that there is still a hunger for the spiritual.

“I don’t agree that society’s getting more secular,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that people don’t have faith or curiosity or a gap in their lives where religion might be, that they aren’t living with huge questions.

“I think that is an open door because the churches have got the tools and the ability to be able to connect with those people. That it’s a big challenge; that’s what we are going to need to be working on.”

And as part of this, she is keen to see the borough’s churches get more involved in social action.

“I know that 70% of our churches are involved in social action outreach,” she said. “That means that 30% aren’t.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

An Introductory Film on the New Bishop of Reading Olivia Graham

‘The Queen has approved the appointment of Olivia Graham as the next Bishop of Reading. In this special filmed edition of the ‘My Extraordinary Family’ Podcast, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft talks with Olivia about her Christian formation, her ministry since ordination and her hopes for the role she is about to take on.’

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Bishops’ intervention set to extend gambling protections across the UK

Gambling rules in Northern Ireland could be brought into line with tighter standards in the rest of the UK following an intervention by the Church of England.

An amendment tabled in the House of Lords by the Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, opening the way for possible alignment in gambling regulation between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain has been accepted by the Government.

The amendment adds gambling legislation to a number of areas on which the Government would be required to produce a report by September as part of moves to restore the devolved executive in Northern Ireland.

The Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, who spoke to the amendment in the House of Lords, told peers that the current inconsistency meant that reforms introduced in mainland Britain – such as the cap on the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – do not apply in Northern Ireland.

“The anomalies and confusions abound,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Politics in General

Archdeacon of Berkshire Olivia Graham named next Bishop of Reading

Olivia’s early career was spent in teaching and international development, including a period working for Oxfam in Somalia. Ordained in 1997, she has served all of her ministry in the Diocese of Oxford, becoming Archdeacon of Berkshire in 2013.

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft said; “One of the things that was apparent when we were listening and consulting about the new bishop was that people wanted somebody who really knew what it is like to be in ministry in this part of the world. Someone who knew what the pressures and challenges are. In this and many other areas, Olivia brings just what we need at this time. I am very excited about what Olivia’s appointment means for the Diocese.”

Olivia will succeed the Rt Revd Andrew Proud who retired from the role at the start of May this year. She will be consecrated in a service at St Paul’s Cathedral on 19 November.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(SS) New Bishop of Shrewsbury welcomed to Shropshire at Abbey service

The new Anglican bishop Rt Rev Sarah Bullock received a warm welcome at her investiture service at Shrewsbury Abbey which was attended by guests from numerous community organisations and faith leaders.

She joins the area bishops of Wolverhampton and Stafford in a team led by the Bishop of Lichfield the Rt Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave.

And the town’s first female bishop will have particular responsibility for the pastoral oversight of churches, ministers and communities in the towns and villages of North Shropshire, Shrewsbury, and the northern part of Telford.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Church Times) Hattie Williams talks to Paul Handley about covering the IICSA hearings

“Hattie Williams, senior reporter at the Church Times, has covered the proceedings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church from the beginning. She talks to Paul Handley, Editor, about the experience, and what she thinks the Church can learn.” Listen to it all (slightly under 17 minutes).

Posted in Anthropology, CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence