Category : Archbishop of Canterbury

News about, sermons, letters, commentary by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

The November 2023 General Synod Joint Presidential Address from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Where we are right now, is not where any of us would like to be.

But I continue to believe that we can find a way of living in love and faith.

Furthermore, I stand by the statements I made in February. There will need to be some sort of provision. But just as the way forward that is being proposed is pastoral, and in my view does not mean a change in the Church of England’s doctrine of Holy Matrimony, so I believe the reassurance and provision that we need should be pastoral. This is why I will be supporting the amendment being put forward by the Bishop of Oxford because, as things stand, I am concerned that clergy using the commended prayers might find themselves vulnerable to a legal challenge if their use of the prayers looks to someone else to be a standalone service.

Something that allows standalone services for an experimental period seems to me to be a sensible and pastoral way forward. It gives clergy and parishes who want to use the Prayers of Love and Faith the legal protection they need. And because this will be on an opt-in basis, clergy and parishes who in good conscience won’t use the prayers will be under no compunction or compulsion so to do, nor will they be disadvantaged in any way by their decision.

We will, of course, need further discussions about how this provision continues to run through all that we are proposing. I’m sure the Bishop of London will say more about this when we get to that bit of our agenda. I also recognise that the pastoral guidance that is such a key component in this work should not be thought of as a fixed entity but a body of guidance that will evolve.

But my purpose in this address is not to anticipate the debate. Rather, it is to ask us to lift our eyes above the debate to see Jesus.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Temple

O God of light and love, who illumined thy Church through the witness of thy servant William Temple: Inspire us, we pray, by his teaching and example, that we may rejoice with courage, confidence and faith in the Word made flesh, and may be led to establish that city which has justice for its foundation and love for its law; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

(Tablet) Archbishop warns of mental health consequences of conflict

In his address to the conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about his own personal struggle with depression. He noted that the all-island Mind Matters research in Ireland had shown that 46 per cent of the 290 clergy surveyed felt not enough was being done to support their mental health.

He highlighted how the poverty, war and instability faced by people in the Global South contributes significantly to poor mental health while in the Global North “there is powerlessness, there is helplessness” in the face of the constant news about conflict in places like Ukraine and the Middle East and this contributed to poor mental health.

“We are better off than we have ever been in the past, yet there is a much higher level of mental illness in the economically prosperous world than elsewhere particularly among young people.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Health & Medicine, Israel, Middle East, Psychology, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

(Church Times) Same-sex provision needs more work, General Synod will be told

Key decisions, including whether priests are permitted to enter same-sex civil marriages, and how to provide for those who oppose the introduction of blessings for same-sex couples, can be made only after “further work” by the House of Bishops, it was announced on Friday.

At a press conference looking at the papers for the upcoming meeting of the General Synod (13-15 November), the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, insisted that neither item was being put off.

“It’s not deferring, but it’s recognising that in terms of moving both those forward, not just more work but — certainly in terms of the formal structural pastoral reassurance — more listening needs to be done,” she said.

The agenda for the upcoming November meeting of the General Synod is dominated by LLF, with a day-and-a-half of the two-and-a-half-day schedule allotted for discussion.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Spirituality/Prayer

The GFSA Anglican Orthodox Leaders Meeting Communique


9. To press on in resetting theCommunion according to its biblical & historical roots:

a) The Anglican world has changed so dramatically in the last century. In 1900, about 80% of the Communion lived in England. Today, about 75%of Anglicans are estimated to live in Global South countries. The demographics have changed, and sadly in our day the theology of many bishops in the Church of England has also changed towards revisionism. We need new wineskins for a new reality.

b) On the 9th of October 2023, the Church of England House of Bishops signalled their intent to commend prayers of blessing for same sex couples. Despite all that is happening, we as orthodox leaders are very encouraged to see orthodox groupings within the Church of England beginning to collectively stand against this revisionism in their Church. We applaud the 12 bishops in the Church of England who have indicated that they are unable to support the decision by their House of Bishops, and we will uphold them in our prayers. We will stand with orthodox Anglicans in England both now and going forward.

c) We lament with tears all that has happened to the historic ‘mother church’ of the communion, and continue to pray for her restoration. At the same time, orthodox Anglican churches and entities will press on with the work God has given us to do as he renews the fallen creation through the finished work of Jesus Christ our Lord.

d) In relation to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other instruments of communion, we affirm the Ash Wednesday Statement and the Kigali Statement.

10. As orthodox Primates, we reaffirm our adherence to Lambeth Resolution 1.10 of 1998 in full, both in moral teaching and pastoral care. We recognise this resolution as the official teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality and urge that renewed steps be taken to encourage all provinces to abide by this doctrine in the faith, order, and practice.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Andrew Goddard–Prayers Of Love And Faith, (Arch-)episcopal Power, And Anglican Identity

We have archbishops openly rejecting the teaching they vowed to uphold. The bishops are showing a lack of respect for a clear, recognizable link between liturgy and doctrine, refusing to follow the proper synodical processes for introducing new (particularly controversial) liturgy in the life of the church, sidelining public theological reasoning and the work of FAOC, and possibly seeking to introduce new guidance contrary to existing doctrine without the proper synodical process that respects the principle of bishops not acting on their own but always as bishops in synod. Alongside this they are also effectively tearing the Church of England away from the Anglican Communion and wider church catholic.

These are not minor technical matters. These actions threaten to dissolve part of the glue that holds the church together and enables bishops to act as a focus of unity. The bishops appear to be abandoning precious gifts that have helped preserve, structure, and cultivate our often fragile common life together across our differences. They are disregarding and undermining well-established, tried and tested, theologically and pastorally (not simply legally) founded principles and practices that enable “good disagreement.” It is, however, only by living within their constraints that bishops will nurture trust and embody integrity, especially as we navigate contentious proposed changes in our teaching and practice.

It is a serious matter for the church to err on marriage and sexuality. That, however, is a problem in one specific, albeit vitally important, area. These developments, and how episcopal and archepiscopal power is being used — on the sole basis, it seems, that these means are necessary to reach the desired end goal — are much more serious. They go beyond a single, possibly reversible, error of judgment, to weaken and potentially destroy core features of Anglican identity and essential characteristics of any healthy ecclesial body.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Justin Welby joins Pope Francis blessing thousands at ecumenical prayer vigil

The Archbishop of Canterbury took part in a historic ecumenical prayer vigil, presided over by Pope Francis, in St Peter’s Square on Saturday 30 September. Along with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, church leaders from different denominations were invited to join the Pope in prayer, entrusting the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod to the Holy Spirit.

Before the vigil, the crowd shared in Taizé-style music, prayer and hymns. The Archbishop lead the Lord’s Prayer, and at the end of the vigil joined with all the Christian leaders present to collectively pray and bless the crowd.

The vigil was attended by thousands of people from across Christian denominations, including many young people.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

(Church Times) Archbishops’ Council is retraumatising us, says group of abuse survivors

Ten survivors of church-based abuse have written to the Archbishops’ Council criticising their treatment after the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) was disbanded.

On Sunday evening, a letter was sent to the council by ten of the 12 people who had been awaiting a review of their cases by the ISB when it was disbanded without warning (News, 21 June). They write: “In the period since you closed the ISB we have been left in uncertainty and distress.”

The group criticise the announcement on 14 September that Kevin Crompton had been appointed as an “interim commissioner of independent reviews”….They say that the council’s handling of the situation has caused “harm” to members of the group.

“We have no forum through which to raise these concerns. Collectively, we believe that the harm these decisions have caused needs to be independently assessed and we have asked an expert clinical psychologist to complete this work as a matter of urgency.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Theodore of Tarsus

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and didst give him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in thy Church, we pray, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

Archbishop Justin Welby’s Speech to the British-Irish Association

As we all know very well, the trend in post war philosophy, especially in Europe and to some extent in the USA, has been towards the individual as the sole actor in their own drama and the final arbiter of their fate. True, they are caught up in forces more powerful than themselves and find themselves vast desires, but they are always somehow alone.

In the way these trends have emerged into culture there is a great danger of the entirely false idea prevailing that for most of us we are essentially autonomous human actors, protected by markets, rational economic actors, who have the right to live without all but the most essential restraints on what we make of ourselves. That understanding of life is not by any means entirely new but has reached a certain level of predominant thinking in everything from culture wars, through economics to the politics of sexuality. We are more and more individualist.

At the same time, as The Times of London has commented so continually this week, Christian and all religious faith has declined dramatically.

I should be clear that this is not all bad, for Churches are ruined when wealth and power lead them to self-reliance. I rejoice in less of a bossy attitude, and of the church stepping back from telling everybody what to do, here and elsewhere. Except in the House of Lords! It is not the biblical pattern of Jesus who made himself a servant, washed His disciples’ feet, lived a holy life and by His death and resurrection lifted the weary, the outcast and the failure into hope.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Fractures and fractiousness at General Synod

Meg Munn criticises the Council, not for pulling the plug on the ISB, but for not doing it soon enough. She singles out Justin Welby as the one who has undermined her role and not been robust enough with the other two members—something confirmed by Justin’s extraordinary distancing himself from the Council’s decision during Questions, giving the clear impression that he was throwing the rest of the Council under the bus in the face of negative publicity. Her comments about Steve and Jas are damning:

Although they initially welcomed my appointment, the two existing Board members routinely ignored emails, failed to respond to reasonable requests and declined to have meetings. I was staggered at this unprofessional behaviour, particularly when concerned with such an important issue as safeguarding in the Church. Their stated reason was that being Chair of the ISB was a conflict of interest with my chairing of the NSP, a role they knew I was due to finish in the summer. As a paper, endorsed by last year’s Synod, set out that the NSP and ISB would work closely together on phase 2, there never was a conflict of interest.

The comments from Maggie Atkinson are even more scathing:

This document refutes persistent misrepresentation bordering on defamation, threats to my professional reputation & personal wellbeing, through the publication and promotion of false or partial accounts by Jasvinder Sanghera (JS) and Steve Reeves (SR.)…

The July 9th suspension of a vital session of Synod to permit speeches by JS and SR, accompanied by s good deal of ridiculous behaviour and noise as witnessed on the TV coverage, turned a serious and vital session of the C of E’s legislative body into a farce resembling a political Party or Trade Union rally. Quite who it satisfied, and given Synod was not in session but suspended for an “informal” short period quite what it could seek to achieve, remain mysteries. Good theatre, but to what end? The un-Christian treatment of Meg Munn that afternoon, had it been meted out to me, would have made me do as she did: walk out. That she has now walked not only out, but away, sad as it is and dismaying as it will be to many, is richly deserved.

The Council has committed to initiating an independent review of all that has happened—and I have no doubt that, when all the facts are on the table, it will vindicate the perspectives of Meg and Maggie.

Where does that all leave us? It seems to me that the Church of England, in its leadership, is suffering from a lack of credibility and competence, and that there is a severe deficit of trust on all sides—not because people simply choose not to trust, but because, at so many levels, there appears to be little reason to trust. This is not only damaging credibility and undermining ministry, it is creating serious fractures across the Church at every level.

And it is becoming increasingly clear that these problems of leadership go all the way to the top.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Church Times) ‘Archbishop Welby undermined me’ — Meg Munn quits as Church’s safeguarding chair

The acting chair of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), Meg Munn, has accused the Archbishops’ Council of being “slow to listen” to experts — and the Archbishop of Canterbury of “undermining” her work — as she resigns all her safeguarding responsibilities within the Church.

Ms Munn, a safeguarding professional and a former MP, is also the independent chair of the Church’s National Safeguarding Panel (NSP).

After weeks of silence as disputes about the functionality and future of the ISB escalated, Ms Munn released an explosive personal statement to the Church Times on Wednesday morning explaining her decision to cease working for the Church, and finally giving her side of the story of the ISB’s demise.

In it, she speaks of being unsupported by the Archbishops’ Council, which appointed her; says that the other two members of the ISB arbitrarily changed their brief; and calls the ISB “a huge waste of money”. But she also says that safeguarding in the Church of England is not in crisis, praising the professionalism of many diocesan and national safeguarding officers.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry

(AF) Something’s Not Right at Church of England General Synod

Jane Chevous, a representative of survivors of church abuse, opened the proceedings with a damning description of the events leading up to the decision to sack the board, the incompetent way it was handled and the devastating impact it has had on already vulnerable people.

“For as we learned this weekend,” she explained, “Getting the papers prepared for Synod was more important than the lives of survivors. At 12.17 that day Jasvinder phoned me to share the devastating news – I felt like my whole world had crumbled around me. I had trusted the ISB. I had hope. And now that hope had been snatched from me and trampled underfoot.” [at 5.14 on video]

Despite their claims to the contrary, the response of the Council representatives, particularly the Archbishop of York, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, was defensive and self-asserting. In his introductory remarks he said,

“I want you to know Synod, though I can’t make you believe me, but I want you to know, that the decisions we took were some of the most painful decisions I have ever had to be part of in my life and work, but we took them believing them to be the were the right decisions for the safeguarding of the church? Could we have communicated them better? Could things have been different in the past? They are things we can discuss and they are certainly things we can learn from – I do want you to know that my concern has always been for the safeguarding of the church.” [at 18.50 on video]

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Archbishops’ Commission on Families and Households continues to engage with a number of people and organisations on influencing positive change

The report of the Archbishops’ Commission on Families and Households, ‘Love Matters’, was launched by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on 26th April at Coram’s conference centre in London. This was a very appropriate venue in which to emphasise the importance of supporting children and families.

Over 120 people came to hear about the Commission’s messages and recommendations. It was a joyous occasion, rendered particularly special by the presence and contributions of pupils from four schools representing different faiths and members of the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB).  These schools and the FJYPB had previously taken part in the Commission’s evidence-gathering activities. Their personal stories and reflections demonstrated the enormous value of listening to and learning from young people. Their contributions at the launch can be heard on the Commission’s YouTube channel.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Children, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family

Archbishops and UK faith leaders urge Government to adopt “just and compassionate” asylum policy

In a joint letter in The Times…[Wednesday], the faith leaders write: “The Illegal Migration Bill falls short of our obligation towards the most vulnerable. It fails to meet the basic test of an evidence-based and workable policy. We need an alternative approach that reflects our country’s history, values and responsibility.”

They add: “The UK should take a lead in setting out a just, compassionate approach, ensuring that people seeking sanctuary are protected, claims decided quickly and justly, human traffickers are punished, and the root causes of mass migration are properly addressed.”

The intervention comes on the final day of the Report Stage of the Illegal Migration Bill in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of Canterbury will be speaking in the House of Lords this evening in the final debate, during which Peers will vote on amendments.

The Archbishop will speak in support of his amendment, which has been tabled with the support of Peers from the Government and Opposition benches.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Immigration, Politics in General

(Church Times) Row over Independent Safeguarding Board continues

The sacked members of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) have this week given their side of the story, disputing the version given by the Archbishop of York last weekend.

On Wednesday of last week, it was announced that the Archbishops’ Council had terminated the contracts of two of the three members of the ISB, and was moving to disband the body entirely (News, 23 June).

Archbishop Cottrell defended the decision in an interview on Sunday on Radio 4, in which he blamed “a breakdown in communication” for the ISB’s demise. On the same programme, however, the ISB’s lead survivor advocate, Jasvinder Sanghera, said: “It is not true to say this has happened because of a breakdown in relationships.”

On Tuesday, the other sacked ISB member, Steve Reeves, questioned the view that there had been a breakdown of trust, as suggested by Archbishop Cottrell and the secretary-general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Thomas Bradwardine (c 1300-1349)

My God, I love Thee Thyself above all else, and Thee I desire as my last end. Always and in all things, with my whole heart and strength, and with unceasing labour, I seek Thee. If Thou give not Thyself to me, Thou givest nothing: if I find not Thee, I find nothing. Grant to me, therefore, most loving God, that I may ever love Thee for Thyself above all things and seek Thee in all things in this life present, so that at last I may find Thee and keep Thee for ever in the world to come.

–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 Archbishop of Canterbury, Spirituality/Prayer

(BBC) Church of England sacks independent abuse panel

The Church of England has sacked a panel of experts who provided independent oversight of how it dealt with abuse.

The Archbishops’ Council confirmed it was “ending the contracts” of all three board members – acting chair Meg Munn, Jasvinder Sanghera and Steve Reeves.

The latter two recently claimed the Church had been obstructive and interfered with their work.

The Church said relations between them and senior bishops had “broken down”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

Gafcon’s Response to recent Remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

We, in Gafcon and GSFA had earlier declared unequivocally that we no longer recognise the Archbishop of Canterbury as the head, leader or spokesperson of the Anglican Communion. He has lost every power and authority to dictate to or advise other Primates and Provinces of the Communion who oversee 85% of the Global Communion. It is pertinent to remind Archbishop Welby that Africa is no longer a colony of the ‘British Empire,’ and the Church of England has no jurisdiction over the Anglican Provinces on the continent of Africa. As such, he should stop meddling with the internal affairs of the Anglicans on the continent of Africa.

We stand together in our commitment to the Bible and the essence of the Christian faith. We will stand together with Christ and shall resist all attempts to pollute our faith. The part of Lambeth Resolution I.10 which enjoins non-discrimination against persons who experience or practice homosexuality is not an endorsement of the sinful act, but a call for a normal pastoral approach and the responsibility of Church ministers to offer care and counsel to sinners of all categories.

Therefore, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV).

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Church Times) Church of England decline is ‘a personal failure’ — Archbishop of Canterbury bares his soul

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he regards the numerical decline in the Church of England as a personal failure.

During a Q&A at the Religion Media Festival on Monday, he also spoke of his personal preference for a “fully independent safeguarding system” and his belief that the Church needed to be more “unapologetic” about its teaching on sexual morality. Asked about moves in Parliament to enable same-sex marriages to take place in church, and the possibility of disestablishment, he suggested that discerning the will of God might involve “refusing to do what the law says”.

A recurrent theme in his answers to questions, put by the broadcast journalist Julie Etchingham and the audience, was a long view of history, and the sovereignty of God. “One of the great things we do is we get into terrible angst and fear and think it’s all down to us,” he observed. “It’s not. It’s all down to God, and to him we must be obedient.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Uganda

Archbishops welcome Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Friendly Churches initiative

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York today are meeting with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people advocating for a new initiative aimed at reaching out to people within these communities. The Gypsy, Roma Traveller (GRT) Friendly Churches will encourage and signpost churches to do more to welcome people into worshipping communities.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will spend time with GRT communities in Poole today as part of his mission visit to the Diocese of Salisbury. The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, walked with the Bishop of Carlisle James Newcome to the Appleby Horse Fair, the biggest annual gathering of Travellers in the country.

Archbishop Justin said: “I’m deeply grateful to be spending time with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community in Poole later today, and acknowledge the pain and rejection felt by the GRT communities both now and in the past. We can and must do so much more to welcome, support, include and advocate for them. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the mission of the church is about reconciliation, and it is my hope that the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Friendly Churches initiative will enable a bridge between settled people and Travellers and be part of this reconciliation process. I am fully supportive of this initiative. Every country has distinct cultures amongst Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The common feature that I have seen across Europe and most recently in Romania is the suffering and marginalisation they have had to endure.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Pastoral Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Augustine of Canterbury

O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy name for thy servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter Day Holy Communion Sermon for 2023

The resurrection of Jesus is claimed by Christians to be the turning point for the whole world, for each of us individually, and all of us together and for the whole of creation, always and everywhere. And that claim was made within 20 – 25 years of his death. So from the finality of death what this means is that the certainty of final endings is over. A new beginning is made.

Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, there are simply endings. Look at it through the eyes of the witnesses:

For Peter, it would be the end of any chance of forgiveness for his cowardice and betrayal.

For Mary Magdalene, it would be the end of a relationship, of a friendship, where she was valued, having importance and dignity.

For us gathering here in this extraordinary building, we would not be here because the building would never have been built were it not for the resurrection of Jesus.

It’s not just an event in history; it is the most powerful event in history: past, present and the history that we are yet to know.

And we see the reality of the resurrection around us in all corners of the world.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Easter, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

(CEN) Rebecca Chapman–Justin Welby: What Has Changed After 10 Tumultuous Years?

As a former group treasurer for an oil company, Justin is aware of numbers – and those in the Church of England pews had been declining for decades before he became Archbishop. Now the finances of many dioceses are visibly failing, hastened by the pandemic. A national Vision and Strategy has now been brought in, with Strategic Development Funding specifically to redirect resources to fresh ideas. Some have seen this as a threat to the parish system, and the priest and polemicist, Giles Fraser recently reflected he was ‘sick of ten years of managerialism’ describing how he felt morale had plummeted.

Some bishops may feel similarly demoralised – the leaked ‘Bishops and their ministries’ paper last year noted the importance of creating a culture where ‘all bishops feel free to express their views in meetings… rather than deferring to those perceived as more senior in the ‘hierarchy’’. If the bishops feel voiceless, or perhaps powerless, it is difficult to see where the next Archbishop might come from. In Justin’s book on reconciliation he says ‘the use of power almost always leads to the abuse of power’, and he think he has ‘influence, but not power’. Who has the power at present in our Church, and who will have it next? That leaked bishops paper commented that the selection and formation process for bishops was ‘not robust or transparent and is therefore open to ‘political’ manoeuvring’ adding that it ‘may not produce the candidates best equipped for visionary national leadership if such candidates are chosen based on local needs’. Our bench of bishops has changed dramatically over the last decade, as they tend to; what will the next generation of bishops to lead us be like?

With plans to create a centralised body that will concentrate power further, will the bishops have the power to lead like they have in the past? A Church of England National Services (CENS) is planned to support the strategic vision of the national church, support national policy development and engagement, via a single governance board structure. When you centralise governance, you centralise power. In a Church of England that has a devolved and non-centralised ecclesiology, this will be interesting. How will checks and balances be built in, where will thorough scrutiny be seen? Few would doubt that a nettle of needed grasping, to bring efficiency and greater transparency, but will these internal reforms get it right?

As we count down the weeks until the coronation, the Makin review into allegations of abuse carried out by the late John Smyth is now 147 weeks overdue….

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England

(Unherd) Giles Fraser–Justin Welby can’t read the room

And here is my real beef with Welby’s Church: managerialism. The backdrop to Welby’s appointment was the banking crisis and the subsequent Occupy camp at St Paul’s Cathedral. The Church needed to get a bit more this worldly, many thought. It needed to understand finance and business. When it came to capitalism, Welby was a grown-up, having worked for Elf Aquitaine in a previous life. And 11 years in the oil industry clearly shaped his thinking about organisational structures. The old, slightly bumbling high-table, soft-power understanding of Lambeth Palace was not for him. Welby wanted to change things and have access to levers of real executive power.

But the Church of England is not set up like this. It never has been. The parish system is the very model of subsidiarity. If anything, the Church is a bottom-up institution rather than top-down. You bow to your bishop, but you don’t necessarily do everything he asks. Under Welby, however, the centre has grown ever stronger, the parishes increasingly weaker. Max Weber famously divided power into the charismatic, the traditional and the legal/rational. Welby is the first archbishop who has tried to govern through the latter.

The “Save the Parish” movement was established as a fightback. Too many bishops became middle managers, hidden behind their laptops. Directives and new initiatives came down from head office, which many of the clergy, myself included, received with an inner groan. In the face of declining attendance, we all had to learn that evangelical up-speak, and get on with the paperwork. Morale has plummeted.

The Church’s reaction to Covid was the depressing conclusion of Welby’s legal/rational approach to power.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

([London] Times) Nick Cave: my son’s death brought me back to church

The question of how to meditate effectively comes up often in Cave’s online forum, the Red Hand Files, which he launched in 2020. Named after one of his most famous songs, Red Right Hand (inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost, where the hand represents divine vengeance), it’s a place where a wide range of people, not only fans, write in to share their troubles and questions, and Cave writes back. The site has become almost a form of spiritual direction between Cave and his public. “One concern that comes through all the time,” he says, “is, ‘I want to be a creative person, but I don’t feel inspired.’ They’re just thinking that something’s going to drop out of the sky and sort of ignite their imagination. Creativity for me is a practice, a rite, an application.”

Its purpose is not self-expression, he says, but a way of “making space”. Cave talks in the book about how his 2019 album Ghosteen was an attempt to “make a space” for his son Arthur in the terrible period after his death.

“Yes, that is what I was doing,” he says. “Trying to find a place Arthur could inhabit. A place where his spirit could reside. Things, of course, are different now … I think I’ve learnt to both incorporate his absence and indeed his presence into my work, slowly finding other things to write about.” It’s become a question, he says, of finding a space “around” Arthur, not just “for” him.

This has led to him rediscovering what can only be described as joy, through “an altered connection to the world”: “spasms of delight”, a brightness uncovered in things, coexisting with the “dark, vacuous space” of loss. This is a joy that has nothing much to do with “feeling happy” or with satisfaction. “It’s there, despite ourselves … not attached to anything.” This double vision, Cave says, is fundamental to the religious impulse. It explains why in church he feels able to hold together both the doubt and pain and the sense of anchorage.

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Posted in --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Books, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Music, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–The Archbishop Of Canterbury Prepares To Stand Down

“With the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury forfeiting their leadership role,” they said, Anglicanism’s “orthodox” primates across the global communion will meet to “work out the shape and nature of our common life together” because “for us, and perhaps by his own reported self-exclusion, the present Archbishop of Canterbury is no longer the … Chair of the Primates’ Meeting by virtue of his position.”

Uganda Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu stressed that there will be no Anglican compromise this time around.

“The only significant difference between a wedding and a service of ‘blessing’ is the terminology used,” he said in a public statement. “The Church of England insists it is not changing its doctrine of marriage. But, in practice, they are doing precisely that. …

“But, what I want you to know is that if it looks like a wedding, and sounds like a wedding … it IS a wedding.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(English Churchman) The Archbishop of Doublethink

George Orwell coined the term ‘doublethink’ to describe the flexibility of mind required to live and survive in the society described in the novel 1984. Amongst its many traits, doublethink required the ability “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic …” The book frequently quotes these examples: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, and 2 + 2 = 5.

The Anglican world has just received its own example of doublethink (and doublespeak) in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s opening address to the Anglican Consultative Council. Speaking in Ghana less than a week after General Synod’s decision to approve prayers of blessing on sexual relationships outside marriage, Archbishop Justin Welby stated, “When I speak of the impact that actions by the Church of England will have on those abroad in the Anglican Communion, those concerns are dismissed by many. Not all, but by many in the General Synod.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Globalization, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishops’ Commission on Racial Justice releases Second Biannual Report

The Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice has released the second of its biannual Racial Justice reports.

Mandated to drive ‘significant cultural and structural change on issues of racial justice within the Church of England’, the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice (“ACRJ”), headed by The Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng, is charged with monitoring, holding to account and supporting the implementation of the forty-seven recommendations of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce which were laid out in the Taskforce’s comprehensive 2021 report From Lament to Action.

In his foreword letter to the Second Report, Lord Boateng singles out for praise the Church Commissioners for their “ground-breaking work” in the forensic audit undertaken on Queen Anne’s Bounty and its links with transatlantic chattel slavery. The Commission welcomes the £100 million of funding to deliver a programme of investment, research and engagement over the next nine years, but caveats that there is much further work to be done as this is “not the end of the story” [Slavery, p 23].

Lord Boateng welcomes the arrival in December 2022 of the Director of the Racial Justice Unit, but expresses continued disappointment at the time it has taken to establish the Unit and comments: “This has inevitably impacted negatively upon our own work and on the progress made across the Church of England in delivering on the recommendations of From Lament to Action”.

The Second Report draws particular attention to the witness heard from representatives of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Christians about the “indifference, neglect and outright hostility” at the hands of both church and state. General Synod in 2019 urged dioceses to establish a chaplain to the communities. The Commission heard that twelve such chaplains have been appointed and calls for the remaining dioceses to do likewise in ensuring the GRT community receives pastoral, advocacy and educational activities. On the latter, the Church of England’s “Leaders like us” programme will have a part to play and the programme will be scrutinized by the Commission over the course of its work…

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church History, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Lambeth Palace responds to GSFA statement

A Lambeth Palace spokesperson has said:

“At last week’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Ghana, there was widespread support for working together patiently and constructively to review the Instruments of Communion, so that our differences and disagreements can be held together in unity and fellowship. The Archbishop is in regular contact with his fellow Primates and looks forward to discussing this and other matters with them over the coming period.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury commented last week at the ACC in Ghana that these structures are always able to change with the times.

“We note the statement issued today by some Anglican Primates and we fully appreciate their position. As was reaffirmed in multiple discussions at the ACC in Ghana however, no changes to the formal structures of the Anglican Communion can be made unless they are agreed upon by the Instruments of Communion….

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Global South Churches & Primates