Category : Archbishop of Canterbury

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

Church of England funds ambitious growth programme

More than a hundred new churches are to be created in a £27 million drive by the Church of England to revive the Christian faith in coastal areas, market towns and outer urban housing estates, it was announced today.

New Christian communities in areas including the Kent coast, housing estates in Plymouth and market towns in Cambridgeshire are to be set up by the Church of England as part of its Renewal and Reform programme.

The plans have been backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as a ‘wonderful example’ of how churches are seeking to be faithful to God and to serve their communities.

He said: “The Church of England exists to share the good news of Jesus through our words and our actions. Across the country, churches are bursting with life – which in part is shown through how they love and serve their communities. I’m especially pleased about these grants because they demonstrate our commitment to following Jesus to the places of greatest need in our society….”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Spectator) Theo Hobson– Coffee House Justin Welby needs to get off the fence

He cheerfully admits that we can’t recreate a Christian-based social order – which was always a flawed thing anyway. But he cannot quite affirm our post-Christian social order, which privatises faith, and ‘leaves a vacuum’:

‘That is not to say at this stage that the answer is to reverse the privatisation of Christian faith (which is anyway not something within human gift) but rather that there is a need for a generous and hospitable meta-narrative within which competing truths can be held. It will be the suggestion of this book that Christian faith…provides the potential for such hospitable and generous holding.’

Is there an alternative to such awkward fence-sitting? As the leader of a Christian church he must say that Christianity is what the nation needs in order to reimagine the common good, but as this is the established Church of a liberal state he must also sound respectful of secular diversity. The problem is that his respect for secular diversity never quite sounds sincere. As I say, it sounds like he is reining in his dislike of it, forcing a cheerful smile.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Secularism

Martyn Davie–Gafcon, The Archbishop And Lambeth 2020

The first point to note is that the Archbishop is not being asked to do the impossible. Ever since Archbishop Charles Longley invited Anglican bishops to the first Lambeth Conference in 1867 it has been accepted that it is for the Archbishop of Canterbury to decide which bishops should be invited. He can invite who he likes and not invite who he likes and he is not obliged to have the agreement of any other person or body about the matter. The buck stops with the Archbishop.

This means that Archbishop Welby can fulfil the requests made in both the bullet points in the GAFCON letter. However, this still leaves the question of whether he should do so. To answer this question it is necessary to recall what has taken place in the Anglican Communion in the twenty years since the Lambeth Conference of 1998.

Two key things have happened.

First, in spite of being repeatedly urged not to do so, a number of provinces of the Anglican Communion (The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in Canada, the Episcopal Church in Brazil, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Aorateara, New Zealand and Polynesia) have acted in ways that go against Scripture and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference by accepting, in terms of both doctrine and practice, the blessing of same-sex sexual relationships, same-sex marriages and the ordination of those in same-sex sexual relationships.

Secondly, in response to these developments, Anglicans in the United States, Canada and Brazil who have remained loyal to Scripture and Lambeth 1.10 have established the two alternative orthodox provinces mentioned in the first bullet point– the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Church in Brazil.

By acting in the way that they have, those Anglican provinces which have accepted same-sex sexual relationships have rejected the obligations that go with being a member of the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(CA) Stephen Noll–Bullying the Primates Across the Rubicon

In his report on the Africa meeting, Bishop Fearon notes the elephant in the Anglican living room, Lambeth Resolution I.10:

The Primates were honest and open and committed to holding on to Resolution I.10 (from Lambeth 1998) – but were willing to listen to other members of the Communion who find that Resolution restrictive. So there was a sense of brotherhood and belonging.

One can see here Lambeth teeing up the goal of the 2020 Lambeth Conference: to defang Lambeth I.10. If I may paraphrase:

Come to Lambeth. We shall not try to overturn your primitive attachment to the former Lambeth teaching on marriage. But you will meet some brilliant scholars and bishops who find that teaching “restrictive,” and you will hear touching stories of loving homosexual partnerships that have been blessed by the church. We can all go home then with a sense of brotherhood and belonging.

It seems that his appeal to choose Lambeth over Gafcon fell flat (one registered African Primate, to my knowledge, chose not to attend). So in what can only be seen as a desperation move (what we American footballers call a “Hail Mary pass”), the Secretary General sent out a confidential letter to the Primates four days before Gafcon began.

This letter perfectly represents what I have been calling the “Lambeth Establishment.” Bishop Fearon, a well-chosen mandarin of this Establishment, begins by flattering the Primates as “one of the four instruments that make up the smooth running of our Communion of churches.”

It is hard, frankly, to read this description of the “smooth running” bureaucracy with a straight face. It reminds me in an ironic sense of Ezekiel’s vision of the Divine Chariot, perfectly engineered with wheels within wheels and directed by the divine Spirit (Ezekiel chapter 1). Nothing could be further from the reality of current Instruments, in which the Canterbury and the Anglican Communion Office have neutered the Primates’ Meeting, manipulated the Anglican Consultative Council, and turned the Lambeth Conference into an indabafest (see Essays 4 and 8 of my book for detail).

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON

An Interview at Gafcon2018 with Rico Tice of All Soul’s, Langham Place, about the situation in England

Dominic, Rico and Pete from GAFCON Official on Vimeo.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, GAFCON

Archbp Justin Welby–Christian Presence and Witness in Europe An address to the Assembly of the Conference of European Churches

Europe is not in danger of falling. And there is no sense in which I suggest that Brexit or other crises currently around will derail the European Union or bring about the downfall of
Europe. To suggest that would be akin to the old English saying that when there is fog in the Channel then the continent is cut off. But Europe, like other parts of the world, is in a
fragile phase. Current geo-political uncertainty is unsettling. In my part of the continent there is a nation attempting to leave the EU, on the other edges of the EU such as here there are countries and peoples keen to get in.

For Augustine the fall of Rome showed the specious nature of putting faith in the earthly city. For Augustine the benefit of being a Christian is citizenship of an eternal city. This
comes through faith in Christ.

That cannot lead to complacency. The fact that Christianity survived in Europe does not indicate that it is indestructible, but that God protects the Church that he created and loves.
Christian survival within Europe is not an objective of the Church, rather it should be for the Church to be obedient to the pattern of Christ, to be Christ’s hand, mouth and love in this
world today.

Jesus told his disciples that they were to be salt and light (Matthew 5: 13-16), both the means of preserving the society in which the Church exists and also the source of illumination that reveals both shadow and truth, that unveils what seeks to be hidden, and illuminates what inspires.

For the Church to be effective and to continue to be blessed by God, it must speak truth to the societies that it sees around it and act in a way that is consistent with the truth it
speaks….

Read it all.

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

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

A Guardian Interview with Archbishop Justin Welby–“Would…[disestablishment] be a disaster? No.”

Disestablishment – separating the church from the state – is mooted from time to time. “Would it be a disaster? No,” he says, adding, “Nothing is a disaster with God.” Establishment is “a conglomeration of different bits of history. There’s no Establishment of the Church of England Act that you could repeal – it’s a complicated process. And if you mean, by privilege, that the archbishop of Canterbury is often involved in royal weddings, or crowns the monarch, or whatever, that’s really a decision for parliament and the people.”

But neither would disestablishment be liberating for the church. “It wouldn’t make any of that [the grassroots social action] easier, as far as I can tell, because that’s all done at a local level. We’re an incredibly delegated, dispersed organisation. All of those things happen because local Christians reach out to those around them, with other faith communities, with those of no faith; they do all that because they follow Christ. So I don’t think [disestablishment] would make it easier, and I don’t think it would make it more difficult.”

A consequence of establishment is that the UK is one of only two countries in the world that reserve seats in their legislature for clerics, the other being Iran – a fact relayed with some relish by Welby to a group of business leaders at Warwick University. But in contrast to the Iranian parliament, the 26 Lords Spiritual in the UK’s upper house now include two (soon to be three) women, who are among more than a dozen appointed as bishops since the church made a historic change to canon law in 2014 – a move championed by Welby.

“If I look back over the past five years, at what’s been achieved in the Church of England, the most significant would clearly be the ordination of women to the episcopate. Am I delighted it’s happened? I’m more than delighted, and I’m even more delighted that, since it became possible in law, about half the bishops that have been appointed are women.” He would like to see a woman take over as archbishop of Canterbury at some point, he says.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

(Church Times) Thousands answer Thy Kingdom Come call to prayer around the world

Hundreds of prayer trails, tents, picnics, and parties, and even a bus or two have been popping up in parishes around the UK and abroad this week in the name of Thy Kingdom Come — the annual call to prayer for evangelism between Ascension Day and the feast of Pentecost.

The third instalment of the now-global initiative was launched in York, in January (News, 26 January).

The Archbishop of Canterbury said on Wednesday: “The astonishing spread of prayer in these days of TKC has continued on 2018.

“How wonderful to see participation from churches of all traditions and denominations praying for the empowering of the Holy Spirit. We take such joy from what God is doing in uniting God’s people around the world in prayer that we may be effective witnesses to Christ.”

Alongside the beacon events and services in host cathedrals around the UK, participants are encouraged to “Pledge to Pray” by filling in a form on the Thy Kingdom Come website. Thousands of people have joined the wave, including in Europe, Canada, and Australia, where several further beacon and prayer events are taking place.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Archbishop Welby goes ‘back home’ to the Midlands to celebrate the diocese of Coventry’s centenary

Before he joined in the Centenary Festival at Coventry Cathedral on Saturday, Archbishop Welby spent three days travelling around the diocese, visiting schools, hospitals, and churches, and meeting asylum-seekers, faith leaders, college students, farmers, and others.

At a civic reception with the Mayor of Coventry, Cllr Tony Skipper, Archbishop Welby told the audience that their city, and its reconciliation ministry built out of the ashes of the cathedral, destroyed in the Coventry Blitz in 1940, was famous around the world.

“It’s a very rare day when I’m on duty that I’m not wearing a Cross of Nails. It’s so often commented on, and people say, ‘That’s such a beautiful cross, what’s its story? So I tell the Coventry story. All cities say they are famous throughout the world; but, in my travels, I’ve discovered that Coventry really is famous.”

Read it all.”>Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

Rowan Williams–A Sermon for Ascension Day in 2011

Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality–our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.

So if the world looks and feels like a world without God, the Christian doesn’t try to say, ‘It’s not as bad as all that’, or seek to point to clear signs of God’s presence that make everything all right. The Christian will acknowledge that the situation is harsh, even apparently unhopeful–but will dare to say that they are willing to bring hope by what they offer in terms of compassion and service. And their own willingness and capacity for this is nourished by the prayer that the Spirit of Jesus has made possible for them.

The friends of Jesus are called, in other words, to offer themselves as signs of God in the world–to live in such a way that the underlying all-pervading energy of God begins to come through them and make a difference.

Read it all.

Posted in --Rowan Williams, Ascension, Christology, Preaching / Homiletics

Stephen Noll–Who Moved? Gafcon and Prophetic Traditionalism

In a sense, the first half of the Jerusalem Declaration looks backward to the ancient paths, while the second half addresses issues of the present and future. However, even here the Declaration is drawing from tradition.

Clause 8 refers back to the 1920 Lambeth Resolutions 66-67 defining the “unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family,” which itself is derived from the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 19:1-6) and the Creation account in Genesis 1-2.

Clause 9 takes us to the Great Commission of the Risen Lord to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20), which is itself rooted in God’s call to Israel to be a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). It is this missionary call which led Anglicans sacrificially to bring the Gospel to the far reaches of the British Empire.

Clauses 11-13 seek to express the delicate balance of ecumenical hope, legitimate variation on non-essential matters, and the need to reject false teaching. Some on the theological Left – these are the folk who defrocked and sued confessing Anglicans in North America – claim that Anglicanism has always been infinitely flexible in tolerating “diversity.” Not if we go back to the founders, who said this: whosoever shall be sent to teach the people, shall not only in their preaching, but also by subscription confirm the authority, and truth of those articles.He that doth otherwise, or troubleth the people with contrary doctrine, shall be excommunicated.”

The final clause of the Jerusalem Declaration sets the entire Statement in the perspective of the Second Coming of Christ. In the prophetic vision of John the Divine (the Book of Revelation), Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was slain, is revealed as the Alpha and Omega who unites the past, present, and future of the creation and history, and who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

What then should we do? The Prophets of the Old and New Testaments are unanimous in replying: Repent! To the Anglican Church in particular, the Spirit says: Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent”(Revelation 2:5).

Read it all.

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

Stephen Noll-what does Archbishop Welby Mean Exactly by Calling Gafcon a Ginger Group?

Now for the not-so-subtle nuance. The Archbishop was not intending to flatter the upcoming Conference but to belittle it. How do I know that? Because his characterization of Gafcon as a “ginger group” cannot be further from the actual character of the movement, and he knows that.

Gafcon is not a global “friendly society,” nor is it seeking to pressure Canterbury, because Canterbury has made clear over twenty years that it pays us no regard. This was apparent ten years ago when Archbishop Rowan Williams bypassed the Global South Primates and invited to the Lambeth Conference the bishops of the Episcopal Church who had consecrated Gene Robinson. (Rest assured: they will be invited back in 2020.) As a result, the Global Anglican Future Conference was convened in Jerusalem in 2008.

Gafcon was not called as “ginger group” but as a reordering of the Anglican Communion. In its Jerusalem Statement, the Conference claimed:

  • that it was founding something enduring, “not just a moment in time, but a movement in the Spirit”;
  • that three facts justified this reordering: (a) the acceptance and promotion of a false gospel (heresy) in churches of the Communion; (b) the resulting breach of communion among Anglican churches; and (c) the manifest failure of the official “Instruments” to discipline the heretics;
  • that the Gafcon movement is not leaving the Anglican Communion but reforming it on the basis of its classic faith and articles, amplified in a new “Jerusalem Declaration”; and
  • that it was establishing a Primates’ Council that would, when necessary, authenticate new faithful Anglican jurisdictions.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, writes a letter which warns TEC (The Episcopal Church) about same-sex marriage rites

Proposals to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States will increase pressure in the Church of England to “dissociate” itself, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, has warned.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Mr Nye writes that, if the rites — written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples — are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, “the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC [the Episcopal Church], in all manner of ways, would increase”. Such a move would also be “potentially damaging” to work in the C of E to create a new teaching document on sexuality (News, 30 June), he writes.

He goes on to warn that, if provision is not made for traditionalists in the Episcopal Church, it would be a “serious blow for interfaith relations, negatively impacting Christians around the world especially in areas where they are persecuted minorities, as well as harming the stringent efforts to reinforce moderation in religious expression in countries like ours which are affected by terrorism”. The Episcopal Church’s promulgation of the new liturgies is, he writes, “at the least, unhelpful to those of us seeking to bring the Church of England’s deliberations to a good outcome”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

‘What do we mean when we pray Thy Kingdom Come?’ The Reverend Nicky Gumbel & Archbishop Justin Welby

Watch it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(Christian Today) Archbishop of Canterbury: Journalists are ‘indispensable’ to modern Britain

The archbishop of Canterbury has said ‘there is nothing more important’ than a free press holding people to account.

Justin Welby said journalists are ‘indispensable’ as he spoke to students at Canterbury Christ Church University.

‘In most of the countries where Anglicans live… there is no freedom of the press, or the press is corrupted in one way or another. In many places people will be tortured, threatened, bribed – all of the above,’ he said in an interview with journalism students.

‘For all the irritations of the press, and I can get as cross with reading a paper as anyone, what they do is hold people to account and make sure we have a free society – there is nothing more important.’

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Media

Martin Davie–Reimagining Reimagined – A Review Of Justin Welby’s Reimagining Britain

Contrary to what is said in the blurb on the back cover of the book, the Archbishop is not offering ‘a radical vision for 21st century Britain.’ If all that he proposes came to pass, British society would not actually change that much. What he is offering is a modest proposal for the development of existing British society and government policy along lines that have also been put forward by a large number of other writers on this topic.

What is helpful about the Archbishop’s proposal is that he identifies a number of key issues which anyone concerned with the development of British society needs to bear in mind.

Practices must reflect values and virtues.
In order to flourish Britain needs to be a society marked by the practice of love and by the values of community, courage and stability.
There need to be Intermediate institutions (including households and religious groups) that exist between the individual and the state.
Families, education, health, housing, and economics and finance are the basic building blocks of British society and problems in these five areas need to be addressed.
Britain needs to express its values in relation to immigration and integration, foreign policy and climate change.
It is important that churches and other religious groups should be given the freedom to challenge a liberal hegemony and be encouraged to bless society through their activities.
The specific policy proposals made by the Archbishop, such as giving greater support to those caring for family members, ensuring that those responsible for new housing encourage the development of community life and rebalancing the British economy so that it is less dependent on the financial sector, are also sensible and would have widespread support.

The Archbishop’s policy proposals are lacking in detail.

Read it all.

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

(ACNS) Thy Kingdom Come – Archbishop Justin Welby’s journey of faith

More than 40 years ago, whilst studying at Cambridge University, Archbishop Justin Welby made a decision to give his life to Christ, inspired by the prayers of family and friends.

Read it all and watch the whole video.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter Sermon for 2018

On this day we celebrate the simplest of events, the historic reality of the resurrection of Jesus, on the third day, after his execution and burial.

The Resurrection is a slow-burning explosion that changes individual lives, groups of people, whole societies, the course of history and the structure of the cosmos.

It was always of cosmic impact, all heaven rejoices, the world has shifted. The creator became one of his creatures, experienced mortality and shifted the patterns of reality. Like the birth of Jesus at the beginning it was experienced only by a few people in a few places – yet through the power of God the news of the Resurrection opened new life to all who heard it, and led them in new directions of which they could not imagine. God’s nature is to give us space to respond, space to ignore him, in this life. Of course, that choice has consequences now and beyond the grave, but we are wooed, not compelled, to follow Christ.

Whilst at the empty tomb we are on the very edges of mystery, we are confronted with the simple wisdom of God: Jesus Christ, the one that was truly dead, is now truly alive. Since Jesus is risen from the dead, he is alive to be met and known by you and by me.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Preaching / Homiletics

([London) Times) Archbishop Justin Welby: This is no time for cosy Christianity. A shock awaits you

For many in our society, Christianity seems a largely benign, if perhaps an undramatic, undemanding, influence. But anyone who’s spent any serious amount of time thinking about the meaning and Christian understanding of Easter might begin to think again. Because when it comes to the story of a man who has been tortured to death then physically raised from the dead . . . that’s where a lot of people come unstuck.

The story of Jesus is scandalous: people simply do not rise from the dead. And perhaps for some there’s a temptation to dismiss it as a piece of folklore some of us haven’t managed to shake off. Given a bit more time, they think, it will be consigned to history. But Christians cannot — will not — do that, because it’s the central point of our faith. There is something simple about this good news: Jesus, who was truly dead, is now truly alive. Jesus came back from the dead: he was resurrected, not resuscitated.

And since Jesus is risen from the dead, he is alive, to be encountered and known by you and by me. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, none of this matters. If it’s just a story or metaphor, frankly, I should resign from my job, all church buildings should be sold and our voluntary efforts channelled into social services.

Read it all (requires subsciption).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Easter

(Surviving Church) A Survivor’s Reply to the Archbishops’ pastoral letter on the IICSA

Another point: if you’re going to start a pastoral letter with a biblical quotation, make it an appropriate one. The passage which came to my mind when I read your letter was another saying of Jesus:

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt. 5:23-24)

We have just spent three weeks finding out how much is justly held against the leaders of our Church. The debt is huge, but you can at least make a start. John, you need to work on being reconciled with Matt Ineson before you next attend church. Justin, what about making amends to Gilo for those 17 unanswered letters? But only if you take Jesus seriously, of course.

Finally I’d like to say, in my most pastoral manner, that neither of you seems good at responding appropriately to people who’ve been on the receiving end of the bad stuff that happens in religious organisations. So here’s another suggestion. When you need to write a letter like the one we’ve just had, or to make a statement, run it past a survivor first. Most of us don’t want you to look uncaring and incompetent, we really don’t. We can help you to write sensitively, to respond appropriately, to offer assistance that will actually make a difference. Many of us have years of experience working with other survivors; researching; struggling with the theological and spiritual implications of being abused. Some of us can even contribute liturgical material you might find useful. We survivors offer a resource for the Church that you need badly. Don’t continue to despise it.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

The Pastoral letter from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

We take very seriously all that has been heard by the Inquiry. Archbishop Justin said when he gave evidence last week that he had learned again through listening and reading the evidence given to the Inquiry, that we must not simply say sorry, but that we must also take action that demonstrates clearly that we have learnt the lessons.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

A Rowan Williams sermon on the life and ministry of Oscar Romero on Archbishop Romero’s Feast Day

And so his question to all those who have the freedom to speak in the Church and for the Church is ‘who do you really speak for?’ But if we take seriously the underlying theme of his words and witness, that question is also, ‘who do you really feel with?’ Are you immersed in the real life of the Body, or is your life in Christ seen only as having the same sentiments as the powerful? Sentir con la Iglesia in the sense in which the mature Romero learned those words is what will teach you how to speak on behalf of the Body. And we must make no mistake about what this can entail: Romero knew that this kind of ‘feeling with the Church’ could only mean taking risks with and for the Body of Christ – so that, as he later put it, in words that are still shocking and sobering, it would be ‘sad’ if priests in such a context were not being killed alongside their flock. As of course they were in El Salvador, again and again in those nightmare years.

But he never suggests that speaking on behalf of the Body is the responsibility of a spiritual elite. He never dramatised the role of the priest so as to play down the responsibility of the people. If every priest and bishop were silenced, he said, ‘each of you will have to be God’s microphone. Each of you will have to be a messenger, a prophet. The Church will always exist as long as even one baptized person is alive.’ Each part of the Body, because it shares the sufferings of the whole – and the hope and radiance of the whole – has authority to speak out of that common life in the crucified and risen Jesus.

So Romero’s question and challenge is addressed to all of us, not only those who have the privilege of some sort of public megaphone for their voices. The Church is maintained in truth; and the whole Church has to be a community where truth is told about the abuses of power and the cries of the vulnerable. Once again, if we are serious about sentir con la Iglesia, we ask not only who we are speaking for but whose voice still needs to be heard, in the Church and in society at large. The questions here are as grave as they were thirty years ago. In Salvador itself, the methods of repression familiar in Romero’s day were still common until very recently. We can at least celebrate the fact that the present head of state there has not only apologized for government collusion in Romero’s murder but has also spoken boldly on behalf of those whose environment and livelihood are threatened by the rapacity of the mining companies, who are set on a new round of exploitation in Salvador and whose critics have been abducted and butchered just as so many were three decades back. The skies are not clear: our own Anglican bishop in Salvador was attacked ten days ago by unknown enemies; but the signs of hope are there, and the will to defend the poor and heal the wounds.

Read it all.

Posted in --El Salvador, --Rowan Williams, Church History

(Surviving Church) Stephen Parsons: IICSA–reflections on Archbp Welby’s conclusions

A second word came out of [Archbp Justin] Welby’s reflections at the end of the questions by Fiona Scolding. This was the word ‘tribalism’. The Archbishop wanted to make the point that when groups or factions within the church band together to protect themselves and their privileges, that creates an atmosphere highly hostile to good and transparent safeguarding. Although he used the word tribalism in the context of protecting vulnerable people in the church, it was clear that this word also sums up many of the problems being faced by the Church of England in other areas. Tribalism seems to be rife in the whole Anglican Communion and is the cause of many of its intractable divisions.

Those of us listening to his words realise that, for the Archbishop, church tribalism is a source of deep frustration. The problem is that everyone feels stronger when they band together with others to accomplish a particular task. Some tribalism is of course healthy. The church rightly encourages people to gather together the purposes of study, prayer and worship. Feeling support from others as we grow together in community is something that enriches our lives. But community or communion can become something dark when it descends into tribalism. This negative side of community is manifested when the individual surrenders their thinking and feeling to a group mind. In political terms this is seen in mass movements whether on the Right or on the Left. Anyone who attends a fascist rally does not have to think for themselves. He or she is part of something great and of enormous power. The Movement, the Cause has replaced the individual isolated functioning which belongs to a single person. Within the mass gathering there is power; outside the rally there is only insignificance and a sense of personal weakness.

A readiness to surrender our individual weakness in exchange for tribal power is perhaps not as far away from each of us as we would like to think.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(BBC) Archbishop of Canterbury ‘ashamed’ of Church over abuse

The Most Rev Justin Welby told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that it was “horrifying” to read the evidence from survivors.

“I have learned to be ashamed again,” he said.

The three-week hearing is looking into the Diocese of Chichester, where dozens of clergy have been accused of abuse.

Mr Welby said: “To read the transcripts, to read the evidence, to meet the survivors, is horrifying to a huge degree, because you see this extraordinary and atrocious willingness to turn a blind eye to things going very seriously wrong and entirely damaging human beings for their whole lifetimes.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Church Times) Lord Williams backs abuse survivors’ demand for independent safeguarding body at IICSA

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, has given his support to one of the key demands of survivors of clergy abuse: the creation of an independent body to deal with safeguarding cases.

Speaking at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) on Wednesday, Lord Williams said that there was a “strong case” for handing over safeguarding issues to a new agency outside of the normal Church of England structures.

“There’s a strong case for having some such arms-length body,” he replied, when asked about it by the lead counsel to the Inquiry’s investigation into the Anglican Church, Fiona Scolding QC.

Lord Williams said that such a move would, in theory, free the Archbishop to take more of a leadership position in safeguarding for the whole Church, but admitted that the reform might never appear high on “any Archbishop’s list of priorities”.

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Posted in --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(Tablet) Rowan Williams Admits Failings Over C Of E Child Abuse

The Church of England was “naive and uncritical” when in came to abuses of power by clergy, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

On day eight of a three-week hearing on the Anglican church as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), Lord Williams of Oystermouth said that a mindset in which the authority of an ordained minister was thought to be “beyond criticism” was a “definitely a problem” when it came to preventing abuse.

“So much of this turns on how we understand the exercise of power in the Church, in which we have often been in the past — myself included — naïve and uncritical,” he admitted. “It did take us an unconscionably long time for us to really focus on the need of the complainant and the proper care,” he told the inquiry.

He added that this “top down model of authority” leaves “little mental or spiritual space for a victim to speak out in the confidence that they will be heard”.

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Posted in --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(Christian Today) Rowan Williams: How theology helps us understand ‘Being Human’

[We] are in a cultural and work environment where it seems that individualist assumptions prevail, assumptions about control, assumptions about unavoidable conflict, assumptions about there being always a private area into which we can retreat and shut the doors…If we live in an uncooperative environment, if we’ve developed uncooperative selves, the field is not lost. Something can be reclaimed. But it can be reclaimed only by a careful, systematic challenge to those assumptions about what the human is that so imprison us – a challenge to our (in the broader sense) educational philosophies. That’s a challenge that needs clarity about what a person is and isn’t; clarity about the difference between the person and the mere individual; clarity about the capacity of human agents to do what my sources describe as transcending the merely natural, transcending the simple list of things that happen to be true about me.

Such clarity is not easily available either for a simply materialist view of human life – the human individual as a machine… – or for a purely spiritualist view of human life – human identity is just the sovereign iron will that lives somewhere in here and imposes itself on the world out there. Somewhere in between is an understanding of human identity, human personality, as fascinatingly and inescapably a hybrid reality: material, embedded in the material world, subject to the passage of time, and yet mysteriously able to respond to its environment so as to make a different environment; able to go beyond the agenda that is set, to reshape what is around; above all, committed to receiving and giving, to being dependent as well as independent, because that’s what relation is. I am neither a machine nor a self-contained soul. I’m a person because I am spoken to, I’m attended to, and I’m spoken and attended and loved into actual existence. Which takes us back to the question of human dignity and the sacred, and to that pervasive, mysterious, nagging sense that there is always something about the other person that’s to do with what I can’t see and that can’t be mastered.

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Posted in --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Books, Theology

(Spectator) Tim Wyatt–Archbishop Justin Welby’s stance on sharia law is a welcome relief

In firmly rejecting [Rowan] Williams’s proposals, Welby has identified the problems with integrating sharia law. But he’s also done more than that, by giving an insight into the vital role the Church of England can play in community cohesion. Unlike criticism from politicians or the press, Welby can speak to Muslim communities – who often feel excluded, misunderstood and hated – from a position of sympathy not antagonism. As a fellow person of faith, he has a voice in these knotty questions of law, God and ethics that no government minister or newspaper editorial could offer. When he calmly but clearly explains why sharia cannot be incorporated into British law he has a chance of actually being heard by British Muslims. He and his fellow Anglicans, with their long track record of standing up for minority faith groups, can and must act as critical friends to other believers, challenging and protecting in equal measure. In doing so they will build greater cross-cultural harmony than any Home Office strategy ever could.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Don’t let faith schools take in more pupils on the basis of religion, leaders warn

Faith schools must not be allowed to admit more children on the basis of religion, leaders have warned.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph a group of 70 faith leaders, politicians and academics warned that lifting a cap which stops new faith schools admitting more than 50 per cent of children on the basis of religion would be “deleterious to social cohesion and respect”.

The signatories, led by former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and Andrew Copson, chief executive of Humanists UK, warn that the policy, promised in the Conservative manifesto, “allows schools to label children at the start of their lives with certain beliefs and then divide them up on that basis.”

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Posted in --Rowan Williams, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture