Category : Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell

Ripon Cathedral 1350th Anniversary Celebrations are announced

A ledger stone, honouring the cathedral’s founding father St Wilfrid, will be dedicated by Archbishop Stephen at the end of a service that will have celebrated the incredible life and mission of St Wilfrid of Ripon.

Throughout this year, in marking the 1350th anniversary of the dedication of Ripon’s crypt by St Wilfrid, the cathedral community has been telling the story of this remarkable missionary bishop with art installations, son et lumieres, lectures and worship.

Wilfrid, a man of great vision, motivation, courage and faith, not only built up the church and brought countless people to faith but also helped the church on the fringes of Europe become more up to date and better connected. This became symbolized in the way he brought Roman influence to bear on the building of a stunning church in Ripon.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell’s Sermon on the Death of Queen Elizabeth

And where did this come from? This way of being a monarch that was more about service than rule?

At her Coronation, as I’ve already heard said several times, in perhaps one of the most poignant moments of the service, she steadfastly walked past the throne upon which she would sit and knelt at the altar, giving her allegiance to God before anyone else gave their allegiance to her.

Echoing those comforting words of scripture from the Book of Lamentation, which is itself a book written out of the heart of the profoundest grief and tragedy, the Queen said this in one of her Christmas broadcasts –

“Each day is a new beginning… I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.”

And let’s not forget that today is September the 11th, a day etched into the corporate memory of the world as we remember another day of horror and sadness when so many died.

And this is what we do. As we remember, as we grieve and mourn in our families, across our world, and in the household of our nation we tell our stories. And how do we make sense of the end of life and of death? How do we live our lives well in the time that is remaining to us? Well, we can do no better than follow the example of Her Late Majesty the Queen, who each day put her trust in God. There’s nothing sensational or mystical about this. The Christian life is a life of simple discipline where each day we choose to live a certain way. Each day we choose to love our neighbour as ourselves. Each day we choose to love God.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

C of E General Synod Presidential Address by the Archbishop of York

In the public square our words will often be misunderstood, misinterpreted and misquoted. People will think we’re woke, naïve, misguided, too left wing, too right wing, too liberal or too conservative. We will be applauded for taking a moral stand, and pilloried for getting involved in politics. At the same time. On the same issue. But, knowing very well that we will sometimes get it wrong, what we are trying to be, is faithful to Jesus.

In personal witness we will sometimes meet scorn, apathy, even hostility. That which means most to us, will be considered trivial, laughable and neanderthal by some. But when we do share the gospel, we will find ourselves standing on the holy ground of other people’s stories – and their pain – and often we won’t have the words to say, such as when we’re ministering to those whose lives are cut short, or taking the funeral of a child. Our hearts will be pierced, and like Mary standing at the foot of the cross, our witness will be a silent vigil and a determination to abide.

We will carry a towel, not a flag.

We will issue an invitation, not a summons.

We will, wherever possible, roll away stones.

In overseeing and resourcing the church for ministry, a responsibility that we all share, we will have to make painful and difficult decisions. In facing up to mistakes, we will be humbled, especially by our failings to safeguard the Church or to root out racism or even just to communicate well, and show kindness to each other, in these things, we will be pierced and broken.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE)

(Church Times) Bishops unite to condemn ‘shameful’ Rwanda plan for asylum-seekers

The Government’s “offshoring” policy, under which the first people are due to be deported to Rwanda as early as Tuesday, “should shame us as a nation”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and 23 other bishops, have said.

The policy was included in the Nationality and Borders Act, which came into law in April despite objections and attempted amendments from bishops and other peers (News, 29 April). It was explicitly criticised by Archbishop Welby in his Easter sermon (News, 27 April), and reportedly by the Prince of Wales last week, who is said to have called it “appalling” in a private conversation.

Last week, campaigners failed to win an injunction against the policy in the High Court, which ruled that it was in the “public interest” for the Government to carry it out. An appeal on Monday was rejected for the same reason. A full hearing on whether the policy is lawful is due to take place next month.

In a letter due to be published in The Times on Tuesday, the full complement of bishops who sit in the House of Lords have written: “Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation.” The letter continues: “The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries.”

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

(Telegraph) Archbp Stephen Cottrell–The Queen’s Christianity is the lens through which she views the world

Amid all the pomp, pageantry and pleasure the Platinum Jubilee brings, it is easy to forget that at its heart, the Coronation seventy years ago was a religious event. And while television cameras may have been granted access to Westminster Abbey, one moment was hidden from public view. Her Majesty was anointed with oil and afforded a time of stillness and reflection before God. She was also given a Bible by Archbishop Fisher and reminded that scripture is ‘the most valuable thing this world affords’.

Geoffrey Fisher was the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time. He came alongside Her Majesty as she prepared for the spiritual journey that lay ahead. One of the treasures in the Lambeth Palace library is the book of devotions, which he prepared and presented to Her Majesty all those years ago. It includes prayers, passages of scripture and daily meditations.

For Her Majesty, the Coronation was an intimate encounter between a monarch and her God, a moment where the Queen would be called by name and given a lifelong vocation. It marked a moment where her personal relationship with Christ met the national events and public moments that remind us that this country, its laws and customs and culture, is shaped by the Christian faith.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church History, England / UK, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

The Archbishop of York’s 2022 Easter Day sermon

In this exile for the past two years and in this fast, everything that challenges our world and everything that we depended on to sustain our Christian life was suspended, but Christ remained. His love endured.

There we were, on our own, cut off in the upper rooms of our homes and unable to go to church, and Christ found us.

I see this in Craigie Aitchison’s images of the isolated Christ, who comes to us in our isolation, showing us that we don’t actually need anything else, and that in the end all the things we enjoy – material blessings, other people, the worship and comfort of the church, the sacraments themselves – all of them will cease.

Or to put it another way; He is Risen. This is the great Easter hope. In his dying and rising, we find our identity as those who are redeemed and restored by Christ. We find ourselves within the life of the God who now bears the scars of passion.

Or rather, Christ finds us. He comes to us, as he came to Mary Magdalene, and he asks why we’re crying and who we’re looking for.

He has returned to take us with him. Like Mary and like Elizabeth who will be baptised in just a moment, He know us by name. He shows us what really matters.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Easter, Holy Week

Archbishop of York praises Cumbrian community spirit

Archbishop Stephen Cottrell joined the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, who is currently completing a Lent walk across the Diocese of Carlisle, with the two meeting a local marathon man fundraiser and spending time with members of West Cumbria Ukrainian Appeal.

The Rev Nicky Pennington hosted the pair as they also met parishioners and school children in the Crosslacon Team (Cleator Moor, Cleator, Arlecdon and Frizington) before later heading to Ennerdale.

Archbishop Stephen and Bishop James were able to bless two vans laden with goods and medical supplies just before local people waved the drivers off on their journey to a refugee camp in Poland.

Archbishop Stephen said: “There’s nothing good about this war in Ukraine: it’s barbaric, it’s evil and I pray that it will soon stop. But what I see time and again is that where there is horror and evil, good can come from it. That’s been shown by this community who have come together and said ‘The people in Ukraine are our sisters and brothers’. Those vans will be a lifeline to some refugee families.”

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell

(BBC Thought for the day) Archbishop Stephen Cottrell-How Shall we Respond to the Appalling War in Ukraine?

How should we respond?

Well here’s three things all of us can do –

Be prepared to make sacrifices ourselves. Sanctions on Russia will also affect us. We have to be ready to pay that price.
Offer generous humanitarian aid. Just think for a moment what it’s like to be a young family living in the middle of Kyiv at the moment, sheltering from bombs in metro stations, fearing for the future. We must offer help.
Be ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees into our country. And, make it easier for them to come.
And, for me, there’s a fourth. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I will be praying.

Yes, for an end to the madness of war and a withdrawal of Russian forces; but also because we people of faith believe prayer changes things, beginning with ourselves.


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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer, Ukraine

(Church Times) Ukraine invasion is ‘a call to action’, Archbp Stephen Cottrell tells Lords

Speaking in an emergency debate in the House of Lords on Friday morning, Archbishop Cottrell condemned Vladimir Putin’s “flagrant disregard of the Ukrainian people’s legitimate right to self-determination”.

“Jesus urged his followers to be ‘peacemakers’, not simply peace-lovers,” he told peers. “This is an important distinction, because it is a call to action.

“The horrors being visited on Ukraine must must be a wake-up call for us that peace is something you need to work at.”

Archbishop Cottrell continued: “We must use all our diplomatic muscle and energy, stringent economic sanctions, and focused political will to force Russia to step back from this aggression, withdraw its troops and silence the guns, not least because effective sanctions will mean many innocent Russians suffer as well. Our actions must be swift and cohesive if they are to be decisive.”

Lasting peace “requires a new commitment to international instruments of law and order, accountability and investment so that we make peace and choose peace, not just hope to keep it.”

Read it all (registration or subscription) and you may find his speech in full there.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York Appeal for Prayer

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

A [front page London] Times article on a possible sweeping change being proposal in How the Church of England organizes itself

Church leaders could be appointed to full-time cabinet-style roles such as “Brexit bishop” or “Covid bishop” under proposals seen by The Times for the biggest overhaul of how the Church of England is run in centuries.

The ecclesiastical map of England could also be redrawn via mergers between the 42 dioceses, the creation of new constituencies for bishops based on cities or counties and the appointment of senior “regional” bishops to oversee large areas of the country.

The church has been accused of wanting to form a “shadow government” because of proposals that some senior bishops could be detached from geographical regions to serve as spokesmen or women on political matters.

A consultation document commissioned by the church’s three top leaders, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishop of London, sets out a wide range of ideas for “significant changes to the shape, structure and number of dioceses and bishops”.

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

(Pzephizo) Ian Paul–On the appointment of senior leaders in the Church of England

The Church of England keeps asking its gay members to go against their convictions and consciences.

Her most recent victim is the new Archbishops’ Appointments Adviser Stephen Knott. He is a gay man who has married his partner in another member church of the Anglican Communion, the Scottish Episcopal Church. He clearly disagrees with the Church of England’s apostolic teaching that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman: he has signaled that in what is surely the most public and permanent way possible. And yet the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have asked him to take charge of the process of appointing the Church of England’s most senior leaders (deans, bishops, and archbishops) who are all duty bound to teach that he cannot be married in the sight of God. How can they have asked him to do something that must be so troubling to his convictions and conscience?

Perhaps he feels, or they have indicated, that this situation won’t be for that long. That soon, post Living in Love and Faith, he will be able to help appoint people who will be able to “bless” his same-sex marriage (indicate the Church of England’s half-hearted acceptance of it), or even allow people like him to get married as Anglicans south of the border too. If so, it is my convictions and conscience that the Church of England is going to trample on next – I am a gay Anglican who lives in the light of historic teaching that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As a result, I am single and celibate, in the reassuring knowledge that this is what my church has consistently asked of people like me. Am I soon to be told that, somehow, we’ve got it wrong for centuries? At what cost to me and my many spiritual forebears? I’m increasingly uncertain as to whether that matters to the archbishops when they appoint someone like Stephen Knott to such a senior and influential position.

Some will say that neither Stephen Knott nor myself need to worry too much because neither of us are clergy and it is only the ordained, and not lay officeholders, in the Church of England, who need to live in the light of the Church’s official teaching on marriage. This is an idea that has gained traction in recent years as part of an uneasy unofficial settlement that has kept liberals and traditionalists together. The Church of England’s victims this time have been gay clergy who have been disciplined when they have, like Stephen Knott, entered into a same-sex marriage (celibate civil partnerships are permitted). He will now, in theory, be partly responsible for making sure that no ordained man or woman in his position gains preferment in the Church of England – unless his appointment signals a change in the rules. How he can be asked to do this beggars belief, how gay clergy can put up with one rule for him and another for them also strains too many people’s convictions and consciences once again. He, I, may not be ordained but we are both in positions of authority in the Church of England and so surely need to be living in the light of her teaching in all areas of faith and conduct?

What is the solution to this personal struggle for so many of us?

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The Archbishop of York’s 2021 Christmas Sermon

What can I say to you this Christmas morning, but turn to him? Let his light shine on you. Ask to have your vision expanded, that you may see the world as he sees it, for his vision for his world is the world’s greatest hope for the human race to live in peace and love one another and – if you will excuse the political jargon – build back better.

We are all exhausted by the horrors and privations of Covid. Our world cries out.

I do hope you will have a happy Christmas. And I hope you are able to get together with those you love today, even – as it will be the case with some of my family – it’s on yet another zoom conference. Most of all I hope and pray that in your hearts and imaginations, and even now in this holy Eucharist, you will come to the stable at Bethlehem.

You will come – surprised like the shepherds; doggedly faithful like Joseph; defiantly rejoicing like Mary; amazed like the Magi, and have your life re-directed. Changed, because in this great light you will not just see things differently, you will see them as they truly are, as they are meant to be, at last having the focus of your life shifted, enabling you to see the clear, pure beauty of Christ.

God of God. Light of light. Begotten, not created. O come, let us adore him.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Christmas, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York joint Presidential Address to Synod

We are walking into uncharted territory:

The uncharted territory of living with COVID-19.
The uncharted territory of climate crisis
The uncharted territory of rapidly changing cultures, and the questions those cultures pose
The uncharted territory of our own continuing numerical decline and all the challenges, not least financial, that go with it.

We don’t have a map.

There is a clue in the title. It is uncharted territory.

Our job together is to draw the map, to work out what it means to be the Church of England in and for this day and in this age.

But we do have a compass: an utterly reliable source of comfort and guidance, by the Holy Spirit, the one who has told us that he himself is the way (see John 14. 6).

Read it all.

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

The Archbishop of York’s Sermon for White Ribbon Sunday

And, of course, we don’t need to look far. Jesus models for us a very different attitude to women. The way he treated women and responded to them was radically different to the prevailing culture of his day and deeply shocking to many who encountered him.

It is likely that many women travelled with him in the wider band of his disciples.

Martha and Mary were his friends and he was a welcome guest in their house.

When he was thirsty, he asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. We can’t realise how scandalous this was. Not only was he approaching a woman in a way that was unacceptable in his time, it was a Samaritan woman, whose religious beliefs were anathema to the Jews. In this way, Jesus crossed boundaries and broke, and challenged those cultural and religious traditions that not only excluded women, but also enabled them to be treated as property and dealt with in the same negligent and wilfully violent way.

Then, we have this beautiful story of Jesus honouring and receiving the kindness of the woman who anoints him, shaming the men who had welcomed him in by her profound care born. I suppose, of her thankfulness to him and her recognition of what she saw in him, nothing less than a different way of being human – a different way of being a man (see Mark 14. 3-9).

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sexuality, Violence

(Archbp Stephen Cottrell) Watching and praying in hope for a positive outcome at COP26

In 2015 there was Pope Francis’ papal encyclical Laudato Si and the Lambeth Declaration on climate change, not to mention only last month we saw for the first time the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion jointly warning of the urgency of environmental sustainability and its impact on the poor.

That impact was something I witnessed myself three years ago when travelling in a part of Northern Kenya where it hadn’t rained for 18 months. Seeing children waving empty plastic bottles at us, begging for water was one of the saddest things I have experienced. Every day the equivalent of 12 jumbo jets worth of people die because they do not have access to fresh water. This horror is only going to worsen without tackling the injustice of the climate crisis.

For me the challenge of the environmental emergency is captured in the Lord’s Prayer. We pray “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven.” If you look in the Book of Common Prayer you’ll notice it says “in earth, as it is in heaven.” Somewhere in the last hundred years or so “in earth as it is in heaven” has somehow changed to, “on earth as it is in heaven”. It was not an organized change by some church commission, it just happened.

We used to believe, and to know, that we lived in earth, that we were part of it, interdependent with it. And if we had a relationship with the earth it was to be its good stewards, living in it, and with it, and serving it. Then somewhere in the last couple of hundred years we moved to a position from living in the earth to living on the earth. And now I’m separate from the earth. The earth is mine, and I can do with it what I will. And from that, disaster upon disaster has flowed. We’ve been blind to the consequences of our actions, and we now live in a time where we must take action.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Stewardship

The Archbishop of York writes about his Friend, Sir David Amess, RIP

He and I did not see eye to eye on some political issues. But this didn’t matter. Or rather, the fact that it doesn’t matter matters hugely for the flourishing of our democracy. Disagreement wasn’t a cause of enmity or division. Disagreement didn’t mean separation. Yet it is precisely this that we see around us in so much of the trench warfare of current public and political discourse, the vitriolic and ever amplifying echo-chambers of social media now invading other areas of life.

How do we counter this?

David Amess was a kind man.

The word kind is related to the word kin. When we are kind to someone, it doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with them, or even like them, but that we recognise a kinship, a common humanity and treat them accordingly; or as we sometimes say, ‘treat them in kind.’

David’s robust kindness came from his Christian faith. He was a devout Christian, a Roman Catholic. But the idea that we human beings belong to one another and have a responsibility to each other is not self evident. Observation of our behaviour and attitudes shows us the opposite. Our worst desires can be seen everywhere, leading us to separation, fuelled by selfishness, and bearing fruit in hatefulness and the possession of each other.

The picture of humanity that God gives us in Jesus Christ offers something else. In this regard, perhaps the most radical words Jesus ever spoke are the ones most of us know and many of us say every day: ‘Our Father’. In saying these words we don’t just acknowledge we belong to God, we acknowledge our belonging to each other as kith and kin.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(Yorkshire Post) Archbp Stephen Cottrell–Why the voices of the poor need heeding in Challenge Poverty Week

Tackling poverty must be one of our key national focuses. Even before the pandemic, the wealth gap had widened and regional inequality was stark. Household wealth in the South-East is more than twice as high as in the North East, and poverty is holding back millions of families and children.

We must resolve to find ways to redesign our economic systems, to loosen poverty’s grip, so everyone can live a full and dignified life. We cannot and must not have a recovery where the wealthy can speed off down the fast lane, while others are left broken down on the hard shoulder.

The Bible teaches us to love our neighbours, and to treat them as we would like to be treated. In the book of James, we are cautioned against showing hospitality or favouritism to wealthy guests while neglecting poor ones. Too often though, isn’t that what some of our ingrained systems do? People with first-hand experience and insight of poverty are left out of key discussions.

There are alternatives. The Poverty Truth Network is driven by the mantra that “nothing about us without us is for us”. Its approach, putting people together in the same room to pool their wisdom and find solutions to poverty, should not be seen as radical. It should be the norm.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Archbishops’ Racial Justice Commission Members Announced

Commenting on the appointment of the Commissioners, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said:

“We are delighted that these twelve Commission members have agreed to join the Racial Justice Commission.

“They represent complex interests and expertise, within and beyond the church, bringing a rich experience that will inform and meet the needs of the task that lies ahead. We pray for a transformation in our Church that will bring hope to the world. We look forward to their reports and pray for their work.”

Lord Boateng said: “These exceptional individuals bring wisdom and a passion for justice rooted in God’s love to the work of the Commission.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Archbp Stephen Cottrell’s Vision and Strategy Address to the General Synod of July 2021

After a wide ranging series of conversations involving many Synod members, representatives of just about every constituency that makes up the complex and varied ecology of the Church of England, and many voices that do not always find themselves invited to the decision-making table, we were led to a simple answer: to be a more Christ centred church.

I don’t think we would have arrived at such a simple statement were it not for the experience of Covid. The restrictions and isolations we have lived with have been hard. Our world is suffering. But stripped of the familiar comforts of worship and common life we have discovered a new and clear vision of Christ, the one who stands at the centre of our faith, the one in whom we have access to God. This is ludicrously obvious. It is hardly a surprise to say that our life is centred in Christ. It is unceasingly profound. The new life we have in Christ is received in one ‘gigantic gulp of grace’, as St. Cyprian put it. It is also a never ending story. St John’s Gospel ends with the declaration that if everything about Jesus was written down then “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21. 25)

St John also tells us that we are called to beloved discipleship, ‘dwelling close to the Father’s heart’; and courageous discipleship: ‘As the Father sent me, so now I send you’. As we recover and emerge from Covid, we believe that God is asking us to become a church of missionary disciples; a younger and more diverse church that looks like the communities it serves; a safe church and a church that is a place of welcome for everyone; a mixed ecology church where we reach and serve our nation in many different ways.

At the centre of this, and as the means whereby we will serve and reach our nation, is a parish system revitalised for mission. And I’m dismayed that anyone would think this work – work, by the way, that is still a work in progress – is aiming at anything else.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell’s Presidential address to General Synod

And on that subject, and mindful of a date most of us will have in our diaries for Sunday evening, I have turned to scripture for help, where I find, encouragingly, at Ezekiel 40.28 these words: “He brought me to the inner court – that is to the prize and victory we long for – by the south gate.” This, surely, is the inspiration we are looking for as a nation.

We have also been the Synod who have lived through the first waves of the Covid pandemic. We have learned how to zoom. This has been hugely testing and I want to acknowledge the disappointment and frustration of some members who are challenging us to go further to make sure that no one is disadvantaged by the way we use or don’t use technology.

But there have also been many wonderful stories of Christian resourcefulness, creativity and tenacity as in our parishes, chaplaincies, church schools and just about every other expression of church life we have found ways of sustaining the life of worship, built new on line communities of faith, and served our local communities.

As we emerge into the next phase of our learning how to live with Covid, we don’t know how many people will return to worship; we don’t know quite what will happen with the new communities we have nurtured online; we don’t know the full extent of the financial challenge. I know how difficult this has been in parishes and dioceses where at every level of church life we have had to make difficult decisions. But I want to encourage you. I think what the Church of England has done in the past 18 months, especially in the local church, is magnificent.

Just this week the Bishop of London spoke powerfully about how inspired she was by the way churches have risen to the challenge, finding new ways of gathering to worship God, reach out and serve their neighbours in these difficult times. I too want to thank clergy and lay leaders for their faithfulness and perseverance. I am deeply sorry if anything that has been said from the centre ever caused anyone to doubt this.

Apparently, in some quarters it has been suggested that clergy are a limiting factor on church growth. I agree. A shortage of clergy would really limit us. We need more vocations. Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE)

The Archbishop of York’s Presidential Address to General Synod

Both the Task Force and the Commission are now mandated to help us implement ‘significant cultural and structural change.’ It has our support. As Arun Arora has said: ‘Apologies and lament must now be accompanied by swift actions leading to real change. And as Graham Tomlin pointed out yesterday in a blog Grace and Race, ‘It is the gospel, not a secular agenda that drives the Church’s vison for racial justice so that the Church genuinely reflects and demonstrates the varied and multi-faceted wisdom and grace of God in Christ.’

I say this to you as a white man who has been on a long journey of learning, and still has, I’m sure, some way to go. But let me finish with a little story that radicalised me. Before I went to ordination training I worked at Saint Christopher’s Hospice in South London for a year. I was a ward orderly. I was the only white man on a team of amazing black women. We became good friends. They taught me a great deal. It was the time of the Brixton riots – only a couple of miles down the road. One of the women I worked with, Grace, was my partner on the Monday after the weekend riots. One by one, throughout the day, a succession of white men stopped her in the corridor and made the same demeaning joke, asking her whether she had been throwing bricks or smashing up bus shelters. Each time, she would patiently smile at their inappropriate joke. But in the afternoon, when a senior consultant made the joke for the umpteenth time, she snapped. She told this so-called senior man what she thought of his derisive humour. She stomped off. He turned to me and said – and I quote – “What is it with these people. Can’t they take a joke?”

I took a deep breath. The deep breath that I can make as a privileged white man even though I was in a very low position compared to him, and I said that I’d been working with Grace all day and had been given the tiniest glimpse of the horrifying, persistent, degrading drip, drip of demeaning racism and how I was surprised she hadn’t snapped earlier and that he owed her an apology.

The Church of England owes some of our sisters and brothers in Christ a much greater apology than this; and for much greater wrongs. But most of all we owe it to the nation we serve and to the God we love, that in this watershed moment – the week when George Floyd’s killer was brought to justice – we will now commit ourselves to change.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE)

(Archbishop of York) Stephen Cottrell: Covid-19 has brought us to our knees – now I pray we rise up

Even though our poorest communities have suffered disproportionally, there can be no ‘me and you’ or ‘them and us’ with Covid. It must be we. Covid will not be dealt with anywhere until it is dealt with everywhere.

The most obvious sign of this is the vaccine programme itself. It is wonderful that our country is taking the lead. But we won’t get beyond Covid until the whole world is vaccinated.

This rediscovery of a most basic human truth, that my well-being is tied up with my neighbour’s well-being, should now be the guiding principle for all public policy as we move forward.

Secondly, and flowing from the realisation that we belong to each other, we have learned to appreciate the real dignity and value of people’s labour: especially those whose jobs we may have considered menial and unimportant a year ago.

Who would have thought that alongside the heroes of the National Health Service’s inspiring example of selfless care, we would have also come to value those who stock the supermarket shelves or drive the delivery vans or volunteer in food banks?

We used to measure each other’s worth by the size of their salary. Now it must be the size of their heart.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

Archbishops launch new Commission on Families and Households

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today announced a new commission to explore what support families and households need to flourish in today’s society.

This new Commission follows the Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community, whose final report ‘Coming Home’ was published in February 2021. This new Commission will aim to build on that work, formally beginning its work in May and look to report in winter 2022.

The origin of the Commission lies in Archbishop Justin’s 2018 book ‘Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope’. Building on a key chapter, ‘Family – Caring for the Core’, the Commission aims to articulate and address the pressures and challenges facing families and households, whilst also highlighting the good and the positive in terms of what works well and how that can be built on, drawing on Christian tradition.

It will aim to offer practical and deliverable ideas on what enables families and households to thrive and prosper as the cornerstone of every community in our society.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A National Day of Reflection for the first anniversary of lockdown

The Church of England, Marie Curie, Hope UK, Care for the Family, Ataloss and many charities and organisations across the UK, will join forces on Tuesday 23rd March for a National Day of Reflection to commemorate the first anniversary of the nationwide Coronavirus lockdown.

York Minster will open from 11.30am to welcome people for prayer, quiet reflection and to light candles for family, friends and loved ones. The Minster will fall still at 12 noon for a national one minute silence. A Chaplain will be present throughout the day.

The Revd Michael Smith, Canon Pastor at York Minster said: “This unprecedented event has touched communities all over the world. There has been heart-breaking loss of life, disruption to every sphere of life, enforced isolation that has been extremely difficult to endure and severe economic strain. Even the most basic human interactions such as comforting the sick and dying, or attending a funeral have been impossible for many.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, History, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

(Yorkshire Post) Archbishop of York: Future of our local churches after pandemic

But how will Archbishop Cottrell ultimately judge the success of his own mission from a pastoral and personal perspective? “I’m not sure is the honest answer,” he concedes. “Let me tell you what I long for. I do long for our churches to grow. I do long for that. I think our world will be a better place, I think people would lead happier more fulfilled lives in communion with God. Even if that doesn’t happen, I won’t think I have failed because I don’t think I am personally responsible for that – I have my part to play.

“I also long for us to live in a fairer, better world where families and households and communities are properly supported, and I think the Church has a part to play in that, and I certainly want to do all that I can to develop and strengthen the life of the local church.

“We might even increase and develop that presence into new communities, that we will have worked out what it means to be an online church as well as a physical church. They are the things that I hope for. If that bears fruit with more people being part of the Church, then I will rejoice.” He means it.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

(The Observer) Britain must reset its compass, from housing to wages, says archbishop of York

Britain needs to reset its compass in a political climate in which “we’ve learned to accommodate things that we know are wrong”, the archbishop of York has said.

Stephen Cottrell, who was enthroned in October, told the Observer: “Our compass has slipped; we’ve allowed ourselves to believe that things can’t change, that this is just the way the world is. Politics has, I think, shrunk. There’s a loss of vision about what the world could be like.”

As the number two in the Church of England, he said that he wanted the church to have a louder political voice. “I simply don’t accept a separation between the church and politics, faith and politics or, for that matter, anything and politics. It’s about how we inhabit the world – and everybody and every organisation and every community has a voice and a stake.”

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Books, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Churchwarden Patrick Kidd Expresses Some Concerns about recent C of E leadership amidst the Pandemic

Take the time to read it carefully.

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

(Spectator) The Archbishops of Canterbury and York–the Church in changing times

You can imagine our shock, then, when we read in the media about what is supposedly happening to our beloved church. That the parish system, with its beautiful vision of serving every inch of the country and every person in it, is being systematically dismantled. That clergy are being made redundant. That there are plans to somehow centralise everything and for services, even beyond Covid, to be online rather than in person.

So let us try to set the record straight. There are no plans to dismantle the parish network. We are committed to our calling to be a Christian presence in every community.

Throughout our history, some churches have closed and others have opened. We weep at the former and rejoice at the latter. But it is not new. The untold story is that in recent years the Church of England has planted or renewed at least 100 new congregations and churches.

Far from withdrawing from the poorest areas, there is a huge effort towards growing congregations and supporting ministry in those areas — including rural areas, where we invest £10 per head of population compared with £6 per head in urban areas.

Meanwhile, the suggestion that all we do is cut back clergy numbers is not only untrue and unhelpful, it creates unnecessary anxiety. We need more clergy and they are coming forward in record numbers. And where dioceses are saving posts, it is usually through retirements.

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

(Church Times) Clergy won’t be pushed out in cost cuts, says Archbishop of York

Clergy are still needed to serve the Church of England, and “are not being pushed out” of their posts to make up for the continued decline in income, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, says.

None the less, the Church will have to make “tough” and “challenging” changes to spread both its wealth and stipendiary clergy fairly across the 42 dioceses, he warns. This is likely to result in some cuts to stipendiary posts in all dioceses, many of which — especially in the north — are being left vacant after clerics retire.

Archbishop Cottrell, writing in the Church Times this week, is responding to the alarm caused by a discussion paper circulated to bishops and diocesan secretaries last month, part of which was leaked to The Sunday Times (see our full news report here).

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship