Category : Church of England

A C of E Response to the ECJ Ruling on Headscarves

In response to the ruling of the European Court of Justice on the wearing of headscarves a Church of England spokesman said:

“This ruling raises significant questions about freedom of religion and its free expression. Whether it be Sikhism and the wearing of turbans and kara through to the wearing of a cross.

“In preferencing ‘freedom to conduct a business” above the free expression of faith the ruling potentially places corporate interest above those of the individual.

Equally troubling is the assumption of “neutrality” within the ruling. The imposition of blanket bans – whilst often seeking honourable outcomes – may represent a worldview based on dogmatic or ideological assumptions which may unjustly limit individual rights.”

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Posted in Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Bp James Langstaff of Rochester: The Bp of Burnley and the Diocese of Sheffield

In its Declaration of May 2014, the House of Bishops made the point that these Guiding Principles ‘need to be read one with the other and held together in tension, rather than being applied selectively’. Thus, while affirming unequivocally that all orders of ministry are open to all without reference to gender, we also assert that those who are unable to receive the priestly or episcopal ministry of women continue to be fully part of the life of our church – and not just for an interim or limited period.

Furthermore, the Declaration (in paragraphs 11 and 12) clearly envisages the possibility of there being diocesan bishops who might not ordain women, and indicates the arrangements which should be made in such circumstances. These arrangements are in a sense the mirror image to the provision made for those unable to receive the ministry of a woman bishop (or indeed of a male bishop who ordains women). It was precisely to meet circumstances such as the nomination of Bishop Philip that we made these provisions.

The settlement which we put in place in 2014 is, I believe, a structural expression of conviction and grace. It has in practice, as is clear from across our own Diocese, enabled us to maintain a high level of fellowship across profoundly held differences of theological and ecclesiological conviction. In this context, my own view is that Bishop Philip’s nomination to the See of Sheffield was entirely consistent with the 2014 Declaration by the House of Bishops. That nomination must also have been made with the agreement of most (perhaps all) of the six Sheffield Diocesan representatives on the Crown Nominations Commission. I note also the number of senior ordained women who have made public their support for Bishop Philip.

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Posted in Church of England

(IB Times) Andrew Sabisky: The C of E has sent a clear message to its conservative churchgoers – you’re not wanted

Reactions from North’s supporters among the clergy run the gamut from horror to outright despair. Rebecca Feeney, an ordinand training for the priesthood at St Stephen’s House, commented that: “There has been consistently misleading and polarising rhetoric about the Catholic position, which has resulted in immense negative press about Bishop Philip – someone a lot of women, myself included, would not have trained or be training for priesthood without. For many, he is a living embodiment of what mutual flourishing means, and in light of this, the treatment he has received is particularly strange and cruel.”

Fergus Butler-Gallie, an ordinand at Westcott House, fired a mighty broadside: “I’d say that any affirmation that involves the personal smearing of a brother or sister in Christ is no affirmation at all and that, if anything, it makes the church look even more like a genitally-obsessed bunch of do-gooding hobbyists than ever before.

“The fact that the highest paid clergyman in the Church of England (Martyn Percy) can use the deanery of an Oxford college as a sniper’s post to take down a convincing advocate for the very poorest in society (with a columnist for the Guardian feeding him his ammunition) will send one message and one message alone – we care more about our own sub-Freudian internal wranglings than we do about the care of God’s people.”

Future prospects for the unity of the church are grim. This episode has sent a clear message to conservative Anglo-Catholics that they are not wanted. The same logic that barred North from his diocesan post will surely be applied to suffragans before long.

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Posted in Church of England

Dean of Exeter Cathedral announces his retirement

In recent months Exeter Cathedral has been on a journey of self-evaluation and change. That process has raised some challenging issues, not least financial. While some progress has been achieved, there are still many challenges ahead.

In that context, and having reached the age of 65 last month, after considerable thought and reflection the Dean, the Very Rev Jonathan Draper, has announced that he will retire at the end of August this year. He and his wife Maggie are on leave this week, and on his return Jonathan will be on sabbatical. He has been Dean for over five years and has achieved considerable change including renewing the outward focus to the city and county, and giving the Cathedral a greater mission focus. His preaching ministry has been greatly appreciated. He has led the huge improvements to the repair and maintenance of this historic building, leaving a legacy for generations to come.

Jonathan has been 34 years in ministry in places as diverse as London and York, in parishes, cathedrals and in theological education. Our prayers and thoughts are with Jonathan, Maggie and their family at this time.

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Posted in Church of England, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Gavin Ashenden–Discrimination and discernment: an exercise in relativist supremacy

….the recent Bishop Philip North episode ought to make us suspicious. The theology of inclusion and equality didn’t apply to +Philip, whose great mistake was to believe what all Christians in all places at all times (until Karl Marx) have believed – about the orders of the Church.

The three-card trick that Professor Percy and his cultural fellow-travellers play is to refuse to exclude anyone except those who don’t agree with them. You only get to be included in the equality stakes once you have accepted their moral and political presuppositions. So, of course, they do actually discriminate between anyone who shares their basic world view and those who don’t.

They pretend they are relativists by claiming that all views are equally legitimate, but become absolutists if you challenge their relativism. In other words, their ideas of equality and relativism are actually practised by placing their value above those who disagree with them, and discriminating against anyone who has the audacity and moral turpitude to dissent.

Meanwhile, they claim the higher moral ground by pretending to be something that they are not – outlawing discrimination while practising it.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England

(Ekklesia) Savi Hensman–Being Sheffield’s bishop and the limits of inequality

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Posted in Church of England, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Gavin Ashenden: Philip North crisis: ‘Good Disagreement’ has become ‘bad bullying’

Philip North’s appointment to Sheffield was a litmus test. I had to admit that I was wrong about my first hypothesis when he was elected. But the great advantage of having views that constitute hypotheses is that one can test them and change them.

But the more important test was to come – the commitment to mutual flourishing, mutual respect; the promise that inclusion and diversity meant what they said, and were not just closet weapons to lull the traditionalists into wistful trust before expelling them.

The North appointment was a serious test for the much vaunted ‘Good Disagreement’ that Archbishop Justin Welby has staked his archiepiscopal strategy on.

It has all gone badly wrong….

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Posted in Church of England

Reform’s Statement following Bp Philip North’s withdrawal from nomination to the See of Sheffield

Reform members throughout the country are disappointed but not surprised by the news that Bishop Philip North will not be the next Bishop of Sheffield.

The furor that has followed his nomination reveals the arrogance and assumptions of those who believe, “that it is not enough to assert that due process and the five guiding principles have been observed. If they have produced a situation that causes distress … then they need to be reviewed…”1.

The attitude of those who have campaigned against Bishop Philip North calls into question the future of the five principles, which undergirded the settlement that allowed women to enter the episcopate.

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Posted in Church of England

Bp of Maidstone Rod Thomas’s statement on Bp Philip North’s withdrawal

I am deeply saddened that Philip North has felt forced to withdraw from his nomination as the next Bishop of Sheffield. It will be a huge loss to Sheffield and is a body blow to the concept of ‘mutual flourishing’ which lay at the heart of the agreement to introduce women bishops in the Church of England.
Philip has huge gifts to offer the Church, and his leadership in Sheffield would have given a great boost to mission.
However, the damage to the principles on which the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests is based, is profound.

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Posted in Church of England

The Archbishop of York’s Statement on Bishop Philip North

This is a personal decision which I understand and sadly accept. However what has happened to Bishop Philip clearly does not reflect the settlement under which, two and a half years ago, the Church of England joyfully and decisively opened up all orders of ministry to men and women. It also made a commitment to mutual flourishing: that those who ‘on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests, will continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contribute to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.’

There will be continuing debate in the coming days and weeks of lessons to be learned, how that learning might inform and inspire us to act as a Church in our dealings with one another and how, when we disagree, to disagree Christianly, remembering at all times that our identity is in Christ alone.

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Posted in Church of England

(Church Times) ‘Sadness’ as Philip North pulls out of Sheffield

After weeks of protest at his appointment, the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, has decided he cannot be the next Bishop of Sheffield.

Downing Street has just announced that Bishop North, who has spent the past few days on retreat, has withdrawn his acceptance of the nomination to the see, made at the end of January (News, 3 February).

“It is with regret and sadness that I have decided that I am unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield,” he said in a statement.

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Posted in Church of England

(Tel) New Bishop of Sheffield stands aside after ‘highly individualised attacks’ over his views on women priests

The controversy stems in part from his continued membership of a Church of England group known as the Society, which does not recognise women priests.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, had previously said that the church would support his appointment.

Last week he received support from 36 members of female clergy in the Blackburn diocese, as well as three women bishops.

But local groups in Sheffield had protested his appointment. A new group called Sheffield Action on Ministry Equality wrote an open letter saying it had left them “deeply troubled”.

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Posted in Church of England

(BBC) Bishop Philip North steps down over women priests row

An Anglican bishop has turned down a promotion after fellow clergy in his new diocese objected to his stance against ordaining women priests.

Philip North had been chosen as the next Bishop of Sheffield but said the level of opposition meant accepting the offer would be counter-productive.

He said he had withdrawn for “personal reasons” but added the “attacks” against him were “extremely hard”.

The Archbishop of York urged members to “disagree Christianly”.

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Posted in Church of England

A Statement from the Bp of Burnley, Philip North “I am unable to take up the nomination as Bishop”

It is with regret and sadness that I have decided that I am unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield.

The news of my nomination has elicited a strong reaction within the diocese and some areas of the wider Church. It is clear that the level of feeling is such that my arrival would be counter-productive in terms of the mission of the Church in South Yorkshire and that my leadership would not be acceptable to many.

I am grateful for the love, prayers and care that have been shown me over recent weeks by numerous people, especially the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Blackburn and the clergy of the Blackburn Diocese. In particular I would like to thank the Bishop of Doncaster and the diocesan team in Sheffield for their support.

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Posted in Church of England

The Bishop of Gloucester releases an International Women’s Day film

The Church of England’s first female diocesan bishop has spoken of her hope of helping women ex-offenders rebuild their lives and self esteem in a new short film recorded to mark International Women’s Day.

Rt Rev Rachel Treweek talks in a film released by the Church of England about her passion to see every person know that they are made in the image of God and loved, valued and precious.

She says that this passion led her to set up the #Liedentity social media campaign against negative body images. She is also backing a new scheme where the Diocese of Gloucester is providing a safe house in partnership with The Nelson Trust that can be used for women released from prison to be reunited with their children.

Read it all and note the link to the Youtube video at the bottom of the page.

Posted in Church of England, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Women