Category : Anglican Provinces

(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

(Church Times) IICSA: the dean’s bonfire and the destroyed report at Chichester Cathedral

A former Dean of Chichester Cathedral, the late John Treadgold, burnt a batch of files suspected to contain sensitive personnel material upon his retirement in 2001, the Dean of Worcester, the Very Revd Peter Atkinson, confirmed on Tuesday.

Dean Atkinson, who was Canon Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral at the time of the incident, was giving evidence to a public hearing conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA).

The hearing, now in its third and final week, is using the Chichester diocese as a case study.

Asked by Counsel about the burning of files, Dean Atkinson said: “He [Dean Treadgold] had retired in the autumn of 2001 and moved a short distance away. What I remember of the episode is that he returned to the Deanery, which then was empty — this was long before Dean Frayling arrived — removed a number of files from the Deanery basement and had a fire in the garden.

“I don’t know what the files were. I think there is some indication that they might have been old Chapter files, but they may well have been his own. It’s a bit odd that he’d moved away and then came back to do this, and it was sufficiently troubling for us to mention this to the police, which happened.”

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Posted in Anthropology, 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

(CEN) The Church of England fears its Near Neighbours programme could be undermined

The Church of England has said it is concerned that new Government proposals aimed at integrating mixed ethnic communities will bring an end to projects already promoting integration through the Near Neighbours programme.

The Government has launched a consultation on a number of proposals that they say will tackle segregated communities. These include providing additional funding to Jobcentre Plusso they can support more people from the most segregated communitiesinto work.

Other proposals also include supporting people from ethnic minorities into working in places where there remains a big gap between their employment rates and that of white British people, and increasing the take up of apprenticeships by people in isolated communities.

A background paper explains that major focus of the new strategy will be addressing outcomes for people from different ethnic backgrounds that are linked to poor integration.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(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

Anglican Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews will step down on May 1

Bishop Matthews describes her time here in Christchurch as “an extraordinary privilege.”

“I want to thank the people in this Diocese for their faithful service. This beautiful Diocese has been through many challenges brought about by earthquakes, wind, fire and floods. But through it all, people have been their best selves by helping others, working together and finding new ways of doing things.”

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Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Professor Mike Higton–Teaching and Witness in the Life of the Church

I’m going to sketch an account of the origin of doctrine and doctrinal theology, and I’m going to draw on that to talk about two contexts of doctrinal thinking in my church today: storytelling, and decision-making in the context of division. I’m going to try to keep in mind the variety of doctrinal traditions (my first worry), and the variety of doctrinal practices within each tradition (my second worry), and to avoid an intellectualist account of the life of the church (my third worry) – and I’m going (at last!) to bring witness and teaching into the frame.

Read it all (starts on page 6).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Theology

Bishop Mark Rylands of Shrewsbury to leave Shropshire for parish ministry

The Right Reverend Mark Rylands has served as the Anglican Area Bishop of Shrewsbury for nine years.

He says that while it has been a huge privilege to serve the people of Shrewsbury and Telford the time is right to move with his wife, Mandy, to the south-west where they have previously lived, served and have family.

After a special farewell service in July, Bishop Rylands will take up his new role as priest-in-charge of the Ashburton and Moorland Team in Exeter Diocese, where he will also be an Assistant Bishop.

“Working in the Diocese of Lichfield has been an enriching experience. Many in this country are not sure where Lichfield, Telford or Shropshire is, we are slightly off the beaten track, slightly unknown. I have been blessed to work here,” he said.

“It will be sad to leave. And for some it may seem a surprise move. I have sensed God’s beckoning to serve as a parish priest again.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Psephizo) Andrew Goddard–Can the Church change its practice on marriage without changing its doctrine?

Seeing that one fundamental question arising from the wording of the PMM is that it is asking for an impossible liturgy given the church’s teaching, would it not be much better for the church – aided by the House of Bishops Teaching Document promised for 2020 – first to answer a question similar to that which Synod passed in 1981 in relation to remarriage – “Are there circumstances in which it would be right for a couple legally to enter a civil partnership or same-sex marriage in a church service and/or have a service of prayer and dedication in church after legally entering one of these unions?”.

There would be two ways to answer that question positively:

  • either show how this change in longstanding practice is nevertheless “neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter”
  • or to offer a theological justification and rationale for redefining that doctrine so as to enable such a liturgical development.

The bishops could follow either route solely on their own authority and, as proposed by the PMM, simply commend such a liturgy.  However, given its likely significance for the unity of the Church of England and wider Anglican Communion, it would be much better if any such change took the form of an authorised liturgy supported by teaching from the bishops.  This would allow the church as a whole, led by the bishops exercising their roles as teachers and guardians of the faith and the church’s liturgy, to be part of a corporate pastoral and theological discernment.  The church could then, guided by the bishops, consider carefully the fundamental question which the PMM seems to sidestep: is the proposed liturgy truly faithful to the teaching on marriage and sexual holiness which we have received and share with the wider church or does it require changes to that teaching to enable such a liturgy?

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) Anglican Church of Rwanda inaugurates new £250,000 cathedral in Gasabo

The outgoing Primate of Rwanda, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, inaugurated a new 300 million Rwandan Franc (approximately £248,000 GBP) cathedral in Gasabo on Sunday, which will be the seat of his successor, Archbishop-Elect Laurent Mbanda. Dr Mbanda, currently bishop of Shyira, will be enthroned as the new Primate of Rwanda and Bishop of Gasabo on 10 June.

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Posted in Church of Rwanda, Parish Ministry

Bishop of St Albans: Fixed Odds Betting Terminals proposal ‘simply does not go far enough’ to protect most vulnerable

The Bishop of St Albans, a leading campaigner for measures to limit the harm done by Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), has responded to recommendations from the Gambling Commission.

The Rt Revd Alan Smith supports reducing the maximum stake on the machines to £2, from the current level of £100. The Commission has recommended limiting the stake to at least £30, but has left it up to the Government to decide the final figure.

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

FT talks with the steward of the Church of England’s investment portfolio, Loretta Minghella, on god, guns, gender and her brother’s death

In the months since her arrival at Church House next door to Westminster Abbey, Ms Minghella has added to Sir Andreas’s legacy. Observers say she is hard-nosed when it comes to numbers, has a low tolerance for bad corporate behaviour and is uncompromising on issues such as gender diversity.

“We are looking for companies to have 30 per cent gender diversity on their boards. If they haven’t, we will be looking at chairs of nominations committees and actually not approving one or two of them,” she says.

“It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do when it comes to investments.”

Our meeting takes place as the debate rages about investments in gun companies after the Florida school shooting.

Unsurprisingly, the fund already screens out “sin” stocks — arms, gambling, pornography, alcohol, tobacco — and it is taking a much tougher line on mining and energy companies.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market

Martin Davie–‘Transgender, reality and pastoral care’

The fact that ‘I’ am a unity of body and soul means that it makes no sense to suggest, as we have seen Judith does in the Church of Scotland report, that ‘I was born in the wrong body.’ There is no ‘I’ separable from the body we possess. What ‘I’ means is the person who exists in this particular combination of body and soul. The suggestion that I should have been born in a different body really means that I should have been a different person, but in that case I would not exist, so the suggestion is asking for the impossible.

What is also impossible is for someone to change their body from male to female or vice versa. It is possible through the use of hormones and plastic surgery to change to a certain extent the way our bodies function and their outward appearance, but we cannot change the fundamental character of our bodies as male or female. We can produce what Paul McHugh calls ‘feminized men or masculinized women, ‘ [13] but we cannot make a man into a woman or a woman into a man.

The evidence of Scripture agrees that human beings are bodily creatures that are male and female and are able to reproduce as such, but it supplements the witness of natural reason in this regard in two key ways.

First, it teaches in the creation narratives in Genesis 1 and 2 and also in the words of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew 19:4, Mark 10:6) that we are not a dimorphic species by accident, but because God in his goodness and wisdom created us as such so that men and women together can rule over and care for the world on God’s behalf and together can produce offspring who can continue this vocation in their turn.[14] Scripture as a whole further teaches that the dimorphic structure of the human species is also the basis for marriage (Genesis 2:23-24) through which human beings are called to bear witness to the marital relationship between God and his people, which has begun in this world, but will be finally consummated in the world to come (see Ephesians 5: 21-33 and Revelation 19:6-9, 21:2-4).

Secondly, it teaches that our bodies are an eternal part of who we are.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishops of Armagh to reflect on ministry and legacy of Saint Patrick at Armagh annual lecture

On Friday 16 March, the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day, the two Archbishops of Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke will join together to host the annual Saint Patrick’s Lecture at at 11.00 am in the Market Place Theatre in Armagh.

At the lecture the Archbishops will reflect on ministry and legacy of our National Patron, Saint Patrick. Following the lecture, UTV presenter Sarah Clarke will host a discussion with the Archbishops on the words of Saint Patrick, and how his message still resonates and holds relevance for many of the challenges faced by people today.

Reflecting on the life of our National Patron ahead of the event, Archbishop Martin said, ‘Saint Patrick, himself a migrant, was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his home. I encourage the faithful at this time to pray for migrants, and all who struggle to live and integrate into new cultures, at home and abroad, arising from displacement and poverty.’

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Posted in --Ireland, Church History, Church of Ireland, Ecumenical Relations, Roman Catholic

(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