Category : Anglican Provinces

(PA) C of E Bishops call for new approach from Government over benefits freeze

Bishops have called on the Government to urgently review its benefits freeze after a “deeply disturbing” report found poor working parents did not have the cash needed to look after children.

Low paid families are taking a “double hit” because earnings are failing to keep up with inflation and many welfare payments have been frozen, the Bishop of Gloucester said.

The struggles faced by parents on the national living wage have been laid out in a report by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Families working full time are 13% or £59 a week short of the amount needed to provide their children with a minimum standard of living, according to the report.

The Cost Of A Child 2017 found the shortfall for lone and out-of-work of parents was even starker.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

(Church Times) Visit England report: sharp drop in visitor numbers to churches and cathedrals

Visitor numbers at churches and cathedrals fell significantly last year, “largely driven” by a drop in visitors to St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey, a report by Visit England states.

The report Visitor Attraction Trends in England 2016, published last week, recorded a two-per-cent rise in the number of visitors to English sites in general in 2016 compared with 2015. But the number of visitors to places of worship dropped by eight per cent.

The sharp drop came as a surprise: between 2014 and 2015 there was a decline of less than one per cent in visitors to the cathedrals and churches monitored by Visit England.

No single reason has emerged as to why churches and cathedrals could be struggling to attract visitors. The fear of terrorism, rising entry fees, a post-London Olympics lull, and different ways of counting have all been suggested.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

(CEN) Prominent C of E evangelical group warns of possible split over same-sex Relations

A division of the Church of England would be required’ if the Church declares that ‘permanent, faithful same-sex relationships are a legitimate form of Christian discipleship’, warns the ‘realistic’ Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC).

A letter from CEEC President, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, its Chair, the Rev Hugh Palmer, Treasurer, the Rev George Curry and Secretary, Stephen Hofmeyr, warns that there are three options available for the Church of England, but that only one of them will ensure that evangelicals represented by the CEEC won’t leave.

They say that while they were encouraged that the House of Bishops sexuality report contained no proposal to change the Church of England’s doctrinal position on marriage, there have been ‘disappointing developments’. They pointed to the fact that ‘a small majority of the House of Clergy refused to “take note” of the report and so, although the majority of General Synod members wished to do so, it was not taken note of by Synod’.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AM) Andrew Symes–Have C of E evangelical leaders suggested that a Rubicon has been crossed?

All this indicates that a growing number of senior evangelicals are prepared to publicly draw a line in the sand over sexual ethics. Having said this, there are a number of areas which perhaps will require further work over the next few months.

Firstly, as was noted at the time, by Bishop Michael Nazir-AliGafcon UK and myself,  among many evangelicals there was relief that the Bishops’ report on sexuality GS2055 did not suggest any change in teaching or practice, but an overlooking of the report’s underlying theology which appeared to have lost confidence in authoritative Scripture providing a clear guide. CEEC will need to make sure that, for example, in seeking to provide resources teaching biblical orthodoxy on marriage, gender, sexuality etc, it grounds this in a robust re-statement for a new generation of the trustworthiness and authority of the bible by which we know the will of God. As many expressions of Christian faith become more grounded in experience, and the clear witness of Scripture is rejected, other key tenets of orthodox Christianity will also be under the spotlight, for example the sinfulness of humanity and the uniqueness of Christ.

Secondly, CEEC will need to set out clearly and in much more detail some of the options for ‘visible differentiation’, including cost and benefit. Writing a private letter to the Bishop, not taking communion with a liberal colleague who carries out same sex blessings or multi faith services, or even not turning up to Diocesan events, might be a start which costs little, but what might it achieve in the way of halting revisionism or strengthening orthodoxy? Some acts of protest such as withholding of parish share or asking for orthodox Bishops to conduct confirmations are easier for some large churches than smaller ones, and there needs to be clarity on what the goal of such actions might be. Those advocating a differentiated structure within the C of E, such as a Society or a Third Province, need to begin to make clear the pros and cons. Likewise leaving the C of E altogether, for example for Free Church of England, AMiE or some new Gafcon-aligned movement, would be much more costly for full time clergy than for laity or SSM’s: what advantages would result?

Lastly, as the CEEC letter ends with an admission of the difficulty of reading ‘the signs of the times’, it would have been good for the letter to have included some recognition that the assault on apostolic Christian orthodoxy in the Church of England is not just an in-house matter, but is a direct result of changes in Western culture, notably the carefully-orchestrated promotion and acceptance of anti-Christian philosophies on what it means to be human. Evangelical churches should not think that by maintaining biblical teaching and separating themselves from liberal Anglicans, they will be protected from paying any price in the face of these ideologies, which need to be named, understood and resisted with the weapons of spiritual warfare as well as preaching, writing and the establishment of new ecclesial models.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

(Christian Today) Thousands of people are turning out to hear free choral music around Britain

The ancient church music has been around for centuries – but is getting a new audience due to a new website set up to enable people to find choral evensong services at cathedrals, colleges and churches anywhere in Britain and Ireland.

The website is now receiving about 8,500 unique visitors a month, and 11,500 visits a month, and that number is rising. There are now 481 churches, chapels and cathedrals with their own pages on the website, and the number keeps growing.

And the effect on congregations is staggering.

One poorly-attended church in London found attendance shot up from 10 people to nearly 200 at one evensong alone.Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Philippa Rowen–The Church can be the eyes and ears that spot modern slavery

A new report from the National Crime Agency says modern slavery is now “prevalent” across the UK, affecting “every large town and city in the country”. The more they look, the more they find according to William Kerr, NCA Director of Vulnerabilities. He says “we need those communities to be our eyes and ears”. People in the UK may be shocked to hear that this crime is so widespread, but for those working to raise awareness of modern slavery, today’s revelations from the National Crime Agency are not surprising.

For years, the numbers of potential victims found have climbed, in 2016 hitting 3805. They came from 108 different countries, including the UK, and were exploited in all sorts of ways; from car washes, to fruit farms, to brothels.

We need communities that have their eyes open, who are aware enough of their surroundings that they can say when something doesn’t look right. When the man cleaning their car has no safety equipment, and looks underfed and tired. When their neighbours live-in nanny never seems to leave the house, and is too frightened to talk to them. When the holiday let at the end of the road is being visited by different men all through the day and night.

The Church of England, with a presence in every parish, is uniquely placed to be those eyes and ears, and to spread this message further.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(ACNS) Welsh electoral college to choose next archbishop and primate

An electoral college of the Church in Wales will meet in the small town of Llandrindod Wells next month to choose the province’s next archbishop and primate. Three lay people and three priests from all six Welsh dioceses will join the six bishops as they pray and vote on a successor to the former Bishop of Llandaff, Barry Morgan, who retired in January.

The electoral college will meet in the Victorian Spa Town’s Holy Trinity Church on 5 September. After a public Holy Communion service, the church will be emptied of everybody who is not a member of the college or their support staff. The church doors will then be locked before the conclave begins with a discussion about the needs of the province.

After a period of prayer and reflection, the president of the college – senior bishop John Davies of Swansea and Brecon – will invite nominations. The bishops nominated for the post will then withdraw while discussion takes place, returning when members of the college cast their vote. A nominee with two-thirds of the votes of the college will become the province’s next archbishop. If no nominee receives the required number of votes, the process is repeated.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Wales

(Timeout) Things you only know if you’re a London parish priest: a profile of the Rev Niall Weir

The church has got London covered

‘Every inch of the UK has its own parish church and I think that’s rather wonderful. Being a parish priest has taught me the value of longevity. St Paul’s West Hackney has been here since 1824: five years before the first London bobby appeared on the beat, before the NHS, before state schools, and we intend to stay!’

Priests aren’t all po-faced

‘I appeared in drag on a calendar one year that was made by some local sex workers. Each one of them appeared as a female icon and I dressed up as Dame Edna. I think I scrub up rather well, but my children were very embarrassed….’

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CEN) Andrew Carey–Disestablishment is now the only option

It was around the time of the same-sex marriage legislation that it finally became clear that the establishment of the Church of England had become harmful. The very fact that the state had to legislate the so-called quadruple lock, which banned the Church of England from being bound by the state’s redefinition of marriage, highlighted the absurdity of the arrangements.

In turn, politicians themselves are endangering the establishment by their attitudes. Theresa May has every right as a communicant member of the Church of England to an opinion on the theology of same-sex marriage, but no right to use her position as a Prime Minister to prevail or persuade the Church of England. In spite of the headlines, she probably has not overstepped the mark but her colleagues have.

Justine Greening, Equalities Minister, in her enthusiasm for transsexual rights, positively advocates the Church to change its position. Her religious illiteracy was trumped, though, by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who famously urged the Church to ‘get with the programme’. Cameron once compared his faith to the dodgy radio reception in the Chilterns – ‘it comes and goes’. And it was Cameron who presided over the ever-building pressure for a change in the Church’s relationship.

By interfering in the Church of England’s own decision-making with his indefensible ‘lock’ he made it impossible to defend the Church’s establishment. His breezy, braying Etonian interventions were representative of religious illiteracy that is now widespread in the Palace of Westminster.

In a matter of five years or so, conservative religious attitudes to marriage are now regarded as extremism or hate speech. The Church of England has no choice but to flee the relationship it has with the state. To stay is to risk having a relationship like the official Chinese church has with the Communist Party.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(The Nation) Joy as Owan gets first indigenous Anglican bishop

There was jubilation in Sabongida-Ora Diocese of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, in Owan West Local Government Area of Delta State.

[The] Reverend Augustine Ehijimetor Ohilebo was enthroned as its first indigenous bishop in accordance with the tradition of the Anglican Communion.

Some young members, who were witnessing the enthronement of an Anglican bishop for the first time, were thrilled at the observance of the church’s traditional rules.

The process began with the bishop knocking three times on the west door of the St. John Sabongida-Ora Cathedral with his pastoral staff seeking to come inside to give thanks to the Lord.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria

(Daily Post) Bishop James Oladunjoye–Why president Buharia must resign+allow someone else takeover

The Bishop of Owo Diocese, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt. Revd. James Oladunjoye, has admonished President Muhammadu Buhari to vacate his office for someone else if his health is continuously failing him.

Speaking at the second session of the Twelfth Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Owo, on Friday, the Bishop also berated the Presidency for refusing to disclose Buhari’s health status.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

(Tel.) Church buys pub to spread the Word of God via craft ale

A Norwich church is thought to have become the first in England to own a pub after the vicar decided it was the best way to spread the Word.

St Thomas’s Church in Norwich bought the pub next door for £500,000 after the Reverend Ian Dyble remembered seeing a vicar behind a bar many years earlier.

“It was in the Lake District on holiday, in my pre-vicar days. I remember thinking what a good idea it was to engage in the community in that way, because as we all know, people’s interest in church is waning. It’s a way for us to reach out into the community,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Alcohol/Drinking, Church of England (CoE), Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Parish Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of England

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

(Guardian) First same-sex wedding deepens Anglican divide

Mark and Rick’s marriage is the first in the Scottish Episcopal church, which is part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal church announced in June that it was allowing gay weddings after its synod voted to amend canon law on marriage. It agreed that the doctrine stating that marriage was between one man and one woman should be removed.

The vote sparked a backlash from traditionalists, with the conservative Anglican group Gafcon announcing that it was appointing a missionary bishop, committed to keeping marriage heterosexual, to work in Scotland.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has struggled to keep the worldwide Anglican Communion together over the issue of same-sex relationships, with many African bishops voicing opposition to gay weddings and to clergy being involved in gay relationships themselves.

Welby visited Africa to highlight the plight of refugees but his trip highlighted divisions over same-sex marriage. During the trip, he spent time with the archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, a leading conservative evangelical, who walked out of a gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year, angered by the west’s liberal attitudes to homosexuality. Ntagali said that he would not return until “godly order” was restored.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, --Scotland, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology

David Frost–The Influence of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer on the Orthodox: Opening a Can of Worms?

You will recognize it, though my quotation is in fact from an internet version of that Orthodox ‘Western Rite’, The Liturgy of Saint Tikhon. The passage appears in THE COMMUNION DEVOTIONS as a congregational response to the priest’s invitation to ‘draw near with faith, and take this Holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, devoutly kneeling.’

R. Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker of all things, judge of all men; we acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which wefrom time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed,against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A side of me still thrills to that. Brought up in a guilt-culture, I still want to binge on selfabasement,followed by the ‘high’ of unmerited, almost magical release. But long before Ibecame Orthodox, I began to have doubts, especially in an Anglican parish thatencouraged frequent communion. How could the sacrifice of Christ be failing to createthat serving and pleasing of God in ‘newness of life’ for which I pleaded each Sunday?Why did I have to come back week after week, making the same old complaints of badmemories and intolerable burdens? When would I, ‘reflecting as in a mirror the glory ofthe Lord’, be ‘transformed’ (as St Paul said happened to all Christians) ‘into the same image from glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3: 18 in the Revised Version)?

Returning to my difficulties in reciting the ‘Jesus Prayer’, I realized that phrases in it –‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ – had unconsciously triggeredthat image of the wrathful monarch and his princeling son, whose royal dignity andhonour I had offended since childhood, ‘provoking most justly’ their ‘wrath andindignation against me’. Immediately, as from behind a cloud, the Lordship of Christ revealed itself simply as leadership: of the leader I loved and whose commands I sought to obey because I loved him. Any plea for his ‘mercy’ became an asking for the immeasurable benefits of his grace and for his sympathetic understanding of my shortcomings, together with my acceptance of his generous offer of transformation and new life. And as for the last phrase about ‘me, a sinner’, that was just an obvious statement of fact. I’ve been able to use the prayer ever since.

Read it all.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Anthropology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Orthodox Church, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)