Category : Church of England (CoE)

Archbishop Justin Welby meets the new Apostolic Nuncio

The Archbishop and the Nuncio discussed matters of mutual concern, including the peace process in South Sudan, the current refugee crisis and the future of Europe.

The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with most countries around the world. This is managed via the ‘second section’ of the Secretariat of State, which is headed by Archbishop Paul Gallagher. The history of the nunciature in the UK goes back to the 1930s.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Roman Catholic

(Church Times) Dire state of Religious Education laid bare in analysis of Government census

A quarter of all state secondary schools are struggling to meet their legal obligation to teach religious studies, data obtained by the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) has shown.

Its analysis of the previously unpublished School Workforce Census, obtained from the Government by a Freedom of Information request, found that, out of the 2793 schools that took part in the census, 28 per cent (787 schools) said that they gave no time to religious education (RE) in Year 11, the GCSE year.

This equates with 800,000 pupils, NATRE estimates in its report, The State of the Nation: A report on Religious Education provision within secondary schools in England, published on Monday. And, of the schools claiming to offer non-examined RE to Year 11 pupils, 83 per cent admitted that their students received zero minutes of teaching per week, meaning that, in practice, it was not on the curriculum — what the report calls a “tick-box exercise”.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Tel.) Andre Spicer–Insidious management speak has infected the land, from our boardrooms to our churches to our school halls

Management speak has even found its way into the Church of England. In 2014, the Church commissioned a “talent management” programme for “future leaders“. A report about the programme mentioned the word “leadership” 171 times. “God” was mentioned 21 times.

Lamenting how this meaningless chatter had taken over our great national institutions, I turned to daily life for some respite. Instead of solid common sense I found the same guff. One friend remembered asking his girlfriend to meet him after work, to which she responded: “what’s the value add?“. I came across a prospective father who talked about naming his child as “personal brand design“. Another dad talked about how he used “six sigma” techniques to raise his four daughters. I even read a Harvard Business School professor describing marriage as a merger which involve “due diligence“, “synergies“, “costs of integration“, and “strategic execution“.

Why are we attracted to this impenetrable tosh. Are people just stupid? Not really – smart, well-educated people are particularly enthusiastic devotees of management speak. Do they lack experience in the real-world? No again. Management jargon is used by even the most seasoned operators.

So why do we use it? Managers told me there were some big gains to be made from business balderdash. Some said it made them look good. By walking into a meeting and firing off bullet points filled with management jargon, they hoped they would be seen as “up to date“, “intelligent“, and even “inspirational“. In this sense, management talk can also be a useful self-confidence trick. By describing themselves as a “Quality Catalyst” or a “Innovation Sherpa“, a middle manager can feel a little better about their boring job.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecclesiology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CEN) Bishop Philip North ‘was misled’ over his appointment to Sheffield

Sir Philip found that there was no real attempt during the Vacancy in See process or during the consultation process to address the possibility of appointing a non-ordaining bishop to the Sheffield vacancy.

Neither was there any detailed attempt by the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) to consider what the implications of appointing a non-ordaining bishop to the diocese might be.

The row arose because Bishop North does not ordain women because of his Anglo-Catholic churchmanship.

“He believed that his candidacy to be their diocesan bishop, including his views on what was meant by mutual flourishing, had been tested by the Crown Nominations Commission and found to be acceptable,” Sir Philip wrote. The reviewer explains that whenthe Archbishop of York asked each of the members of the Commission in turn whether they felt that the needs of the diocese and the wider Church had been met by the outcome, ‘all replied in the affirmative’.

Sir Philip said that when the possibility of Bishop North being nominated was under discussion in the Commission, the diocesan members were asked to comment on this and clear views were expressed by a majority that his nomination would be welcomed in the diocese, although others expressed caution about the likely reaction.

“The view of many (but not all) of the members of the Commission was that his reputation for mission would outweigh any personal reservations about his stance on receiving the ministry of women.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology

Bp Graham Tomlin introduces his new book released today–Why Freedom is not what you think it is

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Posted in Anthropology, Books, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology: Scripture

Forward in Faith UK Responds to the Sheffield Review

Forward in Faith welcomes the report on the nomination to the See of Sheffield and related concerns by the Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer, and his recommendations. As the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said, the report is ‘detailed, thoughtful and authoritative’. Like them, we shall read it carefully. We look forward to the more detailed response that the Archbishops promise.

We welcome Sir Philip’s statement that ‘there is no doubt that Bishop North’s nomination was consistent with the House of Bishops’ Declaration and the Five Guiding Principles’ (para. 130).

Sir Philip finds that ‘not nearly enough’ has been done to inform and educate clergy and laity about the 2014 Settlement (190). We welcome his recommendation that the House of Bishops provide resources to help dioceses, deaneries, parishes and training institutions to engage in further consideration of the issues and to ensure that ‘mutual flourishing’ is achieved (191).

We note that Sir Philip does not believe that Professor Percy’s ‘view of what constitutes “mutual flourishing” is consistent with what the House and the Synod had in mind in espousing the Declaration and the Five Guiding Principles’ (167). He comments, ‘The challenge posed by Professor Percy and some others… is in effect a fundamental challenge to the 2014 Settlement’ (132). We welcome Sir Philip’s recommendation that the House of Bishops give further attention to this theological challenge to the Settlement (198). It is the House of Bishops’ Declaration, so the House of Bishops needs to defend it.

As Sir Philip says, the Settlement was a package. We note that the Measure and Canon which permit the ordination of women to the episcopate form part of that package. As Sir Philip comments: ‘Try to unpick the package and the basis for the settlement is immediately called into question’ (16b)….

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Theology

(C of E) Independent Reviewer’s report on See of Sheffield published

A report of the review of nomination to the See of Sheffield by the independent reviewer Sir Philip Mawer has been…[recently] published….

The report and appendices set out the findings of a review requested by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in March this year following the announcement that the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, was to withdraw from nomination to the Diocese of Sheffield….

Summary of findings and conclusions:

Sir Philip finds that Bishop Philip North’s nomination to the See of Sheffield was entirely consistent with the terms of the 2014 Settlement which enabled the consecration of women as bishops in the Church of England.  However:

  • The nomination of Bishop North – a bishop who would not ordain women as priests – came as a surprise to many, indicating a failure to inform and educate people that such a nomination was possible under the terms of the Settlement.
  • There is scope for improvement in the processes leading to the nomination of candidates to the Crown for appointment as diocesan bishops.
  • Events surrounding the nomination also raise some fundamental theological and pastoral issues relating to the 2014 Settlement and its operation.
  • They also point to a failure to anticipate the likely reaction to Bishop North’s nomination and to plan for handling it.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) New Church of England poll confirms image of inactive Christians

The survey of 8150 British adults was conducted by ComRes in March and published this week. Just over half (51 per cent) of those responding to the survey defined themselves as Christian. This compares with the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, published last week, which found that 41 per cent of 2129 respondents identified themselves as Christian (News, 8 September).

Of the Christian respondents in the ComRes survey, 32 per cent were over 65 and just six per cent were under 24. Fifty-six per cent classified themselves as Anglican, once again, a higher percentage than the BSA finding. Almost two-thirds of the Christians said that they had become a Christian aged 0-4. Just 14 per cent agreed when asked whether they were an “active Christian”; 28 per cent agreed with the definition: “follower of Jesus”.

Asked about how often they read or listened to the Bible, 55 per cent of Christians answered “never”; 14 per cent said at least once a month. Twenty-nine per cent said that they never prayed; 40 per cent at least once a month; 18 per cent daily.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

A Brief Release on the C of E College of Bishops residential meeting in Oxford, September 2017

From there:

The annual meeting of the College of Bishops of the Church of England was held in Oxford from 11-14 September with the theme of “Telling the Gospel of Salvation in Every place”, exploring how the Church ministers to every community in the country.

Over the four day meeting, a wide ranging agenda was discussed, including, Renewal and Reform, Simplification, Mission and Theology, Church Planting and Minority Ethnic Inclusion. Reflections and discussions took place in group and plenary sessions.

Members of the College were joined this year in the first two days of the meeting by a number of BAME clergy to help bring additional perspectives on how the Church of England can reach more effectively into every community.

As with all meetings of the College of Bishops, the considerations of the College took place in private and its conclusions will be subsequently referred to the House of Bishops.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Christian Today) Should the Church panic at the latest statistics on religious affiliation? Why Bishop Stephen Cotrell says ‘no’

The survey conducted by the National Centre for Social Research showed that 53 per cent of adults have no religious belief. It also revealed there was a decline in the number of people who identified as Anglican. Out of the 2,942 adults asked, 15 per cent said they were Anglican.

Responding to the figure that 71 per cent of 18-25 year olds have no religious affiliation, Bishop Cottrell said young people are more comfortable describing themselves as spiritual rather than religious, but this often means an openness to the possibility of God ‘and often a deep attraction to the person of Christ’.

He admitted it is impossible for any Christian or any Christian leader to look at the figures ‘without a certain amount of despondency’.

But it was not something to panic about and Britain had not suddenly become ‘a nation of atheists’.

He said: ‘It awakens us yet again to the great missionary challenge we face.’

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(CC) Samuel Wells–Love Becomes Frutiful: A former parishioner shows me the gospel

Twenty-three years ago, when I was in my first pastoral appointment, there was an 11-year-old boy who started coming to my church at the suggestion of a teacher at his middle school. He was an isolated, disconsolate figure who didn’t mix easily and took a greedy share of the cookies after worship. After he had been coming a few months, funds were found for him to participate in a parish weekend retreat.

By Saturday morning, the complaints were raining down. He was rude. He was grabbing food. He was bullying the younger children. The adults finally had to talk to each other about it; it was one of those parish conversations where the pastor doesn’t get a casting vote. The teacher through whose influence the boy had first come to church pointed out that, being brought up solely by his young and temperamental father, he was a troubled boy looking for security. Allowances were made, patience was maintained, and gradually the lad began to find his feet.

Nine months later at a special evening service he was baptized. His father was not there. His mother and brother, living across town, weren’t there either. But about 40 people were, and each member of the congregation was invited to describe what they most valued about being members of that church. One said friendship, another said acceptance, a third said trust. When the boy was asked the same question his narrow, fixed frown broke, for once, into a smile, and he replied, “You didn’t throw me out after that weekend.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology

(Telegraph) Priests-in-training to be given glossaries because they struggle to understand the Book of Common Prayer

Priests-in-training are to be given glossaries to help them understand the Book of Common Prayer for the first time because they struggle to decipher the language.

The Prayer Book Society, which gives out free copies of the 17th century book to first-year students in theological colleges, will this year also include a key to some of its more old-fashioned words and phrases.

The list includes definitions for words such as “eschew” meaning abstain from, “concord”, for an agreement between people, and “froward”, meaning perverse or contrary.

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Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

(Guardian) Giles Fraser–The disestablishment of the church is now necessary and inevitable

I always used to think that no political party would be prepared to give disestablishment the time and effort that it would require. But Prime Minister Corbyn might just be the man to do it. And far from being a fusty move for constitutional committees, disestablishment could be framed as an attempt to rationally redesign a Britain fit for a global role beyond the EU. After all, who needs Christian morality in the age of human rights?

Don’t get me wrong. I do not warm to the state of affairs that I have just described. Indeed, I feel profoundly alienated from such a country. It is just that I think something like this is unavoidable and that the established church has to get ahead of the situation by transforming itself, rather than play a continuous rearguard action against the inevitable.

But there is opportunity here for the church, as well as loss. What we give up is our traditional role as courtiers. Good, I say. The banners of the New Model Army would proudly proclaim that there is no king but Jesus. And to say that Jesus is the supreme authority is to say that no one else can be – not the Romans, not the pope, not the House of Stuart or the House of Windsor. The Church of England was specifically designed to soften that thought, to make it less dangerous. Christians were to be housetrained. We were to give up all our revolutionary talk of bringing God’s kingdom to earth and settle instead for a warm vicarage and being nice to our parishioners. That settlement is about to be ripped up.

I do not believe that disestablishment will revive the numerical fortunes of the church. Looking at our disestablished cousins, I think it may well mean we will decline at an even faster rate – at least in the short to medium term (and that means centuries in church terms). But please, my fellow Anglicans, we need to go before we are no longer welcome. And go in the knowledge that, as people of the resurrection, we do not fear death – either personally or institutionally.

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

(FT) Jeremy Paxman on the Church of England’s fight to survive

Two ladybirds crawl across the white cloth on the altar table of an ancient Dorset church as a tiny handful of parishioners takes communion. Outside, it is a perfect English summer Sunday, the air drowsy with the scent of growing flowers, grass and trees. Inside St Mary’s, Tarrant Gunville, all is quiet and slightly musty. The few tablets on the walls speak of young men lost in the first world war and long-dead parishioners who loved and gave to the church — there has been one on the site since the 12th century. Apart from the visiting weekenders, of whom I am one, there are seven in the congregation, none of them exactly in the flush of youth. The vicar celebrating communion according to the Book of Common Prayer is 87; he apologises beforehand that “I have tried to draw stumps several times” and yet he keeps being asked to conduct services and cannot refuse. He preaches a drily witty sermon that happens to be about the “shipwreck” of the Church of England, which he admits he has recycled from earlier years. He forgets to lead the congregation in the Lord’s Prayer.

Everything about this scene tells a felt truth about the C of E — its abiding presence deep in the shires, the breathtaking beauty of its churches, the sonorous cadences of its almost forgotten ­liturgy, its valetudinarian faithful. We have had this impression for decades. Philip Larkin’s much loved poem “Church Going” (the pun is surely intended) was written more than 60 years ago. He talks of “A shape less recognisable each week/ A purpose more obscure”, and wonders how long it will be before the Church of England is reduced to a few cathedrals “chronically on show”, while wind and rain whip through the ruins of country churches.

Irreversible decline has been the Church’s lot for several generations in an age when Sundays are for football matches and car-boot sales. A National Census survey suggests that 8.5 million British people now identify as Anglican, down from 13 million a decade ago. The Church makes few demands of the people it ministers to, seeming grateful just to be acknowledged. Its premises are swept out and decorated for the weddings of unbelievers and the funerals of those whose families can find no other way to make sense of finality.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE)

(Premier) Star from hit Television show ‘Gladiators’ joins Archbishop Sentamu’s evangelism drive

A former star of the hit television show Gladiators-turned evangelist is joining a major evangelism event being led by the Archbishop of York in Merseyside.

Warren Furman, known as ‘Ace’ on the 1990s programme Gladiator, is sharing with primary and secondary school pupils his journey to faith as part of the Believe in Birkenhead initiative.

Speaking with Premier, Bishop of Birkenhead Rt Rev Keith Sinclair said his prayer for the four-day campaign was that “people who might have thought God wouldn’t give them a second thought realise God’s love for them and God’s work in their lives, and they start to begin a journey to come back and engage with that reality.”

Mr Furman’s being joined during the question and answer session on Thursday by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu and several local Anglican bishops.

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Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Movies & Television