Category : Church of England (CoE)

Tom Wright on C.S. Lewis for CS Lewis’ Feast Day: Reflections on a Master Apologist After 60 Years

I once found myself working closely, in a cathedral fundraising campaign, with a local millionaire. He was a self-made man. When I met him he was in his 60s, at the top of his game as a businessman, and was chairing our Board of Trustees. To me, coming from the academic world, he was a nightmare to work with.

He never thought in (what seemed to me) straight lines; he would leap from one conversation to another; he would suddenly break into a discussion and ask what seemed a totally unrelated question. But after a while I learned to say to myself: Well, it must work, or he wouldn’t be where he is. And that was right. We raised the money. We probably wouldn’t have done it if I’d been running the Trust my own way.

I have something of the same feeling on re-reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. I owe Lewis a great debt. In my late teens and early twenties I read everything of his I could get my hands on, and read some of his paperbacks and essays several times over. There are sentences, and some whole passages, I know pretty much by heart.

Millions around the world have been introduced to, and nurtured within, the Christian faith through his work where their own preachers and teachers were not giving them what they needed. That was certainly true of me.

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Posted in Apologetics, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Law&Religion UK) Bishop George Bell: 2018 publication of review?

Concern has been raised since the timing of the publication of the Review is later than that indicated in the Carlile Review web site Q&A pages. However, a tweet by the Church of England at 2:05pm today stated: “The independent review into the George Bell case will be published once the processes, standard in all reviews, are completed. Nobody is delaying it”.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

The new Church of England website launches this week

[Wednesday of this week]…marks a significant milestone since the founding of the Digital Communications team at Church House in London one year ago. We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the new Church of England website, which has been rebuilt from scratch with the help of many colleagues in the national office in just seven months from start to finish.
While the old website received lots of traffic and interest, the confusing user experience and the 75,000+ documents and pages on the site were identified as key issues. These were resolved by content and plain English workshops for staff.

In January 2017 we ran an extensive research project with 1,800 Christians and non-Christians across the country. This included doing the following to understand what people found frustrating, what they’d like to see more or less of and, crucially, how Christians grow in faith and how we bring new people to faith:

Focus groups in Carlisle, Blackburn, Birmingham and London
1:1 interviews
Targeted national online surveys through social media
Website analytics and heatmapping how users interact with the content.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop FT Woods (1874-1932)

Into Thy hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves and I all who are dear to us this day. Be with us in our going out and in our coming in. Strengthen us for the work which Thou hast given us to do. And grant that, filled with Thy Holy Spirit, we may walk worthy of our high calling, and cheerfully accomplish those things that Thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

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

(C of E) Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying tackled in new guidance for Church schools

Guidance for the Church of England’s 4,700 schools published today aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report makes 12 recommendations for schools including ensuring schools’ Christian ethos statements offer “an inclusive vision for education” where “every child should be revered and respected as members of a community where all are known and loved by God. ”

Clear anti-bullying policies should include HBT behaviours and language, policies on how to report incidences should be accessible, staff trained on recognising bullying, curriculum and collective worship should support the vision and the wider church ensure that schools are responding well to the guidance.

Commending the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Simeon

O loving God, who orderest all things by thine unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see thy hand; that, following the example and teaching of thy servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve thee with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

(moved from yesterday)

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

The Archbishop of York comments on the Resignation of evangelical Lorna Ashworth

“I was very glad when Lorna was elected to serve again on the Archbishops’ Council.

“Her prayerfulness, magnanimity, and her grasp of all matters in hand has been a great asset to us all, and I am sad that she has decided to resign.

“Those who elected her were of the view that she had much to give to the working of the Council, especially in the area of Renewal and Reform.

“However, I do not share her doubts that the Church of England will be part of God’s renewal of the Christian faith in this nation.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Lorna Ashworth, a leading Evangelical, resigns from C of E General Synod over ‘heretical teaching’

Mrs Lorna Ashworth, an evangelical member of General Synod and a member of the Archbishops’ Council, resigned yesterday, saying that she was “no longer willing to sit around the table, pretending that we, as a governing body of the Church of England, are having legitimate conversations about mission.”

As she said in July, in what will now be her final speech at General Synod,

“as a corporate body we have become unable to articulate the saving message of Jesus Christ which fully encompasses the reality of sin, repentance and forgiveness – without this message we do not teach a true gospel and people do not get saved.”

In her resignation letter she blamed, “an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness” and “an agenda of revisionism which “is masked in the language of so-called ‘good disagreement,’” for her decision. She is not alone in her concerns, and she said that many were calling on the bishops of the Church of England to offer clear and courageous biblical leadership.

Lorna Ashworth has been a member of General Synod for 12 years and was elected by the Synod as a lay representative on the Archbishops Council[1] two years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Soteriology

A Yorkshire Post article on the New Bishop of Ripon

The bishop worked as one of a team ministering to 12 rural parishes in Oxfordshire before being appointed as the Director of Biblical Studies and a lecturer in the New Testament at Ripon College Cuddesdon, near Oxford. Along with her husband Myles who is a musician and church organist, she went to New Zealand in 2010 to undertake research at St John’s College and returned there in February 2011 to take up the position as Dean. In 2014 she became joint diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki, unique in the Anglican Communion with two equal bishops sharing jurisdiction across the whole diocese. Bishop Helen-Ann, whose interests include the night sky, contemporary fiction and visual arts, going to the gym, and watching netball, said: “Both my husband Myles and I have firm roots in the north: Myles in Cumbria, and myself in the north-east. Returning to the north, and to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales brings with it a deep sense of coming home.”

Read it all.

Posted in Australia / NZ, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Church Times) ‘Underfunded’ [C of E] theological training facing ‘collapse’

The people responsible for training the next generation of Anglican clergy — the principals of theological colleges and courses — have said that the system is in crisis.

Just as the Church of England seeks to expand the number of ordinands by 50 per cent, the leaders of the theological education institutions (TEIs) have told this paper that the training process is “totally underfunded”, “starved of funds”, and “quite likely to collapse”.

The Principal of St Augustine’s College, Kent (until 2015, the South East Institute of Theological Education), the Revd Dr Alan Gregory, said in reply an enquiry: “I agree that the financial situation is a critical one. We are like the story of the donkey whose feed was reduced until he dropped down dead. We are almost in the position of the donkey every year.”

Finding funds for clergy training has never been easy, and there is a historical element to the crisis, as too many training institutions have chased too few candidates for ordination. But a new move this year has caused more uncertainty, handing funding decisions from the Archbishops’ Council to the dioceses.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship

Church of England Cathedrals attract record numbers at Christmas

Christmas attendance at services in cathedrals last year reached its highest figure since records began, statistics published today show. A one year rise of 5%, meant that 131,000 people came to cathedrals to worship last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Increased attendances were also recorded at services in Advent with 635,000 coming to worship during the busy pre-Christmas build-up. Average weekly attendances at services on a Sunday also increased to 18,700.

Meanwhile, over 10 million people visited cathedrals and Westminster Abbey with half donating or paying for entry.

The Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, and lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings, said: “Behind these figures lie stories of worship, learning, exploring faith and spirituality and encountering God at times of joy and despair.

Read it all.

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

New Bishop of Ripon has today been announced as Dr Helen-Ann Hartley

The Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley has been announced by 10 Downing Street today as the next Suffragan (Area) Bishop of Ripon, in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds.
Bishop Helen-Ann, who is 44, is at present Bishop of Waikato in New Zealand, an office she has held since 2014. At the time she was the first woman priest ordained in the Church of England to become a bishop. She succeeds Bishop James Bell who retired earlier this year.

Read it all.

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

First step towards Covenant for Church of England Clergy Well-being

Plans for a new deal between clergy and the wider Church of England – modelled on the ideas behind the Military Covenant – have taken a step forward after a panel was established to begin drafting.

The Church of England’s Appointments Committee has set up a group, made up of members of General Synod, both lay and ordained, alongside others with expertise in areas such as health and education, to draw up a Covenant for Clergy Well-being.

It is being produced in response to a vote in the General Synod in July of this year after a debate which heard of the impact of stress, isolation and loneliness on clergy’s lives and ministries.

The debate heard how the Military Covenant recognises that the nation relies on the sacrificial service of those in the armed forces and in return has a duty to support and value them in practical ways.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Telegraph) Online porn gives boys a ‘warped’ attitude towards women, bishop Stephen Cottrell says

Pornographic content online gives boys a “warped” attitude towards women, a Church of England bishop has said, as he told Facebook it could not “shrug its shoulders” about its content.

Stephen Cottrell, the bishop of Chelmsford, said that it was “simply no good” for social media companies such as Facebook to say that they were “just a platform upon which others stand”.

“If they wished or if we made them, they could be a ticket inspector of that platform, offering proper control and management of content in all the various ways that our report outlines, such as the right to be forgotten, age verification, the removal of upsetting content, time out and so on.

“The technology is there. But they will not use it unless pressed,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pornography

(Guardian) Some Anglican Leaders call on Church of England to lead on climate change by divesting from ExxonMobil

As Church of England clergy, we have a strong interest in the ethics of investments made by the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board on our behalf.

This week, governments from around the world will meet in Bonn for the next round of UN climate talks. The Paris climate change agreement, which was signed by 195 countries in December 2015, included a commitment to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2C … and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels”.

A lot has happened since then. We have witnessed the shameful decision of the president of the United States to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Average global temperatures have risen to more than 1C above pre-industrial levels. Extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, have had devastating impacts, leading to loss of life and severe destruction in the US and the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia and as close to home as Ireland.

Read it all and note the signatories.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stock Market