Category : Church of England (CoE)

Forward in Faith welcomes reference to the Independent Reviewer

Forward in Faith welcomes today’s statement from the Archbishops that they have asked the Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer, to address the concerns that have arisen in the Church following recent events relating to the See of Sheffield.

We are grateful for their formal statement that, as Archbishops, Primates and Metropolitans, they reaffirm their commitment, and that of the House of Bishops, to its Declaration and to the Five Guiding Principles.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE)

A Joint statement by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on the Bishop of Sheffield

From here:

“The recent events surrounding the nomination of Bishop Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield, including his withdrawal from the process, have understandably raised great concern amongst many in the Church of England. The status of the House of Bishops Declaration of June 2014 has been questioned by some and its meaning has also been challenged.

“We have therefore written to Sir Philip Mawer, the Independent Reviewer under the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, (Resolution of Disputes Procedure Regulations) 2014, to address the concerns that have arisen in the Church following these recent events. We attach our letter to Sir Philip, in which we reaffirm clearly our commitment, and the commitment of the House of Bishops, to its Declaration, to the principles contained in it, and to the overriding principle of mutual flourishing.

“Finally, in this period of Lent, as part of our preparation for the glorious celebration of the extraordinary grace of God in the events of Holy Week and Easter, we call on all those in the Church to pray openly for the flourishing of those with whom they disagree, to demonstrate the mutual love which we are called to share and to proclaim confidently in word and deed that in Christ we find our true identities, and the overcoming of those things which in ourselves we find so divisive.”

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Theology

(CEN) The Bp of Chichester appoints a LGBTI liaison officer

A Bishop’s Liaison Officer for the LGBTI Community has been appointed by the Bishop of Chichester to ‘build bridges.’

The aim of the post is to identify what ministry among this community ‘might look like if it is to be more effective’ and to provide the bishops and parishes with up to date information about the pastoral needs of LGBTI people.

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, announced the appointment of the Rev Andrew Woodward, Priest in Charge of St Mary’s Kemp Town and Rural Dean of Brighton, as the first holder of the post.

Mr Woodward will help the church to ‘build bridges and enable pastoral support for a substantial group of people who feel the Church is alienated from them. Many feel they are tolerated but not included.’

Read it all (may require subsciption).

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

(C of E Comm Blog) Westminster attack: Church of England leaders respond

The Archbishop of Canterbury and leaders of the Church of England have offered prayers for those affected by the attack in Westminster as they praised the bravery of police and emergency services.

With areas around the Houses of Parliament in lockdown as events unfolded, Westminster Abbey offered hospitality to MPs, their staff and others.

Meanwhile the Church of England issued a Collect for Peace, led by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu in a video.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Terrorism

(Christian Today) David Baker:Philip North+Jeffrey John: A Church that is more ‘via muddle’ than ‘via media’

I was once in a meeting of clergy a few years ago, and I can’t remember the precise subject of discussion, but I do recall one minister sighing in weary exasperation as we talked around whatever the issue was before pronouncing: ‘The problem is the elephant in the room – the absence of a shared set of beliefs.’ He later became a Roman Catholic.

Philip North and Jeffery John are – albeit with very different defining convictions – both victims of a church trying unsuccessfully to face in several different directions at once. Some might rejoice that this is Anglicanism’s so-called ‘via media’ or ‘middle way’ between ‘extremes’. But to most people, it looks less ‘via media’ and more ‘via muddle’. And yet, ultimately, I do not despair. After all, it is because we humans tend to make a real mess of things that Jesus came in the first place. And so once again I lift my eyes to him and pray, ‘Lord, have mercy’.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Church of Wales, CoE Bishops

Jeremy Pemberton: On infidelity, broken promises and hounding: why Elaine Storkey is wrong.

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

(MC) Linda Woodhead–The Philip North affair has exposed the theological weakness of ‘traditionalism’

It’s become fashionable for ‘traditionalists’ to say that the wide support for women priests amongst Anglicans and the population in general has nothing to say to the church. They are wrong. A wider moral shift in society helped Christians to see the implications of their own orthodoxy more clearly than they had before.

From the serious theological explorations which took place over several decades we learned many things. We learned that God has no gender and that feminine language for God is no more inappropriate than masculine. We learned that women played a more central role in early Christianity than Church history had let on, and that what the CofE means by priesthood does not derive directly from the New Testament. We realised that the priest who represents Jesus at the altar and says the words of the Eucharistic Prayer over the bread and wine represents Christ in Christ’s humanity, not in Christ’s gender. And we discovered that there is therefore no reason why a woman may not preside at Communion: when she does so, she represents Jesus, our human High Priest.

The irony which the Philip North controversy has exposed is that it is the so-called liberals who are the ones clinging to orthodoxy and tradition, and the so-called traditionalists who are appealing to liberal principles of freedom, toleration, and equal respect. Lacking a strong theological basis for their position, the defenders of North are behaving like relativists who believe their position must be upheld not because it is true but just because it is their identity.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

For Thomas Cranmer’s Feast Day: Ashley Null–Thomas Cranmer and Tudor Evangelicalism

If More’s self-fashioned persona was as a Renaissance worthy with easy wit and worldly wisdom in equal measure, Cranmer’s model, as befitting a spiritual rather than temporal magnate, was public monastic self-mortification. According to Ralph Morice, his principal secretary,

he was a man of such temperature of nature, or rather so mortified, that no manner of prosperity or adversity could alter or change his accustomed conditions: for, being the storms never so terrible or odious, nor the prosperous estate of the time never so pleasant, joyous, or acceptable, tothe face of [the] world his countenance, diet, or sleep commonly never altered or changed, so that they which were most nearest and conversant about him never or seldom perceived by no sign or token of countenance how the affairs of the prince or the realm went. Notwithstanding privately with his secret and special friends he would shed forth many bitter tears,lamenting the miseries and calamities of the world.

Alexander Alesius, one of Cranmer’s ‘secret and special friends,’confided to Elizabeth I that those tears were shed on at least two occasions by severe setbacks for his Gospel of justification by faith, namely, the death of Anne Boleyn and the Act of Six Articles. While More hid the intense traditional piety of his mortifying hairshirt under the fine robes of his high worldly status, Cranmer wore mortification on his face to hide his hopes and fears for the new piety that had captured his heart.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

A Church Times article on Jeffrey John’s Response to the outcome from Llandaff in Wales

The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, has accused the Bishops of the Church in Wales of “anti-gay discrimination”, after he was informed that his name will not be taken forward as a candidate for the See of Llandaff.

The president of the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, the Rt Revd John Davies, wrote on Friday to Dr John to assure him that “neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership were a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected”. In his reply to the Bishop, made public this weekend, Dr John rejected this assurance as “hypocritical and untrue”.

The appointment of the next Bishop of Llandaff fell to the Bench of Bishops — comprising the six diocesan Bishops — after a meeting of the Electoral College in February ended with no candidate receiving enough votes — two-thirds — to be declared Bishop-Elect. In addition to the diocesan Bishops, the College comprises six members elected by each diocese (three lay members and three clergy), and twelve members elected by the diocese to which the Bishop is being elected. Its proceedings are confidential.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Church of Wales, Religion & Culture, Theology

Ian Paul responds to the Bp of Chelmsford: Sex and morality in Church and society

This leads to a third surprising comment. On the one hand, the new teaching document will explore what is possible ‘within current arrangements’, and that prohibits the offering of public prayer which would give the appearance of a blessing of a same-sex sexual relationship. Yet on the other hand, Bishop Stephen cannot see any reason why ‘prayers of thanksgiving for these relationships – perhaps a Eucharist – cannot be offered.’ It seems strange to me that any bishop should feel so relaxed about contradicting the current position of the House of Bishops, without offering any account of this—and why he does notice that it is, in fact, contradictory.

But perhaps the most astonishing and surprising comment comes earlier on. In reflecting on the relationship between sexuality and missional engagement, Bishop Stephen makes this startling claim:

As I have said before, I am not sure the church has ever before had to face the challenge of being seen as immoral by the culture in which it is set.

For some reason, Bishop Stephen sees the issue of the Church’s teaching on sexuality as a unique turning point in relation to culture, as if we have never experienced this sense of being out of step with prevailing morality and criticised, on moral grounds, because of it. I cannot really make sense of this statement, since even a moment’s reflection on some current areas of debate illustrates how implausible this is.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(RZIM) Q&A with Sam Allberry: Same-Sex Attraction, Synod Remarks, and Why The Gospel Is Truly Good News For All

Yes, you described yourself as “same-sex attracted.” What do you mean by that?

The debate was limited to just three minutes per speaker, so I only had time to flag certain things up without the opportunity to properly explain what I meant by them.

When I describe myself as same-sex attracted, what I am saying is that the only sexual desires and feelings I have ever experienced are toward other men, rather than women. I’m not justifying those desires or seeking to validate them. The Bible says that as sinners all our desires are disordered, so it’s actually the case that all of us are fallen and broken in our sexuality. For most, that fallenness will be manifest in an opposite-sex direction; for me (and not a few other believers), it is seen in same-sex attraction.

Some wonder how it is possible to be a Christian and yet experience these things. My answer is that any inappropriate desire is a form of temptation that needs to be fought. Temptation is different to sin. Jesus tells us to pray we’d be delivered from temptation but be forgiven for our sin. Temptation itself is not sin. It is striking that the Bible nowhere promises that temptation will be completely removed in this life; simply that God will enable us to stand faithfully under it.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Sheffield débâcle leaves traditionalists in limbo

The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, who helps lead the traditionalist Catholic group The Society, said that the House of Bishops, led by the Arch­bishops, needed to “restore confid­ence” in what was agreed two-and-half years ago.

“It’s important for the Church that we are clear about [the House of Bishops’ Declaration and Five Guiding Principles],” Bishop Robin­son said on Sunday on Radio 4.

Bishop North’s withdrawal did not have to mean that traditionalists would be blocked from diocesan appointment from now on, he said; but “We have to enter into some dis­cussions with others in the Church about what this means, and about how we can restore some confidence into what was obviously agreed.”

The chair of Women and the Church (WATCH), Canon Emma Percy, who had been opposed to Bishop North’s appointment as a diocesan, said that she also believed that the Five Principles and the whole women-bishops agreement should be looked at again.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Bp Douglas Milmine RIP

The Right Reverend Douglas Milmine, who has died aged 95, was a missionary in South America for more than 30 years and the first Bishop of the newly-constituted Anglican diocese of Paraguay from 1973-1985.

It was a challenging assignment, partly because of the political situation at the time – when the country’s ruling dictatorship was suspicious of western influence and criticism – but also because Protestant congregations in a strongly Catholic continent were thinly scattered and widely dispersed.

The diocese is one of six in what was then the Province of the Southern Cone of America (now the Anglican Church of South America), ministering between them to approximately 25,000 members throughout Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, South America

The Bishop of Chelmsford’s recent Presidential Address to his Diocesan Synod

…though I am proud to confirm that all of us, whatever our views on this matter, are united in our condemnation of homophobia, we must also acknowledge that it is of little comfort to young gay or lesbian members of our Church to know that while prejudice against them is abhorred, any committed faithful sexual expression of their love for another is forbidden. In fact it is worse than this, our ambivalence and opposition to faithful and permanent same sex relationships can legitimise homophobia in others.
None of us are content with this situation.

This issue is, therefore, one that must be dealt with in a number of ways: theologically, ethically, pastorally and missiologically. We must let the insights and experiences of each of these responses shape our overall response. As with the challenges of previous ages, it is the refining fire of the questions the culture poses that reveal new depths to the gospel we proclaim. Also we must acknowledge that the culture itself has to a large extent been shaped by those Christian virtues of tolerance and acceptance that we hold dear. It is therefore not sufficient to say, ‘Oh if only we could stop talking about human sexuality and get on with the real business of preaching the gospel!’ This is the real business of preaching the gospel: it is about what it means to be made in the image of God and of the new humanity God has won for us in Christ. It is about finding the legitimate boundaries
within which Christian people can legitimately disagree.

Nor can we simply ignore the biblical passages that pertain to this debate. They are part of our storyand our inheritance. But what we can do is recognise that what we know now about human development and human sexuality requires us to look again at those texts to see what they are actually saying to our situation, for what we know now is not what was known then. Of course this isalso an area where conclusions are conflicted (even the rules that govern our biblical hermeneutics) but it does at least demonstrate that we are all seeking to be faithful to scripture and how weinterpret it within the contexts we serve.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(PR Week) Arun Arora–Bishop’s resignation shows that some didn’t get the memo on ‘mutual flourishing’ of men and women in the Church

The roots of the row were sowed in 2014 when the Church of England voted overwhelmingly to enable women to become Bishops in the Church of England.

Since that time the Church has appointed 10 women as bishops with women making up fewer than 10 per cent of the Church’s senior leadership within three years.

However, part of the deal meant that those who took a more theologically catholic view – reflecting the wider global church, that Bishops had to be men – were given assurances that they too would be able to flourish at a senior level within the church.

However some people didn’t get the memo about “mutual flourishing” and the announcement of Bishop North’s appointment led to a sustained campaign for him to be removed by those who felt the Church shouldn’t “promote” people with his views.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops