Category : Church of England (CoE)

(Church Times) From the archive: Billy Graham in London, 1954

He held up the Bible and spoke about the God of creation. “God is all-knowing. Not one single thing in your life escapes his knowledge. No sin that has ever been committed has escaped the eye of God.

“God is unchanging, holy and pure and righteous, and he is a God of love. We lost contact with God because Adam and Eve sinned. When Adam sinned, the human race sinned with him. There is only one way back, and that is through Jesus Christ. On the Cross, Jesus Christ took your judgment. He will give you joy and peace and happiness. . . There is no way to know God apart from Jesus. . .

“I have seen gangsters receive Christ and become preachers; alcoholics lose their taste for alcohol; I have seen prostitutes changed; men and women in every walk of life . . .”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

(Takis Mag) Joe Bob Briggs–Making My Peace With Billy Graham

A few years back I was invited to a conference on Christian-Muslim relations, held at an old castle in Vienna, and one of the seminars was led by Anglican theologians from Oxford University, and another was led by faculty members from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. The Baptists listened politely to the Oxford divines droning on and on about the cultural demographics of Manchester, but when the Baptists chose to talk about “the living Christ” and His absence from the empty cathedrals of Europe, the Anglican divines became infuriated. They felt somehow personally attacked, even though nothing the Baptists said went very far beyond the simple message of Billy Graham that he had repeated millions of times in thousands of sermons. The fact that this simple altar-call message now seemed strange to men who had dedicated themselves to a life serving Christ struck me as odd then and still strikes me as odd. It’s as though they were saying, “We’re post-Christian.” Well, if you’re post-Christian, please remove the vestments and go run a hedge fund.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education

(Christian Today) Archbishop of Canterbury warns cutting 0.7% aid budget would be ‘tragedy’

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned it would be a ‘tragedy’ if Britain backed off its commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of its spending on overseas aid.

Justin Welby’s remarks came as Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring admitted the scandal around sex abuse committed by the charity’s staff in Haiti had undermined public support for the government’s international development budget.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology

(Law & Religion UK) David Pockington–Wi-Fi in churches: the Government-Church Accord

The 13-page Guidance document provides information relating each stage of the process, from receiving an approach from a mobile phone operator or internet service provider, to seeking faculty approval:

  •  obtaining specialist advice, consultations with various agencies and the public;
  • investigating the various permissions that might be required;
  • obtaining professional advice – architects, surveyors, solicitors and other specialists;
  • contacting national bodies with a statutory interest in the church’s built heritage: Cathedral and Church Buildings Division; National Amenity Societies: Ancient Monuments Society, the Council for British Archaeology, the Georgian Group, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Twentieth Century Society and the Victorian Society, Historic England (see below).
  • Issues to consider: equipment to be used; ingoing works; impact on the fabric of the church; health and safety compliant access for telecommunications operators  & ors; health and safety; lightening protection; new ‘clean’ electrical supply; insurance; bell and turret clocks; wildlife and trees; archeology.
  • Licence issues: The parish will need independent advice as to the Licence Agreement. The Diocesan Registrar will usually have a copy of a Model Licence.
  • Formal application for faculty authorization.

Covering similar issues, the Historic England guidance is equally important since HE is the statutory adviser to local authorities and the listed five denominations in accordance with the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and the Ecclesiastical Exemption Order 2010. If the installation will make changes to historic fabric that could affect the character or significance of a listed building HE must be consulted, whether the church is seeking permission through its denominational advisory body or the local authority.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Norwich Evening News) From a focus on the disadvantaged of his diocese to chatting to the Queen about corgis – the Bishop of Norwich reflects on 25 years as a bishop

Two places he feels particularly close to God are by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus lived and worked, and at St Benet’s Abbey in the heart of the Broads. As Abbot of St Benet’s he arrives by boat every August to lead an open-air service beside the scattered ruins.

“I’m not really a sea-going person but there is something about where land and water meet, and an atmosphere hallowed by prayer,” he said.

When he first became a Bishop there was no Google, Facebook, or women priests. Today 35pc of priests in the diocese are female – and one of the first to be 
ordained, the Rt Rev Jan MacFarlane, now Bishop of Repton, will be back to preach at his celebration service.

In 2012 Bishop Graham was tipped as the next Archbishop of Canterbury – and admitted to praying that he would not be appointed. “I love being Bishop of Norwich and having a community, and churches, over which to minister and getting to know a lot of people.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Lee Gattis–Statement on the amalgamation of conservative Evangelical Anglican groups

From there:

We are delighted to announce that the Church Society Council, the Reform Council, and the Trustees of the Fellowship of Word and Spirit have all agreed to pursue a merger. It is in the light of our shared Biblical, Reformed, Anglican faith and common goals that we have decided that the challenges of the present time require us to unite our efforts so that we are better placed to harness the energies of evangelicals in contending for the gospel.

Bringing such bodies together requires a lot of hard work and much trust but it is right for biblical Christians to pursue this. In the Bible the impact of sin always seems to be fragmentation and dispersal, but the fruit of the gospel and living under the rule of Christ is unity and gathering together. Furthermore we believe that in the circumstances of the present Church of England the coming together of these bodies will enable us to be more effective in the pioneering, establishing and securing of healthy local Anglican churches.

A detailed plan for the merger of the three bodies has been worked out. Both Reform and FWS will be encouraging their members to join this renewed Church Society in advance of our AGM on May 12th, so that they will be eligible to speak and vote at that meeting. A new Church Society council will be elected then, and it is anticipated that this will include representatives of all three groups. A new President will also be appointed. There will, of course, be much still to work out in terms of the new organisation and how best to ensure we retain the valuable work that each has been doing. We ask for your prayers and your patience during this transition time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

Richard Peers–A Better Story: thinking about the Church of England Evangelical Council’s “Gospel, Church and Marriage – Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life”

The first thing to note about the document is that is is graciously written and utterly immersed in Scripture. The vocabulary is profoundly Christian. I think that there is a lesson to be learned by those seeking a more inclusive approach. It would be hard to imagine language such as ‘submission’ and placing ourselves under the ‘rule of Christ’ among those seeking to be more inclusive. Yet there is no reason that it shouldn’t. Radical inclusion will only be truly Christian if it is so because it is the will of God, if it is what Jesus calls us to.

The statement recognises that we are fallen and in need of salvation. “The Gospel shines into the darkness of our fallen hearts and cultures, and gives us the transforming knowledge of God’s mercy and grace in the face of Jesus Christ.” It recognises that we are called “away from idolatry, injustice and immorality”. I think this is so important. One of the things that has shocked me in recent months is descriptions I have read of Love Island. A programme that not only encourages casual sex but publicises it. We all know that pornography is too easily accessible and read horror stories of the number of young people watching it. In one school I worked in a colleague had to try and identify the six Year 10 boys filmed while a female pupil performed oral sex on them in turn. The world so desperately needs “the life-changing goodness of [Christ’s] ‘amazing grace’”.

There is a strong and deeply biblical section on grace, and a wonderful sentence reminding us that “In establishing Christian communities the apostles … did not teach doctrine without discipleship, faith without formation, or grace without godliness.” We talk a lot of discipleship. With my educational preference for teaching that is knowledge based, rather than simply experiential, I value this call to link discipleship with doctrine, formation and godliness. We don’t talk nearly enough about how our lifestyles should be different because we are Christians.

The next section highlights the special gifts of marriage and singleness. The marriage section is strong, as we might expect, but could have been more. Working with young people I have always struggled to know how to promote marriage as a vocation. So many young people have no direct experience of lifelong marriage in any members of their family or friends. It is hard to praise marriage without sounding critical of their own families.

It is the section on singleness that I think is stronger, Again, this is desperately needed in a culture which imagines that to be a single is a failure.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Theology: Scripture

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Martyn Percy–‘Sorry’ seems to be the hardest word: apologetics and apologies in the Bishop Bell case

Lord Carlile reacted by saying that he was astonished that the Church had gone public with the new claim, when among his recommendations was that people accused of abuse should remain anonymous until the allegations are proven. We note that the decision of the NST to share the information through a press release is a direct breach of article 3.8 of the Practice Guidance 2017 from the House of Bishops, published in October 2017.

So, despite the Church of England saying – begrudgingly – that it had accepted many of Lord Carlile’s recommendations in his report, it appears that this is not the case. For starters, the ‘Core Group’ of the NST that will investigate the alleged “new information” looks set to include some members of the previously discredited group. Members of that original Core Group are seriously conflicted and should not in any way participate in the new investigation. The deficiencies and failings in the process and mind-set of the original Core Group were so extensive that no one who was a member of this dealing with the first complaint (by someone known as ‘Carol’) could be confidently relied upon.

We must remember that Carlile’s report noted that the original Core Group failed to establish a process that was fair and equitable to both Carol and the reputation of Bishop Bell. There was “a rush to judgment”, which failed to give proper consideration to the rights of Bishop Bell. The Core Group was set up in an unmethodical and unplanned way, and became a confused and unstructured process. The ‘process’ – if that can be any meaningful description of the debacle overseen by the NST – was predicated on Bishop Bell’s guilt. The truth of what ‘Carol’ was saying was implicitly accepted without serious investigation or and kind of wide-ranging inquiry. Carlile’s report was effectively a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the NST.

As for ‘proven’, Mrs Barbara Whitley, George Bell’s niece, and now 94 years of age, has made it clear that she wished to be represented by Desmond Browne QC. Yet without consulting with Mrs Whitley or the wider family further, on 8th February 2018, Graham Tilby of the NST informed Bell’s family and friends that he had assigned a Mr Donald Findlater to represent their interests and concerns.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Church Times) Archbishop of Canterbury reexamines the state of the nation in new book

THE UK is at a political and moral tipping-point, the Archbishop of Canterbury argues in a new book, to be published next month.

His book, Reimagining Britain: Foundations of hope will be published by Bloomsbury on 8 March. Archbishop Welby said last week that he had written to contribute to the debate on the future of the country, particularly after Brexit.

In an interview with the Church Times, the Archbishop said: “I think we’re at one of those moments which happens probably every three or four generations, when we have the opportunity and the necessity to reimagine what our society should look like in this country.”

In his book, Archbishop Welby proposes that Christianity has a vital part to play in the reimagining of society, and could be the driving force behind change. It remains, he says, foundational to ethics and values in the UK.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

The Church of England Evangelical Council’s (CEEC) statement on Gospel, Church and Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith

2.We recognise that some fellow Christians no longer accept the Church’s teaching on marriage, singleness and sex but, because it is an integral part of our calling to be holy, we cannot treat this teaching as an ‘optional extra’ (or adiaphora).

•We believe this teaching is both apostolic and essential to the gospel’s transforming purpose and thus must be compassionately and clearly proclaimed and explained in and by the Church.

•This area is therefore of a higher order than other divisive matters, often viewed as ‘secondary’ (for example , the ordination of women), because it calls for faithful obedience to the unambiguous and authoritative teaching of Scripture concerning godly living and human flourishing.

•Thus,the upholding ofthis teaching, rooted in our creedal confession of God as Creator, and the enabling of Christians to live it with joy and confidence, is an essential
aspect of biblical faithfulness—especially when, as in our day, these matters are being so hotly contested.

3.We believe that the Church of England, being defined by adherence to essential apostolic truth, should not accept teaching or affirm behaviour—whether implicitly or explicitly-which contradicts or undermines the boundaries laid down by apostolic teaching and practice.

Read it all (6 page pdf).

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

(BBC) Church of England issues anti-plastic tips for Lent

The Church of England is urging Christians to give up single-use plastics during Lent, in a bid to cut the environmental damage it can cause.

Worshippers have been offered tips to cut plastic use for each day up to Easter, such as choosing a fountain pen over a plastic ballpoint pen and buying music electronically rather than on CD.

The Church linked it to a Christian calling to “care for God’s creation”.

The calendar of tips has been sent to each of the Church’s 42 dioceses.

Each week of the Lent Plastic Challenge has a theme, for example food and drink, kitchen, clothing and travel.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lent

(Church Times) Safeguarding: we’re doing better, Synod tells sceptical survivors

Survivors of abuse and their allies are continuing to press the Church of England to set up an independent safeguarding body to handle the issue.

Before a debate at the General Synod on Saturday morning, survivors held a protest outside Church House, Westminster. They called on Synod members to join them in a period of silence to “affirm the intention of the Church to act justly towards victims of abuse both now and in the future”, in the words of Andrew Graystone, the activist who organised the event.

Several bishops, including the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, and the Bishop-elect of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, appeared at the protest.

The survivors also gave every Synod member a leaflet of their experiences in their own words: We Asked for Bread but You Gave Us Stones….

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Cath News NZ) Anglican-Methodist reunion likely

Two matters are of particular concern in relation to reuniting the two churches.

One is whether Methodist presbyters would have to be re-ordained to provide a unified and public catholic witness. The synod report proposes the Anglican Church recognise Methodist ministers’ holy orders.

The other issue is about how churches should be led.

Anglican churches operate under an episcopal model with bishops seen as following on from the apostles, as the Church’s leaders. As bishops consecrate more bishops and ordain new clergy, the “apostolic succession” continues.

Methodists do not accept the idea of “apostolic succession” in the Anglican sense.

If the churches were to reunite, an Anglican bishop would take part in ordaining new Methodist ministers, enabling them to enter the “apostolic succession”.

The Methodist Conference says it is willing to receive the episcopate as long as partner churches acknowledge that the Methodist Church “has been and is part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church”, Ruth Gee, former president of the Methodist conference says.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Methodist

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Are people with Down’s syndrome truly valued?

On the second point, I had to ask myself why we are so timid in being clear about what we believe? Martyn Taylor’s proposed amendment was very modest, simply asking that the affirmation at point a. referring to people with Down’s Syndrome ‘before and after birth’. In doing this, Martyn was proposing that we simply use the language found in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of a Child:

Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth… (in the Preamble).

James Newcombe’s objection here was that saying this would make it harder for Government and GMC to listen to the request made in the motion. But the request came in point d, not in point a. And it is difficult to see why aligning with the UN Declaration would appear to be so unpalatable. But there is a wider point which this hints at: in our discussions with other bodies, and in our making reasonable requests, why are we so shy at being open for our reasons for doing so? If we did make the Church attitude to abortion clear, and if that is at odds with the views of professional bodies, why would that disqualify our request? Do we have to look like these bodies before we can speak to them? Are they so closed to reasonable requests from people with different views, values and outlooks? And does the Church of England have to, chameleon-like, changes its colours to match its surroundings before speaking into a particular context? (Before anyone points it out, I know that chameleons don’t in fact do this.) American theologian Stanley Hauerwas urges that our main priority for living in a post-Christendom world should be to ditch our obsessions with relevance, and simply be the Church we are called to be. And we are not called to be chameleon.

On this issue, it might not in the end make much practical difference. But I am saddened that, in rejecting these amendments, we held back from saying the thing that I think most disabled people want to hear: that we not only value them, but we are prepared to confront those who would see them eliminated. If we cannot do that, can we really say that we value them without qualification?

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Church of England General Synod affirms dignity and humanity of people with Down’s Syndrome

The Church of England’s General Synod has given unanimous backing to a call for people with Down’s Syndrome to be welcomed, celebrated and treated with dignity and respect.
A motion affirming the dignity and full humanity of people with Down’s Syndrome was passed after a debate at the General Synod meeting in London.

It comes as a new form of prenatal screening, Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), is set to be rolled out in the NHS to women deemed to be at ˜high-risk’ of having a child with Down’s syndrome.

The motion welcomes medical advances and calls for the Government and health professionals to ensure that women who have been told that their unborn child has Down’s Syndrome are given comprehensive, unbiased information on the condition.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology