Category : CoE Bishops

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

(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

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.

Read it all.

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

(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.

Read it all.

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

(Law & Religion UK) David Pocklington–The Stirrings in Sheffield

On 8 March, the Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, announced his decision that he felt unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield; he commented that the news of his nomination had elicited a strong reaction within the diocese and some areas of the wider Church, and included highly individualised attacks upon him. The announcement from No 10 stated: “[t]he Archbishop of York will in due course submit the name of an alternative candidate for this diocese”. In view of the complexities involved in the appointment of diocesan bishops, it would be unwise to read too much into this gobbet of “civil servant speak”; this post examines what is, and what is not known of the next steps in the appointment of a bishop in the See of Sheffield….

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Bishop in Europe Robert Innes: Faith in Lyon

It took three and three-quarter hours to travel by TGV from Brussels to Lyon, far enough to be in a different climate, where the crocuses, primroses and even some daffodils were in bloom. We checked in to a family-run hotel close to the magnificent Place Bellecour, in the heart of France’s second city.

There was just time to change before leaving for Mass, where chaplain Ben Harding and I were guests of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin. He gave me a gracious introduction and invited me to read the gospel. The temperature inside the splendid cathedral was icy, and we were glad of our coats.

Read it all and enjoy the pictures.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe, France, Parish Ministry

[G Ashenden] The Radical Call To Go The Wrong Way’. Archbishop Welby’s charge to General Synod

At the end of the recent General Synod when an alliance of orthodox Christians and pro-gay progressives defeated the Bishops’ report on Marriage and sexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a rallying cry to a perturbed and divided Synod and whatever part of the wider Church was listening in.

It had three elements:

1- “We need a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church.

2- “It must be based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.”

3- “The way forward needs to be about love, joy and celebration of our humanity; of our creation in the image of God, of our belonging to Christ ”“ all of us, without exception, without exclusion.”

The problem these words present, is that they involve a distortion of Christianity. They preference a non-Christian ideology that gives us a sub-Christian or even perhaps an anti-Christian version of the faith.

That is a very serious charge to make. Because if it is true, it challenges the authority of an ancient office and both the direction and integrity of the Church of England.

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

JI Packer: Understanding our Crisis of Truth and Authority in the Church of England

From the Latimer Trust

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

[David Ould] CofE Clergy Refuse to “Take Note” of “Orthodox” Bishops’ Report on Marriage

In the lead up to the vote there was nothing short of furious campaigning on all sides. The liberals’ campaign was clear to see from bodies such as the newly-amalgamated “One Body, One Faith” who urged their supporters to vote against the motion and to call their General Synod reps to do the same.

Within the conservative camp there was also an inclination by many to vote against the motion for the reasons outlined above. Those I spoke to in the days leading up to the vote took no pleasure in this position but were resigned to a split in the church as being inevitable and longed for the bishops to stop papering over the cracks. As a result we began to see an unprecedented move by more conservative bishops to encourage a “yes” vote as (it was explained) a last-ditch attempt to hold everything together. There was a great danger, it was explained, that if the take note vote failed then the fissures would rupture with not a small number of bishops being prepared to take a contrary position in future. It has to be said that this argument appears to have been somewhat successful if the noises key conservatives were making in the last 24 hours were any indication.
…..
..there you have it. A split Church of England which has voted against taking note of the bishops’ report, thereby ensuring it cannot be further debated in this current synod (until 2020). The bishops will now go back and, presumably, prepare another report that may have a different flavour.

But that’s not the half of it. If the conservative bishops’ warnings are correct we can now expect to see the collegiality of the House of Bishops begin to fracture well beyond the isolated crack that is Alan Wilson in Buckingham. To Wilson’s credit he at least had the chops to say what he believed. At the moment we have a set of bishops, some of whom are by conviction opposed to orthodox teaching and yet who continue to (at least nominally) support it. No wonder the liberals are frustrated. But they may now break ranks.

One last thought. The bishops really can’t complain about this result. It is they who are ultimately responsible for recruiting, training, ordaining, supporting, leading and (if necessary) disciplining their clergy. That there has been a more laissez-faire approach by them in recent years on these matters is now well-documented. While there have been some occasions where discipline has been carried out, there are many more moments when they could have stood up and spoken, withheld Communion, said no to ordination and so on. But they didn’t. Blessings of same-sex unions are allowed to pass with not so much as an irritated tut. Bishops attend and endorse services that promote either explicitly or implicitly a rejection of orthodox teaching on marriage. Clergy who hold heterodox views are promoted to higher office. Put simply, there has been a concerted effort by revisionist clergy to put “facts on the ground” and the bishops appear to have not resisted the move with many of them effectively supporting it. As Sam Allberry put it so well in his contribution to the GS debate, we want bishops who genuinely believe that what they wrote in the report is good news to be proclaimed to everyone.

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