Category : CoE Bishops

(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.

Read it all.

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

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.’

Read it all.

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

A BBC Sunday radio Four programme on Religion and Artificial Intelligence

The Bishop of Oxford Stephen Croft, Rabbi Moshi Freedman, anthropologist Beth Singler from the Faraday Institute and Kriti Sharma, VP of AI at Sage debate and discuss the application of AI and why its development needs to be considered within a moral and ethical framework….

Listen to it all (Bishop Stephen Croft section starts at abt 9:23).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(The Star) A profile of the new Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox

Bishop Pete grew up in India, where his father was a missionary. Aged 13, he had already set his sights on becoming a priest, and after studying modern history at Durham took the necessary training in Cambridge.

Ordained in 1987, he completed his first stints as a curate and vicar in the North East – he’s a staunch Newcastle United supporter – before postings in the West Midlands led to the Liverpool job.

“I came from a believing household. I can pinpoint the moment I was converted, at 12 or 13, but before that faith was just the wallpaper.”

He could easily have balked at the prospect of following his father into the church, he agrees.

“Sometimes it works the other way. If your dad wears a dog collar it’s the easiest thing to rebel against.”

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Marriage & Family

(PA) C of E Bishops call for new approach from Government over benefits freeze

Bishops have called on the Government to urgently review its benefits freeze after a “deeply disturbing” report found poor working parents did not have the cash needed to look after children.

Low paid families are taking a “double hit” because earnings are failing to keep up with inflation and many welfare payments have been frozen, the Bishop of Gloucester said.

The struggles faced by parents on the national living wage have been laid out in a report by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Families working full time are 13% or £59 a week short of the amount needed to provide their children with a minimum standard of living, according to the report.

The Cost Of A Child 2017 found the shortfall for lone and out-of-work of parents was even starker.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

The Bishop of Lichfield’s Pastoral Letter for August 2017: De-stress or distress?

Even if you are unable to get away this summer, I do hope that you will find an opportunity to relax and de-stress as a way of avoiding dis-stress later in the year as the days grow shorter and winter comes once more.

Sadly, all evidence points to a large increase in those suffering with depression and other forms of mental illness especially among the young. I was surprised to read that New Zealand – a country which in my mind is always associated with beautiful landscapes and a more gentle pace of life than here in the UK – has the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world. Commentators highlight the stigma that is attached to depression which instead of being recognised as an illness is regarded as weakness. Those who suffer tend to be told to ‘pull themselves together’ (whatever that means) and to ‘grin and bear it’. The pressure is on boys particularly to ‘man up’ and emulate the big tough guy image of the rugby playing All Blacks.

I would like to think that we are more accepting of mental illness in our country but sadly all the indications are that here mental and physical illness are still treated very differently.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

A Letter in tomorrow’s [London] Telegraph concerning “two opposed expressions of Anglicanism”

Please note you may now find the letter and the full list of signatories there.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Church of England ‘withdrew emotional support for abused’

Victims of abuse by clergy have criticised the Church of England’s close relationship with the insurer advising it on compensation claims.
They said the Church had cut contact and emotional support from them on the advice of Ecclesiastical – which has a senior clergy member on its board.
An independent reviewer said in one victim’s case “financial interests were allowed to impact practice”.
The Church said it aimed to separate pastoral care from insurance issues.’

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Violence

(Catholic Herald) Andrew Sabisky–Conservative Anglicans are close to despair. Is the CofE about to split?

Anyone with a lick of sense can see that the Church of England is in serious trouble. Congregational decline, child abuse scandals, and financially desperate cathedrals are just the most obvious symptoms of a very broad disease. As an Anglican, I have been confident that the Church would manage to turn things around in a few decades. After the most recent meeting of General Synod, however, I am no longer so confident.

On the face it, the Synod’s changes were all fairly minor. For all the fuss, the proposal to write official liturgies affirming the new gender identity of transgender people may well be ignored even by Church’s own bishops; and the changes on regulation of vestments merely rubber-stamps what already takes places across swathes of the Church.

But the most significant thing about the Synod was the manner in which it was conducted. The bishops stayed largely silent as Synod did theology by endless anecdote. The only notable episcopal contributions came from the liberal northern prelates (especially Paul Bayes of Liverpool). An outburst of anti-capitalism from the Archbishop of York provided comedy value amongst the general dour air of neo-Puritanism. The monotonous drumbeat of socialism and sexual liberalism was only broken by the ecumenical contribution of Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who warned Synod that it’s bad for PR and the soul to spend so much time talking about sex. His plea fell on deaf ears.

Read it all.

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

(Artware) A biographical sketch of Charles Manners Sutton, Bp of Norwich (1792-1805)+Archbp of Canterbury (1805-1828)

Manners-Sutton worked closely with the Hackney Phalanx to revive the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and he was active in the campaign that secured the establishment of a bishop for India, being closely involved in recruiting Thomas Middleton, archdeacon of Huntingdon, and an associate of the phalanx, as first bishop of Calcutta. Manners-Sutton was also concerned with the extension of higher education. He contributed £1000 towards the endowment of King’s College, London, and was instrumental in persuading George IV to give his name to the college; he also contributed towards the establishment of both St David’s College, Lampeter, by Bishop Burgess of St David’s and of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1814 he was appointed to preside over the German Relief Fund to administer a parliamentary grant of £100,000 for the relief of Germany during the winter of the final Napoleonic campaign, which—because of opposition to the grant in the light of needs for charity relief at home—needed to be a model of accurate accounting. Joshua Watson acted as administrator of the funds. In 1816 Manners-Sutton and Bishop Howley of London unsuccessfully attempted to revive the Association for the Relief of the Manufacturing and Labouring Poor, established in 1812, and in 1817 he briefly flirted with Robert Owen’s plan to put the poor into ‘Villages of Co-operation’ where, after an initial capital grant from taxes, they would pay their own way while becoming useful, industrious, self-disciplined, and temperate.

Manners-Sutton may have been the initiator of a meritocratic revolution that reinvigorated the Church of England in the early nineteenth century. Although his own preferment was due to aristocratic patronage and royal favour, he, along with Bishop Howley of London, worked with Joshua Watson and his associates in the Hackney Phalanx to test the potential of able young graduates from middle-class backgrounds, making discriminate use of the extensive patronage available to archbishops of Canterbury and promoting the most promising candidates.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(CEN) Archbishop Welby outlines plans for exhaustive review of sexuality

Hannah Grivell (Derby) asked whether the House of Bishops had considered advising Diocese Directors of Ordinands to stop using Issues in Human Sexuality in the discernment process of new ordinands until a new teaching document is available, ‘given that it was never intended for use in this way and is 26 years old’.

To which Bishop Hardman explained that this is one of the questions that will be put forward to the pastoral advisory group ‘with some urgency’.

Jane Charman (Salisbury) asked if the House of Bishops intends to learn from the Scottish Episcopal Church and their deliberations on the matter.

The Archbishop of Canterbury responded explaining saying “we will certainly be seeking to learn from all the provincesof the Anglican Communion’, which could include Canada, New Zealand and Australia as well as other provinces who have taken a different view to those mentioned.

“They will be learned from, there’s a lot to learn from the experience around the Communion,” he added.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Sermon by the Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams, read at the Solemn Requiem for Bishop Geoffrey Rowell

Geoffrey worked with myself and our dear friend Kenneth Stevenson on a book entitled Love’s Redeeming Work, an anthology of spiritual writing in the Anglican tradition. I don’t think that
Kenneth would mind if I said that the heavy lifting, in terms of the volume as far as the later period was concerned, was done by Geoffrey in his heroic labours on the vast mountain of
material from the late eighteenth to the twentieth century. His share of that book reflects those Tractarian roots already mentioned, but it also reflects the generous engagement which made him so open to, and so enthusiastic about, resources well beyond his own tradition, including resources beyond the United Kingdom. His voice was always advocating in the editorial
discussions we shared for a better and more accurate representation in the book of Anglicanism outside Europe and North America.

In the introduction to his section of that volume, the last page touches briefly on a number of perhaps predictable theological heroes – Lightfoot and Westcott, of course; Archbishop
Michael Ramsey; and then, more surprisingly, Charles Kingsley and Charles Raven. There they are, rubbing shoulders in one paragraph – probably as uncomfortable there in each other’s
company as they no doubt are in the Kingdom of Heaven. In that paragraph Geoffrey speaks of two things which this unlikely calendar of saints might have in common as representatives
of Anglican identity. He speaks of those great Anglican teachers, above all Archbishop Ramsey, for whom ‘contemplative prayer was not just for enclosed religious’, and he speaks
of what he calls the ‘characteristically Anglican sympathy with new knowledge’: a depth of hinterland in prayer and devotion, a sympathy with new knowledge – never uncritical, but
never hostile.

Then, in the last paragraph, he goes on to quote another name familiar to Geoffrey’s friends – John Henry Newman, on the Church that ‘changes always in order to remain the same’. To
believe that at a time of rapid, disorientating change, is particularly hard. But Geoffrey held to that and lived by it; and that is why he turns, at the very end of that introductory essay, to Lancelot Andrewes – and to T. S. Eliot: the tongues of flame in-folded, the fire and the rose one. If Jesus is indeed the resurrection and the life, and if because of that we cannot fall into nothingness, it is because the fiery trial of discipleship and ministry in Christ’s Church is not to be separated from the flowering of God’s generous purposes and the fulfilment of our humanity in ways we cannot imagine. We do not fall away, for God is God, and Christ is God. Knowing this is the key to knowing ourselves and knowing what song is sung by the whole of reality. Remember Geoffrey’s pitch in hearing and singing that song. And so we endure – as the Apostle says, ‘abounding in the work of the Lord’, as did Geoffrey
so abundantly. And we look with him at the cloud of witnesses, alive with the living Lord whom he adored and adores.

Read it all.

Posted in --Rowan Williams, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(CEN) Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden: Double Standards in the Church?

Forced resignation goes beyond the public humiliation meted out by the church authorities. Media seize on the word ‘collude’ and vilify Lord Carey for supposed implication in the crimes of Peter Ball. Invitations to minister in Churches in England and America are suddenly withdrawn. He has committed the unforgiveable sin – systemic mistakes were made, which he admits, on his watch, so he personally has to carry the public opprobrium.

Meanwhile his successor, Rowan Williams, and all the episcopal and legal advisers involved, suffer no penalty. Lord Carey’s penalty bears no relation to safeguarding: at 82 he is a threat to no-one. He carries no authority to permit any one to minister. His penalty can only be punishment which the Church feels necessary to preserve its place in the public square.
On the other hand the past few years have seen a procession of clergy, some highly placed, deliberately flout the teaching of the Church of England which they have sworn before God to uphold, and its canons which they have sworn to observe in obedience to the office of their bishop.

Some in high office along with members of General Synod deliberately question and oppose the teaching of the Bible and of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality.
Others have placed ‘facts on the ground’. For example, under the leadership of its dean, Southwark Cathedral advertises availability of prayers for a civil partnership, while noting the Church has no authorised prayers or service of blessing.

One dean has called on the Church to embrace gay marriage, revealing that he has previously held services of blessing for same sex couples at another Cathedral and would consider doing the same again. Did he seek permission from the Archbishop of York before going ahead with the ceremonies? (See further below)

A parish clergyman entered into a same-sex marriage, specifically forbidden to members of the clergy, and remained in post. Both the deans and the vicar remained on General Synod which makes the laws of the church. Yet calls are made to remove Lord Carey from the Lords because a lawbreaker cannot be a lawmaker.

Read it all.

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

Bishop Robert Innes offers Reflections on the recently Concluded C of E General Synod

One of the things that would most effectively undermine the church’s mission would be a serious split over issues of human sexuality. Over the course of the long weekend, the Synod was bowled two difficult questions that would (again) test the church’s unity. Neither motion came from the bishops: one was a private member’s motion on ‘conversion therapy’, the other was a motion from Blackburn Diocese on ‘Welcoming Transgender People’. Both motions could be viewed as totemic of the relative influence of different groups or proxies for other issues. And, of course, both could be spun.

I have to say I found myself rather uncomfortable debating ‘conversion therapy’. The ethics of therapy offered to gay/lesbian people (and all the more transgender people) is something which challenges even those who are experts in their field. Only a very few members of synod have this kind of expertise. And I was nervous discussing a subject in the adversarial style of a full synod which bears upon issues affecting individuals and families so deeply and personally.

In the event, I think we managed to discuss the issue with openness and compassion. Two amendments had been proposed, both of which in my view significantly improved the original motion. One was defeated, the other was accepted. The final motion endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding signed up to by all the relevant professional bodies, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It can be found here. This MoU, describes ‘efforts that try to change or alter sexual orientation through psychological therapies as unethical and potentially harmful’. The motion was passed overwhelmingly.

The second issue in the sexuality area was a motion ‘recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church’ and calling on the House of Bishops to ‘consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition’. During this debate we heard several stories of people who had transitioned between gender identities, and of the mental anguish that gender variance can cause to an individual and their family/community. There was considerable debate as to how to best to respond. I felt the Bishop of Worcester expressed well the mind of the Synod when he said: ‘Our response needs to be loving and open and welcoming and the passing of this motion would be a very important factor in that.’ The motion was duly passed by a big majority.

I hope that gay, lesbian and transgender people feel reassured and encouraged by these votes. Neither vote changes the church’s doctrine….

Read it all.

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