Category : Church of England (CoE)

C of E General Synod backs motion to tackle food waste

The Church of England’s General Synod has called upon the Government to tackle food poverty and take steps to minimise waste throughout the supply chain.

Members backed a motion brought by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich outlining ways retailers and Church of England members can attempt to tackle food poverty in Britain.

The motion calls for the Government to consider steps to reduce waste in the food supply chain. It also urges parishes to help lobby retailers on food waste.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s presidential address to General Synod

‘Traditioned innovation’ reoccurs again and again and again in the Bible. There is not time to go through all the examples, but obvious ones would be the growth of the Empire under David and Solomon, the division of the Kingdom, the fall of the Northern Kingdom and quasi-colonial status under various great powers, the Exile and the Return. And that does not even take us into the inter-Testamental times, or through the ministry of John the Baptist, announcing the most dramatic change, which is then seen, the inbreaking of God through incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and the gift of the Spirit: God produced a cosmic tectonic shift which nevertheless linked perfectly into the history of the people of Israel.

In the Acts of the Apostles, the tectonic shift is worked out in practice. The people of God, the Church formed in the Acts under the apostles are challenged to adapt to Spirit driven realities that they could never have begun to imagine by themselves. The greatest challenge was the incorporation of the Gentiles which was hinted at, promised but never fully understood in the Old Testament prophetic traditions, and was now made real. The Samaritans, the Ethiopian Eunuch, and particularly Cornelius – all in what we now call the Holy Land – opened their lives and committed themselves in faith to Christ.

More than that, Paul is transformed on the road to Damascus and his ministry bears extraordinary fruit in areas of the Jewish diaspora well beyond the boundaries of the historic kingdom of Israel. Now it even includes the oppressive Romans, the Pagan, Greeks, numerous other idolaters and people beyond the law.

With much struggle, yet by the grace of God, the Church adapted without abandoning its tradition.

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

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Theological Reflection on Male-Female Complementarity

Today, gnosticism also finds expression in identity essentialism, where the body is merely the vehicle and the over-painted canvas of self-identification.

In the SEC Doctrine Committee’s Theology of Marriage, this Gnostic precedence of the mind is continued:

It is the way people treat each other that counts, not the shape of the fleshly tools they use to express this. As we understand circumcision to be of the heart and not the penis, so the way in which we must treat each other sexually is dictated by the heart and the Spirit and not the genitals.

This is an anti-incarnational false dichotomy, which sets up a false distinction between how we should employ both mind and body in relationship to others. It is also Hellenistic virtue ethics, which presumes that evidence (read, any declaration) of a virtuous motivation (‘I ended her life out of compassion. I couldn’t wait for marriage because I was so in love.’) is a true bellwether of right and wrong, rather than the actions in themselves, or foreseeable consequences of them.

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

(Guardian) C of E raises serious concerns about Christian Freemasons

The Church of England has reiterated “significant concerns” about Christians becoming Freemasons amid renewed controversy about the presence of the secretive organisation at the heart of the British establishment. Christopher Cocksworth, the bishop of Coventry, flagged up a 1987 report issued by the church that highlighted a “number of very fundamental reasons to question the compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity”.

The bishop was responding to a question tabled at the church’s General Synod, meeting this week in London, which sought information on services celebrating last year’s 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) held in “a number” of Anglican cathedrals.

Cocksworth said such data was not collected or monitored centrally, but added that cathedral services were required under canon law not to contravene church doctrine.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Theology

(Church Times) Choose bishops more openly, Synod members urge

The O’Donovan review of the workings of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) was approved overwhelmingly by the General Synod on Thursday afternoon.

The report, prepared by eight theologians led by the Revd Professor Oliver O’Donovan, called for more theological depth among those chosen to be bishops (News, 19 January).

Introducing his review, Professor O’Donovan described it as “on the revolutionary side of evolutionary”, meaning that it was “neither bland nor bloody”.

As well as boosting the number of theological heavyweights on the bishops’ bench, Professor O’Donovan said he wanted to undo a culture of “excessive secrecy”.

This found considerable backing in the Synod. Anthony Archer, a lay member from St Albans diocese who had served on eight CNCs, welcomed this. He was “not proud to be associated with a body that has a reputation to be secretive”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Christian Today) Entrenched opposition to women priests blocks Church’s diversity efforts, synod told

Entrenched opposition to women’s ordination is still blocking the Church of England’s attempts to improve diversity among its senior leadership, its ruling general synod was told today.

The Archbishop of York said the CofE was beset with a ‘spiritual problem’ in its failure to appoint more women and black, asian and ethnic minority clergy to high profile roles and insisted the Church must do more.

It came after Caroline Spelman MP, who as second church estates commissioners acts as a liaison between the government and the Church, said she came under regular pressure from the House of Commons, including the speaker John Bercow, to ‘get on with it’ in improving diversity.

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

(AM) Andrew Symes–General Synod debates about liturgy open up bigger questions of truth and religious freedom

If the Church of England approves prayers to celebrate and affirm gender transition and / or same sex relationships, does it matter? Some would say it doesn’t, as long as individual parishes are not compelled to use such prayers. Some churches long ago stopped using most formal liturgies anyway, so perhaps the question is irrelevant. But others would say such prayers are very important. For the LGBT activist, specific prayers are necessary to publicly validate identity and experience in the setting of the church; “to actually name us and our reality”, as Christian Beardsley says about ‘trans’ people.

Theologian Martin Davie agrees with the LGBT activists about the importance of officially sanctioned liturgies in the C of E and how they express truth: what we all believe. In his recent essay he revisits the theme of ‘lex orandi, lex credendi’, meaning that what the church believes and what it prays must be aligned. Davie points out that unlike some other Protestant denominations, Anglicanism defines its system of belief not just on a statement (the Thirty Nine Articles), but also a series of prayers and rubrics (the BCP and the Ordinal). But of course Davie argues strongly against the adoption of the proposed new liturgies, precisely because they would imply that the church believes something different to what it has always believed. While some may claim that such prayers in church would only be a minor local expression of pastoral care for individuals, in fact LGBT activists know very well that they would be a symbol of a radical change in how the church understands itself and reality.

The Anglican formularies are derived from an accepted understanding of Christian faith based on Scripture, and prayers that we say reflect that. It’s not the case, as some have claimed, that prayers develop according to our evolving experience and understanding of God, and then we get our theology from these prayers (Davie cites the Anglican Church of Canada as having embraced this erroneous idea). Rather, Article 20 is quite clear:

‘The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies, and authority in controversies of faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s word written.’

In other words, Scripture comes before liturgy and controls its content. Considering the question of prayers of affirmation for same sex couples, Davie concludes that the only way this could be done with integrity is if the C of E repudiates all its existing teaching on sex and marriage in the Canons and Prayer Books, and says it no longer believes in the teaching of Scripture as historically understood.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(C of E) Church Investors group announces a harder line on Annual General Meeting voting policy

The CIG has tightened its voting policy in three main areas:

Executive pay

The CIG will review fairness in the workplace and will withdraw support for remuneration reports where pay ratios are not disclosed, Chief Executive pensions are excessive, or where financial services or pharmaceutical companies do not pay the living wage.

Gender diversity

CIG members will now vote against the re-election of nomination committee chairs where the board has less than 33% women and it will vote against all directors on the nomination committee where less than 25% of board directors are women.

Climate change

CIG members now vote against the re-election of the company chair when a company is making little progress to transition to a low carbon world….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Stewardship, Stock Market, Theology

(Christian Today) Church of England facing more than 3,000 abuse cases

The Church of England is facing more than 3,000 abuse complaints, the vast majority of which relate to children or vulnerable adults.

Peter Hancock, the lead bishop on safeguarding will reveal the full extent of the scandal the Church faces when he answers questions from the ruling general synod later today. Of roughly 3,300 ‘concerns or allegations’ dealt with by the Church in 2016 alone, ‘the vast majority of which related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within church communities,’ he will say.

The revelation comes as the CofE’s general synod, or parliament, meets in Westminster for three days that are set to be dominated by questions around abuse.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Stewardship, Theology, Violence

The Agenda and Timetable for the Church of England General Synod which begins today

Read it all and note especially the timetable link there.

Posted in Church of England (CoE)

(Tablet) Anglicans deny obstructing Ofsted

The Church of England insists it is not resisting inspections of out-of- hours school settings to combat extremism and that it supports “targeted interventions.”

[The] Revd [Nigel] Genders said the “blanket regulation” and powers of inspection that Ofsted is calling for are a massive burden, unhelpful and ineffective: “It would be creating a massive haystack and never being able to find the needle.” He argues there is confusion over the issue of tackling extremism because a distinction needed to be made between voluntary church settings and illegal schools. He stressed that the church wanted to work with the government to keep children safe and if they have got concerns about particular settings “they should intervene.” But, he added: “It’s not for the state to tell churches how to behave or to get into state regulation of religion.”

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(Church of England) House of Bishops Response to the Independent Reviewer’s report on See of Sheffield

When we wrote to Sir Philip to ask him to undertake this review, our first concern was whether the Church had done enough to inform and educate clergy and laity about the 2014 settlement and the effect of the House of Bishops’ Declaration within it. We regret that, as Sir Philip concluded, not nearly enough was done to create an understanding of what the Declaration and Settlement would mean in practice. Sir Philip’s recommendation to form “a group with balanced membership to review what has been done; distil examples of good practice within dioceses; and provide resources to help dioceses, deaneries and parishes, and theological training institutions to engage in further consideration of the issues” has led us to establish an Implementation and Dialogue Group. The Bishop of Rochester has agreed to Chair this group, with the support of the Bishop of Aston. As Chair of the Steering Committee in charge of the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops that the Synod approved in 2014, Bishop James will bring significant experience to the Implementation and Dialogue Group along with others who sat on the Steering Committee with him. We have taken very seriously the call from Sir Philip to make this a diverse and balanced group….

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Christian Today) Diarmaid MacCulloch: ‘Why Anglicans who object to reconciliation with Methodists should read more history’

The point of worry seems to be a break in a succession of hands in ordination from the apostles who were the first followers of Christ. That strikes me as a professional historian of the Church (and also in Anglican orders) to be a very unrealistic view of Christian history.

First, ‘the historic episcopate’ throughout the Christian world is a pragmatic, gradual creation of the second century CE, which links with the first apostles, but does not do so exclusively. There was no single bishop of Rome, for instance, until the 2nd century, and earlier lines of single succession there are benevolent fictions.

Second, the Church of England is a Church of the Reformation which just happened to keep bishops. It is actually a ‘Reformed’ Protestant Church, that is not Lutheran, but part of a family of European Churches, some of which kept bishops in their government, some not. So national Reformed Churches in England, Ireland, Hungary, Romania and Poland have bishops. Up to 1662, clergy from other Reformed Churches served regardless in the CofE when they came here: often they were placed in English cathedrals or universities, not to quarantine them in some way but simply because they didn’t speak much English, and there they could exercise a ministry in the learned language of Latin.

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

Archbp Welby under pressure as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case

The Archbishop of Canterbury will be under renewed pressure at the Church of England’s ruling General Synod this week to renounce his claim that a ‘significant cloud’ remains over George Bell, a highly-respected bishop accused of sex abuse.

Members of synod, which acts as the church’s parliament, are today being asked to back a motion expressing ‘regret’ over Justin Welby’s handling of the case and calling for Bishop Bell’s ‘reputation as one of the great bishops of the Church of England is restored untarnished’.

The motion, seen by Christian Today, will be published as synod opens on Thursday after being approved by the church’s lawyers. It will not be debated at this week’s sessions but could be discussed at the next synod in July, if it receives enough support….

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Martin Sewell–Did Lambeth Palace know the ‘fresh information’ about Bishop George Bell before Lord Carlile published his report?

So, we may have endured considerable turbulence based upon a hearsay delayed allegation which cannot be corroborated and which no authority took seriously when it was first published.

It could still be true, of course: one of the victims could come forward with credible testimony, but this is not what we are currently being told. If it changes, we start all over again.

Meanwhile, victims of more contemporary and proven abuse will be standing outside General Synod asking us to support their quest for justice with just a fraction of the time we are currently expending arguing about events of 60 years ago. The sooner we get all this out into the open and settled, the faster we can turn our attention to their long neglected current needs.

To do that quickly we need real transparency, and the sooner the better.

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