Category : Church of England (CoE)

(Premier) Have evangelicals taken over the Church of England?

In 1966 two of the most well-loved and respected church leaders of their day faced off against one another. Speaking at an Evangelical Alliance event in Westminster, famed preacher Martin Lloyd-Jones publicly criticised evangelicals for remaining inside the Church of England, thereby aligning themselves with leaders in the denomination who promoted liberalism. He said evangelicals “scattered about in various major denominations” were “weak and ineffective”. The Welsh minister of Westminster Chapel suggested evangelicals should instead form their own association of churches.

As chair of the event, John Stott was expected to offer his polite thanks to Lloyd-Jones. Instead the rector of All Souls Church issued an impassioned spontaneous rebuttal, arguing that evangelicals should remain inside the Church of England and fight for truth from within. Thankfully the two men were later reconciled after their very public falling out.

Fifty years later there’s good reason for evangelicals to believe Stott’s argument ultimately won the day. For instance, unlike his more liberal predecessor, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is a charismatic evangelical (and a member of Holy Trinity Brompton before he was ordained), and his counterpart in York, John Sentamu, comes from an evangelical background too. As Rev Dr Ian Paul, who sits on the Archbishops’ Council notes, while previous generations of evangelicals ignored senior establishment posts, today’s evangelicals are taking them on, so when it comes to its senior leadership, “the Church of England is more evangelical than it’s ever been”. According to Dr Paul, the growth of the Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) and New Wine networks is further evidence that evangelicals are having a strong impact on the Church. And the trend looks set to continue. Evangelicals now account for 70 per cent of ordinands entering training. A generation ago, the figure was just 30 per cent.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals

(Church Times) Church leaders, charities, and politicians up the plea for action on modern slavery

Tackling modern slavery in the UK and supporting the victims of its crimes “demands our attention” and immediate action, Church leaders, charities, and politicians have agreed this week.

On Monday, 50 Church, police, and policy leaders met at the House of Commons to debate the current UK strategy for countering modern slavery. The Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern, who chairs the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Advisory Panel was among them.

“The seminar provided an invaluable opportunity for politicians, law enforcement agencies and those working with and for victims to share concerns, strategies and wisdom,” he said. “There was also an opportunity to consider reactions to the recent report about police practice, and for various sectors to adjust their contributions in the light of the challenges identified.”

Campaigner: the Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern, chairs the Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Advisory Panel

The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner for the UK, Kevin Hyland, who also attended, said that the number of people living in slavery in the country was likely to be considerably higher than the current estimate of 13,000. The latest statistics suggest that the number of victims of slavery has increased by at least 300 per cent in the past five years (News, 20 October).

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Richard Hooker

O God of truth and peace, who didst raise up thy servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion: Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

Cut stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to £2, Bishop Smith of St Albans urges Government

The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, has responded to the Government’s announcement today of The Triennial Review of Stakes and Prizes.

He said: “The Triennial Review of Stakes and Prizes has proposed a range of possible stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals. While a reduction in stakes is welcome, any stake higher than £2 does not go far enough to address the harm these machines cause to families and communities around the UK.

“In our broader response to the consultation, the Church of England will urge the Government to consider the experiences of those affected most by these machines, and to choose to lower the stake to £2.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Onward Christian Soldiers dropped from local Remembrance Sunday service

A vicar has dropped the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers from a Remembrance Sunday service next month because of the participation of non-Christians in the commemoration.

Some members of the Royal British Legion social club in Oadby, Leicestershire, are threatening to boycott the service or sing the 19th-century hymn outside the church in protest.

The Rev Steve Bailey of St Peter’s church made the decision with the agreement of the local branch of the British Legion. It will be replaced with another hymn, All People That On Earth Do Dwell.

In a statement released by the diocese of Leicester, Bailey said: “We agreed the change in hymn with the Oadby Royal British Legion who run this major civic occasion because members of the community from a wide range of cultural backgrounds attend this event, which is a parade, a service in church and laying of wreaths at the war memorial.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Crumbling Anglican Cathedrals appeal for expert volunteers

England’s cash-strapped cathedrals have issued a plea to architects, financiers, retail managers and other professionals to come to the rescue of some of the country’s most treasured buildings.

The country’s 42 Anglican cathedrals are visited by more than 10 million people each year and their congregations are growing, but about half are in dire financial difficulty faced with the cost of running and repairing their crumbling buildings.

The Bishop of Stepney, the Right Rev Adrian Newman, said this year that the Church of England needed to draw up contingency plans in case “individual cathedrals fail”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

(Telegraph) Church of England bids to put mothers’ names on marriage certificates

Mothers’ names could finally be included on marriage certificates after ministers said that legislation put forward by the Church of England “provides a solution to this problem”, the Telegraph can disclose.

A draft bill tabled by a senior bishop has been welcomed by the Home Office, following an impasse over plans to update the documents, which currently only include the names of couples’ fathers.

The development comes three years after David Cameron pledged to make the change, saying that the existing system, which dates back to the reign of Queen Victoria, “does not reflect modern Britain”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Women

(Telegraph) Church of England to debate services for same-sex couples after bishop of Hereford backs diocese’s call

The Church of England will debate blessings for same-sex couples after a motion was passed by one diocese, with the support of the local bishop, calling for a formal liturgy.

The Bishop of Hereford, who spoke in favour of the change and voted for the motion, said he thinks clergy should be helped to carry out a more formal service with recently married gay couples.

Hereford’s diocesan synod has voted to support a motion calling on the House of Bishops to “commend an Order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or a same sex marriage”.

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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, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Church Times) Too few children in too many pews, latest C of E mission statistics warn

The average C of E church has just three children attending, and the smallest 25 per cent have, on average, none at all, according to the latest Statistics for Mission.

The data, collected by parishes a year ago, shows the overall decline in attendance to be almost twice as pronounced among children. The average attendance by children, defined as being under 16, fell by 22 per cent between 2006 and 2016, compared with a 13-per-cent fall among adults.

In the smallest 25 per cent of churches, the average weekly attendance by children — at church services or Fresh Expressions on Sundays or weekdays — was zero. In the largest 25 per cent it rose to 11; and in the largest five per cent it was 35. The median is just three.

Most measures of attendance fell by between ten and 15 per cent between 2006 and 2016. On average, 927,300 people (86 per cent of them adults, 14 per cent of them children under 16) attended C of E services and acts of worship in October 2016, which was down from 961,100 the previous year.

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

A Statement from Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster over abuse allocations against the Late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey

Statement from Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and Bishop of Chester. Dr Peter Forster

“We can confirm that we have supported the police on an investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults by the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey. The allegations date from 1974 onwards when he was Bishop of Chester and from 1981 while he was retired and living in Blackburn diocese. Bishop Whitsey died in 1987.

“We are deeply sorry and apologise to those individuals who have come forward to share their account of abuse by a bishop in the Church of England who was in a position of power and authority. We appreciate that it is very difficult for individuals to come forward and to give their account. Sexual abuse is a heinous crime – and is an absolute and shameful breach of trust. We acknowledge that for survivors, the effects of sexual abuse are lifelong. We are offering pastoral support to all those who have come forward and continue to hold them all in our prayers.

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

(Guardian) Former bishop of Chester, Victor Whitsey, investigated over abuse allegations

The former bishop of Chester, Victor Whitsey, is being investigated 30 years after his death over allegations of sexual abuse in the latest scandal involving high-profile figures in the Church of England.

A lawyer representing four of the alleged victims has claimed the abuse was covered up by the C of E and has called for a independent review.

The allegations date from the late 1970s when Whitsey was bishop of Chester, and in the 1980s after he had retired and was living in the diocese of Blackburn.

The C of E said it had supported a police investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults. The police told the church that, had Whitsey still been alive, he would have been interviewed in relation to 10 allegations. Whitsey died in 1987.

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

Church of England reaches more than a million on social media every month

More than a million people are being reached every month with the Christian message on social media, a year after the Church of England adopted a new digital approach, new figures show.

Videos, podcasts, blogs and images including prayers are reaching an online audience of 1.2 million a month through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, according to the statistics from the Church of England digital project.

During Christmas 1.5 million were reached through the Church’s award-winning #JoyToTheWorld campaign featuring short films. A further 2.5 million were reached during Lent, the season before Easter, through the #LiveLent project.

The report has been released as new Mission Statistics showed average Sunday attendance over October 2016 at Church of England services stood at 780,000 people, a lower figure than in 2015, in line with a long-term trend.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Church of England publishes a Statement on mediation with survivor Gilo

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

Prime Minister backs Church of England drive to eradicate modern slavery

The Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury have given their backing to the launch today of a project aimed at mobilising the Church of England’s 12,000 parishes in the battle to eradicate modern slavery.

Theresa May welcomed the Clewer Initiative, a three-year programme to help the Church of England’s 42 dioceses work to support victims of modern slavery and identify the signs of exploitation in their local communities.

The project was being launched today at Lambeth Palace at an event attended by representatives from Church of England dioceses and other denominations, along with MPs and charities involved in work to combat modern slavery.

In a statement of support for the launch, Mrs May said: “Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society. I value the work that the Clewer Initiative will be doing to enable the Church of England dioceses and wider church networks to develop strategies to tackle modem slavery.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Archbishop Welby welcomes crossbench peerage for Bishop Richard Chartres

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warmly welcomed the announcement by 10 Downing Street that the former Bishop of London is to be made a life peer.

Bishop Richard, the 132nd occupant of the see, retired in March of this year after almost 22 years in the post. He will sit in the House of Lords as a crossbench member.

Archbishop Justin Welby said: “It is wonderful to hear that Richard Chartres will be returning the House of Lords. His deep wisdom, experience and integrity were greatly valued during his two decades on the Bishops’ benches, and I pray that this new role will provide Bishop Richard with a fresh opportunity to offer those gifts in service to our national life.”

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