by Andrew Goddard, The Living Church
by Andrew Goddard, The Living Church
December 4th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England Comments Off
By John Bingham,Telegraph
For centuries the Prayer Book was one of the most treasured possessions of the devout and changes to its use have triggered riots, splits and even a civil war.
December 3rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England Comments Off
Young people are being given a taste of life behind the dog collar with the launch of the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme (CEMES), run by the Ministry Division.
The scheme, which began with a pilot phase (see case studies below) this September in four dioceses, is a one year programme of theological teaching, practical experience and personal development for young people aged 18-30 who are considering future ministry in the church. The scheme was set up to encourage more young people to consider being involved in ministry and focus on the nine criteria used in the selection of clergy.
The scheme is currently being run in the dioceses of Sodor and Man, Newcastle, Peterborough and the Stepney area of London. Ministry Division are working with 15 more dioceses interested in the scheme, with a view to provide a CEMES programme in every diocese.
The Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Revd Steven Croft, who is Chair of Ministry Division said: “The Church of England has a fresh vision and commitment to see people in their teens and twenties exploring God's call to ministry. The Ministry Experience scheme will help many young people explore that call in the years to come”
by Hilary Cotton, Chair, Women and the Church
[...] For me the key has been the first two of the five principles adopted by the House of Bishops last May. These state that the Church of England is ‘fully and unequivocally committed’ to women and men as priests and bishops; and ‘everyone who ministers in the Church of England must acknowledge that’.
I have real concerns about the other three principles, but I do think they represent where the Church of England is at the moment.
So in all this, WATCH must and will remain very, very watchful over the next year and beyond.
Our second priority is the General Synod elections of 2015. Although they may well not be crucial for the women bishops legislation, it remains vital that we have a more representative House of Laity if we are to avoid being caught up in more disasters like that of a year ago. And WATCH must play its part in that, nationally and through the diocesan branches and networks.
Thirdly, as Christina Rees used to say (and I dare say still does) we need to continue to challenge and move beyond the patriarchal model on which the Church of England is built.
How we do that, and what the next steps are, is to some extent down to you, the membership, and what you want WATCH to do.
My personal driver for this is that I have had enough of an almost exclusively male God, in our prayers, hymns, speech and images. (Emphasis ours)
From Pink News
Lee Gatiss, Church Society
Church Society welcomes the publication of the Report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality, so that it can be discussed openly and publicly by the whole church.
Like the apostle Jude, in the Bible, we would prefer to discuss the good news of Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers to all, but feel constrained to respond to the teaching of those who are changing the gospel into an affirmation of immoral behaviour.
We call on the church to read the report prayerfully, and to weigh its teaching and recommendations carefully in the light of scripture's very clear teaching on sexuality, to which the Church of England is committed in its canons, doctrinal formularies, Synodical statements, and the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference. We particularly commend to people the "dissenting statement" in the report from the Bishop of Birkenhead, and thank him for its clarity and care. A further statement will be made in due course.
By John Bingham, Telegraph
In a historic shift in thinking a panel of bishops recommend the Church of England allow special services which will amount to gay marriages in all but name
The Church of England is poised to offer public blessing services for same-sex couples in a historic shift in teaching.
A long-awaited review of church teaching by a panel of bishops recommends lifting the ban on special services which will amount to weddings in all but name.
Although the Church will continue to opt out of carrying out gay marriages, when they become legal next year the landmark report recommends allowing priests to conduct public services "to mark the formation of permanent same sex relationships".
The report repeatedly speaks of the need for the Church to "repent" for the way gay and lesbian people have been treated in the past.
In what will be seen as a radical departure, it also suggests that the Bible is inconclusive on the subject of homosexuality.
Read also: Same sex ‘blessings’ recommended in report, Church of England Newspaper
Church should allow blessings of gay relationships, CofE report says by Sam Jones, Guardian
Church of England considers 'weddings in all but name' for same-sex couples by John Bingham, Telegraph
Pilling opens door to gay blessings in church by Madeleine Davies, Church Times
The Pilling report: a blessing for gay people but not for conservatives by Andrew Brown, Guardian
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today published the Report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality.
In a statement thanking the working group – chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling – for its report, the Archbishops commented that the report ‘is a substantial document proposing a process of facilitated conversations in the Church of England over a period of perhaps two years. The document offers findings and recommendations to form part of that process of facilitated conversations. It is not a new policy statement from the Church of England.’
Noting that ‘the issues with which the Report grapples are difficult and divisive’ the Archbishops recognise Sir Joseph Pilling’s comment that 'disagreements have been explored in the warmth of a shared faith’. The Archbishops continue. ‘Our prayer is that the process of reflection that will now be needed in the Church of England, shaped by the House of Bishops and the College, will be characterised by a similar spirit.’
Commissioned by the House of Bishops of the Church of England in January 2012, the working group included the bishops of Gloucester, Birkenhead, Fulham and Warwick. The group invited three advisers to join in the work. They were: Professor Robert Song, The Ven Rachel Treweek and the Revd Dr Jessica Martin.
The report considers the rapidly changing context within which the group undertook its work. It examines the available data about the views of the public in our country over time. The report considers homophobia, evidence from science, from scripture and from theologians. During their work, members of the group not only gathered evidence from many experts, groups and individuals but also met a number of gay and lesbian people, often in their homes, to listen to their experiences and insights.
The report offers 18 recommendations. The first recommendation is intended to set the context for the report as a whole. It warmly welcomes and affirms the presence and ministry within the church of gay and lesbian people both lay and ordained. Read the rest of this entry »
By Michael Trimmer, Christian Today
Anglican Mainstream has asked why the Church of England is partnering with an organisation that nominated one of its bishops for a 'Bigot of the Year' award.
Reports that the Church of England will be working with gay charity Stonewall against homophobic bullying in its schools has received opposition from some Anglicans.
Anglican Mainstream, a group representing the orthodox Anglican community, has challenged why this partnership was not discussed at last week's General Synod, and has encouraged its readers to write to their bishops on this matter.
They raise several specific issues of potential concern, firstly that while Stonewall is an anti-homophobia charity, the majority of bullying in schools is not specifically anti-gay.
"No Place for Bullying", a report commissioned in 2012 by Ofsted, the UK schools inspection body, concluded that the vast majority of bullying is to do with issues of appearance, with sexuality accounting for a relatively small percentage.
In a position statement, Anglican Mainstream questioned the wisdom of bringing in a narrowly focused charity to deal with an issue that is much broader.
The statement goes on to argue that Stonewall takes an unscientific position on the issue of homosexuality as a whole.
Letter to The Guardian
The coverage of Lord Carey's alleged claim that the Church of England is "one generation from extinction" offers support to a familiar, but probably false, story about its inevitable generational decline. Recent analysis by Ipsos Mori of attendance at religious services shows that by 2011 Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000) were almost as likely to attend once a month or more as those born pre-1939. They have overtaken both Generation X and the baby boomers. Young people are less likely to claim affiliation but recently look like they are more likely to attend.
The decline in Christian affiliation is largely among those who were only nominally connected, and the decline in overall attendance exaggerated because it's seen solely through the lens of the Church of England and "mainline" denominations. In 2011, 21% of the population claimed to attend a religious service once a month or more, the same as in 1989. Even if the Anglican church has fallen on hard times, other expressions of Christianity are flourishing.
The Christian church in the UK is certainly changing shape but it's far from doomed. A smaller, more fully committed church, including the Anglican one, may be a very good thing.
Hat Tip: Thinking Anglicans
by David Pocklington, Law & Religion UK
By Fr Dwight Longnecker
Anglican Mainstream Statement
It is right that the Church of England should address issues of bullying and make schools ‘safe’ places for all children and young people. However, we are astonished that Stonewall has been chosen to deliver this service.
November 21st, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England Comments Off
Sam Johnson's jaunt through history, from English Manif
In 1533 the Statute in Restraint of Appeals stopped English clergy and laity appealing to Rome on matrimonial issues, enabling Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer to annul Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry then married Anne Boleyn (albeit briefly, nudge nudge chop). It also paved the way for Henry to became Supreme Head of the Church of England.
by Robert Hutton, Bloomberg
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to see women bishops jump the queue for places in the House of Lords as the Church of England’s ruling body backed proposals to create them for the first time.
There are places for 26 bishops in the unelected upper chamber of Parliament. These go to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the bishops of Durham, London and Winchester. The other 21 places are allocated to the bishops who have held office longest.
Asked during his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session if he wanted to see female bishops in the Lords faster than the current system allowed, Cameron agreed.
“The government is willing to work with the church to see how we can get women bishops into the Lords as soon as possible,” Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons.
The General Synod of the Church of England today voted 378 to eight in favor of introducing women bishops, alongside guidance for parishes that reject them.
November 21st, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England Comments Off
by John Bingham, Telegraph
As charities and councils come under pressure to rein in executive pay, it has emerged that the Church of England’s top official is paid more than the Prime Minister
The Church of England pays its top bureaucrat over £10,000 more than the Prime Minister receives despite launching a series of attacks on high executive salaries, it has been disclosed.
Papers laid before the Church’s General Synod, which has been meeting this week, show that eight lay officials across the Church’s London headquarters and its financial arm receive more than 100,000 a year.
Questions were raised about the level of pay for top Church officials after William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission, recently warned that charities risk bringing good causes into “disrepute” by awarding further pay rises to chiefs on six-figure sums.
Pay packages for councils bosses have also come under intense scrutiny after Eric Pickles called for all of those receiving more than the Prime Minister – who is paid £142,500 a year – to take a 10 per cent cut.
But it is understood that William Fittall, the most senior official at Church House, is now paid £153,000 – after receiving a £4,000 rise last year.
By Sam Jones, Guardian
General Synod votes in favour of proposals to bring women into episcopate by overwhelming majority
The Church of England is on course to give its final approval to female bishops next year after its General Synod voted in favour of new proposals to bring women into the episcopate, raising hopes of an end to the damaging and frequently bitter 20-year standoff between modernisers and traditionalists.
On the third and final day of its meeting in London, the synod voted in favour of the new plans by an overwhelming majority of 378 to eight, with 25 abstentions.
Proposing the new draft legislation, the bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff, recognised that the synod had been given a "second bite of the cherry" but said that it had come a long way since last November, when the last moves to introduce female bishops fell.
He urged the synod to vote "as positively as it is able" for the proposals, adding: "People may have quibbles about various words and phrases within this statement of guiding principles, but I would ask you to remember that these are guiding principles, not holy writ nor a creedal statement."
Although the first speech from the floor noted that "history makes us naturally cautious about optimists who wave documents that offer peace in our time" – and a later one described the previous failure as "missionally disastrous" – it soon became apparent that a consensus had been reached and that many key former opponents from the conservative evangelical and Anglo-Catholic wings of the synod had come to accept the new plans.
November 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England Comments Off
By Fr Dwight Longnecker, Patheos