Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 20 February 2019

Lynne Cullens Some notes on class, relevance and the Church

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Lessons My Mother Taught Me…Like When Best to Say Nothing At All

Kelvin Holdsworth What’s in Kelvin’s Head How would you teach me to pray?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Volunteers and Church Life

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Evangelism and the Five Marks of Mission

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Living in Love and Faith and the Pastoral Advisory Group present to synod

GS Misc 1200 is the document prepared for the synod session on Thursday afternoon, for which the Agenda item reads:

Not later than 5.30 p.m
LIVING IN LOVE AND FAITH AND PASTORAL ADVISORY GROUP (GS MISC 1200)
Presentation under SO 107.
Note: The Business Committee has determined under SO 107(3) that this presentation should include an opportunity for questions.

GS Misc 1200 starts thus:

This paper summarises developments regarding the Living in Love and Faith project and the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group. It includes an account of some of the key activities that the work has involved, the emerging shape of the groups’ next steps and how these relate to finding a way forward for the Church in matters relating to human identity, sexuality and marriage.

The paper introduces two key pieces of work, namely the ‘Living in Love and Faith Learning Outcomes’ and ‘Held Together in the Love of Christ: Pastoral Principles for Living Well Together’ produced by the Pastoral Advisory group. A series of fringe sessions are introduced that offer informal engagement with individuals who are members of LLF or PAG as well as members of General Synod…

The text of the Pastoral Principles start on page 8 of the document. A separate copy of them is available over here. TA readers are invited to read and comment on them.

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Pre-Synod News and Opinion

The Church of England’s General Synod meets in London this week from Wednesday to Saturday.

Stephen Lynas bathwellschap Ch – ch – ch – ch – ch – changes
Stephen’s usual excellent introduction to this week’s business

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Hey ho, hey ho & it’s off to synod we go

Steven Croft Bishop of Oxford Rethinking Evangelism
an (unauthorised) background paper for the General Synod.

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Measuring the Footprint, Delivering the ambition?
“The continued debate on the London/Truro Diocesan Synod Motion”

Church Times leader Mission creeps

There are  links to the Synod agenda and papers here.

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Spouses of bishops not invited to Lambeth Conference unless of opposite sex

Updated 

ACNS has published this article by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon: The global excitement about Lambeth Conference. To date most of the excitement about this article has related to the following paragraph (emphasis added):

I need to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen. Invitations have been sent to every active bishop. That is how it should be – we are recognising that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend. But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies.

The Sunday Times reported this first (£): Married gay bishops told: don’t bring your spouse to Anglican conference.

Reuters had Anglican Church slammed for excluding same-sex spouses from 2020 conference

Christian Today has Same-sex spouses not invited to Lambeth Conference

By far the most informative article is this one from Episcopal News ServiceSame-sex spouses not invited to next year’s Lambeth Conference of bishops

The Episcopal Church currently has one actively serving bishop who has a same-sex spouse. The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2009 and consecrated May 2010. She has been bishop assistant in the Diocese of New York since April 2016. She is married to Becki Sander, her partner of more than 30 years.

Glasspool told Episcopal News Service Feb. 18 in a telephone interview that she received a letter from Welby on Dec. 4, 2018, in which he said that he was writing to her “directly as I feel I owe you an explanation of my decision not to invite your spouse to the Lambeth Conference, a decision that I am well aware will cause you pain, which I regret deeply…”

Do read the further detail of her exchanges with the archbishop. And the article has been extended to include comments from Bishop Kevin Robertson (Toronto) and to refer to the new bishop-elect of Maine.

Update

OneBodyOneFaith extends hospitality to shunned Lambeth partners

OneBodyOneFaith has expressed its sadness and disappointment at the decision to exclude same-sex partners from the 2020 Lambeth Conference, and offered hospitality to those partners who would still like to attend.  

Tracey Byrne, Chief Executive, responded by promising to ensure that same-sex partners of bishops who wished to join them in Canterbury, would be warmly welcomed.  ‘We are called to follow the example of Jesus in extending the table to those with whom we don’t necessarily agree, and we applaud the effort of the organisers to do just that – but we need to go further. Radical Christian inclusion demands no less from us.  These partners may be few in number but they are hugely symbolically significant, prophetic even.  We are reaching out to them over the coming weeks, and have already been contacted by members and supporters offering accommodation.  We will do everything we can to ensure that they are there in Canterbury next year.’

 

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Church abuse survivors update General Synod booklet

Updated Wednesday morning

Press Release
Monday 18th February 2019 1000
GENERAL SYNOD FORCED TO FACE CHURCH ABUSE CRISIS
Victims of abuse address the church through hard-hitting booklet

The General Synod of the Church of England, meeting this week in Westminster, has once again been forced to face up to the crisis of abuse by clergy and other church officers. In spite of featuring prominently in the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the church had decided not to formally discuss the crisis during its four-day meeting. But victims and survivors of church abuse have forced the issue back onto the church’s agenda through a hard-hitting pamphlet. The booklet We Asked for Bread but you gave us Stones updates a previous booklet, which shocked many synod members twelve months ago. Victims of abuse, whose comments about the church caused widespread dismay this time last year, were asked to describe how the church has treated them since then.

The message of the booklet is that for all the talk, the Church of England is no further forward in addressing the needs of victims. “I have been more of less abandoned'” says one. Another complains that “Nobody has taken charge. We remain adrift.” The Archbishop of Canterbury has described the church’s treatment of complainants as “a deeply evil act.” And yet Andrew Graystone, who collated the new booklet, says that the church has persisted in its “lawyer-led, money-driven approach to survivors of abuse.” He pleads for the church to treat its victims as “wounded friends” and to “start by asking what you might do to help them rebuild their lives.”

All members of the General Synod will receive a copy of the new booklet when they arrive for the meeting on Wednesday.

A copy of the new edition of We Asked for Bread but you gave us Stones is available for download here: Stones not Bread Revisited.

Update 

All Synod members will today receive as well a copy of this Credit card sized reminder of what they personally can do to prevent abuse.

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General Synod Questions

The Church of England’s General Synod will hold its Questions session on Wednesday this week, starting not later than 17:45. The questions (and their answers) have been published this morning. These questions and answers will not be read out on Wednesday, and the session will be devoted to supplementary questions and answers.

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Briefing paper on the House of Bishops transgender pastoral guidance

The General Synod Human Sexuality Group has issued a briefing paper for synod members, which has been produced by Christina Beardsley & Susan Gilchrist.

Inclusive Cburch has published it here: A briefing paper on the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on using the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith with transgender people.

Another copy is available in PDF format here.

And there is an associated reading list.

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Opinion – 16 February 2019

Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Guest Post: Consecrated celibacy – a personal journey

Sara Gillingham ViaMedia.News Dear Church – A Valentine Lesson in Love
“Sara Gillingham … raises awareness of issues faced by people born with intersex traits.”

Andrew Gray Church Times A joined-up approach to tackling homelessness
“A task force would enable better working between the Church and other agencies”

Church Times ‘Jesus holding my hand has been the most powerful force in my life’
“Two gay priests of different generations talk about the challenges that they have faced in their ministry”

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Updates on the case of Bishop George Bell

We last reported on this matter on 24 January, when the Briden report was published. There have been some further developments:

The Church Times reported on 1 February: Welby welcomes plan for George Bell statue hours after apologising for Church’s handling of the case.

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed plans for a statue of the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, to be completed and installed in Canterbury Cathedral, hours after apologising for the Church’s botched handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against the Bishop.

Plans for the statue were halted in 2015, after a woman known as “Carol” alleged that Bishop Bell, a former Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, had sexually abused her in the 1940s, when she was nine…

And on 8 February: George Bell ‘should not have been named’ in Church’s settlement of sex abuse allegation.

THE blackening of George Bell‘s name would not have happened had there been a confidentiality clause governing the payment made to “Carol”, who accused him of sexual abuse, the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said on Monday.

Dr Warner was addressing supporters of Bishop Bell at the Rebuilding Bridges conference, held at 4 Canon Lane, Chichester, to which supporters wish to see the name “George Bell House” restored…

The resolutions which the Bell Society has promoted for some time are these:

  1. Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for his “significant cloud” remark concerning Bishop Bell
  2. Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, to invite Barbara Whitley, Bishop Bell’s niece, for a face-to-face meeting. 
(She has already requested such a meeting.)
  3. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter to restore the name of 4 Canon Lane  to George Bell House
  4. Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor and Canon Librarian, the Rev’d Dr Anthony Cane, to permit the reinstatement of Bishop Bell’s portrait and plaque
  5. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean, the Very Rev’d Stephen Waine, to correct page 37 of the Cathedral Guide: Society and Faith
  6. The General Synod to undertake a Full Debate at the earliest opportunity, regarding the serious implications arising from Lord Carlile’s Report

It will be interesting to see if Questions asked at General Synod next week produce any further answers.

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Schools get advice on dealing with LGBT issues

The Church Times reports on a project to help faith schools with educating pupils on LGBT issues:

LGBT plan for faith schools released

A TEN-POINT plan to help children deal with LGBT issues at faith schools has been released as part of a report into the LGBT charity Educate and Celebrate.

The study, written by Dr Anna Carlile, a researcher in the Department of Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, collected interview and focus-group data from five representative schools where Educate and Celebrate had worked.

Educate and Celebrate works with faith schools and schools that serve faith communities to help them understand the LGBT community. Their ten-step process is: first, to “begin with a one-off anti-bullying assembly, which builds staff confidence”; and, second, to “embed the Educate and Celebrate materials across the curriculum and within the school environment, with full usualising achieved by the end of the school year”.

The full text of the report is available here.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that many faith leaders are signatories to an open letter to the Department for Education, urging them not to weaken the draft guidance for independent schools:

Don’t back down on LGBT guidance, faith leaders urge DfE

More than 50 faith leaders, education experts and rights advocates have said young LGBT people would be at increased risk of bullying in schools if the government waters down draft guidance in response to pressure.

The Department for Education has issued draft advice to independent schools, saying secondary school children should know about “protected characteristics” under the 2010 Equality Act, which include gender reassignment and sexual orientation. Primary school children should be “aware of the ways in which people can be different and be respectful of those differences”.

The full list of signatories is below the text of the letter: All schools should encourage respect and LGBT acceptance.

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Opinion – 13 February 2019

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller The Episcopal Café Noticing Every Day

David Walker ViaMedia.News A Special Place in Hell….and the Road to Heaven

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Revisiting Institutional Narcissism

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Opinion – 9 February 2019

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of inclusivity, offence and rejection

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Why do Christians seem preoccupied by sex?

Ted Harrison Church Times Beware the use of banal and meaningless slogans
“Think carefully before creating one, … and make sure to avoid these common pitfalls”

Marcus Walker Catholic Herald Why Anglo-Catholicism appeals to millennials

Meg Warner ViaMedia.News Elephants, Penguins, Procreation & Japanese Knotweed

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Lambeth Conference and GAFCON

From an ACO press release: The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has called on Anglican bishops to attend the next Lambeth Conference despite differences within the Anglican Communion.

Lambeth Conference: Archbishop of Cape Town calls on bishops to “express your difference”.

…”I know people talk about the fabric of the communion as torn”, he said, “but we are all fallible human beings in need of God’s love and grace, and we need each other.”

Archbishop Thabo made his comments in a video on the Lambeth Conference website. In it, he says: “As said in Sepedi [the language of Northern Sotho]: one bangle doesn’t ring, two bangles will make a beautiful noise. So we are never alone in this journey.

“Whether you agree with where the communion is, whether you don’t agree, come and express your difference in this beautiful space which is a gift from God. Don’t just stay at home and say ‘I’m not going’.

“We want to hear that voice. It’s not a conference of like-minded people; it is a conference of Anglicans. I mean, for God’s sake, Anglicans, from our inceptions, we’ve always had push and pull. So push and pull should not be a distraction, but it should be celebrated.

“It’s what I call at home, ‘celebrating the gift of difference’. So I encourage all bishops and their spouses to make every possible effort to come and see what God is doing through us in his world…”

The Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, has issued a statement which is headlined simply Warning from the Chairman, headed by a photograph of the marriage last year of Toronto suffragan bishop Kevin Robertson, who has been invited to attend the Lambeth Conference in 2020. Bishop Robertson was also among those who this week attended this: New Anglican Communion bishops receive induction in Canterbury, Lambeth and the ACO.

Archbishop Okoh eventually concludes that:

…With great sadness we therefore have to conclude that the Lambeth Conference of 2020 will itself be an obstacle to the gospel by embracing teaching and a pattern of life which are profoundly at odds with the biblical witness and the apostolic Christianity through the ages…

This was promptly reported in Christian TodayGAFCON leader says Lambeth Conference ‘will be an obstacle to the gospel’

Andrew Goddard had earlier analysed this situation: Lambeth 2020: what is the future of the Anglican Communion?

Last September, the Church of Nigeria had issued a communique which included this:

…It supports the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria in reaffirming the Statement of GAFCON 2018 that the Archbishop of Canterbury should invite as full members to Lambeth 2020 the Bishops of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America and the Province of the Anglican Church in Brazil, and that he should not invite those Provinces that have endorsed by word or deed sexual practices that are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, unless they have repented of their actions and reversed their decisions. In the event that this does not occur the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) unanimously resolved that they will decline any invitation to attend Lambeth 2020 and all other meetings of the Instruments of the Communion.

Even earlier, the Church of Uganda had made a similar decision: Ugandan bishops pledge to boycott Welby’s landmark Lambeth Conference 2020.

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Open letter supporting bishops on transgender pastoral guidance

The Church Times reports on a letter received, containing 599 signatures: Support for House of Bishops’ trans rites guidance. The letter was written by The Reverend Dr Jo Kershaw.

THE House of Bishops’ decision to offer transsexual people a way to recognise and celebrate their transition in church should be welcomed, not retracted under the pressure of a “fear-mongering and ungracious response” from conservative Christians.
This is the view expressed by 599 lay people and clerics, including a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, in a letter to the Church Times this week.
“We write in support of the guidance provided by the House of Bishops to help those wishing to celebrate their gender transition,” the letter says, before thanking the group that is co-ordinating the Bishops’ sexuality project, Living in Love and Faith (LLF). This includes the Revd Dr Christian Beardsley, a transgender priest who resigned last week (News, Comment, 1 February).
The letter continues: “It is right and proper that the Church should make a loving pastoral response to trans people who are looking for a way to recognise and celebrate their transition in church, and surely the use of the affirmation of baptismal vows is a powerful statement of faith.”

Full text of letter as published

Full list of signatories. (up to Tuesday morning)

Original text of letter (still open for signatures to be added- see the comments following)

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Opinion – 6 February 2019

Andrew John, the Bishop of Bangor, Bishop Andy’s new Episcopal Letter
“I have come to believe that the Church should now fully include without distinction those who commit to permanent loving unions with a person of the same sex. I further believe that the best way to do this is for the Church to marry these people as we do with men and women.”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Releasing the feral essence of God to flow in our beings

Ryan P Bonfiglio The Christian Century It’s time to rethink our assumptions about where theological education happens
“Until 1565, the local church was also the seminary.”

Marcus Green ViaMedia.News Living in Love & Faith – The Challenge of Getting Heard

25 Comments

Opinion – 2 February 2019

Tina Beardsley ViaMedia.News A Trans Priest’s Response to the “Harmful” Open Letter

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of baptismal rites. It’s time for the bishops to stand firm.

Ann Reddecliffe LGBTQFaithUK Why the bishops are right.

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love On leaving in Love and Faith

Madeleine Davies interviews Paul Bayes for Church Times An interview with the Bishop of Liverpool
“Bishops are allowed to have opinions, Paul Bayes tells Madeleine Davies”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The John Smyth affair two years on. Has anything changed?

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House of Lords considers removal of clergy exemption on same-sex marriage

On Friday, in the House of Lords, three Labour peers proposed an amendment to the Civil Partnership, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill which would remove the clergy exemption in relation to same-sex marriage. This amendment was later withdrawn after the Government stated that it could not support it.

The exact wording of the amendment was as follows:

2: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause–

“Removal of exemption for clergy under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

(1) The Secretary of State must make regulations to amend the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 to remove the exemption for members of the clergy to solemnize the marriage of a same sex couple.(2) Regulations under this section must be in force by the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.”

The episode was reported by both the Anglican Communion News Service and The Church of England in Parliament:

The latter reports at length the response of the Bishop of Chelmsford. This. is worth reading in full.

Readers may also care to read the compete text of the debate which can be found in Hansard.  The relevant section starts here, and the whole record of the committee debate on the bill starts back here.

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February General Synod – papers and press release

Updated Friday evening to add press report

The second batch of papers for this month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod have been released. I have updated my list of these papers here. There is also a press release about some of the items on the agenda which I have copied below.

Press report

There was a press briefing on the agenda this morning. Madeleine Davies writes about it for Church TimesEvangelism and estates to occupy General Synod at February meeting.

Press release

Evangelism at heart of General Synod agenda

The need to mobilise the whole Church of England to reach out to others with the Christian message is set to dominate discussions at next month’s General Synod in London.

Papers published today set out how “small behavioural changes” by the around one million people who regularly attend Church of England churches could make a “huge difference”.

(more…)

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LLF project loses transgender member

Today’s Church Times has an exclusive report: House of Bishops’ sexuality project loses transgender member

A TRANSGENDER priest, the Revd Dr Christina Beardsley, has pulled out of the group that is co-ordinating the House of Bishops‘ sexuality project, Living in Love and Faith (LLF).

In an article in this week’s Church Times, she argues that not enough attention is being paid to the experiences of LGBTI+ churchpeople. And she questions the neutral stance that the LLF process has been taking: “There’s an assumption that LLF is handling equally valid views about sex and gender on which we can, in the end, agree to disagree.”

The report quotes reactions from both Dr Eeva John and the Bishop of Coventry:

The co-ordinating group was surprised and saddened by her departure, the project’s enabling officer, Dr Eeva John, said on Tuesday. She felt that the group had “always been very aware of how deeply personal and painful these matters have been”, and attempted to listen to people without skirting round issues, “but we do that imperfectly”.

She disputed the contention that not enough weight was being given to LGBTI+ voices. As part of the wider participation, which will be fed into the LLF process in the coming weeks, Dr John had held interviews with 22 individuals, 15 of them LGBTIA+, including five transsexual people.

There were eight openly LGBTI+ people in the LLF working groups, 12 if the Pastoral Advisory Group was included. Dr Beardsley would be replaced, she said. “We’re going to find another trans person. We need that voice.

“The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who chairs the co-ordinating group, said on Tuesday that LLF was not simply about balancing different views. “We cannot regard it as impossible in a Christian community to enable people to understand each other’s heartfelt perspectives; and it is our hope that, in a deeper understanding, there will develop a greater level of respect between those who hold differing views — and a greater possibility of assessing the validity of those views and whether they fall into the Christian spectrum.”

The newspaper also carries a lengthy Comment article by Dr Beardsley, which deserves to be read in full.

Dr Christina Beardsley: Why I left the Bishops’ sexuality project

…Deciding to leave has been hard. I have loved and been loved by the other members. I admire and respect them, and know that they are doing their best, though with their hands tied by the constraints of “the Church’s current teaching”. Praying together as a group has brought us close.

But the moment came. At our meeting in the second week of January, two triggers, in quick succession, brought matters to a head. An LGBTI+ person known to me was demonised. It was as if a mask had suddenly dropped.

Shortly afterwards, the principle of “no talking about us without us” was diluted, yet again, in relation to someone else I know. It was all too much.

My concerns about process, however, have existed for months. I can list these under three headings beginning with the letter “p”: power, parish, and practical theology…

5 Comments

Opinion – 30 January 2019

Savi Hensman Ekklesia Welcoming transgender Christians and valuing discipleship: letter to Bishops misses the point

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Transphobic Letters, Mansplaining & Male Violence.

Katie Gaddini and Linda Woodhead The Conversation Brexit shines light on Church of England rift between leadership and Anglican majority

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