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    Invitations to bishops: Lambeth 2020 and Kigali

    Here’s a roundup of developments on the issuing of invitations to bishops and spouses.

    There have been at least two articles responding to the reports of claims made at the ACC-17 meeting that the matter. of the invitations to Lambeth could not be part of the formal agenda for that meeting:

    Andrew Goddard has written a lengthy essay analysing the options open to the archbishop: Ethics and policy for invitations to Lambeth 2020.

    The Ontario House of Bishops has released this statement?of support for their colleague.

    GAFCON has issued A Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates Council.
    Concerning Lambeth 2020, it says this:

    We were reminded of the words of Jeremiah 6:14, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Last year in Jerusalem our delegates urged us not to attend Lambeth 2020 if godly order in the Communion had not been restored. ?They respectfully called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to effect the necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility.

    We have not yet received a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury. ?We note that, as it currently stands, the conference is to include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation.

    It also announces an alternative event for those disinclined to come to Canterbury:

    Gafcon Bishops Conference 2020

    On the one hand, we have no interest in attempting to rival Lambeth 2020. ?On the other hand, we do not want our bishops to be deprived of faithful fellowship while we wait for order in the Communion to be restored. Therefore, we have decided to call together a meeting of bishops of the Anglican Communion in June of 2020. The conference will be primarily designed for those who will not be attending Lambeth, but all bishops of the Anglican Communion who subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration and Lambeth Resolution I.10 are invited to join in this time of teaching, worship, and fellowship. We shall meet June 8-14 in Kigali, Rwanda, and be hosted by Archbishop Laurent Mbanda and the Anglican Church of Rwanda.

    Apparently without spouses.

    There are also several paragraphs describing GAFCON’s view of the currrent situation in various regions of the world.

    Lest it be thought that GAFCON is concerned only about sexuality, the following item confirms this is not the case:

    Women in the Episcopate

    The Primates received the Interim Report of the Task Force on Women in the Episcopate, the result of a four-year comprehensive study, and affirmed its recommendation that “the provinces of Gafcon should retain the historic practice of consecration only of men as bishops until and unless a strong consensus to change emerges after prayer, consultation and continued study of Scripture among the Gafcon fellowship.” We authorised the Task Force to continue this consultation.

    3 Comments

    ACC-17: Excitement on Saturday

    Continued from here.

    Difficulties in the final business session of the meeting are reported by both our regular sources:

    Read both accounts to try to understand what happened.

    The closing press conference could not be live streamed due to technical difficulties. A recording of it was made, and can be viewed here.?However, at present this recording appears to have no sound.

    20 Comments

    Opinion – 4 May 2019

    Women and the Church Twenty-five years on; reflections on ministry
    “Did I have a cure of souls?” — memories of one of the woman who were ordained in the diocese of Winchester on 24 April 1994

    Andrew Foreshew-Cain ViaMedia.News Integrity, Compromise & the Church of England

    Catherine Haydon A Blaze of Light?Always Lent, Never Easter

    Damon Rose BBC Stop trying to ‘heal’ me

    Ines Hands Church Times Liturgy is an anchor — don’t brush it aside
    “Parishes that have dispensed with centuries of tradition need to consider what is being lost”

    Church Times ‘Sex is irrelevant to this office’
    Fifty years ago this month, it became possible for women to be Readers. Some describe the journey

    8 Comments

    Graham Usher to be next Bishop of Norwich

    10 Downing Street announces:

    Bishop of Norwich: 3 May 2019

    The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Graham Barham Usher for election as Bishop of Norwich.

    The Queen has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Graham Barham Usher, BSc, MA, Suffragan Bishop of Dudley, for election as Bishop of Norwich in succession to The Right Reverend Graham Richard James, BA, following his resignation on 28th February 2019.

    Background

    The Right Reverend Graham Barham Usher, studied ecological science at the University of Edinburgh and theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge. He served his title at St Mary the Virgin, Nunthorpe, in the Diocese of York and was ordained priest in 1997. Following the completion of his curacy in 1999, Graham was appointed Vicar of Holy Trinity, North Ormesby. In 2004 he became Rector of Hexham in the Diocese of Newcastle and had the additional responsibility of Area Dean of Hexham between 2006 and 2011. In 2007 he was also appointed Honorary Canon of St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kumasi, Ghana.

    Graham took up his current appointment as Bishop of Dudley in 2014. Graham maintains an interest in ecology as one of the Church of England’s environmental bishops and in medical ethics as a board member of the Human Tissue Authority.

    The Diocese of Norwich has more:

    Next Bishop of Norwich announced

    Downing Street has today announced that the Rt Revd Graham Usher will become the 72nd Bishop of Norwich.

    Bishop Graham, 48, is currently the Bishop of Dudley.? Prior to this he was Rector of Hexham in Northumberland, following his time working in Middlesbrough.? He has also spent time living and working in Ghana, Africa.

    Following the announcement, Bishop Graham will tour the Diocese this afternoon, including visits to a local housing trust, a primary school garden and outdoor reflective space, a church after-school club run by volunteers, and culminating in a special Evensong at Norwich Cathedral to which everyone is invited…

    Later in the same press release, it says:

    …As Bishop of Dudley since 2014, Bishop Graham has served the people of the Diocese of Worcester, working particularly in the areas of clergy wellbeing and vocation, parish mission weekends and pilgrimage walks, leading on safeguarding, establishing two resourcing churches, and supporting ministry in schools. ?He has chaired the Churches’ Housing Association of Dudley and District which provides the women’s refuge, housing for homeless teenagers, and residential support for elderly people who live with long-term mental ill health. Within the civic life of Dudley he has served as Dudley Council’s Independent Person for standards and led the community strand of the ‘Forging Ahead’ vision for Dudley.

    Bishop Graham maintains an interest in ecology as a member of the Church of England’s Environmental Working Group and in medical ethics as a board member of the Human Tissue Authority.? He is a member of the International Commission for Anglican Orthodox Theological Dialogue. ?He is a keen beekeeper and regularly tweets @bishopdudley. ?He has written about spirituality and landscape: Places of Enchantment, Meeting God in Landscapes.

    You can watch his initial remarks following the announcement on YouTube at https://youtu.be/tycJgGJAqhs, where he talks about the awe-inspiring Christian faith, the Christ-like humility we seek as Christians, and the calling of the Church to offer all that it can in love.? “I’m looking forward to leading a diocese that seeks, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to inspire the imagination of more people, especially the young, about the Christian faith.”

    Bishop Graham is married to Rachel, a GP, and they have two teenage children.? He studied ecological science at the University of Edinburgh and theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, before training for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge. ?Following his ordination as a deacon in 1996, he began his ministry in Middlesbrough in the Diocese of York, first as curate at St Mary the Virgin, Nunthorpe, and then as Vicar of Holy Trinity, North Ormesby, a parish with severe levels of social need and child poverty. ?In 2004 he became Rector of Hexham in the Diocese of Newcastle and had the additional responsibility of being Area Dean of Hexham between 2006 and 2011. ?In 2007 he was also appointed Honorary Canon of St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kumasi, Ghana, the place of his early childhood.

    12 Comments

    More fallout from the Panorama programme

    An open letter has been published by Justin Humphreys, chief executive of the charity now known as?thirtyone:eight?(formerly?Churches Child Protection Advisory Service):
    An open letter to the leadership of the Church of England following BBC’s Panorama.

    …It has been clear for some time that the past cases review conducted between 2007 and 2010 was flawed in a number of respects. For there to be any confusion or uncertainty about what happened to those cases that were identified, often referred to as the ‘Known Cases Lists’ is also inexcusable. The Panorama program did well to uncover what were clearly points of discomfort for the church hierarchy. For key representatives of the Church to either not be able to respond clearly to questions about the number of cases or be unprepared to do so, calls the management of these cases into serious question and makes one wonder who exactly is in control? The need for transparency and true accountability has never been as needed as it is today.

    What is needed within the Church of England (and frankly elsewhere across the wider Church and beyond) is authentic leadership. Leadership that is prepared to lead by example in a proactive exercise of self-reflection that leads to open and honest dialogue (particularly with survivors). Leadership that is not governed, coerced or muzzled by either insurers, lawyers or any other stakeholder that may stand to lose from just exposure and open remorse and repentance. This would be the right thing to do!

    We may ask, what (or who) is being served by this ongoing catalogue of failures, missed opportunities and resistance to effective change concerning past, present and future safeguarding matters? It certainly cannot be said that survivors are being well-served. It is also of great concern that the Church itself is being further damaged by a continual denial of the truth and avoidance of any tangible reparation.

    If the public at large is ever again to say of the Church that it is a safe place, a haven or even a sanctuary for those who are suffering, the Church must be prepared to be laid bare and be held accountable for those things it has failed to do well. This humility would be the greatest strength of the Church in seeking to deal with this sad catalogue of shame. The time has come for those that stand in the way of what Jesus would so clearly have done to be challenged, held accountable and where needed placed elsewhere – where they have less opportunity to exert their negative influence and to stand in the way of the restoration that is desperately needed…

    Do read the whole letter.

    Stephen Parsons?at Surviving Church has written a second blog, this one is titled:?Panorama on C/E. Further reflections. Again it’s worth reading in full, but the concluding paragraph says:

    …Panorama indicated to us that control of information is a tactic of power still actively employed by the central Church authorities.? The originators of this tactic do not appear to be the bishops themselves but the highly paid Church House officials at the centre of things.?? Unfortunately for them, their control of the levers of power was all too easy to spot in both the recent television interviews.??? The interview of Archbishop Welby on Channel 4 was, like that of Bishop Hancock, unconvincing and somewhat contrived.? The bishops themselves both had personal integrity and human warmth but nothing could not disguise the fact that they were speaking for someone other than themselves.? The Church cannot continue to go down a path of fielding individuals to act as spokesmen for the institution.? The public want, as far as possible, to encounter real human beings who can speak for the church.? The people of England relate to real people, people who, like them, are living lives of joy mixed with pain.? They will never want to identify with a group when they suspect that the information put out is being manipulated and managed before it is shared with them.? In short, let bishops be bishops, shepherds of the flock, not puppets being controlled by forces that are invisible and are not necessarily working for the good of all.

    The Church Times has published a letter from Andrew Graystone which can be found here (scroll down)

    Panorama programme won’t be the last scandal

    Sir, — Church leaders, from the Archbishops up, acknowledge that the Church is failing in its care of victims of clergy abuse. But ask them who is responsible for sorting out the mess, and nobody knows. Is it the job of the Archbishops’ Council? or the General Synod? or the National Safeguarding Steering Group? or Lambeth Palace? or the House of Bishops? Or is it, perhaps, a matter for each individual diocese?

    Everybody points to someone else. Nobody steps forward. After a decade or more of crisis, which continues to eat away at the Church’s standing in society, there has been a complete failure from those in authority to grasp the issue. One reason that some survivors of church abuse are so painfully vocal is that they are filling a vacuum of leadership on this most crucial of issues for the Church.

    Monday’s Panorama, with its focus on the shameful mismanagement of abuse in Lincoln diocese, was entitled Scandal in the Church of England. It could have been made at any point in the past decade, and it could have focused on almost any diocese. Stories will continue to emerge, and the scandal of abuse past and present will continue to undermine the Church’s wider mission, until some individual or body takes responsibility and institutes decisive action.

    In the mean time, it is victims of abuse, past and present, who bear the cruelty and pain of the Church’s failure.

    23 Comments

    More from ACC-17 in Hong Kong

    Continued from here.

    Updated again Friday noon

    Further reports by Paul Handley in the Church Times

    And more from Mary Frances Schjonberg at Episcopal?News Service

    EFAC has responded to?Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon’s earlier comments in this press release.

    Anglican Communion News Service

    13 Comments

    Retirement of the Bishop of Monmouth

    The Church in Wales announced yesterday that the Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Richard Pain, was to retire at the end of the month, ie yesterday.?Bishop Richard has served the Diocese of Monmouth for 34 years, the last six as Bishop. He is retiring “due to ill health following an absence of several months from his duties”.

    The South Wales Argus published this report of the bishop’s retirement: The Bishop of Monmouth, Richard Pain, has retired following nine-month absence. It includes links to earlier stories about his prolonged absence from duties.

    The Church Times published this back in January: An end to Bishop of Monmouth’s long absence may be in sight.

    4 Comments

    Bishop of Horsham to become Principal of the College of the Resurrection

    News from the Diocese of Chichester

    Bishop of Horsham to be Principal of the College of the Resurrection

    The Bishop of Horsham, The Right Reverend Mark Sowerby, has been appointed as the new Principal of the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield.

    Bishop Sowerby, who has been a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chichester since 2009, will be returning as Principal to the College where he was a student…

    And from the College

    Former Student Returns as Principal

    Bishop Mark Sowerby is to be the next Principal of the College of the Resurrection in succession to Fr Peter Allan CR, who will retire at the end of the academic year. With his wife, Ruth, he will move to Mirfield from the Diocese of Chichester, where he has been Bishop of Horsham since 2009.

    Bishop Mark, who has three adult daughters, is no stranger to the north nor, indeed, to Mirfield. Born in Ripon, he trained for ordination at the College of the Resurrection, served his first curacy in Knaresborough, and after several years in the Blackburn Diocese, spent eight years at St Wilfrid’s, Harrogate. From 1997-2001, Bishop Mark served as the Church of England’s Vocations Officer and as a Selection Secretary for the Ministry Division. More recently he has chaired the national Safeguarding Training Working Group…

    Christian Today reports the news: Mark Sowerby to become principal of the College of the Resurrection after 10 years as Bishop of Horsham.

    3 Comments

    BBC Panorama documentary about Safeguarding in the CofE

    Updated again Tuesday afternoon

    The BBC is due to broadcast a documentary this evening, titled?Scandal in the Church of England.
    The 30 minute programme is now available to view at the above link.

    Somewhat unusually, the Church of England issued a statement about this programme last Friday:

    BBC?Panorama this Monday (April 29) will feature interviews with survivors of church-related abuse in a programme entitled ‘Scandal in the Church of England’. We?have worked with the producers to provide information and a response to the range of issues raised, particularly around the Past Cases Review. There will be a personal response from Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop, once the programme has been aired. Bishop Peter has also?been?interviewed for the programme.

    There have been several media reports ahead of broadcast:

    BBC Jane Corbin?Two former Bishops of Lincoln failed to act on abuse allegations

    Rutland and Stamford Mercury?Bishop of Grantham ‘very sorry’ over reports Diocese of Lincoln failed to properly handle historic abuse allegations?and?Prepare for “difficult and shocking things” warns Bishop of Grantham over Panorama historic abuse programme.

    The latter helpfully included a link to the lengthy Ad Clerum notice from the Bishop of Grantham?issued before the programme was shown, which is also available as a PDF over here. This is quite detailed and worth a careful read.

    Following transmission the Church of England has issued this press release:

    Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “It has been harrowing to hear survivors’ accounts of their abuse – shared on BBC Panorama – and we issue an unreserved apology for how we have failed them. ?We acknowledge that the Past Cases Review, PCR, from 2008-10, however well-intentioned was in hindsight clearly flawed, as shown in the independent scrutiny report by Sir Roger Singleton published last summer. ?The ‘stringent criticisms’ of the PCR, shared with IICSA, are being acted upon and all dioceses are now carrying out a second past cases review, PCR2. We fully acknowledge that it was a serious mistake not to work with and hear from survivors during the original PCR. The new review will ensure survivors voices are heard. We are aware of the courage it takes for survivors to come forward knowing that the effects of their abuse are with them for life.

    I would urge anyone affected by the Panorama programme to call the NSPCC helpline number 0808 800 5000.”

    Operation Redstone survivor information

    Other updates

    Stephen Parsons at Surviving Church has this commentary on the programme:?Panorama on Scandal in the C/E. Some thoughts.?His final conclusions are:

    …The programme concluded with a number of story-lines unfinished.? There was Matt’s story which still has many unanswered questions to be faced, particularly in respect of his official complaints against named individuals.? These remain unresolved.?? There was also mention of a newly uncovered file in the York diocese mentioning a number of abuse cases that have not been examined.? We still were left with the feeling that for whatever reason, the Church remains defensive and highly secretive.? Any control of information, which still appears to be happening, is a power tactic.? If there is still secrecy and an attempt to bury the past, all such attempts to do this will likely fail.? Truth, as I have said before, has a habit of spilling out to the embarrassment of those who want to suppress it.? The secrets that are held in order to protect reputations have the capacity to wreak enormous damage on institutions.? The Church of England has much to lose if it does not get its house in order over safeguarding.

    Christian Today has a detailed?report on the programme which usefully includes the text of the media response made by the Bishop of Grantham, The Rt Revd Nicholas Chamberlain:

    Whilst some matters remain under investigation it is not possible to comment specifically on the questions that have been posed to the diocese by the BBC.

    The Diocese of Lincoln wishes to acknowledge that past matters have not been handled well. The diocese is committed to learn from its mistakes. I am very sorry that it took so long for justice to be served.

    The past abuse that our safeguarding team brought to light, through our revisiting and review of past cases, is all the more appalling given what the public deserve and are fully entitled to expect, which is the highest level of conduct from clergy and all those involved in leadership in the church. All people are made in the image of God and abuse of any kind is contrary to that belief.

    It is as a result of our commitment to ensuring justice is served, that our safeguarding team have developed an effective partnership with Lincolnshire Police, working together on Operation Redstone. Together they have worked tirelessly to ensure that convictions were secured where possible and where this was not an option, that risk was managed appropriately. Throughout all recent processes our hope is that victims and survivors have felt heard, and been well supported and cared for, although we acknowledge we may not have always got this right.

    Every effort is being made to ensure that safeguarding is part of the DNA of the Diocese of Lincoln. There are high levels of confidence in our safeguarding practitioners from Lincolnshire Police and statutory authorities. There is mandatory safeguarding training that is externally audited and independently validated with support from Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children and Adult partnership boards. Our safeguarding team have delivered face to face training to 3296 people in the past five years.

    As a diocese we promise to offer support to anyone who contacts us about issues of harm or abuse and are committed to ensure that churches are a safe place for all.

    Church Times Hattie Williams?Bishop apologises for mistakes after Lincoln abuse featured on Panorama

    Press Association via Premier?Church of England officials ‘turned blind eye’ to child abuse claims

    22 Comments

    ACNA bishops invited to Lambeth Conference as “observers”

    The Anglican Communion News Service has published a news article titled:?Archbishop of Canterbury invites ecumenical observers to the Lambeth Conference. This reports that such invitations have gone to a much wider group of churches than at previous conferences.

    It also says that:

    In addition to leaders of Churches in Communion and ecumenical partners, representatives from Churches formed by people who left the Anglican Communion are also being invited to send observers. These churches – the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), the Anglican Church of Brazil and the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) – are not formally part of the Anglican Communion but are recognised to different extents by some of the Communion’s provinces.

    This has provoked the following response from Archbishop Foley Beach of ACNA:

    Yesterday I received a letter from Archbishop Justin just moments before the invitation was reported online. I read the online report first and was disappointed to see that the original “news” source had furthered a partisan, divisive, and false narrative by wrongly asserting that I left the Anglican Communion. I have never left the Anglican Communion, and have no intention of doing so.

    I did transfer out of a revisionist body that had left the teaching of the Scriptures and the Anglican Communion and I became canonically resident in another province of the Anglican Communion. I have never left. For the Anglican Church in North America to be treated as mere “observers” is an insult to both our bishops, many of whom have made costly stands for the Gospel, and the majority of Anglicans around the world who have long stood with us as a province of the Anglican Communion.

    Once I have had a chance to review this with our College of Bishops and the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference I will respond more fully.

    22 Comments

    Anglican Consultative Council meets in Hong Kong

    Updated Monday afternoon

    The Anglican Communion News Service is carrying some reports of this event:

    Seventeenth meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council begins on Sunday

    This article includes a timetable for live video coverage of events.

    The agenda for the conference is over here. And there is this list of council members. More background is here. ?And over here.

    Yesterday there was an opening press conference, and you can watch a video recording of it here.

    The Episcopal News Service has published a report of that event:?Welby: British law prevents ACC from debating his decision to exclude same-sex spouses from Lambeth.

    The members of the Anglican Consultative Council, meeting here April 28-May 5, cannot formally discuss Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s decision to exclude the same-sex spouses of bishops invited to the 2020 Lambeth Conference.

    Welby? told a news conference on April 27, in response to a question from Episcopal News Service, that the ACC is the only one of the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Communion that is governed by British law. It is incorporated as “an English company with a charitable aim.” Via the ACC constitution, the trustees “very clearly specify what it can and cannot do,” he said.

    “Doctrine is not one of the issues that it does,” Welby said of the council…

    But do please read the entire report which contains further responses to questions asked.

    Coverage of the meeting on Twitter is using the hashtag?#ACC17HK.

    There is also a video recording of the presidential address.

    Further ?reports:

    Church Times Paul Handley

    ACC-17: Sex off the agenda, but still on the mind

    ACC-17: Welby bangs the gong for discipleship

    ACC-17: Anglicans cannot afford to be disunited, Welby warns

    ACC-17: GAFCON are not behaving as Anglicans, says Idowu-Fearon

    Episcopal News Service?Mary Frances Schjonberg

    ACC-17 opens with calls for Christian witness and intentional discipleship for a better, peaceful world

    Communion must deal with ‘ignorance’ and possible schism, Secretary General tells ACC

    ACNS and Lambeth Palace

    Text of Secretary General’s report

    Video of Presidential Address

    Text of Presidential Address

    Video of Secretary General’s report

    Video of Opening Eucharist

    Text of Sermon at Opening Eucharist

    11 Comments

    Opinion – 27 April 2019

    Terence Chandra The Living Church?We Can’t Just Rebuild

    Richard Beck Experimental Theology?Heresy as Therapy

    Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim ‘Jesus the Loser : A Theology of Failure’

    Church Times ‘The Bible is not a paper Pope’
    Katharine Dell interviews her Ph.D. supervisor, John Barton, about the Church’s wrestling with scripture

    5 Comments

    Chair of the York Crown Nominations Commission

    Press release from Number 10

    Chair of the York Crown Nominations Commission: 25 April 2019
    Prime Minister appoints Jo?lle Warren, MBE, DL as Chair of the York Crown Nominations Commission.

    Published 25 April 2019
    From:?Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

    The Prime Minister has appointed Jo?lle Warren, MBE, DL as Chair of the York Crown Nominations Commission.

    Jo?lle Warren serves as Her Majesty’s Vice Lord-Lieutenant for Cheshire, Chair of Cheshire Community Foundation, and served 10 years on the Board of Manchester Metropolitan University, latterly as Vice Chair. She began her business career in banking before founding the executive search firm, Warren Partners, in 1999. She is a Member of the North West Business Leadership Team and the CBI’s Enterprise Forum. Jo?lle is actively involved in her local church and in wider work for the Church of England nationally.

    Jo?lle was appointed MBE in January 2016 for her Services to Business.

    The Crown Nominations Commission was established by the Church of England’s General Synod in February 1977. Its function is to nominate new Diocesan Bishops for appointment by The Queen. In the case of appointments to the Archbishoprics of Canterbury and York, the Commission is chaired by an independent person who is a communicant member of the Church of England and not ordained. For the appointment of the Archbishop of York it is a requirement that the Chair should be resident in the Northern Province.

    16 Comments

    Bishop of Chester announces his retirement

    The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, has announced that he will be retiring from his role on Monday 30 September 2019, after more than 22 years in the post.

    More details are on the diocesan website.

    16 Comments

    Opinion – 24 April 2019

    Janet Fife Surviving Church Discerning: Evil and Good
    “Janet Fife writes on 25 years of women’s ordination”

    Nicholas Chamberlain ViaMedia.News Breaking the Silence

    John Barton The Guardian?Notre Dame reminds us how the Bible stories have shaped our civilisation
    “Great cathedrals and the gospels stand for so much more than religion – evoking human endurance and a quest for beauty”

    Ania G Wieckowski Harvard Business Review Life’s Work: An Interview with Bishop Michael Curry

    5 Comments

    News from Sri Lanka

    The Anglican Communion News Service reports: Bishop’s defiance as terrorists kill more than 200 in Easter Day church bombings

    The Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Ceylon, Dhiloraj Canagasabey, has defiantly expressed his faith in God as terrorists attacked Churches in Sri Lanka. On Sunday afternoon, London time, the death-toll stood at 207, with hundreds more injured. “If God gives me permission to live, I shall live. If he gives me permission to die, I shall die,” he told the Archbishop of Canterbury in a telephone call this morning.

    Bishop Dhiloraj was just beginning the Prayer of Consecration during an Easter Eucharist service at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour at Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo, when the police arrived and warned him to leave. “You must come with us, they are about to come and kill you.” But the bishop refused to move until he had finished the Prayer of Consecration.

    A total of eight explosions have occurred in Sri Lanka today. Three of them targeted Roman Catholic churches: St Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and Zion Church in Batticaloa. Three more targeted hotels in Colombo: the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri-La Hotel, and the Kingsbury. Another bomb exploded near Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. An eighth explosion occurred when a suspected detonated a bomb as police raided a house in Mahawila Gardens, Dematagoda…

    USPG has published this: Joint Statement by?the Bishops of Colombo and Kurunugala of the Church of Ceylon

    We are terribly shocked and deeply saddened by the barbarous acts of violence brought on innocent worshippers, children, women and men at Easter Sunday services at St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, St. Sebastien’s Church, Negombo and Zion Church, Batticaloa., as well as on several hotels in Colombo targeting visitors to our country.

    The Church of Ceylon unreservedly condemns these cowardly and cruel acts of terrorism and we offer our deep condolences to the families and friends of the over one hundred persons who have lost their lives and those who have been hurt. We wish all those who have been injured full recovery. We pray for them and their families that God’s comforting presence will continue to be with them through this tragic experience.

    We call on the government to institute quick action to investigate thoroughly these incidents and to bring the perpetrators to justice., to ensure the safety of places of religious worship and to prevent any individuals or group taking the law into their hands or provoking acts of intimidation or violence against any community or group.

    We call on all Sri Lankans to be mindful at this time and to act with patience and understanding. We ask for the continued support of all security and emergency services in ensuring public peace and in providing care for the affected the motives of those twisted and warped minds who planned and executed such appalling acts could very well be to destabilize the country and to cause damage to the unity and harmony of our nation.

    We pray that these persons, whoever they may be, will be awakened to the awfulness of their crime.

    We pray we will be able to journey through this dark phase of our country. ?May the Peace of the Risen Christ who on the cross prayed for forgiveness be with you all.

    Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey
    Bishop of Colombo

    Rt. Revd. Keerthisiri Fernando
    Bishop of Kurunegala

    4 Comments

    Opinion – 20 April 2019

    Stephen Cherry Church Times When you can’t forgive
    “The Easter gospel does not mean that every victim has a duty to let bygones be bygones”

    Ian Ellis Belfast News Letter?If churches don’t resolve millennium-old dispute on an Easter date, governments may do it for us

    Some Easter messages
    Archbishop of Canterbury
    Archbishop of Wales
    Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
    Archbishops of Armagh
    Bishop of Liverpool [2 minute video]
    Bishop of Warrington
    Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
    Archbishops of the?Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
    Archbishop of Melbourne
    Archbishop of Canada
    Archbishop of South Sudan

    8 Comments

    Safeguarding: some further articles

    Updated with more articles on Friday

    Meg Munn, chair of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Panel, has written this:?QUESTIONING THE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK. The whole article is worth a read.

    On the topic of Victims and Survivors, she wrote this:

    The panel was asked to consider a paper on the setting up of an Ombudsman service to adjudicate on the handling of complaints. The view of the panel was that there are currently many concerns among victims and survivors that are not properly handled, that much more needed to be done about the processes at an early stage. I represented this view at the National Safeguarding Steering Group in early April and am pleased that this was understood and consideration to how to proceed is taking place.

    The recent report by the Social Care Institute for Excellence which includes a significant section on improving responses provides a lot of important information regarding the experience of a number of survivors of abuse. The findings are detailed and it will take time for the range of issues to be fully considered. What jumps out is the poor ongoing response to survivors. The importance of maintaining contact and keeping survivors up to date with any action is essential.

    The recent interview of the Archbishop of Canterbury on Channel 4 news raised concerns about the glacial progress of a review into the activities of John Smyth. While there may be real difficulties in gaining co-operation of the organisation at the centre of this case, the Church must communicate more regularly and clearly about their actions otherwise it is not surprising that survivors lose heart. I am urging those concerned to consider how they can proceed as soon as possible.

    On the latter point, today’s Church Times has a report by Madeleine Davies headlined?Smyth abuse-survivors dispute Welby claim.

    SURVIVORS of abuse perpetrated by John Smyth have written to Lambeth Palace to correct the Archbishop of Canterbury’s assertion that Smyth was “not actually an Anglican” — a comment made during an interview on Channel 4 News last week.

    In total, the letter lists 14 points of dispute about the Archbishop’s comments.

    During the interview on Friday, which explored the Church of England’s response to Smyth’s abuse, Archbishop Welby said that Smyth “was not actually an Anglican. The church he went to in South Africa was not Anglican, and Iwerne was not part of the Church of England.”

    Smyth was living in South Africa when a disclosure of abuse was made in Ely diocese in 2013, and died there last year. He was a former chairman of the Iwerne Trust, which ran holiday camps for boys at English public schools, and is now part of the Titus Trust. A six-month Channel 4 News?investigation, broadcast two years ago, found that both the Iwerne Trust and Winchester College had learned of allegations of abuse by Mr Smyth in the 1980s, but failed to report them to the police (News, 10 February 2017).

    One of the survivors who wrote to Lambeth Palace this week, Graham*, described the claim that Smyth was not an Anglican as “farcical”, given that he worshipped in the C of E.. The letter tells the Archbishop that Smyth had in fact been a licensed Reader in the diocese of Winchester…

    Do read the entire article for further details.

    Update

    Law & Religion UK?has published two articles recently discussing Mandatory Reporting. The most recent one is?IICSA second seminar on mandatory reporting??and the earlier one was?IICSA and mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse: update. These contain numerous links to the IICSA materials on this subject, which deserve careful study. ?L&R UK comments:

    An earlier IICSA seminar on mandatory reporting took place on 27 September 2018 and considered existing obligations to report child sexual abuse in England and Wales, as well as international models of mandatory reporting.?A report of that seminar has been published on the website and the 11 presentations are also available to read on the mandatory reporting seminar page.

    On 17 April we?posted?an update on mandatory reporting in which we indicated that?Bates Wells Braithwaite had reported that the IICSA was actively considering the question of introducing mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse in England and Wales; the Inquiry has consulted with the Victims and Survivors Forum, a self-nominating group of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, and has now published a summary of responses: Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse: A survey of the Victims and Survivors Forum, in which the great majority of respondents from the Forum (88.6%) were in favour of introducing mandatory reporting.

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    Opinion – 17 April 2019

    Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Holy Week: dealing with deep sin is horrible, messy, prolonged, humiliating and painful

    Giles Fraser UnHerd What does salvation look like?
    “You can tell much by our response to the pain of asylum seekers”

    Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of Maundy Thursday

    Michael Sadgrove?Woolgathering in North East England Thoughts on N?tre Dame

    Stephen Parsons Surviving Church What is Integrity? Failure of integrity betrays survivors

    5 Comments

    Deborah Sellin to be next Bishop of Southampton

    Press release from Number 10

    Suffragan Bishop of Southampton: 16 April 2019
    Queen approves the nomination of the Reverend Canon Deborah Sellin as Suffragan Bishop of Southampton.

    Published 16 April 2019
    From:?Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

    The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Deborah Sellin, MA, Vicar of St John the Baptist Wonersh with Blackheath and Area Dean for the Deanery of Cranleigh, in the Diocese of Guildford, to the Suffragan See of Southampton, in the Diocese of Winchester in succession to the Right Reverend Jonathan Hugh Frost, BD, MTh, DUni, MSSTh, FRSA, who resigned on the 13th December 2018.

    The Winchester diocesan website has this: A New Bishop for Southampton.
    The Guildford diocesan website has this: Wonersh Vicar to be next Bishop of Southampton.

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