Saturday, 30 December 2017

Opinion - 30 December 2017

The latest Mystery Worshipper report from Ship of Fools: The Nativity, Bethlehem

Giles Fraser The Guardian What do an Etonian, a Trumpite and a Corbyn fan have in common? My church

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of hope

Approaching a landmark in his ministry, Mark Oakley remembers that in the beginning was the Word Church Times So great a cloud of witnesses

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 30 December 2017 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Friday, 29 December 2017

Government reports on church buildings

Two recent reports:

The Department for Communities and Local Government has just published Cathedrals and their communities: a report on the diverse roles of cathedrals in modern England.

Read the press release here: Government report highlights English cathedrals’ community spirit and the full document (20 pages) can be downloaded here.

The Ecclesiastical Law Society reported: Cathedrals and their Communities.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport recently published The Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals.

Read the press release here: Independent review calls for greater community use to give church buildings a sustainable future and the full document (72 pages) can be downloaded here.

The Church Times reported on this: Review calls for change of attitude to church buildings.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 29 December 2017 at 3:38pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Ozanne Foundation launched

There is a press release today, which is copied in full below the fold.

More details from this website:
* About
* Trustees
* Council of Reference
* Charitable Objects


The Rt Revd Paul Bayes is to Chair the Ozanne Foundation, a new charity that will work with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender.

The Charity’s Director, Jayne Ozanne, is a well-known activist within the Church of England and has led a range of initiatives over the past two years to help ensure the Church embraces and celebrate the equality and diversity of all.

Bishop Paul chairs an influential group of ten trustees from across the church traditions, which range from the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd David Ison, to the Editor of the Church of England Newspaper, Colin Blakely. A Council of Reference brings together some of the most outspoken names on LGBTI rights within the Christian Church – including Revd Steve Chalke of the Oasis Foundation, the Very Revd Prof Martin Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Ben Bradshaw MP and the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Jeffrey John.

Speaking about his decision to chair this new foundation, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes said:

“The Church of England has committed herself to what our Archbishops have called radical new Christian inclusion, and has publicly stated that we are against all forms of homophobia. If we mean this, and I believe we do, then we need to find appropriate ways of welcoming and affirming LGBTI people who want their love recognised by the Church. I have long been an admirer of Jayne Ozanne’s strong clear advocacy for LGBTI people and other groups who have suffered hurt and abuse – not least at the hands of the Church - and I believe her work should be actively supported and encouraged.”

The new foundation has been set up to help educate and advocate on LGBTI and gender rights around the world, particularly within religious organisations that are opposed to non-heterosexual relationships. In addition, it will look to foster good relations inside religious organisations that hold conflicting views on sexuality and gender issues.

Based in Oxford, Ozanne has shown an impressive track record in galvanising senior Anglicans to come together to speak out on behalf of the LGBTI community. Last summer she led a Private Member’s Debate in the General Synod that resulted in the Church of England calling on the government to ban Conversion Therapy.

“I am thrilled that so many personal friends have felt moved to come together to support my work, and am excited about what this new opportunity might mean. I know that together we can work to ensure that all are fully accepted and celebrated for who they have been created to be – after all, the core of our faith commands Just Love for all!”


Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 28 December 2017 at 12:00pm GMT | Comments (63) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Opinion - 23 December 2017

Paul Bayes God With Us

The Anglican Communion News Service has compiled a list of Christmas messages from Anglican Primates.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ecumenical Christmas Letter 2017

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts Praise Be!

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News 2018 – A Year for Vigorous & Positive Action…

Sam Wells Evening Standard Be more material this Christmas; your spiritual side can wait

Eve Poole Church Times Saintly St Francis versus secular St Nicholas?
“Christmas offers a chance to reclaim the theology of desire which has been captured by consumerism”

Giles Fraser The Guardian Tidings of comfort and joy can’t take the pain out of life
“When my son can’t sleep and I offer reassurance I am reminded that, as a priest, that’s my job”
[Photo of the crib referenced in Giles’s column]

Catherine Fox Church Times Eternity wrapped in a span
“Catherine Fox finds it a struggle to grasp the magnitude of what happened in the Bethlehem stable”

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 23 December 2017 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (10) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Opinion - 20 December 2017

Kelvin Holdsworth Advent and How Religion Works

Josiah Idowu-Fearon Anglican Communion News Service The ties that bind our Anglican Communion family
Phil Ashey American Anglican Who decides membership in the Anglican Communion? Not the Secretary General of the ACC!

Alan Bartlett The Telegraph As a vicar, I know better than anyone why so many clergy are close to the edge

Nancy Rockwell Patheos No More Lying About Mary

Linda Ryan Episcopal Café The Quiet Man

Revd Drayton Parslow The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Only Purely Biblical Carols

David Baker Christian Today Why it’s time to put ‘We Three Kings’ (and some other carols) in the bin

Nick Cohen The Guardian In losing religion we lose touch with each other

Stephen Cherry The New Bishop of London – and the merits of being ordained later in life

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The new Bishop of London – some Concerns

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 20 December 2017 at 10:30am GMT | Comments (54) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Monday, 18 December 2017

More criticism of responses to Carlile report

Updated yet again Friday afternoon

This critique by Martin Sewell at Archbishop Cranmer needs to be read in full by anyone who has concerns about the way the Church of England has treated Bishop George Bell:
Carlile Report: Bishop George Bell has been traduced, and the blame lies squarely with Church House and Lambeth Palace

There is also this piece by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday:
PETER HITCHENS: If a saintly man can be branded a sex abuser, none of us is safe.

We linked previously to the Telegraph article by Charles Moore:
Archbishop Welby’s response to 
the George Bell inquiry is shocking

Ian Paul has asked
What is missing in the George Bell case?

Martyn Percy at Christian Today
Why the Church’s response to the George Bell inquiry is so shocking

Peter Hitchens has now written an open letter to the Bishop of Chichester:
Acquitted and Vindicated - but his Reputation is Still in Prison. The Church’s Duty to George Bell

The Telegraph reports: Bishop Bell’s niece: Welby should resign

Church Times Letters to the Editor: Inadequate episcopal response to Carlile report includes two: one from Professors David Brown and Ann Loades, and the other from Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, who had written previously on 17 November (scroll down to second letter).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 18 December 2017 at 4:23pm GMT | Comments (31) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Reactions by and to the new Bishop of London

Updated Tuesday morning, Friday morning, Saturday morning

The new bishop writes on her blog: I will be a servant.

Let me start with an admission: I am delighted but, yes, slightly terrified to be the next Bishop of London.

I have spent 32 years of my life in London so, for me, this will be returning home.

London is a world-facing city – multi-cultural and multi-faith.

It is a city of energy and diversity. London is open to all.

But it is also a city of inequality and deprivation. A typical woman in Tower Hamlets in east London will live 30 years in poor health, compared to only 12 for a man in Enfield further north.

It is a city where the number of people living alone will rise by over 50% in the next 25 years.

And it is a city where people feel ignored, marginalised and angry…

Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop’s statement on the new Bishop of London

Archbishop Justin Welby has welcomed the news that Bishop Sarah Mullally will be the new Bishop of London.

The Archbishop said:

“Bishop Sarah brings to this remarkable ministry in this great city an extraordinary experience and profound gifts which are guided by her faith in Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of all that she is…

The London diocesan website has Next Bishop of London announced

Church of England press release

Hattie Williams and Tim Wyatt Church Times Sarah Mullally to be the next Bishop of London

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Sarah Mullally appointed bishop of London

BBC News First female Bishop of London appointed

Mark Woods Christian Today Who is Sarah Mullally, the new Bishop of London?

Tola Mbakwe Premier New Bishop of London announced


Luke Miller (Archdeacon of London) London Welcomes a New Bishop

WATCH Press release at the announcement of the 133rd Bishop of London

BBC News Former nurse appointed as Bishop of London [video clip]

Forward in Faith Nomination of the next Bishop of London

Melanie McDonagh The Spectator The new Bishop of London is a far cry from her predecessor

Melanie McDonagh and Ross Lydall Evening Standard Former nurse Sarah Mullally appointed first ever female Bishop of London

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph New bishop of London could pave the way for female archbishop, say campaigners

James Macintyre Christian Today New Bishop of London Sarah Mullally reaches out to conservatives over sexuality and gender

Ian Paul Psephizo ‘Is the new Bishop of London any good?’

Hattie Williams Church Times Have confidence in your new Bishop, London traditionalists are urged

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 18 December 2017 at 10:35am GMT | Comments (19) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Bishop of London: Sarah Elisabeth Mullally

Press release from Number 10

Bishop of London: Sarah Elisabeth Mullally

Confirmation of the nomination of the Right Reverend Sarah Elisabeth Mullally for election as Bishop of London.

Published 18 December 2017
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Sarah Elisabeth Mullally, DBE, MA, BSc, MSC, DSc(Hons), RGN, Suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter for election as Bishop of London in succession to the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard John Carew Chartres, KCVO, PC, on his resignation on the 28 February 2018.

Further information

The Right Reverend Sarah Mullally, DBE, (aged 55) studied first at South Bank University for her BSc followed by a MSc and then at Heythrop College, University of London where she got her MA. She was awarded Honorary Doctorates of Science from Bournemouth University, (2004), University of Wolverhampton (2004) and University of Hertfordshire (2005) and was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 for her contribution to nursing and midwifery.

She is a late ordinand who before ordination was Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health. She trained for the ministry at the South East Institute for Theologian Education and served her first curacy at Battersea Fields in Southwark Diocese from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012 she was Team Rector at Sutton in Southwark Diocese. From 2012 to 2015 she was Canon Residentiary and Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral before taking up her current role in 2015 as Suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter.

Sarah Mullally is married to Eamonn and they have two children. She has continued her interest in the health service having been a non executive director at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust then at Salisbury NHS Foundation Hospital. She is a member of Council at King’s College London University. She is a novice potter.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 18 December 2017 at 10:03am GMT | Comments (26) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Elliott Review - background

The review referred to in the previous post was reported on earlier.

15 March 2016 Church of England publishes part of Elliott report into sexual abuse case

At that time it was reported that both the Guardian and the Church Times had seen the full report.

The Church of England has today published portions of the report that was commissioned in September 2015 into a particular case of alleged sexual abuse by a member of the clergy.

The materials published by the church do not disclose the names of any of the persons involved. However, the Guardian newspaper carries a report by Harriet Sherwood which names the perpetrator and states that the Guardian has seen the full report. The Guardian has also interviewed the survivor in this case.

The Church Times has also seen the full report…

Links made in that article to the CofE website no longer work but here are new ones:

Elliott Review Findings

Response from Bishop Sarah Mullally on Elliott Review findings.

…”This report has published a series of important recommendations. The Archbishop of Canterbury has seen these recommendations and will ensure they are implemented as quickly as possible.

“How we respond to those who have survived abuse in any form, whether as a child or an adult, is a measure of our humanity, compassion and of the Church’s mission in the world.”

A year later, on 31 March 2017:

Elliott Review progress report

The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has today published a progress report, one year on from the Elliott Review, which recommended a range of safeguarding proposals for the Church, particularly in the areas of handling disclosures and accountability…

The full text of the progress report is here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 17 December 2017 at 4:12pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Ian Elliott criticises Church of England safeguarding

The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme this morning carried an interview with Ian Elliott concerning the Church of England’s response to the review he carried out into the case of Gilo, about which we have reported previously, here and also here and earlier here.

The radio programme can be found here. The interview starts just before 29 minutes in.

The full text of the statement prepared by Ian Elliott is published below the fold. Further comments by Ian are in the following press statement.

Press Statement from Gilo

  • International safeguarding expert puts the record straight on Church of England protecting its insurer repeatedly and publicly discrediting his Review.
  • Stealthy presence of Ecclesiastical Insurance settlement lawyers at ‘pastoral’ case conferences is massive power imbalance.
  • The scandal of the church and its insurer deepens.
  • Survivor asks lead bishop to investigate Church House unethical methods, and discrediting and negative culture of the NST.

Ian Elliott is an internationally recognised safeguarding expert and reviewer, who led the Elliott Review for the Church of England nearly two years ago. He has worked at national church and government level around the world and is highly regarded for his work in Ireland and Australia and elsewhere.

Ian Elliott’s comments following interview with Ed Stourton for BBCRadio4. Ian has given permission for these comments to be quoted in addition to anything from his statement.

“Archbishop Welby’s letter in response to the thoughtful and in my view, helpful open letter, is misplaced. Kind words are not adequate. What is needed is action. Survivors need to see the church letting them know what changes will be made, when changes will be made, and how the church can be held to account in terms of those changes. The survivors I have spoken to want to feel that what’s happened to them is of enough concern to the church that it is keeping the hierarchy awake at night. They don’t see enough real concern or impetus for action. Survivors just don’t see that at present. So many of the problems the Church of England face are of their own making because of the inertia and resistance to any change.”

Regarding the core groups with EIG presence, Ian wishes to add, as this was not covered in the interview:

“I attended two Core Group meetings when undertaking the Review. A lawyer representing EIG was present at both of these meetings which struck me as being unusual. I would have thought that the survivor could have been invited as well, and contributed usefully to the meeting but this does not appear to be usual practice. In my experience, affording the subject of the meeting, the survivor, the opportunity to contribute to it, makes for much better outcomes. The Core Group meeting should have a pastoral focus but this was not my assessment of the ones that I attended. It is rooted in attitudes towards survivors which are totally misguided, misplaced, and unacceptable.“

Phil Johnson, chair of MACSAS says: “These core groups demonstrate the extent to which the church is more interested in financial considerations than the well-being and care for victims. Survivors haven’t known or been invited with their own legal representative and this is a huge imbalance of power. It gives the insurer massive informational and strategic advantage and potential opportunity to cover its tracks”

Gilo says: “I’ve been raising questions to the Church about its relationship to Ecclesiastical Insurance for 2 years now, but saw the questions discredited and ignored by their National Safeguarding and National Advisor. Yet all this time they’ve kept quiet about these core groups. I’m not the first to raise questions about the church and insurer working in close tandem. Survivors have been raising the skewered relationship in person to Archbishop Welby for the past five years.

So it is disturbing that the church has been sitting on this embarrassing information in this way – hoping it will not see the light of day. My impression is the operation is heavily controlled by William Nye (Secretary General of Synod) who the National Advisor directly reports to. I tried to get answers from William Nye as to why my questions were discredited two years ago - but got nowhere. And despite the growing media interest in this scandal, they still do not provide answers.

So I have asked Bishop Peter Hancock and Bishop Sarah Mullally to instigate a review to establish how many pastoral core groups have had this presence under quiet stealth of the insurer. It’s the stuff of Spotlight! (the movie) I have also asked them to examine the NST’s culture of gaslighting and discrediting. These core groups are a major piece of the jigsaw in the church’s moral illegitimacy of response to all survivors, and probably a long term pattern. It is time the Church of England came clean on this. And it’s astonishing the extent to which they’ve shielded and protected Ecclesiastical’s deception across the past two years.

I was shocked to discover recently they did have input into Mr Elliott’s review, despite so many public statements to the contrary. EIG have been allowed by the church to be consistently dishonest, which has caused distress, confusion and deep mistrust. I’m glad that Mr Elliott has finally been able to put the record straight. I am aware that the Elliott Review has been openly trashed by caseworkers of the NST and also in Lambeth Palace at very high level. I feel they should put up or shut up - and get on with real action, real change and real justice instead of seeking to discredit survivors, and discredit independent reviews. In my view the church has been acting in ways bordering on corrupt. Time to stop discrediting and pretending the questions away. Church House in Westminster needs to be brought into daylight. And I hope this is what the lead bishop will now do.”

Statement by Ian Elliott regarding the Evidence included in the Review of Survivor B

Because of the repeated misleading comments that have been issued by Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) regarding the evidence that I had access to when undertaking the Review of the case of survivor B for the Church of England, I have decided to take the highly unusual step of confirming publicly what occurred. I have asked repeatedly for this to be done by those who commissioned the Report but to date, they have refused to do so. They are aware of what the records state just as I am. They gave me access to the case file, and facilitated my interviews, whilst undertaking the Review.

It has been said that there are “factual inaccuracies” contained in the Report that I authored. I know of none. It has also been said that no advice was provided by EIG to suspend contact with the survivor following his decision to issue legal proceedings against the Church for compensation. I read the case file created for survivor B by the diocese. It was stated in the case record, that this advice was confirmed by EIG on 15th January 2015 over the telephone.

This was again confirmed in interview by the person who made the telephone call. She described her distress at receiving such guidance. The receipt of this advice was also confirmed in two other interviews that I undertook, firstly with a senior bishop of the Church of England who was involved in the case. He expressed his upset and his regret at having followed that advice. He regarded this as being a major error of judgement on his part. I also spoke to a senior member of the national safeguarding team in the Church who also confirmed that this was their understanding of what had happened.
According to the case record, the advice that was provided to suspend contact with survivor B came, in the first instance, from an unnamed Church lawyer and was then confirmed over the telephone by an unnamed person from EIG. This is recorded in the case file. Along with the confirmation of the information through the three interviews, I took this as being adequate evidence to confirm that advice had been given and accepted.

In my view, the advice was not only insensitive and uncaring, it was highly reckless. The survivor was in a fragile state and suffered from mental health difficulties. He was under immense pressure and to contemplate giving, let alone, accepting advice of this nature represented a massive error of judgement that needed to be addressed in the recommendations flowing from the Review. Therefore, I included a specific recommendation to address this issue.

I was also told in interview that the advice was later withdrawn after a period of some days, but this does not alter the fact that it was recorded as being given in the first place, and confirmed in interviews to me by three credible and reliable informants. It was given, and it was also accepted, and then withdrawn.

It was also asserted by EIG that they had no contact with me during the Review. I attended two Core Group meetings convened to discuss the situation of survivor B, at which I met and spoke to the lawyer representing EIG and who had also led the settlement process with survivor B. I asked them if there were any written policies or guidance documents that they followed in their work with survivors of clerical abuse. I was told that there were none available at present but they were seeking to produce some guidance in the future.

My Report was redacted throughout. EIG were never named. The focus that I had throughout the Review, was to maximise learning from the exercise, rather than highlight the bad practice of any one person or organisation. I would regard the recommendations that I made as being equally applicable to whomever contributes to the management of these situations, involving survivors of clerical abuse. What needs to take precedent always, are the pastoral needs of the survivor, rather than any financial considerations for the parties involved.

Survivor B was unusual in that he stated that he disclosed to many people, many of whom had a clear memory of the conversation that he had with them. Some had made it clear that they had no recollection of the disclosure that survivor B said he had made to them. Given the lack of any recall of the disclosure for some whom survivor B said he spoke to, I chose not to engage with these people as there seemed to be little point in doing so. How could I usefully discuss a conversation with them which they had said that they had no memory of!

It is highly unusual for me to openly comment on work undertaken in any cases of this nature. I am fully aware of the sensitivity of the evidence that I had access to. I have made this statement on this occasion, as I believe that a false and misleading perception of what work was undertaken, was being created, and that my recommendations were being discredited as a result. The soundness of the evidence upon which those recommendations are based, is known to those who received my Report. However, to date, they have refused to publicly challenge the comments made by EIG that the Report contained “factual inaccuracies.” I have been deeply disappointed in this reluctance to see the truth told and have, therefore, sought to address the issue through this statement.

In my view, survivor B, and others who have an interest in knowing the truth, deserve to be informed that this case was reviewed in a fair and objective way, and that the highest professional standards were applied to the assessment contained in the Review Report. There are no factual inaccuracies within it, and those that state otherwise are making false and misleading statements that should be withdrawn.


Ian Elliott

Independent Safeguarding Consultant

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 17 December 2017 at 9:15am GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Opinion - 16 December 2017

Jonathan Draper Afterthoughts A sermon for Midnight Mass

Tricia Gates Brown Episcopal Café The subversive, confrontational, emboldening stories of Christmas

Ysenda Maxtone Graham The Spectator Mission impossible? The C of E’s attempt to woo new members
“The church-will-see-me-out brigade’s attitude is not going to work for much longer”

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Spiritual Blindness & the Root of Fear

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer The Church of England is a compromised and compromising church – thank God!

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 16 December 2017 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Friday, 15 December 2017

Publication of Bishop George Bell independent review

Updated to include press reports published after release of the report - more added Saturday morning and evening

The Bishop George Bell independent review (the “Carlile Report”) has been published today together with the press release below.

Scroll down for links to the report and its annexes, and for press reports.

Publication of Bishop George Bell independent review


The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST,) has today published the key findings and recommendations, along with the full report, from the independent review into the processes used in the Bishop George Bell case.

The review, commissioned by the NST on the recommendation of the Bishop of Chichester, was carried out by Lord Carlile of Berriew. As he writes in the introduction, his purpose was not to determine the truthfulness of the woman referred to as Carol in the report, nor the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell, but to examine the procedures followed by the Church of England. The objectives of the review included “ensuring that survivors are listened to and taken seriously”, and that recommendations are made to help the Church embed best practice in safeguarding in the future.

The report made 15 recommendations and concluded that the Church acted throughout in good faith while highlighting that the process was deficient in a number of respects.

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, has responded on behalf of the Church:

“We are enormously grateful to Lord Carlile for this ‘lessons learned’ review which examines how the Church handled the allegations made by Carol in the 1990s, and more recently. Lord Carlile makes a number of considered points as to how to handle such cases in future and we accept the main thrust of his recommendations.

“In responding to the report, we first want to acknowledge and publicly apologise again for the Church’s lamentable failure, as noted by Lord Carlile, to handle the case properly in 1995.

“At the heart of this case was a judgement, on the balance of probabilities, as to whether, in the event that her claim for compensation reached trial, a court would have concluded that Carol was abused by Bishop Bell. The Church decided to compensate Carol, to apologise and to be open about the case.

“Lord Carlile states that ‘where as in this case the settlement is without admission of liability, the settlement generally should be with a confidentiality provision” but respectfully, we differ from that judgement. The Church is committed to transparency. We would look at each case on its merits but generally would seek to avoid confidentiality clauses.

“It is clear from the report, however, that our processes were deficient in a number of respects, in particular the process for seeking to establish what may have happened. For that we apologise. Lessons can and have been learnt about how we could have managed the process better.

“The Bishop Bell case is a complex one and it is clear from the report and minutes of Core Group meetings that much professional care and discussion were taken over both agreeing the settlement with Carol and the decision to make this public. As Lord Carlile’s report makes clear, we acted in good faith throughout with no calculated intention to damage George Bell’s reputation.

“The Church has always affirmed and treasured Bishop Bell’s principled stand in the Second World War and his contribution to peace remains extraordinary. At same time, we have a duty and commitment to listen to those reporting abuse, to guard their confidentiality, and to protect their interests.

“We recognise that Carol has suffered pain, as have surviving relatives of Bishop Bell. We are sorry that the Church has added to that pain through its handling of this case.”

Statement from Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner

“Lord Carlile’s Independent Review is a demonstration of the Church of England’s commitment to equality of justice and transparency in our safeguarding practice. The diocese of Chichester requested this “lessons learned” Review.

“We welcome Lord Carlile’s assessment of our processes, and apologise for failures in the work of the Core Group of national and diocesan officers and its inadequate attention to the rights of those who are dead. We also accept the Report’s recognition that we acted in good faith, and improvements to Core Group protocols are already in place. Further work on them is in hand.

“The Report demands further consideration of the complexities of this case, such as what boundaries can be set to the principle of transparency. Lord Carlile rightly draws our attention to public perception. The emotive principle of innocent until proven guilty is a standard by which our actions are judged and we have to ensure as best we can that justice is seen to be done. Irrespective of whether she is technically a complainant, survivor, or victim, ‘Carol’ emerges from this report as a person of dignity and integrity. It is essential that her right to privacy continues to be fully respected.

“The good deeds that Bishop George Bell did were recognised internationally. They will stand the test of time. In every other respect, we have all been diminished by the case that Lord Carlile has reviewed.”

Statement from Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

“Bishop George Bell is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th century. The decision to publish his name was taken with immense reluctance, and all involved recognised the deep tragedy involved. However we have to differ from Lord Carlile’s point that ‘where as in this case the settlement is without admission of liability, the settlement generally should be with a confidentiality provision”. The C of E is committed to transparency and therefore we would take a different approach.

“Lord Carlile does not seek to say whether George Bell was in fact responsible for the acts about which the complaint was made. He does make significant comments on our processes, and we accept that improvement is necessary, in all cases including those where the person complained about is dead. We are utterly committed to seeking to ensure just outcomes for all. We apologise for the failures of the process.

“The complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievement. We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name. Let us therefore remember his defence of Jewish victims of persecution, his moral stand against indiscriminate bombing, his personal risks in the cause of supporting the anti Hitler resistance, and his long service in the Diocese of Chichester. No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and whole life should be kept in mind.”


Carlile Review
Annexes to the Review

Press reports

(published before the release of the report)

BBC News Church apology over Bishop George Bell abuse inquiry

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England to apologise over George Bell abuse allegations

Robert Mendick The Telegraph Church of England accused of ruining reputation of Bishop George Bell over sex abuse claims 50 years ago

James Macintyre Christian Today Church of England apologises over ‘deficient processes’ and ‘pain’ in its handling of George Bell ‘abuse’ claim

(published after release of the report)

Tim Wyatt Church Times Traducing George Bell’s name was ‘just wrong’ says Carlile review

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Anglican church ‘rushed to judgment’ in George Bell child abuse case

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Archbishop criticised for refusing to clear bishop besmirched by the Church

Joel Adams The Argus Victim: ‘He can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts’

Charles Moore The Telegraph Archbishop Welby’s response to 
the George Bell inquiry is shocking

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 15 December 2017 at 10:59am GMT | Comments (57) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Thursday, 14 December 2017

February General Synod - outline timetable

The outline timetable for the February General Synod of the Church of England has been published today, and is copied below.

[The published timetable does not explain the asterisks against certain items, but these clearly indicate timed business, eg Questions on the Thursday will start not later than 4.00 pm.]


Thursday 8 February
1.30 pm – 5.30 pm
1.30 pm Worship
1.45 pm Introductions and welcomes
2.00 pm Report by the Business Committee
2.30 pm Discerning In Obedience: A Theological Review of the Crown Nominations Commission - Presentation under SO 107 – with questions
3.15 pm Discerning In Obedience: A Theological Review of the Crown Nominations Commission – Take note debate
*4.00 pm Questions
5.30 – 5.45 pm Evening worship
Friday 9 February
9.15 am – 1.00 pm
9.15 am Holy Communion
  Anglican Communion Matters
10.30 am Address from Anglican Communion Representatives
10.45 am Companion Links and the Anglican Communion: Debate on a motion
11.45 am Appointment of the Chair of the Appointments Committee
  Diocesan Synod Motion
12.00 pm Food Waste
2.30 pm – 7.00 pm
2.30 pm Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury
  Legislative Business
3.00 pm Amending Canon No. 36 (Enactment)
Amending Canon No. 37 (Enactment)
Draft Ecumenical Relations Measure (Revision)
Draft Amending Canon No. 38 (Revision)
Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions Measure) (Revision)
See of Richmond – Petition for change of name to See of Kirkstall (Petition)
5.15 pm Address by a speaker from the Methodist Church
5.30 pm Mission and Ministry in Covenant: Debate on a Motion about Mission and Ministry in Covenant
7.00 – 7.15 pm Evening worship
Saturday 10 February
9.15 am – 1.00 pm
9.15 am Worship
9.30 am Safeguarding: Presentation under SO 107 – with Q&A
11.00 am Religious Communities – Debate on a Motion
12.00 pm Digital Evangelism: Presentation under SO 107 - with Q&A
2.30 pm – 4.00 pm
2.30 pm “Valuing People with Downs Syndrome” – Debate on a Motion
*4.00 pm Prorogation
Deemed Business
Church Property Measure (First Consideration)
Pensions Measure (First Consideration)
Contingency Business
DSM: Long Term Sustainability of the National Health Service

Questions Deadline: Midday, 29 January 2018

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 14 December 2017 at 2:30pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Report from December House of Bishops

Press release from the Church of England

Report from December House of Bishops

On Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th December the House of Bishops met at Lambeth Palace.

There was a varied agenda, including items on safeguarding, the importance of Black and Minority Ethnic clergy inclusion and representation, church planting, lessons learned from the appointment of the See of Sheffield, a review of the Crown Nominations Commission’s practices and the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

Dame Moira Gibb and Sir Roger Singleton led a discussion on safeguarding that focused on survivors’ needs, with Q&As followed by group discussions. Dame Moira chaired the independent review into the Bishop Peter Ball case and Sir Roger, former Government adviser on Safeguarding, is currently working with the National Team.

The House accepted the four recommendations that were made by Sir Philip Mawer in his report on the See of Sheffield and reaffirmed its commitment to the Five Guiding Principles set out in its Declaration of 2014.

Renewed commitments were made to continue to strength the inclusion and representation of Black and Minority Ethnic clergy at all levels of leadership within the church.

There was a discussion as to the value of church planting alongside established parish churches in making a valuable contribution to mission.

Recommendations from a group chaired by Professor Oliver O’Donovan with regards to the theology of the Crown Nominations Commission’s work nominating Bishops was considered by the House. The report will be published and General Synod will have the opportunity to review and debate these recommendations in February.

Regarding the future relationship of the Church of England and the Methodist Church, the House agreed to ask the General Synod Business Committee for a debate on the proposals set out in Mission and Ministry in Covenant to take place at the February General Synod.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 4:34pm GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Opinion - 13 December 2017

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Mandatory reporting of CofE child abuse is complicated, so let’s proceed incrementally

Ekklesia Rowan Williams’ 2017 Christmas Message

Michael Curry Episcopal Café A Christmas message from the Presiding Bishop

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Communion as social dynamite or depth charge

Andrew Lightbown There0 Speaking of despair; talking of ‘healing.’

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 10:37am GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Those AMiE ordinations

Updated Monday

David Pocklington has written at great length about this subject, see AMiE ordinations. There is little that can be added to his detailed account and comprehensive links.

The Church Times report has been updated to list the names and locations of those ordained:

The newly ordained priest was the Revd Peter Jackson, a pastor at Christ Church, in Walkley, an AMiE church plant in north-west Sheffield.

Those ordained deacon were Kenny Larsen, the associate pastor in Walkley; Jon Cawsey and Mat­thew Thompson, who together lead Christ Church, Stockport; Alistair Harper, from Grace Church, Bude (which has no website); Christopher Houghton, from Christ Church Central, in Sheffield; Martin Soole and Christopher Young, who are senior minister and student worker respectively at Trinity Church, Lancaster; and Robert Tearle, assistant minister at Trinity Church, Scarborough.

Christ Church Walkley includes among its trustees a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, Ms Jane Patterson. She is also listed for Christ Church Central.

The Christian Today report of the ordinations notes that:

…A number of senior conservative Church of England figures played prominent roles in the service.

The move will be seen as provocative as it sets up Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as a rival Anglican Church to the Church of England.

Canon Andy Lines was appointed GAFCON’s ‘missionary bishop’ within minutes of the Scottish Episcopal Church allowing gay marriage in church.

Several retired bishops attended the ceremony at East London Tabernacle Baptist Church and a number of active CofE clergy were also present. Before the service a CofE spokesman said any clergy who ‘participate actively’ in AMiE’s services would be breaking canon law.

Rev David Banting, a well known evangelical in the Church of England and vicar of St Peter’s Harold Wood in the Diocese of Chelmsford, joined in the laying on of hands of the new ordinands – a key part in the process of ordination.
It is not clear whether this amounted to breaking the Church’s canon laws.

In a move that is likely to increase tensions with Lambeth Palace, two senior conservative Anglican leaders, the Archbishop of Nigeria and the Archbishop of Uganda, sent a video message welcoming the move. Both figures boycotted a meeting of global Anglican leaders called by the Archbishop of Canterbury in October over deeply entrenched disagreements on gay marriage.

The laying on of hands is a key part of the Anglican ordination service.
Rev Rico Tice, senior minister at All Souls’ Langham Place, a large evangelical church in central London, preached the sermon.

Jane Patterson, a senior conservative member of the Church of England’s general synod, gave a reading and Susie Leafe, director of the evangelical grouping Reform and a member of the General Synod, said prayers.

Before the service a Church of England spokesman said: ‘It has come to our attention that Bishop Andy Lines, a Bishop in the Anglican Church in North America, will be carrying out some ordinations this week in a denomination calling itself the Anglican Mission in England.
‘For clarity, this group is not part of, nor affiliated with, the Church of England, nor is Bishop Lines’s parent denomination part of the Anglican Communion.
‘Under our canon law, Church of England clergy are unable to participate actively in the group’s services.
‘Our prayers are, of course, with all those seeking to proclaim Christ.’

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 December 2017 at 6:02pm GMT | Comments (38) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ACNA

Opinion - 9 December 2017

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley The Seven Deadly Sins of Church Committees

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Iwerne Trust abuse: leading public school gives victims immediate help, while the Church of England leaves them hanging

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Liturgy Coming to Life

Madeleine Davies Church Times Shenfield, place of trophy houses and Alpha families
Last week, Madeleine Davies visited Blackpool, the most deprived parish in the country. This week she goes to Shenfield, in Essex, one of the least deprived

Neil Patterson Church Times ‘Our’ God? No, God is everybody’s
Neil Patterson has misgivings about the theology in some popular modern praise songs

David Walker ViaMedia.News Power, Abuse and the Sense of Entitlement

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 9 December 2017 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Opinion - 6 December 2017

Linda Woodhead Patheos Divination – A Most Neglected Most Important Element of Religion

Hayley Matthews ViaMedia.News Does “Othering” Exist in Our Church, and Does this Lead to Exclusion?

Mark Oakley gave the 5th Donald Barnes Memorial Lecture recently: The Devil is in the Drivel! Reclaiming the mystery of faith
[Scroll to the bottom for a link to the full text of the lecture]

Richard Peers Psephizo Can Anglo-Catholic churches grow?

Liam Beadle The Guardian Not even vicars have the patience of saints
“A member of the clergy is in trouble for venting on his congregation. There, but for the grace of God, go many of us”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Authority and loss

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 6 December 2017 at 10:20am GMT | Comments (27) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Dean of St Paul's calls for safeguarding overhaul

David Ison the Dean of St Paul’s has called for a radical overhaul of safeguarding in the Church of England.

This is reported here: Dean of St Paul’s calls for ‘compromised’ bishops to lose responsibility for safeguarding.

The full text of the dean’s remarks can be found here: “Cassock Chasers” and Compromised Clergy. Please read the whole of it.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 10:00pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Franklin Graham's proposed visit to Blackpool

Christian Today has a news report that: Bishop urged to oppose controversial UK Franklin Graham rally.

The Bishop of Blackburn is being urged to speak against an evangelism event in Blackpool featuring the controversial figure Franklin Graham.

Franklin, the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, is an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and vociferously opposes gay marriage and Islam.

He is due to speak at the town’s Winter Gardens venue, which has hosted the likes of the Beatles as well as many political party conferences after being invited by a number of local churches including St John’s Church in Blackpool, St Mark’s Church in Layton, and All Hallows Church in Bispham for the rally next September…

The open letter referenced in this article can be found here: An open letter to The Bishop of Blackburn and his Senior Staff. It is well worth reading in its entirety, but concludes this way:

… Julian, in a recent radio broadcast you said that you are ‘staying firmly on the fence’ over the visit of Franklin Graham. We have to tell you, from our knowledge at the grass roots, that to remain silent is not to remain neutral. Given that you know well that the Mission is booked and that Franklin Graham is leading it, and given that you are well aware of Franklin Graham’s own opinions and statements, we suggest that your silence, along with the silence of your Senior Staff can only be seen as support. Certainly that was the opinion of one of my fellow community leaders in Blackpool, a Muslim, with whom One of us had coffee this morning.

Bishop Julian and fellow members of the Senior Staff, are you going to remain silent? We call upon you together or severally to at least distance yourselves from Franklin Graham and his views, and to make it clear that the invitation to Franklin Graham to come to Blackpool is ‘Not in your name.’ How else shall we be able to look our Muslim brothers and sisters in the eye?

Earlier news reports:

June: Church fury as anti-gay cleric invited to talk

September: Protests over Franklin Graham Blackpool visit build as hundreds sign petition

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 5 December 2017 at 6:08pm GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Monday, 4 December 2017

Archbishop and sexual abuse survivor exchange letters


A further exchange of letters between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Gilo, an abuse survivor, has been published today.

We reported earlier on the open letter to the archbishop that Gilo had sent.

The response from the archbishop to the open letter from Gilo is now available.

Gilo’s further response to the archbishop is also available here.

And there is a press release, copied below the fold.

This material is also published on the Ekklesia website.

Media coverage:

Church Times Survivor keeps pressure on Archbishop to bring in mandatory reporting of abuse

Christian Today Justin Welby under pressure to overhaul approach to church sex abuse survivors

PRESS RELEASE from Gilo Monday 4th December

Archbishop Welby’s response to abuse survivor condemned by numerous leading Church figures, a Parliamentarian and other experts

I am Gilo, an Anglican abuse survivor. Archbishop Welby’s response on 8 November (attached) to my open letter complaining about the callous way the Church mistreats abuse survivors and of the importance of Mandatory Reporting has been condemned by a bishop and other leading Church figures, lawyers, child protection experts, survivors’ groups and a peer. Most consider it to be evasive and completely inadequate. The Archbishop has already had to apologise publicly for ignoring 17 letters from me.

Those responding include, April Alexander (General Synod & Church Commissioner), Christina Rees CBE (founding member Archbishop’s Council), The Very Rev’d Prof Martyn Percy (Dean of Christ Church), Prof Linda Woodhead (Academic & Theologian) and Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson (Bishop of Buckingham), Peter Saunders (founder NAPAC) and Baroness Walmsley.

Simon Sarmiento (Thinking Anglicans website) wrote “The Archbishop’s response sadly ducks answering any of the “quite specific, but very reasonable, questions that Gilo posed. There was a golden opportunity available here to make clear that the stance of EIG does not define policy for the Church of England. Continuing equivocation by the latter, including on mandatory reporting, only increases the depth of the hole out of which the whole Church will eventually have to dig itself.”

A number of respondents were especially scathing about the Archbishop’s attempt to kick Mandatory Reporting of institutional abuse, something the Church used to call for, into the long grass. Baroness Walmsley was adamant that this issue is not complex at all. “If you know or suspect that a child is being abused, or has been abused, you must report the matter to the correct authorities. To fail to do so is to collude with the perpetrator. End of!”

Another major concern is that the Archbishop has delegated this work to Bishop Thornton who will be unlikely to enjoy the support of survivors, due to very considerable difficulties in his involvement in my case.

My own take on the letter is that “Sadly, Archbishop Welby’s response fails to meet the questions. Stating in vaguest of terms the complexity of an issue does not address complexities. There doesn’t seem any ownership of the crisis, nor recognition that questions such as these need facing at ‘archbishop level’ and the clear call of leadership required to shift the church into structural and cultural change and towards authentic justice. Until the church buckles under the weight of these things – the shilly-shallying will continue. I am struck by the irony that the questions now seem in the hands of a bishop who walked away – in 2003, in effect again during the Past Case Review, and again in 2015 with a “no recollection”. This won’t give survivors much confidence.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 4 December 2017 at 12:00pm GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Opinion - 2 December 2017

Jamie Fletcher Christian Today WWJD about ‘Transgender’? A trans Christian responds

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of size

George Pitcher New Statesman Don’t let the cosy stable fool you – the Virgin Mary’s story is brutal

Madeleine Davies Church Times Can the tide turn in Blackpool?

Anne-Marie Naylor Church Times Rich parish, poor parish — time to choose

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Advent is a feminist issue (and so are posh Advent calendars)

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 2 December 2017 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (14) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion