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    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.

    0 Comments

    More from ACC-17 in Hong Kong

    Continued from here.

    Updated Friday morning

    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.

    9 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.

    2 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

    21 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.

    25 Comments

    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.

    29 Comments

    Update on the Lambeth Conference

    Updated on 16 April

    Two letters in The Times?yesterday,

    ,

    This blog by Marcus Green?such a pain?includes links to several comments on social media.

    Previous report on this topic is here.

    Today, Kaya Burgess in The Times (£) reports that?Welby says gay bishop spouse ban was ‘painful’ but necessary.

    …Speaking on a tour of the diocese of Peterborough, the archbishop said that he had met university bosses to discuss their concerns. He told The Times: “Well over 90 per cent of the Anglican communion are conservative on issues of sexuality. I’ve invited all the bishops, including those in same-sex marriages. And I had to consider . . . getting as many people as possible there and excluding as few as possible. It’s a lose-lose situation.”

    He added: “I had to take what is a really difficult and painful decision to say, in order for the conference to be as representative as possible and get all the bishops there and not have the risk of some provinces not coming because they felt I was pushing the envelope too far, that I couldn’t ask all the spouses.”

    He described the situation as “just the reality of such a widespread communion . I hope we’ll get to the point where we are able disagree well and that’s while affirming the doctrine of marriage in its traditional Christian form.”

    Some earlier reports:

    Catherine Pepinster?RNS?reported on the meeting between the University of Kent and the Conference organisers: Lodging for spouses becomes Anglicans’ latest battleground over LGBT clergy

    …Last week the university met with communion officials to raise its? “significant ethical concerns” after university Vice Chancellor Karen Cox and council chair David Warren said?they had “serious issues,” calling the no-same-sex-spouses policy “contrary to the values” of the university.

    Both sides are refusing to divulge what the outcome of the meeting was, but the university has now pledged to make accommodation available to spouses who want to be based in Canterbury with their partners for the duration of the Lambeth Conference — a move that will focus attention even more intensely on the Anglican Communion’s policy of exclusion.

    Anglican Communion spokesman Gavin Drake said the Lambeth Conference would go ahead at Kent University in 2020, and he added: “We are not speaking about this issue at all. What Kent does is up to them.”

    Mary Frances Schjonberg? had a comprehensive catch-up on events up to 2 April:?ENS?Refusal to invite bishops’ same-sex spouses to Lambeth 2020 draws ire in Britain.

    And the latest as of 12 April on registrations from?ACNS: Lambeth Conference 2020: Over 500 bishops in 39 Anglican Communion Churches register:

    Organisers of next year’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops have announced that 502 bishops and 382 spouses have so far registered for the decennial event, with the numbers rising each day. Registrations to date come from 39 of the Anglican Communion’s 45 member Provinces and Extra Provincial Churches. “In comparison to the 2008 event when registrations had not started at this point, this is a most encouraging position to be in”, Lambeth Conference Chief Executive Phil George said…

    And also: The man on a mission to make the Lambeth Conference happen.

    30 Comments

    Opinion – 13 April 2019

    April Alexander Church Times Cloaks of secrecy are too threadbare
    “Despite a vote in Synod, April Alexander argues that nominating bishops by secret ballot has no place in the C of E”

    Patrick Moriarty Church Times How to avoid Holy Week blundering
    “Christianity’s Jewish roots are most obvious at this time. Patrick Moriarty offers advice for those leading services”

    Janet Fife Surviving Church Prejudice and Tolerance

    Jeremy Pemberton Openly The Church of England must open its doors to same-sex weddings

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    Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England is launched

    PRESS RELEASE Embargoed until 00.01 Friday 12 April 2019
    A new campaign, Equal, the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, is being launched to push for change in the official teaching and practice of the Church of England, so as to allow same-gender couples to marry in Church of England churches.

    The Campaign has a simple three-point agenda:

    • Same-gender couples should be able to be married in Church of England parishes.
    • People in such marriages should have the same opportunities for lay and ordained ministry in the Church of England as anyone else.
    • The consciences of everyone should be protected – no member of the clergy should be forced to conduct a marriage they disagree with, but also no member of the clergy should be prevented from celebrating a marriage involving a same-gender couple.

    We are launching this campaign on Friday 12 April, the fifth anniversary of the marriage of the Revd Jeremy Pemberton to Laurence Cunnington. Jeremy was the first priest of the Church of England to marry a same-gender partner and as a result was denied permission to take up a new post in an NHS Trust.The Church of England officially discriminates against LGBT+ people, in refusing to allow same-gender marriages in its buildings, or by its clergy in any building, and by excluding from its ministry both lay and ordained people who have so married. The Campaign believes that it is time for this to change. The Church of England should end this injustice and respect the consciences of the increasing majority of its members, who are supportive of gay and lesbian relationships (http://www.brin.ac.uk/figures/attitudes-towards-gay-rights/).

    The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who is one of the team leading the new Campaign, said ‘We congratulate Jeremy and Laurence on their wedding anniversary, and rejoice with the many same- gender couples who have made lifelong, faithful commitments to each other in marriage in recent years.
    ‘The Church of England has spent too many years saying that it is sorry for the way that it treats LGBT+ people and condemning discrimination and prejudice, whilst at the same time continuing its own injustice towards us in marriage and ministry. It is time for what is done to match what is said, and for the Church of England to respect the conscience of the majority who are warmly supportive of same-gender relationships.
    ‘The Campaign is formed of faithful Anglicans who want to see change, and we will continue to work and pray for the day when any couple, gay or straight, can walk down the aisle of their local church to make their vows.’

    Press enquiries to: info@cofe-equal-marriage.org.uk or Fr Andrew Foreshew-Cain on 07812 453230

    Website: https://www.cofe-equal-marriage.org.uk/

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    The CofE appoints its first permanent national Director of Safeguarding

    The Church of England announced today that Melissa Caslake, Executive Director of Children’s Services for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and City of Westminster, has been appointed as its first permanent Director of Safeguarding.


    First national Director of Safeguarding appointed
    10/04/2019

    Melissa Caslake, Executive Director of Children’s Services for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and City of Westminster, has been appointed as the Church of England’s first permanent Director of Safeguarding. She takes over from Sir Roger Singleton who took up an interim role at the beginning of the year.

    Melissa has a strong professional background in adult and children’s services over a 20-year career, with particular experience of child protection and safeguarding, and a track record of leading good and outstanding children’s services in local authorities.

    As executive director she has overseen the Bi-Borough response to non-current child sexual abuse and been the London lead Director of Children’s Services for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, working with Government departments to develop a stronger national response. Melissa has overseen the provision of support for children affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, also reporting to the Government’s Taskforce.

    Prior to her current role she was Director of Family Services for the City of Westminster where she led the service to an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ rating in 2016. She was formerly a divisional director in the London Borough of Harrow and Director of Children’s Social Care and Youth Inclusion in the London Borough of Merton.

    Melissa studied English at Oxford University followed by a Master’s in social work at Exeter University; she also has a range of management and leadership qualifications including from the Warwick University Business School.

    Commenting on her appointment Melissa said: “I am proud to be taking on the role of National Director of Safeguarding for the Church of England. My career has been dedicated to safeguarding vulnerable children and adults and helping families in need.

    “I am determined to ensure that the Church is a safer place for all, and I look forward to applying my professional experience and expertise to this challenge.”

    William Nye, Secretary General to the Archbishops’ Council, said: “I am delighted by the appointment of Melissa Caslake to this role. The Church of England has come a long way in improving its safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in recent years, particularly since the establishment of the national safeguarding team in 2015. But there is much still to do, and the creation of a director post for safeguarding recognises that.

    “We have been fortunate in the last few months to have Sir Roger Singleton filling the post on an interim basis and now to have someone with the experience and seniority of Melissa to fill the post on a permanent basis, and to take the national Church’s safeguarding work to a new level. She will be an excellent addition to the Council’s leadership team, and I am very pleased to welcome her to Church House.”

    Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, said: “I welcome the appointment of Melissa as the Church of England’s first Director of Safeguarding. Her strong, professional background and experience will strengthen the National Team as it continues its work at a time of increasing demand. Melissa’s appointment is part of our commitment to ensuring the Church is a safer place for all and she will take on leadership of the team as we approach our main IICSA hearing. I look forward to working with her in my role as lead safeguarding bishop.”

    Melissa’s start date will be confirmed in due course.

    More information

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