Activists seek candidates for new Synod

Aug 28, 2015 by

by Tim Wyatt, Church Times: AS ELECTIONS for the General Synod near an end, groups campaigning to change the make-up of the Church of England’s governing body have laid out their hopes for the next five years. […]  Similar sentiments were expressed by the election campaign co-ordinator of Inclusive Church, the Revd Stephen France. Inclusive Church has assembled a list of 108 people, clergy and laity, standing for election to the Synod under its banner. “I had no difficulty finding people who want to see the Church change and are willing to stand,” he said last week. “Clearly what happened with women bishops caused an outcry, and was bound to affect the reputation of the Synod, but that’s why we have had no difficulty finding people to stand.” Mr France said that the women-bishops debates, which dominated the last quinquennium, had prompted many of Inclusive Church’s candidates to stand. “Obviously that issue was resolved, but it’s early days yet. Rachel Treweek is the only diocesan woman bishop still.” One of those who are standing for the first time under the Inclusive Church banner is the former Conservative MP Sir Tony Baldry. Previously an ex-officio member as the then Second Church Estates Commissioner, he is standing for election in the diocese of Oxford. Read here...

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Corbynmania: lessons for the Church of England?

Aug 27, 2015 by

by Andrew Symes, Church of England Newspaper.   The success of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour Party leadership has taken most commentators by surprise. Corbyn, veteran MP for Islington, has become the focal point of a resurgence of interest in left wing politics. The story is not so much about Corbyn, who appears to be a self-effacing man not interested in creating a cult of personality, but in what he represents – aspiration to a new political and economic system, and a movement of social and worldview change, attracting lots of idealistic young people.   This is where the church should sit up and take notice. What is going on? Is there anything we can learn? Are there any parallels between contemporary Britain, a divided Labour Party and this bid by Corbyn’s supporters to shape the future of the nation on one hand,  and on the other, the Church of England, containing different points of view but a shared commitment to mission? Read here Corbynmania [pdf]...

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Anglican Church Decline in the West – The Data

Aug 23, 2015 by

From Church Growth Modelling blogspot (Hat Tip: Barbara Gauthier) The Anglican Church, once a key institution in the English-speaking world, has suffered decline for over half a century. Although in both the UK and North America there are many examples of growing and lively Anglican churches, as national denominations the trend is downwards. This decline is in marked contrast to continued Anglican growth in Africa and other parts of the world. There the church is healthy. In the West it is sick. The question is – is the Anglican sickness unto death? In this blog I explore the different patterns of Anglican decline through four denominations: the Church of England (C of E), the Church in Wales (C in W), the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), and the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA). The study is not perfect, nor is the data, but I hope it inspires debate and other studies. A subsequent blog will suggest possible reasons for their differences in decline. Read here...

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The Extinction of the C of E: Two Issues

Aug 21, 2015 by

By Ian Paul, Psephizo: There has been some very interesting discussion on Facebook and the blog following my previous post ‘When will the C of E be extinct?’. Out of this, two issues stay with me. The first comes from John Hayward’s comment in his original article on reasons for decline that the three episcopal churches he compares with the C of E have greater uniformity. Read here...

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Senior lawyers launch devastating critique on church law reform plans

Aug 20, 2015 by

By Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today: Senior church lawyers have issued a devastating critique of plans to reform established Church law by a radical process of deregulation. They have condemned the proposals as “inchoate” and urged the Archbishops of Canterbury and York “not to pander to the false narrative that law is a malign force which stifles the mission of the Church.” They have also raised fears that the proposals represent an attempt “to move legislative authority” away from the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, and to the Archbishops’ Council, the policy body at the heart of Church management. Some even fear that the proposals are a “clandestine means” of removing legal constraints and “ceding untrammeled authority to the bishops and to the Archbishops’ Council,” according to the critique. The lawyers spoke out after the Archbishops’ Council and the Church’s bishops welcomed a proposal for an “enabling measure” to simplify centuries of canon law contained in what it calls the “extensive rule book” of the Church of England. Currently, the Church’s legal framework is complex because many of its structures were created in the first millennium of the Christian era and involve both statutory and common law of the land. The Church is affected by charity and property law as well ecclesiastical law, which is itself a branch of public law. Ecclesiastical law consists of common law, which predates the Reformation, canon law, which has its roots in pre-Reformation canon law and statute law, passed by Parliament during and in the centuries since the Reformation. Read here...

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Cathedrals booming thanks to ‘late night shopping’ tactics

Aug 20, 2015 by

by John Bingham, Telegraph: It has been blamed for helping empty the pews on Sunday mornings and even described as Britain’s true national religion. But the national passion for shopping could, it seems, hold the key to a revival in flagging church congregations. New figures from the Church of England show that some of the country’s oldest cathedrals are seeing congregations grow – in part after learning the lessons of the world of retail, including introducing their own version of late night shopping. More than 10 million people visited cathedrals in England last year and almost 37,000 attended Sunday or midweek services – up almost a quarter in a decade. The boom in cathedral attendances comes despite an overall slump in attendance at local parish Sunday services. Cathedral clerics say people are often drawn by the traditional music, the contemplative atmosphere and the fact that large city-centre churches offer services at different times of the day and throughout the week. But several cathedrals have benefited from moves to attract late-night shoppers by opening late themselves. Read here  ...

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