Church of England launches ‘GraveTalk’

gravetalk“The Church of England is launching a new national resource to help churches get people talking about death and dying.

GraveTalk, provides resources for a café space in which churches provide a relaxed environment for people to explore questions about death and dying, funerals and loss…”

– Report from the Anglican Communion News Service.

The accompanying website mentions the Lord Jesus, though the main message seems to be how flexible Church of England funeral services can be. You can also light a virtual candle.

Related: ‘All you need to know about christening’ — without mentioning…

Reform’s Chairman Rod Thomas to be Bishop of Maidstone

rod-thomas-and-justin-welby“Reform is delighted that their Chairman, Rev’d Preb Rod Thomas, has been appointed to the revived See of Maidstone. Rod has served as a senior officer of Reform for nearly two decades. In that time he has been unswerving in his commitment to the principles set out in the Reform Covenant. But for Rod’s passionate advocacy of conservative evangelical Anglicanism the Church of England would have been much impoverished.

Rod’s predecessor as Chairman of Reform, Rev’d Canon David Banting, said, ‘Rod’s presence in the College of Bishops will strengthen and enrich the priority of the mission of the gospel to the nation and the centrality of biblical witness in the Church.’…”

– A media statement from Reform.

See the press release from Lambeth Palace

“The appointment of Rod Thomas follows a meeting of the Dioceses Commission in December at which unanimous agreement was given to a proposal from the Archbishop of Canterbury to fill the see, which has been vacant since 2009, with a bishop who takes a conservative evangelical view on headship.”

And Church Society reaction from their Director, Lee Gatiss

“Rod is the only complementarian evangelical to be made a bishop since Wallace Benn in 1997. This appointment is part of the package of compromises agreed recently by General Synod, through which women bishops have been introduced into the Church. It is a great pity that despite Synod’s overwhelming approval of the first Pilling Report, Talent & Calling, in 2007, which called for more conservative evangelicals to be considered for such roles, there has been no such appointment until today. …

It may be asked whether a single isolated new bishop is mere tokenism. Surely ‘flourishing’ implies rather more than the reluctant toleration of one among more than a hundred bishops?”

First C of E woman bishop to be installed at Chester Cathedral

Libby Lane. Photo by Kippa Matthews, Archbishops Council“The Church of England’s first woman bishop, Libby Lane, will be formally installed in her new role as Bishop of Stockport this afternoon. More than 1,500 people are expected to attend the event at Chester Cathedral on International Women’s Day…”

– Report from ITV.

Challenging the C of E to believe that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’

Church of England“It’s not often that there’s a good Christian article in the otherwise secular press. But today’s Thunderer in The Times is an exception to the rule.”

– Adrian Reynolds writes at the Proclamation Trust.

The evangelistic strategy of a bishop

Bishop J C Ryle“What marks a truly Reformed minister of the gospel? How do you become an impotent waste of a clergyman? Have you got a strategy for ministry or are you merely faffing in the shallow end?

This essay by Andrew Atherstone is simply wonderful and could not be more vital. It will stir the heart and get you really excited about ministry…”

At Church Society’s blog, Rob Brewis points to a terrific essay on the evangelistic strategy of Bishop J C Ryle.

(We linked to the essay a while back, but it’s certainly worth reading again at the start of a new year.)

Lord Carey ‘wrong to support State-sanctioned suicide’

Bp George Carey“Apparently the UK is ‘closer than ever’ to introducing legislation which will permit the terminally ill to end their lives at a time and place of their choosing. Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill simply will not die: it is deemed to be the virtuous and noble solution to the problem of unbearable suffering; the only ethical and justly moral response to a heartless society which insists on sustaining lives which simply no longer wish to be lived. We treat dogs better.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey is amongst the signatories to a letter demanding that the political parties pledge to giving this Bill parliamentary time after the General Election, in order that the issue might be finally resolved. By “resolved”, they mean, of course, that the Bill must be passed, or the issue has not been “resolved” to their liking and will simply need to be revisited until Parliament votes correctly. The only settled conclusion that is acceptable is the one which concludes a settlement in favour of ‘assisted dying’. The argument is teleological; the trajectory is locked…”

– UK Christian blogger ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ weighs in on the hot issue of ‘euthanasia’.


On the elimination of the suffering – Dr Megan Best. (
Euthanasia lives again – Social Issues Executive of the Diocese of Sydney.

From Bishop of Tasmania John Harrower:
Euthanasia resources.
Depression, disability & ‘safe’ euthanasia
A Response to Giddings & McKim’s euthanasia proposal.

Archbishop of Canterbury’s ‘ecumenical Christmas greeting’

Archbishop Justin Welby“The deceit and cruelty of governments and rulers has not changed in the 2000 years since King Herod. 2014 has been a year of desperate suffering for many Christians, unparalleled for centuries. Christian communities have been uprooted from the places that they have dwelt since within living memory of the time of Jesus…”

– Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has released this Christmas message to ‘ecumenical partners and heads of churches around the world’.

(Image: Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.)

Reform Statement on the appointment of the first CofE woman bishop

Reform Chairman Prebendary Rod Thomas“Members of the Reform network will be praying for the Rev Libby Lane and for the Diocese of Chester in the light of the announcement. Whilst not surprised by this appointment we are very concerned about the strain it will put on local diocesan relationships.

Rod Thomas, Chairman of Reform, said,

“We have known since July that the Church of England would seek to appoint women to the episcopate – against the biblical model of good church leadership. Though it grieves us, it comes as no surprise. We pray that the Bishop of Chester will uphold the promises made in July and enable the many thriving conservative evangelical churches in his Diocese to continue to serve their communities with theological integrity under the oversight of a male bishop.”

This appointment is an outworking of the decision of the majority of General Synod, which also dedicated itself to enabling evangelicals to flourish and we trust that the House of Bishops will uphold that commitment in the coming months as women are appointed to these senior roles.”

from Reform.

First woman Bishop in the Church of England

Libby Lane“Downing Street have today announced that the new Bishop of Stockport – and the first woman bishop in the Church of England – will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley.

As Bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minster on Monday 26 January 2015…”

– from The Church of England. Video message from the bishop-designate.

Related: Writing as an outsider to Anglicanism, Jeremy Walker at Reformation21 asks if evangelical Anglicans need to make a stand.

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