Abp Welby marks 20 years of women priests

Photo: ACNS“Men and women are “equally icons, witnesses, vessels of Christ for the world”, the Archbishop said today during a service at St Paul’s Cathedral marking the 20th anniversary of female priests.”

– Read Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s sermon here. Photo: ACNS.

Related: Reform press release.

Reform asks: Why is the C of E celebrating 20 years of the ordination of women?

susie-leafe-2Director of Reform Susie Leafe today asked, “What exactly are we celebrating? Women have been ministering in the church for 2000 years, not 20. The very fact that this event is taking place begs some serious questions about how some people view ministry in the Church of England. It seems we have forgotten that we follow Christ, who came to serve and not be served…”

– full press release from Reform in the UK.

Tweet #Eastermeans, says Church of England

cross-5“Theologian and religious commentator @vickybeeching said: ‘I’m excited about the #EasterMeans campaign – it encourages Christians to give the world a window into their personal faith; why Easter matters to them and how the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection have impacted their life.’…”

– Good idea, via the Anglican Communion News Service.

‘First gay clergyman to wed plunges Church into crisis’

Church of England web logo“A senior Church of England clergyman yesterday became the first to enter into a gay  marriage – in direct defiance of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – plunging the Church into a fresh crisis.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton tied the knot with Laurence Cunnington under new laws allowing same-sex marriages pushed through by David Cameron in the face of bitter opposition from backbench MPs and the Church…”

– from Mail Online.

Church Society gives thanks for John Richardson

The Rev John RichardsonChurch Society’s Director Lee Gatiss has penned this note of thanksgiving for John Richardson.

He includes this detail: “At the National Evangelical Anglican Congress in Blackpool (2003) he famously donned a purple (ish) clerical shirt, and delighted in telling us how he was ushered into all kinds of places as a result!” – Read it here.

And here is a 70 second audio clip (280kb) where John speaks about going to Moore College (from a ‘weekend away’ talk on Marriage and Singleness for St. Peter’s Harold Wood).

Thank you, Lord, for John Richardson

The Rev John RichardsonAdrian Reynolds at the Proclamation Trust, adds his thanks to the Lord for John Richardson.

And Canon David Banting has a substantial tribute at Anglican Mainstream.

“I met John first through his writings, while I was a vicar in Oldham. Get into the Bible (1994) was a brilliant overview of the Bible, from first creation to new creation, and introduced many to Biblical theology at its best. It was 1998, when I moved to be an incumbent in Chelmsford diocese, that I first met the lanky John face-to-face. It was the beginning of a lasting friendship and partnership in the ‘proclamation and defence of the gospel’. I can think of few people I have come to respect more than John…

John’s earlier years were shaped in part by Anglo-Catholic traditions, and he never lost his love and passion for the Church’s health and calling. But his theological grounding was evangelical. It was first outlined at St John’s Theological College, Nottingham, and later, after the typically mixed Anglican experience of a confusing curacy and an unhappy foray into incumbency, crucially galvanized and cemented by a ‘first-class’ year at Moore College, Sydney.”

(The talks on marriage David mentions in the full article may be found here – search for ‘Richardson’.)

The Ugley Vicar — with the Lord

John RichardsonLee Gatiss in the UK shares some very painful news:

“I’m sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but our good friend and faithful minister of the gospel, John Richardson, died this morning after recent illness.”

John was a good friend of many and a very able defender of the gospel. There will be many tears.

From a poem John wrote last year, entitled “The Lifeguard”:

When Jordan’s verge I someday tread,
These words I’ll hear inside my head,
“If you would see the Promised Land,
To call the lifeguard, raise your hand.”

So if you see my hand go up,
Don’t hand to me the water cup,
Or fetch the bedpan, next of kin —
These cannot save me from my sin.

And do not think that I am calm,
That’s not why I lift up my arm!
It’s just this thing (you’ll understand),
“To call the lifeguard, raise your hand.”

For he’ll be looking for that wave,
That says, “Saviour, come now to save,”
My anxious fears he’ll bid subside,
He’ll land me safe on Canaan’s side.

Read it all and you will understand why John’s friends can rejoice, amidst the tears.

New Church Society website and blog

Church SocietyChurch Society in the UK have just re-launched their website.

“Over the past few months, Church Society has been through a process of rebranding which has gone to the heart of who we are and what we do.”

As well as a new look, there’s now a blog with weekly features – the first one is Formulary Friday (“Every Friday, we consider an aspect of the formularies of the Church of England: that is, the 39 Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.”).

As Church Society Director Lee Gatiss says, the need for theological clarity in the Church of England has never been greater.

See it all here, and you can also subscribe to their RSS feed.

‘Vicar defends Church of England same-sex blessings ban’

The Rev Steven HannaFrom this weekend, same sex marriage will be legal in England and Wales.

During the week, BBC TV interviewed Steven Hanna, Vicar of St. Elisabeth’s of Becontree in London. He speaks clearly and graciously about the key issues. Watch the 7 minute interview here. (h/t Adrian Reynolds.)

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