Richard Coekin on The Pastor’s Heart

On the latest edition of The Pastor’s Heart, Dominic Steele speaks with Richard Coekin, leader of the Co-Mission network in London.

Watch or listen here.

Norwich Cathedral erects 50 foot helter skelter in Nave

Not to be outdone by Rochester Cathedral’s indoor crazy golf course, Norwich Cathedral has built a 50 foot (15 metre) helter skelter in its Nave.

To be fair, the helter skelter is part of the Cathedral’s strategy to connect with the community and to open up conversations about the gospel:

“Could the playful presence of a helter skelter help to open up conversations about the building, help open up conversations about God? This unexpected presence in the Cathedral would act as a draw. Climbing to its top, the visitor will literally see the Cathedral differently. They will also come closer to the roof bosses and to the story they tell, the story of Salvation. …

in the South Transept will be a Bible Box, offering the opportunity to literally sit inside the Word of God. Surrounded by all the words of Scripture, and the story of Salvation …

And in the East end of the Cathedral will be displayed stories from individuals explaining how Jesus has helped them see life differently. …

The fun comes in the shape of a helter skelter. The serious comes in creating opportunities for reflective, God-shaped conversations. It is playful in its intent but also profoundly missional. It is the Cathedral doing what it has always done – encouraging conversations about God. By its sheer size and grandeur it speaks of the things of God; it points beyond itself. Its sheer presence helps to keep the rumour of God alive and plays its part in passing on the story of Salvation.”

Image: Norwich Cathedral.

Rochester Cathedral opens crazy golf course to tee-up younger generation

“Not content with offering a venue for weddings, baptisms and holy communion, Rochester Cathedral in Kent has added crazy golf to its repertoire. …”

– Story from Sky News. Image: Lesley Olley via Rochester Cathedral.

Julian Mann to join the Free Church of England

It’s been announced that the Rev Julian Mann, currently the Vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension Oughtiridge in the Diocese of Sheffield, is to leave the Church of England to join the Free Church of England.

Anglican Mainstream has an interview with Julian.

C of E’s Newcastle Cathedral plans a weekend festival of LGBT events

From Church Society:

“Newcastle Cathedral is planning a weekend festival of LGBT events in July. These events include a panel discussion on ‘Queering the Church: beyond tolerance to inclusion’ featuring, among others, ‘a nonbinary genderqueer transgender person’ who is an ordained deacon.

We are working with local evangelical ministers to support them in responding to this event. …”

More here. (Image via Anglican Ink.)

Related: How LGBT Pride Month Became a Religious Holiday – Joe Carter

“We do not love our neighbor when we tell them they can continue to engage in unrepentant rebellion against God.”

Archbishop of Canterbury on pilgrimage to Walsingham

“The Most Reverend Justin Welby appeared as a guest preacher at the National Pilgrimage to the Anglican Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham. …

The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham has a long religious history, dating back to 1061 when it is said that the Virgin Mary led Richeldis de Faverches to Nazareth in spirit and asked her asked her to build a replica of the house where the Annunciation occurred.”

– Story from Eastern Daily Press in Norwich.

What is the Anglican Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham? From their website:

“After nearly four hundred years, the 20th century saw the restoration of pilgrimage to Walsingham as a regular feature of Christian life in these islands, and indeed beyond. In 1897, there was a Roman Catholic pilgrimage to the restored 14th century Slipper Chapel, now at the centre of the Roman Catholic National Shrine.

Fr Hope Patten, appointed as Vicar of Walsingham in 1921, ignited Anglican interest in the pre-Reformation pilgrimage. It was his idea to base a new statue of Our Lady of Walsingham on the image depicted on the seal of the medieval Priory. In 1922, this statue was set up in the Parish Church of St. Mary, and regular pilgrimage devotion followed. From the first night that the statue was placed there, people gathered around it to pray, asking Mary to join her powerful prayer with theirs. This work of intercession continues to this day.”

The Archbishop has visited Walsingham several times previously.

Earlier: Reversing the Reformation? – Church Society.

(Photo: The Anglican Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham.)

Vicar resigns as primary school imposes transgender ideology

“A Church of England primary school has taken the unprecedented step of allowing a child to transition from a boy to a girl in the school without informing parents until the day of the transition or putting any agreed policies and procedures in place. A rare audio recording has also revealed how the school brought in controversial trans lobby group Mermaids to train staff and governors. …

The Christian Legal Centre is supporting the courageous Rev. John Parker who resigned as a governor after his concerns were ignored and silenced.”

See the video from Christian Concern.

See also:

“After his worries were dismissed by the bishop, Mr Parker quit the church where he had been a vicar for 14 years, and also the school after seven years as governor.”

– from The Daily Mail, via Anglican Mainstream.

Reversing the Reformation?

“A number of events have happened in the past few weeks which make one wonder what on earth has happened to this nation’s ‘Protestant Reformed Religion established by Law.’  This phrase is, of course, is taken from the Coronation Oath, and is meant to describe the Church of England.

More often than ever it seems important to remember what is actually established by law and what is commonly found to be contrary to it.  Canon A5 tells us that:

‘The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures.  In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.’  — Canon A5

In other words, the doctrine of the Church of England is that of the Bible and those who agree with it. When asked ‘what do those people who agree with the Bible look like?’ — the Church of England replies, ‘they look like those who uphold the 39 Articles of Religion, the 1662 BCP, and the Ordinal.’

There are no prayers to Mary, or asking for Mary’s prayers, in the BCP. There is no veneration or adoration of statues or images in the BCP. Indeed there are no images or statues at all, nor are there pilgrimages, or a sacramental confession. Quite the contrary in fact. …”

– At Church Society’s blog, Adam Young points to some disturbing developments in the Church of England.


Journey with Mary from The Ascension to Pentecost: A guide to praying with Mary for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (“Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement … started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York…”)

(Photo of the statue of “Our Lady of Walsingham” being carried into Westminster Abbey, courtesy Westminster Abbey.)

Tactics, not truth, over same-sex marriages

“It would seem that the response by the bishops of the Church of England to the latest attempt in the House of Lords to force clergy to conduct same-sex weddings was driven by tactical considerations rather than by transcendent truth.

Although the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft [pictured], resisted the amendment by Lords Faulkner and Collins to remove the CofE’s exemption from solemnising same-sex marriages, his remarks were notable for their political tone…”

The Rev. Julian Mann discerns an attempt by the Bishop of Oxford to placate the 100+ evangelical clergy in his diocese who signed a letter ‘of grave concern’ in January.

Gospel Flourishing in a Time of Confusion — new book from Church Society

At Church Society’s website, there’s news of a new book to help evangelicals in the midst of a very confused Church of England.

Glorify God in Your Body – new book from Martin Davie

The latest Podcast from Church Society discusses an important new publication by Martin Davie – Glorify God in your Body. The book’s subtitle is Human identity and flourishing in marriage, singleness and friendship.

Clear biblical teaching on these topics is much in need in today’s church.

From the cover of the book:

“This study, written by Dr Martin Davie in collaboration with a representative group of other Evangelical theologians, is commended by the Church of England Evangelical Council as a resource in the discussions taking place in the Church of England in relation to the House of Bishops’ ‘Living in Love and Faith: Christian teaching and learning about human identity, sexuality and marriage’ project.

It explores a Christian approach to human identity, marriage, singleness, friendship, sex and family life in the light of the worldview that is laid out for us in Scripture and the classical Christian tradition. It considers the current challenges to this approach arising from the sexual revolution and from technological developments in the fields of birth control and infertility treatment and looks at how Christians should respond to them in ways that will enable them to fulfil St. Paul’s injunction to ‘glorify God in your body’. (1 Corinthians 6:20).

From the Church of England Evangelical Council website, you can download the complete 324 page book as a PDF file, or in Kindle and ePub versions. There’s also a link to purchase printed copies from the Latimer Trust.

Read the Press Release accompanying the publication of the book (PDF file).

Two current stories highlight the need to not only understand God’s word, but also to live by it.

The Reality of Sexual Abuse Hits Home: What Happened? What Do We Do Now? – Albert Mohler.

“A massive investigative report appeared in the Sunday editions of the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. The headline was direct — ‘20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms.’…”

Thomas Brown elected 10th bishop of Maine in historic vote – Episcopal News Service.

“Brown will become The Episcopal Church’s only openly gay and married bishop currently leading a diocese. … The church currently has one other openly gay bishop. The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2009…”

The Bible Theft: Guarding Against Those who Steal God’s Word from the Church

Dr. Peter Sanlon (pictured), Vicar of St. Mark’s Tunbridge Wells, has recently published “The Bible Theft” – a book to help Christians spot the various kinds of anti-Biblical teaching running rampant in the Church of England.

It’s a very timely book, and Julian Mann draws attention to it:

“This tremendously accessible and intelligent book from the pastoral front line breathes the excitement of Christian truth and thus commends the Faith to both Christians and non-Christians.”

Australian readers can order copies from these booksellers (and, doubtless, others).

Better than Inclusion: Welcome! Response to Church of England Guidance on Gender Transition Services

Glen Scrivener from Speak Life speaks with Dr Ian Paul about the open letter released this week, ‘A Response to the House of Bishops guidance on Transgender Welcome’, and the whole issue of gender dysphoria.

Ian Paul reaffirms that everyone is welcome at church, and explains why.

Watch the conversation.

Read the Letter and see the signatories which includes more than a thousand Church of England clergy.

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