The Church of England is losing young people – and fast

“Attendance by children in Church of England churches is plummeting. Might that indicate that the push by revisionist bishops to ditch the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage and sexual morality is not persuading young people to join C of E churches?

Andrew Selous MP, who fields questions about the established Church in the House of Commons as Second Church Estates Commissioner, has revealed that the number of children attending C of E churches on an average Sunday has halved since 2003. …”

– Former CofE vicar Julian Mann reports at Christian Today.

A good reminder to pray for the clear proclamation of the gospel across England.

C of E’s helter-skelter plunge into heresy

“There are many good men and women in the Church of England who simply want to worship and serve God as best they can in the way their parents did. There are ministers whose preaching and teaching has enriched us and whose books Christians read with profit. Such Christians have been betrayed by their denomination. …”

– Presbyterian minister Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack writes at The Conservative Woman.

No churchwardens and vacant PCC posts: an investigation into the church volunteering crisis

“The recent Church Buildings Commission survey in the diocese of Norwich discovered that about 100 churches had no recorded churchwardens. In one rural benefice, there were 19 churches, placing ‘great pressure’ on the incumbent, who had three churches with no PCC members, leaving her with sole responsibility for them.

The Church Times wrote to every diocese last month in an attempt to quantify the extent of the recruitment challenge. …”

Anglican Mainstream links to an article in Church Times highlighting a[nother] challenge for the Church of England, and especially for smaller churches.

Update:

See also ‘In this age of bloated bureaucracy, pity the poor churchwarden’ by Julian Mann.

Church of England is blasted for trying to hire £36,000 a year ‘anti-racism’ officer to ‘deconstruct whiteness’

“The Church of England has been blasted for hiring an ‘anti-racism’ officer to ‘deconstruct whiteness’ – with critics accusing it of ‘drinking the critical race Kool Aid’.

The £36,000-a-year and 35-hours a week role is part of a new 11-person ‘racial justice unit’ being set up by the Diocese of Birmingham to work across the West Midlands.

The job advertisement, published on Tuesday, described the role as ensuring that ‘structures, practices and behaviours’ throughout the church allow UK minority ethnic people to ‘flourish’. …”

– Story from Mail Online.

Is there a glimmer of hope?

“The conduct of the House of Bishops has been deceitful and dishonest and disgraceful – concealing legal advice and the game plan. …

To believe there are glimmers of hope is not to prepare for the end of evangelical ministry in the Church of England. Such ministry is being squeezed out and it is naive not to see it, not say it, and not help others prepare for it.”

Anglican Futures has published this honest assessment from a clergyman in the Church of England.

Do continue to pray for Bible-believing Christians in the CofE.

We cannot agree to disagree, says CEEC’s John Dunnett

From The Church of England Evangelical Council:

The meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England concluded on Tuesday.

Commenting on the debate on the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process, Revd Canon John Dunnett, National Director, Church of England Evangelical Council, CEEC, said: “The decision taken by General Synod to move to next business [before the end of the debate] is demonstrative of widespread dissatisfaction with how the bishops have been progressing the LLF process. The one thing that Synod could largely agree on was that neither side could support the proposals that would emanate from the motion, as tabled at Synod.  We believe that GS2346, as presented at Synod, is riddled with confusion and ambiguity, contains proposals we could never support, and outlines inadequate structural provision.

“Significantly, the move to next business is also evidence that we cannot ‘square the circle’ in the debate, as currently framed. This issue is not adiaphora – we cannot agree to disagree.

“This is why we continue to call for a legal and structural settlement without theological compromise, which we believe is the only way forward. We will gladly work with Bishop Martyn Snow to explore this route further. Between now and July, we will be calling on churches and their leaders to articulate their support for this.

“Many feel that the fabric of the Church of England is tearing as a result of the Living in Love and Faith process and that structural differentiation is the only way of maintaining any degree of unity.”

Source.

Living in Love and Faith: what now for those who cannot ‘agree to disagree’?

“Yesterday the Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, tried to reset the ongoing Living in Love and Faith (LLF) debate, asking the General Synod of the Church of England ‘to be reconciled with God and show this by being reconciled to one another’.

He talked of the missionary imperative of the Church finding a way to ‘agree to disagree’ and pleaded for Synod to avoid “a series of speeches simply saying, ‘Synod needs to agree with me’, or others just need to change their mind”.

But the problem facing the Church is, as Ed Shaw said, ‘We do not all believe the same things when it comes to identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.’…”

Susie Leafe continues to analyse the debates at the current meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod.

See also:

What do we mean by reconciliation? – Martin Davie.

“The problem with the LLF/PLF debate in the Church of England at the moment is that the majority of the bishops are promoting a truncated form of reconciliation, a form of reconciliation which emphasises quite rightly the virtues of humility, patience and love, but also gives liturgical recognition to sexual immorality in the form of the blessing of same-sex sexual relationships and same-sex marriages and the ordination of those involved in them. …”

Image: Bishop Snow’s call for reconciliation despite holding contradictory beliefs.

Church of England is ‘standing on the brink of a precipice’

“As the General Synod of the Church of England gathered once again in London on Friday, Rev Ian Paul, a member of the Archbishops’ Council challenged the agenda in forceful terms.

Suggesting that Synod had made ‘avoiding reality a bit of an art form,’ he claimed that the Church of England is ‘standing on the brink of a precipice’. A precipice which could leave the next generation with nothing but a ‘heap of ruins’ to fight over. …”

Susie Leafe writes at Christian Today.

See Ian Paul’s challenge last Friday (link should go to 01:31:28 in the video).

“The Church of England – a heap of ruins for the next generation.”

LLF and Reconciliation- taking the wrong path?

“‘This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’

These words, from Jeremiah 6:16 were quoted by the Rt Revd Keith Sinclair, retired Bishop of Birkenhead, at the end of his address at Gafcon IV in April 2023.  He had been asked to speak about the global implications of the decisions taken by the Church of England’s February General Synod to introduce prayers of blessing for same-sex couples. His presentation was masterful and measured – as befits one of the most respected conservative leaders in the Church of England – and it was met with the most extraordinary standing ovation. …”

This post from Anglican Futures warns that the Church of England’s direction into the abandonment of Biblical morality and teaching is fixed.

It is a certainty that there will be many private meetings and whispered conversations taking place over the coming week in a last ditch attempt to find a way of persuading Synod that a square is just a circle with pointy bits.

There is a crossroads ahead – but it is hard to see a good outcome for the orthodox.”

Image: Bishop Keith Sinclair at GAFCON IV. See his address at GAFCON IV here (it may take quite some time to load).

Speaking of (the Church of England’s General) Synod

From Church Society:

“Halfway through this five-year term of General Synod, Chris Moore and Ros Clarke discuss what’s on the agenda, what it’s like to serve on synod, and why you should consider standing for election next time.”

Listen here – and there are links to papers and the livestream for those who are interested.

LLF road map to ‘rebuilding trust’ set out at General Synod briefing

Justin Welby Credit: Jacqui J. Sze

“A fresh way forward on Living in Love and Faith (LLF) will be presented to the General Synod later this month, in the hope of ‘rebuilding trust’ lost over the past year. …”

Anglican Mainstream has the link to an article in Church Times.

How to rebuild trust after what has happened?

Photo: Jacqui J. Sze, via The Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.

Pray for the Upcoming Church of England General Synod

Prayer request from GAFCON:

“The General Synod of the Church of England meets February 23-27.

Pray for the orthodox faithful representatives. ‘Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ … striving side by side for the faith of the gospel’ (Phil. 1:27 ESV).”

‘Stop turning our great cathedrals into nightclubs’ petition signed by thousands

“Over 2,000 individuals have voiced their objection through a petition against a recent silent disco event held at Canterbury Cathedral, an iconic site with deep historical and religious significance. …

Despite the controversy stirred by this event, several other cathedrals, including Hereford, Leeds, St Albans, Coventry, Sheffield, and Manchester, have opted to host similar silent discos in the upcoming weeks and months. Manchester Cathedral, for instance, not only plans a silent disco in May but also a Punk Rock Club night at the end of February. …”

– Report from Premier Christian News.

Photo: Whitsun parade, Manchester Cathedral, 1911. (Not a Punk Rock Club night.)

CEEC expresses ‘profound concern’ at ‘Living in Love, Faith and Reconciliation’ paper

Here’s a media release from the Church of England Evangelical Council:

Monday 12 February 2024, London, UK: CEEC has expressed ‘profound concern’ at one of the papers published ahead of February’s meeting of the General Synod.

The paper entitled ‘Living in Love, Faith and Reconciliation’ (GS2346) is being brought to the Synod by the Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow.

In response to the paper, Revd Canon John Dunnett, National Director, said:

“CEEC wholeheartedly welcomes the commitment in this paper to pursue openness, humility, honesty and transparency in the Living in Love and Faith process. At the same time, we are profoundly concerned by the many ambiguities in the Commitments, and that the theological underpinning of the ‘reset’ appears to remain that of ‘adiaphora’.

“Most concerningly of all, the Commitment to ‘exploring the process for clergy and lay ministers to enter same-sex civil marriages’ could drive a coach and horses through Church of England doctrine.

“The title ’Living in Love, Faith and Reconciliation’, will appear to many to contradict the need for differentiation. CEEC remains convinced that the maximum degree of unity possible can only be obtained through a robust structural settlement.”

The Church of England’s General Synod will meet from 23-27 February, in London.

– Source: CEEC.

Orthodox bishops publish ‘theological vision’ of Christian life and discipleship to ‘encourage’ and ‘equip’

“The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) welcomes today’s publication of a ‘theological vision’ of Christian life and discipleship by a group of orthodox bishops.

These bishops, writing on behalf of a wider grouping in the House and College of bishops, say that the affirmations included in the vision are designed to ‘bring greater clarity to our points of convergence and divergence’ and to ‘encourage and equip’ those who continue to hold to the Church’s historic teaching. …”

Statement from the CEEC.

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