On bishops, politics and Rwanda

The bishops of the Church of England have hit the headlines by writing to The Times in protest at the Government’s plan to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for treatment. Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation. Rwanda is a brave country … Continue Reading

On the appointment of senior leaders in the Church

On 6th January, it was announced that Stephen Knott, who has been working as part of the Lambeth Palace team, was appointed to be Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments in succession to Caroline Boddington. The role has attracted attention in the past, since Caroline developed the role so that it had significant control over the process … Continue Reading

On bishops, creation and the environment

Last week, the Diocese of Oxford posted a video, the first in a planned series of four, in which Olivia Graham, the recently-appointed bishop of Reading, gave a short theological introduction to the reasons why Christians should be concerned about the environment. In it, I think she said some unusual and (it turned out controversial) … Continue Reading

Bishops should throw away their mitres

Why do Church of England bishops wear mitres? In our age of visual media, there is a tendency to reach for visual symbolism; it seems sometimes that those on television they don’t think they are actually talking to a bishop unless the person is wearing a purple cassock. But there are many reasons for saying … Continue Reading

Responding to Dominic Cummings

It is not often that a single story dominates everyone’s online conversation—yet that is what happened over the weekend, when I found that just about all my Facebook friends were commenting on the same issue. And it is not often that the bishops of the Church of England appear to speak with one voice on … Continue Reading

Should clergy expect deference?

My friend Richard Peers caused something of a stir at the weekend when he questioned whether ‘senior’ clergy should expect to be treated with deference. His reflections arose from noticing a comment made by Justin Welby at the IISCA enquiry into sexual abuse. After offering a robust critique of one aspect of Justin’s witness statement, … Continue Reading

In defence of bishops

At the beginning of last week, Matthew Parris let go a broadside at the Church of England, and the way that some of its leaders were taken in by the abuser Peter Ball. He points to the culpability of those taken in by Peter Ball’s charm and charisma, particularly focussing on Prince Charles and Lord … Continue Reading

‘Is the new Bishop of London any good?’

If nothing else, the announcement that Sarah Mullally was to be the new Bishop of London was entertaining in the way that it flummoxed all the pundits and predictors. As the inimitable Richard Coles put it: ‘In your faces, haruspices‘. But then followed the slightly predictable rush to judgement, with a number of comments made … Continue Reading

Can Hereford change the Church on sexuality?

My favourite film last year was the magnificent Arrival, in which giant alien pods arrive in 12 random places around the world, and the challenge is to interpret their unusual language. (You can’t really go wrong when a film is about hermeneutics). At a critical point half-way through the film, the interpreter Dr Louise Banks … Continue Reading

Is Synod competent?

The General Synod of the Church of England (of which I am a member) met last week in York, and there were many good things about it. We spend most of Saturday afternoon exploring some exciting developments from the ‘centre’ offering resources to dioceses and churches in the task of evangelism and the making of disciples. … Continue Reading