By some measures, theological education and ordination training in the Church of England is in a state of rude health. The Renewal and Reform programme set a target of increasing the numbers coming forward and training for ordination by 50% over the next five years, in order to address the large numbers of clergy retiring, … Continue Reading
Last month, John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, wrote in the Church Times an eirenic but penetrating review of Sceptical Christianity: Exploring credible belief by Robert Reiss: He believes that we should engage with his doubts — about the Virgin birth, the incarnation, the resurrection and life after death, to name some. His heroes, whom he quotes … Continue Reading
The Church of England has just released two related reports on numbers in ordained ministry. These are not related to annual ministry figures; the last figures (from 2015) were released in June, and caught the headlines for a number of reasons. These reports are related more to the aims of the Renewal and Reform process, … Continue Reading
Over the weekend, two articles appeared in the Guardian by Harriet Sherwood, citing Martyn Percy’s disagreement with the direction the Church of England is apparently taking. The first cites comments from the conclusion to a forthcoming book, which appears to express Martyn’s overall discontent. One of Britain’s senior theologians has warned that the Church of England … Continue Reading
I have been contributing to the Church’s Renewal and Reform stream on developing lay leadership, and one of the questions that has come up is: ‘What does the Church of England actually believe about the laity and lay leadership?’ I am not referring here to what some have called ‘ecclesial lay leadership’, that is, the … Continue Reading
One of the key challenges facing the Church of England is the decline in numbers of clergy, and the language expressing the urgency of addressing this has sometimes suggested that the Church cannot exist without clergy. This has in turn raised the question of the status and importance of lay ministry. I have therefore written … Continue Reading
One of the great puzzles of modern politics is why Donald Trump has done so well when so many people dislike him (and Hilary Clinton too—the US Presidential election is being contested by the two most disliked politicians of modern times). Part of the answer is to be found in his willingness to think the … Continue Reading
One of the many fascinating debates at Synod this week was on the proposals for Resourcing Ministerial Education (RME) on which I have written a couple of times before. I had put down one of four amendments to the motion from Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, and I was asking for work to be done to check that RME was not undermining ‘our shared, catholic understanding of ordination as expressed in the Ordinal’ prior to implementation in September 2017.