Welby declines to endorse the Jerusalem Declaration and will not commit to attending GAFCON’s Kigali meeting

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The member for South Holland and The Deepings, the Rt. Hon. Sir John Hayes (Cons.) tabled six questions to Dame Caroline Spelman (Cons.) the Second Church Estates Commissioner in Parliament on the Anglican Communion, GAFCON, and the Church of England on 24 July 2019. Mrs. Spelman responded as follows:

Anglicanism

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Church of England has plans to adopt the approach of the Global Anglican Future Conference as a model for the (a) growth and (b) development of the Anglican Communion.

Answered on: 03 September 2019

The policies, structures and strategic development of the Anglican Communion are not matters for which the Church Commissioners has responsibility.

Global Anglican Future Conference: Rwanda

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Archbishop of Canterbury plans to attend the 2020 Global Anglican Future Conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

Answered on: 03 September 2019

At previous meetings of the Global Anglican Future Conference the Archbishop of Canterbury has been represented by a diocesan bishop of the Church of England. No decision has yet been taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury about whether he or a representative will attend the 2020 Conference in Kigali.

Gender Recognition

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, if the Church of England will clarify its interpretation of biblical teaching on sex and gender in relation to transgender issues.

Answered on: 03 September 2019

The Church of England is currently undertaking a consultative process called ‘Living in Love and Faith’, which is considering all matters of sexuality and gender.

In 2018 the House of Bishops issued Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition, which can be found here:

Church of England: Staff

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what proportion of Church of England employees are practising Christians.

Answered on: 03 September 2019

It is not possible to give the proportion of employees either at a parish, diocesan or national institution-level who are practising Christians as information on this is not recorded or held centrally. Some posts within the National Church Institutions have a Genuine Occupational Requirement to either be a ‘Practising or Communicant member of the Church of England or a member of a Church in communion with the Church of England’.

Church of England: Theology

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to help ensure that its theology is founded on the 39 articles.

Answered on: 03 September 2019

The founding theology of the Church of England is drawn from a combination of documents, beliefs and practices known as the ‘Historic Formularies’ and Canon Law. The Historic Formularies consist of scripture, the Book of Common Prayer, the 39 Articles of Religion and the Ordinal.

Priests of the Church of England are required to affirm their acceptance of the Historic Formularies at their ordination during the Declaration of Assent. The text of this can be found under Canon C15:

Anglicanism

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Archbishop of Canterbury will pledge his commitment to the Jerusalem Statement of 2008.

Answered on: 03 September 2019

Archbishop Rowan Willams responded to the publication of the Jerusalem Statement by the Global Anglican Futures Conference in 2008, the full text of which can be found here:

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is committed to pointing towards the good news of Jesus and the renewal of the Church. The Archbishop is looking forward to the Lambeth Conference taking place in 2020 with the theme “God’s Church for God’s world.