The future of the Church of England, following the conclusion of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process, formed an important part of discussions at the Church of England Evangelical Council’s (CEEC) annual meeting.
The Council, comprising a broad group from Diocesan Evangelical Fellowships (DEFs), societies and networks, Theological Education Institutions (TEIs), EGGS and evangelical Bishops, as well as the Officers/Trustees, members of the Working Group (appointed by the Council) and staff, met on 19 and 20 January 2022 for its annual meeting at High Leigh, Hertfordshire.
The Council will continue to work for unity but agreed it was time to prayerfully consider a range of options, should the Church of England decide to move away from its current teaching on conclusion of the LLF consultation. Friends from Wales and Scotland were present, as well as those from the wider Anglican Communion, to tell their story.
“Over the next few months, we are encouraging evangelical churches across the country to give time to engage with and think through the issues raised by LLF. In particular, we would like them to consider prayerfully how they would respond if significant change was brought into the Church of England”, said Keith Sinclair, National Director, CEEC.
During the meeting, the CEEC announced the launch of an education workstream to secure wholistic Christian education across England and the Council unanimously endorsed a proposal to work on the CEEC’s vision for equipping and enabling evangelism.
Lis Goddard, Co-chair of the CEEC Working Group, said: “We’re really excited to have launched a dedicated stream of activity looking specifically at how we might better secure the place of wholistic Christian education in our schools and across the country, and how we might better support and equip our head teachers, teachers, parents and pupils at this time.”
The Council reviewed work undertaken over the past year, including the General Synod elections. It reported on the growth of the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship network from 33 to all 40 mainland dioceses by the end of 2022.
The Council’s Culture, Power and Abuse working group, established last year, published a set of resources in November to help churches navigate issues of power and abuse following the widely publicised cases of John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher. The group heard that churches are already engaging with the resources and they have been warmly received.
The Council invited Rennis Ponniah, Bishop of Singapore and Chair of the Global South Secretariat, to speak and Bishop Bill Love, who is Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of the Living Word, to give his moving story at the annual meeting.