Saturday, 6 May 2017

Dear Archbishops (a response) #GE2017

9/5/17 Thank you for all the positive comments, and additional names for the letter. I'm now struggling to keep up with adding new names to the body of the letter itself, but do leave your name in the comments below if you'd like to.
There are also articles in The Guardian today, and on the Premier website late yesterday.
Alan Storkey has also written a very thorough and considered response to the Archbishops letter here.
8/5/17 There's a write-up of this letter (pretty verbatim) by Christian Today online here]

Dear Archbishops Justin and Sentamu,

Thank you for your pastoral letter, which many of us read eagerly when we received it. We do indeed live in 'frantic and fraught' times, and deeply-rooted Christian wisdom in the lead-up to this most critical of General Elections has the potential to make a valuable, even crucial contribution. As those who share with you both the weighty responsibility for helping Christian congregations reflect on the current political challenges with Christian faithfulness, your efforts to support and resource us are appreciated.

Thank you also for highlighting the vital issues of education and housing, of community-building and healthcare, of overseas aid and campaigns against slavery, trafficking and sexual violence. Thank you for pointing to the need for justice in our economic and financial systems, and for "a generous and hospitable welcome to refugees and migrants". All of these we welcome, as crucial issues to be placed at the centre of our political conversations and decisions.

There were, however, aspects of your pastoral letter which have given us cause for deep concern, and which have driven us to respond to it with urgency.

Most prominently among those concerns is your use of the word 'stability'. We appreciate the word's Benedictine roots, and the critical contemporary challenge of "living well with change". However, words also acquire meaning from their common usage in the present, and it is impossible to escape the fact that the leader of one of the major political parties competing in this General Election has used the phrase "strong and stable" almost as a mantra throughout the election campaign thus far. For your pastoral letter to focus so positively on such a politically freighted word seems to us, at best, as a case of desperate political naivety, and at worst, an implicit endorsement of one party in this election.

Our concern goes deeper than the level of perception, however. Your focus not just on 'stability', but also on 'cohesion' (as "what holds us together"), your commodification of 'courage' as "aspiration, competition and ambition", and your conflation of the deeply-contested discourses of "our Christian heritage" and "our shared British values" (a conflation often appropriated by far-right nationalist groups) are also all deeply troubling. The quest for reconciliation and unity of course has a vital place within both the Christian tradition and the work of politics, but at this point in the history of the United Kingdom, politicians issuing calls to 'unite' risk concealing deep divisions under a banner of conformity, rather than addressing these divisions at their roots. The emphases on stability and cohesion in your pastoral letter risk colluding with such dangerous political rhetoric. As you will of course know, the Benedictine vow of 'stability' goes hand in hand with the vow of 'conversion of life' - an ongoing process of allowing our hearts to be changed. That process often involves plunging into the heart of our divisions and conflicts, coming face to face with our 'others' and our 'enemies', and confronting our own tendencies towards self-deception, greed, exclusion and violence. There is a prophetic calling for the church here, that goes well beyond appeals to shared values.

The third Benedictine vow is that of 'obedience'. Understood in a purely hierarchical way, it could be argued that this response to your pastoral letter is an act of disobedience. Our understanding of Benedictine obedience, however, is more mutual: as Rowan Williams has put it, "[n]ovice and senior monk are ‘obeying’ one another if they are attending with discernment to one another and the habits that shape their lives are habits of listening, attention and the willingness to take seriously the perspective of the other, the stranger". At a time when the voices of the poorest, the most vulnerable, and the most marginalised are being ignored, silenced, even demonised, we want to respond to Benedict's call to obedience with our whole hearts, and listen most attentively to those voices, not in the centres of power, but in its margins. When those voices are not being heard at the heart of our deliberations and decision-making, Jesus himself is being silenced.

You remind us at the beginning of your pastoral letter that we are currently in the season of Eastertide. We pray, with you, that the risen Christ will be seen and welcomed among us, as in the stranger on the Emmaus Road, that hearts will be changed, and that the peace of Christ will break down all our dividing walls.

In joyful obedience to our Risen Lord,

Revd Al Barrett, Rector
Revd Dr Sally Nash, Associate Minister
Revd Dr Genny Tunbridge, Common Ground Community
Penny Hall, Church Warden
Sarah Maxfield, Community Development Worker
Paul Wright, Street Connector Mentor
Jane Barrett, Youth & Community Worker
Bob Maxfield, Julia Bingham, Jo Bull
(all of Hodge Hill Church, Birmingham Diocese)

Revd Dr Richard Sudworth, Christ Church Sparkbrook, Birmingham Diocese
Revd Dr John White, Kingsbury, Birmingham Diocese
Revd Priscilla White, St Faith & St Laurence Harborne, Birmingham Diocese
Revd Kathryn Evans, St Paul Blackheath, Birmingham Diocese
Revd Andy Delmege, St Bede Brandwood, Birmingham Diocese
Revd Dr Susannah Snyder, Oxford Diocese
Revd Kate Pearson, Coventry Diocese
Revd Canon Kathryn Fleming, Coventry Cathedral
Revd Elaine Evans, Vicar, St Bertelin Stafford St John the Evangelist Whitgreave, Lichfield Diocese
Revd Judith Jessop,  Methodist Pioneer Minister, Parson Cross, Sheffield
Revd Ray Gaston, Team Vicar, St Chad & St Mark, Parish of Central Wolverhampton , Lichfield Diocese
Revd Simon Douglas, Team Vicar, Parish of Tettenhall Regis, Lichfield Diocese
Revd Mark Hewerdine, Priest-in-Charge, St Chad's Ladybarn / Fresh Expressions Enabler, Manchester Diocese
Revd Jo Musson, Claines and St George's Parish Churches, Worcester Diocese
Revd Dr Keith Hebden, Leicester Diocese
Revd Paul Nicolson, Taxpayers Against Poverty
Brother Barnabas-Francis OSF, St Barnabas Bethnal Green, London Diocese
Fr Damian Feeney, Vicar, Holy Trinity Ettingshall & Catholic Missioner, Lichfield Diocese
Revd Pam Smith,
Revd John Hayes, Tower Hamlets Methodist Circuit
Revd Simon Nicholls, Markfield, Leicestershire
Revd Jonathan Clatworthy, St Brides Liverpool
Revd Claire Turner, Birmingham Diocese
Revd Dr Kevin Ellis, Vicar Bro Cybi, Bangor Diocese
Revd Canon Barry Naylor, Leicester
Revd Malcolm Liles, Sheffield Cathedral
Revd Naomi Nixon, Coventry Diocese
Revd Michael Futers, Associate Priest, St Mark's Derby, Derby Diocese
Revd Mark Nash-Williams, Vicar, Alston Moor, Newcastle Diocese
Revd Sarah Bick, Vicar, Mid-Wyedean Churches, Gloucester Diocese
Revd Rosie Austin, Team Rector, Shirwell Mission Community, Exeter Diocese
Revd Deborah Scott-Bromley
Revd Jonnie Parkin, Ely
Revd Dr Catrin Harland-Davies, Methodist Chaplain, Sheffield University
Revd Victoria Ashdown, Vicar, Ampfield Chilworth & North Baddesley
Revd Helena del Pino, Church of the Holy Spirit, Bretton, Peterborough Diocese
Revd Mark Coleman, Vicar, Rochdale St Chad, St Mary in the Baum & St Edmund
Revd Mark Rodel, All Hallows Lady Bay, Southwell & Nottingham Diocese
Revd Susan Height, Priest in charge, St Faith North Dulwich, Area Dean Dulwich
Revd Sally Coleman, Wesley Ebenezer, Sheffield
Revd Richard Cattley, retired priest, Maidenhead
Mother Carrie Thompson, Vicar, Forton St John the Evangelist, Portsmouth Diocese
Revd Ali Dorey, North Sheffield Estates
Revd Nick Jones, Rector, Acton
Revd Claire Carson, Lead Chaplain, St George's Hospital, London
Revd Tony Whatmough, Team Rector, Headingley Team Ministry, Leeds
Revd Stella Bailey, Vicar, Kenilworth, Coventry Diocese
Revd Andy McMullon, Parish of Sedbergh, Carlise Diocese
Revd Elaine Dando, Chichester Diocese
Revd Patricia Holmes, retired priest, Leeds Diocese
Revd Lesley Crawley, Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale
Revd Denise Harding, Methodist presbyter, Cheshire South Methodist Circuit
Ven Alastair McCollum, Archdeacon of Tolmie, Rector St John the Divine, Victoria BC
Revd Fiona Haworth, Associate Priest, St Peter Mancroft, Norwich Diocese
Revd David Bouskill, Chichester Diocese
Revd Mark Abrey, Chase Benefice, Oxford Diocese
Revd Jeanette Hartwell, Director of Reader Training, Lichfield Diocese
Revd David Kirk Beedon, Southwell & Nottingham Diocese
Revd Dr Chris Shannahan, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University
Revd Steve Ingrouille, Methodist presbyter, Isle of Man
Revd Nick Jowett, retired priest, Dinnington, South Yorkshire
Revd Dr John Peet, Leeds Diocese
Revd Dr Graham Southgate, Team Rector, Nadder Valley, Salisbury Diocese
Bishop Laurie Green
Revd Wendy Wale, Chaplain, Wadham College, Oxford

Mark Bond-Webster, Norwich Cathedral Jane Hyde, soon-to-be-licensed Reader, St Mary in the Baum / St Chad Rochdale
Andy Macqueen OblSB, All Saints Basingstoke
Margaret Townsend, All Saints Bath
Rob Ellis, St John the Baptist CofE, Wonersh
Stephen Davy, London Jane Perry, Social Policy Researcher / Trainee Lay Pioneer, Lewes, Chichester Diocese
Patricia Hardman, Baptist
Hannah Land, Nottingham
Marie Holmes
Craig Nobbs, LLM, Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale
David Rhodes, writer
Anne Roberts, Bolton
Ian Wood, Local Preacher, Nottingham (East) Methodist Circuit
Laura Whitmarsh, Ordinand, Bristol
Sue Peach, Reader, Christ Church Shooters Hill, London Alison Kaan
Wendy Edwards, University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford
Aidan Greenwood, Manchester Diocese
Sarah Claire-Swift, Stoke on Trent
Toby Forward
Lisa Adams, Portsmouth
Ruth Wilde, Selly Oak Quaker Meeting, Birmingham
Anne Roberts, Bolton Dr Nigel Pimlott
Liam Massey, St Paul Stockongford, Coventry Diocese
Erika Baker, St Andrew's Blagdon, Bath & Wells Diocese
Kath Rogers, All Saints with St Frideswyde, Liverpool Diocese
Jennie Liebenberg (ALM in training), St Matthew's New Waltham, Lincoln Diocese
James Ballantyne, North East pioneer development worker, Frontier Youth Trust Dr Simon John Duffy, Centre for Welfare Reform
Savi Hensman, ekklesia
Simon Barrow, ekklesia
Carrie Pemberton Ford
Barbara Wheeler
Matthew Arnold, LLM for FxC St Augustine, Mansfield & St Barnabas, Pleasley Hill, Southwell & Nottingham Diocese
Marion West, Local Preacher, Purley Methodist Circuit, London District
Tom Skinner, Manchester
Mark Bick, Pioneer Reader, Coleford, Gloucester Diocese
Angela Partoon, All Saints Walsall
Paul Keeble, Manchester
Mel Parkin, Cambridge Jessica Holmes-Stanley, Birmingham Diocese Susi Liles, Sheffield Cathedral
Ruth Harley, Children's Youth & Families' Minister, All Saints High Wycombe, Oxford Diocese
Rachel Holdforth, All Saints High Wycombe
Karin McDonald, St Mark's Godalming
Sue Williams, Lay Worship Leader, Sheffield Manor Parish
Jenny Sills, Reader, Ladywood, Birmingham Diocese
Kathryn Rose, Harrow Green, London
Ray Leonard, St Andrew Blackhall, Durham Diocese
Ann Marie Gallagher, Roman Catholic, Birmingham
Adam North, St Peter's Hall Green, Birmingham Diocese
Nick Waterfield, Methodist, Chair of Sheffield Church Action on Poverty
Kim E Lafferty, St Stephen's, Kearsley, Manchester
Dr Charles Pemberton and Ms Irene Roding, St Margarets Church, Durham
Jo Chamberlain, All Saints Ecclesall, Sheffield Diocese
Annie Weatherley-Barton, St Peter & St Paul Gosberton, Lincoln Diocese
Antony Lowe, St Christopher's, Springfield, Birmingham Diocese
Simon Cross, Oasis, Grimsby
Symon Hill, Oxfordshire
Greg Smith, Lancashire
Simon Foster, Birmingham
Jenny Richardson, Sheffield
Jacob Theunisz, Reader, The Netherlands
Paul Magnall, Church Warden, All Hallows' Leeds
David Carter, Church of Martyrs, Leicester
Denis Beaumont, Methodist Local Preacher, Wombourne


  1. Happy to sign: Rev Mark Hewerdine, Priest-in-charge, St Chad's Ladybarn/Fresh Expressions Enabler

    1. What an utterly risible bag of drivel this is.

      "at this point in the history of the United Kingdom, politicians issuing calls to 'unite' risk concealing deep divisions under a banner of conformity, rather than addressing these divisions at their roots."

      So, after decades of the left trumpeting cohesion, taxpayers' cash cascading into the bottomless bucket of integration... Now, the moment that cohesion might just mean the losers accepting defeat over Brexit, this is when 'cohesion' becomes a dirty word.
      Bad Archbishops. Naughty, dirty boys to speak such filth. Thou shalt not cohese.
      "Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord and cast him out of the city and stoned him."

  2. Happy to sign. Paul Wright, Hodge Hill Parish.

  3. Jo Bull - Hodge Hill Church

  4. Simon Foster - Birmingham

  5. Jenny Richardson - Sheffield

  6. Happy to add my name...Antony Lowe, St Christopher's, Springfield, Birmingham

  7. I would like to add my name - Mrs Susi Liles, Sheffield Cathedral

  8. Reverend Malcolm Liles- Sheffield Cathedral

  9. Ruth Harley, Children's Youth and Families' Minister, All Saints High Wycombe, Diocese of Oxford

  10. Hapoy to sign. Rachel Holdforth All Saints High Wycombe

  11. Very happy to add my name: The Rev'd Canon Barry Naylor Leicester

  12. If you will take a Welsh priest, I am in

    Reverend Dr Kevin Ellis, Vicar of Bro Cybi, Diocese of Bangor

  13. Happy to sign - Rev'd Claire Turner, Birmingham Diocese

  14. Please add my name to this excellent response:
    Karin McDonald, St Mark's Godalming

  15. Happy to sign - Sue Williams, Lay Worship Leader, Sheffield Manor Parish

  16. I would like my name added to this excellent response if it isn't too late. The letter before the 2015 General Election (Who is my neighbour?) was much better. Jonathan Clatworthy, retired Church of England priest, worshipper at St Brides Liverpool.

  17. Reverend Simon Nicholls, Markfield, Leicestershire​

  18. Happy to sign - Revd John Hayes, Tower Hamlets Methodist Circuit

  19. Happy to sign, Jacob Theunisz, Reader, The Netherlands. Concerned about the relationship between the Church and the establishment in general.

  20. Please add my name to this excellent response to this politically tone-deaf letter.

    Reverend Pam Smith,

  21. Please add my name also.

    Fr. Damian Feeney: Vicar of Holy Trinity, Ettingshall, and Catholic MIssioner, Diocese of Lichfield.

  22. Please add my name too.

    Kathryn Rose, Harrow Green, London.

  23. Jenny Sills, Reader, Ladywood, Birmingham Dioceses

  24. More than happy to sign...and thanks for writing this in the first place!

    Brother Barnabas-Francis OSF, attached to Saint Barnabas, Bethnal Green - Diocese of London

  25. Revd Mark Coleman, Vicar of Rochdale St Chad, St Mary in the Baum and St Edmund.

    Happy to sign - good response. Thanks

  26. Thank you for this. Happy to sign
    Revd Helena del Pino, Church of the Holy Spirit, Bretton, Peterborough Diocese

  27. Happy to sign, V concerned about the relationship between church and state we have lost our prophetic voice
    Revd Victoria Ashdown Vicar of Ampfield Chilworth and North Baddesley

  28. Revd Dr Catrin Harland-Davies, Methodist Chaplain, Sheffield University.

  29. Matthew Arnold - LLM for FxC St Augustine, Mansfield and St Barnabas, Pleasley Hill, Nottinghamshire - on the margins of the diocese and pioneering in an area of outer estates and villages split by politics which have created multiple levels of deprivation, where the people are often feeling abandoned by the system.

  30. Revd Jonnie Parkin,Ely

  31. I don't know if you're looking for regular church members, but if so I'd be happy to sign. Tom Skinner, Manchester

  32. Please add my name - Mark Bick, Pioneer Reader, Coleford, Diocese of Gloucester.
    There are many aspects of the original letter than concern me. I don't understand why a genuine Christian statement would not have much more emphasis on justice. In the second paragraph of page two "just finance" is mentioned but next to a statement about "the dangers of an economy over-reliant on debt". This statement is highly political in a partisan way. It places personal debt and national debt on the same footing, which from a non-political economic perspective is just simply inaccurate and fails to distinguish between debt used for investment and dept used to fuel consumption which is a crucial distinction that has been blurred by politicians of more than one party for political purposes. There is a strong case that this has deeply damaged our country.

  33. Revd Deborah Scott-Bromley7 May 2017 at 12:04

    add my name

  34. I am also deeply concerned that:
    a) the bit about education was only about economics not about valuing & nurturing the individual - nothing about the possible causes of the huge rise in mental ill health among our young.
    b) the environment is mentioned in a vague way. As a church, concern for the environment is one of our "5 marks of mission". At a time of climate change denial and reneging on Paris commitments. There should have been a clearer mention - perhaps next to stuff about financial debt. Future generations ending up with huge problems because we fail to act now is a moral and ethical issue!!!
    c) at a time where cuts to the disabled and ill have been deep and damaging there is not an substantial statement on this "concern for the week, poor, marginalised" should have also been more specific in saying Governments have a role in ensuring that their policies are just and put this concern into action

  35. Please add my name Angela Partoon All Saints Walsall

  36. As a lay person, I endorse this letter and agree with the concerns raised in the comments as well.

  37. Revd. Rosie Austin, Team Rector, Shirwell Mission Community, Exeter Diocese

  38. Please add my name. But surely it should begin "Dear Archbishops Justin and John" (NOT Sentamu!).

    1. Thanks Phil, but no - ++Sentamu has, since being bishop of Birmingham, used his surname rather than his first name (see his signature at the end of the letter).

  39. A bishop can't win eh? Nevertheless, important points here that need to be addressed. Happy to sign. (Paul Keeble, Manchester)

  40. Happy to sign: Mel Parkin, Cambridge

  41. Happy to sign too - Rev Sarah Bick, Vicar of Mid-Wyedean Churches, Diocese of Gloucester. Particularly agree with the part on the use of the word stability. Mark Bick above in the comments is my husband, and I agree with his extra remarks too!

  42. Please add my name too.
    The Revd Mark Nash-Williams, Vicar of Alston Moor, Diocese of Newcastle

  43. Please add my name:
    Mother Carrie Thompson, Vicar of Forton, Saint John the Evangelist, Diocese of Portsmouth

  44. Richard Cattley7 May 2017 at 16:48

    please add my name to this excellent response
    Revd Richard Cattley retired priest Maidenhead

  45. Please add my name: Reverend Sally Coleman. Wesley Ebenezer. Sheffield

  46. Excellent response.Please add my name.
    Denis Beaumont, Methodist Local Preacher, Wombourne.

  47. Please add my name. David Carter. Middle East Evangelical Concern. member at Church of Martyrs. Leicester.

  48. Me too. Rev. Nick Jones, Rector of Acton

  49. Add me as well please. Thanks for writing this Al. Rev Ali Dorey North Sheffield Estates

  50. Paul Magnall, Church Warden, All Hallows', Leeds

  51. Add me too, James Ballantyne, North East pioneer development worker, FYT, great letter...

  52. Revd Stella Bailey Vicar Kenilworth, Diocese of Coventry

  53. Add me. Rev'd Tony Whatmough, Team Rector, Headingley Team Ministry, Leeds.

  54. Liam Massey, St. Paul's Stockongford. Coventry Diocese

  55. Erika Baker, St Andrew's Blagdon, Bath and Wells Diocese

  56. Thank you. Please add me Kath Rogers All Saints with St Frideswyde Diocese of Liverpool

  57. Thank you. Please add me Kath Rogers All Saints with St Frideswyde Diocese of Liverpool

  58. This is a very carefully thought out response which is well-expressed. I particularly endorse your statement about listening to those 'on the margins'.
    Please add my name - Jennie Liebenberg (ALM in training), St Matthew's, New Waltham. Diocese of Lincoln.

  59. Count me in. I am also suspicious of encouragement (in any context) to be 'resilient'. Whilst not totally without value it is often used in organisations to encourage compliance with systems and practices that are detrimental to human flourishing and should often be challenged and resisted rather than put up with. David Kirk Beedon, Anglican Priest, Southwell and Nottingham Diocese.

  60. Please add my name too.

    Revd. David Bouskill, Chichester Diocese

  61. Please add my name: Fiona Haworth, Associate Priest St Peter Mancroft, Diocese of Norwich.

  62. Alison Kaan

  63. Happy to sign.
    The Venerable Alastair McCollum, Archdeacon of Tolmie, Rector, St John the Divine, Victoria, BC. (Still a UK voter)

  64. Happy to sign.
    The Venerable Alastair McCollum, Archdeacon of Tolmie, Rector, St John the Divine, Victoria, BC. (Still a UK voter)

  65. Just seen this. Please add my name:Wendy Edwards (Laity) University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford

  66. Just seen this. Please add my name:Wendy Edwards (Laity) University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford

  67. Agree with this and happy to sign too (one minor point - you refer to ABC as Justin (first name) and ABY as Sentamu (surname) in your opening line - just wondered if this needs altering?)

    Revd Denise Harding, Methodist Presbyter, Cheshire South Methodist Circuit.

  68. Please add my name Revd Lesley Crawley, Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale

  69. Please add my name. Aidan Greenwood, Manchester Diocese.

  70. Please add my name. Rev patricia Holmes, retired priest, diocese of Leeds.

  71. Please add my name. Revd Elaine Dando, Chichester Diocese

  72. Please add my name if not too late. Sarah-Claire Swift, Stoke on Trent

  73. Their letter is at times apparently too political but in reality not political enough where is matters. Happy to endorse this one with a signature. Revd Andy McMullon, Parish of Sedbergh in the Diocese of Carlisle.

  74. Count me in.
    Toby Forward
    (Sorry that it's posted as 'anonymous). I don't have google accounts or stuff like that.)

  75. Please add my name.
    Lisa Adams, Portsmouth.

  76. Happy to sign. Ruth Wilde, Selly Oak Quaker Meeting, Birmingham.

  77. Happy to add my name. Anne Roberts, Bolton

  78. Please add my name. Ian Wood, Local Preacher, Nottingham (East) Methodist Circuit.

  79. Happy to add my name: Laura Whitmarsh, Ordinand, Bristol.

  80. Happy to sign. Revd. Mark Abrey, Chase Benefice, Diocese of Oxford

  81. Pleased to add my name.
    Sue Peach, Reader, Christ Church, Shooters Hill, London.

  82. Please add my name
    Jane Hyde...soon to licensed Reader, St Mary in the Baum / St Chad Rochdale.

  83. Please add my name:
    The Reverend Dr. Graham Southgate, Team Rector of the Nadder Valley, Diocese of Salisbury

  84. Happy to sign: Andy Macqueen OblSB, (Laity) All Saints', Basingstoke

  85. Please add my name - Revd Dr John Peet, Diocese of Leeds

  86. Please add my name: Rev Nick Jowett, retired priest, Dinnington, South Yorkshire

  87. Please add my name Al - Revd Dr Chris Shannahan, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University

  88. Utterly unacceptable for the leaders of this church to use one of the keywords of the Tory election slogan.

  89. Please add my name. Patricia Hardman, Baptist.

  90. I support this letter and hope our Archbishops will pray on the heartfelt responses to the original letter. Surely Jesús came to unite us not to celebrate national pride!

    Rob Ellis
    St John the Baptist C of E

  91. Stephen Davy

  92. I fully endorse the comments and concerns outlined in your letter. Please add my name. Mark Bond-Webster, communicant at Norwich Cathedral.

  93. I support this letter. I am not clear why stability is such an important factor in this election campaign, unless the archbishops have bought into current Conservative rhetoric. What about continuity and reconciliation, where are they in the archbishops' letter ? And as for "our shared British values" ... I would have expected better than this ! Peter King, Anglican, East Sussex.

  94. Thanks so much for writing such an excellent response to such a mixed-bag letter.

    I felt really uncomfortable with all the aspects of the letter you question, and also the overall shape of its argument.

    The Revd Dr Mark Chilcott, Resigned 2002 from licensed CofE post, now worshipping at Manchester Cathedral

  95. Happy to sign - excellent response - Debbie Marriott long time of Holy Trinity Margate long term despairing of the CoE

  96. Please add my name. I preached on need for conversion of heart on Sunday and hope Archbishops will attend to the new Spiritual Association recently launched to assist this process - Companions of the Compassionate Hearts of Jesus and Mary -

  97. I hope I'm not too late - only just heard about this. Very happy to sign. Also despairing of the CoE.

  98. Sharon Burn
    Welling, Kent

  99. Thanks for doing this. Happy to sign.
    Revd Christopher Griffiths, Rector of the Horringer Benefice, Diocese of St Eds & Ips

  100. We should be challenging our society to do better, not pandering to it because our view is unpopular.
    Jack Slocombe

  101. Please leave my name too - Ian Almond, Professor of World Literatures, Georgetown University in Qatar

  102. The reason I don't despair of the CofE is the range of thoughtful, committed people I encounter within its ranks - including those who have signed this letter. The Archbishops could have done far better, been properly prophetic: I fear they are trapped by their roles. But at a grass roots level I think there remain grounds for hope, for both church and nation. Happy to sign too. Tony Collins, Reader and Churchwarden, Hastings, East Sussex

  103. Further to my comment above - rather than "stability", "cohesion" and "courage" where are "justice", "reconciliation" and "humility" ? Peter King

  104. Thanks for writing this Al. Please add my name if you get the chance. Revd Lizzie Kesteven, Fishponds Bristol

  105. May I please add my name to your excellent and compassionate letter to the Archbishops.
    A concerned Christian,
    Margaret, Much Hadham

  106. Thank you - very well considered
    Please add my name,
    Thomas Jackson - Birmingham
    St Peter Harborne

  107. I fully agree with the points in this response to the Archbishops' letter.
    Penelope Wilcock, Methodist Local Preacher

  108. Thank you for putting so well what I, and I am sure others felt when reading the Archbishop`s words. Trudy Thompson a Christian

  109. Dear Al, my request to add my name to this appears to have disappeared....but I would very much like to sign!
    Rev Wendy Wale, Chaplain of Wadham College, Oxford

  110. Gloria McShane10 May 2017 at 01:22

    Disturbing letter, since Christians should not be encouraging in the slightest way a vote for a party that has brought such misery and fear to poor and disabled people. I agree fully with its message.

  111. How appalling that the Archbishops have once again used the word 'Christian'. - a term which is heavily freighted by the fact that both Theresa May and Tim Farrin attend church while the lovely saint Jeremy of Corbyn does not. What the hell is the ABC thinking? Doesn't he know how easily offended are the Guardianista / Progressive priest crossover demographic? How weak and unstable we are? Let word 'Christian' be anathema henceforth and all who utter it banished to the irredeemable depths of the label 'Tory collaborator'.

  112. You're going the Way of the Dodo ... into extinction.

  113. What exactly is the problem with linking British Values (tolerance, respect, rule of law, democracy, liberty) with our Christian heritage? As Christians should we not be emphasising that these good values stem from the influence of our faith on British society?

  114. This blog is further than my expectations. Nice work guys!!!
    Milan Condos at Precondo

  115. So the C of E is being weaponized in support of extreme nationalist policies. Irene Clennell, who was forcibly deported to Singapore earlier this year despite having an English husband of 27 years and 2 British kids, cannot return. I am also banned from the UK as a British citizen, due to having a non-white, non-English wife. I live abroad, not in the EU.

    Theresa May, a C of E religious fanatic, spoke at Easter about the 'values of the vicarage' where she grew up, and things like marriage and the family are trumpeted in the pastoral letter as being the foundations of society. The subtext us that marriage between white English nationals is to be supported but active efforts must be made to destroy international marriages where possible, including by violent deportations of non-English wives after extended bureaucratic harassment. England has now entered a period of fascism with a religious veneer, and it isn't going to end anytime soon.