Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying tackled in new guidance for Church schools

Guidance for the Church of England’s 4,700 schools published today aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report makes 12 recommendations for schools including ensuring schools’ Christian ethos statements offer “an inclusive vision for education” where “every child should be revered and respected as members of a community where all are known and loved by God. ”

Clear anti-bullying policies should include HBT behaviours and language, policies on how to report incidences should be accessible, staff trained on recognising bullying, curriculum and collective worship should support the vision and the wider church ensure that schools are responding well to the guidance.

In the foreword of the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.

“Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.

“This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.”

The advice is an update on Valuing All God’s Children, guidance published in 2014 which tackled homophobic behaviour. This update covers a wider range of negative behaviours, incorporates the relevant legal and inspection frameworks and reflects the Church’s Vision for Education, whose four elements of wisdom, hope, community and dignity form the theological basis of the guidance.


Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, Nigel Genders, said:

“Providing an education to our 1 million children that will enable them to live life in all its fullness is a big responsibility.

“This practical and thoughtful advice is packed with templates and a comprehensive selection of resources for schools, teachers, families and young people. I hope that it will make a difference to our school communities and individual pupils too.”

The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender identity. It goes on to say that:

“However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority.” 

The full report can be found here.

Pledge to pray

Archbishop Justin Welby:

The most important thing I’ve ever done is become a follower of Jesus. I want everyone to hear his voice calling to them. That’s why I’m praying for people to know his life-transforming love. Will you join me and Christians around the world and #Pledge2Pray as part of Thy Kingdom Come 2017?

Sign up now and encourage your church, friends and family to get involved: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/


Archbishop: Church of England schools can help shape ‘hopeful’ society

Archbishop Justin Welby visits St Bartholomew’s CofE primary school, London, 26 January 2016.
Archbishop Justin Welby visits St Bartholomew’s CofE primary school, London, 26 January 2016.

Read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s on the vision for CofE schools in this week’s TES:

Education is at the heart of the work the Church of England does for the common good.  Through its 4,500 primary and 200 secondary schools, it educates around one million children a day. It is estimated that around 15 million people alive today attended a Church of England school.

The fundamental purpose of Church of England education is to nurture people to live life in all its fullness, inspired by Jesus’s message in the Gospel of John: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly.” Non-church schools also have inspiring visions, albeit articulated in different language; to inspire and educate the whole person, building them up to flourish in the world.

Click here for the rest of the article.

EU referendum: Statement by Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu have issued this joint statement today after the UK voted to leave the European Union: 

On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union

The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.

The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.

As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.

The referendum campaign has been vigorous and at times has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage – being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.

As those who hope and trust in the living God, let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minister David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.

Leaving evangelism to ‘professionals’ is missionary suicide

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury told Premier that any church that leaves evangelism to the ‘professionals’ is committing missionary suicide.

Speaking about the need for everyone to invest in sharing their faith, he said:

“Any church that leaves things to the ‘professionals’ is committing missionary suicide basically.  The responsibility of demonstrating in word and works the love of Jesus Christ, in a way that is deeply attractive is the responsibility of every single Christian. Always. Everywhere.”

Archbishop Justin spoke out about how the Church has failed to equip people to share their faith for too long.

He said:

“If you go back to 1944/5 there was a report for the Church of England called Towards the Conversion of England prepared for William Temple.  It said there will never be a conversion of England until every Christian disciple is equipped to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  That has always been one of the greatest weaknesses in many churches – not just Church of England churches. We do not spend enough time equipping people to share their faith.”


Week of prayer for evangelism has ‘touched a chord’ says Archbishop

Archbishop Justin Welby spoke to Premier Radio about prayer, evangelism and Thy Kingdom Come.

The call for Christians across England to prayer for our nation to know Jesus Christ has “touched a chord”, the Archbishop of Canterbury has told Premier Radio.

With tens of thousands of Christians taking part across throughout England and beyond this week, Archbishop Justin Welby said people are “motivated and excited” about praying together for those they love to know Jesus.

The week of prayer ahead of Pentecost was called for by Archbishop Justin Welby and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, in November last year.

This week cathedrals and churches across England – and across the traditions – are hosting 24-7 prayer rooms, putting on special services, running prayer meetings, doing prayer walks, and many other activities. Churches overseas have also spontaneously responded to the call, with congregations in Belgium, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel and other countries joining the wave of prayer.


In the interview, the Archbishop said: “This week of prayer seems to have touched a chord that none of us really expected to the degree it’s happened. Port Stanley Cathedral in the Falkland Islands has joined in Thy Kingdom Come. There’s people in Israel and all across the UK. People find they’re motivated and excited about praying with others for those who they long to find the love of Jesus Christ.”

The week of prayer will culminate this weekend with special ‘Beacon’ worship events in numerous cathedrals around the country, led by bishops and contemporary worship leaders. The event at Canterbury Cathedral, led by Archbishop Justin Welby, Pete Hughes and Hannah Heather, with worship led by Seth Pennock and Tim Hughes, will be broadcast live on Facebook.

Watch or listen to the interview on the Premier Christianity website 

Visit the Thy Kingdom Come website 

Evangelism is ‘our duty, privilege and joy’, Archbishop told Synod

Evangelism and witness is ‘not an app, it’s the operating system’ of the church, Archbishop Justin Welby told the General Synod.

Introducing a presentation on a report by the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group, the Archbishop said:

“Evangelism is the proclamation, the setting forth, the holding out of the Good news of Jesus Christ, in ways that do justice to the beauty, integrity, joy and power of the one who was dead but is now alive. . . It is from God, about God, with God and because of God. Above all, He calls and enables us to be his heralds.

“All Christians are witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ. The Spirit comes to us for precisely this task. And as witnesses of Jesus we then become witnesses to Jesus, relaying what we have experienced to others.”

Read the text of the Archbishop’s opening remarks

“I’d like to start by thanking the members of the Archbishops’ Task Group [on Evangelism and Witness]. The Archbishop of York is not here because he is on sabbatical going round his diocese on an evangelistic pilgrimage. And I think we would want to acknowledge at this point his extraordinary commitment to evangelism in his own province, the way in which he has led in mission and evangelism in his ministry, and what he is doing at the moment; doing an on-foot pilgrimage around the whole of the Diocese of York is a typical example of the way that he leads. So we pray for him and for blessing on his ministry in these months. . .

“The high points of the calling to serve God in His Church are the times when he works to draw people to himself. The times when hearts begin to thaw with his love, eyes open to his light, and shoulders lift as He comes alongside to bear burdens, as those who have carried around guilt, like in the Pilgrim’s Progress, that has weighed down memory with regret and shame know a freedom and release they never dreamt possible, as those who assumed that they had no worth realise their inestimable and infinite worth to God.

“God works through his Spirit to draw people to open their hands to receive his love and transforming power – and we have the huge privilege of seeing this happen. For me some of the most memorable and grace-filled moments of the last three years have been seeing God at work in the lives of those who would not call themselves Christians, but who I have had the privilege of seeing gently and profoundly drawn to Jesus Christ.

“This is our duty, our privilege and our joy. There is nothing like it.

“For too long the ministry of evangelism in the church has been viewed as an app on the system. I don’t know what kind of apps you have on your mobile device. . . but some of you will know that apps are simply add-ons, optional extras, suited to those with particular interests and activities. As I said, for many it seems that evangelism is such an app – simply to be used for those who are gifted, who don’t mind being out of their comfort zones, who are happy talking about faith with strangers, and have a clever way of explaining the mysteries of God’s love.

“But evangelism and witness are not an app. They are the operating system itself.

“Evangelism is the proclamation, the setting forth, the holding out of the Good news of Jesus Christ, in ways that do justice to the beauty, integrity, joy and power of the one who was dead and is now alive. The one who lived for us, died for us, rose for us, ascended and prays for us. It is from God, about God, with God and because of God. Above all, He calls and enables us to be his heralds – those who proclaim the Good News.

“All Christians are witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ. The Spirit comes to us precisely for this task. And as witnesses of Jesus we then become witnesses to Jesus, relaying what we have experienced and what we have known to others.

“The Archbishop of York and I set up this Task Group because we want to recall the Church of England to the operating system of the love that overflows in evangelism. Many have been engaged within the church for many years in evangelism. This is not new to many, if not most, of those sitting here today and indeed in the Church of England. It was set out in “Towards the Conversion of England” in 1945 that every local church should live to see those who know nothing of God’s love hear, see, taste and accept his gracious presence in their lives. This commitment is seen in our prayers, our budgets, our diaries, our resources and our planning.

“In the presentation that follows, drawing on the history of commitment to evangelism that has existed in the Church of England and in God’s church globally, we will highlight three particular areas of attention, which the Task Group has seen as urgent. Bishop Paul Bayes will then lead through a ‘Take Note’ debate, something we felt, in liaison with the Business Committee and having carefully listened to comments from the floor in November, that would enable members of Synod to participate fully in discussing how we might be increasingly devoted as a church, without exception, to evangelism and witness.

“I hope we can be very clear about one thing. A commitment to evangelism and witness comes out of love, not out of fear. It comes out of obedience to Chris, not out of a concern at the latest figures on church attendance. It is a sign of our discipleship, not a church growth strategy or a survival technique. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15: ‘For Christ’s love compels us’ – or, in the King James Version, ‘constrains us’ – ‘because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.’

“A prayerful, sensitive, respectful, love-filled renewal of evangelism and witness will renew the whole church. It will renew each of us deeply. For as I said a few moments ago, there is nothing as wonderful as seeing God at work leading people from darkness to light.”

Archbishop of Canterbury to lead huge evangelism project


Christian Today is reporting that the Archbishop of Canterbury is to lead the biggest evangelism project in the UK so far this millennium:

Every cathedral, church and clergyman and woman in the land is being urged to share their faith and win new converts to Christianity.

Cathedrals and churches are being urged to set aside the week before Pentecost as a week of prayer for evangelism.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu, are calling cathedrals and other churches to use the week running up to Pentecost Sunday on May 15 to pray for new followers to Christ.

The entire Church is being urged to pray throughout the week for “all Christians to deepen their relationship with Jesus” in order to have “confidence” to share the faith. The aim is for “all to respond to the call of Jesus Christ to follow him.”

The two Archbishops are currently writing to all 11,300 Church of Engand clergy inviting them to “engage” with the project. They are being asked to organise round-the-clock prayer marathons, one-off events and other meetings and gatherings to help towards the evangelisation effort.

Five or six cathedrals will hold “beacon” events with services and events led by both Archbishops and some bishops, evangelical worship leaders such as Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and Martin Smith and in collaboration with 24-7 Prayer.

Why the Church is helping children understand how to handle money


The Church of England have blogged on the importance of helping children to understand how to handle money, here’s a few snippets:

A couple of years ago many parishes in the Church of England decided to take some practical steps towards creating a fairer financial system where everyone in the community flourishes. We did this because we believe there’s no division between ‘spiritual’ and ‘non-spiritual’ parts of life. The good news of Jesus Christ is for the whole human being. He wants to see every human being flourish.


Working in partnership with Young Enterprise and local credit unions, the scheme encourages children to save small, regular amounts of money. This is combined with teaching resources to help children understand the values that underpin this kind of approach to money. It’s not just teachers; parents, carers and the whole community are encouraged to get involved with children’s financial education.

When I prayed with the children during their assembly yesterday, I prayed especially for those whose households have serious money problems. Where there are such difficulties, it may lead to a whole range of other problems tightening their grip on a family: substance abuse, domestic violence and marital breakdown, among others.

So the way that money is dealt with is about human flourishing at its deepest level – and it is absolutely right that the church is helping to try and break this cycle before it affects another generation. Meanwhile, on a practical level it makes perfect sense for the Church of England, which is involved in the education of a million children around the country, to be using our particular platform to make this contribution.

Go check out the full blog here.



Archbishop of Canterbury: “ We all benefit from the gifts that refugees bring”.


The Archbishop of Canterbury writes, “ We all benefit from the gifts that refugees bring” in The Big Issue:

The scale of the problem we are facing as a global human family is astonishing. More than half a million people have crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean so far this year. They are fleeing war, persecution and deprivation in Syria and Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, and other countries.

As the number of people arriving in Europe continues to rise, nearly 3,000 people making the journey have drowned like Aylan or gone missing. My experience, having worked in this area for many years, is that you very seldom meet people who want to be refugees.

It is a desperate, awful, terrible existence. You leave home when the alternative is deathIt is a desperate, awful, terrible existence. You leave home when the alternative is death. In the Levant and Mesopotamia, families are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. They are taking the deep blue sea, and taking their children with them.

… The people of these islands have a long and wonderful history of offering shelter – whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people or many, many others.

So as Christians we’re not just raising our voices – we are doing what the church always does: putting the love of Christ into action. Those Calais-bound cars were just the beginning: there is so much more to be done.

Archbishop Justin Welby’s sermon at the Child Bereavement UK carol service

The Archbishop of Canterbury preached this powerful sermon at Child Bereavement UK’s Christmas Carol Service at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London on 10 December 2015:

Child Bereavement - Justin Welby


There are two prayers that many people here will have prayed. Anyone who’s lost someone in an untimely way, particularly perhaps a child, sibling or parent, very close friend…. One is, ‘Make them better. Lord, make them better. Get them out of this. May they recover and be healed.’

The other is when that prayer has passed. A lot of people pray, ‘Lord, let me join them. Take me as well.’ The fact that we’re all sitting here today is because, for many of us, neither of those prayers were answered in the way we hoped.

But time goes by and we begin to rebuild our lives. We never “get over it” — that’s such an atrocious expression — but we do begin to rebuild. You live with this gap, as Caroline and I did more than 30 years ago when our eldest daughter died, and you begin to rebuild.

In those days Child Bereavement UK was not around, or if it was we didn’t know about it.

Our daughter died five days after a car crash on the way back from France. We were moving back to the UK after several years living in Paris. And so we came back and we came to this church, where we’d been married, and we began to rebuild.

Perhaps as time goes by you come to a Christmas service and you hear that reading about the shepherds and their joy and you think, ‘Fine for them… doesn’t feel much like that to me.’ Some people know what to do and what to say, and others cross the road to avoid talking to you because they’re so frightened of saying the wrong thing — and I think after a while you understand that.

Time goes by. And I remember that, and that sense sometimes of ‘What’s it all about? What’s it all for?’ We were Christians, and sometimes people turn away from God and sometimes they turn to God, and like the psalmist they say, ‘Where were you? Where are you?’ It’s in the Psalms. Tough words, bitter words, of anger with God. Much better said than suppressed.

And if we’re wise, and if we have wise friends who love us — and we did in this place; they loved us and they looked after us, it’s wonderful — and if we’re wise, eventually we begin to look up a bit. We just find the strength. For some people it’s much harder than others. Never, ever tell people what they ‘ought’ to be or ‘ought’ to do or how they ‘ought’ to behave… but somehow, with wise friends we were able to move forward.

We came back eventually to that great puzzle, which there is one child in the whole of human history who died, whose father could have done something and didn’t. Who could with a mere exercise of will have changed the world so it didn’t happen. His beloved child, whom he sent, whom the angels announced, whom he sent to live this risky life, and who died unjustly some 30 years later, out of time, unfairly.

And when we turn to that child and see in that child that there is hope and healing, we find a source of purpose, a source of going on, that is so boundlessly deep, so extraordinarily puzzling sometimes, but so wonderfully embracing, that in the dark moments and the light moments we are held and comforted and carried, often unawares, and the dark moments continue. Many people here will know how suddenly and surprisingly that can catch up on you. You see a face, you think, you hear a tune, you go to a place… and the memories just trip you.

We continue like so many here to live with all of that. But we found over the years that this puzzle of the God that so loved the world that he gave his only son so that all who believe in him should not have that sense of endless death and destruction, but have the hope of life and the knowledge of a future and the life that is somehow rebuilt around us by the grace and love of God.

We found there the transforming hope and purpose which enabled us to rebuild and through many more trials, through many moments almost as bad, to find ourselves where we are, with the bitterness of the memory, and the joy of the memory. With that gap which we remember every 5th November — on the basis that if you don’t attack the birthday, the birthday attacks you. And so we have all the family and we do something silly. Buy a present we can’t afford, have some fun — we have a lot of fun actually. But there’s always that reality, and yet there’s now that hope.

And my prayer for those who are in those darkest of dark moments, which I remember so well, where they are praying that second prayer… and neither prayer is being answered, has been answered, I pray for you and for all of us here, for that hope that heals and strengthens and draws us forward, because that child who was born and risked and died and rose again, and offers life to us and to all we love. Amen.