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Posted by Lee Gatiss , 23 Jan 2019

The theme of the Lectionary readings this week is the necessity of the proclamation of God’s word to the community of God’s people.

The readings for the Third Sunday of Epiphany (or the Fourth Sunday of Epiphany when 6th January is on a Sunday, as it is in 2019), are Nehemiah 8:1-10, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, Luke 4:14-21.

You can follow along with these video expositions on the Lee on the Lectionary Facebook page. We also tweet the video link every Sunday morning at 6am for those who like a morning exposition of the word to begin the week. Follow us @churchsociety.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 21 Jan 2019

This week Ros ventures across the border into Wales, to talk to Mark Broadway, a curate in the Church in Wales.

The Evangelical Fellowship in the Church in Wales

Anglican Essentials Wales Conference

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Posted by Stephen Walton, 18 Jan 2019

Stephen Walton looks at the connections between two of the current stories in the Church of England: transgender liturgy and resurrection-denying clergy

The crisis in the Church of England has been brought into the light by two stories that hit the news in the last month. At first, they may not appear to have much to do with each other. But on a deep level, they are closely connected, as we shall see.

The first was the publication on 11th December of the House of Bishops guidance on services for marking gender transition (see here for the press release and a link to the guidance document). The Church of England is here leaping onto a cultural bandwagon, but without checking to see who is steering it, or which direction it is racing in. Transgender people experience “gender dysphoria”, a perceived mismatch between their physical sex, and the gender with which they identify, which causes great discomfort and distress. So some may go through “gender transition”, which may mean legally adopting a new name, dressing and living as the gender with which they identify, taking hormones, and having surgery that changes their physical sex to match their perceived gender. This is a horrible situation for anyone to be in, and our hearts should go out to anyone who experiences this.

Of course, churches should be doing all they can to love and welcome transgender people. But the House of Bishops guidance goes farther than this. It proposes that gender transition should be met with “unconditional affirmation”, and marked by services in church of a “celebratory” nature. Furthermore, it recommends the use of the Service for the Affirmation of Baptismal Vows or, if someone has not already been baptised, the Service of Baptism. This is very serious and completely wrong; the objections to it have already been stated by, amongst others, Lee Gatiss and Ian Paul.

The second news story was the announcement on 8th January 2019 of the appointment of an interim director for the Anglican Centre in Rome, the Anglican Communion’s embassy at the Vatican. The new director is the Very Revd Dr John Shepherd, formerly dean of St George’s Cathedral, Perth, Australia. Soon after the announcement it came to light that in his 2008 Easter message, Dr Shepherd had denied that Jesus rose from the dead bodily. According to Dr Shepherd, “The Resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality. It is important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the Resurrection was an extraordinary physical event which restored to life Jesus’ original earthly body… Jesus’ early followers felt His presence after His death as strongly as if it were a physical presence and incorporated this sense of a resurrection experience into their gospel accounts”.

This is, if possible, an even more serious departure from the gospel than the guidance on transgender services. Again Dr Lee Gatiss, the Director of Church Society, has called on Dr Shepherd to resign

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