Church Commissioners written answers: theology and practice

spelman170119On 3rd September 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered six written questions from Sir John Hayes MP, on the 2008 Jerusalem Statement, the Global Anglican Future Conference, the 39 Articles,  the proportion of Church employees who are practising Christians, and biblical teaching on sex and gender in relation to transgender issues:

Sir John Hayes: (i) 281583 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.

Dame Caroline Spelman: Archbishop Rowan Williams 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”.


Sir John Hayes: (ii) 281582 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.

Dame Caroline Spelman: 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 here.


Sir John Hayes: (iii) 281581 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what proportion of Church of England employees are practising Christians.

Dame Caroline Spelman: 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’.


Sir John Hayes: (iv) 281580 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.

Dame Caroline Spelman: 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.

Sir John Hayes: (v) 281579 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.

Dame Caroline Spelman: 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.


Sir John Hayes: (vi) 281578 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.

Dame Caroline Spelman: The policies, structures and strategic development of the Anglican Communion are not matters for which the Church Commissioners have responsibility.