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Dear Friends,

Canon Jim Duxbury (1933 – 2017)

Jim was my immediate predecessor as Vicar of Padiham and died on 11 July 2017 aged 84 years. Following retirement in 2001 he and Patricia made their home in Clitheroe. Jim’s funeral was held at the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene on 20th July. The service was conducted by the Vicar, Rev Andy Froud; our own Fred Birch read the lesson from 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 and the Bishop of Blackburn was the preacher. (Julian knew Jim long before he become our bishop as they served together as trustees of Intercontinental Church Society for a number of years.) When Jim was incumbent Higham was still part of Padiham Parish and so arrangements had been made for him to be buried in the graveyard at St John’s, Higham.

Jim’s son, Paul, gave the tribute to his father. This was done in the style of an all-age talk – something Jim himself was noted for. Paul took each of the letters from CANON JIM and used them to speak about an aspect of his father’s character and ministry: Committed, Agitator, Nurturing, Organiser, Network, Jazzy, Innovative, Maker.

Under ‘Organiser’ Paul mentioned the much appreciated parish trips his parents organised to the Oberammergau Passion Plays and the Holy Land. Under ‘Maker’ mention was made of Jim’s skills with buildings. (Jim had been a Chartered Surveyor before ordination). I’ve heard it said many times that Padiham Green CE School would never have been rebuilt without Jim’s knowledge, drive and leadership following the catastrophic fire in the old building in the 1990s; St Leonard’s Church was also re-ordered in Jim’s time.

Personally whenever I saw Jim I found him to be very warm and gracious in his encouragement of my ministry in Padiham. Not every incumbent can say that of his predecessor.

Many of you reading this letter will be able to bring to mind other memories of Jim that you value. We give thanks for his life and ministry and continue to hold Patricia, Paul and Christine and the rest of the family in our prayers.

Yours in Christ

Mark

In other news…

Worrying developments at General Synod

Most of the business dealt with at July’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod was uncontroversial but one exception was a call for the Bishops to consider producing liturgical materials to mark a person’s gender transition. The motion was passed and so the bishops will have to decide whether to go ahead with this request. What concerned many evangelicals was the tone of the debate. Below is part of a report written by Rev Dr Rob Munro from Chester Diocese in which he highlights some worrying developments. Also below is the text of a letter that appeared in a national paper soon after synod. Among the signatories were the former Bishop of Rochester and a retired Queen’s Chaplain.

Story Theology. The new norm for synodical debate on controversial matters has become the telling of stories – especially the personal and painful ones. Who would not be moved when told in the transgender debate, “Synod please vote for this now, don’t delay it, or my friend may not be around for when you finally do it”. There was little or no theological reflection on the issues. There was very little contribution from the bishops either, and on both occasions the Archbishop of York took the last word to push the original motions through, which is a powerful influence on the “non-aligned middle”. References to the Bible, or even to non-politically correct research, were received awkwardly and mocked on the Twittersphere. The story we are telling now in synod is “Inclusion”, everyone is welcome! And despite the Archbishop of Canterbury trying to make the point at the beginning of the session that the Archbishops had called for it to be a “radical CHRISTIAN inclusion”, any distinction he thereby intended was not discernible in any contribution to the debates.

Shifted Middle. In previous synods, the non-aligned middle, the roughly 1/3 of synod who don’t self-identify as either conservative or radical, could usually be relied on to be social conservative, to be slow to bow to the pressures that political correctness has always brought. No longer! It was clear that an unqualified inclusion agenda is now seen as the mainstream. Ten years ago, the LGBTI lobbyists were clearly only a vocal minority; today, if you speak out for the previously received biblical understandings you are made to feel like the minority. The radicals have the confidence that their stories now resonate with more people; conservatives speak with the fear we will be misheard or misunderstood – that disagreement on the sexuality issues for theological reasons will be heard as whichever phobia it can be labelled as.

(The full version of Rob Munro’s reflexion can be read on the Church Society website – www.churchsociety.org)

The Movement for a Renewed Orthodox Anglicanism

SIR – Recent actions in the General Synod in pursuit of a culture that denies biblical ethics, as they have been practised and understood “at all places and in all times”, have caused many Anglicans great concern. There are times, particularly in the face of social disintegration, when it is the duty of the Church to be counter‑cultural. The failure of the House of Bishops to uphold the teaching of the Bible and of the Universal Church in this area is very disappointing, if not surprising. Booing of traditionalists and the levels of personal abuse aimed at them during the Synod have only deepened mistrust between the different sides. There are now effectively two opposed expressions of Anglicanism in this country. One has capitulated to secular values, and one continues to hold the faith “once delivered to the saints”. We and others stand with the majority of faithful Anglicans across the globe, in prioritising Scripture and the unanimous teaching of the universal Church over secular fashion. We note the results of this same conflict in North America, even as we look for and pray for a similar renewal of orthodox Anglicanism and of Anglican structures in these islands.

Rt Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali
Bishop of Rochester, 1994-2009

Rev. Gavin Ashenden
Former Chaplain to the Queen

And 21 others

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