In response to the Church of England House of Bishops’ announcement last week that a new liturgy to mark the transition of a transgender person is not needed, despite the overwhelming support of General Synod in July 2017 to ‘consider preparing nationally commended liturgical materials to mark a person's gender transition’, a lecturer on Christianity and issues of gender and sexual equality has published an article challenging this decision.

In an article published today on the Modern Church website, Dr Rob Clucas from the School of Law and Politics at the University of Hull, describes the House of Bishop’s latest action as a failure to address properly the framework of legal and institutional discrimination against trans people in the Church of England, which includes the lack of official rituals and services to celebrate the significant events of trans people within the Church.

In the 2017 Donald Barnes Memorial Lecture last month, Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, called for a renewal of our language and thinking as we try to articulate a vision of God for the world.

Canon Oakley seeks:

'A poetic theology of experience - theology of this sort won’t be neat or comfortable but neither is the life with or under God of which it attempts to speak. We are not to possess the truth but to serve it. We are not here to resolve the mystery of God but to deepen it. We are not to reflect jargon and cliché – the devil is in the drivel when logos has turned to slogan – but to draw from the fountain of poetry and the faith words that feel strange but something like home.'

In response to the decision of the new incumbent of St Selpulchre without Newgate, London, known as the Musicians' Church because of its long history as a rehearsal and performance space for classical musicians, as reported in the Church Times on 18th August, our new General Secretary Jonathan Draper has issued the following statement which was published on the Church TImes letters page on 1st September.

Andrew Brown in his Press column (Church Times, 25th August) referred to the recent events at St Sepulchre Without Newgate – the "national musicians’ church" where apparently bookings are no longer welcome from choirs and orchestras because their music is not religious, after a church-plant from Holy Trinity, Brompton — as a significant act of “disevangelism”.

At our annual conference last month, we held our AGM and election of new officers to our board of Trustees and members of our Council.

We formally welcomed our new General Secretary designate, Revd Jonathan Draper, who takes up this new paid, part-time role from 1st September 2017.

The AGM approved our Annual Report for 2016 and the following update of our Charitable Objects, which has been approved with the Charity Commission:

Following a competitive selection process, the trustees of Modern Church are pleased to announce the appointment of the Very Revd Dr Jonathan Draper as General Secretary of Modern Church.

Jonathan Draper, currently the Dean of Exeter Cathedral, announced his retirement from that role in March this year. He is currently on sabbatical, and will formally begin his new role with Modern Church on 1st September 2017.

This is a new opportunity for Modern Church as this will be a paid part-time post for the first time in Modern Church’s 119 year history.