CEEC has announced the formation of a panel charged with discerning those called to provide informal alternative spiritual oversight to orthodox evangelical clergy and PCCs across the country.

The move follows the CEEC’s recent announcement of two provisions launched on the back of the decision at General Synod to press ahead with the bishops’ proposals for Prayers of Love and Faith. The first is the launch of The Ephesian Fund, designed to provide an alternative way of giving. The second provision is for informal alternative spiritual oversight for clergy and PCCs, who feel a loss of confidence in the spiritual leadership of their bishop(s). This informal and temporary oversight, facilitated by CEEC, does not in any way undermine or replace the legal and safeguarding responsibilities of clergy and PCCs to their bishops and/or diocese.

The new panel will discern those who will be providing the informal alternative spiritual oversight and comprises:

  • Rt Revd Julian Henderson (chair), former Bishop of Blackburn
  • Busola Sodeinde – General Synod and Church Commissioner
  • Revd Elaine Sutherland – Vicar, Holy Trinity Leicester
  • Rt Revd Rod Thomas – former Bishop of Maidstone
  • Jane Patterson – member of General Synod and 10 years on Crown Nominations Commission (CNC)
  • Brian O’Donoghue – Pioneering and Operations Director, Renew
  • Revd Canon John Dunnett – National Director, CEEC and chair of Evangelical Group on General Synod
  • Revd John Coles – Ambassador, New Wine
  • Rt Revd Pete Broadbent – former Bishop of Willesden

The panel will be responsible for appointing a team of overseers who will provide informal spiritual oversight and pastoral care to clergy, lay leaders and PCCs across England. The provision is for those who find themselves to be in impaired fellowship with their bishop(s) because of their support for the Prayers of Love and Faith and the stated intention to provide authorised liturgy to ask for God’s blessing for same sex couples on their “journey of love and faith”.

Revd Canon John Dunnett, National Director, CEEC, said: “The ‘green light’ given to the bishops’ proposals at November’s Synod represents a watershed for many in the Church of England. The proposals to bless same sex partnerships and to potentially allow clergy to enter into same sex marriages, mean that there are clergy and congregations who will now regard themselves as in impaired fellowship with those bishops who have indicated their support for these innovations.

“We have sadly found it necessary to take action to enable those committed to the biblical and historic teaching of the Church of England to remain within it. We envisage the provision of informal alternative spiritual oversight as an interim arrangement as we await developments in relation to our request for appropriate and robust differentiation to be put in place to safeguard those on both sides of the debate.”

Those providing spiritual oversight will offer spiritual counsel, prayerful support, encouragement, advice and friendship to clergy, PCCs and congregations. For more information, visit CEEC’s website.