Thinking Anglicans

Ugley Puritans

The Telegraph reports today in Clergymen refuse communion with bishop in row over gays that

…at least eight conservative clerics have told the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev John Gladwin, that they will refuse to share Holy Communion with him. They are furious that the bishop and five of his colleagues sent a letter to a national newspaper earlier this week announcing their determined support for liberal Anglicans in North America…

That would be a reference to this letter in The Times in which the bishops merely said:

…We remain in full sacramental fellowship with all the churches of the Anglican Communion, including those of Canada and the US, and we seek to remain in full communion with all of them…

which is of course a simple statement of fact that applies to every single member of the Church of England at the present time, whether they like it or not, including those objectors in Chelmsford. Clearly that favourite term of conservative evangelicals the plain meaning of the words has escaped them. Individual members of Anglican Communion churches do not have the luxury of deciding for themselves who they are in communion with.

The newspaper list among the eight people the clergy of the Henham, Elsenham, & Ugley benefice, John Richardson and Richard Farr. Mr Farr is best known for his refusal to allow the use of his church hall for a yoga class. His own account of this event can be read here.

Update
The extent to which conservatives are upset by the bishops’ letter is quite remarkable:see this Mainstream – Letter to London Times so far not published by the paper, and see also this Statement on Sacramental Fellowship with the Bishop of Chelmsford by Messrs Farr and Richardson.

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Rodney McInnesJakeRobert LeggatAlan HarrisonJ. C. Fisher Recent comment authors
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Robert Leggat
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Robert Leggat

“Mr Farr is best known for his refusal to allow the use of his church hall for a yoga class.”

Is he? By his detractors, perhaps, but not by his congregation, I am given to understand!

Perhaps Revd. Farr’s explanation ( http://www.heuchurch.f9.co.uk/yoga.htm ) may restore a sense of balance!

Neil
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Neil

Simon, If what these six bishops said was really a “merely” thing, they wouldn’t have bothered saying it. These Bishops were making a point and these clergy in Chelmsford are quite a liberty to refute it. (Or does your liberalism deny them that right?) The Bishops’ point was that, despite saying they supported their Archbishop, they didn’t really. They lied. You quote selectively. They also asserted in their letter that they were in “full sacramental communion” with North America. But they deliberately chose to use a different word, “solidarity”, about their relationship with the Global South. The plain meaning of… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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I thought Ruth Gledhill’s “spin” on this letter was thoughtfully misleading. As said here, the letter does nothing more than affirm the status quo. There are no declarations of broken or impaired communion from ANY of the Anglican Churches here in the UK. The only people who are refusing to take communion with the Primates of America and Canada are those who refused to attend the eucharists at the Dromantine, I do not have a list. The letter to the Times seems very unprovocative, it affirms all, it also leaves the door open for those in the global south who… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

If it were true that the letter only affirmed the status quo, why was it necessary? And why didn’t the whole house of Bishops see fit to put their names to this mere ‘affirmation’? The reality is that these Bishops are trying to deny that the world wide Anglican Communion is fractured/broken. Their pronouncement that they remain in full sacramental communion (despite the Primates’ communique) actually changes nothing. However what the letter does do is it displays for all to see a blatant attempt to undermine the Primates’ communique. It’s coded in the usual language but it’s meaning is quite… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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I certainly hope that the whole English House of Bishops signs up to it, those I have asked who drafted the Primates Communique see nothing in it counter to their intentions and no reason why they should not. It is no secret that many Provinces including England and my Province of Wales remain unconvinced that the actions of ECUSA and Canada were communion breaking – they are doing their best to hold the Communion together and satisfy the Provinces who do, but they have not changed their mind or moved to break communion themselves. Many responses from Provinces to the… Read more »

John
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John

Simon, your report may be misleading. “Mr Farr is best known for his refusal to allow the use of his church hall for a yoga class.” You cannot have spoken to any of his parishioners or you would be unable to write that. “the bishops merely said: …We remain in full sacramental fellowship with all the churches of the Anglican Communion, including those of Canada and the US.” So why write to The Times, unless they were saying rather more than that? In fact they managed to quote the Dromantine communiqué without mentioning the substantive issue; and they turned a… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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Chin up, Simon: you’re in The Best company! John 15:18

Shawn
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Shawn

As someone with an appreciation of the Puritans spiritual legacy I find the term “Ugley Puritans” ignorant and offensive. Very few people have any idea of the reality of Puritan life and spirituality due to the hatchet job repeatedly done to them by liberals.

Martin Reynolds
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I think Charles Stuart (King and Martyr) had an appreciation of the cutting edge of Puritan spirituality. Those who venerate his memory – not counted amongst the more liberal Anglicans – might be rather offended, if not deeply hurt at the words “hatchet job” in this context.
Still, I am told by modern scholars that Puritans were not miserable and humourless souls and (rather pleasant)Ugley had its fair share of Puritan ancestors who in their turn must have shared in the title of “Ugley Puritans” – perhaps with a smile!

Dave
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Dave

I do rather think that some folk are trying to move into denial, or worse – studied ignorance. Why were the bishops restating the (old) status quo if not because they don’t want to see it change ? If nothing changed at Dromandine why were liberals so upset ? In fact the bishops were making a statement about their position vv ECUSA and the Africans. Does “noone” in the CofE heirachy object to what ECUSA did ? Or is everyone in the CofE who objects to rejecting biblical moral teaching a “noone” ? Will the western Primates only do anything… Read more »

John D
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John D

While I may be the only North American contributing to this thread of conversation, I assure you that many of us are following the general wave of comment from the rest of the Communion. Exclude us, refuse to take the Body and Blood with us, and prefer the dusty Law to the Grace brought to us by Our Lord. I doubt any healing will come with those structural precepts. Do some of you even desire reconciliation, or do you prefer invoking some dramatic spiritual “crisis” to the real work of living in community with a province that sees fit to… Read more »

Mark Diebel
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I thought “Ugley” was a mispelling of “ugly”… so I thought this was about “ugly puritans.” That’s an American for you.

J. C. Fisher
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Dave, if you think phrases like “denial” “studied ignorance” or “Lets face it, ECUSA plainly rejected a teaching of the bible and christian tradition” are going to intimidate us out of following the Holy Spirit (as we understand the Spirit from prayerfully following Scripture, Tradition and Reason), you are sadly mistaken. I’m sorry that you feel so threatened—the Kingdom of God is certainly as welcoming to you as it is to queer little me—but if the choice is between the Christ of the Gospels OR a homophobic hegemony grasping at the *name* “Anglican” (while violating the traditional charisms of Anglicanism),… Read more »

Alan Harrison
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Alan Harrison

JC Fisher writes: “I’m sorry that you feel so threatened—the Kingdom of God is certainly as welcoming to you as it is to queer little me—but if the choice is between the Christ of the Gospels OR a homophobic hegemony grasping at the *name* “Anglican” (while violating the traditional charisms of Anglicanism), I’m gonna go w/ Christ every time.” Sorry, JC, but this is what makes my hackles rise. FWIW, I’m an old-fashioned “don’t ask, don’t tell” Catholic in churchmanship, and a leftie in secular politics (with a track record in advancing gay employment rights as a trade union rep).… Read more »

Robert Leggat
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Robert Leggat

“you can’t blow out a fire: not when that fire comes down from Heaven!”

Are you sure it is coming from there…? 😉

To be serious, though, I feel that your categorisation of the two “sides” is quite unfair and somewhat hateful. It’s so easy and cheap to bring out the usual charge of homophobia; I suspect that if you were to meet the people you so dismissively damn, you would find them to be very different indeed.

Jake
Guest

“Individual members of Anglican Communion churches do not have the luxury of deciding for themselves who they are in communion with.” I fully agree with that, Simon. Otherwise, we are congregationalists. I would question if the Episcopal Church even has the authority to claim to be “out of communion” with another body, not that she has ever done that, or that I could imagine a time when she would. But, we have declared ourselves “in full communion” with the ELCA, a declaration that is not binding on the rest of Anglicanism, which suggests that we could also declare ourselves “out… Read more »

Rodney McInnes
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Rodney McInnes

Alan, you write,’I’m an old fashioned “don’task, don’t tell” Catholic in churchmanship, and a leftie in secular politics (with a track record of advancing gay employment rights as a trade union re.)’ And now you’ve been honest in declaring your hand on the question of the place of openly gay people in Catholic churches. So long as they shut up, you’re content. All those priests and servers you’ve known were gay and were, no doubt, your friends and pastors, have no place if they are honest. Sorry, Alan, the time for shutting up to appease those who think that way… Read more »