THINKING ANGLICANS

General Synod agenda – press reports

The Church Times has published a detailed report by Margaret Duggan on next month’s General Synod Agenda Financial crisis and ARCIC report feature on Synod agenda

One item was picked up by the secular press.
The Guardian Church of England may ban clergy from joining BNP
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Vicars could be banned from membership of British National Party

And then there are two reports on an item that will not be debated this time because of a lack of interest from synod members:
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Fix date of Easter to prevent ‘confusion and disruption’ over holidays, says clergyman
Steve Doughty in the Mail Church of England clerics want Easter date fixed for every year

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Wilf
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Wilf

The date of Easter is fixed. It is just that it is not fixed according to the solar calendar.

What’s the problem?

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Fixing the date of Easter is one of the screwiest ideas I’ve heard in a long time…particularly if we’re doing it just to accommodate the vacations of people who probably won’t attend Easter services anyway!

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

Set a fixed Easter date? Good idea, but not original. See the Easter Act 1928, which you can look up at http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk and which specifies that Easter shall be the Sunday after the esecond Saturday of April. The Act is only awaiting an Order in Council to come into effect.

Surprising the vicar in question, and the two newspaper reports have missed this Act of Parliament.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Pat
Why would fixing Easter be ridiculous?

The first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox isn’t exactly pregnant with Christian meaning that would get lost if Easter was always celebrated on the 1st Sunday in April.

Hands up all those who are so converse with the symbolism of fixing Easter that they don’t need to look it up in a calendar.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“The first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox isn’t exactly pregnant with Christian meaning that would get lost if Easter was always celebrated on the 1st Sunday in April.” Actually, it is. It is timed to the return of Spring, thus linking the return of Creation to life with the budding of leaves, etc. with the return of all Creation to it’s original state of the perfect life of God. There was also a stipulation that Easter not precede the Jewish Passover, thus symbolizing the replacement of the “old Passover” with the New Passover.… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
Guest

Fixing the date of Easter?

It’s political correctness gone maaaad!

Sorry – couldn’t resist it.

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

I suppose if we fix the date of Easter we can expect Mother Nature to regularly get even and mess it up (how dare God interrupt our plans). I’ve had more than my share of Easter Even liturgies on frosty narthexes and watch kids trying to find Easter eggs in snow.

Why must we always accommodate those aren’t literate in history and can’t figure further than their ‘crackberries’ that remind them what’s coming up in their over-planned and overbooked agendas?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“The central mystery of our religion is celebrated based on the turning of the natural seasons, and some of our fixed feasts, like Christmas, are also positioned where they are for exactly that reason, at least that’s one of the reasons. But, given that most of us do not have the ability to calculate when the vernal equinox actually occurs, we still have to look it up in a calendar. What’s wrong with that?” There’s nothing wrong with it. But there’s also nothing intrinsically important about it that makes it “the screwiest idea” in a long time. The origins of… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Erika:

My objection is exactly what I said it was…as described in the news reports, the “problem” is that the ever-changing date of Easter is fouling up people’s vacation plans. Well, tough! I see no reason to go fooling around with the church’s liturgical calendar to satisfy a bunch of people who, as I noted, probably won’t be attending Easter services anyway, since they’re off to the islands, or skiing, or something anyway.

David Bieler
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David Bieler

I think I would ask Erika to consider that our date for Easter not pagan, rather it is poorly brought over from Jewish practice, at least in the Western Church; the Eastern Church still celebrates Easter in close proximity to Passover. The entire cycle of Maundy Thursday to Easter to Pentecost is present in modern Jewish tradition. In fact the Sunday after Passover is known as “First Fruits” making it very plain where the early tradition derived the imagery of this Risen Christ as the “first fruits of those that sleep.” So in some sense our lunar association for the… Read more »

Lister Tonge
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Lister Tonge

Comment from someone in the Southern Hemisphere would be good, not to mention those so close to the equator as to remove almost all sense of ‘seasons’.

David Bayne
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David Bayne

If they’re going to reopen that particular can of worms, perhaps they ought to hold the Synod at Whitby…….. Personally, I’m with Erika. I’d be quite content for Easter to be fixed on the first Sunday of April. Not only would it remove the curiously unChristian-feeling calculations to do with equinoxes and phases of the moon, and re-connect our practice with that of society (see above), it would reduce confusion about the Movable Feasts and the endless irritation of keeping up with the number of Sundays after Epiphany and Trinity/Pentecost (or in Ordinary Time – whatever that is). Last year,… Read more »

peterpi
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peterpi

The origins of the date of Easter (and probably Passover, for that matter) and some of its customs and rituals probably are pagan. That’s no reason to reject it. Should we demolish the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris because it was deliberately built on a pagan site? From my perspective, there is good solid religious and historical reason to let it float as it does. If you believe the Gospels, Jesus of Nazareth was tried, executed, died, and resurrected during the Jewish holiday of Passover. Passover in Hebrew is “Pesach”. Most European languages have some form of “P-s-ch” name… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

Erika, what *is* the screwiest idea in a long time is the idea that one national church – or even all the churches in a given country – ought to arbitrarily set a date for Easter in isolation. It’s scandalous that we have to deal with two dates for Easter (Orthodox and Western) — God forbid every local franchise decided to celebrate it when it best suits them. (Oh, and the idea that the church ought to switch the date its holiest feast to accommodate the school vacation schedule is pretty screwy in itself.)

Prior Aelred
Guest

There has been a suggestion that the Western Churches might return to the calculation for the date of Easter used in the East so that all Christians would celebrate the Feast on the same day — a suggestion which I think most excellent (although my own preference would be to make the first Sunday after Annunciation Palm Sunday — but that’s just me).

BTW — since the Eastern Churches will never change, the only way of achieving a common date for Easter is if the West changes.

Cal McMillan+
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Cal McMillan+

…and besides, the bunnies would never remember.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The central mystery of our religion is celebrated based on the turning of the natural seasons, and some of our fixed feasts, like Christmas, are also positioned where they are for exactly that reason, at least that’s one of the reasons. But, given that most of us do not have the ability to calculate when the vernal equinox actually occurs, we still have to look it up in a calendar. What’s wrong with that?” – Ford Elms – As someone already has suggested on this thread, perhaps you Northern Hemisphere dwellers need to consider the other hemisphere, where we have… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Pat and everyone I’m staggered by the level of emotion displayed here. I find Easter the most important day of the year, but its precise date is rather irrelevant for me. It’s a step of symbolism too far for me. Not that I obeject to it, I just don’t find it terribly important. But as for fixing the date for the sake of people who never come to church more than twice a year anyway…. makes me wonder how few families you all seem to be having in your churches. Where I am we now have fixed Easter school holidays,… Read more »

Kennedy Fraser
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Kennedy Fraser

Erika- Where I am we now have fixed Easter school holidays, whether they fall into Easter or not. So at least during some years the problem is solved.

Ditto here (first two weeks in April), and they get Good Friday and Easter Monday when not in those weeks.

It has the advantage that people in church are (usually) around for the whole of the easter season rather then missing Holy or easter week dues to being away on holiday.

Kennedy

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Erika: Yes, here in the Philly area of the US, public schools do not schedule their spring break around Easter, but choose a week (usually in April) based on hitting the mid-point of the second semester. (RC schools usually DO schedule around Easter.) Oddly enough, when I lived in NYC, the spring break was most often scheduled to coincide with Passover (a difference in demographics, especially among the teaching staff). As for church attendance, my parish does fine, thank you. My objection to the whole thing was that the people who wanted a fixed date for Easter were the ones… Read more »

Geoff McLarney
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Geoff McLarney

“I’m staggered by the level of emotion displayed here.”

Oh, I’m not. I knew when I clicked on the Comments that this item would dominate the thread.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

You will be wanting to re-schedule the solstices and equinoxes next !

The date of Easter runs very deep. Leave well alone I would say. There is nothing ‘convenient’ about Easter. It has never been noted for its convenience.

Let’s leave a place for the lunar, the irrational, the tides, the archetypal Feminine, the chthonic, that not born of Consciousness.

Our solar, rational, patriarchal world sorely needs these corectives.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Five “Reverends” were identified on the list (of members of the B.N.P.), but the Church of England said none were licensed or serving Anglican clergy although one was a retired priest.” It seems, from the above, that, though five ‘Reverends’ were members, only one of them was Anglican – and he was retired. I guess, from this information, that only one Anglican clergy-person (who is retired, and therefore hardly subject to discipline by the Church) has elected to be identified with the B.N.P. Tghis implies that no serving Anglican Clergy-person elects to be recognised as beloning to this racially-discriminatory political… Read more »

ruidh
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ruidh

Fix the date of Easter? Why? It’s not broken.

OTOH, I’d just as soon let the secular folks celebrate Easter with bunnies and eggs and chocolate on some other day and allow the rest of us to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord in the traditional way with billions of Christians around the world.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“OTOH, I’d just as soon let the secular folks celebrate Easter with bunnies and eggs and chocolate on some other day and allow the rest of us to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord in the traditional way with billions of Christians around the world.”

Oh, does that mean that as a Christian I can no longer have coloured eggs, bunnies and chocolate?

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“Oh, does that mean that as a Christian I can no longer have coloured eggs, bunnies and chocolate?”

Give up chocolate for Easter? H— I can’t even think of giving up beer for Lent!!!!!!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“perhaps you Northern Hemisphere dwellers need to consider the other hemisphere,” I stand corrected and chastened. But, instead of coming from a position of “This is wrong, we have to change it” which seems to inform so much of modern “reform” (and I’m not necessarily ascribing that attitude to you), why not come at it from a position of “This is what we have received, what can we find in it that is meaningful?” As I said, overall, this attitude that what we have been given was given for a reason seems pretty weak among most “reformers”, of whatever stripe.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford
“This is what we have received, what can we find in it that is meaningful?” …
“Instead, “reform” seems mostly based on the idea that if we don’t see much sense in it, or if we disagree with it outright, then it has to be changed.”

Same thing, wouldn’t you say? If it’s meaningful it remains, if it is no longer meaningful, why should reform not at least worth an attempt at renewed discernment?

How else is the Spirit to move the church forward?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Same thing, wouldn’t you say?” No, I wouldn’t. I don’t like it so it must be wrong? Because modern society is so enlightened? Every society in the history of humanity has considered itself the most enlightened. Some of these “enlightened” societies burned women at the stake, cut the genitals off women in the interest of “purity”, declared women to be property, burned Jews in ovens, and on and on, all convinced they were doing what was right and good and “God’s Truth” because they were so much more enlightened than anything that had gone before. And we can all come… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“no longer meaningful” I think maybe exploring this phrase will help clarify what I’m saying. What does this mean? I mean, for two thousand years, give or take, Christians have seen it as meaningful that the Paschal Feast occurs in the Spring. The return to life of the Earth after it’s “rest” in the tomb of winter is symbolic of Creation itself rejoicing at the Resurrection of its Redeemer. How does that cease to be meaningful for us in the Northern hemisphere? Even in the Southern hemisphere, might it not be more reasonable, and certainly more humble, to consider that… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford I think we’re talking cross purposes. I know you don’t think much of society, probably as little as I think of the average church – both are hugely fallible, both have enlightened members and both have self-focused me-firsts. But what I meant was: whether a Christian says “This is what we have received, what can we find in it that is meaningful?” or whether she says ” if we don’t see much sense in it, or if we disagree with it outright, then it has to be changed.” – that is the same thing. In both instances it will… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“The image of shepherds and lambs has to be carefully looked at when you talk to children who only know lamb as a chop in plastic shrinkwrap.”

Or you could just teach them about shepherds and lambs.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The image of shepherds and lambs has to be carefully looked at when you talk to children who only know lamb as a chop in plastic shrinkwrap.” That’s just an artifact of a society that really doesn’t want to think of death as anything other than a horror to be avoided. Even nature shows refer to predators as having “a sinister purpose” when hunting their prey, as though it is somehow evil for a carnivore to get a meal. So, don’t tell Precious Little Snowflake that her burger once walked and mooed. It is the same exactly as the Victorian… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“It troubles me greatly that often symbols appear to be more important to us than that which they point to.” – Erika – Don’t you think, Erika, (and Ford) that sometimes our symbols are so fused with the reality they symbolise that it might be difficult to separate the two? Think of ikons – in the Russian and Greek tradition, they are kissed as representing the very nature of the Christ, or the Saint, they symbolise. They are wrought with prayer and there is a definite aura of ‘sanctity’ within. The take again, the elements of the Eucharist. To a… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

BillyD “Or you could just teach them about shepherds and lambs.” Of course. But the point I was making is that these images were every day images to the people in their times. These days, even the teachers and priests don’t actually know what watching the flock outside the cities it about. Do you? I come from the country and I’ve only once or twice observed a real shepherd at work and spoken to one. It’s astonishing what I didn’t know. Fr Ron Smith I agree! It’s not worth getting worked up about! Remember this conversation started because I suggested… Read more »