THINKING ANGLICANS

'untainted' bread redux

Readers may recall our earlier article ‘untainted’ bread?

The Diocese of Blackburn has issued this press release: Cathedral Changes Holy Communion Policy

and Blackburn Cathedral has issued this Policy Statement on Eucharistic Presidency – 12/9/2009

Mindful of our strong desire to find a way of journeying together, in a context where people cannot yet reach agreement over the ordination of women to the priesthood, we have been reflecting on the Eucharistic arrangements which we made in the light of the appointment of the first woman canon to the cathedral staff.

Though we hope that people will respect the fact that we did so for the most collegial of motives and wished to make full use of the opportunities that a cathedral offers for creative exploration, we now regret the course of action that we took.

We apologise for any hurt or pain that this has caused.

It will now be the case that the sacrament at any given celebration of the Eucharist will be consecrated by the President alone.

No alternative provision will be made when a woman presides for those who cannot in conscience recognise her Eucharistic ministry, though we continue, of course, to offer a range of Eucharistic provision on a Sunday…

WATCH has issued a statement which says in part:

WATCH (Women and the Church) is delighted that Blackburn Cathedral has overturned its decision to offer communion wafers consecrated by a male priest when a woman priest is taking a service.

WATCH is grateful to Blackburn Cathedral for acknowledging the offence this caused and for discontinuing the practice which they introduced a year ago after a female canon was appointed to the Cathedral staff. This practice harks back to beliefs outlawed as heretical in the 4th century.

The Church of England’s law-making body, the General Synod, passed the vote allowing women to be admitted to the priesthood 17 years ago. In 1994, 15 years ago, 1,500 female deacons were ordained as priests. Since then 4,000 women have been ordained and there are now almost 3,000 active clergywomen serving in the Church of England, nearly a quarter of all active clergy.

Christina Rees, Chair of WATCH said, “Bearing in mind that the Church is now in the process of making it lawful for women to be bishops, this is very good news. It shows that treating women in ways we wouldn’t treat men is no longer acceptable. Blackburn Cathedral has got the message and has done the right thing and we are very, very pleased.”

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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Thank God for the return to sanity. A gracious and necessary apology for what turned out to be a very short-sighted decision on someone’s part.

Sheila Wright
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Sheila Wright

common sense at last!

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

“ …. and at the St Anselm Chapel there will be communion consecrated by The Revd Gareth Clutterbuck, married, rugby player with six children and not a gay bone in his body – while members of the Sea of Faith can receive the bread and wine as prepared by the Revd Mike Jones, who doesn’t really believe it does any good anyway, at the St Thomas Chapel…….”

john
Guest
john

Personally, I’m sorry about this change of mind. The previous dispensation would have been – and, presumably, sometimes was – a wonderful demonstration that pro- and anti-WO Anglicans could still cooperate at the highest level, in shared worship.

Talk of 4th century ‘heresy’ is nonsense.

Similarly, the accusation of WATCH and Christina Rees that the previous dispensation ‘discriminated’ against women priests. Supporters of WO (of whom I am one) have to recognise that there are good Anglicans who do not agree.

I hate this ‘me, me, me’ 100% triumphantalism which seems so stupidly intent on destroying Anglicanism.

Neil
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Neil

John – those who do not agree that God calls women to the priesthood can surely just turn up at a different service when a man presides? Seems sensible to me.

Christopher
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Christopher

Though I am support women as much as men who are called to ordination (not women’s ordination, just ordination), and do so on the grounds of Chalcedon and the gifts I have observed in many ministries of women, I do think some modicum of generosity toward those who cannot should be retained. And all in a spirit of generosity. This does not bode well for our ethos and has its own dangers of liberal authoritarianism.

john
Guest
john

I agree, Christopher.

We ‘liberals’ (elastic term) claim and exercise freedom of conscience – rightly. We should extend it also to our ‘opponents’ (those that is, who act and think in good conscience). Reciprocity is the key here.

Neil. I do not object to the new policy as such. I just think the previous one was better, for the reasons given.

BillyD
Guest

“This does not bode well for our ethos and has its own dangers of liberal authoritarianism. “ I don’t think so, Christopher. I can’t imagine someone who doesn’t believe women are capable of being ordained priests showing up for a Mass celebrated by a woman – a Mass that would be, from the anti-WO point of view, a terrible mistake at best and a blasphemous parody at worse. Having the “untainted Bread” option at a Eucharist presided over by a woman seems like having a kosher option at the annual Klan banquet (you should pardon the expression). I can’t see… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The previous dispensation would have been – and, presumably, sometimes was – a wonderful demonstration that pro- and anti-WO Anglicans could still cooperate at the highest level, in shared worship.” – John on Tuesday – Joint worship, yes, but on what odd theological grounds – except that Jesus Christ is our common Lord and Saviour! The artificial differentiation of having to employ 2 separate Celebrants to provide the Body and Blood of Christ to suit two divergent ministerial theologies would seem to be ignorant of and most damaging to the theological precept expressed in the Mass: “we are all one… Read more »

Peter Edwards
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Peter Edwards

Four cheers for Blackburn Cathedral Dean & Chapter for a gracious apology and a change of practice. I was stunned when I first read of the former practice, reported in the Church Times. It harked back to the Winkett-Halliburton days (a good and decent man, God rest his soul) in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1472766/Canon-John-Halliburton.html Within the C of E, the ‘tainted’ position is a far worse expression of not being in communion with each other, than the RC / C of E duplex tabernacles & aumbreys in airport and hospital chapels. And the more so in a cathedral where… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

I believe Peter Edwards that the reception was in no way related to the two integrities, both of which the Anglican church promised to honour in 1992. At that time, and to this day, those of us opposed to women’s ordination on theological grounds are NOT miserable wretches who are refusing to catch up with the rest within 10 years or otherwise. We are hold an honourable and recognised theological position, consistent with the churches teaching accross the world and down throughout the ages. We are not just going to go away, and unless I see some better THEOLOGICAL reasoning… Read more »

john
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john

Dear objectors, I think you are wrong: (a) it cannot have escaped your notice that our churches, within the C of E and (most of) international Anglicanism, are … empty; (b) while, on one level, ‘liberals’ all have the same views (women priests are right, there should be full inclusion of gays, including practising gays); (c) on another level – the most basic religious level – they don’t. Example: ‘Pluralist’ doesn’t believe in God; Fr Ron Smith does; (d) of course, the case for WO is won (in the sense that most C of E members and that most Anglicans… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

‘Reception’ is an open process which theoretically can go either way…and we are nowhere near the last person believing the ordinaton of women to be the mind of Christ!

BillyD
Guest

“‘Reception’ is an open process which theoretically can go either way…” That’s how I understood the concept, as well, Nell. I didn’t think that it was a time period for everyone to get on board the WO bandwagon or get out. I support women’s ordination to the priesthood and their consecration as bishops. I live in a diocese headed by a female bishop. My rector, on the other hand – the priest I most trust, my spiritual father, if you will – does not accept women’s ordination to the priesthood. If he were somehow hounded out of the Church over… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

There are already “parallel jurisdictions” – for instance, there is an Episcopal Bishop of Georgia and a Roman Catholic Bishop of Savannah. There’s also a melange of Orthodox whatevers out there – not to mention the Baptists and Pentecostals which really seem to suit the orthodites right down to the ground.

No one but them is limiting their options.

BTW, our current bishop discourages communion from reserved sacrament.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John Isn’t the real depth of this problem shown by the debate about women bishops, where traditionalists will not accept a male priest if he has been consecrated by a woman, thus creating a much more complex administrative and practical nightmare than women priests did? At the moment, traditionalists can attend a Eucharist at which a male priest presides, knowing that this Eucharist is valid in their eyes. But once women bishops are accepted (and this whole discussion has only arisen again because of the recent discussion about women bishops), the situation is far less clear, and to make adequate… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

I am always amazed when somebody doesn’t comprehend my astonishment when I am asked to tolerate somebody else’s intolerance. Unbelievable.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“BTW, our current bishop discourages communion from reserved sacrament.” – Mark Brunson – Now here’s another question – about the use of the Reserved Sacrament. Rome seems to have no problem about allowing licensed lay-people to administer the Reserved Sacrament from the aumbry or tabernacle as part of a ‘liturgy’ of the Eucharist, when no priest is able to be present. This leads me to ask, Mark, whether your bishop does not encourage reception of the Eucharist from the Reserved Sacrament for fear it might have been consecrated by a woman? If so, this would indicate a determination on his… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Father Ron Smith: A prevailing attitude in a few dioceses in the states dates back to the old “don’t worship idols” mindset, and this includes storing Christ in some box. It’s a low church thing and there are still parishes uncomfortable (and apparently bishops) with the idea of having something to visually distract during worship. We had for years bishops in my diocese that forbade any missals, and the idea of incense, chasubles, sanctus bells are still rare in the one I live. It was a battle to get weekly communion (which regretfully ended much of the sung morning prayer… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“You cannot expect the church to accommodate you after it has gone through a discernment process and arrived at a new insight.” So, you’d force people out of the Church if they can’t accept OOW? I don’t see how this attitude fits with the discussions we’ve had recently about the Church having no authority to deprive people of membership in the ecclesia because they are somehow not “pure enough”. You earlier said that even an unrepentant pedophile, while needing our compassion, prayer, help, and support, and being prevented from damaging any children, should not be excommunicated, since we can’t judge… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford I’d force no-one out of the church. Ever. Please read again what I said. If you are a member of a church you have to accept its way of arriving at new discernment. In the CoE this discernment process has gone on for years and has been validated by all the necessary bodies. Previously you have insisted that it is the church that discerns, not individuals. Well, in this case, the CoE has discerned. And just as you are expecting me to abide by the discernment of my church and not have a same sex blessing until it officially… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

But Erika, by my theology I am a member of the CHurch…FULL STOP. And whilst the C of E has a majority desiring for women in holy orders, the church universal does not. Indeed there you become a tiny minority. It also seems to me that many of you did not take your own advice – when you believed in WO but the church did not instead of leaving by personal conscience you lobbied from within and have marginalised those who disagree with you once consensus is gained. THis is the church not a political club…I think you need to… Read more »

john
Guest
john

BillyD, I wasn’t attacking ‘Pluralist’; I was suggesting that ‘liberalism’ of whatever hue is not the only defining thing about church people, and used an extreme example to make the point. I could have used others, e.g. the fact (it certainly is a fact) that many Christian ‘liberals’ are liberal only about sex, though many are also doctrinally liberal (no virgin birth, no physical resurrection, etc.). As to why people who don’t accept WO would be attending such a church anyway, that was exactly what was/is happening in Blackburn Cathedral. So there was a problem, and I still think the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“But Erika, by my theology I am a member of the CHurch…FULL STOP. And whilst the C of E has a majority desiring for women in holy orders, the church universal does not. Indeed there you become a tiny minority.” – Ed Tomlinson – Dear Fr. Ed., From what I discern in your posts, when you speak here of being “a member of the Church .FULL Stop” you are theologising on the basis of the total ‘One Holy Catholick and Apostolick Church’, iof which every catholic Christian is a member – including Roman and Orthodox Christians. There is a diversity… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

“Furthermore the church has not yet claimed I may not be a member and hold the views that I do…” Who said anything about you not being a member? Things change Ed, as Scripture & Tradition without Reason is certainly not what the Anglican Communion is about. You know, the high church vs. low church fun banter we have on this site should be an example of what the future of our denomination should be. Something that what once taken seriously, is now a good-natured running joke amongst us here. It has been reduced to personal preferences in how we… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ed You are a member of the church, I don’t deny that. But you are a member of the CoE, aren’t you? And there must be a reason that you are a member of the CoE, not the Baptists or the Methodists or the Roman Catholics. And having made the choice to become a member of that church, do you not then have to abide by the discernment processes of that church? You seem to be saying that nothing new is ever allowed to be discerned, at least that’s how I read your comment that those who wanted WO should… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John I’m with you and I’m not. For a long time I have supported FiF parishes who wish to have male priests only. But in some respects, that only avoids the real issue. At what state of disintegration and separate provision is it still meaningful to speak about being in one church (assuming we speak about the denomination the individual has joined). There’s no doubt that we’re all members of the one body of Christ. But there are different denominations, and we have chosen to be part of one. Talk about an all encompassing church membership that includes us all… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

john,

“I wasn’t attacking ‘Pluralist'”

I didn’t think you were.

“As to why people who don’t accept WO would be attending such a church anyway, that was exactly what was/is happening in Blackburn Cathedral.”

Do we in fact know this? I haven’t read about anybody actually depending on this arrangement, only that the authorities in Blackburn set it up. I interpreted it as an excess of caution in responding to the possibility that someone might want to take advantage of it.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

So Erika… let me get this straight: When liberals are unhappy with the rules of the Anglican church it is perfectly acceptable to 1) ILLEGALLY ordain women in the USA in 1970’s 2) BREAK rules by allowing an active and gay bishop in 1990’s BUT when you DO agree with the Anglican church and an opponent does not then to that person you say: you have to accept the lines along which this church and its discernment processes are organised OH OK I GET IT. One rule for the liberals and another for me. Or will all those with same… Read more »

john
Guest
john

Dear Erika, I agree and I disagree. I agree in the sense that we agree about what OUGHT to happen. But I think ‘liberals’ are very selective in our application of the notion of ‘authority’. Because the C of E as a majority has agreed on women priests and (now) women bishops, we (= you) invoke a notion of majority ‘discernment’. BUT, (a) you are living with – and having sex with – a woman, while you also have children by a previous heterosexual relationship (forgive me, if I’ve got this wrong); (b) I too having had a previous heterosexual… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ed, which part of my saying that I feel I personally have to accept my churches discernment although I do not agree with it did you not hear? Having said that, there is no Anglican church, there is an Anglican Communion made up of independend national churches. The congregation of Gene Robinson was perfectly legal and it broke none of the rules that govern TEC. That many agree it might have been better not do go ahead is a completely different issue. And even further – you are asking if I condone people breaking the rules of their church and… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

And yes, it’s perfectly O.K. for “conservatives” to break away from their dioceses (or take the diocese anyhow) and drag it out in the civil courts when they know their case is weak due to canon law, but realize it’s an attempt to break the denomination..yeah, WE GET IT! I was there (albeit a young chorister) when my liberal bishop tried a more liberal minister in my diocese for allowing one of the “Philadelphia Eleven” (those were the “irregularly ordained” females by the way). He was so liberal that the ecclesiastical trial bloodied the diocese with his gracious appeasement towards… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“2) BREAK rules by allowing an active and gay bishop in 1990’s”

Exactly what rules were those, Father? I’ve looked all through the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and I can’t find the matter addressed at all. Your help would be appreciated.

MarkBrunson
Guest

“This leads me to ask, Mark, whether your bishop does not encourage reception of the Eucharist from the Reserved Sacrament for fear it might have been consecrated by a woman? If so, this would indicate a determination on his part to reject the priesthood of a woman. “ No. He has given women diocesan sponsorship and approved their entry into seminary with the specific purpose of becoming priests. The reasoning, actually, was along pragmatic lines – in a widely-spread diocese, it’s easy for parishes in transition between priests to become inbred, controlled by certain parish members who become the de… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Choirboy and Erika, Ed’s position can be dismissed because of this section: “When liberals are unhappy with the rules of the Anglican church it is perfectly acceptable to 1) ILLEGALLY ordain women in the USA in 1970’s 2) BREAK rules by allowing an active and gay bishop in 1990’s” There is no Anglican “church” to apply “rules” to TEC or any other entity. The only rules that apply are those of the individual churches themselves. He is CofE, so the Anglican Church’s rules apply to him, not to Bp. Robinson or any member of TEC. The Anglican Communion – not… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Mark
“Ed’s position can be dismissed because of this section:”

I agree that Ed is getting a little heated and that people aren’t always at their most logical when they feel under attack.

But I don’t want to simply dismiss his position.
I would dearly like to understand how he deals with the conflict of having a strong personal conviction about something, while the church he belongs to has moved in another direction.

There must be a genuine theological or logical way of dealing with this dilemma that he has merely not yet told us about.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

1/2 John I’m sorry, I missed your comment when I read the thread last night. I agree, there is a fundamental difference between me and Ed. I am liberal through and through, and I believe very very strongly in my own personal responsibility before God. I am willing to do things the church does not condone, because I do not give the discernment process of the church the same weight as many others do. I don’t try to force the church to accommodate my views. I am quite happy to hold them on my own and to live accordingly. I… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

2/2 The conservative side is that of people who have told me for years and years that I am now allowed to make my own discernment but that I should be subject to church discipline. Indeed, even national churches should not be allowed to make their own discernment, but should defer to a mythical Anglican Church, or even a Universal Church. And if someone who is a priest in a church, who has a very official role in it, who is answerable to his bishop, and who expects me to keep my love life out of his pure church until… Read more »

john
Guest
john

Dear Erika and Ed (and anyone else who is interested), Here is another story – you might call it a parable concerning the current state of the C of E. My partner comes from Derby. Her mother and father are devoted Anglicans. Her mother was a Reader, now retired. Both belong to two churches, one ‘high’ (St Anne’s), the other ‘middle’, St John’s. The former was FiF, the latter not. The former is an achingly beautiful church, with (now) a very small congregation, no more than 8 souls. It keeps going – by a thread. The latter is relatively flourishing… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Okay, Erika.

Knock yourself out. A lot of work for nothing, but you have to make your own decisions and I respect you for that.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John I’m not saying that these things don’t work out at a local level. At a local level, my own church is very supportive of me and my partner too. Your and my view are clouded. I used to argue just like you do based on my own positive experience of being same sex partnered in a CoE church. It leaves out the many many instances where people have appalling experiences with intolerance. If Ed cut me the same slack as he’s expecting his church to cut him, we’d at least both be reading the same parable. But that’s not… Read more »

john
Guest
john

Erika, Two answers. (1) You and I and pretty well everyone else can do what we like and no one can force us: they can’t afford to. That answer breaches your premise and would be unacceptable (on a theological level) to Ed. (though in practice, he, like pretty well everybody else, grants it considerable force). (2) Ed and many others, not just FiF people, would say that ‘the Church’ as in the C of E is a constituent of the Church Catholic and therefore there are limits to the freedom it can exercise in its discernment, particularly in cases of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Ed Tomlinson, Your point about the fact that the Episcopal Church in the USA went ahead before the rest of the Anglican Communion with the ordination of women describes an action consonant with its authority and polity as ECUSA, and not as part of the Church of England, That fact needs to be stressed and properly understood. The same applies to TEC’s action on the ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson. In both instances, the Canons and Constitution of TEC allowed this. What needs to be understood also, in this context, is that TEC is an autonomous Church, which also happens… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“Your point about the fact that the Episcopal Church in the USA went ahead before the rest of the Anglican Communion with the ordination of women describes an action consonant with its authority and polity as ECUSA, and not as part of the Church of England…”

Father Ron, I read his comments as alluding to the fact that the first American ordinations of women to the priesthood were done contrary to our Canons (the Philadelphia 11).

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/41685_3311_ENG_HTM.htm

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John 1. I can do pretty much what I like because I live in a supportive parish. But many like me are not even “out” because their church would not accept them. Why is it ok for FiF to request special treatment when something cuts no ice with them, whereas we cannot do the same when it doesn’t cut ice with us? 2. I am aware that Ed will never accept women priests. I was merely trying to work out how he stands on the decision making process of the church in which he is a priest. Whatever he says,… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Uh, excuse me, but wasn’t the first female ordination in the AC done in Hong Kong, and well predated the “Philadelphia Eleven”?

I might be wrong, New Zealand might have had the first female bishop in the the AC as well. Oh well, like the Lutherans, who have had females in the clerical ranks for years, they don’t count. Only Holy Rome and Mystical East mind you.

john
Guest
john

Erika, Father Ed is only ‘exempli gratia’: it feels odd – and perhaps disrespectful – to be discussing this individual’s position when he’s off stage. When I speak of him, I think I speak of many. I also frame things in my terms, which many people – not just people like him – might think cynical. I nevertheless do strongly think that many, many people could in practice accept these principles – or lack of them – and already also often in practice do accept them. I do realise that people such as you and me have been relatively lucky… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John

so, leaving my questions aside and being practical – what is the “deal” here, bearing in mind that deals usually mean compromises both sides are happy with?

BillyD
Guest

“Whatever he says, he was not ordained into a Universal Church, but into the Church of England…” The two aren’t really mutually exclusive, but I think I know what you mean. “Is it really ok to say “the governing bodies of my church have together made a decision, yet I am free to disregard it because it cuts no ice with me”?”” Are you claiming here that the decision to ordain women carries some sort of obligation on the part of church members? Exactly what, I wonder? At any rate, Erika, I think that sometimes the answer to your question… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Sorry back again! Erika I cannot answer your question because it is based on a false premise. I am well aware that I made promises to follow the rules of the Church of England. And indeed I do. To my knowledge that very church continues to stipulate that an objection to women’s ordination on theological grounds is an honoured and recognised position. It is for this reason that the church created flying Bishops and is now spending much energy in a synodically set up committee to find a way forward for me whilst keeping me within the fold. You might… Read more »