Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Kelvin Holdsworth Six reasons why [some] cathedrals are doing well
and Church blogging – all may, none must, some should

Church Times leader Cathedral conundrum

Andrew Brown The Guardian Talking about fish copulation is no way to discuss the family

Kate Bottley The Guardian I’m all for a mid-week church service – at least it’ll give me a Sunday lie-in

James Croft Patheos This Atheist is Thankful for the Clergy

Paul Handley The Guardian Let us give thanks, Black Friday has nothing to do with religion

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Tristan
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Tristan

Whilst reading below-the-line is always a trial in the Guardian, the comments below Bottley’s article make interesting (and damning) reading. What do we have to respond with to such disregard and contempt?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Clergy are accustomed to being stereo-typed. It took the writers and producers of the TV series M*A*S*H almost their entire run to nuance the character of Padre Mulcahy. So, perhaps I should be thankful that an atheist is thankful for clergy. James Croft’s rather patronizing article is based on his discovery that stereo-types are just that. I can’t decide what I found more off putting, his attempt at moral ascendancy or the humblebrag. Amusing that with titles like “Ethical Culture Leader” one learns that atheist humanists, as distinct from Christian humanists, have their own pious lingo. Coincidentally, just prior to… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

On Black Friday and Christmas (for our parish magazine) I am told it is Black Friday today – by the unsolicited emails which keep arriving, by the newspapers and the TV and the radio, by the police – who call retailers irresponsible and are trying to control behaviour bordering on chaos. Black Friday, apparently, and it isn’t even Advent, yet alone Christmas. It will have gone by the time you read this. And alongside the Government has just published guidance on “British Values” and what we should teach our children in school. Things like tolerance and respect and democracy –… Read more »

Dennis
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Dennis

Rod, there is no need to take a swing at the Ethical Culture movement. It is a distinct group within the history of religion in America, going back to the founding of an Ethical Culture society in NYC by a man named Felix Adler in the 1870s. He was a German American who studied to become a rabbi before leaving the synagogue of his father to start what he hoped would be a religion without sectarian creed that could unite good people around ethical action. He famously taught “deed, not creed” but it was not anti-religious thought that motivated him.… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“Whilst reading below-the-line is always a trial in the Guardian” Homophobic, sexist bigots are a minority of Christians. They are, however, rather less of a minority of vocal Christians. For the typical Guardian reader (white, educated) Christianity is reduced to the worst excesses of the culture wars: their last contact with organised religion was the wilder, more evangelical shores of the campus Christian organisations. Aged 40, their perception of Christianity is the excesses that 18 year olds were doing twenty years ago. It’s hardly surprising that people dismiss Christianity as the preserve of ignorant bigots when it’s only the ignorant… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

What exactly does Kelvin Holdsworth means when he writes that women are allowed to be “(second class) bishops”?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Dennis, not a swing nor a swipe at Ethical Culture, but to continue with your boxing metaphor, a well placed right hook in response to James Crofts’ rather pretentious jab at clergy. My rejoinder is a concise response based a bit of rhetorical criticism of his article, nothing more. Perhaps you should have given my post the same careful reading. As for your presumptuous suggestion that I do some research, I actually read over some of Crofts’s other articles before commenting. I read his posts over at Patheos, “The Temple Of The Future”. I take him at his word… Read more »

Simon Dawson
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Simon Dawson

Rod Gillis, In my eyes a careful reading of James Croft’s article will discover that he is not jabbing at clergy at all. He writes that it is “the word” clergy, and “the idea” of a class or people called clergymen that makes him uncomfortable. But in reality, in the flesh, the actual clergy he meets constantly set him a wonderful example of brave pastoral work. There is a dissonance between “the idea” and reality. If he is attacking anything, it is his own outdated personal stereotypical assumptions about the status of clergy. I don’t see anything in Croft’s article… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

Kelvin Holdsworth means that he has read the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests and knows what it means.

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006792.html

Dennis
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Dennis

I don’t know anything about Mr. Croft or his other articles. I was merely responding to your comment that, “Amusing that with titles like “Ethical Culture Leader” one learns that atheist humanists, as distinct from Christian humanists, have their own pious lingo.” I suppose that it is pious lingo. I’m not a member of Ethical Culture or any of their societies (being just a standard pew warming American Episcopalian) but I thought it worthwhile to point out that Ethical Culture is a tradition that includes not only only atheists but people of a wide range of beliefs united by an… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@Simon Dawson, I think you have put too fine a point on things. The James Croft article struck me as set bouquet and brick kind of piece. He eventually gets to the point of lauding the clergy for their role in the Ferguson community.There’s the bouquet. As an aside, the role of churches and clergy in civil rights activism ought not to be surprise to anyone. There is a long history of that in The States. Croft writes. “Clerical privilege frequently hands the worst ideas the biggest megaphone, putting the values and beliefs of a far-gone age on a pedestal,… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Dennis, ” I thought it worthwhile to point out that Ethical Culture is a tradition that includes not only only atheists but people of a wide range of beliefs united by an idea of ‘deed not creed.’ “ And I’m grateful that you did point that out. As I pointed out in a subsequent post, I don’t think there is any need for Christians to be inimical to humanism. I just found the presentation in Croft’s article really fried my fanny. The involvement of churches and pastors in civil rights, including the witness a half century ago of Episcopalians… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“Homophobic, sexist bigots are a minority of Christians.”

World-wide, IO? I wish I had your faith!

[I agree that VOCAL “homophobic, sexist bigots are a minority of Christians”. However—as Dennis mentioned the role of Ethical Culture in early 20th c (U.S.) anti-lynching campaigns—there were a lot of “quiet Christians” passively involved in lynch-mobs, then and now (regardless of what group is being lynched).]

Father David
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Father David

Greetings to Kelvin Holdsworth on this transferred St. Andrew’s Day. What would Kelvin prefer – the arrangements outlined in the Declaration or that Traditionalists, like the Wee Frees North of the Border, go off and found their own Church? Surely it’s “Better Together”.

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

I would prefer the Church of England to be fully in communion with itself and not introduce absurd novelties into the Episcopate (particularly those which denigrate women) without consulting the rest of the Communion. Whatever one might think of the Wee Frees, there was a certain amount of integrity in the manner in which those who left the Church of Scotland at the Disruption which I’ve always admired. No doubt there was also a great deal of rejoicing in later years when so many rejoined that church having got over their difficulties. There are other models of how Anglicans can… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Surely, Kelvin the “novelties” introduced into the episcopate are the soon to be consecrated women bishops, something that the Church has not had for 2000 years – how novel is that?

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Thank you, +Kelvin.

As I’ve said, CoE is asking female clergy and girls who notice the inequality, to carry the burden of injustice on behalf of those whose insist on keeping institutionalized misogyny. Some people will be lucky and avoid all that, and others will be unlucky. And that’s CoE’s idea of justice and “mutual flourishing.” If CoE is lucky, outsiders won’t perceive the hypocrisy…

We almost had to move to England. As much as I truly love your country and many of your church members, I’m glad that I don’t have to live with this aspect just yet.

Paul Theerman
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Paul Theerman

Father David–

While perhaps a novelty in the Church of England, not so in “the Church”–almost 26 years now in two provinces of the Communion.

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

I think I’m fairly clear that I think that a church that has bishops who are not fully in communion with one another is a far greater novelty than ordaining bishops who happen to be women.

We all have judgements to make about this, but that’s mine. I can understand that there are people who take the opposite view but I don’t agree with them at all.

Father David
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Father David

Does Cynthia know something that the rest of us aren’t privy to by adding a + sign in front of Kelvin’s name? I think if the Provost of Glasgow opens the history books he will discover many occasions in the past when bishops were not fully in communion one with another! There’s nothing novel in that. Also as far as Church history is concerned 26 years is virtually nothing. Perhaps the most significant fact concerning that time as far as ecclesiastical historians are concerned would be the rapid decline in church attendance. We need urgently to address the causes of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Bravo, Fr. Kelvin and Cynthia – for proclaiming the truth of the position of women Bishops in the Church of England. Wonderful as it is to have women become Bishops in that Church, they will be – despite their place in the House of Bishops – unacceptable as bearers of episcope to those in the Church who choose to ignore their status as Bishops. Effectively, this does allow, uniquely in the Church of England, a class of bishops that, for some of its adherents, are NOT Bishops – in regard to their presumed authority to exercise episcopacy over those who… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Whilst reading below-the-line is always a trial in the Guardian, the comments below Bottley’s article make interesting (and damning) reading. What do we have to respond with to such disregard and contempt?” That’s easy, Tristan. Luke Chapter 4 He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of… Read more »

Mark Wharton
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Mark Wharton

Cynthia, Rev’d Ron Smith,Kelvin Holdsworth. Im interested in what solution you would have liked to see. One cannot force people who cannot agree (not always a choice I feel) into communion with one another. Sacramental assurance is not a second order issue and many people (on both sides) have been hurting over this issue for so long now) Either they have to leave (which some have) or they have be enabled to stay (some have stayed because they are able). Another option (which I would favour) would be for traditional catholics to seek communion with the Holy Father- where they… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

I’m interested in the claim that there are many occasions when bishops were not in communion with one another.

When exactly was there a situation where a church formally recognised this as part of its polity?

When has there been a time when some bishops in a church that claimed the apostolic succession were encouraged by that church in their view that other bishops were not (or maybe not) actually bishops at all?

Father David
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Father David

I’m sure that the Provost of Glasgow has heard of the Western Schism (1378-1417) when there were rival claimants to the papacy. More recently Archbishop Lefebvre has been severely at odds with the Bishop of Rome. Was there much of a sense of communion between the various participants at the Synod of Whitby in 664, I wonder? Going even further back I very much doubt if the Bishop of Myra was in communion with Arius when they gathered at Nicea in 325. Right at the very beginning James and John had an unhealthy rivalry as to which one would be… Read more »

Jenny Petersen
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Jenny Petersen

Kelvin, I’m pretty sure I remember Archbishop Donald Robinson formally declaring the Anglican church Sydney out of communion with the C of E on the basis of apostolic tradition at a Synod in the early 90s. He did so with tears and dignity.

Jenny Petersen
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Jenny Petersen

Here’s a somewhat filleted account of the Archbishop Robinson’s announcement and other related stuff about the Australian church being in and out of communion http://trushare.com/75AUG01/AU01OZ.htm

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

My question is not whether there have ever been bishops out of communion with one another – of course there have. The question is whether any Church of the Anglican Communion (or indeed anything looking remotely like a church of the Western Rite with claims to possess the apostolic succession) has ever been in a situation whereby it has encouraged people to believe you can have bishops of that church who don’t believe that other people consecrated to the episcopate in that church are actually real bishops.

It is absurd.

Father David
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Father David

Am I correct in thinking that the Patriarch of Moscow once virtually excommunicated the Ecumenical a Patriarch simply by excluding Bartholomew’s name from the list of Patriarchs prayed for by name during the Divine Liturgy?

Father David
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Father David

Unfortunately, the Provost of Glasgow offers no solution as how the Church of Englad can extricate itself from the self created absurdity.

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

I’ve made a longer response to these questions on my blog.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Cynthia, … Im interested in what solution you would have liked to see. One cannot force people who cannot agree (not always a choice I feel) into communion with one another. Sacramental assurance is not a second order issue” I am with you in that the Sacraments are primary in the church. One solution is to offer male ministry to those parishes where a strong majority wants men. Period. Fine. The problem is insisting upon “non ordaining” male bishops. Problem A: that is institutional misogyny that is unjust to female clergy who have to serve under him, and it is… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Does Cynthia know something that the rest of us aren’t privy to by adding a + sign in front of Kelvin’s name?”

For some reason, I thought Kelvin was a bishop. However, my typos have occasionally come true….

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Father David,
is there are particular reason that you don’t address Kelvin directly but refer to him in the third person throughout?
It’s something that seems to have increased on TA recently and it’s a very strange way of putting distance between ourselves and those we talk with.
But I think it’s a dangerous practice because so many of our difficulties are down to not talking effectively *with* each other but *about* each other.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

Fr David, as to this quote of yours: Surely, Kelvin the “novelties” introduced into the episcopate are the soon to be consecrated women bishops, something that the Church has not had for 2000 years – how novel is that? I’m willing to bet on the impossibility of documenting your “something the church has not had for 2000 years.” And I’m willing to hazard a year’s pay that any church historian in an accredited academic institution would stand my bet. Sounds like you’re trying to squeeze popular fictions about early church history into a framework that suits your tastes. Anyone who… Read more »

John
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John

Father David, Remember ‘mutual flourishing’? Don’t polarise. There are people, including Martin Warner, including Jonathan Baker, incluing your good self (mostly), including Erika Baker, including me (and many liberals I know), who are prepared to ‘live’ this ‘inconsistency’. Ignore the polarisations of Kelvin and Cynthia. Easy for them. Irresponsible of them. Totally unrealistic of them. But you, too, have to shoulder the burden, accept the challenge, walk the walk. As Warner does. And avoid terms like ‘absurdity’. As for the ‘solution’ it is stated above: live it, accept it, make the best of it. Don’t yap, don’t whine (the terms… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

In another Anglican Province (TEC) where Episcopalians have refused to be in Communion with their Church polity – on the matter of ordination of LGBT clergy/bishops – they have formed their own quasi-Anglican Church. In that way, TEC has avoided confusion about episcopal jurisdiction. However; that was not at the initiation of TEC, but rather by an intentional act of Schism. Seemingly, this was the only way for both sides of arguments to maintain their own integrity. What is the situation in the Church of England now, is the amazing prospect of ‘2 Integrities’. How that fits with Catholic Order… Read more »

Simon Dawson
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Simon Dawson

Father David,

“Kelvin himself in a totally brilliant article on his blog asks “What if Jesus chose the wrong brother” (also suggesting a Miliband sub plot) when he questions Our Lord’s judgement in choosing the rock-like Peter the gatekeeper rather than Andrew the one with an instinct for hospitality and introductions.”

If only you had posted this last week, I would have had a much better theme for my sermon last Sunday.

Simon

Tim Chesterton
Guest

I’m shaking my head about the amount of attention that gets paid to bishops in articles like these, and in the comments afterwards. The vast majority of Christians are not clergy. And the vast majority of clergy are not bishops. And the vast majority of quiet, unspectacular Christian witness and service gets done by the vast majority who are not bishops. And although I’m entirely happy to work in an episcopal church, and I have appreciated the ministries of many faithful bishops over the years, I’m inclined to feel that in Anglicanism we give way too much attention to ‘who’s… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

As for referring to Kelvin Holdsworth in the third person, I do so respectfully, considering his position as Dean of a Scottish cathedral and never actually having had the honour of meeting nor being introduced to him. Although as Simon Dawson’s quotation above shews I also more familiarly refer to him by his Christian name. I greatly admire Provost Holdsworth’s very creative, fertile and highly imaginative mind, as indeed do I similarly admire the Dean of St, Albans skills as a teacher and evangelist. Both decanal gentlemen are richly blessed with gifts and talents that are to be much admired.… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

I asked Kelvin what solution he would offer in order for the C of E to extricate itself from its ” self created absurdity”. He has very graciously and very fully responded to this question on his own blog “What’s in Kelvin’s head” where he writes the following:- “I can see no way of resolving the ecclesiastical nonsense of continuing to consecrate men who don’t accept female episcopal ministry now. I wouldn’t turf anyone out but I certainly wouldn’t make the situation worse in this way.” Kelvin, how on earth would this solution assist or promote mutual flourishing? To starve… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

At what point was “mutual flourishing” added to the creed?

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Erica raises an interesting question of style. The third person is a device aimed (at least by me) at achieving several goals. 1. It is intended to include everyone in the exchange. This is not my blog. 2. It reminds me to frame my commnents in a way that explains and gives context and content to the post. 3. It reminds me that this not a place for bickering or personal attacks, and it helps me stay respectful. 4. It stops me asking questions of others, rather I must listen to what they say and be satisfied. 5. There are… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Tim I agree with you. How much it is also a male preoccupation is soon to be revealed.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

Mr Provost Kelvin, I’ll go further: When was bishop, priest, deacon or apostolic succession added to the creed?

I think it reasonable to speculate that the rigidity with which we tend to regard these offices and ministries was unknown in the cnurch until the Byzantine emperor demanded that we get house in order to prevent the dissolution of his empire.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

David – trust me, I’m from an Anglican province where we’ve had both male and female bishops for over twenty years. It’s not an exclusively male preoccupation.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Ignore the polarisations of Kelvin and Cynthia. Easy for them. Irresponsible of them. Totally unrealistic of them.” Unrealistic and irresponsible only if you ignore the provinces that have WB and are doing just fine… There was a bit of schism in TEC over women, but not much. The big deal came with LGBT, and plenty of those folks are coming back. John, please explain why it is polarizing to hold the position that parishes that want men should get men? And why is it polarizing to challenge the heresy of taint? Can you explain how it is that Sacraments are… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cynthia, unrealistic, because the CoE did not have the option of “these terms or others”, it only had the choice of “women bishops under those terms or no women bishops”. That may be regrettable, but it was a fact. It is possible to argue that the church should not have had women bishops in that case. But that’s not the question you’re asking. We now have this arrangement in place, the only question is how it will play out in practice. And yes, there will be debates about whether the agreement means that there have to be conservative Diocesans and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

To be absolutely fair and just; it would seem that the Church of England ought now to appoint a Woman Bishop who can exercise episcopal ministry in those situations where the local Ordinary is a male, and where a parish requests a female bishop to perform episcopal duties in the parish. Will this happen?

Father David
Guest
Father David

Father Ron as ever gets to the heart of the problem and clearly shews what an absolute tangle of a mess the Church of England has created by ignoring clear Biblical teaching and the Apostolic Traditions of 2000 years standing. We only have ourselves to blame and Fr. Ron’s voice from Down Under and Provost Holdsworth’s voice from North of the Border, like Prophets of old, point to the words of a song which state “There may be trouble ahead!” So, “Let’s face the music and dance!”