Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Linda Woodhead Church Times The challenges that the new C of E reports duck

Meri-Anna Hintsala Westminster Faith Faiths blog Putting a Church Online – Lessons from Finland

Church Times leader Right sort of growth

Michael Paulson New York Times Inequality as a Religious Issue: A Conversation With the Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech at ‘Creating the Common Good’ conference in New York

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Father Ron SmithMark HartDavid KeenMartin ReynoldsAnne2 Recent comment authors
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Mark Hart
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Mark Hart

Linda Woodhead’s article is remarkable in providing not only an incisive critique of the C of E reports but also positive, imaginative indications of a better way and a richer theology. She is surely right that “discipleship” is overdone as a concept. Properly understood, Christian discipleship is about being called to follow Jesus to the extent that we stand precisely where he is, in the heart of the divine life, but without this more “glorious vision” (as Linda puts it) being emphasised, the language of “making disciples” conveys the impression today that the church is superior. The truth is rather… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

From the NYT interview:

“Q. What difference does the pope make for Christians who are not Catholic?

A. Inspiration…”

Argh! +++Welby had the perfect opportunity to begin his response w/ something like “Well, I *am* catholic, but…” and he blew it. >:-/

Pam
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Pam

Michael Paulson’s interview with Archbishop Welby confirmed Welby’s diplomatic skills and his clear vision of where the Anglican Church is at the moment. He didn’t buy into predicting just what may happen. God bestows freedom for us to choose and we are loved whatever way we choose. The Catholics have been brave enough to choose a leader nurtured away from the power base of Europe. And the Anglicans have also chosen well with Justin Welby. Now to make it count!

John Holding
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John Holding

Pam — No, “the Anglicans” have not chosen Justin Welby as their leader: the CofE chose him. (That’s if the comparison is with the RC church and the bishop of ROme). I would suggest that at the moment, his role as a leader of Anglicanism is so tenuous that one more attempt to lead anyone in any direction will tear the whole thing apart for good. At the best, his role outside the CofE is (or ought to be) as a convenor of councils. That’s it. And the sooner he and the CofE accept this, the better for us all.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“[H]is role outside the CofE is (or ought to be) as a convenor of councils. That’s it. And the sooner he and the CofE accept this, the better for us all.”

So true!

But Welby indicated that in his opinion, leadership of the Anglican Communion will not and should not rest with the CofE forever.

Welby also said, of The Episcopal Church, “I’m very careful about lecturing other churches.” Which is heartening–but other leadership of the Communion might not be so restrained.

As I’ve often said, the Anglican Communion is a family of independent churches. Nothing more.

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

John Holding’s view of the Anglican Communion today seems to me very negative and unnecessarily so. The Christian Church has had far greater crises in the past, but by God’s grace they are behind us. I am greatly encouraged by Archbishop Welby’s recent visits to the Provinces of our fellowship and his current leadership, and (moderate Evangelical) Andrew Atherstone has given us a very fine story of his extraordinary life before he became Archbishop in “Archbishop Justin Welby : The Road to Canterbury”. In Archbishop Rowan Williams we were also blessed, with a very different man but a very great… Read more »

James A
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James A

Congratulations to Linda Woodhead for many aspects of her critique, especially in drawing attention to the way all these reports represent a shift in the C of E’s ecclesiological stance (i.e. making it more congregational, less societally-focussed, and how an emphasis on ‘discipleship’ in the narrow sense draws energy inwards). If we allow these proposals to take us down this road, the situation will be more dire than these reports envisage; because we will become a membership organisation, geared to the internal expectation of ‘members of the club’, with less and less space for those outside or on the margins.… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@JCF “From the NYT interview:

‘Q. What difference does the pope make for Christians who are not Catholic?

A. Inspiration…’ “

Anglicans outside the C of E could ask a similar question, and get a similar answer re the ABofC.

Q. What difference does the ABofC make for Anglicans who are not in the C of E?

A. Inspiration.

The answer implies he will received variously, and on an issue by issue basis, since inspiration usually has a strong subjective component.

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

John – Hear, hear! Though I would ask why there is any reason to hold the whole thing together? Perhaps it would be best to let each country nurture a church which is indigenous and responds to the needs, culture and understanding of its mother country. To whatever extent we are held together, I submit it is through a more-or-less common liturgy (less and less as time goes by – but that is another topic). Strong, self-confident churches – ECUSA and hopefully, eventually the C of E – should and could thus lead by example. Leading by authority is clearly… Read more »

cassandra
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cassandra

The CT leader still doesn’t seem to have got it: “We suggest that the task of theological education continue to be a priority, passing on the fruit of academic study and learned experience to a laity that is best placed to produce the numerical growth being called for and, with training, can provide a perfect seedbed for the next generation of clergy.”

Er, why isn’t that a seedbed for the next generation of laity? Is the only role of the laity to produce clergy?

Pam
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Pam

John —

I was working on the assumption that, although the Archbishop of Canterbury is chosen by the CofE, that this position is seen as leadership of the entire Anglican Communion. I realise there is significant disagreement within Anglicanism over ‘issues’. I also believe that Welby’s role outside of the CofE is to bring non-believers to Christ. A role each believer shares. His credibility depends on support from all of Christ’s followers. This doesn’t mean agreeing with him on every single issue. Or even going to church.

J Drever
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J Drever

I am increasingly of the view that we need Linda Woodhead on the bench, and quickly. There were instances during the Byzantine empire of laymen being appointed patriarchs of Constantinople, and being put through all orders within a few days (e.g., Tarasios in 784 or Photios in 858). There have also been instances of laymen being appointed to senior positions in our own church (e.g., Robert Weston and Sir William Gerard to the deanery of St Patrick’s, Dublin – Weston was also dean of Wells, and was succeeded by another layman/jurist, Valentine Dale; or Sir Henry Savile to the provostship… Read more »

John Holding
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John Holding

Pam: “I was working on the assumption that, although the Archbishop of Canterbury is chosen by the CofE, that this position is seen as leadership of the entire Anglican Communion.” I think you will find, Pam, that in much of the anglican communion the role of the ABC as leader has been profoundly tarnished by a succession of ABC who may (or not) have been excellent leaders of the CofE but who have failed dismally to lead or even notice the realities of the rest of the Anglican communion. Your vision, which was certainly valid when Michael Ramsey was ABC,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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re the article about the Finnish Church & Internet:

In my humble opinion, The Body of Christ is incarnational – that is, personal. It cannot be merely virtual. Probably this is why God became incarnate in Jesus Christ – to ‘dwell amongst us – not on the Internet, but in the flesh. There is no substitute, even in the world of today, for the Presence of Christ in the midst – in the Eucharist.

Anne2
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Anne2

“There is no substitute, even in the world of today, for the Presence of Christ in the midst – in the Eucharist.” This is absolutely true, of course, Father Ron, but as soon as human beings developed writing they were using ways of communicating that were virtual, that didn’t require the physical presence of the one who was communicating. It may not be the same as face to face communication, but it is communication, and it can do things that physical presence can’t. Writing developed because communities grew beyond the scale at which going and speaking directly to a number… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I perfectly understand Father Ron Smith’s view: “That there is no substitute, even in the world of today, for the Presence of Christ in the midst – in the Eucharist.” Yet, looking back to 1974, in the chapel at Salisbury Theological College; imagine a gargoyle of a man called Gonville ffrench-Beytagh, erstwhile Dean of Johannesburg, as he recalls reciting the prayer of consecration after months of torture and solitary confinement – before us he reaches his hands outward and upward to receive the body and blood of Christ, just as he did in that cell without bread and water and… Read more »

David Keen
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David Keen

How can the church overdo discipleship? Jesus begins his ministry by calling 12 disciples, and ‘ends’ it by commissioning them to make disciples of all nations.

Mark Hart
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Mark Hart

David, the church can’t overdo discipleship, I agree. My remark was meant to be taken in reference to the reports, to make the point that the language of discipleship can be overdone, especially if the more negative connotations are not balanced by that fuller vision of what it means to follow Jesus, which the word “discipleship” alone does not convey, and which Linda noted was missing. The church can’t overdo its mission for people to be saved, but it can overdo the language of “being saved” and it can understand “being saved” in a narrow, diminished way.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

A very good point, Martin. However, within the person you speak of here – Gonville ffrench Beytagh – there was an instinctual ‘presence of Christ’ that not all people are able to express. AND, it was evoked in the presence of others of like mind. His symbolic gestures were undoubtedly the Holy Spirit’s way of making Christ present on that occasion.

Thanks for that reminder of a good man.