Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Andrew Brown The Guardian We shouldn’t focus on assisted dying, but rather help others find value in life

Caroline Spelman, the Second Church Estates Commissioner (“2CEC”), writes about A voice for the Church in Parliament.

Rowan Williams New Statesman Blasphemy can provoke violence – and be a progressive force within religion

Giles Fraser The Guardian Thieves may have stolen my optimism, but not my defiance

Richard Moy Dear Deans
Kelvin Holdsworth Dear Deans – a Scottish Response

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Will Richards
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Will Richards

So Richard Moy thinks all cathedrals should be like HTB or All Souls’ Langham Place where nothing is left to the imagination, but spelled out in unequivocal terms. From this, good Lord deliver us! Deliver us, too, from the ‘God Squad’ getting their hands on our cathedrals. Who says they are not engaging people? Liturgy in cathedrals draws people in different ways and for different reasons; and who is he to question – or define – the faith and (sorry to use this word) discipleship of a tourist? Some of them may be curious pilgrims, at a different place on… Read more »

Pluralist
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Caroline Spelman obviously thinks supporting Foodbanks is a good thing, whereas her government (with previously wooden leg support of Liberal Democrats) is their reason for existence. Typical Tory blinkered vision.

Pam
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Pam

Brilliant, Giles Fraser. If Giles’ friend returns (as I’m hopeful he will) I’d recommend Giles read David Malouf’s poem “The Brothers: Morphine & Death” with him. Space precludes me from typing it here.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Kevin’s response was wonderfully balanced and well-reasoned. God meets people in their hearts and souls through all kinds of mysterious means. At the same time, it is probably fair to wonder whether the tone and culture of some cathedrals is over-‘ecclesiastical’ and in some ways privileged. I guess my experience at Occupy outside St Paul’s epitomised it for me. That situation just begged for some imaginative thinking. Inclusion was desperately needed, to align the Church with all people, not just City sponsors. It would have cost little to invite five or ten tents to be pitched *inside* the Cathedral, and… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

If I remember correctly, Charles Simeon, the precursor of evangelicals in the Church of England, was converted while an undergraduate at the Eucharist in Kings College Chapel, Cambridge on Easter Day in the late eighteenth century. I somehow doubt, in that context and at that time, that it was the sermon that did the trick.

James A
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James A

“I still think some cathedrals can feel detached and elitist, and part of a privileged establishment” @ Susannah Clark. I have to say that is not my experience – equally at Sheffield as at Salisbury. We have to recognise that many people want a degree of anonymity, want more of God than they do so-called notions of ‘community’ and want to be able to come and go without being press-ganged to join the flower rota the moment they walk through the door. They actually cherish not being ‘welcomed’ and undergo self-disclosure; but being given space to grow into the church’s… Read more »

Tom Marshall
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Tom Marshall

Richard Moy’s blog reminds me of something my nephew (in his mid 20s) said a couple of years ago. He was moving to the North to begin a job and would be living just outside Leeds. He looked at the website of one nearby cathedral and watched a youtube clip, obviously designed to appeal to new worshippers, where a woman in her 60s or 70s told everyone “We’re not like other cathedrals… we’re a friendly cathedral!” My nephew rang me up after seeing it and asked if there was no-where left in the Church of England where he could go… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Jeremy, you do not remember correctly about Charles Simeon. His gradual conversion began when he was informed that as a Cambridge undergrad he would be required to take communion at certain set times of the year. ‘Conscience told me that Satan was as fit to receive as I’. Thus began a process of searching, reading, studying and praying that culminated in his coming to believe that through the substitutionary atonement all his sins had been laid on Christ, and he needed only to put his faith in him to receive forgiveness. You can find the full story at http://www.gospeltidings.org.uk/library/15/1/3.htm

Geoff McLarney
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Geoff McLarney

“I guess my experience at Occupy outside St Paul’s epitomised it for me.” The response of the various cathedrals to the Occupy movement was illustrative for me as well, as a Tractarian cautionary tale. At the original Occupy Wall Street, bishops and clergy of the Episcopal Church, with its American voluntarist polity, were on the front lines. At St Paul’s, with its established church tradition, the Church duly did its job defending the establishment, and the occupiers were shut out. In Canada, which mingles the two, the responses were similarly mingled. (In Toronto, relations with the cathedral were initially friendly,… Read more »

Paul Rattigan
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you may also be interested in the response from the Dean of Liverpool Pete Wilcox

https://deardeans.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/a-response-to-richard-moys-dear-deans-challenge/

Charles Read
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Charles Read

In agreement with Jeremy and ‘nevertheless’ for Tim… modern (?) evangelicals often forget – or never knew about – our evangelical history. If one may count Simeon and Wesley as forerunners of modern evangelicalism, it needs to be remembered that in those days Anglican evangelicals were sacramentalists. Wesley regarded Holy Communion as a converting ordinance (no doubt because he thought the BCP service set out the doctrine of justification by grace clearly rather than because of any numinous issues!) In this appreciation of the importance of the eucharist, he was not alone. Simeon preached sermon series on the BCP liturgy… Read more »

Peter K+
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Peter K+

It’s clear that Richard Moy has touched a nerve, and it’s good that we should reflect and discuss the place of preaching, in cathedrals and elsewhere. A choral evensong is certainly not a ‘revival service’ at the local Pentecostal church, and isn’t the place for a long sermon. But are there not times when the readings or other aspect of the worship cries out for a short reflection, which may help people to make connections with our world and wider experience? At the moment in our church we have a Quaker who comes regularly along to our morning prayer in… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

At the time, I too was dismayed by the St Paul’s response to Occupy London, but with hindsight, I’ve changed my mind.

Occupy pitched tents on St Paul’s land without the church’s permission, and then refused to leave when asked to do so by the cathedral chapter. That refusal cost the church thousands in revenue. It’s a clear-cut case of trespass, and even if it wasn’t, it ignored St Paul’s wishes. That’s no way to treat your hosts, especially unwilling hosts.

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Dear Tim and Charles, I am glad to read Evan Hopkins account again after many years – so thank you for pointing me to it. I think it does confirm that 4th April 1779 in Kings College Chapel was a critical moment for Simeon. Nevertheless, I agree that his start there was not the end. And in a way he is not that dissimilar from Dr Johnson, a man of very different stripe in his spiritual uncertainties and hopes and fears. People these days don’t think in the way that they did – you might wish they did, but that… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

What could possibly take us nearer to God than Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer sung in one of our great cathedrals?

Jo
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Jo

@Father David: I can think of a few things:
Midweek Holy Communion celebrated reverently with a handful of folk in the side chapel of any ordinary parish church.
The retelling of Christ’s Passion, death and resurrection over the course of Holy Week and Easter, anywhere a group of believers gather to do it.
Silent prayer in an otherwise empty church while the priest is chanting the Benedictus.

Evensong can be a beautiful service that draws us close to God, but it is not the only or necessarily the best way of doing that.

Charles Read
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Charles Read

“What could possibly take us nearer to God than Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer sung in one of our great cathedrals?” Why a 45 minute sermon on either Penal Substitution or on the importance of preaching! Obvious innit? Meanwhile in the real church… I notice that Richard Moy’s church is reopening a closed church nearby. It is to have a 24/7 prayer space – so he is clearly not innocent of the numinous. My problem with the HTB approach (I think Richard is coming from that angle) is that it misses such a lot of possibilities. I… Read more »

Simon R
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Simon R

Charles Read’s response (read immediately after Pete Wilcox’s excellent response to Richard Moy) hits the nail on the head for me. Not only are cathedrals growing at the rate Tom Marshall cites; but so are charismatic evangelical congregations. Why? because they offer an experience. The rational, one-dimensional nature of ‘Protestant’ (to use a general term) worship, with its emphasis on the written and spoken word, is going to be of limited use in a visually, aurally and experientially centred world. Instead of a brief encounter with an act of worship in a cathedral which didn’t tick his boxes. Richard Moy… Read more »

Peter K+
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Peter K+

“What could possibly take us nearer to God than Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer sung in one of our great cathedrals?”

For my money Prayer Book Evensong in a village church – finished with a good 8 minute sermon 😉

Peter K+
Guest
Peter K+

I agree in part with Simon R, but the one part I’d pick up on is that charismatic congregations and others are growing because the faith is both caught AND taught. Alpha and other courses during the week – and on-going home groups – are a vital part of faith-building, friendship and fellowship for many in the life of churches of evangelical & charismatic persuasion. It’s not unusual for people to spend years coming along to nurture groups before they come to church regularly on a Sunday – indeed some never do, but stay loyal members of their group. It’s… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Some good suggestions to bring us “Nearer my God to thee”.
At the moment I am on Retreat on Iona and I can tell you, I feel pretty close to the Almighty on this holy Isle.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Some good suggestions to bring us “Nearer my God to thee”.
At the moment I am on Retreat on Iona and I can tell you, I feel pretty close to the Almighty on this holy Isle.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

“What could possibly take us nearer to God than Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer sung in one of our great cathedrals?” The answer to that question will vary from individual to individual, so to absolutize one person’s experience seems dangerous to me. Personally I feel a lot nearer to God on a mountain trail in Jasper National Park than I ever have at Evensong in a cathedral (where I’m mostly frustrated because they don’t sing chants I’m familiar with so I can’t join in). I’d also add Thursday mornings at 7 a.m., when a group of men… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Jeremy, you said of Simeon, ‘Nevertheless, I agree that his start there was not the end’. I think my point rather was the opposite: that his end there was not the start. The process began many months before, and involved a good deal of wrestling with sin, unworthiness, the meaning of the atonement etc. I note also that he started from a framework which taught him that he needed to prepare himself to receive the sacrament. In other words, he experienced Christian liturgy in the context of a theological understanding that was a part of the culture of his day.… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Thank you Tim for introducing me to the word “absolutize” which I shall now file in my memory bank alongside “prioritize” and “missional”. Where are we nearer to God to? Indeed Tim, that depends upon the person. As John Junor once so memorably said “I don’t know, but I think we should be told” When leaving a previous parish a kindly couple presented me with a stone birdbath surmounted by a dove which bore the verse from Dorothy Frances Gurney’s poem – “God’s Garden” “The kiss of the sun for pardon The song of the birds for mirth One is… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

The Lion of the North has roared and the Dean of Durham has responded to Richard Moy’s OTT criticism.
What a great loss Michael Sadgrove will be when he retires from his Dunelm Decanal stall in September.

John
Guest
John

Surely one of the points of a Retreat should be to get away from all the fire and fury of TA (which often drives me mad(der))?

The Dean of Durham will indeed be a great loss.

Glad you’re having a wonderful time.

Father David
Guest
Father David

But John, how would I know what and who to pray for while on Retreat if I didn’t keep up with all the strum und drang on the TA Blog?

Father David
Guest
Father David

But John, how would I know what and who to pray for while on Retreat if I didn’t keep up with all the strum und drang on the TA Blog?