Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 12 July 2017

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Why I will continue to wear vestments

James Hadley Pray Tell #MitreGate: And the End of Vestments

Tina Beardsley The Guardian The church’s trans epiphany will ease the way for others like me

Paul Bayes Conversion therapy [speech to General Synod]

Christopher Lowson Bishop of Lincoln welcomes General Synod vote against conversion therapy

Susan Russell An Inch At A Time: Reflections on the Journey Celebrating with the CofE & Reprising “An Ontological Argument”

Kelvin Holdsworth thurible The Scottish Episcopal Church Option

This week, the Archbishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia released the interim report of the working group seeking structural arrangements to allow people who hold differing convictions about the blessing of same-sex relationships to remain within the church. These two articles look at the recommendations:
Bosco Peters Liturgy Blessing Same-Gender Couples
Peter Carrell Anglican Down Under Beautiful Anglican Accommodation – Down Under’s Way Forward

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Father David
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Father David

I’m with you Andrew Lightblown and when I return to ministry following my three month sabbatical I shall certainly look forward to wearing Eucharistic vestments once more. It was a sad day when Speaker Bercow announced that male MPs need no longer wear ties in the chamber of the House of Commons. In my recent extensive tour of Iran I must have been the only person wearing a tie in the entire country (well, someone has to keep up the standards of Empire!). Similarly, the Synod’s decision regarding the abandonment of clerical vestments is a retrograde step. The wearing of… Read more »

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

The proposal to abandon clerical attire coincides with the ascendancy of evangelicalism and is all part of the dumbing down exercise. Much like abbreviated Christian names – Pete, Dave, Mick – to show the vicar is just “one of the lads” (or lasses)

crs
Guest
crs

The intimacy of the SEC so gushingly commended by the author is of course due to its very small size and meager stipendiary funds. Bishops have to do everything, have almost no staff (when I was in St As, Dunkeld, Dunblane, the Bishop ran a lot of things out of his private home), there is no need for archdeacons or suffragans, and the country is small. Coates Hall has been gone for some time, replaced with residential courses of various kinds. With all this comes an intimacy. One is happily dwarfed by the RCC and CofS, and if one likes… Read more »

Fr John E. Harris-White
Guest

Fr David, a priest after my own heart. A very retrogade step by the synod. By their vestments you shall know them.

Fr John Emlyn

Nigel LLoyd
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Nigel LLoyd

I was on synod when the motion to allow clergy not to robe first began its way through the synodical process. Two things were said at the time. Firstly, the practice of not robing is widespread and it cannot be good to have a law which is simply ignored by many people. There are many Anglican churches in my deanery where robes are not worn. My own church is very much one which uses robes, but even we do not use them for Messy Church, Breakfast Church or the occasional Sunday evening Praise Service. Secondly, as part of the ethos… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
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Daniel Lamont

To respond to Professor Seitz, ‘gushing’ is not a word I would associate with the Provost of Glasgow Cathedral and I would hesitate to generalize about Scotland from the perspective of St Andrews which is transplanted Englandshire. The University has the lowest proportion of State-School educated students in Scotland by some distance. It is further reported that in 2016 the University of St. Andrews offered 62.5% of applicants from England a place, compared with just 36% of Scottish students. It is scarcely surprising that people called the SEC the English church. I can assure him that St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral… Read more »

John Darch
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John Darch

Those who rhapsodise over Eucharistc vestments (as opposed to traditional Church of England clergy robes) and deplore the leading of public worship by non-robed ministers are silent (or perhaps unaware) of the fact that their beloved vestments were only given legal status by the 1965 Vesture of Ministers measure. In the same way the recent Synod vote has merely regularized actual parochial practice.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Pray Tell!

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James Byron
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James Byron

Robes: as Nigel says, the requirement was flouted in any case, making a mockery of the canon. Since there was zero chance of bishops punishing the evangelicals who bankroll the church and who stop its numbers from imploding — in any case, doing so would destroy any claim that the CoE was a broad church — abolition of a dead letter definition of a thing indifferent was the right call.

Scotland: interesting piece, and however small the SEC may be, the Piskies certainly appear to be avoiding the woes of the CoE.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Rod, it appears to me that in your cartoon at the Job Centre – Mr. Bagley appears to be not only wearing a mitre but also sporting a toothbrush moustache. I do believe that it is against Canon Law for male clergy to simply have a moustache alone. Like in the Royal Navy clergy can either be clean shaven or wear a full set. Facial hair (like tattoos) seems to be all the rage at the present time – it’s rather like a kick-back to Victorian England with all these Hipster mean with luxuriant beavers adorning their faces. At present… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Mr Lamont, do you recall the recent poll in which by surprising percentage the SEC was referred to by its own members as something other than the SEC, viz., the Church of England, the English Church, etc? Not in St Andrews only — whose townspeople I was referring to, not university students who are busy playing golf and pubbing — but across the entire country. As for gushing, I thought the explanation was the content, which was so self-praising that a certain tone had to be adopted to accommodate the genre and avoid appearing haughty vis-a-vis the church to the… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Correction – For “Hipster mean” read Hipster men!
With apologies for the typo.

Jo
Guest
Jo

I think, crs, that you are half-remembering the census data that noted more people in Scotland giving their religion as CofE than SEC which is to be expected given the number of English immigrants to Scotland and England’s long history of nominal Anglicanism.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re Fr. David, barba tenus sapientes ( :

David Rowett
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David Rowett

Picking up briefly on Fr David’s comment on vestments above, I recall Charles Cranfield (URC) (I think – if not it was Kingsley Barrett (Methodist)) saying inter alia that they had no problem with vestments, which drew attention to the action of God in calling a person to ministry, but struggled with the luxuriance of academic hoods in worship,since they proclaimed the wearer’s own achievements. I’ve resisted wearing my lowly BA dead rabbit ever since. I also remember a clergy conference where in one of those dreadful games one is expected to play we were asked to express our opinion… Read more »

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

@crs “the epiclesis being a SEC prize not present in the CofE liturgies of today.” For centuries the SEC was the only church in the British Isles to explicitly invoke the Holy Spirit to come upon the bread and wine. Since Vatican II this reference has been introduced to some Roman Catholic Eucharistic prayers, but it was not in the Tridentine mass. There is also no such reference in the Book of Common Prayer, and I am not aware of any other C of E Eucharistic Prayer which specifically requests the Holy Spirit to come upon the bread and wine.… Read more »

crs
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crs

“..more people in Scotland giving their religion as CofE than SEC” Actually, that is exactly what I remember and referred to. Thanks. If there was such a crucial distinction as is being maintained, surely people would have wanted to say “SEC” very robustly and not the CofE or English Church. There were Scottish Episcopalians who struck up a letter writing exchange with the Orthodox when such contacts began to be possible. The Eastern Churches wanted non-Roman allies. The Episcopalians wanted a way to signal they had something distinctive of their own. The claim to antiquity can be very alluring. Even… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Yes, good old Erasmus of Rotterdam hits the nail on the head although I do note that he didn’t have a beard. Cranmer in old age and Rowan Williams both had splendid beards – two great Archbishops of Canterbury, neither of whom could be said to be wise only in appearance.
After growing a beard when I played the part of Wicked Uncle Abanazar in a pantomime it stayed put for 13 years. Then I thought better of it and shaved it off shortly after moving to the south coast.

David Rowett
Guest
David Rowett

I’m too old to want preferment, too dim/untalented/idle to get it, and the cassocks worn by our cathedral canons are a most unappealing powder blue, so I’m probably immune to charges of sycophancy when I say, “Isn’t it nice when a diocesan puts his cards on the table by publishing his prepared speech for Synod on the diocesan website?”

(On the other hand, had the cassocks been black with red piping….)

Jo
Guest
Jo

@crs: I still think you’re a little confused. I’m referring to a national census, not a church one, and those in Scotland answering CofE almost certainly don’t darken the door of a church outside of weddings and funerals. They are unlikely to be aware of the denominational distinction between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, much less be able to identify where the SEC fits in. It would be very unwise to conclude anything about SEC members from that data.

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

As a former member of SEC, now sometimes a shade bewildered by the ways of the CofE, I greatly enjoyed Kelvin Holdsworth’s blog. It can’t be said too often that Scotland and England are two different countries.

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

” I am not aware of any other C of E Eucharistic Prayer which specifically requests the Holy Spirit to come upon the bread and wine” @ T Pott CW Prayer A: grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit these gifts of bread and wine may be to us his body and his blood; Prayer B: grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; “ Prayer E send your Holy Spirit, that… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“…much less be able to identify where the SEC fits in.”

Of course the poll did not evaluate this and so you are simply speculating. This isn’t my confusion but one that derives from trying to speculate beyond what was asked. Bastille Day blessings.

Father David
Guest
Father David

In his article promoting the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Tourist Board the Provost of Glasgow keeps referring disparagingly to “Englandshire” should not that rather be Englandstan? (Please forgive the tautology) To make the tempting offer to move North of the Border even more attractive perhaps Kelvin should have included more on the lovely scenic beauty of lochs and mountains to be found in Scotland. However persuasive his article may be I would be very reluctant to move from my Sussex south coast parish as I’ve seen the videos of the Presbyterian Minister the Reverend I M Jolly which offer a less… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

I’m not a liturgist or a theologian, but my understanding is that the Epiclesis specifically calls on the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine, whereas the CofE prayers are ambiguous about whether the Holy Spirit is acting on the bread and wine or in a receptionist sense in the heart and mind of the believer.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“In St Andrews I did not have that sense of the SEC churches there.” St Andrews is sui generis, and any argument which attempts to generalise to Scotland, or even Fife, or even East Fife from the example of St Andrews is doomed to disaster. In term-time 40% of the population are students or staff, the student body is disproportionately (compared even to, say, Edinburgh) non-Scottish, and amongst the Scottish students they are wildly unlike Scotland (far richer, far more privately educated). I have a child there, and I am gaining a rich understanding of just what a bubble “the… Read more »

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

Fr Andrew Compare the extracts you quote from C of E CW prayers A B E and F with this typical SEC version (this one is 1982 A): Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and this wine, that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, they may be the Body and Blood of your Son, The SEC is absolutely clear that the Holy Spirit is to come upon the bread and wine, and upon the people, and that as a result of this the bread and wine will “be” the Body and… Read more »

american piskie
Guest
american piskie

I can’t see, Fr Andrew, that these “specifically request the Holy Spirit to come upon the bread and the wine”. Not in the way that this does:

Hear us, merciful Father,
send your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these gifts of your creation, this bread and this wine,
that, overshadowed by his life-giving power,
they may be the Body and Blood of your Son,
and we may be renewed for the service of your kingdom.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Interesting thread re epiclesis! T Pott: (charming handle 🙂 ) “There are some which ask that by the Spirit the bread and wine ***may be to us*** the body and blood, but there is nothing which specifically involves the Holy Spirit acting on the elements as opposed to the people.” All of the prayers you list, Fr Andrew, seem to be of the type T Pott disclaimed. I won’t speak to whether that’s a significant distinction (above my paygrade), but the distinction is specifically mentioned. [I furthermore leave it to minds brighter than mine to comment on crs “Scottish/Orthodox penpals”… Read more »

crs
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crs

I lived in Fife and never found the townspeople anything but proudly Scottish. It was them to which I referring, not university folk. They spoke of the episcopalians reflexively as attending the English church. My point was that I never heard any episcopal church-goers flinch or react defensively, scots or english folk. I think the entire idea of claiming some special provincial distinctive a reverse instinct of certain chauvinistic african anglicans. Provinces are different. The epiclesis was a gift of the Eastern church and one could find a way to turn it into an anglican sine qua non in just… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

The epiclesis so described as distinctive in the SEC/Eastern mode also participates in a longstanding tension between East and West over the procession of the Holy Spirit. The CofE language wants to assure that the Holy Spirit functions in relationship with the Godhead and in relation to the Body of the Church (“…merciful Father, send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts that they may be…”). The West has traditionally worried about what they fear is a mysticism of independent Holy Spirit action in Eastern thought; and the East has worried about the integrity of the Holy Spirit… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

The Epiclesis of the Eucharistic Prayer II of the Roman Rite.

I can’t really see that Rome is inviting ambiguity about what the Holy Spirit is up to here, or are the ‘no Anglican epiclesis crowd’ claiming a major semantic difference between ‘to us’ and ‘for us’?

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“I can’t see, Fr Andrew, that these “specifically request the Holy Spirit to come upon the bread and the wine”‘

Watch the priest’s hands at this point in the Eucharistic prayer next time you’re at Mass. If the President is in any sense trained in the catholic tradition of the C of E they will be indicating quite precisely where the Holy Spirit is being requested to act- on the bread and wine. The liturgical epiclesis is a text AND an action.

american piskie
Guest
american piskie

@crs: “They spoke of the episcopalians reflexively as attending the English church”.

How times do change. When I was there “the English Church” meant St Andrew’s St Andrews, while All Saints St Andrews were “the piskies”.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

“The liturgical epiclesis is a text AND an action.” – Fr Andrew But only the text is part of the Church of England liturgy, the action at that point is not. The action is an intrusion which, while it is helpful to the congregation, and the Holy Spirit, in understanding the priests personal interpretation of what he is saying, does not narrow the prayer of the Church. The SEC is quite specific in requesting that the Holy Spirit must be sent upon the bread and wine, and the people. The C of E leaves it up to God.

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

It is of course all a matter of perception but, as one who lives, moves and has his being in Scotland as I write, I have to say that my sense of St Andrews, both town and gown, is more akin to that of Interested Observer than that of Professor Seitz. I have to say that I have not heard in 20 years anyone refer to the SEC as the English Church. The substantive point is that the SEC, albeit small and poor, is confident in itself and does what it thinks is right both for itself as a church… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

I have heard “the English church” from an elderly Presbyterian in the last few months, but it is not something I’ve heard in common usage.

crs
Guest
crs

Dear Dr Lamont, I was Professor at U of St As for almost a decade, and I also knew a fair number of townspeople and Fifers well. I played a fair amount of golf and belonged to the two golf clubs for locals (St Andrews Gold Club and the New Club, neither to be confused with he lavish R and A, full of Englishmen). I attended St Andrews church and did the Lenten addresses there one year. I guess we just hung out with different crowds! My scottish friends called yorkshiremen Scots with the generosity squeezed out. The bantering over… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

The Pott/Fr Andrew discussion highlights the fact that within the Anglican Tradition there have been two broad streams of understanding Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Until the Oxford Movement most Anglicans would have believed that those who receive with faith the consecrated elements receive Christ’s body and blood but the emphasis was on reception and the relation of presence to element was left undefined. The Tractarians appealing to the Fathers revived a stronger doctrine of consecration tying Christ’s presence more definitely to the elements before reception (with the corollary that Eucharistic adoration was legitimate.. hence Keble’s treatise On Eucharistical Adoration}… Read more »

mlh
Guest
mlh

The perspective of crs is probably somewhat influenced by the demographic of St. Andrews as an institution and also his own theological pre-commitments.

Susannah Clark
Guest

As a graduate of St Andrews, a Scot, and someone who lived and studied there for 7 years, I would say that St Andrews is atypical of most of Scotland – and indeed a place of some student/academic privilege. It certainly attracts an unusual % of upper middle class English students from private schools. On the scale of student types across the UK’s universities, it is ‘posh’. I was fortunate to go to St Andrews on a scholarship, which among other things afforded me one of the best rooms at St Salvator’s Hall of Residence. When I accompanied my daughter… Read more »