Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 6 June 2018

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News Changes – Facing the Strange…

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love How comfortable are the bishops with the Love that Dares to Speak its Name?

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau New directions for the Church 4: beyond church services

The Bishop of Maidstone has written this Reply from Bishop Rod Thomas to the Bishop of Lichfield’s ad clerum on ‘Welcoming and Honouring LGBT+ people’ in the diocese. We linked to the ad clerum here.
Colin Coward has written this Open Letter to Archbishops Justin and Sentamu re: +Maidstone in response.

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Encouragement for Churches: 4 Points On Welcoming Children

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Tim ChestertonKateErika BakerRod GillisFrDavidH Recent comment authors
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Kate
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Kate

I am spitting mad with Bishop Rod because as I read it he is saying it is right and proper to deny Communion to those in same sex relationships and marriages until they repent. I guess I would also have to repent for going through gender reassignment.

I am sorry but for me this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

‘Repentence’ eh.

Looking forward to that , whenever it is forth-coming from Rod Thomas and others in power in the Church….

And to think some queers / gays are daily communicants !

RT., “What are daily communicants ?” 🙂

James Pratt
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James Pratt

Kate,
It’s a lot more subtle than that — but perhaps even more nefarious.

The message is: “It’s up to you whether or not you come to communion, I won’t stand in your way. But I will preach that your lifestyle is sinful, and repeat that in any conversations seeking spiritual guidance/counsel, and remind you that those who take the sacrament unworthily are damned.”

Hardly welcoming!

Kate
Guest
Kate

I have read Colin Coward’s letter to the Archbishops. Can anyone tell me please whether and how I can raise a complaint against the Bishop of Maidstone under CDM?

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

I am intrigued by Rod Thomas’ view of the distinction between worthy and unworthy communicants. His stress is of course on the individual viz a viz the worthiness of the community. But, the doesn’t the liturgy, through the prayer of humble access stress that ‘we are not worthy,’ or in the alternative version ‘our hands were unclean, our hearts unprepared…’ and yet God, through grace, invites us to partake of the blessed sacrament alongside all others who are equally unworthy? The only alternative to accepting our unworthiness is to say ‘thank you Lord that I am not like the other… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

It seems that all I need to do is to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury with a complaint under CDM.

James, you are right, thank you but there’s a clear subtext that it is OK for ministers and and even other lay Christians to discourage LGBTI Christians from receiving communion. He even suggests that I should go for therapy before I receive communion. I am apoplectic.

BTW how unusual is it for one bishop to publicly criticise another like this – and it might be sweetly written but it is still very much criticism

Jeremy
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Jeremy
Colin Coward
Guest

Kate, I’m hoping that someone with better knowledge of the CDM process will give you advice here. I think you have to live in the diocese and be a person with an interest in the complaint being made.

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

The Bishop of Maidstone’s letter reminded me of something. Then I spotted what it is. It’s the figure of the creepy clergyman that is portrayed in Victorian fiction.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Colin Coward is right to voice his evident frustration at what it takes to effect any kind of change in the Church of England. Do we acknowledge all gradual change as positive (blessings for example) or do we reject all interim moves and head for equal marriage, not passing Go! in the process? I don’t know. But what I do know is that Parliamentarians who care about this do not have endless patience. The sword of Damocles which I believe should be dangled over the Church of England is the risk of Parliament legislating to withdraw the right of clergy… Read more »

Another Fr David
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Another Fr David

Here’s the thing. My colleague is in a long term relationship, now civil partnership, a good, kind, much appreciated (and loved) member of our team. Their relationship status is not only open and known but celebrated and honoured by everyone in our church – not one person has ever mentioned sexuality as an issue. When we gather for Holy Communion I have always assumed we are all aware of our sinfulness, which we articulate through our prayers of confession, following which we are reassured of our salvation through absolution. Are we now somehow supposed to believe that although we are… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Wow. The Bishop of Maidstone said that gay people in relationships are not worthy to receive the Eucharist!!! Wow.

God does not need a gatekeeper. Let alone a bigoted one. There is no Good News in this fellow’s harsh and ugly judgment. He is exuding the darkness that will never blot out the Light. How do such people become bishops?

Colin Coward points out that Maidstone is out-of-line with more recent teaching, so Maidstone cherry picks the teaching he likes and ignores the rest. There’s really no integrity there. Sad…

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

The Bishop of Maidstone’s letter put me in mind of “newspeak”: orthodox = not thinking. For one who has waited 68 years before reading 1984, parallels are striking. Vatican, AngCom, Pyongyang … I was interested to read of celestial events marking the birth of Kim Jong-Il. Fascinating stuff.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“I think you have to live in the diocese and be a person with an interest in the complaint being made.”

There might be a problem

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

I have some movie-buff friends that regularly invite a couple of dozen people or so over to have dinner and watch movies they like but think that others probably haven’t seen. The one last week was “Maurice,” the Merchant and Ivory film of the late 1980s based on the E.M Forster novel of the same name, written around 1913 but not published until the early 1970s after Forster’s death. After watching the movie, I was inspired read read Forster’s novel. The Bishop of Maidstone reminds me of the scene where Maurice seeks medical care to cure him of his homosexuality.… Read more »

Evan McWilliams
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Evan McWilliams

Despite their difficulty, I welcome the Bishop of Maidstone’s remarks for two reasons. First, they remind us that the Church is indeed still a diverse place where disagreements happen on theological grounds. It’s incredibly refreshing to have the opportunity to speak about something that isn’t merely bureaucratic and actually goes to the core of what we believe about the character of God and the meaning and intention behind the sacraments. The fact that his letter and Colin Coward’s response generate such strong emotions is a sign that theology still matters in the CofE. Second, as both an openly gay man… Read more »

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

May I respectfully advise Evan McWilliams to think again. If he is remotely in agreement with Rod Thomas, his life will be beset by unhappiness because of evangelical bigotry and dogma. Far better to be a happy layman than a miserable cleric. Free yourself from the Church’s shackles now!

John Swanson
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John Swanson

I can’t help but be struck by the parallels with Brexit.

Everyone knows there are different views.

A form of words is cobbled together that all cabinet members/bishops supposedly agree to.

A cabinet member/bishop chances his arm and goes public with what we all already guessed was his private disagreement.

The prime minister/archbishop is simply not in a strong enough position to take action against this open dissent.

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

This is the one place the conservatives are correct: “tolerance” is not an absolute virtue. The entire disarray throughout the AC can be traced to the hand-wringing (or, worse, financial greed) that worried over making a “safe place” for the regressive form of theology. It was always a Trojan horse.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“In the case of those with concerns over gender identity, we know that a wide range of issues may be involved and in some cases the suggestion of counselling would be appropriate. I do hope that clergy would be supported in the help they try to give in this respect.”

@Evan, as a gay man how would you feel about the suggestion that, because of your sexual orientation, it might be right for you to receive counselling before you receive Communion? Counselling with what purpose? Conversion therapy? It’s utterly chilling.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Excellent article by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes; thanks for the link.

John Bunyan
Guest
John Bunyan

On a different subject for once, may I just note, in relation to what Bishop Thomas has written, that the Book of Common Prayer is the standard of worship in my Church of Australia (though subscription to everything in it and the Articles has not been required of any clergyman since the relevant Act of 1865). I cannot see any reference to “further discipleship development” in its rubrics or those of the 1928 service for the baptism of infants. Rather, unlike later alternative books with their narrower outlook, in some of the Prayer Book’s most beautiful language, Cranmer links the… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“the Church is indeed still a diverse place where disagreements happen on theological grounds”

But it is also a place where bigotry masquerades as theology.

The Church of England is not always right; sometimes it is searingly, sinfully, blasphemously wrong, as in the perception of LGBT people expressed in extreme forms by the conservative factions.

God should of course be top priority in every life, lay or (pre-) ordained. For LGBT people that priority does not preclude an active sexual relationship: for those not blessed with the rare gift of celibacy, it demands it.

Evan McWilliams
Guest
Evan McWilliams

I hope I didn’t imply that I agreed in any way with +Maidstone’s remarks, FrDavidH. I was merely attempting to suggest that further reflection might lead to at least some positive outcomes, personal or otherwise, from a statement that so many find deeply abhorrent. Kate, I understand the sentiment you express very well indeed. As a matter of fact, I was sent for counselling on this question in another denomination when I was younger. I welcome all efforts to do away with intrusive and ineffective measures in regard to altering one’s sexuality and, if the issue should arise, would gladly… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

“Do we acknowledge all gradual change as positive (blessings for example) or do we reject all interim moves and head for equal marriage, not passing Go! in the process? I don’t know.”

This is IMO the wrong question, ’cause it presupposes a choice that doesn’t exist: with its endless delaying tactics, Canterbury’s made it abundantly clear that, if it has its way, change will be closed forever; since change must be forced through in any case, why not go all the way and force through equality?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“I think you have to live in the diocese and be a person with an interest in the complaint being made.”

In 2018 it would be outrageous to bar complaints on the basis of residence, while granting people an international pulpit via the Internet. It would be like limiting complaints about the BBC to people who live in W1A 1AA.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Canada, Scotland, USA and now Brazil.
Why go to Gretna Green, when you can go to Rio instead?

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

May I mention here as well as on the other thread this account of how a parish church responded to the suicide of a young teenager in their church, in a process that led to the adoption of an inclusive approach and policy to lgbt folk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G51jf2sGts8 I agree that we need to go full out for full equality for all our relationships in the church. I have been seeking this since the 1960s, myself, and tend to think 50 years is quite a wait in one lifetime at least ! I think things are hard for young gay people,… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Bishop Rod says that I misunderstood and that he stressed how his letter should be interpreted when he was interviewed by the BBC yesterday. At the time of writing, I can’t find a link (and, on grounds of economy, we don’t have a TV licence so I can’t look on iPlayer). If someone can find and report, I would be interested.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

Bishop Rod’s letter eschews intrusive questioning, preferring “very gentle probing”. I can’t help imagining these words “very gentle probing” being said by a member of the Spanish Inquisition, as portrayed in various comedies. Reading between the lines it seems parents requiring baptism for their children may become victims of “very gentle probing”. The Savoy Conference in 1661, which finalised the BCP, considered requests from Puritans that ministers have discretion to refuse baptism depending on the parents’ beliefs or manner of living. This was rejected on two grounds. First, babies should not be refused baptism, and second, ministers should not have… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

These knocks come often enough to impact on one’s mental health, I find.

Various church leaders, including Roderick Thomas do need to keep this firmly in mind. It can amount to an abuse.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-44412860?SThisFB

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Anyone else have any responses to Miranda’s article? It would be nice if we could have some discussion on a different subject from time to time.

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

In the light of the Presbyterian vote against gay couples in Northern Ireland, it’s a pity the people of the province don’t follow their brethren in the Republic and throw off the shackles of religion.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: Tim Chesterton, I read The Rev. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes’ article because you adverted to it. It is an excellent article. My first reaction was one of nostalgia regarding my own childhood in the church which was very different from that of the author. However, I set that aside to take in what is being said about today’s situation–one very different with regards to children’s cohorts past in so many ways. The practical take aways suggested by the author are good ones. The third one, letting children participate in things that are not just ‘kid things’ is insightful. The only thing… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

There is no Diocese of Maidstone. The suffragan see in Canterbury diocese was filled again in 2014 for a bishop to provide alternative episcopal oversight for parishes that could not accept the ministry of women priest and bishops.
It is therefore not a geographical see.
In terms of a CMD – does this mean that only a member of a church under Bishop Rod’s episcopal oversight could bring a complaint?

Kate
Guest
Kate

Erika, as I read it it takes 5 of them!

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Thanks, Rod. In terms of nostalgia, it reminded me of my teens, when my best friend began attending our church because I asked him if he would play guitar with me in our music group (this was 1974). He ended up a year or two later being baptized and is still a faithful Christian today. But the vicar had the vision and good sense to welcome him into that ministry team before he had come to faith. I was also a bellringer and a few of my friends were interested in that too. But I liked this one best. ‘find… Read more »