Sunday, 17 October 2010
more about St Peter's Folkestone
Updated again Wednesday
The Guardian sent Stephen Bates to investigate, and his written report is headlined Church of England parish sings battle hymns as it plans move to Rome.
The BBC sent Robert Pigott and his video report is headlined Kent church to convert to Catholicism over women bishops row.
The BBC headline is misleading, for as Stephen Bates notes (emphasis added):
…His congregation heeded his advice, but Bould himself came out, clad in a cassock, to explain that the PCC’s decision had not been put to the congregation and he did not know how many would go over to Rome. Nor did he know what would happen to the 150-year-old parish church, or the school. “It would be wonderful if it were possible for people to continue to worship in this building,” he said…
What the PCC did say to the congregation can be read here.
At its meeting on September 28th, 2010, the Parochial Church Council of Folkestone St Peter unanimously requested the parish’s churchwardens to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury, our diocesan bishop, in order to arrange a meeting with him about the wish of many of the PCC and the congregation to join the English Ordinariate of the Catholic Church when it is erected. The PCC is anxious that this should be made as easy as possible, not only for them, but for the diocesan family of Canterbury that they will regretfully be leaving behind.
Not to be outdone, the Telegraph sent along its new religion correspondent, Tim Ross who produced The cracks are now showing in the Church of England.
And the Guardian has another view of the vicar of St Peter’s, see Viv Groskop Leave, with my blessing.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Sunday, 17 October 2010 at 10:53pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Church of England
“It would be wonderful if it were possible for people to continue to worship in this building”
If wishes were horses... [Speaking (singing) personally, "If I were a rich man..."!
What if it became an LEP...?
LEP a great idea - potentially.
Presumably, if another denomination wished to request the use of a C of E church for worship, if the parish were awaiting a new priest (the former one having left or no longer feeling able to carry out his usual duties), representatives could negotiate with the diocesan authorities. Obviously, even if an agreement could be reached, they could not use the building at times when it was being used by the C of E congregation.
Just how many people are we talking about? I have been told the congregation is between 30-40. If only half go, thats 20. Extraordinary that in 2010 the possible move of 20 people to the RC Church makes the morning news! The building is a pretty one and by the harbour but not that far from the ancient parish church of Folkestone. If there is a C of E primary school I can't see how the status of that could possibly alter. I think we are going to get a lot of media hype over something that numerically will be less than 1993!
I've forgotten if I ever knew: What's an LEP?
Are there any Anglican-Roman Catholic LEPs? Given one doesn't recognise the other as having valid orders (men and women), not sure how you can have a full LEP where services are interchangeable. There are occasions where hospitality is offered and the building hired out, but that's not the same. Given that this group are leaving because they think the Church of England has lost the plot, and let's be honest the feeling is probably mutual, it's not a good basis for a partnership!!
While quite a few Episcopal parishes here in the States and many parishes within the CofE are older and somewhat small congregations, it appears that these are extreme characteristics of Anglo-Catholic churches like Folkestone and most of the four or five continuing Anglican churches who have declared for the ordinariate over here.
It would appear that their type of worship and beliefs are not attractive to the great masses of Anglicans. Nor, I suspect, would their strange brew of Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism be attractive to many Roman Catholics. Here in the States The Episcopal Church picks up two to three converts from the RCC for every one Episcopalian lost to Rome. A strong bet is that the broad nature of churches within the Anglican Communion is a major reason.
While from time-to-time a parish like Folkestone may move to Rome, their only threat to the Anglican Communion is as an occasional annoying news headline.
I notice in Stephen Bates' Guardian article he says, in regard to CofE clergy going to Rome: "...married Anglican clergy who wish to be re-ordained as Catholics will face an impoverished future: Catholic stipends and pensions being much lower than Anglican ones." (Well, you buttered your bread, now lie in it.) However, since this issue is also sometimes raised in the US about Episcopal clergy who go over to Rome or to some variety of True Anglican Believers or whatever, it should be noted that clergy who leave TEC do not lose their accrued Church Pension Fund credits. They don't accrue any more, obviously, but they do not lose what they have already earned. I don't know whether this is the case in the CofE; but if not, shame!
Churches Together in England recognises different types of LEP. It is not possible for RCs to be in type 1 'Single Congregation Partnerships' because this requires a level of eucharistic hospitality not available to the Roman Catholic Church.
RCs are involved in type 2 'Churches in Covenanted Partnership' LEPs, wherein there is some shared worship and co-operation in mission in the local area. This is unlikely to be attractive in a situation where a bunch of people (including the vicar) have left one church behind.
More likely is an agreement under the Sharing of Church Buildings Act 1969, in which a building belonging to one church can be used for the services (interestingly including marriage) of a guest church. The guest church also has a certain amount of security of tenure under the agreement. However, this will still be very sticky in such a situation.
Also there is no guarantee at all that the Catholic authorities will simply replicate a parish in that place. A Folkestone congregation of an ordinariate may have to worship in a local Catholic Church.
Go on, ask me another...
Simon - thanks for the link to LEP. Sounds like a useful option.
Under the leadership of the former RC Bishop of the Richmond [VA] diocese, there were two congregations, one RC and one Episcopal, in Virginia Beach, I think, sharing space such that they met togther for the liturgy of the Word but separated for the Sacrament. How they managed the lectionary issues I don't know, and I don't know, now the Bp Sullivan has retired and been replaced by a far more conservative RC Bp, if this still goes on.
And in the case we are discussing, this could prevent ugly property disputes - although y'alls' polity and property laws are so differenet from ours.
Don't forget also that if the congregation departing to the ordinariate is small and poor it will previously have been subsidised by the diocese, from the parish share of richer parishes. That will stop when they leave the Church of England. Conversely, if it is not a poor congregation - even it is one of middling prosperity - it will be expected to cover at least the cost of keeping up the building, and probably more on top of that, to replicate the parish share (which is a system of redistribution of wealth within a diocese).
I think that there will be more goodwill towards departing congregations than some expect; and I agree that, in principle, some use of the old building could be possible - and, where there's a will, there's a way.
But I think the financial hurdles are likely to be very high. The Roman Catholic Church in England is much poorer than the Church of England and so there won't be any funds to ease the transition or give an ordinariate congregation time to get back on its feet in its new home.
Roman Catholic churches have to be self funding, and established English Roman Catholic parishes tend to be more liberal than Anglo Catholic parishes, and will not make sacrifices to accommodate people who are leaving the Church of England for the Ordinariate.
I think Ordinariate congregations are most likely to share Roman Catholic buildings, because this will be cheaper. Even if the Church of England was willing to sell the old building (which would only be possible in large towns and cities with parish churches to spare), I doubt that the Ordinariate parishes could afford to buy it and to run it.
Needless to say, there is no question of a departing parish simply annexing the building and its endowments as has been attempted in the US: English church and domestic law makes that absolutely impossible, and even St Peter's Folkestone isn't suggesting anything like that.
Lets get things in perspective.. the ordinariate is going to be really small and top heavy with retired clerics.
Unlike the US where a couple of Anglican use parishes have attracted a disproportionate numbers of cradle Catholics.. Quasi-Anglican style liturgy will have very little lure here.
As a foreigner, I guessed that LEP meant "lay Eucharistic presider", like, you know, in Sydney. But what do I know? Apparently nothing.
It seems to me that the Anglo-Catholic bishops and priests who will cross the Tiber to Rome, if they are honest, will admit that they are, at present, lay Eucharistic presiders, yes?
I believe the reason TEC clergy cannot lose accrued pension amounts is because of federal law regarding pensions. Once an employee is "vested" he cannot lose any money in his retirement account.
Pat: Well, perhaps "a" reason. As a retired beneficiary of the Church Pension Fund, I have never detected any pettiness in the CPF's policies. Their policies about vesting and pension benefits are very fair, clear and transparent.
"How they managed the lectionary issues I don't know" - Cynthis Gilliat, on Monday -
No problem, Cynthia. Most Anglicans around the world now use the Revised Common Lectionary, with a 3-year cycle, which is also used by Roman Catholics.
On rhe problem of shared builsdings: it would seem that the best course would be for local Roman Catholics to share their buildings with the new Ordinariate. After all, they share a common philosophy - especially about the value of women in the sanctuary.
If you read the Vatican document creating the Ordinariates, there will be no cradle RCs in the Anglican use parishes. Anglicans can choose to go to a Latin Rite parish, but RCs are not to cross over and go to Anglican use parishes.
We have an LEP in which we share a building with a Roman Catholic Congregation. It is more difficult to share ministry and services, though we work to maintain a good relationship between the congregations.
The difficulty I would anticipate with an LEP in the Folkestone situation would be to maintain a good relationship between people who have gone and those who have stayed. The evangelical splits of the 1970s (eg David Watson writing in "You are my God") for example were not entirely friendly.
I just wish they'd hurry up and go. As has been pointed out, their numbers will be tiny but the most important thing is that the CoE will be able to stop pulling itself apart (Oh that the flawed legislation was never passed in 1992). We can then have a proper debate about what it means to be a catholic within a church which believes that the Holy Spirit has revealed it to be a truth that women can be ordained.
David, that's not quite the case. They may not be members of the Ordinariate but they may attend as much as they like, fulfilling their obligation week by week.
Move along, please. Nothing to see here. Move along. No death of the Church of England in Folkestone. Move along, please.
CofE clergy who leave and join the ordinariate will, of course, retain their pension rights. The pension operates as any other, you accrue rights and if you leave the job the pension rights wait until the scheme's payment age and start paying out a pension commensurate with those rights.
The point behind the journalists' comments is that the pension rights to be accrued in future by any priest moving to the RC payroll will be lower than they would get if they were to remain in the CofE.
"I just wish they'd hurry up and go. As has been pointed out, their numbers will be tiny but the most important thing is that the CoE will be able to stop pulling itself apart"
This debate may be with us for longer than we may wish. The Times carries an article today saying that the mix of catholics and evangelicals in the newly elected General Synod makes it very possible that women bishops will fall at the last hurdle in 2012.
"No problem, Cynthia. Most Anglicans around the world now use the Revised Common Lectionary, with a 3-year cycle, which is also used by Roman Catholics."
Not exactly. I'm a member of a text study group here in Harrisonburg. We meet weekly to study the lessons for the Sunday two weeks ahead. This afternoon I'm the leader as we look at the lessons for October 31.
We have members from the Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Mennonite and RC churches. The Mennonites use the RCL sometimes and sometimes not. But the RC lessons are often different - or from the same book of the Bible, but different passages, and when the same, they often omit some verses.
When the two parishes I mentioned in my earlier post met for the Word, we were still using the lessons listed in the 1979 BCP, and I'm not sure what the Romans were using.
Perhaps things have changed a lot, but when I was last in the UK, all the Anglo-Catholic parishes were using the Roman Rite -- it is puzzling that an "Anglican Use" would be considered a benefit, since none of them were using any Anglican rites whatsoever ...
Poor Tim Ross; reduced to dropping code words like 'ageing congregation', and tiptoing around the fact that 'Not everyone in the St Peter's congregation is convinced by the proposal to join the Ordinariate.' in order to provide his editor with the story he wanted...
Cynthia Gilliat, Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach is still around, with Episcopal/Roman Catholic co-pastors (www.ha-arc.com).
Fr. Smith, there are some lectionary differences, some arising out of differences in calendar (Transfiguration on Last Epiphany, or Lent II), others due to dissatisfaction with the first readings in the RC lectionary. The Roman lectionary hasn't been revised since first introduced, whereas there have been a variety of non-Catholic attempts to revise it, primarily in North America -- that in LBW, in the 1979 BCP, a synthesis produced by COCU, the Common Lectionary, and now the RCL.
Interestingly, there is a joint Catholic-Lutheran parish in Oregon; they use the Lutheran lectionary (and have a woman pastor).
"Unlike the US where a couple of Anglican use parishes have attracted a disproportionate numbers of cradle Catholics. Quasi-Anglican style liturgy will have very little lure here."
Actually, it would appear that quasi-Anglican style liturgy has almost no lure anywhere. Here in the States there are only around a dozen Anglican use parishes despite the creation of the provision by the RCC thirty years ago. In fact, a good number of those appear to be sparsely attended missions. If one wants to see the future of the ordinariates, simply look at the history of the Anglican use parishes here in the U.S.
Besides, the attraction of an ordinariate or an Anglican use parish would be what? Rome overestimates itself as an attractive option even for traditional Anglicans.
Why would it be the best course "for local Roman Catholics to share their buildings with the new Ordinariate. After all, they share a common philosophy - especially about the value of women in the sanctuary."? Fr. Ron Smith clearly knows more about Folkestone's Roman Catholics than I do, as a mere 'papist', but he might like to know that in my parish we have no problem with women in the sanctuary. A lay-woman leads our Communion Service from the reserved Sacrament, in the absence of Mass celebrated by a priest. We have welcomed our local Anglican woman Rector and woman Methodist Associate-Pastor (the latter also sitting on our Parish Pastoral Council) to preside at the RC order of Morning Prayer, even in the presence of our non-residential RC priest. More recently, 30 of us, including 8 RC's, were led on pilgrimage to Latvia by our former, local Lutheran Pastor, now the 1st woman Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain. Fr. Smith should get out more!
oh I see -- the newly elected GS of the CofE may now have sufficient Evo & Anglo conservatives 'to vote down women as bishops' and so it would 'fall'.
So you mean, in such a case, they won't be providing an honoured place, or even space in the denomination for those whose integrity demands it ? If so I am filled with shock and honour as I have always found Evo & Anglo opponents of women presbyters and bishops, very reasonable, open and generous in victory !
I feel sure that there will be an honoured, space, a code of practice, or a special enclave, for those of us whose consciences are such, that we feel, we couldnt possibly continue to practice with impugnity oops I mean, integrity
the *Catholic / *Biblical / *Liberal / *Inclusive / *Evangelical FAITH
I feel sure we wouldnt be driven out of the C of E., to find a new ecclesial solution for our needs.
* delete as applicable one or more categories (or none)*
I feel sure that the archbishops of Canterbury and York will save the day again, with a proposal that safeguards our integrity, our needs,& the sheer impossibility of our continuing, without women bishops any longer.
If not FiF and John Broadhurst are Bound to come to the rescue, with their recently proclaimed love of minorities and of diversity.
"Cynthia Gilliat, Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach is still around, with Episcopal/Roman Catholic co-pastors (www.ha-arc.com)."
Thanks for this good news. It's in a different diocese from mine, so sort of off the radar.
Stuart: Thank you for your response to my inquiry about clergy pensions in the CofE. I'm glad to hear that. Yes, when one changes jobs one may have to accept a less favorable pension system. That's true for everybody, lay as well as clergy, secular as well as church. Not to whine.
John(1): Thanks for your post. Glad to know about Holy Apostles in Va Beach and also the parish in Oregon. A long time ago, when I was an undergraduate, one of my religion professors at Duke aid that the best of ecumenism came from the parish up, and not the hierarchy down.
We do not have joint parishes with Anglicans or any non Catholic denomination. We do share buildings however, under the strict guidelines set down by the Vatican.
You are so right about the Ordinariate Doug. There are currently seven Anglican use communities. they attracted less than 0.1 per cent of Us Episcopalians. The one thriving parish in Texas, which has a school attached ( hence the pull) is mainly cradle Catholic. read the Us based blog the Anglo catholic and some of those looking to the Ordinariate are hoping to attract many cradle Catholics.
Three dioceses of the tiny denomination ( 2,000 communicants) , the Anglican Church of America ( traditional Anglican Communion ) have pulled back from going over to Rome.
"Perhaps things have changed a lot, but when I was last in the UK, all the Anglo-Catholic parishes were using the Roman Rite -- it is puzzling that an "Anglican Use" would be considered a benefit, since none of them were using any Anglican rites whatsoever ..."
Exactly. I have lovely visions of Mr Bould et al being forced to wear surplice, scarf, and hood, and to use the BCP (as the 'true' CoE liturgy) exactly as written, in order to fulfil the description 'Anglican Use'. As I say, visions ...
Nick..there very little Anglican about the Anglican use. The clerical vesture is all Roman, the liturgical setting all post Tridentine Roman.. Cranmer's eucharistic prayer deliberately left out,and other Cranmerian prayers all altered to put a Catholic meaning upon them.
However some gullible Americans think this is Anglicanism!
"as a mere 'papist', but he might like to know that in my parish we have no problem with women in the sanctuary. A lay-woman leads..."
That's wonderful, martin. But you DO understand that your lovely ecumenical arrangements may well be on borrowed time, and could vanish any minute (probably if your bishop---or the next one---finds out)? [I betcha our own Robert Ian Williams isn't too thrilled w/ your parish, and what your priest permits!]
JCF observed that it is likely that RIW "isn't too thrilled w/ your parish, and what your priest permits!"
I'd wager that the ultra-orthodox RC police have already been notified, whether by RIW or others; witness the treatment over the past few years of numerous poor nuns in the US who have been hounded by Rome, in general, and even once by Cardinal Ratzinger himself (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/opinion/25dowd.html),
Some of these fanatics-for-Rome remind me of the Youth Truth Squads in school who would take pleasure at reporting the perceived misdeeds of all the other children.
Holy Apostles better be on the lookout for the marauding black shirts, even if they don't rappel in from the famed "Black Helicopters" of weak minds fame.
Bottom-up Christianity looks better and better with each passing day.