Saturday, 13 April 2013

opinion

Bishop David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, wrote about Secularisation for The Sunday Times. The article, Have faith in future of our churches, is behind the paywall, but may be read here on the SEC’s website, and downloaded as a Word document from the bishop’s blog.

Leigh Anne Williams has interviewed the soon-to-retire Bishop of New Westminster for Anglican Journal: Ingham reflects on the storms of his career.

Finally, I apologise for the slight delay in noting this article from the Church Times: Matrimonial ‘indignities’.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion
Comments

I LOVE that essay by the Primus of Scotland!!! Totally awesome. The move from membership to discipleship is indeed the way to go! He has utterly and totally nailed it!

It's so interesting. TEC differs from CoE substantially in that the majority of our members are converts. We searched, reflected, and committed. I think that encourages a sense of discipleship. Regardless, inspiring leaders can move their churches in that direction.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 5:48pm BST

Michael Ingham has been one of the more outstanding bishops in the Canadian Church. He provided a lot of leadership on the sexuality file; but his work in the arena of inter-faith understanding is equally important.

His cosmopolitanism outlook is refreshing in the Canadian Church which seems to have become increasingly parochial over the past decade. One wishes that the reporter had asked Ingham about the financial and demographic slides of the Canadian Church, especially since the conservative right here, wrongly in my opinion, often attribute the policies of places like New Westminster as the cause of the crisis.

Interesting, however, is Ingham touching on the issue of secularism, the major theme in the article from Scotland.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 5:52pm BST

Church Times article: 'When Parliament has reformed the Prayer Book ...' That wasn't happening soon, because these yahoos opposed it in 1927/28. Thank heavens the CT is better behaved today than it was then!

Posted by: Scot Peterson on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 6:12pm BST

“If I have a word of advice, and I did actually say this to Rowan Willliams when he was the Archbishop of Canterbury,” said Ingham, “it is that these things do pass and you do someday find yourself on the other side of these passionate differences. And the way we deal with each other in the midst of them determines the quality of life of the community afterwards.”

It would have been great if Rowan had taken +Ingham's advice.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 6:26pm BST

Re Cynthia, "TEC differs from CoE substantially in that the majority of our members are converts."

The word "majority" caught my attention. Are there stats on that, I wonder?

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 7:50pm BST

I have always heard that roughly two thirds of Episcopalians came from other denominations (or none at all), and that the same is true for the clergy. It's certainly true of me. This means that, after some consideration, a large portion of our Church's membership have made a "mature decision" to join.

Posted by: Old Father William on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 10:23pm BST

Re converts, yes I've heard often there are a large number of converts in the Episcopal church: just curious about the actual statistic re majority. It wouldn't surprise me, although I would venture a guess the number in the Canadian Church would be smaller by percentage comparison. I grew up an active Roman Catholic, and became an Anglican during my undergrad years. Although along with that of my R.C. Highland Scot ancestors, there is "lowland" Presbyterian blood in these veins too. ( : Several of my colleagues are ex-R.C. or ex -R. C. priests.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 10:51pm BST

There are stats. I'll track 'em down later if no one else manages. I have an event tonight. But it's true and changes the complexion of things.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 11:55pm BST

Ingham was pro-active in his leadership and ready to ready to rethink things, whereas Chillingworth seems more conflicted, given the Episcopal Church of Scotland opposed civil marriage equality in Scotland.


Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by: Gary Paul Gilbert on Sunday, 14 April 2013 at 3:30am BST

Many of my Roman Catholic friends in Canada have been on the the verge of crossing the Thames and becoming Anglicans, but have been put off by press they read about anti-women and anti-equality stuff in the church of England, which is irritating as the the UK is behind Canada by about 75 years in just about all things, really. For instance, we have ice cubes in Canada, something yet to be invented for summer drinks in the UK. We also have double ply toilet paper.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Sunday, 14 April 2013 at 10:05am BST

Re Randal, trés drole. The work on LBGT equality in Canada, as you know, has largely been done at the diocesan level, the last General Synod having coped out of making a decision. I know several delegates to that GS were keenly aware of the political "management" of issues.

With regard to women, there is still a tendency to to placate ultra conservatives. For example, our diocese has a huge number of female priests and our current bishop is a woman, but last I heard there are still parishes that are permitted to block women priests and bishops from doing things sacramental. So, Canada is very creative in working at the expedient, but in terms of standing on clear principle we remain challenged. Which is why special provisions to have women priests and bishops co-exist with so called "traditional" views is problematic. It simply extends qualifies gender equality which in turn impacts the integrity of everybody in orders.

Re the majority as converts, I would be interested to learn just how that impacts the complexion. It certainly seems self evident that it would. For example, does it color the approach of the Episcopal Church with regard to ecumenical dialogue or ecumenical co-operation? I know on a couple of occasions some of my colleagues have observed that some of the R.C. clergy, and these would be priests I know personally, have cut me more slack than thew would other Anglican clergy.
Something I find kind of counter intuitive.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 14 April 2013 at 3:43pm BST

Each province has its virtues and vices. Reformers have to work within institutional structures they have inherited or leave and join more liberal denominations. In Canada, the United Church of Canada is one option because it endorses both religious and civil marriage for same-sex couples and ordains LGBTs. The Anglican Church of Canada only offers blessings and not in every diocese--this in a country which has offered civil marriage to same-sex couples for the past ten years.

But people may decide that there is enough good in their tradition that it is worth staying and fighting. I think we need a variety of approaches and traditions.


Gary Paul Gilbert


Posted by: Gary Paul Gilbert on Sunday, 14 April 2013 at 8:51pm BST

Re Gary Paul Gilbert. Good perspective, and true enough. "But people may decide that there is enough good in their tradition that it is worth staying and fighting." There are days, in the Anglican Church of Canada, when I find it difficult to stay on the horse, but staying and fighting for equality as matter of principle is worth it. Hopefully we will get to those same positions that you rightly describe in the United Church of Canada.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 12:07am BST

As a cradle Episcopalian at Episcopal Divinity School, I was in a distinct minority. (and even my credentials could be considered suspect; my family attended a UCC church for several years in my early teens, and I attended an RC high school, and didn't find my way back to TEC until university).

I am now rector of a parish in Montreal. About 2 years ago, at a parish visioning forum, as a "getting to know you" exercise, we asked people to divide up based on, among other things, whether one was a cradle Anglican/Episcopalian (of which we have 6 Provinces represented). Almost half were not, having been RC, United Church, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Jewish, or none. This morning, the bishop received 7 more adults from other traditions. While in rural parts of Canada denominational loyalty runs deep, in urban areas we are becoming more like the American church with very fluid boundaries.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 12:55am BST

“Let me surprise you first by saying that I am a supporter of secular society. My family roots are in the beginnings of what has become the Irish Republic. In the early years of the last century, Ireland was what some have called a confessional or theocratic state. The Catholic Church exercised an undue influence on the way in which government approached matters of social and moral legislation. The modern secular state is a safer place - it allows space for a proper separation of legislature, judiciary and church. In my view, there is then room for a proper relationship between church and state. The state should be the guardian and protector of religious freedom but it should not defer to religion.'

Why are so few bishops unable to say this? It's completely elementary.

Posted by: John on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 8:25am BST

What John just said!

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 12:35pm BST

Re Jim Pratt, very interesting Jim. The urban rural differences are not a big surprise. Montreal is a great city.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 2:09pm BST

"I have always heard that roughly two thirds of Episcopalians came from other denominations (or none at all), and that the same is true for the clergy. It's certainly true of me. This means that, after some consideration, a large portion of our Church's membership have made a "mature decision" to join."

I believe, according to the General Social Survey, that around 55% of those raised Episcopalian remain so as adults. 55% isn't unusual since many denominations here in the U.S., even some conservative ones, have similar retention rates. The GSS measures religious self-identification and not actual membership. While TEC clearly picks up a lot of converts, making up for a large portion of this loss, the problem, in my view, is that it's done a terrible job of retaining young members. And those who leave, for the most part, aren't joining more conservative denominations, but have become part of the growing group of "nones." We welcome everyone to come and join us, but we could do a better job of retaining those who are raised in the faith. And the two tasks aren't mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Doug on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 3:37pm BST
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