Saturday, 16 May 2015


Bishop Steven Croft Advising Mr Cameron: lessons from an ancient kingdom

A study day on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner taught Malcolm Doney the link between poetry and theology; he writes in Church Times: Grey beard — but no loon.

Claire Jones Come to this table – if you’re one of us

The Bishops of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and of Hertford were consecrated at Westminster Abbey on Ascension Day. Rowan Williams preached the sermon.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 16 May 2015 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Claire Jones: spot on!
Lancelot Andrewes: in the old Ritual of the Church we find that on the cover of the canister, wherein was the Sacrament of His Body, there was a star engraven, to shew us that now the star leads us thither, to His body there. And what shall I say now, but according as St. John saith, and the star, and the wise men say, ‘Come.’ And He, Whose the star is, and to Whom the wise men came, saith, ‘Come.’ And let them who are disposed, ‘Come.’ And let whosoever will, take of the ‘Bread of Life, which came down from Heaven’ this day into Bethlehem, the house of bread. Of which Bread the Church is this day the house, the true Bethlehem, and all the Bethlehem we have now left to come to for the Bread of life, - of that His life which we hope for in Heaven. And this our nearest coming that here we can come, till we shall by another venite come, unto Him in His Heavenly Kingdom.

Posted by: Fr William on Saturday, 16 May 2015 at 11:30am BST

Claire Jones has a valid point: Who are we to refuse to give Holy Communion to anyone who comes up to receive the sacrament of Christ?

Presumably, anyone coming to the altar rail has already become motivated to do just that - or at least, we should give them the benefit of any doubt we ourselves might have - about their suitability as recipients of Christ's Body and Blood!

God alone knows what good may come about because of our hospitality - which, if we trust God as Host, is also Christ's hospitality.

Jesus did say: "Come to me....". If a person responds, surely the Holy Spirit is in it all somewhere?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 16 May 2015 at 11:32am BST

I'm currently enjoying reading George Herbert's poetry. Something strikes me in one of his poems and I reread it and think about the beauty of the language, firstly, and then the deeper meaning. It doesn't matter to me about a poet's belief system though, there's always much to learn and appreciate.

Posted by: Pam on Saturday, 16 May 2015 at 11:28pm BST

Loved ++Rowan's Sermon at Westminster Abbey, directed principally, one might presume, to those receiving episcopal orders. In his comment on God as the Good News; whereas even bishops on occasion might be constrained to deliver only Bad News; could one discern a tone of regret that Rowan's own 'Bad News' period might have caused problems for others?

He did make the valid point that we Christians are all a mixture of 'Good' and 'Bad News' in our 'through a glass darkly' discernment of what God might require of us in ministry. And this chimes well with the fact that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would 'lead us' into all the truth. Perhaps we are all still learning!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 1:31am BST

Re Rowan Williams sermon, maybe its the reverb in the venue, but his grace sounds a lot like Sir Christopher Lee, don't you find?

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 3:17am BST

+Rowan's sermon was a wonderful embodiment of the whole Christian tradition: a perspective that is woefully absent in many in episcopal leadership at the moment. I hope the assembled masses in their red chimeres (none of whom are doctors of divinity, by the way) took note of what 'Discipleship' in the Anglican tradition could be, given some imagination and thoughtfulness. If only all sermons at recent consecrations were of this quality.

Posted by: Simon R on Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 8:33am BST

Simon R - do you actually mean DD or also PhD? If the latter, we have several bishops with theology PhDs.

Posted by: Charles Read on Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 3:33pm BST

@ Charles Read, I do mean DD. Although I was technically wrong, of course. There was one person present with a DD: Rowan Williams! The point I was making, of course is that a red chimere is the academic vesture of a DD. All others should wear black chimeres (as indeed the consecrands did).

Posted by: Simon R on Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 4:29pm BST

I'm afraid I've sold all my shares in Steve(n) Croft. When will these people (who include both our archbishops) grasp that integrity is indivisible? When will they grasp that integrity doesn't imply agreement on every issue but does most certainly imply agreement to play by the rules of decency?

Posted by: John on Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 7:53pm BST

Well, it looks like the Southern Province is falling in line with the Northern Province in that the two Ascension Day consecrands at Westminster Abbey wore black chimeres. Up until now those consecrated to the episcopate in the Province of Canterbury have worn red chimeres. When the Bishop of Lewes was consecrated exactly a year ago to the day on the feast day of St. Matthias' he wore a red chimere. Has a burst of humility suddenly broken out down South?

Posted by: Father David on Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 8:36pm BST

I've always thought the chimere was a ridiculous garment anyway, and neither red nor black indicates humility. Why are bishops so wedded to wearing choir dress when it's not a choir event? What would be wrong with a surplice and stole?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Monday, 18 May 2015 at 9:04am BST

Hardly an important point but an Oxford DPhil is entitled to a red chimere...though it has buttons and is usually called a doctors habit. I think the Lewes consecration was evensong when he comes and sits on his throne here in Canterbury, the Abp always wears black.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Monday, 18 May 2015 at 9:26am BST

Thank you, Claire Jones. The first thing I learned as I went into training (and it was from an American Episcopalian dean, not, alas in my C-of-E training) was 'never turn anyone away from the altar rail'. So when I celebrate Holy Communion I always say 'Please remember that I am not the host here, but he whose graciousness is ever perfect and whose hospitality is ever inclusive and all are welcome at his table, I am sure'

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Monday, 18 May 2015 at 9:44am BST

Andrew Godsall - how come a chimere is more ridiculous than a long sleeved surplice?
"the Abp always wears black". Well, if Justin wearing magpie isn't a sign of humility then I don't know what is? I also note Justin's preference, like Rowan's, is for a black clerical priestly shirt rather than for an imperial purple episcopal shirt.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 18 May 2015 at 3:38pm BST

What difference does it make in the eyes of Christ what colour the chimere is? As far as I'm concerned, the symbol of episcopal ministry is the pastoral staff. Anything more than that should be done away with. That stuff Jesus said about enjoying wearing long robes and having the best seats in the synagogues - we Anglicans need to 'think' some more about that. Some years ago I was at a synod in the Diocese of Athabasca where the local Lutheran bishop joined in leading the opening service with our bishop. Our bishop was in full regalia - rochet , cope, mitre, the whole nine yards - but the Lutheran bishop was in alb and stole, with just his pastoral staff. It was wonderful to see.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Monday, 18 May 2015 at 5:05pm BST

"Abolish the bedroom tax. It hasn’t worked. It has generated more resentment than revenue. Repealing it would demonstrate a capacity for change and to think again." - Bp. Steven Croft -

Perhaps the good Bishop could go one better, and advise the Church to abolish its insistence on regulating the bedrooms of partnered gay clergy, leaving this matter to the private conscience, where it properly belongs.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 at 11:13am BST

Or (@Fr Ron Smith) think again about the ill-advised and ill-founded RME proposals. Bishop Croft's capacity to think again and change would be ably demonstrated by his willingness to bring on board some of the 17 signatories to the Church Times letter, convened by Dr Jeremy Morris. If he did, then we would know that he practices what he preaches. But, because they are not 'people like us' I guess they will continue to be side-lined.

Posted by: James A on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 at 1:08pm BST
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