Comments: no longer a Christian nation?

I don't know quite what to make of Paul Richardson's effort. He is known to Australians as the former Bishop of a certain country diocese who arrived protesting that he had already done his greatest work -- in Papua New Guinea.

Bishop Gledhill makes a good point about the lack of non-Eucharistic worship. Funnily enough, the only place other than a cathedral where I've seen Matins recited publicly is All Saints Margaret St.

Posted by kieran crichton at Wednesday, 1 July 2009 at 2:37am BST

I'm sure that those benighted peoples whom, in past centuries, were conquered by the British, took comfort that it was a "Christian nation" putting them under the Crown.


Seriously, can't these CofE bishops Get Lives? Y'know, or at least, the Gospel?!

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 1 July 2009 at 3:14am BST

I warmly welcome the Bishop's words regarding Matins. Every week as an honorary hospital chaplain (before and since retirement) I meet large numbers of patients who identify as Anglican or C.of E.- still by far the second largest group of our patients even in a multi-ethnic area with a substantial number of Muslims. The great majority are not confirmed or communicants, but almost all welcome a visit from a chaplain of "their" Church. Yet too many of our parishes in Australia exclude them by providing nothing but the Holy Communion on Sunday mornings, turning our Church into a something of a eucharistic sect through imitating the very different pattern, history and culture of the Roman Catholic Church. I myself go 200 miles (by train or coach on the Saturday) usually once a month to attend Matins at the historic S.John the Baptist's, Canberra,sung twice monthly at 11.15 - (BCP Choral Communion on the other Sundays, the three earlier services including a 7am BCP Holy Communion.) As a Rector of a lower middle class/ working class well-attended parish for 22 years, twice a month sung Matins followed by a shortened BCP Communion was by far the most popular service, but we also sang Evensong every Sunday, another service where those only loosely attached could feel at home.

Posted by The Revd Dr John Bunyan at Thursday, 2 July 2009 at 12:39pm BST

Christian is as Christian does. There's a lot of good stuff going on in these islands. Sorry to disappoint this bishop who has his own agenda, apparently. A ministry of condemnation and discouragment ? Now, whose 'theological' (diabolos?) agenda is that ?

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Thursday, 2 July 2009 at 2:56pm BST

I also am very fortunate to sing at a church that proudly and defiantly has sung matins every other Sunday. It was once commonplace in my low-church diocese, but trendiness and a well-veiled path promoted by the WCC have led the region, along with the denomination, towards greater uniformity (and not without merit, there is something good of course, to be said about the supremacy of Holy Communion as the principle service) of a worldly united liturgical service. Not a few Roman Catholic admirers have commented that we have not forgotten the 'offices'.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 2 July 2009 at 4:46pm BST

We had MP every Sunday when I was a choirboy. We even intoned the Creed, and we were low church. I hardly ever hear the Creed intoned at MP or EP these days --not even on Radio 3 Choral Evensong. Such a shame.
'...another service where those only loosely attached could feel at home..

And indeed the strongly attached could too, no such distinctions ere necessary. They are invidious to this day.

The early service took place 8am every Sunday and was Said and very still and reverent.

But most people did not come to church, and it was understood that we were a Christian county, and that we strive to keep the Golden Rule and love our neighbour as ourselves, and God in our neighbour. As HA Williams says in 'Some Day I'll Find You', not a bad religion. The frills were unnecesary. And people worked very hard on the land or in the factories near the city; and wasshing and cleaning and chores all ahd to be accomplsihed by hand -- leaving little time and enrgy for nonessentials.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Friday, 3 July 2009 at 2:43pm BST

"And people worked very hard on the land or in the factories near the city; and wasshing and cleaning and chores all ahd to be accomplsihed by hand -- leaving little time and enrgy for nonessentials."

On Sundays? When I was a kid, in rural Newfoundland, I grant you not industrial England, Sunday was still the Sabbath. Even in the height of the summer fishery, what wasn't split and salted by midnight Saturday went over the wharf. Even if it had rained all week, people would let their fish rot rather than spread it on a Sunday. We were a card playing family, but at the stroke of twelve on Saturday, the cards went off the table. My grandmother even placed three settings on the table on Saturday, one on top of the other, so as to minimize the work done on the Sabbath. All the dishes, as they were used, put in the sink till Monday morning. Even knitting, in those days, part of the work of the family and not therefor a hobby like it is now, was not done on a Sunday. So, you went to Church. I had always though we imported this trend to "Sabbath keeping" from our English forebears. But our ancestors came from the West Country, maybe it was more a tradition there. I think the industrial revolution had more impact in the north, with its reduction of human beings to "factory workers" whose value is a direct result of their productivity. Such things as the need for a Sabbath are not exactly on the radars of most capitalists, or sadly, to judge by the quality of the arguments raised against such things as Sunday shopping, by our bishops either. But I can't imagine they'd have anything else to do on a Sunday, at least rural people. Tend the animals, I guess, if they were on a farm. And, besides, any fule knowe that washday is on a Monday!

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 7 July 2009 at 3:43pm BST
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