Comments: opinion

Giles Fraser - you are a tonic to many of us - and your inherent integrity shines through what you write - please don't change. Like Colin Slee and others before him you give us a reason not to give up on the church - tempting as it is. I am very grateful for what you give us. Thank you.

Posted by Robert Ellis at Saturday, 12 October 2013 at 2:38pm BST

Pews v Chairs - a practical view. Our schools fit 8 children on a pew. 6 adults is the max. We have school Christmas services coming up. Our local schools struggle to fit in (some are now taking nearly 100 pupils more than two years ago). We have some nice chairs. That tends to be the least occupied part of the church on a Sunday morning. Not decisive, I know, but interesting.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Saturday, 12 October 2013 at 9:07pm BST

Giles Fraser - thank you. Your words are honest and real. God helps me too, in a big way.

Posted by Pam at Sunday, 13 October 2013 at 4:08am BST

Jonathan Clatworthy has got his finger on an important point. There are now almost no bishops today who have not been appointed simply to be a 'safe pair of hands'. Bishops shouldn't be managers, but that's what they now are and although they are always extremely busy they aren't much good at it.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Sunday, 13 October 2013 at 2:56pm BST

re Pews, chairs and practicalities. We just move all the chairs to the side when primary schools come in and then they sit on the floor. We can fit about 200 on chairs, but 400 children (plus adults around the sides on chairs) in this way. Added bodies help to heat the church! And no, they are not modern easily stacked chairs - but it can be done

Posted by Rosalind R at Sunday, 13 October 2013 at 3:12pm BST

I remember visiting churches in Poiters several decades ago and being entranced by the light and space within, no pews and chairs neatly stacked out of the eyeline. Medieval pews aside, churches nearly always look better without them - most of our English church pews are bog-standard Victorian - and there is a space which can be adapted for many different uses. Last night we cleared the chairs and had a wonderful Harvest Supper!!

Posted by Stephen Morgan at Sunday, 13 October 2013 at 6:00pm BST

re Jonathan Clatworthy's article on 'Bishops and Inspirers':

Anyone who met with Bishop John Robinson - as I had the privilege of doing when he visited St. John’s Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand, where I was a student and Assistant Chaplain at Mount Eden Prison – could not help but be impressed by his thoughtful openness to people (especially budding theologs) who asked him questions about his intentions and motivation in writing his epic book ‘Honest to God’, that had caused a storm in the Church of England at the times of its publication. He was a typical example of a Bishop outside the box.

The Bishop’s obvious concern for the underdog – and his request to accompany me on a prison visit while in Auckland – was a facet of his pastoral dedication that impressed, not only me personally, but the prisoners whom I asked him to address in the prison chapel on that occasion. His impromptu (short) talk was an example of his graciousness towards a sector of society that might have had every reason to doubt the existence of a loving, forgiving Deity.

On a later visit I made to some of the inmates, some of them were able to express their profound interest in what Bishop John had to say to them – as though it was personally tailored to their individual, personal, situation of alienation from the community – but with a real prospect of ‘salvation’ in its broadest sense, of healing from the alienation they had themselves experienced.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 14 October 2013 at 10:16am BST

re; Watts Church Crawl.

I could hardly believe what I was reading. An anglo catholic priest who liked dressing up. Who ever heard of such a thing!

Posted by ian at Tuesday, 15 October 2013 at 6:10am BST
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