Comments: General Synod papers published

If the "Mission and Ministry in Covenant" proposals were to go ahead in their current form, Methodist presbyters not ordained by bishops would be able to exercise a priestly ministry in the Church of England.

The nature of the Resolutions passed by Forward in Faith parishes already indicates that they would not be able to accept the priestly ministry of ministers who have not been ordained by a bishop. Those parishes are assured that they "continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion," and that "the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures". They are able receive a ministry of episcopally ordained priests in which they can, in conscience, be confident, and can truthfully state that their beliefs are valid ones within Anglicanism.

What thought will be given to those in the Church of England who, like me, enthusiastically accept the priestly and episcopal ministry of women, but who also desire "a ministry of episcopally ordained priests in which they can, in conscience, be confident.”

I would hope that, just as those opposed to the ordination of women are given an assurance that their beliefs continue to be valid, those in favour of the ordination of women should be given an equivalent assurance.

If I continue to believe and teach that, as the Prayer book ordinal says, priestly ministry in our church requires episcopal ordination, will I be able to say I am being a faithful Anglican in doing so?

Posted by Russell Dewhurst at Friday, 19 January 2018 at 11:25am GMT

To a certain extent I understand and share RD's concerns but I think the price of temporarily allowing methodist ministers whose ordination is irregular in Anglican terms to celebrate is modest in comparison with the assurance that future Methodists will be ordained in apostolic succession. For the time being I think it would be best to trust that God will look kindly on an attempt to right the schism that should not have occurred and that he will make good any shortcomings in sacraments sincerely celebrated. The united churches in India had to go through a similar, costly, transition process to achieve unity.

Posted by Jo at Saturday, 20 January 2018 at 7:33am GMT

RD Anyone continuing to believe Prayer Book doctrine is beyond all doubt a faithful Anglican. Those believing or teaching differently could potentially be the ones unfaithful. This case differs from the lady bishop issue in that lady bishops are currently intended to be a permanent feature, whereas priests who have not been episcopally ordained are intended as no more than a temporary aberration, relatively easily avoided by those who wish to avoid them. The future is intended to be exclusively episcopally ordained priests, so no apparent need for long term safeguards.

Having said that temporary arrangements have a habit of becoming permanent and near ubiquitous. The Prayer book baptism service does not require parents to make any promises, unless they wish to be also godparents. It only requires godparents to make promises on behalf of the child, not themselves. The introduction of alternative services which do involve parental promises has resulted in huge numbers of clergy deliberately misleading parents into thinking that promises, other than vicarious ones, are essential. Few parents are made aware that the BCP option exists, or that demanding baptism for their children while unwilling to make promises is a faithful Anglican position.

So maybe best not to trust the claim that unordained priests will be temporary, and assume it is a precedent for lay presidency generally.

Posted by T Pott at Saturday, 20 January 2018 at 12:11pm GMT

'So maybe best not to trust the claim that unordained priests will be temporary, and assume it is a precedent for lay presidency generally.'

[Posted by: T Pott on Saturday, 20 January 2018 at 12:11pm GMT]

That surely is a completely different issue. No-one regards Methodist presbyters as 'lay' men or women; I'd suggest that even hardline traditionalists who would not accept their ministry as equivalent to Anglican priests, would accept them as having been accorded a distinctive role within their own tradition. After all, Popes and RC bishops might theoretically regard Anglican priests and bishops as laypeople, but in practice they don't.

Posted by David Emmott at Sunday, 21 January 2018 at 10:11pm GMT

@Mr Emmott - If the current position of the C of E is that only episcopally ordained priests can preside at holy communion, then opponents of lay presidency can argue against it on these grounds. I suppose though that once it is accepted otherwise then the argument against lay presidency can no longer be made from that particular principle. There would be precedent for non-episcopally ordained persons to preside at Communion, albeit, as you say, not "lay".

Posted by T Pott at Monday, 22 January 2018 at 6:29pm GMT
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