Thinking Anglicans

Algarve Chaplaincy

Updated Friday evening and Saturday morning

The Church of England Newspaper carries a front page news story about the Anglican chaplaincy in the Algarve, which is in the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe: Algarve parish seeks alternative oversight. There is a further column, also by Andrew Carey, in the same issue, about this matter, which is now available, in an expanded form here.

The Diocese in Europe has issued this statement: St Vincent’s Anglican Church in the Algarve.

The trade union Amicus has issued this statement: Amicus wins pay out for bullied clergyman.

And from the Algarve comes this report: Controversy over new church for Algarve. Update Another report is here.

Friday’s Guardian has a report by Stephen Bates Clergyman compensated after ‘bullying’ by Algarve retirees.

Saturday’s Telegraph has a report by Jonathan Petre Sunshine parishes split as chaplain is forced from job.

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Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Algarve parish

‘Alternative oversight’ is really going to take off –just as flying bishops did. Every disaffected person will be tempted to invoke it.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Amicus

Thank goodness someone is now, prepared to stand up for the clergy. It has always been sorely needed, and now more tahn ever with the erosion of ‘parson’s freehold’; and the attempt to introduce into Southwark diocese, among others,management culture,targets, ‘value-for-money’, and all the stuff that is failing the Home Office, the NHS and so many aspects of life today.

Oh, for greater irrelevance, inefficincey & timw wasting !

NP
Guest
NP

“value for money” ….what a concept – is the CofE not supposed to provide housing, pensions and salaries for anyone who wants this support regardless of what they believe, teach or do ……or how “successful” they are at emptying churches year after year???

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘Value for money’ is another gospel–Thatcherism. It is no basis for spirituality, gospel or trying to be disciplies today. I believe I was motivated by love when I was a parish priest and chaplain to 2 hopitals, and on call by bleeper & phone 24 / 7. But the missing ingredient was self love — even when young one’s health can only last for so long. When I left 3 ministers took my place–a backhanded compliment maybe–but no-one ever asked how I was. So I participated willingly in my own exploitation. Until my body cautioned me. Churches must try to… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Charismatic evangelical” and “old age pensioners” does not sound like a very likely combination.

Didn’t somebody have the responsability to forsee this?

Tim
Guest

Strange how everything in the amicus article flatly contradicts the Diocese in Europe statement…

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Sounds to me as if they had just had anough of a happy-clappy enthusiast who clashed with them in every way.

Can’t say I would be sympathetic to anyone who is a friend of George Carey! No wonder the CEN report is so biased in his favour.

Andrew S
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Andrew S

The CofE Newspaper article by Andrew Carey incorrectly identifies Terence Finlay as the retired Bishop of Ottawa, he is in fact the retired Bishop of Toronto and former Metropolitan of the ecclesial province of Ontario. He should prove a most capable pastor in this situation. The Diocese of Toronto is the largest diocese in North America and there are 5 suffragan bishops in this huge diocese.

Mark
Guest
Mark

“‘Alternative oversight’ is really going to take off –just as flying bishops did. Every disaffected person will be tempted to invoke it.”

Yep — everybody gets to be his own Communion. It’s the obvious future we’re all headed toward: nobody ever has to deal with anybody who’s not exactly like himself (except, of course to flame them). The World Wide Web meets the “just me and Jesus” emphasis of american evangelicalism.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Mr Britt is not the first cleric in the diocese of Europe to find himself mauled by the very people he asked in to help him – they are a sorry lot! I shall try and get permission to post details of other such disasters.

Dale Rye
Guest
Dale Rye

I assume that everyone noticed in the local newspaper story, “Conflict over new church for Algarve,” that +Robinson Cavalcanti has agreed to provide the alternative oversight. Bp. Calvalcanti is (depending on your point of view) either the deposed former Bishop of Recife in the Anglican Church of Brazil or the current Bishop of Recife in the Province of the Southern Cone. Apparently, Southern Cone (which now has the majority of its churches and members outside the southern cone of America) has decided to expand its operations into a diocese of the Church of England.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The mention by Andrew Carey of Terence Finlay is incorrect. The person involved is in fact John Baycroft.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The newspaper story does indeed say that, Dale, but the website of the new All Saints congregation, at http://www.allsaintsalgarve.org/
does not currently say that.
The reason why that is significant is this: earlier this week that very same web page carried the following words:

“Under the Episcopal oversight of Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti, Diocese of Recife”.

They have now been removed.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

According to Saturday’s _Daily Telegraph_ report,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/22/nchurch22.xml
“Lambeth Palace intervened after one conservative bishop from Brazil, himself in dispute with his archbishop, briefly “adopted” the congregation.”

Paul Luckman
Guest

There seems to be a key question that nobody can answer. If a Priest says I don’t want to leave my congregation, and the congregation (a growing one of over 100 people) says we don’t want to lose our Priest, why does a Bishop insist on removing him?

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

Apologies to those who’ve noticed my mistake with regard to +John Baycroft. I’ve absolutely no idea how that error happened. I’ll correct it in the CEN next week.

Simon is correct, there was a short period of time when ‘All Saints’ after approaching +Robinson Cavalcanti for alternative oversight thought it was a done deal. It is my understanding that he initially agreed and then pulled out after consulting with ++Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone. Unfortunately for All Saints his oversight was never going to be a workable option.

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Mark wrote: “Everybody gets to be his own Communion.” Exactly: that’s what’s wrong with schemes for alternative oversight, whether episcopal or primatial.

I have very reluctantly come to the conclusion that unless those who have fostered schism are disciplined, the Communion will splinter into as many fragments as it has members (and possibly more, if there’s any truth to the old joke about “Two Episcopalians, three opinions”).

Much as I respect the other Protestant denominations, I have no wish to join them.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Unfortunately +Europe, though [catholic] conservative, does not seem very sympathetic to evangelicals. Unlike his [catholic] conservative predescessor he chose a liberal catholic rather than an evengelical as his suffragan, and I understand that he has more-or-less side-lined collaborative and patronage contacts with an evangelical mission agency that has been working in Europe sponsoring Chaplaincies for the last 150+ years! (They only appear in the diocesan handbook as running holiday chaplaincies!)… and other more catholic leaning agencies have been encouraged to consider getting involved in the diocese… Interesting to see what other issues Martyn reports regarding other recent problems in Europe… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Andrew Carey wrote at his blog: “Secondly, there are spiritual issues at stake. There is the presence of freemasonry in the chaplaincy and the diocese of Europe.”

Really? Is this serious? First gays and women and now “freemasonry”?

What’s next – Druids?

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

ECUSA does not claim any jurisdiction in Europe: it has a Convocation of American Churches in Europe.

http://www.tec-europe.org/

Raspberry Rabbit
Guest
Raspberry Rabbit

Those drunken freemasons again! What would constitute evidence of the ‘presence of freemasonry in the Diocese?’ Where did that come from?

The problem with calling your priests ‘chaplains’ is the understanding that they’re there to cater to the whims of a bunch of aging expat ratbags with old school blazers and down-at-heel shoes as a sort of ‘cultural attache’ rather than to serve them as a priest. Too bad really ’cause an overseas congregation could be a wonderful experience for all concerned.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Alan Marsh wrote: “ECUSA does not claim any jurisdiction in Europe: it has a Convocation of American Churches in Europe”

Err…. Not according to the website you linked to!! It has a Bishop and has been in talks with the other Anglican entities: “A letter to the 1998 Lambeth Conference reiterat[ed the] commitment [of the various Anglican entities] to resolve the anomaly of parallel Anglican jurisdictions” http://www.tec-europe.org/partners/index.html

Talks stalled in 2000 it seems…

Jon
Guest

I believe there has been some motion recently towards resolving the anomaly of parallel jursidictions in Europe, although there isn’t anything official enough to announce yet. E-mailing Pierre Whalon, the TEC suffragan in Europe, or one of the other bishops in charge of the area should turn up a bit more information on that point.

Jonathan

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I am not sure that the work of producing the “Covenant” under which the four European Anglican Churches plan to move forward has stalled – see this recent news item:
http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/3577_76519_ENG_HTM.htm
I believe that some details of that proposal are published by bishop Pierre Whalon but I have not been able to locate this on his website.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Martyn

OK. I had not seen anything about movement after 2000 – nice to see that things may start progressing again.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I have been trying to get clergy who have had a similar experience of the diocese in Europe as Mr Britt to give me permission to publish their experiences, some of which I know in great detail and are quite horrifying. It is remarkable how similar these stories are to that of Mr Britt and I have begun to wonder if someone has written a document called “How to get rid of the Chaplain” which is circulated amongst disgruntled congregants! Sadly those who have experienced these “attacks” seems to leave a deep and lasting wound, the sense of intimidation –… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

“Freemasonry in the diocese?” As an American, I want very much to ask someone who has more familiarity with the British version of Evangelicalism to clarify Andrew Carey’s statement here. I really didn’t know there was something objectionable about the Masons. In the US, the Masons are an aging group of relatively conservative middle-class men, most of whom joined what was in effect a businessmen’s club some thirty or forty years ago. Masonic lodges were common in smaller Midwestern cities then, but they have fallen on hard times lately, as have most of the other lodges and clubs (Elks, Moose,… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Dave wrote: (They only appear in the diocesan handbook as running holiday chaplaincies!).. The current diocesan yearbook doesn’t contain anything which I can identify as what Dave is describing. I wonder therefore if this comment is based on a misunderstanding of the Diocesan Development Report. This is NOT the annual yearbook of the diocese, but a supplementary volume which contains, each year, a range of articles and pictures giving a feel for the range of work of the diocese. The 2004 edition (published in 2005) did contain an article about ICS holiday chaplaincies. The article was written by ICS! In… Read more »

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

On the question of freemasonry – the vast majority of Churches officially question its compatibility with Christianity – including the Church of England. In 2005, Rowan Williams was reported as criticising its secretive nature, its spiritual teaching and said in the past he had resisted appointing freemasons to senior church posts. The back-scratching nature of freemasonry (probably much exaggerated – at least in this day and age) has also been criticised by church leaders. A simple google search under Freemasonry and Christianity reveals more.

Charlotte Pressler
Guest
Charlotte Pressler

I appreciate what Andrew Carey has said in reply, but his remarks don’t do much to help me understand his objection to the presence of Masons in an Anglican congregation. Yes, Masons did do a bit of backscratching in their day. They call it “networking” now. Isn’t that what a businessman’s club is for? I am aware that anti-Masonic sentiment existed in, for example, the Austria of Maria Theresa; it’s part of the background to Mozart’s last opera, The Magic Flute. There were anti-Masonic riots in upstate New York in the early 1800s. I wasn’t aware that such things were… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I have known and loved many Christians who have been leading Freemasons, some of them are/were outstanding Christians and I am told they are/were outstanding Masons too. I have been told of lodges where corruption and the sort of thing Andrew Carey alludes to are commonplace, while I know of church communities who without any outside influence can be as evil and corrupt as some of these. I have no doubt that many of the ex-pats are members of clubs (Masonic or not) where common cause is found and plots are hatched – but then any parish priest can tell… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Simon wrote: “I wonder therefore if this comment is based on a misunderstanding of the Diocesan Development Report….. The 2004 edition (published in 2005) did contain an article about ICS holiday chaplaincies. The article was written by ICS! In other years, there have been other articles.” Dear Simon, yes my mistake – I was thinking of last year’s development report. In which ICS’s report (written by them) was only about their holiday chaplaincies, and there was no mention anywhere of their having set up many of the permanate chaplaincies and that they are still financing several (See: http://www.ics-uk.org/ ). Yet… Read more »

Eric Britt
Guest
Eric Britt

For those who think we are “Happy Clappy” and that was one of the major problems here in the Algarve, I would like to quote from one of our regular holiday makers, who wrote to Bishop Geoffrey? “We are middle-church goers, and I would not want you to think from what follows that we might be “happy clappy” or otherwise way-out worshippers. We enjoy the service both for its spiruality and also for the fellowship extended to us, in all a very uplifting experience. I am best described as “Evangelical in the Pulpit, Catholic in the sanctuary and gentle charismatic… Read more »

Eric Britt
Guest
Eric Britt

For those who are questioning Freemasonry, may I suggest they read “Freemasonry and the Christian Faith by Fr Ashly Beck and published by Catholic Trusth Society. Also obtain a copy of the testimony of Rev’d Rex Morten who gave his testimony of how he came out of Freemasonry. He is very positive about Freemasonry but reveals the incompatability of it with Christianyity. I was in fact threatened that if I did not accept a particularly nomination for Chaplaincy Warden, although it was out of time, my life could be made very difficult because she was the wife of the head… Read more »

David Chillman
Guest
David Chillman

Andrew Carey wrote: “The back-scratching nature of freemasonry (probably much exaggerated – at least in this day and age) has also been criticised by church leaders.” Which is where I raise an eyebrow or 7! The Church of England has existed on secretive backscratching for decades. And evangelicals have proved to be as bad as anyone else. It isn’t who you are – it’s who you know. If backscratching is such a problem, perhaps the C of E should get its own house in order first. How about ensuring that all clergy appointments are advertised openly and nationally. Only once… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

It is good to see Eric Britt posting here. I have no doubt of the facts as he tells them. I have heard a similar story from elsewhere. My only concern is that in his attempt to find a bishop to oversee the ongoing work on the Algarve he will (and almost did) fall into the trap of becoming a pawn in the game others are playing. Perhaps that is now inevitable and what we will see in this case will be a foretaste of what all of us are soon to experience. Of course what should happen is that… Read more »

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

I have to say, I absolutely agree with you David Chillman. You will note however, that in parentheses I suggested that the ‘backscratching’ nature of freemasonry is probably much-exaggerated nowadays, in a general climate of much greater openness and accountability. Sadly, one of the last places to throw open its doors to such openness is in the Church of England’s appointing and employment practices. This is why it is important to highlight injustices against people like Eric Britt (hi, Eric, good to see you posting here) because at no stage of the ‘process’ was he ever told why the diocese… Read more »

Keith Kimber
Guest
Keith Kimber

It seems now that the most important question any Anglican church congregation, at home or abroad, (not to mention their pastors) needs to be asking is: “What do we really hope to obtain from episcopal or other kinds of pastoral oversight?” There’s such unhappiness, sense of betrayal and mistreatment. What do we want? Do our expectations of ‘episcope’ make sense in our current social and cultural setting? When our institutions and their overseers are perceived as slanderers and bullies, it means we’ve lost the plot. Perhaps a period of church breakup would allow more appropriate effective models to emerge to… Read more »

Paul Luckman
Guest

I notice that in some (misinformed) reports, Eric Britt is “blamed” for the formation of the new All Saints church. This is simply not factual. It was the Almancil congregation that in March this year, following a very disruptive ACM at which many of the newly elected council quite openly stated that their only objective was to remove Eric Britt, decided that enough was enough. This has happened so many times that they were not prepared to see yet another Priest chased out at the whim of a few disruptive people. This has not, and will not, be an easy… Read more »

Paul Luckman
Guest
Paul Luckman

We have just received the following from a reader of our newspaper: “Too many idle hands brings only pain and suffering. From the outside looking in it would seem that there needs to be two forms of Church in the Algarve – as apparently now exists. One – for the old guard who want everything to stay the same and they should pay for its support. Two – for the new wave of thinking and equally these supporters should pay its support. The first one to run out of money loses!”

Trevor Holman
Guest
Trevor Holman

Speaking as the ex-Secretary and a member of the old congregation at St Vincent’s in Almancil and now as the Secretary and a member of the congregation at the new ‘All Saints’, for me, one of the saddest things in all this is that we have a Bishop and an Archdeacon telling a mature congregation of over 100 people what is in their best interests, and yet neither Bishop David Hamid nor Archdeacon Alan Woods has ever attended an Almancil service, they’ve never come to speak to the Almancil congregation or for that matter ever heard Eric preach at Almancil.… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

If women Bishops do become a reality then Europe Churches, or even the whole Diocese, would certainly have an easier time than UK Churches and Dioceses (or US ones judging by today’s news!) if they want to disassociate and join another Anglican province or another denomination. Most churches are set up as charitable associations under the host nation’s law (have to be of course) and are effectively “voluntarily” CofE. Chaplains are also effectively “lease-hold” – on fixed term contracts. Personally I think that a similar structure in the UK might allow us all to work through the current problems and… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

It is the stories like Trevor’s above that take your breath away. Small wonder the pastoral relationships and trust breaks down when there is so little contact on the ground, but as I say above this is a familiar story. In a way this is a time for both congregations and the diocese to re-think what has happened and come up with something better than we have seen so far. The diocesan plan to sweep out Mr Britt and hope a new chaplain would calm things down has failed, they can complain that they offered him another job and “paid… Read more »

Trevor Holman
Guest
Trevor Holman

Martin is perfectly correct when he says ‘pastoral relations had broken down with our former Bishop. In reality Bishop David Hamid forced us into making a choice – either support him as Bishop or support our Chaplain. Eric had led us to both spiritual and numerical growth and we all knew him, and respected his preaching and teaching. 90% of the congregation wouldn’t have known the Bishop or the Archdeacon if they’d sat next to them in the congregation. Given the choice that was forced upon us – is it surprising that we chose the man we knew and respected… Read more »

Paul Luckman
Guest

I notice that some of the more “balanced” reports regarding All Saints and Eric Britt in the Portuguese press have not been listed on this site. Attached is a link to The Portugal News, 15 July

http://www.the-news.net/artMailDisp.aspx?article=15_07_2006_014_001&typ=1

Paul Luckman
Guest

A further article from The Portugal News 22 July issue “A New Church is born”

http://www.the-news.net/artMailDisp.aspx?article=22_07_2006_013_002&typ=1

Trevor Holman
Guest
Trevor Holman

We now have a situation in the Algarve where two of the congregations of St Vincent’s Anglican Church have acheived their stated objective – The Rev’d Eric Britt is no longer their Chaplain, and one must assume the majority of people in those two congregations are happy. We also have the third congregation of St Vincent’s at Almancil who wished to keep Eric as their Chaplain and they have now declared their independance from the Diocese in Europe, become All Saints Anglican Church and they too are happy. It seems to me the only people unhappy with this result are… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Paul
Thank you for those links. As the publisher of the newspaper you may wish to know that the only reason they did not appear before is because, using Google News to find them, I was unable to get beyond the page which says:
Google News Readers: If you are clicking through from Google News you are entitled to read the entire story without subscribing.
You might wish to have your technical staff look into the issue.

Paul Luckman
Guest
Paul Luckman

Simon
Thank you, we are looking into this. Some service providers seem to block this facility, and we are still trying to solve that problem. Meanwhile, I will post a direct link to relevant articles without the need to subscribe

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Trevor, I couldn’t agree more! I look forward to the day when the Church’s heirarchy realises it needs to earn the authority to lead through personifying dynamic Christianity in tough leadership areas as evangelism and church planting..