Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 24 September 2016

Richard Coles Daily Mail Holy cassocks! From 80s pop sensation to church vicar, Richard Coles recounts his more surprising moments as an irreverent rocking reverend

Bosco Peters My Submission on Same-Sex Couples

Andrew Goddard Fulcrum What does “full inclusion” mean?

Revd Nick Bundock shares his church’s journey to being an Inclusive Church, born out of tragic circumstances: Diocese of Manchester Inclusive Church.

Ian Paul asks Do we need more vicars? with reference to these reports on vocations.

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Froghole
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Froghole

I am most interested by the perceptive remarks made by Ian Paul (and by David Keen in a separate analysis linked in Dr Paul’s blogpost), including that much of the ‘gap’ can be plugged by dissolving the mandatory retirement age, and noting the relatively high rate of attrition amongst younger clergy. As to Peter Ould’s intriguing suggestion that a one-year extension to the current age limit would have a radical beneficial impact, I note Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Age Limit) Measure 1975: “Where Her Majesty considers that there are special circumstances which make it desirable that a person… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Thank you so much Mr Goddard, for your clear exposition of the meaning of the words ‘full inclusion’. I am so glad to know that I can have a full part in the ministry and leadership of the Church, being single. Its a bit of a shame that my lesbian friends, with whom I celebrated their 25th anniversary together the other week end, will be excluded by your definition, but then what are a few victims on the way of getting things right with God? ‘When I use a word’, Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Nick’s account is incredibly sad and also deeply moving. Erasure is not neutrality ‘to keep the peace’, it is avoiding people’s lives and their value and needs. This account is unbearably sad, because this young woman (with all her life and potential ahead of her) seemed to have nowhere to turn to in the Church that would offer her support and understanding from the point of view of people who lived and affirmed both lesbian sexuality and Christian discipleship. It brings tears to my eyes. Our Church has to do better. Our churches have to dare to be better than… Read more »

Pam
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Pam

A song for Richard Coles: “Come a little bit closer, and you will see I was meant for you Rev and you were meant for me”. (With apologies to Jay and the Americans).

Father Ron Smith
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Nick Bundock’s touching story of Lizzie’s tragic suicide – because of her inability to reconcile the fact of being Gay with her Church affiliation – should stir all members of the Church of England to purge themselves of any lingering homophobic criticism of a class of people that has suffered historical marginalization for something they cannot control – their inbuilt sexual orientation. How wonderful that it is an Evangelical Church community that has set a standard of reform in its treatment of LGBTI people in its locality and congregation. The Gospel of Christ will not be thwarted by narrow-mindedness in… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

Holy Lizzie Lowe, martyr to homophobic religion, pray for us that your number may CEASE!

cseitz
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cseitz

I see the average TEC congregation is now 58 ASA. Total ASA is hovering around 550K in the entire USA. Average age of parishioner pushing 60. The Crusty Dean predicts 400K in 10-15 years but this seems unrealistic given the above. If the average age is upper 50s then in 10-15 years the decline would be massive, probably 300K or less total ASA. He doesn’t deny it is a crisis but I suspect it is far worse than he thinks for TEC as such. EDS just closed. GTS barely hanging on. 45 dioceses hovering around or way under 4K Sunday… Read more »

David Keen
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David Keen

Froghole – in the stats published this week, the 90-100 who drop out go to ‘unknown’ – the CofE just doesn’t know what happens to them. We don’t have the evidence to know whether people have left because of a faith crisis, mid-life crisis, or anything else. It’s not very scientific, but of the clergy I know who are no longer in active ministry, though still of working age, the vast majority have dropped out due to either a health issue, or some kind of inappropriate behaviour. Stress and lack of support is a major background factor in both. I’m… Read more »

Fr John E. Harris-White
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Fr John E. Harris-White

Following ‘Thinking Anglicans’, so many words written. Surely these cannot be equated to money, however well meaning the idea of giving to the poor etc. Words have consequences, and actions, for good or evil. Most of us seek to write words, that have a positive response. But there are times when words are written against bad ideas, and should be so. But a life taken before its due time reminds us all of the need to speak with due care, at all times. An old adige, ‘careless words costs lives’. May God have mercy, and grant peace to those who… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“I now realise, too late, that ignoring the topic of sexuality is by definition exclusive and very unsafe for people who are gay.” Finally, someone in the church of England expresses this truth. The suicide rate amongst LGBT teens is horrible. The exclusion, the rhetoric, the hate language, and the struggle within the church that keeps it from recognizing all children as children of God is not lost on sensitive teens. We had a similar situation in our extended church family at the beginning of the summer. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. Personally, I’ve lost patience with all the excuses for exclusion.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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” Can a denomination function with these figures?”

– cseitz –

Perhaps, Christopher, you should put this question to your favourite Church – ACNA – and also, by inference, to AMiE, in their new push for credible relevance in the U.K.

Froghole
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Froghole

David Keen – many thanks for your remarks (and I have today – 25 September – attended services at a number of parishes in your diocese, though not your deanery). I have to mention that I have encountered a number of clergy over a range of dioceses who are in their 50s and 60s and who are generally fed up (though there are possibly as many, if not more, who seem very content in their work). This dissatisfaction is perhaps not only due to a lack of recognition, as a perceived lack of support and the feeling that some clergy… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

One-third of us are thriving, Christopher. We tend to be urban, liberal, educated, and fiscally sound. We’re not going away. We have loads of children being raised in love, inclusive love. From where I stand, we’re looking good.

cseitz
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cseitz

Ron Smith: Can you try to put on your thinking cap? I will give you that your stubbornness sets a high standard. ACI famously opposed ACNA in the day. It has worked hard with the GS and has not done so with that portion representing Gafcon. My ecclesial home is the CofE and TEC. What will happen in the former God will have to reveal. Will it end up where TEC has done? That is unlikely; TEC will likely eliminate its conservative element except for individuals here and there. Will it find a compromise in the form of “no ss… Read more »

Cseitz
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Cseitz

One third sounds about right. 250k ASA.

How to organize this into a smaller number of dioceses will be the question. Probably need only half the present number if that. This was my point. How to face the challenge of a much smaller TEC.

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

As the average age of TEC attenders has been brought up, is anybody aware of any longitudinal data with regard to age and church attendance, in the US or UK? Without denying the reality of church decline, I’m not sure of the validity of using the average age of parishioners (presumably this means congregants?) as a surrogate marker for numerical decline. I follow the reasoning: If average age now is 60, then in 5 years it will be 60 + 5 and in 20 years, 60 + 20, and in 50 years we fall off the cliff and everybody will… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Is it known how many clergy leave for other parts of the Communion? I know of one who has gone to SEC one to Wales and 4 to TEC…not all are simply giving up.

Cseitz
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Cseitz

The TEC data gurus look up to any evaluative challenge to me. They do excellent work.

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

One of the things I love is hearing how our congregations are “aging and, thus, dying out” – because it means that what we offer is so compelling and so wonderfully true that true people in the midst of all those tossed by every turn of passion and desire, will stay true to us ’til death. When the last is gone, Christianity will be dead in all but name.