Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 12 April 2017

Louie Crew Clay Episcopal Café Sass and the Gospel

Nick Spencer Theos Looking down the well at the resurrection

Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law The Easter Offering: Duty and Charity

Jenny Sinclair The Tablet Rebuilding the Broken Body

Kelvin Holdsworth Whither the Chrism Mass?

Anglican Memes Top novelist @fictionfox’s husband’s career change prompts Twitter gold


  • Richard Ashby says:

    I went to my first ever Chrism Mass yesterday. I’ve always avoided them in the past, there is enough for us volunteers to do in Holy Week anyway. Of course in this diocese there is no need for a separate event to be held for those who fear the taint of women so it was something of an ecumenical gathering with clergy of all persuasions present. And indeed it was a good game trying to discern the churchmanship of the participants by the cut of their collar and other outward and visible signs. The Cathedral was full, so it could be said that it was fulfilling its role as mother church of the Diocese and with this Diocese being such a peculiar shape, and parishes at the eastern end being nearer to three other cathedrals, one in France, than to their own, some will have travelled a long way to be there. For the many clergy to have travelled long distances it must have been an event which they value, but for the large congregation of laity it was really a spectacle at which we were the audience but hardly the participants. So it had something of the atmosphere of a private party at which the poor were allowed in to see the entertainment of the rich. I’m not sure that I will bother to attend again.

  • Peter S says:

    Thank God for @fictionfox and her wonderful sense of the ridiculousness of Anglicanism, all said with humour, joy and love. Such a pity the Anglican Memes article missed her two best tweets: the purple suede shoes, and the autocorrect of “rocket and chimera”.

  • David Emmott says:

    @fictionfox sums it up neatly: Truly Anglican episcopacy should be ‘ Low in height’ but ‘sharp and straight’.

  • Kate says:

    “Lastly there is no indication as to whether and how the Working Group will invite contributions from those who work in, volunteer or attend and support their Cathedrals. I hope this isn’t going to be another closed door exercise with its conclusions handed down from on high for the rest of us to like it or lump it.”

    “So it had something of the atmosphere of a private party at which the poor were allowed in to see the entertainment of the rich. I’m not sure that I will bother to attend again.”

    Clericalism is a big problem and Chrism Masses are clericalism at its worst, but the CWG does indeed also look suspect. The Vice Chair’s approach to volunteering in York must be a concern.

  • Philip Hobday says:

    As a cleric (full disclosure), I don’t believe Chrism Masses have to be “clericalism at its worst”. I’m sure they can be, of course, if they are not shaped and led sensitively. But in two dioceses I’ve worked in, they’ve felt like genuine celebrations of the diocesan family, ordained and lay, with signficant numbers of lay people coming and playing significant roles in the service, and opportunity for everyone to recommit themselves to following the example of Jesus in caring for and serving others.

  • Adny says:

    ‘Clericalism is a big problem’

    Anti-clericalism is a big problem too, and as repellent as clericalism. Any ‘us and them’ thinking us a big problem.

  • Totally agree with Kelvin here. ‘Chrism Mass’ in this diocese is on Maundy Thursday morning – busiest week of the year for clergy – and takes two hours as it includes foot washing (bishop washing feet of every person present). I try to be organized but I’m never well enough organized for the weekend’s services to be able to punch that three hour (when travel time is taken into account) hole in my Holy Week preparations.

  • Sueeve says:

    As one of the ‘private party’ at the same service Richard, it’s a pity you weren’t at one during tha last regime. The whole tone is much more ‘together’ than it used to be. In fact I used to stay away also after a couple of years

  • I agree with the Provost of Glasgow Cathedral on most things, but have to disagree with his remarks about the Chrism Mass.

    In the Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand, we met of Holy Tuesday (for reasons of busy-ness on Maundy Thursday in most parishes) as laity, clergy and bishops to witness the Blessing of the oils of Chrism (Baptism , Ordination and Confirmation) and of Unction (Healing & Last Rites) by our diocesan, Bishop Victoria.

    We then, in our three orders, Lay, Clerical and Episcopal (there were 3 bishops present) renewed – separately – our Vows; of Baptism, of diaconate, of priesthood or episcopate. This is one time in the Church’s Year when representatives from all parts of the diocesan family are able to meet together with our bishop to affirm our organic unity.There was a goodly attendance – simply because we were not all in the middle of celebrating the Great Triduum in our own parishes.

    I submit that not all ‘recent’ additions to the Sacred Tradition are either useless or heretical.

  • Cynthia says:

    Louie Crew Clay is awesome! Of course, we are all adopted by God. So the brouhaha’s about who’s in and who’s out really don’t make a lot of sense, ultimately.

  • Kate says:

    “We then, in our three orders, Lay, Clerical and Episcopal (there were 3 bishops present) renewed – separately – our Vows”

    Why, in order to renew vows did the community need to divide into orders? Why did renewal of vows need to be done separately? That’s divisive. That’s clericalism. All three orders, all dressed casually so that there are no differences of raiment, should renew vows as a group in a simple acclamation, “We renew the vows we have made to the Lord.” Then some quiet while individually people reflect upon their vows. That’s a format which builds unity and not division.

  • Kennedy says:

    The Diocese in which the Provost and I both serve, we have a separate service (at the opposite end of the year) where Lay ministries (both licenced and authorised) are celebrated and affirmed, but I do have the feeling that we should be doing this kind of thing together rather than apart.

  • Michael Skliros says:

    When +Falkner Allison announced he would be bringing oils of chrism to the Confirmation at Horncburch (just before I served my curacy there in 1959), and saw the look on vicar Hayman Johnson’s face, he said reassuringly: “don’t worry, I shall only use little bottles”.

  • Fr John Emlyn Harris-White says:

    Having this morning shared in the Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Edinburgh, as I have for the last sixteen years; I have come away renewed by the family being together. The renewal of our Baptismal vows, followed by the renewal of our ordination vows made by both priests and bishop.
    The Blessing of the oils , integral to the whole Mass, done in a smooth, integrated wholesome manner.
    Our retiring Provost preached the sermon, and the feeling of wholeness evaded the Mass, a time of renewal and joy.
    Talking with my fellow priests about Kelvin’s words, it was felt by many that moving the service to the Tuesday of Holy Week would be better for all concerned. Many of our folk have a long journey to our Cathedral of St Mary.

    Fr John Emlyn

  • Dear Kate; love yer lots, but really! I would have thought that, before commenting on this matter of the Chrism Mass you might have looked at the differences of commitment that are contained in the services of (a) Holy Baptism, (b) priestly ordination, and (3) episcopal ordination. They do happen to be 3 different types of commitment – even if for the same ends. Enjoy your Easter. I do hope your local clergy feel loved as they try to fulfil their specific voication to serve you.

    I want you to know that, in Christchurch, N.Z., under our Bishop, Victoria, we all feel equally loved by one another and by God – no separation.It was just so good to be able to celebrate that in this particular eucharistic event.

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