Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 11 October 2017

Connor Hammond Country Living A celeb in the countryside: Reverend Richard Coles
The vicar of Finedon, broadcaster and musician discusses the importance of community.

Kate Botley Church of England “It might boost my ego, but no one becomes a vicar because they saw it on TV”

Abdul-Azim Ahmed interviews Frank Cranmer, who with David Pocklington, runs the popular Religion and Law blog online.
On Religion Religion and Law: Interview with Frank Cranmer

Rachel Neaum WATCH A response to the use of ‘minority’ in Sir Philip Mawer’s review

Jeremy Morris ViaMedia.News A “Safe Space” for Liberalism?

Chris Burn Yorkshire Post How Yorkshire’s women of spirit paved the way for female priests

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Jeremy
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Jeremy

Good to see Rachel Neaum refute the bad arguments and worse rhetoric put forward by Mawer and by CofE Communications. Well done!

Michael
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Michael

I have read Rachel Neaum’s piece and frankly I find myself perplexed. In her view,here is an undoubted minority that cannot even call themselves what they are. Why?To what purpose?What does she want to happen to those 450 parishes, their priests and people, that happen to have theological objections to the sacramental ministry of women? I held that view myself for very many years and eventually came to a different one although my own parish is under the alternative episcopal oversight of the Bishop of Beverley.If you want to bring people to hold a different point of view you have… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

The phrase I struggle with is ‘given preferment.’ I don’t think the episcopacy is anyone’s to give. It is up to each diocese whether they are content to receive a non ordaining bishop.The crown thro’ the Prime Minister’s office can ‘nominate.’ but what they can’t and shouldn’t be able to do is ‘give.’ The final choice should always rest with the recipients; the diocese. A diocese either will be or won’t be content to receive. The episcopacy shouldn’t be dolled out on a tit for tat political basis to appease various factions within the church. Let the dioceses decide.

not flourishing anglo-catholic woman
Guest
not flourishing anglo-catholic woman

Well said Andrew Lightbrown. What is really sad is the exclusion of male priests, validly ordained by bishops who happen to be women, from many Anglo-Catholic altars, including Walsingham.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“There is a confusion about language that has ended up making those opposed to women’s ordination a minority in a way that co-opts the language of minority rights. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of how minority rights and power relations work and the Church will not be able to flourish if it protects those who have benefitted from two millennia of tradition and opinion at the expense of those who have had their vocation to the episcopate recognised for less than five years.” Rachel Neaum is absolutely spot on. In her piece, she made it crystal clear that the Mawer… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Michael, no one wants people holding the traditional view drummed out or excommunicated. The problem is limited to the point of power – i.e. a diocesan bishop (and likely an ABC or ABY). CoE needs to figure out how women and girls are to “flourish” under a non-ordaining diocesan. The answer is, they can’t. But, there is alternate episcopal oversight for traditional parishes. And if CoE gets creative, perhaps there could be something like a co-diocesan, where a non-ordaining male bishop and a female bishop share power, something like that. If you and many could understand this in a new… Read more »

john sandeman
Guest
john sandeman

Direct elections, sometimes with a vetting committee structure, works for a wide variety of anglicans from TEC to Sydney. And it might surprise some here that Sydney has perhaps the most transparent electoral system possible.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

The report’s using “minority” in its social science meaning, Michael, which is a lot more specific than its common meaning; just as “racism” is defined in the social sciences not as racial bigotry, but as “power + prejudice.” I don’t run with the underlying theory, but many others do. If I understand it right, Cynthia’s previously suggested that those taking the traditional position be excluded from diocesan bishoprics until there’s parity between the sexes (which, judging by other professions, may well never come). An alternative that’d achieve a similar effect without overt discrimination on the basis of belief would be… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

James Byron, that’s a good suggestion. In countries where bishops are elected, how is the electorate composed? Who has the right to vote? Are your electors taken from deanery or diocesan synods, perhaps plus clergy, or is there some other system?

Will Richards
Guest
Will Richards

I read Rachel Neaum’s piece and then Jeremy Morris’s in succession. The latter was a telling commentary on the former. For years, many of us have argued against the traditionalist catholic tendency to resort to a kind of theological purity in respect of womens’ ministry. I think many of them have grown up, and women are being given a prominent role at Walsingham and Glastonbury, as well as the significant strides forward in Chichester. I may be reading things that others are not, but I could not avoid the conclusion that Rachel Neaum is arguing for a ‘safe space’ where… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

With regard to the exclusion of the CU at Baliol, I imagine the fear is them going round telling other students that they’re going to hell – that was the issue with the CU when I was at university (some bright spark put the CU next to the Pagan Society as freshers’ fair).

Father David
Guest
Father David

Now that we have a practising Anglican as Prime Minister (who knows for how long?) – let Theresa choose the bishops, it will make a nice change from having to deal with the horrors of Brexit with Hammond pulling her in one direction and Johnson in the other. Think back to all the splendid bishops Macmillan chose – head and shoulders above the current crop.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

James, the difficulty with an election system is how the CoE would ensure that there are bishops for Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic traditionalists if (when?) Diocese after Diocese doesn’t elect any.

Tobias Haller
Guest

In TEC, bishops are elected by diocesan conventions (synods) which consist of the clergy (in some dioceses only active clergy) and lay representatives of all parishes. The details vary from diocese to diocese, but normally a majority in both the clergy and laity is required for election. Once elected, there is a consent process by which the standing committees of all dioceses of the church (consisting again of lay and clergy elected by the diocesan convention) and the diocesan bishops are polled. A majority of consents from the standing committees and bishops is required for the consecration to go forward.… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Thanks Tobias, beat me to it. 🙂

If England introduced elected bishops, she could implement an internet voting system, giving everyone on the books the opportunity to have their say.

As for trad bishops, Erika, if they’re not elected to diocesan posts, so be it. Traditional parishes could, of course, opt out and elect their own bishops.

Rev Paul
Guest
Rev Paul

Re: bishops for Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic traditionalists

In comparison, the difficulty with an election system is that there are no UKIP or Socialist Worker Party or for that matter Monster Raving Looney MPs….

It’s the way ‘democracy’ works in this country – first past the post.

john sandeman
Guest
john sandeman

Tobias points out a key difference between the Australian and TEC diocesan elections. In Australia there is no central system vetting the diocesan elections. But arguably both in the TEC and Australian systems there is more diversity (at least up til now) in the range of diocesan bishops than in England. The Bishops of Dallas or Central Florida are different to the Bishops of New York or Chicago, reflecting their dioceses, in the same way the Archbishops of Perth and Sydney are different, reflecting the people who elect them. If England had had some version of more direct election of… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“I imagine the fear is them going round telling other students that they’re going to hell.”

There are two questions here, apart from just enjoying saying it.

How likely is this?

and

More importantly, do students need protection from what they may hear in university? Scary.

crs
Guest
crs

Presumably the system in respect of Bishops inheres in the governing logic of a catholic anglicanism. Monarch is anointed and given a role the Pope had had. Bishops flow from this. The problematic is when, in the course of time, this logic is forgotten or has been so altered by intervening years–Crown committees, role of Parliament vis-a-vis Crown and Church, Monarch as “Defender of Faiths”?–that no one knows what it is or how it has got to be what it now is. By simple expedience one says, bring in internet voting or do what Americans have done. But the CofE… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

‘If England introduced elected bishops, she could implement an internet voting system, giving everyone on the books the opportunity to have their say.’ I’m not sure that would work in England, where you don’t actually have to attend church at all to be a member of the Church of England. It’s an advantage if the electorate have some idea of the issues at stake when they vote – as we found out with the EU referendum. Internet voting would also mean that those without internet access, or those who aren’t comfortable with the internet, wouldn’t have a vote – and… Read more »

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia, bishops are elected by diocesan synods, as in TEC, but with a few differences. By custom, but not by statute, the process is confidential until the final result is announced by the Primates. In recent years some dioceses have experimented with making the list of nominees public, but the debate and voting are still confidential. For diocesan bishops, successful nominees must gain a majority of both houses, clergy and laity. For assistant bishops, where the diocesan is in the chair, the nomination must also pass in the house of bishops; in other words, the… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re crs, “…the Queen herself was fairly stunned to have had explained to her what the coronation was about.” Sort of a puddle of consciousness with an allusion to Netflix as quasi-historical source. “The ceremonies you have seen today are ancient, and some of their origins are veiled in the mists of the past. But their spirit and their meaning shine through the ages never, perhaps, more brightly than now. I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive… Read more »

Jo
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Jo

@crs: very likely – I’ve seen CU types in action and what I described happened at Freshers’ Fair, albeit at a different university. And freshers are just starting at university, on the “on ramp” and away from home for the first time. Freshers’ Fair is supposed to be welcoming and about helping them find their feet. They’ll get plenty of time to argue and discuss over their 3+ years. Having to deal with what is effectively a threat from a group condoned by their college is not on.

crs
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crs

John S. Your ‘up til now’ in respect of TEC is correct.

James Byron
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James Byron

To clarify on introducing episcopal elections to England: paper ballots should of course be provided where necessary; and votes should only be given to people on the parish rolls (around six months’ attendance etc).

Since the current system is of massive benefit to the English elite, this may well remain hypothetical: but determined campaigning always leaves open the possibility for change.

Alternatively, just allow the British prime minister to select bishops again: they couldn’t do much worse!

Father David
Guest
Father David

Ah, the dear Queen will not be laying the wreath on behalf on the nation at the Cenotaph this year on Remembrance Sunday – that role will be taken by her eldest son and heir. Let us hope and pray that Her Majesty lives as long as her mother, long to reign over us. As incumbent of one of the decreasing number of churches that offer a regular Sunday Choral Evensong I would find it a most peculiar and unnerving experience to have to change the versicle “O Lord, save the Queen” to “O Lord, save the King”. Hopefully retirement… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

The Balliol JCR got it right.

If the Church of England thinks that gay sex is a sin–a question that the Archbishop of Canterbury still refuses to answer–then there will be negative repercussions in the wider culture. Because, by perpetuating prejudice against LGBTQ people, the Church actively harms them.

I don’t see why any religious sect intent on harming certain undergraduates should be welcome at any freshers’ fair.

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

crs: I don’t understand what you mean by this: ‘Presumably the system in respect of Bishops inheres in the governing logic of a catholic anglicanism. Monarch is anointed and given a role the Pope had had. Bishops flow from this.’ Unless you mean that to be a ‘catholic anglican’ (a term capable of many meanings) you have to accept the need for a Pope-figure, and if not the Bishop of Rome then the Monarch of England. This is not something which has ever occurred to me, and since many, probably most, ‘catholic anglicans’ have no allegiance or connection to the… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Father D, yes the “veiled mists of the past” get increasingly more so.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/11/neil-macgregor-britain-stands-alone-comes-religi1on/

crs
Guest
crs

I take the term catholic anglicanism to entail apostolic succession. This was achieved in England via a claim to the maintenance of catholic Bishops, in a See of the Church Catholic, under the authority of the Crown. If there is no historical rootage in this claim functiong at present, then there is little sense in flying Primates to Canterbury or holding conferences called Lambeth or seeing arise a specific authority for the ABC. The question isn’t a “Pope-figure” but rather the character of taking oaths before God, as the Church of England saw it when it separated from Rome. The… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

James Byron, in England anyone living in the parish can be on the electoral roll and vote in parish elections, they don’t have to attend church. And not all clergy are on diocesan synod, just elected representatives. But that could be tweaked for episcopal elections, I’m sure.

‘Alternatively, just allow the British prime minister to select bishops again: they couldn’t do much worse!’ Um, have you seen who Theresa May appointed Foreign Secretary?! I hate to think who she might appoint as a bishop!

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The monarchy is a constitutional monarchy, evolved and evolving. As the monarchy evolves, no reason the monarchical episcopate cannot evolve. No reason the C of E could not institute a mechanism for the election of its bishops.Although, we elect our bishops in Canada where results vary. It remains a patriarchal shtick.

The “torygraph” has a narrative of its own of course, as do all media outlets. I read The Guardian most mornings. I find its narrative “agreeable”.

Interesting thread. God Save the Queen.

Jo
Guest
Jo

I think your interpretation of catholicity is a little… idiosyncratic, crs. I’ve never heard it suggested, either in England or Scotland, that the catholicity of Anglicanism depends on the Crown. That would be rather strange, given the history of the SEC. Apostolic succession depends on Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, not on secular rulers or on Patriarchs.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Thanks for the correction, Janet: having checked the CoE regs again, I see that the six month criterion’s for out-of-parish worshipers. Those criteria would, presumably, carry over to any model of episcopal elections.

As for Al “Boris” Johnson donning the purple: well, grim as the prospect is, it’d give him much less opportunity for mischief than his current post, and it’d be one way of breaking the suffocating collegiality!

crs
Guest
crs

Jo, better tell it to Henry 8th or Elizabeth — the latter a very fine theologian. Depend on the Crown? Well certainly Crown as modus vivendi! The history of the Church Catholic during the middle ages always had this tension — compare the states of France and the Holy Roman Empire. The Church of England could not consecrate new Bishops in American because they could not take an oath to the Crown. The Church of England could of course disestablish, but that is another question. Over the course of time the Crown role has been thinned out considerably, perhaps to… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

The restriction on the CofE was a matter of secular law, not of theology or polity. That is why the SEC was able to carry out that consecration.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

As for Al “Boris” Johnson donning the purple: well, grim as the prospect is, it’d give him much less opportunity for mischief than his current post, and it’d be one way of breaking the suffocating collegiality!

James Byron, you made me smile with that thought. You’re right, he might be good for the House of Bishops. I’d hate to be in his diocese though. Still, come to think of it – can he be much worse than some of those we already have?

crs
Guest
crs

Jo, nonsense: it was law and theology and polity all three. It is anachronistic to think otherwise. The oath made to the crown enabled consecrations, absent this, one would have to find non-juring bishops. Hence SEC.

But we are not speaking of the SEC but of the CofE. You are making my point.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Janet “in England anyone living in the parish can be on the electoral roll and vote in parish elections, they don’t have to attend church” I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong, but in order to be on the Church electoral roll you are supposed to be a communicant and regular attender, where the precise meaning of “regular” is not, I think, defined. It is true that any lay person resident in the geographical parish and aged 16 or over may attend and vote at the (annual or other) Meeting of Parishioners, and that meeting elects the churchwardens for… Read more »

Peter Owen
Guest

Simon This is the rule for joining the electoral roll. Church Representation Rule 1(2) A lay person shall be entitled to have his name entered on the roll of a parish if he is baptised, of sixteen years or upwards, has signed an application form for enrolment set out in Appendix I of these rules and declares himself either – (a) to be a member of the Church of England or of a Church in communion therewith resident in the parish; or (b) to be such a member and, not being resident in the parish, to have habitually attended public… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

crs: I thought we were speaking of catholicity, as it is expressed within the Anglican tradition. The existence of the non-jurors as a recognised part of that puts the lie to the idea that it is somehow dependent on the Crown. Unless you’re trying to claim that Episcopal orders absent the Crown are somehow not catholic?

crs
Guest
crs

“Unless you’re trying to claim that Episcopal orders absent the Crown are somehow not catholic” Dear Jo, it is a bit unclear to me how much you know about the SEC. The Church of Scotland split from Rome in 1560. This was the sole non-Roman church in Scotland at the time. In 1583 Bishops were consecrated and the Church of Scotland (what we would now call) Presbyterians objected. This happened because the monarch was James VI and he passed the act that enabled their consecration. This would be James VI who became James I, king of England and Scotland, in… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘The Balliol JCR got it right.

If the Church of England thinks that gay sex is a sin–a question that the Archbishop of Canterbury still refuses to answer–then there will be negative repercussions in the wider culture. Because, by perpetuating prejudice against LGBTQ people, the Church actively harms them.’

Er – I don’t think the CU is an official part of the Church of England, is it?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

One of our bishops here once remarked that Anglicans can rummage around in the attic of history and find a precedent for just about anything.

“Streets that follow like a tedious argument…”
T. S. Elliot (Prufrock).

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

As a postscript to Peter Owen’s reply to Simon Kershaw at 5.27 pm yesterday, it is to be noted that one Suffolk vicar in the 1930s who sought, unlawfully, to remove from the roll those parishioners who did not attend church and to prevent them from attending the APCM, ended up on the losing side of a case in the Court of Appeal: see Stuart v Haughley Parochial Church Council [1935] Ch 352 (Bennett J) and [1936] Ch 32 (CA). The vicar and the PCC were ordered to pay the plaintiff’s costs (with QCs on both sides, no doubt not… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

One has to be careful about throwing around terms. Anglicans routinely speak about “catholicity” and mean by this several possibilities: a) not nasty evangelical, b) love of liturgy, eucharist, adoration of sacrament c) anti-women’s ordination, d) concern for relations with Rome, e) fill in the blank. There was and is a church in which the term “Catholic” is definitional. The effort to create an alternative, without the Pope, yet retaining the term catholic in any meaningful sense (a move that did not animate Luther or Calvin or Knox) took a specific historical form: it traded on monarchial oaths in discrete… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“…the situation whereby attention is paid to Canterbury by the Anglican Communion and the CofE remains, and trades in due measure on this originating historical reality. ” This is a political narrative agreeable to those who want to stay in charge of the interpretation of history. We trade on several historical and geopolitical realities including the legacy of British colonialism in a post colonial Communion. The decline into authoritarianism by the Primates can be attributed to a variety of factors: patriarchal theology; attempts to shut out a range of critical insights advanced by various contemporary studies; the slick attempts to… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

crs: you fail to recall that for a fair time it pretty much was illegal to be an Episcopalian in Scotland, and for a long time after that existed under legal restriction. That history as a persecuted church is just as much a part of Anglicanism, and its form of catholicity retained through its College of Bishops just as important to modern Anglican polity, as is formal Establishment. The continuing existence of the Scottish Episcopal Church as part of the Church Catholic makes it clear that neither Pope nor monarch is required. Unless you’re claiming that the SEC, and by… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Dear Jo, I do not fail to recall anything as touches on the claims of catholicity as grounded in Scotland, in respect of James VI. You stated otherwise. You confected a catholicism in Scotland that had no monarchial role. That is incorrect.

What “modern Anglican polity” may or may not believe it is, here and there, was not the point of my comment: which had of course to do with the self-understanding of the See of Canterbury in the CofE and, in recent times, vis-a-vis the Anglican Communion.

crs
Guest
crs

It is a bit unclear to me if the position of RG is that the boy’s club authoritarianism is the consequence of the Primates or the See of Canterbury or what? He makes it sound like the Primates and the African “mentality” are to blame. Well surely this could be batted away by the ABC. He is the one declaring via his office when the Primates meet, whether and when Lambeth Conferences take place, etc. As for the Covenant, well of course it was designed in respect of Provinces. So the RG statement, “he seems to think that a covenant… Read more »