Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 11 April 2020

Mia Kyte Hilborn Church of England A chaplain’s view – the Coronavirus pandemic
“The NHS has withstood many emergency situations. It will withstand this one, but this crisis is different.”

Hilary Ison ViaMedia.News Trauma & Tragedy in Congregations & Communities

Giles Fraser UnHerd Where is God in this Covid horror?
“Church is one of the few places where we can acknowledge the existence of futile suffering”

Martyn Percy Modern Church Dean’s Diary: Light and Dark in Holy Week

Luke Coppen The Spectator Will coronavirus hasten the demise of religion – or herald its revival?
“The lockdown is testing believers of all stripes”

Anglican Communion News Service Primates’ Easter Messages 2020
A collection of Easter Messages from Anglican Primates and other senior Church leaders.

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Rod GillisStanley MonkhouseGordoAndrewFr. Dean Henley Recent comment authors
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Susannah Clark
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Here, on the hiatus Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, in the waiting time, and that pause before the vindication of love… I reflect on the three days as a whole, and how through it all we can recognise the givenness of God to us, and how much and how tenderly God loves each one of us, to the point of no turning back. God’s presence too, maybe close, maybe feeling far off, when at times we wonder ‘Where is God?’ or even rage at God. ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?’ (or a person we hold so… Read more »

Froghole
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Froghole

“Will the virus hasten the demise of religion?” This has had me reaching for William McNeill’s masterly ‘Plagues and People’ (1976). He notes the near-overnight collapse of Aztec religion in 1520-21 following the assault on Tenochtitlán (Mexico City) by the <900 men under Cortés. His men harboured smallpox, yet were immune to it, whilst it ravaged the defending Aztecs. Thus the 200 or so deities, including Huitzilopochtli, to whom so many humans had been sacrificed, but who had failed so abjectly, suddenly became redundant. Also, 'When the plague was raging, a person might be in full health one day and… Read more »

Froghole
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Froghole

Sorry, finally, McNeill adds: ‘Changes in the flu virus and mutations of other infectious organisms therefore remain a serious possibility…Even without mutation, it is always possible that some hitherto obscure parasitic organism may escape its accustomed ecological niche and expose the dense human populations that have become so conspicuous a feature of the earth to some fresh and perchance devastating mortality (p. 289) …It remains obvious [re population growth] that humanity is in course of one of the most massive and extraordinary ecological upheavals the planet has ever known. Not stability but a sequence of sharp alterations and abrupt oscillations… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

The Spectator piece is surprisingly decent but it misses one key point in framing resurgence and retreat as either/ or alternatives. I think the most likely outcome is that there will be a resurgence of belief AND a reduction in regular churchgoing. The reasons Coppen gives for both are all reasonable, but the two are not exclusive.

Fr. Dean Henley
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Fr. Dean Henley

The Church was haemorrhaging worshippers long before this pandemic arrived. The virus will mean that we will lose a disproportionately large number of elderly parishioners over the course of this year but Covid-19 is only hastening what was happening already. The Church’s problem is that it is not authentic; its endless equivocation on its safeguarding failings and in the sphere of human sexuality actively turn people off. We have an elaborate system of ‘protections’ for those who don’t like women as priests and bishops, that is hardly likely to fire up young people. The bishops are so milquetoast and not… Read more »

Andrew
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Andrew

Martyn Percy tells us in his ‘Dean’s Diary’ (7 April) that he continues to say daily prayers in Christ Church Cathedral: “This vast space is now functioning as my temporary private Chapel. No-one else is there. I sit at my stall facing the Shrine of St. Frideswide at 7.15am, offering the prayers of the people. At 6pm, my Canon colleagues join me remotely – and we say prayers together using Zoom.” I’m very happy to know that Dr Percy is doing this. What is more, he is evidently doing so with the knowledge and approval of the Bishop of Oxford,… Read more »

Martyn
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Martyn

Andrew, this practice changed when the national guidelines moved to something much firmer than had been the case before. I now use the cloisters here to say the Office: so, surrounded by our Cathedral, but not inside it. So daily prayer continues – adjacent to the Easter Garden, between the Olive Tree and Fountain. Have a Blessed and Peaceful Easter.

Andrew
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Andrew

Thank you for the update. I’m glad the heartbeat of prayer continues .. even if the Cathedral has had to have a heart bypass! Wishing you a happy and blessed Eastertide.

Chris A
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Chris A

So today we had mass from St Peter’s live on YouTube. Pope Francis celebrating, congregation of about a dozen, choir of four, all nicely socially distanced and here we have bishops, for some peculiar reasons known to themselves, threatening the clergy with disciplinary measures if they so much as set foot in their church even by themselves. What on earth is going on with the bishops in this country?

Gordo
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Gordo

Do Church of England bishops actually have any legal power to discipline clergy who go into their churches to pray?
If so, what can they do?
Or is it just threats and displeasure?

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Disciplining for such as this would make bishops look like asses. And so you get a rap on the knuckles and are barred from Ms Boddington’s list. Big deal.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Sometimes pious baffle gab, especially when it does not provide a coherent rationale for that which it exhorts, is covering fire for something else. Any chance the bishops’ closing English churches to the clergy is perhaps about property security measures, not drawing attention to vacant buildings online etc.? Perhaps insurance vendors don’t trust the vicar to turn on the alarm and lock the door, or snuff out the candles? ( : See the story in the link from Episcopal Cafe.
https://www.episcopalcafe.com/church-of-england-moves-church-plate-to-tower-of-london/