Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 12 February 2022

WATCH A Report on the Developments in Women’s Ministry in 2021
Readers may find the tables in the downloadable pdf file easier to read.

Martyn Percy Modern Church Embrace the “Tutufication” of the Church of England Part 2

Giles Fraser UnHerd The Church’s war on the clergy

Ian Paul Psephizo Once again: should clergy be paid more?

Surviving Church A Maze with no Exit. Justice Denied in the Church of England

Eeva John Church Times A more excellent way to handle conflict
“The Church would deal with disagreement better if it were free from fear and full of love, says Eeva John, in a sermon preached in Great St Mary’s, the University Church, Cambridge, on 30 January”

Sorrel Shamel-Wood ViaMedia.News Another Injustice in the Church of England? Surely not!

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Fr Dean
Fr Dean
3 months ago

Giles’ piece is an accurate portrayal of how so many of my contemporaries and former colleagues feel about the Welby ‘reforms’. I think his analysis is spot on including describing the CofE as being propped up by its pension fund. Bishops swimming the Tiber weighed down with their considerably enhanced tax free lump sums and pensions paid for by Anglican parishioners jars somewhat. Roman Catholic priests must be irked when they compare the sacrifices they have made with the comfortable upper middle class lifestyle of these converts – the possibility of a spouse, children, grandchildren; retiring at 65; the luxuries… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Fr Dean
3 months ago

I still don’t understand the reasoning which means Sorrel can’t yet be priested. If you think marrying someone who is divorced is ‘adultery’, why does it stop being so after three years?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Helen King
3 months ago

It isn’t logical. Nor is it logical that her husband, who is the divorced one, is allowed to remain a priest but Sorrel isn’t allowed to become one.

Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  Janet Fife
3 months ago

It’s also illogical that a deacon has to delay being priested, when there is no such difficulty for a priest who gets divorced and subsequently remarries. I knew a CofE priest who got divorced three times. Before he married his fourth wife, he switched to become a minister in a non conformist denomination, despite being on the FiF wing of the Church. Still in active ministry. No news of a fourth divorce!

W.M
W.M
Reply to  Janet Fife
3 months ago

What a splendid advertisement for the gospel of Jesus Christ – the church should be ashamed

David Rowett
David Rowett
Reply to  Helen King
3 months ago

My memory (as a diocesan vocations adviser) is that this came in under ++Rowan and ++Sentamu (I think that was JS’s preferred signature) maybe 12 or more years ago. At the time I was baffled by the lack of logic, and we did lose at least one promising candidate for ministry whose age made the three year wait problematic (despite the divorce being so long in the past that the decree absolute was written in runes, the nisi in cuneiform). I suspect a puritan land grab from the then AbY, but there must be folk out there with more detailed… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  David Rowett
3 months ago

The version of the Directions published with the Canons as an appendix is dated 9 May 2002 and signed by George Carey and David Hope. But Canon C4 makes it clear that the Directions are given by the Archbishops, so they are presumably at least implicitly reaffirmed at each change. I have submitted a PMM, so we will see where we go. But I am bemused that it seems so hard simply to change the Directions without spending Synod time on it.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Helen King
3 months ago

I don’t believe that remarriages are adulterous but was speculating why the canon is framed in such a way. Church discipline is sadly not always coherent. I was encouraged to look kindly on second marriages but refuse third marriages, if I’d been challenged I’d have had to rest on the ‘rules’.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Fr Dean
3 months ago

I disagree. It depends on circumstances but remarriages certainly can be adulterous in terms of how Jesus taught about adultery.
 
The question is whether that matters to the extent that it is a barrier to ordination. I don’t believe it should. We are all sinners. Why should adultery be more of a problem than other sins? We might not know what sins an ordinand is guilty of – but we know for certain that they are a sinner.

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

While being totally with you on ‘Why should adultery be more of a problem than other sins?’, none of this seems to explain why something regarded as a barrier to ordination suddenly ceases to be so after three years have passed.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Helen King
3 months ago

I agree. That’s also ridiculous

Neil Patterson
Neil Patterson
Reply to  Helen King
3 months ago

My understanding is that the supposed logic is that three years demonstrate that the new marriage is “stable” and has not merely been entered in haste to legitimise the situation and enable vocational progress. Behind that lies, I sadly conclude, the insulting assumption that those who have been divorced once are somehow proven to be maritally unreliable and so must be tested more carefully. Whereas there is undoubtedly a phenomenon of ‘selection marriage’ whereby young couples hasten to marry (with the best of intentions) before training when they were not really ready, and I know of sad divorces as the… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Neil Patterson
3 months ago

The C4 faculty process is tortuous, cruel and arbitrary. Three things need reforming. (1) The requirement that only the diocesan bishop can sign them off (introduced as a sop to the indissolubilists when it was going through Synod) – which puts everything on hold when there is a vacancy in the see. (2) The intrusive and time-consuming process of interviewing the ex (and all and sundry). Clearly there is a need to discern whether the new relationship is founded on adultery, but the Spanish inquisition is OTT. (3) The three year rule (which the Archbishops introduced) and which just provides… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
3 months ago

And why can the necessary enquiries not be made during selection and training as part of the normal assessment for suitability? The normal enquiries are now more extensive than they once were, and picking out this one aspect of life as a special case seems unnecessary. I have put down (if I have got the procedure right) a PMM simply to remove the faculty requirement from the Canon. It should not, though, be necessary to spend Synod time on this, as the Archbishops could change the Directions they give under the Canon [and if desired, the removal of the requirement… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Neil Patterson
3 months ago

You are right that the MICAD process also needs an overhaul.

Neil Patterson
Neil Patterson
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

Mark, the difference is that the official MICAD process is completely advisory – parish clergy can, and in my experience freely do, make a judgment without all the form-filling. Whereas C4 is fixed in canon. It is especially odd as a DDO that my own examination of candidates, including previous non-marital relationships, survival of abuse, health issues, etc, is handled entirely by the regular process in diocese (with appropriate use of relevant professionals advising) but previous marriage calls in a completely separate mechanism, requiring paperwork to Lambeth.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Neil Patterson
3 months ago

Candidates are asked whether they have survived abuse? That’s intrusive, and it risks triggering memories at a time and in a place they may be difficult to deal with. How are the answers and responses recorded? And what help is immediately on hand if the candidate falls apart?

What difference does it make whether the candidate is put forward for selection or not?

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
Reply to  Neil Patterson
3 months ago

Our Diocesan Bishop recently reminded us that clergy in the Diocese were free to decide in the case of MICAD, given that we discuss as needed with the couple. However, if the couple is not marrying via banns permission from the Bishop may well be needed. I had a couple wishing to marry (both of whom were divorced, twice for one) after living together for many years. One partner had had active cancer for most of that time and the other cared for and supported them so impressively. The inevitable happened. Treatment reached the end of the road, and they… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Neil Patterson
3 months ago

It took me a moment, so to save others time MICAD means Marriage In Church After Divorce.

A (not so) humble parishioner
A (not so) humble parishioner
3 months ago

I think Giles Fraser is wrong to despair at Bishops being described as leaders, they are leaders and always have been. The point is not that they are expected to be leaders it is what type of leader they are expected to be. It is clear that the Welby reforms place bishops as corporate managerial leaders “driving change” like directors restructuring a company. The thing about restructures is they leave some people outside the structure – the redundant. The redundant seem to be everywhere in our church: The parish priest who does not wish to ditch weekly communion for “coffee… Read more »

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  A (not so) humble parishioner
3 months ago

As soon as church people start to talk about leaders they’ve lost me. I thought we were supposed to be servants.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Toby Forward
3 months ago

Any human organisation needs leaders. The history of the early church makes this clear. What the nature of that leadership is remains the question. Have you heard of servant leadership?

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  David Exham
3 months ago

As far as I understand language, that’s an oxymoron. How would it play out, say, in the event of a congregation being divided about remarrying divorcés in church? Or in having a transgender priest? Talk me through it.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Toby Forward
3 months ago

How would you feel about the term “servant guide”…isn’t that what a shepherd does?

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

I quite like that. (Only quite.) It puts me in mind of a sherpa, who knows the mountain and guides the climber. My hesitation is that it supposes that the ‘servant guide is the expert. My own experience is that we climb together, and learn together. So often it seems that those who aspire to lead don’t know the way up the mountain and don’t want to listen to their fellow-climbers. That’s why so many tumble back down and are worse off than before. It seems to me that in Church of England terms we’re being led into crevasse.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Toby Forward
3 months ago

If the guide isn’t expert, he/she isn’t of much use, right?

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

An expert in what, though? If you know all the answers you don’t understand the questions.
We’re all entering new territory all the time.

Michael Doe
Michael Doe
3 months ago

Giles is, as usual, right about a lot of things – in particular, that he is fortunate in being part of the Diocese of Southwark and its continued commitment to the parish system, albeit part of a growing mixed economy. But he’s wrong about bishops “going round the Diocese doing confirmations and ordinations [as being] on some kind of continual liturgical merry-go-round”. This is at the heart of episcopal ministry, it’s what brings alive being a bishop, and it’s trying to better serve these parishes and people which maybe, maybe, makes the committees and the paperwork bearable.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Michael Doe
3 months ago

Thank you, Michael Doe. I was puzzled/troubled by that passage of his commentary as well.. It’s part of the bishop’s duties. It’s what s/he is about. If Mr. Fraser doesn’t like “bishop as member of the board of directors”, the parish visits are the opposite of that. And the “merry-go-round”? The Church season is cyclical. Advent, Christmas, Easter, Ascension, and several months later, Advent again. Birth, Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage. The birth of children, their baptism, etc., in an endless cycle. The Christian religion is linear in its thinking about time, but that time is full of cycles. I feel he… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
3 months ago

I don’t think bishops are going round the diocese doing confirmations. Part of the problem that bishops have been facing for the last two decades is the collapse in the numbers of those wishing to be confirmed. Numbers have been in free fall. The last reliable statistics were in 2019, pre pandemic. They show that 13,400 people were confirmed in 2019 – so that’s a tiny bit over 1 person per parish at 1,600 confirmation services. The annual number of confirmations has fallen by 47% in a decade, down from over 25,000 confirmations in 2009. I can’t find stats for… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
3 months ago

I wonder how many confirmations there would be if you took out the Public School confirmations and those done by the PEV’s? I think some sections of the Church simply don’t bother with confirmation.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
3 months ago

A retired priest friend tells me he’s been preparing three people for a forthcoming confirmation at which a further seven candidates are ordinands. It is symptomatic of a dying Church that its happy clappy bishops are choosing people from outside Anglicanism to become “priests” – or ministers as they will call themselves. In today’s CofE, it is essential only to grin inanely, play the guitar or tambourine and have no knowledge whatsoever about the Anglican faith to qualify for ordination.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

The vignette you paint, Fr DH, of many of today’s ordinands will I suspect be familiar to, maybe encouraged by, a good few DDOs. It’s not just ignorance of “the Anglican faith” that is so marked, but also (and I suspect you include this) ignorance of its development and its spiritual and literary patrimony. Take George Herbert’s poetry, even just those poems that made it into (what a right-on youth worker last week called) “archaic” hymn books (today’s youth worker is tomorrow’s ordinand). Or Wesley hymns – has there ever been anything more startlingly charismatic than “O for a thousand… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

I know well two people confirmed recently prior to anticipated ordination who don’t fit your description. Indeed, for one it was a surprise to think they might be being called to be a priest rather than a minister. And I know another for whom adult confirmation was a significant moment in discerning a call to ordination. Also I thought that it was the Christian faith that the Church of England claimed it professed – I do not know what “the Anglican faith” is, apart from that.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

The Christian Faith as the Church of England has received it perhaps? We are not Roman Catholics or Baptists etc. We have a tradition in doctrinal emphasis, liturgy, ethos ……..or at least we did

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

I’m sorry you know nothing of the Anglican Faith. That’s precisely my point.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

If you maintain a claim that “‘the’ Anglican Faith” is something one can know, I would be grateful for a definition and an authoritative source. Personally, I find it profoundly unhelpful as a concept, just as the tendency to reify “the Anglican Communion” as “‘a’ Church” rather than part of “‘the’ Church” seems to me best resisted.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

What is this “Christian Faith ‘ to which you refer? Is it RC or Mormon? It could be Methodist or Westboro Baptist or Greek Orthodox. I’d be grateful if you could define it giving an authoritative source.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

See my reply to Perry Butler – I am ordained, and have made the necessary Declaration of Assent on several occasions, and have taken it seriously every time. In the 1920 Lambeth Conference an appeal was made for unity which included “We acknowledge all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, and have been baptized into the name of the Holy Trinity, as sharing with us membership in the universal Church of Christ which is his Body. We believe that the Holy Spirit has called us in a very solemn and special manner to associate ourselves in penitence and… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

I thought the Lambeth Conference was Anglican.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

Archbishop McAdoo once wrote,” There is no such thing as the Anglican faith.There is only the Catholic faith taught. expounded.experienced and lived by Anglicans”.Here in the Church of England all ordinands are asked at ordination “Do you believe the doctrine of the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it, and in your ministry will you expand and teach it?”. They do so having assented to the Declaration of Assent. The Canons of the Church of England Section A, B, and C are also important in this regard.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Perry Butler
3 months ago

Quite. That is the declaration I made when I was ordained.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

Though perhaps because of what looks to outsiders as extraordinary doctrinal diversity the C of E should be more explicit about the content of what it believes the Christian faith the C of E has received? I think of Stephen Sykes’s concern for Anglican Integrity.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Perry Butler
3 months ago

Stephen Sykes wrote eruditely and convincingly, but with typical modesty, on Anglican ecclesiology. But would he be able to to it today? For example: his insistence that initiation (a term he uses because of the problematic relationship of baptism and confirmation) is initiation into the eucharistic community. Once that would have been basic to the Church of England’s self-understanding, yet it was contested by a recent group of deacons which saw the Eucharist largely in second order terms.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Allan Sheath
3 months ago

Thanks. I was involved with Stephen in The Study of Anglicanism which he hoped would be a primer for ordinands, though I doubt it is so used. I am still trying to get my head round the notion that the Eucharist is ” second order”?!.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Perry Butler
3 months ago

Apologies. I should have been more explicit. This was a group of soon to be priested deacons. The Eucharist was seen as having little relevance to their future ministry, being inherently non-missional. When I quoted “the Church makes the Eucharist and the Eucharist makes the Church”, the resulting incomprehension told me it was time to retire from IME 4-7 while I was still behind.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Allan Sheath
3 months ago

Perhaps you should have pointed them to Professor Paul McPartlan’s book “The Eucharist makes the Church” , though it sounds as if it would be outside their thought world. I did IME 4-7 in early retirement. They were a good group overall but I agree, I was surprised how different their Christian/ C of E formation seemed to mine. I was even more surprised when we joined with the neighbouring diocese for some weekends. I remember a visiting lecturer giving a lecture on the principles underlying the three year lectionary and discovering half the ” class” came from churches that… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Perry Butler
3 months ago

I’m unable to comprehend your surprise at these non-eucharistic, non-liturgical ‘ministers’ when it’s been obvious for years the ascendant evangelicals have abolished the Church of England as we once knew it.

Charles Read
Reply to  Allan Sheath
3 months ago

Deacons who have clearly been badly taught!

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

What does that tell us about the formation being offered to ordinands in the C of E?

Charles Read
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

Partly that there are fewer specialist liturgy teachers in TEIs than was the case when I started 20 years ago. Here’s a vignette: a colleague was leading an IME2 group on what to do with confirmation if it not the gateway to receiving communion. I advised her that she could assume they all knew how initiation fragmented in the west into baptism and confirmation and why the C of E and most Anglican provinces now see baptism as the gateway to communion – hence admitting children to communion without being confirmed. (And even if you are one of the few… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

But is this really a matter for “specialist liturgy teachers”? Surely, these are fundamental matters of ecclesiology that we share with the wider church catholic and which shape our self-understanding.

Charles Read
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

I see what you mean but it depends how you cut the curriculum cake – in certain Catholic circles I have seen sacramental theology housed under ecclesiology – which makes sense if you take the view that the eucharist makes the church etc. – but it is not the only way to configure it. Most other traditions would put sacramental theology under liturgy. But I think your point is well-made and this charismatic evangelical agrees with you!

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Read
Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

Of the resources used in ministerial formation, I have noted that the latest review of Resourcing Ministerial Formation does not seriously address the need to have a cohort of suitably qualified teachers …

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

My understanding is that most of our colleges no longer have a liturgist on their core staff, and soon a majority of ordinands will be training on context-based or part-time courses with formation increasingly left to training and title parishes or, for SSMs, sponsoring parishes. This leaves the most public task undertaken by a priest left to the inherited culture in his or her parish. As the number of incumbents who themselves are a product of this system is growing, we are into that territory in which the blind lead the blind.  In 2007 GS asked each diocese to fund… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Allan Sheath
3 months ago

Yes, that is largely true. I think I am the only person teaching on the core staff of regional course who holds a designated liturgy post. Many colleges and courses have people teaching liturgy as associate tutors but having someone on the core staff is important. Westcott is bravely advertising such a post at the moment.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Allan Sheath
3 months ago

What do you think the Liturgical Commission and Praxis can do to improve this situation? As you suggest, we are at the point where many of those who might benefit from them are not even aware that anything needs to change. Even Praxis is struggling in many areas. I’m sure both groups would welcome suggestions. (Disclaimer: I’m a member of the Commission, and of the Praxis Council; but of course I don’t speak for either.)

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
3 months ago

I think part of the message is that relying on voluntary efforts rather than intentional input as part of formation leads to inadequate preparation for a lifetime of ministry, where one’s context changes and the resources of tradition and a formed liturgical imagination become necessary. And another, that we need a community like Praxis to nurture future teachers (including training incumbents). But this is my point about RMF – no-one is looking at the pipeline and how to resource it.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
3 months ago

I think there is a real need to help parishes esp rural ones with small congregations do traditional liturgy in a realistic yet good way given the resources they have got. Praxis could make a real difference so I am sad it is struggling. In a diocese the bishop and archdeacons should really push it, particularly amongst those clergy who think they don’t need help but actually need it most.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
3 months ago

I wholeheartedly second both Mark’s and Perry’s replies – as well as Janet Henderson’s reply to Charles Read. Even at this 11th hour, bishops could surely lay down a three-line-whip for curates to attend appropriate (Praxis?) events, and for some to have a placement in a parish noted for liturgical competence, although here in the Westcountry finding such may not be easy. Despite CW being around 20+ years, the rite’s logic and integrity has had little effect on eucharistic presidency and liturgical space in many churches (e.g. we went versus populum in the 80s, yet still cling to propped-up burses… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Allan Sheath
Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Allan Sheath
3 months ago

Yes despite the notes regarding eucharistic presidency and the appropriate sharing of roles, one often encounters these days an almost shared presidency between vicar, curate , and reader (or two). I raised this with a friend of mine who teaches on a course but he said however he tried to explain the logic of eucharistic presidency and the notes in CW many of his students wouldnt buy it because it wasn’t democratic.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Perry Butler
3 months ago

I feel this has its genesis in our weak reception of ecclesiology – as has already been touched on. When at the Chrism Eucharist the Bishop asked us to process by order (Readers, deacons, college of presbyters) the unfortunate charged with making this happen struggled to be heard over the muttering. Folk wanted to be in their teams. Sentiment over ecclesiology?

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Allan Sheath
3 months ago

I’m becoming a nerd, so a final example. At a priestly ordination in another diocese there was bewilderment and even anger when the bishop requested only those from his own college of presbyters join in the laying on of hands. Some visiting priests ignored the request. Again, sentiment over ecclesiology?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

Who chooses the bad teachers?

Charles Read
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

The problem is there are no teachers in many cases. Liturgy is then taught by other staff who may not know much about it. Principals make staffing decisions. A wise principal will discuss strategic matters like this with the staff team – I recall a discussion like this about replacing the half time OT lecturer who was leaving Cranmer Hall when I taught there. The Warden (a certain Steve Croft) produced a paper setting out options (do not replace and so save money; replace with another half time appointment or upgrade to full time post). I still have the paper!… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

If this state of affairs were translated into Medical Schools, patients would be treated by smiling, enthusiastic doctors who know nothing about medicine – resulting in countless deaths. No wonder the CofE is in terminal decline.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Funny you should mention this, FrDH. It is EXACTLY what happened in medical education in the 1980s and 90s when fact-based basic science (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry) was not just cut back but literally decimated in favour of soft-stuff like psychology, health care, theories of learning, educational politics, and more. It was driven by several factors: fashion, change for change’s sake (though change was necessary), and antipathy against science in those now influential in medical schools. It hit anatomy particularly hard because as a subject that embraces embryology, anthropology, topology, understanding networks (like rail and road maps), and – most importantly… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
3 months ago

A fascinating comparison, Prof Monkhouse. And a timely comment.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
3 months ago

You have perhaps explained why, on one occasion, my GP was googling things during a consultation, something which didn’t exactly inspire confidence. However, the good news is that I no longer have to wait weeks for an appointment as I can simply google symptoms myself. I am currently in imminent danger of death from one of 152 tropical diseases, or some form of ague. If readers do not hear from me again, then know that I have succumbed to my fate.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

When you are ill, Fr Dexter, be like a dog. Lie in your basket and wait till you are better. Or dead. The only exceptions are if you need plumbing or carpentry – then by all means seek help. Avoid hospitals at all costs – people die in them, often of diseases they catch in them. Or stop whining and put up with it. You’re going to die anyway.

Six years at medical school and 30 as a medical teacher, and this is my expert opinion. That’ll be 85 quid please.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
3 months ago

My Labrador is much healthier and joyful than I am. I think her happiness is due to two things. She never attends the Vet. Or the Church of England.

Janet Henderson
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

I taught liturgy for 8 years at St John’s Nottingham and for the Cambridge Theological Federation (so with students & governing bodies of all traditions & none.) I always thought that CofE training failed to appreciate that liturgical formation ought to be more akin to music, surgery or sport than history or purely academic theology. You really wouldn’t simply teach your musicians, surgeons or athletes theory & history but leave the performance of their skills to chance, personal choice or random supervisors who may or may not be any good. I used to get into huge trouble for introducing words… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Janet Henderson
3 months ago

Yes I agree- but you may be slightly comforted to know that words like performance are more acceptable now!

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Janet Henderson
3 months ago

Your mention of the word ‘performance’ reminds me that it has been suggested to me that funeral directors are increasingly turning to civil celebrants rather than clergy because they want to know that the most public part of what they do will be well-executed. If a group of people who range from the well-intentioned amateur to the frankly charlatan are more trusted to perform a public pastoral ministry than the clergy of the C of E, then the C of E is further up a smelly creek than we have thus far realised.

Janet Henderson
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

There are some excellent training secular courses. Doing such a course and reflecting on it from the perspective of faith would, in fact, improve many ministers’ ability to conduct funeral in ways that chime with contemporary expectations of communication. Could even form part of a training module?

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Janet Henderson
3 months ago

I think the RC Church has done rather better with Pastoral Liturgy, often thanks to the work of Religious.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

I rather wish the Doctrine Commission wrote a short commentary on the Declaration of Assent. It would be a valuable resource in clergy formation. I wonder at what point ordinands encounter it?

Charles Read
Reply to  Perry Butler
3 months ago

There is no Doctrine Commission anymore… (cue new tangent…)

Not that I wish to boast, but on the course where I teach we look at the Declaration of Assent etc with final year ordinands and with LLMs as part of a two year formational seminar programme.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

Doctrine Commission — subsumed into the newly-created FaOC (fay-ock), the Faith and Order Commission, in 2010.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
3 months ago

I did suggest to +Coventry that a commentary on the Declaration of Assent might be a useful resource. He told me it would have to be a request from the H of Bishops. I rather fear the H of B like to steer clear of doctrine as they feel it can only be divisive.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

Well said, Mark. In my diocese we have several clergy who began their Christian lives in evangelical denominations and are now very happy Anglicans. My observation is that people who arrive in Anglicanism by that route often gravitate toward the Anglo-Catholic end of our tradition, since that was what they felt to be missing in their previous church lives. One of them is now working in ecumenical and interfaith relations with our national church.

David Keen
David Keen
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

I think you’ll find playing the tambourine was the 1970s, unless you’re Noel Gallagher. If you want to update your caricature of other Christians, you’re welcome to our church anytime.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Keen
3 months ago

Perhaps I’m confusing tambourine players with the Salvation Army. Whereas many Anglican evangelicals have updated to the 1950s and emulate Cliff Richard and The Shadows.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Last time I checked the Book of Common Prayer, I found both ‘priest’ and ‘minister’ there. I assume that since ‘lex orendi lex credendi’, that means both titles are perfectly acceptable for use by Anglicans.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Yes. Except many evangelicals ministers find the word ‘priest’ unacceptable in relation to themselves.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Just as you appear to find the word ‘minister’ unacceptable.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Not at all, I’m a minister of religion ordained as a priest.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

I remember Father David many years ago, during my Anglican days working for 3 months as an Evangelist with the London City Mission, based in Bermondsey and as a condition of Service I had to attend an Evangelical Church, Anglo Catholic Churches or churches of a Central Anglican Tradition, were by the London City Mission discipline imposed on me, were off limits to me, I was not permitted to attend public worship in Anglican churches of these traditions, so I had to go to St James Church Bermondsey, an Evangelical Charismatic Church. One wee k we had a visit from… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
3 months ago

An interesting account Jamal. I’m glad you emerged unscathed from such an experience.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Not acceptable – necessary. You can’t pick and choose.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Toby Forward
3 months ago

The Common Worship Ordinal carefully retains the words priest and presbyter in the name of service.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
3 months ago

I am sure we have discussed this before on TA, and did we not find that on a more careful analysis the BCP rubrics retained ‘priest’ whenever a sacramental role was being performed the ‘minister’?

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
3 months ago

Quite so. If you’re ordained a priest, you’re a priest, no matter what you choose to call yourself. Ministry is integral to that, so you’re also a minister. But there are many other non-priestly ministries. Best not to confuse them.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
3 months ago

Confirmations 1994 48,024 (down 7.3% from 1993) and 1995 43,667 (Church Statistics 1996, which was the one closest to hand)

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
3 months ago

I can well imagine that even in MOTR to high churches Confirmation has become redundant now that it is decoupled from admission to Holy Communion. It has been many years now since this change and I can well believe that faithful Anglicans could now be coming forward for ordination for whom confirmation was not on the radar as the rite of passage it was for me (aged almost 11).

In any case I suspect the sort of types who balk at “priest” are more likely to adopt the title “pastor”.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Jo B
3 months ago

In my experience, “pastor” is the guy in charge. (Women are never in charge.) Everyone else is a minister.

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
3 months ago

I have been confounded by a local change in attitude to confirmation. Responding to a request (!) from 6 teenagers to be confirmed I now have 8 teenagers and 4 adults who are set to be confirmed on Palm Sunday. Only 12 perhaps but this is from a collection of 6 churches where the worshipping communities total no more than 200. Whether this is a blip or the start of a trend (or revival!) I do not know – but I am encouraged!

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
3 months ago

It was suggested to a certain vicar that teenagers who had been christened in the church be invited to a confirmation course. He seemed to think it a most outlandish idea, preferring instead to hire a bouncy castle in the park in the hope of attracting interest in the faith that way.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
3 months ago

Feeling for you Sorrel. Well done in not giving up. Your DDO team supported you. You survived BAP. You’ve had the support of several Bishops and your ministerial trainers, and congregations, and people generally. Only the pharisaical legalistic enforcers of Canon ‘Law’ to ‘pass’. Stay strong if you can. You are not alone, and God loves you too.

https://www.portsmouth.anglican.org/news/2017/04/25/god-can-se-broken-people-me-ministers/

Kate
Kate
3 months ago

I am presently learning what it means to be autistic. At least 1% of the population is autistic. A full 2% of the population have learning difficulties.   We talk here a lot about making accommodation for LGB Christians – the estimate for that is 2.7%. That’s probably comparable to the percentage who are either autistic, have learning difficulties, or have both. And yet, that piece by Eeva John is shockingly inaccessible to a significant portion of our congregations. It needn’t be – Jesus showed it is possible to express ideas in terms everyone can deal with.   If we… Read more »

Harry
Harry
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

Eeva John was preaching at the University Church in Cambridge, to a congregation of academics and students. I think it’s a bit harsh to accuse her of being inaccessible as a result. I have never met the woman, but I have no reason to doubt that she would modify her style on occasions where her audience were less academically inclined.

Phil Groves
Phil Groves
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

Thank you Kate for your observation. I know how difficult it is to break cover in a church that regards anyone who is neurodiverse as being disabled. I have a bit of sympathy with Harry’s point – the context of the sermon is all important, but only a bit. The reality is that the CT will only publish content that is in this form. What Eeva is saying is what I have been saying through Continuing Indaba for years, but I doubt that the CT would ever publish anything by a dyslexic! In the Diocese of Oxford we have formed… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Phil Groves
3 months ago

Yes, it’s the type of inclusion which is being ignored and it affects a large part of the population.

Barrie McKenzie
Barrie McKenzie
3 months ago

Between 1998 and 2018 our parish church had one (yes, one) confirmation. Since our new vicar started we’ve had 37 confirmations in the past three years, with another 9 candidates due to be confirmed in 2022. It’s about priorities. Lots of evangelicals don’t believe in confirmation so they just simply don’t do it.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Barrie McKenzie
3 months ago

Sadly that is true Barrie. I am surprised bishops don’t say something to the clergy involved. I know a church with a large congregation where the vicar said to a friend “We don’t do confirmation”. They don’t seem to do much holy communion either apart from an 8am attended by a smallish number of elderly people. I wonder how common this is?

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
3 months ago

I am getting a bit weary here of what is almost becoming a site to troll the (Arch)bishops, and anything they utter. In their defence, they are simply trying to adapt the church to the challenges of decline and lack of social influence that have been around for decades. We need a more mature discourse which acknowledges failings and works to be a more credible voice for Christianity. If we just moan about boilers and bishops then we are done.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
3 months ago

Recent media articles about the lies of Boris Johnson, his Jimmy Saville slur against Kier Starmer and the political culture of lies have been condemned by Bishop Paul Bayes who, sadly, is retiring. His lonely support of LGBT people contrasts with the silence of other bishops who have absolutely nothing to say about anything that matters. I cannot see how they are challenging their lack of social influence when they are preoccupied with issues which no one else in society cares about.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

.. and you have eloquently described the exception that proves the rule!

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
3 months ago

And when he retires there’ll be no exceptions.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
3 months ago

I entirely agree with you. Another unattractive practice is making sweeping statements without feeling any need to provide any evidence, and assuming that one own particular view entitles one to attack any one who doesn’t share it. ‘Speak the truth In love’? Is that what is happening?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Exham
3 months ago

“Speaking the truth in love” would be a good maxim for the Prime Minister. Why don’t the bishops try to familiarise him with it.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Hasn’t the soon to retire Bishop of Liverpool recently just done exactly that – “Speaking the truth in love”? Bishops should also speak truth to power but this is made much more difficult when those in power seem to be so divorced from telling or even recognising the truth. In today”s Times we learn that the ABC doesn’t like the way in which contestants are eliminated from The Great British Bake Off. I wonder if Justin also disapproves of The Great Pottery Throw Down and the humiliating way in which contestants are ejected from The Weakest Link? It would also… Read more »

Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  Father David
3 months ago

Indeed Father David. But Archbishop Welby and his fellow bishops don’t have to worry about being voted out or ejected. The ejection of the Bishop of Winchester is a rare event. Meanwhile there is no way forward in Llandaff, where the bishop has a case to answer about bullying the Dean of Llandaff, who has been on leave for nearly two years.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Father David
3 months ago

Has the ABC really discerned that the nation needs to hear his views on the Great British Bake Off? How exciting. However, I will not believe that he is a true Christian leader until he has expressed a sound view on the Great British Sewing Bee.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

Good point well made. For your wish to be fulfilled then surely the stitchers will have to be judged on who can create the best cope and more.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Father David
3 months ago

Who will rid us of the curse of predictive spelling? cope and mitre.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

Perhaps he would base his views on the parable of the sower.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

But what is ‘truth’ in these days of ‘my truth’

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Bob
3 months ago

Donald Trump’s alternative facts have a lot to answer for.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

It’s being going on long before any US president! Too easy to focus on a person and not on the trend in society. Didn’t a certain Pontius Pilate say ‘what is truth?’ Most/many people believe in relative truth rather universal truth.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Bob
3 months ago

It depends if you believe a party is a work event.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Once again you focus on an event or an individual but fail to engage with the bigger issues of relativism and individualism in society, and the challenge they present to the church in its attempt to make disciples of all nations. Jesus’s claim to be “the way, the truth and the life” is a major stumbling block to those who believe all truth is relative. This has nothing to do with political parties, presidents, prime ministers, and the like.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Bob
3 months ago

Academic discussion about ultimate Truth helps no one. People either tell lies or they don’t. St John’s literary constructions in his “I am” sayings get us nowhere in resolving disputes. Perhaps you’d like to tell Mr Putin to tell the Ultimate Truth.

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