Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 13 February 2021

Savitri Hensman ViaMedia.News What place for minorities? Church, Status and Power

Barry Orford All Things Lawful And Honest Back to Basics Bishops
“Fr Barry Orford asks important questions about how the Church of England goes about appointing bishops and what a bishop is. Has an obsession with managerialism prompted us to lose sight of the true episcopal vocation to serve and care for the flock of Christ?”

Dexter Bracey All Things Lawful And Honest Change and Clerical Decay
“Dexter Bracey asks if the current agenda for change in the Church of England might not be at odds with the spirit of the newly published Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing. Could it be that the trend for reinvention is driving clergy to burn out?”

The Tory Socialist A Plea to Save the Church of England

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Waiting for the Thirtyone:eight Jonathan Fletcher Safeguarding Report

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Filigree Jones
Filigree Jones
2 months ago

Clergy, laity and the media are all openly discussing the inevitability of sweeping cuts to clergy posts. Three out of five articles in this week’s ‘Opinion’ touch again on this theme. Bishops, collectively, are more or less denying that this is what will happen, but they understand the trajectory much better than they are letting on. Within their own dioceses they will have signed off on decision after decision preparing the ground for this kind of retrenchment. They will have made new diocesan appointments of people whose job description it is to put these decisions into effect. But significantly, quite… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
2 months ago

Re: Barry Orford All Things Lawful And Honest Back to Basics Bishops “Fr Barry Orford asks important questions about how the Church of England goes about appointing bishops and what a bishop is. Has an obsession with managerialism prompted us to lose sight of the true episcopal vocation to serve and care for the flock of Christ?” The Church of England has essentially been transformed into a secular business corporation, driven by a correspondingly unholy ethos of money, economics and PR management. Could this corporate transformation stem from Lord Green’s business training proposals for bishops and deans seven years ago? His 2014… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Froghole
Froghole
2 months ago

Several of these pieces indicate that the ‘rascals’ are out in force and are unwilling to be silenced. Although some of the critiques of the bench have become routine – perhaps depressingly routine – much of this was to be expected when levels of attendance slipped below the critical mass necessary to sustain the grandiose structures of the ‘national Church’. It seems to me that there needs to be less ‘change’ and more ‘reform’. By that I mean that there needs to be a still greater emphasis on local discretion, whilst at the same time adapting the structures of the… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago

On the Church’s political economy, structural reforms are long overdue, but powerful vested interests tend to oppose them. In spite of lower footfall, parishes overall proved to be financially resilient in the period before the pandemic struck. Their performance is recorded in the recently published Finance Statistics 2019. Whereas the number of planned giving donors fell by over 100,000 in a decade, income generally exceeded expenditure, resulting in an estimated increase in total reserves of £255 million. The extent to which these accumulated nest eggs have been depleted in 2020 remains a mystery. If parishes are incurring deficits of tens… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

R&R shoehorned a change programme into established structures by stealth. It was done against the backdrop of overall recovery in PCC balance sheets in the years following the financial crisis. Although margins were gradually tightening, and congregations were getting thinner, parish income just about covered expenditure. Until the advent of coronavirus, it dwarfed even the church commissioners’ income, and an apparently magic funding formula seemed to suffice. The sudden drop in parish income places R&R’s strategic development funding into sharp relief in a competition for scarce resources. Without adequate consultation, there was always the risk that the implementation of the… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

The consolidation of assets and liabilities from the balance sheets of diocesan boards of finance into that of the Commissioners would have a number of distinct advantages. The total wealth of the Church available for grant-making would be represented on one document, thus removing in one fell swoop the wide gulf between richer and poorer dioceses by pooling their combined resources. A central support office in Church House would obviate the need for forty-odd diocesan bureaucracies, and the Commissioners can then support parish churches directly, as they do cathedrals.   Devolving the control of budgets, ministry and mission to the… Read more »

Tim M
Tim M
1 month ago

The Tory Socialist makes some resonant observations about the state of the current church, but I am very put off by his demand to

Reject the intrusion of ‘woke’ race politics into our church – it is against Scripture, against tradition and highly divisive.

I am more wary – and being made rather weary – by the increasing tendency to frame debates around the church with the rhetoric of culture wars.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim M

The Tory Socialist is surely correct in observing how those who drove him away from the Church as a student – the “happy – clappy bigots and fanatics” – are now running the show and are not discernably Anglican. As a product of HTB, Mr Welby’s potted Christianity, typified by an Alpha course, is dated and laughable to most secularised English people. It is incomprehensible and contradictory why “happy – clappy” people in the CofE think they can achieve success by abolishing and ignoring Anglicanism in order to attract more people to the Anglican church.

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

I am very far from being an evangelical and have never done an Alpha course. But I have worked in deaneries alongside evangelical clergy and laity who have, and who look at HTB with respect. And I have not seen in them anything I regard as being unAnglican. I’m not sure what ‘success’ is – but if we speak in numerical terms, these people would appear to have succeeded rather well, wouldn’t they? And while the respect I had in the Archbishop’s leadership has been dented in the last couple of years (but this is the man who achieved women… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Mr Welby – interesting point. If a bishop has a doctorate, s/he’ll be Dr (let’s say) Proudie. If s/he doesn’t, then presumably Mr, Ms or Mrs Proudie. Wherein lies the problem? Yes. I know in the good old days as soon as someone took episcopal orders, a DD was conferred – but not now. “Bishop Proudie” is acceptable, but “Bishop Thomas” (I think that is his Christian name) is an example of the insincere matiness and faux humility that has spread like a virus. Even Deans and Archdeacons do it now – Archdeacon Theophilus – dreadful. They want to be… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Froghole
Froghole
1 month ago

Indeed, Professor Monkhouse! Personally, I dislike ‘Archbishop Welby’. No one, for instance, goes around calling Matt Hancock ‘Secretary Hancock’ (though they would do if he were a cabinet officer in the US). However, we do say Archbishop Courtenay, Archbishop Arundel (who had nothing but a BA) or Archbishop Warham (but never Dr Warham, though he was DCanL). The tendency to fetishise the intellectual attainments of British prelates came in during the late sixteenth century. Many of the DDs/DThs awarded in the past, or at least since the Restoration, were phony anyway and came up with the rations: most deans and… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago
Reply to  Froghole

The secretive dining club Nobody’s Friends lists Archbishop Welby as:

The Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby

I generally refer to Archbishop Welby or Ab Welby first time in a paragraph, and then Welby following that in the same comment or piece. I don’t know if this is correct form, but nobody has objected so far.

Sometimes I refer to bishops in a rather idiosyncratic style – Rachel of Gloucester or Paul of Liverpool – which I admit to being rather affected and silly. I must stop doing this thing.

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

Please don’t Gilo. The world would be a better place with a bit more silliness. It generally punctures pomposity and God knows there’s more than enough of that in the church.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago

Justin Welby is referred to as Mr in every press report I’ve ever read about him. Normally the secular press gets Church titles wrong. This time they are correct. He’s not a Doctor, unlike his predecessor.

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

I simply observe that this is not a secular website but one intended for ‘thinking Anglicans’, and when a contributor who makes a particular point of using the abbreviation for Father as part of his identity refers to the Archbishop as Mr Welby, it comes off (at least to me) as a rather cheap way of belittling him. My own opinion, Father David, is that such an approach diminishes the substantive point being made, rather than enhancing it.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago

I could have referred to Mr Welby as ‘Father’, but evangelicals tend not to use such a title for themselves.

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Over here in Canada I’ve never heard him referred to as anything other than Archbishop Welby, or Archbishop Justin.

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

If prelates wish to be addressed Arch/Bishop Proudie, or – ugh – Arch/bishop Tommy, then I must be Priest Monkhouse or – ugh – Priest Stan, though my autocorrect is inclined to change this to Satan. The last bishop Thomas I knew of was Thomas Bloomer of Carlisle. The local farmers referred to him as Tommy Bloomer, and being himself of Co Tyrone farming stock he was happy with that. Up the revolution, товарищ.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago

Most secular people describe the job of a priest as being “a Reverend”. Likewise, Boris Johnson works as a Right Honourable, whilst Elizabeth II has spent decades being an Her Majesty.

Last edited 1 month ago by FrDavid H
Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Stanley, I’m old enough to call most of the bishops I know by their first names, and they’re more than happy for me to do that. When I’m talking about our bishop in our parish, I refer to her as ‘Bishop Jane’, which is a form of address that has been customary in our diocese for at least the last three bishops. In my parish I’m sometimes asked what I want to be called, and I always reply that some call me Father Tim, some call me Reverend Tim, some call me Pastor Tim, and the odd ex-military type calls… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

The word prelate is used periodically, but not always in an endearing sense. For example, there is the well-known story of Philip de László‘s portrait of Cosmo Gordon Lang (https://www.delaszlocatalogueraisonne.com/catalogue/works-in-public-collections/lang-of-lambeth-doctor-cosmo-gordon-lang-archbishop-of-canterbury-1st-baron-6161); note the Oxford DD hood and GCVO insignia. Lang took a party of visitors on a guided tour of Lambeth Palace in the early 1930s. The party included Hensley Henson, bishop of Durham (like Lang a fellow of All Souls, but a long-standing rival in ecclesiastical and secular politics). Lang pointed out his portrait. However, he said that he disliked it, since it made him look “proud, pompous and prelatical”.… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
1 month ago
Reply to  Froghole

Lords Spiritual are referred to as ‘the right reverend Prelate’ by other members of the House of Lords when referring to a speech made by one of them earlier in a debate. (E.g. “I would, however, like to mention the powerful speech from the right reverend Prelate, with which I strongly agree.”) Incidentally, I also noted recently that Bishop Rachel Treweek (the right reverend Prelate mentioned in the above quote) is named in Hansard as ‘The Lord Bishop of Gloucester’, whereas the designation of female members of the Court of Appeal as ‘Lord Justice X’ was abandoned in favour of… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
1 month ago

Interesting how this gets reversed. This discussion began when someone challenged a contributor here – who expects to be addressed as ‘Father’ – for calling the Archbishop of Canterbury ‘Mister Welby’. This is not about Archbishops demanding their titles (indeed I can imagine neither interested in doing so). It is about Christian respect. But I observe, in passing, that if we want Archbishops to be informal in name and approach we perhaps should not be surprised if occasionally they are found celebrating communion at kitchen tables.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

I don’t think I’m being disrespectful if I call this contributer ‘Mr’ Runcorn. Is it being suggested that ” ‘Mr’ is confined only to inferior clergy?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

No, you would not be disrespecting me. But nor have you called me, as you do the Archbishop in the same posting, one of the “not discernibly Anglican … happy–clappy bigots and fanatics now running the show” … It’s about respect. It is hard to read ‘Mr’ there as respectful when nothing else is.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

The “happy clappy bigots and fanatics” is a direct quote from the Tory Socialist who was put off Church by such people. They also often offend and upset many LGBT people and show little respect to others. It is time Mr Welby dissociated himself from such people, some of whom are bishops.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

We aren’t baptised as Welby or Smith nor as Father, Bishop or even Mister, but simply as Justin, Kate, David or Timothy. Those names should be not only sufficient but our pride and joy.

Michael
Michael
1 month ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

A quick search on Google for “Dr Welby” “Canterbury” turns up hundreds of references to Dr Welby from 2012 onwards including BBC, Daily Mail and Spectator. If you remove “Dr” you get Easter kitchen. I wonder where he will be tomorrow Ash Wednesday. I could look it up but at 3 am and chronic insomnia which began last March, I have other things to do. I hope all readers of this blog will have an opportunity to be in church tomorrow if they wish. I am pleased for you as I will remain locked out from church. At least at… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

Sorry Michael but the main Google search result for “Dr” Welby is for Marcus Welby M.D., an American TV series.

NJW
NJW
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Whilst I may not agree with all that is done in his name, it would be correct to use the style Dr Welby rather than Mr Welby, given him holding a doctorate given to him by the University of Coventry for his services to peace and reconciliation – awarded on the basis of his work whilst at Coventry Cathedral.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  NJW

I stand corrected. He comes within the honorary academic tradition like Dr. Oprah Winfrey.

Michael
Michael
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Not if you add “Canterbury” as I suggested: A wide ranging selection of sources: 9 Nov 2012 Daily Mail Yesterday 56 year old Dr Welby – ordained barely 20 years ago…was named the new Archbishop of Canterbury   Canterbury Diocese 2012 We all look forward to welcoming Dr Welby   6 March 2013 On one occasion Dr Welby, an old Etonian, was arrested at gunpoint    Spectator Is the Archbishop of Canterbury forsaking God? The horrible events seem to have prompted Dr Welby to question his faith.   Daily Express 5 Sept 2018 Dr Welby spoke out ahead of the launch today of a report from the… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim M

Right. That’s the Trump-y bit which sticks out, and it’s clear that the rest of his objections are actually based on “I’m a middle-class white man who went to Cambridge university [which was slipped in gratuitously] and if these black chappies want anything they need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps like I didn’t”.

I suspect he’s what was at one point referred to as a “Young Fogey”, but the whole piece invites the retort “OK, Boomer.” There’s a real old man shouting at clouds energy to the whole piece.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago

That sounds to me like saying that anyone who sounds as if they are of a certain age and background can have opinions attributed them, irrespective of what they actually say, which can then be automatically rejected unless they regain the entree by saying the currently fashionable thing about the currently fashionable issue. That sounds like an odd way of proceeding on a blog that proclaims itself to be “a place for a tolerant, thoughtful and understanding exploration of Christian faith”. I’m reminded of The Mourner of Marne, a Father Brown story. by G.K. Chesterton. “There is a limit to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Pinch
John Scrivener
John Scrivener
1 month ago

The author tweets as Capel Lofft, and recently mentioned that he is, in fact, only 32.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago

The Book of Common Prayer comes up in the “Tory Socialist” piece. It seems to be generally understood that Young People Today cannot and will not understand it, and so it is sadly but inevitably to be thrown into the dustbin of history. I wonder why? I myself was brought up on it, and although that was some 60 years ago, the language of the BCP was already some 300 years old. Now, it’s about 360 years old. Similarly, the King James was about 350 years old and is now about 410. Has the English language changed more in the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Pinch
Jo B
Jo B
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

You’re correct in identifying the cause, but I don’t think this is an area where the clock can be turned back, even if you wanted to. We are not, in the foreseeable future, going to return to a situation where large numbers of families insist on church attendance and force children to sit through services full of archaic language. (most of) The children won’t tolerate it even if the parents want it (and by and large they don’t). I like the BCP, and often use it for morning and evening prayer, but it should only be used if it is… Read more »

Len Johnson
Len Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jo B

Jo B, as Episcopalian, I find the 1979 BCP to be entirely appropriate for today, though not all congregations agree. We renew the book now every 70 years or so.

Charles Read
1 month ago
Reply to  Len Johnson

There’s a confusion of BCPs here, abetted by cross-pond differences ! The Church of England BCP is the Tudor book, with Tudor language (yes, I know it came out in 1662 and that is the Stuart period but it is a revision of the 1552 book…). The TEC 1979 BCP is in modern English and parallels the C of E ASB. It was ahead of the ASB in many ways even then. C of E Common Worship – our current set of books – is roughly parallel to TEC’s Enriching our Worship. (Watch this thread now descend into liturgical nit-picking!)

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 month ago
Reply to  Len Johnson

TEC is lucky to have had a process of revision that culminated in the 1979 BCP which has rites in both modern and “traditional ” language .No doubt it in places it could be supplemented or lightly revised but it seems to be used in most Episcopal churches I have visited and at least when you see the sign the Episcopal Church welcomes you you know what you are going to get. Common Worship and Daily Prayer have too much variety to ever be able to “inhabit” the liturgy which I would have thought is the purpose of liturgical prayer.… Read more »

Charles Read
1 month ago
Reply to  Perry Butler

Yes I tend to agree with the sentiment there in that there is actually no need for parishes to use the Roman rite or to abandon liturgical worship altogether because Common Worship aims to provide a framework and resources so that people can worship in ways which is culturally appropriate to their setting. There needs also to be some thought as to how to do this in a way which is not a free for all but maintains some Anglican liturgical identity. Those of us involved in producing Common Worship had this is our vision and it annoys me a… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 month ago
Reply to  Charles Read

Interested to learn you were involved in liturgical reform. You say there is no need to use the Roman rite or abandon liturgical worship. Why then have a considerable minority decided to do this? I think many (most) parishes under the Flying bishops use the roman rite and a lot of evangelical churches sit light to CW services( apart perhaps from the 8 o’clock if they have it) My friend said of his sons baptism I didnt expect a candle let alone oil but I did expect a Prayer over the Water. Being Ash Wed i am bemused that some… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
1 month ago
Reply to  Len Johnson

I’m also Episcopalian, but our most recent BCP is 1929 and largely retains the archaic language of the 1637 and earlier versions. As the OP referred to the text being 360 years old I took it as read that it was the 1662 BCP of the Church of England in question. You are of course correct, @Len Johnson, that other provinces that have been less remiss or less stymied by legal complexity have updated their versions of the BCP more regularly.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Jo B

other provinces that have been less remiss […] have updated their versions of the BCP more regularly

Yes, I was referring to the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, as was, I believe, the “Tory Socialist”. In what way has the CofE been “remiss” in not “updating” the BCP? Does “updating” refer to language only, or practice, or doctrine? What general principles, valid across all the churches of the Anglican Communion, has the CofE failed to adhere to where the other churches have succeeded?

Jo B
Jo B
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

I was simply alluding to the fact that, despite the efforts in the 1920s, the CofE hasn’t had a new BCP since 1662. I would suggest that the 1662 BCP doesn’t reflect the current doctrine or practice of the CofE, and even where it is in use it is modified substantially. There is no particular reason for the 1662 to be the point at which the liturgy is frozen for all time, a fact acknowledged in the existence of authorised alternatives over the last 60 years or so. The CofE has shied away from attempting a new BCP after What… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

“Has the English language changed more in the last 60 years than it did in the previous three or more centuries? No, of course not.” It would hardly be surprising if it _had_ changed at a far higher rate: globalisation bringing in threads both from the former colonies and from other places where English is a second language, the influence of mass higher education, increased travel and increased “marrying out”, large-scale immigration into most of the majority-English speaking countries, more recently social networking and the Internet. And in any event, languages have tipping points. You can easily read Shakespeare, even… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago

Well, if the language of Shakespeare is “easily read”, then so too are the KJV and BCP which came a little later. But it is not I who say that Young People Today can not or will not read the language of BCP, but the received opinion of the church authorities. I’m sure that YPT are just as smart as my generation, and perhaps it is true that they are, on this point at least, no less well educated. But the whole tenor of my post was that it is quite possible to retain KJV and BCP in common use… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Pinch
Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

There are some great opportunities to keep the BCP in our worshipping life, even in services that are based in Common Worship – such as using BCP prayers against drought and plague, and on the anniversary of the accession. There are also opportunities in preaching to refer to the theology, language and liturgy of the BCP, and the Articles. These things may not amount to a full appreciation of the BCP but they maintain a link to our Anglican tradition.

David Emmott
David Emmott
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

I’ve never been able to understand the idolisation of the BCP. However, as I get older I appreciate its function of holding the whole church together, irrespective of theological and other differences. Cranmer’s simplified pattern of the Daily Office was intended to form the whole C of E into a dispersed monastic community. It’s that ideal that should have been preserved, but Common Worship offers too much variety to do that. Present day monastic communities have all as far as I know abandoned the texts of the BCP but maintain its spirit. Maybe if a new Prayer Book – rather… Read more »

Len Johnson
Len Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  David Emmott

As an American–see my comment above, David–I entirely agree with you. And we certainly haven’t thrown out Cranmer or Augustine or lots of (often saintly) authors.

Rascal T Pott
Rascal T Pott
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

It has long mystified me why the BCP was discouraged. If the language was too old-fashioned then it might be easily be modified where so. The entire structure and meaning of the new services are different. Whatever the reason for the modern services it is not language. Yet repeatedly people were told that was what it was about. What was it really for? Perhaps the same reason as all these change enforcers are being hired for now, a very long term strategy to destroy the church. Are we not warned that this sort of thing is possible? Can we go… Read more »

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
1 month ago
Reply to  Rascal T Pott

The various BCPs of the 16th Century and 1662 had some elements of absolute genius about them, including, at least from Elizabeth’s 1559 one, genuine compromise that has helped hold the C of E together. It was also, as observed above, another act of genius to create the simplified daily office – something not lacking in our modern services. But Cranmer butchered the Eucharist in deeply particular manner in 1552, and the English prayer book tradition has not recovered from it (unlike Scotland and thus the Episcopal Church). The desire to have a Eucharistic liturgy that mirrors the normative shape… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago

Good luck with that Dominic – I’ll hold your coat! Wimps like me settle instead for 1662 but with Thomas Cranmer’s butchered canon restored to the classic western shape, thereby recovering the unity of cross, Eucharist and response. The Archbishop’s 1552 rite was a cleverly crafted outworking of his theory of justification, set against a background in which eucharistic adoration had all but replaced Communion in popular piety. But that’s not where we are 470 years on, although some may see parallels with virtual ‘Covid’ Eucharists.

Rascal T Pott
Rascal T Pott
1 month ago

Very helpful Dr or Mr Barrington. So one could say it really is all about reversing Cranmer’s reforms? If so it would be nice if the English clergy were as honest as you are about it. The other thing that mystifes me is why the alternative baptism services involve parents rather than just godparents and require different promises, by no means linguistic modermisations. The closure of churches seems inevitable if the only people who use them are the regular worshipers. Is this too, in reality, about reverting to something pre-Cranmer or is this pure innovation? If there was a reason… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago
Reply to  Rascal T Pott

‘The closure of churches seems inevitable if the only people who use them are the regular worshipers.’

I guess that depends how many regular worshippers there are!

I would say, looking to the future, that the closure of churches is inevitable if those who use them are content to be churchgoers. The Way of Jesus can survive the loss of church buildings. It can’t, however, survive the loss of discipleship.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Is it not possible to teach the Gospel using current language? What benefit is gained from using Elizabethan English?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

A good couple of questions, but not addressed to my point (I’ll answer them anyway in a moment). My point was that we were told — I remember it well — that it was necessary to modernise the language of the prayer book because it was too archaic: that people could no longer be expected to understand it. There were other reasons as well, some of which have been mentioned in this thread. But those undercut the argument from language. If the content of the BCP was deemed no longer acceptable, then we need to hear why, and what’s wrong… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Which brings me on to the second question. Among those benefits are continuity and stability. There’s no harm in using the same language as our predecessors, and some good in expressing spiritual solidarity with those who have gone before us. The other side of the coin is change. Change comes at a cost. It is favoured by those who control the change, but then they are not paying the cost. One way in which a worshipper uses BCP is as a framework for their personal devotion and prayer. Within the accustomed framework, they can allow their thoughts to tend towards… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Pinch
Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Points well made, Richard. The cadences of the BCP resonate as well today as they did when the book was compiled. The beautiful poetry of the collect and the epistle (1 Corinthians 13.1) for Quinquagesima is self-evident, and easily understood by the modern ear, greatly increasing its impact on the listener. A contemporary text might sound very wooden, especially if you are familiar with the BCP.  On the other hand, the narrative gospel (Luke 18. 31) of the day sounds a little archaic in places, and a contemporary version would have greater impact.  The BCP psalms and canticles and numerous passages… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

You can write hightened language which is both clear and beautiful, speaking both to the eternal and today. Unfortunately, you need to be Philip Larkin to do it.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

I think the language of the Book of Common Prayer is extraordinarily beautiful (I like the word lambent), along with the language of the Authorised Version. They’re a common heritage for speakers of English, Christian and otherwise, and alongside Shakespeare are vital for anyone wanting to read anything seriously. Returning to the point I was making earlier — and I apologise to Richard for the part he rightly called me on — there is a lot of knowledge of that shared heritage in _some_ young people. But it’s become the sort of cultural capital which divides more than unifies, as… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago

Thanks for that. I quite agree with the point about privilege: it is indeed a privilege to have been given access to such things, and one which could and should be shared as widely as possible.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

One of the most pernicious aspects of state education in the UK is the cult of “relevance”. Very few families which send their children to Eton speak either in Latin or the English of the BCP at the dinner table, and yet the claim is made that access to such learning is “relevant” to them but “not relevant” to children in a comprehensive in Scunthorpe. The 11+ disastrously assumed that you educated the few and trained the many, and the effect of that is still being felt. Unfortunately, it was at least transparent; in practice, we have precisely the same… Read more »

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Our newspapers and scholarly works are written in modern language. When a teenager or young adult picks up the Prayer Book and reads old-timey language, it should be expected that they assume the ideas are old-timey as well. And at that point, they put the book down and turn away. I love the language of the BCP, but I fear it is meaningless for young people.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Well, that argument answers itself. Newspapers and scholarly works are written in very different registers. If children and adults can navigate through the registers of, say, their own playground, their families, what they hear on the BBC, what they read in newspapers, what they read in textbooks, … — then there’s no reason to believe that they are intrinsically incapable of understanding, appreciating and using the language of the BCP. But you also missed out my opening point. We don’t, or shouldn’t, just hand teenagers the BCP or KJV and tell them to get on with it. That’s certainly not… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

I sympathise, Richard. As personal spiritual exercises 1662 BCP offices are wonderful. The introductions are spot-on psychology of the human condition – once you have explored the meaning of miserable, sinners, godly, sober, and so on. But as mission tools they are more likely to repel, as you say. As to BCP HC, I find the theology increasingly distasteful. If you can set aside the meaning of the words and enjoy the sense of continuity and history, as I did as a teenager, the BCP appeals to a small number of young people (I hesitate to use “young fogey” since… Read more »

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

We obviously should be using Latin as is traditional not Elizabethan English.
 
Reductio ad absurdum

Last edited 1 month ago by Kate
Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

But Latin is not the traditional language of the Church of England. Like it or not, the traditional language is the language of KJV and BCP.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Pinch
Jo B
Jo B
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

That is surely open to debate, given the history of Ecclesia Anglicana for centuries prior to Cranmer.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

As a follow-up to Kate’s comment (too late to edit my previous reply), it seems probable that she is not in favour of retaining or returning to the KJV and BCP. If so, I would be interested to hear what her preferred option would be and what arguments she would use to support it?

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Pinch
Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Personally I think priests should have authority to decide what is right for their parish. Give them a single side of A4 for each service type of what they must and what they cannot include and let them decide. If they want to use BCP and KJ fine; but if they want to design their own liturgy that’s okay too. I don’t see any point ordaining people and then treating them as liturgical naifs – ordination should be a gateway into liturgical discretion.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

Interesting: how do you think that reacts on my point about the inhibiting effect of never knowing what’s going to happen next on devotion?

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

I thought the point of communal worship was a shared experience. If you want a space for personal reflection that is valuable too but I think that is quite distinct.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

The question is, what is that shared experience? As I’ve indicated, my experience of ASB was that it was an experience of confusion and apprehension, not of devotion and worship: and furthermore, then the designers must have known that. A familiar language and ritual provides a framework on which individual devotion can be added to the common prayer. For example, during the general confession, which is better: to allow the mind to pass through the language to a brief recollection of our sins and intention of repentance, or to be worrying about whether it’s “We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Just a thought from (for U.K. readers) far off New Zealand. In our isolation from the Church of England and its attendant ongoing problems of worship under COVID, we here have just gone back to Level 2, which requires us not to observe the tradition of ‘Ashing’ on Ash Wednesday. We have been recommended by our bishops to observe this ancient liturgical action by the simple method of making the Sign of The Cross on our foreheads (an ancient a laudable practice that reminds us of our Baptism into Christ) in a locally appropriate way – when’ Ashing’ is denied… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 month ago

I notice for the Roman rite, in these parts anyway, an alternative to individual imposition of ashes is ashes mixed with asperges—which is a creative solution given the connection between lent as a preparation for renewal of baptismal vows. I think they too have suggested people might bless each other using the simple sign of the cross. In any event, hopefully, next year in Jerusalem.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rod Gillis
Michael
Michael
1 month ago

I have done d-i-y ashing this morning with ash from a palm cross from 2018. (None were distributed in 2019 as someone forgot to order them). There is plenty of youtube communion being live streamed today. There is the option of holding up bread and wine to the computer screen which some will be doing. There is the option of spiritual communion. The text appears on the screen, I read it but have no idea what it means (other than absence of real communion). This morning a third option occurred to me and I wonder what Thinking Anglicans think about… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

I think, and I say this with every sympathy as I have only been able to take communion once in the last 12 months, that you need to consider the words “before you offer your gift go and be reconciled”. Deciding to celebrate for yourself in part as a reaction to your vicar’s decisions doesn’t seem to come from a place of grace. Forgive your vicar, and if it then still feels appropriate to you to break bread and take the cup alone, then may God bless you in that.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

What is “a lay style presidency”?

Father David
Father David
1 month ago

It is often said that the nearest thing we British have to a national religion is the NHS. However, yesterday I can across an alternative national religion when reading the Diaries of Sir Roy Strong. On page 8 of “Scenes and Apparitions” he suggested in May of 1988 that the National Trust had usurped the place once occupied by the Church of England and that “its rise, along with the cult of heritage, coincided with the decline of the place once occupied by the Church of England in the mental mythology of the middle classes. The worship of God has… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
1 month ago
Reply to  Father David

“The voluntary stewards, guides and housekeepers are like churchwardens, sides-men and congregation ministering to a building“. Many thanks, Fr. David (I saw you officiate at an evensong at your last church in East Sussex about eight or nine years ago, but had not then made the connection with TA). Strong has, of course, written extensively about parish churches (https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-beauty-of-holiness-and-its-perils-or-what-is-to-happen-to-10000-parish and https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/104/1040457/a-little-history-of-the-english-country-church/9781844138302.html). For a slightly different, and more scabrous take on these ‘churchwardens’ and ‘sidesmen’, vide Jonathan Meades, being then rather larger than he has since become, following Pevsner around Worcestershire in 1998. He is standing outside Hanbury Hall with the… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
1 month ago
Reply to  Father David

There are many similarities to be found.

The CofE struggles with the backlash against Jarel Robinson-Brown’s comments on race, whilst simultaneously the National Trust struggles with the backlash against its published research on the link between Trust properties and colonialism and slavery.

David Emmott
David Emmott
1 month ago
Reply to  Father David

Yes but the National Trust has modernist and Art Deco properties in its portfolio, as well as ordinary semis and working class terraces. It’s not just about mediaeval and eighteenth century grand houses. Nor is the C of E just about Choral Evensong and ancient buildings, valuable and important though they are.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
1 month ago

Good Morning! Commentators on this Site have raised the questions about how we address Bishops in the Church of England. In the Eastern Orthodox Church Surnames are never used in referring to any kind of Bishop whether they are the Ecumenical Patriarch, an Archbishop, Metropolitan Bishop, or an Auxiliary Bishop in a Diocese, the Christian name is always used, and it is the same for their Priests, whether they are Archimandrites, or ordinary Parish Priests, or in the Monastic life whether they are Monks or Nuns the Christian name is only used, never the surname, so taking a leaf out… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal

If you check the Guardian style guide you will see that it calls for bishops to be described using their Christian name, or as “bishop”, and not their surname or “Mr”.

It seems to me that the Guardian is in broad agreement with you on this issue, and I think it has quite a good coverage of religious matters, so I don’t think it is deserving of quite such a strong attack.

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon Dawson
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Dawson

The Guardian style guide reads :the Right Rev Clifford Richard, bishop of Wimbledon, at first mention; thereafter just Richard or the bishop

Jo B
Jo B
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal

“Mrs Windsor” seems a perfectly reasonable way to refer to the current tenant of the property at the end of the Mall.

Mr and Mrs are titles of respect – historically inferiors or colleagues would be referred to by surname alone.

The comparison with Christ is a non-sequitur given that “Christ” is not a family name. “Mr Christ” would indeed be absurd but so would “Mr Cantuar” which is in a similar vein.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
1 month ago

I grew up in the low-church part of the Episcopal Church (which was not remotely the British kind of “evangelical”). Episcopalians in that part of the church took (probably inordinate) pride in calling their clergy “Mr.” so as to distinguish themselves from Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians, who called their clergy “Rev.” (Bishops were always “Bishop Last-Name.”)

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
1 month ago
Reply to  dr.primrose

As another note, in the Episcopal Church, mostly newly ordained bishops are in fairly short order awarded an honorary doctorate by the seminary they attended (at least by the residential seminaries), which is apparently (based on previous comments) not longer the CofE custom. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a TEC bishop referred to as “Dr.”

Lottie E Allen
1 month ago

The Tory Socialist lost me in descending into the meaningless language of “woke”. Crucially, amidst all the confused theology, it is not at all clear what the writer means by “heresy”. In orthodoxy it is closely defined and carefully, and quite rightly, rarely used. Now it has been debased into “anything that I disagree with”.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Lottie E Allen

The Tory Socialist uses the words heresy/heretical six times: he makes a general claim that heretical doctrines are preached by the clergy, and not uncommonly in his experience. It may be that he simply doesn’t like their sermons, it may be that heretical doctrines are commonly preached: we can’t tell. But he does give an example: that the Resurrection was “merely a metaphor”. I’m no expert, but that sounds like Docetism: it is certainly contrary to Article IV. I also take it that “a soulless cocktail of middle-management, woke race politics and heresy” refers to three different, if overlapping, things.

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
1 month ago
Reply to  Lottie E Allen

Interestingly the word ‘woke’ was used by African Americans along with ‘stay woke’ to mean they were aware of racial injustice and what was needed to raise consciousness of the oppressed to wake up and fight for their rights and dignity. To use it to signify a negative is to attempt to keep people from fighting for their rights and dignity by ridiculing them and keep them in their place. The Bible calls on people to wake up from their slumbers repeatedly and to take action for social and political justice. Personally I’d rather be woke than asleep to other… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago

To use it to signify a negative is to attempt to keep people from fighting for their rights and dignity by ridiculing them and keep them in their place.

Not necessarily. To some, it’s an attempt to push back against the misappropriation of the term by people with little claim to be fighting for anything other than their own personal prejudices.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago

Seeking ‘simple’ clarifications here. 1. Does the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby have a doctorate awarded on the basis of an assessment of submitted academic work, or not?
2.If he has an honorary doctorate based on the value attributed to his work in Coventry for reconciliation is that worth less?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago

The stand-up comedian Julian Clary has an honorary doctorate in Civil Law from the University of East Anglia, Is it disrespectful to omit the word “doctor” on posters advertising his gigs? Similarly, Dr Oprah Winfrey is unlikely to advertise her four honorary doctorates prior to her interview with Harry and Mrs Windsor. An honorary degree is nothing to brag about and shouldn’t be used in a person’s name.

John Barton
John Barton
1 month ago

According to Crockfords’ Clerical Directory just now, he doesn’t have a doctorate of any kind.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 month ago
Reply to  John Barton

… and according to Coventry University, they awarded “the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa” in 2014

In recognition of his longstanding commitment to peace and reconciliation, particularly the strong collaborations developed with African churches to support them in dealing with inter-ethnic violence

Debrett, incidentally, states that

In practice, when a well-known figure outside the academic world receives an honorary doctorate, the recipient does not generally adopt the title of ‘Doctor’, especially when he or she already has other styles or titles.

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Regarding Dexter Bracey’s piece, I have just learnt that at least one diocese keeps dossiers on clergy social media comments. Sad, deplorable, but no surprise. No wonder they’re advertising for yet more diocesan office jobs. An archdeacon told a parson that there was not yet enough material to institute disciplinary proceedings. Is this an outworking of the Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing? It sounds like threatening bullying – in the spirit of course of Christian discipline (I must be careful – it’s clear that not everyone who reads my TA comments sees the twinkle in the eye). The sooner… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

I’ve no idea whether or not anyone is keeping a dossier on my social media comments, though I have had the occasional ticking off for things that I have posted on Facebook. On some occasions, people have simply failed to see the twinkle in my own eye. In other cases, it has not occurred to anyone to ask why I might be so angry about something as to write what I did. Hey ho.

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