on Wednesday, 14 April 2021 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Martyn Percy Meander Bread for the World
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Towards humility? Anglican conservatives after Jonathan Fletcher
Vaughan S Roberts Socrel Dead and Gone: does embodied storytelling have a post-pandemic future?
Are all of the con evo parishes located in the capital and Oxford and Cambridge? I assume that they are focused on evangelisation but it seems they’re only interested in the rich and powerful. Red brick university cities seem overlooked as do the industrial heartlands. Are graduates of former polytechnics and bricklayers in Rotherham unworthy of their model of Christianity. I don’t understand how you can arrive at that version of Christian discipleship if you claim an adherence to the Jesus of the gospels.
Could you give me some examples Andy? When I was at Durham there was St. Nicholas in the market place, but I think that they were charismatic rather than conservative evangelical. Things change of course.
You could start with the entire Church Army, which is evangelically based but has a history of working in poorer areas.
Tim, I hadn’t appreciated
… that the Church Army was conservative evangelical in the style of St Helen’s Bishopsgate or Emmanuel Wimbledon. Doesn’t the Church Army have women in leadership?
Yes, but when I was a conservative evangelical, that wasn’t an issue for me. And I know for a fact that I’m not alone in that.
Christ Church Durham is an “anglican” group set up in opposition to St Nic’s which presumably isn’t happy clappy enough. Calling itself “conservative evangelical”, Christ Church seeks to bring Durham University students and the unchurched to Jesus. The minister does not have PTO. But who cares about that when it’s the only Church in Durham with the true gospel? God help us.
In reply to FrDavid H and Fr Dean, the history of Christ Church Durham and St Nicks is roughly as follows. Claypath United Reformed Church used to have quite a ministry to students when its minister was Bob Fyall who was a Church of Scotland minister who taught Old Testament at Cranmer Hall half time. Bob was my colleague and he was a great Old Testament teacher and had a tremendous ministry at Claypath. When he left Durham to return to his native Scotland , the United Reformed Church did not understand the ministry he had developed at Claypath and… Read more »
Charles, what is the attraction/benefit to them of labelling themselves Anglican?
Good question- I think like ACNA they see themselves as the ‘real’ Anglicans and the rest of us have departed the Anglican faith. They don’t use Anglican forms of worship!
I have no dog in this fight, but what do you mean ‘they don’t use Anglican forms of worship’? Is the ACNA Prayer Book somehow un-anglican? Compared to what…an Alternative Services Book? Sunday morning worship in England evangelical churches?
Christ Church Durham have opened a new local plant known as Grace Church, Newton Hall. The “anglican” minister was trained at Moore College, Sydney – an institution known for training ministers how to conduct un-Anglican services in Australia. They wear informal clothes and have no Anglican liturgy .It is perverse that they insist on retaining the ‘anglican’ label. “They don’t use Anglican forms of worship” seems plain English to me.
My reference was to Christ Church Durham who do not use authorised C of E liturgy as far as I know – certainly they never used to . Of course, that could be said of some Church of England churches – not just evangelical ones! As to the ACNA liturgy – I am sure it is impeccably Anglican in its ethos as it was in part compiled by my (late) friend Martha Giltinan who left TEC to join ACNA, though she found less than a fulsome welcome for her to exercise her priesthood there.
I must have mis-read the intention of your note. I was basically saying that ACNA BCP is indubitably Anglican, in ways that a lot of Alternative Service stuff (in TEC and in CofE) is not.
Serving at St Luke’s Fontainebleau CoE was a challenge on this front. They like ‘songs’ and local worship ‘forms.’ ACNA worship would be alien to them.
Apologies for the misunderstanding.
Were the “songs” and “forms” they liked at Fontainebleau to be found within the pages of Common Worship? That seems unlikely to me. There is very little if any material within the CW printed volumes that could be fairly described as not-Anglican. To be sure, the CW *rubrics* for a Service of the Word are quite flexible. As I recall, this was done on purpose to try to bring those evangelical parishes that had *already* gone outside the then prevailing parameters of CofE worship, i.e. the Alternative Service Book 1980 and the BCP 1662, back inside – or at least… Read more »
Bringing those evangelical parishes that had gone outside the parameters of CofE worship back inside is a laudable aim, but one that has had limited success. Indeed, if liturgical scholars who always wrote eirenically – I’m thinking of Michael Perham and Michael Vasey – were still with us, it is hard to see how they could even begin to cover the present day CofE, even if you leave out the farther reaches of Evangelicalism.
The church’s history reflected a tension between wanting to focus on being the ‘English speaking church’ (comprised of several different denominational backgrounds) and the CofE identity within the context of the Diocese in Europe.
Tony Jones was if I recall correctly a curate at St Ebbe’s, Oxford with its links to the CUs of Oxford and Cambridge, the Fletcher brothers and Iwerne camps.
If the minister there is in Anglican Orders then he is subject to the CDM and ought to be disciplined for officiating without a licence or PTO.
Who exactly would discipline this man since he’s not part of the Church of England?
The Archdeacon of Durham could commence proceedings in the Clergy Discipline Tribunal. If a cleric is officiating without proper authority then there are significant safeguarding concerns. The only way a minister can escape the jurisdiction of the CDM is to renounce their Orders. Apparently Jonathan Fletcher was given a ten year prohibition from ministry for similar breaches.
I don’t think the Archdeacon of Durham would dare take on these people with their financial clout and wide-spread malign influence. And they’d ignore any Tribunal decision anyway.
They are not part of the diocese of Durham or Church of England so do not come under the CDM. Tony Jones holds no bishop’s licence as far as I know.
Very good, Dean. Here in Burton (historically a dissenting town) the two biggest nonRC churches are (1) Elim, and (2) independent evangelical, “bible-believing”, penal substitution, the works. At (2) the members are almost entirely white middle class in a town where the general population is most assuredly neither of these. Ask some of them, retired professionals (GPs, surgeons, lawyers etc), why they go and the answer is the community and the social action programme, the latter indeed impressive. Ask them how they cope with the theology and a common answer is “I ignore it”. What church members think, and what… Read more »
“I ignore it” is a reasonable answer, though “I live with it” might be better. Something similar happened in the parish where I am, where the leadership was implacably opposed to the ordination of women, and eventually left and swam the Tiber, expecting to be joined by lots of others. But in fact only a handful left. The rest joyfully and almost immediately accepted the ministry of ordained women. They had lived with what they had been told for a couple of decades, not agreeing with it, but their loyalty was to their parish church and their fellow parishioners.
I agree with you on one level but don’t these churches sit very lightly to any notion of parish anyway. My sense is that they are very eclectic congregations who are attracted by the leadership style. Students worshipping there might conceivably live in the parish but very few others. A friend of mine said “if you win the officers then you’ve got the army” if that is their philosophy then I think they’re overestimating the influence the officers have over the ranks.
No, they are to be found in some of the most deprived parts of Sheffield, Barnsley, former coal mining communities and steel towns. Come to South Yorkshire and see the gospel work being done.
Not being a Conservative Evangelical, my impression is formed by what I read on Thinking Anglicans and the media. The media is largely based in London and the Home Counties. There are many Oxbridge graduates in the media. Churches in those areas may therefore have a higher profile. It is a sign of my metropolitan bias that if asked to name Conservative Evangelical Anglican churches outside of London and the Home Countries I would list:- 1. Jesmond Parish Church, which I know about owing to the high profile of Mr Holloway. 2. Sheffield Crookes which I know about because Hugh… Read more »
My father spent his whole ministry in the C of E as a conservative evangelical. He never went near Oxford or Cambridge, was raised in a working class family in Leicester, and was never rector of a big city parish. Mostly small rural multi-point parishes. The movement is far more than what you see on websites like TA.
Correction: Hugh Palmer was at Christ Church Fulwood.
No Dean. If I think of just the sizeable (100+ on Sunday) ones I’m familiar with: Eastbourne, Southampton, Exeter, Bournemouth, Yeovil, Bristol, Bath, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Doncaster, Newcastle, Preston, Carlisle, Wolverhampton, Norwich, Lowestoft, Lincoln, Hull. Hope that gives a more rounded picture
Being nosy, as I grew up in the town, which parish in Yeovil is con-evo? Struggling to think which it might be.
St John’s – the original parish church, as it seemed to me when I attended a service there.
There are other, more moderate, evangelical churches in the vicinity (St James Preston Plucknett – David Keen’s church – is a case in point). However, Yeovil is growing rapidly, and has lately devoured most of Thorne Coffin (not that they appeared to me to be evangelical when I went there, but I was looking for an excuse to mention the name of that small parish on the northern edge of the town).
You might have also mentioned Mudford, Mudford Sock and Sock Dennis!!
If we’re going to get into Somerset place names, I think we have to consider Charlton Mackrell, Middle Chinnock and, of course, Shepton Mallet.
Many thanks to you and Mr Rowett! By some bizarre coincidence, I went through Shepton yesterday (quite a lot of new development by the Tesco) en route to the 3 PM evensong at Wells (and several other services besides). There are arguably some even better Somerset names: Queen Camel, Wyke Champflower, Beer Crocombe, Tintinhull, Hornblotton, Odcombe (Coryate’s home village), Cricket Malherbie, Flax Bourton, Sandford Orcas. For reasons I do not understand, most of these are in the south-eastern hundreds of Catsash, Houndsborough, Horethorne, Norton Ferris and Stone. Unfortunately, the English Place Name Society in Nottingham hasn’t published anything on the… Read more »
Not to mention the Piddles, Langton Herring, Buckland Ripers and, oh! One would have to be without a soul not to wish to be styled Perpetual Curate of Poxwell!
Many thanks! That is quite so! Alas, the rectory of Poxwell was dissolved by 1969, when the rebuilt church, St John’s, was demolished completely (the living had long been united with Warmwell – the latter being best known for its connection with the scholarly Pickard-Cambridge family). However, if you drive slowly along the A353 you can just make out where the church used to be, since the churchyard – which now appears to be in the grounds of the adjacent manor house – remains visible about 40 metres to the west of that road, on a sort of ledge on… Read more »
An East Fife sampler: Blebocraigs, Strathkiness, Peat Inn, Balmullo, Denhead, Craigrothie, Pitscottie, Lathockar, Struthers Barns.
Jo, St John’s is the one I was thinking of, where I have a few friends in the congregation
Wow, things must have changed a lot since I was in the town. When I was growing up St John’s was MOTR, (red) robed choir under Ken Sherring, very much an “establishment” church. I’m rather horrified to look at their website now and see they’ve been taken over by the praise band + no vestments homophobe brigade. At least they don’t appear to be part of the misogynist crew. Thank heaven for small mercies.
EDIT: just looked at my own former parish. 🙁
I remember St John’s well, I did my title at St Michael’s, at the cheap end of town Ken was a thoroughly good bloke, and the Church solidly ‘centre’. After I moved north, I understand it began a journey into more evangelical worship, but hadn’t realised its tradition had changed so radically.
Theoretically, perhaps, cult churches may find it easier to establish themselves in parishes with very few resident parishioners. They effectively take over churches often far from where they live. This may be easier in parts of London with a high ratio of commercial to residential property, or Oxford and Cambridge with very transient student populations. Red brick universiy towns are not so dominated by students perhaps.
Tis seems, theoretically, a possible explanation. Whether it is true in practice I cannot say.
The Bishop of Maidstone’s website gives a good idea of the spread of conservative evangelical churches in the C of E. I would think there are more than this though, as some PCCs have not passed the official resolution but hold to the same teaching.
My information isn’t very recent, but I have encountered conservative evangelical churches in Eastbourne, Cheshire (2), and Manchester. There is at least one in Carlisle Diocese, and there used to be prominent ConEvo churches in Sheffield and Newcastle which may have kept that tradition.
Actually there are quite a few St Philemon’s Toxteth is thriving As is Trinity Church Everton. As is Hope Church Huddersfield. and Christ Church Leeds. and St Andrews Kirk Ella in Hull Grace Church barrow too. New life church Roehampton is serving people on the Alton Estate in SW London, one of Britain’s largest council estates None of these churches could really be described as middle class. St George’s Poynton in Cheshire seems to be doing okay. It’s where Alec Motyer spent his retirement. Holy Trinity Platt in Mancs is hardly struggling. Then in Birmingham there’s St Stephen’s in Selly… Read more »
I think Dean is on to something. The style of the Church Army (or of the evangelical Black led churches, say) is very different from that of the big “student churches” in university towns or the big “con evo” churches in London. It might be worth considering why. Both in university towns and in London, you have a population that is both transient and privileged; in a university explicitly because students come for three or four years and mostly leave, and in London because young “professional” people come and go. In both cases you have young people coming into an… Read more »
My thoughts, Bernard, for what they are worth. It is clear that not everybody in this thread understands “conservative evangelical” in the same way. What I understand the term, and its abbreviation conevo, to mean is sola scriptura, male-only leadership (headship), a complementarian view of women’s ministry, and almost certainly adherence to penal substitutionary atonement. Many such churches have opted for Episcopal oversight from the Bishop of Maidstone, to which I shall return, but some have not, presumably because either the diocesan is not a woman so there is no need at present, or they don’t take much note of… Read more »
I was born in England but left in 1975, so I can’t claim to be an expert on the UK scene. However, I have many UK friends, my mum attends the parish church in Oakham, and my brother attends Audacious Church (non-Anglican) in Manchester. My favourite authors in the 1980s were Jim Packer and John Stott (I had started out my faith journey as a charismatic, but gradually moved over into the Conservative Evangelical ethos). So although I was living in Canada, the teaching that defined my faith was about 50% British Conservative Evangelicalism (Anglican), and about 50% American CE… Read more »
I seem to remember that HTB have a large staff of exclusively male priests and I think I’m correct in saying that they don’t invite women to preach there. As you say Bernard the Anglican conevo movement does seem to focus on the rich and powerful. To be fair the whole CofE is moving in that direction; if you can’t pay you won’t get ministry. With northern dioceses in particular teetering on the edge of bankruptcy this disparity will become more evident.
HTB have quite a few women clergy and women preach regularly at their services
Leadership team — HTB Church Online
HTB are a different strand of evangelicalism, being charismatic. However, like many of the ConEvo churches HTB is led by a priest from a Iwerne background. Charis/ConEvo is a variant of the species, and HTB has multiple offshoots in various cities. The more traditional ConEvo church Emmanuel, Wimbledon also has multiple plants. In Bristol they have taken over a number of parish churches and renamed them all Emmanuel. This makes it clear that their loyalty is to their London parent and erases local connections and history, which is a shame. Stanley is right that there are ConEvo churches in towns… Read more »
Never mind about the “Anglican Communion”, the C of E isn’t a communion – nor even a family. Does this matter? There are catholics who won’t take communion from other catholics (I should put these terms in inverted commas for they’re all merely self-assigned without agreed definitions, but I can’t be bothered). I had women parishioners who wouldn’t take the chalice from a woman chalice assistant, a parishioner who poured scorn on me because I’m not sola scriptura. I had complaints when we used the 1662 Communion service on Sundays in Lent because there wasn’t “the peace”! They didn’t mind… Read more »
Janet, I think the Emmanuels in Bristol were planted originally by Christ Church Clifton. Though the senior minister was a curate at Wimbledon in the 90s, he’d been away for years, including running Leipzig English Church, before getting going in Bristol. Emmanuel Wimbledon’s only plant was Dundonald years ago, which has planted itself many times, all in SW London.
HTB has had women preachers for years – its Associate Vicar is a woman, plus a number of the curates, ordinands and readers.
Furthermore, you will more likely see a Roman Catholic preacher at HTB than a conservative evangelical one. In fact, Gumbel interviews Cardinal Tagle in his latest podcast: https://www.alpha.org/blog/leadership-conversations-with-nicky-gumbel-podcast-cardinal-luis-tagle/
Someone from a conservative evangelical background would – for many years now – have found the style and theology of HTB not to their taste.
It is also very ethnically diverse (40% plus of congregation) and quite socio-economically diverse compared to 20 years ago (and also given its location).
What a lovely reflectiion on Rembrandt’s painting of Jesus presiding at the meal with some of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. For Dr.Martyn Percy to be able to reflect so fully on a picture he remembers from childhood is a sure sign of his continuing journey of faith. Despite the persecution he is at present undergoing. Fr. Martyn is being upheld by many of us around the world. Christ is risen, Alleluia! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia, alleluia!
That’s an understandable slip of the brain/keyboard. It’s the Caravaggio, of course, not the Rembrandt, but, wonderful though the Caravaggio is, I still prefer the second of the two suppers by Rembrandt. For many of us, perhaps for most, we come to a slow, quiet recognition of the risen Lord, in the half-light of our lives, and that’s conveyed wonderfully in that painting.
I am surprised that a great piece of writing has received so little comment. There are some really important points in it but perhaps not least is that the [bread of the] Eucharist is for everyone, not a favoured few. Universal welcome. It makes me wonder about some of barriers we put up. For instance, Percy reminds us of the leftovers when Jesus fed the multitudes – so maybe it is wrong for the celebrant to finish the bread and the wine. Maybe we should deliberately be blessing more than is needed and making the leftovers freely available to anyone… Read more »
Stephen Parsons here expressed the oddity of the Sola Scriptura Shool of Theology: “The world of conservative evangelical Christianity is an extraordinary one for those of us who are not part of it. We ask many questions of this group, but we often fail to receive answers. How does conservative Christianity place such enormous weight on some ambiguous verses in Leviticus on the gay issue, while virtually ignoring some straightforward prohibitions on divorce given by Jesus?” Sadly, this fundamentalistic understanding of the Bible fails to take into consideration that its Books were written a very long time ago. Taken as a whole,… Read more »
‘It is ‘Sola Scriptura’ that has brought the Church into the deadly culture of homophobia and sexism…’
This seems to ignore the fact that many of the Anglicans in the developing word/global south etc. who are against full acceptance of LGBTQ+ people are in fact Anglo-Catholic. And worldwide, the largest Christian organization with homophobia and sexism literally written into its catechism is the Roman Catholic Church, which is about as far from ‘Sola Scriptura’ as you can get.
Well said Tim! The conservative evangelicals are not the only corner of the church needing to do some searching re-examination of its approach to scripture and doctrine.
Tim, I doubt very much that anywhere near the majority of Anglicans in the Global South are Anglo-Catholics. The one African Province that I know about that is A.C. is South Africa, whose primate was Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His stance on LGBTQI people is now well-known.
As for Roman Catholics, their situation has already been changed by Pope Francis for the better. .
Ron: I know little about Africa, but the Global South is bigger than Africa. Perhaps you are not familiar with the West Indies, which is overwhelmingly Anglo-Catholic? I understand that Anglo-Catholicism is also strong in West Africa.
‘As for Roman Catholics, their situation has already been changed by Pope Francis for the better.’
Perhaps, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church is unchanged.
«‘As for Roman Catholics, their situation has already been changed by Pope Francis for the better.’
Perhaps, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church is unchanged.»
This is an important point because when Francis dies (or retires) any easements or changes in attitude based on his presence will revert back unless doctrine is changed.
The Anglican Church of Central Africa is also Anglo-Catholic in ethos. So too is the Church of Ghana (part of the Province of West Africa) and a section of the Church of Tanzania. Outside Africa – but still in the ‘developing world’ – the Churches of Papua New Guinea and Melanesia are definitely Anglo-Catholic in tradition and broadly speaking so also is the Province of the West Indies.
“How does conservative Christianity place such enormous weight on some ambiguous verses in Leviticus on the gay issue,”
That’s an odd statement and one I thought you couldn’t hold after your many visits to psephizo.
As an evangelical I’ve know many conservatives over the 40+ years of ordained ministry. I don’t know any whose views on sexuality are based that naively on Leviticus alone. Popping off these poorly grounded missiles isn’t engagement and can make no difference whatsoever to anything. Though it reminds me why I don’t visit TA very much. Blessings on you….
Perhaps it was expressed unduly flippantly but I think the fundamental conflict is between a negative view based on really quite few verses and a positive view based on a broad reading of Gospels which portray Christ as inclusive of all, not hidebound to particular clobber verses and with an emphasis on love.
On another thread, Linda Woodhead wrote “the Church of England is not really one thing….(it) is one big unhappy family whose several parties divorced one another some time ago.” Anglo-Catholics and Con Evos have absolutely nothing in common and show there is nothing like self-assured Christians for hating each other. The only uniting factor among such divorced traditionalists is their shared hatred of gay people. Rev Tim Chesterton reminds us of the Vatican’s recent diatribe condemning gay Roman Catholics. The horrible irony is that the RC priesthood is now mainly a gay profession led by self-hating clerics. And how these… Read more »
Anglo Catholics and ConEvos first united in the 90s, over opposition to women’s ordination. Misogyny is another common factor.
Sorry Janet. You have reminded me these Christians hate more than just gay people.
“That is an interesting example of Christian tolerance and understanding”
Hate? Mea Culpa?
These fundamentalists have no tolerance and understanding. They promote a hate-filled religion.
FrDavidH, you might be interested to know that when the 1959/62 revision to the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church was given first approval by General Synod in 1959, the mover of the motion was Doctor Ramsey Armitage, a leading evangelical and principal of Wycliffe College in Toronto, and the seconder was Father Roland Palmer, a very famous Anglo Catholic missioner, retreat leader and spiritual director.
That is an interesting example of Christian tolerance and understanding.. That kind of mutual agreement to differ for a common good seems to have been long-forgotten.
Also testimony to the power the Book of Common Prayer had in those days to bring together Anglicans across the spectrum.
A shared Prayer Book did, indeed, create a sense of common identity between Anglicans of different traditions. Sadly, the abolition of Prayer Books all together has become a divisive, un-Anglican tradition in itself.
I think we took a wrong course having too many alternatives only some would use.and far too many alternatives full stop. Liturgical prayer works best with repetition and memory.
Before people like Dr Armitage and Father Palmer started messing with it. It would be interesting to know whether they agreed on a new common text that both went on to use, or whether what they liked about the new revision was that it gave them each licence to do their own thing.
I am only conjecturing from the position in England. Perhaps Canada is better.
Our 1959/62 BCP was a minor revision that moved the 1662 text in slightly higher direction – restoring the ‘long canon’ was its principal distinctive. I went to the Church Army training college in Toronto 1976-78 and it was still the main form of worship in the vast majority of parishes. High Church used it with lots of ceremony, low church with less, but meddling with the text of the liturgy was rare.
Apologies, I meant to say ‘of the Anglican Church of Canada’.