Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 14 September 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Truth and Integrity in Politics and Religion

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Shhh….It’s Secret!!

Philip Welsh Church Times Give parents room to breathe at baptisms
“The promises demanded in Common Worship are too didactic, argues Philip Welsh. A small act of rebellion is required”

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Rod GillisTim CnestertonIain LukePerry ButlerStanley Monkhouse Recent comment authors
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Victoriana
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Victoriana

Amen to Philip Welsh. Out here in the Antipodes, where Common Worship can trump local prayerbooks at the whims of parish clergy, those six promises sound a distinctly inharmonious note in Easter liturgies. In a situation where the priest is an insecure or unhappy leader the pedantic tone of the promises can become a theological stick with which to beat the questioning folks in the congregation.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

When Common Worship baptism was brought in, there was a get-out clause that you could use the ASB baptismal promises instead of the CW ones if there was a sufficient pastoral reason. Oddly, I found there was a ‘pastoral reason’ to use the ASB promises every single time I did a baptism.

Adrian
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Adrian

me too

David Exham
Guest
David Exham

Amidst the great deal of truth and good sense that Stephen writes, there are two points about corporate responsibility that need be made. My experience of committee membership has been on PCCs and school governing bodies. One binding principle is confidentiality, of course. The other is that if the committee makes a decision with which, as a member, you do not agree, either you accept the collective decision and do not speak against it in public, as Stephen indicates, or you resign. The requirement of confidentiality remains, but if the decision is a public one, having resigned you are at… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

Stephen: “If I am right to see the Archbishop’s performance at IICSA being manipulated by hidden forces…”

I am not trying to be critical in any way, but I didn’t understand what was meant by hidden forces. Does it mean the archbishop is under the control of puppeteers? I’m just asking because I’d like to understand what is really being got at here.

Stephen Parsons
Guest
Stephen Parsons

Susannah– My thoughts on who may be exercising a greater power in the Church of England than the Archbishops were outlined in early August on my blog. This may answer your question.
http://survivingchurch.org/2019/08/02/who-has-power-in-the-church-of-england/

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Thank you for the link to that article, Stephen. My only guesswork, based on organisations I’ve worked with, is that there may be some kind of day-to-day ‘senior management team’… possibly just 4 or 5 people, who can convene at short notice, in person or with help of technology, to make decisions or go-aheads about press releases or damage-limitation responses.

It just doesn’t seem to me that Justin is the kind of person who would let people in ‘the team’ ride roughshod over his own assessments of what policy should be. But you do raise interesting points and food for thought.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Organisations with a formal press office generally, I think, have a list of “lines to take” for likely press questions. You can often see it at work with cabinet ministers, for example.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

I have to say that I so agree about the CW baptism service. Words, words words.

Fr. Dean Henley
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Fr. Dean Henley

Fr. Philip Welsh was one of my ACCM selectors – he’s to blame folks! I always find myself looking at the floor as I trundle through those draconian baptismal ‘decisions’ for parents and godparents. A clear example of committee liturgy trying to please the various camps in our broad church, and succeeding only in embarrassing most of us. The youngsters assembled at the front of my churches are just delighted that God has blessed them with a beautiful baby; it never occurred to them that the devil was involved too.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

CW is dreadful – and not just the truly woeful baptism – why use one word when 17 will suffice? I’ve designed my own, a mixture of RC and ASB – there are always good pastoral reasons for the three short declarations. I invite parents and godparents to anoint with bapt oil – they like that. I make up my own water blessing (six short sentences, a précis of CW), I anoint with fragrant chrism, I soak the people with water, Orthodox style. Given that all that is required for a valid baptism is “I baptise you in the name… Read more »

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Stanley, most of that is permissible within CW baptism and it is CW baptism that introduced into the C of E the idea of parents and others joining in the anointing. However, I am interested in how you reconcile your innovations with texts with your vows re. only using services authorised or allowed by canon – when I encounter clergy who don’t use a eucharistic prayer but ‘just read from 1 Corinthians’ , this is what I remind them of!

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Vows, shvows. Like clergy who use the Roman rite for Mass – which our diocesan allegedly has done. If he does, we can (I don’t but some do, though in one church Roman accretions are used – it’s the custom of the church – and the diocesan has been with us), or clergy who make it up whole services as they go along. Anyway, I’m a hypocrite. Aren’t you?

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

I hope and suspect that like you I am a principled hypocrite. Not like those others…

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

As a simple layman I can’t contribute to the finer points of this discussion, but I’m appalled that an infant should be denied baptism in any circumstances, so all power to Father Stanley (hope he doesn’t mind the ‘Father’) cutting through the ecclesiastical ‘red tape’.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

I suppose I should stop this playful exchange, otherwise TA will become SA (silly …) but I think there’s not enough playfulness or silliness in the world. RW, from what I’ve read from your fingertips/pen, here and on organ discussion boards (I’m an addict too), you may be simple, not in the colloquial sense, but rather in the sense of whole, complete, indivisible. And CR, my principles such as they are, I’m afraid, very flexible according to pastoral circumstances. I baptise (hyperbole alert) anything that moves, I give the sacrament knowingly to the unconfirmed of any age (Orthodox style), and… Read more »

Jeremy Ames
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Jeremy Ames

I have found the CW baptism service difficult to use. It seems at times medieval in tone . As I am now retired I do few baptisms but have found myself ill at ease when asked to baptise a person because I know I will have to use the CW rite. This is disturbing as de facto it must be a source of joy. It is now marred with mumbo jumbo. Those used to Series2 and ASB may feel the same?

Rev Peter Milligan
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Rev Peter Milligan

Philip Welsh is unaware that there is another Common Worship Baptism rite, the so called ‘Accessible Texts’ version (https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/christian-initiation/holy-baptism-accessible-language/holy-baptism). We have been using it since 2015 when it was approved by General Synod following a motion from Liverpool Diocese complaining about CW’s wordy material.
With a more straightforward Decision (Do you turn away from sin? Do you reject evil? Do you turn to Christ as Saviour? Do you trust him as Lord?) and 2 shorter options for the Prayer over the Water plus other alternatives I recommend it!

Mary Hancock
Guest
Mary Hancock

I generally use this newer order of service now. It seems to be better understood by most gatherings. But I think that a lot rests in how you conduct the service, not only the words. When I am aware that many of those present know little about what it’s about, I guide them through the service, and I’m sure many other ministers do too. It’s not unusual, in my experience, to be told as people leave that it really was a good and moving service and occasion – much more than the ‘Lovely service, vicar’ comment common as congregations leave.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Reading people’s comments about the baptismal service, and the six questions, I expected something awful. Then I went to look at it online and discovered it’s almost identical to the service I’ve been using in the Anglican Church of Canada since 1985 (which was lifted almost word for word from the TEC 1979 BCP service as found at https://www.bcponline.org/).

Hmm. Never had a problem with it.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The rite you refer to is a vast improvement over the verbose, didactic, and depressingly Augustinian BCP. However, the six questions,technically ‘the interrogation’, are a little too much that. I like the new question in the Baptismal Covenant,” Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth?” The Funeral rite commendation reads, “Acknowledge….a SINNER of your own redeeming”. Decades ago I began substituting, ” Acknowledge…. a PERSON of your own redeeming.” The change is more pastoral and lines up with the baptismal rite i.e. “Will you support his PERSON… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Different times call for different liturgies, eh, Rod? I don’t have a problem with the so-called ‘interrogation’ and I’ve never had anyone take offense at it, but I do wish the last question was reworded a little to ‘Will you TRY to obey him as your Lord?’ None of us does any more than ‘try’! Nonetheless, I think probably we in Canada have less state church baggage around our baptisms. Very few of my baptisms are of people who aren’t in some way connected with the faith community. For most of them, the promises we ask of them are not… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Interestingly, Rod; I don’t mind confessing that I am a ‘sinner’ and a joyful one at that (not because of my sin, but because of the fact that I have been redeemed).To accept the reality of our need of redemption surely requires the humility to accept that we all are ‘sinners’ and in need of it. I think of the lovely passage in the old ‘Exultet’, which speaks of the “happy sin of Adam” – without which we would never have found so great a Redeemer. This is why we all need to offer the Kyries at every Mass. (Even… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

I think it’s a question of balance. I know full well that I have done selfish things, which through their selfishness I regard as sinful. If only by neglect of doing good, we daily fall short of the best we could be. I also know, in life experience, that sometimes we are confronted with the judgment of God, and feel deep conviction. That said, I’m less certain we are ‘rotten to the core’: I very much believe that in every person there is also ‘original beauty’ that we were all born with, in the image of God. When a baby… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

I’m not denying the reality of evil and sinfulness, personal or systemic. However, I find the use of the term ‘sinner’ in the context I noted above to be something of an unnecessary didactic kick in the pants at funerals.

Wm. Bill Paul
Guest
Wm. Bill Paul

Many people find it as comforting as the phrases which preceded… Lamb of the fold, sheep of the flock …. and I do, too. It flows nicely to my ears. And I don’t see how it is a didactic kick. It’s as appropriately descriptive as the proceeding two phrases. I work in a very traditional parish, by no means Evangelical, and I would guess over the last decade fwiw maybe a dozen people have commented on that particular phrase in the service approvingly. to give you a sense of the sample size I’m talking about. Countless others have told me… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re. Wm. B. Paul. I find the sweep of the prayer comforting as well, the shepherd flock imagery lovely. I have no difficulty understanding that many folks receive the notion of “a sinner of your own redeeming” comforting when joined to those metaphors. However, I suggest that if we reflect on the prayer in the light of the many different kinds of lives lived or the various circumstances of deaths occurred, for some the ‘sinner’ reference can be troubling. In specific instances rigid adherence to a liturgical texts is at odds with my aims as a pastor. As an Anglican… Read more »

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

“Reading people’s comments about the baptismal service, and the six questions, I expected something awful. Then I went to look at it online and discovered it’s almost identical to the service I’ve been using in the Anglican Church of Canada since 1985 (which was lifted almost word for word from the TEC 1979 BCP service as found at https://www.bcponline.org/).” According to Marion Hatchett’s “Commentary on the [1979] American Prayer Book” (1995), the three-fold renunciations of evil and Satanic forces, followed by the three-fold affirmations of adherence to Christ, was a restoration of the fourth century Eastern practice, in which one… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘In the American Prayer Book, even before the parents and godparents make the renunciations and affirmations, they are also asked two questions: “Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life?” and “Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow in into the full stature of Christ?”’

Yes, that’s in our Canadian B.A.S. too.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Marion Hatchett suggests that, “The content [of the restored] renunciations is closer to the traditional renunciation[s]…” His term “closer” is notable. Pace Hatchett I’ve always thought the wording of the questions to to have an evangelical prosaic caste. Some Orthodox liturgies (in English) are more artistic and aesthetical. For example (see link below) I like the sense of, “Do you renounce Satan, and all his works, and all his angels, and all his service, and all his pride? (Three times). Breathe and Spit on Him. Do you unite yourself to Christ? I have united myself to Christ. Do You believe… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘I’ve always thought the wording of the questions to to have an evangelical prosaic caste.’ (Laughing). If that’s true, Rod, it’s the only appearance of anything remotely evangelical in the BAS. We couldn’t even get a modern language Eucharistic prayer that expressed Cranmer’s theology of the Eucharist – we had to wait for a little-used supplementary booklet, containing a rather mediocre prayer that was created for evangelicals (who obviously couldn’t be trusted to do it for themselves) by (I quote from one of the people involved in the project, private conversation with me) ‘three Anglo-Catholics meeting up for a weekend… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Tim, notwithstanding.

Iain Luke
Guest
Iain Luke

Tim, I’m afraid your source is mistaken about the supplementary booklet. I was on the committee which produced it, and prayer S-3 (to which you refer) was notable in that it was not composed by the committee or its members, but accepted whole-cloth from the submissions we solicited at the time. That was precisely so that we could make sure that the “Reformed theological conscience concerning the Eucharist”, which was not well represented in the committee membership, was nevertheless represented in the prayer.

Tim Cnesterton
Guest

Interesting.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

That should read ‘cast’, not ‘caste’ third line above. My bad.

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Like Tim, I was a bit incredulous at Fr Welsh’s article. Certainly the CW language is not as poetic, and has a slightly more evangelical bent, than the American/Canadian wording. In 18 years of baptismal preparation, I have had a few discussions on the questions, but never any objection to them. For those who want “baptism lite” without the promises, both the American BCP and Canadian BAS offer a rite of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child, simply prayers for the family and thanksgivings and a blessing for the child, without any promises or obligations assumed. I have offered… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Rosie Harper’s subject – about keeping secrets in the Church – has two sides to it. While I certainly commend Rosie’s pressure for openness where injustice is being hidden; usually for the sake of either the perpetrators or the Church itself – there is also the matter of personal secrets that have to be kept for the sake of the well-being of the person concerned; very often someone who maintains their secret for deeply personal reasons. Such persons are those who happen to be ‘different’ in their gender or sexuality status for whom, if their ‘secret’ were to be revealed,… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Interesting that our N American friends dont find any difficulty with CWs 6 fold renunciation/promises..and the C of E clergy are much less keen. As Tim says it must be they carry less “state church baggage”. We have parishes in the C of E which have “open “baptism policies and some with strict..ive often wondered if any research has been done on how this plays out..in mission, perception of the church by the local community, how many parents “shop around” etc. What is the C of E FOR might make for a lively debate because there are several competing ecclesiologies… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Canada here. I’ve used the rite Tim and Jim reference since are authorization in 1985. I really like the rite, except for the questions i.e. “Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Saviour? Do You promise to obey Him as your Lord?” The feel is shades of Billy Graham. I’d like something less personal individualistic, something more ‘in Christ’ more lifting up incorporation into the body of Christ in baptism. That said, I have never made changes to the text of the rite.