Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 15 April 2020

Mark Vernon Medium Easter And The End Of Christianity
“If Coronavirus turns Christian leaders into exemplary citizens, the gospel is lost”

A K M Adam AKMA’s Random Thoughts On Streams and Places

Paul Vallely Church Times This is teaching us about the mass
“Paul Vallely samples eucharists on the internet”

Jeremy Fletcher Rules for Lock Down Reverends

Dana Delap Church Times How we shared the bread and wine on Zoom
“Parishioners were asking for communion on Easter Day, says Dana Delap, and she wanted to feed them”

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Father Ron SmithRowland WateridgeStanley MonkhouseRod GillisSusannah Clark Recent comment authors
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Susannah Clark
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I really like and appreciate Dana’s article. Sure, there are all kinds of theological issues we could explore in future reflection, but we live in the here and now. Personally, I don’t find it problematic to prepare bread and wine at my screen and receive, with thanksgiving, believing that my priest’s remote blessing of our elements can and does – because God knows our needs and can work beyond physical constraints – extend the blessing to our own small portions, prepared in faith and love. I found Dana’s heart for her congregation compassionate and honest. Maybe I am simple, I… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“But neither could I preside privately at home for me alone, or exclusively for my household, while being live-streamed. To do that would mean that my community would go hungry, while watching me eat.” So true. A priest presiding at home without encouraging those gathered to watch to supply their own physicality of bread and wine is being unfaithful to the esse of the Eucharist. There is no true sharing, and no true Eucharist if ‘Priests in my diocese have been told not to preside at digital communion services at which those participating bring their own elements “to the screen”.’… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

I’m a priest who has had both experiences. On Palm Sunday I participated with my own bread and wine at home ( not as clergy but as participant) in a virtual liturgy offered by a progressive Baptist Church. On Maundy Thursday I celebrated Holy Communion at home with one other person to communicate with me, my beloved wife of 45 years. I celebrated out my obligation as a priest to offer the Eucharist in part to remember Christ before God. I will be doing so again. But thank you, once again, for not missing an opportunity to express anti-clerical views.

Kate
Guest
Kate

There is a very big difference between an intimate communion for your immediate family who are physically gathered together (even if small in number) but which is not broadcast, compared with turning that into an event for spectators as some priests and bishops are doing by broadcasting it but discouraging those joining the broadcast from contributing bread and wine. The Baptist service you joined was participatory and that is as it should be. While objecting to obvious clericalism, the view I expressed was not anti-clerical but draws on Catholic theology. The first two paragraphs of Section 14 of Sacrosanctum Concilium… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

I get to the ‘spectator’ argument below; but before that: (1) Not an intimate Communion for my immediate family, but Communion I offered as a priest of the church in accordance with Canadian BCP rubrics, ” There shall be no celebration of the Lord’s Supper, except there be at least one person present to communicate with the Priest.” (2) Your error regarding Sacrosanctum Concilium is lack of context (both the paragraphs you cite and the wider context of R.C. documents). You need to read S.C. section two along with section I and the introduction. The document is intended to ground… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

A C of E vicar said to me, possibly 20 years ago, that the “Te Deum” was irrelevant. How could I, then a young(ish) itinerant organist tell him how misguided he was, the very opening line: “We praise Thee, O God”. And the other beautiful morning canticles, especially the Benedictus, and Psalms. I wonder whether you mean ‘a concert’ in cathedrals or those churches where the participation by the congregation appears to be limited to singing the hymns and reciting the Creed? But in those places the congregation listens and follows the rubric – not a concert, nor a spectator… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

1662 MP sung with congregational chanting is alive and well in the Church of Ireland and in more than a few C of E churches (pre shutdown of course), including one of mine – for which I was glad. It was and is trendy for priests brought up under the once heady influence of the parish communion movement to pour doctrinaire scorn on MP as the principal Sunday service, but thankfully we don’t all share that view. I see nothing wrong with spectator sports or concerts, and neither, presumably, do those who attend cathedral services in increasing numbers. I think… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: Stanley and Rowland. Yikes! I’m not wanting to disparage Choral Morning Prayer for those who love it. ( I attended a lovely 1662 Choral Evensong at Westminster Abbey). I am simply making the point , on the point of Anglican streamed Eucharistic liturgy as spectacle v. interactive, that for many people, myself included, Choral MP was perceived to be more the former than the latter for regular Sunday morning worship. That is certainly the case in these parts. So, in both cases, eye of the beholder.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Rod, I didn’t think you were being unduly dismissive. In calling “spectatorphobia” a peculiarly Anglican thing, you are implicitly lending support to spectator sports – which acts of devotion are part of every tradition. What saddens me is the animosity – hatred is not too strong a word – that I’ve encountered from some of the newly ordained for formal congregational offices, when what they themselves favour is in its own way just as formal. I invited the pastor of a local independent evangelical church to preach at Solemn Mass, and he commented that their service was more rigid than… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Good points. In the final parish I served, Eucharist every Sunday at 8:30 and 10:00 am was the norm. However, we did traditional BCP Choral MP once a quarter, to good reviews, sometimes replacing one or two of the canticles with more ‘singable’ hymn paraphrases for the congregation. To be fair, I should point out that while many rejoiced in this part of the world (sang the Te Deum if you will 🙂 ) as MP was gradually replaced by Choral Eucharist, there were many people who still longed for MP to be done more frequently. So again, eye of… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Well, perhaps we have the best of both worlds – ‘mother’ and ‘daughter’ churches little more than one mile apart, the Rectory half-way between. The pattern at the ancient ‘mother’ church (the parish is 800 years old, or more, it has a Communion paten of that date) is BCP Holy Communion said with four hymns on the first Sunday of the month. On all other Sundays, sung BCP Matins – completely unabridged (so the Te Deum is only a part quantitatively!). The ‘daughter’ church was the result of Victorian population expansion, and gets large congregations at a weekly Eucharist to… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Apologies for the seeming typos. I do know how to spell ‘quantitavely’. Where I live we are having problems with Broadband/ wi-fi. Anyway, that is my excuse.

SimonW
Guest
SimonW

I enjoyed this piece from Fiona Mountford, formerly theatre critic of the Evening Standard for many years, about her experience of the transition to ‘online’ worship. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-unexpected-joy-of-going-to-church-online?fbclid=IwAR1sf1lAV6sNhyC5SlqYOcahEco-CJh4HHYsXPvY9EuR5No-Gqhtx_jdQsU

peter kettle
Guest
peter kettle

That piece from the Spectator is absolutely lovely

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Some of these articles are more engaging than others. Given the prominence of the Kingdom of God as a a metaphorical anti-kingdom, one wonders when there may be critical theological reflection on global socio- economic inequalities highlighted by the pandemic. We may eventually get some really insightful reflection on the nature of the whole people of God, the roles of various orders of ministry within the ‘laos’, and reflection on Eucharistic life for those who have always been systemically marginalized, i.e. shut-ins, the disabled, prisoners, the stigmatized and so forth. So much discussion in this moment of crisis is on… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

Thought-provoking. I believe that, ordinarily, the physical consecration and sharing of bread and wine is essential, connecting a gathered faith community’s ‘yes’ to the Divine and transformation of the natural and social in a particular time and place with the cosmic work of redemption. Yet these are not ordinary times and I am coming to think that, under current constraints where this is not possible, sacramental sharing might perhaps take a different form. I also feel that, while the Eucharist can indeed be celebrated in a clergyperson’s kitchen or study as well as a church, much might be lost if… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Very good points: especially on home backgrounds as indicators of wealth, poverty etc; and on the way the domestic may be precious to some but battlegrounds or exploitation for others. Because I associate the domestic with my own privileged and happy memories / current associations, I confess I hadn’t thought of that… whereas a church provides a backdrop that is common to all. Personally I am not inclined to believe that these interim arrangements will become the main pattern of worship after the crisis is over. For many, the physical association, and the face-to-face contact, and physical sense of gatheredness… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I was moved by Dana Delap’s response to the current situation of the lockdown of Anglican Churches, where clergy may have celebrated the Eucharist ‘on behalf of’ the community’ -vicariously (what a wonderful extension of the word ‘vicar’?). I have already described – on another T.A. thread – my own experience of this Easter Day’s ‘togetherness’ on the internet. I do feel that special situations require special responses by the church and her clergy, to meet the very real needs of the Body of Christ – in ways that include a physical as well as a spiritual dimension. What happened… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

My two cents/pence: Maybe understanding Mr. Vernon’s column is in the tagline at the end. But his column left me cold. I guess my consciousness isn’t high enough. Health care workers worldwide are fighting, at personal sacrifice, so people can live (Thank you to the Queen and the PM for your graciousness in acknowledging the NHS and its staff) Why not our spiritual leaders, also?. Yes, Jesus of Nazareth talked often about the coming of the Kingdom of God, but I don’t recall him saying to forget about living. Reading the Gospels, I personally feel that Jesus talked about the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“I have no idea why a priest and an organist (or even a handful of choir members suitably spaced) can’t stream a service from a physical church. They can all be two meters apart and there can be less than ten people. God is everywhere, but based on my experience with virtual broadcasts of talk shows and a live performance show, seeing people in their homes, rather than on stage or on their set, leaves me cold. The background of the church is reassuring, familiar, and helps set a spiritual mood.” Our church in the suburbs of Philadelphia has done… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Perhaps the English Bishops believe that both works of supererogation and the ability to impose them on others are a nice fit for them. Either that or there are more pedestrian motives about which they are not forthcoming for some reason. You know, yours is not to reason why… etc

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Aaaar, that be so, Parson Gillis. I be hunworthy to sit at table with my Lords the Bishops. Ever so ‘umbly I tilt my ‘at to them as I ‘ear their pearls of wisdom. ‘Taint my job to question likes of them, or them from big ‘ouses that journey for days to sit at synod. ‘Tis a real honour, sir, that them that can do joined up writing do remember the likes of me.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Ah ha, Monkhouse my fine man, as a cousin of Prince William let me remind you that one does not speak unless spoken to. I’d be grateful if you would withdraw from this learned debate and return to the stables. These are matters over your head. You have nothing to fear because your betters have everything under control. After we have finished our theological discussions in the living room, kindly tell the housekeeper to supply port and fine cheese to the billiard room. Oh, and always remember, there is dignity in your station of life. We are all cogs in… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

To the stables dreckly, m’Lady. I meant no ‘arm, to be sure, I’s ‘umbly thankful for them that thinks for the likes o’ me. I be a-seein Parson Gillis this very artnoon. I baint be much of a churchman, m’Lady, but I recalls an ‘ymn from Sabbath day school about a rich man in ‘is castle and poor man at ‘is gate, so I’ll finds it in my book. I’ll set to the badgers this very moment, m’Lady.

Susannah Clark
Guest

🙂 Life can feel grim at times like this. Thank you for making me laugh, Stanley. Your underlying point is digested as well (along with a platter of venison, rowanberry jelly, and a bottle of claret). While I believe in the integrity and good intentions of many of our bishops, I am also aware of a kind of infantilising effect that can happen when people suspend their own consciences, because of canonical obedience. Ordinary churchgoers in the pews, in turn, can be infantilised by their priests. I remember an old priest forty years ago once berated me for being too… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Exactly, m’Lady. I go further and say infantilisation is the norm – even among clergy, some of whom parrot a party line but seem otherwise functionally decerebrate. I don’t care what pompous apparatchiks think of my views – but I care deeply about the plight of the hungry, thirsty, oppressed etc. That’s why this narcissistic perseveration about kitchen sink communions and the like so exasperates me.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Susannah, Stanley, just like the Two Ronnies…only different 🙂

Father Ron Smith
Guest

As a ‘Ronnie’, myself, I would like the bishops to honour the difference between canonical obedience and downright servility!