Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 15 January 2022

The Guardian view on same-sex weddings in church: the zeitgeist is moving
“The Church of England should follow the example of Anglicans in Wales and Scotland, and give its blessing to gay and lesbian relationships”

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Changing Attitude England’s campaign for equality

Martyn Percy Modern Church A Progressive Union for a Precarious Church

David Power Church Times Time’s up for stipendiary ministry
“The C of E should follow St Paul’s example, not secular trends”

Surviving Church Gangsterism and the Church of England
Gilo takes a hard critical look at the Safeguarding Culture and the Administration of the Church of England”

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Past Cases Review 2 project

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Fr Dean
Fr Dean
7 months ago

I’d be happier with Canon Power’s plan if bishops, archdeacons, advisers in evangelism, associate archdeacon transition enablers, bishops chaplains and fresh expression advisers were also ‘self supporting’. Parishes won’t see much reduction in their parish share unless this hierarchy of district managers are also removed from the payroll and the pension fund. However as Froghole has expertly articulated there are plenty of assets with the Church Commissioners to fund a highly educated (not least theologically) and fully committed clergy. What happens when the self supporting priest who earns her living on the production line at Vauxhall in Luton finds herself… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Fr Dean
7 months ago

“Parishes won’t see much reduction in their parish share unless this hierarchy of district managers are also removed from the payroll and the pension fund.”
 
I worked for a charity once. We had a “rule” that at least 95% of income was spent on the front line (people and property). I think it would be good for Synod to pass a motion that at least X% of income has to be spent at parish level. I hate to think how low that % is at present.

Kate
Kate
7 months ago

I don’t see how David Power thinks he is successfully arguing for non-stipendiary ministry by quoting St Paul without recognising that the Pauline model did not include ordination.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
7 months ago

I don’t see how someone who doesn’t believe in ordination can be an Anglican.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  FrDavid H
7 months ago

Father David. Are you saying that unless one accepts the totality of Anglican teaching one should not be a member of the Anglican church. If that was the case we would not have many members left. Most of us cross our fingers at some point.

I am not sure that I “believe in” ordination myself, and I am a licensed lay minister. Yet I find it entirely possible to work constructively with my ministry colleagues as we work to keep the benefice running.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Simon Dawson
7 months ago

The CofE is an episcopal church in which the Sacraments flow from the ordained ministry. I accept that, in today’s evangelically-run organisation, it is possible to believe any non-Anglican nonsense, and even get promotion. This is part of the reason the CofE is quickly disappearing down the happy-clappy plughole into oblivion.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  FrDavid H
7 months ago

I don’t think that’s what Kate said.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
7 months ago

Article XXXVI makes plain that there is no superstitious element of ordination – ordination is simply a matter of good order, not the mystical ceremony some wrongly insist. And XXIII makes plain that administration of the two sacraments is simply a matter of order, not because they can only be administered by the ordained. VI is the big one though, and worth quoting: “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
6 months ago

Quoting the 39 Articles as a ‘proof text’ against ordination is as redundant as citing the Levitical prohibition on shellfish. Theology develops and times have moved on.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
6 months ago

You can hardly say an argument from the 39 Articles isn’t Anglican. They’re the foundation documents of Anglicanism.

And as a priest, you’ve had to affirm them when you were ordained and every time you were licensed to a new post.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  FrDavid H
6 months ago

Janet: the 39 articles are part of our historic formularies. We give general assent to them as historic formularies when we make declarations. I certainly do not subscribe to all of the articles and don’t know any clergy who would swear that they believe them all as written. LLF recognises this: “In 1968, a report on Subscription and Assent to the 39 Articles was produced by the Archbishops’ Commission on Christian Doctrine. Focusing in particular on the approach to Scripture set out in the Articles, it called for the then current Declaration of Assent to be changed, so that it… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  FrDavid H
6 months ago

Speaking legalistically, regarding the 39 Articles, you are quite correct Ms Fife. Before I was priested, the ordaining Archbishop gave a knowing wink before requiring our legal assent to the Articles, and we all laughed. Swearing to the existence of these historical documents is not the same as believing their contents. Being honest, we know that’s how things have worked in the CofE for years.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  FrDavid H
6 months ago

I wonder how many of those ordinands who laughed away their own assent to the Articles then went on to terrify parents away from baptising their children with talk of serious promises. Not you, I think, Father David, but very many.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
6 months ago

Answering to comments below mine (reply button missing):

I’m well aware that’s the attitude many clergy take. But it doesn’t affect my contention that you can’t call an argument based on the 39 Articles ‘unAnglican’. Like it or not, believe them or not, the Articles are part of the DNA of Anglicanism.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  FrDavid H
6 months ago

They’re part of the DNA of the Church of England, perhaps, but they owe more to 17th century politics than they do to Anglican theology. The Westminster Confession is part of the DNA of the CofE too, but that doesn’t mean that the Confession is a document expressing Anglican theology. Both, to a greater or lesser extent, reflect the concerns of Reformed theology.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Yes; but Reformed theology is one aspect of Anglicanism. What I’m saying is that we can’t just unchurch those whose theology or churchmanship differs from ours, by saying that they are ‘not Anglican’.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Kate
6 months ago

For some reason, the reply form is appearing under a different comment of yours than the one I intend, therefore, for clarity, in case this reply ends up in a place other than the one I intended, this is a reply to your comment in which you specifically mention Article VI of the XXXIX Articles (I consider Roman numerals to be so archaic, but the historical form must be followed, I guess) “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man,… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
6 months ago

There’s no doubt whatsoever that in Anglican tradition (despite the protestation of some) ordination isn’t mystical. Restricting celebration of the Eucharist to ordained ministers is simply a matter of good order, which is important as the bishops should actually be recommending that people can bless the bread AND wine, possibly while watching a YouTube service, at home. It means everyone can have access to wine, even during the pandemic – at home the issue of single cups is avoided. I think it’s a great disappointment that no guidance on suitable protocol for a home Eucharist has been published.   It… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Kate
6 months ago

I think you’re imposing your personal view onto Anglican tradition. As for the claim that the CofE lacks apostolic succession, that’s very much a situation where [citation needed] applies. All the arguments I’ve seen to deny apostolic succession within Anglicanism seem to rely on special pleading, or amount to “women can’t be ordained so if Anglicans ordain women they’re not really ordaining anyone”.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
7 months ago

Mr. Power’s column seems very gossamer, foamy, dreamy, without any suggestion as to how priests and parishes are to pay the bills. Talk about self-supporting priests certainly eases financial pressure on dioceses, but not every millionaire or “trust fund person” feels called by God, and Fr. Dean points out the practical challenges of priests earning their bread and rent by the secular sweat of their brow., St. Paul was “the” founder of Christianity, IMO (Jesus of Nazareth did not set out to create a religion worshipping himself), but St. Paul’s epistles are written in the moment, probably don’t cover all… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
7 months ago

I think the bigger problem with Power’s argument is that he talks about the financial dimension but ignores the duties (time commitment) dimension that ought to be set alongside it. Self-supporting ministry is viable for few for a few hours a week akin to other voluntary roles within the church, but becomes unsustainable if the duties and time-commitment escalate. The question therefore isn’t so much whether we want self-supporting ministers but whether we are willing to scale back the duties and time commitment enough to make it possible.

Tom
Tom
7 months ago

Canon Powers cites the Diocese of Michigan and their team ministry program. This is based on the work begun in the 1980’s in the Diocese of Northern Michigan. The paid diocesan staff there were a bishop and a canon. They both spent the bulk of their time raising up individuals to minister and training them. Each team had ordained and lay members. It was and is the smallest diocese in the US, but they persist.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
7 months ago

The problem I see in the Michigan example–and I’m frankly surprised they haven’t already encountered it–is what happens when no lay person in the parish feels called to or desires to accept the role of minister?

Tom
Tom
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

When there is no one left who wants to be the Church, then there is no church. The reality is that it is difficult to move from one team to the next, but it can be done. My point about the diocese of Northern Michigan is that it was the principal occupation of their bishop and canon. Of course, it is always easier to hire someone to be the Church for you, and the typical bishop is too much occupied with “other things” and has little time for teaching. So diocesan offices and national structures become top heavy and tend… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
7 months ago

The objections cited above all assume that each parish would only have one ordained non-stipendiary minister. The article clearly assumed there would be a team. Presbyters in the New Testament appear in the plural in every congregation, and they seem to me to be a sort of cross between vestry members and lay readers, not what we think of today as professional priests. The Anglo-Catholic missionary Roland Allen was arguing for a return to this model in the 1920s (in ‘Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?’ and ‘The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church’), and I’ve never seen a serious refutation… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

“Presbyters in the New Testament appear in the plural in every congregation, and they seem to me to be a sort of cross between vestry members and lay readers, not what we think of today as professional priests.”
 
“How Numerous and How Busy were Late-Antique Presbyters?” by Robert Wiśniewski (https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/zac-2021-0011/html) is worth a read.

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
6 months ago

Good article by David Power. It’s time that the C of E faced reality re stipendiary clergy. With church attendance collapsing, the C of E will realistically only be able to afford a small number going forward. Non-stipendiary ministry should be the norm, and the C of E needs to be organised on that basis.

It follows that residential training for clergy should be scrapped. It is wholly inappropriate to take someone out of secular employment for 2-3 years training and a 3 year stipendiary curacy only to find they have no job at the end of it.

David Rowett
David Rowett
Reply to  Sam Jones
6 months ago

Hmmm, I wonder whether the sociological implications of this have been explored? I take the point about unemployment at the end of a stipendiary curacy, etc etc, but don’t see the connection with residential training as a necessary one. Those who work irregular hours/shifts will find the assumptions made – at least in many present patterns of non-residential training – are deeply discriminatory – all those ‘weekend sessions’ do rather assume a Mon-Fri working week which neither of my parents (railwayman/shop assistant) enjoyed. The ability to work on the same terms as those from privileged backgrounds which residential training can… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Rowett
6 months ago

Agreed. A residential course was the only option for me, as I was earning too little to afford a car and could not have travelled to sessions.

Weekend and evening training excludes so many, including healthcare staff who work shifts.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Rowett
6 months ago

David, you make some excellent points and I am in complete agreement with you. Jesus recruited fishermen to be his disciples. We want more people in ministry from less privileged backgrounds, not less.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Sam Jones
6 months ago

I very much disagree for two reasons.

a) how can we expect ministers to offer good training to parishioners if we don’t invest in their own knowledge?

b) parish ministry (I am told) is a hard vocation and it is good for prospective ministers to train in a group which will hopefully be part of their support group over the first few years while they find their feet

I don’t even agree that ministry should be non-stipendiary. As I have said before, all the non-frontline posts (secular and episcopal) should be made vocational first.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
6 months ago

Thank you to Martyn for the reminder that precariousness may be a gift and not just a negative. The truth of God has a habit of stripping a person painfully bare. It can lead the individual person to dark and lonely places. To places where what is left is only trembling, tender trust in the face of the dark. In some senses, that precarious edge is where givenness and devotion always begins. Where trust and covenant are the residue, after the vanities have been stripped aside. As we gaze toward that ‘Cloud of Unknowing’ that Martyn mentions, and we wait… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Susannah Clark
6 months ago

I should add, that following Jesus is not just about individual spirituality, or even individual service of others. The nature of the givenness of God – it seems to me – involves growth into shared experience, shared compassion, and essentially: community. I mentioned that very often, in contemplative waiting for God, God does indeed ‘seem’ to do a no show… and it feels like gazing into a cloud of unknowing. In trust, one may believe God is there, beyond, but the cloud blocks from view. However, sometimes, just sometimes and infrequently… God suddenly IS there… God opens it all up,… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
6 months ago

I think what you have read needs an important caveat – for SOME people. I don’t think you should generalise from your own experience to everyone.   For example, someone autistic who finds socialising difficult might feel, from what you have written, that they cannot participate in life as God intended because they can’t cope with the community aspect. I think that’s a very wrong – and dangerous – message to send out. (I have similar problems with the evangelical push for everyone to be involved in mission.)   There is no one way to God – not through community… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
6 months ago

If Power believes that clergy should follow St. Paul concerning compensation for doing the work of the Gospel, shouldn’t he (and the rest of the church) also consider his thoughts in 1 Cor. 9:1-14 on that subject?

He concludes, “the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  dr.primrose
6 months ago

You remind me, Dear Dr., of that line from 12th Night about “living by the church.”

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  dr.primrose
6 months ago

But he goes on to explain why he himself had disobeyed that command. And in Acts 18 we can see a pattern; if there’s no support available, he’ll set up shop as a tent maker to support himself (and no doubt take advantage of the contacts it gives him in the business community), but when support arrives, he devotes himself full time to preaching. He’s got a flexibility not seen in our present systems.

M Evans
M Evans
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

Yes, one assumes he’s not limited by needing to provide for a family in any way; unlike most clergy. He probably wasn’t saving for retirement either.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  dr.primrose
6 months ago

I wonder if the Didache is helpful evidence here. In the translation I quote the “prophets” or “Apostles” would appear to be wandering mendicant preachers and teachers, in the tradition of the original disciples. “And concerning the apostles and prophets, do according to the command of the Gospel. 4 Let every apostle who comes to you be received as you would the Lord. 5 He will stay one day, and if necessary, a second day, but if he stays three days, he is a false prophet. 6 Let the apostle when departing take nothing except bread until he arrives at… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
6 months ago

More recently, we have seen quotations from the ’39 Articles’ which may still be ‘de rigeur’ for C. of E. ordinands to believe; however, some of us in the outer world of the Anglican Communion have a problem with ‘signing up’ to them as the faith statement of Anglicanism – believing, rather, that they should now be consigned to history as the ‘Thirty-Nine Artifacts’ – which is what they have become, at least for people like myself who now worship in other Anglican jurisdictions. With the advent of the Oxford Movement, which some of us have thrived on, the Church… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
6 months ago

Ron, Janet’s argument was not that the 39 Articles define, or should define, modern Anglicanism. Her argument was that it is simply historically wrong to call them ‘UnAnglican.’

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

True Tim, though the use of the word Anglican to describe the C of E before 1662 or even later is fraught with historical problems. See Anthony Milton’s introduction to volume 1 of the Oxford History of Anglicanism. And now his England’s Second Reformation on the 17c.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

Thanks Tim. I’ll repeat here what I’ve posted above:

‘Yes; but Reformed theology is one aspect of Anglicanism. What I’m saying is that we can’t just unchurch those whose theology or churchmanship differs from ours, by saying that they are ‘not Anglican’.’

I think it’s a real shame that TA commenters throw the ‘not Anglican’ label around, when the glory of the C of E is that we’re such a broad church. And that gives us all the freedom to grow and change our views on a number of subjects without finding ourselves thrown out.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

If we are to accept that the 39 Articles are Anglican (or at least not UnAnglican) then does the same apply to all such Articles issued by/for the CofE since the break from Rome? The 10 Articles seem to me much closer to Anglicanism than the 39, but I imagine several of them could cause conniptions among our evangelical siblings. The 6 Articles, meanwhile, go too far towards prescribing that which is uncertain or unnecessary.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

It depends whether one sees Anglicanism as a developing religion or one bound by tradition. What one cannot reasonably do, I suggest, is to say that we should do X because it is our tradition but simultaneously try to deprecate the 39 Articles. Either position is credible – Anglicanism is either fluid or tied by tradition – but asserting tradition as a rationale in some areas while rejecting it in others is hypocrisy imo.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
6 months ago

No one is deprecating historical documents. We just don’t need to believe in them

Last edited 6 months ago by FrDavid H
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
6 months ago

I would agree with that (personally, I strongly disagree with Articles XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX—the ones aimed at the Anabaptists). But just because I don’t believe in them doesn’t mean it’s accurate for me to describe them as UnAnglican.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

Out of interest Tim do you have to subscribe to the 39 articles as a priest in Canada?. I think they do not figure as such in the Constitutions of many Anglican Provinces.
Anabaptists then aren’t Baptists now. The 1560s were haunted by what had happened at Munster and the incipient threat of Separatists ( IE those who rejected the notion of a National Church ) at home

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Perry Butler
6 months ago

Perry, I can only speak for my own ecclesiastical province, Rupert’s Land; I’m not familiar with the canons of the other three ecclesiastical provinces. Here’s the oath: I, A.B. do solemnly make the following declaration: I assent to the Solemn Declaration adopted by the first General Synod in 1893 (as printed in the Book of Common Prayer), and to the Book of Common Prayer, and of the ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons; I believe the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada as therein set forth to be agreeable to the Word of God; and in Public Prayer and… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Kate
6 months ago

I disagree. I’ve always taken the view that tradition is a good guide but shouldn’t be considered binding in the face of conflicting scripture, reason and/or experience (the latter if I’m feeling particularly Methodist). Part of the via media, it seems to me, is neither being tradition-first as in Rome or Constantinople, nor sola-scriptura as in Geneva, but weighing both alongside what we have seen ourselves or has been brought to us by scientific research.

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Precisely, Jo! Perhaps this is why the tradition of the ‘3-legged stool’ of Anglicanism includes the charism of blessed REASON. God has given us the capability of using the mind. in order to negotiate with our contemporaneous world in a way that is consonant with the Gospel imperatives of living in Faith, Hope and Love! (The Holy Spirit is always drawing us into a closer relationship to one another ‘en Christo’).

Last edited 6 months ago by Father Ron Smith
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