Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 16 January 2021

Updated 21 January

Fergus Butler-Gallie The Fence At the Altar of Capital
“The Church of England is plugging the gaps left by Tory austerity. Fergus Butler-Gallie explains how the party of religion split from its Church.”
Update: a vesrion of this article has subsequently appeared in The Guardian The Conservatives think the Church of England can fill all welfare gaps. We can’t.

Bernice Hardie Church Times It is time to value all equally
“Bernice Hardie suggests ways to include people with learning disabilities in churches”

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Observing the power dynamics of the Church and its congregations

Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News Church of England: Will the Quest to be Woke Save Us?

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Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
8 months ago

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Observing the power dynamics of the Church and its congregations “For justice to be done, we need to find for both College and Diocese, people who are truly independent and are prepared to view dispassionately the total dynamic and history of the Percy affair…Calmer heads are needed to prevent massive damage to both personal and institutional reputations” Very true. But justice is not being done, is it? I am reminded of the words of Baron De Montesquieu in 1742: “There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
8 months ago

All one can do is to warn and we ignore the warning at our peril. Unless this issue is addressed – and addressed fast – the downfall of the Church of England will take on Trumpian proportions.

Last edited 8 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
8 months ago

The “incessantly, ludicrously smiling people” described by Charlie Bell appear on all ‘woke’ websites beloved by today’s ‘trendy’ CofE. The word ‘Reverend’ appears nowhere among the grinning so-called ‘staff’ ; the Vicar, dressed in a M&S pullover, is pictured with his lovely wife and is called Rick, Nick or Mick. The Youth Minister and wife have just had a baby and became Christians after the Christian Union told them how horrible they were. Any gay person darkening the Church door will be told how Jesus loves them, but hates their ‘sin’ , which they must renounce immediately to embrace life… Read more »

Tim M
Tim M
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

It’s not particularly woke when gay people are told to renounce their ‘sin’ at the doorstep of the church. I find it particularly dispiriting to see debates about the church framed with the rhetoric of culture wars. Worse when vague terms like “woke” – often used by the popular press in a derogatory way against people who support inclusion – are invoked incorrectly. In spite of the title, Charlie Bell’s very well-observed and relatable blogpost doesn’t actually use the word.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

FrDavid H – Zoom has become the tool of exclusivity. The elderly who are the most likely to attend, particularly 8 am BCP, are the least likely to have a computer, so they cannot join in. I know that my local church ‘meets’ on Zoom every Sunday and that I cannot take part as I do not have access either to Zoom or the password. I was also excluded from annual meeting because it was on Zoom. I regard it as a smugfest. I have made several strong objections to the vicar and PCC but to no avail. I am… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

I fully sympathise with your feelings of exclusion and loss of sacramental fellowship. I haven’t attended church for almost a year, but have found countless online services from around the world which have been uplifting and enjoyable. Unfortunately the BCP rubric hasn’t been read by the virus which will be happy to reproduce and kill as many worshippers as possible. I think a sense of perspective might be appropriate. Two million people have died from Covid ; doctors and nurses are exhausted ; thousands have lost their jobs; millions are awaiting hospital operations. And you haven’t got Zoom.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

FRDavid H you are not the first to tell me to lump it in my social isolation nor will you be the last. Thanks for cheering me up!

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Pedant alert, FrDavid H: 2 million died WITH covid, not necessarily FROM covid. As a man of 70 I might well have prostate cancer but growing so slowly that I’ll die of something else first. Death statistics are notoriously unreliable – always have been. As medical students we were encouraged not to be too honest on death certs in order to avoid causing unnecessary distress to relatives. After all, everyone dies ultimately because the heart stops. Death is a process not an event. This doesn’t alter your message – not at all – but I’m narked by the way the… Read more »

Tim M
Tim M
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
8 months ago

“With” or “from” Covid is irrelevant as both infer Covid-19 to be a factor; as Christians we wish for the preservation of life. Official figures of Covid deaths in the UK only count those who died 28 days after a C-19 diagnosis, so there will be many others who died after being ill with Covid for longer than this time.. I am sorry to hear of Michael’s experience of being excluded from Zoom meetings. Michael: have you considered looking for another spiritual home, where online worship is as open as possible? There are many churches broadcasting worship without a log-in… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Tim M
8 months ago

“as Christians we wish for the preservation of life”. No. Caring for the suffering certainly.

Tim M
Tim M
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
8 months ago

Not an either/or, surely.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Yes, but Jesus shared Communion with someone he knew with certainty would betray him to his death within days, yet ministers won’t share Communion with people who might have COVID and who might conceivably pass it on.   Yet I bet many of those ministers expect shopworkers to sell things to them, or deliver to them. And that probably is about this same level of risk.   If these are how the church is, fine, but it isn’t authentically Christian and will cause a very steep drop in membership.   “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Kate
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

I don’t think Jesus told His followers to commit suicide. Or to become a burden on the Health Services putting the lives of our wonderful doctors and nurses at a deliberate risk.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

In what way is a different to having a hardware shop open, for example?

Last edited 8 months ago by Kate
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Most people don’t spend an hour in a hardware shop and eat and drink from the same utensils.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Then make it shorter!   “Take, Eat, this is my body. Do this in remembrance of me.”   Communion is possible within 5 minutes. Is that the full Church of England rite? No. But Jesus of the Gospels was highly disdainful of those who insisted on religious formalities. So, if you think the Communion service is too long to be safe, truncate it. Cut it down to just the sharing of the bread if necessary. But don’t cancel it. The job of ministers is to balance risk against content. Where to draw the line is a matter of judgement –… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

It sounds like you want the equivalent of a Mcdonald’s Drive Thru

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

That doesn’t solve the problem of getting close enough to administer the bread, or of a number of people being served from the same dish. But I’m sure you’ve got an answer for that. Communion a la Free Church, with separate vessels?

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Kate thank you for the solidarity. Today the media is flagging up once more the concept of vaccine certificates or passports. So those who have been vaccinated will have much more social freedom than those who, because of their age, will not be vaccinated for several more months. I don’t mind waiting (I am just past 50). I am dreading the House of Bishops deciding that only those who have been vaccinated will be allowed into public worship. I really would not put it past them to do that. It will be of benefit to the over 70s if they… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

True, Kate – but Jesus was risking himself, not the lives of his disciples and all those they came into contact with. It’s pretty difficult to stay 2 metres away from someone while giving them communion. I haven’t been into a shop since August, but then the sales assistants were behind perspex screens – not easy to get a perspex screen fitted above the altar rail. You’d never get a faculty for it. Those who delivered food and other necessaries to me leave them in the porch, knock, and then close the outer door. I don’t get near them, though… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Kate it’s not all about the “minister”. My pursuit of martyrdom as a priest may seem noble, but it risks adding to the burden of those who are working in the NHS. Now that is working sacrificially!

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

I cannot adequately express my sense of outrage at the willingness of people to criticise those incumbents who have decided not to open their churches for worship or for the celebration of the Eucharist. Kate is the latest, but certainly not the only one, to do this. Some, but not Kate I entirely accept, do this from a very self-centred standpoint—”I want Communion and I am denied it”—but too many are happy to quote Scripture in their willingness to impose their views on others. None of them seem to consider the very different situations incumbents face. Some are sheltering because… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Exham
8 months ago

Yes, some incumbents might have particular reason not to offer Communion but that isn’t every one.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Exham
8 months ago

‘Jesus said “Judge not that ye be not judged.”’
 
That’s being used out of context. It doesn’t mean that we can’t say what is right or wrong, only that we cannot judge a particular person because we don’t know the full circumstances. So it is reasonable to say that most churches should be offering Communion, but we shouldn’t say that Minister X is wrong to shut his or her church.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  David Exham
8 months ago

David Exham – your sense of outrage is the last straw. My objection to anti Gospel solitary celebration of communion is clearly unpopular. My objection to unwillingness for half a dozen worshippers to be allowed into a large urban Victorian church is also unpopular. Social isolation, poor mental health, no income for ten months and no government support as a freelancer. And the loss of my mother to sepsis. That has been my life for the past ten months. I do not need your outrage. I will follow ACI and get outta here.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Michael please don’t leave TA. The only way your view stands a chance of prevailing is if you stay to articulate it. I know that is hard, particularly when you are struggling, but it is important.
 
One of the contrasts between Jewish society and Jesus is that Jesus interacted with lepers rather than shun them. Which of course meant that the Disciples were around lepers too. All the arguments here about how closing a church is “service” or “selfless” are simply wrong.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Michael, I have posted earlier in support of you (it comes further down the thread). People rush to judgement too quickly and are all too uncharitable when posting. You are entitled to object to being opposed to solitary celebrations of the Eucharist and to say so without being attacked. When lockdown intensified in Scotland and church attendance was reduced from 50 to 20, the Provost of the Episcopal cathedral in Edinburgh told all those of us who had good internet access to stay away in order to allow those who didn’t use the internet comfortably to attend. I do feel… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Michael won’t be reading this, but I’m really sorry he’s gone. Hope he’s OK.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

The question then becomes “which half dozen?” The same six every week? Should the parish develop a rota? And what happens if one of the six this week tests positive afterwards–do the other five, plus the minister, go into quarantine?

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

In the relatively short time I’ve been a regular on TA I’ve seen some people throw their toys out of the pram, and others leave because I suspect they genuinely felt there’s no point trying to communicate with those always on transmit. Maybe it’s covid anxiety, but there’s certainly an increase in tetchiness of late. One of the things that transformed my life was hearing Sister Consilio who has spent a lifetime working with addicts in Ireland and UK. The talk to which I refer is here, from 15 minutes on: https://www.icatholic.ie/portlaoise-novena-sr-consilio/ She makes the point, inter alia, that some… Read more »

Anne
Anne
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Dear Michael, I am so sorry that you are excluded from joining with your church’s zoom services. Ever since lockdown began I have been fighting for those who are not able to join, largely because they don’t have internet access. Our benefice also has a phone line which you can use to join in aurally. We even finally persuaded the Diocese to have telephone access! You obviously do have internet access, so are you able to join in with Facebook? Or Youtube? The C of E uses both for their on-line services. Exclusion is a very important question and we… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Michael, I am sorry you are distressed by this, but is the church excluding you, or are you excluding yourself by you choosing not to use Zoom, when it is clear you have internet access because you can read and post on this discussion group. And please do not be ageist about the elderly and computer skills. I have just come from a very enjoyable Parish Zoom Eucharist, with a 40 minute coffee and chat afterwards. There were many in their 70s and 80s, as evidenced by the chat about their very enjoyable experience of being vaccinated in Salisbury Cathedral… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Simon Dawson
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

The Covid vaccinations at Salisbury are an interesting and in a way a heartwarming reversion to mediaeval times when the naves of our cathedrals were the people’s area in those great buildings. Also a welcome change from some of their more recent uses in television antiques programmes, filming Harry Potter and the da Vinci Code, just as examples. Of course those represent income for the cathedrals concerned, but this is far more worthwhile. Well done, Salisbury.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

I am disappointed, even somewhat shocked, by some of the unsympathetic comments about Michael and Zoom, when people don’t know his circumstances,  and that includes me. They also display a limited understanding of many people’s access to the Internet. Briefly, many, as has become clear with on-line teaching, don’t have broadband at home and  depend on a smartphone with expensive data – but some people don’t even have smartphones. Broadband is expensive and many can only afford the cheapest and slowest internet access. People may live in areas where the internet connection is slow or unreliable with dropouts. Many households may… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Daniel Lamont
8 months ago

Daniel, Thank you for your push back. I acknowledge looking back I was too forceful.

My experience of Zoom locally is that a large number of less mobile people are benefitting hugely from the ease of access, whereas before they found physical church hard to get too, a factor that was often not appreciated.

So in my enthusiasm for once type of access I ignored another person’s lack of access and was insensitive. Sorry Michael.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Daniel Lamont
8 months ago

Thank you Daniel Lamont for your thoughtful comment. You are correct about the slow unreliable broadband. The normal ‘speed’ in my home is 0.2 mbps although I am paying for as much as 17 mbps. BT has a local monopoly. Openreach visited my home last August and said fibre could not be connected. The internet connection is stop start buffering. It has worsened considerably with people at home on furlough. I am very limited by what I can access. Yesterday, for example, at 10.58 am when I was about to access youtube to join in with Mass at All Saints… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Michael, I’m glad you haven’t left us permanently. You would be missed. And I hope your situation improves very soon.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

There are plenty of people in rural areas who cannot get fast enough broadband to stream video, whether they want it or not. Still more who only get a decent speed on mobile broadband but do not have sufficient data allowance to stream video.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Zoom can be accessed via telephone (audio only); ask your church for the phone number and the numbers for the meeting and passcode. Our parish here in the US does this regularly and has several phone-in congregants.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Michael – I hear your frustration and would feel it myself in your situation. But I do not understand why you are unable to use zoom since you have a computer internet? Genuine question. Sorry if you have already explained this.

cryptogram
cryptogram
Reply to  David Runcorn
8 months ago

David, One may have a computer but not one fitted with a webcam. The machine I use doesn’t have one, though being as bit of a geek I have one which I can plug in (9.99 on ebay). Family zooms are done using my wife’s laptop. I see streamed services from sundry cathedrals on Facebook or Youtube and need not transmit video (or, for that matter audio) at all. To be honest I’m more concerned about the APM being restricted to those with Zoom, which is probably illegal and might even void the elections.

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Michael
8 months ago

Almost all the older folk in my Church have access to the internet and have found zoom a Godsend during the pandemic. Just ask and you can be admitted. Many people with disability are securing access to the Church which was previously inaccessible by design or indifference to their needs. You may choose to exclude yourself, but the Gospel is being delivered in a variety of creative ways. Some Churches have seen growth through the challenge having been accepted with commitment, and obedience to the command to spread the word throughout the world. We adapted to the printing press and… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

I don’t disagree with Charlie Bell’s allergy to artificial joy. And the reason I insist on using the psalm every Sunday in our worship is that it’s often the only prayer in the service that a clinically depressed person can pray honestly. I enjoyed Adrian Plass’ description of a certain sort of worship leader as ‘having A-levels in ecstasy’. And yet…I clearly remember my boredom as a young boy attending C of E services, all BCP, with Hymns Ancient and Modern. The sung responses in the liturgy, and the chanted psalms, sounded like dirges to me. And no one smiled.… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Happy clappy worship is not for me either as I’m attracted by a sense of the numinous; but I have to concede that it does float boats for some. Watching Songs of Praise some weeks ago my mother and I were startled to see a young lady singing who appeared to have the microphone almost in her mouth as she ground her hips, singing some theologically empty drivel about Jesus’ name being a super name, a fabulous name, a wonderful name etc.. My mother’s muddled comprehension of what was at play elicited the opinion that she was ‘very rude’.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Fr. Dean Henley
8 months ago

Fr Dean, I’m with you in my taste for the numinous. It works for me. Ultimately I think it’s a matter of personality, upbringing, even genetics as to what works for different people. We’ll never get agreement. Much as I deplore the way that many in the “smiling guitars” wing (puts me in mind of duelling banjos in “Deliverance” – seen it?) insult and pour scorn on those different from them, so do some catholics – and not necessarily no-women catholics – belittle other wings of the church. A local “catholic” curate, not a young man, refuses to have anything… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
8 months ago

Thank you, Stanley. I’m getting very tired of people criticising the way others like to worship. A wry laugh with friends is one thing, but to ridicule the worship of others in a public forum isn’t constructive, and it’s certainly not loving.

We’re all different, and thank God for that.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I would suggest that vast majority of the secular population finds happy – clappy worship very funny.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

And do you feel that the spectacle of Christians criticising each others’ worship makes the Church less risible?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

No

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I’m guessing that the endless arguments over which form of worship would be more attractive to those who don’t currently go to church (and so be more effective at ‘bringing them in’) is now outdated. We’ve long since gotten past that point. For the vast majority of my non-churchgoing friends (and I have a lot of them), the argument is irrelevant. The reason they don’t come isn’t that they don’t like the style of worship; it’s that they don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and if they do believe in God, they don’t think they need to… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

I entirely agree. The tendency of the Church to make worship more like secular entertainment has been an abject failure in creating more disciples. Patient conversations are all very well if they are about a believable and rational theology, instead of the usual regurgitation of biblical texts and pompous statements on sexual morality. Over the decades Bishops like Robinson, Spong and Holloway have attempted to use religious language to interpret human life to contemporary culture in a more rational way. They’ve generally been ignored as an aberration and too liberal and unorthodox. Conversations with non Church-going people require humility and… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Why bother, Tim?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

From FrDavidH: ‘I would suggest that vast majority of the secular population finds happy – clappy worship very funny.’

I have no way of knowing whether or not that is true. I do know, however, that some years go when my youngest son was still a teenager he brought some friends to our church with him one Sunday. They were totally freaked out by the congregation reciting prayers together. They told him afterwards, ‘It felt like a cult meeting.’ True story.

Last edited 8 months ago by Tim Chesterton
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

The Church of whatever tradition can look very odd to outsiders.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Issues with the style or format of worship might explain why some don’t stay, but aren’t responsible for why people don’t come in the first place.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Maybe they see the church as: run by old people making mistakes that future generations will have to deal with; run by those with money and clout who have no idea of the trials of ordinary people; run by people who are more bothered about genital activity than injustice; run by people who provide a safe space for abusers; people with a strange hobby that involves eating flesh and drinking blood; people who talk to something/someone without corporeal form and expect a reply; people who like telling others what to do but can’t or won’t see themselves as others see… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
8 months ago

Actually I think it is too much mission (which is easy) and not enough witness (which is hard). We have seen it on this thread with people justifying shuttering churches rather than understanding that these weeks are the most important time of our generation to witness the importance of Communion by ensuring it continues.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

How do you separate mission from witness? Faith without works is meaningless, IMO. If I give of my time, effort and money to those in need, am I not witnessing the true spirit of Christianity?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Pat O'Neill
8 months ago

Mission is going out and telling people about Jesus and God.
 
Witness is about living your life so that people ask why you do something? “Why do you work with the homeless?” “Why don’t you have a car?” “Why do you not get angry when people insult you?” As soon as you get people asking questions, then you can explain why, as a Christian, you do something.
 
Show, don’t tell.

Last edited 8 months ago by Kate
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

I would submit that mission is a wider term than witness. Mission includes all the things the church is sent out to do. Spreading the good news of Jesus and making new disciples is one of them, but there is also the practical work we do toward making the world a better place, with works of compassion and justice. The Five Marks of Mission are actually a pretty good summary of this. When it comes to witness, there is both an objective and a subjective component. We’re called to share the Gospel story, and also our own story of Christ’s… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Though it is now questioned that St. Francis ever said this, I think it applies to this discussion:

“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Pat O'Neill
8 months ago

There’s no evidence Francis ever said that. but if he did, he said it in Christendom, when everyone was reasonably well aware of the content of the gospel. Jesus expressly sent his disciples out to preach the gospel with words. I am, of course absolutely on board with the importance of our lives matching our words.

Harold Percy used to say, ‘Words without deeds lack credibility, but deeds without words lack clarity.’ Both are necessary.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Most people seem to have outgrown the need for religion. They are born, marry and die without the need to mark these points with a religious observance. To many, the religion on offer from the Established Church seems silly and irrelevant and adds nothing to an understanding of human life. Why would anyone think singing worship songs and joining discussions about gay sex is going to make them a better person?

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
8 months ago

As a priest who witnessed more than once a semi-conscious dying person join in with the BCP’s comfortable words Charlie Bell’s piece about the contempt some clergy and ordinands have for elderly people struck a chord. These bright young things overlook the Hebrew Bible’s exaltation of old age not to mention Simeon and Anna. They presumably fail to notice their own grandparents. So much for the 5th of the Ten Commandments. On my deathbed I doubt I’ll be reciting words from Common Worship or ad-libbing a ‘I jus wanna tell yer Lord’ prayer. In terms of liturgy what can beat… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Fr. Dean Henley
8 months ago

While I don’t want to get into the young versus the elderly discussion, I am in sympathy with Father Dean when he makes the point about liturgy. At the start of Lent, I started combining prayers from the BCP Morning Prayer and Prime, together with, when appropriate, the General Thanksgiving and the Prayer for All Sorts and Conditions. To this I have added the Collect for the Day and a couple of psalms. I have continued the practice. I am 78 and a) figure that Cranmer was a better writer of prayers than I am and b) I draw great… Read more »

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
8 months ago

Liturgy is a living form of worship. Cranmer was a far better writer than many of us. Being ordained in 1962 I was brought up on the daily offices of the BCP. Today i use the Franciscan office book. But in pastoral ministry to the sick and dying I use the BCP which both of us know.

Fr John Emlyn

Larry Wright
Larry Wright
8 months ago

A interesting polemic regarding the Conservative party and C of E. Perhaps a little more analysis of why the Wefare State has undergone severe changes since its inception, by all parties in power, may have helped. The Welfare State was based upon the assumption of full employment, an ideal which fell away after the economic traumas of the 70s and 80s. Attempts to redress the decline by taxation were counterproductive and only Labour’s third way economics under Blair and Brown began to offer a new paradigm. Then came the credit crunch of 2008. Whichever party is in power, international forces… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
8 months ago

Personally, I have been grateful for Michael’s contributions. There is a portion of the church-going population which prefers to remain inconspicuous at the back of the church, which keeps its faith private, which is diligent and reverent in its attendance, and which has paid its ‘dues’ to the Church over a long period. Yet it also craves the physical reality of attendance. Zoom is perhaps not the optimal vehicle for this body of opinion: Zoom requires admission by an administrator (not all administrators are equally as efficient); the perception can be of admission to an hermetic community (even if the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

Perhaps Zoom works differently in the UK, but over here it is not absolutely necessary for an administrator to grant access to a session–all that is needed is the ID number of the session and a passcode–which can be publicly advertised (and, IMO, for a church service should be). As for the “in your face” aspect, it is not necessary to activate your own video and you can use an anonymous screen name.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

It is unfortunate if the impression has been given that Michael is simply being “difficult”. Everyone here can sympathise with his situation – particularly since he suffered a recent bereavement. His situation, however, is far from unique. Many of us have experienced isolation, loneliness and a wish that the Churches would be open to provide fellowship. Such is the nature of the pandemic that human distress is inevitable and sometimes unavoidable. Providing church services is not without risk and it is selfish to demand they should be open. There are other ways for Church people to support each other than… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

But you are ranking ASDA as more important than theatre. Equally you are ranking Communion lower than the pet store or hardware shop. Buying nails is more important than sharing bread. That’s what not celebrating the Eucharist says.
 
And if Church of England ministers don’t think the Eucharist is essential, then why should the populace? In a year’s time if a church starts offering the Eucharist again, why should anyone attend when the church has proven that it doesn’t matter?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

ASDA is more important than theatre since one can survive without plays but not food. Communion is not lower than a pet store, but is more dangerous. The Eucharist is essential outside a pandemic when it can’t kill people. You are totally mistaken in claiming the Church says the Eucharist doesn’t matter. No one has ever said that. Keeping people alive matters more.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

At one stage I had the privilege of being associated with Trinity Hall, a Cambridge college founded in the aftermath of the Black Death. We were told that the Founder’s intention was to replenish the ranks of the clergy, who had been disproportionately exposed by their ministry to the sick and dying. They knew perfectly well what risk they were running by carrying out their ministry, even though they had little scientific knowledge of exactly how that risk was caused. I’m interested to hear how far we have advanced since those unscientific times.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Richard Pinch
8 months ago

Many thanks for that. It should be noted that William Bateman’s scheme was to increase the numbers of clergy trained in canon and civil law rather than clergy providing pastoral care (the former having formed the backbone of the civil service, but who were rapidly giving way to laymen under Edward III, the first three lay chancellors being appointed in 1340-45 with anti-clerical sentiment then running high). However, the statutes of the college only required two of the fellows to be in orders, even fewer than Peterhouse. It was also the only one of the ‘old’ colleges where the head… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

That is very interesting. But it doesn’t answer Richard’s question.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Richard Pinch
8 months ago

I’m sure you are not advocating the establishment of colleges to replenish clergy who have sadly died of Covid. It has been suggested elsewhere on this site that the clergy should put themselves at risk of death from the virus to copy Jesus’ Sacrifice. This is a disgraceful and unenlightened idea and is redolent of primitive religions. Thankfully, rational Christians can be thankful for scientific progress, particularly medical advancements. Today doctors and nurses put themselves at risk, but take every possible precaution to stay safe from this horrible disease. To suggest clergy should copy their ignorant mediaeval forebears is risible.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Use PPE if you want to minimise risk but the idea that we shouldn’t celebrate because it is risky is profoundly un-Biblical

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

People died of the plague in the Bible

John S
John S
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Don’t we need to distinguish risks we accept for ourselves, and risks we impose on third parties?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

We certainly do, but that is not the same as saying that we must never do anything that might impose a risk on other people: that simply isn’t possible. I’m reminded of two people I encountered back in the last millennium when I was in Cambridge. One was Terry Waite, who was a visiting fellow of Trinity Hall shortly after his release from captivity. He had put himself at considerable risk, and others collaterally so. Perhaps there are readers here who would immediately categorise him as an “irresponsible imbecile” and indeed there were people at that time who were keen… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Well, if we’re talking about what’s ‘biblical’ or ‘unbiblical’, there’s definite biblical support for ‘breaking bread in your own home’ (Acts 2). I’m well aware of a good many friends who do it, and i for one am not going to scold them for it. I’m pretty sure God is big enough to work through these ‘home communions’, and they have the added advantage of not being potentially lethal.

Last edited 8 months ago by Tim Chesterton
Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

If there is a shortfall in clergy numbers, then presumably measures will be needed to address that: maybe increasing the number of training places might be considered as one of them. I am suggesting that if, and only if, Christians, be they ordained or lay, feel the call to put the spreading of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, or any other part of Christian life, ahead of their personal safety, then we should accept, and support, that call gratefully. Our “ignorant mediaeval forebears” knew perfectly well that they were putting themselves at great personal risk, and some of… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Richard Pinch
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Richard Pinch
8 months ago

The doctors and nurses having to treat such irresponsible imbeciles won’t be laughing either.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Can it really be that you view those who feel called to spread the Word or minister the sacraments at personal risk as “irresponsible imbeciles”? What an astonishing position. Still, I suppose the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

Last edited 8 months ago by Richard Pinch
NJW
NJW
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

As a parish priest at heart I have less of a problem with the risk I might be running for myself, but more of the risk that might be presented to my family. However, that is all mitigated by how I conduct myself. What is a bigger issue, and has caused the closure of some churches is the way that people have gathered before and after services – presenting a significant risk to themselves and others – and the diminishing willingness of people to volunteer to steward churches. In a community where the local hospital had declared a major incident… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 months ago

I really do appreciate this website, and wish to thank the editors for all the hard work they do. The detailed work on abuse in the church has been outstanding. Recently, though, I have begun to find it rather Church of England, rather than Anglican focussed, and also I would appreciate hearing from a slightly broader variety of sources than, say, those frequently quoted in ‘Opinion’ – mind you ‘The Fence’ is a new one to me. The extensive cover of the machinations of Christ Church, Oxford are in danger of becoming out of proportion and focussing on the privileged… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Dave
8 months ago

I would second your comments about the superb work undertaken by the editors and moderators of this site, who perform their tasks with consummate professionalism week in, week out, and have done so for two decades. It is a great feat, and I think that everyone who uses this site must be extremely thankful for what they do. As to your remarks, I imagine it is a function of what is available, not least in qualitative terms. I am myself frustrated about the lack of information that is publicly available about the Church of Ireland or the Church in Wales,… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

Ah yes … I so loved the Rectors Wife, so to speak! Joanna Trollope addresses so insightfully the church as experienced in the shires. Apparently there is another Trollope, though I have heard references to trollops (sp?)- not very Woke. Thank you Froghole for your encyclopedic (pre Wikipedic) deep and broad observations and contributions, and the rest.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

I have found Stanley’s comments about his ministry in the Church of Ireland very interesting and helpful in understanding the ethos of that church .

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Simon Bravery
8 months ago

Thank you. Those who think the CoI is merely the Church of England in Ireland are utterly mistaken. Furthermore, though (more or less) united in liturgy, it has a different feel in the Orange north, the liberal cities and towns (Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Galway), and the “masonic” rural areas of the Republic where the gap created by the fall of the Protestant Aristocracy was filled PDQ by Church of Ireland farmers. One of my former colleagues in Co Laois described it as little more than a marriage bureau for young male farmers. Even those days are past now with more… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Dave
8 months ago

The link at the top of the TA main page “About Thinking Anglicans” contains the words we wrote when we set out nearly two decades ago. In particular, the emphasis has always been on events in Britain, and very often that means the Church of England (rather than the Irish, Scottish or Welsh provinces with which the CofE is in communion). So I don’t think that the focus on the Church of England is a recent thing.

Patricia Harries
Patricia Harries
8 months ago

As a ‘Thinking Baptist’ it is interesting to read how others are adapting to worship. My community has communion once a month. The two go together – community and communion. My pastor would never think of having communion at home without the community. We haven’t done worship online. Some of our families do not have a computer so children have struggled with education. The pastor found ways of keeping everyone included. It has worked for us. In the summer we met often outdoors and it was a good boost to morale. The town centre church has not been open since… Read more »

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