Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 16 March 2024

Andrew Brown Church Times Press: Telegraph sketches Jekyll-and-Hyde C of E

Madeleine Davies Church Times No churchwardens and vacant PCC posts: an investigation into the church volunteering crisis

[Church Times has lifted its paywall for the whole of March.]

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Living in Love and Faith and Together for the Church of England

Neil Elliot NumbersMatters Dioceses of the ACC – by numbers

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T Pott
T Pott
4 months ago

The Church Times articles come up with a blue screen informing me I have read the article, but I cannot do so because of the blue screen. Is there a solution?

Last edited 4 months ago by T Pott
Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  T Pott
4 months ago

Try an Incognito window. Use the keyboard shortcut combination Ctrl-Shift-N (Windows Chrome) or Command-Shift-N (macOS) or Ctrl-Shift-P (Firefox).

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

Thank you. This works fine.

Froghole
Froghole
4 months ago

The article discussing PCCs is very disappointing – not because of its composition (Madeleine Davies is an excellent journalist), but because it is illustrative of the dismal poverty of imagination which afflicts the Church as a whole. The PCC, like its near contemporary, the DBF, is a johnny-come-lately to the Church (1921). It is, in effect a pallid residue of the old vestry, which was the main organ of local government in England and Wales until 1894 (the quarter sessions were also very important, but they met briefly only once or twice a year). They function on the effective presumption… Read more »

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

The National Trust does almost nothing but look after old buildings, and it has about 5 million members. There are people who are called to that sort of thing. Let one of the wardens chair a subcommittee and leave them to get on with it.

A PCCs agenda reflects the interests and priorities of the chair. If the vicar has no interest in outreach then that’s unlikely to happen.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

“Let one of the wardens chair a subcommittee and leave them to get on with it.” Any parish priest who did that would rapidly be accused of dumping on the church warden.

Russell Based
Russell Based
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

Have a property sub committee. It’s not rocket science.

Marcus Collie
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

I am sorry but that is just not correct. Whilst I would not characterise it quite as Oliver did, that is exactly how the PCC I happen to chair operates. We have a subcommittee that deals with buildings, heritage, grounds, graveyard, anything to do with the maintenance and operation of the building, finance, money, giving and financial stewardship – this is chaired by the churchwarden. I sit on the committee but do not necessarily attend every meeting. This means the PCC exclusively deals with mission priorities, outreach, social events, safeguarding, parish policy and has a regular ‘theology’ slot where we… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Marcus Collie
4 months ago

I’m very pleased that you have a large enough body of volunteers who have the confidence to take on such levels of responsibility. That, sadly, is not the case everywhere.

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Marcus Collie
4 months ago

That’s exactly what good leadership looks like.

Last edited 4 months ago by Oliver Miller
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

But it does depend on having lay people with the time, skills, and confidence to carry out these functions. It’s not the case everywhere.

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Janet Fife
4 months ago

No Janet! It’s the other way around. People with the time skills and confidence to carry out these functions are attracted to churches where their gifts are valued. They are not attracted to churches where they are taken for granted.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

That may be true in prosperous suburbs and the more salubrious parts of cities. But parishes in sparsely populated rural areas, troubled housing estates, and inner city slums often struggle to find people for volunteer roles at all – let alone roles requiring the exercise of initiative and leadership. Hence recent reporting on the dearth of churchwardens, treasurers, and PCC members – let alone subcommittee chairs.

PatrickT
PatrickT
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

Why should they be interested in outreach, they could say they were ordained to minister to the faithful, not pander to people like you who kick them from pillar to post and criticise them up hill and down dale, day in and day out.

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  PatrickT
4 months ago

I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one Patrick.

It’s funny how people never seem to declare that they don’t believe in outreach before they’re ordained. It’s always after they’ve got the nice house and job for life.

PatrickT
PatrickT
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

If that is correct, why are you attacking the clergy but not the system which allows them to behave in ways which you find so unsatisfactory? Do you have any prescription for how things should look, or are you content to just keep on with your beatings-will-continue-until-morale-improves approach?

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  PatrickT
4 months ago

I complain about the system all the time. Clergy need to be employees, not office holders. They need regular performance reviews by a suitable committee, and the good ones need to be recognised publicly. Each diocese should publish financial and attendance statistics for each parish, with a league table for the most successful. The first question to be asked of anyone looking to be ordained or applying for any position ought to be “How would you expect to be judged?”. Paying clergy an hourly wage, like locum doctors, would solve all sorts of problems. I could go on all day.… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

What a terrific idea, Oliver. Then, like most locum doctors of my acquaintance (and yes, I do know a lot of medics – hospital based and GPs) we can earn far more than the salaried people for working the same hours, charge much more for weekend working and anti social hours, be paid overtime, have no management responsibilities and go home at a set time, after which we aren’t troubled again until our scheduled shift starts the next day. Oh, and we can take as much leave as we choose when we choose, and should we get something more lucrative… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  PatrickT
4 months ago

I’m hoping that one day Oliver will approach his DDO for a conversation, in which he can explain how it is that he knows he could do the job of a parish priest so much better than those currently doing it. I’m sure the DDO will never have heard such a thing before.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

Absolutely, Father. His comment about judgement made me shudder – not because being performance managed terrifies me – but because it shows up a fundamental issue we have in the C of E: a complete absence of theological reflection. Not the ‘pie in the sky’ kind of navel gazing so beloved by some – a realistic, down to Earth appreciation of what we say we believe and how it can guide our actions. I’m all for appropriate mutual accountability between human beings in community. But…. How do I expect to be judged? One day I, like every Christian, will, God… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

The members of the NT are, really, bulk purchase customers.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  T Pott
4 months ago

Precisely. The vast majority of people don’t “join” the National Trust in order to be a volunteer, they buy an annual pass it’s cheaper and easier than paying on the door. People who buy season tickets to commute to work aren’t volunteering to help run the railways, either.

american piskie
american piskie
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

I don’t think that your suggestion meets Froghole’s main point, the burden of trusteeship. Any major decision (the sort where risk lies) will surely come to the PCC and every trustee will be “implicated”. I am not sure whether, like company directors, trustees who disagree with a decision can resign on the spot and avoid liability; churchwardens need episcopal permission to resign so are tied in.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  american piskie
4 months ago

“I don’t think that your suggestion meets Froghole’s main point, the burden of trusteeship” I would never become a trustee of anything, and I would divorce my wife if she became a trustee: I’d rather divide our assets now while we have some and keep half, than risk losing all of them later. I was reluctant enough about her becoming a school governor, and in hindsight neither of us would do that now. Becoming personally liable for the decisions of others is an absurd thing to do. British society properly recognises that without limited liability for company directors few would… Read more »

Pengalls
Pengalls
Reply to  Interested Observer
4 months ago

Here in Wales I decided that Mission Area (MA) Trusteeship covering 16 churches was too risky, so stood down at the last Vestry Meeting. I did agree to continue on the local church committee as Warden Emeritus but with no trusteeship of the MA implied. We now have no wardens and just 3 of us, treasurer (aren’t we lucky?), Secretary and me plus the Rector to run the church… but we do have a small dedicated church family and a thriving monthly Messy Church… we have hope!

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  american piskie
4 months ago

Froghole wrote: ” [ . . . ] PCC meetings are infinitely tedious, and overwhelmed by the minutiae of drains, boilers, quinquennial surveys, quotes from excessively expensive contractors, etc., etc.” My point is that none of this needs to be discussed at a PCC meeting. It can be debated in a subcommittee and then brought to the PCC for a quick final vote. PCC meetings can be brief, interesting, and rewarding provided they are well-run. Good vicars understand this. Some people love caring for old buildings, while others enjoy talking about finance and accounting. A minister’s role includes encouraging and… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Oliver Miller
4 months ago

“It can be debated in a subcommittee and then brought to the PCC for a quick final vote. PCC meetings can be brief, interesting, and rewarding provided they are well-run.” You’re making two big assumptions here: that there are enough people with the confidence and capacity to take things on as a sub committee – if there aren’t then a sub committee just means that the same people have to go through everything twice that PCCs want to be rid of tedious business – in my experience the culture of many PCCs is very wedded to grinding through interminable business, and… Read more »

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

Bring new people into the church, then onto the PCC and nurture them, and these problems will be solved in just a few years. Clergy shape their churches and their PCCs. It’s just a fact of life.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

This is not a problem unique to, or even predominantly of, churches. I am peripherally involved in a climbing club which has substantial assets (huts in national parks where further development is basically forbidden) and a complex constitution which requires multiple officers. The people that founded the club in the years immediately after the war are now all dead, and the people that in the early years of the club formed the various committees are either dead or infirm, and certainly no longer climbing in the Himalayas or sight-leading E2. Because they didn’t realise their own mortality, they continued to… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Interested Observer
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Interested Observer
4 months ago

Many thanks, as ever! The ‘worst generation’ indeed. Their latest poison pill, arguably even worse than their extremely toxic housing legacy, is to have created a foreign policy which is guaranteed to secure permanently higher prices (chiefly to the benefit of commodity producers, including the US) for long into the future, but only having already put almost all people of working age onto defined contribution pensions with no indexation protection. Naturally, few of them will live to savour the rotting fruits of this particular experiment in policymaking folly.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
4 months ago

Re: the info from Neil Elliot regarding the stats and specifically my diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Neil notes there are 5 ‘unpaid’ clergy. I did a quick count on our diocesan clergy website and counted eleven. I’m attempting to find out why the discrepancy. A small matter really. There was a good cohort of non-stipes out of the gate shortly after the program was launched about 25+ years ago. At some point the program was re-named CAPP (community of associate parish priests or some such). I notice there are a number of those who are listed… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

I’m told Neil’s numbers for unpaid clergy above come directly from diocesan reporting to National. I’ve also been asking around. Some of the people listed in my diocese as CAPP priests formerly NSOM ( Non Stipendiary Ordained Ministry) are now being paid perhaps when ‘on loan’ from their home parishes and doing a significant amount of parish work. That is a detail that fits into the larger issue of demographics, decline, and the state of ordained ministry. I’ve also had a chance to read the Madeleine Davies article. Very interesting!

Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

I read Neill Elliot’s piece with some interest. Two things stood out. First, as he says, there is considerable variety among dioceses regarding how the figure ‘number on parish rolls’ is calculated. The combined population of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories is about 84,000 people; the Diocese of the Arctic claims it has 33,000+ on its parish rolls. I worked in that diocese 1984-91; most of the communities are small and it’s not hard at all to simply go through the households house by house and say “They’re Anglican”, “They’re Pentecostal”, “They’re RC” etc. I suspect that’s what has happened.… Read more »

Peter Misiaszek
Peter Misiaszek
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

I’d like to question the reliability of the data in general as there are far too many anomalies, including: 1) As indicated above, the roll numbers for the Diocese of the Arctic as over-representative of the diocese. But this is equally suspect in Eastern NFLD and Labrador, Mishamikoweesh, Moosonee, Saskatchewan and Western NFLD. I bet there was a lot of gestimation goin on here. 2) The inconsistent ratio between attendees and givers. In the diocese of Toronto the average ratio since 2001 is 1 attendee for every 1.31 givers. At the high end during that time is 1.51 and the… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter Misiaszek
4 months ago

Peter, you’re in Toronto diocese, right?

Peter Misiaszek
Peter Misiaszek
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

You bet. I’m intimately connected to the numbers. Which is why the inaccuracies are so striking. I’m rather perplexed how the “reported” numbers are out of step from actual figures. I know the trend isn’t positive for pretty much everyone, but the reported numbers are different than those I am using. The frustrating thing for a stats wonk like me is that you look forward with great anticipation to a report from General Synod only to encounter obvious inconsistencies and unsubstantiated reporting – like the number on parish rolls in The Arctic. Do they actually have all of those people… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
Reply to  Peter Misiaszek
4 months ago

Having previously served in WNL, I can attest to Tim’s method of counting members. In outpost communities, almost everyone identifies with a denomination, and in a small community (my smallest was 20 people) it’s easy to count everyone, and exclude who is RC or Gospel Hall or United. Many of these people do not attend, but look to the church for baptism, marriage, and funerals. And many will give nominal financial support, if only because they want the church to still be around for their funeral.

David Keen
David Keen
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

I’d be interested to know how many central support staff are employed by Dioceses in Canada, and the ratio of this to frontline clergy.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Keen
4 months ago

David, I can’t speak to that in terms of the big dioceses (Toronto, New Westminster). I’ve always worked in smaller dioceses. When I was in Saskatchewan (1979-84), we had bishop, executive archdeacon, and diocesan secretary, and I think about 20-30 clergy. The Arctic (1984-91) had bishop, suffragan bishop, executive archdeacon and secretary, with 31 parishes covering I think the largest geographical area of any Anglican diocese in the world, most of which was only accessible by air. Athabasca (1991-2000) had bishop, exec archdeacon, and secretary, to about 18 parishes covering the entire northern half of the province of Alberta. Edmonton… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

“Rod Gillis and I live in very different cultures and environments.” Yes we do. Difficult for folks abroad to get an existential feel for that. I appreciate your comments here about the north and west a great deal. In some ways it is easier to find out what is going on in the UK. Query: What is the state of things regarding active religious life in First Nations Anglican communities there where you are/have been? How might the different approaches compare i.e. active Anglicans, to Traditional First Nations spiritual practices, to non active religiously? The First Nation here is Mi’kmaq.… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

Rod, I’m very cautious about speaking about those communities, not being part of them myself. My impression is that all three of the approaches you mention are alive and well, with the proviso that ‘active Christian’ is more accurate than ‘active Anglican’, Anglican being very much a minor player statistically out here. Most Christians tend to be either RC or evangelical protestant.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Interesting. Thanks. “I’m very cautious about speaking about those communities, not being part of them myself.” I agree. Would that the Anglican Journal would up its game in terms of keeping Anglicans across the country in touch with one another.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

Is there a particular reason why you comment on the affairs of the Church of England, but not certain communities in Canada ??

Last edited 4 months ago by Peter
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

I’m mystified by your belief you understand the UK, whilst you also tell people “abroad” they will not be able to understand your environment.

Last edited 4 months ago by Peter
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  David Keen
4 months ago

Is that not what is indicated in the top table far right column, ‘paid diocesan worker’? The number 8 listed for our diocese seems correct, for example. I think if there is a weak link in the data it would be at the diocesan end i.e. the reporting source to National. Neil has done a lot of professional demographic research. The projections for the future of the ACC are very dire without question. Everyone here knows that. See the link with teaser below. The report referenced is pre-pandemic btw. “Elliot writes in the introduction ‘A simple projection from our data… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

I’m not clear whether ‘paid diocesan worker’ means clergy, lay, or both, or if it’s what David Keen is asking. I see our diocese is listed as having 4 paid diocesan workers, who I suspect are the treasurer (who is also a deacon), the bishop’s PA, and the two reception/secretarial/communications people in the synod office. I think in many English dioceses there are numerous other staff positions in lay training, ministry support etc. etc. (for instance, my brother held a Mission Action Planning staff position in the Diocese of Manchester for a couple of years). David, is that the sort… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

In our case (NSPEI) there is a priest on staff who is in a parish vitality coordinator who indeed spends a lot of time out in parishes. The vocations coordinator/formation director is also a priest.
I think the remainder are laity in administrative rolls.

David Keen
David Keen
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Yes that’s what I was getting at, what’s called ‘Diocesan support staff’ – finance, ministry support, safeguarding, building advisors etc. I think the idea of these roles being done by parish clergy (and/or laity) on a part time basis is a good one – central bureaucracy has a habit of becoming self-sustaining, and it seems to be much harder to reduce than numbers of parish clergy when Dioceses are making cutbacks.

Charles Read
Reply to  David Keen
4 months ago

While some of these can and are done by parish priests part time, many could not be – safeguarding etc. needs to be done by people professional in that sphere. They might of course be SSM or LLM…

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

The figure for Montreal appears to include both lay and ordained staff ( with two of the lay employees, the general office workers, being shared with the cathedral)

Peter
Peter
4 months ago

The evidence would indicate that the Anglican Church of Canada is heading towards extinction.

Peter Misiaszek
Peter Misiaszek
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

My analysis from Ontario would indicate we will be about 25% of our current church going attendance by 2040. Parishes with the capacity to fund programs, hire staff and have several funding pipelines will continue to flourish. Country parishes will be forced into regionalized support units until the numbers are simply insufficient to support key volunteer roles. Churches don’t close when they hit zero members – they close long before that. Churches can survive for a while with limited funds and no ministry plan. But without committed volunteers to serve as wardens, treasurers and pastoral visitors, churches cease. Toronto has… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

Along with the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales. Liberal theology has zero power to convert the world and little power to hold on to its own. What should a thinking Anglican conclude about this?

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  James
4 months ago

Agreed, but isn’t the important thing whether it’s true or not, not how wide its appeal?

If any of us conclude that a particular way is the truth how can we abandon it just because it doesn’t have wide appeal?

Although he wasn’t talking about today’s liberal theology, when Jesus speaks of the narrow way and “few are those who find it”, no one argues that we must therefore adopt another, more popular, theology…

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
Reply to  James
4 months ago

Whether a parish thrives or not rarely depends on conservative or liberal theology. In my diocese, we have conservative churches closing, and liberal churches closing. And some defy such classification. How would you define an HTB reboot that invites same-sex couples to its Alpha Marriage Course?

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

I had the pleasure of being a part of an effort to rejuvenate a parish in Riverdale in Toronto, and I count those years very special, and that lovely parish (mostly non-white) pulls on my heart strings even now. I was in charge of a Sunday evening preaching service, and was on the staff more widely. I was asked to preach on the Feast of St Matthew and was astonished at the turnout. People who had been raised there, in what was the largest Sunday school in the ACC, swelled the facilities. Folks who moved to the suburbs. Who returned… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Anglican Priest
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anglican Priest
4 months ago

It is a blessing to hear of your time involved in what was surely a work of The Spirit.

JC Fisher
JC Fisher
4 months ago

Been away from TA for awhile. A lot of gloom and doom here: conservative homophobes cheering the End of the Liberal Church (while out in the world, the ever-increasing number of the anti-religious cheer the end of ALL churches). But here in my corner of the world—Carmichael, CA, USA—my Episcopal Church is growing. LGBTQ members, families with children, all of the above. The Love of Jesus does persuade people to come and join . . . as long as putative worshippers of Jesus don’t block that love with their non-Gospel judgments. [And while the anti-religious almost invariably have horror stories… Read more »

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  JC Fisher
4 months ago

The Carmichael report is very good to hear and makes me wonder if a split in the C of E might not be such a bad thing. Two very different theologies and cultures free to do their thing without needing to pull each other down constantly.

Interesting to wonder whether I have more in common with liberals of other faiths and of none, than with conservative “fellow” Christians. Likewise maybe conservative Christians have more in common with conservatives of other faiths, with their premodern worldview and irrational trust in ancient writings? I do find Churches Together groups rather hard work!

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  JC Fisher
4 months ago

It has been a while! Good to see comment from you again. Social environments matter. They matter to a comprehensive understanding of religious phenomena and trends. This is something that sociologist Reg Bibby notes out of the gate in his book, Resilient Gods: Being Pro-Religious, Low Religious, or No Religious In Canada. When I have visited churches in other countries I try and keep the social environment in mind when reflecting on that experience. In The States ( and this is limited anecdotal ) I have been really taken with the energy, the vibe of TEC parishes. I’ve also been… Read more »

Peter
Peter
4 months ago

It has been fascinating to see the engagement of Canadian commentators on this thread, further to Elliot’s piece. They are scrupulous in their concern to respect local knowledge and to show courtesy before commenting on sensitive matters – which is to be admired. They are, at the same time, happy to comment at length and in detail on the situation in England. (One Canadian commentator is open about their refusal to even engage with specific English individuals which is pretty direct comment !) I am a free speech absolutist so I make no complaint. People should say what they think… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

Peter: Rod asked me for information about the current religious situation in indigenous communities in the west and north. I am always happy to share stories about my own experiences in those communities, but I don’t currently live or work in one (although I did from 1979-91), so I prefer not to describe them to others as if I was an authorized representative of those communities, which I am not. In the Anglican Church of Canada, when a conversation is about an individual or people group, we prefer to have that individual or people group in the room as an… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Speaking only for myself, I am always delighted to read news about what is going on in Canada. Although I read the Globe & Mail several times a week, I am frequently pained by the dismal lack of interest shown by the British press in the affairs of Canada (and also of many other places besides, including most of the British isles). It was not always so, and I would suggest (tentatively) that the British press and political class has gradually succumbed to a degree of narrowness, narcissism and self-reference which seems to grow ever more profound even as it… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

Thanks Froghole! Yes—all too often we assume that Anglicans around the world see things just like us. I find it helpful to be reminded that they don’t, even though it might be a challenge to me.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Tim, It was a genuine question. I promise you it was not an unsubtle dig ! I over reacted in regard to the issue of racism and it is I who owe you an apology. My ancestors are Irish and racism against Irish immigrants crushed my mother’s family. It’s a raw subject, but I should not have reacted as I did to you. I think the leadership of the Church of England has taken on set of values that are just not rooted in their local communities. For that reason it is perfectly natural for geography to be no barrier… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Peter
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

‘I see that as a generally a good thing – regardless of the fact that I might disagree with a Canadian perspective.’

Peter, I find that a very positive statement. I’m regularly told on TA that I don’t understand the C of E—especially when it comes to issues arising from the Establishment. People sometimes don’t get that you can understand something and still disagree with it!

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Hey Tim. When I posed my query I was not asking you to speak authoritatively or on behalf of anyone. Your part of this vast country has experience with First Nations who are Anglicans in number in a way that is not true for where I am. As a person who is interested in religion in the broadest sense, any public record dialogue that may be going on is of interest. However, as soon as I saw your reply, I knew where you were coming from. I respect that completely. With regard to the public record, I’ve attached a link… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

Rod – no, and maybe that’s not the right way for me to express it either. I just didn’t feel confident answering your question in a helpful way, and I would rather link you up with FN friends who could give a better answer from the inside. What you have to say about Atlantic Canada is fascinating; I have old Church Army friends in NB and NL, and have visited NB two or three times to stay with them, but the history and culture is very unfamiliar to me (as you can imagine, it wasn’t exhaustively covered in the history… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

The folk music observation is interesting. Are there particular artists/groups you are thinking about? One of my boys is a musician and professional musicologist. I’ll have to quiz him about the genre. I’m a big fan of some of the popular artists who would be in the category of traditional maritime music i.e. Lenny Gallant (PEI), Great Big Sea (NL) and so forth. My wife and I get to a local ceilidh with traditional Scottish music with traditional ‘airs’. They are a big tourist attraction in the summer. There is a huge connection between the traditional Celtic Cape Breton Music… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

There are songwriters who write in the traditional style (Stan Rogers and his ilk come to mind), but there are also singers who actually sing old traditional (i.e. handed down from antiquity) songs – the most outstanding, in my view, being Matthew Byrne. Some straddle that divide (Great Big Sea did really enjoyable interpretations of trad songs, as well as their own material). In the UK, ‘traditional’ means ‘songs handed down from the past, most of them anonymous’ (google Martin Carthy, Jon Wilks, Jim Moray, Eliza Carthy, Cara Dillon, Nic Jones, Anne Briggs, Maddy Prior/Steeleye Span etc.). But that’s so… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Thanks Tim, I shall research this more.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

Rod, which Church Army people were they?

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

The Late Ron Walker who was a good friend and a ( mature) student in the class behind me at AST, The late Rev. Art Nash, both of them are now deceased. The third is retired and living but active in parish ministry, The Rev. Reg McDonald.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

I met both Art and Reg when I was starting out with CA in the late seventies/early eighties. Ron I knew of, but never met. My commissioning was in 1978 so my contemporaries were a later generation. There were eight in our commissioning class, seven of whom are still alive, six of whom were eventually ordained, and we have taken to meeting on Zoom every year on May 5, the anniversary of our commissioning.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Ron was in Church Army from 1961-74, He entered AST in 74. A good friend. Reg is more active in parish work in retirement than I have been. He is in an area of our diocese where there is a real shortage of priests. So his ministry in retirement is certainly much appreciated. Excellent parish priests all. Small world–even in a vast country.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
4 months ago

Given that (a) in those days a large percentage of Church Army people were from the Maritimes, and that (b) I only moved west after completing my training, it’s not surprising that I know a lot of CA people from the Maritimes!

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

lol. six degrees of separation.

Aljbri
Aljbri
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Thank you, Tim. I was pondering a reply to Peter based on your many helpful (to me) contributions to this site, but the measured response comes much better from you, no intermediary needed. I find the contributions from Canada to our exchanges illuminating and they prompt me to thought. In any context I welcome comments from beyond the immediate circle because a change of perspective or cultural variation is useful in challenging group think or narrow vision. I look forward to hearing more from you.

Rowland P
Rowland P
4 months ago

Not that surprising about PCCs. We are led by bishops who have often not been incumbents for long, if at all.

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