Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 16 October 2021

Giles Fraser UnHerd God save us from trendy vicars
“Young people don’t want Jesus to be their best mate”

Church Times Compulsory worship in schools should end
“It is time to change a law that threatens to bring the C of E into serious disrepute, argues Richard Harries

Helen King ViaMedia.News The Changing Face of General Synod

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Father David
Father David
1 month ago

I find myself in total agreement with Giles Fraser as he makes an “el” of a good point regarding the Bournemouth church wanting in future to be known as St. Mike’s. Some churches take this even further and are simply known by their initials HTB, for example.I also agree with his point about the inadvisability of bishops shortening their baptismal names to Bob, Nick and Pete etc. At one time we had quite a number of bishops called David but a don’t recall a single one wishing to be known as Bishop Dave. Mercifully, as Robert (Bob) Runcie once pointed… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Father David
1 month ago

On the other hand, if a person who has always been known by a diminutive suddenly insists on his or her full name on acquiring a mitre, it looks as though they’ve got very self important.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Agreed. They just sound pompous. And quite frankly, given that we wear weird clothes and have weird sounding titles (what do ‘the Venerable’ or ‘the Very Reverend’ communicate to most people who aren’t used to it?), most Anglican clergy are in much greater danger of excessive pomposity than excessive familiarity. Especially when a new ordinand in their twenties insists that all the grandparents in the congregation call them ‘Father’ or ‘Mother’.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Absolutely!

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Perhaps someone from St. Mike’s could write a rejoinder to Giles Fraser, something along the lines of, Yahweh Save Us From Grumpy Vicars. And did you get a gawk at the clothes horse in the article’s photo inset? Lordy! His get-up looks like it was made from the curtains at Buckingham Palace. However, Fraser brings back memories. The R.C. high school I attended back in the seventies was named St. Michael High; but everyone called it ‘St. Mike’s’. The only time I can recall hearing it referred to as St. Michael’s was by the principal over the P.A. system. Who… Read more »

Alice
Alice
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

The RC girls’ high school local to where I grew up was the Convent of the Visitation, but everyone called it ‘Viz’.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Alice
1 month ago

One of the local R.C. parishes here is named Our Lady of Fatima. However, parishioners and non-parishioners alike refer to it simply as ‘Fatima’. What time is Saturday mass at Fatima? It’s at 6:00 pm, but we should be out by 6:45. One of the high church parishes in T.O., St. Mary Magdalen, is usually shortened to St. Mary Mag’s. Fun topic with lot’s of applications. President Dwight Eisenhower campaigned with the slogan, “I like Ike”.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Georgie Carey was once vicar of St. Nic’s in Durham City, so shortening saints’ names to attract smiling youngsters by grinning ministers is not new. Rather than the public viewing these ‘trendy’ clergy as being street-wise and ‘hip’, the perception is they’re to be mocked, laughed at or ignored. The “hot priest” from Fleabag depicted wearing the Buckingham Palace curtains was loved by the public for his swearing, drinking and sexual indiscretions. People prefer their clergy to be ‘normal’, not grinning men called Micky or Nicky who think all young people love the funky music of Cliff Richard.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Er – Cliff Richard? I know who he is, but my kids certainly don’t, and my youngest is 32. Do try to keep up, FrDavidH!

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Sir Cliff is still performing aged 80. Good for him! Why is it his style of music is thought by some smiling ministers as likely to attract youth?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

I’m not sure what passes for contemporary worship music in the Church of England, but the stuff I hear on this side of the pond bears absolutely no resemblance to Cliff Richard’s music. Unless you think that anything played with electric guitars sounds the same – in which case, let me introduce you to the difference between Chet Atkins and Eddie Van Halen.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I agree with a comment on the unHerd website that much ‘relevant’ church music often sounds “like a third rate pop concert (not even a third rate rock concert)”. I’d rather have a traditional church choir struggling to hit the right note, than some embarrassing Pop Idol wannabes designed to entrap yoof.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

See, what I hear from you on this, Father, is ‘My culture is good and holy and God really enjoys it, but your culture is trite and unworthy and not good enough for God.’

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I like BOTH traditions!

I adore organ music and church anthems.

I adore charismatic worship led by guitars.

I also love silence.

Whatever opens people’s hearts to God.

David Foster
David Foster
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Great comment thank you

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I’ve often enjoyed attending High Mass which has included modern worship songs. I don’t think an evangelical hymn sandwich service conducted by a smiling minister has much significance. Like having a sandwich with no nutritious filling.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Ah, so we’re going to stop making snide comments about pop idol wannabees and ‘yoof’, are we?

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

No.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Not much significance for you, perhaps, but rich in significance for others.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

I can’t see where Jesus said “Sing nice inoffensive worship songs with your hands in the air, in remembrance of me”. He left us with something far more significant.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Well that is what we hear the other way round. Apparently choral singing is not “inclusive”, makes it hard for people to “worship God fully”, “creates distance” between the congregation and God. I could go on. All of which are used to ditch choirs and replace them with modern worship music which is often designed to be sung by single vocalist and is too rhythmically complex to be accessible for congregational singing and too tonally bland to be memorable. I’m frankly getting tired of the war being waged on traditional church music in our church as if it is the… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

Yes, a sad story common throughout the land. What also irks me is that choirs including a good number (15-25 in my experience) of children have been replaced often by a couple of scruffy ageing hippies with big bellies. Choirs were wonderful means of evangelising the young,

Something about shooting itself in the foot comes to mind.

Cantab
Cantab
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Indeed Fr. A friend’s church recently restarted their child choristers programme. 35 child choristers recently inducted/sworn in/whatever the term is. 33 of them were completely new to the church. Fuddy duddy, musty traditional music? No – outreach, mission, evangelism.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

I see your more extended piece on this topic renders my first reply superfluous. I should have read more thoroughly – my apologies. It would be interesting to list those churches whose choirs have fallen or been destroyed – a subject for analysis in a higher degree dissertation. I noted recently that the incumbent of one such church had been made residentiary canon at a prestigious cathedral. It must be a real trial for him to have to do duty at Choral Evensong.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I believe there are some theses out there on the fate of the parish church choir done a various times over the last few decades. It is difficult to find proper UK analyses those as many are North American in focus and I think there are significant differences. Others are focussed on cathedral choirs only. I suspect that any analysis would make deeply depressing reading for anyone who values the Anglican choral tradition. At the end of the day, I have personally seen many churches eviscerate their choirs as part of a modernisation drive and it always follows the same… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

You have my sympathy. I’m poacher turned gamekeeper – church musician with FRCO, then ordained in 2006. I treasure good church music of all sorts if it’s well done, Unfortunately that’s hard to find now. The research would be fraught, I think, and sources unreliable for of course minutes of meetings at which such things were discussed (if they were) would be weighted in favour of the winning side – as they always are. If you’d like to continue this conversation, contact me: wsmonkhouse at gmail dot com

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

I’m getting tired of Christians from any tradition sniping at other Christians who worship differently.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Janet, I agree entirely but the sniping has not all been one-sided and introduction of inappropriate words like ‘snide’ are, shall we say, unhelpful to civilised debate. This very much boils down to ignorance and a lack of instruction in the faith from childhood. Obviously people having had neither are going to be perplexed by a first experience of a Christian church service.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Rowland, the form of Christian spirituality that has nurtured me since I came to faith as a young teenager is regularly dismissed on this website with words like ‘happy-clappy’, ‘trite’, ‘grinning’, ‘pop wannabees’ and so on. I would like to point out that there are many equivalent words that are regularly used to put down the Anglo-Catholic tradition, but I have never once used these words. Perhaps you are right and I should not have used the word ‘snide.’ I apologize, and will now bow out of this discussion.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I will do the same. I think it is time to move on anyway. The subject has been fully discussed.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

It would be a lovely world if we could all respect each other and our diversity, but that is not the case I’m afraid. There is an existential crisis in angelical choral worship brought about by those who see it as an irrelevant barrier. To have legitimate concerns dismissed as ‘sniping’ is part of the DARVO response to any push back against this supposedly modernising agenda. I wish I could just see guitars and praise bands as a great addition to the diversity of how we use music to support worship, but the reality in so many churches I know… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

I wouldn’t object so much to occasional guitars and praise bands within the context of Catholic worship. But the sad abolition of traditional choirs is parallel to the replacement of the Eucharist with all-age services which are not Anglican. Some on this thread rejoice that this is evidence of diversity. It’s not. It’s an attempt at dominance by the ruling party in today’s CofE. They might have a communion service at 8.00am as a sop, in the hope a few old ladies will tire of attending. They can then get on with the main business of converting people to a… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

My observation is that many such clergy are actually Baptists who for some inexplicable reason find the terms and conditions of the CoE cleric strangely attractive. I see in them no affection or respect for Anglican history or polity. My impression is that younger male clerics are more likely to be in this group, and I wonder if they are more often found in dioceses with a certain sort of diocesan bishop. The phenomenon is strongly linked to the vagaries of contemporary pre- and post-ordination training.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

It’s interesting that my comment about people from various traditions criticising each other, has been taken as a defence of evangelical/‘low’ worship and an undermining of choral worship. It is not. I meant what I said, that it’s sad when Christians criticise each others’ preferences. And ‘snide’ was an appropriate word to describe the tone of some (not all) of said criticisms. I too think it’s very sad when choirs are disbanded. I vividly recall how traumatic it was when that happened at a church when I was a curate. A previous vicar did it at the village church I… Read more »

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

It is sad, but it is where we are. I wish I could be so magnanimous but my trust in the central organisation of our church and many of our clergy has been so utterly dismantled by their unwillingness to listen and the obviously low value they attach to the type of worship I and others wish to see continued in our church. Unfortunately when people are ignored and ridden over they become frustrated and bitter. I apologise that I misunderstood your comments, but please understand this comes from a place where I have heard similar coming out of the… Read more »

David Foster
David Foster
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

So am I. No wonder people are not attracted to a church that spends its time criticising those who wish to worship in a different style.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Foster
1 month ago

It’s not a different ‘style’ that we object to. When people join the Church of England and abolish Anglicanism – that’s objectionable. People are free to worship how they like. But should go and do it somewhere else.

David Foster
David Foster
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

You have a very narrow view of the broad Church of England. I’m offended that you have the nerve to tell me to worship elsewhere. My last word lest I get into a war of words

MR DAVID J LAMMING
MR DAVID J LAMMING
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

81 now! His birthday was on 14 October.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  MR DAVID J LAMMING
1 month ago

But he’s still three years junior to young Pope Frankie.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

I take it that Fraser is pointing to irony i.e. the hip quest for relatability results in a lack of relatability. However, I found the entire subject matter lacking in gravitas. Hence my initial comment. It is what comes from studying theology at St. Francis Xavier University, or ‘X‘ as we call it. We had a priest here at one time who, I am told, used to swear putting on his vestments, much as some men do who struggle with the Windsor knot. lol. I’m not familiar with Fleabag; but it gets a mention on the UnHerd comment board. Cliff… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Did your priest appear to be swearing in Latin? Might he have been reciting the vesting prayers? They do include references to the devil and the will of the flesh …

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

I think it was just your garden variety pedestrian swearing R.W. The story was passed onto me by one of our bishops of the day. He was visiting the parish. We were in the sacristy putting on our vestments, and he relayed that story about the guy, who was a colleague senior to him at the time. However, I did know one of our old fashioned prayer book catholic guys who had prayers for vesting: alb, cincture, amice, chasuble, maniple, the whole ball of wax. His prayers were in English.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

I used George Herbert’s Aaron.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

It is lovely. I have never been into prayers, in any language, while vesting. There always seemed to be an inescapable buzz in the vestry before the service, everything from “The sanctuary light is out” to ” Did you know so and so died last night?”. However, we have a practice here of the choir prayer just before processing in–choir in this instance meaning a full choir or just a crucifer and servers. It was a moment to gather and collect–one I frequently appreciated after pre-service chatter. This collect was my favorite for that purpose. ” Creator of the universe,… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

I loved that the hot priest off Fleabag wore a fiddleback chasuble back-to-front!

Doug Chaplin
Reply to  Richard
1 month ago

Then again, he would have (in terms of the designers of fiddleback chasubles) been presiding back-to-front!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Some people like their clergy smiling and informal. Others like their clergy dignified and serious. Some like their church music jolly, others meditative; some of us like both. Young people are no different from their elders in this respect.

And as for ‘people’ not wanting their clergy to be ‘grinning men called Nicky’ – Nicky Gumbel’s church is full. Not my scene, but obviously a lot of people like it.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

I’m sure most people would stay away from a Church on finding out
the vicar calls himself Nicky.

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Why on earth would they do that? Most people would stay away from a church, full stop. Who would stay away because of the vicar’s name?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

Because it’s a clue of the happy-clappy shenanigans going on inside. It’s best to steer clear. I’m sure most RCs would find it off-putting if their trendy Pontiffs re-named themselves Ben & Frankie’s. They might get confused with ice cream salesmen..

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

Now Father, pontiffs can be assigned trendy designations by popular demand: Wojtyla i.e. J2P2 or Ratzinger i.e. B-16.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Back in J2P2’s long papacy the Jesuits at St Beuno’s referred to their Holy Father as TPB. Don’t ask, Rod, but the P referred to his country of origin. And there was I thinking that dissing your bishop was peculiar to TA.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Allan Sheath
1 month ago

God save the Kung! (Hans that is). Church politics is a wicked game. lol.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

I’m rather fond of a former American president named Jimmy.

Nigel
Nigel
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

But they clearly don’t “stay away”, as he has an electoral roll of 5,000 people and an annual budget of over £10 million per year.

And how about those 1 million people per year who listen to him daily on the Bible in One Year app, or the 30 million people who have done Alpha?

Ah, but as I keep telling you, don’t let the facts get in the way of your prejudice!

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Nigel
1 month ago

I hope none of them is gay, Nigel. They’ll get short shrift and be told how wonderful celibacy is!

Nigel
Nigel
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

I smile at your obfuscation – one of your arguments is disputed with fact, and you divert attention with something irrelevant to the argument. Not particularly intellectually coherent, is it?

Well I can very confidently tell you that a number actually are gay, and are open about it – and no one has suggested celibacy to them.

What did I say about facts versus prejudice?

Where to next?

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Nigel
1 month ago

I’m sure that not many people will attend Nicky’s services hand-in-hand with their same-sex partners. They’ d soon be asked to leave! And besides, there’s nothing Anglican about these “trendy vicars”. As Prof Monkhouse points out elsewhere on this thread, they’re Baptists. They’ve been reasonably successful in planting non-Anglican groups using Church of England buildings. Happily, the vast majority of the English population wants nothing to do with them. Thank God.

Last edited 1 month ago by FrDavidH
Nigel
Nigel
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Again, more nonsense and ill informed prejudice. Why would they be asked to leave? It just would not happen – it would be absolutely inconceivable.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Nigel
1 month ago
Nigel
Nigel
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

No it hasn’t happened. More misconception/prejudice about relationship between HTB and its plants! Keep going…

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Nigel
1 month ago

Sorry, I wasn’t aware that a HTB plant has nothing to do with HTB. A bit like saying people having a McDonald’s franchise have nothing to do with McDonald’s!

David Foster
David Foster
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Oh for goodness sake get a life

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

One lay person in our diocese is in the habit of referring to our church (‘St. Margaret’s Anglican Church’) as ‘SMAC’ (pronounced ‘smack’!).

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I’m sure the shtick is bottomless, Tim. lol. One of the big local R.C. parishes in Sydney N.S., was named St. Anthony Daniel. High school kids referred to the parish as the SAD. There was a dance there every weekend. You goin to the SAD tonight? Pace Fraser, I’m thinking there was likely a cohort referring to St. Michael as St. Mike’s even before the name change. The SAD was closed several years ago as part of down sizing and restructuring of the R.C. parishes in that area. The building is now home to Cape Breton Harvest Community Church.

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

‘There is nothing quite like the order and majesty of catholic worship to summon a sense of holiness.’ – Giles Fraser On the other hand, when my youngest son was a teenager he once brought two of his school friends to church. Do you know what freaked them out? All of us saying prayers together in unison, or in call and response format. They had never experienced anything like that, and it sounded programmed, and somewhat sinister, to them. One of them said to my son, “You guys sound like some kind of cult.” I was very surprised; it had… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Tim Chesterton
John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I have always believed that ‘churchmanship’ / ‘worship styles’ is not basically a matter of theology but of aesthetics, in the same way that I love the mediaeval rooms of the National Gallery but find most of Tate Modern grating and often incomprehensible. High Mass or modern worship songs have a different appeal and each in their own way can lead people into worship and presence of God. Chaqu’un a son gout!

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  John Wallace
1 month ago

Indeed John, and large RC churches have the advantage of ” doing” mass for different ” audiences” in different ways on a Sunday. So when I was in Chiswick the local Catholic church had 8am said, a 10 am like an Anglican parish communion 1130 Latin,choral and smoke 1pm Folk Mass and 6 pm said with organ for those who hadn’t made it earlier. I have never come across a C of E church which had the resources and numbers to do that.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

Amazing as it now seems, in the 1950s the C of E (but obviously AC) church I attended and where I was confirmed had said celebrations at 7.00 and 8.00 a children’s sung Mass with instruction at 9.30, Mass ‘with smoke’ at 11.00 and Evensong at 6.30 pm, sometimes titled ‘Solemn Evensong’. The 11.00 service became High Mass on festivals and saints’ days. For reasons I now cannot remember, there was even a 6.00 am celebration sometimes. The 9.30 service was sung by a congregation of children and parents, there was no choir, and at every stage an explanatory instruction… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Yes Rowland.My experience in the early 60’s in a PBk Catholic Parish was 8am (said plus 7 am Easter day) 10am Children’s service eucharistic 1st Sunday) 11am Sung Eucharist ( Parade Mattins 1st Sunday, concluding with Litany the guides etc having left to parade) 3 pm Baptism s ( most Sundays) and a v well attended sung evensong followed by youth club. All served by one priest and a lay reader.Amazing looking back. At that church now, one service a Sunday only. Much as I value the weekly Eucharist I have come to feel the Parish Communion movement was a… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

When last in Paris (just before the first lockdown) I was able to attend mass at about five churches, and I was struck by how many of them were having *at least* several masses a day, even on weekdays: this is in striking contrast to many urban churches in England. The quantity of worship provision in much of England has been in retreat for some time, but the pandemic has pushed a significant number of additional churches into de facto ‘festival’ use. It is now common (based on experiences of Bath & Wells, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Leicester, Lincoln, Llandaff, Monmouth,… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

PS The 6am celebration eg on Ash Wednesday, Ascension Day etc was because of the rule of fasting communion (remember that?), Sung full choir.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

Yes, I was taught that at my Confirmation classes, along with transubstantiation and Apostolic Succession, transubstantiation much to the horror of my sister (we had both previously been brought up, and she confirmed, in a C of E ‘middle of the road’ parish). Breaking my vow, and reverting to the earlier discussion of these matters with Tim Chesterton, initially on first experience after Sunday mornings of Choral Matins – often with Benedicite Omnia Opera (sung in its entirety!) – I was repelled by the AC children’s Mass (with smoke) which seemed alien. I ventured to say to my mother that… Read more »

Ian
Ian
Reply to  John Wallace
1 month ago

So that’s how its spelt!

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Tim what did you make of Giles’ observation that the shiny new website at St. Michael’s bore no relation to the reality of the church and its congregation? I’ve always found old ladies with platinum rinses are among the loveliest Christians. Jesus’ image of a hen tucking her chicks safely into the warmth of her softest feathers is exactly my experience of these holy souls. I often think of God in a floral frock with a sensible cardigan, holding a huge aluminium teapot and wearing a loving smile. Those drawn to St Mike’s by its inaccurate website might get more… Read more »

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I was a 19 year old student with long hair and a weedy beard when i entered the crypt chapel of St. Lukes for the first time. It was Holy Hour, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed . An hour of silent adoration, ending with Benediction. I am 70 now and still remember the awesome majesty of it all. It was for me at least a converting experience. I suppose diifferent strokes for different folks, but I don’t think I am alone in being drawn at a young age to the living and loving God via the order and majesty of… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Ian
1 month ago

Ian, as I said in my comment, ‘I know people who have been attracted by the order and majesty of catholic worship. I also know people who have been repelled by it.’

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Ian
1 month ago

John Macquarrie has a lovely chapter on Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in Paths of Spirituality (2nd edition). He begins by describing his introduction to the practice as a young soldier just before shipping out to Egypt–that initial early experience followed evensong at place called St. Andrew’s, Willesden Green. Then follows his theological reflection on what for him became a regular form of devotion. Great little book by the way. I always like to give a shout out to some of the big thinkers in our Anglican tradition.

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Tim. sorry to drag you back I have pondered and puzzled about the folk music community he cites.
I certainly get that many will be repelled by smells, bells, fiddlebacks, even plainsong, however the folk musicians seem to be repelled by the Eucharist itself. As a ‘yoof’ I was taught that it was the mass that matters. Vatican 2 calls the eucharist the ‘source and summit of christian life’. Do you have to bypass the eucharist? Do you challenge their repulsion ? What do you do?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Ian
1 month ago

Ian, I agree, it is problematic. I think I am wanting to place a question mark beside the statement that the beauty and majesty of Anglo-Catholic worship will draw people in. I agree, it has done that for some people. But when people have no Christian memory and no knowledge of the meaning behind it, more is required. We know from early Christian centuries that in fact the Eucharist was hidden from those who were not yet Christian. In our post-Christian world, we might need to think carefully about that.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
1 month ago

I suppose it’s a blessing that informal-seeking bishops haven’t gone as far as using their school-days nicknames. Bishop Bloopsy or Bishop Fluffy might be a tad too much, particularly if they, like some of the first name bishops, still insist on surrounding their signatures with little crosses.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  dr.primrose
1 month ago

We have a bishop here in the US who goes by Bishop Skip. He has a “real” Christian name, but I’ve long forgotten what it is.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
1 month ago

The article by the Rt Revd Lord Harries is very well stated. It reminds me of arguments I have made to people here in Denver on the other side of the Pond about why daily recitation of the (USA) Pledge of Allegiance by students in publicly-funded schools, as many states now require, won’t instill a sense of civic duty, but will instead simply result in a bored rote recitation that, after being repeated over 2,000 times during 12 years of school, will have lost any sense of meaning. Ditto those who want daily “voluntary” (meaning everyone has to listen) prayer… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

If our faith is incarnational we meet people on their territory, not ours. The question is not so much whether we try to meet people from cultures different from our own, but whether our engagement with those cultures is deep enough to carry an authentic Gospel. Shallow engagement will always look silly – but it is difficult, from outside, to judge whether the engagement is shallow or deep. And of course we may see aspects of different cultures which seem obviously problematic – the issue there is that we need also to examine our own culture(s) with some care to… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Now that is a perceptive and wise comment.

Christopher
Christopher
1 month ago

Hurrah once again for Bishop Harries – I agree fully with every word.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

The real problem I have with trendy vicars is the damage they cause. Ripping out great ministry because it doesn’t fit the Zeitgeist. I was brought into the Anglican faith by the choral tradition and I think it has and can be used to bring many young people into the church. But it isn’t cool. It isn’t cafe bar church. It has been labelled as a barrier to progress. I was very sad to hear that yet another great local parish church choir has had the rug pulled from underneath it recently. This was a great choir with a large… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

There is an irony in the departure of evangelical Bishop Nazir Ali to the Ordinariate. He is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying “People don’t want a happy-clappy chat show or a glorified yoga centre, where the Bible, prayer and true worship are sidelined” . When an evangelical bishop leaves the CofE because it’s too “happy-clappy” it makes the rest of us wonder how many other evangelicals abhor their own style of worship.

Nigel
Nigel
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

There is also an “irony” to you selectively quoting from the article to suit your argument. Do you equally support and endorse a much more expansive part of his argument? “The Church should also publicly support marriage as a permanent institution, to which a man and a woman commit themselves for life. This is not simply about Christian belief. All the research shows children do better when living with married parents. Sometimes divorce is unavoidable, and no one denies that single parents do a heroic job, but this doesn’t mean having a married father and mother cannot be held up… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Nigel
1 month ago

I know of no one in the CofE who is apologetic about traditional marriage. Many would like to extend this noble institution to same-sex couples. Dr Nazir Ali says “sometimes divorce is unavoidable”. He’s joining a Church which ‘married’ a Prime Minister to his pregnant third wife. I don’t know of any Anglican parish which would be as permissive. Dr Ali has previously shown a lack of empathy to gay clergy. Ironically he’s joined a Church where the vast majority of priests are gay.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

You put your finger on it saying “I was brought into the Anglican faith by the choral tradition”. Like the King James’ Bible and the BCP there’s a necessary process of teaching and learning which seems largely absent in some places today. The constant (and dare I say some of it ignorant) harping we see in some comments here about music in the Anglican liturgy is becoming rather wearing. Many years ago, sitting through one of the innumerable sermons which organists listen to, this time with a visiting retired priest from across the border from a neighbouring diocese, this subject… Read more »

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

I wish we could. But the reality is that experience has shown me that the introduction and favouring of other styles of music in worship is an existential threat to a church choir except in very few cases where it is managed effectively. The reality is that most parish churches don’t have the resources to support multiple types of music for worship. When an incumbent diverts resources away from a choir to favour a praise band or music group, reduces or eliminates their role in worship, etc. It should be obvious that that choir is being set up to fail.… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 month ago

The simple reality is that much of this is down to vocations. Most are now coming from a particular theological and cultural standpoint. Vocations beget leaders, and leaders beget the culture of a church (or any other organisation). Its pointless bemoaning a bygone age – parish, musical, cultural or otherwise – unless there is the will to redress the balance with a greater diversity of leadership, and a greater confidence in different traditions, then this is the future direction of the church. Wouldn’t it be great if every parish would raise up a couple of vocations to ordained ministry to… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
1 month ago

I recall Richard Holloway congratulating a conference of evangelicals on their willingness to embrace bad taste for the sake of the gospel.

RogerB
RogerB
1 month ago

Is Jesus actually interested in which brand of churchmanship we prefer? He didn’t tell us either to wear robes, or play guitars.
Perhaps I shouldn’t spend so much time reading ‘Thinking Anglicans’, this thread seems to have completely missed the point of His message.
According to Giles Fraser’s article the congregation of St Michael’s Bournemouth was down to 20 so if the gospel is going to be lived and preached there something had to change.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  RogerB
1 month ago

I suspect you are right, RogerB. Jesus said nothing about many things that exercise us on TA – genital activity, music, churchmanship, whether or not consecration rays from the hands of the priest escape the corporal, whether or not such rays travel through the aether to bread and wine far distant, and much more. Scripture tells us that he was crystal clear about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and comforting the sick and imprisoned – to all these unfortunates, not just to members of the club. It’s so much easier and more entertaining to engage with trivial… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  RogerB
1 month ago

The ‘point’ of this thread is to discuss trendy vicars and the absurdly-named St Mike’s. Admittedly, Jesus didn’t tell us whether changing the rabbis’ apparel or updating the chanting by the cantor in His local synagogue would have attracted more young Jews. Would His message have been more effective if He’d abolished the Passover meal and just entertained people with His singing?

T Pott
T Pott
1 month ago

Dr Harries seems perfectly happy for Roman Catholic children to continue to be allowed to attend collective worship in their schools, while seeking to deny that opportunity to most of the Protestant community. He talks of compulsion, but the compulsion is only on the school to offer it. Parents can already choose whether their children attend it.or not Very few don’t. Apparently worship is acceptable if the school is of a designated religious character, but not otherwise. What difference does it make? There are many areas in which there are Roman Catholic schools, designated such, and apart from that there… Read more »

Ian
Ian
Reply to  T Pott
1 month ago

The RC and C of E have the vast majority of faith schools. Other faiths and denominations have some. In those faith schools it is perfectly proper to have collective worship. My daughter went to an RC and my son to a C of E school and in both schools we recognised that collective worship was part of the commitment. The state provides a state system for the rest. These schools are not protestant svhools as T Pott seems to think but secular schools with no religious affilation at all Compulsory public worship of a wholly or mainly Christian nature… Read more »

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