Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 17 July 2019

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Our Archbishop is baffled – What are we going to do about deference in the Church of England?

Michael Sadgrove Equal Enlarging marriage

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Matt Ineson Story – Archbishops challenged
Survivors and the post-IICSA Church

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Presenting to the Synod

 

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Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

Am I alone in thinking how very sad and disturbing it is the Church of England have issued no Press Statement whatsoever in the immediate aftermath of the IICSA Inquiry – not even an immediate, formal apology to Revd Matthew Ineson?

Stanley.Monkhouse
Guest

You are not. Am I alone in thinking that parish clergy would welcome some expression of support in difficult times from their bishops? It’s a lonely existence at the best of times, but to be assaulted day after day by revelations of cruelty, hypocrisy and incompetence is like a series of blows upon enlarging bruises. Blackburn has done something. Any other diocese?

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

In a very real sense, it is a bruising of the soul.

Marise Hargreaves
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Marise Hargreaves

You are not alone – this is beyond sad and disturbing. Sadly it is not surprising given the past behaviour. I hope I’m wrong but I feel a ‘lessons have been learnt’ speech coming but nothing really changes. Sadly no one can be removed and properly held accountable. They just carry on until the dust settles and people become silent or are silenced. Anyone with any shred of conscience would have resigned long ago. It speaks volumes that the so called leaders of the church carry on regardless and wonder why numbers are declining and make comments about deference. In… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Fiona Scolding QC said at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse [IICSA] on July 11 2019:

“With the greatest respect to diocesan bishops, they have all the power and no accountability”

The powerful Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner has yet to be held accountable for his ‘Bishop Bell’ statement on October 22 2015:

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties”.

That statement has since proved to be complete nonsense.

Apology? Resignation?

There’s more chance of seeing flying pigs getting landing rights here at Gatwick.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I don’t know whether resignation is a matter of conscience in these circumstances.

I believe both archbishops, and a number of bishops, should resign not because wrongdoing has been proven (it probably never will be) but because the Church would be better served by the installation of new people against whom there’s no suspicion or taint.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Wrongdoing has been proven, but they’re still in post. And whenever a complaint comes to the Archbishop of Canterbury, he says ‘no further action’ and moves on. That was very clear at IICSA – as were attempts to mislead the Inquiry.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Marise H may well be right when she says: “Sadly no one can be removed and properly held accountable. They just carry on until the dust settles and people become silent or are silenced” Is the Church of England [Archbishops’ Council, General Synod et al] waiting “until the dust settles” and playing for time? On July 18 2019, Stephen ‘TheBathWellsChap’ Lynas records on the 1st Day at General Synod: “There were plaintive requests that…We recognise that the outside world is under the impression that we [the Church of England] are ‘dragging our feet until IICSA goes away’ (a reported quote… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

I agree with the sentiment but I think public letters from both archbishops would be more appropriate than a press release.

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

‘After a rape, reputation should not be the first priority’ – Church Times Letter – July 18 2019 Sir, — On 4 July 2019, in the course of taking evidence relating to the Church of England, IICSA considered issues raised by the case of Tim Storey, a youth worker in a central London Anglican church, and subsequently a ministerial student at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He was convicted, in 2016, of two offences of rape and sexual assault. Our daughters are two of his victims. When, in 2009, our daughter first told the diocese of London what had happened to her,… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

……..Ignorance and a lack of professionalism reign. We are immensely proud of our daughters for speaking up and having the courage to go through the ordeal of giving evidence in two criminal trials, which led to a 15-year sentence for Storey. But they are angry about the continued procrastination of the Church of England, and that no one has really felt any consequences for the catastrophic mistakes made. In the 21st century, no organisation whose repeated organisational failure facilitated further serious sexual offending should expect to go unsanctioned. Why has no one resigned? Why only now, ten years on from… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Margery Roberts writes: “I can tell you a little bit more about the Timothy Storey abuse case. After Judge Katz’s scathing criticism of the Diocese of London, the diocese felt obliged to commission an independent case review from Mr David Marshall QPM. However, the completed review report (which appears to have also been adversely critical of the diocese) was circulated only to the Bishop of London and a small circle of senior clergy and staff. I was at that time a member of both the diocesan synod and the Bishop’s Council. At the diocesan synod meeting held on 28 November… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

Additional note from Margery Roberts: “In commissioning a review but not making it available even to the diocese’s own trustee body (a shortened sanitised version appeared on the diocesan website), the diocesan hierarchy was trying to have its cake and eat it. One really irritating aspect of their response was their insistence that the secrecy was for the benefit of the victims. This is a convenient ploy but it doesn’t convince a) because we did not wish to know the identity of the victims, and b) because the lack of transparency was itself harmful to the cause of justice, and… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
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Fr. Dean Henley

I must confess I can’t get too excited about the colour of clerical shirts myself, and I’m not sure the redcurrant colour that some bishops wear leads to deference. My own diocesan bishop has had his stationery redesigned to include ‘The Lord Bishop of St Albans’ and on the rare occasion he writes to me the envelope also announces that it is from His Lordship. We’ve not been asked to address him as ‘My Lord’ as yet – perhaps that will be the next development. Titles are seductive of course and it is not just the clerical profession that enjoys… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Hear hear! When I took a chair of Anatomy in Dublin in 1988 I told all and sundry including students that “Professor” was a job title, not a personal title, and that they should call me by my Christian name – or indeed anything that wasn’t frankly actionable. Some students did, some did not – their choice. Now, if people must give me a handle, I like “Irreverend”. It hasn’t caught on. I call my bishops by their Christian names. The diocesan calls me “Father”, but I am older than he is. If I were in St Albans diocese, I’d… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Actually Canon law (usually the last thing people think about when discussing these things) is pretty liberal on this subject – “Canon C 27: Of the dress of ministers “The apparel of a bishop, priest, or deacon shall be suitable to his office; and, save for purposes of recreation and other justifiable reasons, shall be such as to be a sign and mark of his holy calling and ministry as well to others as to those committed to his spiritual charge.” Make of that what you will. I’m sure all-black was the norm for bishops as well as all other… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

My memory goes back to the 1960s (so there will be some here with greater experience). The bishop — Cuthbert Bardsley — wore purple whenever he came to visit the parish. When English bishops start to wear purple? (I don’t know, but my guess is that this was not at all common until the early 20th century; but that’s just a guess.) As for clerical shirts and collars — the clerical collar was invented in the 1860s, but surely derives from a white necktie, and the shirt from a high-collared black jacket or shirt. The dog-collar would have been all… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Purple came very much later than the early 20th century, I would suggest. The bishop who confirmed me in the mid-1950s was still in all-black. I believe Mervyn Stockwood when Bishop of Southwark pioneered purple for bishops – not sure of the year, but he famously appeared when making a visit to Rome wearing a purple cassock and scarlet sash. The ‘dog collar’ was usually worn with a black ‘bib’ over a plain white shirt. I’m sure you are correct that this started much earlier – either early 20th or mid-to-late 19th century. Even in the late-1950s when I started… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

The “bib” is called a “rabat” and was a quick way to achieve the look of a clerical vest. The clerical vest was like a typical vest, but had the neck of a cassock, with cut-out to show a bit of the white dog collar and buttons down the front. Both are worn over a white dress shirt with a special collar. I recall that very “proper” clergymen always wore a white shirt, usually with cuff links. The all-black shirt, or all-purple shirt is a recent invention. I have seen priests wear a normal button-down collar sport shirt with a… Read more »

John
Guest
John

In Canada at least, purple — both cassocks and shirts — was the norm for bishops in the mid-1950s, as it continues to be to this day — except that bishops not on duty (and sometimes on duty as in committees) are likely to wear a white or coloured shirt and tie, or no tie, or polo/golf shirt (if male) or an ordinary shirt/blouse of any colour if female. Given the nature of the church in |Canada, it is highly unlikely that it was leading the communion in the wearing of purple, and far more likely that it was following… Read more »

David Emmott
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David Emmott

In my 1950s childhood the local vicar was a (semi-retired) bishop, who mostly wore a purple cassock around the parish. He would have been ‘middle of the road’ in churchmanship, but the decidedly evangelical diocesan (Donald Coggan) always wore purple as I recall. However in the days when bishops and other dignitaries often wore gaiters, the full rig was black, often with a glimpse of purple around the collar area.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I really hope this will be my final contribution! Donald Coggan was Bishop of Bradford from 1956: Mervyn Stockwood Bishop of Southwark from 1959. Coggan was to attain higher office later as Archbishop of York, and then Canterbury, but at the time of which we are talking Stockwood was a daily figure in the newspapers and on television. Wearing purple on his visit to Rome caused a considerable stir at the time.

I think from the various contributions here we can safely date the change to purple to the 1950s, but it didn’t happen instantaneously everywhere.

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

My memories go back a bit further! In my childhood bishops tended in church to wear a purple cassock (1940s-50s). Outside, most bishops still wore a strange outdoor dress in black , which included a frock-coat, a sort of foreshortened cassock (called”an apron”) and gaiters. This rig was also sported by archdeacons and deans, and by retired ones too, presumably because the kit cost so much they had to wear it as long as they could. (Incidentally, it is this dress which makes me wonder about the potential for misunderstanding of who-was-who in the Bishop Bell affair, but that, as… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I also go back to the 1940s-50s and the first purple cassock I encountered was Mervyn Stockwood’s. If others wore purple before him, I suspect it was a personal option probably by bishops of High Church persuasion. Stockwood went further and had a voluminous cape (of the Roman type – not sure of the correct name for it) and there is a series of photographs of him via ‘Google’ wearing all this, and in one of them also wearing a biretta – correctly-orientated (something which they invariably get wrong in TV dramas). The bishop who confirmed me was Henry Montgomery-Campbell,… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Rowland, your inclusion of both Stockwood and Montgomery-Campbell in the same post reminds me of a Story…
Stockwood as a fairly new bishop was invited to some rather grand reception at which sveral other bishops were in attendance, and all dressed in the apron/gaiters kit. Stockwood chose to arrive dressed head to foot in purple – cassock, cape, the lot. When he arrived, Henry M-C is said to have advanced down the room and boomed “Ah, Southwark! Incognito, I see!”

I always felt Rowan Wiliams had things right. Somehow the outward garments did not obscure the inner humility of the man.

John
Guest
John

I remember seeing Carlyle Witton-Davies in gaiters on occasion in 1970-71, but I wouldn’t say he wore them regularly, at least around ChCh. Of course I don’t know whether he wore them under his cassock for services in the cathedral. He also wore a real cockade (?) — that is, not just stitched together, but actually tied — on whatever side of his hat was proper for archdeacons — it seems that for some it made or makes a difference.

Kate
Guest
Kate

It is good to talk about deference.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” – Matthew 6,2

Is there really a material difference between a purple shirt – or dog collar – and a trumpet?

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Yes, I think there is a difference, depending on the motive for the purple shirt. Seeking praise would equate to the trumpet. If worn genuinely as a sign of “holy calling and ministry”, quoting from Canon C 27 above, surely that is a totally different context. Also wearing a pectoral cross seems to me to be entirely right for a bishop.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Wikipedia defines ‘a pectoral cross as ‘A cross that is worn on the chest, usually suspended from the neck by a cord or chain.’ I fail t see why wearing this kind of cross isn’t ‘entirely right’ for any Christian, not just a bishop.

Honestly, we Anglicans are so obsessed with symbols of office and status.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

“I fail to see why wearing this kind of cross isn’t ‘entirely right’ for any Christian, not just a bishop”. I entirely agree and was not suggesting that bishops have any kind of exclusive right – not sure why that seems to have been assumed. But it is an accepted symbol of episcopal office in the C of E (and, of course, I was writing in the context of the C of E Canons). Equally I don’t think it’s a symbol of office that anyone could possibly object to or be obsessed about. I would rather see the pectoral cross… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘I would rather see the pectoral cross than a purple shirt!’ Quite so, Rowland! Funnily enough, back in the late 1970s when I was a newly commissioned Church Army evangelist, I frequently wore a small wooden Cursillo cross around my neck – and rarely any other kind of identifying clothing. But I was surprised a few times by people who asked me if I was a monk!

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I don’t have regular, or very much, contact with bishops, but one that I know is a retired Franciscan Anglican bishop. His pectoral cross consists of two nails – to my mind very much a symbol of humility, rather than pomp.

Kate
Guest
Kate

It is possible for a bishop to believe honestly that a pectoral cross is a sign of devotion just as you “fail to see why wearing this kind of cross isn’t entirely right for any Christian”. With purple/black shirts and dog collars we don’t have that. They are worn only to indicate status, to differentiate the wearer from other Christians. For me the shirts and collars are the same as trumpets – look at me, my service is special, I am special. I guess the acid test is how a bishop would feel if a minister turned up to a… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Sorry, Kate. I have now lost the drift of some of this. I was quoting Tim Chesterton – hence those words being in quotation marks. One wants to be courteous on TA, particularly responding to comments coming from other parts of the Anglican Communion, but I didn’t warm to the (apparent) suggestion that C of E bishops were claiming some kind of exclusive status by wearing a pectoral cross. My second post about the Franciscan bishop demonstrates exactly the opposite. But after reading Richard Symonds’ two latest posts (above) about Tim Storey, I’m wondering why we are bothering about such… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“For me the shirts and collars are the same as trumpets – look at me, my service is special, I am special.” It’s a uniform, surely? In the same way as a police officer’s uniform or a nurse’s uniform or any other uniform. It’s there to identify a particular role a person is performing not to suggest that person is superior (or inferior) to anyone else. Uniforms do sometimes help everybody. Imagine a hospital where there is no instant visual way to differentiate medical professionals from patients, or a police service where all officers wear plain clothes all the time.… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

It isn’t a uniform. A uniform is imposed.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

I’m with Fr Andrew. Surely, a certain kind of dress is required in certain settings for purposes of identification and recognition. There is also a certain pride – not arrogance – in the wearing of such dress. It’s also important to dress ‘appropriately’ and that’s down to – as I see it – common (and uncommon) sense.

Kate
Guest
Kate

And yet if one Googles Bishop Philip North pictures either show him in clerical dress for worship or in a black shirt, not purple, when in mufti. He doesn’t need to wear purple. He also disproves that a purple shirt is a uniform which all bishops must wear.

But generally look at pictures on Diocesan pages. Ordained ministers will be wearing a black shirt and diocesan staff ordinary clothes. The ministers clearly want to show that they are different – better – than ordinary staff. It’s exactly the same complaint Peers made about purple shorts, just at the next tier down.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Gosh! This topic seems never-ending. Kate: no one has said, or says, that all bishops must wear a purple shirt. It’s a matter of personal choice and, notably, both the present Archbishop of Canterbury and his immediate predecessor choose not to. As Father Andrew points out below, there is a requirement of all C of E clergy, from deacon to archbishop, to dress in a manner “suitable to his [her] office” and “such as to be a sign and mark of his [her] holy calling and ministry”, etc., as Canon C27, quoted in full here yesterday.

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

Webster’s: “A uniform is dress of a distinctive design or fashion worn by members of a particular group and serving as a means of identification. “ Same thing in the OED. Some uniforms are indeed imposed but that’s not part of the definition.

If you agree that clergy should be readily identifiable (and yes, you may not but there is for C of E clerics such a legal requirement ) then clerical clothing is still the most efficient way of doing it.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

When I’m working on my sermon in my local Starbucks with a laptop computer and a big fat New Oxford Annotated Bible, I’ve discovered that I’m readily identifiable, no matter what I’m wearing! Interestingly, the young Alliance Church pastor who is planting a church in the neighbourhood also frequents that Starbucks. His tradition has no clerical dress, but I’ve discovered that *everyone* in the coffee shop knows he’s ‘Pastor Chris’. Why? Because he’s friendly, chats with the employees and other regulars who recognize his face, volunteers at the local school, hosts community BBQs etc. etc. In a church culture that… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

I like Michael Sadgrove’s piece a lot. He covers most of the arguments in favour of equal marriage and does so in a way which is hopefully accessible to all Christians, not just those who have studied theology as an academic discipline.

Charles Razzall
Guest
Charles Razzall

Always intrigued by the situation of B in LGBTQI.Most discussion is generally about LGTQI. Is this because the position of bisexuals poses uncomfortable questions for both liberals and conservatives? If its all about love and you are attracted to both male and female then why not move straight from equal marriage to polygamy? Just a thought…

badman
Guest
badman

No human being has sex with, let alone a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with, everyone they find sexually attractive. Bisexuals aspire to and achieve fidelity and monogamy as easily and well as heterosexuals do.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Hi Charles, polygamy and bisexuality are not synonymous though, are they? I do agree that the B in LGBTQI often gets a bit overlooked. That said, a person can be attracted to both men and women, but still choose to live in a monogamous relationship with one person. Personally, I believe that the key issues are grace and fidelity and integrity and love. So if people can do that in polygamous relationships, then I hope they flourish and I see that as their journey and their fidelity. May God bless them. To be honest, in terms of realpolitik, I think… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Your comment seems to confuse marriage with orientation. The most common form of polygamy on the planet is in fact decidedly hetero-sexist polygyne–i.e. one (ostensibly) heterosexual male with more than one wife.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I agree with Rod.

But ultimately BLG are irrelevant for Christians since it is so widely accepted that sex should be reserved for marriage. The gateway issue is therefore same sex marriage, not gayness, lesbianism or bisexuality.

Chris Harwood
Guest
Chris Harwood

Indeed. And when SSM was approved in TEC, one priest did announce that poly-marriages for B was the next thing to do. His voice was drowned out, but in my diocese one of the diocesan staff resigned with an accusation that the bishop had performed such a ceremony. That too was hushed up or shrugged off as nasty rumors of an unhappy ex-employee, but I’m sure if it hasn’t happened yet, it will soon. TEC has been inclusive enough to have a Christian/Muslim- Priest/Imam, a bi-marriage on the side is a piece of cake.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Your comment reminds me of an old ‘Two Ronnies’ news joke: “It was reported this morning that two lorries, one believed to be carrying dynamite, nearly collided. Luckily the lorries did not collide, and neither was carrying dynamite at the time.”

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Chris, that is just rude speculation. I’ve been involved with a lot of LGBTQ+ TEC groups for decades and no one ever advocated for polygamy for people with a bi orientation. I agree with Rod.

I’m also not seeing the problem with interfaith marriages or how interfaith marriages are connected to polygamy. It resembles crazy talk.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

My bottom line is that the simplest, poorest parishioner may have more spirituality than an Archbishop because the touchstone of true spirituality is loving kindness. And, in line with the principle that ‘the first shall be last’, I believe that in the household of God, we are right to give equal respect to the poorest as well as the most powerful. Everybody counts and is worthy of respect and value and recognition. That said, I strongly believe in diverse and distinctive vocations, and for example my priest is so discernably called and empowered to carry our his role as priest… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

But you said it. He asks to be called just by his given name. That’s the key. If you and others choose to call him Father, then that is fine. That is all 100% different to someone who deliberately puts themselves on, say, a parish newsletter as Father Bernard or Mother Margaret. That’s an individual *choosing* to emphasise their status.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Just clergy? Magistrates, police, armed forces, doctors, politicians – all just on Christian name terms and wearing jeans and T shirts (not designer labels of course – that’s status).

David Rowett
Guest
David Rowett

I have been trying not to be provoked into a response on this (as an unreconstructed and status-seeking ‘Fr David’), but I’m finding some flawed reasoning here. It seems to me that there’s a belief ‘out there’ that dog-collars, clerical shirts, titles (not just ‘Father’ or ‘Mother’ but presumably ‘Reverend’ ‘Minister,’ ‘Captain’ and Pastor’ as well) etc. are deference-enhancing tools of oppression. I have no doubt that there are people who do enforce deference and use their title to bolster it (as they may also use the cut of their clothes, the smoothness of their vowels, the postcode of their… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: deferential purple, I suppose it depends on whether ‘royal’ purple or ‘passion’ purple is intended. I prefer Deep Purple with Ian Gillan as the best voice of Jesus Christ superstar ever. Then there is ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince ( I reckon that would be a royal shade of purple) one of the best guitar solos ever. Of course, there is the Sheb Wooly song, Purple People Eater…wonder if he was singing about bishops?

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

A “purple haze” might be seen in the eyes of many readers here for whom Hendrix means nothing, Deep Purple is a colour, Zeppelin is an airship, and Prince is something to do with Her Majesty The Queen!

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

On Thursday 11/07/2019, IICSA’s Fiona Scolding QC – who had previously remarked that bishops appear to “have all the power and no accountability” – asked Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: “Do you think the Church needs to be more willing to admit past mistakes?” The Archbishop’s answer: “Accountability is structural…The history of the Church does not encourage accountability”. The day before, IICSA’s Fiona Scolding QC asked a similar question to Archbishop of York John Sentamu: “Do you believe you have made a personal mistake, in the course of responding to disclosures of clerical abuse, during your career?” The Archbishop’s answer:… Read more »