Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 19 March 2022

Paul Skirrow Surviving Church Bullying in the Church of England – Personal or Institutional?

Leslie Francis and Andrew Village Church Times Why lockdown drove some away from church
“If the quality of online worship was below par, people voted with their feet, or screens”

Antony MacRow-Wood (Archdeacon of Dorset) Diocese of Salisbury The History of the Stipend

Liam Cartwright ViaMedia.News Boring Ourselves to Death?

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
91 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Susannah Clark
2 months ago

I love the spirit of Liam’s article in ‘Via Media’ and his recognition of the many and diverse ways we may open our hearts in worship to God. Worship is so precious, and can (as he suggests) help us drop our defences and open to the love of God… and music can sometimes just help God TOUCH us, bypassing the cerebral controls and going direct to the feelings of the heart… in an opening up. In worship we may be moved, in our many and varied little ways, to open and expose ourselves to the tenderness, the beauty and holiness… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 months ago

You are right; but there is a problem. It is hard enough for a minister to lead high quality worship of one type; it is unreasonable to expect them to manage that across multiple types.

A (not so) humble parishioner
A (not so) humble parishioner
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

Absolutely, but there are therefore opportunities for ministry for others. Take choral evensong for example, and opportunity for the organist and choir to help lead worship through the choice of music, even extending to cantoring, etc, if the incumbent is not confident in that. But that doesn’t mean spreading one’s self too thin. It would be better for a church to excel in certain forms of worship rather than try and be everything to everyone. I think that is what leads to the washed out blandness that Liam Cartwright is complaining of. Resources (and I very much include time in… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  A (not so) humble parishioner
2 months ago

A significant number of hymns have a large range, exacerbated by poor key choices, and aren’t easy for much of the congregation to sing. It’s made even worse by the failure to print the notes alongside the words. The difficulty of singing hymns – and the embarrassment that causes – is a deterrent from going to worship.   Yes, common hymns (or providing music notes) in an easy key and without a large range are attractive, but in my experience most ministers feel a need to include unknown and difficult hymns in most services.   In contrast, worship songs usually… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

I’m pretty staggered to read this, Kate. How many congregation members are able to read music? When accompanying I always transposed down any hymn tune which went higher than E flat. The congregation is probably blissfully unaware what the organist has to do, but several hymnals publish a separate music edition in lower keys to address this problem – AMR has been available since last century! A&M New Standard was set in lower keys throughout, and that turned out not to be everyone’s taste. Finally, in those churches where a digital/ electronic organ is used, they have transposing device which… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Rowland Wateridge
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

I think the giveaway is needing a choir. A choir singing anthems in a cathedral or similar is one of the glories of Anglicanism, but in ordinary parish churches a choir is often simply to hide how badly the congregations struggle with some of the hymns. Yes, transposition can help, but usually the key is still too high.

Colin
Colin
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Indeed, the ability to tune an electric organ/keyboard up or down is a blessing on its own. We have a small congregation meaning new or rarely sung tunes are not sung with much confidence or gusto, however, I have found this improves greatly when detuning by a semi tone (or more!), so much so that I keep the organ permanently tuned down a half.

A (not so) humble parishioner
A (not so) humble parishioner
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

There are good and bad hymns and good and bad worship songs, but can’t say that all the latter have easy choruses at all! I’m afraid that any of the criticisms that you have levelled against hymns could be levelled against worship songs. High levels of syncopation, big range jumps and often rapid movement through lyrics are all regular features of worship songs (as well as changing rhythms between verses, a particular bugbear of mine). As for printed music, unfortunately most churches are stuck with the congregational hymn books they have had for some time, which do not include music.… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  A (not so) humble parishioner
2 months ago

Then stick with a dozen hymns and get the music for those. There is zero excuse for putting any hymn on the board if the music isn’t available because it obviously excludes anyone who hasn’t been coming regularly for years ie it excludes the newcomers we want to attract.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

How many people are able to read music in an average congregation? Very few, I suspect. And hymns are chosen for their liturgical content, not popularity. As I explain below, it is the organist’s prime responsibility to give a clear rhythmic lead – without being overbearing. I simply don’t recognise, from my own experience, these difficulties being described here. Of course singing, like everything else in life, does require personal effort, and one accepts that what for some is easy, for others can be difficult.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

“And hymns are chosen for their liturgical content, not popularity”
 
That’s clericalism in action. “We know what you lay plebs should be singing even if you don’t like it!.” And people wonder why congregations are falling.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

No clericalism: liturgy involves reverence for scripture and the divine office. It’s a complex subject, and there has been a major failing in my lifetime due to secularisation. People ‘don’t understand’ because they have not been brought up in the faith. It used to start with Sunday School, instruction for young children including singing ‘choruses’, a starting point for hymns, then junior church and confirmation classes (do they happen at all nowadays?), attending services with specific instruction during the service. We had one every week, and when I described it here on TA, you approved! Faith involves a learning process… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Learning to understand liturgy is rather like a cult wanting initiation levels. That’s totally different to faith itself as a learning process.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  A (not so) humble parishioner
2 months ago

Hymnals without the musical staffs for each included hymn? Really? The approved hymnals in the USA all include them (even the ones that concentrate on “worship songs”).

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Pat ONeill
2 months ago

Words-only hymn books are far and away the norm in England. The vast majority of people can’t read music, and even fewer are able to sight-read an unknown tune. But they are probably beginning to pick up the tune by the third verse.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
2 months ago

I don’t think things are nearly as bad as this. I suppose it depends on circumstances but the organist ‘plays through’ the first lines of the hymn tune before any singing to introduce it and to set the tempo. If the tune is unfamiliar, the ‘play through’ will be a complete verse. That is usually sufficient for most C of E congregations in my experience. And, incidentally, Pat, the competence of the singing is about the same here as I experienced in Pennsylvania – pretty good in both places. So much negative talk about church music and so little basis… Read more »

JA Stein
JA Stein
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

I once attended a church in the USA where the congregation was almost completely unable to sing, even with the music there in their hymn books. It was more a case of mumble, mumble. There were other signs that something was very wrong at this church. . In speaking to parishioners at the post-service coffee, it transpired that their former rector had seduced a married member of the congregation. The church as a whole didn’t believe the woman who had been targeted, and she and her family were hounded out. The rector then seduced his curate’s financee. Following a painful… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

I worked as a church organist for many years. In one parish, the rector selected a “hymn of the month”, which was new to the congregation and which was sung each Sunday at a different point in the mass. By the end of the month, all were familiar with it and it became part of the congregation’s repertoire.

I’m very aligned with the Orthodox idea that music should not be entertainment during the liturgy, and I consider almost all “worship” hymns as trying to be entertainment.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

My home parish is in Pennsylvania and our congregational singing, while not superb, is strong and vibrant.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Pat ONeill
2 months ago

I really don’t understand why you are saying this to me! I haven’t suggested anything different! That was my experience in Pennsylvania, and I remember with affection the kind people there, who included very close friends now sadly deceased. On my very first visit, the opening hymn was “Lift high the Cross” written by a former Dean of the English cathedral five miles from where I live, and the Gradual hymn was “Blest are the Pure in Heart” written by the former Vicar of the parish in which I live – all by pure coincidence 3,500 miles from home. There… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

It wasn’t meant to be directed to you, just an observation.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

You are essentially claiming that the average congregation can’t read music but can remember several lines of a melody from a single hearing, often far from clear because the organist adds embellishments.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

No embellishments in a ‘play through’, a totally ‘straight’ reading and performance of the tune, as I said, setting the tempo and, one hopes, also establishing a clear rhythm. Janet makes other cogent points below, which I would adopt. It would probably surprise congregation members that the organist sometimes plays and reads from as many as three different scores at the same time to achieve the combination of words and accompaniment.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rowland Wateridge
Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
2 months ago

You don’t need to be able to sight-read (I certainly can’t) to be able to tell if the notes are going up or down on the staff and estimate how much. If you have even an amateur’s ear for music, one play-through by the organist and, with the help of the score, you can at least fake your way through it.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
2 months ago

If people have just music printed, maybe a significant number struggle, but that’s not what we are talking about. If music and words are printed together, I think the vast majority of people can follow where they are by using the words. Then it’s straightforward to see whether the notes are going up or down, and a little or a lot. Maybe they can’t sightread but it gives sufficient clues that they stand a fair chance of just about singing along with the melody.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pat ONeill
2 months ago

It’s many years since I last worshipped in an American church, but at that time English hymn books tended to contain far more hymns than most US hymn books. It’s not unusual for an English hymn book to have 600-800 hymns or more. It’s common, too, to set a hymn to any one of several tunes. Both these factors militate against including the music in every copy. Choirs, of course, have to have full-music copies, and cope with having words and music at times in separate sections.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

You’ve reminded me of the old-fashioned metric psalters that used to be used in some non-conformist chapels, which had split pages. The music was printed on the top half, and the words were printed on the bottom half, enabling the possibility of singing one psalm to the tune set for another without having to flick back and forth.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

The current hymnal at my parish has some 300 hymns in it and, yes, some are just different lyrics to the same tune. But our music director has the option of choosing from several other approved books…and all of our hymns are included in the Sunday “bulletin” (the booklet that has the order of service), complete with the lyrics and score.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

That’s how it should be done.

I worshipped for a time in a Baptist church and they printed the words and music in the service sheet. Indeed, there was no flicking through trying to find the collect of the day either – everything other than the address was printed so people could follow easily. It’s a world away from the typical Church of England experience.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

But the more hymns there are in the repertoire, and the more tunes each may be set to, the more vital it is to print the music.

A (not so) humble parishioner
A (not so) humble parishioner
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

May help a small minority. My experience is that the congregation fair little better when music is printed. We’ve done it for hymns, psalms and settings at times, just makes the service booklets longer and uses more ink.

The best way to get the congregation singing is through a good choir leading the way.

Froghole
Froghole
2 months ago

Mr MacRow-Wood’s article is a useful one (he is himself an erstwhile accountant). He states that tithe was extinguished in 1936. This is partly the case: the 1936 Act extinguished tithe rentcharge (tithe had ceased to be payable in kind after 1836 and was commuted to fixed money payments calculated septennially by means of a ‘modus’). Tithe redemption began in earnest after the 1891 Act (there had been two legislative experiments with redemption in 1885 and 1886), when the liability passed from the cultivator to the landowner, but the political momentum in favour of accelerated redemption or, indeed, abolition, started… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Given the plethora of uninformed comment on such things (my own researches are partial, and the necessary information is dispersed) the case for an authoritative article on the subject of the history of Church finances is now strong. The problem with so much (as with the MacRow-Wood article) is that useful facts are set in a narrative with an agenda (eg to demonstrate that the Church Commissioners are a good thing, or – as here – that other commentary is wrong). Sadly, that polemical aspect gets in the way of communicating with people who disagree with the point of view… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Thank you for that. I agree strongly. There is a massive gap in the historiography of the Church, to wit its economic history since the creation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (although coverage for the century and a half before then is patchy). This is all the more mysterious and remarkable since the Church Commissioners commissioned two excellent institutional histories by the late Geoffrey Best (https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Temporal_Pillars.html?id=2HUcAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y), with the story being continued by Andrew Chandler (https://boydellandbrewer.com/9781843835011/the-church-of-england-in-the-twentieth-century/). What these works do not do, and could do, is to cast much light on the history of diocesan or parochial finances since the 1840s, which… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Perhaps a copy of the Liber Ecclesiasticus, the 1835 report of the Royal Commission, would help. It “reveals just how variable (and complex) clergy incomes were at Cathedrals and in parishes in the Church of England”.

“The revenues of the extablished church compiled from the report of the commissioners appointed ‘to enquire into the revenues and patronage of the established church in England and Wales.’ Presented to Parliament by the command of His Majesty, June 22 1835”.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/154905845488

Current bid £20.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

Many thanks for that! Yes, it is useful in the way that the Taxatio (1291-92) or Valor (1535) are useful. However, there is no need to buy it, as the full text is available here: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Liber_ecclesiasticus_An_authentic_statem.html?id=lpkHAAAAQAAJ&redir_esc=y; Grey, Althorp and Melbourne had intended the report to be a sort of clerical Domesday Book. It needs to be read with this to hand: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/, and current clergy may wish to note just how miserable were the incomes of a very large proportion of parishes at that point in time: pluralism was often not so much a vice as an urgent necessity. Another… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

Sorry, what I should add about the Liber (to underscore my previous point), is that unlike Domesday Book, the Taxatio (viz. the E 179 project) and the Valor, the Liber has received *comparatively* little attention. One other point to make about tithe, is that in addition to the discussion in R. H. Hemholz’s volume of ‘The Oxford History of the Laws of England’ (https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-history-of-the-laws-of-england-9780198258971?cc=us&lang=en&amp😉 there are two excellent articles by Andrew Lewis of UCL: ‘When is a Tax not a Tax but a Tithe’ in Studies in the History of Tax Law (v. 2, 2007, at 235-54), and ‘Tithe Personal… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

A history from Anglo-Saxon times to the present would be even beter.

Froghole
Froghole
2 months ago

Mr MacRow-Wood is correct to suggest that Save the Parish are barking up the wrong tree by assailing the 1976 Measure. He is, of course, quite correct to note the grievous disparities in returns to clergy prior to 1976. These were not only manifestly unfair but seriously inefficient. They preferred one parish to another for no reason other than the caprice of history: whether or not – at some point in the Middle Ages – one parish had received a greater glebe endowment than another, or whether one parish had been appropriated by a religious house, and another had not… Read more »

Filigree Jones
Filigree Jones
Reply to  Froghole
2 months ago

Mr MacRow-Wood stood for General Synod on a ‘Save the Parish are barking up the wrong tree’ ticket. Let’s just say he didn’t get elected.

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  Filigree Jones
2 months ago

Mr MacRow-Wood was not explicitly for or against Save the Parish in his election statement, in fact none of the clergy standing in Salisbury Diocese made reference to Save the Parish in their election statements. The Archdeacon would also have had a difficult time being elected as the Ven Alan Jeans, another Archdeacon in the diocese, was also standing, and only one Archdeacon can be elected to represent the diocese. As Archdeacon Alan has served in the diocese for 32 years, 16 of them on General Synod, many clergy voters would have given him their preference due to his long… Read more »

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Nic Tall
2 months ago

The Archdeacon of Dorset is being repeatedly referred to as Mr MacRow-Wood. Why? I don’t imagine we will start referring to the ABC as Mr Welby. Is a point being made? If so, it seems discourteous.

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  David Exham
2 months ago

No disrespect intended from me, I didn’t check where he was Archdeacon of and just repeated the previous poster. A bit lazy from me, many apologies.

Filigree Jones
Filigree Jones
Reply to  David Exham
2 months ago

It’s correct, isn’t it? The Reverend A Smith at the first mention and Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Smith thereafter. Unless you know someone and are on first name terms.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Filigree Jones
2 months ago

Yes, it’s correct. Unless of course they are Dr.

Correct forms of address for the clergy are fast falling out of usage, however. I think we’ll reluctantly have to get used to forms of address like ‘Rev Janet’ (in my case), and phrases such as ‘the Reverend said’.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Janet Fife
2 months ago

It would never occur to me to address a bishop as “Mister Smith”. “Your Grace” or “Your Eminence” might be over the top (although it’s common in the USA for Roman Catholic bishops), but my fallback would always be “Bishop Smith” or just “Bishop” after the initial introduction. As for “Reverend,” while I agree it is properly an adverb not a title, it is increasingly common over here–in part because it is the preferred means of address for many non-denominational clergy (especially in the Black community) and, among Episcopalians, for women who are priests. (A few of those prefer “Mother… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

It’s often the case that what is deemed correct usage in the States is different from what is correct usage in the UK. It may even differ between counties in the UK, which is why I said ‘England’ rather than ‘the UK’ or Britain. Various denominations have their own customs and usage, too.

Increasingly, even among English Anglicans, ‘Reverend’ is being used as a noun rather than an adjective, and without the definite article.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Filigree Jones
2 months ago

The use of job titles and honorifics (Most, Right, Very, Venerable, Reverend, Canon, Prebendary) is just silly. I doubt you’d find a managing director addressed as Managing Director Sheila (or whatever) or a headteacher addressed as Headteacher Barry (or whatever). For the church to perpetuate their use is part of the culture of obsequiousness and subservience that Mr Welby condemns. In my former life I told students that I was the Professor of Anatomy but my name was Stanley. Separate issues. These days if I have to choose, I go for Mr,

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
2 months ago

Spot on, Stanley.

I strongly suspect that many of those who disagree with you commonly say Boris Johnson rather than Prime Minister Johnson (or even Mister Johnson), Liz Truss rather than Mrs Elizabeth Truss etc.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

The PM and is never called a Right Honourable. Why is it clergy are called a Reverend?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Filigree Jones
2 months ago

The Venerable Archdeacon A Smith on the envelope, but in the third person either Archdeacon Smith or, indeed, Mr Smith (Crockford’s confirms) although this slightly goes against the grain for someone of my longevity.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Exham
2 months ago

The secular press always refers to the Archbishop of Canterbury as “Mr” Welby . Why is that discourteous? As an evangelical, he can hardly be called “Father”.

John Bunyan
John Bunyan
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

I think if it is not discourteous to refer to the Archbishop as “Mr Welby” it is certainly ignorant now – and at least suggests discourtesy. It is simple and easy to refer to Archbishop Welby and with regard to forms of address, to address him as Your Grace on formal non-liturgical occasions, or otherwise as Archbishop or sometimes as Father. Being “evangelical” should have nothing to do with the matter. In the ordination services in the BCP, our standard of worship, the ordaining bishop is addressed as “Reverend Father in God” (although probably here in Sydney some service is… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by John Bunyan
Richard
Richard
Reply to  David Exham
2 months ago

MacRow-Wood is not an archbishop. What would you prefer he be called?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  David Exham
2 months ago

This is my fault, and I do apologise for it. As I was impressed by how useful the piece was, I had intended no disrespect. ‘Debrett’s Correct Form’ (ed. Patrick Montague-Smith, 1979) enjoins ‘Archdeacon Smith’ in verbal conversation (at 119) but is otherwise uninformative. The 10th edition of the ‘Economist Style Guide’ (2012, at 141) states that people’s self-importance ought not to be indulged, but that they be referred to by their full name, and then ‘Prof’, ‘Mr’, etc., as the case may be (it has referred to ‘Mr Carey’ and ‘Mr Welby’ on a number of occasions in the… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Froghole
2 months ago

That may all be correct, as indeed Crockford is correct. But I have taken the view for some time, and especially in my 7th decade that Christians can very normally be called by their Christian name. This is not over familiar but properly familiar and therefore equally correct. On my first day as an 18 year old employee at the BBC in 1977 I was told that all members of staff from the Director General to the person who cleaned the studio were to be addressed by their first name. That everyone ate in the same canteen. And that there… Read more »

Filigree Jones
Filigree Jones
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
2 months ago

A thought provoking comparison, Andrew. And first names for all can be a great leveller. I tend to think that addressing people as they wish to be addressed is probably the truest courtesy. It’s an extension of using people’s chosen name. The safest way is probably to start with the accepted formal style of address. Then the other person can always say ‘Do call me Ven Tony’ if they wish.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
2 months ago

Many thanks. I assume that was an Ian Trethowan (or Hugh Carleton Greene) policy, rather than something Charles Curran would have been very comfortable with… I imagine that certainly before Carleton Greene the atmosphere would have been very different!

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Froghole
2 months ago

It was well in place when I arrived in 1977, which was when Ian Trethowan became DG. So I assume either Charles Curran inherited it or implemented it.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

How would you then have children address their elders? I’m sorry, but I would find it offensive to have a 10-year-old call me “Pat”. What ever happened to the idea of respect for elders?

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

It became decoupled from forms of address sometime after the Beatles released their first album?

My daughter calls everyone at church by their first name just as I do, and just as I did growing up 30 years ago. School is the only anachronism in this respect, insisting on Sir/Miss or Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms X (something, as a teacher, I would happily chuck in the skip along with petty uniform rules).

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

Fr Pat?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Allan Sheath
1 month ago

Well, I’m not a priest, so no….but my sons’ friends routinely addressed me as “Mr. O’Neill” and my sons addressed their friends’ parents as “Mr/Mrs. Smith” (and they were all born well after the Beatles debuted).

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

I’m clearly talking about adults addressing adults in a work or formal situation like the Church.

Alastair
Alastair
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

The Quakers, The Society of Friends, have much to teach everyone about respectful forms of address. For them it is simply a person’s Christian or first name.

I find such lengthy conversations about Father, Bishop, Mr, Mrs, Archdeacon so extremely sad.
Is it any wonder that people focusing on this subject are unwittingly turning people away from the Church of England?

Perhaps contributers might reflect on what style of names Christ would choose to address people with?

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Alastair
1 month ago

On the evidence of the Gospels, Jesus was fond of nicknames, what with Rocky, Zealot and the Thundersons among his mates.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

It is actually arguable that Christians should be addressed amongst each other by their baptismal name, which is, after all, the name which – in a Christian context – holds the highest dignity …

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

I would note that, in the Gospels, the apostles and disciples routinely address Jesus with terms of respect such as Lord, Master, Teacher, Rabbi.

Dave
Dave
2 months ago

Paul Skirrow discusses such an important point which is growing in the church. BULLYING.

A local vicar questioned some of the recently expensive initiatives in the diocese. A bishop then commented later that ‘X wasn’t a ‘team player” – by which the bullying Bishop meant he didn’t knuckle down into what had been pushed on to the unwilling priest. This Diocesan Bishop regular refers to those who are and who are not ‘team players’ – in relation to his unpopular plans.

Such comments by diocesan bishops demoralise clergy and sadden supportive laity. It is bullying. But who calls it?

Stephen Mourant
Stephen Mourant
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

It’s the bishops who are not team players; the clergy and laity in the parishes do the real work and bishops should remember their job is to support those at the coalface of ministry in the parishes. Bishops try to justify their own existence instead of being servants to their clergy, and waste £££ in having people in non-jobs behind computers pretending to be doing ministry- who weeps with those who weep? Who cares when there’s a crisis in a family or community? Who sits with a dying person? Who rejoices with those who rejoice- those who have earned the… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Stephen Mourant
2 months ago

I wonder if the reasons for the bullying are entirely similar to the reasons for the increased reports of bullying by senior management in teaching, social work, the NHS and similar professions. Anxiety and stress created by ever unmet need, coupled with ever reduced income to resource the meeting of that need.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Simon Dawson
2 months ago

I think Stephen Mourant has it. The self led agenda of the House/College of Bishops has created a work stream detached from the life of the diocese. No bishops will break ranks with the Welbification process, but takes their senior staff along with them in serving the ever growing demands of the C of E’s central bodies which are hungry for people’s time and energy. I’m increasingly convinced that the Church Commissioners’ well meaning offer of strategic development funding has become one of the great distractions of the last ten years: senior leadership leads rushing to put bids and brochures… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
2 months ago

From the end of the Archdeacon’s piece: ‘The scale of this challenge is considerable but meeting it depends (among other things) upon local trust in the Diocesan stewardship of funds, without which our ability to retain clergy in parishes is profoundly weakened. To grow this trust, parishes need likewise to know that the Church of England believes in validity and vitality of parish ministry. A restoration of confidence in the institutional church from those who identify as Anglican could revolutionise the funding of local ministry and mission.’ It sounds like the Archdeacon fully understands the issues which  brought Save the… Read more »

A (not so) humble parishioner
A (not so) humble parishioner
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
2 months ago

It sounds like we had similar thoughts when reading this sign off. One can but hope that that would be the follow up!

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
2 months ago

Paul Skirrow’s piece pinpoints the extent to which bullying has become the ‘new normal’ in the CofE and the extent to which it is endemic at so many levels as panic-driven bishops and their senior staff display increasing signs of desperation. If last Friday’s Church Times is anything to go by, it is now rearing its ugly head in cathedrals (presumably, as every dean is desperate to prove to the prying Commissioners how they are doing everything conceivable to mitigate the deficits incurred as a consequence of the pandemic, even if it means turning their staff into nervous wrecks). So,… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
2 months ago

In my experience, and that of many women, bullying has been common in the C of E for at least the last 30 or 40 years. Judging by the tales told by men who had been curates in the 40s and 50s, it wasn’t uncommon then either. Perhaps the difference now is that it’s more structural, and few clergy now have the security of freehold (as Mr Skirrow points out). Freehold wasn’t available to female clergy for very long. As for cathedrals, they have always been problematic, at least since the time of Anthony Trollope. In the 1990s measures were… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Janet Fife
2 months ago

I think you are right. Women often get bullying with a side order of misogyny.

A (not so) humble parishioner
A (not so) humble parishioner
2 months ago

The Archdeacon of Dorset’s final paragraph slightly intrigues me. It could be read in a number of ways, because it doesn’t quite get to the point of who should be acting to improve trust. I very much agree that trust in the diocesan stewardship of funds is required. That trust is in short supply and perhaps is linked in some way to a significant minority of Anglicans not giving to the church (although some of that can surely be the fact that we have been in a cost of living crisis for over a decade). The Archdeacon doesn’t say how… Read more »

David James
David James
Reply to  A (not so) humble parishioner
2 months ago

Part of the problem I’m afraid. Constantly having to unpick what is being said or written in order to discern what is meant. Remember being hauled in to ‘discuss: a ‘safeguarding’ matter so that I could be ‘supported’. What was really on offer was the opportunity to hear said archdeacon lay down the law that I should do exactly what the officer in question required so that the diocese might be safeguarded in the event of any bother. Too much ambivalence and double speaking which breaks down trust.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  David James
2 months ago

As an individual but also as a union rep I found that so many senior clergy were maladroit. If I pushed back even slightly the bombast would often as not fizzle out in no time.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

With a background wholly in C of E traditional music, although having in the last 40 years played as an itinerant organist in more than 25 mostly rural C of E churches (incidentally every one of them having slightly different local traditions), I watched a very unusual service from Knock Basilica in Ireland on Thursday, St Patrick’s day. A Mass – almost a folksong mass – very much less formal than usual RC services as I know them, entirely ‘modern’ music, my impression most of it Irish, which included some solo fiddle playing – definitely Irish! – by a talented young… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Rowland Wateridge
A (not so) humble parishioner
A (not so) humble parishioner
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

The reality is that “modern” musical worship done well is good music and does fill up those soul even for us who are more at home in the Anglican Choral Tradition. The problem is that in many churches the modern music is just done so incredibly badly. I have been to more than one church where the music is provided by the vicar or a parishioner singing worship songs like pub karaoke whilst strumming along with an out of tune acoustic guitar. Sadly this includes a church that until a few years ago had one of the best parish church… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  A (not so) humble parishioner
2 months ago

I think you are right. Just as I was saying earlier in the thread that traditional hymns are often done badly, the same is sadly true of ‘modern’ music. Both can be, and sometimes are, done well, but both equally can be, and often are, done badly. I think it is why I am one of those who now gravitate to services without music other than in cathedrals and similarly large churches.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

You’re on to something there, Rowland. In my 20 years in Ireland I attended plenty Catholic masses. There is no tradition of congregational singing there and not much of the choral tradition: music is usually by small groups or individuals. What music there is tends to be of a type and quality that I, a cathedral trained musician, would as an insufferable adolescent have sneered at. But now I find it strangely moving. It is indigenous. It is by and of the people. There is no showing off with robes and degree hoods and conductors flapping their arms like demented hens.… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
2 months ago

… and its patent sincerity is very moving.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

A thing or two about sweeping generalisations, perhaps. I’d be inclined to associated the “reformed tradition” with the metrical psalm, about which one things many could say (if you catch my drift) but “exciting” is unlikely to be one of them.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Jo B
1 month ago

excite: “give rise to (a feeling or reaction)”. Clearly the metrical psalms were very exciting. Are they now used much in The Kirk? (apart from those we know as hymns, obv.}

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Perhaps it could be said that metrical psalms are quintessentially ‘Anglican’, insofar as hymns were not used, as a rule, before 1820. Indeed, they would have been characteristic of the ‘classical’ period of Anglicanism between the Restoration and the Oxford Movement. Practically every parish church, whether ‘high’ or ‘low’, whether Clapham Sect or Hackney Phalanx, would have used Tate & Brady or Sternhold & Hopkins, or some other collection as a matter of course, whilst even when hymns slowly became more commonplace following the advent of the Oxford Movement, a great many churches (many of which may have been ‘high… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thank you. As it happens, I like them! Seriously, we are in danger in of losing the psalms from services. They are often omitted from HC, and from make-it-up-yourself-as-you-go-along non-eucharistic services, increasingly common, and set to be more so with all the lay-led worship (hymn sandwiches by another name) set to burst on the scene. Oh dear, I’ve strayed from the topic again and have been guilty of introducing yet more trivia when I should be wringing my Wesleyan/Anglican hands over Ukraine. Poor old G-D has a bit of a problem with entreaties from Moscow to do one thing, from… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

What would you suggest that the devastated persecuted Ukrainians should sing now (apart from the obvious Psalms of Lament)? Perhaps we should stop arguing over psalters and hymn books. Stop and not wring our hands but clasp our hands in prayer for the whole church and people of Ukraine, who dont have churches let alone hymn books to sing from right now. Lord have mercy on them – and us!

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I don’t have a breadth of experience to draw on but from what I observe in my Hebridean fastness the metrical psalm no longer has the central place in the worship of the Kirk that it once did. This is evidenced by the fact that the latest Church Hymnary (the 4th edition), unlike previous editions, does not include the full psalter, only a selection of traditional and more modern versions set mostly as hymns (though there are a couple pointed in the Anglican style). Nonetheless the practice here is to have one metrical psalm or psalm-based hymn each Sunday, preferably… Read more »

91
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x