Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 19 September 2020

Jon Price Earth & Altar The issues are worth working through: Starting ministry during a pandemic

Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law In Defence of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003: Measure and Management

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Secrecy and an Unaccountable Church of England

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Reflections on the Dynamics of Control among Evangelical Anglicans

Micah Lazarus Earth & Altar The Fountain Of Life: Reclaiming Church And Tradition For Queer Flourishing

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Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Rosie Harper has made some very good points. I have noticed that even the C of E’s press releases are an exercise in in revealing absolutely no useful information. They are very good at it!

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

And another of the good ‘uns (Rosie Harper) has been exhausted by the institutional prevarication and obfuscation.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kate
David Rowett
David Rowett
1 month ago

To Rosie Harper’s excellent piece, I offer an extract from ch 64 of the Rule of Benedict, concerning the Abbot/Abbess:
“Once she has been constituted, let the Abbess always bear in mind what a burden she has undertaken and to whom she will have to give an account of her stewardship, and let her know that her duty is rather to profit her sisters than to preside over them”.

‘Nuff said.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
1 month ago

To add to Rosie Harper’s excellent article. The notion of questions in General Synod is obviously modelled on Parliamentary Questions so it is not surprising that answers are often evasive. The big difference is that PQs are only a small part of the landscape of the accountability of Government. The wider framework includes Freedom of Information (with an independent Information Commissioner), Select Committees, and of course the possibility of being voted out at the next election (or being booted out sooner by one’s own side, of course.) While there may be no obvious analogy with the last of these, there’s… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
1 month ago

The House of Bishops has established a ‘Governance Group’ under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines. According to the brief report of the recent ‘zoom’ meeting of the House of Bishops, “the Chair of the Governance Review Group then gave an update on the various models of Church governance structures which are being considered by the group.” It would be good if one of these models included provision for “independently minded select committees of [General] Synod with the power to investigate matters and question those in authority.” (It would be good, too, if the… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Why should bishops feel the need to be one and accountable to anyone? Their pay, palaces and pensions come from the Commissioners not the parishes, and they (or some of them) are themselves Commissioners. How very cosy. It doesn’t matter how few people attend church or how little we peasants contribute financially, the hierarchs are untouchable. It doesn’t matter how much finger-wagging they do because nobody listens. It doesn’t matter how much the ABC espouses subsidiarity for others whilst illegally instructing incumbents and wardens what to do, for the church is now irrelevant. Empty churches, closed churches, neglected churches, demolished… Read more »

Michael
Michael
1 month ago

Everything that I have been saying for months and much more. I am glad I am not the only who lets off steam on this forum. My latest gripe, after 28 weeks of Facebook communion, is the proposal in latest online newsletter of my local church, for the APCM to be on ZOOM. That excludes any one without access to ZOOM so they are disenfranchised, not that many usually attend in normal times. As for serving neighbours in different ways, local food bank is in local locked church, out of use. District council helpfully suggested lobby in local branch of… Read more »

Charles Clapham
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

I am at a loss to understand why Michael’s church is still not open (if, that is, he is in the UK?). I feel for you! Churches in England have been permitted to reopen for worship (including communion) since July, and it is perfectly feasible to put in place the straightforward measures necessary to do so safely. Using the church as a base for a foodbank has been permitted THROUGHOUT the lockdown! And unless there is new guidance from the government, there is no reason why churches cannot have a physical APCM with appropriate precautions (with perhaps the addition of… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
1 month ago

Whilst I note that Michael is in an urban environment, I note that many churches in the countryside discontinued services in March, and that they have still not been resumed. In some areas this policy has been the default rather than the exception, with one or two physical services per benefice being held, usually in the ‘lead’ church. This adds some grist to the argument that the virus has been an opportunity for certain benefices to ‘let go’ of unwanted stock. The authorities appear to have lurched, in Pavlovian style, from almost excessive authoritarianism to permitting an excessive amount of… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
1 month ago

It is possible that the clergy, or a member of the priest’s family, is in the vulnerable category and shielding. It’s also possible the the same applies to one or more of the church officers. In such a case Zoom APCM is sensible.And though it may exclude some who aren’t online, I suspect that attendance by Zoom may actually improve on previous years. Many parishes offering online services are gaining new ‘congregants’. While I sympathise with those who feel deprived of church services, for many of us who are normally ‘shut in” the sudden plethora of streamed services has been… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago

The CofE is no different from those who lord it over us in secular government. Dido Harding won a wooden spoon when CEO of talktalk for terrible customer service. She’s now in charge of testing for the Covid plague as her reward for failure. Dominic Cummings runs the country after breaking the law he himself devised. Clergy are promoted to the bench of bishops after showing no particular gifts or talents providing no reason why we should follow them. If these people had shown a track record of competence and an amazing ability to halt terminal decline, we would accept… Read more »

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Without TA I wouldn’t understand how hard it must be for clergy. We may all have different theological views but I salute you, Stanley, Rosie and others for your steadfast service to God and His Church in a generation in which at least some bishops don’t seem to appreciate your dedication.

I hope it doesn’t seem trite to say, “Thank you”.

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

Thank you Kate. I often think some TA commenters simply don’t know the half of it, so if my contributions have helped to open their eyes, I am glad. Yes, Fr DavidH, the church is no better than other institutions – but it should be – it claims to be. Throughout my 13 years in ordained ministry I was aware that the organisation was sick, run by people who live behind metaphorical electric gates to keep out peasants: “They are inclosed in their own fat and their mouth speaketh proud things” (Psalm 17:10, Coverdale). But not until I retired last… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Jockeying for position? What (Who?) do you know?
https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/racing/matt-hancock-funded-by-leading-figures-of-wonderful-uk-racing-1.4280397
and, by contrast, just observing re ‘bench of bishops’- Stephen Cottrell Bp of Reading (Oxford Diocese) 2004-10; Alan Wilson Bp of Buckingham (Oxford Diocese) 2003- date; Colin Fletcher Bp of Dorchester (Oxford Diocese) 2000- 2020 (incl Acting Bp of Oxford twice) … [Crockfords]. Pleased to hear Dr David Walker Bp of Manchester’s maiden speech in House of Lords yesterday. Hope.

David Exham
David Exham
1 month ago

I seem to have lost the plot completely! What is the significance of this list of Bishops who have worked in the Oxford diocese, please? I have worked with, and rate, them all.

John Wallace
John Wallace
1 month ago
Reply to  David Exham

I agree with David’s comment. Alan Wilson has been outstanding in ‘rocking the boat’ and refusing to tread the party line – well supported by Rosie.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago
Reply to  John Wallace

David and John, Less opaquely, I find preferment and ‘career trajectories’ interesting.Bp Alan from Buckingham to Buckingham in 17 years of ‘boat-rocking’ (and Rosie Harper from Bp Alan’s Chaplain to the same in 14 years; Bp Colin from Dorchester to Dorchester, via Oxford twice, in 20 years; Archbp Stephen from Reading to York via Chelmsford in 16 years; his predecessor ABpSentamu from Stepney to York in 9 years. Baroness Harding from leaving Talktalk in 2017 to Head of Test, track and trace via the Jockey Club in three years. Noting also the absence of BAME representation on the Diocesan Bishops’… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  John Wallace

Bp Alan Wilson sticks out like a sore thumb among a group of mediocre people who toe the party line. He speaks the truth too loudly. It’s probably best he’s not promoted in case the management gets upset.

Oscar
Oscar
1 month ago

I don’t know who Philip Jones is. I am sure he knows far more about the law than I do. But before he wrote in defence of the CDM, did he pay any attention at all to the countless stories that have emerged (many due to the sterling work of the Sheldon Centre) of how this iniquitous measure has been used to ruin the lives of so many people? This is not about an academic legal matter but a serious failure of justice and compassion on the part of the C of E and especially the bishops. There is no… Read more »

Jayne Ozanne
Jayne Ozanne
1 month ago

I’d like to draw people’s attention to a comment made on Via Media following Rosie Harper’s excellent piece. It is from a survivor of abuse, and the way that they haven been treated by the Church of England, and makes for sober reading. I salute their courage: As a survivor that has only ever asked for justice from the church, not compensation I know their poor response is not levelled only at those seeking financial redress, it is across board. For me this is a very timely piece of writing as I go to a meeting next week to discuss… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
1 month ago
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne

Jayne, this is appalling, and mirrors what happened to Jo Kind (National Safeguarding Panel member) in December 2018. Birmingham diocese received considerable media lambasting for its use of NDA in a review. The Lead Bishops and Director of Safeguarding need to know that this practice is still being deployed – it makes a mockery of any ‘lessons learned’ and is used to protect hierarchy and structure. Surprised that a diocese did not think to look and learn from all the attention the Birmingham NDA received.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilo

Witness is often about sharing life experiences and it is profoundly disturbing to hear that church officials are potentially stopping a Christian, especially an ordained minister, from fulfilling her full Christian Ministry.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
1 month ago
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne

I can confirm this. And many of those survivors who do take civil action do so because they’ve exhausted avenues with the Church and can’t get resolution any other way. Not just resolution, but even a simple acknowledgement that abuse occurred.

Jayne Ozanne
Jayne Ozanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne

Just to add that the survivor has now shared this with people (on the Via Media website): Thank you for these replies, it makes me feel better to know I am not alone in finding it unacceptable practice and thank you for the information Gilo which I can take to the meeting tomorrow. The diocese has said, they paid for the review so they own it but as you say it makes a mockery of lessons learned. It’s hard enough doing these meetings without having to challenge everything. The bizarre thing is that there are many points in the body… Read more »

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

Jayne, Thank you for your heartfelt comment, It say so much in a few words. All Anglicans should speak out to our Bishops on this matter. The days are gone when Bishops acted like god, but without love and mercy.

Fr John Emlyn

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

Micah, Thank you for your contribution. As an Anglican, surrounded by the witness of the Saints, like yourself, their inclusive love has always been a strength and comfort.

Adrian
Adrian
1 month ago

There are capacity issues to do with training archdeacons and bishops, sadly I don’t think that their capacity to be trained is going to significantly increase.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian

The solution is clearly to have less of them then.

John Wallace
John Wallace
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

Sadly, if all our bishops looked to their callings, there would be no need for ‘training’. Their fellows shoud be supporting them and in the case of Diocesan Bishops, they should be supporting their Suffragans – and I rejoice today at the ‘at last’ consecration of Sophie as Bishop of Doncaster – an inspired election. I was someone who managed staff training for a county council over a number of years and was pressured to do the ‘sheep dip’ for different courses which at the time were the ‘agenda issues’, So we could tick the box and meet our performance… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  John Wallace

It’s difficult to measure what counts as “success” in Christian ministry. One might expect someone who holds a title such as Director of Mission could provide evidence of the effect they had on church growth during their tenure. One such holder recently left the Diocese of Durham to become a bishop elsewhere. The diocese lost two thirds of its clergy in recent years and decline is unlikely to be halted soon. Perhaps promotion to a bishopric is a sign of “success” in Christian terms, and not an ability to achieve church growth in the diocese they’re leaving behind.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

‘It’s difficult to measure what counts as “success” in Christian ministry.’

So true.

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