Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 6 April 2019

Ephraim Radner The Living Church The Purpose of Lambeth and Staying Away
and one we missed earlier Cleaning up the Playing Field: Six Resolutions for Lambeth

Ian Cowley Church Times Freedom from the need to achieve
“Ian Cowley argues for rest, play, and reprieve from the numbers game”

Ted Harrison Church Times Clergy and stress: a time to rest
“What happens when the stress simply gets too much”

Simon Robinson ruminations, contemplations, stumblings Contemplation, the fraction and priestly absorption

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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Ephraim Radner contradicts himself in his six resolutions. In number two, regarding Lambeth 1998 1.10, he says “No penalties are proposed; no systems of adjudication are offered.” But then, in number 4 “We recognize the missionary and pastoral integrity of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and its related member churches; and we urge serious deliberation, locally and at the international level, over how these churches can be integrated fully into the life of the Communion.” Sorry, but any recognition of ACNA can only be viewed as a penalty to The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Ephraim Radner like many of his conservative outlook who want to seek a common mind and common public position on same sex matters forget a significant chunk of Lambeth 1.10: “We must confess that we are not of one mind about homosexuality. Our variety of understanding encompasses: those who believe that homosexuality is a disorder, but that through the grace of Christ people can be changed, although not without pain and struggle. those who believe that relationships between people of the same gender should not include genital expression, that this is the clear teaching of the Bible and of the… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: The Ephraim Radner piece, (1) I suppose one does need to be reminded that even TEC has its right wing.(2) Glancing over the Radner re-hash, I hearkened back to kneeling in front of the tomb of John 23 in Rome a few years ago, thinking about the giants of another generation who felt the pain and scandal of disunity and who provided leadership to do something about it. Mr. Radner likes reading the bible. He should study John 17, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

A follow up on Radner, Archbishop Tutu once noted about Anglicans, “we meet”. Mr. Radner took a cynical view of the notion in a piece he wrote for First Things in 9.15.18, titled, We Meet. A previous meeting of Lambeth gave rise to The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. I’ve attached a link. I’ve also provided a quote from Canadian Primate Fred Hiltz in addressing the 9th Consultation. His full remarks are available via the linked web page. Community may be built up through meeting and dialogue. It certainly isn’t achieved by refusing to meet. https://www.anglican.ca/gr/bishopsconsultation/ “I want to… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

As I have said before, Lambeth 1.10 doesn’t prohibit same sex marriage, it merely says that they aren’t advised.

Nor does it say that marriages are only between one man and one woman as often claimed.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

I’m re- reading the book, The Making of Jewish and Christian Worship( Bradshaw & Hoffman eds.). Paul F. Bradshaw notes there, that “Legislation is better evidence for what it proposes to prohibit than for what it seeks to promote …the fact that such regulations were made at all shows that the very opposite of what they were trying to promote must have been a widespread custom at that period.” (pp.9/10). Interesting to see Lambeth 1:10 from that vantage point.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

In this particular paragraph, Dr. Radner shows his true affiliation, which seems not to be with Lambeth but with GAFCON: “There is a simple practical reason: in any politics, negotiation demands that participants give something up even before they open their mouths in discussion. Attending the conference — that is, gathering the Church — presupposes sacrifice from the start. This has not yet happened. Thus, I make the suggestion, not on the basis of some imposed discipline, or principled boycott, or symbolic protest.” I suspect (but may be wrong) that Ephraim is asking progressive Churches and Bishops in the Anglican… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“Ephraim is asking progressive Churches and Bishops in the Anglican Communion to ‘give up’ their insistence on justice for the LGBTQI community….” I’m not sure Mr. Radner has dug down that deep.His views resonate with a small conservative rump in Toronto. He writes: “All the talk of the enriching and strengthening character of the Communion’s diverse common life is mostly Pablum” He ought to know that the Canadian church has a long standing deep and demonstrated commitment to Anglican Communion at a number levels. Some Pablum!

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Simon Robinson’s piece is wonderful. Topical for me personally. Elements of betrayal and passion too. It’s always our friends that betray us.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Robinson’s piece is most helpful. He’s right.Spirituality is a solace against ‘absorption’. “…we also absorb their anger, their unacknowledged and unresolved emotional lives …etc.” The one caveat is that pastors must get past seeing themselves as victims and accept the responsibility of leadership. Coincidentally today’s Gospel (John 12:1-8) contrasts betrayal with the outpouring of Mary of Bethany’s love. There is the anti-dote to absorption and betrayal.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

I read Ian Cowley’s excellent book ‘The Contemplative Minister’ on retreat back in January. I obviously need to read ‘The Contemplative Response’ now. I really like what he has to say.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Simon Robinson rightly, in my view, emphasises the spiritual benefit of the parish daily Mass. I found in my fulltime ministry as a parish priest that this was essential – not only for me as an individual but also for the ministry of the parish. I felt that I really needed this daily tryst with the Lord of The Church as the basic grounding for what I was able to do in priestly ministry during each day – both pastoral and spiritual. Without it, I felt there was little I, as a priest, could have given to the parish. Now,… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

I am pleased that your parish offers daily Mass but I wonder why your focus, at least in what you write, is its impact upon you? Surely the Mass is about devotion to the Lord and is celebrated for His benefit? I worry that if we focus on what we get out of the Mass, as Simon Robinson does, we might lose focus on the purpose of the Mass and instead of selfless participation we risk moving to self-centered participation.

Richard
Guest
Richard

I await Fr. Ron’s response. In the meantime, regarding benefits of the Mass, we in the US pray as follows: “And we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant that, by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we, and all thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion.”

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Kate, as Fr. Richard points out; the benefits of the Mass are explicitly acknowledged by the Church as for its members!. The fact that Christ is glorified in our devotion in the Mass is a byproduct – not the origin of its provision. The humility of Jesus quite clearly demonstrates the purpose of our Celebration – to feed us for eternal life, God’s gift of empowerment! Deo Gratias!

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

I think it’s mutual. A sharing together in love. In the Mass, the givenness of God meets the givenness of the individual and the Church. Of course, our givenness is a very frail offering of ourselves, compared to the Divine givenness of God, made manifest on the Cross, and re-expressed in the bread and the wine. We can only really come to the Mass in emptiness (hence the prerequisite of confession), and we come, needing God so much. And yet if we come with the intent and desire to be God’s, and to be given to God, then the mutual… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

Please explain what *benefit* God derives from us. We offer praise and thanksgiving, but I don’t see that God benefits (in the clear meaning of that word). He is surely pleased, but He is already all-knowing and all-powerful. “Come Risen Lord and deign to be our guest; nay let us be thy guest, the feast is thine.”

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Edward Schillebeeckx has written about the two-way nature of the sacramental Christ encounter in terms of God’s love for humankind, and humankind’s love for a God, God’s love for us elicits our love and worship. However I agree that the notion of “what we get out of the mass” is a turn of phrase that reduces the sacramental life to a kind of transaction. See the work of Fr. William Hill OP on Schillebeeckx.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Richard: “Please explain what *benefit* God derives from us.” Richard, I refer you to God for the answer to that. God is not a robot, God has feelings, God must surely delight in exchange of love. Whether that ‘benefits’ God, it’s not my place to say. The sharing is deeply precious though, and I suggest it is precious for God as well. It’s felicitous. Let’s use that word instead of ‘benefit’ (which sounds a bit utilitarian). I don’t think it’s inconceivable that God benefits from the love we come and share with God, in giving to one another. Delight, love,… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Maybe “benefit” the as a poor choice of word. Perhaps focus and purpose are more relevant. And I don’t have a problem with mutual or two way benefit.

However, I think if we approach any sacrament with the intention or purpose that we get something out of it, we cheapen it. I am reminded of the Bible coverage of the Temple money-lenders and the widow offering her mite. In both, while not exactly parallel, Jesus was offended that people had their own purposes and were seeking benefit.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

What you say resonates quite a lot with how I feel when I come to receive the sacraments. I think I usually approach in worship, emptiness: recipient, but offering myself in a little vulnerability and openness. I think we offer ourselves when we approach God. Our understanding trails off in the presence of mystery. But we trust, we prepare to receive. Experientially though, one can feel ‘benefit’ afterwards – a sense of grace having been imparted. And generally I also feel tenderness and thanksgiving. It feels intimate. We know how we feel. We don’t necessarily know all the mystery of… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘O Lord and heavenly Father, we thy humble servants entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion.’ – 1662 BCP service of Holy Communion. I am not at all ashamed to say that I approach the sacrament of Holy Communion with the intention or purpose that I get something out of… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

“Benefit” is used often in the American and English prayers books. We, the faithful, pray for the benefits of our Lord’s Passion and we offer our praise and thanksgiving: thus the two-way encounter. We, our lives, are ameliorated by these benefits; God is pleased by our worship.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

I’ve thought about this a bit more, Richard. I am not ashamed to offer God the benefits of my willing love. And I believe God is thrilled by that. I think it’s that personal. A benefit may mean a good thing we can bestow on someone we love. I am of benefit to God. My love is a benefit I give to God. I give it of my choice. I am not God’s robot. In the context of Mass, it’s obvious that by far the greater givenness comes from God. And indeed, in our spiritual paucity we come to God… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

I personally would truncate to “I am not ashamed to offer God my willing love.”

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The section on the sacraments in the catechism also support the classic Anglican position which you and Tim (above) reference. There is also Hooker, of course, “We all admire and honour the holy sacraments,not respecting so much the service we do unto God in receiving them, as the dignity of that sacred and secret gift we thereby receive from God”.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

All the sacraments are a means of grace, the outpouring of God’s love. They are an encounter with the Christ. As such each of them intends a benefit, blessing and renewal to the faithful.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

It’s an interesting list of six resolutions. 1. Sex: married straight folk only, deal with it. 2. Sex: married straight folk only, everyone should deal with it. 3. Sex: married straight folk only, everyone should be told to deal with it. Loudly. 4. Sex: married straight folk only, but if Americans say something else, play nice, even if they are wrong. The rest of you, deal with it. 5. We want you to think we talk about stuff other than sex but actually, sex, because what else in “coherent formation and catechesis” are we arguing about? Policy is already settled,… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Radner: Mornington Crescent, please.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

The first bishop to mention Lambeth 1.10 wins.

Phil Groves
Guest
Phil Groves

You know the rules to Mornington Crescent Tobias? You are an Anglophile!

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

Phil, I was nourished in my early days on the Goons. They are entirely to blame for my world-view. 🙂

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Very proper. The CofE has much in common with the Goons, IMIHAC, and the most glorious of all Round the Horne. There are plenty of laughs.

John Wirenius
Guest

At the risk of being contentious, it seems to me that Lambeth Resolution 1.10 was not received by the Churches—The Episcopal Church (USA) gave up on it in 2010, after observing the Windsor Report moratorium for 6 years, and what is now the GAFCON contingent ignored everything that would impact their behavior from the beginning to the present. It’s an ex-parrot, as I go into more detail on my blog.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

Just so, John. The continued appeals to Lambeth 1.10 and some kind of spurious authority for the Lambeth Conference as somehow representing the collective mind of a purported “Anglican church” are incongruent with reality. Lambeth is at best a snapshot of the mind of those in attendance, and in the case of 1998.1.10 only of those who voted for it, as there was significant opposition.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I wonder if Simon Robinson is writing about ministers or if he is really writing about empaths – and many ministers probably are, or have become, empathic. In framing it as an aspect of ordained ministry he looks to the Mass to restore equilibrium. But that is like salving a wound by a blood transfusion to replace energy at least as fast as it leaks out, when stitching the wound is the correct “cure”. In the context of empathy that is about learning to give and receive while protecting oneself from being drained, and especially about how to deal with… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Kate. The sacraments of the Church are Christ’s provision for its ongoing life and ministry. Humanly produced theological (or even psychological) resources are something a little different. The first contains positive action, with God as Chief Instrument; the second, mere human reflection. No one was ever ‘redeemed’ by human reflection alone.

Keith Arrowsmith
Guest
Keith Arrowsmith

I believe that The Lambeth Conference is a charitable company, regulated in the UK by the Charity Commission. Its charitable objects include “FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF EDUCATION, BY TEACHING AND TRAINING THE BISHOPS AND SPOUSES OF BISHOPS OF THE WORLDWIDE ANGLICAN COMMUNION TO FULFIL THEIR ROLES, AND THROUGH THEM TO ADVANCE EDUCATION IN THE WIDER WORLD.” I wondered if the bishop’s spouses due to attend are aware of the remit of the charity, and whether the trustees of the charity are able to fulfil their objective if some clergy spouses are not invited to attend.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The Ian Cowley article is very good. Reminded me of reading Josef Pieper’s, Leisure the Basis of Culture, from all those years ago.Ecclesiastical agendas and busy work can pull one off track.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Indeed it is good. Frightening too: money supplied on condition that measurable outcomes [I remember them from applying for EU grants: they’re balderdash] and specific targets that include ‘“30 new fresh expressions of Church developed, with total of 600 participants; 35 per cent of participants unchurched; 25 per cent of participants under 30; 70 per cent lay led”. The deadline is 2020.’ What happens if any target falls short? I suppose the named grant-holder will be stood against the palace wall and be shot. Ye Gods! I’m retiring in autumn, DG.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

I’m retired. I recommend it to anyone. ( :

Barry
Guest
Barry

This is indeed an excellent piece. It reminded me how, not long ago, after a mid-week eucharist in a London church, a visiting worshipper asked me, “why is the Church of England frantically buying into business management approaches to its life and mission, at the very time when I and others professionally involved with management are ditching them because we know they don’t work?” I had no answer. Neither, I believe, would the management people presently oppressing hard working clergy have an answer. Another example of the C of E being ten years behind present realities. (And thank you, Rod,… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Likewise,I first read Pieper in the early seventies. Leisure:The basis of Culture, including The Philosophical Act was re-issued in 2009 ( Ignatius Press). I’m re-reading it yet again, for lent. The concise foreword to the re-issue by James V. Schall, SJ (Lent 2009) affirms Pieper’s enduring insights.