Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 20 April 2024

Helen King sharedconversations Jesus is coming, look busy: onwards with Living in Love and Faith?

Neil Elliot NumbersMatters Is yours an Easter or a Christmas Church?

Harriet Symonds The House Scrolls of Doom: Why Gen Z is shunning the church

Christopher Landau Psephizo What is the place of charismatic theology after Mike Pilavachi?

Christopher Landau Church Times Landing zone needed for LLF
“‘Compassionate orthodoxy’, not a divisive settlement, is required”

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Susannah Clark
28 days ago

Thank you, Helen. “the conscience of bishops… whether some bishops could make their diocese a no-go area…”

Surely that is totally unacceptable?

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Susannah Clark
28 days ago

Unacceptable yes. But is it really any different than no-go parishes for LGBT Christians? Surely that should be just as unacceptable.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate Keates
28 days ago

In principle I agree with you Kate. The question is: ‘How to achieve that?’ I have grown increasingly conscious of this point which you have pressed for a long time. I don’t see Synodical process achieving this any time in the next decade. If not, then what? The thing about bishops not being allowed to dominate individual parish priests and communities, is that then at least a significant number of parishes can start to marry gay couples (subject to Parliament and law change). That would be better than nothing. But you have helped me grow more and more conscious of… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Susannah Clark
28 days ago

‘The question is: ‘How to achieve that?’’

Even if it seems hopeless we are, I suggest, obliged as Christians nonetheless to try.

But there is another important point sort of highlighted by the Landau article in CT. Traditionalists are trying to seek a compromise between PLF and the preceding status quo. We need to keep sight of how vast a compromise PLF is in terms of inclusion and be determined to push further, not allow even those minor gains be compromised.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
27 days ago

Susannah, I glad you are becoming aware of Kate’s arguments here. Whilst I respected your instinctive desire to keep everybody inside the tent and to allow for maximum freedom of conscience, I think Kate is correct that to do so risks leaving too many young and vulnerable LGBTQ+ people at risk of damage inside Conservative churches. It may seem “idealistic” to hold out fully for what we LGBTQ+ people need within the church, which may entail doctrinal change, but surely such change is possible. Think of how the church treated Jewish people for almost 2000 years, and then look at… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
27 days ago

It’s not at all black and white for me, Simon. Conscience seems really important to me. That said, Kate’s concern (especially for young people but also adults) is desperately real. Parishes being ‘no go’ areas for LGBT people, and promulgating teaching that tells young people their sexuality is against God… they are undeniably harmful and dangerous. What has shifted my view has been witnessing and experiencing the visceral attacks on gay and trans people’s lives, made by certain well-known conservative bloggers and the proposals voiced by others that LGBT people might be blocked from positions in their churches, or even… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Susannah Clark
26 days ago

For me the question is: Are those who say they are following their own consciences in opposing any change in the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues operating in “good conscience”? Or have their consciences been corrupted by bad theology and bad science?

William
William
Reply to  Pat ONeill
26 days ago

Well in that case perhaps the same question can be asked of you…

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  William
26 days ago

Of course it can…and we should all ask it of ourselves

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
25 days ago

Bad theology and bad science — are these things only informing the traditional position? I’d say they are responsible for the progressive position. Or, minimally, they don’t just line up along one trajectory.

Science, like theology, rely on those practicing them and how they do their proper work.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Anglican Priest
25 days ago

I believe that in good faith and conscience it is possible for people to hold different (and even contrary) views in devotion and givenness to God… and that the Church should be willing to accommodate those views within its operating institution. If you look at those who believe in male-only priesthood, or the repudiation of gay sex and marriage (neither are views I personally hold myself) I am persuaded there are strong enough theological arguments for those views to be held in good faith and dedicated Christian life. If so, I suggest the Church should try to accommodate that diversity… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Susannah Clark
23 days ago

You can draw similar parallels with a good few examples of Christian differences in attitude – wealth and pacifism being two very good, practical examples. Plenty of books, speakers etc who major on one issue being ‘the Christian way’ on pacifism, for example – and yet equally plenty of committed Christians in the armed forces, who see it as a divine calling – something similar with left and right wing Christian views on wealth, donations to political parties and revival movements etc – or indeed, not too many decades back, even which way a Christian should vote party wise. It’s… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Pat ONeill
23 days ago

But who says it is ‘bad science’, or indeed, ‘bad theology’? I’ve heard ultra fundamentalists and others say that the science is trimming its sails to the popular wind, and toeing the social line, but that is surely too simplistic? Are scientists and medics as professions so corrupted? A few may be, but not an entire tribe.

Sarah Douglas
28 days ago

In response to Neil Elliot, I would say that after Christmas, Remembrance Sunday probably has the highest attendance. Not sure what this says about our culture…

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Sarah Douglas
28 days ago

Here in Canada (where Neil lives) Remembrance Sunday is not as common as it is in the UK. In Canada, the main observances are on Remembrance Day (Nov 11) and are not usually church events. And our lectionary has no such animal as Remembrance Sunday.

One of the differences of being a non-established church, I expect. And also a reflection of our diversity. In the early 2000s I had a woman in my Edmonton parish whose family had been almost entirely wiped out in the fire-bombing of Dresden.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Sarah Douglas
27 days ago

My experience in a number of parishes suggests that observation of Remembrance Sunday is highly variable. Town centre and civic churches often make a big event of it and are well attended. Scouting and Guiding groups often attend these services rather than their own parish, if different.Some parishes just have the 2 minute silence; eva/charismatic parishes may ignore Remembrance Sunday altogether.

Likewise, some consider Remembrance Sunday to be solely about the two world wars, while others remember those lost in other conflicts as well. I’ve tended to go with whatever is the local custom.

Susannah Clark
28 days ago

Christopher’s article in the Church Times champions generosity, but still frames outcomes within the damaging status quo on gay sex and marriage. He argues for the maintenance of the present doctrine of marriage, under the yoke of Synodical process: “If the Church’s doctrine of marriage is, in fact, to change, there are clearly defined synodical processes that anyone respecting those processes would surely want to see followed.” The problem there is that ‘synodical process’ enables a minority to dominate others, and block change (who knows? maybe for decades?) if 34% of synod members hold firm on conservative condemnation of gay… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  Susannah Clark
27 days ago

The Church of England doesn’t have decades left. Most of the liberal parishes will be closed in ten years’ time.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  James
27 days ago

I assume you have good statistical evidence for this assertion and also can predict the future.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Charles Read
27 days ago

As Winston Churchill said, the best prophets speak with hindsight. There is also the parable of the hammer and the anvil to consider….

James
James
Reply to  Charles Read
25 days ago

Charles: you have probably read the statistical evidence provided in 2022 by the mathematician John Hayward. Growth, Decline and Extinction of UK Churches – Church Growth Modelling (churchmodel.org.uk) I would add the catastrophic absence of children in most Anglican churches, as the latest CofE show. I would add two other facts. The age profile. You just can’t run a church where most of the people are over 70. Illness and infirmity make this impossible. A big drop off in numbers training for ordination. The CofE will face this crisis in 5 years as great numbers retire and are not replaced.… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  James
23 days ago

Can I remind you of a similar conversation on here last October? During a discussion on ageing church membership a lady wrote in, having seen the press announcement about the demise of the big Warley MRC NEC exhibition, primarily due to the same problem. Several of us commented on it too. Needless to say, the press made a massive thing about it, painting everything as bleakly as possible. The hobby was dying. Move on 7 months; things have changed. (Potentially we have two successors to Warley – I’m exhibitng at one on Saturday) Andrew Burnham, writing in this month’s ‘Continental… Read more »

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  James
27 days ago

Interesting how often illiberal people (both left & right) underestimate the staying power of liberals. 

Lottie E Allen
Reply to  James
27 days ago

People have been predicting the death of the liberal wing of the church all the forty years of my adult life. I will add your name to the litany.

James
James
Reply to  Lottie E Allen
25 days ago

Few things die 100% – they may carry on in negligible numbers, like the Swedenborgians or Christian Science: if you look hard enough, you will find them. But what Dr John Hayward said in 2022 is a projection based on age profile and actual figures of growth and decline.
The projections for the URC is pretty striking: extinction as a denomination in just a few years. Many Anglican parishes have the same demographic profile.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  James
23 days ago

And, actually a lot of other traditional British activities are struggling with the same basic problems, not just the churches.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
26 days ago

Ten years? I suspect that when the inevitable assize becomes a reality in the CofE, we are talking about Welby’s tenure not having averted anything. So, 2-3 years? Then there will have to be some serious talk. I defer to Froghole on the statistics. Liberal parishes — are these in the most numerically challenged place? Well, yes, but it could well be that 50% of all parishes are truly not viable. Welby was likely given a charge. “Turn it all around.” Well, he did not even retard the decline much. I leave it to those with closer proximity to facts… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  Anglican Priest
25 days ago

No, he didn’t turn things around and the diktat to close churches over covid accelerated the decline, it seems. I did wonder then if quite a few people just gave up going to church for good. Churches have not recovered to pre-covid days, while the latest national statistics show an greater decline in children attending and almost no young adults identifying as Anglican. My observations are based on two empirical facts: 1. You can’t really sustain an institution when most of its members are over 70 with illness and infirmity to contend with. 2. The average age of stipendiary clergy… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
25 days ago

Right, a 3rd grade math student can plot this inevitable decline. And how long will England agree to the idea of “The Church of England” when something like 1% attend it. It just makes no logical sense. It is more like a museum housing ideas that timed out.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James
26 days ago

How are you defining ‘liberal’?

I learned from my father, who was a disciple of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, that in debate we need to know what we mean by certain words. ‘Let us define our terms’, as the Doctor used to say.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
25 days ago

Quite the colourful figure, Martin Lloyd-Jones! He wrote a book called ‘Preaching and Preachers’. John Stott once told me that he had counted the number of times the word ‘abomination’ was used in that book: 13!

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  James
26 days ago

I think you’ll find it’s mostly rural churches with no defined “party” that will close.

Parish churches you might consider liberal, much like those you would consider conservative, are generally in substantial population centres and in good health.

David
David
Reply to  James
25 days ago

Liberal/progressive/Broad Church/Liberal Catholic are all on the endangered species list in the Church of England. Our congregations are ageing and shrinking on a weekly basis. The only substantial growth in the CofE is among the Charismatic Evangelical wing of the Church. Fact. The majority of stewardship giving (money in the plate) comes from these churches and underwrites the balance sheet of the Chuch as a whole. Fact. This money comes with strings attached, hence the power concentrated in this part of the Church. Liberals et al do not have the same financial clout. Vocations to ordained and lay ministry come… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David
25 days ago

A Church that refuses to change will only do more damage…” agreed.

Do you think priests and PCCs who affirm LGBT+ people should insist on change?

What is holding them back from resisting top-down inertia, because they owe that to LGBT+ people in their parish and local community?

RobT
RobT
Reply to  Susannah Clark
24 days ago

I suspect what is holding priests back is the patronage power above. Priests won’t want to put their vocations and housing on the line. You have a few brave souls like Jeremy Pemberton who will stand up, but look what happened there. When my husband and I got married, we were lucky enough to worship at a church where the vicar was willing to provide a blessing service, so long as we used nothing like a wedding service (even the Episcopal Church one that only vaguely draws on the CW/BCP one) and were not personally blessed. Even so there were… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
28 days ago

Elliott’s reasoning is flawed. Christmas services are well-suited for children and therefore families; Easter isn’t. That has to have a significant impact on attendance.

Shamus
Shamus
Reply to  Kate Keates
28 days ago

I agree, that makes sense, though I attended the main Eucharist on Easter Day at All Saints, Stamford. Excellent music with robed choir, but the outstanding feature was the presence of a considerable number of children. 40 plus I should think. They had a large cross set up, and on the way up to receive Communion, both children and adults pushed little bunches of flowers from their gardens into chicken wire wrapped around the cross. Lots of children had come prepared with their bunches of flowers. It was one of the most moving things I have witnessed at Easter. A… Read more »

Sarah Douglas
Reply to  Kate Keates
28 days ago

A lot of churches include egg hunts at Easter which increases attendance and/or special children’s and family services. The Easter service at my local church ranged in age from 22 months to 76. All were engaged.

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
Reply to  Kate Keates
28 days ago

I’m trying to make sense of what you’ve written here. At my church, there’s not much difference between Christmas and Easter… except, of course, for the readings, floral decoration, and hymns. I don’t have children, so perhaps that’s the difficulty with understanding.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate Keates
28 days ago

I think folks need to take seriously that although Neil does examine US and UK data, he is speaking explicitly from a Canadian context. And the truth is, there are regional differences across Canada, too, many of them weather-related. By the time Pentecost Sunday rolls around, the weather here in Edmonton is usually good—and given that we can have at least some snow in this city from October to May, when the weather finally warms up a lot of people tend to spend weekends out of doors. And I can’t find it in my heart to blame them for it!… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Kate Keates
27 days ago

At the Episcopal cathedral in Denver Colorado I used to attend, families definitely attended Easter as well as Christmas services. There was an Easter egg hunt after the service, there were balloons hanging from the ends of the pews (some of which would break loose and float to the 60-foot-high ceiling and float back down several Sundays later.

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  Kate Keates
27 days ago

I am interested that Neil Elliott’s statistics show 295k on parish rolls, 101k regular givers and Sunday attendance of 64k. This appears to shows a significant number of people who want to identify with the church and are willing to support it financially. This seems much less common in the Church of England.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Sam Jones
27 days ago

It is not unusual in my patch of rural Wiltshire for non church going village people to make regular payments to the church so it can continue as a venue for their family weddings, or because they have family members buried in the graveyard.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Simon Dawson
26 days ago

I think that’s great, Simon. Of course it would be better if they came, but showing your approval of what the Church does by funding it is far better than nothing. When I was a Vicar in a Northern Diocese, I was fortunate to have a sizeable church community (it was quite a few years ago now!), but financially we existed on a knife-edge and as a community were held back in how we could initiate work in the wider community by this shortage of money. There was quite a tradition in the area of people identifying themselves as a… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Sam Jones
26 days ago

Sam, remember that’s an ‘average‘ Sunday attendance of 64k. If my last parish is anything to go by, about one third of the total membership would be in church on any given Sunday. If that holds true for the entire Canadian church, that would indicate an active membership of around 192k.

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Kate Keates
21 days ago

Easter services can easily be well-suited for children and families. It just requires some thought and flexibility. Pre-retirement we saw “good” sized services at them. It got more awkward when school holidays started to move around more with families on holiday. Not so many people were away at Christmas and we tended to get their visitors as well.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
28 days ago

In line with Kate’s comment, Christmas in the secular world, is an occasion for family gatherings, usually across generations; Easter generally is not. Therefore, when the extended family gathers for the Christmas celebration it is normal for the whole clan to attend church together (at least this is normal in the USA).

As for Harriet Symonds’ article, in my estimation, few young adults are interested in socializing with the peers of their parents and grandparents, so community events at church are unlikely to draw them in.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
28 days ago

“Young people are always seeking meaning…” I am an old person and I am always seeking meaning too. I see meaning in the Gospels but I see a denial of meaning when clerics don’t practice what they preach. What will Gen Z make of a church that is loud in it’s condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine but almost silent about genocide in Gaza ? Jesus of Nazareth had no place for double standards but the Church of England is riven with them. We say Palestinians are children of God but then behave as their value is not quite… Read more »

Chris
Chris
Reply to  David Hawkins
28 days ago

I found this paragraph in Symonds’ article – “Without religion, young people look for a sense of purpose and identity elsewhere. Kruger warns they may end up finding this through climate activist groups like Just Stop Oil or conspiracy theories online. “I worry that they’ll put that energy into what could be disruptive or unhelpful, political or religious ideas that are not as socially beneficial as our traditional religion,” he explains.” – more than a bit puzzling in its supposed opposition to “traditional” religion. A, one wonders what the entire point of Jesus’ ministry *was* if not “disruptive” of contemporary… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
27 days ago

Christopher Landau’s Psephizo piece is interesting – not least because it starts to address the issue of what questions we allow ourselves to ask. But in the Soul Survivor context (and others) I think some reflection on the time when Jesus was tested in the wilderness and had scripture quoted at him may be in order – the recognition that it may be our most treasured resources that are deployed to get us off track: the threat may be from some of the best of what we have – and how we own and understand and challenge that [as Jesus… Read more »

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Mark Bennet
27 days ago

His article does ask some important questions. As ever with Psephizo, some of the comments are alarming. The first suggests Pilavachi’s abuse was not too bad as it did not involve anal sex! And we wonder why we have safeguarding problems.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Charles Read
26 days ago

If the motivation is strong enough people are willing to be very flexible and self-deceiving in defining what sex is or is not. In parts of the Christian evangelical world in the USA, oral sex and “heavy petting” (mutual masturbations to orgasm) is allowable for young people and not seen to break the religious ban on sex before marriage. Similarly, in parts of the Catholic church in Asia and America, heterosexual anal sex does not damage a woman’s virginity and is similarly acceptable. (See Dag Endsjo’s excellent “Sex and Religion”). One wonders whether a homosexual man would be given the… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Simon Dawson
23 days ago

American evangelicals have certainly changed if some of them now tolerate heavy petting!. The books I remember were pretty universally against anything remotely like it. And to say that anal sex ‘doesn’t damage a woman’s virginity’ is taking linguistic hair splitting to a whole new level. Its amazing what some folks will accept these days. I have to admit that I can’t speak from experience on that subject, but genuinely can’t see what the recipient actually ‘enjoys’ – to me it is more of an abusive, subjugative act intended to dominate the person on the receiving end. But then, rightly… Read more »

Mark
27 days ago

In the Harriet Symonds article, Barry Gardiner (he of the Chinese corruption scandal in Parliament?) is quoted as saying “Religion has played too important a role in society for too many millennia to suddenly run out of steam.” It’s not religion that seems out of steam, it’s Christianity. Islam is in the ascendant, while Christianity is in decline. Part of the reason for that, surely, is that young Muslims in Europe walk the streets with their heads held high – they do not live down their religious culture – while we have an older generation of Christians who have been… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Mark
27 days ago

But I’m wondering, is a book-based fundamentalism “living up” to who God/Allah really is, and the best of who we can be? Surely parts of the Bible need deconstructing and setting in the context of the times and understandings of human and fallible authors? Is biblical certainty always a virtue? Or does God help us grow as human beings, through doubts and uncertainties, through relationship and trust? Should we be believing in a historical Adam, an actual Fall event through the sin of parentless people? Or a real Noah’s Ark? Or God actually commanding the Israelites to ethnically cleanse (and… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Susannah Clark
27 days ago

George Gershwin recognized all of this about a century ago when he wrote “It Ain’t Necessarily So”

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Susannah Clark
27 days ago

Colin Coward is right that we are each on our own, separate paths of enlightenment. To a degree we may therefore have different answers to those questions. The answers are important because they affect how we group ourselves with other travellers. There is one further, consideration, however. We want to get it right. It’s unclear what the penalty is for doing too many wrong things, but it might be very big. I believe we should be a permissive big tent and allow anything which is reasonably plausible within the Bible’s guiding principle of selfless love but allow others to teach… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Susannah Clark
27 days ago

My point is not just about scripture, though that is where the illustration comes from – nor is it about fundamentalism – Jesus uses scripture against scripture. More widely, though, our different traditions and perspectives all have things they value and cherish – perhaps we all need to be alert that subtle evasions and distortions of these things may be a greater danger than is generally acknowledged.

In this way of thinking we may all need access to a perspective other than our own.

Mark
Reply to  Susannah Clark
26 days ago

I don’t think that biblical criticism is the same as deconstructing the Christian cultural tradition, is it? Modern biblical criticism started really in 1830s Germany, way before the wholesale attacks on the West and its culture came about – that really is something that originated with the spoilt generation that was young in the 1960s, didn’t it? The Oxford Movement fathers, who recalled the C of E to its ancient roots in patristic and mediaeval Christian belief and practice were not biblical literalists, after all – Pusey spent time in Germany, and spoke German, if I recall correctly. I don’t… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Mark
26 days ago

Thank you Mark. I appreciate your response.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Mark
27 days ago

I’m choking a bit over the idea that Christianity is part of ‘our traditional culture in Europe’, when it actually came from the Middle East, and began life as a counter-cultural movement.

Mark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
26 days ago

You know what I mean, I think: of course we all know where Christianity started. The culture of the West was formed, to a very great extent, by the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and I’m not sure that should be such a surprise as to choke you.

And the fact that something starts and spends a short initial period of its history as a counter-cultural movement does not prevent it from subsequently taking over that culture and then dominating it for many centuries, which is what happened in Europe, does it?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Mark
26 days ago

You are correct; I’m not surprised by the news that something called ‘Christianity’ has shaped the culture of the west. But given that Jesus of Nazareth taught against wealth, power, violence, xenophobia, and the cultures (not ‘culture’) of the west have been shot through with these things, I’m skeptical about whether the ‘Christianity’ that formed them had much to do with the Way of Jesus. No – the counter-cultural movement morphed into the Christendom compromise, one of the consequences being that the radical teachings of Jesus were marginalized, while the church focused on doctrine and liturgy. So what started as… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
26 days ago

and the cultures (not ‘culture’) of the west…”

I think that touches on an important point, when people want to defend ‘their’ culture.

There are probably hundreds of cultures in the UK today.

Not all share the same values.

Christianity exists in tension with each one.

Who’s to say it should align with a dominant culture in the collection?

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Mark
25 days ago

Just an aside – it’s ‘Christian’, not ‘Judaeo-Christian’, a term invented only a few decades ago not to include Judaism but rather to exclude Islam. To my knowledge there has never been a largely Jewish state in Europe, nor has Judaism had anywhere close to the outsized and pretty pervasively-everywhere impact Christianity has had on Europe; an appeal to a ‘Judeo-Christian tradition’ is not something that in practical terms involves Judaism, and I don’t think I’ve seen a Jewish person ever use it.

Last edited 25 days ago by Chris
Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Chris
24 days ago

Well the Oxford English Dictionary dates “Judaeo-Christian” to 1821, based on a German term dating to 1745 or earlier. The earliest use refers to Jewish Christians, but the sense meant in this thread is dated to 1881: “Designating those religious, ethical, or cultural values or beliefs regarded as being common to both Judaism and Christianity; of, relating to, or holding these shared values or beliefs. Also more generally: relating to or characteristic of both Judaism and Christianity.”

Mark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
26 days ago

You’re illustrating my point, rather, Tim: you sneer at the idea of regarding Christianity as part of our traditional culture in Europe.

Well, I’m a European and I love my European and Christian cultural tradition. I don’t grant to anyone a free ride to to sneer at it and knock it, any more than anyone else from any other tradition around the world with an ounce of self-respect would do regarding their own cultural and religious identity.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Mark
26 days ago

I don’t ‘sneer’ at it; I disagree with it on principle. I don’t think my Christianity should be part of something else. I think the ‘something else’ should find its place in my life in the context of Christianity.

(By the way, I was born in Leicester, baptized and confirmed in the C of E, and attended C of E churches every week ’til my parents upped sticks and moved to Canada when I was seventeen.)

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Mark
25 days ago

I have a question – what counts as “our traditional culture”? You write that “other traditional cultures will increasingly fill the vacuum” – I’m assuming you mean Islam, and not, say, Hinduism. I see no problem with this; I like our diversity of religion, and if Islam attracts people, then I’m happy someone has decided to follow God, even if on a different path. It isn’t Islam’s fault that Christianity seems like a dry well at the moment; we’ve done this to ourselves by not moving on. I wonder if the danger you interpret here is not Islam, but more… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Chris
24 days ago

The most common description of Allah in the Quran is that “Allah is all loving”. And having attended mosque for many months with the sisters, to learn about their faith and values, what I found was women who drew on their faith and devotion to care for family, engage in their communities, and visit their elderly and sick in hospital. These were values of faith that flew at odds with the materialist society. Indeed, it was the care I saw in hospital, and encounters I had with patients, visitors, nursing colleagues, that prompted me to learn more about Islam, so… Read more »

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
24 days ago

Well said Susannah. Islam is attractive because it proclaims a God who is merciful and compassionate and does not require blood sacrifices before he is prepared to be nice to people. Also it is worth pointing out, especially to those who talk about ‘Judaeo-Christian’ values, that the historic contribution of Islam to European culture is more significant than that of Judaism. Much of Spain was Muslim until it was forcibly and brutally converted to Christianity. Islam has been a presence in the Balkans for as long as Protestantism has in Western Europe. We should really talk about ‘Islamo-Christian’ values if… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
24 days ago

“the historic contribution of Islam to European culture is more significant than that of Judaism” — now there is a claim searching wildly for evidence. Visit Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, just for starters.

Last edited 24 days ago by Anglican Priest
Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Anglican Priest
23 days ago

I don’t possess the means to visit Vienna at the turn of the 20th century. Do you? I made the point that the contribution of Judaism is not significant. I do not deny that many Europeans with a background in that religion have made considerable contributions in the arts and sciences, but they have lived and worked in a Christian or, in mediaeval Spain, Islamic context. With regard to Vienna in the period you mention, I can’t think of any famous Jews for whom their religion was a factor in their lives. Mahler was an agnostic, Freud was an atheist,… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
27 days ago

In the US, we have Memorial Day at the end of May, which started out as a remembrance of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War and then became adapted to honor all military who lost their lives in service to our country. For roughly a century, it was observed on May 30. Then in the 1970s, the US Congress “reformed” the federal holiday schedule and made Memorial Day the last Monday in May. Since then, the holiday is observed with backyard barbeques, furniture sales, automobile sales, and summer getaways. Some houses of worship hold a service… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
27 days ago

In my memory, Memorial Day had become barbeques and sales long before the date change occurred; indeed, it could be argued the date change occurred because people wanted it to be a three-day weekend. It’s now the “unofficial start of summer,” with many beach towns and amusement parks opening that weekend.

Baptist Trainfan
Baptist Trainfan
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
27 days ago

Personally I’d prefer to get rid of church-based Remembrance services and simply have secular commemorations on November 11th. I dislike the connections that are often made between war and religion.

I think Christmas (especially carol) services are more “popular” than Easter ones. Pentecost is a dead duck to the majority of folk, even Christians. It’s no longer tied into a Bank Holiday/school half-term either – although, when the two coincide, then a lot of church folk go to the land of Away.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Baptist Trainfan
27 days ago

I agree with all of that.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Baptist Trainfan
26 days ago

I recall a little over 50 years ago a retired professor of mathematics at Leeds who used to wish people a ‘Happy Whitsun’. He was brought up on the south coast of England, and I expect that that was the custom there during his formative years.

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Clifford Jones
25 days ago

Back in the day, when the bank holiday was no longer linked to the feast , we wished each other ‘ happy Wilsontide’. By the way, was that professor the father of Liz Truss?

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Baptist Trainfan
24 days ago

Personally, I think that Remembrance is vital. Having an established and local church means that people have a place to go, and a safe and open space to sit with unanswered questions. To remember the unthinkable, and the sacrifices, and to know that there is a place to sit with all that is one of the great gifts of the local parish Anglican church. Its not about the connections between war and religion – its about the shared sacred and secular importance of remembrance.

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
27 days ago

1/3 Christopher Landau’s reflections on the Mike Pilavachi scandal are elegant and well-written (as one might expect from a former journalist), but deeply inadequate in their scope, and should raise concerns for all involved in addressing safeguarding issues in the church.  Take Landau’s ‘initial observations’ – those things, in others words, that presumably he thinks are the most important to say at the outset.  His first reaction is to criticise what he calls the ‘barely disguised glee’ of non-charismatics in the church (for which, read ‘liberals’) in response to the abuse. It is a comment which is unreferenced, and for… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Revd Charles Clapham
David Runcorn
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
27 days ago

I share your concerns about Christopher Landau’s piece. I would just note that his poorly judged comment on unnamed gleeful ‘non-charismatic’ critics would certainly have in mind some more conservative Evangelicals. He is not just aiming at those you call ‘liberals’.

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
27 days ago

2/3 Landau’s comments later in his piece are also pretty woeful. Recent history, Landau claims, ‘shows a pattern of gifted leaders falling, not (largely) because of what they were preaching, but because of private failures.’ But this is of course NOT what happened in the Pilavachi case – these were not ‘private failures’, committed in secret and covered up, but very public ones. His abusive acts were apparently well known in the Soul Survivor community, widespread, and widely dismissed as ‘Mike being Mike’ when reported.  And they were allowed to occur BECAUSE of the preaching, not in spite it: Mike… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Revd Charles Clapham
John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
23 days ago

If I may throw a comment in here, the hierarchical charismatic structure goes back further than being a successful super-star. In some very powerful circles, particularly those based on the ‘absolute sovereignty’ view of God’s authority, a pyramidal heirarchy is built in from the very beginning – usually God, then the anointed leader, then his deputies, followed by husbands, women (married and single) children and the dog, in descending order. Back in the 80’s there was an insistence that single women needed to have a man to ‘cover’ their decisions, life choices etc – wide open to abuse, putting an… Read more »

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
27 days ago

3/3 In addition to which, of course, is the other issue which Landau does not even name: that there is a clear homophobic subtext to all of this abuse. Pilavachi, in other words, appears to have been a closeted gay man living in a culture in which homosexuality is regarded as a sin, and who therefore sought sexual gratification through abusive relationships with younger men, rather than being able to enter openly into a mature committed relationship with another adult man. And until the charismatic movement is willing to deal with its ongoing homophobia, such practices will continue. A start… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Revd Charles Clapham
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
26 days ago

Hurray for such forthright plain speaking . I couldn’t agree with you more. Sadly all the constant glossing over the uncomfortable facts leaves the large numbers who have been abused uncomforted and secretly being seen as at least part of the problem for having the temerity to have complained against the great MP

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
26 days ago

Mike Pilavachi informed 1000 teenage boys he hadn’t had sex with any “animal, vegetable or mineral” and that he “chose” his lifestyle. His strange concept of celibacy consisted of homoerotic massage of young men. The old evangelical assertion of “choice” in sexual matters led to the terrible tragic consequences of Pilavachi’s obvious loneliness and repression .It is a tragic irony that the distorted beliefs he commended to receptive young people led to erotic abuse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0ER7ZBz0bQ

Dan Leafe
Dan Leafe
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
26 days ago

Awful, awful comment. People do not abuse because they are celibate (voluntarily or otherwise, heterosexual or straight). They abuse because they are abusers. I fear you are weaponising abuse victims for an agenda.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Dan Leafe
26 days ago

Nonsense. People who boast about being celibate to exclusively serve Jesus, and hide their true nature, may be abusers like Pilavachi. There’s no agenda.

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Reply to  Dan Leafe
26 days ago

Thanks Dan. But that’s not really the point I was making.  What I’m saying is that it not sufficient simply to regard abusers as instances of the odd bad apple (the individual who is, simply, an abuser, about which nothing further can be asked or done). What is also important is to reflect on the cultures and systems which allows abusers to flourish. And in the case of Pilavachi, John Smyth, Jonathan Fletcher, Peter Ball, etc. there is a common strand – that the abuse was homoerotic in character, but unacknowledged as such, and occurring in an ecclesial culture in… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Reply to  Dan Leafe
26 days ago

The suggestion that there is a link between the way in which the church fails to talk honestly and openly about sexuality, creating a culture of secrecy and denial, and a culture which facilitates abuse, is a point that was made by ICCSA report, the Dame Moire Gibb report, and the Carmi Report before that. (See, for example, the very good discussion on “The culture of the church” at section B.11 of ICCSA Anglican Case Studies.) Unlike the members of Living Out (for example), and contrary to what you appear to imply, Pilavachi was not an openly gay man committed… Read more »

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
26 days ago

Charles: a number of us on LLF tried to get the point about safeguarding and church attitudes towards LGBT+ people onto its agenda but couldn’t get traction. I don’t think it is unfair to say that there was resistance in the LLF leadership to making to the link that has been by IICSA and in a number of safeguarding LLRs because of the highly charged church politics around LLF. I have raised it a number of times in Synod, most recently in July, and it was suggested that this might be ‘weaponizing safeguarding’ in the LLF debate. In other words,… Read more »

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Reply to  Judith Maltby
25 days ago

Thank you for the comments, Judith, and for your work and advocacy on this. I was not aware of your very good paper, and have just read it – and sadly not surprised that the issues raised are repeatedly sidelined. All part of the dysfunctional character of the current Church of England. In addition to which, of course (just to add further incendiary comments to the ecclesial fire!), as you are know doubt aware IICSA also raised the question of whether the ‘anti-woman’ culture in Chichester diocese negatively impacted on safeguarding (Anglican Church Case Studies, paras. 489-491), but did not… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by Revd Charles Clapham
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Judith Maltby
25 days ago

Sadly this isn’t an open portal. However our glorious leadership seems to have got reactive abuse down to an extremely fine art, so any attempt by anyone beyond their magic circle to have a wider debate about safeguarding is badged as ‘weaponising’ it and shut down smartly because, in the terms of ‘1066 and all that’ it is a Bad Thing
This also mirrors the group being set up to implement- or delay the implementation of- the Jay report

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
25 days ago

Susanna (no ‘h’), that seems very odd for a ‘learning portal’. Maybe you just need to create an account? I have emailed the staff person who put it on the portal to clarify.

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
Reply to  Judith Maltby
25 days ago

Susanna (no ‘h’), you do need to register to use the Training Portal, but anyone can. I’ve raised the issue that people, especially victims/survivors, might be reluctant to do so. I hope the paper will be available shortly on another platform and more accessible.

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
25 days ago

Susanna (no ‘h’), I’ve check with staff at the NST who got back to me very quickly. Anyone can access the NST Training Portal by registering and creating a password. If anyone feels that is a barrier, it would be good to have that feedback.
Here is the link again.
https://safeguardingtraining.cofeportal.org/mod/page/view.php?id=2642

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Judith Maltby
24 days ago

Hello, Thank- you for following this up. I decided not to try and register yesterday when confronted with questions all about my role in my diocese or parish and which one(s) it is/are. I wasn’t sure why this was necessary , or what would have happened if I blithely went ahead putting ‘none’ or ‘myob’, or whether at the end of it I’d be told I didn’t qualify. So I found it very off putting Maybe I’ll feel stronger tomorrow because I would like to read your article . But it was not clear( to me at least) that there… Read more »

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
24 days ago

That was an interesting experience! I went to try and register using my phone, which helpfully asked me if I wanted to use my saved password…. And moved smoothly to the article having been picked up on the system as a volunteer! The contrast with most of the rest of the Cof E organisation could not be more stark and I am still smiling wryly. Judith your article made me wince. In any secular organisation even one such negative safeguarding report would have generated an action plan with a timetable to be revisited as a or the major agenda item… Read more »

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
25 days ago

Judith, Susanna is right that this (very useful) piece is behind a portal which not all can access without signing up. Is there any reason why it can’t be publicly accessible – e.g. posted in full on the Surviving Church website?

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
24 days ago

Judith’s full report will be going up on Via Media on Wednesday afternoon… it’s crazy that folk currently have to register to read it!

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
26 days ago
  1. notes that Gen Z don’t go to church
  2. quotes 0 members of Gen Z

One would almost assume there’s a correlation there or something

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
25 days ago

Incidentally, I see that HTB finally made reference to the Soul Survivor scandal in a recent opinion piece last week by Archie Coates in Premier Christianity magazine – where he managed to turn a brief comment about listening to the Soul Survivors podcast into an advert for the latest HTB leadership conference. How very HTB. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Last edited 25 days ago by Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
25 days ago

According to Archie Coates, leadership at HTB is all about ‘accountability’ and ‘creating a culture in which people speak up if they feel anything at all is wrong’. Really? And your evidence for that is – your absolute silence on Mike Pilavachi over the last year? Had HTB actually exercised any leadership into the exposure and investigation of Mike Pilavachi – which they were very well placed to do – they might in fact have something to teach everyone else. But the only people Archie Coates appears to feel particularly sorry for in his piece are his fellow church leaders… Read more »

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
25 days ago

Even now, given the staff cross-over and interchange between Soul Survivor and HTB (publicly acknowledged by Nicky Gumbel), a useful thing HTB could actually do would be to launch their own investigation into how many of their own staff (current and past over the years) were aware of the abusive and inappropriate behaviours of Mike Pilavachi, but failed to report it in accordance with the Church of England’s safeguarding codes of practice in place at the time. This would be actual leadership. (Some good comments on HTB by a survivor of abuse on a WordPress blog called incarnationalrelational (blogs on… Read more »

Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
25 days ago

1/2 It’s worth commenting in more detail on some of Archie Coates’ language in his Premier Christianity pieces, since it is revealing of the problematic underlying attitudes which are still rife in the church. For example, Coates says he is been listening to the Soul Survivors’ podcast to help him learn about leadership, but does not explain or make any comment on the content of the podcast: who and what is the podcast about? If you don’t already know from elsewhere, you would have no clue who he is obliquely referencing. So this is the first problem. The silence. Not… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Revd Charles Clapham
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
25 days ago

2/2. In response, Coates says that accountability is the key, before adding that ‘leaders are, in some respects, as accountable as they make themselves’. Really? Accountability, in other words, Coates suggest, is a option for leaders, something you have to choose, to set up for yourself, to take responsibility for in accordance with your own goals and principles. His language here is revealing about typical attitudes towards leadership in evangelical-charismatic churches: as a leader you need to choose to make yourself accountable, because no-one else will. But with regard to safeguarding in the Church of England, this is simply NOT… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by Revd Charles Clapham
Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
6 days ago

If you seriously think HTB is covering up abuse, which you are suggesting, you have a duty to report it. These are serious allegations.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Revd Charles Clapham
25 days ago

How easy is it in practice to question the leadership decisions, direction of travel etc of HTB or one of its plants? I go to a much smaller, inclusive evangelical church and questioning these things is nigh on impossible there (and I am on the ministry team) so I guess doing so at HTB is virtually impossible. Plus HTB needs to examine its unconscious buying into secular values – see the pricing structure for the leadership conference which blatantly departs from scriptural standards by having first class and third class (even fourth class) seating. (See here) This is all wonderfully… Read more »

Baptist Trainfan
Baptist Trainfan
Reply to  Charles Read
25 days ago

To be fair, I suspect that the price banding might reflect Royal Albert Hall policy. But yes, the rates are jolly expensive! BTW I loved the Pastor Tim satire!

James
James
Reply to  Charles Read
24 days ago

To be fair, the £499 seats include a £200 subsidy to let young leaders attend.
Where do bishops and clergy sit in your church?

David Runcorn
Reply to  James
23 days ago

That’s ‘fair’? And what has where a bishop sits got to do with this?

James
James
Reply to  David Runcorn
21 days ago

It’s a way of giving £200 to those who can’t afford to attend. Pretty generous I think. My reference to bishops is that they are typically given seats of honour in churches etc. Are you against this?

David Runcorn
Reply to  James
21 days ago

No I am not. I just still do not see the relevance of where bishop’s sit to a discussion high ticket prices.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
25 days ago

The comments on this thread and others points to the power and influence of the charismatic movement in the Church of England. My impression is that, in TEC, the charismatic movement had some influence 40 years ago (though nowhere at the level of power and influence in the current Church of England) but now, at least in my experience, it has virtually, if not entirely, disappeared from TEC. Does anyone have any thoughts about what happened to the charismatic movement in TEC? Is it out there somewhere but not within my range of knowledge and experience? Did its members become… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  dr.primrose
24 days ago

Many years ago I followed with great interest the story of the Church of the Redeemer in Houston which was seen as a kind of model for high church Anglicans (I wasn’t one, just fascinated by American religion) experiencing charismatic renewal. Redeemer was very large and community-focused. At the same time the Episcopal Church moved decisively leftward as women’s ordination and gay affirmation moved centre stage. Redeemer went into decline and was closed a few years ago. The culture wars that engulfed drove many out and the denomination drastically shrank. I suppose one of the significant differences between the US… Read more »

Baptist Trainfan
Baptist Trainfan
Reply to  James
24 days ago

Evangelicalism rose as a force within Anglicanism during the 50s and 60s, or so I believe. However I’m not sure how much of a correlation can be made with the emergence of the charismatic movement. On the one hand (as has been stated by others) were there High Church and Roman Catholic charismatics (the erstwhile Fountain Trust was a broad church in that regard – indeed some evangelicals wouldn’t have anything to do with it for that reason. Conversely there were (and still are) Evangelicals who reject charismaticism – for instance Michael Harper had to leave his Curacy at All… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Baptist Trainfan
23 days ago

Evangelicalism was the main line in New World episcopalianism. Virginia, Seabury, Bexley Hall, Seminary of the Southwest were all evangelical training centers. All the colonies were low church evangelical. CT under Seabury sought to be an exception, but had to shed its Tory political leanings. General (NY; now scattered to the winds) was the exception. No Bishop wore a mitre in TEC until recently (have a look at the photos). One can say this as a simple matter of historical fact. I will let you speak about the CoE, but it has never been as ‘non-evangelical’ as what passes for… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  Anglican Priest
23 days ago

Christopher, clearly you know that world far better than others here, and of course the formal name of the church was ‘the *Protestant Episcopal Church’. And yet by English standards much of it did seem to become ‘high church’ (vestments, calling clerics ‘Father’ etc). Was this a 20th century development? Or was it ‘liberal catholicism’? Why was ‘Protestant’dropped from the name? I think the Church of the Redeemer in Houston was pretty high church. It was once a great flourishing affair but closed a few years ago, and the onetime rector got into deep personal trouble. Maybe this had a… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  James
22 days ago

Episcopal priests were routinely addressed as “Mister” (especially in the press) as late as the 1950s. In many circumstances, they were referred to as “ministers,” as were most mainline Protestant clerics. The changes seem to begin in the post-war era,

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
22 days ago

Just for clarification, ‘the post-war era’ is precisely the 1950s. Could you clarify your point? I think it is helpful accurately to describe PECUSA to those outside that US cultural context.

I lived in the CofE and SEC context for a decade, and I think I have a sense of the point of the question being posed by James.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
22 days ago

As I said, it “began” in the post-war era….but it took something like a decade before it was wide-spread. I first remember seeing an Episcopal clergyman called “Father” in the press in about 1965 or so. Note that the part played by David Niven in “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947) is an Episcopal bishop, but he is never seen in anything that would set him apart from any other Protestant cleric.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
22 days ago

Yes, a twentieth century development in the manner I think you mean it. The old Living Church weekly used to advertise churches, and on the eastern seaboard you could find what one wag called the ‘underground railroad’ of high church parishes, from Boston, New Haven, NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Savannah. There was also a ‘biretta belt’ in the upper midwest, and Nashotah would provide its clergy. I come from a family of 3 generations of clergy. Clergy were routinely called Mr. The Sunday morning eucharists are, as you know, the norm due to the liturgical movement which gave PECUSA the… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  James
22 days ago

TEC’s current constitution begins, “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, otherwise known as The Episcopal Church (which name is hereby recognized as also designating the Church).” The “Protestant” name was the original name but the high church movement, beginning in the late mid- to late-19th century lobbied to have that word removed. The 1964 General Convention changed the constitution to the language quoted above so that there are currently two valid alternative names. The “Protestant” name, while still valid, seems to have largely fallen out of use. The title page of the 1979 Prayer Book, for… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  dr.primrose
22 days ago

And to complicate matters further, and illustrate another difference with the CofE, “The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society” is the name incorporated in NY State in the early 19th century. This is the corporate body of PECUSA/TEC.

Peter Doll
Peter Doll
Reply to  Anglican Priest
22 days ago

Reluctant as I am to dispute Anglican Priest’s scholarship, the statement that ‘no Bishop wore a mitre in TEC until recently’ does need to be modified. The first Episcopal bishop, Samuel Seabury of Connecticut, wore one, as did the first Bishop of Maryland, Thomas John Claggett, and this at a time when no Church of England bishop wore one. Perhaps this was a sign of their adherence to a ‘purely ecclesiastical episcopacy’ unfettered by establishment connection.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Peter Doll
22 days ago

Probably related to the Scottish Church connection at that era. Seabury was consecrated in Aberdeen after the English Bishops refused to do so, which was his wish. Correction: I said that the high church bishops in said regions were the ones who wore miters, which makes them stand out in photos. Which was their goal, of course… “Very rare” was my language. I don’t put this down to scholarship but just age and long history in the church calling itself PECUSA then TEC. I was ordained in CFL in 1980 and that Bishop styled himself high church (in the footsteps… Read more »

Last edited 22 days ago by Anglican Priest
James
James
Reply to  Baptist Trainfan
23 days ago

I was part of All Souls for years in the 1980s. It was not charismatic but neither was it openly opposed, and many bridges existed at the personal level between HTB and All Souls and St Helen’s Bishopsgate. David Watson was a close friend of the All Souls leadership and AS worked closely in mission with him until his death in 1984. St Michael’s in York was of course the “northern powerhouse” of evangelical charismatic Anglicanism. I would think the large majority of Anglican charismatic churches are from the evangelical stable. Trinity College Bristol under George Carey was the focus… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  dr.primrose
24 days ago

Anglican Renewal Ministries, which was the Anglican umbrella group for the charismatic renewal in Canada, was one of the three partners in the Essentials movement that was started in the 1990s in opposition to liberalizing the church’s position on same-sex blessings/same-sex marriage. I don’t think that was the view of all Anglican charismatics, but certainly the majority. When I look around at the friends I had in the charismatic renewal in Canada in the 1980s, I think most of them are now either in ACNA/ANiC, or have gone to non-Anglican denominations. Interestingly, I think it’s fair to say that the… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  dr.primrose
24 days ago

I’m not an expert on TEC by any means (despite being an active member for about 40 years), but my experience is that, even 40 years ago, the charismatics were a tiny splinter in TEC, far outnumbered by both low-church traditional Episcopalians and high-church Anglo-Catholics. I would say the majority, then as now, were very middle-of-the-road. At the height of the controversy over LGBTQ issues (about 20 years ago), the charismatic and associated evangelical/fundamentalist types made a lot of noise and some disassociated themselves–sometimes en masse into ACNA, sometimes by ones and twos into other (usually) non-denominational churches–but they no… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  dr.primrose
23 days ago

The charismatic movement (Dennis Bennett, and Azuzu Street) spilled into every denomination in the US, including especially the Catholic Church. In TEC, it had an impact, but can’t be quantified in that narrow bandwidth. In fact, if you look at the Catholic ecumenism associated with Chemin Neuf, alive and thriving in France, it is based on the same Holy Spirit work traceable to Bennett, whom they credit. Why the CofE and TEC diverge is not for me to say. I believe there is more to your question. Welby invited Chemin Neuf to Canterbury, but who knows what he is up… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Anglican Priest
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Anglican Priest
23 days ago

I’m curious you think that numbers attending are definitive evidence of the work of the Spirit. Then again your claim that TEC “shed its ‘non-progressive’ elements” rather than said elements stomping off in a huff because they were no longer able to impose their views on the whole church suggests a certain desire to reshape events to fit your preferred narrative.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Jo B
22 days ago

The previous PB of TEC defrocked clergy, claiming for them renunciation of their vows. ‘Stomping off in a huff’? Now there’s a narrative. SC was given the vast bulk of parishes from the historical diocese by the courts. They are in situ and just fine. The two respective Bishops get along just fine as well. My hunch is that the ACNA and TEC acrimony was pretty much killed off by covid.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Jo B
21 days ago

Jo, it’s a little more complicated than that in North America, where evangelicalism has been a small minority movement in Anglicanism for some time now. Example: when the Anglican Church of Canada published its book of Alternative Services in 1985, it included six contemporary language eucharistic prayers, but not one of them expressed the evangelical theology of Thomas Cranmer and the BCP. General Synod itself came to realise this, and in the late 1990s it authorised a set of supplementary prayers. However, I have it on good authority that the supplementary eucharistic prayer that was created to express ‘reformed theological… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Anglican Priest
23 days ago

“the Holy Spirit blows where He wills.” It is not blowing into TEC.”

Are you sure?

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Susannah Clark
22 days ago

Ask Him!

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Susannah Clark
22 days ago

I’m afraid I find a blanket statement like that about hundreds of thousands of people whom one can’t possibly know anything about more than a tad hubristic. I can comment only about my own experience. I attend a TEC parish, built about 100 years ago, to serve an upper-class neighborhood although the church itself was built on an urban street immediately outside that neighborhood. The rector is a woman. The associate is a married gay man. One of the assisting priests (who works for the diocese) is transgendered. The preaching is bog-standard prayer-book and creedal (with no finger-crossing). The membership… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  dr.primrose
22 days ago

Alleluia. My comment was in response to a specific question about the charismatic movement inside TEC. The charismatic movement and its account of the Holy Spirit does not animate much of the present TEC. I think that is factually the case. I apologise if my comment was too tongue-in-cheek. May God the Holy Spirit bless you.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
25 days ago

And another set of questions related to my previous questions. My impression (which could be entirely wrong) is that the charismatic movement does not have the same influence in the Anglican churches in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales as it does in the Church of England. If that is true, why is that so?

Mitch McLean
Mitch McLean
Reply to  dr.primrose
24 days ago

It seems to me that Anglicanism isn’t the natural home of Charismaticism. Charismatics in other places will usually opt for something like Vineyard or some Pentecostal denomination. England is unique so far as having Anglicanism as the established church, so English Charismatics would have more of a reason to align with Anglicanism.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Mitch McLean
24 days ago

That’s interesting, given the fact that a lot of Roman Catholics found the charismatic renewal very life-giving in the 70s and 80s. Certainly when we lived in a small town in Saskatchewan in the 1980’s, the weekly charismatic prayer group was held at the Roman Catholic church and most of the people who attended were Catholics. Please also note ‘On Fire Mission’, an organisation dedicated to furthering charismatic renewal in the Catholic wing of the Church of England: https://onfiremission.org/. Their website says they are ‘an inclusive network, rooted in the Church of England, and open to all, which is dedicated… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
24 days ago

Thank you so much for posting this link, Tim. I particularly adore the passage from ‘The Secret Garden’ on one of its resource pages: https://ofmonline.weebly.com/step-2—awakening.html (scroll down to find).

With a similar feel is Contemplative Fire, some of whose members and trustees have a deep background in charismatic worship: https://contemplativefire.org

Both groups are very inclusive.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
24 days ago

Charismatic renewal was still alive in the Roman Catholic Church in the 1990s, at least in Manchester. My next door neighbours were part of it, and I was invited to speak at an ecumenical renewal meeting organised by RCs. There was some lovely music coming out of it too – some of it from Ireland, so I assume renewal was still alive there too.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Mitch McLean
23 days ago

One problem – and the reason why we have Vineyard and various other ‘new churches’ is that of ‘new wine’ in old skins – the old established groups refused to welcome the charisma and, unfortunately, there was also a lot of influence from certain sections within the renewal movement to ‘come ye apart and be separate’. (David Watson published a pamphlet on why he chose to remain within the CofE) I think both sides were at fault over that.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  John Davies
23 days ago

The charismatic phenomena grew more and more extreme – Wimber’s power healing was followed by the Kansas City Prophets, the Toronto Blessing, and so on. And, from my point of view at least, too many of the leaders were interested in building their own power base through manipulating others. We can see how that worked out with e.g. the Nine O’Clock Service and Soul Survivor. Having become a charismatic in the heady days of the Jesus Movement, I became disillusioned with what I saw of Wimber and what followed. I’ve quoted here before an elder at St Michael-le-Belfrey (David Watson’s… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  Janet Fife
22 days ago

The Nine O’clock Service grew out of St Thomas Crookes – but interestingly Chris Brain claimed it was in part a reaction *against charismatic abuse – or so he said in a hubristic article he wrote in the Church Times in 1992, where he denounced power games in churches and claimed to speak for those who were ‘burned by the charismatic movement’. I remember thinking at the time, ‘Boy, this man thinks he’s the answer to all that’s wrong with the church!’ Then it all blew up the following year and Brain was revealed as a serial abuser of women,… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Janet Fife
21 days ago

Tom Smail, who drank deeply of the charismatic movement, and was a leader in Scotland, once quipped, ‘The Charismatic Movement. 60% phony. 40% God. And 40% God is A Lot of God.’ I’ll spare you his brogue. I thought that was extremely insightful.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Anglican Priest
21 days ago

“I’ll spare you his brogue.” A Scottish Brogue may be one of the few examples of truly ‘speaking in tongues’. Pace Acts, let’s not dismiss the notion of “drinking deeply”. Lol, lol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caLYA6fLOyg

James
James
Reply to  dr.primrose
24 days ago

The Anglican Church in Scotland is TINY – only about 12,000 uSa and so is the Church in Wales, probably about 34,000 (if that). Both churches have a demography older than the national average and face massive closures in the next five years.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  dr.primrose
24 days ago

David Watson

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Adrian Clarke
24 days ago

and Michael Green and John Collins

trackback
21 days ago

[…] Lessons Learned Reviews [This is the paper referred to in the comments to last Saturday’s Opinion […]

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
21 days ago

I’ve gathered some of my thoughts on the Pilavachi scandal into a longer and more considered piece which Stephen Parsons has kindly published on his excellent Surviving Church blog, if any are interested.

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