Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 22 April 2020

Mandy Ford ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back – Hidden Lives & Untold Stories
This is the first in a series on the topic ‘We Can’t Go Back…’ based on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s words in his Easter sermon. They will also be available as podcasts; this one is here.

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Online Worship – the Beaker Guide

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Power and Influence in the world of Safeguarding

Al Barrett This estate we’re in Resurrection deferred? COVID-19 & the disruption in liturgical time (5)
This is the fifth in a series; it has links to the earlier items.

Peter Anthony How should we celebrate the Eucharist at a time of lock down and social isolation?
[28 minute YouTube video]

Archbishop Cranmer Rev’d Marcus Walker returns to his pulpit: “Here I stand!”
Canon Simon Butler responds to Archbishop Cranmer & Fr Marcus Walker

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Kate
Kate
4 months ago

I am now even more of the view that the archbishops should be subject to CDM. It is clear, in my opinion, that they presented as instructions something which could, in law, only be guidance. In so doing they kept incumbents from their churches over Easter. I would go so far as to describe their conduct as wicked because I think we are in Matthew 12:30-32 territory. It is OK to express a personal opinion, even if it is wrong. But to apparently attempt to use clerical authority to stop incumbents from tending their churches and altars when there is… Read more »

Jill Armstead
Jill Armstead
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Agree re Fr Marcus Walker Good on him! But can someone correct his alleged misrepresentations in respect of the bishops’ chaplaincy guidance for me? Simon Butler rather glosses over the matter and I am none the wiser.

Kate
Kate
4 months ago

I think Mandy Ford is missing something important. 18 months ago I was so ill I couldn’t get more than 50 yards without collapsing. Eventually I ended up in hospital. For months, I couldn’t get beyond the end of the street. I knew I couldn’t. I thought there was a very real chance that was lifelong. That I would never again go in a shop, go to church, drink in a pub, eat in a restaurant, walk in the park. I am fortunate. I have recovered somewhat. I am still somewhat limited, but nowhere nearly as much as I was… Read more »

Kate
Kate
4 months ago

The Archdruid is insightful

Remotesolution – If you can’t consecrate at a distance does forgiveness of sins work? Do you have to have line of sight?

The Archdruid is cutting

Canterbration – Trying to work out whether what the Archbishop has said is a command, an instruction, a suggestion or a random musing.

The Archdruid uses ridicule to make a very serious point

Spiritual Communion – No idea, sorry. Ask someone else.

Over the years the Archdruid has had some great posts but this is surely one of the very best.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

excerpted from ZoomAgape, “But not, definitely not, suggesting it is anything other than bread and wine when they eat it.”

I’d say a God that can transubstantiate/consubstantiate/be really present in the bread and wine can decide for Him/Herself whether that is the case or not, but that would have qualified me to be the main course at an auto da fe in past centuries.

Kate
Kate
4 months ago

I do particularly enjoy Peter Anthony’s assertion that a priest celebrating the Eucharist isn’t truly alone because the dead are part of the body of Christ, while equally asserting that a virtual gathering of the living aren’t really with the priest! He also makes the common mistake of many clerics and says this is what the Church did in year X so that is what we should do now. In truth, from the beginning, the Church was divided on a number of points – not least the role of Gentiles – and was highly political. Reaching back only tells us… Read more »

Charles K
Charles K
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

I agree with Kate on this. I have heard such nauseating and pious self legitimisations given by priests who are effectively patronising the laity and saying “there there, hang on, I will be back behind the altar for you in the future.” It is simply not acceptable unless we are all going to say “Yes, Father, Yes Reverend Mother” and be passive and submissive. Please let us not as Kate says – try and be exclusive or try to control grace. We can’t! I personally am comfortable with a virtual gathering of the living, feeling connected with the priest, sharing… Read more »

cryptogram
cryptogram
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

I’ve always had this sense of the greater church when presiding at the Eucharist. My first Eucharist was 501 years almost to the day since the donor of the Lady Chapel in which we worshipped had himself said his first Mass. Later I used to preside at a little country church in Rutland which had only one chalice, badly damaged, but hallmarked 1572. All those who had drunk from it I felt were part of that Eucharist. Now in retirement I preside regularly at a weekday Eucharist in a Cathedral, and have a strong sense of all the Benedictine brethren… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Well said Kate, and well put. Your comment that you have “heard nothing which indicates that [lay and virtual celebration of the Eucharist] are contrary to the teaching recorded in the Gospels” chimes with the private member’s motion (PMM) I tabled at General Synod in February 2019 and which, so far (as recorded on the C of E website), has 56 supporting signatures: “That this Synod, having regard in particular to: (a) changes in thinking on the role of the laity in leadership in the Church over the past 25 years, and (b) the lack of any Scriptural basis for… Read more »

Kate
Kate
4 months ago
Reply to  David Lamming

Good luck with your motion. I suspect that practically every Christian has had to think through what they believe about remote participation in the Eucharist. And, now that the Church has demonstrated that it can livestream the Eucharist, can it really at some point stop offering a virtual parish (or diocesan?) Eucharist to the significant part of the population who cannot get to church regularly because of infirmity or lack of transport? Churches need to recognise that livestreamed Eucharist is now difficult to stop. It is hard to imagine that more than a hardline minority will regard Spiritual Communion as… Read more »

Susannah Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate, in what way are (a) and (b) connected?

Like you, I have no problems with virtual blessing of bread and wine, but surely lay consecration is a completely separate issue.

Personally, I believe there is a very real and precious calling to ordained priesthood in our Church tradition as in the Roman Catholic tradition. I don’t see why you’re bolting on ‘lay consecration’ to the question of virtual blessing of the Eucharist at a distance. I’m trying to understand.

Kate
Kate
4 months ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

“surely lay consecration is a completely separate issue”

I have spoken of lay celebration or lay presidency, not of lay consecration. I don’t think lay people have that power, but then again neither do priests. The only being capable of consecrating the bread and the wine is God: the person presiding asks God to consecrate the bread and wine, they don’t consecrate it themselves. Do you believe that only ordained priests can ask God to bless something? I don’t because there is nothing in the Gospels to support such a view.

Susannah Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

“I don’t because there is nothing in the Gospels to support such a view.” Kate, while that may be one factor, there are other factors to consider – such as how God watched over (and one might say, blessed) the development of ordained priesthood (one might say, prefigured in the Old Testament, in Jesus Christ, and the holy sacrament he ordained in shared meal, bread and wine). As I’m sure you know, I regard the scriptures as fallible (though profound) and I believe grace works through tradition, through lived lives, through the flow of God’s love in action. Personally, and… Read more »

Jill Armstead
Jill Armstead
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Are we not descending into ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good’? Throw Scripture, reason and tradition out of the window and it becomes a free for all, always a pitfall for Anglicans at the best of times, especially under the current leadership.

Tim Chesterton
4 months ago

Got to say I think that’s Archdruid Eileen’s finest post ever.

My only amendment would be: “‘Spiritual Communion’: What Archbishop Cranmer believed *always* happened at a service of Holy Communion.” (see Article XXVIII, paragraph 3).

Tim Chesterton
4 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

I’d say Cranmer was closer to Calvin than Zwingli. I’ve read Dix (you might be surprised to know that!), and also some of his critics. I’ve also dipped into Cranmer’s book on the sacrament which I found surprisingly understandable.

Stanley Monkhouse
4 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

Buchanan’s “What did Cranmer think he was doing?” is a gem.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
4 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

Yet what Cranmer’s view of the eucharist was ( post Dix) caused an enormous academic discussion. I think the most accessible way to get at Cranmer’s doctrine of the eucharist now is pp614-617 in Diarmaid Macculloch’s life of Thomas Cranmer.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
4 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

Then would Dix not recognise Quakers and Salvation Army as churches? I reckon any definition of the Church Universal needs to include non-sacramental denominations.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
4 months ago

When it comes to the Mass/Eucharist, the most important aspect, in my opinion, is Jesus of Nazareth’s request/command to “Do this in remembrance of me”. For close to 2,000 years, Christians have been breaking bread and drinking wine/grape juice in fulfillment of Jesus’ words. For 2,000 years, people have tried to act in imitation of Jesus’ life, in remembrance of him. That, to me, is far more important than what happens to to the substance of the bread or wine/grape juice shared in communion in someone’s home. “Even” if the substance remains just a slice of bread and a cup… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
4 months ago

In the wider ecclesial world out there the discussion is moving on as June ordinations are being postponed to September. But even that is looking optimistic. Remote/virtual laying on of hands anyone?

T Pott
T Pott
4 months ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

In 1349 (Black Death) the Bishop of Bath and Wells authorised those who were already deacons to celebrate mass without being ordained priests, thus bypassing further ordination.
Men and boys were ordained through the minor orders, deacon and priest all at the same time without waiting for the customary period between each stage.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
4 months ago
Reply to  T Pott

I presume this was because so many of his priests were dying in the plague?

T Pott
T Pott
4 months ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

My source is a 1969 book “The Black Death” by Philip Ziegler. The context suggests that you are right, it was a reaction to the death of many priests and consequent shortage.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
4 months ago
Reply to  David Runcorn

If lay celebrations of communion on the Internet are valid, why should we have any ordinations – virtual or not – which have been rendered pointless?

Jeremy
Jeremy
4 months ago

Isn’t this all about power—and in particular, covid’s challenge to clerical power?
If I serve myself bread and wine during a live-streamed Communion, then whose rules have I broken? And why?
Furthermore, why are the bread and wine thus served not the body and blood of Christ, whatever that may mean?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy

Jeremy. It agree this discussion does involve some awareness of ‘power’ but I do not think it ‘all about’ power. Nor, in passing, is a power discussion in churches only something clergy are tempted by. It is clear from the NT that corporate life and worship in the earliest churches was led by authorised ministers of some sort – apostles, elders. But it was an evolving pattern. In uniquely new contexts we are rightly revisiting our theology and practice. That is as it should be. And asking ‘whatever that may mean’ in our present context is a key question. Thank… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy

Yes. All about power. An early blow for freedom was the invention of the printing press. The idea that people might think for themselves is truly shocking. Down with this sort of thing.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy

Jeremy, the focus in this thread on ‘making my Communion’, presents the Eucharist as table-fellowship. Indeed, with most priests now presiding facing the people, I’m sure it is not only Evangelicals who see the Eucharist in this way (and what’s not to like about table-fellowship). But the Eucharist is something we do for God, not just something we get. The means given to the Church by which she offers herself again and again with Christ in a single, holy, living sacrifice for the coming of the kingdom. So, in these strange times, rather than sitting in front of our laptops… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
4 months ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Having been brought up on the Reformation doctrine that Christ’s sacrifice was offered once for the whole world, and is ‘full, perfect, sufficient’, I’ve never really understood the concept that the Church can keep offering the sacrifice; or that the Eucharist can be offered for a specific intention and be effective in that way. Allan, you say that the Church ‘offers herself again and again with Christ in a single, holy, living sacrifice’. Can you explain how the sacrifice can be both single and repeated?

Thanks

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
4 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Janet, I can’t do better than quote from the joint Anglican/RC document on the Eucharist (ARCIC): “Christ’s death on the cross, the culmination of his whole life of obedience, was the one, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world. There can be no repetition of or addition to what was then accomplished once for all by Christ. Any attempt to express a nexus between the sacrifice of Christ and the eucharist must not obscure this fundamental fact of the Christian faith.” It then continues, “Yet God has given the eucharist to his Church as a means through… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
4 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Janet..Abp William Temple was no anglo-catholic but he wrote in Christus Veritas in 1924 “The Eucharist is a sacrifice; but we do not offer it ;Christ offers it; and we responding to His act, take our parts or shares in His one sacrifice as members of his Body” p241, This is quoted approvingly by Charlie Moule in his little book The Sacrifice of Christ, his third chapter expounds his view of the sense in which we can talk of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Susannah Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy

Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism pre-suppose an ordained priesthood. So yes, anti-clericalism is bound to face challenge and scrutiny itself, if ‘the priesthood of all believers’ is used as an argument for jettisoning ordained priesthood, and ordained priestly roles in the offering of the Eucharist. I don’t think you can get around that without starting a breakaway church. The Eucharist is administered by the Priest. Priesthood – distinct from the general priesthood of all believers – is a vocation that certain Christians in Anglicanism and Catholicism are called to, but not all people. I don’t think it’s to do with just… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin
4 months ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

I’d rather say Anglicanism has an ordained presbyterate. And I think formal Roman Catholicism would say the same. We confuse things when we use the word “priest”, because that word has become confused with sacerdotal aspects such as we find in the Old Testament and also in pagan religions, as well as in the Christian concept of the (collective) priesthood of all. In official Anglican-speak (certainly in the CofE), the presbyter presides at the celebration of the Eucharist, a celebration of the Christian household together. The presbyter is the president of that eucharistic assembly (acting as the local representative of… Read more »

Kate
Kate
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon Kershaw

“We confuse things when we use the word “priest”, because that word has become confused with sacerdotal aspects …”

Very much so.

Stanley Monkhouse
4 months ago

Interesting to note how views about HC are changing as a result of the lockdown. Having justified things that formerly were unjustified, it’ll be impossible to go back. Or should be. If we believe in, as opposed merely to paying lip service to, the priesthood of all believers, then lay presidency is right and proper. As it happens, I do so believe. I see my task as getting others to accept and nurture this role. Unfortunately, many won’t. They prefer Fr or Pastor or minister to treat them as infants so they can argue about it.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
4 months ago

Stanley’s line saying “Having justified things that formerly were unjustified, it’ll be impossible to go back. Or should be” resonates with me. But with me it’s about church buildings. In my Diocese of Salisbury I have disagreed with the Bishop’s policy of putting great pressure on dwindling, struggling, elderly, rural village congregations to keep their churches open and maintained. Almost the first line in the Diocesan building policy is “It is not the Diocesan Policy to close churches unless in exceptional circumstances”. And now we are told we can close churches and find other ways of meeting. I hope that… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon Dawson

Buildings can be expensive but so, too, is Parish Share, which mostly goes on maintaining clergy and other staff. If there is no building to physically meet in, why should parishioners continue to “employ” resident clergy when they can hear world class preachers and join with the finest choirs, participate in the responses and partake of bread and wine, all from the comfort of their own homes, and all for next to nothing?

Susannah Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  T Pott

Personally I prefer the physicality of meeting together, and catching up with each other, holding a hand, offering a hug. I prefer the ‘togetherness’ of a physical place, to the gathered faces on a computer screen. Added to which, community tends to be practical: driving someone to church, visiting someone in hospital, at least in better times than these. For thousands of churches around the country, church and community are linked – by physical place, and shared lives lived out in physical face-to-face encounters. Would I rather spend an evening at my computer screen, drinking alone, even if others are… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
4 months ago
Reply to  T Pott

Thye might do so if they value pastoral care, or seeing their friends and neighbours in church.

Stanley Monkhouse
4 months ago
Reply to  T Pott

T Pott: I rather think this is one of the many elephants in rooms concerning reopening of churches. I can’t remember if I’ve posted this on TA before, but given the drastic reduction in weekly giving and the decimation of investment income, dioceses and parishes will be bankrupt. Even before covid Sheffield was culling its stipendiaries, and now Liverpool is asking for voluntary furloughs. I’ve no doubt that the institution will prioritize saving itself instead of souls, for as David Jenkins said the C of E doesn’t really believe in God, or, I add, the gospel message of radical action… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
4 months ago

Agreed, I hope that the virus is a wake up call to the Church of England. Frankly 90% of church buildings in rural areas and probably 50% in towns and cities should be closed. The sale proceeds could then be used to support existing churches with viable demographics.

Rana Foraminis
Rana Foraminis
4 months ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

Based on my direct experience of about a third of the national stock, I think that about 99% of churches in urban, suburban and rural areas are redundant in that almost all congregations everywhere are heavily weighted towards the over-70s, most of whom will be reluctant to return to church, even if the virus does not mutate and an effective vaccine is made universally available (an unlikely outcome from the current vantage-point). If the only churches ‘worth saving’ are those with healthy demographics (which, in my experience, are overwhelmingly conservative evangelical churches), then that is fine, but it would end… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
4 months ago
Reply to  Rana Foraminis

Yes to all that Mr “Foraminis”. Of course people are more bothered about the building than the vicar, and if my experience in rural and market town parishes is anything to go by, they’re even more concerned to know that the graveyard will be there for them as it was for their ancestors. The coming unaffordability of stipendiary clergy has been obvious for some years to the extent that I think the church guilty of immorality in attracting people to stipendiary posts. False pretences.

Kate
Kate
4 months ago

“I’ll take door number three (26 minutes in).” At the moment there have been 18,738 hospital deaths from 138,078 confirmed cases, although the Financial Times thinks that using ONS statistics for the whole community that deaths a few days ago had already exceeded 41,000. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/ https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.ft.com/content/67e6a4ee-3d05-43bc-ba03-e239799fa6ab People, maybe not everyone but many, in the face of figures like those and because they know people who have died, are scared of getting seriously ill and of dying. I don’t see how either the archbishops’ first or third options offer any meaningful comfort to people at a time of spiritual need. They… Read more »

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