Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 22 February 2023

Christopher Cocksworth (Bishop of Coventry) The Living Church Living in Love and Faith: Where do things stand? Where do we go from here?

Andrew Rumsey Down in The Effra Cold Snap

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love GSFA and CEEC persecute LGBTQIA+ people who contaminate the Church

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Jayne Ozanne
Jayne Ozanne
1 year ago

For heaven’s sake, doesn’t +Christopher – after all his work on LLF & his engagement with LGBT people – get that there are SAFEGUARDING questions to answer too! He seems to be able to come up with lots of others, but none about how this actually impacts the real lives of real people! Wilfull blindness has never been so obvious as an a heteronormative House of Bishops who continue to ignore the harm their teaching & discrimination causes…

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne
1 year ago

They hear, but don’t listen. One part of the Bible often overlooked is the story of Jesus and the woman from Samaria at Jacob’s well (very well dramatised in the Chosen). Not only was Jesus as a Jew not supposed to consort with a Samaritan woman, she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. There no record that Jesus upbraided her for sexual immorality and she was one of the first to whom He revealed himself as the Messiah. The GOSPEL evidence is that Jesus wasn’t terribly fussed she was having sex outside marriage, yet for some reason… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Didn’t Jesus say in John 8 “Go now and leave your life of sin” to the woman caught in adultery.

Brenda Hopkins
Brenda Hopkins
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

He said “Nor do I condemn you; go, and sin no more”. He did not say “go, and sin no more, or I WILL condemn you”. Subtle, but very important difference. He did not join in the public shaming and condemnation of her accusers, something we could all learn from.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Didn’t Jesus say the following in Mark 7: “He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Jesus seems to be “terribly fussed” don’t you think?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Thank you Bob for helping to make my point. That’s a great contrast. In terms of adultery where there is a victim or victims (the spouse of the married person) Jesus does indeed object. That contrasts very much with the Samaritan woman where it is just extramarital sex (with the current man), not adultery, and Jesus appeared relaxed.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I agree with you Kate. There are a number of examples in the Bible where Christian tradition and scholarship has labelled a woman shameful, but if you look carefully at the actual scriptural text that label is questionable. Mary Magdalen has now thankfully been rehabilitated, from a repentant prostitute into the apostle to the apostles. Perhaps the Samaritan women now needs the same focus. Nowhere in John does Jesus treat her with disrespect. In fact he enters into a theological discussion with her where he treats her comments seriously (unlike how he teases Nicodemus), and the villagers also treat the… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

The subject of cohabitation or sex before marriage is not explicitly mentioned in the New Testament either. Instead, both in the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21) and Paul (1 Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 5:19), we are urged to avoid porneia, translated ‘fornication’ or ‘sexual immorality’. But what did that include? For Jesus and Paul, they’re hearers and those reading the texts, this would certainly have included the prohibited activities listed in Leviticus 18. But the prohibition on prostitution was understood by Jews of Jesus’ day to exclude all forms of sex outside male-female marriage, including sex before marriage. The… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

That feels like clutching at straws when the real question is how did Jesus react when faced with a woman living with a man to whom she wasn’t married: He honoured her by revealing Himself as Messiah. That’s the direct Biblical evidence without getting into the precise meaning of words in epistles etc. If we have been taught that sex outside marriage is wrong, it’s hard to accept what the story at Jacob’s well tells us. Maybe sex before marriage is technically wrong in some way but Jesus showed it wasn’t a big deal. In other cases He said “..… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

“Porneia” is one of those words that has such a broad range of meanings that it can often be difficult to know exactly what is meant. There’s a huge literature about this. See, e.g., https://medium.com/belover/were-christian-sexual-rules-created-by-a-mistranslation-of-a-single-word-8b32c68371b5 . As this article notes, the word is used in the New Testament where the word has a sense of immorality but has nothing to do with sex. Instead, there it concerns bad financial transactions or idolatry: *** In Hebrews 12:16, Esau is called a pornos for having “sold his birthright for a single meal.” That refers to the Old Testament story of Genesis 25:34,… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Bob. You describe the “Jews of Jesus’ day” as one monolithic entity, as if every single Jew would have exactly the same, predictable, orthodox view, exactly as in Scripture. But that is not how the world works. Jesus was brought up in multi-cultural Galilee, and might have developed a different attitude to a perhaps more orthodox Jew from Jerusalem, which might be different again to the attitudes of the Samaritan villagers out in the sticks miles from anywhere. The question is not what views Jesus ought to have had as the theoretical orthodox Jew, but what views he actually had.… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

“And nowhere does John tell us that Jesus or her fellow villagers disapproved of this woman. Surely that counts for something.”

I agree. If one believes, as conservatives do, that the Bible is God-inspired then one has to also assume that if something is omitted (here telling the woman at the well that she was a sinner) that is by design.

Brenda Hopkins
Brenda Hopkins
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

So let us get married, and we can be done with all of this.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne
1 year ago

Jayne their first loyalty is to their tribe. Oppressed minorities are no more than collateral damage. Bishop Cocksworth is reputedly the most theologically able of the bishops and yet history will not judge him and his tribe well. In the interim, same sex couples should enjoy an Anglican marriage elsewhere in the United Kingdom and proudly announce their Anglican nuptials on social media. The penny will drop eventually in the HoB.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

What does “elsewhere in the United Kingdom” mean though as I have come to understand that it is the couple who marry themselves and the wedding service is all about announcing the marriage to their friends, family and neighbours, which means their regular parish church if they have one. It is why I am now even more against allowing parishes to opt out of prayers or same sex marriages because theologically it doesn’t work if it drives people away from their home church.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne
1 year ago

there are SAFEGUARDING questions to answer too

It would be helpful to hear explicitly what these questions are.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

The safeguarding questions relate more to protection from emotional and spiritual abuse, rather than protection from actual physical sexual abuse. How do we guarantee the safety of young men and women who grow up LGBTQ in a conservative church environment? Jayne Ozanne has written extensively on this. Or for different perspectives on the same question read Colin Coward’s blog linked above, or Google “Lizzie Lowe”. This question is why Jayne and I and many others cannot agree to a “separate development” answer to the present dispute, in which the conservative and liberal groups each go their own semi-independent way. Because… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

I agree with you, Simon, that the real risk of harm is particularly acute for young LGBT people who find themselves in some socially conservative churches. And yes, Jayne has always focussed – above all – on the actual harm at the heart of this issue. (Out of respect to the conservative readers who visit this site, I should state that the perception of harm works the other way too, in that spiritual harm is believed to be caused by allowing gay sex – I disagree, but it’s a serious theological position.) However, my understanding is that Jayne actually now… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

So the implication is that young LGBTQ people are inevitably actually harmed by the mere presence in the same congregation of people with conservative views? Or that the expression of those views necessarily and intrinsically harms such people? Or that there is an elevated risk but not certainty of such harm? Or that conservative-minded people are more likely to abuse young people? Or what?

Last edited 1 year ago by Unreliable Narrator
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

I am mentoring a young man at the moment and I only allow him one question at a time, and no more than two in a week. I do at least know who I’m talking to. Sorry, U.N., but I’m through with answering your questions when you decline to be open about who you are. I feel at times I am speaking to a bot. Highly intelligent but I can’t get a handle on you emotionally (you seem more open to logic than expressing feelings). It isn’t very rewarding and it doesn’t engender trust. Your choice, my choice, and God… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Your choice, of course. This is not a mentoring session but a discussion among equals on one of the most important issues to face the Anglican church, and if someone puts forward a point of view and then declines to answer questions or accept challenges, then their case looks rather less strong.

you seem more open to logic than expressing feelings

I take that as a compliment. Speaking personally, I place a lot of weight on rational arguments based on objective evidence.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

A “separate development” would need to include commitments that dangerous teaching would be treated as spiritual abuse.

William
William
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Probably the sooner everyone goes their separate ways the better in that case.

William
William
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

Wouldn’t such people be in those churches because they chose to be?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  William
1 year ago

Or because their parents expected them to go – or there was peer pressure.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 year ago

Thank you David Rumsey, not least for mentioning J V Taylor and the important and substantial report of the Doctrine Commission under his leadership “Believing in the Church”. It says something that Synod never even discussed this important report which attempted to articulate what corporate believing in the C of E was actually about. But of course we are much happier thinking less about the nature of doctrine ( shades of George Lindbeck) and just being tribal.

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

An intelligent (and honest) overview of the stage things have reached – thank you to Christopher Cocksworth. A couple of questions (if you read this): You ask: “How is the conscience of clergy and parishes who find themselves unable to use some or all of the liturgical provision to be respected?” An even more challenging question which then ought to be asked might be: “How is the conscience of clergy and parishes who are (still) banned from carrying out gay weddings to be respected?” Following on from that, will the bishops re-visit the issue of accommodating plural consciences (like those… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
1 year ago

I find the contribution from Christopher Cocksworth profoundly depressing. He seems to bury himself under a dead weight of legal precedent, self indulgent theology, bureaucracy and caution. Why is he so extremely cautious about offending clerics in the Global South who hate people God created to love someone of the same sex ? Is hate and absence of love ok if it has sufficient theological and bureaucratic justification? If anything proves that the Church of England has totally lost its way, it is this article. Where is the love ? Where is inspiration? Where is the acceptance of difference ?… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
1 year ago

+Coventry’s undoubtedly an open evangelical, but in his piece, doesn’t offer any hope that the CoE will in future extend the sacrament of marriage to all couples currently able to contract it civilly. He also emphasizes that the blessings are of individuals, not their relationship.

I respect his honesty, but given the power of his constituency, fail to see from where further Good News will come for those seeking equality in the CoE.

John T
John T
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

He seems to have lost his nerve and is rowing back after a barrage of consternation raised by the CEEC’s schismatic shenanigans. It should be remembered that Synod supported the bishop’s proposals, so they need to be implemented or what’s the point of bringing a decision to Synod only to ignore it if the minority are unhappy. Appropriate reassurance needs to be given that conservative clergy who choose not to use the prayers will be supported by their bishop and archdeacons should any complaints come in. Similar reassurance needs to be given to progressive clergy that their willingness to use… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

You assert that nothing has changed for conservative clergy.

That is for them to decide. If their conviction is that it has changed you should respect their conviction

I am absolutely certain you expect your convictions to be accepted

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Doesn’t symmetry lie somewhat between those two positions? Symmetry is respecting their conscience to decide for themselves whether or not to pray for same sex couples while teaching that their position is homophobic, just as they teach that those in same sex relationships are sinners. Oddly, in my experience, conservatives don’t like true symmetry.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I’m just making a straightforward point. People and groups are entitled to reach their own conclusions and have that accepted.

For example progressive have reached a view and that is accepted. Conservatives think it’s the wrong view but nobody claims it should just be ignored as shallow thinking.

The position of John T and others that they will decide if the conservatives have reason to be unhappy is hypocrisy. They would never accept others judging them in such a way.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

“People and groups are entitled to reach their own conclusions and have that accepted.” Christian People and groups once supported slavery. Should that be accepted? A Christian Church once had Apartheid as part of its theology. Should that be accepted? Some Anglican Primates support imprisonment and even execution for Gay men. Should that be accepted? Peter, you are the very last person to promote moral relativity. There is such a thing as right and wrong. I am an advocate for a very big tent. I want us to talk to each other and learn from each other. But I will… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

I reject completely your attempt to conflate the issue of SSM with the other issues you raise.

You are seeking to frame the issue in terms which mean that any view other than your own is placed in the category of the morally reprehensible.

That is not dialogue. You are rejecting any moral framework other than your own as unworthy of even discussion.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter. I don’t think your straw man description of my position is at all constructive. I urge you to watch Bishop Cherry’s Sermon because she explains a position that I passionately believe in better than I ever can We all of us have to decide what is right and what is wrong. I find your homophobia morally wrong. You find my belief in same sex marriage wrong. That is painful for both of us but completely normal. What I reject (and I think you reject as well) is the idea that just because a group of Christians decide something, I… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by David Hawkins
Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

If you want a respectful dialogue with anybody you need to stop telling people they are homophobes.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

Christian People and groups once supported slavery. Should that be accepted?

It’s not clear what you mean by that. We have to accept that it happened, as a historical fact. But accepting that people are entitled to think what they think today is the issue.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

I don’t know what “entitled” means in this context. Is someone “entitled” to be a racist ? Is someone “entitled” to be intolerant ? Is someone “entitled” to hold opinions that hurt other people ? I have said already that I favour a very large tent and dialogue but “entitled” implies that I should approve of opinions that I find morally wrong. Perhaps the best way to describe it is this: I respect your right to hold a differing opinion about equal rights but I do not respect your opinion. I would not expect you to respect my opinion because… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

I am grateful to Unreliable Narrator for identifying your ad hominem logical fallacy. You are not engaging in anything that could be described as dialogue.

You are just treating your own framework as superior and then attributing entirely false and demeaning language to the position with which you disagree.

John T
John T
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

You can draw your own conclusions Peter, but if they have a significant impact on others (e.g. attempting to force through a near schismatic and complicated partition on the church) you need to justify those conclusions. Especially if you need the rest of the church to agree with you enough to allow structural re-alignment. I cannot understand, and would appreciate your explanation, on why this specific issue (acceptance of some same sex relationships) requires separate structures, while other differences such as remarriage after divorce can be resolved by the conscience of the local priest. I agree that clergy can be… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

Conservative Evangelicals see the issue of SSM as a first order issue in a way that is not true of the other issues which you have raised. Obviously you are not going to agree with that view. Conservatives and progressives reach different conclusions about Biblical truth. We all know that. There is a point at which it is necessary to accept that people and groups have reached different and settled conclusions on a matter. I am not going to respond to your general derogatory references to CEEC and conservative evangelical motivation. They add nothing to the discussion. There is an… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Well, I suppose this is an example of symmetry in that both positions are mis-stated. The central conservative position is not that “those in same sex relationships are sinners”, except in the tautological sense that we are all sinners — and we all, I hope, pray for all sinners — it is that same-sex acts are necessarily sinful. The central liberal position is not that the conservative position is homophobic, since that term is used in such a variety of ways that in such a context it is strictly meaningless — although it clearly is not a term of “respect”… Read more »

Bob
Bob
1 year ago

Christopher Cocksworth’s overview is an honest appreciation of the current position following the LLF process. However, as the other comments on this site and elsewhere confirm that it is not sustainable going forward. I fear that a decade of further conflict lies ahead unless some form of differentiation is created.

John T
John T
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

What do you think that differentiation would look like? Personally, I can’t see why a statement on the church noticeboard and website about whether you use the services or not, with directions to a church that does if you don’t, should cover it. Along with a written policy of support from local bishops for clergy whatever they personally decide regards to the new liturgies.

John Sandeman
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

And directions to a church that does not if you do?

Bob
Bob
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

CEEC sets out the form of differentiation evangelicals are calling for in their latest video here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JO3nsDInDiQ&feature=youtu.be

John T
John T
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

There’s very little detail in the video Bob, apart from some need for a “structural separation” and conservative bishops for conservative congregations. So how would it actually work? Would there be a “C of E version A” and a “C of E version B”, with A and B lining up on whether they support same sex relationships or not? If that’s the case, what happens to the parish system? To Establishment (because the state would only relate to one church, not two). What happens to those churches with members who vary on same sex relationships (i.e. the majority of parishes),… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

It will be interesting to see if in years to come the C of E looses its cachet amongst young evangelical potential ordinands as ” the best boat to fish from’.That might actually be a healthy development.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

I rather suspect that the HTB empire will drift away from the C of E if the Commissioners were ever to close their chequebook.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 year ago

I think I know why people (eg the Bishop of Coventry) put legal questions first. But when I read my Bible, I think that is not the place Jesus would have begun.

Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Here is a link to the excellent article written by Mark Harris of TEC who pours cold water on the attempt by GSFA/GAFCON to take over the traditional leadership of the Lambeth -led worldwide Anglican Communion. Despite the fact that the ABC has indicated he would be willing to forego the title of ‘Primus-inter-pares’ it seems unlikely that the 3 other ‘Instruments of Unity’ in the Anglican Communion would submit to a takeover bid – especially by a rival faction dedicated to the retention of an abhorrent homophobic and sexist, sola-scriptura agenda in the Church : –

https://www.feedspot.com/fs/tk/GEbRwGUf5%2Bod5ugb2MkfyuITxbZaFSgXTu7xGtvFHcnlFsCsnE4rKiLxGVkYBSDI3kMC55pSFhdTFyZZGQdLxxFOA%2BehWSIqExQgUtPHFsviEcSyXVAUHEggHxIFA0rGFk4D4o9V4ClUJiVN0ftLBRtRC%2FOWUiPjXBIfWdL9WgYb

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

The interesting thing here is the fact that the ACC has a legal constitution. Not something easily changed and unique among the Instruments of Communion.

Gary Gilbert
Gary Gilbert
1 year ago

As a member of the Episcopal Church in the United States, I do not understand why the C of E insists on singling out same-sex couples for separate and unequal treatment. It really makes no sense. Civil marriage alone seems better than capitulating to bigotry. The Bishop of Coventry seems stuck in another era. Gary

Froghole
Froghole
1 year ago

Now that some of the dust is settling, I think we need to start reflecting further on where we go from here but, even before we do that, what it is that we want to be. Does the Church of England want to be small but ‘pure’ in defence of what it (or sections of it) believe has been revealed, or ‘comprehensive’ but ‘sullied’ by its compromises with modernity? Is Paris worth a mass? Perceptions of the Church have changed significantly in the last few years, and I daresay that this is a function of the response of bien pensant… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

Thank you, Froghole, for this masterly summary. You write: “capturing as many souls as possible”. This is the nub of the issue. Why should souls be captured? What will happen to souls that remain uncaptured? I know these questions are not new – far from it – but nobody has been able to provide a satisfactory answer. What is our USP? What does Christianity provide that is not available through other, apparently more attractive, channels? Is it simply the promise of nectar points for a more comfy berth in the afterlife?

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

Wasn’t there a heresy called Novationism? And didn’t Hooker use this analogy in his defence of the Elizabethan Church against the puritans within.. Over 50 yrs ago I did a course on Churches and Sects as part of my history degree. A question in the exam was “A church gets the sect it deserves. Discuss”. The dilemma Froghole outlines has been there from the beginning: the Johannine epistles for example.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

Many thanks, Dr Butler. And not just the Novatians, but the Donatists also. This has sent me back to Bill Frend’s 1952 monograph, which (though he emphasises the class element) concludes: “The crude fanaticism of the Donatists represented the outlook of the majority of North Africans of their day. The Catholic victory in the great Conference of 411 produced a ‘revolutionary situation’ which, if anything, hastened the decline of Catholicism on the arrival of the Vandals. In the end neither Donatist nor Catholic prevailed, and Islam entered into the African heritage with no opposition of strength equivalent to that of… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

I used the phrase ‘laissez-faire’, which is not right. I should rather have referred to the recurrent tension between rigorist and comprehensive schools of thought.

Eaglet
Eaglet
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

Is your initial premise accurate, Froghole? There is now plenty of evidence that the attendance at denominations which accept same sex blessings & marriages is in steep decline – the Church of Scotland even has its own ‘property for sale’ page on its website!! Properties for sale | The Church of Scotland

Of course there needs to be some discerning accommodation to culture – that’s always been the case – but the suggestion that churches need to liberalise on sexual behaviour to avoid becoming a ‘rump’ is simply not backed by the evidence. Quite the opposite.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Eaglet
1 year ago

Thank you, but I am not making a premise in any one direction: I am simply posing a question, one which I feel is rather more important per se than the issue of SSM. Should the Church aim to be a big tent, but at the risk of hollowing itself out ideologically, or should it aim to be a smaller one which is more densely packed? As I have now mentioned, tediously, many times on TA over the last decade or so, I have been undertaking a pilgrimage across the country. This has now led me to attend services at… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Eaglet
1 year ago

The Kirk has been in decline for a long time, long before it allowed equal marriage (less than a year ago). The spate of sales now is because the pandemic forced the Kirk into rushing what it has euphemistically called “presbytery planning” – not much less than the collapse of the parish system across much of rural Scotland. The Kirk lacks the funds of the CofE having been disendowed in the 1920s so it can’t keep pretending everything is fine. There was a fairly brutal survey of all the property held by the Church of Scotland over the last couple… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Many thanks. I agree, although I would make two points. The first is that the 2019 Radical Action Plan appears to me to have been stimulated by the slashing of Heritage Lottery subventions. As I understand it, the Kirk appealed to the devolved administration to make up the difference, but was rebuffed, unsurprisingly. It then decided (imbecilically, in my view) to embark upon a fire sale. Many units are being sold for a relative pittance, especially after agents’ fees are deducted, although it is the manses which provide the highest yield (why they are not being let on repairing leases… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

Yes, you’re quite right, disendowed was not the right term.

As for congregations bearing the cost of repairs in some ways churches are less of an issue than manses. The General Trustees have generally been willing to tolerate cold damp churches in a way that they wouldn’t (quite rightly) for Manses.

Dr John Wallace
Dr John Wallace
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

I see a parallel between the situation in the C of E and what often occurs in the Labour Party – the battle between purist fundamentalists and pragmatists. In the Labour Party, many would say that the aim was electability and if necessary compromise doctrine. In the church the tension is between (an arguably) doctrinal purity and an open welcome of the Gospel. At Mass last night we heard John 8:1-11. The words that hit me, as I was holding the Gospel Book for the Deacon was ‘neither do I condemn you’. As I’ve said in an earlier post, the… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Dr John Wallace
1 year ago

Conservatives do not see SSM as a second order issue.

Of course, that is the point of division. However, it does not help matters to treat it as a failure to recognise that we should not divide over secondary matters. We would all be united in recognising that general principle.

The division arises because there is a difference of view as to what is and is not a second order issue.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Dr John Wallace
1 year ago

Yes, indeed, that is just it: which is the ‘least worst’ option: (i) that the faith is confined within a narrow demographic, but retains more of its supposed integrity; or (ii) that much of the essence of it is more widely available, albeit at the cost of dilution. Of course, it is arguably the case that the faith has been making ‘compromises’ with modernity since the post-apostolic period as it (being a Hebraic offshoot) had to insinuate itself into a predominantly Hellenic culture to secure its survival and growth. I like the analogy with the Labour party. However, the party’s… Read more »

Eaglet
Eaglet
Reply to  Dr John Wallace
1 year ago

I was preaching on the same passage and distinctly remember Jesus’ words that followed those you quoted: “Go and sin no more”…or are you saying that Jesus, in refusing to condemn the woman, was positively giving the thumbs up to adultery?

John N Wall Jr
John N Wall Jr
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

This American would appreciate it if Froghole would elaborate on his claim of an “increasing Americanisation of British life.” It was, after all, English Puritans who taught us how to create a purity cult out of Christian belief and practice and the Wesleys who brought us evangelicalism in the 18th century. Just saying . . . . .

Peter
Peter
Reply to  John N Wall Jr
1 year ago

I have just responded to an inference that American racialised structures illuminate what is happening in the Church of England.

I have yet to hear anybody from France tell us French culture should be heeded by the Church of England. Or anybody from Spain, or China or any one of 180 other countries.

We long to defer and find our moral compass in America. Too many Americans (though not all) allow themselves to be flattered by this strange sense of deference

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  John N Wall Jr
1 year ago

The Americanisation of British cultural life has arguably been in train since the early 1900s; whilst the process has been incremental, it has also proceeded in fits and starts (the advent of ragtime in the 1900s, of jazz in the late 1910s, of talkies in the late 1920s, of swing in the 1930s, of GIs and dollar diplomacy in the 1940s, of rock and roll in the 1950s, etc.). However, one of the more problematic imports of recent years has been the ‘culture wars’, which have been consuming a considerable amount of political oxygen across the political spectrum. Indeed, it… Read more »

John N Wall
John N Wall
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

So sorry to disabuse you of the notion, but of all the revivalist movements in the US, the one led and inspired by the Wesleys and their followers was by far the most successful, leading to Methodism becoming the largest denomination in the US until Baptists began to outnumber them in the 20th century. And, you may think that English settlers in New England were only “teaching themselves,” but American cultural historians from Perry Miller to the present have spent an enormous amount of their careers documenting the pervasive influence of New England Puritanism on American society. Other historians document… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  John N Wall
1 year ago

Nicely said, both of you. I suspect I’m the same age as Froghole, as I understand what he’s protesting about.
Someone further down here refers to an American lady politician who wants a ‘divorce’ between ‘red states’ and ‘blue states’. Er, hasn’t that been tried before, about 160 years ago? (Wal, hush mah cotton pickin’ mouth, theyar, boy. Ah wish ah was in Dixie…….)

James
James
Reply to  John N Wall Jr
1 year ago

‘What do you mean “us”, white man?’
There were no ‘Americans’ in 1620 – except, of course, the many, many ‘native Americans’ largely wiped out in the succeeding 250 years. Just saying …

John N Wall Jr
John N Wall Jr
Reply to  James
1 year ago

I am with you 100%. The original point was the claim that an “Americanization” of the UK since 1900 accounts for the discussions and disagreements folks in England are having about the Church and human sexuality. So my perspective was from that viewpoint, and whether the English have had more of an effect on shaping our culture than we have on theirs. Recently, historians have traced the history of English settlers’ relationships with Native Americans to English attitudes and understandings developed during the previous century’s efforts of the English to control the Irish.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

You pose the question what does the Church want to be. One might ask what the NHS wants to be, what the Royal Navy wants to be, what do the railway managers want to be.

Shouldn’t the question be what do the English people want the Church to be?

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

Surely the answer to that depends on whether the English people are believers or not? OK, I was a college convert, drilled in evangelical conservatism and I can understand why some folks on this site don’t like what the two AB’s are moving towards. (HTB style approach) What some correspondents call ‘traditional Anglicanism’ is what we were taught to regard as ‘nominal’ or uncommitted, lip service Christianity, while, as they’ve said several times here, they regard us as sectarian. What to them is sectarian is, to me, normal committed Christianity. No one ever saw fit to explain to me how… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  John Davies
1 year ago

Dick Lucas took the time and trouble to explain infant baptism to me (and he isn’t exactly a liberal). He gave me about an hour one afternoon in his study at St Helens, and patiently talked it through with me. His main point was that God initiates salvation and acts first, and then after that it is up to us whether we grow up in that salvation or choose to opt out. As the archetype he pointed to God’s salvation of the people of Israel from Egypt, going archetypically down into the water, and then passing through as one people,… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Susannah, this is an excellent justification for infant baptism.

To expand just a bit, I think the NT accounts of the conversion of the head of the household, followed by the baptism of that person and that person’s “household” or “family” supplies Biblical support for this practice since “household” or “family” in that culture would have included the spouse, children, servants and slaves.

See, for example, Acts 10:48 (Cornelius), Acts 16:15 (Lydia), Acts 16:33 (Paul’s jailor).

Susannah Clark
Reply to  dr.primrose
1 year ago

Very much so. God seems keen to open doors to welcome whole families, whole communities, and whole nations. It’s then up to us whether we choose to follow that through. But God takes the first step, the first act of salvation – as in the rescue from Egypt, or the death and resurrection of Jesus. God leads the way. When a baby is baptised, we are expressing the lovely welcome of the little child into the household of God (just as those families you cited are called to be households in the household of God). It is then for the… Read more »

Father David
1 year ago

I have a suggestion to make and I would propose that all Church of England bishops collectively take a six month sabbatical and let us see how the Church fares without them. My suspicion would be that we might not want them back again! A disturbing article in today’s Times by James Marriott has the title”Christian beliefs have lost their social cachet” which bears the subtitle “Church membership once conferred status, now you are more likely to be derided as a bigot” The Established Church has certainly got itself stuck up a creek sans paddle after the February General “too… Read more »

Susanna (with no h!)
Susanna (with no h!)
Reply to  Father David
1 year ago

Synods have an interesting track record of course …. I’m sure most people know all about the Synod of Whitby in 664 and the debate over the Date of Easter ( when the great Abbess St Hild was not on the same side as the infamous Bishop Wilfrid despite later unfortunate linking of them) Bede ( Historia Ecclesiastica book 4) tells us of another Synod in 673 held at Hertford and presided over by Archbishop Theodore The council took 10 decisions described as ‘chapters’, the first 9 setting out general good behaviour between bishops , clergy and monasteries eg Chapter… Read more »

Randall J. Keeney
Randall J. Keeney
1 year ago

I keep reading and hearing the word, “persecution” from evangelicals concerning their position within the CofE and the Anglican Communion. As a man who grew up in the deep south of America, I keep hearing echos of my childhood. I was taught that there was a natural order of things. This order was of God and any challenge to that order was anathema to “God-fearing” folk and the Gospel. Those who have held and still hold to this “natural order” still claim that they are being persecuted. In America, new phrases such as “reverse racism”, “white guilt”, and the recent… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Randall J. Keeney
1 year ago

The insinuation that racialised structures in America have any reminiscent connection with the discussion around Church of England differentiation is an absolute disgrace.

Is there anything progressives will not say, or boundary they will not cross in their determination to smear people with whom they disagree

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

O, wad some Power the giftie gie usTo see oursels as others see us!It wad frae monie a blunder free us,An’ foolish notion
Robert Burns

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Thank you for proving Randall Keeney’s point. I see nothing in Mr. Keeney’s comment that persecutes or marginalizes conservatives. Conservatives and evangelicals cry that they’re persecuted and marginalized whenever anyone dares criticize them. If the moderators don’t think I’m violating the terms of service, I’m reminded of a quote attributed to US President Harry S Truman “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” Years ago, in an otherwise forgettable movie, a female character somewhere in 900s CE Europe tries to enter a seminary/monastery only to be told that women are barred from entering because a) they’re… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Peter
Peter
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

You entirely mis understand my point. If you disagree with the conservative view that is your choice.

To say the conservative position is evil is much much worse than persecution.

Randall J. Keeney
Randall J. Keeney
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I don’t think I use the word, “evil”.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Randall J. Keeney
1 year ago

You seem to regard the traditional doctrine of marriage in the Church of England as being on a par with racism. It seems probable that you regard the latter as “evil” — is that correct?

Randall Keeney
Randall Keeney
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

My goodness, I hope not. I am traditionally married with four children and nine grandchildren. That’s beside the point though. When you threw in the word evil, I think you might have been suffering from an acute case of projection.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Randall Keeney
1 year ago

You made a transparent connection between racism in America and the desire of English conservative evangelicals for different differentiation. That could only be understood as an attempt to attribute evil to conservative evangelicals.

Randall J. Keeney
Randall J. Keeney
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Please allow me a couple of clerical privileges. First, forgive my snippiness in my last post. Second, know that this will be my last contribution to this particular discussion (pausing while the applause subsides).  As concerns slavery and the continuing racism that followed it, neither Great Britain nor America can claim much absolution for our past sins. Afterall, the Slavery Abolition Act and the Emancipation Proclamation were only 30 years apart. Also, we must admit that neither ended institutional racism. The Jim Crow Laws of America and the Colonialism of Britain demonstrate that. The foundation of this racism was and is the propagation of the “otherness”… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Randall J. Keeney
1 year ago

Thank you for your opening sentiment which I very much appreciate. It is a breath of fresh air to get gracious response !

I do not agree with your analysis but let’s conclude the exchange on amicable terms.

John N Wall
John N Wall
Reply to  Randall J. Keeney
1 year ago

Thank you, Fr Keeney! And bless you for your clarity, your faith, your hope, and your commitment.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

That’s a good story line from the movie, and maybe England was in advance of continental Europe, but there were women’s monasteries, otherwise known as nunneries, here long before 900 AD. Several were royal foundations as, notably, by St Etheldreda at Ely in 673 AD. The Abbesses who ruled over these monastic houses were powerful people, sometimes having jurisdiction over the civilian population, notably at Romsey founded 907 AD. Women’s monasteries proliferated considerably after the Norman Conquest.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Excellent point. But the movie was titled “Pope Joan” and was a mythical/fictional (IMO) movie about a woman who allegedly became pope by disguising her gender, becoming a priest, and rising all the way up the ranks until she became Pope John (I don’t know what Roman numeral). Her gender was discovered when she miscarried (she had a sexual liaison with a fellow bishop, on top of everything else she did in the movie) smack in the middle of the big Easter procession through Rome and died. In a classic conspiracy theory meme, the movie producers claimed she was erased… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

This position is simply Bulverism, the assumption that the Conservative position is wrong and adducing reasons why it might be wrong. In fact it goes further into the realm of claiming that being wrong such a position should not be allowed to be enunciated at all. There’s a pre-emptive strike against the complaint of persecution, when the conservative position is that the most extreme progressive demands would, if granted, constitute persecution. For example, extreme progressives demand either that conservatives leave the church altogether, on the grounds that their mere presence constitutes actual harm to some other members, or that conservatives… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Until very recently, I was unaware of the term Bulverism. I found out its meaning and origins from this page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulverism

James
James
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

Bulverism is the default position of most political and, alas, ‘theological’ discourse.
It pops up everywhere, usually in allegations that those who think differently on sexual ethics do so because of fear and irrational hatred.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

If those freedoms are not privileges why do conservatives persist in denying them to gay clergy and gay couples? Gay clergy in the CofE are not permitted to speak the vows that seal their marriages, gay couples are not allowed to have a nuptial mass celebrated. Jeffrey John was blocked from being made a bishop despite living in accordance with Issues simply because he had expressed opinions conservatives didn’t like. On this very thread we’re being complained at for calling conservative persecution (which is real persecution, unlike conservatives just not getting to force everyone to follow their rules) of LGBT… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

when the sin is homophobia we’re not even allowed to name it without being shouted down I think we must be reading different blogs. Various people representing very different opinions are freely expressing their opinions, and people of different opinions are disagreeing. That’s right and proper, and thanks are due to the moderators for allowing us all the privilege of doing so in what is after all their private property. In particular, the accusation of “homophobia” has been very freely levelled in these comments, and nobody to my knowledge has been “shouted down”. we’re being complained at You’re being disagreed… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

I do not think they are privileges, I am only noting that the conservative position and behaviour treats them that way and it is for conservatives to resolve that cognitive dissonance.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

I don’t quite understand what cognitive dissonance has to do with it, but I take this as a fancy way of saying that because one side has allegedly violated someone’s rights, then it’s OK for the other side to violate peoples’ rights too. But if it’s OK for one side it’s OK for both, and we end up back in nothing but a squabble. It would be better for progressives to state clearly what their views are on such things as freedom of opinion, speech and worship, and the extent to which they expect to protect them.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

The cognitive dissonance is in conservatives preventing equal marriage in churches, and blocking able and Godly priests from being appointed Bishops for expressing opinions, while claiming to be for freedom of speech, worship and opinion (and conscience). The reality is that those freedoms are at a societal level. Holding a particular office or job, and membership of a particular organisation, mean accepting some limits on the exercise of those freedoms. We all accept that. No-one thinks a priest could remain in post if they made burnt offerings to Baal on the altar of their parish church. No-one thinks that if… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

The question is where the line is drawn. Th specific question under discussion right now is what happens to the people who find themselves on the wrong side of the new line (although the other is certainly important too). We may presume that some able and Godly clergy will find themselves prevented from taking or holding appointments, and that some people will be prevented from worshipping in their churches: in short, that the progressive side when in the ascendant will do to some conservatives what you claim the conservative side have done to some progressives. Why the reluctance to admit… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Who would be prevented from worshipping? And how? What form of worship can possibly be reliant on mistreating LGBT people?

Clergy who do not treat people well should, just as now, be counselled by their Archdeacon or Bishop in better behaviour, with the CDM (or its hoped for replacement) as backup if needed. The church already refuses to ordain people who can’t restrain themselves from expressing extreme views (Calvin Robinson being a relatively recent example).

You are determined to draw a false equivalence between anti-LGBT and LGBT-affirming positions. It convinces no-one.

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter, that’s no insinuation. It’s a very pertinent parallel. Again, what does “differentiation” mean if it doesn’t ultimately involve some degree of inequality? I’m genuinely curious to know, since it goes to the motivation for this demand. The demand for “differentiation” sounds remarkably like Marjorie Taylor Greene’s recent outpouring about the desirability of a “divorce” between “red states” and “blue states.” Most people see this for the sort of wrecking motion it certainly is. It would certainly be self-defeating for the “red states,” already mostly disadvantaged in economic development. The problem with all this talk of “differentiation” and “walking apart”… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kieran
1 year ago

If you disagree with the conservative position that is your choice.

You cross a red line when you say the conservative position is evil

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

You cross a red line…”

Peter, saying it doesn’t make it so. If you don’t like what you see when a mirror is held up, perhaps the mirror is not at fault.

“Evil” is your word. I said “tantrum.”

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

Grateful for thoughtful comment from Andrew Rumsey. If only the Bishop of Coventry were more like that. Be more Andrew, bishop!

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
1 year ago

There is a fine summary essay in The Living Church. Poggo (head of ACC): “Poggo added that the Archbishop of Canterbury had requested that he organize a Primates’ Meeting “in the near future,” with an agenda to include “discussing the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Communion.”

It is the ABC himself who understands the need for change. This will happen within the Instruments and not over against them. Unless things just deteriorate. Change in the place of the ABC and CofE is necessary, and both sides are coming to acknowledge this now.

Lenten blessings.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
1 year ago

After reading all these comments, I am driven to quote Robin Williams’ number one reason to be an Episcopalian:

1. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.

James
James
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

The drastic life and even worse end of Robin Williams was not exactly an advertisement for Episcopaliansm.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  James
1 year ago

Are you seriously getting a dig in at TEC on the back of Robin Williams suffering from depression?

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

I think he’s getting in a dig at Robin Williams at the expense of TEC. I guess James has never suffered from or knew people who had depression. Most manage it in some way or another, but not all. And what was so drastic about Robin Williams’ life? Did James not like Robin Williams’ fantastic imitation of conservative pundit William F Buckley, jr in the movie Aladdin? I’ve read in several places that the script writers for that movie eventually gave up trying to have Williams follow the script and just wrote ” 2 minutes, Robin Williams” and let him… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  James
1 year ago

Every religion and denomination has its famous people who fell prey to drugs, alcohol and/or depression.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Because, regardless of various hagiographies, we’re all human and none of us is perfect.
Even Jesus of Nazareth suffered stress. How else to explain cursing a tree that had no figs even though it was the wrong season for bearing fruit, or sweating blood at Gethsemane?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Joining the Church of England is enough to make anyone depressed.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  James
1 year ago

As a fellow depressive (lifelong, alas) I don’t like the tone of the remark about Robin Williams, or indeed anyone else who struggles with its many issues.It is an illness, not something to be sneered over by the more fortunate.

Shamus
Shamus
Reply to  John Davies
1 year ago

Absolutely. I love Robin Williams’s reasons for being Episcopalian. Lovely gentle humour (humor?) to them. Google it if you don’t know them all. If we could all have a bit more of that, our differences might just melt away.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Shamus
1 year ago

Here’s the list:

10. No snake handling.
9. You can believe in dinosaurs.
8. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.
7. You don’t have to check your brains at the door.
6. Pew aerobics.
5. Church year is color-coded.
4. Free wine on Sunday.
3. All of the pageantry – none of the guilt.
2. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.
And the Number One reason to be an Episcopalian:
1. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  John Davies
1 year ago

From one depressive to another, thank you and Amen!

Rev Dr Mike
Rev Dr Mike
Reply to  John Davies
1 year ago

John, as a fellow lifelong depressive I did not care either for the judmental comment about Robin Williams’ ‘drastic life’ (I must have that too, for starters) or his ‘even worse end’ (suicide is a recognised danger for men; more so if, like myself, you suffer with bipolar disorder). The devastation caused by mental illness is no stranger to the clergy. If you happen to have sexuality issues this is often seen as one extra ‘vulnerability’ to which gay pastors of both sexes are prone if you have ‘problems like theirs’ (nice one that). There are even a few trans… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

“No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.”

How very sad.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 year ago

I find it sad that you think that is sad. I suppose you prefer a religion in which all “believers” march in lock-step on everything?

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Bless his heart, it is obvious Robin Williams was offering his trademark humor. I doubt he meant it as a commendation of TEC as a Christian assembly. But if you wish to receive it that way, please do.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 year ago

I know enough about Robin Williams to know he did indeed mean it as a commendation. He saw it as a mark of open-mindedness.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

I am sure you are right. Robin Williams as advocate for TEC, with the list of commendable TEC features, ensuring his own attendance regularly. And others as well.

Like Eddie Izzard’s ‘Cake or Death’ spoof on the CofE. It is hilarious( though the Darth Vader routine surpasses it).

Lenten best wishes and may the soul of Robin Williams rest in peace.

(My father was a classmate of Jonathon Winters, the mentor of Williams, at Kenyon).

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

There is a strand of comment, (on Thinking Anglicans and elsewhere) that makes it clear there is a significant mis-reading of the conservative evangelical overtures regarding a potential settlement. There is a clear expectation that a settlement might involve a set of concessions being offered to conservatives. However it is taken for granted that such concessions would have to be be constrained by “safeguards” and “protections” and “guarantees”. Conservative evangelicals believe SSM is to the detriment of the people concerned, the Church of England and wider society. However, it is obvious to anybody who will look at the reality that… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

That you think it is fictional does not make it so. Conservatives have long subjected progressive actions to constraint and limit, barring priests from serving because they’ve married the person they love, or preventing a priest being appointed bishop because they’ve expressed affirming views.

The question for those of us who care about LGBT people is how we best protect them from the harm caused by conservatives. Agreeing to a permanent arrangement whereby that harm is allowed to continue seems highly unlikely to be it.

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