Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 23 January 2021

Ruth Wilde Inclusive Church Inclusion and the Church of Tomorrow: Talk to the Swedish Church

Ysenda Maxtone-Graham The Spectator The man behind Justin Welby

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Church of England and Safeguarding: the Pursuit of Excellence

Rosemary Lofty Church Times Mission needs pennies spent
“Numerical growth can be impeded by a lack of basic amenities”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
20 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

The Spectator article filled me with horror. Big Brother is alive and well in Lambeth Palace. Not the ABC, but some male person who organizes his diary, who he will see, the agenda, and it appears in some cases what he will say and do

No wonder the ABC looks more relaxed when in Canterbury, or does Big Brother follow him there..

Fr John Emlyn
.

Bob Edmonds
Bob Edmonds
1 month ago

Headline of a recent article: “Swedes ‘least likely in Western Europe’ to go to church”. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the church in Sweden.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob Edmonds

Around 50% of Swedish children are baptised into their national Church, compared with around 10% in England. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the Church of England.

Bob Edmonds
Bob Edmonds
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Having a child baptised is a right of passage for non-believers (aka having the child done), not a sign of faith in a Risen Saviour.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob Edmonds

Very few parents see the need for a rite of passage these days. More often than not they have children out of wedlock, and attend non-religious funerals. Sweden continues – like other Scandinavian nations – to be ranked among the happiest countries on earth. It is doubtful what religion could add to their sense of fulfilment. Indeed, to some people, it could simply add negative misery!

Froghole
Froghole
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

“Indeed, to some people, it could simply add negative misery.”

Quite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oZNTJ2SzGY, the last part of Bergman’s trilogy on religious themes.

Also: https://www.oecd.org/sweden/sweden-achieving-greater-equality-of-opportunities-and-outcomes.pdf. Sweden has arguably been diluting its social democratic posterity (the ‘folkhemmet’ of Hansson, Erlander and Palme) in fits and starts since the advent of Carl Bildt in 1991, though I appreciate that there has been a red/green coalition for the last six years.

I should add that, until the demographics of Sweden started to change rapidly from the 1980s, the Church of Sweden was a part of the SAP prospectus: https://www.acton.org/publications/transatlantic/2019/05/10/secularizing-church-sweden-politics-alone

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 month ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

And a significant percentage confirmed (often after imaginative courses and camps). Reasonable attendances esp on Advent Sunday,Christmas etc. Significant no of church burials. And good take up of the now voluntary church tax so well funded. A strong diaconate running social service activities esp.with the elderly. Well educated clergy. I dont deny the C of S has problems, nor would they I suspect but it is more a National Folk Church than the C of E is now.

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
1 month ago

As a complete outsider the restrictions detailed by Ysenda Maxtone-Graham to be placed upon Smyth’s victims for a meeting with the Archbishop to go ahead, shriek of a man with a lot to hide.

Anne Farthing
Anne Farthing
1 month ago

The Spectator piece is interesting. Probably overblown, but I suspect there is an underlying truth here. The widespread nervousness among many bishops around the Bishop at Lambeth’s political instincts (and his tendency to prize institutional reputation too highly) is probably one factor in Porter’s rising significance. But it’s significant, too, that Porter’s Labour credentials are being highlighted in (unspoken) contrast to Welby’s longstanding support for the Tories. But no surprises that someone of solid puritan stock has such an honoured place in today’s Lambeth Palace.

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago
Reply to  Anne Farthing

Puritan and Anabaptist are not the same. See https://amnetwork.uks6/

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

I suppose it’s considered investigative journalism, but some certainly seems just speculation about the interaction between John Smyth and Archbishop Justin Welby at Iwerne in the 1970s and subsequently. Likewise the matter of what was done, or not done, when the complaint by ‘Graham’ was referred to the Bishop of Ely in 2013. These are just among the many things to be covered in an independent investigation and report by Keith Makin due to be published this year. Meanwhile, why do certain journalists, and some TA contributors, who cannot possibly know the answers but are happy to speculate in print,… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

RW asks: “why do certain journalists, and some TA contributors, who cannot possibly know the answers but are happy to speculate in print, not wait for Mr Makin’s report?”

One primary reason why is because by waiting justice will not be done sufficiently to right the wrongs within a religious institution which should know better.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Richard: Anyone knowing relevant facts should inform (or should have already informed) Mr Makin. His contact details were given on the C of E website when the investigation was first announced.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
1 month ago

It seems to me that this is missing the point. The crux of the article is what is happening today, not what may or may not have happened decades ago (which the Makin enquiry is exploring). One of the outcomes of the IICSA report is a devastating criticism of how the Church prioritised the avoidance of its own political embarrassment above its duty to meet the needs of abuse survivors. We are now told that the culture has changed, and that the survivors come first. But if the report is to be believed, then the Archbishop’s Chief of Staff seems… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Dawson

I’m puzzled by this. For the avoidance of doubt, I was not, and am not, commenting on the Archbishop’s Chief of Staff. It’s clear that I was referring to past events which would figure in Mr Makin’s report if relevant and, of course, if brought to his attention. Without checking, his terms of reference contained a time frame. The article, if we are referring to the same one, did not seem to me to be entirely accurate or objective. Just as examples, frequently overlooked, Justin Welby was neither ordained nor resident in this country while some of the abuse was… Read more »

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
1 month ago

Amen to Rosemary Lofty. I moved to Chicago after 12 years as incumbent of a large medieval church in Northamptonshire with nothing more than a tiny hand basin in the sacristy by way of running water. All attempts to introduce a scheme of modernization were utterly thwarted by the various statutory bodies – who clearly do not give a damn if the church community withers and dies. And so I moved to church premises with toilets and real running water, and I dread the prospect of returning to the C of E and being made to prioritize historic architecture over… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago

I’m calling to mind Steeleye Span and ye olde church of old England; those were the days. when people turned out for church in their Sunday best and kids didn’t run up and down the aisles. and we sang proper hymns accompanied by choristers dressed up and processing in and of course that lovely organ- a delight in itself worthy of our church- sorry I mean museum. I complained formally when the rector before last proposed the pews should go- I made sure the local MP knew about it- we saw that and him off. Running water? What kind of… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

The issue of basic toilet provision is a matter of dignity, respect, decency and inclusion. If a person who suffers from incontinence does not have access to a toilet, they probably won’t come to a church without one. Especially for women, it’s not as simple as nipping outside and ‘going behind a bush’. As a mountaineer, I have frequently used mountain bothies many miles from any facilities or other buildings. Some of my friends have made great efforts to build toilets even in some of them, remote as they are. A basic compost toilet outside the church is one option… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah: I agree. Of course, finance is a major issue for small country churches with dwindling and ageing congregations, although, as you point out, their needs are probably the greatest. Railway stations, and railway trains, so often “out of order”, closed for repairs (for months on end at my local station) are inexcusable. The local authority sold off the only public toilet in my nearest shopping centre – not a small place. The two supermarkets there, one of them even with an in-shop café, did not have one, although in that case things might have changed by now. I believe… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Loos. One of my former churches, a small 19th century gloomy aisleless chapel, is damp, mouldy (I could “feel” the spores in my bronchi), and ill-heated. It is unhealthy, particularly for anyone like me with a tendency to asthma. The twelve or so old ladies who make up the congregation feel the need of a loo, and baptism families have to be sent to the pub a few yards down. The DCC (it’s a two-church parish) resolved to pursue the installation of toilet facilities. Faculties, permissions, local council involvement were explained. Finances were investigated – eyewatering given that they pay… Read more »

20
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x