Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 27 May 2020

Elizabeth Anderson Earth and Altar “Wash Your Own Feet”: on singleness and the domestic church

Trevor Thurston-Smith The Pensive Pilgrim Speeding up the Tortoise

Jamie Harrison ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Pre-Judging Our “Good Samaritans”

Christopher Craig Brittain Anglican Journal
The Eucharist and coming out of lockdown: A tract for these COVID-19 times
On virtual communion: A tract for these COVID-19 Times (Part II)

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Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Special circumstances demand special responses. On the subject of Eucharistic authenticity and availability, our catholic and apostolic heritage requires us to be both theologically-authentic and sensibly pragmatic – not something easily accommodated in the time of a pandemic. However, what has been surfacing here in Aotearoa/New Zealand – perhaps because of our relatively short period of extreme exposure to COVID 19 (we are currently about to enter into the more open phase 2 of the lockdown) – is the realization of the FACT that not all of us can physically receive the Elements of the Eucharist. In the short term… Read more »

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

AMEN to all the above!

Michael
Michael
1 month ago

At this stage, I would like to see more discussion about church buildings. I’ve attended regular parish Eucharists in a school sports hall and in the Scout hut. Football stadiums would appear to be excellent locations for celebrations under present circumstances until the winter!. How is space sacred? Do we need church centres at all? If we are to cull bishops, could we rethink the number of premises we need? Perhaps the church is an assembly most perfectly constituted when gathered around an altar. And the church is also a sacrament but how many walls does it need?

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

Agreed. The Church of England needs to close about 90% of rural churches and 50% in urban/suburban areas. I think Trevor Thurston Smith’s blog on the practicalities is spot on though. Many churches are attended exclusively by elderly people who just want things to continue for another 10-20 years until they have died. I suspect major changes in legislation are needed, to allow bishops to close/mothball churches with minimal consultation, as turkeys will not vote for Christmas. Talk of culling bishops is a red herring. The waste and duplication is in diocesan offices. Keep the bishops but limit them to… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

As a man of 78 worshipping in Scotland, I find Sam Jones’ characterisation of ‘elderly people as those who just want things to continue for another 10-20 years’ both lazy and dismissive. Plenty of us are quite capable of grappling with new ideas and with new approaches to worship. It isn’t helpful to sterotype a generation.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Lamont

I agree. I am also 78. From a slightly different angle – the occasionally patronising things said to or about the elderly – I am able to remember the last years of WW II, sometimes the sound of bombs and at the age of three or four experiencing one at uncomfortably close quarters. My parents lived through two world wars – totalling ten years of their lives and a post-war austerity lasting a further decade following WW II. My father would have been 113 today. During WW I as a boy in the south of England he could hear the… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
1 month ago

Apologies to Roland and Daniel for any offence caused by my previous comment. Of course, many elderly people can and do adapt well to change. My comments were about congregations as a whole.

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

Sam – in general you are in my experience right. There are of course crumblies like Daniel and Rowland and I hope me (I’m 70 next week) who are intellectually alert and willing to explore, but there are more who aren’t. It struck me quite forcibly just before I retired that more than a few elderly churchgoers attend in order to retain the approval of a mummified parent (a bit like Norman Bates in Psycho). I’ve said it before, but within one hour by road of where I sit there are six diocesan offices, six finance departments, six safeguarding teams,… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

No offence taken. I wouldn’t want to give that impression. The combination of hot weather and some of the things said to me by younger people about the hardships of ‘lockdown’ being worse than WW II – long before they were born! So, on that score, not really to do with your post at all!

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

I absolutely agree about centralising all administration although I suspect we need no more than 1/4 of the bishoprics.

I personally think closure of churches should be the very last resort, though. I would rather see the sacred space shrink to be just the chancel and for the nave to be used a a community space for hire – weddings, parties, exhibitions even sports.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
1 month ago

I found the second of Craig Brittain’s articles of more value than the first. It does seem that he has latched onto the title of Kelvin Holdsworth’s blog ‘the end of communion’ as a catchy phrase when he (Kelvin) quotes Gregory Dix and says quite clearly “Reading his words again, I can’t imagine that this is the end of the Eucharist. Or even the beginning of the end.” It seems to me that we are in danger of falling into an unecessary binary here. In all UK churches, public worship has been forbidden as a precaution against spreading the virus… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Lamont

Yes, it’ll be hand washing for all, Communion in one kind, no exchanging the Peace, no singing and one person per pew. The latter made easier, given our age demographic, by those who stay away until a vaccine is found. But what will the longer-term effect of virtual worship be? Folk whose normal Sunday experience is poor are seeing good practice from cathedral masses to HTB style worship. When Covid-19 has become a memory, how many will get in the car and make their virtual experience real?

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Should have ended: “to their parish church’s loss”.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Lamont

The comments following the orginal articles – yours and others – are helpful. I think that Dr Brittain does not do justice to Kelvin Holdsworth’s argument. It is hard to better Dix’s paragraph. I also think the comment on the sensual/aesthetic element in the celebration of the Eucharist is apposite. After all these years, the sight of the celebrant raising the bread and the wine and the sound of the bread being broken (audible now that most celebrants wear a microphone) still affects me. The communal act of waiting in line to receive communion is part of the celebration. Both… Read more »

ACI
ACI
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Lamont

The comments for post #2 are pretty tough stuff.

ACI
ACI
1 month ago

Hope she is spared the same comment line as CB. Her tone is different than CB’s part two, so that may help. She may also be able to deliver a line like ‘I am a Priest’ and fare better from charges of elitism than male counterparts. We live in interesting times. Just hope people can separate social media from prayer and common time.

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