Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 28 July 2021

Francis Spufford The Christian Century How I changed my mind about same-sex marriage
“It began when I realized the church has always had a process for changing its mind.”

Gilo Surviving Church Interim Support Scheme & Redress Scheme

Ian Paul Psephizo Can the C of E plant new churches and retain the parish system?
An interview with John McGinley

Paul Andrews The Yorkshire Post Why Church of England needs new PR team to win back worshippers

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The LLF definition of radical new Christian inclusion is not radical, nor new, nor Christian, nor inclusive

Meg Warner The Tablet Anglicanism and mission
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FrDavidH
FrDavidH
1 month ago

It is obvious from the interview with John McGinley that God, the Creator of the Universe, is an abject failure in knowing very few people in England. He has no idea who 93% of English people are, since very few people bother to visit Him. Wondrously, over the next 9 years, He is to be introduced to one million people He’s never heard of, by lay people, after the clergy’s complete inability to let God know which people exist. Since there are 60 million English people in the UK, sadly God will never meet them.

peterpi - Pter Gross
peterpi - Pter Gross
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Fantastic comment. I find it humorous/sad/infuriating that some Christians still feel the need to evangelize a country that’s been Christian for over a millennium. It turns out the evangelizers are concerned people aren’t the right type of Christian (apparently, even after hundreds of years of religious wars, with God only knows how many deaths, some Christians still play the “my Christianity is the TRUE Christianity — and yours isn’t” game) or aren’t Christian enough. Then these same folks wonder why atheism and agnosticism are on the rise. I also have no use for evangelizers who marvel at the ripe conversion… Read more »

Filigree Jones
Filigree Jones
1 month ago

Ian Paul’s interview with John McGinley contains further insight into the relationship between Myriad and the CofE. ‘The vision for Myriad came about from the Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication which is overseen by the Bishop of Islington, Ric Thorpe. A couple of years ago he formed a group to consider what it would take to see an acceleration of church planting … This group included a number of bishops, members of national Church of England departments … and as we prayed and discussed this question the vision for Myriad developed.’ This certainly sounds like a CofE initiative – what… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Filigree Jones
1 month ago

My fear is that the leadership of the C of E is using the Gregory Centre as a parallel body through which they can function free of the restraints of synodical scrutiny. So much for accountability.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

From the other side of the pond, I can only comment “So much for an established church subject to litigation passed in Parliament and assented to by the Sovereign.”

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

I think you are confusing ‘litigation’ for legislation. But no matter. Whether such a comment is appropriate to make ‘from the other side of the pond’ is, I respectfully suggest, questionable, although I have to concede that some people on this side have been equally disrespectful of TEC at times.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Yes, I meant “legislation”….a terrible typo. As for the rest, I suppose you can chalk it up to the American feeling that government and religion are never a good mix…and that when they are, the results are usually like the mess I see in the UK.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Filigree Jones
1 month ago

Which calls to mind the Mock Turtle’s programme: Reeling and Writhing and then the different branches of Arithmetic- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification and Derision. Much of which seems rather pertinent.

Jocelyn Sanders
Jocelyn Sanders
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 month ago

You’ve forgotten Fainting in Coils…

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Jocelyn Sanders
1 month ago

The Toronto blessing?

The notion of a centre for church “multiplication” is one you’d be hard pressed to make up!

αnδrεw
αnδrεw
Reply to  Filigree Jones
1 month ago

CCX’s legal structure isn’t entirely clear from a glance at its website. It solicits Gift Aid donations in the name of ‘Centre for Church Planting’, though doesn’t appear to be registered with the Charity Commission (or Companies House). My guess is that it is a fund connected with the Diocese of London, thus exempting it from the need to register (provided that its income is below the current annual threshold of £100,000). This makes it accountable to the diocesan board of finance (and its auditor) – in this case the London Diocesan Fund (LDF). Their latest annual report (2020 p.8)… Read more »

αnδrεw
αnδrεw
Reply to  αnδrεw
1 month ago

As LDF’s annual report shows, CCX have been doing the church-planting work on behalf of the Diocese of London, with substantial grants from the Archbishops’ Council and the Allchurces Trust, which would be accounted for on LDF’s own books.   However, if individuals have already donated £100,000 to CCX (taking it above the legal threshold), and it is due to receive a grant of £350,000 from the Allchurches Trust to employ staff, as reported by the Church Times, then I’d suggest that it has no option but to apply for charitable status in its own right – especially if its… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by αnδrεw
C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Filigree Jones
1 month ago

As I have said before, I’d want to know more about whether–behind the scenes and increasingly in front of them–this is meant to anticipate major changes to come, given realities financial, demographic decline, the state of establishment, concerns about the inevitability of gafcon type developments, and you fill in the blanks…

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

My impressions from various statements/justifications of the myriad project:
(1) the “apology” from BishopRic is no such thing. He is sad that we poor benighted fools read it wrong, not that they were kak-handed.
(2) their “strategic” thinking changes, rewriting or ignoring previous statements as necessary.
(3) nothing we say or do will stop it or even influence it.
(4) it could be modified by pressure from Archbishops and the Lambeth administration, but they are behind it.
(5) Very Soviet.
(6) Sit back and enjoy the show.

Charles K
Charles K
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I am sorry, but it just me that finds +Islington’s response actually rather gracious and constructive? He recognises that the words we use can often be cack-handed, unfortunate and pejorative and that clearly happened in this case. Rather than see all this as a threat to the church as it is… I wonder if TA contributors – or probably another collective – could put together a thinking response and a strategy to have a constructive Myriad of confident, faithful, proactive churches from all strands of Anglican tradition and thought. The problem is that we seem to be putting up too many… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Charles K
1 month ago

Are you sure that we don’t already have ‘a constructive Myriad of confident, faithful, proactive churches from all strands of Anglican tradition and thought’? It’s the assumption that we haven’t which so many are finding insulting.

Charles K
Charles K
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Actually no I dont think we do, Janet! I know there are some places where there is a wonderful myriad, but my own local experience is pretty dull and moribund. And whilst I hate the kind of smug superiority which oozes from churches such as the ones Myriad refers to; they float plenty of people’s boats, whilst other more “traditional” local churches are sinking fast and some are just badly led and poorly attended.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
1 month ago

I am a huge fan of Francis Spufford. His “Child that books built” is a thing of wonder, and his exegesis on Laura Ingalls Wilders’ books in there took me into a world of reading and research for which I am very grateful. He writes thoughtfully, honestly and in prose to die for. That said, I make that piece just over four thousand words. Perhaps he’s being paid by the yard, but it seems a little otiose in order to say “I used to be OK with the gays doing the sex so long as they didn’t do the marrying,… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 month ago

Ref Francis Spufford. I was struck by his statement “There are a lot of complications and local variations in this history, of course. From place to place and from time to time, opinions have diverged on how important a sin gay sex is relative to other sexual sins and other sins in general. Monastic and clerical subcultures have existed in which it was accepted as an activity that, kinda sorta, didn’t break vows of (heterosexual) chastity”. Is this true? Can anybody point me towards any texts or descriptions relating to monastic/clerical subcultures where same sex sexual activities “kinda sorta, didn’t… Read more »

american piskie
american piskie
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Is he speaking about adelphopoiesis?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelphopoiesis

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 month ago

I too am a fan of Francis Spufford. And while his piece is lengthy, it has a seriousness that is preferable to the sound-bite theology which can pass for discussion, to “the dereliction of charity” as the writer has it, before going on to say: “Social change… is messy, mysterious, and it does not come with a convenient arrow in the margin of the map identifying the proper direction of progress.” This was at work in the shift in the C of E’s attitude to the marriage of divorced persons. First it was frowned upon, then clergy were allowed to… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

If anyone in parish leadership has had the experience of having a great idea in the bath, then getting a few influential people to get behind it, letting your guard down in an enthusiastic sermon, finding some money for it, and then remembering, oh yes I really should get the PCC to pass this, and then finding it’s not such a great idea in their eyes, and having to justify it in a stressful meeting, you’ll sympathise with JMcG.

Fr. Dean
Fr. Dean
1 month ago

I don’t think we should invest too much energy into the whys and the wherefores of Myriad. Nothing I’ve seen makes me think it’ll be any more successful than the Decade of Evangelism. I think it’s more likely that there will be a myriad of excuses as to why it failed to get much further than the starting blocks. It’ll be eclipsed of course by another ‘initiative’ in no time at all. Everyone is swept along by the sunny optimism of the evangelical movement, to the extent that they fail to challenge their woeful track record.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Fr. Dean
1 month ago

The only question is how much crockery it breaks on the way. If all that happened is that a failed evangelism programme fails, then it’s a waste of time, money and resources, but no long term damage is done. But it won’t just fail: hearts will be hardened. Having homophobia, conservative evangelicals emboldened to go out in public and preach to people whose view of Christianity is very limited will be a disaster, because they will go from indifferent to being horrified about homophobia. And those people will never, ever come back.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 month ago

These are very valid points. I think the only things I’d say in response is that the damage is already done to our reputation with the LGBTQI community and their straight friends, mostly irrecoverably so. My own friends are incredulous that I bother with an institution that abuses gay people so much – one female friend questioned whether I was suffering from Stockholm syndrome. The second point I’d add is that the CofE is so emphatically boxed in to its position that it’s lovely to be gay as long as you never enjoy any sexual intimacy, that I can’t see… Read more »

Father David
Father David
1 month ago

Once again we hear from Canon McGinley that hackneyed phrase “both and” previously employed by the Bishop of Islington when issuing his apology for any misunderstanding or upset that may have been caused by our misinterpretation of the phrase “key limiting factors”
I understand that the “both” refers to
A) The traditional mission and ministry of the parish church.
B) The 10,000 lay led church plants meeting in people’s homes, seeking to attract 1,000,000 new worshippers.
But what is implied by the mysterious, undefined “and” of the “both and”?

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Father David
1 month ago

Surely the phrase is ‘both A and B.’

αnδrεw
αnδrεw
Reply to  Father David
1 month ago

There’s no mystery about the conjunction ‘and’. It comes between your A and B.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Father David
1 month ago

This is a free country. Anyone can attempt to invite gullible neighbours round to convert them to their religion. But it should be the role of the local vicar to insist that this has nothing to do with the CofE Parish Church, but is a private matter between the neighbours and a bible-bashing fanatic. It’s not both /and. It’s the Church of England. OR other religions.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Perhaps if a new church plant / house church is to be set up inside a parish, then it should first seek the approval and support of the PCC of that parish, and report back to it, recognising it is crossing the work of that parish, and trying to minister to the same local community. At least if it is, in any way, to be a Church of England initiative. Please note, I am not opposed to initiatives like this, but they shouldn’t operate at cross purposes to the local Church of England parish, if they are being endorsed, sponsored,… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I can see the value of a parish church independently deciding to invite people to a house group to explore the faith. This is a far cry from two or three distant evangelical men dreaming up a madcap scheme and telling every parish in the country it’s what God wants! These evangelicals have an uncanny knack of confusing God’s personal preferences with their own. It’s best to humour them. And ignore them.

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Back in the 1970s there was a mass movement of house churches which led to mega churches being formed. Unfortunately, down the line, this also led to mass exits as heavy shepherding, financial control in the name of biblical tithing, control over women and dubious healing ministries which preyed on the vulnerable, became obvious to those who had been part of the movement. A few driven men – because it usually is – can create mayhem and mass damage. The Jesus Army is one example. I know many people who have not recovered from the manipulation and spiritual abuse heaped… Read more »

αnδrεw
αnδrεw
Reply to  Marise Hargreaves
1 month ago

You are so right. I’m quite sure that a house church movement will never enjoy the imprimatur of the Church. Best practice involves something along the lines of the tried and tested daughter churches. They replicated parishes with considerable success whenever urban areas expanded at each period of their development over the last 150 years. The advantage of this established model of church planting is that the knowledge and experience gained over many decades of practice can be brought to bear on the new worshipping community. It imposes a range of checks and balances which tend to minimize the likelihood… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

‘It’s best to humour them. And ignore them.’ But you seem quite unable to do either.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

Oh I’m sure we all will!

Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

So much depends on the ‘agenda’ of the ‘Myriad Church’ proposition. If it is just to repeat (and endorse) the current lack of inclusion of LGBT+ people in the Church and in society, it will fail. The fact that the Birtish Government – with whom the Church of England is united in legal constitution, has already indicated its more realistic attitude towards gay people and others who are ‘different’ – should warn the Church of England’s leaders that any hint of sexism or homophobia in Myriad Church teaching will encounter the opposition of the majority of people outside of the… Read more »

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