Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 28 March 2020

Mandy Ford ViaMedia.News Space, Time, Prayer and Cranmer

Steve Goddard Ship of Fools In praise of online church

Lorraine Cavanagh Church Times Companionship with God and others in the Covid-19 pandemic
“There are ways of belonging to a worshipping community at this time that do not rely on a broadband connection”

Andrew Davison Church Times When priest and people are apart
“The eucharist remains vital, even if offered behind closed doors”

Fergus Butler-Gallie The Critic Return of the Dance of Death
“Coronavirus may be sweeping the world but we’ve been here before”

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Father Ron Smith
5 months ago

Online Church is surely the only responsible way to worship together at this difficult time. We have to realise that this challenges our status quo on how we best connect in worship in the current situation worldwide. To expect to maintain our corporate worship in our parish churches is no longer either viable or responsible. God will meet our need – accord to our willingness to believe that ‘Nothing is impossible for God’. Love and Prayers for all from ACANZP.

Kate
Kate
5 months ago

“Online Church is surely the only responsible way to worship together at this difficult time.” There are alternatives, though. For instance we could have a “Day of Worship” when everyone spends half an hour singing hymns at home, interspersed with prayers. I think the church is attracted to online worship because it retains the role of priests somewhat. Theologically I think that is dodgy and it would be better for clergy to abandon the pretense of being priests and revert to being rabbis , presbyters, teachers. So stream a daily sermon on YouTube , suggest daily prayers, but leave the… Read more »

Richard
Richard
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Is everyone “singing hymns at home” a way to “worship together” as Father Ron suggests? Online worship doesn’t require a priest if the worship is one of the daily offices. Please explain “pretense of beings priests”. Of course Church of England priests don’t offer animal sacrifices, but CofE does ordain priests.

Kate
Kate
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard

No, Jesus is our priest. Anglicanism has presbyters who are not priests, although many think that they are. https://anglicanconvictions.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/what-is-the-go-with-the-term-priest/ is a decent summary.

The word “priest” should be avoided. Pastor or presbyter is better.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Using “Confessing Anglicans” as a source for such terminology is, IMO, a really bad idea. They are scarcely “Anglicans” at all, rejecting the whole idea of the hierarchy, the apostolic succession, etc. Furthermore, Anglicanism is primarily creedal, not confessional…no matter how our brethren in GAFCON might prefer it.

One last word: Priest, presbyter….it is, as they say in law, a distinction without a difference.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

A similar claim, expressed as ‘creeping clericalism’ on live streaming, has been made by someone on facebook and asking how to encourage more lay involvement. A large number of replies reveals a great deal of lay involvement is already been happening in fact. Add to that the fact that many of these churches don’t call their ministers ‘priests’ either. So be encouraged Kate and keep singing.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
5 months ago

While other kinds of worship are indeed valuable, I think it would be helpful if, where possible, at least one church in a deanery, at least every month while restrictions were in place, could celebrate Holy Communion on behalf of all congregations, as an act of dedication and witness to continuing to seek God’s grace and welcome God’s presence in the locality? This could be done at home while church buildings were closed, provided the priest lives with at least one other communicant, and would not have to be livestreamed unless the celebrant wished. However if all knew that it… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
5 months ago
Reply to  Savi Hensman

Thanks, Savi, for your so-sensible comment on this thread. Of course, we all (should) know that Christ is in each of the Baptized and capable of being accessed at any moment of day or night. However, as you so rightly point out, the Eucharist was established by Jesus as a mean of re-membering Him by our common participation in a unique act of common worship where Jesus is the focus and we the participants. The Church ordains priests primarily to preside at the Eucharist so (Kate) whether we like it or not this is our Anglican tradition. What we can… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
5 months ago

I have been disturbed to discover that at least in some places, local clergy are being given the impression that they should not celebrate the Eucharist even if this can be safely done at home with another member of the household who is an Anglican communicant. A clearer message from the archbishops and some local bishops – who have focused on what should not be done with regard to Holy Communion rather than what can – would be helpful.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
5 months ago
Reply to  Savi Hensman

This appears to be a false alarm, based on a misunderstanding. However it would be useful for a clear message to go out that, on behalf of local Christian communities across England, the Eucharist is still being regularly celebrated.

Kate
Kate
5 months ago
Reply to  Savi Hensman

From remarks made by the deputy chief medical officer, some sort of shutdown could be in place for 6 months.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52084517

That’s a long time to suspend the Eucharist. The House of Bishops should urgently be working on the theological implications and within a few days offering something more positive than their immediate guidance. The could be by organising and publishing a live stream.. It could be lay celebration. But the present black hole is undesirable.

father Ron Smith
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

If it were a ‘Lay Celebration’, Kate, it would not be a valid Eucharist. That is our tradition and we are stuck with it, like it or not!

Kate
Kate
5 months ago

Traditions can be changed. The question is sureewhether there is anything in the Bible which prohibits lay celebration, particularly as it would meet a great need at present.

David Lamming
David Lamming
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate, you ask the appropriate question and the answer to it is that there is nothing in the Bible prohibiting lay celebration of the Eucharist and restricting it to ordained priests. It is, as Father Ron Smith says (comment above), “our Anglican tradition.” But tradition is not and should not be immutable. In February 2019 I tabled a private member’s motion at General Synod in these terms: “That this Synod, having regard in particular to: (a) changes in thinking on the role of the laity in leadership in the Church over the past 25 years, and (b) the lack of… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

How do you define “lay”? What is a priest if not a person authorised and able to celebrate Holy Communion?

Kate
Kate
5 months ago
Reply to  T Pott

We ought to teach that doctrinally any Christian is capable of performing any sacrament or act of worship but that for practical purposes such as safeguarding we opt to license who may claim to be doing so on behalf of the Church of England.

With that in place, the definition of “lay” doesn’t seem to matter much.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
5 months ago

It has also been our tradition to hold services in a church, but we were quick enough to ditch that one when it seemed appropriate, just like it was always our tradition that priests had to be male.

Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

293 views so far tonight for our Facebook Live Morning Prayer with worship songs and sermon at St. Margaret’s Edmonton in western Canada. Also over 80 views of the lower-tech version posted on our parish website (written prayers for home use, plus a YouTube sermon). Does it replace gathering together? No. But the comments tell me that our people are finding it special, and that it gives them a sense of being connected not only to the church but to each other (interestingly, members of the parish were chatting with each other in the comments as much as they were… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

I’m sure similar things happened all over the UK yesterday. In our case (St Matthew and St Paul, Winchester) the Rector celebrated Communion in the rectory garden – using one of the modern rites – with a powerful sermon. The Gospel was read indoors, as were the very thoughtful and moving intercessions by a lady curate. At the same time the lady assistant priest held a children’s service. I found it very moving and meaningful, appropriately dignified both for Passion Sunday and the present epidemic crisis, but at the same time, intimate and familiar faces.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
5 months ago

Why do you use terminology like “a lady curate” and “a lady assistant priest”. Especially since you don’t refer to the Rector (I presume male) as “the gentleman Rector”. Or are your curate and assistant priest the wives of knights or perhaps the daughters of earls? It’s many decades since I heard female doctors (now, I think, the majority among junior doctors) described as “lady doctors”. And I don’t suppose the phrase “lady Cabinet Minister” or “lady MP” would go down very well.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

Sir Bernard: I have had a very busy and stressful day. I have tried to make helpful contributions on TA and I like to think that I possess both a sense of humour and a sense of proportion. The age of chivalry is not yet over and nor, (dare I hope) of courtesy, although, sadly, my impression is that both are in decline.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
5 months ago

I unreservedly apologise if my attempt to make a point in a slightly flippant way crossed the line. Let’s hope we return to more relaxed and normal times before too long.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

Thank you. Possibly my response was slightly testy. As it happens, I do call lady doctors lady doctors (all lower-case, of course). There are lady golfers (with a ladies’ captain), the Ladies’ Final at Wimbledon and, by no means least, lady jockeys – and many more. Didn’t the Speaker of the House of Commons when in the House referring to an MP say “the honourable lady”; that has possibly changed. When I was still working, I was once reprimanded for referring to my female colleagues as “ladies”, but I was, and am, unrepentant. Suffice to say that the Gospel reader… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

As a post-script to the above, I have since watched and listened to the service from St Margaret’s, Edmonton (website found from Google) and Tim’s sermon. We had no hymns at Winchester, but in many respects the services were similar – Anglican liturgy doesn’t vary that much around the world – in fact it can be very familiar as I once found in a remote and small town in Pennsylvania where the TEC service was virtually “home from home”, albeit 3,500 miles from home. So, here’s a thought. We can enrich our Sunday church experience by also linking into other… Read more »

Susannah Clark
5 months ago

Rowland’s mention of viewing a live-streamed service from across the Atlantic maybe raises an interesting possibility: as an alternative to the now-postponed Lambeth Conference, maybe we could try to build up a list of streaming services from multiple countries, as a way of expressing worldwide solidarity with other Anglicans, to encourage, to learn how things are going for them, and to take advantage of an unusual situation to try something different and expand our awareness and connections at grassroots level?

Kate
Kate
5 months ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

I think that is an excellent idea Susannah.

Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

I think this kind of thing is going on quite a bit, Rowland. My mum lives in a market town in England, and when I’m visiting her I like to drop in on the local parish church for daily Morning Prayer. I’ve been delighted to discover that the vicar is now live streaming it from his study on Facebook, and it’s been lovely when I’m awake in the middle of the night (as I often am) to be able to join him virtually for a quiet twenty minutes of prayer. Common Worship is actually quite a bit different from my… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

Not quite so many viewers, but this is my experience in our parish in suburban Philadelphia.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

I have listened to Tim’s sermon. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share His message to us.

Tim Chesterton
5 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Thank you Father David – much appreciated.

Kate
Kate
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

Would I be possible to provide a link please? . I am looking for one for Easter.

Tim Chesterton
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Our stuff all goes out on our parish Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/stmargaretsedmonton). You don’t need to be on Facebook to access it, so I’m told.

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
5 months ago

We are richly Blessed in Scotland, as besides any other streeming the Provincial web site has provided a Mass. Last week it was our Primus Mark, this week Bishop John of Edinburgh with his wife around their kitchen table. Each Mass was very moving, and brought us all together.

Fr John Emlyn

Susannah Clark
5 months ago

Intimate and personal. After all, Jesus and the disciples did not hold the ‘last supper’ in some big church, but in a private room – and I doubt if it was as grand as some of the renaissance paintings made it look. My priest live-streamed eucharist from his living room yesterday. My oldest daughter likewise live-streamed the service for her church, with music, prayers, and reflections, and opportunity for others to join in and add their own thoughts and prayers. We can do this. We can get through this. We can still connect. And we can also organise with and… Read more »

Kate
Kate
5 months ago

Would I be possible to provide a link please? . I am looking for one for Easter.

RosalindR
RosalindR
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate, I think most UK dioceses have links to streamed and/or recorded services. There is a link on the Church of England website. Most other denominations are also offering streamed and/or recorded services. Some dioceses list churches in the diocese who are streaming worship of different times and different types. Local churches are giving links on their websites and social media that they use (like facebook). You could go looking for what is on offer and get a taste for what you might want to link into for Easter. good luck

Stanley Monkhouse
5 months ago

The first NHS doctor to die from the virus worked here in Burton and was a student of mine years ago at medical school in Dublin. So with these tenuous connexions, I thought I’d offer TA groupies some comforting pastoral thoughts, some of which I’ve dared to utter before. 1. Make a will. NOW. You might be dead very soon, virus or no virus. Handwritten will do, two witnesses (can’t be beneficiaries), dated. “Simples” as the meerkats say. 2. For the same reason, “redeem thy misspent time that’s past, and live this day as if thy last”. Make peace with… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

I have an elderly friend in hospital (not Coronavirus) but his wife cannot visit him, and their only contact at present is by telephone, not easy as he is sometimes very confused, not least, I’m sure, due to not seeing any of his family. But the dreadful news from there is that a volunteer surgeon has died – from Coronavirus.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
5 months ago

Good common sense from Fr Stanley – as usual.

Kate
Kate
5 months ago

That two witnesses thing really needs changing.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

I thought that someone else might reply to this. The testator, the person making the will, must sign it in the presence of two witnesses and they, in turn, must witness the testator’s signature with their own, all in the presence of each other – no separation of this sequence is permitted. The witnesses must be adult, 18 or over, independent (meaning unrelated to the testator) and, as Stanley points out, they must not be beneficiaries under the will. The will must be dated, and the witnesses must add their full names, address and occupation (if any) alongside their signatures.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
5 months ago

Thank you for making this point. I’ve seen the fallout (after their deaths) of people who didn’t sort out their affairs properly, so although Stanley may be right it seems to me best to consult a solicitor. Serious question—is there any rule about how close to each other the witnesses and the testator have to be? We aren’t the only jurisdiction with the problem Kate alludes to. See https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120526091/how-to-make-a-legally-defensible-will-in-coronavirus-lockdown for the same issue in New Zealand. If lockdown persists, there really will need to be a change to make it possible to do these things remotely. Another issue is about… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

I face that problem at present due to self-isolation (solitary in my case) and necessarily up-dating an existing will. My solicitor is aware of the problem, which has clearly already arisen, and tentatively suggested that witnessing the testator’s signature might be possible through a window, but “we” haven’t yet worked out the practicality or strict legality, so this reply is full of qualification. My solicitor believes that strict formality might be waived in emergency, and to cover that situation I made my wishes known in writing to my executors who have similarly confirmed in writing (emails) that in the event… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

Sorry I overlooked the point on CPs. I can’t help about that. In Scotland (unlike England and Wales) a testator must sign every page of the will, and a single witness is sufficient. Also in Scotland a will can be made at the age of 12 or over (18 or over in England and Wales) and in all cases the testator must be sound of mind. A will validly-made in England is valid in Scotland, and vice versa.

Froghole
Froghole
5 months ago

Some points to note about my experiences of virtual church yesterday: 1. Some diocesan websites have links to benefices offering virtual church. The numbers of churches per diocese offering such services are highly variable: of course, a diocese like (say) Southwark can be expected to have more on offer than one like (say) Truro. 2. Some of the links provided were to services from last week (Mothering Sunday) rather than for Passion Sunday, and had not been updated in time. 3. In many instances (noting some of the previous comments on this thread) one service was being offered per benefice.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

Thanks, Tim (fellow Coventrian), for the excellent resources, listed here on T.A. – especially for the article about Eucharistic Fasting! Blessings!

Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

Thanks, brother Ron. But I’m from Leicester, not Coventry!

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
5 months ago

Yes Stanley brings us down to earth. But I suspect most TA members are well organised with wills etc. We began Lent being reminded that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. BUT as a Christian, and a priest I have with full faith at a Baptism told the newly Baptised. You are a child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the Christian message that is needed to be heard more then ever in these days by all ages. A strength to those who have lived faithful lives in the Lord’s company,… Read more »

John N Wall
John N Wall
5 months ago

Over here in the Former Colonies, at our local parish (Church of the Advocate — https://theadvocatechurch.org/), we have been having worship services using the Zoom group meeting program. Everyone — wherever we are — gathers at the same time, and can see and hear everyone else. We’ve been doing Morning Prayer, with readings shared among members and group recitation of the Psalms, responses, etc. with a sermon. The rector or the priest associate does the priest’s parts. Afterwards, we have Coffee Hour, since a group Zoom meeting can be broken down into a multiple collection of small meetings. The feeling… Read more »

Susannah Clark
5 months ago

Some websites that offer a list of links to churches live-streaming in their area:

Good list of NZ livestreaming links:
https://anglicanlife.org.nz/coronavirus-2/doing-church-differently-resources-and-ideas

Southern Queensland, AU – list of llivestreaming links:
https://anglicanchurchsq.org.au/livestream

Newcastle Anglican Church , AU – with list of other livestreaming churches
https://www.newcastleanglican.org.au/church-live

It would be interesting to get details of churches live-streaming from the US, Canada, the Falklands, etc. Anywhere really, though of course if they’re not in English then language could be an issue.

Susannah Clark
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim Chesterton

Thanks for that, Tim. Plenty to explore there! I took a look at your live-feed earlier. Mine was one of the computers that picked up the camera person’s voice loud and clear, but your own voice was a little bit on the quiet side (may be a problem at my end). Still great to have the opportunity to share with you though!

Father Ron Smith
5 months ago

Thank you, Rowland, for you kind invitation to me to offer an online worship facility. However, at the age of 90, I am not in a position to embark on an in-home podcast from my house. However, for what it’s worth, I can point you to our parish website at SMAA, Christchurch (NZ), where our Vicar, Fr. Chris Orczy, does a podcast (every day except Tuesday, his day-off) of Morning and Evening Prayer and a simple Daily Mass. Here is the site: https://www.facebook.com/SMAAChristchurch/ My participation in the www is mainly through TA; Anglican Down Under (hosted by my Bishop); and… Read more »

Shamus
Shamus
5 months ago

Father Ron, I had not appreciated that you were 90, and I want to put on record my appreciation for all your contributions on this website. The Eucharist is absolutely central to my understanding of my faith, but as a priest my conscience tells me to stand in solidarity with the laity who are unable to receive the sacrament at this time. I appreciate that there are lots of clergy who will not agree, but this is how I feel at present. I may feel differently if this situation goes on for many months, I don’t know. I just feel… Read more »

Susannah Clark
5 months ago

Father Ron, your witness and your participation is WONDERFUL. I truly treasure it, and have done, over and over. All praise and thanks to God. (I think well of Peter Carrell as well. I think he’s a man with integrity.) (Oh, and thank you for the way you avoided gendering God in a recent post – I appreciated that.) I don’t do Facebook friends… my FB profile reads: Friends (0). But if I did, then you and Tim and David R would be right there in the first 10 people I asked to add. I have so much respect for… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

Thank you, Father Ron. It was your church that I had in mind, and I’m sure Susannah will include it in her list.

I was receiving first-hand details of conditions in New Zealand from a friend in Auckland yesterday. We had slightly lost touch and it was this dreadful Coronavirus which caused us to make contact again. I had already discovered your own website!

Stanley Monkhouse
5 months ago

For me, the Eucharist has only just begun at the end of mass. It continues in our daily lives as we, like Thomas (no doubter he), put our hands into the wounds of the world, getting them dirty and bloody and covered in the ordure of the lives of others and ourselves: go in peace to serve the Lord. At present that is for many of us impossible, and (I speak only for myself of course) the idea of a mass without being able to share in the wounds is a kind of coitus interruptus. I say this not as… Read more »

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
5 months ago

SOMETHING I do everyday at Mid day, is to pray the Angelus. It connects me with my Benedictine and Franciscan brothers and sisters who praying the same prayer.

Susannah Clark
5 months ago

Father John, I’m happy to hear that. I think it is really felicitous to accompany the prayer life of a religious house, to share in the calling and privilege of prayer, alongside the community gathered and the community dispersed. That sharing and connection in prayer is more than just an individual activity: I believe we are drawn together in the supernatural act of prayer. People sometimes forget that, although religious communities operate in the lives of brothers and/or sisters in specific locations… many such communities also have associates and friends dispersed far and wide, who live in fellowship with the… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

I said on an earlier thread, but to repeat here, on the American TV channel EWTN you can watch, and join in, The Angelus, normally on Sunday with Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square, daily (preceding the Rosary) from the Monastery of the Angels, Hanceville, USA, and from Nazareth on Wednesday mornings. Access EWTN from Sky channel 588 or internet. I make a point of watching Nazareth weekly – in a beautiful, holy and evocative place. The friars are Franciscans, occasionally joined by a visiting bishop. Many of the tourists participate in the prayers.

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