Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 29 December 2021

Michael Coren tvo For a priest, Christmas week is among the hardest of the year

Jeremy Morris Ad fontes Gold, frankincense – and myth

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Christmas and Easter – A Proposed Revision

David Brown Surviving Church The Church of England and its Episcopal Leadership

Martyn Percy Modern Church Rickety Religion (Part Five: Post-Advent Values)

Martyn Percy Modern Church Time, Light, Truth and Christmas Hope

Janet Fife Surviving Church Vignette in the Vestry

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Charles Razzall
Charles Razzall
5 months ago

David Brown’s case is well argued and could apply to several dioceses in the C of E,perhaps Winchester and Chester following the Whitsey review. Readers may be interested to know that the former Bishop of Chester,Dr Forster who appointed the first woman Bishop is now a Roman Catholic layman.

Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

Thanks for linking to that piece by Janet Fife. And Janet, thanks for speaking out. Yes, deference is alive and well, and it covers all manner of sins.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
5 months ago

Thanks Tim, and happy New Year to you!

Dave
Dave
5 months ago

That’s very interesting Mr Razzall. It would seem that what is moving Anglican church leaders like Dr Forster to Rome is not so much the ordination of women but something else… What, I wonder?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Dave
5 months ago

Peter Forster took a sabbatical in Rome some years ago, and was noticeably changed when he got back to work in Chester. He became more authoritarian.

One thing that many Roman Catholics and conservative evangelicals have in common is the need for certainty, dogma, and authoritarian leadership. Peter Forster follows Michael Nazir Ali and Gavin Ashenden across the Tiber.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 months ago

when did this happen? I don’t recall anything in the Liverpool Echo.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 months ago

I take that point Ms Fife, thans, but I also feel there could be something deeper. After all the Bishop could simply have become a more conservative evangelical…

What I think the RCs have – even if some of them don’t like it – is clear visionary leadership in Pope Francis, who is clearly a very good pastor. Qualities lacking in the leadership of the C of E.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Dave
5 months ago

You might note that I mentioned a need for authoritarian leadership as well dogma, as features of the need for certainty.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Dave
5 months ago

Dave,
While recognizing that some may, I don’t want that kind of authoritative/ authoritarian ‘leadership’ thank you

David Runcorn
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 months ago

I think discussions about being ‘authoritarian’ and drawn to authority might at least be tempered by his decision to make this journey without public announcement and to simply join those in the pews. As to his actual reasons – well we simply do not know.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Runcorn
5 months ago

I agree

Ian
Ian
Reply to  David Runcorn
5 months ago

David i think you have got the tone right. We do not in general have windows into people’s souls and our spiritual pilgrimage can take surprising turns. Anglican bishop to Roman Catholic layperson may indeed be surprising. This mad joyful faith of ours is surprising. I confess i had never even heard of him. Non the less I wish him well.

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 months ago

All on the evangelical wing!!! Seems so strange to me a liberal
Catholic!

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  John Wallace
5 months ago

It seems strange indeed. Janet Fife says a change in Bishop Forster was noted following a sabbatical in Rome many years ago. Something happened in Rome. Are we now supposed to surmise that Bishop Forster only came to believe in Papal supremacy after retirement? He has not even said so himself, at least if he has the Liverpool Echo, Chester Chronicle etc. don’t appear to know. Is it not possible that much of the decline in the C of E has at its root the presence in leadership roles of people who, in their heart of hearts, are fundamentally opposed… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
5 months ago

Regarding Archdruid Eileen’s column, If I may, I have a software program on my computer that is a perpetual Jewish (lunar-solar) calendar. There is a brief section in the calendar giving the Jewish calendar’s history. At first, the holidays were determined by direct lunar observation from Jerusalem, and signals were sent out at night by bonfire. But by the 800s, Jews were so spread out, a rabbi and a mathematician devised a mathematical model for the calendar, with added rules about Shabbat (the Sabbath), etc. Then came the software’s author’s punchline: “A miracle happened: All the Jewish communities agreed to… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
5 months ago

I agree. I don’t think we want Christmas and Easter to become bank holidays.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Richard
5 months ago

Richard,
I rather disagree. I rather feel we (i.e. I) do want Christmas and Easter (however labelled) to remain Bank Holidays. I believe Britain is still (at present) a Christian country- however defined- governmentally (statutorily?), in some kind of ‘practice’ (by some?) …
The demise of Her majesty, the ‘position’ of the current Duke of York, the general irrelevance of the established (or any?) church, the bloated Lords, the National Secular Society. Beware- onslaught ahead.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  God 'elp us all
5 months ago

I meant “Bank Holiday” in the sense of falling the closest Monday, not a day off from work.

Peter
Peter
5 months ago

Desmond Tutu might have been surprised by the inference that you think not being ordained placed people in the same category as the victims of Apartheid.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Peter
5 months ago

Assuming that’s addressed to me, that’s one reason I wished for years that I hadn’t spoken up. Of course the suffering of black and mixed-race people under apartheid was worse than what the first ordained women experienced. All the same, many of us did have a very tough time in those early years; as far as we could ascertain, all of the women in cathedral posts were on antidepressants. Many people are not aware how badly women were treated, with the Church’s sanction; others knew but have forgotten. The story needs to be told. Even today, the Church still allows… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
5 months ago

While women are not (generally, any more) subject to the sort of abuse meted out to black South Africans, it’s not hard to see the parallels in being treated as second class citizens in the land of your birth, whether it is for the colour of your skin or the contents of your pants.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
5 months ago

To conflate the suffering, misery and terror suffered by non-whites under apartheid with the experience of women in the Church of England is indefensible

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
5 months ago

Indeed it would be, but no-one’s doing that. Drawing parallels is not conflation.

David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
5 months ago

Peter. And how do you/could you possibly know that?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Peter
5 months ago

Desmond Tutu often referred to his time at university in England as transformational: simple to be allowed to sit next to a white man, and to engage in conversation on equal terms, completely transformed his view of himself and his degree of self-esteem. The seemingly small things, both positive and negative, mattered. I have already said that the suffering of black and mixed race people under apartheid was worse than that of women in the Church of England. Of course it was far worse. Nevertheless, to be continually treated as the one person in the room who is inaudible and… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 months ago

Thank you Janet.

It’s a bit like the recent “It’s a Sin” drama on TV about the AIDS crisis. It shows how soon we forget, or how many people never knew about, the appalling things that happened only a couple of decades ago.

And are still happening.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 months ago

Janet. Some of the behaviours you describe are clearly disgraceful and you are right to seek and expect empathy. Some of it reflects a messy compromise which nobody really accepted. I actually think Tutu has been eulogised in a way that is quite wrong. He had feet of clay and was too often reckless in his speech. I therefore agree with you that he was a complex figure. All of us would be helped by a tighter use of speech and thought. I have no wish to cause you detriment or question your personal experience. My point is that conflation… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Peter
5 months ago

Peter, you use the word conflation. Other people might use the word intersectionality, and would regard the discussion of various types of discrimination within one discourse to be an important and necessary part of the process. It is rarely possible to draw nice clear boundaries.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 months ago

I have been chastised here for raising this matter, but by someone whose own life is not affected by it as yours is. Child abuse has been a stain on the Church of England in recent years, but nobody has rushed to support the offenders, and we all recognise it as an evil. The oppression of women, on the other hand, is not only overlooked, but actually sanctioned by Act of Synod. It is the greatest stain on the Church of England in my lifetime. Sanctified and perpetuated by the authorities. Ordinands even have to promise that they accept this… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
5 months ago

Absolutely right, Peter.

Bishop Michael Doe
Bishop Michael Doe
5 months ago

I thank God for what Martyn Percy, despite all the other pressures upon him, is contributing in these articles. He provides that combination of the intellectual / pastoral / world-aware ministry which we need from our bishops, and he would have been a worthy successor to David Jenkins in Durham or Richard Harries in Oxford. I don’t agree with him about the culture of Gen Z, where the individualism and the superficiality caused by the rejection of tradition and institutions may leave us with little on which to build a more just and sustainable future. But he encourages us to… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
5 months ago

David Brown questions Bishops- what are they (good) for?
http://survivingchurch.org/2021/12/27/the-church-of-england-and-its-episcopal-leadership/
If that ship has not already sailed, are not moves being made by bishops to shore up their positions? I seem to recall that one of the otherwise dreary Pravda-like (Isvestia?) ‘minutes’ of a HoB curia made reference to a related ‘workstream’? How long?

Ladiosa del Amor
Ladiosa del Amor
5 months ago

On the topic of vignettes, how predictable that women’s experience of systematic sexism is greeted with melodramatic ‘mansplaining’.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Ladiosa del Amor
5 months ago

Well said! The saddest thing about Janet’s experience of the bishops in the vestry is their scornful silence to her comment. I’m pale, male and stale but I hope I would have apologised for my crass statement in those circumstances. Trevor Huddleston doffed his hat to Desmond’s mother and in doing so fostered Archbishop Tutu’s vocation. A gracious response to Janet’s gentle challenge would have gone a long way.

Evan
Evan
5 months ago

I don’t want to sound unhelpfully critical, and I’m aware all running this blog are volunteers, and it’s the Christmas period, but I am a little surprised to see no coverage at all yet of the death of the person who’s been described as the greatest Anglican of at least the last hundred years or so. There’s been plenty of news coverage and some opinion/other articles on Tutu; it’s a bit surprising none of them has (yet) been picked up here.

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Evan
5 months ago

We’ll get to this shortly….

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
5 months ago

I am sure that everyone who reads the superb feed of stories that you and your colleagues provide (often from quite recondite place) will wish to thank you all very much indeed for all the work that you do on our behalf, and wish you an excellent 2022.

You all manage to provide this service day in, day out, week in and week out, and have done so almost without interruption for two or so decades. And there are only three of you (it seems)!

Very, very many thanks indeed.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Froghole
5 months ago

Froghole, I wholeheartedly endorse your thanks. The Simons and Peter provide an outstanding service. A very happy 2022 to all three of you.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
5 months ago

The funeral is being live-streamed via the Capetown Cathedral website. 10 AM South Africa time, 8 AM GMT on 1 January.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 months ago

Running towards 2022 which is 6 1/2 hours away here, but re this thread, I’ve attached two links (1) a Washington Post article: “Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said that his church’s failure to allow women to be ordained was like apartheid and caused him great anguish.” (2) old Huff Post re Tutu and women’s ordination in the C of E. Looking forward to those promised articles (and comment) on TA on the man himself on future threads.

WAPO here

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1989/06/10/ban-on-ordaining-women-causes-anguish-for-tutu/e99c7017-f9d4-4908-b4ff-bd44933d6aea/

Huff Post here
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/desmond-tutu-ordain-women_n_5274186

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rod Gillis
5 months ago

Thank you, Rod, that’s very interesting.

Peter
Peter
5 months ago

I made a criticism of an the analysis in the piece by Janet Fife. To her credit she engaged with the criticism at the level of the issues.

Three other contributors made no attempt to engage with the issue and simply disparaged the comment on an ad hominem/gendered basis

I could have commented under Anon but respected the editors request to use a name.

Contributors really do need to curb their misandry if the expectation is that people will comment under gendered names

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