Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 3 February 2024

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love This week’s events bring me close to despair

Phil Groves ViaMedia.News To be Evangelical is to Challenge ‘Orthodoxy’

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Can we ever rediscover the Trust we once had of the Institutions in our Society?

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Michael OSullivan
Michael OSullivan
4 months ago

Colin Coward talks of the Church of England as showing ‘none of the characteristics that communicated to me 60 years ago by practice and example what Christianity looks and feels like’
Quite so
Under the so-called leadership of three abysmal archbishops it has demonstrated unmitigated failure to show forth Christian values over the last few years.
It started by forgetting not to have fear during the outbreak of coronavirus.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
4 months ago

Colin Coward’s article “This week’s events bring me close to despair” is essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of the Church of England. I urge anyone reading this to circulate it amongst you circle of friends and ask them to pass it to their friends. From Colin’s despair I found some hope because it made me realise that I am not alone in my alienation. So thank you Colin for such a powerful, articulate and loving piece of writing. On Advent Sunday I was fortunate enough to have lunch with two senior clergy in the Church in… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by David Hawkins
Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  David Hawkins
4 months ago

David, thank you so much for your thoughtful, experiential, personal comment. Some of my friends question why I stay involved with the Church of England and continue to pursue Changing Attitude’s campaign for equality, to which I have now added the pursuit of a Church that is more fundamentally Christian based on the teaching and values of Jesus rather than the post-resurrection developments and inevitably inadequate human understandings of the institutional Church. You suggest a Zoom group. That might provide support and in itself could be good, but what I know is needed is a radical transformation, a movement, responding… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
4 months ago

Colin thanks for that generous reply. I live in Berlin so Waterloo is a long way but I’ll see if it’s possible. I have experience of hosting Zoom groups and services for St Georges Berlin over the pandemic. It was a remarkable experience. It made me realise how hierarchical an Anglican service is. Zoom forces you into a more “flat” experience in which every participant had an equal value and counterintuitively it was a very intimate experience. Of course you can impose a hierarchy on a Zoom meeting but that tends to happen when you have a large number of… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Hawkins
4 months ago

I now consider myself Scottish Episcopal. I attend a hybrid Zoom/in-person service at an inclusive church in Edinburgh, where Zoomers are part of the congregation. There is also the Ordinary Office, and the Ecumenical Church of the Occitanie do an excellent service on YouTube, though at these there isn’t the same sense of being part of a congregation.

Tobias Haller
4 months ago

I will add an additional “Hear, hear” for Colin Coward’s essay. From my perspective in another branch of the Anglican Communion, it seems the Church of England is torn between the implications of comprehensive synodical government and the imperative of Establishment to be the church for the nation. There is a difference between being “everything to everybody” and “one for all,” and it lies in the self-assurance of an institution or person to be secure in itself, and not simply eager to please everyone else.

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Tobias Haller
4 months ago

Tobias. Thank you so much for your “Hear, hear”! I think the conflict on this side of the pond is primarily internal to the Church of England at the moment. There’s something of the eagerness to please and a lack of self-assurance and security, of course, but the dynamic centre has moved now. It’s become incestuous, no longer the ‘nice’ Church of the English, here in every community for every member of the community. The developments of the last two weeks have driven the Archbishops to take backwards steps to satisfy the dogmatic, hostile, conservative wolves who require protection of… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
4 months ago

Can someone explain what trump card the conservatives have used that has reduced the archbishops to this humiliation.

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

Fr Dean – the trump card is bullying and abuse. There are others, but that’s my instant response.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

I believe it’s called money – or the fear of losing it!

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

I would argue that the conservatives are using the threat to walk away as the trump card. And because Archbishop Justin prioritises the need to keep the church united, above the need to do the right thing, it gives the conservatives immense bargaining power. If only he had the courage to call their bluff. But it’s not just the conservatives playing power games, there are institutional issues within the church as well. I think it is safe to argue that General Synod, the House of Bishops, and the wider congregations within the CofE, all have clear majorities in favour of… Read more »

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Simon Dawson
4 months ago

I was so tempted to reply that XX Justin is their trump card but decided it might be too flippant – but I am coming to wonder whether this is where his personal beliefs lie so the Secretariat is helping him prevent any further movement – and is why it seems bomb proof to

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
4 months ago

Let’s not forget there is a consistent pattern in behaviour here over many years.

When it comes to relationships within the worldwide Anglican community, Archbishop Justin has repeatedly prioritised maintaining relationships with conservative groups such as GAFCON, over doing the right thing for LGBTQ people within the UK.

Whether this behaviour is down to his beliefs about Christian unity, or about LGBTQ behaviour, or both, is an interesting question.

Philip Groves
Philip Groves
Reply to  Simon Dawson
4 months ago

Simon, your analysis is too simplistic. There are those in the C of E who want you to think that the worldwide Anglican Communion is a homogenous anti-gay block telling us what to do. It is not. It is very complex and too hard to explain in a response. However, GAFCON divides churches across the Communion. They dominate 4/5 provinces, and are run by North Americans. They no longer participate in any Communion wide events. The division is here and needs attention here.

Tobias Haller
Reply to  Simon Dawson
4 months ago

As a former Archbishop of Canterbury said to me when asked why he didn’t act as his conscience dictated, “I’d lose half of my bishops.”

John Davies
John Davies
4 months ago

Thank you to both Colin and Phil for their articles. Phil for a magnificent reminder of exactly what the church is supposed to be – outward looking, socially enabling and uplifting, and positively crusading for the betterment of mankind. I circulated his piece among various friends because it is so positive and life affirming. Colin, thank you for your article, which brings some clarity and order to the events of the last week. What is going to happen next I do not know, save that the hoped for period of reflection may not happen as I’d hoped. Like you, and… Read more »

Philip Groves
Philip Groves
Reply to  John Davies
4 months ago

Thank you John

Randall J. Keeney
Randall J. Keeney
4 months ago

From the onset, please know that I don’t believe The Episcopal Church (USA) to be a model for anyone on these issues. Try as we have tried, we were unable to reconcile the extremes of the divide on sexual issues. Opponents of the ordination of women and the full inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community have never been willing to live together with difference. The few who were willing were ostracized and cancelled by the extremes. Dioceses and Provinces in various parts of the world (Rwanda, Singapore, Australia, or the “Southern Cone”) pressured and brought any questioners of the cause into… Read more »

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