Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 30 December 2020

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News Wise Words for this Year’s End…

A N Wilson The Times Church shepherds have lost their flocks
“The Archbishop of Wokeness Welby and the equally inept Nichols are not leaders that the faithful deserve”

Simon Jenkins The Guardian If the Church of England worships online, how can its historic buildings survive?
“Congregations have shown great adaptability in the pandemic, and churches could again be at the heart of British life”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
86 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
9 months ago

Simon Jenkins’ article doesn’t mention the sacraments once. I shared in the custodianship of some lovely churches during my ministry but it was their use as a place of worship and where the sacraments were administered and received that gave them their real beauty.

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
9 months ago

I can’t read A N Wilson’s article as it’s behind a paywall but I’m uncertain about the level of His Grace’s ‘wokeness’ intimated by the article’s title. There are some significant gaps in the Archbishop’s announcements on social issues: very little on equal marriage; on the plight of the truckers in his home diocese; the fate of the Rohingya muslims being shipped to an island almost sure to flood. The Archbishop’s virtue signalling, if that is what A N Wilson is arguing it to be, is decidedly incomplete.

John Wallace
John Wallace
9 months ago

It would be good to be able to read A N Wilson’s article without paying to Murdoch’s Newscorp. I’m sure it makes a valuable and controversial contribution to the present debate

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  John Wallace
9 months ago

I think a suitable riposte to A N Wilson’s bitter ad hominem article is the coded message contained in the spoof ‘Darling Honor’ letter, supposedly written by John Betjeman, and printed at pages 154-155 of Wilson’s 2006 biography, Betjeman.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  David Lamming
9 months ago

The tell-tale sign that the letter is a joke is that the capital letters at the start of each sentence spell out “A N Wilson is a shit”. Joker unknown. Darling Honor, I loved yesterday. All day, I’ve thought of nothing else. No other love I’ve had means so much. Was it just an aberration on your part, or will you meet me at Mrs Holmes’s again – say on Saturday? I won’t be able to sleep until I have your answer. Love has given me a miss for so long, and now this miracle has happened. Sex is a… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
9 months ago

Richard, I think it ought to have been obvious I knew that when I posted my comment. But the letter is not set out in the book in the acrostic way that you have done in your comment, so the hidden message is not immediately obvious. Nor, surely, would the ‘original’ letter supplied by the anonymous joker have been set out that way: hence Wilson was duped to think it was a genuine love letter written by JB. But for a tip-off after the book was published, I suspect that the message would have gone undetected.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  David Lamming
9 months ago

Thank you for mentioning the hoax. As a literary philistine, i was unaware until you mentioned it. With that said, I have a particular interest in Betjeman in relation to my research on the philosopher CEM Joad.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
9 months ago

And you can meet Betjeman once more via the BBC iPlayer, From the Archive section, a whimsical documentary made by him called A Passion for Churches. On a personal note, my mother-in-law’s father was his chauffeur for some time, as I understand that Betjeman did not drive.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  John Wallace
9 months ago

Agreed, I’m paying Murdoch nothing.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  John Wallace
9 months ago

It was controversial, but I’m not sure about the value. Just a lot of carping from the sidelines and nothing constructive to offer. For instance, he called Justin Welby ‘arrogant’ for celebrating Easter communion at his kitchen table. I was critical of that myself, but I think it was misjudged rather than arrogant.

Father David
Father David
9 months ago

A N Wilson’s article isn’t actually worth reading as he uses such abusive terms as “prize Charlie” – “chumps” and “duds” to describe our current spiritual leaders. Surely a man of his intelligence can advance his argument without descending to such low and unnecessary abuse?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

I agree. It was just bile, no intelligent or perceptive critique. Wilson let himself down.

Dave
Dave
9 months ago

A N Wilson criticises Archbishop Welby’s leadership and that of Cardinal Nichols during the current Covid crisis. The article concludes – and the last sentence pretty much summarises his argument. Stephen Bullivant, a Catholic sociologist of religion, has predicted in his book Mass Exodus that the decline in church attendance is probably irreversible. Churchgoing is as much a matter of habit as it is of conviction and Bullivant thinks that after this year, in which churches have been closed, the numbers of those attending regularly will nosedive. Welby’s response has been to spend an eye-watering £12 million and rising on a scheme… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
Reply to  Dave
9 months ago

“….it would be more stylish had the two mainstream churches managed to hearten their hungry flocks by appointing archbishops of some intellectual or spiritual distinction. “ Nice idea, but I’ve never known anyone in the pews who gave a tinker’s damn about the “distinction” of the national leaders of their church. Now, the distinction of the local vicar, curate or rector, that they care about. Here in TEC, I’d bet a significant number of parishioners couldn’t name their diocesan bishop and they only know Presiding Bishop Michael Curry (if they do), because they saw him on TV at the marriage of… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Pat O'Neill
9 months ago

I wonder if your comment makes a lot more sense in TEC than the CofE?

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
Reply to  ACI
9 months ago

Perhaps, but I’d suspect the attitudes of the average parishioner are not very different on either side of the pond. Yes, in these times, decisions by the diocesan have impact on the local church….but in normal times, do pronouncements from the bishop really have much effect on how things work in a parish church? For instance, does the bishop’s stance on LLF have any bearing on how the parishioners treat the LGBTQ folk in their pews?

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Pat O'Neill
9 months ago

TEC is a smallish American denomination (that is descriptive, not pejorative). The CofE is the church by law established. Culturally, it has meant that there is an expectation of learning and/or larger administrative talent. I agree that in the US ‘Bishops’ can be all manner of thing, not least because lots of varied denominations have them. Bishop TD Jakes.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Dave
9 months ago

Nevertheless, it would be more stylish had the two mainstream churches managed to hearten their hungry flocks by appointing archbishops of some intellectual or spiritual distinction”

Wilson’s a charlatan. You can get a sense of his inability to understand, read or write accurately from this review of his laughable attempts at doing history and this review or this review of his laughable attempts at doing biology. There’s no reason to take much that he writes seriously.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
9 months ago

While I am often critical of Justin Welby, AN Wilson’s attack on him perhaps says more about the author than the target. Wilson seems to think concern for the poor and care (key biblical themes) are banal, as is being dismayed by the slave trade – true ‘national heroes’ are not bothered by a spot of mass kidnapping, murder and rape. He condemns the archbishop for having ‘acquiesced’ in the closure of churches for Easter, apparently referring to Welby’s agreement to the ban on collective worship during lockdown. Yet a show of callous indifference to the suffering and loss at… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Savi Hensman
9 months ago

It is usually difficult to summarise an author’s lifetime of work in a single declarative sentence.

“AN Wilson is wrong about everything” is an exception to that general rule.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
9 months ago

in partial response to the A N Wilson, in his comments about Cardinal Nichols, he makes the usual misguided assumption that the Public media make about the role of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. Lets get a few things straight. In the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, where they have the Archbishops of Westminster, Southwark, Birmingham, Liverpool and Cardiff, all the 5 Metropolitical Sees and Archdiocese’s are on the same level in parity, there is no fixed Primatial See, unlike Armagh in Ireland, Westminster is not a Canonically fixed Primatial See, and no Pope has raised Westminster to… Read more »

Michael
Michael
9 months ago

The headline for A N Wilson’s article could be adapted to Church Shepherds have lost £40 million. According to today’s edition of the Church Times, that is the amount lost so far. Why is anyone surprised? Keep churches locked, deny the opportunity for prayer and the receiving of communion, of course giving and good will are both going to decline and will not recover. I also agree with the TV reviewer’s exasperated comment: And so we find that Christmas Day Eucharist (BBC1, Christmas Day) was, in fact, a gospel service from the Church of God of Prophecy, in Birmingham. There… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Speaking personally, I hate watching other people take communion on virtual services. It just underlines for me the fact that I can’t take it. I would far rather participate in a good liturgical service of the Word or Morning Prayer. I’ve only watched an online communion service once since March, and I’ve never felt so excluded in my life. And as for ‘those who don’t have access to Facebook and Zoom’—I’ve been amazed by the 80 year olds in our parish who have learned to use those two platforms because they’re so hungry to be together, even online. And the… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

I agree Tim. For various shielding reasons my husband and I do not attend church buildings, so to compensate I have volunteered to do many of the Zoom services in our team, and that has been one of the joys amongst the pain of Covid. Many of our elderly or less mobile congregation are suddenly able to participate regularly in services without worrying about cold churches or no toilets. And one elderly mother has been able to be joined at services by her daughter who is normally resident in France. And if a few have a small glass of wine… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Dawson
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
9 months ago

Simon, these are the good stories that we need to be sharing more. In our parish, we’ve also been joined by some friends and family members of parishioners from far away, and it’s been a joy to have them. Thank you for sharing.

Andy Gr
Andy Gr
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

It’s interesting that OfCom say 96% of households have internet access, yet I’m seeing a lot of clergy claim that most of their congregations are not online. Of course, part of the explanation is that Church of England congrgations are older than the national average, but with 80% of over 80s online that can’t be the whole picture. I have four theories – maybe other Thinking Anglican members have others? a) Part of the issue is probably about rural broadband. Rural areas without easy broadband provision have often been abandoned by other service providers – but the Church of England,… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Andy Gr
9 months ago

From anecdotal experience it is often as simple as personal choice. In my team some used only to attend BCP services, and some attended every type of service but BCP. Similarly some now attend our Zoom services, and some who I know to have Zoom access don’t. If I have noticed any pattern it is that those who live alone choose to attend our Zoom services, which are structured around interaction and conversation as much as the liturgy. Those whose need for company are already met by partners or nearby family are more likely to choose the one-way transmission of… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Andy Gr
9 months ago

Thanks, Andy. My experience has been that there are some people who, even though they do have internet access, are intimidated by the idea of learning new ways of using it. I take my 82-year old mother as an example; she began to learn to use a computer in her seventies, but even now, she has a strictly limited set of things she knows how to do. It’s not impossible to teach her to do new things, but (a) the motivation needs to be there, and (b) the process calls for a lot of patience. I’ve watched my 32 year… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
9 months ago

The Crisis in the Episcopate – Anglican Way magazine [US]

“In an interview for The Times last week, Welby acknowledged this was a “mistake” even though, at the time, he was adamant that it was the right thing to do”

I’ll be scratching my head with that one into the New Year.

Last edited 9 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

Since no one has commented on it yet, can I just say how much I appreciated Bishop Paul’s ‘Wise Words for this Year’s End’?

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
9 months ago

Whether or not one agrees with A.N Wilson, he is voicing a view that I’ve heard from people both within and outside the Church. Might it behove us to consider what might be behind the criticism rather than simply dismissing it as misplaced?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Evan McWilliams
9 months ago

Following on from Evan McW’s last sentence, might it also behove us to treat A.N. Wilson’s last sentence in his Times article with some respect and circumspection: “I am not calling them [Archbishops – Ed] to be murdered in their cathedrals, but some Becket-like display of loyalty to what the church historically stands for would be valued, even by those who no longer go to church” This reminds me of what Bishop George Bell said in a Sept 1939 article entitled “The Church’s Function in War-time” – himself no stranger to assassinations [eg a character assassination by one of A.N.… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Evan McWilliams
9 months ago

I tend to agree. The idea of the Church having Sports Ministers to “talk to the lads” smacks of desperation and sounds like a happy clappy gimmick. Why don’t we have Beauticians to “talk to the girls”? And Horticultural Ministers to talk to landscape gardeners? The range is endless. Normal people can see through this evangelical ruse and hate religion being “pushed down their throats”. A serious message worth hearing doesn’t need a gimmick to con people into talking about Jesus.

Father David
Father David
9 months ago

I’ve just listened to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year’s message from St. Thomas’ Hospital. Truly inspirational and deeply moving. Thank you Archbishop Welby.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

Powerful indeed.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
9 months ago

At year’s end, could I highjack this thread to thank Simon Kershaw, Simon Sarmiento and Peter Owen for the time and effort they expend on sustaining this blog which very many of us find an amazing resource, especially if we are members of the liberal wing of the CofE. You are a great support. While most of the content is about the CofE, as a member of the SEC who spends much time in Canada, I value the contributions made by Tim Chesterton and Rob Gillis. After such a torrid year, may I wish both the hosts of Thinking Anglicans… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Daniel Lamont
9 months ago

Agreed, many thanks to Simon, Simon and Peter. Thanks also for your kind words re. Rod and me, Daniel.

Dave
Dave
9 months ago

A N Wilson’s article in The Times has drawn some correspondence. Inevitably contacts of Archbishop Justin have said what a good chap he is. A letter from ‘Julia Josephs’ of Walberswick, Suffolk hits the nail on the head I think: It is headed: A LEADER IS NEEDED Sir, The Archbishop of Canterbury’s personal qualities are doubtless exemplary (Letters, Dec 28) but the issues are his leadership and ability to inspire the national church. These are qualities that he clearly lacks and the relevance of the Church of England to many people – even its supporters – has declined ominously in… Read more »

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Dave
9 months ago

Yes Dave there was a fairly even mixture of correspondence in the Times print edition. But underneath the online version there are nearly 700 comments from readers, many of them who were regular churchgoers until last March. One of the most recommended comments is a good summary of the dismay and hurt: Welby will go down in history as the man who closed all the doors of all the thousands of churches under his control for the first time since churches were established in England. And he did this during the COVID period when people arguably had a greater need… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

The new variant may have caused a sea change since A N Wilson’s piece. Numbers in my local church were holding up at around two thirds of the normal level. But today numbers were down to below a quarter. The Wardens had phoned around to reassure people that the church was safe, but to little avail. Hitherto regular communicants are scared in a way not seen before.

John S
John S
Reply to  Allan Sheath
9 months ago

This Warden did not attend worship today. That was not because I am scared. It was mainly two factors. One was the recognition that Tier 4 is not sufficient to stop this new variant; the fact that attending church is allowed under Tier 4 is therefore of limited comfort. The other is the statistics that show our local hospital already has higher Covid occupancy than the first wave peak, it’s still rising, and we still have the Christmas blip to feed through. Being married to a doctor probably shaped my thinking too. I’m not sure what the right thing to… Read more »

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Allan Sheath
9 months ago

It is worrying that regular communicants are scared to go to church when the church is safe. I fear that staying away may become quickly ingrained and attendance will never recover. As you know, my problem is the reverse. I would prefer to attend church in person but the only option is youtube. Fortunately there is a wide variety of choice of good quality in-church live streaming. It does feel odd inasmuch live streaming has made parish boundaries redundant so someone living in a midlands parish can participate live but unseen in a communion service 200 miles away and donate… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Your fears are real. Covid abstinence could well be the coup de grace on a CofE already aged and struggling. Very sad. I was pleased to see our local catholic parish in France has kept chugging along. Not a single covid case. As you say, great big worship spaces.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  ACI
9 months ago

Great big worship spaces indeed. But in the UK it is being predicted in the media that national lockdown is coming back as soon as Wednesday (ironically Epiphany but there is very little epiphany in the government or the House of Bishops). The first lockdown when churches were closed lasted more than three months. Two newspapers are predicting that the next lockdown will be until mid/late April. I think that will be imposed, no parliamentary scrutiny, and of course will mean no churches open during Holy Week and Easter for the second consecutive year. What is the point of having… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

I hear you. I also agree that, if you do not defend the essential character of worship (with careful observe of protocols), the general public will assume you yourself do not believe in its essential character. We read Psalm 84 with its grand line at verse 10 yesterday for Christmas 2. “Better one day in your courts than a 1000 in my own room.” May that ardent desire remain during these difficult days, or as you note, the tide will have turned.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

And in doing so, he no doubt prevented hundreds (maybe even thousands) of deaths. Well done, Archbishop Welby.

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

What are the stats on deaths from people worshipping — social distanced and wearing masks? It would be nice to, as they say/intone, ‘follow the science.’

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

Archbishop Welby has prevented thousands of deaths? You are not in England. You are unaware of the reams of guidance that the House of Bishops have produced for clergy to read, mark and inwardly digest. Churches in England were already covid safe without the reams. I can see no reason whatsoever why I and five others cannot attend 8 am BCP communion in a vast church; or 20 or so at 10 am. As Froghole has observed in his/her extensive church gadding, church attendance in England on an average Sunday pre-covid was already at an historic low. Instead of actively… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

As you say, I do not live in England. I have, however, been the recipient of the reams of guidance you mention. What makes you think we Canadian clergy haven’t had them too? And one of the things that became clear to me very early on was how much work it took to make church buildings safe for worship – for example, how many volunteers we needed to scrub the worship area and bathrooms down between services, in a situation where most of our volunteers were older people who were already in an at risk group. Two or three volunteers… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

I didn’t ‘say’ anything. I asked a question, sincerely. I do have hunches. In this case, it is a hunch that church is now a non-essential service, (and clergy non-essential servers).

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  ACI
9 months ago

‘In this case, it is a hunch that church is now a non-essential service, (and clergy non-essential servers).’ I think that’s a post-Christendom reality, Christopher. And it’s not only in England that it’s being felt. One of Eugene Peterson’s best books about pastoral ministry (co-authored with Marva Dawn) is called ‘The Unnecessary Pastor.’ Personally, on this issue, I’ve been hugely influenced by the modern neo-Anabaptist movement and its emphasis on doing ministry from the margins rather than from positions of privilege. I’m not afraid of being seen as non-essential. I think the church has done some of its best work… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

It is not a post-Christian reality in post-Christian countries like France. With the death of notional Christianity there arises a robust freedom to defend what needs to be defended. I find it very encouraging. Perhaps that will happen in the UK soon. Canada and the US are so awash with denominations it makes it as difficult to speak of “Christian” as “post-Christian.” So I find it a bit of a dodge and always have to locate oneself as post-X. You sound like you work very hard at your pastoral duties in Western Canada. Let’s not confuse that with the situation… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  ACI
9 months ago

‘You sound like you work very hard at your pastoral duties in Western Canada. Let’s not confuse that with the situation in an established church,’ Try a little harder to be patronizing, will you, Christopher? And by the way, the UK is also awash with denominations. My late father (born in Leicester, UK, as was I) was one of five siblings; thinking of the survivors of those siblings and their descendants who still live in the UK, the only ones under the age of 60 who still go to church belong to Baptist and AOG Pentecostal churches. The ‘establishment’ of… Read more »

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

Indeed many of my family were born in Leicester and worshipped at the Church of the Martyrs in Westcotes Drive. Urban areas like Leicester have a number of Christian places of worship but they are in the minority. In rural areas of England the nonconformist chapel culture has all but died out.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Michael, my family’s church was St. Barnabas in the Humberstone/Evington area, but sadly it has now closed.

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

“I’m so tired of complainers wilfully choosing to ignore the fact…” was the tone being set, to which responses arrived.

“Patronizing” can take different forms in response to this sort of summary broadside.

Be well. Hard season. Everyone trying to size up reality on their front porch.

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

“The ‘establishment’ of the C of E is irrelevant to the actual making of disciples in the UK.”

That is quite a bold claim. I am no fan of establishment, but it is the reality of the CofE and one for which there are responsibilities.

Irrelevant for the spread of the Gospel? I’ll let those in the CofE speak to that.

Maybe Canada is more alike to the UK when it comes to denominations. The US has vastly greater numbers of different denominations than the UK.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Please, can we not move on from the Archbishop’s missteps last Spring and instead address today’s reality? How can +Justin authoritively pronounce on the safety of every parish church? This must be a matter for local decision. Either way, even the most ex-cathedra edict will not overcome the growing fear of contagion that stalks the land.

Last edited 9 months ago by Allan Sheath
Michael
Michael
Reply to  Allan Sheath
9 months ago

contagion that stalks the land. That is hyperbole. Why is the virus transmitting so rapidly? Is it because wearing of face coverings and social distancing are being ignored? I don’t know. The real contagion (to use your word) is social inequality. That is my professional concern. The number of school leavers who are barely numerate or literate is appalling. When children from disadvantaged backgrounds are not in school, their education all but grounds to a halt. They are in crowded accommodation, no outside space, no laptops. How are they supposed to benefit from the much trumpeted meaningless phrase ‘online learning’?… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

‘The real contagion (to use your word) is social inequality.’

My beloved uncle died of Covid a few months ago in a long term care facility in Loughborough. Over 75,000 people in the UK have died of Covid-19 (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/). Please don’t have the gall to imply that it’s an unreal contagion.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Michael, you accuse me of hyperbole and in the next breath state that the virus is transmitting “rapidly”. A subtlety that might be wasted on those working sacrificially on Covid wards.
But at least we can agree on the baleful effects of social inequality.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Many thanks, as ever. I suspect that there is a great deal of truth in what you write, since many of the areas of highest infection: London boroughs like Redbridge, Newham, Barking & Dagenham, or districts like Hoo, Sheppey or Thurrock (all of which I know fairly well) also have many areas of significant deprivation. However, there are certain places which have been hit hard by the new variant which are not so acutely deprived: for instance, Biggin Hill, in the London Borough of Bromley, which is mostly middle class, and in parts of the hinterlands of Maidstone or Sittingbourne… Read more »

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

Froghole I agree with all of that apart from the unpalatable prospect of two more months of online church. It will stretch beyond Easter as bishops will continue to support cancellation of public worship so only clergy receive communion in locked churches when there is plenty of room for others. In response to a previous comment, most churches in England do not have ‘bathrooms’ or similar facilities. 8 am BCP communion lasts about 30 minutes so surely no ‘comfort break’ required. Enter into church, wear face covering, keep distance, participate in worship, leave. Why is that so difficult to achieve?… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Many thanks, Michael. I am very sorry indeed that you have lost your friend, and in such awful circumstances; I lost a work colleague for the same reason last summer, and I have heard of some very distressing outcomes. There will be a very distressing overhang from this virus, of poor mental health, cancers, heart disease, stroke, etc.; the scarring will be deep. My expectation is that the restrictions will last for very much longer than people expect; many of us will recall that the first lockdown was supposed to last for several weeks, and wound up enduring for several… Read more »

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

Heartfelt thanks Froghole. I agree that the current lockdown will not end on 31 March. It will be extended beyond that date, well past Easter (4th April). There has been no chance of communion, nor will there be for months to come, as the diocesan bishop has rubber stamped the closure of churches in a large part of the diocese with no time limit. He has no pastoral concern for those who have been denied communion for nearly a year. Neither he nor the local vicar understand why I cannot be satisfied with watching my local vicar celebrating communion at… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Many thanks for this, Michael! There is obviously a gulf of understanding between you and your incumbent, but evidently there are those with a different perspective in a neighbouring diocese, which I suppose may provide some slight comfort. I became a complete peripatetic in 2008, so have no scruples about not evincing loyalty to any particular church, though I rate myself as being loyal to the Church as a whole (after a fashion…); that is not necessarily a good thing, but I have received communion by travelling to different parishes (and I am close to the boundaries of three dioceses,… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

“I also note that Zuckerberg’s net worth has increased during the course of the pandemic from $54.7bn to $104.8bn.” I hope that the UK and EU nations will tax the holy h-ll out of Silicon Valley media moguls. They make Robber Barons look like Mr. Rogers. Once it was Nebuchadnezzar. Now it is Social Media with worldwide conquest.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  ACI
9 months ago

Bezos is worth $189.7bn; last year, it increased by $40bn in three months alone. Two men, therefore, are worth about a third of the $900bn package Congress has just passed to rescue the economy and aid the more than 25m who are now unemployed (with many more now being underemployed and unable to meet their basic overheads). If the economic effect of the virus is akin to a war, at least in fiscal terms, the current brace of tech magnates are not unlike war profiteers. Ripe for a severe mulcting, a mulcting I fear they will not get, despite the… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

“Hopefully, Christian leaders will have more to say in the coming months about these ‘malefactors of great wealth’” Oh that they might. This would be prophetic Biblical Christianity – not obsessing about genital activity or pontificating about rules on marriage that are not there, but actually confronting the sin most often condemned in Holy Scripture. “Bible believing Christians” will doubtless tell me I’m wrong, but AFAIK nothing is condemned more roundly than usury and exploitation. Now, look at the institutional churches “usuring” and exploiting for all they’re worth. Which Christian leaders are likely to be heeded? Not one. They are all… Read more »

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
9 months ago

Stanley you sound cynical about Christian leaders being heeded. Didn’t a certain J. Welby say that he was going to put Wonga out of business? I recall that his words had an impact and indeed Wonga is long gone. As for Amazon, unfortunately with the majority of the retail sector in the deep freeze for their busiest time of the year pre Christmas and many people stuck at home, Amazon has been the answer, for those who can afford to pay upfront rather than on the never-never. Here is a tip: search on Amazon for whatever, then buy direct from… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Very sorry for your loss.

I was talking to a colleague in Glasgow yesterday. Nicola Sturgeon is not locking down churches. No doughty church-goer, she has said churches are necessary because of the comfort they bring.

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  ACI
9 months ago

Here is the lockdown advice from the Scottish Episcopal Church https://www.scotland.anglican.org/advisory-group-highlights-lockdown-issues/ An extract (emphasis added): …Attention is drawn to the following points: 1. Tightened restrictions now apply to all areas of mainland Scotland, the Isle of Skye and a few other islands (see below for the Level 3 islands which are not part of the national lockdown restrictions). The Government’s “stay at home” guidance applicable in all those areas is available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/ At the present time, these new restrictions are to apply for the month of January. Whether they will be extended after that remains to be seen (they… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
9 months ago

I’ve had 2 ad clerums a day apart. Bath & Wells: “We would like to commend that you take worship online where possible.” Exeter: “According to Public Health England, in the forty weeks of the pandemic running up to but excluding Christmas, there were only 47 cases of Covid that seem to have been linked to a place of worship. This represents only a fraction of the cases and it is…a tribute to how effectively clergy and lay leaders have risen to the challenge of arresting the spread of this disease. It is also a recognition by the Government of… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
9 months ago

My colleague is a Scottish Baptist commenting on Nicola Sturgeon’s position as leader of the SNP. What the SEC decides to do is another matter.

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
9 months ago

I should add that the January 4 Scottish guidance is two days old, and in the light of the new strain. He was commenting on the general governmental attitude. The Kirk and the Catholic Church are the two biggest church populations. I took from his comment that Sturgeon was not in favor of locking down churches as general policy. Obviously the SEC could adopt its own guidance.

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  ACI
9 months ago
ACI
ACI
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
9 months ago

Thanks for that. Her sensitive tone is very welcome, re funerals etc. Obviously this new strain is needing greater diligence.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Allan Sheath
9 months ago

Allan – when you read today’s edition of the Church Times (8th Jan) you will read in the Leader continued criticism of Archbishop Welby’s edict last March. He will never be allowed to forget it. Nor should he because it set the tone for what happened next. In my neighbourhood clergy realised in July that there was no requirement to reopen their churches. In January 2021 they remain closed. The bishop allows this. Those who have been locked out for nearly a year are disaffected. They have no say. In the same edition of the Church Times, on the same… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Michael – I thought the Editorial in the Church Times was balanced. It acknowledged +Justin’s acquiescence in the first lockdown, while remarking on the powers of persuasion he and others showed in gaining an exemption for places of worship this time around (although, as the CT remarks drily, “it would be wise for churchgoers to be reticent in front of golfers”). However, episcopal powers – even archiepiscopal powers – do not extend to forcing churches to stay open. That is a decision that can only be made locally. I am sorry for the pain that this is causing you and… Read more »

Michael
Michael
9 months ago

Patrick Kidd in the Times March 2020: to take this final extreme step [of closing churches and forbidding clergy from entering] seems over-cautious and risks self-destruction Bishop of Manchester catches up in January 2021: Oversized and “tired” Victorian churches will be the first among many that will be forced to close due to income lost during the pandemic, a bishop has said. The Right Rev David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, said that the Church of England had been “hit hard” by a loss of income during the pandemic, which has seen a ban on public worship, the reduction of congregation sizes… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Churches open, gyms shut. Churches attract old vulnerable people, gyms attract younger healthy people. Perhaps this is calculated to help in the culling of old people who will soon be dead anyway.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Michael, have you a reference for this comment of Right Rev David Walker? It would be good to see the full item.

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Dave
9 months ago

Dave My comment comprised part of a piece written by Kaya Burgess of the Times. The full article appeared on the Times website at 5 pm on 5th January but did not appear in the print edition the next day. It is still on the Times website behind a paywall. However, the Guardian also picked up on Bishop Walker’s comments and that article is not behind a paywall. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/05/c-of-e-bishop-warns-of-church-closures-due-to-covid-financial-losses [copy and paste into a browser] It begins: The pace of church closures could accelerate as a result of financial losses caused by the pandemic, a senior Church of England bishop… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Many thanks for this. The Manchester diocese has been particularly aggressive in closing churches; so much so, I wonder whether there is a case for abolishing that diocese. Some of the closures have made sense in financial, if not pastoral, terms. For instance, the last Anglican church in Bacup (Christ Church) – a substantial and deprived community – was closed several years ago. The closure and disposal was highly controversial, but the pastoral and closed churches committee within the Commissioners (no conflict there…) shut it anyway. If the Manchester diocese was serious about mission as opposed to money would it… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Michael
9 months ago

Readers might be interested to see this survey from the latest issue of the Anglican Journal of how Canadian dioceses have been impacted financially by the pandemic shutdowns and restrictions.

https://www.anglicanjournal.com/many-dioceses-evade-pandemic-year-cash-crunch-at-least-for-now/

86
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x