Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 30 May 2020

Sam McNally-Cross All Things Lawful And Honest For the love of God, don’t sacrifice the poor.

Philip Murray All Things Lawful And Honest Thoughts and questions about ‘online Church’

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of bishops, truth, & the flimsy altar of political expediency

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church A letter from the future. Safeguarding in 2025

Peter Crumpler Christian Today Longing for a return to church

Rachel Treweek ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Social Distancing

Richard Bastable All Things Lawful And Honest Archiepiscopal Contradictions

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Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

How interesting that Richard Bastable’s “Archiepiscopal Contradictions” carries a silhouette portrait of Pope Francis! Francis has been an inspiration, not just to members of his own church, in these present times leading and visible every day through the media.

Our archbishops’ and bishops’ performance could be summarised as either ham-fisted or doing their best during the changing situations of the pandemic. I’m sitting on the fence on this. Equally government ‘guidance’ and performance have been similarly varied.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
5 months ago

Re A Letter from the Future, Stephen Parsons says: “We can hope that decisions made in 2020 will prevent this Kafkaesque future coming to pass”.

That future is already here and coming to pass – and we are pitifully unaware of it.

That’s the tragedy.

Stanley Monkhouse
5 months ago

Richard, some of us are aware. I expect the Bishop of Lincoln is aware. HAS HE EVAPORATED?

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
5 months ago

Suspended for 12 months now! How long does it take to do an investigation?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

My understanding is that a period of suspension is for a period of three months or until determination of the issue, whichever occurs earlier, or the suspension is revoked. If not revoked, the suspension can be renewed for a further period of three months on the same terms – and seemingly without any apparent limit to the number of renewals (the relevant CDM provision refers to suspensions in the plural). I forget when the first suspension happened, but 12 months would have entailed renewal three times.

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago

‘Yet something even deeper has been going on – an expression of being in this together even amid the paradox of having to learn to be apart and physically distanced. The recent anger and turbulence around Dominic Cummings is rooted in a sense of this being sorely undermined. Whatever the truth of the detail, solidarity and trust has taken a huge hit.’ – Bishop of Gloucester This is the most balanced argument I’ve seen from the College of Bishops since Ascension Day. I think the anger was generated, to a large extent, by the reporting of it, in respect of… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Matthew 27 v 24 [RSV]:

“So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood, see to it yourselves'”

The PM is no Pilate – however much he may wash his hands.

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I could not disagree more I’m afraid Andrew……….if you are a Times reader have a look at some of the articles in todays paper on this whole sordid affair……I rather fear you have swallowed the defence hook line and sinker…..and the country is in a more vulnerable position than it would have been if this had not happened.To follow your quotation………”I was much troubled on his account in my dreams last night” Mt 27.19

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I can’t believe Andrew is serious. It is clear that incompetent Boris Johnson is unable to govern without Cummings – unlike Pilate whose position didn’t depend upon Jesus’ death. By blaming the messenger (the media) Andrew ignores the righteous anger of the majority of people who stayed home to care for their children – even when sick. The North East has the highest rate of Covid19. When the man who wrote the rules breaks them by travelling from London to Durham with the virus in his car there can be only one response : ‘Sack him! Sack him!’

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago

‘You brought this man before me as a popular agitator. Now I have gone into the matter myself in your presence and found no grounds in the man for any of the charges you bring against him’ (Lk 23 v. 13/14) Although he was, perhaps, minded to let him go, a displeased PM relented and gave his senior adviser one last chance, according to reports in today’s press. This was after having been given chapter and verse about his northern peregrinations before the Rose Garden press conference. Other reports suggest Mr Cummings will be seeking pastures new in about six… Read more »

SKT
SKT
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

However you regard the trip to Durham, it is the trip to Barnard Castle that has generated the greatest outrage.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Andrew bases his analysis on the ‘unbiased’ Daily Mail reports which can’t be taken as gospel. Cummings admitted himself to carrying the virus to County Durham after telling everyone else to stay at home. He admitted to testing his eyes by driving the son he was protecting to see if he could drive without crashing. No witnesses are needed to verify these shocking admissions. The mere facts are appalling and not politically motivated.

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

The Mail had actually joined those calling for his resignation last week. I think ‘testing his eyes’ is a bit of a parody of the situation. He’d been poorly for a fortnight which had affected his eyesight, but there’s no suggestion his vision was actually impaired when he got behind the steering wheel on Easter Day. He’d actually been given the all-clear by a medical adviser beforehand, via remote consultation. He would have been certain his eyesight was generally ok when they set off, otherwise he wouldn’t have run the risk of driving; and he strikes me as the type… Read more »

Kate
Kate
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Easy to follow the rules if you live in a large house with a garden. Far harder if you live in a studio apartment or are stuck by the council in a b&b. That’s one of the downsides of livestreaming the Eucharist from kitchens which bishops seem to be forgetting – it is flaunting wealth and privilege. The idea of livestreaming from our kitchen, for example, would be ridiculous There is physically enough space for two people to stand touching and that’s it. And like many others who aren’t wealthy we can’t afford a car. We are very lucky to… Read more »

Richard
Richard
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Doesn’t attending worship in a church present situations where wealth and status are obvious? The cars people arrive in, the clothes they wear, their accents when they speak. Some can read and understand English; others cannot. Some have pleasant singing voices; others don’t even want to sing. The clergy are wearing clean vestments, washed and tended to by others whose job it is to do that. Some who attend might not have a washing machine. The building is warm in winter, well-lighted. Afterward there is tea and biscuits; such niceties might not be available at home. Some in the congregation… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

How do you explain Cummings’ visit to his wife at home, already ailing with suspected Covid-19, and then returning to Downing Street, risking everyone there? His wife’s trip to hospital with their young son, when she was ill? Cummings’ drive to Barnard Castle, with his wife and son in the car, to ‘test his eyesight’? The fact that he didn’t approach his wife’s family in London to assist with childcare, before his trip north? He showed contempt not only for the ‘Stay at home…save lives’ message, but for all of us who obeyed the rules. Not to mention this eof… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

This isn’t actually what he said in this statement. At the time his wife called him at work to tell him she was ill she wasn’t displaying symptoms of Covid-19; and he wasn’t either, although he suspected he might go down with it given that his colleagues in Downing Street were dropping like dead flies. He said there was an outside chance that tests were going to be available for government ministers, so a negative test may have allowed him to return to work sooner. He strikes me as a conscientious key worker moving heaven and earth to get back… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Andrew he undertook a 60 mile round trip to test his eyesight. With a four year old child in the back! Even if he was prepared to risk his own family’s lives, what about the innocent road users he might have encountered as he put his defective eyesight through its paces?

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago

I presume a dog-leg rural route along the A688 on Easter Day during lockdown would have been pretty deserted, personally. It was his wife he had to reassure about the night-time dash down the A1 the following evening.

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I had to visit a young parishioner in prison who gambled on a trip down country lanes when he was not allowed to drive. The family of the young man he killed were grief stricken and ‘Tom’ will have to live with the guilt for the rest of his life.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Give in, Andrew. Clutching at straws means you’re not going to win this.

ACI
ACI
5 months ago
Reply to  FrDavidH

May God keep us from wanting to ‘win’ against our fellows in Christ. Let the truth out, and let his generosity rule.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
5 months ago
Reply to  ACI

Presumably ACI Christians can’t compete against each other in sports in case they ‘win’. You are being too poker-faced.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
5 months ago
Reply to  ACI

Very good advice for Mark Lawrence there Christopher. Let’s hope that all in South Carolina heed your advice.

ACI
ACI
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Godsall

Be well. Grace and peace.

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago
Reply to  FrDavidH

I wonder how many of those normally law-abiding people asked to reveal the contents of their shopping bags to police officers, in case they’d bought ‘non-essential items’, felt they were clutching at straws when asked to justify, say, a Cadbury’s Crème Egg?

There are now many areas of life which, prior to Covid-19, would have been considered perfectly innocent activities, about which the law took no interest. You may be interested to know that Lord Sumption discusses this topic in the current edition of Prospect.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I regard Cadbury’s creme eggs as essential.

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

So do I on the odd occasion, I must confess.

Kate
Kate
5 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

We can’t get ordinary eggs delivered so we have substituted Cadbury’s creme eggs for them in recipes. Is there some problem with that?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Yes. They’re fattening.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Sunny bank holiday Sunday in beautiful countryside…loads of people are going to be out for a drive to their favoured ‘exercise’ spot.

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

That’s good to hear Janet, as long as they maintain social distance and don’t overdo it; the virus hates sunlight! We want to hold onto our freedom of conscience to make the right choices depending on the circumstances we find ourselves in, and not descend into petty-minded authoritarianism.

John S
John S
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Andrew: I don’t think the choice is between “making the right choices depending on the circumstances” and “authoritarianism”; it’s between making the right choices just for ourselves, and putting the needs of our sisters and brothers ahead of our own.

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago
Reply to  John S

I believe the whole country has already done that, as evidenced by a flattened sombrero, Clap for Carers, Captain Sir Tom and numerous acts of kindness.

Kate
Kate
5 months ago

I think the piece by Sam McNally-Cross is important. For reasons I outlined in another comment, Sam is right in so many ways that online church (as it has been implemented so far) is yet another expression of a middle-class church. He is also right to highlight that poor areas are more likely to lose their church building than middle-class ones. That surely cannot be right? Christ didn’t turn away anyone because they were wealthy or privileged but he, at the least, had a significant focus on the poor and disabled. If the Church of England is struggling financially in… Read more »

Kate
Kate
5 months ago

Philip Murray reminds me again how different my personal views are to those of the majority. He seems fixated on whether various online approaches are ‘church’. To me that is very much the wrong question and we should instead ask whether they are worship and, if someone does something (which isn’t forbidden) for the love of God, then it is worship. Spending an hour in church attending a service isn’t, I suggest, better or worse than an hour spent watching services on YouTube or giving one’s full attention to devotional music. As to which (if any) are ‘church’, my answer… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate, I’m sure that the questions you raise about the Eucharist, and our understanding of it as a sacrament, both theology and practice (including so-called ‘Spiritual Communion’), will have to be discussed at all levels in the Church. The current lockdown and the facility internet technology has provided to enable ‘remote’ participation in worship via livestreamed services, including those where worshippers join in via Zoom or its equivalent, has only served to highlight issues (including, I would suggest, lay ‘presidency’) that have been the subject of conversations for some time. For starters, I would expect questions to be asked at… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
5 months ago
Reply to  David Lamming

David, I’m at a loss to understand this, bearing in mind that the motion has no chance of success. Isn’t it analogous to right wing Tories insisting on a debate on hanging during every Parliament until they finally threw in the towel after three decades of futile posturing?

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
5 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate, I think the point that Philip Murray does not make clear is that sacramental worship should lead to being the church in the world, through action. (that baptism empowers us and the eucharistic feast nourishes us to engage in the mission of God in the world) In some churches, there is an emphasis on the “entertainment value” of the worship, or simply attendance out of duty, without any commitment to mission. That is not entirely bad, as it can be a non-threatening introduction to God for seekers and the unchurched. And certainly there are people who take a consumerist… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
5 months ago

Mr Bastable’s piece reflects the conflicted state most of us find ourselves in vis a vis the virus and its consequences for the life of the church and of the nation it’s called to serve. The Government’s duty is to protect its citizens and it has access to some of the best scientific advice in the world to assist it in that endeavour. The virus is new and so they and we have been learning as we go along. Inevitably there have been mistakes, some of those could have been avoided and it is our right to hold those in… Read more »

J Kirby
J Kirby
5 months ago

I heartily agree with everything you’ve said

William
William
5 months ago

Strange that they cite the ‘uniform practice of Catholic Christianity’ as the reason for this decision.

ACI
ACI
5 months ago

Laying on of hands is on pause in the Diocese in Europe.

Stanley Monkhouse
5 months ago
Reply to  ACI

I have to laugh. Sacramental assurance and authenticity and remote participation and how potent are the consecrating rays that stream from the priest after having been zoomed or Facebooked – it’s all such a hoot. Here, with the writer’s permission, is a piece sent to me by a dear friend that puts this sacramental self-centredness in perspective: “I already look with horror at the misery caused not by the virus but by our response to it. My wife, sadly, has dementia and Parkinson’s disease, and has lived in a care home for over three years. I was excluded from visiting… Read more »

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