Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 4 May 2024

Hatty Calbus Surviving Church HTB: Extraordinary Influence

Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News Time to be Civil about Marriage

Stephen Andrews The Living Church Thoughts on Church Scandal

Yin-An Chen ViaMedia.News The Majority or the Minority? A Rhetorical Question

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FrDavid H
FrDavid H
14 days ago

I have never understood the appeal of parishes like HTB where someone with a microphone stands at the front, and promulgates some right-wing, simplistic drivel, trying to pretend they’re conveying the meaning of human life. If I want to know what is going on in the world, I am more likely to trust the BBC, say, or another reliable, unbiased news source. The CofE has become the religious equivalent of GB News. Expensively funded, of interest to a tiny minority and populated by extremists with an evangelical fervour, today’s happy -clappy sect has become an expensive joke preaching trite nonsense.… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  FrDavid H
13 days ago

Come on FrDavid H, don’t be shy – tell us what you think!

James
James
Reply to  Charles Read
12 days ago

He’s not an Alpha Male. 🙂

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  FrDavid H
13 days ago

Unfortunately the BBC increasingly resembles GB News. The world is most certainly going to hell in in a handcart when the leader of the Labour Party supports depriving civilians of food and water and our bishops are silent about Gaza but very noisy about Ukraine.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Hawkins
13 days ago

Where on BBC News do right-wing politicians get paid a fortune to interview other right-wing politicians? You’ve been reading too much of the Daily Mail.

Last edited 13 days ago by FrDavid H
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  David Hawkins
12 days ago

Re: The silence of the bishops part, I can’t comment on conversations from the C o E episcopal bench; but sometimes it helps to look around either at The Communion or ecumenically or both. See Link to statements on the crisis in the middle east (and its spill over) from Angllican-Lutheran bishops in Canada. Best wishes.

https://www.anglicanlutheran.ca/statements/

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  FrDavid H
13 days ago

HTB, GB news, “expensively funded”. There is a common thread there of course – billionaire Sir Paul Marshall.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
13 days ago

That is the connection which is implied in the article

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  FrDavid H
12 days ago

“…never understood the appeal of … simplistic drivel, trying to pretend they’re conveying the meaning of human life.” I wonder if an answer to your perplexity may be best framed by sociologists, including some of the brighter Marxist based ones, who note that religions and religious beliefs are significantly determined by social and political vectors. I don’t know enough about the ‘HTB” group to speculate; but It would be interesting to look at the sociological drivers motivating the folks who attach to such a belief system. Just to zoom out a bit, think of one of the ways, perhaps unfairly,… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Rod Gillis
11 days ago

A very helpful and enlightened comment. Many thanks.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
13 days ago

Charlie Bell may complain about the lack of progress with the LLF process, but one could argue that those engaged in this process on the progressive side only have themselves to blame because of their lack of forceful action. If you look at the long history of how people have created progressive change, it has always been by campaigners being prepared to be difficult and challenging, and being prepared to take the consequences of their actions. We need to learn from that history. One thinks of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, the Bristol bus boycott, the Kinder mass trespass, the Armed… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Simon Dawson
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
13 days ago

Simon, I have been saying this for years, and I agree with you. Individual priests can be picked off, but if 500 inclusive churches set a deadline, after which they would carry out weddings in church (albeit with the scrap of legal paper until the Law gets changed) and if PCCs published statements of intent on their websites and in local papers – and if the group of 500 got the media and Parliamentarians involved… and carried out a fait accomplis, reflecting the conscience of their church communities… and stopped betraying the gay and lesbian people in their parishes by… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Susannah Clark
13 days ago

I am curious as to where you have you got the number 500 from? And these are all churches with PCC’s that fully support equal marriage? You know this? Part of what the conservatives have yet to face is the reality that most local churches are not one side or the other on this issue. I want what you and Simon want but I think you both over seriously over-simplify the argument. As to the notion that progressives have been polite and compliant at the table – well I have been to quite a few such meetings. It is simply… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Runcorn
12 days ago

Good evening David. The figure of 500 is hypothetical. It could in the end be 1000 or it could be 200 (more likely at the outset). But are there at least 500 inclusive churches. Yes, I am sure of that. I accept that most churches will have a range of views within them. Experience says that is right. But *not* following the prevailing consciences of a church community just lets gay people down, if it means submitting to the imposed doctrine of the Church. I am well aware (and grateful) to the many people who have worked to change minds… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  David Runcorn
12 days ago

David, the point is not what is said in the meetings. The point is what one does outside the meetings to force the powers that be to listen to you and take you seriously. And that is the failure of the progressive representatives here. What is being done outside the meetings to strengthen the case and force the bishop’s hand? Just to give one example – overturning the ban on homosexuality in the Armed Forces – which I was involved with. If we had contacted the Ministry of Defence or the Government before our campaign and asked to discuss ending… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
12 days ago

Yes and, of course, people can carry on engaging with each other in Synod and in the House of Bishops (I hope they do) but meanwhile church communities have their own lives and consciences and voices *outside* those interfaces, and they can do more than talk: they can act. At the moment (as for 50 years past and undefined years into the future) the top-down set up has failed to deliver doctrinal change on gay sex and marriage. It’s blocked, veto’d, and after that what’s left is talk. ‘Progressives’ can bemoan ‘conservatives’ all they like, in Synod, or here, or… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
13 days ago

My point is that you don’t have to wait for doctrine to change (if bishops and Synod are incapable of changing it). The new doctrine can be insisted upon by grassroots communities, and then (instead of waiting 10 or 20 years for the possibility of gay marriages being celebrated by parishioners in their churches) it goes right ahead, and sadly people then have to wait for the bishops and Synod to catch up. Nor would you have to even always have your own priest to celebrate the weddings (ours thankfully did), because you could let ministers from other denominations, or… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Simon Dawson
13 days ago

Sorry, I have just noticed a proof reading slip up. Para 3 should have read “One has to create a situation when those in power have more to lose by not properly engaging with you than by not engaging.”

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
12 days ago

Apart from other considerations, not one of those “weddings” would produce a married couple, because the bishops campaigned successfully for the Church of England to be excluded by law from the Act. So they would be a form of marriage, but not the real thing. LGBTQ people want the law changed as well as the Marriage Canon, so that we can have truly equal marriage.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
12 days ago

You are right about law Jeremy, but that need not be important. The point I am trying to make is that the process of campaigning for change in any institution are well established and understood, but on the progressive side we have not been good at putting all these techniques into action. There are two sides to such a process, “discussion” and “campaigning”. On the one hand you have the debates with the institutional leaders and others to sort out the details and process of change. On the other hand there are the campaigning actions to put force behind your… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
11 days ago

The visibility, however, may be important. The solution to the specific problem of “not a real wedding” would be to adopt the Continental practice of going to the registry office as well as the church. This is, in effect, what was happening in the US for some years prior to the final legalization (in state and church) of marriage equality. Experience can be a wise teacher.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tobias Haller
10 days ago

Actually, Tobias, such a thing would work for my husband David and myself in the UK.

We held a self devised “service of blessing and covenant” in a London church in 2001 when such things were allowed, and in fact authorised by the archdeacon.

We then added to that with a civil partnership in 2006, and a civil marriage in 2016. In every case it was on the same date, 9th June, to keep the anniversaries simple

All we need now is a church marriage on 9th June 2026 to complete the set.

Last edited 10 days ago by Simon Dawson
Tobias Haller
Reply to  Simon Dawson
9 days ago

Very wise to keep the dates the same! Joy always!

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Simon Dawson
11 days ago

Might be worth considering that after six years of LLF, campaigners are tired. Yes, we need to keep campaigning; but no-one can be blamed for lack of enthusiasm/energy if they’ve had their sense of self and religious identity thrown through the wringer repeatedly for years at a time.

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Chris
11 days ago

Chris, I’ve been campaigning for thirty years and I’m not tired – older and somewhat worn out but not tired of working for radical change and transformation. My enthusiasm is strong, my energy a bit depleted. I agree with Simon’s analysis and perspective. There is a lack of vision and courage on the “full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in ministry and relationships” side. Richard Kirker exemplified courage and challenge in the past and Jayne Ozanne in the recent present. I’ve been put through the wringer from time to time, excluded from meetings, too uncomfortable for other activists as well as… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Chris
11 days ago

It goes back longer than six years but thank you for this compassionate and understanding observation. I have been active, as a straight man, in the LLF process and the growing networks outside of it. I regularly observe deep levels of exhaustion and the real need to guard emotional and spiritual exhaustion. These are volunteer networks with no budgets while the conservative lobby works with a substantial resources and large teams of full time campaigners. I am not sure why Simon thinks nothing is going out outside the room. I can assure him it is, and it is making a… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 days ago

David, for the avoidance of doubt, I do acknowledge and thank you and many others for the great amount of work you are doing in this movement for change. It is a vital part of the pattern. But such work, in itself, may not be sufficient to prevail. If you study the history of campaigning It has often been the case that something more dynamic and assertive is needed to break the logjam. Who the people are who are to do that dynamic and assertive work is an interesting question. It need not be people like yourself because you are… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Simon Dawson
Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 days ago

David and others, I’d like to ask a question that could meet with an angry reaction but some may feel it’s worth a discussion. Is it possible that if we’d stuck to the original remit of securing acceptance for gay couples in committed relationships to have their unions and vocations recognised in the Church of England on equal terms, we might have been successful by now? It goes without saying that diehard conservatives will reject any change on principle. However there is also a substantial middle ground of people who want an inclusive church and despair over the impossible position… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jane Charman
10 days ago

Jane, when you talk about the “LGBTQ++ community” and its vision and values, then does that community exist in practise, or is it actually a construct, and especially a construct of the anti- woke culture warriors trying to frighten us off. I think it is important to reflect on what happens in real life, rather than what is only on social media. It is also important to claim the right to decide for ourselves what words (queer?) or communities to associate with, rather than let our enemies decide what is acceptable or not. When I talk to the many elderly… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Simon Dawson
Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Simon Dawson
9 days ago

Simon, I believe we are in agreement on your first point. An ‘LGBTQ++ community’ united round a single vision and set of values does not exist in practice. I see what you see – a ‘disparate mix of people, each with their own history, families, needs, experiences and wisdoms’. Back in the day, the campaign for the ordination of women and the campaign for equal marriage as it was often called proceeded along fairly parallel lines and there was a lot of crossover in membership. When the campaign for the ordination of women achieved its main goals there was a… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jane Charman
8 days ago

Thanks Jane, I think you speak a lot of common sense here based on your extensive experience. But if my memory is correct, despite your focussed campaign based on SMART principles, it still took decades to work through, and it was a compromise solution with all the nonsense of flying bishops and five guiding principles and the creation of Schrödinger’s priests, where an ordained woman in a diocese may or may not be a priest depending on which bishop you ask. And even with those compromises, the move failed at the first synod vote, and was only passed at the… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Chris
11 days ago

True, Chris. But the campaign for women’s ordination was kept up for some 40 years, wearying as it was. Some drop out of the fight, wounded, some take an R&R break but return. I’m sure the same happens with LLF.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
13 days ago

I think the problem lies with the bishops and Synod, not HTB itself. There are always going to be parishes that push the envelope in one way or another. What we need are boundary rules around things like inclusion. It should be an outcome of LLF that the church guarantees all parishes welcome and fully embrace all minorities – and there should be sanctions for any clergy who don’t do that.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
13 days ago

I should have thought that the incumbent Archbishop of Canterbury is keenly aware that the CofE is in a death spiral, obvious for all to see, in terms of simple Sunday attendance. Under these circumstances, whatever represents an alternative to that grim reality, within the established church, he is unlikely to see as anything but a glimmer of hope. The alternative is to watch the sand go out of the hour-glass. Within an established church with distinct parties, the luxury of sneering at parties one does not belong to, has a long history. “Look at those kooky Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals, Liberals,… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Anglican Priest
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
13 days ago

I don’t think citing the connection between HTB and GB News is “sneering”. It would be like a dying TEC desperately asking Fox News directors to finance a right-wing agenda in the hope some Trump supporters might attend Church. If HTB is the last vanishing ‘party,’ then I suggest euthanasia would be kinder and cheaper.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  FrDavid H
12 days ago

I am referring to your now customary tone whenever you speak of something outside your own tribe. It is trademark stuff.

TEC relying Fox — you need to spend some actual time in the US to get some sense of how TEC and the CofE don’t remotely line up.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
12 days ago

I’m not saying TEC would be mad enough to rely on Fox. Sadly the financial backer of Fox’s UK equivalent is bank-rolling HTB. You misinterpreted my comment.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  FrDavid H
12 days ago

No, I just found it culturally confused. TEC does not occupy the same footprint inside the US as the CofE in England..

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
12 days ago

What has a footprint got to do with the principle of right -wing sponsorship? There’s no confusion on my part.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
12 days ago

I don’t think HTB needs bankrolling by GB news. It appears to be financially solvent due to the generosity of its members, who have embraced the practice of tithing.

My last parish had a member who was the CEO of Weldco-Beales Manufacturing. I’m sure his contributions to our parish were very generous (I never saw the amounts myself), but I would never have described this as ‘St. Margaret’s being financed by Weldco-Beales’.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
11 days ago

Paul Marshall , who sponsors GB News and other right -wing causes , donated at least £1 million to HTB. Presumably its conservative agenda conforms to his reactionary views. Not many parishioners have £1 million to spread their own opinions

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
11 days ago

Yes, this has been clearly pointed out in the article, and I have already read it there. It does not change the fact that GB News is not ‘bankrolling HTB’. What is happening is that a very wealthy sponsor of GB News is also a member of HTB and is giving generously to his church. Most churches are happy when their members do this. When I was a rector I was grateful to everyone who gave to our church, and this certainly included wealthier people who gave extra, according to their means. What would be wrong would be if we… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
11 days ago

Thank you. The incessant carping and dragging in Trump etc is just blinkered. Now is a time for more sober analysis, given what it means for a CofE to be facing a season unprecedented.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
11 days ago

Its members may well be generous, but they are also, on the whole, wealthy. The ordinary parish couldn’t raise HTB amounts of money if all its members did tithe.

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Janet Fife
11 days ago

Harrods department store is in the parish of HTB. It’s a very wealthy area of London.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
11 days ago

Janet, I grant you that HTB is not an ordinary parish. But then, neither are the cathedrals whose ministry is so often lauded on this website. I’ve worshipped in cathedrals in the UK where I personally found the grandeur and opulence of my surroundings to be a powerful distraction from the gospel call to sell our possessions and give to the poor. It costs vast amounts of money to run and maintain those cathedrals. Presumably their lists of donors includes some individuals who are very wealthy and who give according to their means, and presumably the cathedrals are grateful to… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
10 days ago

I wasn’t saying that at all, Tim. I was just pointing out that HTB is in a very wealthy area of London; a lot of its congregation are wealthy; and that however sacrificially the congregation in most parishes gave, they couldn’t hope to match HTB levels.

In 2000 we did the Alpha course in my poor Manchester overspill parish, and were distracted weekly by the lavish flower arrangements in the videos. We reckoned the flowers alone at HTB would consume most of our budget.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 days ago

I am amazed that the parable of the widow’s mite has yet to be referenced in this discussion.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pat ONeill
8 days ago

Good point. The widow’s mite was precious to God, but was hardly going to exert undue influence on how the Temple of the time was structured.

Though wasn’t it theologian John Hull who suggested the point of the story was the pressure the religious establishment placed on the poor?

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  Pat ONeill
8 days ago

HTB stretches far beyond London. My nearest HTB plant is in one of the most deprived areas of England. I’ve only been once, but I don’t remember there being any flowers. The church was packed though and wished I was called to serve there, but I wasn’t.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Anglican Priest
12 days ago

There is some truth in what you say but there is a danger that HTB represents a type of Christianity palatable to the richer strata of society rather than a version which celebrates the downtrodden, the minorities and excluded, and the poorer parts of society. To me their wealth is a cause for concern rather than something to be unreservedly celebrated.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Kate Keates
12 days ago

I have no interest in unreservedly celebrating anything, much less HTB. I was speaking more generally of the death throes of the CofE and how that changes the good old-fashioned ‘parties in tension’ of yesteryear.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Anglican Priest
12 days ago

You are interpreting pressure for change (albeit painful change) as a death spiral. Churches with a strong music offering are often still growing in popularity – whether that is modern music in evangelical churches or something traditional in cathedrals and minsters. There are other parishes which are still strong, maybe they encourage lunchtime worship for nearby workers, have a close and profitable relationship with a church school, or in some case simply through first class ministry. The Church of England has failed to invest in dozens of parishes beyond that, and after the disastrous decisions during the pandemic for them… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Kate Keates
12 days ago

In fact, I am just speaking about statistics. Less than 1% of the population attending church, and that portion aged and shrinking. This isn’t controverted. Of course there are the examples you give and these are heartening. But unless they begin to make a dent, and that asap, the situation is hard/impossible to turn around. I suspect the church commissioners, and Welby, know that very well. And in the general public, it begins to make little sense to speak of a “Church of England” that isn’t attended by 99% of England. BTW, I attended HTB some time ago. When I… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
12 days ago

HTB attracts the same demographic outside Brompton. Middle class students, away from home in University towns, are not typical of England’s urban youth who wouldn’t embarrass themselves inside a happy-clappy Gumbel ‘plant’.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
11 days ago

My brother attends a large Pentecostal church in Manchester. At 63, he’s one of the oldest people there. There are literally hundreds of ‘England’s urban youth’ going there every Sunday (and many more if you count the three other locations), and they don’t seem embarrassed about their church at all. I suspect they’ve got a more accurate read of the pulse of ‘England’s urban youth’ than you have.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
11 days ago

I think, living in England, I have greater knowledge of urban youth than a Canadian emigrant whose 63 year old brother attends a homophobic megachurch. Young people are more accepting of their gay peers than happy-clappy worshippers who think they’re superior. https://www.thepinknews.com/2023/04/11/keir-starmer-audacious-church-glyn-barrett-easter-backlash/

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
10 days ago

I am well aware of Audacious church’s stance on homosexuality, and I’m not defending it. I’m simply pointing out that they attract the British urban youth you’re talking about in far greater numbers than your average liberal catholic parish in England. I’ve been to Audacious church with my brother, and I’ve also been to liberal catholic C of E churches. Do I agree with Audacious church’s views on homosexuality? Of course not. Do they seem to be out of touch with today’s urban youth? Judging by the demographic who attend there, I would say no. Have you ever been there… Read more »

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
10 days ago

By “urban youth” I think you mean middle class white suburban youth.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
9 days ago

I’m done.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
8 days ago

Interesting. On this side of the pond, “urban youth” would automatically be interpreted to mean young black men of limited means.

James
James
Reply to  FrDavid H
11 days ago

You may be right. England’s urban youth have their own ways of embarrassing themselves, usually at Newquay or in the Greek isles.
Or some of them, anyway. I don’t know where the Muslim urban youth of England go to embarrass themselves. Presumably not evensong?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  James
10 days ago

THE Greek isles sound so much more enjoyable than listening to an evangelical preacher in a vest.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 days ago

I don’t remember any clapping at the HTB churches I have attended. My overriding memory is of lots of people queuing up for prayer.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
12 days ago

Thanks so much for redirecting the Dr. Charlie Bell pieces to TA. Please continue to do so.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
12 days ago

I think a number of strategies could be tried to arrest decline especially in rural benefices where an HTB approach is unlikely to gain traction. We know few people are prepared to travel to other churches in the benefice so why not training the laity to offer a simple morning prayer at a regular time each week : the greater use of communion by extension, or from the reserved sacrament where appropriate: the ordination to the diaconate of suitable lay readers, a better organised use of the retired clergy (and a simplification of safeguarding which has put some retired off… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Perry Butler
12 days ago

A vacant benefice not too far away from where I live is being advertised on a house for duty basis. Reading the profile and accompanying blurb they’re clearly expecting a full time priest. Only someone with private means could afford to take on this benefice (the Rectory is heated by an oil fired boiler). Strangely enough there have been no expressions of interest whatsoever. The labourer is worthy of his or her hire.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Fr Dean
12 days ago

I have some experience of the Diocese in Europe, having served as chaplain in Fontainebleau. Many posts are in this category, or are 1/3 or 1/2 time. As you note, the demographic that can (move to Europe and all that entails, especially after Brexit) enter this workforce is inevitably small.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Fr Dean
12 days ago

The full language of asset strippers … presumably the benefice has had its house reclaimed by the diocese in case they might make a bob or half a million selling it, and maybe they hope they might attract someone with a gainfully employed husband who has no other chance of finding a benefice in her own right ??

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  God 'elp us all
11 days ago

If two days plus Sunday equals 0.2 time, that means the Lichfield week is over ten days long. Someone is giving out false information here.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
10 days ago

That would depend on the number of hours, though I don’t doubt you are right. Perhaps more to the point, incumbents have obligations to their parishioners, and no nonsense between the diocese and the incumbent can obliterate them.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  God 'elp us all
11 days ago

Imagine if you said you’d do Sunday, Monday and Tuesday because you’d need to find gainful employment for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday? You’d soon be apprised of the need for ‘flexibility’ by the associate archdeacon transition enabler.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
11 days ago

They can’t just lie and dismiss the unhealthy and unregulated influence HTB has on the CofE anymore. Hence why so many more people are putting words down to point out how unbalanced the CofE has become and how it has created too many influential structures outside its main governance and just shovelled money at them. My view is that HTB is far too heavily influenced by “nondenominational” US evangelism. I see nothing truly Anglican in it at all and yet because it has the cash it is allowed to do what it likes in our church. I see it as… Read more »

Nicholas Henshall
Nicholas Henshall
11 days ago

Chris Beeley (patristic scholar, prophetic thinker, and a priest of the Episcopal Church in the USA) said at a conference about ten years ago two things I’ve never forgotten: – First, that the primary job of the Church today is to enable people to take responsibility for their own spiritual growth and development – Second, that the re-alignments in world Christianity over the coming years will be far more significant than the Reformation. I’d suggest that there is significant food for reflection here in our current context and genuine encouragement. And (as Simon Tugwell OP says at the beginning of… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
11 days ago

Thank you. This is wisdom for the challenges of our times where it all to easy to tip into accusation, blame and despair.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
10 days ago

Thanks for this, Nicholas. Those two points really resonate with me. And i think point #1 is a real challenge for Anglicanism, given our enduring legacy of clericalism.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
8 days ago

What could be more influential than the Reformation? People reading the Bible for themselves in their own language. The Reformation goes on and on with the Pentecostal movement being just the latest.

Tim Chesterton
11 days ago

I would like to add to this discussion of HTB the voice of American evangelical pastor Karl Vaters, who has spent years championing the ministry of small churches and has written extensively on this subject. His most recent book (De-Sizing the Church: How Church Growth Became a Science, then an Obsession, and What’s Next) takes on the church growth movement – not because he is against church growth, but because he has serious reservations about the philosophy of that particular movement. His website is https://karlvaters.com/. I’ve read most of his books and blog posts and found them very helpful.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
11 days ago

Thanks for the link to Vaters. I am reminded of the great missionary Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, who while working tirelessly for the missionary effectiveness of the church observed how little interest the New Testament shows in numerical growth. For example, although John’s gospel and epistles reveal great concern for the world, ‘there is no evidence anywhere that the salvation of the world depends on the growth of the church.’ I note, by contrast, a disproportionate delight and compassion in the gospels for the smallest and least significant

Bob
Bob
Reply to  David Runcorn
10 days ago

I am confused. I thought Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations. There are about 10,000 people in the parish where I live. On a Sunday about 700 worship in the parish church. In the neighbouring parish of roughly the same size, about 100 worship each Sunday in the parish church. Doesn’t the command of Jesus mean that the church has to grow?

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Bob
10 days ago

I doubt very much he had in mind the sort of disciples you are describing.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
9 days ago

What sort of disciples am I describing?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
10 days ago

A friend of mine was turned down for a new parish solely on the grounds he couldn’t demonstrate numerical growth in his present church. Since the bishop who made the comment came to the diocese as a suffragan numbers have plummeted. Perhaps she should resign as she hasn’t demonstrated what she, herself, requires of others.

John Davies
John Davies
10 days ago

I’ve been commenting about the articles by Hatty Catbus on “Surviving Church” – there’s a third one yet to come – and its clear that HTB is causing genuine concern. I’m not personally a fan but in all fairness would say this. Alpha is a useful tool. The basic message is traditional evangelical Christianity and there is nothing wrong with that. It does, however come wrapped in a particular marketing ‘package’ targetted at a specific age and class which succeeds in attracting them while annoying others, and that may itself be be a cause for concern. Like any movement which… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  John Davies
9 days ago

What do you mean by GB News not overstepping the line? It’s already done that..
https://inews.co.uk/news/ofcom-complaints-soar-by-600-in-age-of-gb-news-and-talktv-2999438

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 days ago

I mean legally, Father. People complain, yes, but as far as I know, they have not yet been convicted in court of breaking race-hate laws. Generally speaking, they know how to phrase their words to obtain the desired results but without actually committing offences. There seem to be quite a few of them – one I saw yesterday is a good example. A local gunman and gangster of, I think Jamaican descent was jailed for a drive-by shooting in the centre of town and it was reported by a national newspaper’s website, with film of his actions. Needless to say,… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  John Davies
8 days ago

Apparently one of the Reform UK party leaders has now openly said on a media interview that ‘Multiculturalism has failed’, and we need to return to a British single cultural society. The Hanoverians and Victorians tried that, and, as several folks commented on youtube, we have a fairly good idea of what he’s asking for…….

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
10 days ago

I love HTB ever since I started attending as a student in 1979. At that time it was bathed in gentle prayer, teaching and worship. A thing called Alpha was just starting up in a nearby kitchen and a church plant was being planned in a redundant parish church building. Humble church leaders ministering to a relatively small congregation, but just around the corner David Watson was preaching night after night to a packed out Royal Albert Hall. These were the beginnings of church renewal in the C of E as I experienced it. Later, I had the privilege of… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Adrian Clarke
9 days ago

That’s actually what I would hope for, and believe to be the heart and soul of charismatic renewal. And Alpha, as a basic introduction, is fine – basic, simple faith and Christianity. (And I did meet David Watson once. A crying shame he was taken from us so soon. A friend said he knew of no other charismatic leader who was acceptable to so many different Christian groups.) I’ve also been involved in Alpha courses, with varying degrees of success. And a lot depends on the church involved, and how much they believe it themselves. The most disastrous one was… Read more »

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  John Davies
8 days ago

Personally I don’t see anything being manufactured by HTB, they aren’t that desperate to please. They have a strong vision and if the Holy Spirit isn’t in it they don’t want it. The thing they most fear is moral failure and schism. It looks like they are going to have schism imposed on them, although I hope not.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Adrian Clarke
7 days ago

“They have a strong vision and if the Holy Spirit isn’t in it they don’t want it.”

And here we confront the hubris of assuming any one person (or group) knows what the Holy Spirit is in or not.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Pat ONeill
7 days ago

Why do you think that having a strong conviction and vision as a church is a sign of hubris? Is it not something to respect even if our own vision may have a different focus? I wish all churches had a strong vision. Nor does it follow that those having that strong vision are claiming only ‘they’ know what the Holy Spirit is saying or doing.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  David Runcorn
7 days ago

My objection is to the arrogance of knowing definitively where the Holy Spirit dwells or does not., not to the strong conviction and vision. And, in my experience, those who express such “knowledge” usually believe that any path other than theirs is in opposition to the Spirit.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Pat ONeill
7 days ago

Since Adrian Clarke was speaking of ‘a strong vision’ and you say you do not have a problem with that I am not sure why you are introducing ‘the arrogance of knowing definitely’ and who you are actually talking about?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  David Runcorn
6 days ago

“…if the Holy Spirit isn’t in it they don’t want it.”

That certainly seems to imply the leaders of HTB presume a definitive knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s desires.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  David Runcorn
6 days ago

Exactly. What does this actually mean? In the NT, claiming ‘knowledge’ is the instinct of those who oppose the received apostolic teaching, and the scriptures received in the church. See the letters of John. “The arrogance of knowing definitely” is a free-floating descriptor, but one would be tempted to call it the “knowing definitely” of progressive convictions.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Anglican Priest
6 days ago

‘Progressive convictions’ is a helpful way of speaking of the process of faithful Christian ‘knowing’. Meanwhile there is certainly an irony that some folk here are claiming definitive knowledge that HTB/evangelicalism is wrong.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
5 days ago

Presumably you “know” Papal infallibility is wrong based upon definitive knowledge. Otherwise you’d submit to the Holy See. That’s a bit ironic.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
7 days ago

How do you know the opinion of the Holy Spirit? Evangelicals have a track record of telling others what God thinks. His views usually coincide with theirs.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  FrDavid H
7 days ago

FrDavidH You continue to refuse to show any respect for or show any interest in seeking an informed understanding of the evangelical anglican tradition – which for reasons unknown you loathe with a passion. So perhaps you will understand if I choose not to respond to you any further on TA.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
7 days ago

No worries

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  David Runcorn
6 days ago

By their fruit you will know them.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Adrian Clarke
6 days ago

True. Some fruit creates indigestion and flatulence.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Adrian Clarke
6 days ago

You’re a lot closer to them, perhaps, than some of us on here, and are happy with them. That’s fair enough. However the onlooker often sees more of the game than the players. and, in my case, I’m afraid it is very much a case of ‘once bitten, twice shy.’ I’ve seen charismatic abuse (and equally prejudiced high church abuse) at first hand and, believe me, both are equally ugly and damaging. Sadly the charismatic / neo pentecostal movement is no stranger to scandals, usually to do with money, sex and power, and I would not wish to see any… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  John Davies
6 days ago

Any resemblance between HTB and other happy-clappy “gatherings”, and the real CofE , is entirely accidental on purpose.

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