Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 5 December 2020

Peter Anthony All Things Lawful And Honest Tunnel Vision

Laudable Practice A Time to Rediscover Mattins

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Melissa Caslake resignation. Crisis for Safeguarding?

Simon Butler ViaMedia.News LLF: History Repeating Itself: The “Beautiful” Story

Philip Murray All Things Lawful And Honest Truth and Tradition

Janet Fife Surviving Church Saving Lives at Sea

Sarah Mullally Contemplation in the shadow of a carpark “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid”
“My introduction to Living in Love and Faith at The London Diocesan Synod”

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Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
10 months ago

Philip Murray’s piece echoes my experience. My vocation was first nourished in the context of congregational sung Matins at a church that was proud of its tradition and wasn’t bothered about coming across as ‘churchy.’ I don’t think that’s the only way to worship appropriately but what links successes across styles is confidence, both in the tradition of the place (because charismatics have tradition too!) and in the message being presented. The Church of England in the 20th century is perhaps a little guilty of absorbing the self-hating atmosphere of much of Western society and it’s an attitude that has… Read more »

Kate
Kate
10 months ago

“Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air, if the tone of our conversations focussed less on showing people how right we are but on how to care for those most vulnerable or those most likely to be hurt?” – Bishop of London
 
But she has done nothing to get the two videos which hurt vulnerable LGBT recalled, or suspend those involved. She doesn’t even use this speech to condemn them.
Soo she joins the long list of bishops who say something which sounds good but with no intention to act on their words.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

Does she have the power to do this?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Exham
10 months ago

I believe that the anchor in the CEEC video is on the Diocese of London. She could also forbid churches within her Diocese to use either video. There are very definite things she could do.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

I don’t believe that either the Church of England Evangelical Council or Christian Concern are under the authority of the Bishop of London. Expecting her to get those videos recalled would be like expecting Justin Trudeau to change the British pandemic regulations.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

Just a reminder that one of her two advisers ‘policy and strategy’ is Jason Roach, lead presenter on the CEEC video

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

I agree Kate. The bishop of London, jointly with the bishop of Coventry, issued a statement about the videos, which was insipid. Maybe she thinks that response was adequate and now we should all move on. I disagree. I began to watch the CC video but stopped after seven minutes, it was revolting. What now for LLF if some are attempting to strangle it at birth?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
10 months ago

Re: Stephen Parsons Surviving Church “The structures of power in the Church seem, even at a distance, immensely complex and confusing. Caslake’s past would not have prepared her for all the political shenanigans operating in Church House and elsewhere. Can you imagine an exam question for an undergraduate which goes something like this? At the heart of the Church of England are three centres of power. Which commands the greatest influence? The civil servants at Church House, the Archbishops’ Council or General Synod? The rogue answer might point out that the Communications Department and the firms of Church lawyers and reputation managers were actually the ones… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
10 months ago

This is probably the best summing I’ve seen – by Anon over at ‘Surviving Church’: “An incisive article, and one that leaves the reader in little doubt that the CofE is at a major fork in the road here. Trying to replace Melissa is going to be hard. I’d go further and say it’s not what is needed. NST 3 would make a decent PR coup for CofE comms for about a day, but the trouble is that all the systemic problems Stephen’s article so elegantly sketches remain in place. The trinity is: a concentration of ecclesiastical civil service power;… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Jane Chevous
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
10 months ago

Independence does seem the way to go, and the majority of survivors we spoke to called for that, in terms of investigation & accountability.
However we also called for pastoral care and compassion to be at the centre. I worry that we’ll end up with a bureaucratic monolith that is as uncaring of survivors as the current core group system. There has to be some relationship with the church, and a pastoral approach at heart.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Jane Chevous
10 months ago

Jane, I think an independent body would enable – ‘free up’ – the Chiurch to fulfil its pastoral care role.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
10 months ago

Anon’s last sentence in Stephen Parsons ‘Surviving Church’ article::

“Archbishops’ Council: get a grip, and do the right thing”

Andy Gr
Andy Gr
10 months ago

I think the piece of Service of the Word gets three things importantly right, but may betray two misunderstandings: *Right: non-Eucharistic worship is not less important or second-best compared with the Eucharist (though to be fair, I don’t think the article from Stephen Conway being critiqued, implied that it was). *Right: non-Eucharistic worship need not be clergy-free – as in this case, where the bishop was able to preach at such a service, which no doubt encouraged and enriched all those involved. *Right: online worship is worship, and should be valued, and comply with rubrics, just as much as onsite… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Andy Gr
10 months ago

I see services called “Morning Church” or simply “Meeting” which are non-eucharistic and are certainly services of the Word. I’ve attended such services where there were 4 Bible readings and a 45 minute sermon. Even without TV screens and a rock band, it’s difficult to recognize this as Anglican.

Andy Gr
Andy Gr
Reply to  Richard
10 months ago

Four Bible readings, a long sermon, a screen and guitar-based worship do not in themselves suggest something more or less Anglican than two readings, a short sermon, hymn books and an organ. This is not the way that we distinguish the Anglican from the not Anglican.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Andy Gr
10 months ago

Well said, Andy.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Andy Gr
10 months ago

Yes indeed. Andy Gr writes much sense here and in his post above. There are clear guidelines and expectations for a Service of the Word, which is an authorised Church of England service. It is not a free for all. In the TEI where I teach we try to ensure all ministry students know how to plan and lead a Service of the Word and are assessed on it. If people want to critique Services of the Word that are badly constructed, it is not hard to find them . (no Bible readings, no Lord’s Prayer, no intercessions – I… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Andy Gr
10 months ago

It was my intention to compare singing and talking to a Prayer Book-based service of the Word such as Morning or Evening Prayer. For me, the Prayer Book defines Anglicanism.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Richard
10 months ago

4 Bible readings (or at least 3) and a 45 minute sermon would have been rather familiar in many Church of England churches in the 18th and 19th centuries. John Newton appears to have defined a ‘long’ sermon as ‘longer than an hour.’ John Henry Newman’s sermons are not short, either. In the whole history of Anglicanism, I think it’s we who are atypical, not them.

David Emmott
David Emmott
Reply to  Andy Gr
10 months ago

There’s a fallacy somewhere in that statement that ‘non-Eucharistic worship is not less important or second-best compared with the Eucharist.’ Anglican teaching is surely that Word and Sacrament are equally important, and equally valuable. Hence a celebration of the Eucharist includes both (and there is more scripture – three readings and a psalm – in most ‘catholic’ liturgies than in many free ‘non-liturgical’ services of the Word). I would feel short-changed if the only offering of worship in my local church was Mattins. Even more so if the diet was a snippet or two of scripture and a rambling unfocused… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  David Emmott
10 months ago

I agree with much of Andy Gr’s post, but I’m with David on the primacy of the Eucharist. I’m not claiming that non-Eucharistic worship is inferior, but it’s not Church-making in the way the Eucharist renews, again and again, the grace received in baptism. Cranmer it seems intended a Sunday morning of Matins-Litany-Eucharist which soon became a case of either/or rather than both/and – and a bone of contention almost to our day. It would be a pity if a similar Word vs Sacrament division opened up still wider in today’s Church. The two are surely complementary. Incidentally, Charles mentions… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Allan Sheath
10 months ago

I have had experiences of a service which combined BCP Matins and Communion in a rural church where being one of four in a combined benefice the luxury of a separate early celebration every week wasn’t possible. It was something of a pot-pourri in that Matins (slightly abridged) was partly sung, and Communion was wholly said: one anomaly being that the Lord’s Prayer was said three times! I thought it was effective, reverent and appropriate in that situation. Some congregation members only attended for one or other ‘part’, but people invariably entered or left silently. (Another church in the benefice,… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
10 months ago

Roland, 20 years ago, when the part of Devon I was in was convulsed by Foot & Mouth, I would lead a weekly service of BCP Litany with Holy Communion (amending the bidding for the Prince of Wales to the Duke of Cornwall of course). And it did seem to speak to a situation in which the air was thick with the stench of burning livestock. Today, at another time of contagion, would I do the same if I was still in that parish. No. Chiefly because the congregation would be too small to sing the responses – a situation… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Allan Sheath
10 months ago

My experience, until very recently, has been different and more fortunate in the small church in Winchester where I played the organ until the beginning of this year. The small choir had dwindled away over recent years, but the mostly elderly congregation have always insisted on continuing to sing BCP Matins: responses, Venite (vv 1-7 plus Gloria) or Easter Anthems, Te Deum always complete (Benedicite in Lent), Jubilate or Benedictus, psalm(s) and four hymns all sung by the congregation, pretty well it has to be said, some of them singing from psalters and with different chants every week, plus sermon. It… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
10 months ago

Matins is lovely, especially in the BCP version. Matins and Evensong are more reflective and less ‘busy’ than eucharistic services, and of course those who aren’t confirmed can participate fully in them. It’s a pity we’re losing them. Family services perform the latter function, but (usually) they aren’t reflective.

Simon.Bravery@btinternet.com
Simon.Bravery@btinternet.com
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
10 months ago

At Holy Trinity Coventry in the 1980s the choir sang matins as a preparation for the communion. Starting with “O lord open thou our lips” , no sermon or intercession but 2 readings and choral settings of the canticles and a short anthem. It lasted about 30mins and most of the communion congregation would arrive while it was being sung.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Andy Gr
10 months ago

One of the churches I’ve recently retired from had HC/MP alternate weeks. First Sunday was Common Worship Service of the Word, third Sunday Matins 1662. I like the latter and agree with those who praise its devotional beauty and evangelical fervour. But it can be turgid and gloomy without decent musicians – and most places are without decent musicians. A said psalm is tolerable, said canticles not. The art of congregational chanting has more or less died out here (still alive in the Church of Ireland) and the standard of organ playing in most ordinary and rural churches now verges… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
10 months ago

Sorry to go on, but I think the business of getting liturgy “in your bones” is particularly important for clergy. Watch any CofE occasion and the chances are you’ll see everyone with their noses in a leaflet (or fixed to a screen. It’s terrible optics, and it says that none of the message has been internalised – external, Potemkin, religion only for show. One has to look at the book occasionally, of course, but for much of the liturgy – absolutions, invitations (eg “Ye that do truly and earnestly …”, and more – eye contact speaks volumes. The liturgy, mass… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
10 months ago

I’m dyslexic and find memorising things extremely difficult. I can go blank even in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer. I can’t just read the service from the book either – it takes too long to refocus my eyes after turning to a canticle/psalm/reading/hymn/notices and then back to the book again. I’ve always had to type out the whole service, including hymn numbers etc, in a layout and font I can read easily. This all means service preparation took me much longer than most clergy, and there’s no way I could ever preside from memory. I always needed sheets of… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
10 months ago

Alleluia, Stanley. We’re on the same page – memorised of course.

Andrew
Andrew
10 months ago

Deaneries lack their own budgets or the incorporated status of the PCC, the diocese or the national institutions. This is probably why they are often regarded as toothless talking shops. But they do have established synodical governance structures, with a balanced representation of laity and clergy, which would be enhanced by greater say over budgets. The largest deaneries have annual turnovers of over a million pounds, in terms of parish share contributions. Rather than pay this over to remote diocesan offices, why not give the deaneries (or pairs of deaneries if they are small) control over their own common fund?… Read more »

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
10 months ago

The Anglican liturgy be it Eucharistic, or office; when prayed from the heart is powerful, and evangelistic. Growing up in South Gloucestershire, at St Helen Alveston; it was our vicar Freddie Walmesly who challenged me by his faithfulness and sincerity. I offered myself for ministry, was accepted and the rest is history..
This morning as is my wont during lockdown I tuned into the Eucharist from Canterbury Cathedral. A powerful sermon from Rose, Bishop of Dover, and the liturgy prayed at is most moving.. Anglican Liturgy at its best.

Fr John Emlyn

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Fr John Harris-White
10 months ago

I agree Father John. One of the benefits of lockdown is the amount of online choice for worship. Like you, I watched a live stream of Choral Eucharist this morning. It was very well presented and I felt like a participant. Although I would prefer to be in my own local church, with other people, receiving communion, the online service from somewhere else was much better presented than my local church in normal times or solitary celebration behind locked doors in current time. As the months continue to go by, maybe I’ll get used to not getting dressed and going… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Michael
10 months ago

I’m glad you found the service helpful.

Jayne Ozanne
Jayne Ozanne
10 months ago

I think Simon Butler’s piece is one of the most important I’ve posted on LLF, and his quote from his article in 2006 stands so true today: “some of my brothers (and generally they are brothers) are in danger of becoming so focused on being Evangelical that they are in danger of forgetting something central to being Christian. I have come to think that their commitment to theological truth runs the risk of side-lining the idea – and maybe the practice – of moral truth. In part this is due to an Evangelical worldview that sees itself as anz embattled minority,… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne
10 months ago

It is not just an Evangelical habit to be tempted by an end justifying means mindset. There are any number of church historians who can point to examples of senior church leaders from all types of denomination cosying up to right-wing repressive regimes to gain some advantage and power for the church The United States and Poland are current examples, one Evangelical, one Catholic.. .

Last edited 10 months ago by Simon Dawson
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 months ago

“…examples of senior church leaders from all types of denomination cosying up to right-wing repressive regimes…” Many thanks! It is possible that this trait is not just confined to ‘moral majority’ Christians in the US and central Europe. I once met an Anglican bishop who had worked in Latin America. To my great surprise, this man held the firm view that a particularly repressive dictator had been the best thing possible for the country in which he had served (and he had served in that country throughout that dictatorship so he could hardly not have *known*). No doubt this rather… Read more »

ACI
ACI
Reply to  Simon Dawson
10 months ago

Fascinating, from a church by law established commentator. I’m sure there are some good studies out there on comparisons between the cosying-up inherent in national churches (the few there are) and those where church and state are separate. The former are slow-boil but inevitable (so the Tractarian complaint) while the latter ebb and flow.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne
10 months ago

Much more important was this:
 
“I am already hearing of clergy being signed-off sick thanks to actions of CEEC and Christian Concern. I am already hearing of vulnerable young people relapsing into depression by these interventions. “

Confused Sussex
Confused Sussex
10 months ago

On the theme of non Eucharistic services there certainly many good ones that are both accessible and challenging. However there are equally many that are merely excuses for people to worship without using their heads but only with their emotions.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Confused Sussex
10 months ago

And is that a problem?

That’s a serious question. As I grow older my intellect is less sharp. My emotions are unaffected. Are you saying my worship becomes less effective?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

It’s certainly no worse than worshipping without your emotions, using only your head.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
10 months ago

Absolutely right, Janet and Kate. And I suspect that, from God’s point of view, the important thing is that we not stop with either head or heart, but go on to hands as well. In other words, whether we’re motivated by thinking or feeling, the important thing is not to stop with either of them, but to go on to doing.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
10 months ago

Thousands of marketing consultant pounds saved: Head; heart; hands 😉

Confused Sussex
Confused Sussex
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
10 months ago

I agree that good worship involves engaging the head, emotions and hands but if it is only aimed at engendering an emotional response it is I think unhealty because if such a response does not occur people can be left bereft and/or feeling that God has let them down

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