Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 8 April 2023

Church of England bishops have highlighted the hope of the resurrection in a series of video and published messages ahead of Easter: Bishops speak of resurrection hope in troubled world

Christopher Howse The Spectator The surprising beauty of Mass in a burnt-out church

Calum Cockburn British Library Medieval manuscripts blog Picturing the Crucifixion

Simon Jenkins The Guardian The decline of churchgoing doesn’t have to mean the decline of churches – they can help us level up

Stephen Cottrell Archbishop of York Water is thicker than blood

Theo Hobson The Spectator Does the Church of England need evangelicals?

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Paul Roberts
1 year ago

With regard to Theo Hobson’s article, I can’t help thinking it’s another example of illiberal liberalism. This time it’s “naff off evangelicals”, then next it will be “naff off catholics”, and so finally the CofE is going to be left in the safe hands of “us liberals” … “Right, you four, what are we going to argue about next?…”

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Paul Roberts
1 year ago

It has become rather tiresome for evangelicals to have hijacked the CofE for it to become a vehicle to tell LGBTQ people to “naff off”. It is not illiberal to stand up to hateful bullies, promoting an ugly religion, based on a misunderstanding of the nature of ancient scriptures. Let evangelicals leave and we can get back to normal.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Easter blessings to you, FrDavid H, from this particular evangelical.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I think, David, that you are making the same mistake as Hobson – assuming that all evangelicals are alike. Whereas there are many shades of evangelical, including open, progressive, and recovering evangelicals, to name just a few. If they all leave it will certainly not be back to normal – whatever ‘normal’ is.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

It is clear that evangelicals are not homogenous, however what has become tiresome is the way that too many evangelical spokespersons come across as bully boys or threaten to go off on a sulk if the rest of us are not able to agree with them.
The idea that they are the authentic Christians and that the rest of us are missing the point is redolent of the Church of Rome at its most arrogant.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

Again, I think that you are referring mainly to conservative evangelicals. I’m not aware that evangelicals of other stripes are threatening to ‘go off’.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

That really was the point of my saying that it is clear evangelicals are not homogenous,It is a comment on their diversity not their sexuality.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Paul Roberts
1 year ago

Paul Roberts
I would think a vanishingly small number of liberals want evangelicals to “naff off”.
But here is the problem Paul. Liberals don’t seek to tell you what to teach or do in your parishes but evangelicals insist on telling liberals what they are allowed to do in their parishes. Conservative evangelicals are INTOLERANT and insist on imposing their theology on everyone else. You are naffing yourselves off.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

‘Evangelical’ and ‘conservative evangelical’ are not synonyms. It’s a bit like failing to distinguish between ‘Americans’ and ‘Californians’.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Paul Roberts
1 year ago

In rejecting Bultmann’s demythologization in favour of (unnamed) radical orthodoxy (bizarrely rebranded as another flavor of liberalism), it’s literally “illiberal liberalism”! So the CoE’s most famous “liberal” casts off theological liberalism: well darn.

Unlike Hobson, I enthusiastically welcome evangelicals staying within Anglicanism, and hope beyond hope that a way can be found for provinces to keep them aboard while also ensuring equal sacramental marriage for all.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

“I enthusiastically welcome evangelicals staying within Anglicanism, and hope beyond hope that a way can be found for provinces to keep them aboard while also ensuring equal sacramental marriage for all.”

I suspect your hope is not likely to come to pass…at least if similar circumstances in American churches are any indication. Our “United” Methodists are in the throes of disuniting over this very issue.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Pat, your experience with TEC is likely not a reliable guide here, because TEC has never been a particularly welcoming place for evangelicals. In the USA, evangelicals are far more likely to be part of specifically evangelical denominations, whereas in England there has always been a sizeable evangelical community within the C of E. Its influence has waxed and waned over the years, but it’s always been there and has always claimed to be authentically Anglican because of its continuity with the doctrine of Cranmer’s BCP. TEC, however, has a more High Church (and, later, Anglo-Catholic) history, and is more… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

I would be glad to see Theo Hobson’s wish come true.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

So you would be glad if people like Paul Roberts, David Runcorn and I left?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

Three swallows don’t make a tolerant summer.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

There’s a lot more than three of us.

Warwickensis
Warwickensis
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

There are places to go if you do and which will be greatly enriched by your presence.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Warwickensis
1 year ago

But why should we go?

Warwickensis
Warwickensis
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

Well that remains between you and the Almighty, but I would consider your spiritual health. It is also possible that your ministry would thrive without the mutual aggrievement. As one whose departure was desired and engineered by those who did not believe in mutual flourishing, I know that my cognitive dissonance has gone, that I have been able to live out my faith more authentically and contribute to the church where I now worship. If you believe that you serve God better by staying then do so and be blessed. I thought that and, for a season, I was right… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

No reason at all.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

Why stay where you’re not happy? It is true you’re not happy with the Church of England as it currently exists, right?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Pat, you are doing exactly what Janet has been warning us about – assuming that the word ‘evangelical’ means that Charles is not affirming. Check your assumptions.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

The problem, I think, is not unlike the problem in the Republican party in the US. Those who, like Charles, are willing to work with a more liberal and accepting opposition are unwilling to call out their compatriots who are not.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Pat, why are you assuming that Charles does not have a liberal and accepting position? Do you think it’s impossible for an evangelical to take that position?

Charles Read
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

I am pretty happy in the Church of England most days. Everybody thinks there are things that need changing. Why are you making these assumptions about me?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

Because you seem to be arguing against the proposed same-sex marriage compromise and from the conservative position that same-sex marriage is never permissible.

Warwickensis
Warwickensis
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

Well, my original reply seems to be lost. Whether to leave or not is between you and the Almighty. However, I would suggest that the cognitive dissonance that you might experience if you stay will need to be addressed seriously. I was forced out of the CofE by someone who did not believe in “mutual flourishing”, though admittedly that was a year or so before the term was coined. For five years before my departure I resolved to stay and do what I could, living peaceably with those whose theology I could not in conscience share. The cognitive dissonance was… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Warwickensis
1 year ago

Warwickensis, you have got Charles wrong. He is not disgruntled, hasn’t spoken of cognitive dissonance, and has no wish to leave the C of E. In addition, he has been an open, inclusive evangelical for at least 25 years, to my knowledge.

Warwickensis
Warwickensis
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Indeed, he is happy as I now understand. Somehow my comments have come out of synch. Had his reply appeared first, I might not have been so quick to reply.

mike the rev
mike the rev
Reply to  Warwickensis
1 year ago

I second all you say in your two posts. My transition out of the C of E began 5 years ago with feelings of distress that I did not really understand at the time. In my new spiritual home I have been able to feel alive again and yes, begin to ‘flourish’ after many years of withering on the vine without recognising it. I know exactly what you mean by the grief process: and I only made a decisive break a year ago (though it was personal choice and I was not forced out). i feel however that God was… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

I don’t want you to leave. We just need to embed the protection of LGBTQ and other vulnerable groups and ensure that a universal welcome is seen as a cornerstone of Christianity.

Andrew Lightbown
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

Having left the C of E for the C in W for a role I felt called to, rather than feeling I had to leave the C of E, it would be people such as Charles, David, and Paul that would allow me to feel I could return (if called). I would self describe as both catholic and evangelical, or the other way round! We need each other, both within and across provinces.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
1 year ago

What an inspiring article from Theo Hobson. Actually I think we should learn from Evangelicals. In a multi media World, Anglo Catholics and Liberals need to market themselves better as Evangelicals already do. We have something truly wonderful to offer the World but we need to shout a bit louder about it. Also ritual needs to be explained. Many people (perhaps a majority) have no grounding in Christianity. An Evangelical Church has services that are simple and direct, that is their appeal but a Catholic Mass needs to be explained for people to grasp its true meaning. Why not a… Read more »

Nuno Torre
Nuno Torre
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

So true!… Same for Roman Catholics, to say the least, but I’ll let that for another place. There are many things that can be done. Pick Washington National Cathedral which is my own spiritual “refuge” when I need “a little more” and don’t have it from my Church: I know, TEC, but it’s Anglican nonetheless. Their Services are top notch professional TV, but guess what… Till the pandemic they only had a “handful” of viewers per week. Then, during the pandemic their current dean, intentionally or not, has joint all his classical and modern musical offerings in what is now… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

Couldn’t agree more that other kinds of churchmanship need to make their voices heard (despite our considerable theological disagreements, that’s one of the reasons I have such respect for evangelicals).

Anglo-Catholics at least have pilgrimages and retreats: liberalism, well, suppose Greenbelt would be closest. Neither’s close to evangelicalism’s extensive and mature networks and conferences. There’s no reason that can’t change.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 year ago

Good to see the Christopher Howse piece from The Spectator. I read it last night after a friend sent it around. Two churches of my formative years were lost to fires. The article brought back memories. Speaking of memories, one line jumped out at me: ” ‘It was very moving,’ Mother Kate remembers. ‘I thanked God for waterproof mascara.’ “. I thought, can the kingdom of God be far from us now? A lifetime ago now, as a newly minted priest, I attended my first diocesan clergy conference. Present was the first and at that time the only female priest.… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

The early days of women’s ordination featured a wonderful reversal of the norm: at clergy conferences, we few women sailed past long queues of men outside the gents’, to have our pick of stalls in the ladies’.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Lol. Thanks Janet, you seem to be a glass half full kind of person.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

I find that staying focused on the positive keeps me going through hard times, of which I’ve had my fair share. A sense of the ridiculous helps too – like 3 weeks ago when, as I was being loaded into an ambulance with a badly broken ankle, I found myself fretting that I hadn’t sent off my article for the Disability Action Group magazine.

SadPhil
SadPhil
1 year ago

Long time reader, first time commentator. I’ve been ordained for almost 10 years and have come to the sad conclusion that the CofE simply cannot exist in its current form for any longer. The divisions- of which sexuality is a symptom, not the cause- are too profound. At deanery meetings,
it has become clear that we are talking about fundamentally different Gospels, different ideas of salvation, who Jesus is, what he does. Much like Brexit, this sex conversation is about so much more than the presenting issue. Let those who want to leave the mainstream do so.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  SadPhil
1 year ago

Phil What you see as an impediment I see as the Church of England’s greatest strength. The deep theological divisions you describe have existed for at least 150 years and actually for the entire history of the Church of England. Archbishop Laud even lost his head over it ! All that needs to happen is a recognition that we all inhabit a very large tent and even if we disagree on fundamentals we can at least continue to talk. If we can manage to stagger on when many Anglicans don’t believe women can or should be priests, why should what… Read more »

Nuno Torre
Nuno Torre
1 year ago

Regarding the brilliant Theo Hobson article: if it wasn’t for the happenings on the larger AC, and I’m more or less certain of what would to be the outcome, because of what the author points out, which is entirely true, but also because today Anglicanism is very well known on the whole world outside the English language native one because of the work of late Archbishop ++Desmond Tutu from South Africa, Nobel Prize of Peace, whom was a moderate Anglo Catholic and moderate liberal himself, and whom “redesigned” Anglicanism for the whole world in the modern times, even if he… Read more »

Father David
Father David
1 year ago

All this talk at Easter of wanting people who differ from one’s own point of view of the Christian religion to leave the Church of England is deeply depressing. For goodness sake we’ve just had a report published which shows how much active membership of the Church of England has declined since the Covid pandemic. We need somehow to reverse that downward trend rather than seeking the removal of those who are existing members of the very Broad Church of England.

David Keen
1 year ago

When Theo Hobson talks about the CofE having a ‘solid theological core’, and ‘the success of the parish communion movement’, it’s hard not to wonder if his article has slipped through the space/time matrix from a parallel universe. The fruits of the parish communion movement are one of the main millstones around the neck of the Anglican church, squeezing out lay leadership from the principal act of Sunday worship, and seen in the frenetic Sunday wafer dash that characterises the life of every rural vicar in the country. Communion is one of the more bewildering and exclusive acts of worship… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

“Communion is one of the more bewildering and exclusive acts of worship to enquirers and visitors….” Exclusive? Only if you want it to be. In the US Episcopal Church, any baptized Christian, of any denomination, is welcome to receive communion. Our own parish uses the following invitation to the Eucharist: The table of bread and wine is now to be made ready. So come to this table, you who have much faith and you who would like to have more; you who have been here often and you who have not been for a while you who have tried to… Read more »

Andrew Kleissner
Andrew Kleissner
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

It’s an excellent invitation (and I use it), but it’s not Anglican – at least, not originally – as it comes from the Iona Community.

Andrew Lightbown
Reply to  Andrew Kleissner
1 year ago

The Eucharist can be, maybe even should be, a converting ordinance: ‘every time you eat this bread, and drink this cup you proclaim….’ Through the Eucharist many have been, and continue to be, drawn into the ‘mystery of faith.’

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

For an evangelical to describe the only service instituted by Jesus as a “wafer dash” says it all. The Holy Eucharist is central to Christian life. To claim it is “bewildering and exclusive” shows the unbridgeable gap between evangelicals and mainstream Christians.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

He did not describe it as a wafer dash. He described the experience of a rural vicar, dashing around a huge multi-point parish on a Sunday.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I assume that David was using the phrase “wafer dash” to describe the pressure on the priest to finish the service and travel to another church. I think he has a point. Pastorally, it is not helpful if you have to dash off straight after service rather than talking to the congregation.

David Keen
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Communion was so bewildering in the days of the early church that their pagan contemporaries accused them of cannibalism. For anyone with no church background, a communion service is way outside their normal experience. To not recognise that communion might be bewildering and exclusive to outsiders perhaps shows the unbridgeable gap between Anglican culture and the mission field Jesus has placed us in.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

I don’t expect Jews would be prepared to stop celebrating Passover, or Muslims Ramadan, in order to make their faiths more understandable to outsiders . Why should Anglicans drop what is central to Christian belief to be acceptable to uncomprehending unbelievers?

David Keen
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

How else do you suggest we reach the ever increasing numbers of unchurched? Whatever we’re doing at the moment clearly isn’t bearing fruit. Of course we should continue to celebrate communion, but alongside it we need to embrace the stuff that actually helps new people come to faith, like fresh expressions, evangelism, Alpha courses and so on.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

I would have thought that Fresh Expressions and Alpha courses have been partly responsible for a decline in Church attendance presenting, as they do, a particular simplistic view of life’s meaning. A more radical Catholicism might be more effective, but evangelicals have taken over the CofE.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

I sincerely wish we would supplement a weekly communion with something non sacramental. Is it too much for a clergyperson to take at least two services on a Sunday enlisting the help of Readers, lay ministers and trained Laity and if necessary to let them get on with it.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

Interestingly, I am having conversations with some people in my parish who have indicated that in addition to attending the Mass they would value the opportunity to attend non-sacramental worship that allows more time for engagement with scripture and intercession. I have often thought it a sadness that so few parishes offer a varied diet of worship.

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

I am a recently retired vicar but some years ago I started a cafe church style service once every 2 months in one of the parishes I cared for. Held in the space at the west end, with people sat around tables, with hymns/songs, a proper but shortened liturgy for a service of the word, and coffee, etc, and cakes during the ‘sermon slot’. Instead of a sermon I offered opportunities for round table discussion on the Gospel passage, images, scripture passages, current events, making things like candles on Candlemas, on so on. Three things stand out in my experience… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Mary Hancock
1 year ago

Many thanks. Also, it is important that there is plenty of cake and other carbohydrates. Last Sunday I went to a 3 PM service at the very small parish of Adlingfleet (Sheffield diocese, and near Goole) where there was a large spread. The service had about 20 people with young families: a better turnout than at some of the other churches I attended that day. The missional attributes of cake are not to be underestimated, and some of the best-attended all age services I have been to have plenty of it, the relevant communities having presumably concluded that the most… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

Indeed. So many churches seem to think that hospitality amounts to no more than cheap instant coffee and a stale biscuit!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Ramadan and Passover are not celebrated daily, weekly, or monthly, or every time Muslims and Jews hold a service. They’re annual events.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

What is your point?

David Keen
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

And Jesus didn’t institute a service, he instituted a meal. We’ve turned it into a service. No wafers were involved on the first Maundy Thursday.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

If Jesus instituted only a meal, perhaps having a cheeseburger at McDonalds would be acceptable to you. I believe that, like Jesus, they don’t serve wafers either.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

He instituted a clear ritual within the meal – sharing the bread as a representation of his body, and after the meal sharing the wine as a representation of his blood. His words were explicit that these acts should be repeated after his death, resurrection and ascension – “Do this in remembrance of me”. This ritual was continued by the earliest leaders of the ancient church and has continued from then to this day in an unbroken line from that upper chamber – your “we” is referring to whom exactly? The wafers are unleavened bread just as Jesus would have… Read more »

David Keen
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

According to the BCP the Eucharist needs to be celebrated a week after the Commination, following which the priest receives confession from all their parishioners. I’d argue that’s actually a higher view of communion than having it every week as per the parish communion movement. Passover was annual, and the early church broke bread in the context of a shared meal, not a separate ‘service’ with minute quantities of bread and wine.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

The history of the Eucharist is perhaps more complicated than many might like to think. Paul Bradshaw and others have made a convincing case that early Church practice was considerably varied, but that it derives more from the weekly Sabbath meal (adapted to a Christian context on Sundays as the day of the resurrection). Or indeed the regular meals at which Jesus ate with his disciples, the regular table-fellowship, some of which meals are recorded in the gospels. Quite possibly ordinary leavened bread was frequently used, but even if not the sharing of a loaf or loaves and the sharing… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

I think that at Emmaus it was the breaking of bread which was the key element – it is unclear how much of that meal the risen Jesus shared. The meal was the context for what Jesus did. In Luke and 1 Corinthians 11 the cup is shared after the meal. And it is clear that the Corinthians are not re-enacting the last supper in full as they remember what Jesus did – they are bringing the actions into their own context.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 year ago

Actually, the abuses of the Lord’s Supper that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 11 do not make sense unless it was a full meal being shared.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Whatever meal it was, it was not a conscious replay of the Last Supper (“each of you goes ahead with their own meal” and certainly not a re-enactment of a passover meal) and not a shared or equal meal.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 year ago

Interesting. It seems very clear to me what Paul is talking about. It’s meant to be a pot luck where rich and poor share equally, but most of the food is brought by the rich. But the rich are eating everything they have brought instead of sharing with the poor, and thus they are ‘humiliating those who have nothing’ (1 Cor 11.22). I did not claim that it was either a reenactment of the Last Supper or a Passover, but I do claim that it was a real meal. If the Lord’s Supper in Corinth 11 had been merely a… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

At the heart of the eucharist is a dramatic proclamation of the gospel based on obedience to the command of Jesus. For those who come and don’t participate, the invitation “would you like to be part of this?” has more than once been a gateway to faith. Jesus did not say “go into your buildings and preach the Gospel” and the idea that our services are the principal point of contact we have with non-christians is profoundly unbiblical. Of course things can be done badly, and the practical ecclesiology often implied by a “wafer dash” is desperately impoverished. We have… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

Although the regenerative power of the Eucharist is central to my own faith, I must agree. This glorious mystery can intimidate the newcomer (goodness, it intimidates me on occasion). I doubt that it’s any coincidence that Evensong and praise services are so popular: despite coming from such different traditions, both are good jumping-on points.

The Parish Communion movement is undoubtedly a boon for the initiated: but at least some weeks, wouldn’t Mattins followed by Holy Communion for those who wish to receive offer much the same, while being more accessible to the curious?

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

The crucifixion and resurrection could be called bewildering.
The eucharist is celebrated because Jesus Christ told us to ‘Do this’.
It is central to what the Church is. Full stop.

David Keen
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

How often did Jesus tell us to ‘do this’? The immediate context (a Passover meal) suggests that its annual. Being annual didn’t, and doesn’t, stop the Passover from being central to Jewish faith and self understanding. So why does communion have to be every week?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

It is not uncommon for Catholics to celebrate a daily mass. You seem to have more in common with the Methodist view of infrequent communion. And their decline is greater than ours.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Traditions as to frequency of communion differ widely, as do traditions of practically everything else Christian? Does it matter?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Mr Keen raised the question.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

Or perhaps not a Passover meal. “So why does communion have to be every week?” On the other hand, why not daily eucharist?

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

I found myself in hot water during ordination training for musing thus. People who attend daily mass must (a) be very wicked such that they need a daily antidote: or (b) have very strong gastric acid and/or enzymes that attack the spiritual potency of the consecrated elements; or (c) have malabsorption syndrome; or (d) be served by priests whose consecration abilities are attenuated in some way, perhaps by having thick skin that hinders the holy rays at the epiclesis. Or any combination of the above. There are other possibilities, though Article 26 suggests that the unworthiness of the minister is… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 year ago

On the other hand, I Timothy 5:23?

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

Rather than every day?

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  David Keen
1 year ago

I find the bickering in this thread deeply depressing. The STRENGTH of the Church of England is that we can worship in radically different ways. People’s needs differ and people’s needs can vary over time. Rather than telling each other how to worship why can’t we focus instead in attracting the unchurched in our own way ? That in my opinion will include having same sex marriage in some churches but not in others. Why is the Church of England so intolerant at the moment ? What would Jesus want ? Bickering over communion wafers or focusing on spreading the… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 year ago

The problem is surely Anglican identity. If that could be more explicit we could have a more genuine and better comprehensiveness with a common core with an evangelical, a catholic and a liberal expression of it. Sadly comprehensiveness has become pluralism. The polo mint church

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

I find it interesting that all these ‘movements’ (evangelical, liberal, anglo-catholic, charismatic) have connections both inside and outside Anglicanism. 18th-century evangelicalism was almost identical doctrinally with Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, but picked up its emphasis on conversion and the religion of the heart from pietism and Moravianism, via the Wesleys. The Anglo-Catholic movement had some things in common with the old high church Anglicanism of Laud and his tribe, but did not share their contentment with the Book of Common Prayer; it embraced Roman Catholic customs that the prayer book had been intentional about repudiating. Charismatic Anglicans rediscovered the… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Thinking out loud can often produce interesting insights. I certainly found it helpful. Thank you.

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

Last Sunday night I left the sticks where I live and went to a very spirited production of Mendelssohn’s Elijah in the Cadogan Hall . The high spot at the end of the first section is where the prophets of Baal and of the God of Israel have a burnt offering- off, and set up opposing altars and call upon their God to send fire to consume the lumps of bullock thereby proving their side’s total supremacy . First penalty shot goes to the prophets of Baal and the excellent soloist in the role of Elijah kept taunting the opposing… Read more »

SadPhil
SadPhil
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

That is such a helpful thought. Polo mint. Nothing real at the centre. We use the same language to talk about entirely different things.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  SadPhil
1 year ago

And sometimes different language to talk about the same things.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  SadPhil
1 year ago

I think there is something real at the centre! It is found in the Creeds , prayer book and other documents. The Ordination service asks its clergy to promise to believe and teach the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it. I would like to see this “core” articulated more explicitly. And throughout my ministry I have hoped we might produce a revised catechism, an Outline of the Faith as Anglicans understand it (officially sanctioned) which can be put in the hands of an enquirer and used by all “parties” within the church as a basis. In… Read more »

SadPhil
SadPhil
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

Indeed. I would dearly love to see the articles have a revival. Some of these below are controversial today; If we lived and taught them, I think the CofE would be in good stead.. CHRIST did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day. THE Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  SadPhil
1 year ago

Just for example, “The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.” And yet in a number of parishes here on Maundy Thursday, the liturgy concludes with the stripping of the sanctuary and altar, the sanctuary lamp is extinguished, at which time the blessed sacrament is formally processed from the tabernacle to the altar of repose. The Articles are pretty much historical curiosities if modern theological insights, including ecumenical documents to which we are a party, are any indicator.

Andrew Kleissner
Andrew Kleissner
1 year ago

 “Evangelical … energy is too counter-cultural; it presents Christianity as an identity in sharp contrast to the surrounding culture”. But surely Jesus was counter-cultural (if not necessarily in the way of some Evangelicals). “An established Church cannot foreground such energy” is to me a good argument for the Church not being established.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Andrew Kleissner
1 year ago

Agreed (as I so often say, in making it independent of the state, secularism benefits religion as much as anything).

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
1 year ago

Whilst Theo Hobson makes a number of excellent points there is something about his generalisation that might obscure those, I have found myself feeling uneasy about making evangelicals so monochrome. It just isn’t the case. When I was a Vicar in a West London Church nearly 30 years ago a wise church warden remarked to me several times that we needed to do things more simply, but not at the risk of making things simplistic. I suspect that Theo Hobson states his case too simplistically. I also suspect that the real danger for the Church of England is in being… Read more »

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 year ago

Jeffrey John was the nadir of confusion over sexuality for the CofE. It was both the high point for assertive conservatives and also the ultimate betrayal of an essentially liberal church of the liberal cause. As someone on the PCC of a church who opposed it at the time, the real truth was it was a game of ecclesiastical chicken that conservatives were suprised to have won, and it shouldn’t be allowed to be forgotten that Rowan Williams was the one who dropped John. I wonder if he had gone ahead whether other than people withholding funds for a time… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

Thanks Paul. As Anthony Archer has explained on another thread, poor – probably simplistic – advice was given. Let’s hope the collective mind of the House of Bishops is more resolved this time around.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

It is 20 years since the Reading debacle. This is long term memory. In real distress at the time, I recall seeking out a wise episcopal friend. He was clear the mess was the Bishop of Oxford’s making.  Rowan Williams was less than a year into being Archbishop. His approach was trusting and collegial. It was Oxford’s initiative, and he was a respected, senior bishop. But such an episcopal appointment was a major innovation anywhere at the time. Richard Harries, a theological liberal, needed to know his diocese – and particularly, but not only – his evangelicals. It should have been… Read more »

Paul
Paul
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

I was also reflecting it was nearly 20 years ago. Harries was not even welcome at our church at the time for confirmation etc due to the opposing theologies and he certainly made a fatal and in my mind arrogant error to think he had the kind of support or at least acquiescence he required. What he did have however was our church paying the common fund and that really was what concerned the diocesan staff at the time. This is also why the new chapter thread is an aunt sally as some conservative churches have been like this for… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

Paul hope you can answer my question because I am genuinely perplexed. I am a liberal but I can understand conservative objections to episcopal oversight by a woman, lesbian or gay bishop because that oversight intrudes into their parish. But single sex marriage is not such an issue. Nobody seriously suggests that conservative parishes should be forced to accept gay marriage or women priests, just as nobody suggests they should be forced to accept reserved Sacraments or High Mass. If the Church of England can accept a huge divergence over fundamental theology why has gay marriage become such a sticking… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Well, we don’t have all the facts, but what is clear is that +Harries used a Bishop’s Advisory Group (BAG), which was not always common practice (although strongly recommended), and one of its members was Philip Giddings. If my memory serves me right he (Giddings) is on record as saying that he regretted not being more assertive in the discernment process, because of course (some) history gives him all the flak for the rear-guard action to undo the nomination. We have of course seen other examples since. The task of the BAG is to give assurance to the bishop that… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Anthony Archer
Alastair living in Scotland
Alastair living in Scotland
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

I am concerned when I read anyone saying the Church of Scotland is closing “churches”. It is not! While it may be closing some church buildings, it is looking to have “well equipped spaces in the right places”. The Church of Scotland continues to minister to everyone throughout Scotland.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Alastair living in Scotland
1 year ago

Not according to the article in the Scottish herald about closing the poorest churches in Glasgow. Also rationalisation is closing churches, however you may wish to spin it. I am not arguing against the strategy or intention, but it is a reflection of the decline of the COfS just as will happen in the CofE.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Alastair living in Scotland
1 year ago

Alastair, the Kirk is most certainly closing churches. In my parish there is one remaining Church of Scotland building, and it is slated to be “disposed of” by the end of 2026. There is no plan for the continuing life of the congregation, just a summary and opaque judgement from 121 George Street that the building is not fit for purpose. The Presbytery “Mission Plan” is a bad joke.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Thank you for this exchange. As I see it, the 2019 Radical Action Plan is a disaster, and it will accelerate the decline of the Kirk, albeit that it might permit limited growth in a few places which could moderate the collapse in aggregate attendance. However, the collapse will continue. When I developed my draft bill for a national religious buildings agency, I envisaged that Scotland (and other countries within the UK) could participate, because of the risk of collapse in Scotland. The devolved administration had refused to assist the Kirk in making up the shortfall in subventions caused by… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 year ago

You wouldn’t expect the Bishop of Burnley to preach the kind of sermon that the Archbishop of Canterbury needed to preach on Easter Sunday. This latter one was a full 18 minutes, and while both sermons were grounded in the theology of the resurrection, the Canterbury sermon incorporated a kind of State of the Union address.  Burnley by contrast stuck to the text, his sermon delivered without a note.  Charismatic, accessible, albeit with the advantage of being able in part to address the confirmation candidates.  But also personally challenging to all who heard it in Blackburn Cathedral, like me, or streamed.  New hope, and… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Anthony Archer
Dr John Wallace
Dr John Wallace
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Thank you, Anthony, for sharing the link. As you say, a very powerful sermon.

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Reading the high praise bestowed upon Phillip North in the midst of this thread I decided to watch the sermon which the Archbishop of Canterbury needed to have preached, wondering whether it would help me to understand why the Church of England decided to promote someone of his discriminatory views.
The only conclusion I was able to reach is that he clearly attracts a strong personal following, but in my view the Archbishop of Canterbury, with very different responsibilities, lives to fight another day.

Peter S
Peter S
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Thank you for posting this link. +Phillip made me laugh and cry, but most of all delight in the directness of this message – new life, new purpose – that I can reconnect with in myself and share with others.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Is this the same Phillip North who was appointed to be bishop of Sheffield but then considered by some to be totally inappropriate for the diocese because of his views on women? Burnley’s gain, Sheffield’s loss!

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

The same Philip (one ‘l’) North indeed, whose confirmation of election as Bishop of Blackburn is I think next week. Not that I pretend to understand his views on women’s ministry mind you, but as my wife said on Easter Sunday, ‘hot stuff in a pulpit!’

Last edited 1 year ago by Anthony Archer
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

And because some of you view him as ‘hot stuff in the pulpit’ it is fine for him to deny the vocation of all ordained women?
Shame on you!

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
1 year ago

No. I am not saying that. I am simply saying that I don’t understand his views on women’s ministry. I played no part in his nomination. The fact that he is an excellent preacher (and missioner) may have played a part in the discernment of the CNC, inter alia, but I make no comment on any other attributes. He was of course the best known candidate that was interviewed, being the internal candidate. His nomination was not without controversy, but the CNC made the decision it did, and was fully entitled to do so. I wish +Philip and the Diocese… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
1 year ago

I am with you Susanna.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
1 year ago

Mutual flourishing at work.

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

I wonder how ‘mutual’ it feels to ordained women ? Answers on a postcard ….

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
1 year ago

“Mutual flourishing” was an agreed part of the agreement on the ordination of women. So the question isn’t “how does it feel” but rather .”is the appointment of Phillip North as Bishop of Burnley” in line with what was proposed and agreed by General Synod. To which the answer is “yes” as women have been appointed as bishops too.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

In the appointment of women as bishops too. All ordained positions in Church of England open to all. Mutual flourishing. Opposing Phillip North is opposing mutual flourishing.

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Or opposing the Cof E’s baked in discrimination against women? Who do have feelings by the way

Warwickensis
Warwickensis
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
1 year ago

I feel no shame whatsoever in not being able in conscience to believe in the ordination of women to the priesthood. I spent a long time agonising over this but could not reconcile the priesthood of women to what the (not necessarily Roman) Catholic Church has always done. The evidence for was not compelling, the evidence against more obvious. My belief cost me dear but it is a choice I would make again. People can call me all the -ists and -phones all they like, but I have arrived at my theological position through careful study. I hold my head… Read more »

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

Interesting piece by the Archbishop of York. The talk of ecumenism being the solution to internal conflicts rather hints at the acceptance that we are indeed not one church as does his statement that we are indeed in a state of impaired communion within the Church of England. What I don’t understand is how, as Archbishop, he can be so positive about this state of affairs. He claims that a newly appointed bishop who has refused to have him involved in their consecration has promised to obey him, but is already in a state of impaired communion with him… I… Read more »

Paul
Paul
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

As I said above that is the reality of the church and has been for years. No one is leaving and both hard line sides say the other must be thrown out. That won’t happen so the only way to keep it together is effectively become separate churches with the bishop and diocese as an advisory framework, this is how the Baptist church operates though the central licensing of ministers is providing them problems over ministers being in gay marriages.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

And this weak leadership will allow the hardliners to suck away much needed resources in having parallel structures within a struggling church that cannot afford them. The reality is that we are beyond the bishop and dioceses as being an overarching advisory framework as we have allowed the creation of special bishops that won’t even accept the involvement of their archbishop in their consecration (beyond being an onlooker from the throne). The Archbishops have a choice – keep expanding the bureaucracy and special oversight for anyone who has a problem with what is agreed at synod or actually fund parish… Read more »

Nuno Torre
Nuno Torre
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

That’s it! Let them to be such an Anglican’s Opus Dei or an Anglican’s Society of Jesus (Jesuits), with the latter as having a good chance of becoming a name suitable for those conevos; and let the African Provinces to form their own conservative “covenant” of rad trad Churches with that new “Church within the CofE” to handle their own rules together with a sort of fellowship linking them to the larger mainstream Communion with Canterbury Archbishop, maybe!… No need for more decades or rancor over minimal subjects! And let the mainstream Anglicanism to shine again as a moderate refuge… Read more »

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