on Wednesday, 9 September 2020 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Reflections on Church Management and Structure. Time for Change?
Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News A Tribute to Colin Blakely, Co-Founder of Via Media
Stephen Parsons has written a fantastically perceptive blog, but very wisely he offers no answers to the questions he raises. I am not sure if there is an answer.
A propos of nothing, I note that the government’s imminent ban on indoor or outdoor gatherings of more than six people will, as a matter of happenstance, effectively kill the Church of England (and perhaps other churches in the UK). This is assuming that the ban also applies as much to religious gatherings as to any other social activity. Prof. Whitty has added that the ban is likely to last indefinitely. Since other organisations have appealed successfully to the state for aid, I don’t see why the Church should not appeal to the Treasury for indemnification. Of course, the Church… Read more »
Your comments on the impact of coronavirus on churches are spot on, but the new restrictions do not apply to places of worship
Very many thanks for that! That is a relief! I had not seen anything useful in the newspapers I looked at when I wrote that. The differentiation is curious, however, as some public health experts had been bracketing religious meetings with other forms of social engagement. I do note that a number of churches have been banking (literally as well as figuratively) on getting attendance up for harvest which starts in earnest this Sunday. If the rates of infection increase again, I suspect the authorities may remove the current exemption for religious meetings or else apply additional restrictions. All, the… Read more »
That is not strictly correct. The Bishop’s statement over-simplifies things. It may seem unduly cumbersome, but the restriction does limit six persons in a group attending church (i.e., individuals and smaller groups can attend subject to the over-all limit – is it still 30? – I haven’t checked). In practice that is unlikely to make a difference except for churchwardens who will have to monitor numbers. At present we only have guidelines. Statutory regulations should be made by 14th September.
Apologies to the Bishop. It is the C of E announcement, not hers, which is incorrect, but it links to her saying this: “I welcome confirmation from the Prime Minister that places of worship can still hold more than six people in total, despite the new restrictions on gatherings, and the reassurance that public worship can continue.“
I am grateful to Sam for the link. However the reference in the statement to working with government on other church activities suggests a degree of uncertainty. What of home groups, confirmation classes, Mothers’ Union meetings, Women’s’ Fellowships, Men’s Fellowships, Alpha courses, Christianity Explored courses? Many such activities have been suspended for several months. How easy will it be to restart them? Work with children and teenagers is of particular concern. If it is safe for them to be in school why cannot they take part in church based activities? A six month gap is a large slice of a… Read more »
I didn’t know Colin but Jayne has done him proud.
A Question some may ask is has the Church of England replaced a Pastoral Episcopacy with a managerial Episcopacy and perhaps in the whole process abandoned any real Theology of the Episcopacy? I have observed in past years the Presbyterian System of the Church of Scotland, through being present in the public gallery at meetings of its annual General Assembly and came away from these feeling that on the whole Bishops are quite a good idea, rather than a Church governed by committees, for in the absence of Bishops, who would be Pastor to the Pastors? I hope and pray… Read more »
“Bishops of the Church of England have traditionally held Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, or Lambeth degrees making them Doctors of Divinity.” – Wikipedia
That’s no longer the case. The Archbishop of Canterbury has a degree in history and law; York in media studies, and London in nursing. In the past bishops had the academic theological training from Durham and Oxbridge to rise above the secular demands of their office.
“In the past bishops had the academic theological training from Durham and Oxbridge to rise above the secular demands of their office.”
That has nor been true for decades. Not in fact since the advent of theological colleges outside Oxbridge – St John’s Highbury was one of the first and predates minsterial training in Durham – St John’s Durham (now effectively Cranmer Hall) was a college planted by St John’s Highbury. (Hence it was called St John’s college Durham). St John’s Highbury became St John’s Nottingham.
Many thanks. This is true. Moreover, even when bishops held divinity degrees they were often not theologians. Essentially, the practice grew up after the Reformation that bishops should be doctors, more or less as a matter of custom. Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin evolved the concept of awarding DDs ‘de iuris dignitatem’, that is for no reason other than the supplicant happened to be a bishop or dean or head of house, and regardless of their theological knowledge or ignorance (indeed, university courses had negligible theological content). Sometimes the crown would step in and authorise the universities to supply a doctorate ‘by… Read more »
What is the exact relationship between St John’s College, Durham and Cranmer Hall?
Colin Blakely’s death is deeply saddening. He was a warm and deeply likeable person and also gave many Christians (especially evangelicals) access to a wider variety of theological perspectives than they would otherwise have had, especially on issues of inclusion, not least as editor of the Church of England Newspaper, in addition to his involvement with the Ozanne Foundation. In a world where Anglicans tend to stick with clusters of the like-minded, he was able to bridge various gaps, even if this was sometimes costly.