Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 21 November 2018

Andrew Forshew-Cain ViaMedia.News There Can Be No Half-Way House on Marriage Equality

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of mission, poverty, isolation and mental health

Laudable Practice Why we need Choral Mattins

James Alexander Cameron Stained Glass Attitudes A practical guide to the Cathedrals of England

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John Wallace
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John Wallace

Choral Mattins
I don’t think that the families who attend our Parish Sung Eucharist would understand or cope with Choral Mattins. We woud lose them and many of the rest of the congregation. To me Mattins is heavy going, but Evensong which I attend and at which I often officiate is much more balanced.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Mattins with congregational chanting is found at one of mine in Burton on Trent (St Modwen’s) on the third Sunday of every month. Some people like it, nobody stays away because of it. The congregation is slowly growing: that church is the only one in town that is middle of the road CoE (trad hymns, no hand waving, no smoke).

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Actually, the structures of Mattins (or Matins) and Evensong are identical. It is the morning canticles which distinguish Matins – particularly the length of Te Deum (Benedicite even more so). I agree that Matins will never displace sung Eucharist as the principal Sunday morning service in most churches. But Benedictus and Magnificat are about the same length, and surely the most beautiful and fervent of the canticles; likewise, for length, Jubilate and Nunc Dimittis – so it’s really only Te Deum which makes the ‘balance’ different. I play the organ for a service of BCP Matins at a tiny ancient… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Off topic, but …. what is *parish* sung eucharist? How is it different from sung eucharist? And parish mass from mass? I know about the parish communion movement, but why is dated and clubby terminology used when it means nothing to most of the people who live in the parish, who have no idea what goes on in the big building with the bells that sometimes irritates them? ‘Sung’ I can just about grasp; ‘solemn’ too, even though it’s really just for incense groupies (like me). Finally in this rantette, ‘eucharist’ is meaningless to all except club members. I’ve never… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

We had a similar discussion at my parish council last week, with one member arguing for a return to regular Mattins. The majority saw no difference in accessibility for the unchurched between Choral Mattins and our weekly Choral Eucharist. Our occasional Choral Evensongs attract at most 3 or 4 non-members, usually guests invited by choristers or regular members of the congregation. But I do see merit in forms of worship adapted from the Office, which could have an evangelistic purpose. We have a very successful early service on Christmas Eve, sort of an abridged Lessons & Carols to run about… Read more »

David Emmott
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David Emmott

I am bewildered by this talk of the Eucharist displacing Sung Mattins. It certainly happened in most cathedrals during the last 50 years or so; maybe in many middle of the road, but mainly urban, parish churches. But most evangelicals and a good number of other churches have abandoned the Eucharist as the invariable main service for a varied diet of ‘family worship’ and more evangelistic services, at least once or twice a month. Where are those churches that are so well-resourced that they can put on a formal choral office and expect any people apart from Prayer Book aficionados… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Am I correct in thinking that the last cathedral to abandon daily Choral Mattins was St. Paul’s?

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin has daily Choral Matins in term time. But a question and a free advertisement. Can anyone tell me how to get in touch with Laudable Practice and how to be able to print copies of its articles on Matins and other subjects. (At 82 my brain is as arthritic as my bones.) My booklet, Morning Prayer Matters, and more recently, the 2nd, revised edition of my Morning Prayer Dayspring, argue the case for a restoration of Matins (in various possible forms), backed up by a range of scholars (I am not one!). In my lower… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

How very interesting. I used to play the organ at a service in almost exactly that format in a tiny country church on Easter Day and Christmas morning. We used the Parish Psalter for Matins, and the Communion service was entirely spoken. It meant that the Lord’s Prayer was said three times! There was no break after Matins, simply an announcement before the service that those not wishing to stay for Communion were free to leave while the altar was being prepared. A few withdrew quietly, but most stayed. There may have been a few fresh arrivals for Communion although… Read more »

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

May I add some hardly relevant comments. Our rather lovely Georgian-style parish church of Campbelltown, founded by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, “the Father of Australia”, was opened in 1822 (no longer used for the main services ! – many Sydney clergy seeming to prefer parish halls). For much of the 19th century, Holy Communion was celebrated only a few times a year. One Rector always recorded the names of the few who remained behind after Matins for the Sacrament, usually about two dozen of the local gentry. Only on one occasion in his time did a labourer, not named !, remain.… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Andrew Forshaw-Cain is right in his conclusion but perhaps not in his reasoning. Suppose we allowed those in ordained ministry to contract same sex marriages, or just removed the celibacy requirement for civil partnerships. What would happen if an Archbishop of Canterbury married his/her same sex partner? Even a Diocesan Bishop doing it would be incendiary. And simply a parish priest doing it could be as seismic within the parish. We allow parishes to indicate that they don’t want a female minister. How would that work for same sex marriage when the problem would only arise on marriage? Would the… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“What would happen if an Archbishop of Canterbury married his/her same sex partner?”

Nothing important. A few silly people in synod would fake heart attacks but then feel quite healthy once they realised that no-one was watching (it’s “you’re killing your mother” on a grand scale). Some gaudily dressed people from the former colonies would threaten to leave the Anglican Communion, but they do that pretty regularly and their departure is not of much importance. Life would continue.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

AF-C’s piece: I look forward to the day when anyone is allowed to marry anyone in church in religious or non-religious ceremonies. Yes, I mean it – why not have churches registered for nonreligious ceremonies, like stately homes etc? I suspect most of the couples that marry in church do so because of the building, not the religion. Clergy would not be forced to perform ceremonies that they disapproved of, and couples could use other clerics or civil registrars as necessary. Another income stream. This is not tongue in cheek (unusually).

I’ll be waiting a long time.

John Barton
Guest
John Barton

Stanley is spreading the popular rumour that people choose to marry in church for architectural reasons. Not so. Research for the Church of England Weddings Project revealed that those couples who choose a church for their wedding have deeper motives. There are plenty of other beautiful buildings on offer as alternatives to Register Offices; around 20% of wedding couples look to us because they want God’s blessing even if they can’t express it in that language. We mustn’t disparage them, and we would do no one any favours by turning churches into secular venues.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Ah, the wedding project. I was part of that since one of my then churches did the second highest number of weddings in the diocese, and couples told me they wanted to marry there because it was wonderfully photogenic. I remember being thoroughly patronised in WP meetings run by WP apparatchiks (I bet it cost a fair bit). I think I read afterwards that the WP surveys did not stand up to rigorous analysis. My memory might be failing me though. Whether or not couples want God’s blessing, they certainly want the family/tribal temple with its shaman, or a parent… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

When I was vicar of a modern and unphotogenic church, I had only 3 weddings in 10 years – though I read lots of Banns for couples getting married in prettier churches. Then I moved to a traditional-looking Victorian church, and did about a dozen weddings a year.

John Barton
Guest
John Barton

Here are the stats. 822 people who married in Bradford and Buckingham were asked what was the MAIN reason for choosing a church wedding. Before the wedding 4% said it was the appearance of the church; around the big day, only 1% said it was; a year later none of them said the look of the building was their main reason for their choice. As one of the WP apparatchiks, I apologise if Stanley felt patronised by us. The overwhelming majority said it was the, or one of the, best training events they had ever attended. You can read all… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

If churches could be used for civil weddings and the restrictions on religious language and prayers in civil ceremonies removed, at least same sex couples could marry in church at will – or is that what you want to avoid?

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

I see no reason why churches should not be used for civil ceremonies as well as religious ones. I’m not fussed about restrictions of language at civil ceremonies, though I can’t see why people who want a civil ceremony would want religious language.

Kate
Guest
Kate

In the case of same sex couples it’s not that we *want* a civil ceremony, that’s just all that we are allowed by the CofE powers that be.

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

They might, for example, be a couple from two different religious traditions and not feel it appropriate to make vows or pray prayers that only reflect one of their understandings of God, but want to include prayers based on the commonality of their understanding. In the past it was as simple as one of the couple being a divorcee.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: Laudable Practice, it is interesting to consider the articles (O’Malley & Tilby) offered as supportive segue favouring choral mattins. One of the insights of The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is this: “…in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members. “ [1 (1) (7)] and “…Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action… Read more »

John N Wall
Guest
John N Wall

The call for a revival of Choral Mattins reminds us of the original model for Sunday morning parish worship in the CofE, which was for Mattins, followed by the Great Litany, followed by the Eucharist, with a sermon. Anyone nostalgic for Choral Mattins ought to be ready for the real, whole, thing. Choral Mattins is a fine thing for the implementation of a monastic model for the disciplined reading of the Bible among Christians, but when two or three Christians gather, as Christians, they take the bread and wine, bless and share them, in remembrance of their Lord. The Eucharist… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

That might be true if all present are Christians (though not all Christian denominations would agree). But as a state church the C of E caters for all whether they are committed to the Christian way or not; and therefore Holy Communion is not always appropriate. I have a hunch that the coinciding of the Parish Communion Movement with a fall-of of attendance might not have been accidental. Certainly a few people who hover on the fringes have said to me they’d be more likely to attend non-eucharistic services; and some of those who attend, but not every Sunday, have… Read more »

John N Wall
Guest
John N Wall

If folks in the CofE are being taught that the Eucharist is not the defining activity of Christian worship, the CofE needs to reexamine the content of its theological education. There is of course no reason that parishes should not have Mattins, sung or said, as part of weekly, or even daily, worship in the parish. As many, many parishes do. But not as an alternative to the Eucharist. Mattins and Evensong were created by Cranmer out of the monastic Daily Offices to provide parishes and individuals with organized daily Bible readings and prayers, not to replace the Eucharist as… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

There is, and should be, room for many different viewpoints within our national Church – on this matter as in so many others.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Even if it were possible to schedule mass as the principal service in my three urban churches every Sunday, it wouldn’t be possible to provide a priest. Retired clergy (I have two) are a delight and a blessing, but I refuse to have to depend on them every week (it’s a form of abuse by the institutional church IMHO), and anyway one is recovering from heart surgery and the other doesn’t drive because of poor eyesight (a situation that soon awaits me, I fear). The civic church in Burton has HC every other week. If people want the holy mysteries… Read more »

John Wallace
Guest
John Wallace

When we suggested to our twice-monthly all age congregation that it could be non-eucharistic, they were horrified, even those who weren’t confirmed. In a eucharistically centred parish, they felt we were offering second best.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

The latest statistics suggest the number confirmed has declined enormously, and that many evangelical parishes no longer bother with it. I’m surprised bishops aren’t more concerned about it. I’m intrigued what percentage are those confirmed at Public Schools.