Thinking Anglicans

Soul Survivor: reactions to the investigation report

Updated again 19 September and 25 September

Previous report here.

The Church Times reported: Senior pastor of Soul Survivor under pressure as Pilavachi damage spreads

Premier Christian News has: Soul Survivor’s Rev Andy Croft ‘failed to act’ on Mike Pilavachi massage allegation, Church of England investigation finds

The Telegraph: Soul Survivor priest apologises for failing to act on Pilavachi abuse allegations and Victims say Soul Survivor vicar was ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ who should lose MBE

The full statement from New Wine: A statement from New Wine regarding the safeguarding investigation into Mike Pilavachi
There are numerous postings on social media questioning the accuracy of this statement. I will place some links to these in the Comments.

Update: New Wine has issued a further statement dated 15 September, in response to criticism of the 13 September statement, see link above.

Further update: latest Church Times report: New Wine to review its links with Pilavachi after attempt to distance itself fails 

And this 21 September statement can also be found at the same New Wine link above

21 September 2023

Many have been hurt by Mike Pilavachi’s behaviour. As the new Chair of Trustees, I have asked for a full and independent review into the nature and extent of our relationship with Mike Pilavachi and Soul Survivor, to ascertain if there were allegations about his conduct at any New Wine events, and to highlight what we can learn for the future. We are in the process of doing this and will report as soon as possible. In the meantime, I would again urge anyone affected to seek the support and care that is available. Our priority throughout the NST investigation has been to enable a safe space for survivors to come forward, be heard and be cared for.

Bishop Jill Duff, Chair of New Wine Trustees

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James
James
8 months ago

Not the most pressing concern in this awful imbroglio, I recognise, but the photograph in the Church Times of a priest leading a communion service in a t-shirt and holding aloft a plastic cup does give a rather thoughtless view of the Lord’s Supper. I would not be so casual as a dinner guest in someone’s home. Does the Lord deserve less reverence?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  James
8 months ago

I’m afraid I thought the same . At first I thought it was someone drinking next to a pile of Gregg’s cheese pasties. Sadly, it’s today’s Church of England where oily massaging of young men took place. What a horror show.

Alastair living in Scotland
Alastair living in Scotland
Reply to  James
8 months ago

I would be interested to have your thoughts as to how Jesus dressed for the Passover meal? My own thinking is in day to day clothes. Using plates and cups on table. Certainly not silver vessels as the Anglican church has adopted!

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Alastair living in Scotland
8 months ago

Does it matter what Jesus wore for the Passover meal, which might have simply been a meal? The Gospel accounts don’t agree on whether it was Passover.

In any event, he would not have used a plastic cup…

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Alastair living in Scotland
8 months ago

I agree that Jesus would have been wearing ordinary clothes and ordinary cups, plates, or bowls for the Last Supper. We can make it seem remote from people’s lives by dressing up and using the kind of vessels most people would never see, let alone use, anywhere else. But there’s a practical reason for the silver chalice: the action of alcohol on precious metals kills a lot of germs. This is obviously important when a lot of people are drinking from the same cup. The plastic cup shown in the photo will have been very unhygienic.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I often liked the late Dr Stanley Monkhouse’s claim that he was a “Wesleyan who liked dressing up”. He claimed that ritual is common in the animal kingdom. I think it’s sad that any attempt to convey the “numinous” through music, architecture, attire and liturgy has to be reduced to a T-Shirt and plastic cup in order for the proles to understand. I don’t think that when Bach wrote his Mass in B Minor he was thinking about hygiene.

Last edited 8 months ago by Simon Sarmiento
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Do we know what was the setting of the communion service in the photo? Was it planned like that, or simply all that was available at the time?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I understand that is the usual way they conduct communion. They can be found on YouTube on other occasions. They seem to have only T- shirts in the vestry.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

I was referring to the plastic cup rather than the T shirt. I doubt if the peasants and slaves who made up much of the earliest Church had much in the way of fancy dress to wear when celebrating Communion.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Ordinary men in Roman times wore a garment similar to the chasuble, which eventually became associated with the “seamless garment” at the crucifixion. Such liturgical vesture should not be regarded as “fancy dress” which belittles the meaning of the mass. Not as much as wearing a T-shirt, however, which has no significance whatsoever.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

‘Special dress’, if you prefer. Though I don’t see how the meaning of the Eucharist can be belittled by the terms used to describe the garments worn by the person celebrating. The meaning of the Eucharist is too profound for that.

As you say, in New Testament times it’s doubtful that people wore special outfits to celebrate Holy Communion, but it nevertheless held deep meaning for them.

Throughout my active ministry I wore whatever garb was customary in the church or chaplaincy in which I was ministering, and never noticed that it had any effect on the sacrament.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

The picture at Soul Survivor is surely meant to portray just an ordinary bloke wearing the type of garb a man might wear when going to the pub with his mates. The plastic cup shows no respect for the Precious Blood (which they obviously don’t believe in), There are surely occasions when one’s attire displays respect for a particular context. Turning up for a trial in the High Court (or for an audience with the King) in a pair of old jeans is a sign of ignorance and contempt. Trying to dress down to show that Jesus is just a… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Indeed, Father, I would very much doubt they do believe in the Precious Blood as a concept!

I once mentioned to someone from that kind of background that I believe Christ is present spiritually in the sacraments, but they stay simple bread and wine. (Is the word consubstantial?) His instant retort was, quote, “You don’t believe in transsubstantiation and rubbish like that, do you?” To which I replied, “That is not what I said……”

Sadly some parts of our faith are as far apart as the earth is from Neptune or Uranus.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

We had a detailed discussion (I think Rod Gillis contributed) about a couple of years ago of the meaning and significance of every single item of the Eucharistic vestments (including the ‘obsolete’ amice and maniple, etc.), and the separate vesting prayer which (some) priests use for each of them. As you say, deep symbolism and nothing to do with ‘fancy dress’. Having said this, I’m afraid that some modern ‘off the peg’ vestments and even bishops’ mitres can be gaudy; some seem ignorant about liturgical colours. Before our brethren here protest, as our late friend Stanley Monkhouse observed, there is… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

They may be symbolic in themselves, to those who wear them, but they don’t affect the meaning of the Eucharist. How could they, when clerical dress and vestments differ so much over history, around the world, and according to churchmanship? We receive Jesus, whether the vessels are gold, earthenware, or plastic, and whatever the celebrant is wearing.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I don’t accept your first premise, but do accept that it depends on the laity having knowledge of their meaning. When I was in my teens at a weekly Eucharist service specifically for young people the meaning and significance of every item of the priest’s vestments was individually explained. Everyone at that service – a hundred or more young people and some parents every week! – understood. At those services every part of the liturgy was similarly explained in a running commentary by a second priest at the back of the church. I don’t know whether this happens nowadays, but… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

That’s an argument for everyone at the Eucharist to wear chasubles, not just the celebrant.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Or for everyone in Church to wear jeans and T-shirts. Wearing expensive apparel in God’s presence might be regarded as elitist. Better that everyone looks scruffy.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

During the Jesus Movement, the young people in our church in California had a rota. There were always at least two of us in jeans and casual clothes, so that anyone wandering in off the street would see people dressed like them and feel at home.

I’m fascinated that one photo of what appears to be a very casual celebration of Holy Communion has stirred more outrage on TA than the alleged abuse of many young people, and the complicity of church leaders.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

But you joined in the outrage at the photo. You could have remained silent!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

I haven’t joined the outrage, I’ve tried to be a moderate voice in the discussion. And I do frequently comment on abuse stories. What strikes me is that a lot of people seem more outraged by the T shirt than they do by abuse. Bu tit may be, of course, that they can think of no comment to make on abuse, but instead make sizeable donations to sexual abuse charities, or spend hours supporting survivors they know.

James
James
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I plead guilty as the one who started down this rabbit hole – and those who joined in can share the guilt! 🙂 On to more serious matters. If church youth work had observed the same rules now understood in school education, a lot of this mess would have been avoided. The rules are really quite straightforward: avoid prolonged physical contact avoid personal communications you wouldn’t share with another follow the ‘Billy Graham/Mike Pence rule’ about privacy. Nothing can prevent abuse 100% of the time but it’s a good rule in life that being wise rather than foolish tends to… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

There is of course a lot of middle ground between these two extremes.

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Were they peasants? I get the impression that Lydia was a well-to-do businesswoman.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
8 months ago

You will note that I wrote ‘most’, not ‘all’. Lydia seems to have been something of an outlier.

Clare Amos
Clare Amos
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Actually I am not sure that Jesus would have been wearing ordinary clothes at the Last Supper. If it was a Passover meal (which is debated – but the synoptic Gospels suggest that it was) then as a special festival meal it is likely that those participating in it would have put on the ‘best’ clothing that they had available. Certainly that would be the practice among Jewish people celebrating Passover these days.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Clare Amos
8 months ago

But they wouldn’t have been wearing expensive robes modelled on those worn by men from a different civilisation some 2000 years before their own.

Actually I like wearing robes myself, and winced at the T shirt and plastic cup, but I think there is a valid argument for decent civilian clothes and a plainer setting.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Clare Amos
8 months ago

As I mentioned above, that’s an argument for everyone at the Eucharist to wear special robes, not just the celebrant.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Not just the president.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
8 months ago

Well, not according to the rubrics of my liturgy.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
8 months ago

See image.

Screenshot 2023-09-18 at 7.39.41 AM.png
Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Not in the Church of England. The word “Celebrant” does not appear, I think, in any official CofE liturgy. All modern liturgical material refers to the “President”, and there is a long-established teaching document from the House of Bishops on “Eucharistic Presidency”.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
8 months ago

Simon, I am not a member of the Church of England.

James
James
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Which is a good reason for following the Baptist and nonconformist practice and use little glasses. When the next round of covid hits, this issue will arise again. The C of E diktat “banning” little glasses was an over-reach and wrong.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Alastair living in Scotland
8 months ago

Interestingly the American RC television channel ‘EWTN’ (Eternal Word Television Network) depicts this scene every day before the middday mass. Jesus, we only see his upper body and arms, wears a simple and plain loose brown garment with full sleeves. The plate and cup are are both plain brown earthenware, the cup in the form of a beaker – simple and dignified.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

I wonder what research was done into late Second Temple practice in Jerusalem. For esample it is not implausible, certainly in Jerusalem, that stone (likely limestone) plates and cups and other vessels were used.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Alastair living in Scotland
8 months ago

Unless He changed subsequently, which He seems to have had no opportunity to do, He was wearing a seamless robe considered by the soldiers to be of some value. Were seamless robes casual daily attire, or were they special and kept for best? I don’t know, but the mention of the seamless robe seems to suggest something out of the ordinary, or why mention it?

C beasley
C beasley
Reply to  Alastair living in Scotland
8 months ago

Normally the bread functioned as food and “plate”

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  James
8 months ago

I was also rather taken aback by that picture. Some might think that concern about that an irrelevance to the matter at hand here, but perhaps there is a connection: after all, if a minister is careless about one aspect of minsitry, might he not be careless about another?

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
8 months ago

I expect Peter Ball’s celebration of the Eucharist was liturgically very ‘correct’ but this would have been little consolation to his victims. Abuse happens across a spectrum of approaches to worship, as unhealthy power relationships are concealed behind various facades.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Savi Hensman
8 months ago

I don’t see that a direct comparison between Ball and Croft is helpful here. Ball was a manipulative abuser. I’m not aware that anyone is suggesting that of Croft. Rather, the concern seems to be that Croft was careless in responding to matters that were raised with him. My question is whether his apparent carelessness in celebrating the liturgy is part of a wider attitude of assuming that it doesn’t matter whether or not things are done properly.

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
8 months ago

careless in responding to matters that were raised with him” – that grossly trivialises Croft’s failings. At best he was grossly negligent & totally failed in his duty of care, at worst he was deliberately trying to cover things up. In due course we might find out what was happening & what was done, but we should not be in any doubt that it was serious, rather than merely ‘careless’.

NJW
NJW
Reply to  Francis James
8 months ago

As someone whose past life involved investigating accidents, it is often things that are careless that lead to significant consequences – there were some examples of obvious carelessness that lead to death (or hear misses), and were obviously serious in their consequence. Carelessness does not necessarily mean lacking seriousness, but is an attitude that, by assuming that there are few or no consequences, has serious (if normally unintended) consequences. Obviously, no-one should be careless when it comes to protecting the vulnerable and safeguarding their dignity – but being careless (as opposed to knowingly negligent) is an attitude that many have… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
8 months ago

I am not suggesting that Croft is equivalent to Ball, rather that the different approaches to worship which may be found in the Church of England are a poor guide as to whether someone might or might not be enabling or committing abuse. Anglo-Catholic senior clergy, including in the Diocese of Chichester, are among those who have been criticised for laxity in failing to protect young people and adults in vulnerable situations. There are others who are very conscientious about keeping people safe, likewise among clergy using a relatively informal approach when engaging in certain kinds of ministry, for instance… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Savi Hensman
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
8 months ago

It’s possible the informality arose from conviction rather than carelessness. Not my style at all, but Croft/SS may be able to give a cogent rationale.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I agree, Janet. It’s hot in Alberta in the summer, and our church has big windows, so it gets very hot inside. Consequently, the lay readers and I don’t wear robes through July and August; I simply wear an open necked shirt with a stole. But I am not being careless; I prepare carefully for the sermon and service and follow the rubrics in the Book of Alternative Services. What I often notice when I visit other churches is how careless the preacher has been about sermon preparation. It’s often very clear that it was a rush job done on… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Tim Chesterton
Frustrated Christian
Frustrated Christian
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Janet, this isn’t aimed at you, but the whole comments thread:

If anyone in this discussion had ever been to Soul Survivor, you’d know that if he turned up in all the garb that “Anglican priests” wear, the congregation would think it was a joke.

Your context determines what is “appropriate” or “respectful”. Where did I read something about “when I am in Rome, I do as the Romans…”???

It boggles my mind how completely unaware people are of the culture and ideology

I’d also like to second and commend Tim Chesterton’s comments in response to FrDavid H.

David Rowett
Reply to  James
8 months ago

Absolutely, this isn’t central to the issue of Soul Survivor, etc, but… I suggest that to wear communal liturgical clothing – so there’s a bit of anonymity about who’s behind the altar – reduces the ‘fashion parade’ potential. Anyone who believes that jeans, trainers and t-shirt are social levellers has obviously not listened to intense adolescent and post-adolescent discussion about ‘designer’ this, that and the other. There was once a vogue for the business suit as the preferred liturgical garb of some Christian ministers: I’m sure that the H&M off the peg would instantly be recognisable as not Savile Row… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  David Rowett
8 months ago

Whatever else the priest at the altar might be; she is the one charged by the Church with holding its corporate memory. Vestments remind priest and people alike that, at every Eucharist celebrated in the here and now, we’re still part of something far greater than ourselves; that our particular celebration stands in a line which did not begin with us and will not end with us. 

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Allan Sheath
8 months ago

‘that our particular celebration stands in a line which did not begin with us and will not end with us’

Except that it didn’t begin with vestments, did it? The vestments are actually descended from the garments worn by civic officials in the Roman world.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

All I’ll say, Tim, is that when I put on vestments I’m aware of being part of something greater than myself. Jeans and trainers don’t quite do it – even though Jesus probably didn’t wear these either.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Allan Sheath
8 months ago

‘something greater than myself…’ The Eucharistic prayer does that for me, whatever I’m wearing. It tells the story of salvation and invites me and the others present to take our place in that story. Also the psalms, which we continue to pray every week as part of our Eucharist. I frequently find myself thinking, “Wow, these were the prayers that Jesus prayed, and now, we’re praying them with him.” Something greater than myself indeed. ‘…Jeans and trainers don’t quite do it…’ Of course, there’s a lot of middle ground between full Eucharistic vestments on the one hand and jeans and… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

There’s the lounge suit favoured by successive Archbishops of Sydney. That looks equally ridiculous.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

You know, I have absolutely no interest in trying to stop Anglo-Catholics from wearing vestments that are meaningful to them. Vestments aren’t my thing, but I’m well aware that for many others, they work very well. I’m fine with that.

What I don’t get is the vendetta of some people on ‘Thinking’ Anglicans toward those who do things differently from them. The attitude seems to be ‘My kind of Anglican is the right kind of Anglican, and the others are either ridiculous or iniquitous, or both.’ Well, okay, but I can’t quite draw the line from the Gospel to there.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

It’s perfectly acceptable for Christian ministers to wear whatever they like. But when people like those in Sydney pretend to be “Anglican” it’s time to draw the line. They have more in common with the Plymouth Brethren.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

I rest my case.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
8 months ago

The 15 September statement from New Wine says absolutely nothing, yet a serving bishop has put her name to it. Further proof, perhaps, that the hierarchy just doesn’t understand the problem with safeguarding.

On Andon
On Andon
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
8 months ago

That’s the same bishop who said in the CEEC video ‘The Beautiful Story’ (sic) that God has told her personally that he is very angry with LGBTQ people

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  On Andon
8 months ago

And the same bishop who was wheeled out to say how delighted she was about the appointment of a new diocesan bishop in her diocese who was not, by his own choice, in communion with the large number of women priests in that diocese, including her!
Deluded and unworthy of her office.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
8 months ago

100%. I was born and raised in the Diocese of Blackburn and it makes me really sad to see the diocese presided over by someone who denies the legitimacy of many of his own priests aided and abetted by a woman who seems to be happy with this as well as trying to shut the door of the church to those in the LGBTQ+ community. I can accept the breadth of the church and that, at the moment, conservatives who are against same sex relationships and female priests are inside the tent, but I can’t accept that people are allowed… Read more »

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
8 months ago

Broadly that is the Chi model. Horsham is our evangelical female bishop, replacing former member of ‘the society’ who shocked everyone by doing a 180 & accepting female priests. She does not rock the boat regarding females, and is scripturally on-message as regards other matters.

On Andon
On Andon
Reply to  On Andon
8 months ago

I’ve just revisited that poisonous video and what the Bishop actually says is that she went to her ‘secret place’ and ‘sensed God’s judgement on this issue’. Which is perhaps not quite the same thing as saying God is angry at LGBTQ+ people, hence this technical correction, but in CEEC terms ‘God’s judgement’ is probably a more serious charge anyway.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  On Andon
8 months ago

It is still Gnosticism.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  On Andon
8 months ago

God often told me things personally while a member of the CNC! 🤣

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
8 months ago

The third of Simon’s Twitter/X threads which he has posted indicates that a lot of money moved from New Wine to Soul Survivor. This is all from the published accounts on the Charity Commission website?

Mary
Mary
8 months ago

Surely each and everyone of the 2000 new wine leaders, should apologise too. And has J John made any other statements?

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Mary
8 months ago

Sadly there seems to be a developing formula of cursory apologies given when there is no other escape … so while Mary is right , what would they mean? The discussion about how Communion should be celebrated is fascinating in that it it illustrates the myriad ways Anglicans have of being right… fashion also comes into it. I was ‘given instruction’ before confirmation by a very elderly retired priest . As far as he was concerned, unless one was very ill, Communion had to be taken first thing on an empty stomach, and followed by a glass of pure water… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
8 months ago

My experience at confirmation classes (69 years ago!) was very similar, with the exception that the instruction was that Communion was to be the first meal of the day, without the mention of the glass of water before breakfast. The priest who prepared me was a young man, who sadly died in the early months of this year. We were also instructed that Communion was only to be received once during any single day. This explains the fact, which seems to baffle some TA readers, that (in those days at least) the laity did not receive Communion at the main… Read more »

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

What a different world it was then! My confirmation was not all that far behind yours but 69 years is pretty amazing…. We lived in a very low church and rural parish but celebrations at Christmas and Easter were at 6, 7 and 8 as you remember. No Midnight Communion- that would have been terribly papist! For a while the vicar was a retired Canon from the local Cathedral who brought in Parish Communion on the first Sunday of the month, and – shock horror – celebrated wearing ‘a bath towel’ to quote his disgruntled parishioners , a lot of… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
8 months ago

I didn’t want to shock Janet and Tim Chesterton by saying this, but some modern chasubles remind me more of tablecloths!

We always had midnight mass, and in later years I regularly played the organ for that service in two churches, alternating with the ‘official’ organist each year.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

Mitres have even worse connotations for me, but then, I live in North America, and the civil rights movement isn’t really that long ago.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Yes, miners do resemble the Ku Klux Klan headdress. Especially given the trend for taller and taller mitres.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

‘mitres’, not ‘miners’!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

While some vestments remind me of dressing gowns.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I don’t think I have seen any of those. Being serious for a moment, let me say that Holy Communion from a tin mug would be perfectly reverent and proper in appropriate circumstances. Reverence and appropriateness are the criteria for me. I have chosen not to comment about plastic cups and T-shirts.

John Davies
John Davies
8 months ago

Various odd thoughts arise from all this. I was baptised/christened and confirmed an Anglican, and never, ever, has anybody ever bothered to explain the meanings of all the vestments to me; I’m vaguely aware they’re symbolic, and that’s about it. So, the CofE has only got itself to blame if, for me, its totally irrelevant! Having worked under a high church vicar for some years, and tried my level best to understand and accept it, it just doesn’t work for me. I once had to ask him what a chasuble was, never having heard the word before, and he responded… Read more »

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  John Davies
8 months ago

agreed. Fortunately I was prepared for confirmation by ex-RNVR Chaplain, whose wartime experience of ‘jack’ had made him very down to earth.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Francis James
8 months ago

Thank you. Personally speaking, we really do need to get back down to earth, in a whole range of areas. How can we hope to help ordinary people come to faith if our language and ‘polite’ culture alienate them, we or, in a very visual culture, appear totally out of date or place? A friend was describing her workplace ‘frontline challenge’ in a recent service – a new school colleague who’s ‘rough at the edges’ – being translated, they’re rather coarsely spoken in language and subject. Virtually my entire working life was spent among people like that – she’s only… Read more »

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Francis James
8 months ago

I was conscious of Barbara Pym standing behind Rowland and me in our reminiscences of days when parishes mattered- and was sadly conscious that the behaviour of current leaders beats the lying curate in Crampton Hodnett into the shade. My views on trying to build a tradition through ancient styles of dress were bought up short some years ago when one of my children graduated from the University of York. The academics there have extremely spectacular robes and hats. On this occasion the honorary degree was awarded to the irrepressible Berwick Kaler, long-standing pantomime dame of the Theatre Royal. He… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  John Davies
8 months ago

A very regrettable and inappropriate response by your HC vicar. A seamless robe, I think, implies a single piece of cloth, usually circular, with a hole for the head and possibly some shaping for the arms in lieu of ‘tailored’ sleeves. This description fits the chasuble (and the usual form of the C of E surplice). A chasuble can be very simple or very elaborate, but essentially within this description. The vesting prayer for the chasuble is ’O Lord, who has said, “My yoke is sweet and My burden light,” grant that I may so carry it as to merit… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

Thank you – your description makes sense, and sounds very much like a poncho. (I’ve just been to Provence. We had one wet morning, and Aix en Provence positively blossomed with brand new plastic ponchos – obviously someone benefited from the rain!) Being described as ‘woven in one piece’, I’d thought of it being made on a loom and never thought of your suggestion. But then, as my wife will affirm, I have very little concept of dress and clothing…. (Remember Alan A Dale, the character in ‘Robin and the Seven Hoods’?)

Revd Dr John Caperon
Revd Dr John Caperon
8 months ago

The earlier posts in this thread prompted me to look at various YouTube videos – including ‘The Beautiful Story’ and its more recent follow-ups, and some from Bishop Jill Duff. Current Anglican evangelicalism appears a lot more exclusive than it was when I was a young evangelical in the 1960s: and people seem a lot more confident about what God has told them than we ever were … It’s also remarkable that (apart from +Jill) all the ordained participants in the videos eschew (to use a very King James word) the clerical collar: there’s clearly a reluctance to assume a… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Revd Dr John Caperon
8 months ago

Can I point out what you have been looking at expressions of ‘conservative’ evangelicalism. Please not assume they are whole story. They are not. http://www.inclusivevangelicals.com will offer you a different viewpoint, among other places. But the conservative wing presently controls the historical co-ordinating networks in this tradition (such as can afford to produce The Beautiful Story’). It gives them the louder voice.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  David Runcorn
8 months ago

So sorry – typo – http://www.inclusiveevangelicals.com

Realist
Realist
8 months ago

I don’t care in the slightest about robes and robing conventions. Like Janet has said about her active ministry, when I go somewhere where robing is the tradition of the community, I robe and do it with good grace. When I go somewhere where it isn’t, I don’t, and what I then wear depends on the tradition of the community. If they’re used to a priest in a suit, they get a priest in a suit, if a casual shirt, that’s what they get. That is about respect for the community I am serving, and more importantly not becoming a… Read more »

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  Realist
8 months ago

I get just as offended by the cronies and superiors of those charlatans who know what is going on and turn a blind eye

Mike the Rev
Mike the Rev
Reply to  Realist
8 months ago

Spot on. Thank you.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
8 months ago

As the Russell Brand affair is showing, trying to be cool by hanging out with the cool kids is a risky endeavour; you should be very careful that the cool kid you’re hanging out with doesn’t cause more problems that his cool is worth. Ed Milliband’s courting of Brand while Labour leader would be career ending if Milliband still had a serious political career, and a variety of journalists are now doing desperate reverse ferrets: see Marina Hyde’s column this morning, and Conservative Home’s rather excellent response. The BBC is now engaged in a desperate campaign to distance themselves from… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Interested Observer
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