Posts Tagged ‘church of england’

This is part three in a series on how Anglicanism has viewed itself in different times and different places.  Look here for part I and here for part II.  

A few years ago, I was setting up our chapel for a worship service. We don’t have a pulpit in the chapel, so we use a sort of moveable podium when we need one. This podium had been set up right in front of the altar (which, by the way, was set up not as a table, but an altar). One faithful woman questioned this. “Wouldn’t it be more Anglican to move the pulpit to the side and have the altar in the center?” Behind her question was the assumption that resides in many American Anglican churches, that High Churchmanship has a greater claim to being legitimately Anglican than Reformation ideas or even broad Anglican Evangelicalism. If what I have said about the history of Anglicanism so far is true, then how did we get here?

In order to understand how we got here, we must look at a particular movement within Anglicanism that doesn’t tend to get a lot of attention, even though it has profoundly impacted Anglicanism in North America. At the end of the Carolinian period, James II succeeded Charles II as King. Many had already suspected Charles II of having Catholic sympathies. James confirmed their suspicions when he converted to Catholicism. In response, James’ detractors in parliament invited his Protestant son-in-law, William of Orange, to invade England and oust the Catholic King. William accepted the proposal and came to the throne in what has come to be known as The Glorious Revolution, due to the fact that James fled before any blood could be shed. (more…)

I was fascinated by this article.  The author views the Pope’s visit as a representation of robust, intellectual, evangelical engagement of secular culture.  At one point, the message and style of the Pope is compared to those growing, culturally engaged evangelical churches such as Holy Trinity Brompton, which is the church that started the ALPHA program.  All this to say that seeing a passionate and clear proclamation of the Gospel from the Pope was enough to shine the light on what is perceived to be a morally compromised, tired, and theologically confused Church of England.  Do make sure to read the whole thing.

Pope Benedict’s declarations over the past few days have been remarkable and, in modern Britain, virtually unprecedented.

They were delivered in the calmest, meekest, least ranting way possible, and yet they carried a great authority that largely comes, I think, from the Pope’s sense of holiness and evident goodness, as well as from the dignity of his office.

Even hard-hearted cynics and sceptics could not fail but listen.

Most extraordinary of all, here was a religious leader prepared to confront the modern secular world – and modern secular Britain – with the timeless values of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.

These values, said Pope Benedict in his final address yesterday, had been traduced by abusive priests who had seriously undermined the moral credibility of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is almost a shock to hear a religious leader speak in so blunt a way, so inured are we to our own religious leaders, particularly Church of England bishops, accommodating themselves to secular values.

I realise that any Pope has an in-built dominance which partly rests upon the bizarre doctrine of Papal infallibility.

An Archbishop of Canterbury is merely first among equals, and cannot summon up the authority of a Pope.

Yet wouldn’t it be wonderful if Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, dared to speak with a fraction of the authority of the Pope?

The tragedy is that Dr Williams and Anglican bishops probably agree with almost everything Pope Benedict said about the dangers of secularism – and yet they do not have the courage, or whatever it takes, to say it.

And whereas the Pope speaks clearly in English, which is his third or fourth language, Dr Williams often speaks opaquely or in riddles in the language that is his own.

In his concluding address, Pope Benedict said that he had discovered ‘how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the good news of Jesus Christ’.

He is right. And yet how often our national Church – the Church of England – fails to proclaim this good news.

In large parts of the Anglican Church there is a sense of defeatism in the face of the incoming tide of secularism, as congregations dwindle and parish churches close.

But look at the young people in Hyde Park or those lining Princes Street in Edinburgh or those standing outside Westminster Cathedral.

They yearn for the good news, and they invite moral certainty. Would it be too much to hope that Anglican bishops might learn something from the fearless commitment of the Pope?

I realise, of course, that there are some individual parishes, mostly Evangelical ones, in the Church of England which display much of the same fidelity to traditional Christian teaching.

And these, of course, are the very churches to which the young are flocking in droves.

Read the whole thing here.  Make sure to scan the comments at the bottom of the page.

Thanks to Iain for highlighting this bizarre mess of a situation.  In increasing amounts, being Anglican is just downright embarrassing. 

From Westminster Abbey:

“The Rev Jane Hedges, a canon at the abbey, said that it was important to encourage people from other faiths to join in the celebrations.

“We’ve done this as it creates a good opportunity for Christians to meet and hear about the stories of people of other faiths,” she said.

“Christmas is an opportunity for everyone to stop and think and is a great opportunity for the different faiths to talk to one another.

“Wherever you’re coming from there should be something to celebrate at Christmas.”

She pointed out that for Muslims they can appreciate the story of Christ’s birth because it is included in the Koran, adding that the Hindu snowmen were not an attempt to dumb down.

“Strictly speaking, the message of Christmas is about the birth of Christ, but it has a much broader message of peace and goodwill.”

Here’s the problem.  There is nothing even remotely multicultural about Christmas.  Christmas is a Christian celebration.  Rather than respecting other faiths by letting them stand on their own, the Church of England has actually chosen to disrespect other faiths by acting as if the fundamental differences between the religions are not important or don’t exist.  Well, they are important to some because it is a matter of faith and a matter of identity.  To suggest these differences either don’t exist or aren’t important can actually be offensive to some people of non-Christian faith traditions. (more…)

Am I the only one here wondering why the good subjects of the Queen over in England are being asked to prop up failing churches? Churches who have had a hiccup in the past deserve a second chance, but churches with sustained decline should either hire a faithful, sharp, mission minded pastor and make the needed changes to reach the lost or be taken off life support and turned into a museum. From my experience, the biggest problem with the Church of England is the Church of England. They need to quit thinking about saving an institution and start thinking about the lost in their own country

The number of churches in Britain is forecast to fall from by a fifth in a generation, from 48,500 now to only 39,200 in 2030. There is currently a shortfall of around £80 million each year for vital repairs to churches, according to English Heritage, leaving many parishes struggling.

“I genuinely recognise that there is an issue here that we would do well as a country to face up to and see if we can come up with some imaginative ways of helping communities rally around these important buildings,” said Mr Burnham.

P.S., don’t you just love the line about “saving buildings.” This of course was the prime concern of our Lord Jesus

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Im surprised he had any hair left at all...oh wait thats a wig

I'm surprised he had any hair left at all...oh wait that's a wig

The vicar of Trinity Church died in October, 1782, just as Charles Simeon was about to leave the university to live in his father’s home. Simeon had often walked by the church, he tells us, and said to himself, “How should I rejoice if God were to give me that church, that I might preach the Gospel there and be a herald for Him in the University” (Moule, 37). His dream came true when Bishop Yorke appointed him “curate-in-charge” (being only ordained a deacon at the time). His wealthy father had nudged the Bishop and the pastor at St. Edwards, where Simeon preached that summer, gave him an endorsement. He preached his first sermon there November 10, 1782.

But the parishioners did not want Simeon. They wanted the assistant curate Mr. Hammond. Simeon was willing to step out, but then the Bishop told him that even if he did decline the appointment he would not appoint Hammond. So Simeon stayed – for fifty-four years! And gradually – very gradually – overcame the opposition.

The first thing the congregation did in rebellion against Simeon was to refuse to let him be the Sunday afternoon lecturer. This was in their charge. It was like a second Sunday service. For five years they assigned the lecture to Mr. Hammond. Then when he left, instead of turning it over to their pastor of five years they gave it to another independent man for seven more years! Finally, in 1794, Simeon was chosen lecturer. Imagine serving for 12 years a church who were so resistant to your leadership they would not let you preach Sunday evenings, but hired as assistant to keep you out.

Simeon tried to start a later Sunday evening service and many townspeople came. But the churchwardens locked the doors while the people stood waiting in the street. Once Simeon had the doors opened by a locksmith, but when it happened again he pulled back and dropped the service.

The second thing the church did was to lock the pew doors on Sunday mornings. The pewholders refused to come and refused to let others sit in their personal pews. Simeon set up seats in the aisles and nooks and corners at his own expense. But the churchwardens took them out and threw them in the churchyard. When he tried to visit from house to house, hardly a door would open to him. This situation lasted at least ten years. The records show that in 1792 Simeon got a legal decision that the pewholders could not lock their pews and stay away indefinitely. But he didn’t use it. He let his steady, relentless ministry of the word and prayer and community witness gradually overcome the resistance.

read it all here