Archive for the 'CofE' Category

Join us at the Cathedral

Please come and join us at Southwark Cathedral on 14 April 2013.

Southwark Invitation

Southwark Invitation

Alastair’s installation, along with Archdeacon colleagues Jane Steen and Chris Skilton, takes place at 3pm. The original announcement was made back in December at Henfield, and at Southwark and Chichester.

Friends who wish to come, please do! It would help to have a rough idea on numbers, by emailing or texting/ringing 07736 676106 that you’d like to come.

Those who would like to robe, choir dress with black shoes please.

We would love to see you!

Alastair, Kay, Hannah & Laura

(We are probably moving at the end of May, to Sydenham/Forest Hill. Address on the linked pdf – please update address books! Personal email addresses and mobile numbers as they were.)

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Electioneering

So, the 2010 Church of England General Synod elections are in full swing. These fortunately only come around every 5 years. Synod is a marvellous and somewhat dysfunctional institution, that many people seem to love to hate – but it is the system of national church governance, along with the bishops, that we’ve got to work with at present. ‘Episcopally led, and Synodically governed’ as the phrase goes.

I don’t really like pushing myself forward (less of the ROFL, thank you…) but having been a Proctor in Convocation (ok, member of synod, in English) for the last quinquennium, several people actually asked me to stand again, so I am taking a bit of a punt again. There can be no assumption of re-election…

Synod Address/Statement

Synod Address/Statement

Candidates are invited to have an address or statement, and this is mine. The text is included below the fold: Continue reading ‘Electioneering’

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Rome says “Welcome…”

Cross-posted from my entry on the General Synod blog on The Vatican offer of special Anglican ordinariates – what in Anglican terms may be called something similar to a Third Province, or the Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s ‘tikangas‘.

The General Synod blog

The General Synod blog

Well, there was a surprise! Yesterday’s unexpected hurriedly put together press conference in London, responding to the Vatican’s scheme for special Anglican ordinariates appears to have put cats amongst pigeons.

I am seriously struggling to understand what all this is about, where it is going, and I await the ‘details’ with interest.

It feels a little like we are being told: ‘You know where the door is to come in, but here is a window you can climb in through, too’. Except I’m not one that feels I am standing outside, needing to come in. Continue reading ‘Rome says “Welcome…”’

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Bring back Sunday Schools?

BBC4
Last night I caught a little of Huw Edward’s BBC4 documentary Sunday Schools: Reading, Writing and Redemption. (Available on iPlayer until 24 Feb 2009.) I expected it to be your average media dismantling of religion, but was surprised how uniformly warmly the various participants, general public or celebrity, were about their contacts with Sunday School, and how it had so positively helped form their characters.

One of the participants was Roy Hattersley, who I knew had been in the choir at a Yorkshire church I did a curacy at: Wadsley Parish Church near Hillsborough, in Sheffield. When I was there in the late 1980s, Roy’s mother used to regularly be seen walking her Yorkshire Terrier through the church-yard, and was always up for a chat. Great to hear that the work the churches have been involved in since Robert Raikes founded the Sunday School movement in 1780 has had such a longlasting and positive influence. “Long live Sunday School” said Bill Tidy.

Huw Edwards ended the programme, conscious of the demise of Sunday schools in all but the largest and most significant of churches now, by saying “as one of millions who benefitted from attending Sunday schools, I think Britian is much the poorer – and one day we will wake up and will realise what we have lost”. May it not all be lost…

Wadsley Parish Church © Elaine Pickard

The programme blurb:
Documentary investigating the radical impact Sunday schools have had on
British society. Their early pioneers upset local bigwigs and the state
by teaching the lower orders to read. By Victorian times, huge numbers
attended the schools and they even gave birth to major football clubs.
In the twentieth century they still had a rich influence on the
personal lives of people like Patricia Routledge, Roy Hattersley and
Anne Widdecombe. Huw Edwards discovers their forgotten history.

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London, in Synod week

This week I have spent most of my time in that other ‘London Eye’, the circular debating chamber of Church House, Westminster.

Church House Westminster - London 'Eye'

Church House Westminster - London's other 'Eye'

I, and others, have commented and commented elsewhere especially on the General Synod Blog, so do look there for some of what Synod has been up to.

I take being an elected member of the Church of England’s General Synod quite seriously, for though I am not a delegate, expected to carry others views, I do try to sit in as many of the debates and fringe meetings as I possibly can.

However, being in London has given me a rare opportunity to walk along the banks of the Thames on a couple of occasions, and last night get a cheap mid-week ticket to a theatre production after Synod business had finished.

I sat with a married clergy colleague, slightly uncomfortably, but also with huge fun, at Alan Ayckbourn’s revival of his 1985 ‘Woman in Mind’.

Woman in Mind

Woman in Mind - Alan Ayckbourn - Vaudeville Theatre


Ayckbourn was interviewed by the Telegraph in the run-up to the West End opening of the production, with the marvellous Janie Dee in the lead rôle.

The piece is set in a vicarage garden, and is based on the life of wife of the vicar. She has immaculate garden, an exemplary family, a beautiful life. Except, as it transpires, much of the perfection is in her mind – the reality leaves much to be desired. Ayckbourn does not really explore the causes for ‘Susan’s’ mental illness, but looks at it’s outworking.

I sent a text to my wife saying I was at a play about a vicar’s wife slowly going mad – she responded with a text saying she could introduce me to many clergy wives for research, and that most clergy wives were slowly going mad. She added she was not joking; which though I already knew, I needed to be reminded of; especially in the week this clergy couple celebrated a silver jubilee of years since our engagement.

Ayckbourn’s play is perplexing, and I think probably a commentary on many professional people of our time, not just vicar’s wives. But the play is not without humour, or indeed hope. Note to self, may need to pick up dreamy immaculate white suit on the way home…

One further suggestion from a couple of colleagues was to try and get to the Byzantium Exhibition at the Royal Academy before heading home. More signs of hope.

Byzantium Exhibition

Byzantium Exhibition

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Individual Surprises

Now and again I come across someone (or something) I feel I ought to have known much more about. Listening to the radio today revealed some fascinating insights into the life of Thomas Quasthoff – not to mention some good choices in music!

Thomas Quasthoff

Thomas’ superb bass/baritone voice is in no way compromised by the effect thalidomide had on his limbs before birth. Although a nurse identified his musicality before he was even a year old, his musical education was almost extinguished before it started, as the college would not accept him without an instrument to his repertoire, even though playing was physically an impossibility. A brilliant and talented character.

It reminded me a bit of Australian Nick Vujicic‘s incredible vitality and faith, after someone sent me link a few months ago

              

Even in churches, we do not always treat people with the respect and honour we ought, or spot the potential in them. A number of years ago Alyn Haskey was told that his cerebral palsy would prevent him from being ordained. Fortunately, after a change in perception, rather than a change in Alyn’s call, he has now been ordained in the CofE, and has an active peripatetic ministry based around the Midlands.

Rev'd Alyn Haskey

The Rev’d Alyn Haskey

At next weeks General Synod, I will be looking forward to catching up with several ‘alternatively abled’ friends, including Vera Hunt, Katie Tupling, and Pete Spiers, who have taught me much about wholeness.

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Women in Chichester

In the Chichester Diocesan cycle of prayer, we have been praying for the Team Ministry of Ifield, in Crawley, today. They are currently in vacancy, for a Team Rector.

Chichester diocese sometimes comes in for criticism over it’s perceived attitude to ordained women’s ministry. So it is with a wry smile that today we prayed for the Team Vicar, and two NSM priests on the Team staff – all three women. And we prayed for the parish Readers. Also all three women. So during the vacancy, the parish is being staffed solely by women.

It struck me that if the vacancy for a Team Rector was also filled by a woman, Chichester could be in a probably unique situation in the Church of England of having a women-only staffed parish. Now that might change some perceptions!

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