Friday, 25 February 2011

Prayers are needed in Little Piddle in East Yorkshire.  They are hoping for Broadband this year!

Category:Wikipedia requested photographs in th...Image via WikipediaHere in Little Piddle, East Yorkshire, there hasn’t been any Broadband since the days when it all began.  For years now the people of Piddle have had to forgo the pleasures of the Internet and  have , instead, taken up clog dancing and home wine making to while away the hours.  “Time weighs heavily” said a near neighbour of Mrs Pringle.  The distress of the people of Piddle is dreadful and something MUST be done about things here.

The Local councillor has been on the phone about the matter many times but he says he has been thwarted by the powers that be who ask him to send them a picture of the village by email. “You can’t send a decent image though the Internet” said Mr Tinsley “my camera wont let me do little files so what can we do about it?  If only the powers that be would let us have that Broadband then everything would be great” he said today.

The local vicar, Doreen, has been asked to see if she can do something for the villagers and quick as a flash she put on a service of hope for everyone. “It was wonderful”, said Doreen “I’ve never seen the church so full.”  When asked if it has helped at all Vicar Doreen said” yes it has brought us all closer together.”  The village church is a small church that nestles in the valley beside Little Piddle, and herein lies the villages predicament.

According to the Powers that be, Little Piddle is in too deep a valley for UK Broadband to work.  A spokesperson for the Powers that be said “ if only Piddle wasn’t in such a deep valley then we could get the Broadband working but as it is there's nothing we can do to help the people of Piddle”.

A wealthy local has offered to fill the valley in a bit with the leftovers from his business but it is felt that this would take too long, some say that the local scrap dealer is a bit mad anyway and that he does not always have the needs of the Villagers in the forefront of his mind.

All may not be lost however for the people of Piddle as a wind farm is being planned for one of the hills in Piddle and it is thought that this will help residents to consider moving to another area where Broadband is readily available.

Mr Greasebee, of Greater Piddle, a  large town some three miles distant, says that he and his community would welcome the people of Little Piddle and explained that there was plenty of council accommodation in his Town and that the people of Little Piddle would be given top priority.

Tonight there is to be a public meeting in the Village Hall here in Little Piddle and the matter is to be put to the vote.  The local postmistress, however, believes that nothing will be decided as it is unlikely to attract many people.  When asked why, the Postmistress replied, “Nobody really wants this Broadband modern thing here anyhow, its just something for us to moan about”.

Will the people of Piddle move to Greater Piddle, will the valley become a car dump, will the powers that be come up with a way round the valley being too deep?   We cannot at this stage know how things will turn out, but for now, keep praying for the people of Little Piddle!

This article has nothing to do with Little Piddle a hamlet in Piddletown parish, Dorsetshire, near Piddletown.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Naked Archdeacon.

Quentin Crisp signatureImage via Wikipedia
There are many clergy serving the Church of England today who live in trepidation.  I cannot believe that this is an acceptable situation.

In 1975 The Naked Civil Servant, a 1975 TV film based on the 1968 autobiography by the gay icon Quentin Crisp, was broadcast on independent television here in England.  It was regarded as the fourth most successful British programme ever broadcast by the British Film Institute in 2000.

I mention this film because it was a pivotal moment in changing English attitudes towards people who are gay.  It has not transformed every person in England and I am certain that sections of our society are as oppressive towards gay people today as much as they were in 1975.  However we are living in a society that is largely comfortable with people’s sexuality and we are a much more liberal society as a result.

However the truth is that gay clergy live under the rule of that section of English society that remains oppressive towards gay people, the Church of England establishment.

Whatever theological or ethical stance a person may take on the issue of sexuality the truth is that a person who is both gay and a member of the Clergy here in England will be prejudiced against preferment if he or she makes public their private sexual life.

Parishioners, on the other hand, are far more in touch with the ‘pulse’ of the nation and perhaps the nature of God.  Having a 'vicar' at all is the concern of the average church goer today and irrelevant complications of worrying about their sexual orientation is simply not an issue.  The Anglican God, here in England, is understood by the people to be a loving and inclusive God.  The Church of England establishment, on the other hand, is seen as excluding and conservative and more in tune with avoiding mis-perceived 'scandal'.  The Anglo-Catholic wing has not had a problem with clergy sexuality for generations.

The possibility of becoming a Bishop in the Church of England if one is openly gay is reduced.  Men and Women serving in the Church of England live in fear that to disclose the truth of their sexual orientation would be to end their hopes of preferment!

The matter of sexual orientation is a non-issue for the vast majority of people in England.  It is entirely possible that the appointment of a gay man as a Bishop would in fact endear the church to the people of England.

The Naked Civil Servant  was broadcast a long time ago, Jim’ll Fix it and The Good Life premièred that year and soon after ‘queer bashing’ began to give way to to ‘paki bashing’.  The Church of England establishment remains living in a world that only has four TV channels and appears still to be using a ‘Gestetner’ for all its photocopying needs.

This is a very rough and ready calculation but one that might give food for thought.  Surveys seem to conclude that around 6% of the population are not heterosexual and that would mean that there are approximately 450 non-heterosexual clergy serving today, and of them about 20 are senior clergy, including Bishops.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Gene is not the only Gay Bishop.

Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire at Trini...Image via Wikipedia

I listened to the radio and heard of a dead Bishop.

From the BBC…

“The Right Reverend Derek Rawcliffe was an openly gay Bishop who has died aged 89.

In March 1995 the Right Reverend Derek Rawcliffe discussed his homosexuality on Newsnight and, in doing so, became the first openly gay Church of England bishop. Rawcliffe had spent more than 30 years working on islands in the south Pacific and had been awarded the OBE for his services. In the 1980s he transferred to a very different diocese when he was appointed Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway.

John Wilson spoke to the BBC’s former religious affairs correspondent Ted Harrison.
Derek Rawcliffe was born 8 July 1921 and died 1 February 2011.”

In July the guardian reported that

 “Dr Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, was in the running for the senior position at Southwark until his name was leaked, enabling conservative clerics to stop the appointment. An embattled Williams has now launched an inquiry at Lambeth Palace to find out who divulged the name.
The archbishop was appalled that John's name was disclosed in a successful attempt to derail his candidacy, exactly seven years after he was forced to stand down as the prospective bishop of Reading following a previous outcry by conservative evangelicals against John's sexuality. Fingers are being pointed at the same evangelical hardliners who orchestrated the 2003 campaign.

The matter of appointing Bishops has another significant focus for men like Dr John which is that prospective Bishops are, canonically required to be seen as a ‘focus for unity’.
In August 2010 Thinking Anglican’s were able to report that....

“Mr Brett then asked Mr Fittall a supplementary question:
Within the procedure for appointing bishops, what is the understanding of what it means to be a focus of unity in a diocese.
Mr Fittall replied:
That’s a very good question and it’s a phrase that I think is allowed to speak for itself. It is a canonical requirement that a bishop should be a focus of unity. And it is for the judgment, in the case of a suffragan bishop, of the diocesan bishop, advised by those who support him in that process. And in the case of diocesan appointments it is for the judgment of the Crown Nominations Commission. And those making appointments have to take account of a wide range of considerations, including statements made by the House of Bishops. It is at the end of the day a judgment.

Doing a little joined up thinking then I wonder if The Right Reverend Derek Rawcliffe or indeed Dr. John would stand any chance of becoming a Bishop today?  Has anything changed or would the church hide behind canonical requirement?

Of course the Church of England embraces gay Bishops, even those with partners.  It is because these particular people choose not to be open about their sexuality and their relationships that the Church of England finds them acceptable.

As to the phrase ‘focus of unity’, I think that does not help one jot.  Many Bishops are appointed who were not a ‘focus for unity’ for various groups within diocese, and clearly they are not barred from preferment.

Mr. Fittalls’ words are ringing in my ears. “It is at the end of the day a judgment.”  Yes Mr Fittall, but whose judgement?

Friday, 18 February 2011

If who was Archbishop of Canterbury?

If Mr Sentimoo, the archbishop of York were the Archbishop of Canterbury, would the proposed powers of the Anglican covenant look as comfortable as they might today?

Given the bullying of Synod by Sentimoo that I have witnessed over the last two years and the blatant cow-towing of the chair of synod to him, the acquiescence of the establishment in his abuse of position over the Anglican Covenant that he opposes, then the powers that the Anglican Covenant would put in his hands could cause serious harm and deep division for people who did not agree with him.

If Bishops are prepared to stoop to bullying tactics and are insensitive to the feelings of others, as many are, can we truly put more power in their hands?  Transparency in our relationships is essential and equality must be what we strive for.  The hierarchical structure of the Anglican covenant is our potential downfall and it will, if adopted, bring unhappiness and injustice to people of integrity and faith.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

I believe in God.

Johann Otto von Gemmingen, Prince-Bishop of Au...Image via Wikipedia
I am beginning to wonder how well I know the world of twitter, face book and blogging and concluding,’ not very well’.  I thought that the idea of having a national record of Diocesan Synod reports concerning the debate on the Anglican covenant would be met with enthusiasm and vigour.  It was, of course, by two people, so I am wrong it seems.

In the last 24 hours I have heard that a prominent lay member of a local church is not interested in the Anglican covenant because it won’t have any impact on the local church, so any hope of making inroads into her cerebral wonderland is lost forever and this otherwise sane woman won't be on her own in taking that stance.

To add to my malaise I have received further insights into the wicked workings of deputy Bishops being utterly insensitive, rude unsafe unchristian and indeed quite mad.

I could easily err on the side of desperation, and occasionally I do, but on the whole I don’t.  The reason is simple.  I believe in God and it is in God that I have faith and in God I trust.  As a Catholic I have, in the past, had a high regard for the Church and particularly my own Church of England.  Today I do not have that high regard, not in the ‘established and managed church’ sense.

I am learning that to love God does not mean giving blind obedience to the Church and certainly not to the management thereof.  For me a change in perspective has happened and I am forced to reassess my understanding of God, and indeed my understanding, in part, of the nature of God and certainly His method of working in the world today.

The Anglican Covenant will go one way or another, the deplorable actions of management in the church will continue unrecorded though much talked about in Diocesan Houses and the like.  I will read our Bible and reassess my relationship with God, my creator.

Mr C

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Reporting the Anglican Covenant 'debate' in Diocesan Synods.

Statue of Richard Hooker, whose emphases on re...Image via Wikipedia
It is said that the oxygen of democracy is the media.  Yesterday I suggested that the oxygen of synodical democracy in the Church of England was both stale and a little fetid at times.

I also suggested that the matter of the ‘Anglican Covenant’ as a debate at Deanery level was being quashed by some Bishops by making the issue one of approval rather than debate at Diocesan Synods.

My evidence for this is anecdotal.  I would hope that each Anglican Diocesan Synod might have a reporter, which could be anyone, who would be willing to post a report of their diocesan debate on that one issue so that it might be published here on the www and available for all to read.

Perhaps this is already being done?  Any thoughts?  Mr CatOLick would be happy to host the reports if necessary.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Whose Church is it anyway?

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  The Archbishop...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
The world of the Church of England ‘Democracy’ is somewhat defective in that it is a rather closed environment.  It is closed for a variety of reasons and here are a few I can think of from my observations.

Firstly it is not covered very well by much of the Press.  Ordinary people, not least ordinary worshippers do not hear what goes on.  The dedicated, and not widely read, publications that do carry General Synod reports are dry and staid in their reporting and thereby not likely to be accessed by most people.  Most of the honest and up to the minute reporting goes on online and to a slowly growing audience, and I’m not talking about the C of E website. Do try THINKING ANGLICANS, they are very good.

Secondly, the more local democracy (Diocesan Synods) are not well run, with matters being badly chaired, usually by management.  Real opposition to the accepted view is not given much of a voice, if any.  In the case of the Anglican Covenant the matter seems to be being presented to many diocese as a matter for endorsement rather than debate!

Thirdly, there is a long accepted acquiescence towards Clergy and particularly senior clergy who are most often given the status of ‘sainthood’ in the minds of the worshippers.  It is unfortunate that clergy are viewed in this way as it provides a predisposition to believe what they say and at the very least to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Therefore reason may fail in a debate when Archbishops and others demand loyalty.

Democracy demands openness and an active press.  So much in the Church of England relies on explicit and implicit secrecy.  Opposition is too often painted as disloyalty to clergy and good reporting is not widely read by the constituents.  Synod allows this untidy and unsatisfactory position to continue on the whole, but there are a growing number of subversives who are muttering discontent in the restaurants of London and the corridors of York University (summertime).

Mr C

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Pope Rowan I : STOP The Anglican Covenant.

Dr Rowan Williams PC, DPhil, DD, FBA the 104th...Image via Wikipedia

What follows is the script for the video Mr CatOLick filmed recently.  It was created in consultation with an international group who are against the proposed Covenant.
Well hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my little video putting together some thoughts about the Anglican covenant.
Firstly let me say that I am saddened by the idea of this document and whilst I can fully understand why many learned men and women have got behind the ideas contained in it I can also clearly see that it is an idea forged in a furnace of unnecessary desperation.
The most significant proponent of the AC is Rowan Williams, a good archbishop.  Unfortunately it is during rowan’s time that the nature of the Archbishops post has changed radically and the AC is part of that change.  Rowan now labours under the new responsibility of being a ‘focus for unity’ as heralded by the Windsor report.
The Anglican communion has never given this explicit responsibility to one man and it is something that generations of Anglicans have criticised the roman catholic church for over and over again, pointing to the inevitable abuses of power and the tendency towards punitive styles of leadership that may accompany such a singular expectation.
Poor old rowan has been duped and is now desperately trying to do his best to be that focus for unity.  Well that’s all well and good whilst we have rowan at the helm, but what of future archbishops, will they downplay the punitive elements that lie within the AC?
We need to reject the AC and its un-Anglican drive to centrality, we need to free Rowan from the unrealistic and un-Anglican responsibility laid upon him in the Windsor report and return to the values that Anglicans have held dear and indeed fought and died for, that is independence and freedom to worship as conscience dictates.
Apart from the basic Christian understanding that the bible along with the creeds, and the Lord’s prayer contain the essentials of faith and indeed the essentials that tell us that we all belong to the family of humanity, the very use of the word covenant is misleading.
The word covenant is reserved for an agreement between people and God.  The New Testament heralded the new covenant between humanity and God as revealed in Jesus Christ and we believe that in it is revealed fully the nature of the relationship between God and humanity that exists in truth, that through it we achieve salvation and that by it we know that God is a loving and indeed a forgiving God.
To broker a new covenant that is aimed at more forcefully requiring us to live together nicely may be to show some disrespect to the completeness of scripture.  Clearly we can benefit from people helping us to understand the Bible, the creeds and indeed the Lord ’s Prayer.  However this is something more, much more and it can be argued that it attempts to supersede scripture.
The AC offer us a new way of relating to one another and tells us that if we do not adhere to this new way then there will be relational consequences.  We are fully adult and fully able to think independently, that is the Anglican tradition.  We are able to work out for ourselves that if we fall out over matters in church life, in family life, in general, then there will be relational consequences.  Why is it included in this document?  It is because of the desperate desire to put unity before independent thought.
 One of the consequences of independent thought is that other things arise.  Were it not for independent thought the c of E would not exist, we would all be RC’s.  Were it not for independent thought the Methodist movement would not have come about and were it not for independent thought e would not be created in the image of God; in other words, God has given us our spiritual and moral independence which of course brings with it moral responsibility, but moral responsibility cannot demand that we give up our inheritance as independent people.
So you see that the AC is wrong and misguided.  The proponents, Rowan amongst them, mean well and are struggling to achieve unity in a divided world.  Yet they are misguided, and in Rowan’s case I think he has been forces into a place he should not be by the Windsor report.
So let us free the church and free Rowan, let us continue to be the Anglican Church we are and accept that our forefathers have relied on the Holy Spirit, prayer, the bible, the creeds and the Lord ’s Prayer, and that we should continue to do likewise.
To seek a holy grail, to clutch at straws in the teeth of ad adversity is to forget your core values and your founding documents, in them lies our salvation and to be called to other shores will lead to a rocky and disastrous outcome.
Support Rowan, support the Anglican tradition, keep your independence, resist centrality and let Jesus Christ be the focus of our unity, which is what the Windsor report should have advocated in the first place.
Bye bye for now.