Touching the hem of Christ’s Vestments.

English: Logo of the Church of England

English: Logo of the Church of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Tomorrow there will be a discussion concerning the safeguarding procedures in relation to the abuse of children and vulnerable adults as it applies to the Church of England.  It seems however to be concerned, not only with prevention but also with punishment.

Whilst I fully accept the rightness of ensuring that people who are considered to be a risk to children and vulnerable adults are not allowed to have unsupervised access to children and vulnerable adults in church, I cannot see anywhere acknowledgement that such people may wish to repent and may wish to continue to have a sacramental relationship with God via the church.

The document fails to provide any guidance on how such people might be integrated into the Church.

The preoccupation about wearing vestments or clerical dress in this document is perhaps warranted, but the lack of pastoral guidance for the wicked is lamentable.  The demonising of such people is a sad reflection on the church and the dehumanisation of perpetrators is unhelpful.  They are reduced to the scathing reference; ‘these people’.

“The sexual and physical abuse that has been inflicted by these people on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame for years to come.” (my emphasis)

Be assured, I am not condoning any form of abuse, simply asking for a less vehement response in dealing with those who are responsible for ‘individual wickedness’.  We have a responsibility to ‘deal’ with them in their entirety, as sinners and as penitents.

It is good to hear the Archbishops citing Christ in their letter…

“All contemporary safeguarding policies and procedures in the Church should be a response to what we learn and see in Jesus himself… In witness to this faith and to our sense of obligation to children who are brought to Jesus through the care of the Christian community, the Church should set for itself the highest standards of care available to our society today”

Yet we also know that ‘what we learn and see in Jesus himself’ includes the grace of forgiveness and a responsibility to care for all who are outcast.

I also feel that the Archbishops should acknowledge that some abusers are themselves victims of abuse and may need special care by the church and church authorities for that very reason.  To cast them out may be to compound the very real harm they also live with.  I say this without any intention whatsoever of diminishing the guilt of the sinner nor seeking any action that would jeopardise a child or vulnerable adult.. or anyone else for that matter.  The daily rape by my Uncle and the chilling threats over many weeks when I was aged 7 haunt me every day.  I feel utterly desolate without the fellowship of my church and some acknowledgement of my repentance and desire to make some reperation.  My voice is the voice of a sinner, yes and i will always have that before me, but there is also the voice of the child within me, a voice that today I recognise more clearly thanks to my friends, both in Synod and online.  I could not cry out then, but i can today.

I would like the Archbishops to listen to me also when they say…

“It is right, therefore, that the General Synod should receive an account of the actions that the House and the Council have put in hand, have an opportunity to comment on the next steps, and be able to identify with the apology that we wish to offer unreservedly for the failure of the Church of England’s systems to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by its clergy and others and for the failure to listen properly to those so abused.” (my emphasis)

I shall not be at Synod this year but I hope that the brave may find something here to speak about.

In His service  MrC

Hope for Unity from Rome to Lambeth

Português: Cerimônia de canonização do frade b...

Português: Cerimônia de canonização do frade brasileiro Frei Galvão celebrada pelo papa Bento XVI no Campo de Marte em São Paulo, Brasil. (fragment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been reported in the Tablet this week that new proposals are being put forward By the Roman Church to the Anglican Communion generally and the Church of England specifically which are a radical departure from earlier attempts to bring the two Christian communities into a positive and lasting dialogue.

On the matter of Women Priests, the Roman Church are willing to review the Socio-theological basis for removing a male only priesthood.  On the matter of the marriage of clergy, Rome is making fairly explicit statements  via various informal, but authoritative spokespersons that it has no objection to this, in fact it believes that the Anglican position might act as a useful stalking horse to allow Roman Clergy to marry if they so desire.

The proposals are , as yet, unofficial

but insiders are saying that the leaking of the proposals are being deliberately engineered from the highest authorities in order to prepare the way for radical change.  “Many of our differences have been worked through by the ARCIC process” Msgr Coverner has been quoted as saying.

However it is early days, and the most difficult sticking point between the two Communities has yet to be resolved.  This may make real progress very difficult in the last analysis.  Msg Coverner  made things quite clear.  Speaking on behalf of the new Pope, he said, “We are prepared to move on issues regarding marriage and possibly gender, even on the thorny matter of Gay clergy, however, we will not be moved on the Malvinas”  It is reported that Lambeth are likely to be equally intransigent.  It is yet to be seen if these proposals see any real progress in uniting the two communities.




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In days of Old when Knights were bold

Chess knight 0971.jpg

Chess knight 0971.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In days of Old when Knights were bold and they couldn’t get hold of a woman, they’d turn their attentions to the Squire.  Well at least according to Richard Bulliet of Columbia University in New York,  but differently worded.

I have tremendous respect for Dick.  His common sense approach and depth of knowledge concerning the whole region of the middle east and beyond is utterly impressive and his ability to communicate is refreshing.

His line about the relationship between the Knight and his Squire does establish a point though.  If History is recorded, then we have the written record to accept or challenge it’s orthodoxy.  If it isn’t then we can embellish the ‘story’ and add our own little bit to the story as it is retold.  The last verse to Four and Twenty Blackbirds, where I grew up included this odd ending…

“the maid was in the garden, pegging out the clothes when down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose, She went to the doctors to get a wooden nose,she looked in the mirror and dropped down dead.”

Now I don’t want to discuss the problems of religious fundamentalism, but I do want to raise the question of who is writing the history of the Church today.  Dick is able to conjecture the sexuality of the Knights of Old and is adding to the narrative.  Today, using Social Media, the people are beginning to add to the Nnarrative of the history of the Church in a way that has never been available ‘ in the whole of history’.  The social media sites offer a conduit for everyone to vent their angry reactions to bullying and such done ‘in the name of the Church’.

The stories of corruption and misuse of power are beginning to be hinted at and sometimes are being exposed.  The light of the people is shining on the Middle East through Social Media and the Arab Spring is one of many surges of influence that is new to this planet.

The people with power are being challenged by the people with mobile phones.  The government’s poor record on protecting sealife, here in the U.K. is being challenged by an online campaign called Fish Fight and similar single issue campaigns are developing, something that could never be imagined by clergy thirty years ago.

The dear old Church of England, or more precisely, it’s senior leaders, have a steep hill to climb if they truly believe that they can continue to keep a lid on ‘the scandal of double standards.  ‘Homosexuality and Bisexuality amongst ‘Bishops of old’ may be safe from exposure, but the gap between what is said from the pulpit of Church House and the bedroom, the gap between what is eschewed as unloving and unchristian and the portfolio of Church Investment or the manners of prelates will become ever more exposed, albeit in under so many characters.

So we may speculate about the Knights of Old and their Squires, indeed we might know a thing or two about the Bishops of old, but today’s leaders, including those of the Churches, are being scrutinised by far more people than Richard Bulliet of Columbia University in New York.  As Robet Lindsay used to say playing Citizen Wolfie Smith… Power to the People!

Maybe our technology will instil some humanity after all…..


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Moving on……

Moving Day (film)

Moving Day (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Faithful followers of this blog know that MrC has poked fun at a lot of people and occasionally pointed out some really bad behaviour by others.  I am not without sin either and it is not a perfect blog by any means.

Still, defending those who are oppressed by others, exposing bullying by senior clerics, these are things we are all required to do, sinners or not, and each and everyone of us will, if we submit to to following Christ and walking the way of the Cross, offering ourselves for the betterment of others, we will all be redeemed, even Bishops and Archbishops.

We are all equal, we are all created by God and we will all be judged by Him.  How far we come to know Him here on earth and live according to His will, as best we can; indeed how far we are able to forgive, may be the deciding factor in how far we are able to live with Him in heaven.



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John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu sports new look Bishops Vestments

When Mr Sentamu becomes Archbishop of Canterbury he intends to impose new Vestments for all Church of England Bishops.  This is to emphasise and enhance the male testosterone levels required for the post of Bishop for all new candidates.  Advertising Sponsorship will be decided by each diocese.  He is also illustrating the look of aggression that he believes is essential for the post.

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Archbishop to Retire. MrC offers a prayer for the CNC that you can use today.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  The Archbishop...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

So the cross hating Mr Williams has announced his retirement from kowtowing to the more lunatic  Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals of the Church of England.  We all knew he was bankrupt as an archbishop and we already knew he was going to retire in the next twelve months.  The next nail in the Church of England coffin will be delivered by the CNC.  That body of arrogant individuals who will chose the next poor victim of Canterbury.

For the sycophants who will find the above distasteful and disloyal I apologise, but the truth, as I witness it, is that Rowan has demonstrated his very bad temper, reduced the weak to tears, allowed others to manipulate the democratic process and has resorted to legal subterfuge to deprive people of their rights and God of His will.

The man came to us carrying hope for a better future and he has indeed had to weather some of the stormiest times in recent generations, but he has failed abysmally to lead us in the path of Christ.  He may have the beard of a kindly wizard, the voice of a kindly therapist and the demeanour of a saint but he is none of those things, (except the wizard thing, he is a spiritual descendant of Merlin since he officially became a Welsh Druid).  He held the hopes of many and dashed them against the wall of establishment.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the man in many ways and my heart does go out to him, I willed him to be better and I have appropriate respect for him, but he has not been good for us.

The real worry we have now is the process of selecting the next Archbishop.  Sentimoo is not going to go for it as he is not well and is too much of a bullying buffoon to fool the CNC a third time.  It is the CNC itself that we have to pray for.

Here is a prayer you might like to use in your own devotions.

Dear Father,

Help the CNC members to put away their own agendas and let them know that they, and their tribes have had their time.

Help them to listen to people outside of London and not to just give lip service to the northern folk.

Father, we just ask that you show them how to get their secretarial work right and pass on information.

Father, put your protecting power around their photocopier so that documents can be read.

Father, help them to remember more and more that Oxford and Cambridge are not the only universities in England.

Father, help them to show compassion and love, cast out any spot of arrogance and high handedness, and protect them from snobbery and pomposity.

Father, let your Holy spirit come down and work amongst them.  Let them know that you know the secrets of all our hearts and know even the secrets of the CNC.


Bye Bye for now.  MrC

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what does it mean…Church?

Copia desde la Crucifixion dibujada hacia 1540...

Image via Wikipedia

Now here’s a thought.  What is the church about?  Is it to worship God who made all things?  Is it to evangelise, to spread the message of Christ as saviour to all people?  Is it to bring help to the poor and needy?  You can add to this list of course.

Why are we so concerned about the buildings that we occupy, and why are we so bound by the structures of organisation that we have adopted over the years?  So much energy is put into maintaining both of these that I begin to think we spend our time and talents unwisely.

The Gospels tell us of a man, Jesus, who overthrew the negative aspects of Pharasitical thinking, the desire to put law and process above the love that God commands us to act upon.

To put it more simply, I don’t see Jesus having much time for the pomposity of a church that wrings its hands at the steps of St Pauls whilst closing its doors to the people who were once camped out there.  I do see Jesus wanting to sing along with the good Christians who went amongst them and shared the word in impromptu religious services.

I don’t see Jesus joining with Rowan Williams and Mr Sentimu as they use clever words in their attempt to discipline the Churches of America and elsewhere with their un-Anglican covenant.  I do see Jesus wanting to stand alongside the gay man He has called to be a Bishop and scandalising the church authorities who, in turn, do all they can to destroy him.  Does this sound familiar?  Christ was hated by the Jewish establishment, whilst he was on earth, because he spoke of a love that was unacceptable to them.  They rejected Christ’s ‘blasphemous’ message and engineered His crucifixion.

Followers of Christ have always been on the edge, at risk of rejection and amongst the outcasts of society.  The comfortable church that seeks acceptance, that concerns itself only with the trappings of permanence in this world, is a church that has turned away from Christ’s calling.  Sentimou’s alliance with Mr Rupert Murdoch, and all that he stands for, by appearing in the ‘Sun on Sunday’ is a cheap trick and has nothing to do with the work of Christ.  It is another example of a person who has lost His way, a man walking a different path to the path of Christ.

So what is the Church about?  I believe it is about acknowledging our sinfulness accepting His forgiveness of those sins and then rejoicing in the salvation that comes from Him.  It is not about getting the best deal or standing in judgement over other people.  It is not about the singular love of buildings, music, vestments, power, position or privilege.

It may be hard for a rich man to enter heaven, but it is harder still for many a church leader, I would imagine.


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British Parliament sends a warning to English Archbishops

MrC predicts fun and games at #synod

MP petition here



Well hello ladies and gentlemen

Ah the joys of winter weather, it looks like synod in England on Monday will slip up on more than the snow.  The inequality debate of synod about women bishops has, no doubt, divided Mr Williams and will undoubtedly cause Mr Sentimoo to again debase synod with his words of anger and ire towards, what he sees as their ‘unbelievable arrogance’.  Mr Sentimoo thinks Synod is arrogant because they have dared to stand against the will of the Archbishops who now want to evade the equality laws of England and divest any future woman Bishop from equality with male Bishops.  Mr Sentimoo bleats about English compromise, whilst wagging his irate finger from the podium of general synod towards the elected members of Synod shouting at them for going against the will of the Archbishops, and that was last year!.

But hello what’s this, the UK government is clearing a path through the snow to rescue the beleaguered and cut of ordinary synod member? Are these the same body of people who would want to disentangle themselves from the Church of England’s management?  Yes, believe it or not the Palace of Westminster are sending out edicts to synod in the form of threats that if the archbishops try to evade their responsibilities over the equality act again, then they will be dumped on from a very high height meaning that they will no longer go along with the Archbishops game of pleading exemption and claiming to be a ‘special case’ the people of England won’t stand for it anymore even if the extremists of synod want it.  The archbishops move to reinforce their old world attitude of inequality for all, women children and gays first, has provoked the Members of parliament to restate the unacceptability of such misogynistic homophobic and irresponsible poppycock that seems to feed the boilers of church house.

On an important side issue, the services of the church to the young are being cut and many a diocesan Bishop accepts this without any difficulty, throwing their hands in the air and saying spending cuts must be made, as they order their new mitres, tuck into their expenses paid meal and rest in their clubs of London.  Aren’t they doing well?

Mr Sentimoo is like a pharaoh of old who has hardened his heart against the Godly notion of equality for women; Mr Blunket is as Moses begging him to let his women go.

The Rev’d Smallwood, a friend of MrC has done a good deal of research on this equality thing and discovered that the equality act of 2010 is clear, “no one should be discriminated against in employment or occupation because of any differences”.

His own work and case study make it plain also that “it is interesting that some clergy want an emasculated type of woman Bishop that they can opt out of, and get a male Bishop instead.”  Such Alice in wonderland logic seems rife in some Anglo Catholic camps, catholic they aren’t, camp they often are.  This divided logic is rife to in the conservative bastion that is known as the Anglican mainstream. A misleading title they adopt, for ‘mainstream’ they most certainly are not.

Mr. Smallwood predicts Parliaments recue bid by stating that “a legal challenge to the block on women bishops could possibly be launched with good chance of success”.

In the end the question is, are women able to be bishops or not, does a Bishop need to be a man?  And once again Mr Smallwood is quite clear that General synod is saying that this is not a requirement whatsoever, it is the Archbishops who are making trouble for women.


So, here’s the rub.  Does the synod govern, or is Sentimoo going to get up and say that they are in fact irrelevant, a sham, a hoax, a load of tripe, as he has pretty much said in the past, and now that he is going, what has he to lose by saying it.  If so and Synod bow to the bully then will it all become very messy as the parliamentarians wade in to give battle, whilst Rowan, who has no stomach for any of this, stands by and tries to capture the consensus in the room.

We shall see.

Bye bye for now.




Run up to the Anglican General Synod in England; York 2011, a rant!

Current dioceses of the Church of England.

Image via Wikipedia

It is so strange, this Christianity business, after all it is based on a guy who, for the most part, seems to have been in the thick of controversy to the point of His own execution.  I look at the up and coming synod and wonder what the agenda has to do with Jesus?  I understand that the management and maintenance of such a huge and unwieldy thing like the Church of England might be a wonderful arena for legal beavers and career bottom kissers, but truthfully, what is on the agenda for Jesus?

There is so much that we need to take into serious consideration, but we can’t agree on a basic approach to life, let alone promote the Gospel.  The Church of England as a national church is just too fractured to be of serviceable use to the ordinary person in England.  It is not that we haven’t been factionalised in the past, we most certainly have been, but today we are culturally poles apart as a communion and totally disconnected nationally from the people.

On the one hand we have people who understand the nature and meaning of compassion and practice it well but then there are more and more people, clergy especially, who cannot grasp common courtesy towards one another and who are so filled with their own certainty of the message of Jesus that the message of humility and vulnerability is not part of their vision of heaven or the gospel at all.

So many hoped that Mr Williams would be a breath of fresh air in the Church but he turned out to be a man of straw, toadying to the rightwing of the church to the point of falling off the edge.  Mr Sentimu is a dab hand at self advertising and at the same time able to bully Synod and still retain the loyalty of the people.  He is not a good advertisement for how we need to be and for him, when push comes to shove, he is happy to play dirty.

But this sad picture is not the true picture, because we, here in England, are not run by diocese, though they have tremendous power both legitimate and illegitimate.  We are run by local groups of people who by and large have no idea what the agenda this coming week in York is and more to the point, don’t really care.  It is the people who have read the Gospels and hear the gospels and know Jesus in their daily life that run the Church of England at Parish level, and legalistic corporate archdeacons, deans, and bishops are simply people they give cups of tea to and cake when they turn up once in a blue moon.

It is a shame that the powers that be are so visionless and so corporate minded that they chuck out anything potentially controversial or ‘difficult’.  It is sad that they run the show for the edification of their vision of this nation rather than the Gospel, are prepared to bully and connive to push forward their own interests and stifle open debate whilst pretending that all is well.  It is what we have been saddled with.

The good news is that the real gossiping of the Gospel in York will be in the bars and in some of the group meetings that go on at the fringe.  Not the Anglo Catholic back slapping meetings or the Conservative reactionary bible bashing meetings where self assurance is the order of the day, but in the meetings where we hear about the wider communion, the troubles faced by Christians in Africa, the work being done to promote understanding amongst other cultures, and even the stand that tells us all about the work of vergers up and down the country.

It is not enough; we need to open up to the issues of social exclusion, the plight of so many who are deprived in our communities and try to react differently to others.  We need to offer a true and honest hand of love and without the usual rhetoric of loving the sinner, not the sin.  It can be so off putting and is so often simply arrogant pap!  The truth is, we run an excluding ship and we frequently push aside those trying to clamber aboard because we don’t want them.  Woe betides a woman getting to the top, and it is a fact that women clergy are often discriminated against most cruelly in our church here today.

Be disillusioned if you like, but not about Jesus and those who follow him, those who are prepared to talk about the things that really matter in our communities and in the wider community called ‘our world’.  Praise God for the humble priest and thank Him for the kindly parishioner, give Praise for the giver who does not look for return and share together the knowledge that whoever we are, wherever we walk, He is beside us.


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