Touching the hem of Christ’s Vestments.


English: Logo of the Church of England

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

MrC’s comments of ‘SAFEGUARDING: FOLLOW-UP TO THE CHICHESTER COMMISSARIES’ REPORTS FOREWORD BY THE ARCHBISHOPS OF CANTERBURY AND YORK’

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

Kerron has a huge cross to bear, Mr sentamu!


Mr Catolick’s blog has made  Kerron Cross (Mr Sentamu’s Publicity spin doctor) to find out a bit about him go here.

I am surprised that a one time socialist should be offended by MrC’s jesting and support for women and LGBT folk.  He clearly doesn’t attend General Synod nor is he aware of the shenanigans that has gone on at CNC meetings and Mr Sentamu’s widely reported vote rigging in the urinals of Lambeth Palace, but I’m sure he is an otherwise good guy.  He also was a supporter of Gordon Brown.  Hmmmmm

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The Modern Village Pump; Who supplies the water?


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Members of the...

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In the debate at Derby Diocesan Synod the Bishop voted against the proposed ‘Anglican Covenant’ and I note from ‘Thinking Anglicans’ link that the rest of the synod, more or less, followed his lead.  The figures show that the majority of people voted the same way as the Bishop in the Derby synod.

I wonder how far voting is influenced by the way the Bishop votes, and how is information communicated beforehand to help people decide?

I would not wish to conclude that people are disproportionately influenced by Bishops just from the Derby result, in any case the AC has been defeated in most other diocese, so far even though the Bishops have voted for the AC.

If we can argue that voting is skewed by Bishops, then this makes the votes against the AC and the majority of Bishops all the more spectacular!

For me though, it does raise a thought, an inkling.  By what process  do the elected members of these Synod’s get their information on which to base any considered vote and are there questions to be asked about that process?

Some of you out there have been, and will be involved in voting on this, and of course many other matters.  I ask you, how did you go about being informed?

In my experience, it is not too difficult to avoid information by dodging the post (binning it) and using the delete button on emails from the diocese and other sources.  If this describes you then on what basis do you make decisions as to what information you are going to read, if any?

The message is everything in Synod, but whose message are we listening to?  I think that this is so interesting, because that is exactly how it is over differences between denominations and religions, at varying levels.  Who you listen to influences what you understand and that , in turn, influences what you believe.  It may seem obvious, but it has some fundamental implications for Church.  It has been said that we learn our faith at our mothers knee. Your Communications Officer may be your mother!

I was asked to produce a background video for those opposed to the AC, and the reason was that the campaigners against the AC wanted to get their message out to as many people as possible and in as many ways as possible.  Getting the message out to people is big business, it is part of the advertising world and money can determine success or failure.  Using a volunteer animated cat as part of your campaign does not guarantee success, but success may be coming our way.

Whilst I may seem to be rambling a little, I am wondering about how we communicate ideas, and I wonder who controls that process, and who bothers to listen anyhow.  If the AC is defeated then good, we win.  Yet that may not mean that the process was in any way balanced.  Like the voting figures in Derby Synod.

I cannot get the picture of Mr Sentimoo berating General Synod, waving his finger and shouting, saying that they had no business voting against the will of the Archbishops who knew what they were doing, and demanding that Synod vote a motion to promote the progress of the AC.  did the new members, many of whom had no idea what was going on to my certain knowledge, listen to his message and vote accordingly.

MrC

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What is in a name? Potential for a fight maybe?


Français : La tour de Babel en construction

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It is perhaps time that I was a little more honest with my readers and tell you all that MrC is a Neo-Anglican-Post-Arcic-High Catholic with trasubstatiarory megalomaniac leanings.

Ordinands may now be diving for their reference books, the rest of you will realise that I am talking a bit of nonsense.  The point of this blog is to ask a very important question; What labels (words) can we use in the Anglican Community when describing one another?

Now before you switch off because you don’t like labels or see people as individuals not as belonging to a group, which has the potential, nay the inevitable consequence of misrepresenting people; let me say that I think it is quite obvious that ‘labels’ (words) have a real usefulness.

It might be interesting to think about the list of words you could put together to describe different religious groupings in your church.  Were not allowing, mad-bunch or reactionary-b**tar*s.

In my quick list I’ve included the following; Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic, Liberal-Catholic and Charismatic.

These ‘labels’ (words) have had a usefulness that have served us quite well in the past, allowing us to talk about groupings to better understand the make-up of our churches.  I realise that these labels have been unhelpful too.  The use of such labels might allow us to make assumptions about people, assumptions that are unjustified, but labels can still be good and useful tools when used responsibly.

I think we do have a problem developing in today’s church, because definitions are changing and the clear demarcations between groups that we once used have given way to softer merging shades.  The clear edges are still  there, and hard-liners (how apt) would want to remind us of the clarity of Anglo-Catholicism or indeed Conservative Evangelism.  Nonetheless the assumptions that one was able to make in times past are not reliably viable any more.

The issue of women’s ordination to the Priesthood has posed questions about what one might assume about someone calling herself an Anglo-Catholic.  Evangelicals come n many flavours today and Charismatics are no longer dismissed as the ‘crazed creators of chaos’ as they often were, at one time.

The use of labels is helpful and perhaps we need to revisit the language we use to talk about groupings in churches.

The need to understand what beliefs, values and opinions are likely to be held by one person is important in our one to one interactions.  To understand, and be able to talk about, the way people gather together into groups who share similar beliefs, values and opinions, is of quite significant importance, for example in the General Synod of the Church of England.  Having some way of reliably and fairly easily referring to such groupings is sometimes crucial to following debate and understanding voting outcomes.

It could be that it is the ‘post-modern’ pick-n-mix that makes the usefulness of labels less reliable.  The logical cohesion of values in groups like the Catholics or the Protestants, the Evangelicals or the Broad-Church are, maybe, not as clear cut any more.

The Church of England has, for a very long time, been proud of its ability to accommodate a breadth of Churchmanship, but I think that this attribute has been thrown into question by the fragmentation of recent years.

It might be helpful for us to reconnect at a basic level, and for us to emphasis our common Christianity, to think about what unites us as one.  The usefulness of labels, though, remains and having considered what we hold in common, perhaps we can reconsider the factions within Christianity or Anglicanism and use new labels accordingly.

Here you can find an excellent description of changing ‘labels’ and much more; concerning ‘Evangelism’ DON’T MISS IT.

MrC

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As Common as Cockroaches


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Leaders of the Church of England are often not held to account for their behaviour and I thought that I might have blogged about this enough for now.  However I am intrigued by the responses from a few who want to emphasise legal rights as a form of remedy against these miscreants, and indeed the benefit of structures within the church as means to regulate wrongdoing.  I am intrigued because it may be an indication that there is a fair level of naivety around concerning church practice, organisation and clerical ambition.

I want to be very clear with you; I know that most of our clergy are hard-working, honest and valuable people who deserve our support at every level.  I hope that I am making this quite clear here.  However it is the deserved reputation of good people that the deliberately wicked people trade on; taking to themselves, by virtue of office, the reputation of honesty and truthfulness, goodness and selflessness whilst treating many in despicable ways.

However, this is not the point of this blog, railing against corruption in the church.  This blog is about the naivety of the people who are allied to the church when it comes to understanding the nature of the people governing that church.

When I wrote the blog, I was fully aware of the legal strictures and indeed the structures intended to regulate wrongdoing.  I wrote the blog because these things fail on a daily basis.  The appalling record of so many dioceses on employment, as an example, indicates that much is wrong in the system and this is just one example.

The culture of sweeping things under the carpet is alive and well in the Church of England.  However, it would appear that quite a few of us are utterly unaware that this is the case.  In addition to this ignorance, which we cannot be blamed for, when faced with the possibility that something may be rotten, many of us prefer to waft sweet smelling bags of disbelief under our noses and think as hard as we can of the good priests we know and have known.

In the case of some forms of scandal, senior clergy have learnt to drop the offender like a hot potato; begging the question, should the Church abandon sinners at all?  However in many other situations of potential scandal the senior clergy are willing to use financial incentives to keep things quiet; begging the question, should the Church reward wickedness?

It may be that in the end we all want things like this to go away and so nothing is done.  Life, these days, is full of bad news and cherished institutions, people and ideals are ‘exposed’ and destroyed so very often.  T.V. Programmes debunking heroes became quite an industry in the naught-ies, and now we have Newspaper Corporations, whole Police departments and politicians exposed as liars, cheats and ‘being on the take’.  Yes, I know, there are good people here too.

Living in a world like this is horrible and it may be that we have had enough and simply don’t want to expose more wickedness and certainly not in Christ’s beloved church.

The mini-principality type structure of the Church of England is a warm place for the bacteria of wickedness to grow, and it has.  Diocesan structures encourage cover up’s and personality cults, bullying and jealousies.  The behaviour of too many of our clergy is unbelievable and stories of their blatant arrogance are as common as cockroaches; if only you know where to look.

MrC

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Catholic and Apostolic?


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What is the ‘full Catholic heritage’?  This is a question that matters to some of us, because we would have, or still do; consider ourselves to be Catholic whilst being members of the Church of England.  Stephen Heard offered this as part of his helpful comments in a debate, which in part was about the meaning of the phrase ‘Anglo-catholic’.

I was taught that the male only priesthood was part of that Catholicity, that full heritage.  Now right or wrong, it would seem that there may be different understandings of the meaning of Catholic.  Whether you become frustrated with the notion of ‘labels’, as Shalom_Activist does on twitter, or not, the problem is that we include this word, Catholic, in our creed, ‘one Holy Catholic and Apostolic church’.

I can sympathise very much with Shalom’s  frustration, assuming I am interpreting his words correctly, but it cannot belay the fact that words matter, as they are what we use for spoken language and this word, catholic, matters quite a lot.

In my original post I provocatively suggested that the ejection of both the Anglo-Catholic ‘party’ and the conservative evangelical ‘sect’ would be good for the Church of England, leaving the liberals to get on with it.  This prompted Paul Stead (paulstead13) to note that the church would not be very ‘broad’; a good point, obviously.

But it still leaves me to wonder what the term ‘Catholic’ means.

I have heard some suggest, rather perfunctorily that it means ‘Universal’, but I am certain that this is too ‘universal’ an interpretation, and would certainly not satisfy Protestant adherents.  However language is not a precise science and it may be that it is a term that changes colour according to the background it appears in.

In the end I am simply trying to understand the language we use in General Synod and the church generally.  The divisions are significant and our use of language should be as precise as it can be.  The term ‘Anglo-Catholic’ seems to have various colours too, so who are we talking to with when we campaign for the ordination of women to the episcopate, for example?

The peculiar marriage of ‘Anglo-Catholics’ and Conservative Evangelicals against the move towards women in the episcopacy puzzles me, and it will end in divorce, of course.  However we will be left, sooner or later, with a new church background, and we will need to use old words and phrases to describe it, or indeed new words.

MrC

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Getting on with it.


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Members of the...

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Recently I have been tweeting some stuff that might be confusing to regular MrC followers.  The move in the chamber at General Synod last week to get on with the consecration of women as Bishops was a significant one indeed.  It is a nonsense one in a way, given that we have had women priests for so long, but it is move towards a more honest church.

The position of those who do not accept the validity of women as either Bishops or Priests is now untenable in the Anglican Communion, and has not been for some time.  Whatever the rights or wrongs of the situation, the Anglican Communion moved away from a male only threefold ministry many years ago and those who cannot stomach it should accept this head on.

I have heard some, on all sides of the argument, mock those who have ‘gone to Rome’.  I have always admired those who accepted the authority of the Pope, for their honesty at the very least; many of my acquaintances and friends have done just that.

There is no place left for Anglo-Catholics in the Anglican Communion and that may be a good thing.  Good because it frees them from the drudgery of fighting an embattled war that they lost so long ago.  It is good because it frees the Church of England from looking backwards to see how the stragglers are doing.  What is needed now is an equally honest disposal of the Conservative Evangelical sect of our church who would see so many of us burn in Hell for accepting women in authority and gay people as equals; and who offer a version of bread to the people that is distinclty grey, hard and sounds rather stone like when tapped!

MrC

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British Parliament sends a warning to English Archbishops


MrC predicts fun and games at #synod http://bit.ly/zxfUHY

MP petition here   http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2688

 

TRANSCRIPT

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.

 

 

 

 

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2688

 

 

Doing a ‘Cleggy’


A report on Church House (London)

Reducing help for children and young people here in the UK.

link to the video here

Betraying the young: or… The Church of England does a ‘Cleggy’

 

Transcript follows:

Well hello ladies and gentlemen

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery and it is no less true when the Church of England decides to imitate a politician.

Mr Clegg is the politician that the church is imitating.  He promised a lot for the youth of this country but he did not keep his promise, he went back on his promise,  he  betrayed the people of England and the young people especially.  From that time anyone betraying children and young people in England today are said to be doing a ‘Cleggy’.

In 2009 the Church proposed a new move which was called ‘Going for Growth’. Going for Growth was portrayed as a way of improving the support of the church to young people and an additional support to the existing work that was done nationally and locally by the national church.  In 2010 the General synod were told about it and they gave it unanimous support.

Work with young people was still going on of course and in 2010, in Sheffield a great gathering of clergy and young people was held and Rowan Williams went there to give his support.  The Archbishop of Canterbury and the other clergy met with the young people, they smiled with the young people and they shook hands with the young people and they ingratiated themselves with the young people.  The young people were listened to and they grew to trust the clergy and believed the promises to do better and to be committed to them, everyone was very pleased and the church boasted about its ability to consult.  Videos were made about their consultation and a great fanfare of tweets and face-booking went on.

But instead of keeping these promises to our young people, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are presiding over a church that has decided instead to take money away from this work and cut the two most important national posts in youth and children’s work, and they have done this with minimal consultation.

What consultation has gone on you ask. Well in law they have to consult with at least two people, and they have; the youth worker and the children’s worker, by telling them they are out of work come the end of the month.

In 2010 General synod voted for more support for children and young people, not to delete these two key posts.  Synod would not support this betrayal and so it has to be done before Synod meet to stop this dreadful act.  And now we are witnessing a time of concealment.  They don’t want you to discuss it and they don’t want synod to debate it, and they are slipping it through the Board of Education in the break for coffee.

Diocesan workers are up in arms; their own work with children and young people will suffer drastically because of these cuts.  Many are seeking support to stop this dreadful move even appealing to their Diocesan Bishops.  Good luck with that one I say.

Well done church house and well done archbishops.  This imitation of right wing economic policy decisions, the total lack of any meaningful consultation, they show the young people of England your true commitment to them.  You have managed to turn your policy round and reduce the support to the youth of England, not increase it. you have truly done a Cleggy.

Bye bye for now

MrC

Time Gentlemen Please.


LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Queen Elizabet...
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The death of a loved one brings with it many difficult hurdles to jump through, not least the words of the clergy person who may or may not be up to the mark.  It is something that has to be got right first time because there will never be a second time.

At a funeral I went to recently there was a right royal cock up when two children were not named as step children to the deceased whilst one was.  This was wrong and forced the spouse into making avoidable apologies to the children omitted, well one at least.

I might forgive this mistake if the cleric who made the mistake was a novice, but in an experienced clergy person, it is very bad indeed.  Unfortunately there is no ombudsman or any possibility of making a ‘claim where there is blame’, so we lick our wounds and continue on.

The real point here, for the dreadful mistake of the names was but one problem with the clergy; fidgeting looking po-faced and talking dross were also part of the service. The real point is that clergy are very variable in their skills and attention to detail.

Many clergy hate doing funerals and are dreadful at taking them, but they do them because they ‘have to’.  Much the same is true of other things that clergy do, and I know of at least one clergy person whose printed crib sheet for wedding preparation included questions about sexual positions that couples should adopt, or more importantly to him, should not adopt.  My protestations fell on Episcopal deaf ears and carpets were used to hide the truth, as is custom and practice with the Church of England.

I wonder what quality of training we have for clergy today and I wonder what help and support is offered to them in their work?  Actually I don’t know why I’m wondering because I know the answer.  Help and advice is patchy at best.  It is usually given in a top down way and consequently is received in an atmosphere that is riddled with fear and reproach, jealousy and caution which is so much part of our experience of Christianity in the Church of England.

For those who doubt this truth then I can only advise you that such a culture is endemic in the Church of England and has been indicated well by the behaviour of senior clergy in choosing Bishops, the quick recourse to legal advice to bar some from high office is so dreadful, and the delaying tactics are dishonourable.  The hidden agendas and personal vendettas that permeate the church are known by those closely involved in these processes but never acknowledged because of the veneer of ‘respectability’ that suffocates the Church of England.  We have had rare glimpses of the real passions involved through the undemocratic and inappropriate outbursts by both the Archbishop of York and now the Archbishop of Canterbury at the General Synod over the last twelve months.

I think that the real problem for the crusty edifice, the disfiguring veneer, which corrodes the Church of England today, is the powerful action of twitter and all social media related things.

I may be feeling let down by the clergy at the funeral I attended, but perhaps I can take comfort knowing that the quality of service, generally, is often poor, from top to bottom, and that I can tell my story.

Having said that, there are most excellent and most humble clergy and laity alike who get on with the work of loving and caring and being with the people of this nation.  However, in general, we get a very poor deal and we can’t ask for our money back.

Bye Bye for now.  MrC

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