Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Church of England must become more democratic

The mechanism by which the Church of England appoints its archbishops, bishops and suffragan bishops is archaic and convoluted, going back to the Appointments of Bishops Act 1533 and the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534. The 1533 Act enshrined in law that the Sovereign could order cathedral chapters to elect the Sovereign’s nominated cleric on pain of praemunire. That sanction was repealed in 1967, and the Colleges of Canons emerged. This has developed into both clerical and lay involvement while reserving the ultimate decision to the Crown.

The process is now one of committees – the Crown Appointments Commission became the Crown Nominations Commission, consisting of elected clerical and lay members (six members of the General Synod – three clerical and three lay) and six elected members of the diocesan Vacancy in See Committee, along with the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary and the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary (non-voting). When the vacancy concerns Canterbury, the chairman is nominated by the Prime Minister, and the committee is joined by one of the members of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion (voting), elected by Joint Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Consultative Council. Also invited is the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion (non-voting).

This Vacancy in See Committee elects the diocesan representatives to the CNC. Its ex officio members include all suffragans and stipendiary assistant bishops, the cathedral dean, no more than two archdeacons, any diocesan members of the General Synod, and the chairmen/women of the Houses of Clergy and Laity of the diocesan synod. Elected members may not be fewer than two each of clerical and lay members of the diocesan synod. Further, the diocesan bishop’s council may nominate up to four additional members in order to secure representation of a ‘special interest’ or to ‘improve’ the representative character of the Committee as a whole (yes, really).

This being the second day of the of His Grace’s restoration to the See of Canterbury, he would like to announce that all this fuss and nonsense will cease forthwith. Either we return to a secret conclave of bishops or we let democracy flow like a river. What is unacceptable is the facade of democracy sustained through committees of the elite who may then introduce additional members to ‘improve’ the representative character of that committee.

Give churchgoers the vote. It might not stem the decline, but it would reinvigorate communion and the processes of participation. His Grace is aware that churchgoers are not the same as parishioners, and that this has implications for the nature of establishment, but a degree of democratic accountability would compel bishops and archbishops to focus on ministering to their sheep, instead of chasing after the Guardian-reading goats and indulging disproportionately in Thought-for-the-Day sound-bites on relatively trivial matters of gender and sexuality.

His Grace will turn to reforms to the General Synod in due course. But the only way of repairing the gulf that has grown between the laity and the episcopacy is for the latter to be made more accountable to the former and that means being more in communion. We are not talking about a ballot box at the altar, but of creating an inspirational culture of active participation which renders the episcopacy accountable to the clergy and both more accountable to the laity who are all accountable to God corporately.

Never again can we have a committee which is deadlocked leaving ordinary Anglicans to #prayfortheCNC (which leaves the majority twiddling their thumbs). If the Archbishop of Wales can be elected by an electoral college; if the Pope of Rome can be elected by a Conclave of cardinals; if the Pope of Alexandria can be shortlisted by 2,000 ordinary members of the Coptic Church of Egypt (and the final one selected by a child), it is utterly reasonable (not to say a procedurally imperative) for the bishops and archbishops of the Church of England to be democratically elected.

This would have the effect of binding the laity closer to the clergy and the episcopacy. As democratic politicians know, when the grassroots are involved, they feel valued. When they feel valued, they work better. It’s just love in action, you see. When you ask Anglicans to pray for a secret committee meeting at a secret location, they are blind and directionless, like sheep without a shepherd. When they know for whom they are praying and why, they discern wisely and respond to the shepherd’s voice (or, if necessary, the sheepdog’s growl). Imagine the inspirational prayer, sense of expectation and ‘waiting on God’ if Anglicans had been voting between the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Durham to fill the recent vacancy in the See of Canterbury.

His Grace knows that this ‘modernisation’ won’t go down too well in some corners. But the Early Church upheld the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God. One can better lead a divided church when one is both gifted by God and empowered by God’s people to lead it.


Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Ummm .. methinks this is going to someone's head! A ballot box indeed. Cast lots more like.

2 January 2013 at 12:45  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.

2 January 2013 at 12:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Why does the AoC have to be British? Couldn't the AoC be chosen by (say) the bishops in convocation?


2 January 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Stupid phone. That wasn't supposed to be a reply to Dodo

2 January 2013 at 13:08  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Cranmer, you wouldn't have all this trouble if you'd stop acting as though the CofE were a legitimate entity and just come on back where you belong - Rome. The Church of England was created to enhance the power of the secular state; the enchancement it offered no longer being needed, there is no real reason for its continued existence. Those of its members of a genuinely spiritual motivation will be perfectly happy with Rome; the rest can join the Tory Party.

2 January 2013 at 13:12  
Blogger IanCad said...

"Vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God."

I'm sorry YG, but I don't like that notion one bit.

Anyway, a happy and prosperous New Year to you and the entire flock.

2 January 2013 at 13:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


We couldn't possibly risk a foreign type being Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England. No, no, no. I mean, universal suffrage of the type proposed would favour those nations with large populations e.g. USA. Utter folly.

If, as suggested, the spiritually inspired and theologically sound join Rome there may be a Cardinal's hat or two available. Then, who knows? An English Pope may be chosen under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

2 January 2013 at 13:20  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


The full quote may be more to your liking:

"And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness."

2 January 2013 at 13:24  
Blogger AGustavoG said...

"His Grace knows that this ‘modernisation’ won’t go down too well in some corners. But the Early Church upheld the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God. One can better lead a divided church when one is both gifted by God and empowered by God’s people to lead it."

The Early Church upheld the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei?

So let me get this straight. When Peter first stood up before the Brethren of the post-Ascension Church and authoritatively declared that one must be appointed from among them to replace Judas, who had formerly walked with them, he, Peter, in so acting, was acting with authority bestowed on him by the people and so was upholding the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei? And no doubt this principle he was upholding was the principle established by Jesus Christ himself when he famously said of it that it was the principle on which he would found his Church and against which the very Gates of Hell would not prevail. And further without doubt His Grace, in now calling for a return to the principle, is himself merely expressing the true Voice of the People, as the Stalinist-like coterie surrounding Edward VI did when they re-formed the Church in the name of the People. Or some such.

2 January 2013 at 14:03  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Why does the AoC have to be the leader of the CoE? Couldn't the CoE have it's own leader separate from the AoC? The problem is the Anglo-centric nature of that particular office. It's a residual of Empire. This whole problem goes away if only the occupant of the office is selected by the Anglican Communion at large.


2 January 2013 at 14:31  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

I agree with Carl

Why does he have to be English? Why not a Ugandan Leader. THEN we will see progress


Pause and take a good look at who we got in the Church in Wales before you copy Wales


2 January 2013 at 14:51  
Blogger John Magee said...


"We couldn't possibly risk a foreign type being Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England. No, no, no. I mean, universal suffrage of the type proposed would favour those nations with large populations e.g. USA. Utter folly"

What do you mean by this statement?

"suffrage" means the right to vote correct?

If you mean the votes of American Episcopalians somehow influencing who is a future Archbishop of Canterbury forget it. There are less than 4 million American Episcopalians in the worldwide 80 million member Anglican Communion today. Third world Anglicans will decide who are future Archbishop's of Canterbury if it's an open vote for the entire Anglican Church.

The same applies to the RC Church too. Third world RC Cardinals will decide who is the next pope.Which will be a good thing for the Universal Church. We've had an African pope (North African)once and I believe a few from the Middle East too. Starting with St. Peter the Apostle.

They are fewer and fewer Episcopalians (Anglicans)in the USA every day as my family can testify so you don't have to worry about them dominating the C of E in any way shape or form.

I am surprised you aren't paranoid about future a future Pope being an American if you consider the fact the USA, with it's over 70 million Roman Catholics today (not counting at least 20 million illegals from Mexico and Central America), has the world's second largest RC population after Brazil.

2 January 2013 at 14:54  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
To bring about a much needed change within the CofE it is necessary to be a part of the inner sanctum. But if you are different, you will never get there. Only the Holy Spirit could bring about change and I suspect those who have control are not on talking terms, leastways listening terms with the Holy Spirit.

2 January 2013 at 14:59  
Blogger Flossie said...

I agree that General Synod is not fit for purpose, but are you sure this is a good idea, Your Grace? After all, American Episcopalians get a say in their bishops, and just look at them - the good ones have all left to join ACNA and the denomination has shrunk to next to nothing as they went further and further down the liberalising road.

It's when Bishops go wrong that the problems start. The current House of Bishops in the C of E is a case in point. There is not one single conservative evangelical bishop left, as no such appointment has been made for the last fifteen years or more, hence the recent vote over women bishops. The laity have more sense, it seems.

So what is the issue which divides, divides and divides again? Ordination of women. This will never cease, as it can NEVER be proven from scripture.

2 January 2013 at 15:06  
Blogger Chris said...

Would this not lead to the Church of England becoming more congregational and trying to mimic the way to some degree the baptist structures work?

2 January 2013 at 15:39  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Mt Magee said ...

"I am surprised you aren't paranoid about future a future Pope being an American."

I trust the Holy Spirit. Admittedly, men have manipulated the selection of the Pope in times past but one has to trust the process and God.

The idea of a democratic vote for the Archbishop of Canterbury made by the acting incumbent, probably after a few glasses of port, was not meant to be taken seriously.

The leader of any church claiming to be worldwide and universal should, of course, be open to all its appropriate members and should be chosen by the Bishops.

There are two problems with this. One, I doubt the Anglican communion actually wants an authoritative leadership; and two, I'm not sure the British Constitution permits it.

2 January 2013 at 16:30  
Blogger John Magee said...


I assume you are an Anglican? If so you will understand what I a about to post. The Episcopal Church USA schism in the United States and the formation of the breakaway Anglican Church in North America began in my former home diocese of Pittsburgh here in Pennsylvania in late 2008. Trouble started brewing with the leadership under a conservative, Bishop Alden Hathaway, and intensifed under Bishop Robert Duncan. The Diocese of Pittsburgh has been at the front line in the recent struggles within the Episcopal Church USA mainly over ordination of openly gay priests and a bishop. Bishop Duncan in particular had taken up a prominent role in the conservative position within the national Episccopal Church. In 2003, he and a group of other conservative bishops walked out of General Convention after the House of Bishops approved the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire as the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop. In January 2004 Duncan was elected the first moderator of the USA Anglican Communion Network.

The Episcopal Church USA (the "official" branch of the Worldwide Anglican Communion in the USA)here is in total chaos. The Episcopal Church USA Pittsburgh Diocese lost most of it's clergy and churches after a schism in 2008. After a long and nasty legal fight they got most of the church buildings back from the break away conservative Anglicans. Many are beautiful Gothic Revival structures and are nearly empty today.

This schism and many years of liberal nonsense caused me to leave the Epsicopal Church USA. wAs an adult my only real loyality and connection was that I had been baptized an Episcopalian as a child, went to church a few times a year, and my family tradition being that rare bird: descendents of people who were members of the Protestant Church of Ireland in the USA who came here in colonial times. I always knew in my heart the real church of my roots in Ireland was the Roman Catholic Church. Not Protestant.

After nearly 300 years of being Irish Episcopalains in colonial America and later the USA I can't find a single member of my immediate family who are still Episcopalians today. My great aunt converted to Roman Catholicism before she died a few years ago. She was the last.

I have read that many Anglicans and their priests in their new Pittsburgh Anglican diocese are petitioning the Vatican to consider their diocese be admitted join the Roman Catholic Church in full communion as an Anglican Rite. There are a number of Anglican churches in the southern part of the USA who are now in union with Rome and are allowed to use the 1927 Book of Common Prayer as part of their Mass. They are called Anglican Rite Catholics with churches in Texas, the Carolina's, and a few in Virginia.

Isn't it interesting how history evolves and isn't it a lesson to learn from when a church embraces liberalism and self destructs through what we used to jokingly call a "trendier than thou" attitude?

It's all very sad to witness because the Episcopal Church has had an enormous influence on the history of the USA far beyond it's numbers.

2 January 2013 at 16:33  
Blogger John Magee said...


My apologies. Once again I failed to grasp your humor because of our language differences and cultural gap. :O)

2 January 2013 at 16:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

John Magee

Physicists have postulated the existence of British humor, but have never definitively proved its existence. Scientists at Cern have shot accelerated letters into British prose in hopes of finding the humouron particle but so far without success. "We continue to believe that British humor does exist, and so we will continue the search" said Dr Robert Gallant.


2 January 2013 at 16:55  
Blogger Flossie said...

John Magee, thank you for your reply. Yes, I was baptized as a baby into the C of E but am at present hanging on by my fingernails wondering how much longer I can keep hold (the 'burning oil platform' - at what point do you jump into the freezing water below?).

I'm not quite clear from your post whether you are blaming Bob Duncan for the schism (if that's not too strong a word) - I don't think you are, as it is the revisionists that have caused it. I do follow keenly events in the US, particularly South Carolina. We in the UK are failing to learn from your mistakes (most churchgoers I know have very little interest in TEC, and no knowledge at all about Mark Lawrence, Bob Duncan et al) which is why we are going blindly down the same path.

I fear ACNA will end up just the same unless they stop ordaining women. I was at a fringe meeting of General Synod a couple of years back when some of the ACNA guys came over and a vote was taken in Synod on the recognition of ACNA. I don't think they handled the meeting too well as they started on the assumption that we Brits (at least those on Synod) knew all about what had happened in the US, but I honestly don't think a lot of them did. So we are blindly stumbling down the same path.

The Ordinariate isn't for everybody. So where do we go?

2 January 2013 at 17:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Mine is even more mysterious given it also has Irish and Jewish roots as well as SE Essex influences.

Oh the joys of cultural diversity!

2 January 2013 at 17:31  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 January 2013 at 18:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Sheep (Us) do not appoint the shepherd (++ Canterbury), and they do what the dog (Clergy) tells them.

Small wonder the ‘get with it’ part of the CoE congregation has got to the stage of being the spiritual equivalent of barking sheep, while the dog is mute.

Don’t get this nonsense in the RCC, you know !

#Take me Rome, country roads, to the place where I belong…#

2 January 2013 at 18:12  
Blogger John Magee said...

carl jacobs

I very much appreciate British humor. Everything from "Spitting Image", "Are you being Served", "Keeping up Appearances" to "One Foot in the Grave" and lots more. Even "Benny Hill".

Victor Meldrew from "One Foot in the Grave" is a personal hero of mine as we have so much in common as pensioners with our similar attitude toward life and neurotic personalities.

Someone I secretly admire for his relaxed lifestyle is Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances".

2 January 2013 at 18:26  
Blogger Bridget said...

"So what is the issue which divides, divides and divides again? Ordination of women. This will never cease, as it can NEVER be proven from scripture."

If never proven For from scripture, then equally never proven Not from scripture.
How does it work when you prove something from scripture? Do you first take some scriptural elements and then apply a logic to reach a proven conclusion? And where does the operative logic come from? Is that also scriptural, or do you adopt it from some Greeks or German speaking theologians? 
Sydney Smith was once walking with a friend through a narrow street in Edinburgh. He looked up and saw a couple of women arguing with each other from open windows on opposite sides of the street. He turned to his friend and said, these women will never agree, they're arguing from different premises. 
I think your premises are on fire, Flossie, and you need to jump. Don't worry, the waters aren't cold and I think you'll find as Peter did that with enough courage they'll support you. Jump Flossie. 

2 January 2013 at 18:28  
Blogger John Magee said...


Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Duncan did the right thing. He stood up to heresy. Of course the blame is on his shoulders for having the courage to do the correct thing in the face of a liberal takeover of the Episcopal Church USA.

The battle in the civil courts for church property was ugly and was finally decided by a state court against the majority in the diocese in favor of the Episcopal Church USA.

You can never win against money and power.

Bishop Ducan should have remembered this. The same thing happened almost 500 years ago in favor of his Church under Henry VIII when the King had all the power.

Episcopal Bishop Duncan is a brave and good man.

2 January 2013 at 18:35  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Flossie said ...

"The Ordinariate isn't for everybody. So where do we go?

Well, it is for any member of the Church of England who wants to stay true to the traditional, Apostolic Catholic heritage.

2 January 2013 at 19:07  
Blogger len said...

Lets have an English pope then He can excommunicate the Roman pope and vice versa .

Then we can start again?. Been there got the cassock.

2 January 2013 at 19:13  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Phil Roberts said
>>Pause and take a good look at who we got in the Church in Wales before you copy Wales<<
Quite so:
The Archbishop of Wales is obsessed with liberal politics above religion. Happy to appoint a gay bishop to prove his liberal credentials it is said that he will not retire until he has appointed the first woman bishop regardless of the cost to church membership which has fallen to 1% of the population of Wales.
Many of those remaining haven't a clue about what is going on including church wardens. I was told the other day that when some were asked for their reaction to the 'Harries' Review, they replied what is that?
How could these people vote for an Archbishop when they cannot even be bothered to concern themselves with their survival as a church?

Flossie is right. All this stems from the ordination of women; a feminist inspired movement bound up with the LGBT rights through to same-sex marriage. Those who care about the survival of traditional Anglicanism need to wake up before all is lost.

2 January 2013 at 19:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Once the ladies get their ‘understanding’ and ‘compassionate’ hands on the CoE, that’s the Anglican chuirch finished.

But on the bright side, you’ll get your first HUMANIST religion. You know the type, where we worship ourselves and God comes to visit us...

2 January 2013 at 19:38  
Blogger Enemyof the State said...

But the Early Church upheld the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God.

The voice of the people now is the scream of the mob and the song of the insane. I believe Sir that God does not approve of democracy.

2 January 2013 at 19:41  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


"I think your premises are on fire, Flossie, and you need to jump. Don't worry, the waters aren't cold and I think you'll find as Peter did that with enough courage they'll support you. Jump Floss"

So your argument boils down to I'm right and you are wrong because more people agree with me at the moment in the CofE.

Yours are the premises that are on fire Bridget, just that many people are blind and so are jumping in the flames


2 January 2013 at 19:46  
Blogger John Magee said...


Well said. Radical feminism, like all far leftist concepts which it is a tool of, care nothing about true equality and job equity they want nothing short of the destruction of all the traditional institutions of Western Christian Civilization. It's that simple.

It's not about equality it's about UBER equality.

2 January 2013 at 20:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John, it won’t even be radical feminists. Just ‘empowered’ women who have been to university and been exposed to the radical feminists. Er, that’s every one of them, apparently...

2 January 2013 at 20:22  
Blogger bluedog said...

His Grace outlines a problem and a solution. As things stand, the gulf between the Clergy and the Laity will almost certainly lead to the CofE going the way of the TEC. The Bishops and Clergy seem to take direction from the BBC and the Guardian before preaching to a congregation that reads the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph; it can't go on. Why? Because the congregation clearly don't share the Leftist bias of the bishops and one day they'll walk.

His Grace's procedures for selection of Bishops would potentially change this gulf. But would John Sentamu ever have been elected by the congregation of York?

2 January 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger Bridget said...

No, what it boils down to is that relying solely on Scripture to explicate truth and organize a Church is inadequate. The authority of the Church is intrinsic to her own being, just as you are you and not me and I am me and not you simply because we are who we are. The CofE does not possess the authority of the Church founded by Jesus Christ simply because she is not the Church founded by Jesus Christ.

2 January 2013 at 21:43  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

I like the Coptic method most.

2 January 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bridget, a church founded by a self obsessed adulterer...

2 January 2013 at 21:54  
Blogger Flossie said...

Solely on scripture, Bridget? How many times in the last two millennia have we had women priests? Have we forgotten the proverbial three-legged stool of scripture, tradition and reason? The church fathers?

This is no disrespect to ordained women - the ones I know personally are well liked and are doing a good job. The church couldn't function without the ministry of women. But ministry and priesthood should not be confused. Those of us who do not believe that women can be priests do not do so out of misogyny or blind prejudice; we simply believe that the sexes are not interchangeable - women cannot be fathers, men cannot be mothers, etc - this is the whole bible narrative. If it was merely about equality, women would be clamouring to be coal miners and dustmen too, so let's not go there.

As for the C of E, unless we get more of a 'broad church' on the bench of bishops instead of just the usual women-approving kind, I think it is doomed to follow TEC and Canada. I don't think this will happen any time soon, so really His Grace's plan for democracy is a bit of a dead duck, in my humble opinion.

2 January 2013 at 22:04  
Blogger Flossie said...

I wish there was an 'edit' button! In my last para I said I don't think this will happen any time soon - of course I meant some conservative bishop appointments.

2 January 2013 at 22:06  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


"The CofE does not possess the authority of the Church founded by Jesus Christ simply because she is not the Church founded by Jesus Christ"

I think you and I have very different notions of what a Church is there for.

Are you arguing for the infallibility of the Catholic Church or have I missed something?


2 January 2013 at 22:09  
Blogger Flossie said...

What I really intended to say, before I went off at a slight tangent, was that the House of Laity is already far more representative of the churchgoing public than either the bishops or clergy, if the recent vote is anything to go by. Nearly all the bishops and many of the clergy would happily see many of us unchurched, while the laity appear to be concerned that proper provision is made for us, as promised - without which promise the ordination of women would never have got off the ground.

I don't believe the church is a democracy - it is episcopally led, but in my view currently by donkeys, due to the machinations and manoeuverings within the C of E to make the 'correct' appointments.

2 January 2013 at 23:17  
Blogger mattghg said...

the Early Church upheld the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God


3 January 2013 at 01:20  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

The system does guarantee an utter servility to the establishment by all senior clergy. Which is what it is meant to do.

How pointless to complain about politicised atheist bishops, when the establishment wants that kind of buffoon? Charles II was very happy to have vicious debauchees in bishoprics, leading gangs of watchmen to hunt down dissenters.

The whole system is rotten. And it always has been. Depending on the temper of the age, establishment appointees may be more or less awful, holy-looking, vile, or whatever.

But what on earth do we have such a system for, in 2013? What possible justification is there for it?

I don't believe that a gerrymandered democracy will work either, by the way. But first things first: an end to the system of secret committees of Guardian reading civil servants.

3 January 2013 at 01:25  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 January 2013 at 01:38  
Blogger david kavanagh said...


I think you remind me of my uncle, basically a staunch traditionalist Anglican, who does not want to convert to Catholicism, but who is bewildered as to what has happened to Anglicanism, over several decades.

But, the diagnosis is that liberal minded or more secular governments are the ones who are appointing these Bishops and recently I think a panel of the same government appointees took over, so no surprise that there is a disconnect between them and your congregations.

So perhaps disestablishing the Church is what needs to happen, if you want the C of E to adhere to your/the church' traditional orthodoxies?

3 January 2013 at 01:40  
Blogger len said...

Disestablishing the Church of England is the only way it will move forward and fulfil the purposes of God.

The Holy Spirit has a plan for the church and will empower those He selects to carry out the Will of God.

How does the church accomplish this?.
Through prayer and the desire to carry out the Will of God rather than the plans of man.

3 January 2013 at 08:28  
Blogger Flossie said...

David Kavanagh, disestablishment is very easy to say but would be much more difficult (and expensive) to achieve, as it is linked to our constitution in so many ways and there would be a great deal of legal wrangling involved, I'm sure.

Besides, disestablishment would not necessarily change things to a great extent - the US Episcopal Church is in a far worse state than we are.

Once we have women bishops, and once they are inevitably followed by openly practising homosexual bishops (as they will be, don't let anybody be in any doubt) then perhaps disestablishment will become more likely, if the C of E is pressured into performing gay marriages. But I do wonder if those who currently trumpet gay marriage understand some of the ramifications?

Others will know much more about the legal issues surrounding our constitution than me, but we have to look at how this will affect the monarchy, the properties (His Grace has already noted that it is likely that the royal peculiars such as Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral are likely to have to be sold off - no more lovely royal weddings or coronations) and many other as yet unthought-through issues.

3 January 2013 at 10:27  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

AS I said above

Pause and take a good look at state of the Church in Wales before you copy Wales and disestablish.


3 January 2013 at 11:58  
Blogger Richard Brown said...

'Give churchgoers the Vote'. Now there's a radical suggestion. Actually to allow the membership a say, however small, in how the church is run. Really? I thought the point of synodical government was to avoid all that.

It's much safer to claim you 'know the mind of the church' if nobody bothers to ask what the hundreds of thousands of people in our pews actually think about (for example) women bishops. If they did get a vote, there might be some nasty shocks around.

3 January 2013 at 12:07  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 January 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

"The majority of Anglicans are now in the Global South and that means we need to take greater responsibility in global leadership. We cannot simply stand by as we see many of the Anglican Churches in the West, including the Church of England itself, being severely compromised by the deepening spiritual and moral darkness of the societies in which they are set."

Archbishop Wabukala (Anglican) of Kenya (From Anglican Mainstream)

Listen and watch some of the words and countenances of those who want Women Bishops at the expense of everyone else.

Spiritual and moral darkness puts it too nicely and does not begin to describe it. We need help... big time.

Help us now Archbishop for our leaders are sheep and God does not rule their lives.


3 January 2013 at 12:16  
Blogger david kavanagh said...


You have my sympathy in many ways, but I just cannot see you turning back the tide if there is such a disconnect between the congregations and the clergy.

I guess the congregations could simply refuse to pay the Bishops your weekly collection and walk away. Yes the C of E might become the ultimate ‘fluffy’ church, but at least you will have your religious principals intact.

I could be wrong here,but what is to stop you from hiring out the local village hall or if you can't do that having a service in some-one's home? And it would be cheaper than the cost of those nice, but very old and money draining buildings.

3 January 2013 at 12:47  
Blogger Corrigan said... could just join us, Floss? Bells and smells are back with a vengence. Just sayin'....

3 January 2013 at 13:07  
Blogger David B said...

In an established church supposed to represent everyone, then why not give everyone the vote.

At first sight, it would appear to me that I, a Welsh atheist, should not have a vote, but while there is a place for bishops in the HoL, then if anyone can vote for them, as opposed to appointment by small committee, then why should I not have as much say as a believing churchgoer?

Disestablish and be done with it.

David B

3 January 2013 at 13:30  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

David B
The Church is there to represent God and Jesus not the people? It's there to pass on the wisdom and teaching of Jesus rather than appease man. By all means have Churchgoers vote for their clergy.

The Bishops in the HOL give the Christian perspective and guidance to the legislation.
As an atheist you might not be happy with this, but I'm sure you're grateful to live in a civilised Christian country.

3 January 2013 at 14:46  
Blogger David B said...

Well we do live in a relatively civilised country, though I'm not sure what Christianity has to do with it.

I suppose there is something to be said for the non-conformists and quakers who were concerned about things like universal education, universal suffrage, health care and things, but not much to be said for the writer of

" The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate."

For all that the modern church re-writes history, out of shame I suppose, by usually dropping that verse.

It's not that I would maintain that the country is entirely civilised only in inverse proportion to the degree that it is Christian. There are many civilised and well meaning Christians.

But I do think that it is more civilised pretty much in proportion to having adopted enlightenment values.



3 January 2013 at 16:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. Nothing wrong with the verse. Jesus wasn’t a Marxist you know !

3 January 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David: "Well we do live in a relatively civilised country, though I'm not sure what Christianity has to do with it."

It's a bit like Caernarfon Castle. It's quaint to look at and some of the rituals of the State are still linked to it for some reason but it's mainly an empty shell now maintained for appearance'sake.

3 January 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. but it's mainly an empty shell now maintained for appearance'sake.

You’ll find that line in the official guide to Westminster, probably...

3 January 2013 at 18:21  
Blogger bluedog said...

David B @ 16.29 says, 'not much to be said for the writer of

" The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate."

And what if this isn't a profound truth that the socialist, such as yourself, perpetually denies?

There is no equality of ability in society, and the inevitable consequence of any meritocratic society is that some will acquire earthly riches and others will not.

Add delusional to denial.

Continuing the fairytale, David B writes, presumably with regard to the UK, 'But I do think that it is more civilised pretty much in proportion to having adopted enlightenment values.'

What proportion would that be? If you are going to attempt quantification of civilisation by your own one dimensional metric you might at least follow your logic through to a conclusion that is less than completely vague.

Add pretention to delusion and denial.

3 January 2013 at 20:02  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Oh dear, you've gone and upset some folks again, Your Grace. Vox Populi, Vox Dei...good luck with that one. I'm not without understanding or sympathy; I've battenned down the hatches for the upcoming struggle for the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem, the Haredi establishment versus the Modern Orthodox in Israel and the Diaspora, and all sorts of squabbles over the growing authority of seminary directors and rabbinical councils at the expense of lay leadership in our congregations. Like you, I hoot and cheer for the democratic approach, for whatever it's worth.

3 January 2013 at 20:07  
Blogger David B said...

I'm not a socialist.

And the fact that chances can't be exactly quantified sometimes doesn't mean that some things are not more likely than others.


3 January 2013 at 21:18  
Blogger IanCad said...

Bluedog, Davidb B,

" The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate."

I've never been comfortable with this verse.
Not from any sympathy with the idea of "Equality," but more from a rejection of the doctrine of Predestintion, to which this stanza is a paean.
The enabling power of the gospel of Christ gives to all who accept it the means to rise from the depths to the heights.
This part of the hymn seems to me to diminish the power of our Saviour.

4 January 2013 at 09:26  
Blogger Richard Brown said...

On a point of order, Bishops in the C of E are not funded by church collections - they mostly go to support local clergy.

Bishops are funded by proceeds from the church's investments. That makes them not in any way responsible to the average church member. We don't pay for them, and we don't vote for them.

Why, then, do they think they speak for us?

4 January 2013 at 09:51  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

It certainly needs modernising:

The rich man in the Caymans,
The poor man on the take,
God made them to be honest,
Not make their king the Snake.

5 January 2013 at 11:02  
Blogger Chantry Priest said...

Democracy in small places can work-think e.g. St Ambrose being chosen as Bishop, but on a large scale it's not so good. However, there is a way forward:
The people have a proper say in the choosing of the clergy as was formally the case, with the Bishop still retaining his authority to ordain or no.
The clergy choose Canons for the Cathedral, who in turn choose the Dean and other officers.
The College of Canons choose the Bishop without inteference from the State.
The Bishop-Elect is subject to the approval of the Metropolitan, who is the chief Consecrator.
I also firmly believe that we should drop what I think is the nonsense of 10yr tenures and that we should revert back to all offices being held freehold and for life-thus eliminating short term expendiency and promoting long term continuity.
[For RC Mets should be chosen by the Bishops subject to the will of our Most Holy Lord]

6 January 2013 at 16:42  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Chantry Priest

Best stick with praying for dead, friend. All this church politicking will detract from your primary mission and purpose.

History has taught the Roman Church that the final decision over the appointment of a Bishop should rest with the Pope - not local clergy and laity, metropolitan Archbishops, nor Monarchs, nor State authorities.

6 January 2013 at 19:49  
Blogger Mr. Mcgranor said...

Democracy--not in the Marxist or Bakunin sense--but in the Priesthood of All Believers level five. That is the highest level; and it is only used to combat the priest-craft of clergy. It cannot be used perversely; which is why it is no longer used.

7 January 2013 at 00:39  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 January 2013 at 01:50  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 January 2013 at 14:11  
Blogger Chantry Priest said...

You're quite right, of course, church politicking ain't my raison d'etre. But playing it does provide one with a bit o' fun!

I am quite happy for our Most Holy Lord to have the final say in the appointment in any of the episcopate, but papal involvement ain't infallible and can lead to some dodgy [e.g. lefty-pinko-relativist-modernist] disasters as you well know. However, no names, etc.
What I was trying to do was propose a system that had the smallest chance of being corrupted.
Happy New Year btw.

8 January 2013 at 06:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Chantry Priest

God uses all things for His Divine purposes, even dodgy appointments. And let's face it, all human systems are corruptible and the enemy uses any opportunity even the slightest.

Seeing this relativist-modernist nonsense being openly proclaimed is making the battle lines between Truth and error clearer. And that's not a bad thing as within my own Church it has been festering away for generations.

Best to expose the enemy, what? Draw him out of the shadows and expose him to the light. That way he can be tackled head-on and, by the Grace of God, defeated.

Happy New Year to you too.

8 January 2013 at 12:05  

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