Friday, April 13, 2012

The Church of England this week

The week leading up to Low Sunday would be expected to be a quiet one, as everyone pauses for breath after the intensity of the previous seven days. And it probably has been for most parishes at the local level. But the church continues to display its talent for generating abysmal publicity in the national press. The conviction of The Revd Brian Shipsides for immigration offences can perhaps be written off as a "bad apple" event. He isn't the first, or perhaps the last, and it's salutary to know there are clergy out there who are not above a bit of old-fashioned corruption, but his behaviour doesn't really reflect on the church as whole.

The continuing, embarrassing row over sexuality, on the other hand, does. Today we are in the middle of a media storm about the "gay bus" controversy. One of the prime movers behind the now banned "ex-gay" advert is the self-styled Anglican Mainstream. Many of the key figures in AM are also prominent in General Synod. Which leads us straight into the rumpus over Professor Glynn Harrison, and his membership of the Crown Nominations Commission. Read about it here, but remember there is so much more to this than the Church Times tells us.

The Harrison row reveals what all the sabre-rattling is really about, because it is the CNC which will ultimately choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury. As widely predicted, Rowan Williams' imminent retirement has initiated a bloody and unchristian struggle between factions in (and outside) the church. The depressing truth is that the Church of England's national structures have become a playground for those who are only interested in posturing to their own galleries and attempting to purge the field of anyone who opposes them.

In other news, last Sunday was Easter Day and millions of people packed into churches of all denominations to celebrate the resurrection. The present Archbishop of Canterbury, in his last Easter sermon, did what his critics of all stripes have generally failed to do, and preached about the truth of the Christian message, and the implications of believing in the resurrection.

Finally, some church-related blog posts that caught my eye this week:

The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley: where do clergy go on their week off?

The Ugley Vicar on Lay Celebration. Controversial and thought-provoking as usual.

Father David confesses to a hatred of stained glass.


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