Towards a Radical Theology of Lay Ministry

The Rev'd Canon Dr. Hayley Matthews writes:Having been in lay leadership for over two decades, I clearly recall the moment I reverenced the altar, glanced up at Jesus wrought in stunning stained glass and turned to walk towards my stool. Be-robed, cope and all, I turned to see two hundred+ laity in the congregation before me, Servers to left and right, vergers standing stall, all eyes on me as I took my first steps towards inhabiting my priesthood. The words ‘this is what I was born to do’ appeared in my mind like a ray of sunshine through a steel-grey sky. Just as quickly, I was unexpectedly flooded with a sense of God’s Spirit and I had an almost ominous sense that all are called towards ‘this point’ of commitment in our discipleship which shifted the focus from all eyes on me, to my eyes on all of them. Certain that we aren’t all called to ordination, but equally bemused by the experience, in those five long meters between altar and nave I had come to the fullness of entering my priesthood along with a blinding revelation that all laity should reach the point of knowing the fullness of their own vocations in Christ. Every baptised Christian should reach pivotal moments of discipleship that required as full a commitment, dedication and public affirmation as those surrendering to the priesthood, each equally celebrated by the Church.

2022-12-03T22:41:46+00:00By |Tags: |

Be careful what you venerate

Editorial - Kingdom Season November 2022. The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson (Editor) writes: The arrival in Lichfield Cathedral, England, of a fragment of a bone of St Chad (died 672) will be marked by the recreation of a shrine in his name and the opportunity for pilgrims to donate a much-needed £10.00 by texting. After centuries following the original shrine’s destruction, more protestant precursors may be turning in their respective graves but this exercise is a sign of a human tendency to venerate and cherish worthies of bygone ages who may easily be recreated in the image of the pilgrims of the present. ...

Dear Heart-broken, Dear Confused: Agony Aunts and Problem Pages as Implicit Religion

The Very Rev'd Professor Martyn Percy writes: Such is the extent of secularization in modern Britain, it will now come as a surprise to quite a number of folk that modern hospitals have religious foundations – St. Thomas or St. Bartholomew come to mind. Also, Halloween seems to have morphed into a secular celebration of light-hearted horror-genres, replete with pumpkins. For most, the remembrance of all souls has become quite detached. The religious origins of Oxbridge Colleges and other educational establishments are perhaps easier to grasp. Though I do recall interviewing a student for entry into Cambridge some decades ago, who had declined Jesus, Christ’s, Trinity and other colleges because of their religious names but had chosen Emmanuel. I truly wish this were an urban myth, but it isn’t. ...

Did we die without noticing it?

Canon Rosie Harper writes: When I was a teenager growing up in Norwich, prayer meetings were a very significant part of life. Looking back, I wish I’d spent more time with boys and less time in my non-conformist church. It’s a bit late now! Even at the time I realised that those meetings revealed far more about what folk really believed than the fine Sunday words. People prayed about what mattered to them. They were a lovely bunch, mostly, and talked to God about the people they loved, about missionaries in far flung countries, about homeless people. The prayers were also sometimes unknowingly racist and sexist. A very common theme was revival. By this they meant not so much that the power of the spirit would sweep across the country, rather that there would be revival in the Church of England. It was impossible for them to conceive of an authentic church that ran on different software from theirs. Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour was the bottom line and with it came the whole substitutionary atonement script.

SYNODALITY AND TOGETHERNESS IN THE ANTIOCHIAN, SYRIAC MARONITE CHURCH

Maronite Archbishop Paul Sayah writes: One of the important theological developments brought about by Vatican II is the emphasis on the concept of Synodality and Communion in the theology of the Church and its evangelizing Mission. Lumen Gentium defined the Church first of all as the community of the baptized, the “People of God”, and then it talked about the hierarchy. The Church is not a democracy, but it is not a monarchy either, nor is it an oligarchy, nor an autocracy. It is the community of believers journeying, together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Are we heading for World War III?

The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson (Editor: Anglicanism.org) writes: Amongst the many crises currently gripping the world a good number are linked directly or indirectly to the unprovoked disastrous invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin. It is important to attribute the onslaught on Ukraine to one man as, despite the existence of ultra-nationalists of a fascist disposition in Russia, broadly speaking the invasion does not seem to have universal enthusiastic support on the part of the people. Moreover, in a country starved of non-state impartial media many seem simply to have accepted (but little more) the official line. Of course, it is difficult to ascertain exactly what is going on and the famous dictum of Churchill in 1939 that Russian is “a riddle, wrapped inside a mystery, inside an enigma” still stands.

2022-10-21T22:17:58+00:00By |

Deconstructing Sydney Anglicanism: Past, Present and Futures

The Very Rev'd Professor Martyn Percy writes: I am grateful for this opportunity to reflect on what is known as ‘Sydney Anglicanism’. Grateful, because I am not sure it has much to do with Sydney, being Anglican, or even Evangelical. As any social anthropologist will tell you, labels are simultaneously relative, subjective, absolute and objective. At least, that is, to the person deploying the terminology. Very few denominational labels were adopted by the group they now refer to. Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian – these are all nicknames used by others. The subject just gets stuck with the label. But they rarely help you to understand or accurately categorize a group. What is true, false, dangerous, safe, clean and unclean are wired into our shared worldviews, social functioning and mindsets ... Humans cannot avoid making a whole variety of judgment calls – every few seconds.

Call for the President and Prime Minister to resign

The Bishops of the Church of Ceylon write: We note with deep concern the deterioration of the state of our economy and the sheer sense of apathy with which those in power are approaching the plethora of problems faced by the people of our land.

2022-11-17T23:54:53+00:00By |

A LATTER DAY PAUL WRITING TO HIS FRIENDS NEAR AND FAR FROM WELLINGTON, AOTEAROA

Paul Oestreicher writes: This seems a good moment gratefully to share with you some of the milestones on my pilgrimage, as my OBE citation says, for ‘peace, human rights, reconciliation, and the Church’. These are the things that will continue to motivate me. A state award – I had already received a German one – is only acceptable as an affirmation of these values and of all those who have worked with me to embody them.

2022-10-21T22:21:05+00:00By |Tags: |

Church and State – Church versus State?

Editorial June 2022 - The Editor, The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson writes: The British Prime Minister, apparently stung by the whole bench of Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords, has denied that it is his wish to expel them from the British second chamber. Rumblings amongst Boris Johnson’s ministers have followed the publication of a letter from 25 Bishops stating that the policy of sending some migrants who arrived from across the English Channel is ‘immoral’.

2022-11-18T21:10:54+00:00By |
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