Episcopal Soft Power

The Rev’d Dr James Hadley finds the bishops’ protestations that there is no central plan to do away with the parish system disingenuous. Soft power, stealth, patronage and spin, allied with episcopal groupthink and the control of cash is just as powerful as a synodically agreed central policy. In March, when the Government suspended publicContinue reading “Episcopal Soft Power”

A Nuptial Mess

The Rev’d Paul Thomas asks important questions about our legal and theological understanding of Christian marriage raised by recent reports of a private ‘back garden marriage’ three days before a couple were due to be married in church. A couple gave an interview this week in which they revealed that ‘three days before our wedding we got married’. This marriageContinue reading “A Nuptial Mess”

The Primacy of the Parish

The Bishop of Burnley responds to recent claims that the Parish system is up for wide scale review, and strengthens the case for its place at the heart of the identity and mission of the Church of England. He suggests we need to trust the local to make good decisions, resolutely address failure where itContinue reading “The Primacy of the Parish”

Super Bishops & Simpler Structures

Ben Phillips reflects on the increasingly top-heavy structures of the Church of England and commends a radical rethinking of diocesan boundaries which would enable bishops to be both real pastors on the ground and effective symbolic leaders of the wider Church. Many in the Anglican Twitter-sphere were found to be getting their ecclesiastical hosiery inContinue reading “Super Bishops & Simpler Structures”

Middle Management Malaise

Charlotte Gauthier speaks from her experience of middle management in the secular world – how it works well, and where it works badly. The Church of England is replicating all the worst management patterns of a failing company heading for collapse. How can we stop this malaise and restore an efficient and energising vision ofContinue reading “Middle Management Malaise”

Back to Basics Bishops

Fr Barry Orford asks important questions about how the Church of England goes about appointing bishops and what a bishop is. Has an obsession with managerialism prompted us to lose sight of the true episcopal vocation to serve and care for the flock of Christ? When the Pandemic recedes, the Church of England will faceContinue reading “Back to Basics Bishops”

Build Bach Better

Opportunity from crisis in COVID-era Parish music-making Jonathan Pease examines recent trends and developments in the Church of England’s choral tradition. Although COVID has produced many problems for church choirs in the immediate term, might it be that the pandemic prompts a renaissance in traditional church music and the life of parochial choirs in theContinue reading “Build Bach Better”

In defence of the clerical antiquary

Francis Young takes a new look at the clerical antiquarianism of yesteryear. Has the Church lost something in the demise of learned clergy with active academic interests and scholarly knowledge of local history and lore? Is the scholar antiquarian a priestly stereotype from a bygone era, or the representative of a tradition of learning fromContinue reading “In defence of the clerical antiquary”

People first, then priests

Fr Andreas Wenzel considers the question of alternative ways of receiving Holy Communion recently suggested by the Archbishops and wonders whether they prompt more practical and theological problems than they solve. “God himself could not sink this ship!” These are the famous last words of Captain Edward J. Smith who trusted too much in theContinue reading “People first, then priests”

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