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Source: (consider it) Thread: Non-religious music at St Sepulchre's
Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Meanwhile [Overused] and [Votive] for pete173 and everyone else who has to mediate and sort out what looks to be like a god-awful mess on both sides ...

Amen to that. Good luck!

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I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

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wild haggis
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Being a haggis of little brain and reading through all this discussion, I wonder if we are missing the central point and need to just ask one simple question.

What is a church for?

Is it a place of entertainment/music, allowing special groups to practice and perform in, even when these events clash with the wishes or the clergy/congregation, or a place where people come to worship God?

It seems to me, as a poor wee haggis with a northern brain, that a church is a place where a believing community go to worship God (you can do it anywhere, I know) and other activities should fit around the central acts of worship - whether that involves Mass, High Anglican worship, strict Baptist, Wee Free psalms, happy clappy charismatic noisy worship, Bible study, theology groups, kids clubs or whatever.

I've been in too many churches where musicians (some with no or dubious Christian beliefs) rule the roost and Christian worshipers are left out in the cold, their decisions over-ruled often by a musician who may not even be a member of the church. That's not right. A church is a church: a place for the worship of God.

Don't get me wrong, I love music and as a musician myself, see its importance in all areas of life.

The ROH would soon complain if HTB hired it for an event or series of events and then refused to leave in order to allow the RO or RB to perform and have first options of the use of their own building!

So what's the fuss? A church should firstly be a place of worship - not a concert hall or practice studio.

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wild haggis

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L'organist
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posted by Bishops Finger
quote:
I do wonder just how one might 'uproot' an unsuccessful church 'plant'....

Sometimes one has to bow to the inevitable and use weedkiller. In this instance it seems that the incumbent has lied to some of the original congregation/worshippers at St Sepulchre's and that the plant staff continues to be economical with the truth now. I'm sure the plant collectors who first planted Himalayan Balsam thought they were introducing a pretty and useful plant - but now it is one of the worst invasive species in the UK.

posted by wild haggis
quote:
I've been in too many churches where musicians (some with no or dubious Christian beliefs) rule the roost and Christian worshipers are left out in the cold, their decisions over-ruled often by a musician who may not even be a member of the church. That's not right. A church is a church: a place for the worship of God.

Don't get me wrong, I love music and as a musician myself, see its importance in all areas of life.

First, I'd ask how you know that the musicians have "no or dubious" beliefs: have you asked them?

Second, what do you mean by a "member of the church": do you mean a member of the same denomination or someone who is an established worshipper before being asked to become involved with the music?

FYI any proper church musician will be someone of faith who has studied the use of music in the liturgy, who understands the role of music within worship and who has at the forefront of their mind that any musical offering must be there to enrich or enhance the act of worship. All if these issues should be covered at interview.

quote:
The ROH would soon complain if HTB hired it for an event or series of events and then refused to leave in order to allow the RO or RB to perform and have first options of the use of their own building!
A very good example indeed: St Sepulchre's has been the "musicians' church" for a very long time, pre-dating the current HTB style by decades.

At the time of the installation of the current Rector (the "planting", in other words) the role of St Sepulchre's as "The Musicians' Church" was specifically referred to and in the context that St Sepulchre's role as a place for concerts (largely of sacred music) and as a place where memorial services - proper liturgies with prayers, scriptural readings, etc - for musicians to be held was to be respected and preserved. It has not been the case that the wicked musicians have tried or are trying to stop the HTB plant from doing its thing, it is that the HTB people are trying to say to the original congregation, musicians, Parochial Church Council and groups which have been part of the scene at St Sepulchre's for decades that they are no longer welcome.

A better analogy would be to say that a homeowner (St Sepulchre's) was approached and asked to give a home to a lodger (HTB): this they agreed to do on the basis that the lodger be aware of the rules of the house; the lodger then proceeded to act more and more as if they held the title to the house, until finally they went behind the back of the homeowner to the Land Registry, registered the house as their own and then promptly gave the homeowner notice to quit.

quote:
So what's the fuss? A church should firstly be a place of worship - not a concert hall or practice studio.
And no musician - church or secular - is suggesting anything other than that the church remain a church. It is not the musicians who have been playing indoor football in this fine Grade I listed building, after all ...

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Enoch
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I think, Wild Haggis that a lot of the criticism is from bulls to whom the letters HTB (Holy Trinity Brompton) automatically drip with red, a crystallisation of everything they don’t like. It might have been different if the secular musicians were being cleared out so that St Sepulchre could be devoted to a church plant committed to the restoration of the first edition of the English Hymnal, with the correct introits etc and full Anglo-Catholic ceremonial.

As I said earlier on this thread, much of this reminds one of the sort of reaction there was to takeovers by anglo-catholics of advanced views in the nineteenth century, or in the era of the Anglo-Catholic Congresses in the 1920s.

Furthermore, although Cathscats might now see a church in classical style as ’numinous’ and speak of the ’spirituality of the building’, your typical C19 anglo-catholic activist would have detested its ‘pagan architecture’. Given half a chance, he (invariably he) would have knocked it down and replaced it by some brick gothic monstrosity. And if his name was Dearmer, the furnishings would have had to have been in his version of the best arts and crafts taste.

Incidentally, what do ROH, RO and RB stand for. Is it Royal Opera House, Royal Opera and Royal Ballet or is it something else? And in an earlier post, which of the various players in this saga does TPTB stand for. The initials doesn’t obviously fit with any of them?


I’m not that excited by aspects either of HTB or its plants. Yet despite that, I’m still not sure I’ve as much sympathy for the musicians as I possibly should have. I agree with you Wild Haggis, that the primary purpose for which a church building exists is to provide a place for a church to meet to worship God. Also, those activities that directly relate to that and to how it sees its mission (rather than what somebody else with an agenda of their own tells them how they’d like it to see its mission) should, and are entitled to, take priority over activities that however worthy, don’t.

And some of the things that have been said in this debate, I really don’t agree with. I quite often agree with Andrew Brown - though less so since he’s been collaborating with Professor Woodhead. But I do not agree with this statement of his in the Church Times a week or so ago.
quote:
“Lovers of classical music are, of course, a niche audience; but they are all, by definition, spiritual, even when they are not religious: people attentive to what a former missionary friend of mine calls “the thing that is true even if Christianity isn’t”.
Obviously the first statement is correct. “Lovers of classical music” are as much a niche audience as lovers of Hillsong. But the rest is tosh. It’s not being prepared to say this which is muddying the waters. Lovers of classical music are not "by definition" 'spiritual' in either the dictionary sense or any looser sense of any of those words. Appreciating art music no more gives a person a free pass into the kingdom of heaven than singing black gospel in a club, or, for that matter, stamp collecting or being able to distinguish Early English from Decorated.

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ThunderBunk

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The whole thing is a vanity project, and deliberately, provocatively destructive: cage football is just a "balls to you and your classical music stuff that I don't understand" gesture.

Living round the corner from a similar project, I simply can't get away from the sound of Harry Enfield's character Loadsamoney. Having spent a large amount of money making the church round the corner from me into an audio-visual experience of which I have seen no practical community use, they have now purchased a pub. To what end I have no idea, but they certainly haven't advertised the purpose.

It simply feels like a massive expression of ecclesiastical vanity. Some bishops like that, even if they don't like the type of church that goes with it. Our allegedly catholic-minded bishop seems to be addicted.

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Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

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Bishops Finger
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@Enoch - TPTB = The Powers That Be, in this case the Diocese of London. pete173 is Acting Bishop of London following +Richard Chartres' retirement earlier this year.

IJ

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andras
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What are churches for? It's one heck of a good question!

Historically, they were used for almost anything and everything. St Stephen's turned into the House of Commons, most mediaeval Welsh churches were also used as seats of Commote Courts, weekday schools were often held in them, and they provided useful market halls when the weather was bad, with only the tinkling of the Sanctus bell to remind people of the sacred moment of the Elevation of the Host.

Frankly I think we've got too precious about church buildings these days; the more different activities they can be used for, the better. Though I do think that I'd draw the line at cage football!

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Gamaliel
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Again, as ever there'll be two sides to the coin and there'll be pillocks among the HTB brigade and pillocks among the classical and sacred music buffs ...

I agree with Enoch, being a devotee of classical or sacred music does not in and of itself make someone more 'spiritual' ... but then again, farting around with cage football and audio-visual presentations, purchasing pubs because it seems to be the trendy thing to do and so on doesn't necessarily make one a cutting-edge evangelist either.

I'm sure there is an element of anti-HTB-itis here but there's a rawness in the reactions of L'Organist and some others that goes beyond that, I think ...

The issue, to me, boils down to a certain disingenuousness in the methods of some of these groups - a certain sleight of hand.

That isn't to say that everyone on the music-buff side is going to be whiter than the driven snow either ...

Which is why I have every sympathy and more for Pete173 and others whose onerous job it is to sort out the god-awful mess.

People are people and where there are people there are problems.

That's far more basic than introits or invasive species of evangelical ... it runs deep through each of our souls ... Solzhenitsyn said something like that ...

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Spike

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

FYI any proper church musician will be someone of faith who has studied the use of music in the liturgy, who understands the role of music within worship and who has at the forefront of their mind that any musical offering must be there to enrich or enhance the act of worship. All if these issues should be covered at interview.

Well, that should be the case, but some slip through the net. I used to know a Lay Clerk at a cathedral (a bloody good counter-tenor as it goes) who was quite open about the fact he "didn't believe a word of it" and was only doing it for the money. I'd be very surprised if he was alone.

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Gamaliel
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I've known a few cathedral choristers who weren't at all clear about what Christians are supposed to believe ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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Curiosity killed ...

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I walked past the entrance to HTB on Brompton Road last night. For those who don't know, it is found up an alleyway between the Brompton Oratory and a disused tube station; the church buildings are tucked in behind the main road. It has been rebranded, with all the signs showing HTB, new flashy lower case logo, and references to htb.org, and not a lot else. Nary a mention of the CofE in the cluster of posters and signs, or church. A poster referring to "the best thing I did in my life" and a photo of possibly Bear Grylls. I couldn't see anything on the Alpha Course, which was what was being marketed last time I walked past.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
FYI any proper church musician will be someone of faith who has studied the use of music in the liturgy, who understands the role of music within worship and who has at the forefront of their mind that any musical offering must be there to enrich or enhance the act of worship. All if these issues should be covered at interview.

While I don't disagree, that sounds extremely disparaging of the huge number of churches whose music is provided by well-meaning and dedicated volunteers from the congregation who "do their best" (and sometimes that is very good) with the skills and abilities available to them.

[ 04. September 2017, 05:41: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:


1. First, I'd ask how you know that the musicians have "no or dubious" beliefs: have you asked them?

2. FYI any proper church musician will be someone of faith who has studied the use of music in the liturgy, who understands the role of music within worship and who has at the forefront of their mind that any musical offering must be there to enrich or enhance the act of worship. All if these issues should be covered at interview.

3. A better analogy would be to say that a homeowner (St Sepulchre's) was approached and asked to give a home to a lodger (HTB): this they agreed to do on the basis that the lodger be aware of the rules of the house; the lodger then proceeded to act more and more as if they held the title to the house, until finally they went behind the back of the homeowner to the Land Registry, registered the house as their own and then promptly gave the homeowner notice to quit.

1. Yes I have. There have been a significant number who either don't profess Christian beliefs or have a non creedal understanding of faith.

2. It depends what you mean by proper. I agree that an interview process is essential but what happens when you inherit a "non proper" attitude (as I have twice)?

3. The analogy is a good one but I'm not convinced by the implication of church groups being "lodgers" (it has a rather pejorative edge to it) nor do I think the picture works here.

Let's follow your analogy. The so called lodger has been invited in by the Land Registry themselves (Bishop and Archdeacon) to tidy up the house and make it attractive to new tenants. Thew LR know what the tenant is like - they are part of a community with a track record known behaviour. The lodger acts according to nature - with some due regard to circumstances (no feet on the chairs at first) - but soon settles in with the run of the place. Before you know it they've kicked the earnest discussions off the telly and are watching Top Gear and Football instead.

Those who know me irl will attest I hold no candle for htb's brand. I'm, admittedly, of a similar theological position but my guts heave at the dumbing down of "church" in their hands to get bums on seats. Not to say their dreadful Waitrose lite approach: no church plants on council estates for them.

That said, I've seen some abuses over the years from those who feel a sense of entitlement to use a building in such a way that precludes others. I don't have any issue with organs, choirs or music in church. I'm happy with concerts. What bothers me is two things in cases like this

Firstly, there's sniping from both sides as to what music is right. Some of it direct, other responses like those in the Church Times less direct but still passive-aggressive

Secondly, it was an issue you could see coming 4 years ago. The Leopard doesn't change his spots. Worship HTB style would hardly have been welcomed prior to the interregnum - why would anyone even think this could ever be a good mix? Why not, as in many other places, link the church in a joint benefice with another congregation of like mind?

Blame on all sides yes but the biggest questions to answer seem to me (at least) to lie with those who considered it a runner in the first place.

This is a high profile example but there are instances like this elsewhere which suggest an imposed agenda and churches where things are done to people, rather than for and/or with them.

It is not a happy place to be in.

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L'organist
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quote:
This is a high profile example but there are instances like this elsewhere which suggest an imposed agenda and churches where things are done to people, rather than for and/or with them.
[Overused]

A perfect, pared back summary of the problem.

Over to you, pete173

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Gamaliel
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Yes, as so often, ExclamationMark speaks sense.

Without revealing the location, I know of an instance where a senior cleric pushed forward a plan for a trendy café style Fresh Expressions church-plant in a setting where all the local clergy had advised that it was culturally inappropriate.

A bright-eyed, bushy tailed young vicar moved in with his family and they bought him a house. They bussed in equally bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young middle-class kids from nearby towns to participate in café style discussions in coffee shops that did not engage the locals on any way, shape or form.

The whole thing was a disaster. The incumbent was treated so shoddily - or shittily rather, by the powers that be that he left the CofE and joined another denomination where he is serving as a minister some hundreds of miles from where this particular car-crash took place.

The worst aspect in my view is that a veil of almost Stalinist silence has been drawn down across the whole thing. It's never mentioned. It's as if it never even happened. The senior cleric apparently changed the subject whenever it crops up.

The shocking thing about the whole sorry episode is that it's highly reminiscent of the sort of conspiracies of silence I saw during my 'restorationist' years ...

People were appointed to positions of locations that were clearly unsuitable and dropped like a ton of bricks when things didn't work out. All the 'prophecies' and rah-rah-rah were conveniently forgotten about and brushed under the carpet.

I'm saddened that the CofE seems to be following suit to some extent. It's a disturbing development.

Baptist churches have other issues but they are less likely to suffer from this sort of thing, other than in those places where they've jumped onto a managerial bandwagon in a way that is causing devastation right across the board.

If these kind of church-plant initiatives don't happen organically or naturally then there are always going to be problems.

To draw on a military analogy, because the Japanese had over-run Chinese fortifications with relative ease during an earlier conflict, they thought they could do the same at Port Arthur in 1904 despite the Russians having concrete bunkers bristling with Maxim guns. Not only that, they didn't learn from their mistakes and sent wave after wave of their infantry to untimely deaths.

I feel sorry for the Anglican bishops. They are trying to show enterprise and initiative, but as yet they haven't devised the right tactics for very different battlefield conditions, if I can use that analogy.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Albertus
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quote:
dreadful Waitrose lite approach
Brilliantly put, EM.

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
While I don't disagree, that sounds extremely disparaging of the huge number of churches whose music is provided by well-meaning and dedicated volunteers from the congregation who "do their best" (and sometimes that is very good) with the skills and abilities available to them.

And the other times we at least aim for the "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" standard. [Two face]
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Baptist Trainfan
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Precisely.
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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
quote:
This is a high profile example but there are instances like this elsewhere which suggest an imposed agenda and churches where things are done to people, rather than for and/or with them.
[Overused]

A perfect, pared back summary of the problem.

Over to you, pete173

I am afraid this is where I say you choose your polity and work with its faults. Nonconformity has less of this because its polity puts more power with the congregation. It is much harder for external bodies to the congregation to impose something on them. Then Nonconformity has a far higher rate of groups in the congregation making life very difficult for others. Good polity is a matter of minimizing the inevitable evil contained therein.


Jengie

[ 05. September 2017, 08:42: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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Gamaliel
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Well, yes, and whilst this particular situation would be less likely to arise in a non-conformist setting, there are issues that might arise there that might not arise in episcopal or other settings ...

We pays our money, we makes our choice ...

It's a tricky one all ways round and I'm glad it's not me who has to sort out the problems ... although we can't avoid those wherever we are.

Ideally, each system should be able to play to its own particular strengths and work to overcome their own intrinsic weaknesses - or at least minimise the baleful effects ... but that's always going to be easier said than done.

And when all is said and all is done, there's a lot more said than done ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Baptist Trainfan
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Especially in churches.
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BroJames
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One of the challenges about Church of England polity is that while there are certain limits and rules which must be observed, there is an immense power at local church level for a church to do what it likes and obstruct what it doesn't like.

A bishop can't tell a PCC either that it must, or it must not allow e.g. secular activities to take place in its building. Nor, provided it sticks within the wide remit allowed by Common Worship can the bishop tell a church how it must worship

Even where a church breaks the rules, e.g.
quote:
Canon B 14 Of Holy Communion in parish churches
1. The Holy Communion shall be celebrated in every parish church at least on all Sundays and principal Feast Days, and on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday. It shall be celebrated distinctly, reverently, and in an audible voice.

a determined incumbent with the PCC behind hime/her may simply face the bishop down, unless the bishop is willing to go nuclear with the disciplinary measure etc.
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Jengie jon

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BroJames

In Nonconformity, you cannot even make such rules. If you believe the CofE gives autonomy to local congregations and give that as an example, then I think you prove my point.

Jengie

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
In Nonconformity, you cannot even make such rules.

True of Baptist or URC. But what about in Methodism, or in the more autocratic of the "new" churches, though?
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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
BroJames

In Nonconformity, you cannot even make such rules. If you believe the CofE gives autonomy to local congregations and give that as an example, then I think you prove my point.

Jengie

Oh yes. I agree. It's just that from the outside people sometimes expect the powers that be in the Church of England to do, or to prevent something without an appreciation of how much autonomy the local church actually has.

Most parishes choose, mostly, to obey the rules and/or observe the guidelines, and mostly most parish churches are made up of people who mostly agree with the rules. But the bottom line is that they can choose not to, and if they choose not to there is not much capacity in the institution to coerce.

So with St Sepulchre, for example, TPTB cannot easily (if at all) enforce they have to persuade. Especially in this case where institutionally the rules say that this sort of thing is a decision for the PCC.

[ 05. September 2017, 14:49: Message edited by: BroJames ]

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venbede
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Just as a tangent. I wouldn't call "Holy Communion every Sunday" a rule. It is what I would expect and hope for. It is why I go to church.

And "the church" for me isn't primarily the local congregation.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
In Nonconformity, you cannot even make such rules.

True of Baptist or URC. But what about in Methodism, or in the more autocratic of the "new" churches, though?
Interesting point and confirms the impression I've long been under, which is,

Baptist, URC (i.e. Old Dissent) + Brethren - more congregational and more autonomous than CofE.

CofE - although diocese and deanery are important, almost all day to day activity is actually parish based. The system as it now is, rather than say 50 years ago, is very dependent on incumbent and PCC/parish working co-operatively together.

Methodist, and I suspect most Pentecostal and Afro-Carribean churches - less congregational and less autonomous than CofE, with day to day management much more embedded in the connection.

Various outlying groups which are independent but not derived from Old Dissent - everything run by the minister, and driven by his (very rarely if ever, her) personal dominance + charisma in the secular sense of that word.


But I'm no expert in comparative ecclesiastical polities and would be interested to know whether that is how it appears to others from different traditions.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
In Nonconformity, you cannot even make such rules.

True of Baptist or URC. But what about in Methodism, or in the more autocratic of the "new" churches, though?
But the 'new' churches are often congregational, so each congregation is free to make some rules for itself, autocratic or otherwise. Many of them choose and hire their own ministers. And I doubt that it's denominational autocratism that prevents most Pentecostal congregations from celebrating communion every week; theology and custom are more likely.

British Methodism is more centralised, but because Methodist churches are considerably lay-led it's sometimes argued that the ability of the clergy to control what congregations choose to do is limited. A Methodist circuit superintendent certainly isn't expected to impose huge changes on a congregation's devotional life, or its lettings policy.

However, the circuit system does have a limiting and hermetic effect on churches, whether by design or default. Ironically, this makes congregations less susceptible to 'autocratic' impulses from elsewhere. I think it would be simpler for a HTB-type group from outside to get the go-ahead to start a FE rather than mess about with an existing circuit's set-up and culture. (But of course, Methodism doesn't have churches with HTB's level of influence or resources.)

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andras
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British Methodism has become notably more 'top-down' over the last ten years or so - perhaps longer.

One experienced minister - who shall be nameless - commented to me very recently that when he had been ordained, he regarded Methodist Church House as the home of friendly and experienced people who would offer him all the help and support he needed, whereas now he regards it as full of lay 'experts' trying to tell him what to do, and with little real support available at all.

That rather echoes what I've heard elsewhere, so I doubt if it's very wide of the mark. It seems that church polity can change rather drastically over quite a short time, and probably to no-one's benefit.

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SvitlanaV2
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Ah, you mean HQ.

Would you say that the congregations themselves are aware of this interference, or primarily the clergy? What I imagine is that the clergy are being urged to engage in all sorts of evangelistic endeavours, but without being given the tools to do so. In which case, the impact on congregations is probably not that great.

[ 07. September 2017, 16:38: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Gamaliel
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I would say that many of the 'new churches' are a lot less congregational than they appear. It depends on the 'stream' or 'connexion' to use an older term.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I would say that many of the 'new churches' are a lot less congregational than they appear. It depends on the 'stream' or 'connexion' to use an older term.

Yeah. I work with a variety of churches and the veneer is pretty slim in most cases. Mind you, that's the case in the larger Baptist Churches too - the elders bring stuff to the congregation who agree to accept it. One such church leader proudly told me he'd not had one decision questioned in 6 years - sad.

Mind you, there's a centralising process within Baptist circles too following BUGB's recent "futures" project.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I would say that many of the 'new churches' are a lot less congregational than they appear. It depends on the 'stream' or 'connexion' to use an older term.

Yeah. I work with a variety of churches and the veneer is pretty slim in most cases.
Yes, but it's not just autocracy within some congregations: I believe some groupings are strongly centralised and choose the pastors for the churches.
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L'organist
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Which brings us neatly back to St Sepulchre's where the original congregation and PCC had an incumbent imposed upon them - so no shared decision there.

And where the new regime is seeking to use the top-down model used by HTB to impose its values on not only an established congregation but, perhaps more importantly, a long-established wider group of occasional worshippers and well-wishers. I'd suggest that the current state of the CofE is not so robust that it can afford to squander goodwill built up over decades and, perhaps worse, give a picture of an autocratic hierarchy which isn't interested in those who wish it well.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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M.
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Tangent. L'Organist, beautifully said. That reflects exactly the situation in a church around here.

Very sad.

M.

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Stejjie
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One of the blessings we have at the church where I'm minister is that we have a large number of people who, though they don't come to Sunday services, consider us to be "their church". Maybe they go to a different church, maybe they don't go to any: t doesn't seem to matter. We're friends with them, we chat to them, listen to them, pray for them (and they support us in all sorts of wonderful ways).

Yes, it would be lovely if they came to us on a Sunday, I'm not going to deny that. But our relationship with them isn't based on that. And it strikes me that the worst thing you could do would be to destroy the good, loving relationships we have with them just because they're not formally members of our congregation.

And as an outsider to this, it seems a tragedy that, as L'organist suggests, HTB appear to have done that in this case, for no good reason.

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A not particularly-alt-worshippy, fairly mainstream, mildly evangelical, vaguely post-modern-ish Baptist

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roybart
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Following from Stejjie's last point about HTB: is it possible that those who might be characterized as extreme believers are simply uncomfortable about worshipping in the presence of casual believers or non-believers. And that -- despite their self-identification as evangelicals -- they might unconsciously feel more comfortable gathering only among themselves?

[ 08. September 2017, 12:04: Message edited by: roybart ]

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L'organist
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I've shown this thread to an acquaintance who was at HTB for some years, fairly involved in their groups. When they moved away from London the crowd at HTB were loud in their lamentation, particularly about the absence (as they saw it) of a "proper" church. Still, you move to rural England and you have a choice of village church or no church, and if you wish to continue to worship you take the church (CofE, of course) that is on offer.

Well, this came as a revelation to the ex-HTB one and they discovered many aspects of parish life that hadn't occurred to them in London: things like a proper, functioning PCC; churchyard working parties; a choir with a membership of people who weren't all professional gospel/praise-band singers; cleaning rotas, etc, etc, etc. The biggest shock to them was they found doctrinal diversity - a congregation made up of people who came from almost every conceivable churchmanship, snake-belly low to nose-bleed high, and all of whom seemed prepared to accept that each other's preferred worshipping pattern was valid. IMV it is this last that is lacking among HTB people: they can be incredibly rigid, lay involvement is very tightly controlled and most activities are top-down organised. As the acquaintance said, HTB was long on talk about everyone being involved but the reality was that everyone was controlled with a very small "in" group at the top who made decisions and actively discouraged anyone who showed signs of straying from the 'slot' to which they'd been assigned.

Not saying this is always the case but ...

[ 08. September 2017, 13:47: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
One of the blessings we have at the church where I'm minister is that we have a large number of people who, though they don't come to Sunday services, consider us to be "their church". Maybe they go to a different church, maybe they don't go to any: t doesn't seem to matter. We're friends with them, we chat to them, listen to them, pray for them (and they support us in all sorts of wonderful ways).

Yes, it would be lovely if they came to us on a Sunday, I'm not going to deny that. But our relationship with them isn't based on that. And it strikes me that the worst thing you could do would be to destroy the good, loving relationships we have with them just because they're not formally members of our congregation.


I thought that was how evangelism kind of worked tbh. A lot of people drift in gradually rather than having a big road to Damascus switch into church mode.

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Bishops Finger
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Indeed it can (and does) sometimes work like that. Stejjie's church sounds very much like Our Place!

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Utrecht Catholic
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From the words,written by L'organist,I have to conclude that HTB can hardly be considered an Anglican parish church.
It has become more or less an independent church,rather similar to an American Protestant Mega Church,with a lot of people and probably blessed with a lot of money.
Where is the Anglican worship and spirituality ?
What do these HTB people feel when they are attending services in their cathedral of St.Paul, Ludgate Hill ?
I remember the days in the sixties when I attended
a couple of times the Parish Communion,inspiring
well attended,not very High but still very Anglican.
If informal worship,like HTB is the future of the Church of England,I am afraid that many traditional Anglicans will look for Rome or the Eastern Orthodox.
I am grateful that the current London Diocese,has still many thriving churches in the Anglican Catholic tradition.

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Robert Kennedy

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L'organist
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posted by Utrecht Catholic
quote:
From the words,written by L'organist,I have to conclude that HTB can hardly be considered an Anglican parish church.
I agree. Although the website mentions the word "Anglican" the reality on the ground bears little resemblance to anything remotely Anglican, or CofE.
quote:
It has become more or less an independent church,rather similar to an American Protestant Mega Church,with a lot of people and probably blessed with a lot of money.
As someone who had been to HTB in the days when it was a standard London church, I decided to go along and see for myself what it was like now. I have to say the nearest experience I have had to it was a visit to a large church in California: both seemed full of shiny, well-heeled people with smiley faces; every conversation was punctuated with earnest protestations about "the Lord"; and both had services (sorry, not a word they use - "worship") that was big on country-style music and lacking in any structure.
quote:
Where is the Anglican worship and spirituality ?
GONE!
quote:
What do these HTB people feel when they are attending services in their cathedral of St.Paul, Ludgate Hill ?
I'd like to think they would feel inspired: by the music, the architecture, the quality of preaching; however, I suspect they'd decide that "worship" at St Paul's wasn't "real".
quote:
I remember the days in the sixties when I attended a couple of times the Parish communion,inspiring well attended,not very High but still very Anglican.
That is still the case at St Paul's. And St Paul's also gives would-be worshippers a choice which ranges from a simple, said communion service (either morning or evening on a Sunday), to Matins, to a full-on choral communion service, plus choral Evensong.
quote:
If informal worship,like HTB is the future of the Church of England,I am afraid that many traditional Anglicans will look for Rome or the Eastern Orthodox.
You could be right: at the moment there are many people who, if their parish is chosen for "planting" feel pushed out and the solution for them is unclear. If your local church is HTB-ed and you don't find it congenial, my experience is tht you'll find little comfort from either the plant people or the bishop/archdeacon who put them there.
quote:
I am grateful that the current London Diocese,has still many thriving churches in the Anglican Catholic tradition.
Yes, but not as many as there were, and for how much longer?

Perhaps the best way of telling whether or not HTB is still a CofE church is to see whether or not there are recognisable services for a visitor to attend if they aren't into informal "worship" - say a visitor who simply wishes to make their communion on a Sunday morning. In the HTB "group" of four churches there is only ONE which seems to have communion services - St Augustine's in Queen's Gate. In that they are clearly in breach of "the rules" which state that there shall be a celebration of Holy Communion in every parish church every Sunday and on every feast/holy day.

There are also rules about the form of liturgy which can be used and there are approved forms for the CofE: yet at HTB there is NO recognisable form of liturgy at all. If my own PP deviates from using one of the approved forms he risks being called to account by bishop and archdeacon, yet HTB is able to be a UK version of a US revivalist "ministry" and nothing happens. Disgraceful.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Utrecht Catholic
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Dear Mr./ Mrs.L'Organist,thanks for your comment.

Several years ago I bought a most interesting book called : Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail .

This publication gives the reader a picture how US Evangelicals were fed up with informal services and as a result they found their way to the Episcopal Church,the American Branch of the Anglican Communion.
I have been told that many other Evangelicals went to the Orthodox Church,also a church with a splendid liturgy, full of biblical stuff.

Is it not both sad and strange to see that the opposite is happening in the U.K.?
I am more convinced than ever, that the Eucharist/Communion service is the Lord's service on the Lord's Day.

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Robert Kennedy

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Jengie jon

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It is not an HTB fault that has a lack of theological diversity, it is a city (rather than suburb or village) church behaviour. These congregations follow the strong brand style. The uniting concept is not the location but a common interest.

There is a steady change in ways communities organise dating back to the Industrial Revolution away from locational belonging and towards a tribal/interest group belonging. This is partly why Nonconformists initially did so well in towns and cities over Anglicans.

This is not necessarily theological diversity. St Sepulchre's seem previously to have done this around bing involved with music. My home church did it around coming from Scotland. I can think of a URC that does it around Social Justice. My parish church does it around worship style.

Jengie

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Liturgylover
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I think HTB get round the communion rule (rightly or wrongly) by maintaining they are one site and by offering a weekly Holy Communion service at 9am at Queen's Gate and a Sung Eucharist rather nicely done with incense 11am, choir and the Angelus. Both services are well attended. It's important to remember that the HTB crowd and their plants represent a minuscule proportion of London's churchgoing population, and their numerical success is often exaggerated.

Interestingly the few parishes in London in evangelical tradition that were not offering a weekly Communion service, but did so when +Richard put his foot down have been finding that these early services have become as popular as their later informal services.

London is well represented with churches across every churchmanship tradition with the exception of traditional low church which are few and far between.

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MrsBeaky
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I know that there are churches which are not sticking to the rules as regards Communion services and I agree: if we are Anglicans we do things the Anglican way.
However I can also think of several clergy friends both in the UK and in Kenya who have up to eight local churches under their care as part of an amalgamated parish/ benefice.
Lay readers and leaders take responsibility for running the non-Eucharistic services and the priest visits all the churches in rotation to preside at Communion services.
Some have retired clergy who can assist but not always- it's quite a challenge!

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BroJames
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The Canons permit variation from the every Sunday rule in multi-church beneficent.
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L'organist
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But is HTB a "multi-church benefice": the old parish of Holy Trinity Brompton had one church: St Augustine's was a separate parish.

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Liturgylover
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Yes it is. Holy Trinity with St Paul's Onslow Square and St Augustine, South Kensington.
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Higgs Bosun
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It is also the case that (Canon B11)
quote:
Morning and Evening Prayer shall be said or sung in every parish church at least on all Sundays and other principal Feast Days, and also on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
The circumstances under which this can be dispensed with under Canon B14A also applies to Canon B14 which is the one about holding Holy Communion each Sunday.

So, who else is breaking the rules?

That some form of Communion is the principle Sunday service in many churches is a relatively recent phenomenon. I would think that a mere 50 years ago very many Church of England parishes would have had something like 8am Communion, 11am Mattins and 6.30pm Evensong as the standard fare.

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