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Source: (consider it) Thread: Anglicanism
Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
On the DH issue to which Byron refers, whatever one's personal view (I would guess my view is probably not that far from Byron's), holding what he regards as the wrong or out-of- date view on who can be bishops can hardly be a conciliar heresy. Most people took that view for granted until very recently. Nor have the world's two largest ecclesial communities come round to the CofE's position.

I agree with Enoch. The C of E has done exactly the right thing with regards to the DH issue. The Lambeth Conference of 1998 clarified that members with this particular minority view are loyal Anglicans along with the majority. It's therefore inclusive to include them, rather than exclude them because they are less inclusive than others. Whether the measures agreed endure another 20 years or more remain to be seen. But, to their credit, they finally found a formula that's fair and, as a bottom line, acceptable to all. That is inclusiveness.
It's not fair, it's not acceptable, and it legitimises bigotry.

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Albertus
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Quite. It's not a question of 'conciliar heresy': it's much more everyday than that. It is about accepting that those who the Church has ordained are indeed ordained, or at the every elast behaving as if you accpted that. That's a basic necessity for keeping the show on the road.

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Augustine the Aleut
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There is a reason why this topic is normally dealt with elsewhere but for me these postings are an illustration of how Anglicans are tolerant only insofar as it is within a generally accepted consensus. While this is pretty well true of everyone everywhere, this particular issue shows what happens when the consensus shifts and tolerance, once granted to a minority, is withdrawn.
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Ahleal V
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
...The hierarchy is still dominated by public school toffs. So is the evangelical wing of the CofE to be frank ... HT-bloody-B and all that

...the stomach churningly cheesy way it's going about it makes me wince...it still stings.

Gamaliel,

Thank you for your piece. I agree with much of it.

However, I find less that bishops are 'toffs' but more likely that 9/10 clergy I know have been to Oxbridge. I have no bias against Oxbridge, nor do I think we should stop sending clergy there, but the number of times I hear clergy waxing lyrical about the Ancient Universities, well, I worked my darnedest to get into my decidedly not-Oxbridge university, and to hear that all my work was utterly dismissed was heartbreaking when I was younger. (I'm older now, and care less.)

I am terribly afraid that the 'inclusivity' of Anglicanism is now seen as 'we must be all things to all people' when I would much rather be that 'we are the Church of God presenting to the Gospel to those who live in this land.'

So much of our present activities - the Wedding Project, the Baptism Project - seem to smack of utter desperation. 'See! We're not mad! We're nice fluffy people! Who believe fluffy things! And we like the gays! And women! And women bishops! See!? Please come to our church! We have coffee! And Powerpoint! And groovy sermons! And dancing lady vicars!'

It's hardly the stuff that saints and martyrs are made of.

Ugh.

x

AV

[ 05. August 2014, 16:02: Message edited by: Ahleal V ]

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Curiosity killed ...

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The problem isn't that support should be given to a minority. Nobody disputed that provision should be made for those who were faithful servants of the church and were part of the church when the church changed. It was the abusive behaviour of those put in to support, who chose to empire build and encourage the ordination of those priests who wanted to insist on the previous situation and not accept that the Anglican church they were being ordained into had changed. And that has poisoned the situation for everyone.

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Baptist Trainfan
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On the "all the (CofE) clergy are toffs" thing, a visitor to my last church said that I "sounded too posh to be a Baptist".

You just can't win ... and, as far as I know, I speak ordinary English, not a "cut-glass" accent!

(Cross-posted with Curiosity).

[ 05. August 2014, 16:08: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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SvitlanaV2
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Baptist Trainfan

You come across as a bit posh on these threads too. But that's not a criticism! From what I've read, Baptists are among the poshest of all the British Nonconformists, so that makes sense.

The minister of my local Baptist church is a former public schoolboy from an exotic background. He sends his own children to an inner-city state school, but at least they'll have his cultural capital to fall back on. Clergy children do seem to benefit from that, even if their parents don't have a lot of money.

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Oscar the Grouch

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quote:
Originally posted by Ahleal V:
And dancing lady vicars!

Did you have to bring that up again? Really? I was perfectly happy to have erased that memory from my mind.

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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I think the Quakers would simply tell you to 'shut up' ...

They'd put it more politely than that, though.

'Shut up, Friend.'

[Biased]

But yes, your point stands. But one wouldn't be drawn to a Quaker Meeting unless one could handle silence - or learn to handle it. Equally, if someone has an allergy to incense they're going to hit some trouble if they feel drawn to the Orthodox ...

But that practice in itself is exclusionary. Think about it, its just the same as saying a person in a wheel chair should not go to a church with steps to the main door.


Actually to make a comment about the discussion in general. If you want to know how inclusive you are then you need to consider the people who are outside and WHY they do not come. You then need to ask whether their reasons are acceptable reasons to exclude them.

Jengie

[ 05. August 2014, 16:29: Message edited by: Jengie Jon ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
From what I've read, Baptists are among the poshest of all the British Nonconformists, so that makes sense.

Actually, I disagree. Certainly, in the past, the Wesleyan Methodists were top of the tree (but of course they then got mixed up with all those Primitives and Bible Christians). I think, today, that URC are probably "poshest", especially those from Presbyterian backgrounds. And remember that - according to Andrew Walker - that Charismatics are basically middle-class Pentecostals (who were traditionally working-class).

(Jengie, we need you, to comment on this! But it's a bit of a tangent really)

[ 05. August 2014, 16:34: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Gamaliel
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@Jengie, I was actually agreeing with you ...

On the posh non-conformity thing, it tended to vary by region, but from talks and things I've been to on non-conformist history, the pecking order seems to have been:

* Congregationalist
A lot of the mill-owner up north were Congies - Sir Titus Salt etc. The old Congregationalist Chapel at Heckmondwike is still a sight to behold, the 'Non-conformist Cathedral' of the 'Heavy Woollen District'.

* Wesleyan Methodist
Generally middling middle-class

* Baptist
Lower middle class/upper-working class. Lots of shoemakers and independent artisans (I originally typed 'lots of cobblers' but realised that could be misunderstood).

* Primitive Methodist
Working class, potters, miners etc.

In my native South Wales it tended to be:

Anglican
Methodist
Baptist and independent evangelical
Pentecostal

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
In my native South Wales it tended to be:

Anglican
Methodist
Baptist and independent evangelical
Pentecostal

Yes - let's hear it for the Pen-y-groes Apostolics and the Jeffreys brothers (Maesteg) in Elim!

Much more seriously: I do believe that a congregation should try to encompass people from all social classes and backgrounds in a locality. That is my vision of the Body of Christ. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the fact that different groups of people do have differing education, interests and cultures, which can make this very difficult to achieve.

In practice, most churches (and, indeed, secular societies) will tend to assume the characteristics of the dominant group present. However inclusive they try to be (and many try very hard), they may still be seen as exclusivist by people from outside that social hegemony.

[ 05. August 2014, 16:51: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Sipech
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Charismatics are basically middle-class Pentecostals (who were traditionally working-class).

[Overused] Guilty, as charged!

[ 05. August 2014, 16:47: Message edited by: TheAlethiophile ]

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Gamaliel
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Yes. But at least the working class Pentecostals are more authentic.

[Razz]

Andrew Walker made that observation too ...

[Biased]

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Fineline
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
And remember that - according to Andrew Walker - that Charismatics are basically middle-class Pentecostals (who were traditionally working-class).

Do many churches in the UK label themselves as Charismatic or Pentecostal these day? A lot of those that would seem to me to fall under such categories just seem to call themselves free churches. I know one which is working class, with lots of emphasis on speaking on tongues and receiving the Holy Spirit, and taking the Bible very literally, and when I tried to ask what denomination they were, and where they got their ideas, they said they were simply Christian, that they got their beliefs straight from God rather than from any human tradition. Eventually, I asked them where they got their songs and why they sang the word 'wrath' with the American pronunciation, and then it turned out they got their stuff from an American church. I'm not sure if it was Charismatic or Pentecostal, or what the difference would be - I've tended to hear the terms used interchangeably.
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Albertus
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From what little I know I'd say that some Congregationalists could be fairly posh: and what about Brethren? Some distinctly upper-middle class intellectuals (Tony Crosland's father etc) there, surely?

[ 05. August 2014, 17:14: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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SvitlanaV2
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Baptist Trainfan

Yes, I'm sure the situation will be more complex if you take a historical view.

Clive Field's figures suggest that the Baptists were often a little higher up the social scale in the early 19th century than the Wesleyans. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries his figures suggest that after having lost people at the top of the scale the Baptists were becoming more diverse, with both more professionals and more unskilled manual workers than the Congregationalists.

Coming from a Methodist tradition, the thing I've noticed is that CofE congregations seem both posher and yet more working class than Methodist congregations. IOW, Methodist congregations are more uniformly upper working/lower middle class, and have less social diversity. The Baptists are perhaps more like the CofE in this respect.

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Sipech
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quote:
Originally posted by Fineline:
Do many churches in the UK label themselves as Charismatic or Pentecostal these day?

A fair few, though they tend to put less stock in their adjectives than other churches do. My church (Ichthus) calls itself charismatic and evangelical, though it's not exactly shouted about. Others such as Pioneer, New Frontiers, Elim are also fairly openly charismatic/pentecostal.

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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
From what little I know I'd say that some Congregationalists could be fairly posh: and what about Brethren? Some distinctly upper-middle class intellectuals (Tony Crosland's father etc) there, surely?

Congregationalist and Baptists could be posh, but they are mainly lower middle class, with a mix of both classes above and below. The result if you think of it of the long term barring from the professions of Nonconformists. The distribution is such that they are on average lower than CofE.

The real anomaly was the English Presbyterians who were strongly dominated by upper middle class. The majority in their congregations were professionals (doctors, University lecturers etc) or senior management in industry. Thus the average Presbyterian was of an equivalent or higher social status than your average CofE member.

Jengie

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Ahleal V:


However, I find less that bishops are 'toffs' but more likely that 9/10 clergy I know have been to Oxbridge.

I don't know what circles you move in Ahleal, but I can only think of three priests in this diocese who are Oxbridge educated (I'm not including Oxbridge theological colleges like Westcott House). Of these, one of them is proudly working-class, one is state-educated middle class, and only one (and I don't know the details of his background) comes across as 'posh'. (PS I meant to add, I'm sure there are more than three Oxbridge priests but none of them spring to mind out of the large number who I do know)

[ 05. August 2014, 18:03: Message edited by: Angloid ]

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Oscar the Grouch

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I agree with Angloid. I don't know many Oxbridge priests (although I know a number of rather posh priests who DIDN'T go to Oxbridge!). Although there aren't many working class priests, I think that there is a reasonable amount of diversity in "priestly backgrounds" these days.

But I do think that there is still a considerable LACK of diversity in bishops. Although there are exceptions, most C of E bishops that I have encountered have fit a very similar mould. I notice this even more now that I am in Canada, where the bishops I have encountered are vastly more diverse than in the UK.

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Gamaliel
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Probably scope for a new thread about Pentecostalism and how it differs from the 'Johnny Come Lately' charismatic scene.

Walker was right. The main difference between the old time Pentecostals and the newer charismatics was a class difference ...

That said, at the beginning of the Pentecostal movement in the UK at least there was a posher periphery - the Rev Alexander Boddy up in Sunderland ('Pastor Boddy') an Anglican vicar, Cecil Polhill who had been one of The Cambridge Seven ...

Donald Gee, the great Assemblies of God elder statesman came from a Congregationalist background and was certainly 'posher' and better educated than most of the early Penties.

He later reflected that some of the initial Keswick style holiness/mission-society elite who were involved in the early days were soon swept aside. Some of them, he felt, were rather too easily taken in by earnest and not particularly gifted preachers from the South Wales Valleys ...

[Biased]

Over in the US there was a parallel scenario with the rootsy, gutsy, often multi-racial early Pentecostal movement attracting what we might call 'religious professionals' - various independent missioners and missionaries and so on who were from 'better off' backgrounds.

There's been some interesting work done recently on Pentecostal history.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Oscar the Grouch:
I agree with Angloid. I don't know many Oxbridge priests (although I know a number of rather posh priests who DIDN'T go to Oxbridge!). Although there aren't many working class priests, I think that there is a reasonable amount of diversity in "priestly backgrounds" these days.

But I do think that there is still a considerable LACK of diversity in bishops. Although there are exceptions, most C of E bishops that I have encountered have fit a very similar mould. I notice this even more now that I am in Canada, where the bishops I have encountered are vastly more diverse than in the UK.

This might partly be on account of the committee process used to select bishops in the CoE; there's little chance of a wild card as produced by elections or a benevolent sovereign (or her PM).
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SvitlanaV2
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'Posh' is a relative term, of course. What an educated, middle class, small town Anglican thinks of as posh and what a less educated inner city, working class Pentecostal thinks of as posh might be two different things! 'Posher than I am' means you always have a different starting point!

Perhaps Anglican 'inclusivity' requires that as many people as possible are able to look up to their local priest (without feeling that he or she is unapproachable). If so, the paradoxical outcome is that the numbers of working class clergy will always be relatively low, because aspirational middle class communities will feel unable to relate to them. By contrast, middle class clergy will more easily gain the respect of both working class and middle class people. (And there'll always be a few really posh ones to minister to the upper classes.)

That's how it seems to me. Of course, churchgoing in the UK as a whole has gradually become more middle class, and the clergy who are recruited from lower social backgrounds are soon acculturated into a more middle class approach, whether they are aware of it or not.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
The problem isn't that support should be given to a minority. Nobody disputed that provision should be made for those who were faithful servants of the church and were part of the church when the church changed. It was the abusive behaviour of those put in to support, who chose to empire build and encourage the ordination of those priests who wanted to insist on the previous situation and not accept that the Anglican church they were being ordained into had changed. And that has poisoned the situation for everyone.

I'm not so certain about this interpretation. One thing which was clear is that the language of the CoE provisions were purposely designed so that a multiplicity of perspectives could be sustained-- perhaps very Anglican, but not workable in the long or medium term.

The minority used the provisions as laid out-- hardly abusive, I would have thought-- and then discovered that the majority had not expected that they would have continued doing so.

This was one of these treasured and admired (and intellectually dishonest) Anglican compromises which flamed out. I would blame the poison on those who wrote up the compromise, those who accepted it, and those who voted for it; which would suggest that there's lots of blame to go around.

Other, perhaps equally intellectually dishonest, Anglican compromises have endured, likely because folk wanted them to succeed. After all, most of us spend our lives in the Kingdom of Fudge.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The clergy who are recruited from lower social backgrounds are soon acculturated into a more middle class approach, whether they are aware of it or not.

Like ++George Carey ... who (I suspect) was extremely aware of it!
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
This might partly be on account of the committee process used to select bishops in the CoE; there's little chance of a wild card as produced by elections or a benevolent sovereign (or her PM).

I suspect that selection by election would be even worse, unless and until the CofE adopts a more credible attitude to elections than that used for the House of Laity in General Synod. The most likely option would be that the bishop would be elected by the clergy of the diocese - who would therefore be choosing their own boss. Not an entirely good idea.

As for choice by royal prerogative exercised by the PM, that was the system that we've been delivered from.

Apart from the RCs where the Pope chooses, how do other people do it?

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Albertus
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The appointment system for CofE Bishops has developed quite a bit over the last halfcentury- from fairly unfettered Crown (Prime Ministerial) discretion to an Appointment Commission which offered two names with some Prime Ministerial discretion after 1977 to effectively removing the PM's role (and I think strengthening the influence of the diocesan representatives) after 2007. It would be interesting to see a atudy- perhaps someone has already done one- comparing the backgrounds of Bishops nominated under each system.
Leaving aside the question of social background, I'm not convinced that the changes in the system have produced 'better' bishops, or at least that the previous systems, at least in the C20, produced bad appointments as a rule. There is, I know, a view that the post-2007 system has produced Bishops with a more narrowly local focus, with less 'leadership' capacity for the Church as a whole.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
There is, I know, a view that the post-2007 system has produced Bishops with a more narrowly local focus, with less 'leadership' capacity for the Church as a whole.

Or, conversely, bishops who see their role as spokesmen and legislators, and spend most of their time on the media or in the house of Lords. If they are not that, they tend to be managers rather than pastors.
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Albertus
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The question about time spent in the Lords is an interesting one. I've been looking at this lately and on the whole attendance at the Lords has increased in recent years, and the range of subjects spoken on is a bit wider than it was say 50 years ago. But the jury is sill out on whether the post-2007 system has affected that: don't forget that it will usually take at least three or four years before any bishop (other than an Archbishop or London, Durham, or Winchester, who go straight into the House) will become senior enough to take one of the other 21 seats. So the system is still quite new. On the other hand, the reforms to the Lords since 1999 have produced more of an expectation that members of all kinds will be more active in the House. So it's hard to reach a conclusion as yet.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

Apart from the RCs where the Pope chooses, how do other people do it?

The system here varies from diocese to diocese, again, a very Anglican manner. In Sydney, for example, there's a series of ballots, starting with the selection of candidates thought worthy of greater consideration, down to the final ballot to choose a new archbishop. Each ballot consists of the separately counted votes of laity and clergy, with each parish having selected the laity to vote for it. Only a simple majority is needed to proceed from one stage to the next and obviously at the first stages each elector has as many votes as there are remaining candidates. The last election, was unusual in that only 1 of the 2 candidates succeeded in obtaining majorities at the first stage.

The only other diocese of which I have even a passing knowledge is Newcastle. Dangerous Deacon shall correct me but my recollection is that there are ballots until a candidate obtains a 2/3 majority of both clergy and laity. From memory, that is also the US position, but there is the added requirement that the result be endorsed by a majority of the other dioceses within a time period.

I cannot speak at all of other States, but ++ Sydney, as Metropolitan of NSW may disallow an election in other dioceses in his jurisdiction. AFAIK, that has never happened, but there was speculation that the election of +Sarah McNeill to Grafton may have been disallowed by ++ Glenn Sydney, who is opposed to OoW as priests, let alone their elevation to the episcopate. That he did not is thought interesting.

Assistant bihops are appointed the diocesan, on advice.

[ 06. August 2014, 09:54: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Albertus
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In Wales, BTW, diocesans are elected by an Electoral College connsisting of the Archbishop and the other Diocesan Bishops, six clerical and the six lay Episcopal Electors from the diocese of which the see is vacant; and the first three clerical and the first three lay Episcopal Electors on the list of each of the other five dioceses. Episcopal Electiors are elected my memebsr of each Diocesan Conference for, I think, three years at a time.
Assistant bishops (there is only one at present) are nominated by their Diocesan, subject to the approval of the nomination by the other members of the Bench of Bishops.

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PaulTH*
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quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
I agree that there is an issue with the clergy being incredibly middle class, but in a church which is very middle class, what are you going to do?

While there's a big difference between being posh middle class and being well educated, the posh often are well educated, not the least because their families have the resources to educate them to their highest ability. While we don't need posh clergy, we certainly need clergy of intelligence and education, because they have to be able to explain what they teach to the rest of us. If a disproportionate number of those seeking vocations are from middle class backgrounds, what can you do about it? There's no requirement to come from any background, but the ability to understand and disseminate the faith is essential. Well educated a must. Posh no.

quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
It's not fair, it's not acceptable, and it legitimises bigotry.

The constraints on what may be discussed in Purgatory prevent me from giving a full response to this, but I take it that you'd like to see faithful Anglicans, by definition of the Lambeth Conference, expelled from the Church of England, even if they've been members for life, because they Church has moved its goalposts and they find it difficult to follow? The recent legislation has been delayed for several years in an attempt to be inclusive and please, as far as possible, everyone. I think the C of E has made a brave attempt at this, and I congratulate them for it!

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CL
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:


Apart from the RCs where the Pope chooses, how do other people do it?

The Pope makes the final decision in the Latin Church but it is based on a terna or list of 3 names drawn up by the nuncio to the relevant country. Now of course the Pope is free to appoint someone not on the terna if he so wishes. In fact Benedict XVI did so when he appointed Mark Davies to Shrewsbury iirc.

Appointment of bishops in the Eastern Catholic Churches is different; the Pope plays no direct role outside of the diasporas.

[ 06. August 2014, 13:56: Message edited by: CL ]

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CL
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Addendum to previous post: there is an exception I forgot to mention; in several of the dioceses of the old Imperial Church (i.e. Germany, Switzerland, Austria) the cathedral chapter is involved in the selection of bishops as well as the Holy See.

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
The problem isn't that support should be given to a minority. Nobody disputed that provision should be made for those who were faithful servants of the church and were part of the church when the church changed. It was the abusive behaviour of those put in to support, who chose to empire build and encourage the ordination of those priests who wanted to insist on the previous situation and not accept that the Anglican church they were being ordained into had changed. And that has poisoned the situation for everyone.

The problem is that the people concerned didn't think of themselves as empire building. They thought of themselves as defending the interests of an embattled but legitimate minority position. Which, from their side of the scanner, isn't an unreasonable view. And, if they were empire building they have done a pretty bad job of it. I can think of plenty of churches and individuals which have shifted position towards favouring the Ordination of Women since it started. I'm not aware of anywhere which has moved in the opposite direction. Even Chichester, which was modelled on the Cave of Adullam in the early nineties, now has a lady Archdeacon. Eppi Si Muove and all that.

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Albertus
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Are there countries where the state authorities have some role in the appointment of RC Bishops, CL? I think that in Alsace and Lorrraine (where the French laicisation legislation of 1905 never applied), the French government has some kind of involvement, doesn't it?
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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Are there countries where the state authorities have some role in the appointment of RC Bishops, CL? I think that in Alsace and Lorrraine (where the French laicisation legislation of 1905 never applied), the French government has some kind of involvement, doesn't it?

This page suggests that there is some sort of veto on the part of the French republic, but provides us with little detail.
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Forthview
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Alsace and Lorraine do not have the complete separation of Church and State which other parts of France have.There is a church tax, as in Germany, which pays for the clergy as well as some charitable works undertaken by the churches.
One of the striking differences is that state sponsored
war memorials may have a Christian theme to them.
I'm not sure if the French President plays any role in the appointment of Catholic bishops in Alsace and Lorraine .

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Curiosity killed ...

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Gildas / Augustine - those who particularly empire built are now in the Ordinariate.

I still disagree with and challenge that choice of continuing to ordain men into a church when those men could not accept that church as it was now. It seemed to be all done in the hope that the whole thing was a ghastly mistake that would get changed back in the fullness of time.

(I have contacts who were at theological college with said empire builders and fell out with them over it. Others of the PEVs, and the same social group, did not go down that route.)

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Augustine the Aleut
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Indeed, Curiosity, that may well be, as I challenge and disagree with the result of the most recent federal election in Canada. That I did not like it did not alter the results or its implications.

Famously the Act of Synod was carefully written so as to admit of multiple interpretations. Many people opposed it on the grounds you state but eventually folded as otherwise the measure would have not proceeded at that time.

As well, the widely discussed "period of reception" left open the possibility that it was a mistake and could be reversed (as happened in one of the Baltic churches IIRC), as much as it could mean a period where opposers could get used to the reality and accept it (which was largely what happened). The great and good gave us lots of "period of reception" waffle at the time.

The intent, more Anglicano (if I can dip back into my high school Latin), was to provide cover (or plausible deniability, as we ex-government types would rather say, there being more syllables involved) for multiple points of view. Those on either end of the stick were unhappy, one side as you have described, and the other now largely into the Ordinariate or one of the continuing churches (perhaps the last place outside these boards where this discussion still takes place).

This situation is textbook case of the virtues and pitfalls of the Anglican notion of including opposing points of view. This time, it largely if untidily worked in the favour of one perspective. It is also an example of Anglicanism's passive-aggressive approach to its minorities.

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Oscar the Grouch

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
There is, I know, a view that the post-2007 system has produced Bishops with a more narrowly local focus, with less 'leadership' capacity for the Church as a whole.

Or, conversely, bishops who see their role as spokesmen and legislators, and spend most of their time on the media or in the house of Lords. If they are not that, they tend to be managers rather than pastors.
It is worth noting that the current system in the C of E looks not just at the needs and views of the diocese, but also at what might be called "national" issues and responsibilities. The idea being that a bishop is not just for the diocese but has a role to play among the whole house of bishops in matters across the whole country.

This affects the kind of people being chosen, I think. You are less likely to get the maverick, one-offs and more likely to go for people who will fit in with the current ethos and structure; someone to be a "team player". Such an approach will probably tend to be biased towards people who already have similar backgrounds to the existing bishops.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
I agree that there is an issue with the clergy being incredibly middle class, but in a church which is very middle class, what are you going to do?

While there's a big difference between being posh middle class and being well educated, the posh often are well educated, not the least because their families have the resources to educate them to their highest ability. While we don't need posh clergy, we certainly need clergy of intelligence and education, because they have to be able to explain what they teach to the rest of us. If a disproportionate number of those seeking vocations are from middle class backgrounds, what can you do about it? There's no requirement to come from any background, but the ability to understand and disseminate the faith is essential. Well educated a must. Posh no.

quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
It's not fair, it's not acceptable, and it legitimises bigotry.

The constraints on what may be discussed in Purgatory prevent me from giving a full response to this, but I take it that you'd like to see faithful Anglicans, by definition of the Lambeth Conference, expelled from the Church of England, even if they've been members for life, because they Church has moved its goalposts and they find it difficult to follow? The recent legislation has been delayed for several years in an attempt to be inclusive and please, as far as possible, everyone. I think the C of E has made a brave attempt at this, and I congratulate them for it!

I'm not going to answer the DH-related question here, because DH, but suffice to say that there are those of us who have much bigger reasons to struggle to remain in the CoE related to other DHs, yet do so with far less whining and IMO far more of an idea of what it means to be a loyal Anglican.

Intelligence =/= well educated. Aside from the fact that 'well educated' is an incredibly subjective idea, and very much culturally-defined, equating intelligence with formal education is deeply problematic for a number of reasons - not least issues of disabilities and developmental/intellectual disabilities in particular. Is someone who did poorly at school due to undiagnosed ADHD (very common in women with ADHD, who are seriously under-diagnosed) less intelligent? What about someone with undiagnosed dyslexia (my sister, who only left school in 2010 was not diagnosed until 2009 - so even with modern knowledge of dyslexia, it goes undetected)? What about those brought up in foster care, or made homeless during their GCSEs, or struggling to cope in dysfunctional families (whether addiction or other issues are present or not), or too poor to do A Levels now EMA has gone? Or, you know, just trying to survive in a toxic environment which means that academic things have to take a back seat? Because shit happens to young people too, but it's incredibly hard to get back into formal education after a break - and very expensive as all fees have to be paid upfront. Also, just plain old physical disability, in particular chronic and invisible disabilities/illnesses. My best friend left school at 14 due to the severity of her ME, and was cared for by her mother (fortunately a teacher, although she didn't carry on with any formal education because she just couldn't manage it and the pain). She is now 25 and significantly less qualified than me (and I barely have a whole A Level). Like fuck is she not intelligent.

We need more clergy with developmental/intellectual disabilities and neurological issues (eg dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, ASD etc) who known Christ in the fragility of an unacknowledged existence. We need more clergy who have known Christ in the vulnerability of homelessness. We need more clergy who have known Christ in the rejection of family and friends. We need more clergy who have known Christ in the hunger and wretched vice of poverty. We need more clergy who have known Christ in the unending reality of chronic pain.

I totally agree that a theologically-literate and intelligent clergy is necessary. I reject the idea that this is only shown in formal qualifications. Theology is meaningless unless demonstrated and with the knowledge as to how live it out. I can assure you that the homeless, disabled, poor and neuroatypical have more theological education lived theology in their little fingers than many 'well educated' people have in their entire beings.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Byron
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Being accepted for ministry is an excellent way to get a free education, so background isn't a deciding factor. Not that it is for education in general: in Britain, tuition is loaned up-front, and payback doesn't kick in unless a person's on a decent wage.

I've snarked about patricians in the church, but that's more about a clubhouse attitude than it is education, or even background (Carey had it in spades, and could never be accused of chomping down on a silver spoon).

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Byron
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
[...] So, inconvenient though it may be, I now think the CofE is right to have done what it can to accommodate those who haven't agreed with the majority view, particularly bearing in mind that although one may disagree with them, they are not heretics.

Toleration's not the problem: the problem is that they demand their view be imposed on the rest of the church. The moment someone demands that, toleration ought to be withdrawn. If it isn't, you're not tolerating them, you're surrendering to them.
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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Byron:
Being accepted for ministry is an excellent way to get a free education, so background isn't a deciding factor. Not that it is for education in general: in Britain, tuition is loaned up-front, and payback doesn't kick in unless a person's on a decent wage.

I've snarked about patricians in the church, but that's more about a clubhouse attitude than it is education, or even background (Carey had it in spades, and could never be accused of chomping down on a silver spoon).

Tuition for further education (A Levels and qualifications of that level) is not loaned up-front and can be extremely expensive if you're not going into it straight from school. Yes, getting into university doesn't require a particular background but it does require particular qualifications, which many people miss out on for the reasons I outlined above. If you fail all your GCSEs due to misdiagnosis of a neurological condition (for example) and you can't afford to resit, you can kiss goodbye to any kind of degree without doing an Access course first. Which costs money.

[ 06. August 2014, 19:09: Message edited by: Jade Constable ]

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Tuition for further education (A Levels and qualifications of that level) is not loaned up-front and can be extremely expensive if you're not going into it straight from school. Yes, getting into university doesn't require a particular background but it does require particular qualifications, which many people miss out on for the reasons I outlined above. If you fail all your GCSEs due to misdiagnosis of a neurological condition (for example) and you can't afford to resit, you can kiss goodbye to any kind of degree without doing an Access course first. Which costs money.

A lot of the access courses are funded as HE courses now though, so while they're expensive they're not upfront costly. The bigger issue is that if you're not used to the system it's a daunting minefield to navigate, doubly so if the reason you've been out of education is linked to your mental health or learning disability.

[ 06. August 2014, 19:23: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]

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Byron
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quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Tuition for further education (A Levels and qualifications of that level) is not loaned up-front and can be extremely expensive if you're not going into it straight from school. Yes, getting into university doesn't require a particular background but it does require particular qualifications, which many people miss out on for the reasons I outlined above. If you fail all your GCSEs due to misdiagnosis of a neurological condition (for example) and you can't afford to resit, you can kiss goodbye to any kind of degree without doing an Access course first. Which costs money.

Ah, my mistake, I was focused on college tuition. Sorry about that.

This sounds like an area in which the church could do more, although a diocese may sponsor something like the Certificate in Christian Studies, or negotiate with a university on a candidate's behalf.

Personally, I don't buy into the concept of an ordained priesthood. Anyone ought to be able to officiate at the Eucharist, as many churches license lay people to preach. If priests were no longer viewed as a caste apart, it'd do wonders to close the gap.

You could still have people appointed to run congregations full time, but they'd just be people trained in the relevant vocational skills. There's no reason that different skillsets can't be separated out, either: one person trained in parish management, another trained in preaching, another in liturgy, and so on. Concentrating the lot in one person inevitably leads to shortfalls in some areas.

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Jenn.
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I'm an ordinand at theological college. The people here are varied, mostly middle class (ish) but with a number who don't fit straightforwardly into that grouping. Training probably makes you more middle class. There are people who have struggled with each of the things Jade C mentioned, with the possible exception of homelessness. I see a reasonable amount of variety going into ordained ministry even from one residential college (out of a dozen or so, plus plenty of regional non residential places which are, I'm told, hugely more varied). I don't see this variety further up the hierarchy, and I do pray that that will change in time.
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Byron
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
A lot of the access courses are funded as HE courses now though, so while they're expensive they're not upfront costly. The bigger issue is that if you're not used to the system it's a daunting minefield to navigate, doubly so if the reason you've been out of education is linked to your mental health or learning disability.

Very true, although this is a separate issue to economic and cultural background. (Admittedly class factors into it.)

It also cuts both ways: how many people from blue collar backgrounds want to be ordained? Some would if they were given more encouragement and resources, but if you don't come from a background where education is emphasized, a few years studying theology and ancient Greek isn't the easiest sell!

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