I 'm going to listen to the AB of C again this morning (does that make me a some kind of ecclesiastical groupie?). This time he'll speak to the clergy of the diocese of Glasgow and Galloway on the subject of faith and the arts.
Then it's off for a visit to Auchlochan. No, I'm not checking out a home for my retirement - that's such a long way off.
In further rectory news, it's beginning to look like a new roof could be necessary..........
Update: Here's a snapshot I took this morning as he was referrring to snapshots! Please feel free to add your own caption.....
Update 2: Brodie has an excellent synopsis of the conversation from the previous evening. Kelvin gives us his thoughts on the good and not quite so good from the clergy conference.
Last night, I thoroughly enjoyed the Archbishop of Canterbury in public conversation with Professor Mona Siddiqui. A packed Bute Hall enjoyed his gentle good humour but he skillfully managed to avoid anything really difficult as when it came to being asked the questions the gathered punters had put on cards, he cherry-picked most of the them from the bowl on the coffee table in front of him. For some inexplicable reason he chose not to answer the question of one of my friends on the use of rose vestments.
He seemed well pleased with the outcome of the Lambeth Conference mainly because it didn't produce the fireworks some had predicted. Instead in his view it had helped to rebuild trust. I wondered how this could be so when at least a quarter of Anglican bishops weren't there and there was no opportunity for the ones who did attend to deliberate on anything? He doesn't think GAFCON is a threat to the Communion and is meeting with some of its leaders soon.
He talked about preferring the word "hospitality" rather than "tolerance". He wouldn't be drawn on the US election. There's nothing new in the new Atheism. He draws inspiration from his predecessors Anselm, Michael Ramsey and Thomas Cranmer ("who had to make decisions").
At the very end he described the antics of Russell Brand, Jonathan Ross and their producers as "disgusting and pathetic infantilism" and "toxic immaturity".
I really don't envy him in his tough job. He is clearly a scholarly person with a deep prayer life but he's probably not great in the leadership gift department. He needs our prayers for, like Cranmer, he may well have some difficult decisions yet to take.
St Silas' has agreed to support the development of World Shine Ministries' school at Rwentobo in Uganda. This support will come from our Building for the Future fund, and stems from our a desire to share God's goodness as we develop the property He has given us in Glasgow. Our first contribution will buy some of the land necessary for further development.
It's a big vision, and the long term hope is to build a school which produces community leaders of character and integrity. Such partnerships are going to be important for our life here.
The rectory has sprung some more leaks in the face of the weekend storms. This time it's our bedroom that has succumbed. We decamped to the sofa bed in the lounge over the weekend, as we couldn't bare the Chinese water torture any more. Further works needed.........
I've also succumbed to "man-flu", but I really am not feeling well, with a hacking cough and runny nose to equal our dripping ceiling. Add to that, I dropped some floor tiles on my foot at the weekend, which means I have it strapped up, and you'll understand I'm feeling a little sorry for myself.
With way too much to do this week. Time to keep God-centred and not get too preoccupied on the woes.
Sydney diocese has reasserted its view that there is no legal impediment to deacons’
presiding at the Eucharist, given that, under a 1985 General Synod canon, deacons are
authorised to assist the priest in the administration of the sacraments.
A report accompanying the motion argued that, because deacons can
administer the sacrament of baptism “in its entirety”, and because “no
hierarchy of sacraments is expressed in describing the deacon’s role
of assisting the presbyter,” deacons are therefore authorised to
“administer the Lord’s Supper in its entirety”.
Bishop Davies told the Synod that the Archbishop could not prevent a
deacon’s “administering the Lord’s Supper”. But the motion, though it
also affirmed lay presidency, could not approve lay people’s presiding
at Sunday services, as the Archbishop would need to license them,
Bishop Davies said. “The Archbishop will not license a lay person at
All over the blogosphere, people have been getting wound up that this marks the end of the GAFCON alliance: the reappraisers gleeful at this seeming mis-step by our Antipodean colleagues, the Anglo-Catholics upset at this apparent break with tradition.
I don't believe such fears are warranted. Of course there is diversity in the Anglican Communion. I experienced it at GAFCON, when the person I spent most enjoyable time with was a clergyperson from Sydney. We didn't agree on a whole raft of things, including women preaching and the practice of charismatic gifts. However, we knew that we followed the same Jesus, and agreed on the basic tenets of the faith. As it happened, I managed to enjoy dinner one night with Archbishop Peter Jensen, and it was clear to me in speaking with him, that though he believes in lay presidency, he would not authorise it, for it would further fracture the Anglican Communion. So, yes there will be tension on this issue as we go forward together, but it will be survivable.
Two weeks ago, I preached on the importance of receiving Holy Communion as part of our "The Privileges of Church Membership" sermon series. We celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday in some shape or form. It's important to us, as it humbles us and keeps us God-centred. Do I believe that I, as the sole ordained person on our team, should be the only one to "preside" at its celebration? No, I don't. But I recognise that for many, this tradition is important and I wouldn't want to see it changed or an alternative imposed everywhere for the sake of my understanding. How Communion should be done, other than in a reverent and orderly fashion, is unclear from the Bible. Much that surrounds it in Anglicanism, from the robes worn to the gestures used are of our creation. For some they are useful in worship, for others at best a distraction. How we do Communion is not a salvation issue. The manner of celebrating is not sinful, so long as due reverence is observed: rather it's a question of ecclesiology, and the Body of Christ has plenty of room for diversity in that, as can be seen by the number of different denominations in existence.
On another (slightly ranty) note, why do some clergy appear so miserable as they preside at the Eucharist? And why do they sound so bored by it all (if they're bored, what must the congregation be feeling?) Yes, there ought to be a solemnity about its celebration, but surely there should be great enthusiasm and joy too?
There were so many joyful moments in last night's Elbow gig. Guy Garvey's sweet voice moved me to tears several times. The string quartet added a rich orchestral element. Above all, there was a sense that each of the five band members exult in their gifts, bringing them together to create something that uplifts flagging spirits. Sometimes a gig makes me think, "If only Church could feel like this?". In the words of Faithless, "This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts".
We could only get tickets for the balcony which detracted somewhat from the experience, especially when a lot of people chose to chatter through the quieter passages, of which there were many. Why on earth do people pay good money to see a band, then not bother to listen to them? Maybe they were new fans and only interested in the material off the latest recording? We'll try to avoid the balcony at the Carling Academy in future.
Things I'll remember about this gig? Guy Garvey announced the last song then said that it wouldn't be the last song. He invited us to cut out the demand for an encore. They'd come back on if we all sang Rod Stewart's "Sailing". Which we did. With gusto.
They also performed the beautiful, "Weather to Fly", which was stunning. Here it is from the gig at Truro:
Of particular interest is this short article published in the diocesan journal, Pharisaios:
Good evening. Many of you have written in from all parts of the
Anglican Communion to express your appreciative support for what was a
quite remarkable Lambeth Conference, and to ask of me and my Office
what the future holds for all of us who share that great heritage and
tradition that we choose to entitle ‘Anglicanism.’ This is no easy
matter to address, but in order to clarify minds and provide a
reasonable and accessible framework for the discussion of any future
covenant (or not as the case may prove) there can be no better primary
source material to quote than the early discourses of Paul Tillich,
when he wrote:
“Being in the One Body requires a practical and
theoretical willingness to acquiesce to a godly concupiscence with and
to our differences. Simpler theology might describe this as verzweiflung as opposed to zweifel, but the two can inter-locate within the same communion-transmutation.”
concur with Tillich in this matter, and wish to see this same approach
extended to the way in which we consider our existential estrangement
from one another, notable the reality of our personal myths and
paradoxes, and also the corroborative evidence that our ecstatically
received understandings of constellations of factors which point us
all, in ways singular and corporative, to the divine Ground of Being.
Is this too transcendent for us? I think not, when we recall the
witness of the early Christians, and the ways in which they articulated
the mechanisms – especially in Corinth. So we need not lose hope, nor
deny the ambiguity of finitude.
Please join me as I commit this to prayer.
It all takes me back to Coates Hall, the theological college of the Scottish Episcopal Church, where some nameless individual (though some of us knew who it was, we never divulged his identity) produced a satirical magazine in which everything to do with our strange wee ecclesiastical community was lampooned. The powers-that-were did not appreciate it. Long live satire!
Bill Hybels talks about those moments that cause him to feel, 'This is Church!'. For me, this last week has been full of them -
A joyful wedding on Saturday Listening to and praying with a grieving family A funeral service in which we celebrated a life and the hope of the Gospel Holy Communion with some of our more senior members in the autumnal beauty of Strathblane
In between all that there has been time to do other important stuff like preparing a sermon for Sunday, a pile of administration stuff, a visit my mum and dad, a walk around a loch and visiting ( way too many) diy stores and carpet warehouses.
The rectory remains somewhat chaotic, though the central heating is now wonderful and the shower room will hopefully be completed tomorrow. We're a wee bit scunnered by it all, but there are still two rooms to get sorted out, so we must endure a while longer. In other domestic news, we finally succumbed and bought a dishwasher this week. We had one that died ten years ago, and didn't replace it. What were we thinking? Probably us trying to save the planet or somesuch. Having the machine has made a huge difference already and cut down how much work the rectory adults have to do. Now we only have to train everyone who lives here to put their dirty plates in it rather than simply leaving them all over the place!
The next few days will be R & R with the family, before our little darlings return to school on Monday. On Sunday night after Deeper we've got tickets to see Elbow. Now that's a pleasant way to spend an evening.
Another action-packed Saturday for us with a wedding this afternoon, then nipping round the corner after the reception to see British Sea Power at the ABC (while dodging the merry Scotland fans celebrating our victory over Norway!).