Ideals and realities

Over on Kelvin’s blog we are once again discussing the rights and wrongs of consecrating partnered gay people as bishops. And one of the reactions is: ‘Why cannot we all stop talking about this and instead discuss things more relevant to the daily life of the church?’ Which is a good view.


In principle.

Only by and large, and with honourable exceptions, people don’t. They do not discuss: ‘How to find ways of being of service the the church without getting ordained’ or ‘How to decide what my money ought to be doing this week’ or other topic, or they do not discuss them with much verve and enthusiasm. Whereas a discussion of the ordination or consecration of those in same sex partnerships is usually guaranteed to get a big big list of comments.

With honourable exceptions.


12 responses to “Ideals and realities

  1. Maybe I should trademark the term “tabloid Communion” in advance…

  2. Father Andrew Crosbie

    I have tried answering the question in you comment on Kelvins blog but he hasnt put my comment on .

  3. rosemaryhannah

    Ah, well, that might be lots of things I guess – but if it is a comment about this post of mine here on my blog, perhaps you could put it on this blog. Andrew? Why IS it so hard to persuade people to talk about the nitty-gritty of Christian life?

  4. Father Andrew Crosbie

    Rosemary. I wish I knew. I enjoy you stuff but I dont always agree with you- as you know. Have a good Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

  5. rosemaryhannah

    Come come Andrew – if I can’t persuade you to talk about serious matters outwith current obsessions, what hope is there?!

    Pretty please – don’t use my blog to complain about other people’s blogs – email them to do that! It is uncomfortable close to talking behind backs!

  6. Father Andrew Crosbie

    Sorry didnt intend not to talk but was distracted by my pie which was spilling over in the oven. Dont try to cook a pie and oven chips that have different cooking intsructions by taking the mid point between them and hoping. It doesnt work.

    I guess for me the Catholic I refer to is what I have always known. It is based in the Catechism and the Creeds and the teaching of the Church that I was ordained into. It was taught to me by peopled who loved me and cared for me and who lived their lives by those beliefs. It still lives today in groups of people scattered around the country or in the one or two souls struggling to stay worshiping in the churches they were born into.

    Please dont tink that I am some sort of old stick in the mud. I am far from that. My best friend at college was Shirley who was a woman candidate. I was pleased to attend her ordination. I know that things change by challenging the given but my worry about the SEC just now is that it is not so much challenging the given as destroying it. I see nothing great coming to replace the faith which I know to be true .It brought me to Jesus and made me a sacrifical priest at Gods altar.

    My pal Shirley once said to me that her vocation would have been so much better if the church had not just treated her like a bloke and slapped on a dog collar. I think there could be quite a bit of truth in that. Ministry and how we express that in the church would be a good topic.

    How about that for a start ? Kind of follows on from a bit of what you said.

  7. There are few things quite like gay rights to get people so agitated whether religious or secular.

  8. rosemaryhannah

    Schmeekins, few indeed.

    Andrew, I can see only too plainly that trying to cook oven chips and a pie in the same oven to the same time would be a disaster. I will pass over the very idea of pie and chips….

    UM. well, devoted as I am to the church of Christ, I admit to much less attachment to any one of the denominations of it. I am however up for a discussion on ministry/vocation.

    I will offer the starter that by and large, and with the inevitable honourable exceptions, churches (generally) are VERY bad at sniffing out vocations, and enabling their lay people to enjoy whichever ministry they are called to. Terrible at supporting them in their ministry in the larger (i.e. non-churchy) world. Truly diabolical at training the laity.

    Though it is a vicious circle. Faced with a large number of lay persons unwilling to make further efforts, or learn, or make sacrifices, many clergy give up. And then the laity sink further back, and ….

    But I think things are (generally) better than when I was a girl. When I was a girl, I remember faithfully cycling to one church every Sunday for a year. People said, ‘Hallo’ and ‘Good bye’ and that was all. Until I stopped going…… I went to the Methodist church instead, where they said ‘Come in – what are you interested in joining…..’ Which was a big improvement.

    My point is, nobody in church A described above was making any effort at all to involve anybody in anything or in any way. That would, in my expereince, be rather less likely to happen today. It certainly would not have happened in my former long term church on Bute or in my present church. (in the above, church=congregation)

  9. Father Andrew Crosbie

    Greetings Rosemary.

    The silence was due to travel. I left London where I work during the week and stopped over in Edinburgh before travelling to Perth for the Chrism Mass for us trad Anglican priests in Scotland.

    I think it is not just that churches are bad at sniffing out vocations. I think that is by and large true. I think there is also a tendency for all of us to visit our own expectations and opinions on those who present themselves as volunteers for ministry , ordained or lay. I know I have to resit it myself at local church level. It is the old thing of having the grace/energy to deal with people where they are and not where we would want them to be. This has been one of the great problems for people like me. I am in a minority in UK Anglicanism. I have watched time and time again those charged with the processing of vocations visit their own positions on people coming forward.

    I think things are better. The laity are more empowered and all of this must be good for the kingdom of God.

    I think all the denominations need to to listen to people where they are when they present their vocations. A sort of spiritual justice and grace to accept them as that which they are, a priceless child of God.

    If we dont blog before enjoy Palm Sunday

  10. rosemaryhannah

    We still end up with a very varied selection of ordinands, though. Every possible colour of churchmanship.

    I think, however, that the church generally does confuse real devotion to Christ, and the appropriate gifts for the ordained ministry.

    We end up with a very clerically-centred church, no longer really fit for purpose, IMHO. It is as damaging to the clergy as to the laity. We are moving from ‘Father knows best’ but not far nor fast enough. We need to discover a way of growing real Christian grown up laity, not ones made childish. Some congregations are cracking it. Many are not.

  11. Father Andrew Crosbie

    Hi Rosemary,

    Happy Easter.

    I am sorry to tell you that the SEC does not end up with a varied selection of ordinands of all churchmanship. Since 1990 there has not been one traditional male ordinand processed/ordained in the SEC. The fact is that I can name five men who have left Scotland and been processed and ordained in other parts of the Anglican Communion. Not just accident but policy to reject anyone who is male and traditional.

    There is no proper provision in the SEC for trads. If you want to see the trouble we had having a Chrism Mass just looking at Bishop Barnes blog, ancient richborough

    I know that we are only a small group now but it feels very much like the SEC really doesnt want us.

    I am really grateful for the group in Dumfries who are very much grown up laity. My ministry is constantly stretched and challenged by their insights.

  12. rosemaryhannah

    This comes down to how we respect others. I would never push anybody out of the church. However, if ‘traditionalists’ cannot respect the SEC – there is a very definite limit to the compromises I support to keep them in. It is all about working with those with whom you disagree. Most denominations can accommodate a very wide difference of opinion, but one cannot accommodate those who are going to make difficulties about working constructively with those are also part of the denomination.

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