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Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

Pride Flags Cause Conflict at Christian School Conflict has broken out in a Christian school in Oxfordshire over the display of “Pride” flags. The institution in question is Kingham Hill School.  The same Trust (Kingham Hill Trust) oversees Oak Hill College, an...

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

General Synod Update

Last November, the General Synod of the Church of England held its first formal online Group of Sessions. As anyone who can imagine spending three days on Zoom might understand, this was not an experience to be relished: it was therefore a relief to learn that the business previously scheduled for February is to be postponed until late April, when it is hoped (perhaps somewhat optimistically?) that gathering in person will be possible. The agenda for that sitting is yet to be determined (but seems certain to include some discussion of the controversial ‘Living in Love and Faith’ project on human sexuality).

Meanwhile, in late February there will be a one-day informal remote meeting of the Synod which, we are told, ‘will be focusing on looking forward to the aftermath of the pandemic and how the Church can help our communities recover’. At the time of writing, neither the agenda for this special meeting nor the motion(s) for discussion has been published, so at this stage one can only speculate on the form the proceedings might take.

On the face of it, it is encouraging that the discussion is planned to focus on ‘recovery’, recognising that the current situation must soon be brough to an end. At a time when many are facing bereavement and ill-health as a direct result of the coronavirus itself, as well as (to perhaps an even greater extent) the devastating long-term effects of the measures taken to control the virus, local churches have a unique opportunity to offer practical, pastoral and spiritual support, and a message of hope. Some will rise to this challenge admirably.

The Church of England is, however, nothing if not highly disparate, and for much of the Church there are increasingly urgent and serious questions about its own recovery, let alone its ability to assist the recovery of others. A leaked internal document has recently suggested that a fifth of worshippers may not return in the aftermath of COVID (compounding already falling numbers). At the start of the pandemic, the national Church was so enthusiastic about the closure of churches for both public and private prayer, that it sought to forbid clergy from praying alone in their own church buildings. Now that, in the third lockdown, the government has permitted churches to open for public worship, the majority have declined to do so.

In parts of the world where Christians are routinely persecuted, they regularly put their lives at immediate risk by meeting together to pray, because they understand that such gatherings are as essential to the Body of Christ as, say, an open supermarket is to the sustenance of our physical bodies. The Church of England urgently needs to consider whether it really thinks church attendance matters.

 

Prudence Dailey is a longstanding lay member of the General Synod of the Church of England

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