Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter

The Celebration of the Lord's Resurrection:
  • Annually
  • Weekly - each Sunday
  • Daily - when you awake from sleep (which is a bit like a kind of death) and arise

Song Choices

As well as fitting in with the season and the Bible passages, I sometimes have the following categories of songs in mind:

  • well known rousing hymns (especially for starting and finsihing the service)
  • 20th century songs - e.g. Graham Kendrick
  • songs as up to the minute as we can manage
  • children's songs
  • metrical versions of the psalms

Of course what is in our hymn books / serivce books is an influence. I reckon one extra song sheet per service is enough! A screen and Powerpoint would certainly help.

You might also want songs that perform certain liturgical functions of fit in certain parts of the service:

  • praise
  • thanksgiving
  • confession
  • creed
  • offering
  • preparation for Word of God or Communion
  • response
  • prayer
  • etc.

Royal Wedding

Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian, published in 1520:

Who can even begin to appreciate what this royal marriage means? Who can comprehend the riches of this glorious grace? Christ, the rich and divine bridegroom, marries this poor, wicked whore, redeems her from all of her evil, and adorns her with all of his goodness. It now is impossible for her sins to destroy her, for they are laid on Christ and swallowed up by him. She has her righteousness in Christ, her husband, which she now can boast is her very own. She can set this righteousness over against all of her sins and, in the face of death and hell, say with confidence: “If I have sinned, nevertheless, the one in whom I trust, my Christ, has not sinned. Through our marriage, all that is his is mine and all that is mine is his.


HT: Barry Cooper

Something for a rainy day

Panel Discussion on Preaching from the Old Testament, Featuring Tim Keller, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, Don Carson, and Bryan Chapell - TGC 2011 plenary session

The book of the last 400 years

Coming soon to a website, churches and village hall near some of you

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Prayer for Rain

A farming parishoner tells me that rain is needed. I have therefore prayed the following prayer from The Book of Common Prayer (p38, prayers and thanksgiving for various occasions, prayers, for rain):

O God, heavenly Father,
who by thy Son Jesus Christ hast promised to all them that seek thy kingdom,
and the rightousness thereof,
all things necessary to their bodily sustenance:
Send us, we beseech thee,
in this our necessity,
such moderate rain and showers,
that we may receive the fruits of the earth to our comfort,
and to thy honour;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Ha ha

Hermeneutics (the science of the interpretation of texts, esp. Biblical texts) applied to a STOP sign.

And, a classic: The Cat Sat On The Mat as the C of E might respond to it.

HT: Jim & the Father in Law, respectively.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Christianity Explored - New Website

Check it out here. I hope to run the (newly updated) course in the Autumn, probably in the Rectory, one evening mid-week. Let me know if you're interested.

HT: Glen Scrivener

Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Hour at the Cross

I need to start collecting material for next year's Hour At The Cross service. This is the front runner so far.

This year we had Psalm 22 by the Choir of King's College Cambridge, words from Isaiah from the Messiah and The Agony by George Herbert.

John 20 & Song of Songs

Interestingly, the Common Worship lectionary for this evening appoints Song of Songs 3:2-5 and John 20:11-18.

In addition, Mary finds Jesus in a spice filled garden.

As a woman searches for the man she loves in a garden perfumed with spices, we might think of the Song of Songs with the beloved seeking her lover, that picture of the relationship between the Lord and his people, Christ and the church.

cf. Song 1:3, 12; 3:6; 4:6, 10; 5:1, 13

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Liturgical Query

What does the Extended Preface for use with Eucharistic Prayers A, B and E from Easter Day until the Eve of the Ascension mean when it says:

Jesus Christ... restored in men and women the image of your glory.
He has placed them once more in paradise
and opened to them the gate of life eternal.
Common Worship, p317

Do you think Christ has placed us again in paradise?

Has Common Worship succumbed to an over-realised eschatology?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Women Bishops

Some jottings for a session I ran yesterday on women bishops (a little of which is specific to the Diocese of Chichester or the Deanery of Dallington!):

INTRODUCTION

A controversial question we are unlikely to agree about!

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

THE BACKGROUND

The current position: why are we discussing this again now?

Women priests allowed since 1992 with parishes able to:

(a) Refuse the priestly ministry of women

(b) Refuse to have a female incumbent

(c) Ask for alternative episcopal oversight from a Bishop who has not ordained women priests

General Synod has so far approved draft legislation:

· opening the Church of England episcopate to women;

· rescinding the present arrangements whereby parishes may pass various resolutions or

petitions for “extended episcopal oversight”;

· requiring every diocesan bishop to provide a scheme for the delegation of certain

functions to a male bishop in certain circumstances, such schemes to be subject to a

code of practice drawn up by the House of Bishops.

Before it meets again in November, The General Synod is asking Diocesan Synods to vote on the question:

‘Does this synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No. 30?’

The Diocesan Synod will vote on this question on Saturday 8th October 2011.

If a majority of Diocesan Synods approve the draft legislation, it will return to the General Synod (probably in February 2012) for Final Drafting and further consideration. The Final Approval stage, at which two-thirds majorities are required in each House, could be reached in July 2012. If approved, the legislation will then go to Parliament for consideration by the Ecclesiastical Committee and each House.

Bishop John wants every Parish and Deanery in the Diocese to discuss the matter before it comes back to Diocesan Synod, and to vote on the following questions:

1. Are you in favour of ordaining women to the episcopate in the Church of England?

2. Do you think that provision should be made for those who cannot on theological grounds accept this development?

3. Do you think that the provisions in the draft measure are appropriate for this purpose?

Diocesan Synods can also pass “following motions” to express concerns about aspects of the legislation.

PCCs are being asked to vote on the four questions above, and also to consider whether they wish to put forward a following motion to be considered by Deanery Synod, and then by the Diocesan synod – and to do this by the end of June.

Deanery Synod will vote on the issues on 19th July 2011.

It is entirely up to Synod members (not their PCCs) how they vote on these questions.

THE SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES

My answers to these questions:

1. Are you in favour of ordaining women to the episcopate in the Church of England?

No

Men & women: equal but different

Same value, dignity, status, worth etc.; different roles, offices, functions

Not questioning the ability of women!

Male headship in the home / family (Colossians 3:18; Ephesians 5:22-24)

The church is the household / family of God – a similar pattern applies

Male headship in the church (1 Corinthians 14:33-38; 1 Timothy 2:11-14)

Paul does not appeal to something cultural or temporary

Headship and submission does not necessarily imply inferiority since Christ submits to the Father as his head and both are equally God (1 Corinthians 11:3)

The authority of Scripture

Jesus and the Apostles were all men.

Although Jesus was not afraid to oppose wrong traditions or be counter-cultural, he upheld this traditional biblical approach to male leadership

From the earliest times, only men were ordained presbyter or priest (elder)

The Roman Catholic, Orthodox and many Evangelical churches do not allow women “priests” so to go ahead without wider ecumenical agreement is harmful to church unity

Bishops serve as a focus for unity and it would be hard to see how women bishops could be anything other than divisive

2. Do you think that provision should be made for those who cannot on theological grounds accept this development?

Yes.

This was promised when women priests were first introduced. It was explained in Parliament that ‘protection for incumbents and in particular parishes, should remain in perpetuity for as long as anyone wanted it.’ The then Archbishop of Canterbury said ‘it is our intention for this to be permanent and we are not thinking of rescinding it.’ A House of Bishops’ paper stated that ‘those who for a variety of reasons cannot conscientiously accept that women may be ordained as priests will continue to hold a legitimate and recognised place within the Church of England’. The 1998 Lambeth Conference passed a resolution calling on all Provinces to ‘affirm that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans’. At its meeting in May 2010 the House of Bishops confirmed that “…there remains a strong commitment on the part of the House to preserve an honoured place within the Church of England for those unable to receive this development.”

3. Do you think that the provisions in the draft measure are appropriate for this purpose?

No.

The legislation suggests special arrangements within the existing structures and a national statutory code of practice to which all must have regard and powers delegated from female diocesan bishops complimentary male bishops.

This would make it very difficult for those who cannot accept the leadership and authority of a female bishop.

Would the Apostle Paul be acceptable for ordination in the Church of England and would he be willing to be ordained in such a church?

‘Does this synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No. 30?’

No.

A proposed “following motion” from The Church of England Evangelical Council (supported by Forward in Faith and Church Society and others):

“This Synod [or PCC],

1. desires that all faithful Anglicans remain and thrive together in the Church of England and therefore

2. calls upon the House of Bishops to bring forward amendments to the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to ensure that those unable on theological grounds to accept the ministry of women bishops are able to receive oversight from a bishop with authority (i.e. ordinary jurisdiction) conferred by the Measure rather than by delegation from a Diocesan Bishop.”

FURTHER RESOURCES

www.diochi.org.uk/draftlegislation

“The Rochester Report” Women Bishops in the Church of England? GS 1557 Nov 2004 287pages (available at http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/papers/womenbishops.pdf ). Related study material for groups is also available at http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/papers/womenbishops/wb.doc

http://www.churchsociety.org/issues_new/ministry/wombishop/iss_ministry_wombishop_intro.asp

http://reform.org.uk/

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Broken Promises

Regarding Women Priests:

In the course of Parliamentary consideration of the legislation in 1993 Synod
representatives explained that the Synod had removed time limits in earlier
drafts so that ‘protection for incumbents and in particular parishes, should
remain in perpetuity for as long as anyone wanted it.’ In relation to the
proposed Act of Synod the then Archbishop of Canterbury said ‘it is our
intention for this to be permanent and we are not thinking of rescinding it.’
...

A House of Bishops’ paper, Bonds of Peace6, was issued in 1993 to explain
the proposal of the House that the special arrangements already agreed in the
legislation should be supplemented by those in the proposed Act of Synod. It
stated that ‘those who for a variety of reasons cannot conscientiously accept
that women may be ordained as priests will continue to hold a legitimate and
recognised place within the Church of England’.


Source

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Donkey

Only a couple of days "late":


When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet

G. K. Chesterton

Monday, April 11, 2011

Commissioning a new PCC

Some jottings towards including a commissioning of a new Parochial Church Council in a service:

Commissioning of the PCC

A question for the new PCC:

Will you co-operate with the incumbent in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical?

With the help of God, we will

A question for the whole congregation:

Will you pray for, support and encourage members of the PCC?

With the help of God, we will

Prayer:

Father, we thank you for those willing to serve on the PCC.

By your grace, please equip us for this work.

Give us unity, vision and wisdom we pray.

With the whole congregation here, make us fruitful for your kingdom and glory, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

From the Rectory

My item for the May Parish magazine:

With the recent Royal Wedding, some of us will have had marriage in mind. And I’ve also found myself having the privilege of preparing a number of couples for marriage at Bodle Street or Warbleton. I thought I’d let you into the study so that you can overhear some of the conversation. I hope this might be of interest to those of us who are not married too: we all have opportunities to support (or, God-forbid, to undermine) the marriages around us. Marriage is vital to us all as the basic building block of families, communities and society at large. I think it’s hard to over-estimate the importance of good marriages for our well-being as individuals, for our children or for our local and national life together.

Of course, none of us has the perfect marriage. Commitment is the key. We may be more or less compatible as couples, but we all need to invest time and effort in our marriages. Even the best marriages can get better. Knowing that marriage is “till death us do part” really gives us an incentive to work hard at it: we’re stuck with one another for better or for worse!

I’m giving away one of my favourite wedding sermons here, but here are three things we should say frequently to one another in marriage, that we may also want to consider saying to the Lord Jesus:

(1) Sorry

To our partner: We all fail in so many ways and yet “sorry” can often be the hardest word to say. It dents our pride but it mends our friendship – and that companionship and partnership is at the heart of marriage.

To Jesus: We’ve often ignored and slighted the God who made us and loved us too, in what we do and say and think and in the good things we fail to do.

(2) Thank you

To our partner: It’s so easy to take one another for granted. A little appreciation can go a long way. Spontaneous bunches of flowers may go down well too, fellas!

To Jesus: We owe everything to him. Not least, he died on the cross that we might be forgiven and that our relationships might be restored.

(3) Please

To our partner: We’re a team as husband and wife and we need one another’s help and understanding. Good communication is essential and that can involve expressing how we hope things might work for us together.

To Jesus: We need Jesus’ help not only in our marriages but in all of life to enjoy the freedom of living out of the overflow of knowing that we’re loved by him.

May God bless us and our marriages and may that blessing overflow to our wider families and communities.