Recent Blogs

Angela Tilby: Fulfilment, or faith and fortitude?

Angela Tilby: Fulfilment, or faith and fortitude?

Most of us are glad to see the back of 2020. It has been a terrible year.

I ONCE heard a college chaplain talking to students about the word “salvation”. He went for a humanistic definition. Salvation, he said, was really a word for fulfilment. It meant that our personal journey of self-discovery was destined to arrive in a good place. Such a definition tuned well with what were then current expectations about the inevitability of personal and social progress. Life is a journey. Things get better. It even echoed the “inalienable rights” enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Continue Reading »

How can  Church of England historic buildings survive?  asks Simon Jenkins as Bishop warns of closures

How can Church of England historic buildings survive? asks Simon Jenkins as Bishop warns of closures

Congregations have shown great adaptability in the pandemic, and churches could again be at the heart of British life

We all know the future. It is online, home delivery, click and collect, view on demand. It is goodbye high street; farewell butcher, baker and Bricklayer’s Arms. But is it also goodbye church?

Normally Christmas is bumper season, not just for toyshops and turkey farmers. Three times more Britons – 2.3 million – go to church on Christmas Day than on any normal Sunday. Families who never attend parish church all year don their Sunday best and troop to a carol service. Teenagers party before midnight mass. It is churchgoing’s Black Friday.

Continue Reading »

Justice around the world: building back better for all

Justice around the world: building back better for all

Tatiana Garavito explains why collective action during the pandemic demonstrates how we can build back better for all.

This year, our movements and communities demonstrated that we can and will do things differently.

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness." ― Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, 2007

Continue Reading »

Standing Still, Moving the World: Richard Rohr

Standing Still, Moving the World: Richard Rohr

many of us don’t have a fixed place to stand

Give me a place to stand, and I will move the whole earth with a lever. —Archimedes

Archimedes (c. 287–c. 212 BCE), a Greek philosopher and mathematician, noticed that if a lever was balanced in the correct place, on the correct fulcrum, it could move proportionally much greater weights than the force actually applied. He calculated that if the lever stretched far enough and the fulcrum point remained fixed close to Earth, even a small weight at one end would be able to move the world at the other.

Continue Reading »

O come, all ye faithless: Boyd Tonkin (UnHerd)

O come, all ye faithless: Boyd Tonkin (UnHerd)

“friend, fellow traveller, and agnostic supporter of the Christian faith” (Rutter) - The drive to create sacred music isn't always born of unswerving belief

“I owe Christianity a huge debt,” the best-loved living composer of Christmas music said. “And it is rather ungrateful of me not to believe in it more.” John Rutter’s sweetly singable modern carols, anthems and large-scale choral works have filled churches and halls around the world since the late 1970s. The New York Times even dubbed him, a little impiously, “the composer who owns Christmas”.

Yet the choirs’, and congregations’, favourite describes himself only as “friend, fellow traveller, and agnostic supporter of the Christian faith”. He has problems with God as a controlling deity: “a bit like a Mafia don who is capable of doing good and charitable things, but also almost takes pleasure in doing malicious and harmful things”. Covid-19 might surely count as one of those mafioso stunts. Undaunted, the tireless and selfless Rutter has just written a new seasonal piece, Joseph’s Carol, in honour of the scientists who worked on the Oxford vaccine. It premiered in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre last Friday.

Continue Reading »

What Shall We Give Birth to this Christmas? - a Meditation by Matthew Fox

What Shall We Give Birth to this Christmas? - a Meditation by Matthew Fox

I would like to see us give birth to a new normal.

Our recent meditations have considered meanings of advent and Christmas. How Advent can be our awakening more fully, our becoming more present to the deepest parts of ourselves, our values and our silence, our hopes and our fears, our joy and our passion for making justice, healing and compassion happen. To love therefore.

We have also considered how not only are we re-born on Christmas more fully as “other Christs,” but we are ourselves are called to be birthers of the Christ (or Buddha Nature or Image of God) in a special way in this season. We are called to do what Mary did in our time, culture and historical moment.

So it seems right to ask the question: What is this Christ (Buddha, Image of God) we are choosing to birth into our hurting world at this time of solstice, darkness and silence? I invite the reader to ask yourself that question.

I will attempt my partial answer to the question here.

Continue Reading »

Why Britain can only blame itself for Boris's Brexit disaster: by Clifford Longley

Why Britain can only blame itself for Boris's Brexit disaster: by Clifford Longley

Brexit Anglo-Saxon free market philosophy V E.U. Catholic Social Teaching

There is the view on the right of Anglo-Saxon politics that market forces are the only real engine of economic growth /the EU single market. It may be “single” but it is also heavily regulated. Indeed, there is more than a trace of Catholic Social Teaching in this philosophy

Continue Reading »

In the footsteps of the people’s Pope:  by Angus Ritchie

In the footsteps of the people’s Pope: by Angus Ritchie

An Anglican priest working in London’s East End reflects on the vision Francis sketches out in Let Us Dream

THERE IS only a Westminster because there was once also an Eastminster. The Abbey of St Mary Graces was founded by Edward III in 1350. Dissolved in 1539, its shrine has been restored inside the local Catholic Church of the English Martyrs, in the parish of Tower Hill.

The streets around this church in east London contain stark contrasts of wealth and status. At the height of the pandemic, Pope Francis spoke of the “ordinary people – often forgotten people” who were “in these very days writing the decisive events of our time”. Coronavirus was revealing how our common life was sustained by “doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, care givers, providers of transport, law and order forces …”. These are all well represented in Eastminster today.

Continue Reading »

Independent academic research of Clergy Discipline Measure

Independent academic research of Clergy Discipline Measure

Independent academic research of Clergy Discipline Measure commissioned by Sheldon and conducted by Aston University in collaboration with Sheldon

This paper prepared by Dr Sarah Horsman MB ChB, Warden of Sheldon, July 2020 in collaboration with Aston University Research Team including Dr Carl Senior FBPsP and Dr Alena Nash.

This is the first ever empirical analysis of the lived experience of the Clergy Discipline Measure.

Read report here:

Emerging research findings on cdm

Continue Reading »

Richard Holloway, 'Stories We Tell Ourselves', Canongate Books, (2020) - a review by Ben Whitney

Richard Holloway, 'Stories We Tell Ourselves', Canongate Books, (2020) - a review by Ben Whitney

in many churches it is considered too risky to encourage people to think about what they believe

‘Christianity’ is clearly a spectrum, and we might always be better to speak of ‘Christianities’. On a scale from literalist/evangelical to radical/humanist, the former Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church is just slightly more orthodox than I am, but not much! He is ‘a Christian without God’, as he says at the end of this thrilling book. But he has not yet ‘returned the ticket’. Mine is sitting on the mantelpiece and might yet end up in the fire! Apart from his earliest work, which he now recants, anything by Holloway is always well worth a read and I still return to ‘Doubts and Loves’ (2001) on a regular basis. It’s a brilliant exploration of how to hold onto some kind of faith when so much makes me want to abandon it entirely.

His ‘mission’ is to make the Jesus story believable in the modern world. It is an urgent task, far more important than fancy flow diagrams and lists of allegedly innovative strategies. Dare I say, even more important than the endless sexuality debate. It’s the message, not the medium, which needs to be addressed.

Continue Reading »

Living in Love and Faith, a reflection by Adrian Thatcher

Living in Love and Faith, a reflection by Adrian Thatcher

The final text tries hard to maintain a balance when discussing the many difficult questions.

LLF is framed in such a way as to offer the possibility of, and hope for, greater agreement between the sharply divided factions within the Church of England, based on the six Pastoral Principles for Living Well Together (4-5). The prior question is whether the framework provided in and by the book can do this. Unfortunately, I don’t think it can, for at least three broad reasons.

Read full article here:

Living in Love and Faith review Adrian Thatcher

Continue Reading »

How Quakers are championing democracy

How Quakers are championing democracy

Recent government initiatives are making it more difficult for campaigning voices from faith and other groups to be heard.

Recent government initiatives are making it more difficult for campaigning voices from faith and other groups to be heard. Grace Da Costa explores the impact of this chilling effect on civil society, and shares what Quakers are doing to counteract it.

Quakers are known for their witness: living out their faith through action. Sometimes this action takes the form of campaigning and protesting. Our freedom to do these things is being threatened, but Quakers in Britain and other concerned groups are working together to do something about it.

Continue Reading »

We don’t need more spreadsheet vicars - by Giles Fraser writing in UnHerd

We don’t need more spreadsheet vicars - by Giles Fraser writing in UnHerd

If the Church of England is going to die, I wish it would prepare to do so with a bit more Christian dignity

“It is only through enforced standardization of methods, enforced adoption of the best implements and working conditions, and enforced cooperation that this faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and enforcing this cooperation rests with the management alone.”

With these words from Frederick Winslow Taylor, the so-called science of management consultancy came into being. And an era of misery began for those on the receiving end. In time, the language softened, the management gurus discovered technology and a smarter bedside manner, but the principles remained roughly the same.

Perhaps it is my inner Marxist struggling to get out – Gramsci said Taylorism inevitably gave rise to thoughts of revolution – but I was reminded of Taylor’s guiding principles as I looked through the recent directive from head office, outlining the new thinking on the organisational structures of the Church of England. The report is a series of impenetrable soul-sapping flow charts and space-ship style infographics that make those graphic medieval explanations of the trinity look like child’s play. It’s a powerpoint friendly “Vision of the Church of England in the 2020’s”. It seems the bishops have had the management consultants in. And the result is thoroughly depressing.

Continue Reading »

Walking for Worship- A Quaker Reflects

Walking for Worship- A Quaker Reflects

When we first went into Lockdown back in March -it seems like years ago now- I started walking the lanes between 10:30 and 11:30 on a Sunday.

When we first went into Lockdown back in March -it seems like years ago now- I started walking the lanes between 10:30 and 11:30 on a Sunday. It probably marks me out as a Godless heretic but I do not like Zoom or the Skype system that preceded it - or social media, for that matter. Computers are wonderful tools for getting jobs done, I am using one now, but I am not comfortable sitting and staring at other people on a screen. I will, reluctantly use it for MfWfB (Meeting for Worship for Business) when my presence is required but otherwise, I will keep away.

Continue Reading »

James McGrath  reflects on Peter Enns approach to the Bible (Patheos Website)

James McGrath reflects on Peter Enns approach to the Bible (Patheos Website)

“I’m not attacking the Bible. "

I am even told sometimes, “You’re attacking the Bible,” and when I am accused of such I simply say, “I’m not attacking the Bible. I’m attacking you. You’re problem is that you can’t tell the difference.” Our thinking about the Bible should never be confused with the Bible itself—or worse, with God.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

Continue Reading »

Rabbi Heschel on Worship as a Kinship of Praise

Rabbi Heschel on Worship as a Kinship of Praise

Rabbi Heschel challenges believers not to live in the past, but not to forget it either—to strive for a new future

One thing I admire, writes Matthew Fox, (among many) in the teachings of Rabbi Heschel is how he challenges believers not to live in the past, but not to forget it either—to strive for a new future. He says:

Only he who is an heir is qualified to be a pioneer [and] in the realm of spirit only he who is a pioneer is able to be an heir.

He calls his people to be pioneers and know the past not to slavishly imitate it but to recreate it. "We should be pioneers as were our fathers three thousand years ago." A true pioneer creates anew.

Continue Reading »

Page 2 of 14

First 1 2 3 4 Last