If I were Archbishop: Christina Rees kicks off our new series preparing for a new Archbishop of Canterbury, E5
Holding the Torch Name: Steve Walton Location: Cambridge Church: St Andrew’s, Histon Relay Leg: Newmarket, 7 July Occupation: Professor of New Testament, London School of Theology, and Anglican priest. Other: Married to Ali, who is also ordained in the Church of England. Presently working on a major commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. I love teaching and helping students grow and develop - and the same skills and interests carry over to helping volleyball referees too. Background: Grew up in a coal-mining village near Barnsley, Yorkshire. Came to faith through confirmation preparation when I was 11, after being sharply provoked to ask questions about life and God by my father’s death at 48 years old the previous year. Started thinking about ordination when I was 12, particularly through the example of my (Anglo-Catholic) vicar. I went to university in Birmingham reading Maths, during which I pursued a call to ordination and went through the Anglican selection process. Trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge (where my wife, Ali, now teaches); postponed ordination to work for UCCF as a staff worker for three years, supporting university Christian Unions; served a curacy at Bebington, on the Wirral; acted as Vocation and Ministry Adviser with CPAS for six years; househusband and PhD student for two years; Chaplain to the Bishop of St Albans for a year; taught New Testament at St John’s College, Nottingham for four years; moved to London School of Theology in 1999; made Professor in 2011. Reasons for being selected for the relay: Nominated by Volleyball England for my contribution to refereeing. I retired from refereeing in 2011 after 32 years. I refereed at the top domestic level and at international level: I refereed sitting volleyball internationally (the form of volleyball played in the Paralympics) and officiated at three Paralympics, four World Championships, and three European Championships. I was nominated to the Volleyball England Hall of Fame in 2010 and received the award for contribution to refereeing in 2011. I’m now chair of the European Referee Commission for sitting volleyball, responsible for overseeing the training, development and appointment of referees to European competitions, and also involved in England in developing referees in both sitting volleyball and the able-bodied game. Reaction to being selected: Genuinely surprised and very honoured. I was delighted to have been nominated, but did not expect that I would actually be selected. It’s a particular honour for a small sport like volleyball, and very nice for a referee to get such recognition. Aims for the future: Be the best Christian, husband, teacher, preacher, scholar that I can be for Christ.
ANDREW CAREY E2 • VIEW FROM FLEET STREET E3 • ARTS & MEDIA E6 • BOOKS E7 • CATHERINE FOX E8 • JANEY LEE GRACE E8
Andrew Carey: View from the Pew
Weasel words from the Southwark Diocese T
here were weasel words from Southwark Diocese this week when they denied that they had suspended a lay reader who suggested that a congregation might imitate the boldness of the apostles and sign the Coalition for Marriage petition. A statement from the diocese stated that they had merely asked a lay reader to ’refrain from ministry’ for two months while pastoral issues in the parish were resolved. They also claimed that this was not about ‘marriage’ but matters of ‘church order and authority’ during an interregnum. The story is that Peter Gowlland, a 78-year-
old lay-reader of some 50 years’ experience was giving out the notices at All Saints, Sanderstead, when he read out the petition and asked the congregation to sign it. Two other lay readers then approached the lectern and suggested to congregants that there were other views and they should not sign the petition without ‘very careful thought’. The retired bishop, David Atkinson, who was leading the service and the other two lay readers reportedly complained to acting Archdeacon, Barry Goodwin, who used a prearranged meeting to present Mr Gowlland with the complaints and then summarily asked
him to ‘refrain from ministry‘. Like the proverbial quacking duck, a request to refrain from ministry amounts to a suspension. If not the other complaining lay readers who clashed openly with their colleague might also have been asked to desist from ministry for a period. This took place only a short period after the Diocesan Evangelical Union complained that evangelicals had been sidelined in all recent senior appointments. It confirms the diocese’s reputation as a liberal closed shop. It is little wonder that a Trust has been established to support evangelical ministry in Southwark when the powers-that-be continue to sideline evangelical churches.
Lords reform question for the bishops Moaning about politicians long ago replaced anti-clericalism as a hallmark of common British prejudices and vices. There now seems to be something more going on than an instinctive and entirely natural mistrust of those who rule over us. The local election results show an entirely mid-term swing away from the ruling parties towards the opposition. And there are the usual entirely unpredictable and often local successes for minority parties such as Respect and UKIP. Yet what the election results hide is a great deal of disillusionment. Many of my peers now openly say that they will never vote again. A few of these attitudes date from the Parliamentary expenses scandal, others are more recent. One friend explained to me his frustration at the lack of principle in modern politics, with Governments too susceptible to focus groups, spin and opinion polls. One of the most interesting aspects of this week’s elections has been the rejection of a new tier of local government represented by the proposals for mayoralties. This suggests that the public do not always embrace more and more representative democracy if they cannot be persuaded that new tiers of government will work effectively. I suspect that if a referendum were to be taken up on House of Lords reform the general public will come to its senses and vote down proposals to elect peers. The last thing we need is to create a new talking shop for the sort of party politics that have brought our democracy into disrepute. And while it is heartening that the Cross-Parliamentary groups proposals have recognised the distinctive contribution of the Church of England through its bishops, this sort of religious representation sits uneasily in a largely elected chamber. It would be better for the bishops to withdraw than to remain anomalously in an overtly politicised second chamber.
Bishop in Dreadlocks
Get ready for a battle
question being asked by Anglicans in Wellington, New Zealand, is whether the mitre will fit over the dreadlocks of their new bishop Justin Duckworth, 44, who often wears shorts and goes barefoot. For a time he, his wife Jenny, and their young children lived among street people – with prostitutes on the one side of them and transvestites on the other. Together with other young Christians Justin and Jenny started ‘Urban Vision’ in which each member pledged to ‘give their best for the least’. There are now 60 Urban Visionaries’ running houses around Wellington, which they share with those on the margins of society. Justin and Jenny also pioneered a contemporary monastery which last year welcomed 1,100 visitors. “I think the Anglican Church is doing amazing stuff and it’s a total treasure,” says Justin. “But it’s a treasure that needs to be dusted off. We live in a society obsessed with entertainment and greed,” he says of contemporary New Zealand. But he stresses he is not against people just because they are rich: “We’ve met so many great people who, for whatever reason, are really wealthy – but also generous and caring and genuinely wanting to know what to do.” As a bishop Justin Duckworth promises to be a refreshing voice in global Anglicanism.
May 13, 2012
hose who want to see religious representation retained in the House of Lords need to have their arguments ready,” warned the Labour peer and Anglican layman, Lord Plant, when delivering the third of a series of three lectures at Westminster Abbey on Christian Faith and Public Policy. Plant pointed out that legislation introduced by governments in Parliament is very rarely passed without changes and amendments. The fact that the government is proposing to retain 12 bishops in a reformed second chamber is no guarantee that they will still be there when the Act passes into law. Plant, who has written on jurisprudence and political philosophy and served on the Nuffield Committee on Bio-ethics, is also a lay canon of Winchester Cathedral. A large audience gathered in Henry VII’s lady chapel every week for the lectures, which were also sponsored by Theos. Spectacular though the setting was, some of the audience would have appreciated toilet facilities and perhaps the chance to mingle and talk after the lecture. The Abbey does a great job with tourists, liturgy and royal occasions. Could some resources also be invested in a meeting room where theological exploration and the dialogue between church and world could take place? It is hard to think of a better site for such activity.
. .. y r e l l a G g n i r e p s i h The W Westminster Debates Another set of lectures came to an end last week. These were the Westminster Faith Debates, organised by Lancaster University and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council and Theos. The debates, featuring experts presenting the fruits of research in a number of areas and responses from a variety of pubic figures, were very ably chaired by former cabinet minister, Charles Clark, now Visiting Professor of Politics and Religion at Lancaster. In the final presentation Linda Woodhead and Grace Davie challenged the view that religion in Britain is faced with a future of inevitable decline. Religion is not disappearing, they argued, but it is changing and become less institutionalised and less hierarchical. According to Woodhead Anglicans and Roman Catholics each represent about one-third of religious believers in England; the other 40 per cent belong to independent organisations. She spoke of a proliferation of religious rites and customs as almost every event in life is now given some kind of symbolic marker. In London religion is rising across the board with every organisation benefiting but with the black churches in particular establishing themselves as major players. Responding were journalist Cole Moreton and Aaqil Ahmed, BBC head of religious programming.
Wanted: a pre-teen ‘John Humphrys or Sarah Montague’ Premier Christian Radio is looking for someone to provide a ‘kid’s eye view’ on current events during the summer school holidays. Auditions begin in June as a cohost on the morning show. “The ideal candidate will have an interest in the news of the day and the natural curiosity which helps to make a good interviewer,” says Premier’s CEO, Peter Kerridge. “They’ll have a say in programme planning and the choice of potential interview subjects and while some of their content will be recorded, much of if will be live on air so a cool head will be a key requirement.” Premier’s offices are located in Westminster, not far from the Houses of Parliament. Premier is running a series of media activities linked to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and a nationwide search for ‘miracles’(!). “It’ll be a challenge but also a lot of fun,” says Kerridge, “and who knows, it could possibly be the beginnings of a longer term career in broadcasting.” Those with a knowledge of life at Premier are hoping this initiative will not prove as divisive and unpopular with the staff as Kerridge’s last bright idea (which was reported in CEN): his presentation of an Inequality Award to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
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Nigel Nelson View from Fleet Street
The political trap of unintended consequences T
o mark Easter David Cameron called church leaders into Downing Street and quoted from the Gospel of Luke. “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” he told them. “Advice that when followed makes for a happier and better society.” When the PM said this they still had not realised quite what George Osborne had done to them in his Budget, but as the full implications sank in “happier and better” would not have been an accurate reflection of the feelings of senior churchmen. The Chancellor’s plan to slap 20 per cent VAT on improvements to listed buildings would hit any work to be carried out to the CofE’s 12,500 ancient churches and cathedrals and punch a £20million hole in its finances. The Government is desperately trying to find a way out of this mess. Bean counters at the Treasury based their £5million estimate of increased building costs on 12-year-old figures, and were prepared to provide additional funding through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme to meet the shortfall. Ministers are indicating they accept figures four times higher than their own and Exchequer Secretary David Gauke now says: “We are talking to churches and will increase this amount if there is evidence that the impact is greater.” Mr Osborne has found himself a victim of the hidden
mantrap of politics – the unintended consequence. And the ongoing Budget debacle is an example of what happens when you do not properly think through the effects of change. This rise in VAT was done out of the best of motives; he reasoned that period mansions the wealthy like to live in should not benefit from VAT exemptions when hard-up owners of modern semis must pay the full 20 per cent if they want to put in a new bathroom. But he seemed to forget that many churches are listed buildings, too. Similarly, Mr Osborne was not the potato head he has subsequently appeared for introducing a pasty tax. There is a clear anomaly when a heated up burger and chips from a fast food joint carries VAT and a warmed up pie or pasty doesn’t. What he thought he was doing was removing a kink in the sales tax system. But he clearly never thought out how it might be enforced and the result has been ridicule. Will those at the front of a lunchtime queue at a Greggs bakery pay 20 per cent more when the pasties are fresh from the oven, while those at the back will not because by the time they have got to the front their snack will have cooled down? The test will be whether the food is above “ambient air temperature” which might itself alter between a heatwave and a cold snap if the bakery doors are open as they usually are.
Ruth Gledhill View from Fleet Street
Preparing for the Jubilee T
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he Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has taken over our lives, personally and professionally. The Times is running regular Jubilee updates of what is going on around the country and as is usual with events of this sort, and even though I would say this wouldn’t I, our coverage is exemplary. Valentine Low, the newsdesk and the teams on the supplements have been working hard for weeks to produce authoritative, stylish and tasteful news and features, filled with detail of what is important and what is trivial, and sometimes the two coincide. To cite just one story, we reported that a portrait of the Queen made of 3,120 cakes, one for each week of her reign, will be put on display — and then eaten. Another described how Wallace and Gromit, who, according to the Duchess of Cornwall, are the Prince of Wales’ “favourite people in the world”, will star in a 60-second animation commissioned for the Jubilee weekend. “Plot details for A Jubilee Bunt-a-thon are under wraps but a few hints have leaked out,” we reported. “It is thought the film will show the pair festooning a
254kg plasticine replica of Montacute House in Somerset, the model for Tottington Hall in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, with bunting.” Pictures from the last 60 years are also being published online and on the iPad. And then there is the floating belfry, written up in The Times by Ann Treneman and quoting Church Estates Commissioner Tony Baldry: “Mr Baldry agreed, for he had, as you might suspect, a cunning plan. He wants all church bells to ring out at 3pm on 3 June to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee river pageant on the Thames. “The lead barge — the herald barge — will contain a floating belfry, the first of its kind,” he announced. Ding dong, how MPs loved this appealing (sorry) news. Baldrick said there would be eight bells in the floating belfry (I really cannot imagine why we haven’t had one before), each named after a royal. The coverage in The Daily Telegraph must also be mentioned as fabulously readable, giving the lie to the oftrepeated libel that newspapers only publish bad news. Will Heilpern compiled a list of the Duke of Edinburgh’s best one-liners, beginning with his
The granny tax was designed to make the tax-free allowance for elderly people more equitable with young low-income workers. They are the ones who have borne the brunt of austerity cuts, while pensioners have been largely spared save for lower interest rates on their investments. But it is an inviolate political rule that you do not hit pensioners with one hand while stroking 14,000 millionaires with £40,000 tax cuts with the other, which is what dropping the top rate from 50p to 45p will do. So the mistakes of the Budget were largely political, and I suspect happened because the negotiating “quad”, of Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne on the Tory side and Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander for the Lib Dems, were so intent on doing a deal they could agree amongst themselves no one gave much thought as to whether it would be a good deal for everyone else. The unintended consequences of political decisions can be seen everywhere. Former Home Secretary Jack Straw reckons the Freedom of Information Act does the reverse of what was intended because it has resulted in less information being put on record, and Tony Blair calls himself a “naive, irresponsible nincompoop” for agreeing to it in the first place. It means civil servants will not minute Cabinet meetings in anything other than anodyne terms, and ministers would rather speak to each other on the phone than have something written down which might be subject to an FOI request. History will be the loser because unbiased accounts of violent disagreements between ministers no longer exist. And as I have said in these pages before, the unintended consequence of throwing the bishops out of the House of Lords, as ex-Cabinet minister John Wakeham noted in his report on Lords reform, could be disestablishment as they would no longer be Parliamentarians. That would take a key constitutional plank away from the Monarchy and could ignite dangerous republican sentiment. That’s why the bishops will remain. But that hardly meets the original intention of making the Upper Chamber democratically accountable. Allowing gay men and lesbian women to marry could have the unintended consequence of changing marital laws for all men and women, as a new definition of exactly what constitutes adultery or non-consummation will have to emerge through case law. The best advice to politicians would be to change as little as possible. But that is not in their nature. To the politician no change is no option. Nigel Nelson is political editor of The People
words to the Scottish Women’s Institute in 1961: “British women can’t cook” and including his comments on meeting an Australian man who introduced himself and said, “My wife is a doctor of philosophy and much more important than I am.” The Duke replied: “Ah yes, we have that trouble in our family too!”
High times at Hampton Court On Sunday, the boys from St James’ and the adult singers from the Tower will visit us at Hampton Court for the annual joint evensong, game of football and tug o’ war. A new choral foundation is making great headway at securing the future of the Hampton Court choir and now a royal visit to Richmond to mark the Diamond Jubilee is creating additional excitement, not just in the choir but in the entire borough where Richmond Borough Council has even cancelled the children’s SATs that day, or more accurately, postponed them, so they can go out and enjoy the fun. The local authority has named the festivities in the Park ‘Wild Richmond’ and by coincidence a poem written by my husband will be displayed and read in the Inspiration Zone. Because it is so relevant, I reproduce it here: Common Ground, by Alan Franks When you see the spinneys and the rides And deer descended from King Charles’ own, And London’s towers so near such countryside, You might detect some bounty from the throne. You’d not be wholly wrong; Charles loved the chase, Hence the presence of this timeless herd. He also promised access to the place, And though he lost his head he kept his word. Yet this is England, whose
contested ground Inflates men’s heads with rage until they burst. In scraps between the common and the crowned We tend to owe the second less than the first. In seventeen fifty-eight it happened here. John Lewis was a brewer from Petersham, Defying King George’s daughter Amelia Who closed the gates to all except her chums. Lewis - unheard of - took the Crown to court And based his case on existing rights of way. Since the justice harboured
similar thoughts, Lewis it was who carried the public day. For all we know, he visits Henry’s mound, Or Pembroke Lodge’s terrace, for a tea, Reflecting on the claims of common ground And staring fondly at infinity. Let’s praise this warden of our free estate, Who lost his wealth but saved this jewel for you. Let’s hope that Peter, manning the final gate, Recognised the brewer and let him through.
May 13, 2012
The House of Lords in Perspective
By Graham Gendall Norton
s we go to press, we await the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday. The Queen’s Speech will set out the Government’s programme for the coming 2012-13 Session. It is generally expected that this will include proposals for “Reforming” the House of Lords. The speech will be delivered to the seated, erminetopped red-robed peers, the MPs standing. The Queen, crowned, seated, gives the Speech from the Throne. This is not a mere pageant of display. Our constitution is unwritten as a single document, but has evolved over many, many centuries to be the model for present parliamentary democracies worldwide. The State Opening symbolises this synthesis. Certainly, the most widely known written Constitution in the world is that of the United States. That document has only been very infrequently amended since it came into effect in 1789 (mostly in the immediate years following that date, including the First Amendment, in the 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights in 1791). After, the most widely known and far ranging is perhaps the 13th, abolishing slavery in 1865 following the Civil War. There is huge respect for this historic document, with great reluctance to alter the text, “intended for ages to endure” as Chief Justice Marshall famously said in McColloch v. Maryland in 1819, “and thus to be adapted to the various crises in human affairs.” As with us in the UK, certain constitutional conventions have grown up which avoid frequent tinkering. So, is the United Kingdom in a crisis? We are, as is much
else of the developed world, as far as the economy is concerned. From that may very well develop a social crisis. What we most certainly do not face is a constitutional crisis, which was the reason, over 100 years ago for the Parliament Act of 1911. By that, the powers of an hereditary House of Lords were much curbed: it was in fact envisaged that there would be an elected House of Lords, “but not to be brought immediately into operation”. From the Reform Act of 1832, democratic pressures saw to it that, gradually, voting for the Commons was broadened until today’s universal franchise from the age of 18. The House of Lords remained completely hereditary, apart from the bishops and the Law Lords. Its power to delay Commons legislation was cut from two years to one in 1949. By a masterstroke Macmillan brought in the Life Peerages Act in 1958, and re-invigorated the House. The hereditaries remained. In 1999 a further House of Lords Act was passed, to make it largely made up of Life Peers. Quaintly perhaps, 92 hereditary peers were still to be there, a death vacancy filled by byelection in a complex manner. They are there supposedly only until further reform. As of last week, adding them in (at present 90), there are 782 members qualified to sit in the House. The greatest number (667) are Life Peers. Labour has a slight majority over the Conservatives in the party affiliations, 235 to 214, with 90 Liberal Democrats and 186 Crossbenchers without party affiliation. There are a few who are connected with smaller parties, mainly from Ulster.
The role of the Lords now is not representative, but revisory, a second sight of legislation sent up from the Commons
Add in too the 25 Church of England Bishops, including the two Archbishops. It seems proposed that they will be cut to 12. I would agree with Andrew Cary, writing in the CEN of 8 April that this would pose severe problems to diocesan duties, as they are not of course, as are many other peers, full-time attendees. (Peers do not, like MPs, receive a salary, but a per diem attendance fee of £300 for a full day’s attendance, including expenses, or £150 for part of a day.). If the Government does include Lords reform in the upcoming legislative programme, which seems most likely, it will argue that its present composition is an unelected anomaly. The Chancellor argued that his unpopular Budget corrected anomalies. But life is full of anomalies: George, where have you been all your life? The role of the Lords now is not representative, but revisory, a second sight of legislation sent up from the Commons, (sometimes rushed) scrutinised often by experts in that field. It seems likely that the government wants to call an elected Second Chamber the “Senate”. That word derives from senex, the Latin for an elder, as that body was mostly composed in Rome. Our Lords today is much of that, with many former ministers who can give from their long experience valuable amendments. Present electoral politics now demands youth from Prime Ministers (both Blair and Cameron had never before held ministerial office) and ministers. The pressure is unrelenting, added to by 24-hour media, and international summits and meetings. There is too an emphasis on the visual, in the press, TV, the internet, and passing on images via personal messaging. The Lords at present can give a longer perspective. To turn the Second Chamber into what is likely to be another stepping stone for the political class will add to the mounting disillusion with them.
May 13, 2012
If I Were Archbishop By Christina Rees
uestion: ‘How many Anglicans does it take to change a light bulb?’ Answer: ‘Change…?!’ Dry laughter all round. The next Archbishop of Canterbury will not only need to embrace change, but more than that, he will himself need to be an agent of change. The Church of England is at a crossroads and to carry on as we are is simply not an option. To do so would be to resign ourselves to a continuing decline in Church membership and finances. We would also see a continuing weakening of our ability to preach the Gospel and to influence in the life of the nation, with the Church perceived as increasingly irrelevant to many people, especially to the younger generation. The next Archbishop will need to review the three Goals of the New Quinquennium passed by General Synod in 2010 – spiritual and numerical growth, promoting resourceful communities infused with the values of the God’s kingdom, and re-imagining ministry - and decide whether these goals, and the work being undertaken to achieve them, are indeed the right way forward. He may also wish to revisit the question of whether we have a vision that is clearly understood and articulated. Tough decisions will need to be made. Either the new Archbishop will focus primarily on the Church of England’s own urgent priorities or dedicate the greater part of his time and energy on the wider
The Church of England has become risk averse and reactionary Anglican Communion. As head of the Anglican Communion he will, inevitably, need to act on the international stage, but it is possible to conceive of arrangements whereby more of the Archbishop’s international and Communion-wide tasks can be undertaken by persons other than the Archbishop. Asking certain questions can help to shape the Church’s vision and determine its priorities: ‘What is the key role for the Church of England as the Established Church?’, ‘What is the essential role of bishops?’, ‘How best can we use our clergy?’, ‘How can we better empower and mobilise our lay people?’, and ‘What needs to change in the culture of our Church in order to enable our vision to be realised?’ This last question is especially important, as nothing will change unless we have a culture that will enable us to work towards our vision. The Church is called to proclaim the Gospel afresh in every generation, yet overall, with notable exceptions, the Church has been failing for at least two generations to communicate the Gospel.
We have been too inwardly focused and concerned with our own tribal agendas rather than celebrating and communicating what we hold in common. The clergy are diminishing in number and rising in age. The gifts and expertise of the laity are generally ignored and underutilised except when used to run and maintain the plant, and there is a widespread and woeful level of ignorance about the basics of the Christian faith. Further, the unhelpful relationship between many of the clergy and laity is adversely affecting the mission of the Church. The Church of England has become risk averse and reactionary, overly secretive and bureaucratic, with a culture of superficial niceness that prevents giving and receiving honest and constructive feedback. The Archbishop needs to set an example of a different way of conducting business and relating to members, officers and staff. Leading a broad Church, with a structure of dispersed authority, the next Archbishop must also be committed to new finding ways of being confident and proactive in making a Christian response to contemporary issues and in dealing effectively with the media, the means by which we communicate with those we are here to serve. There will need to be an enhanced partnership between Lambeth Palace and Church House and in communicating with the dioceses. Specific challenges will need to be addressed in the coming years. If the Women Bishops Measure is passed in General Synod this July, the next Archbishop will need to ensure that women appointed as bishops will be properly supported and that the current House of Bishops will be helped to integrate women and to adjust to working with women as peers. Irrespective of the government’s proposals for same-sex marriage, the next Archbishop will need to facilitate a measured, informed and theologically rigorous discussion on marriage and sexuality. The Church’s current confused and inconsistent position on same-sex relationships is unsustainable in the long-term and is damaging our mission and ministry – as well as many of our members. With 45 per cent of all marriages ending in divorce and the fact that one in four women in this country will experience domestic abuse, we also need to take another careful look at marriage. Along with that, if we were to offer a truly counter-cultural way for women and men to relate, based on the radical mutuality Jesus demonstrated in his relationships with women, it would have a profoundly positive effect on children, young people and families, as well as on men and women more widely. The way our society communicates with itself and with the world is through the media, increasingly through the Internet. It is unrealistic to imagine that an Archbishop, or even all the bishops, can con-
tribute effectively on the many issues on which the Church may wish to comment. Lay people, as well as bishops and clergy, need to be better trained and enabled in order to contribute to the media, especially with the present high profile attacks from atheists and secularists. Lay people also need greater assistance in learning and being able to talk about their faith. In order to achieve this, the clergy need to have different priorities in their training and in understanding how to exercise their ministry. If the next Archbishop were to champion these changes alone, we would see a tremendous transformation in our Church’s image, mission and influence. In grappling with all these issues, the next Archbishop must be ready, willing and able to lead with clarity, wisdom and purpose, confident that he, along with all fellow believers, has been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, given the transforming message of God’s love, and filled with the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. A Personal Postscript When thinking in the past about what I would do if I were Archbishop, I remember deciding I would employ a resident Holy Fool at Lambeth Palace. I also remember vowing to ban General Synod for a whole quinquennium, and requiring synod members to spend all the time they would have spent on synodi-
cal duties out in their communities, meeting and talking with people who didn’t already come to church. Those ideas still appeal, but I think I would now give the Holy Fool a rest, and instead sponsor frequent evenings with budding Christian storytellers and stand-up comedians, ensuring that I would be transported and inspired by listening to stories and helped to forget the Church’s troubles for at least a few hours. As for General Synod, I would want it to meet, but I would invite different choirs to come to each group of sessions to sing for us and to lead us in singing. I would also introduce extended times of group prayer and Bible study, and a night of merriment and dancing at each synod. We’ve been trying to build greater trust between synod members for years and it seems to be somewhat slow in happening, so perhaps a little do-se-do-ing of one’s partner or a few elegant waltzes might do the trick! Christina Rees is a founding member of the Archbishops’ Council, on which she has served for several terms. She has been a member of General Synod for 22 years, serving under three Archbishops. In addition she is a writer, broadcaster, communications consultant and coach. Her books include The Divine Embrace, Voices of This Calling and Feast + Fast – Food for Lent and Easter
Johan Zoffany Exhibition at Royal Academy to 10 June 10 By Brian Cooper
Zoffany in the frame
ohan Zoffany (1733-1810) is an outstanding example of a type of artist highly significant from Holbein onwards – a painter who crosses the Channel, establishes himself in his adopted land of England, and both adapts to and enriches its styles, producing works that hold a faithful mirror to the indigenous social and cultural scene. Yet the stature of his great contemporaries Gainsborough and Reynolds has left him rather neglected. Royal Academy’s comprehensive (if somewhat cramped!) exhibition of 60 oils, plus drawings and prints -- Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed -- splendidly re-establishes his renown as supreme visual documenter of his era, master of the conversation piece, and creator of grand multi-portrait canvases. Born in Frankfurt, Zoffany came to London in 1760 after working in Rome. His Venus Marina of that year, imaging its female figures in pure Classical mode but its males in rough German naturalism, reveal him already a master of flexibility of style. Attracting the patronage of the celebrated actor David Garrick, he was soon depicting him and fellow performers in some of their greatest roles. The fascinating section ‘Garrick and the London Stage’ reveals Zoffany’s remarkable skill in capturing the dramatic moment -- as in David Garrick and Mrs Pritchard in Macbeth (1765) -- as well as creating vivid portraits. Royal patronage of London theatre in the 1760s enormously boosted its popularity, and Zoffany successfully rode this new cultural wave. The royals of German lineage were drawn to this rising German immigrant artist. Under
May 13, 2012 and the new English vogue for Gainsborough’s costumed portraits in landscape setting, drove Zoffany to seek fortune afresh in British India (1783-89). There he soon won portrait commissions from Warren Hastings, Governor-General of Bengal, and produced landscapes and genre pieces imaging the East India Company and Indian society. Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match (1788) is a vibrant scene of British and Indians in socially equal atmosphere engrossed in a cockfight, before imperial codes decreed separation. Returning to England, he became deeply shocked by the atrocities of the French Revolution, expressing his feelings in such works as Plundering the King’s Cellar in Paris (1794), a rough brushwork vision of chaot-
their patronage, he created numerous works of and for George III and Queen Charlotte: his innovatively informal portraits of the latter, in quasidomestic settings with her
children, boosted her popular appeal as well as Zoffany’s reputation. The king personally made him a Royal Academician in 1769 and commissioned his memorable big-scale conversation piece The Portraits of the Royal Academicians, 1771-72. With its some 40 figures carefully grouped with Sir Joshua Reynolds, first RA President, slightly off-centre and the artist himself busy in lower left corner, this landmark work drew huge crowds. Seeking inspiration to build up
the royal collection, Queen Charlotte commissioned Zoffany to paint Europe’s finest, that of the Grand Duke of Tuscany at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where he was treated as a celebrity artist. The result was his greatest work - The Tribuna of the Uffizi (1772-77). His status had enabled him to re-arrange the gallery works for heightened, quasi-theatrical effect, with Titian’s Venus of Urbino left foreground, classi-
cal sculptures prominently stressing the heritage of antiquity, and English aristocrats including young ones on their Grand Tour, enthusiastically admiring the collection. Zoffany then won Europe’s highest cultural honours -- the patronage of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II and his mother Empress Maria Theresa - but reports of scandal lost him that of Britain’s royalty. This setback,
ic orgy very much in Hogarthian idiom. Yet Zoffany was above all a highly accomplished observer of the late 18th-century English social scene, and it was supremely fitting that upon his death he was buried near his home in Kew alongside Gainsborough. Johan Zoffany RA - Society Observed is at Royal Academy until June 10: Admission £9, various concessions.
DVD choice: discovering Britain’s gems Secret Britain
hose who love travelling in the UK, but are fed up with the ‘usual aspects’ may want to investigate the recommendations from this BBC series. After asking for people’s favourite hidden gems of the British landscape, Secret Britain covers the length and breadth of the country, making sure that they are less secret than they were before. (My wife was horrified to see her beloved Glen Etive included, just before her trip to Scotland, in case she had to battle with hordes of other tourists). Arranged in four one-hour episodes, after looking for secluded oases in ‘The Crowded South’ this DVD works
its way northwards, first in a band from East Anglia to the Welsh coast; then to the rest of England from the Peak District up; finishing with secret spots of Scotland. Presenters Julia Bradbury and the superb Matt Baker travel interweaving routes, finding solitude close to tourist hotspots (including Dorset’s holloways); hidden lakes just right for quiet bathing; dramatic coastal landscapes; an island hidden in the Norfolk Broads; clues to ancient historic features – and even a waterfall in Lincolnshire! The third episode is most satisfying, as Baker explores a secret ancient woodland on the Durham coast and Bradbury goes underground beneath Yorkshire’s limestone surface. As you might expect, the selections are engaging, rather than spectacular, but the varied choices have plenty of human interest and make for relaxed viewing that just might affect your holiday itinerary this summer. Derek Walker
May 13, 2012
Ideas that influenced 20th Century theological thinking Ressourcement, Gabriel Flynn and Paul Murray (eds) OUP, hb, £65.00
he figure of Karl Barth still dominates the history of theology in the 20th Century. That could be changing. John Milbank has made a case for regarding Henri de Lubac as the most significant figure in 20th Century theology. Few people are likely to be convinced but at least Milbank’s argument may lead scholars outside the Roman Catholic Church to look at both de Lubac and the group of theologians with which he was associated more seriously. Important though Karl Barth was, there were other figures in the period who are worthy of attention. De Lubac belonged to what is sometimes called the ‘nouvelle theologie’. The name was first coined by opponents and members of the group that included such figures as MD Chenu, Yves Congar, Jean Danielou, Louis Bouyer, Henri Bouillard and Hans urs von Balthasar as well as de Lubac, who preferred to think of themselves as ‘ressourcement theologians’. By ‘ressourcement’ they meant a return to the sources of the Christian faith, especially to the scriptures and to the fathers. But their aims were not purely antiquarian. They saw a return to the sources as a way to promote renewal in
the church and to help the Christian faith express itself in ways that were appropriate in the 20th Century. As de Lubac wrote: “Each time, in our West that Christian renewal has flourished, in the order of thought as in life, it has flourished under the sign of the fathers’. That quotation is important because sometimes an attempt is made to make a division between those at Vatican II who were influenced by the ressourcement theology and those who sought ‘aggiornamento’. Ressourcement was also concerned with renewal. De Lubac and his colleagues took issue with a form of scholastic theology that dominated the Catholic Church in the early years of the 20th Century. This was not the Thomism of St Thomas but a Thomism of the scholastic manuals that reduced theological truth to a string of unchanging propositions. Unchangeable truths were expressed in unchangeable forms. For a time the traditionalists prevailed at Rome and secured the condemnation of the ‘nouvelle theologie’ but it was ressourcement that was to triumph at Vatican II. Gabriel Flynn and Paul Murray have compiled a collection of essays that form an indispensable introduction to the ressourcement movement. The essays look at the background to the movement, the thought of its leading figures, and the impact of the movement on theology and the church. Gemma Simonds looks at Jansenism as a possible forerunner and Gerard Loughlin looks at the relationship between ressourcement and modernism. Other essays trace the relationship between Maurice Blondel and Etienne Gilson and ressourcement. All the major figures in the movement are discussed in
series of concise but penetrating essays. Edward T Oakes in his essay on Balthasar raises an issue that is perhaps not given sufficient attention in the collection as a whole. Why did some ressourcement theologians become conservative figures in the Catholic Church after Vatican II? Oakes suggests that one problem may be that de Lubac’s work on grace could be easily misinterpreted. Balthasar saw danger in the kind of consequences that could be drawn from de Lubac’s argument that there is no such thing as pure nature in the concrete order. As essays show, ressourcement’s impact on Vatican II was enormous. It also influenced the renewal of biblical studies in France and promoted a fresh understanding of Thomism. Gerald O’Collins looks at the relationship between ressourcement and the Council and Richard Lennan contributes a stimulating essay asking whether the theology of Karl Rahner constitutes an alternative to ressourcement. There are two essays by Protestant theologians. Hans Boersma of Regent’s College, Vancouver, looks at the ‘sacramental ontology’ of ressourcement and John Webster provides a probing examination of the relationship between Protestant theology and ressourcement. Andrew Louth shows how the movement was influenced by exiled Russian Orthodox theologians living in Paris. There are strong links between ressourcement and the traditional Anglican stress on the fathers. Anglicans like EL Mascall certainly read and admired ressourcement theologians. It would be interesting to know more about how 20th Century Anglican theologians reacted to the movement. Paul Richardson
The pick of the new Christian paperbacks S
o far the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer has provoked less interest than the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. John Bunyan, a priest in the Diocese of Sydney, Australia, has produced three pamphlets: Celebrating the BCP: A Map for the Minister, Morning Prayer Matters and Prayer Book Patterns and Principles. They are Aus$10 each or Aus$25 for all three. Please contact the author at email@example.com. James Runcie has published the first of a new series of crime novels featuring the clerical sleuth, Canon Sidney Chambers. The series is known as the ‘Grantchester Mysteries’ and the first volume, published by Bloomsbury, is Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death. Rees is a Roman Catholic nun and an authority on Celtic saints. A Dictionar y of Celtic Saints (the History Press) is her latest book. It is illustrated by photographs of the places where the saints live. Many of these saints do not feature in conventional dictionaries of saints but they are still remembered and have churches dedicated to them making this a useful work of reference. It will appeal to anyone interested in history, landscape or spirituality. David Winter needs no introduction to CEN readers. He is a very popular writer, broadcaster and preacher, Now retired himself he has produced The Highway Code for Retirement (CWR), a marvellous guide both for those already retired and those who are approaching retirement. This should be on every parish bookstall. Bishop
Michael Baughen gives it a glowing commendation: “Comprehensive yet succinct… it is positive, practical, and challenging with a the warmth of real experience and observation’. From retirement to dating! Here is another guide for the church bookstall. Rebecca K Maddox has described her search for Mr Right in 20 First Dates (Authentic). After years as a single woman in the church and aged over 30, Rebecca decided to go on a project to meet 20 first dates in 20 different ways. It is a light-hearted and amusing book that also contains a lot of good sense on dating. Mary C Earle has written an introduction to Celtic Christianity in Celtic Christian Spirituality (SPCK) that makes use of primary texts that direct readers to the book of creation as well as to the scriptures. There are prayers from Wales, the Outer Hebrides, and Ireland as well as sections from the writings of Pelagius, Eriugena, and St Patrick. Modern prayers in the Celtic style are very popular. Here is a chance to use prayers that go back to the Celtic period. In Loving the Way Jesus Loves (IVP) Phil Ryken turns to Paul’s great passage in 1 Corinthians 13 to gain insight into what it means to love as Jesus loves. This is an inspiring and uplifting book. In The Later New Testament Writers and Scripture (IVP) Steve Moyise follows up two previous books looking at Jesus and scripture and Paul and scripture to look at how the later New Testament books make use of scripture. The book is readable and accessible and deepens our knowledge of early Christianity.
A novel view of the week
The Internet trolls T
his week we will be looking at the subject of trolls on the Internet. Many readers of the CEN will still be cocooned in innocence, so let me explain. Here’s what Wikipedia, that fount of all knowledge, has to say: ‘In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response, or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.’ Obviously, we can’t trust this 100 per cent. For all we know, some troll may have posted misleading information on the Wikipedia site. That’s another favourite troll pastime, along with leaving hate-filled messages on Facebook sites created as tributes to teenagers who have committed suicide. The term is also used more loosely to describe anyone who posts inflammatory abuse online. Recent examples include the vilification on Twitter of MP Louise Mensch after her public support of Rupert Murdoch. Here’s a mild example for you: ‘Louise mensch [sic] is a bitch. End of story.’ The conventional wisdom when it comes to troll management is simply to ignore them. Rather like the advice our mothers gave us about bullies: if you ignore them, they’ll stop doing it.
Or: ‘Don’t feed the trolls.’ Mensch, however, did respond. She retweeted a selection of the abuse to her followers, and spoke out on Radio 4. Her comments are worth repeating, even if we disagree with her politics: “Abuse directed at women is always sexual or violent. If somebody is considered attractive, it’s a sexual and violent fantasy levelled against them. If someone is considered unattractive, it’s personal remarks about their body.” Similarly, if someone is black, then it will be racist abuse that is hurled at them. Footballer Stan Collymore claims he receives up to 200 abusive messages a day on Twitter. ‘When he go back to africa I will leave him alone’ is one example. I dare say for many of you this confirms all your suspicions about the interweb and its social networking TwitFaceTube nonsense. Steer well clear of it!, you may be thinking. But this is the 21st century, and this is how the world now operates. So the question is, how ought we to engage with a world inhabited by trolls? Perhaps Rule 1 is to watch for any trolllike tendencies within ourselves; that is, the dark part of us that lives miserably under a bridge with no known function other than to pop up and attack any billy goats cheerfully tripping past in the sunshine on their way to the meadow to graze.
May 13, 2012
Understanding troll language
Here’s my own troll theory. The favoured habitat of your internet troll is anonymity. This is why they lurk under bridges where they can’t be recognised. As a result of this, they are not properly integrated into ordinary society, and haven’t learnt how to engage in ordinary language at an ordinary pitch. They are to be pitied. Perhaps the most helpful thing would be some kind of app or tool that translated Troll into ordinary speech. This would alleviate a lot of hurt and misunderstanding. Here are some examples taken from Troll and translated into conventional English. (And because this is a family newspaper, I’ve broken my usual rule and used asterisks. I don’t want to be trolled by angry CEN readers, after all.) Troll: LISTEN YOU RANCID TORY ****. English: Hi there, Conservative Member of Parliament (female). Troll: YOU MAKE ME SICK. English: Not sure I agree with everything you just said. Troll: DIE, *****, I HOPE YOU DIE OF CANCER. English: In fact, I disagree quite strongly. Troll: AND YOUR NAZI CHILDREN. English: But what is important here is robust debate. Even with subtitles it’s still hard not to take Troll personally when it’s directed at you. I suspect that this is what Rowan Williams meant when he said that his successor would need ‘the hide of a rhinoceros’. Any Archbishop of Canterbury is bound to go about his duties to a rumbling soundtrack of ‘I’m a troll, fol-de-rol, and I’ll eat you for my supper!’ To be honest, I’ve sometimes been shocked at the licence Christians give themselves to abuse one another across the battlefields of women’s ministry and gay marriage — in language not far removed from pure Troll. In fact, sometimes I fear Troll is actually the mother tongue of us all. We revert to it not only in those big debates, but also in trivial matters. Such as people yakking during the anthem in the cathedral 10.30 Eucharist. That’s one of the times when my own personal Troll emerges from under the bridge, saliva swinging from his jaws. Fortunately I’ve got him penned up in my head, so nobody else can hear him roaring: RAARGH! SHUT UP, YOU ANTHEM-WRECKING OLD BILLY GOATS, OR I’LL BITE YOUR FACES OFF! Here’s what I’d like to be able to do when I encounter a troll: to sift through the abuse for any legitimate points and decide whether they need addressing. If there are none, then simply to let it go without seeking to retaliate, defend myself, explain, or be vindicated. And there is probably only one place where I can hope to learn this — at the foot of the cross. Close Encounters — Cathedral Trolls My other theory is that trolls act unwittingly as a kind of psychological gargoyle. They spew out filth and abuse, directing it away from the walls of the edifice so that society doesn’t erode, or come crashing down under the weight of pent-up aggression. Fanciful, I know. But anyway, here in Lichfield we have many stone trolls ‘uttering water’ (a nice sparkly phrase I pinched, magpie-like, from William Golding’s The Spire) during heavy downpours. Some are old, and some have been carved and put in place during our time in Lichfield. If you like, you can visit the cathedral website and adopt one, to help raise funds for the East End appeal. http://lichfieldgargoyles.mosaicappeal.com/index.php/mosaic/index/129
Janey Lee Grace Live Healthy! Live Happy!
Something in the air D
on’t give up your landline is my urgent plea as I see so many people turn their mobiles into their ‘new best friends’ welded to their person at all times. The Sun newspaper recently reported that scientists have called for urgent research into links between mobile phones and cancer after it was revealed there has been a 50 per cent increase in brain tumours since 1999. They quoted from the ‘Children With Cancer’ conference in London, where Professor Denis Henshaw, of Bristol University, said: “Vast numbers of people are using mobiles and they could be a health time-bomb, not just for brain tumours but also infertility. It’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. I simply don’t accept that there are no health risks attached to mobile phone usage. The problem is that we can’t go back in time. Most people own mobile phones, cordless telephones, wi-fi, computers,
microwave ovens and an array of electronic equipment. Outside most windows there will be a mobile phone transmitter within sight and although the government line is that there is no proven health risk from exposure to mobile phone or tetra phone masts, unfortunately (getting marginally technical here) their safety guidelines are based on the assumption that the only harmful effect of microwaves is that they will ‘cook’ you at high enough power levels, where there is much research claiming damaging biological effects at well below the levels that cause heating. So what is being concocted in effect, is allegedly ‘safe‘ levels of exposure as guidelines for us all, whereas the reality is that there is much disagreement as to where those levels should be set, as well as much variation in different countries as to how levels are measured, and what really is a safe level of exposure.
In true imperfectly natural style though I don’t believe you don’t have to absolutely eliminate all forms of electronic communication. It’s all a bit of sticking plaster on an ocean but there are some precautionary measures I’d advise. Sounds way too obvious but minimise your mobile and cordless phone use. Switch off your wi-fi at night! Use a Blocsoc Anti Radiation cover on your mobile phone, this is the single most effective shield and they come in all sizes and colours from www.janeysnaturalstore.com Wear a Sosatec balancer, which is a little cylindrical ‘disc’ that can be worn as a pendant, wristband or belt clip. It’s programmed with natural quantum frequencies that become in tune with the bodies biofield, easing the irritation on the subconscious caused by EMFs, thus reducing stress and improving mental agility and overall
Mobiles have slimmed down, but the health risks haven't
sense of wellbeing, in short they can’t block the radiation but they can greatly strengthen us to be able to cope with the onslaught! Check out www.sosatec.co.uk To summarise with this very complex subject, scientific communities are continuing to disagree in all areas, so revert to your own instincts, and ask yourself ‘could there be a problem?’ My view is that there definitely is, and precaution is the sensible option.