Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Here and there

Various correspondents have alerted me to some wonderful things written or spoken by others elsewhere.

A couple of excellent responses to Justin Duckworth being elected the next Bishop of Wellington, including an audio comment by Kevin Milne and a Herald feature.

However one famous New Zealander, by implication, is not impressed by the next episcopal head of Wellington's Anglicans.

Here is a stirring charge to the TEC General Convention members. (As always I note things here going on in American Episcopalianism because its implicit claim to the Communion it has brought so much trouble upon is, 'Here is the way, walk ye in it.' )

While in North America read a thoughtful Agenda for Recovering Christianity in America.

As always Anglican Down Under is fair (but that may not mean much: in an email Ron Smith mentions in the comments, so also does our Christchurch Press claim to be!!), so here is the Presiding Bishop of TEC, Katharine Jefferts Schori on (so to speak) her agenda for recovering Episcopalianism in America.

Within our own Diocese and from its website, Bishop Victoria's charge to our recent synod is available online.

In the ongoing controversy about our cathedral I note that one open letter re the transitional cathedral and a specific controversy about its operating budget is published here. This letter is part of our Diocese's media response to poor coverage of the cathedral issues by the Christchurch Press. Yesterday we received an email bulletin rebutting various points made in a recent editorial. When that is posted online I will link to that. Various links to Press and other media items are on Taonga here.

Positively, looking ahead to the new cathedral, your opportunity to write down ideas about the shape, size and style of the cathedral and its mission is at this site.

Finally, if you have nothing better to do, an article on the resurrection may interest you, go to the latest issue of a (resurrected) Stimulus and click on the first article link to read the PDF.


Father Ron Smith said...

Before reading Bishop Victoria's message, I took the trouble to write to The Press criticising their recent anti-Anglican editorial and the inclusion - under a spectacular banner headline - a 400-word letter which The Press published yesterday on the same theme.

I received, last night, a disclaimer from Michael Vance (Letters Editor of The Press) with this final paragraph:
"Our editorial stance does not govern our news coverage of issues. In those columns we live or die by providing our readers with factual and fair reports. We are confident that we have maintained that standard in our coverage of the cathedral"

Is sounds like the Press Editor: "Protesteth too much". Does he fear a backlash, I wonder? Any way, I've challenged him now to publish both my letter and his response, but I won't be holding my breath.

Father Ron Smith said...

Regarding your link to your North America contact link:

The Episcopal Church in America has awakened the conscience of the Anglican Communion around the world to the covert environment of institutionalised hypocrisy that Christian Churches have been party to ever since the Roman Catholics decided that non-procreational sex was counter-intuitive to ‘true religion’.

The over-pious elect of the sola-scriptura school – in the Church of England especially – has been asleep to the fact that the world has moved on since the Puritans were in control of the Church – in England and its overseas colonial territories – so that Victorian mores have dogged the advancement of human rights on issues of gender and sexuality for too long now.

The Scriptures tell us that true righteousness can never be achieved without true justice – ‘mishpat’ in the Hebrew – and self-righteous hypocrisy was the one constant Jesus had to fight against in his running battle with the Scribes and Pharisees – who found Jesus’ liberality towards women and other marginalised people so threatening to the current religious ethos, that they had him put to death.

TEC has helped to lift the dead hand of self-righteousness from the mission of the Church. This is not something to be sad about. Rather, to be celebrated.

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Anonymous said...

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but how long has Justin been an Anglican and how long ordained?


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Martin
I think you will find somewhere or other that Justin has been an ordained priest for about two years. He has been an Anglican for longer than that - I would say from remembering conversation about Urban Vision coming under the oversight of the Bishop of Wellington that he has been in that particular Anglican context for half a dozen years.

I don't think asking such questions is raining on any one's parade. The questions though pertain to the Diocese of Wellington in making their electoral choice. I can assure you that they had Anglicans of very longstanding to choose from so we may assume that in Justin they saw God's choice for this era.

Father Ron Smith said...

"..how long has Justin been an Anglican and how long ordained?"
- Martin -

I'll bet this same question was asked in Milan about Saint Ambrose, a 4th century civil administrator, who, after the death of Auxentius, Bishop of Milan was very quickly catechumenised, baptised & ordained priest and bishop.

Saint Julian of Norwich, whose Feast-day we have kept today, never was ordained, but she became one of the foremost Mystical Saints of the 4th century Church in England.

This just goes to prove that there are occasions when human beings are listening to the Spirit of God amazing things can happen. The same life-giving Holy Spirit is still working today.

Alleluia! Christ IS risen!


liturgy said...

With respect, Fr Ron,
as far as I know Ambrose was never ordained a priest. He was ordained directly to the order to which he was called.

In the discussion whether the bishop is a senior presbyter to whom the body of presbyters give up some of their presbyteral rights (rites), or whether the bishop is a totally separate order (an important discussion especially ecumenically in the recognition of orders), Wellington in this appointment appears to have thrown its weight behind the latter position.

Christ is risen!


Anonymous said...

"Wellington in this appointment appears to have thrown its weight behind the latter position."

No, I don't think so. Justin is a presbyter. George Carey became ABC after just about 2 years as a bishop. I'm not unfamiliar with 4th C. Christianity either, as I'm re-reading Augustine this weekend. Then, a man - like Augustine - could be made ordained against his will! - a tough call in times of persecution and warring heresies and factions(Arians, Donatists, Manichees).
I pray for God's blessings on Justin and for a revival of His church in the windy diocese.


Anonymous said...

I got an interesting question after a midweek service where I'd been preaching on Justin and the lectionary reading from Acts 11:) Someone came up to me and asked "what message does this send to senior clergy about their career propects?" I kinda did a double take! The question just made no sense to me. Who in becoming a priest thinks about "career propects" rather than just simply "calling"? But then as I thought about it some more later on I realised that there are probably aspects of that mindset still floating around, left over perhaps from an era where the priest was a respected pillar of society and a somewhat aspirational position within the community. I didn't grow up in church through that time though so I'm only really speculating from what I've read/heard. What do you guys make of that question? is it relevant in discussions about Justin's appointment? For me as someone who was at the Electoral synod (where we had a wide range of great candidates) it was just a matter of discerning who God was calling regardless of background, etc... It was my first time involved in such a process and it was actually a pretty amazing event to be a part of.

Father Ron Smith said...

Also with respect, dear Bosco; 'The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church' has this to say of Ambrose's meteoric rise to prelature:

"Ambrose (an unbaptised catechumen), was baptised, ordained, and consecrated bishop".

While presuming that his ordination as bishop might have included his ordination as a priest - at that time in the church - you have raised a moot point here.

Especially when the ordination of a bishop was once called (contrary to today's definition of 'ordination') - 'consecration'

Father Ron Smith said...

A very good question of yours here, Ben. There are many instances of clergy and monastics 'running away from' being called to preferment. A favourite of mine, St.Chad, was most reluctant to 'receive' this calling; in the end submitting only to what he then recognised as God's specific call.

Clerical ambition for preferment is completely antithetical to the whole ethos of Christian ministry.

Sadly, this worldly trait can still infect the most unlikely 'Servants of God'. I don't think Bishop-elect Justin Duckworth is one of them - Deo gratias!

liturgy said...

Greetings Ben

I think your question is a very, very important one – one that I hear little to no reflection on. Sadly.

I think only asking it in the context of Justin’s ordination is fascinating. And fraught. Why has it not been asked in the context of lay and priestly ministry – why are we only asking the question when it affects the episcopacy?

So I would unlink it from Justin’s particular ordination and context.

When I sought to explore ordination around 3 decades ago, there was a lengthy pre-application, and application process. In my year there were 42 applicants in my diocese; we filled out lengthy forms, had intense interviews, finally a few went on a weekend from which 4 were selected. There was no question but that we quit our well-paid jobs and relocated to be students in Auckland for at least 3 years.

Those of that generation anticipated that a theological degree would be followed by 2-4 years curacy, learning closely and intensely under experienced priests, after which we would get our own first parish (in my case, as had not been uncommon, a rural one). With experience we understood we would get more responsibility, larger parishes, managing staff; become a mentor for other clergy learning the ropes; be an archdeacon to be of help to others more widely. Etc.

That, as you indicate, has all gone. If the new model is an improvement – you will have to say.

But I do wonder what I do with the advertisement I received from our diocesan office to pass on only today: “Have you ever thought about a career in ministry…” (my italics).

My experience is that young people who think of a “career” think in terms of the model that has now gone.



ps. Ben, if you think that Anglican priests have given up all sense of status – get their titles wrong & see what happens; or the order in the procession; or who wears what (cf 2 Tim 3:5).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ben, (and thank you other commenters for a lovely array of debates (in the best sense of the word) going on here),

I think you raise an interesting question which touches on the humanity of all priests, not simply about who is chosen to be bishop, but who becomes an archdeacon, who is appointed to large/historic/wealthy/ lovely parish X and who is not, who is elected to General Synod and who is never approached to be on the Board of Y, and so forth.

In all cases I think we do need a healthy dose of corrective theology about 'calling' and perhaps also about 'gifts', to say nothing of some 'sobermindedness' about our respective personalities and the way people engage with us and thus discern in us things we do not see for ourselves.

Justin's appointment is brilliant because, as noted hereabouts, it reminds us of those extraordinary appointments in history when saints of old were pressed if not press-ganged into being what they had not thought of being and so forth.

liturgy said...

You are correct, Fr Ron, I have looked again;

some sources say he was ordained a priest - others that he was baptised and then ordained directly to the episcopate.