CofE Liturgical Evangelicals - MIA?

PDRPDR Shipmate
When I was in my teens and twenties - that's basically the 80s and the 90s - most Evangelical Anglican parishes were fairly liturgical. the one at the end of the street when I was at college did BCP HC at 9:00am 2nd & 4th; 10:30am was on a rota - ASB: A HC; ASB MP; Family Service (Shortened MP); and ASB-MP. The evenings seemed to be mainly BCP EP, but there was a communion on the third Sunday IIRC. The two local Evangelical shacks back home where BCP, and the hymns came from a generic collection, something like Christian Hymns, or Mission Praise.

These days liturgical Evangelical parishes seem to be the exception rather than the rule. An inquiring mind is wondering - what the heck happened? Being out of the UK for the last 20 years I have rather lost touch with the trends back home, and some of them are a bit baffling.
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Comments

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited July 19
    Well, my experience of Evangelical CofE in Leeds (late 80s) and Nottingham (early 90s) was that they were all charismatic to a greater or lesser extent and used as little liturgy as the rubrics let them get away with. Or less. Drums and guitars, naturally.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate

    These days liturgical Evangelical parishes seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
    What a sad loss.
    I was attracted to the Church of England firstly because of its liturgy, and then for its music. I was glad to escape the long-winded extempore prayers of my non conformist upbringing, where the service was at the whim of the man in charge( whatever his qualifications or abilities ).

    Now our evangelical Vicar is turning out to be in the same mould. Reluctant to delegate any aspects of the service, he replaces beautifully crafted liturgical responses with his own extempore prayers, or quotes a verse of a hymn. He has dispensed with any of the “trappings” which, to him, appear too Roman. I am not sure why he is an Anglican.

    Add to that, banal preaching which insults the faith of the faithful, a worship band instead of the organ, a reduction to the minimum which is mandatory- and to achieve what, exactly?
    I share your sense of loss and bewilderment.



  • stonespringstonespring Shipmate
    Are there options in Common Worship to construct a service which is evangelical in tone, modern in language, but still feels well organized, non-personality driven, and non-gimmicky?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Yes. Absolutely - for anyone willing to put the work in.
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    The Common Worship liturgy is all Bible based. I'd like to know why it isn't considered appropriate? Is it to do with the idea that everyone must be listening to and responsive to the Holy Spirit and therefore reactive? Therefore we must not prepare anything or do anything structured?
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited July 19
    Are there options in Common Worship to construct a service which is evangelical in tone, modern in language, but still feels well organized, non-personality driven, and non-gimmicky?

    I must admit when CW first came out I took a good look at it and decided it was workable, and I had a half a mind to go back to the UK at the time.

    They had done just enough to Order 1 HC when compared to ASB:A to make it annoying, so I decided I would probably opt for Order Two in most circumstances provided no-one nailed their colours to the mast and said we want Order 1. Cranmer's structure works provided you understand what TC was up to, and it was not the traditional Mass but a movement from self-examination, through the word, to confession and absolution before partaking of the Lord's Supper and being spiritually fed with the Body and Blood of Christ.

    The Offices are interesting, and I am not sure how they would play with an Evangelical crowd. I recognise them as being derived from the Roman Liturgy Of The Hours, and the old Breviary before that, but there is nothing in them I would kick off about especially in terms of that which must be said. I certainly could do them with a straight face in an Evangelical context, but then I am not an out and out Evangelical. The whole Liturgy of the Word deal is a bit of an invitation to ditch liturgy altogether, or more accurately to go semi-liturgical like the Methodists were in my teens, which may well work for a family service but would not be Anglican enough for me as a steady part of the diet.

    I miss the old liturgical Evangelicals. My preference when it comes to church are more along a straightforward liturgical service with an expository sermon and three or four traditional hymns, and that was what the small town conservative Evos were doing back then. The big city parishes - e.g. St George's, Leeds to mention one known to me - were already going the praise band and bits sort of a service which I found BOR-ING in the way only someone of 18 - 25 can find something BOR-ING mainly because it had no sense of direction/movement.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    edited July 19
    More worrying than the lack of liturgical form is the lack of content. Particularly the downgrading of the Eucharist to an optional extra which, at best, 'it's nice to have from time to time.' I rather admire the evangelical church round the corner from where I live: they have plenty of 'family-friendly' free range services, but also celebrate the Eucharist decently and in order (black scarf, north end position, and either 1662 or CW by the book, with all three readings) every Sunday.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    angloid wrote: »
    More worrying than the lack of liturgical form is the lack of content. Particularly the downgrading of the Eucharist to an optional extra which, at best, 'it's nice to have from time to time.'

    Which is an abomination when one reads what Cranmer, Bullinger, Bucer, and that French chap in Switzerland had to say about the Lord's Supper. They all had a high view of it and want some at least every Sunday to partake after due preparation. I think this has been the issue that has always prevented me throwing in my lot with the Evangelicals, they seem to be as good at creating an imbalance of word over sacrament, as the Anglo-Catholics can be at creating one of Sacrament over Word.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    You can add the Scot chap in as well on that list.
  • Jengie Jon wrote: »
    You can add the Scot chap in as well on that list.

    I've yet to get my head around how the Kirk got from Calvin advising weekly communion to four times a year if you're lucky.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Back in the day I was a bright young evangelical/charismatic and ordination postulant (though we didn't have that word) in one of the "400Club" (a reference to congregation size) kiwi evangelical parishes. The attitude was that prayer book liturgies were a kind of "coat-hanger" on which to hang spontaneous, spirit led prayer and worship. Refer to the prayers when necessary as a sort of navigational beacon, but on the whole follow your heart which was where God's Spirit was really at work.

    I skipped country and encountered anglo-catholicism (and a sort of anglo-orthodoxenism) soon after that, was quickly wowed by its sense of mystery and non-reliance on my whims and moods (dressed up, of course as promptings of the Spirit). It seemed that in a more collective, objective use of liturgy we were encountering the wisdom of the church throughout space and time, not (so much) the players' egos. I stayed up the candle.

    But I sometime recall the early 1980s me and thank God that I largely escaped his path.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    @Zappa - the Evangelicals I knew fairly well must have been an unusual subset then, because they were pretty wedded to the BCP and those bits of the ASB which were most like the old book. They also tended to hold rural parishes, and churches in small market towns where a certain ability to be "merely CofE" was a priority if you did not intend to alienate the 'non-chapel' half of the population. Theologically they tended to be mildly Reformed rather than out-and-out Calvinists. Most of them had come from either Ridley Hall, or Oak Hill, though we did have one old relic who had gone to Bishop Wilson before it closed in 1942! I got rather fond of them as an escape from Anglo-Catholic angst at college.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I think kiwiland was probably the unusual subset!
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    You would know. I have never seriously tried to sort out the churchmanship in Oz or NZ. I have enough trouble trying to figure these bloody Americans! Mind you, I can confuse them too - for example, when I say vestry not sacristy!
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    angloid wrote: »
    More worrying than the lack of liturgical form is the lack of content. Particularly the downgrading of the Eucharist to an optional extra which, at best, 'it's nice to have from time to time.' I rather admire the evangelical church round the corner from where I live: they have plenty of 'family-friendly' free range services, but also celebrate the Eucharist decently and in order (black scarf, north end position, and either 1662 or CW by the book, with all three readings) every Sunday.

    I can think of a half dozen Anglican churches around here that fall almost entirely into that category, the exception being that none these days is north end, all with altars moved out and the celebrant/president facing west. Black cassock, surplice and scarf, with some black, others seasonally correct, 1662 very occasionally, normally either AAPB or APBA. Then something rather a free for all called "family-friendly" or something similar at another time.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited July 19
    I prefer north ending to westward facing. It is usually my bad luck to have someone trying to remove their ear wax via their nostril when I officiate facing. Also, I do tend to register every little distraction, especially when the Table is close to the congregation. Present congregation (St Odd's) is eastward facing as it has a stone altar with no room at the north end as the footpace is returned again the wall only about 12" past the end of the Table. There is one church locally that is north end, which is a real rarity for the US, but it is an historic building and trying to celebrate other than where the original Rector intended is, at best, difficult.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited July 20
    Excuse the ignorance, but why was north end a thing? What was its theological reasoning?
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited July 20
    Historically it was down to a rubric that did not change when the customs did. Archbishop Laud (1633-45) ordered Communion Tables to be placed against the east wall with the short ends north and south, and railed off to prevent profanation. Previous practice, at least at Communion time was to put the table lengthways in the chancel, and for the minister to stand on the north side with the communicants gathered around the Table. However with the Table at the east end altar-wise it was no longer possible to do that. Some clergy seem to have gone Eastward facing but most just decided that an end was a side and took the north one to celebrate communion.

    When Church and King were restored in 1660 Laudian practice had sort of been canonized by the Interregnum, so the Tables went back against the east wall. Again, a few clergy went for the eastward position, but most took the north end, and this gradually predominated through the remainder of the 17th, the 18th, and a good chunk of the 19th century. The 1662 rubrics say the priest should take the 'north side' at the beginning of the service, and should stand before the Table for the Prayer of Consecration. Generally, the second rubric was taken as 'standing as before' i.e. at the north end of the table.

    When the Ritualists reintroduced eastward facing c. 1850#, north end soon became a shibboleth of Protestantism in the Church of England with old school Churchmen, both Evangelical and Old High Church sticking to the north end, which the Rits took the eastward position.

    # - The Tractarian/Ritualist leaning Vicar of my home parish tried to introduce north ending in 1860 and got his knuckles rapped in the local newspapers and received many objections from his parishioners, who threatened to decamp elsewhere, shop him to the Archdeacon/the Judicial Committee, etc.. When "Wrecks, Wills, and Wives" came out against the eastward position he did revert to north ending, and stayed there until me moved on in 1889.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Thank you for that very helpful explanation.

    I do have a follow-up:
    PDR wrote: »
    Archbishop Laud (1633-45) ordered Communion Tables to be placed against the east wall with the short ends north and south, and railed off to prevent profanation.
    Was there an outbreak of people attacking altars/tables at that time?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Certainly in the Civil Wars and their aftermath - many English cathedrals and churches were badly damaged by Puritans. Anything even vaguely suggestive of popery was destroyed.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    So celebrating on the north side actually means sideways on to the congregation? Have I got that right?
    If the altars had been moved back against the wall did it not occur to people to have a table in front of it as is common these days?
  • I have worshipped in many Anglican churches over the year and barring my childhood church (whose practice I simply can't remember) I've never come across "north end".
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    ...Was there an outbreak of people attacking altars/tables at that time?
    No. It was partly to do with Laud's particular obsessions and partly because people were bringing their dogs with them to church - a practice not unknown now. Laud didn't approve of dogs approaching the place where the sacred mysteries were celebrated.


    @Gee D this is was more a cause and marker of the taking sides in the Civil War and Commonwealth than a consequence of it. Laud had been imprisoned in 1641 and was executed in 1645. His insistence on moving altars was something from the period of Charles I's 11 years' personal rule without Parliament in the 1630s. So it was associated in peoples' minds with it. Likewise, Charles I's attempt to impose the CofE Prayer Book on Scotland, and 'ye'll nay say a mass in ma lug'.


    @Alan29 altars remained bang up against the wall until the 1970s. In all the controversy in the nineteenth and twentieth century about northwards or eastwards, it never seems to have occurred to anyone that at more sensible solution is to move the table forwards and for the celebrant to stand behind it, as is now normal.

    I agree that having the celebrant standing sideways on to the congregation wasn't the best answer, but as one whose memory goes back to before the 1970s, whatever the theology, as one whose hearing is not that good, I've a deep aversion to the 'turn your back on the congregation, huddle over the altar and mumble' position.

    There have been plenty of innovations in my lifetime that haven't been an improvement, but this one has.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited July 20
    Enoch wrote: »
    @Alan29 altars remained bang up against the wall until the 1970s. In all the controversy in the nineteenth and twentieth century about northwards or eastwards, it never seems to have occurred to anyone that at more sensible solution is to move the table forwards and for the celebrant to stand behind it, as is now normal.
    I remember reading Michael Saward's biography "A faint streak of humility". He - an Evangelical - was curate-in-charge at St. Peter's, Edgware when they were building the church there (since replaced) in the early 60s. He was very keen to adopt "westward" but faced a barrage of criticism in the church press for doing so. He really couldn't see what all the fuss was about!

    By the way, Nonconformist ministers have always, I believe, stood behind their Communion tables and faced their congregations. Whether this has been for theological reasons, or simply to be not-Anglican and not-Catholic, I don't know. And might its prevalence been a reason for Anglicans not to do "westward", just to prove that they were non-Nonconformist? (!)

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    There have been plenty of innovations in my lifetime that haven't been an improvement, but this one has.

    Totally agree. I can't think of any Catholic churches around here that are still eastwards facing either.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    There have been plenty of innovations in my lifetime that haven't been an improvement, but this one has.

    Totally agree. I can't think of any Catholic churches around here that are still eastwards facing either.

    There is an increasing number of churches here that have been given over to religious orders that use the Tridentine liturgy. They invariably face the wall. We have one up the road from me. Bishops offload churches that have become expensive to maintain. The orders seem to be well funded, unlike the dioceses.
  • Of course, eastwards facing celebration is greatly aided by the availability of clip-on radio microphones!
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    There have been plenty of innovations in my lifetime that haven't been an improvement, but this one has.

    Totally agree. I can't think of any Catholic churches around here that are still eastwards facing either.

    There is an increasing number of churches here that have been given over to religious orders that use the Tridentine liturgy. They invariably face the wall. We have one up the road from me. Bishops offload churches that have become expensive to maintain. The orders seem to be well funded, unlike the dioceses.

    The Catholic church near us used be Dominican but the order withdrew some years ago now. I can't recall just how many - perhaps 20? So "Priory" has been dropped from its official name, but it's usually called just "the Priory" by those who've lived in the area for a while.
  • Enoch wrote: »


    @Gee D this is was more a cause and marker of the taking sides in the Civil War and Commonwealth than a consequence of it. Laud had been imprisoned in 1641 and was executed in 1645. His insistence on moving altars was something from the period of Charles I's 11 years' personal rule without Parliament in the 1630s. So it was associated in peoples' minds with it. Likewise, Charles I's attempt to impose the CofE Prayer Book on Scotland, and 'ye'll nay say a mass in ma lug'.
    .

    The 1637 BCP was not the CofE prayer book nor, despite popular legend, was it Laud's work, being instead largely the work of the Scottish Bishops. While it draws on Cranmer's work the communion service is notably distinct from CofE practice.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    So celebrating on the north side actually means sideways on to the congregation? Have I got that right?
    If the altars had been moved back against the wall did it not occur to people to have a table in front of it as is common these days?

    Yes, you are sideways on for anything customarily said facing the Table, which was back against the wall where the old altar had been. I have done my share of North ending, and I can tell you it is a lot easier with a short wide altar table, as then there is room to move, and the whole thing works well.

    I suspect turning the preceding arrangement through 90 degrees so that the minister faced the people would have been too Presbyterian/Puritan for Laud. His closest followers took the eastward position anyway. North ending was an accommodation of the old rubric to the new orders from on high worked out by the parish clergy.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »


    @Gee D this is was more a cause and marker of the taking sides in the Civil War and Commonwealth than a consequence of it. Laud had been imprisoned in 1641 and was executed in 1645. His insistence on moving altars was something from the period of Charles I's 11 years' personal rule without Parliament in the 1630s. So it was associated in peoples' minds with it. Likewise, Charles I's attempt to impose the CofE Prayer Book on Scotland, and 'ye'll nay say a mass in ma lug'.
    .

    The 1637 BCP was not the CofE prayer book nor, despite popular legend, was it Laud's work, being instead largely the work of the Scottish Bishops. While it draws on Cranmer's work the communion service is notably distinct from CofE practice.

    IIRC, the chief culprit for the 1637 BCP was James Wedderburn, the Bishop of Edinburgh, which was a new see created in 1633.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Thank you, Enoch, and all for the further information.
  • Climacus wrote: »
    Thank you for that very helpful explanation.

    I do have a follow-up:
    PDR wrote: »
    Archbishop Laud (1633-45) ordered Communion Tables to be placed against the east wall with the short ends north and south, and railed off to prevent profanation.
    Was there an outbreak of people attacking altars/tables at that time?

    There were a number of instances where churches were used as storage space, as they were a useful (and free) space for doing so. I had read that sometimes animals were kept in the building, but had not read the dog explanation before. Perhaps Laud was a cat man....
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    With the new post Reformation table type' altars' or indeed 'tables' fences were put round them to stop animals, particularly dogs ,approaching the Holy Table. In time this became the Communion rail.

    Remember at the time of the Council of Trent people usually received Communion, principally on Easter Sunday, outside of the choir wall/rood screen/pulpitum.

    The council of Trent declared that these walls/rood screens should ideally be removed leaving only a small wall, which became in time the acknowledged place to receive Communion in a Catholic church and was simply known as the communion rail.
    The houseling cloth used to protect the Sacrament would be draped over the communion rail at the appropriate moments. Since Vatican 2 most houseling cloths and indeed communion rails have all but disappeared from Catholic churches, just as most rood screens disappeared several centuries before.


    The CofE was not affected by the Council of Trent's declarations and usually kept the rood screen but, as I said ,the fence around the altar gradually became the communion rail.


    Until fairly recently there was usually a fence around the area of the Holy Table in the various Presbyterian churches in Scotland, though I have never heard anyone discuss why . I can only surmise that it was for the same reason about keeping dogs out.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    If anyone has been to a eucharistic liturgy in a Byzantine rite Orthodox or Catholic church, they will have seen that Communion is administered on the nave side of the iconostasis/rood screen, just as would have happened in a Western Catholic church at least up to the time of the Council of Trent.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    Thank you for that very helpful explanation.

    I do have a follow-up:
    PDR wrote: »
    Archbishop Laud (1633-45) ordered Communion Tables to be placed against the east wall with the short ends north and south, and railed off to prevent profanation.
    <snip>
    Perhaps Laud was a cat man....

    He had a tortoise and a 'Smyrna' cat. I seem to recall that the tortoise lived a good long life until it was drowned in a flood in 1753.
  • Well, I for one have abandoned evangelical Anglicanism on account of the way it's gone.

    I don't darken the door of my nearest church, our evangelical Anglican parish, because if how things have developed within this particular brand of evangelical Anglicanism.

    They seem to be wannabe Baptists or wannabe Vineyarders.

    Nothing against Baptists or independent churches - their style and modus operandi make sense in that context.

    I was asked to stop doing the prayers at the 11am service and to do them at the more traditional 9am one instead. Why? Because I tended to go by the book.

    Eventually, the PowerPoint slides and 'turn to the person next to you' malarkey seeped out of the 11am service and into the 9am one. I thought that might change with the new incumbent but it hasn't.

    Meanwhile, the 11am has become unrecognisably Anglican in any way, shape or form and the Bishops do nothing about it because it seems that silly, dumbed-down services bring the punters and the cash in.

    Is outrage.

    This isn't liturgical snobbery or issues over taste. I really do fear for the future of evangelicalism as it's become increasingly banal and lacking any 'bite' and content whatsoever.

    Shame on them!
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    You can add the Scot chap in as well on that list.

    I've yet to get my head around how the Kirk got from Calvin advising weekly communion to four times a year if you're lucky.

    OK, as far as I can tell any Reformed liturgist worth their salt has favoured weekly communion including Calvin and Knox. However, Calvin also put on quite a lot of emphasis on preparation for communion. Remember until the mid-twentieth century many Presbyterians spent a week preparing for communion. The laity* also is intrinsically conservative and reluctant towards general pernickety piety. So Calvin and Knox both got overruled by the laity who accepted more preparation but did not accept more frequent reception than they were used to because it was not customary and it involved extra pious tasks (I suspect if full-blown would have involved weekly confession/catechism and fasting). Now having just the minister receive was clearly not on. So they ended up accepting infrequent Communions. The laity has a far bigger voice within Reformed tradition than in others.

    *Laity here usually means those with secular authority within society rather than people generally
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    Well, I for one have abandoned evangelical Anglicanism on account of the way it's gone.

    I don't darken the door of my nearest church, our evangelical Anglican parish, because if how things have developed within this particular brand of evangelical Anglicanism.

    They seem to be wannabe Baptists or wannabe Vineyarders.

    Nothing against Baptists or independent churches - their style and modus operandi make sense in that context.

    I was asked to stop doing the prayers at the 11am service and to do them at the more traditional 9am one instead. Why? Because I tended to go by the book.

    Eventually, the PowerPoint slides and 'turn to the person next to you' malarkey seeped out of the 11am service and into the 9am one. I thought that might change with the new incumbent but it hasn't.

    Meanwhile, the 11am has become unrecognisably Anglican in any way, shape or form and the Bishops do nothing about it because it seems that silly, dumbed-down services bring the punters and the cash in.

    Is outrage.

    This isn't liturgical snobbery or issues over taste. I really do fear for the future of evangelicalism as it's become increasingly banal and lacking any 'bite' and content whatsoever.

    Shame on them!

    If people don't come to structured services based on liturgy, but they do come when alternative worship services are offered, why do you have an issue with that if it isn't a matter of taste?

    What would you suggest might give a service bite and content?

  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    It seems to me that people will come, if they are inclined, to any service that is sincerely offered. They are not as fussed as many denizens on here are, about the style or wording or details of liturgy. But there is a responsibility on pastors, priests and those who prepare worship to ensure that it is genuinely Christian, that it is biblical, that it is challenging and comforting in equal measure, and – especially for Anglicans – that it maintains the balance between Word and Sacrament. I suspect that GG's experience is of 'worship' that fails to tick more than one or two of those boxes.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    edited July 21
    In Melbourne (Australia) there are two Anglicanish theological colleges. One very Oxford Movement and its nuanced successors. One very Everything That is Not Oxford Movement.

    As it happens there curricula reflect this ... the former, at least when I was there, tensed to promote a theologico/spiritual history that went Apostles→Shepherd of Hermas→Egeria→Cappodocians→Rahner while the other went Apostles→Augustine→Luther→Stott ... but I digress

    At the former the chapel was Oxbridge-in-Choir. The latter, designed by James Stahle in an Octagonal modernist tradition could have been much worse, but there's no doubt that The Sermon is The Thing. Emblazoned on the, er Communion Table, are the words "he is not here, he is risen", and while it is of course a resurrection reference, there is no doubt that the subtext is that God is present primarily in sermon, not faint memories of Jesus' last snack. That bifurcation is marked across the diocese as ordinands across the years have generally dug deep in the two traditions and sought their tradition's advancement in the precarious balance of the diocese and the Province of Victoria.

    When I started as a theolog in the mid '80s Ridley still had a BCP and/or AAPB, but often "theology of real absence" (north end and point at the bread and wine over there) liturgical tradition. These days the Real Presence is more likely to be found in sermon and song.

    The Oxbridge chapel and college up the road is by and large modern Catholic, with strong feminist influence.
  • It strikes me that the questions behind Rator Eye's go along the lines of, "What is distinctive and/or necessary in Anglican (as opposed to Baptist, Catholic or whatever) worship?" and, going deeper, "Is this a model which needs to be adapted or replaced for the contemporary context?" So you could either see the kind of worship which Gamaliel so dislikes as having a legitimate place in a Free Church context but not an Anglican one; or take the line which is Vicar seems to be taking of, "Hang tradition and Canon Law, we'll do whatever gets the punters in". The former position, at its extreme, tends to say, "This is what we are and what we do, like it or lump it" which may please a few but alienate many others; the latter seems to assume that potential congregants come from a homogeneous cultural background and will all like the same kind of worship, which simply isn't true.

    Of course we live in a religious consumer market where people will happily go some way to the church they like rather than naturally (or of necessity) going to the local shack and accepting what's done there. I - speaking as a Nonconformist - tend to think that Anglican churches should be distinctive in their worship (i.e. liturgical) and as inclusive as possible in their worship praxis; but that in practice may lead to a dull blandness which is no good either!
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    Thank you angloid and baptist trainfan. I find CW Anglican worship with its liturgy, lectionary, sacraments, and focus on Father, Son and Holy Spirit in balance hits the spot for me, now. It feeds me at a deep spiritual level.

    It didn't hit the spot at all in my early years as a Christian, however. I found the standing up and sitting down and language off putting. It didn't feel very spiritual to me, I wasn't being nourished. I didn't 'get it'.

    I needed a much lighter, more simple kind of service, one which I could relate to as someone who was 'unchurched'. I found this in various churches which I attended as the whim took me from week to week, churches which I now see were 'evangelical' to some extent. I got used to them, and would never have moved to the motr church I'm settled in now had I not moved home.

    As there are very few single parish benefices now, it seems to me that there is a place for the different kinds of service within every benefice, those to reach out to newcomers to the faith, and those to cater for more mature Christians, of whatever age.

    I agree that sincerity is important, as is challenge and comfort, and the welcome and behaviour of the congregation matters too.
  • Zappa wrote: »
    In Melbourne (Australia) there are two Anglicanish theological colleges. One very Oxford Movement and its nuanced successors. One very Everything That is Not Oxford Movement.

    As it happens there curricula reflect this ... the former, at least when I was there, tensed to promote a theologico/spiritual history that went Apostles→Shepherd of Hermas→Egeria→Cappodocians→Rahner while the other went Apostles→Augustine→Luther→Stott ... but I digress

    At the former the chapel was Oxbridge-in-Choir. The latter, designed by James Stahle in an Octagonal modernist tradition could have been much worse, but there's no doubt that The Sermon is The Thing. Emblazoned on the, er Communion Table, are the words "he is not here, he is risen", and while it is of course a resurrection reference, there is no doubt that the subtext is that God is present primarily in sermon, not faint memories of Jesus' last snack. That bifurcation is marked across the diocese as ordinands across the years have generally dug deep in the two traditions and sought their tradition's advancement in the precarious balance of the diocese and the Province of Victoria.

    When I started as a theolog in the mid '80s Ridley still had a BCP and/or AAPB, but often "theology of real absence" (north end and point at the bread and wine over there) liturgical tradition. These days the Real Presence is more likely to be found in sermon and song.

    The Oxbridge chapel and college up the road is by and large modern Catholic, with strong feminist influence.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Well, my experience of Evangelical CofE in Leeds (late 80s) and Nottingham (early 90s) was that they were all charismatic to a greater or lesser extent and used as little liturgy as the rubrics let them get away with. Or less. Drums and guitars, naturally.

    I think that was certainly the case in student-y cities like Leeds and Nottingham, Karl, but out in smaller towns and cities evangelical Anglicanism was very much as PDR describes.

    I used to find it a welcome respite whenever I visited my future mother in law's - later my mother in law's - evangelical Anglican parish in semi rural Cheshire for that reason. No drum and bass.
  • Zappa wrote: »
    In Melbourne (Australia) there are two Anglicanish theological colleges. One very Oxford Movement and its nuanced successors. One very Everything That is Not Oxford Movement.

    As it happens there curricula reflect this ... the former, at least when I was there, tensed to promote a theologico/spiritual history that went Apostles→Shepherd of Hermas→Egeria→Cappodocians→Rahner while the other went Apostles→Augustine→Luther→Stott ... but I digress

    At the former the chapel was Oxbridge-in-Choir. The latter, designed by James Stahle in an Octagonal modernist tradition could have been much worse, but there's no doubt that The Sermon is The Thing. Emblazoned on the, er Communion Table, are the words "he is not here, he is risen", and while it is of course a resurrection reference, there is no doubt that the subtext is that God is present primarily in sermon, not faint memories of Jesus' last snack. That bifurcation is marked across the diocese as ordinands across the years have generally dug deep in the two traditions and sought their tradition's advancement in the precarious balance of the diocese and the Province of Victoria.

    When I started as a theolog in the mid '80s Ridley still had a BCP and/or AAPB, but often "theology of real absence" (north end and point at the bread and wine over there) liturgical tradition. These days the Real Presence is more likely to be found in sermon and song.

    The Oxbridge chapel and college up the road is by and large modern Catholic, with strong feminist influence.

    I grew up in Melbourne in Anglican evangelical circles (1950's) in churches very BCP-liturgical but the trend away from liturgical services among evangelicals (especially in Sydney) seems to belong to more recent decades. Currently I am now a retired MOTR priest in a rural diocese nearby where parishes remain strongly liturgical with some variations between them. Our own rector is evangelical by background and inclination but trained at the "latter" college (above ) and is a part-time lecturer there. My own training was at St Mark's, Canberra which embraces various Anglican traditions very well (the principal is from Moore College, Sydney). Looking back, it seems to me that the gap between Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals remains wide, but the division between them is less clearly defined and there are many different shades in between! As a chaplain with OSL Healing Ministries I work with people from across the Anglican spectrum as well as from other denominations.
  • I thought I'd posted that already ...

    I think Baptist Trainfan is on the money.

    In fairness to the new incumbent at our parish, he's not as 'slash and burn' as the previous one who seemed to be motivated by jettisoning as much Anglican 'baggage' as possible.

    I stuck it out there for 12 years. It isn't just a question of style. There were a few things that happened during the interregnum and during the last months of my wife's life that upset me to the extent that I put in a formal complaint and got the Bishop and neighbouring clergy involved.

    I won't say much about that here. Although matters were resolved and a fruitful reconciliation meeting brokered between myself and the other party, I haven't felt inclined to return other than for two visits within the last 12 months.

    You get problems anywhere and everywhere of course and by moving church or tradition or Tradition you simply end up replacing one set of problems with another.

    I gave it my best shot for 12 years even though I found it increasingly unconducive. I don't think I can be accused of church-hopping on a whim. I spent 18 years in a charismatic 'new church', 6 years in a mildly charismatic Baptist church before we moved here and the last 12 in our parish church here - which happens to be evangelical Anglican.

    I feel increasingly estranged from evangelicalism per se, truth be told - although it's strongly woven into my spiritual DNA.

    It's hard to define but something has slipped or shifted within evangelicalism - or perhaps it hasn't. Perhaps it's me that has moved ...
  • @Raptor Eye

    Your question is a fair one. Perhaps my issue shouldn't be one of, 'what should those people do?' but 'what shall this man do?'

    That said, I do wonder what kind of diet we are giving people these days. I'm not saying that traditional rubrics and liturgies are the only way to ensure a balanced 'meat and two veg' diet. Goodness knows, it can feel like Christmas Pudding every Sunday in some of the more ceremonial settings ...

    I don't see this as a Non-conformist / Established Church divide necessarily either. A lot of thought, planning and preparation goes into many, if not most, mainstream 'Free Church' services. I'm not 'against' that.

    It's when things go as Angloid suggests when boxes go unticked or, rather, when things fall between stools (in the seating sense) and end up on the floor.
  • Sorry 'two visits in the last 6 months'.
  • A lot of thought, planning and preparation goes into many, if not most, mainstream 'Free Church' services.
    Yes. If you're going to do Nonconformist worship properly, it takes a lot of preparation - not just because the sermons tend to be longer, but because you have to write the whole liturgy from scratch every time. If it's done well, everything joins into a cohesive whole that's perhaps rare in Anglicanism. But IMO a lot of Free Church people today just wing it trust to the inspiration of the Spirit.

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