You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Archbishop of Canterbury’ tag.

I was of two minds as to whether to report on the royal wedding which took place on Saturday, May 19, 2018.

I turned off the television after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Harry and Meghan — took their preliminary vows.

A wedding not a blessing

I wondered why they were given a full wedding ceremony rather than a church blessing, since Meghan Markle had been married previously.

However, Sky News reported that the Church of England changed the rules well over a decade ago (emphases mine below):

The Church of England agreed in 2002 that divorced people could remarry in church, with the discretion of the priest.

The duchess, a former actress:

married American film producer Trevor Engelson in 2011. They filed for divorce in 2013, citing “irreconcilable differences”.

The Most Reverend and Honourable Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, officiated at the service.

The Dean of Windsor, The Rt Revd David Conner, conducted the service and the initial vows (‘I will’), although rings were exchanged later in the service with the Archbishop of Canterbury officiating.

It was somewhat off-putting to hear the Dean’s words at the beginning, which included ‘the joy of sexual union’.

If people are getting married only to salve their consciences in that department, they’re headed down the wrong route.

There are two reasons for this.

The first is that a marriage should be a partnership of equals — the best friendship a man and a woman can ever share with God’s blessing.

The second is that no one knows what the morrow will bring. I do know of young couples who were deprived of ‘the joy of sexual union’ early in their marriages because of sudden debilitating illness or accidents.

Friendship comes first in a marriage. The Dean would have been better placed to use the old American adage:

Kissin’ don’t last, cookin’ do.

Prince Charles took the wise decision to walk his future daughter-in-law part way down the aisle:

The Duke’s aunt, Princess Diana’s sister, gave the one reading of the ceremony:

Here is Justin Welby formally joining the couple in matrimony. These video clips are excellent. No one does weddings like the Church of England (I’m so pleased to be a part of it):

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States gave an address. BT.com reported:

The Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, gained worldwide attention with his address at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding on Saturday during which he evoked Martin Luther King and spoke of poverty and injustice.

Mr Curry, along with the gospel choir, brought a flavour of the American bride’s homeland with the speech at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

At the end of the ceremony, the happy couple left St George’s Chapel, Windsor:

Back story: Meghan’s Baptism and Confirmation

The Duchess of Sussex was baptised and confirmed privately prior to the wedding.

Sky News reported:

Prince Harry and Ms Markle announced their engagement in November. A day later Kensington Palace confirmed that Meghan, who identifies as Protestant, would be baptised and confirmed ahead of her wedding day.

Heavy had more:

According to Access, Markle has already been accepted into the Anglican faith, and Welby baptized her in a secret ceremony in March 2018.

The cake and reception

The Queen hosted the first reception:

Sir Elton John, who had sung at Princess Diana’s funeral, performed:

Thankfully, the cake was not the usual heavy fruitcake:

A filling made from Amalfi lemon curd and elderflower buttercream ties all the elements together. The cake is decorated with Swiss meringue buttercream and 150 fresh flowers, mainly British, and in season, including peonies and roses.

Then it was time for the second wedding reception:

Official wedding prayer

This is the couple’s wedding prayer from the Church of England:

But Heavy pointed out:

This stands in contrast to the previous royal wedding, between then-Prince William and Kate Middleton, who wrote their own prayer for the ceremony, as the Telegraph reported.

God our Father, we thank
you for our families; for
the love that we share and
for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on
what is real and important
in life and help us to be generous with our time
and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union, help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I have prayed for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and hope that they grow together in the peace and love of Jesus Christ.

Advertisements

The Archbishop of Canterbury — The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby — has a short sermon on the life of Christ and the importance of His sending the Holy Spirit to the disciples on the first Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit not only increased the growth of the Church from a mustard seed to a mustard tree (my words, not Welby’s), He also changed the world. Welby says that during the first few centuries, only Christians took time to help the poor:

I’m hardly the greatest fan of Justin Welby, but this sermonette, which runs just over three minutes, is well worth reading (subtitles) or listening to.

If you’ve been following my Forbidden Bible Verses series on the Book of Acts, you’ll feel the excitement that Welby describes — all thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit.

You can read more about Justin Welby at Heavy. Note the first point in the article, which must have come as a shock.

After months of news coverage and reader commentary from the more informed on both sides, the EU Referendum is now registering with previously less connected minds.

Attacks on women

In a frank interview published on Saturday, June 4, 2016, our primary Leave campaigner, UKIP (UK Independence Party) leader Nigel Farage told The Telegraph:

“The nuclear bomb this time would be about Cologne,” he told the Telegraph. Women may be at a particular risk from the “cultural” differences between British society and migrants, after gangs of migrant men allegedly launched a mass sexual attack against hundreds of women in Germany last New Year’s Eve, he said.

“There are some very big cultural issues,” he said. Asked whether mass sex attacks on the scale of Cologne could happen in Britain, Mr Farage replied: “It depends if they get EU passports. It depends if we vote for Brexit or not. It is an issue.”

On Tuesday, June 7, Farage’s comments boomeranged. The Commons Home Affairs Committee, led by outspoken Labour MP Keith Vaz, met to discuss immigration. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Revd Justin Welby, was invited to participate. Vaz asked the Archbishop if he agreed that Farage’s remarks were ‘racist’. Welby replied (see 15:36 entry):

I would agree with you.

I think that is an inexcusable pandering to people’s worries and prejudices.

That’s giving legitimisation to racism, which I’ve seen in parishes in which I’ve served and has led to attacks on people in those parishes. And we cannot legitimise that.

Fear is a pastoral issue, you deal with it by recognising it, by standing alongside and providing answers to it.

What that is is accentuating fear for political gain and that is absolutely inexcusable.

It would have been interesting to have had the two of them discussing England’s grooming gangs two years ago. Why make a bad situation potentially worse by Remaining? Has the Archbishop seen the figures from Sweden and Germany showing a jump in attacks on women over the past year?

That evening, a ‘debate’ took place on ITV. Farage had the first half hour to answer questions from the audience. Prime Minister David Cameron had the other. These are not debates in the classic sense of the word, because the PM refuses to participate in one.

A few women accused Farage of racism for suggesting that women could be at risk if we Remain.

I am still trying to process the cognitive disconnect of women criticising a man for warning them about possible danger to themselves or other women.

That danger is sexual assault and rape.

Farage saw that coming, however. He replied and moved on quickly:

I’m used to being demonised …

I’m not going to stand and attack the archbishop of Canterbury but he would have done better to read what I actually said … It is a tiddly issue in this campaign. I knew the Remainers would come to me and conflate what I said.

Voting deadline extended

For months now, we have had various announcements encouraging UK citizens to register to vote this year. In England, we had local or county elections in May. Some areas had council elections, while others voted for their Police Commissioner, depending on where one lived.

The EU Referendum has been in the media for months now. The voter registration deadline was 23:59 on Tuesday, June 7.

After the aforementioned ITV programme ended that evening at 10:00 p.m., approximately 50,000 Britons went online to register to vote.

The voter registration site crashed.

Oh, woe!

I have no sympathy for them. My parents told me time and time again never to wait until the last minute to do anything.

If I were PM, I would have said, ‘Tough.’ But the Electoral Commission and the Government agreed to extend the deadline by a further 48 hours for a two-hour crash. Conservative MP Matt Hancock tweeted early on June 8:

Delighted at huge voter registration levels. Due to technical problems with the website yesterday we’ll extend deadline to midnight tomorrow

That means 23:59 on Thursday, June 9.

Like me, my better half and millions of other voters, columnist and author Brendan O’Neill thought this was beyond the pale. He addressed the issue in The Spectator (emphases mine):

The more people we have engaged in democracy, the better. But a deadline is a deadline, no? If you turn up at a polling booth at 10pm, when voting time is over, then you can’t vote — we all know that. The swarm of youngish voters registering at the last minute for the EU referendum are the virtual equivalent of being late to the ballot box. Why are allowances being made? Why have another two days been added? It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that it’s because these kind of voters are useful for the establishment view that we must Remain.

The satirical news site Newsthump summed up the madness well with its headline: ‘Three months wasn’t long enough, claims man who couldn’t register to vote at 11.50pm.’ Look, I’m a little torn on this. When it comes to democracy, I’m positively Chartist: the more clout the people have, the better. But I can’t help feeling that today’s rewriting of the rules, and the law, to allow late voters to take part in this ‘great festival of democracy’ — as David Cameron referred to the EU referendum today — is because it is suspected that these late voters will be beneficial to Remain. Accidentally, this might give rise to a larger, more populous act of democracy on 23 June; but the motivation seems a pretty low one to me, being more about using generations to gerrymander the outcome than genuinely throwing open politics to the people. Is this about enfranchising more of the ‘right people’ in order to counter all those wrong’uns already registered?

I put the Newsthump quote in purple, even if it is satirical, because my better half and I were making similar quips.

Seriously, if people cannot get their act in gear by June 9, they deserve to sit this referendum out. And if they cannot manage to register to vote in time for future elections, then, frankly, voting does not mean that much to them.

All this is more pandering to the Special Snowflake crowd.

I would not be surprised to find thousands of Special Snowflakes queuing up outside polling stations at 9:50 p.m. expecting to cast a vote before 10:00 p.m. on June 23. It will be the story of the month: ‘Waaah! The government wouldn’t let me vote! They denied me a voice!’

Project Fear ripped apart

Journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil has an incredible command of facts and figures on any number of news topics. He is also in the traditional mould and does not express his own opinion. I haven’t a clue where he personally stands on the EU Referendum, nor do I wish to know. It often appears as if he is supporting or opposing something when he is probably only doing a forensic examination of a politician’s position and trying to draw out the facts.

On June 8, Neil interviewed George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and big Remain supporter, for The Spectator. Wow, what a take down of Project Fear’s talking points. The transcript is available to read in full. I highly recommend it.

The exchange about Airbus — only one of the topics discussed — follows. Neil’s statements are in bold, Osborne’s in normal type:

We make the wings, where would Airbus go to buy the wings if not Britain? In or out the EU?  Who else makes these wings?

By the way, the Chief Executive of Airbus has themselves said it would threaten their investment in the United Kingdom and the point about this, this isn’t an Airbus factory, this is a small manufacturing business in West Yorkshire supplying the wings. This is the reality of the single market.

This is another scare story. Airbus would come to Britain to buy its wings and its Rolls Royce engines whether we are in or out of the EU.

That is not what the Chief Executive says, the Chief Executive says that investment in the UK …

So where would they go?

They have got factories in Toulouse, they have got factories in Germany …

They don’t make wings in Germany.

The whole point about Airbus is that it is an integrated supply chain.  We import things from Germany, we sell them to France and if there are tariffs, a tax on those exports, then why would the business happen in the UK?  We’d be out of the single market, that’s the reality.  Britain would be quitting – quitting the single market, quitting the prosperity, quitting the source of jobs. The people who pay the price are not you or me, Andrew, it’s that person working on the assembly line in Keighley.

Why would the business happen in the UK? Because that is where the wing assembly takes place. As Neil rightly notes, they are not made in Germany.

Osborne sounds the Fear alarm about quitting, quitting, quitting! Then he asks us to consider the assembly line person in Keighley.

Dollars to donuts — Pounds to pies? — the Keighley person probably intends to vote Leave. Where else can his wings be produced for the foreseeable future? Tariffs aren’t going to come in overnight, either.

All this takes time, possibly two years.

It seems to me that only younger voters will be persuaded by Project Fear.

—————————

Another televised ‘debate’ takes place tonight on ITV and will have ended by the time this post appears.

I hope it rains on June 23.

May the UK be guided wisely in the referendum vote.

On November 22, 2015, The Telegraph reported on the two very different responses to the Paris attacks from England’s most senior clergymen.

C of E ‘doubt’

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby now doubts the presence of God:

Asked if these attacks had caused him to doubt where God is, he said: “Oh gosh, yes,” and admitted it put a “chink in his armour.”

He told BBC Songs Of Praise: “Yes. Saturday morning – I was out and as I was walking I was praying and saying: ‘God why – why is this happening? Where are you in all this?’ and then engaging and talking to God. Yes, I doubt.”

I cannot help but wonder whether the ABC is a preterist, one who believes that Jesus’s prophecies about the end times and the events in Revelation all came true with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

If so, I can see why he would doubt. What else is there?

Preterism, it seems to me, is a position adopted by Christians who wish to appear sophisticated and intellectually-minded.

Yet, when one examines Revelation and our Lord’s prophecies in the Gospel, which of those happened when the temple was destroyed? Certainly, there was a long-running conflict between Romans and Jews which culminated in 70 AD, but many events had not yet come to fruition.

Mark 13, about which I wrote in 2013, explains it well. Jesus talks about the coming destruction of the temple in the first two verses. The next set of verses — Mark 3:3-13 — record His prophecy of horrors, from false teachers to wars to natural disasters:

6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.  (Mark 13:6-8)

13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:13)

All these are to bring us to repentance, a deeper faith and appreciation of the life to come, rather than rely on mankind and nature in the here and now.

God works all things to His divine purpose. I do not think this was the time for a clergyman to say that, as events were too raw and shocking.

However, the ABC would have been better placed to ask that Anglicans join with him in praying for the friends and families of those who have died and for the survivors, especially the wounded, that the peace of Christ Jesus helps them to cope in the weeks and months ahead.

Incidentally, I know a number of preterist clergy. They have rather odd views on Christianity. For them, because all has been ‘accomplished’, church is more of a tradition and a social club. I’m not even sure they think that much about the afterlife. They’re too wrapped up in their own neuroses and health issues.

Although Welby acknowledges that the terrorists have distorted religious views, he warned against attacks on IS:

A bombing campaign against Islamic State was launched after the events, but the Archbishop of Canterbury warned against a potentially damaging instant reaction …

‘If we start randomly killing those who have not done wrong, that is not going to provide solutions. So governments have to be the means of justice.’

Why does this not come as a surprise?

Catholic ‘strong action’

Meanwhile, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales:

called for “strong action” to defeat terrorism.

“Terrorists and those who persecute and belittle people in the most terrible ways have to be stopped,” he said. “The judgement of how best to stop them is a political and a military judgement – but there is no doubt that strong action has to be taken.”

Too right. As Secretary of State John Kerry said after the attacks, there must be a multi-faceted approach, elements of which can be worked on simultaneously. These include co-ordinating attacks on IS, improving anti-terrorist intelligence in our own countries and arriving at a panel of Syrians who can sensibly determine how to transition out of the Assad regime into a democratic one not under threat from extremism.

It’s not often when I agree with Cardinal Nichols and John Kerry, but this is one of those rare moments.

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was christened at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham on July 5, 2015.

The newest member of Britain’s Royal Family wore a replica of the christening gown Queen Victoria’s daughter the Princess Royal, also named Victoria, had in 1841. The original is too fragile to be worn.

The Duchess of Cambridge borrowed the pram used by Queen Elizabeth for her children.

Prince George was dressed similarly to his father Prince William when the latter was his age: red shorts and a white shirt with red ornamentation across the chest.

The Daily Telegraph has an excellent set of photos from the day.

The paper also has a diary of events and personalities which is well worth reading.

Rain did not deter a huge crowd from gathering on ‘the paddock’ — public area — outside the church. Some had travelled from the United States. Eighty-year old Terry Hutt made a cross-country journey from Somerset to Norfolk for the occasion. He had also camped out at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington (London) awaiting Charlotte’s birth nine weeks ago.

By the time the ceremony began, summer sunshine abounded.

The Lily Font was used for the first time since 1841. It was created for the Princess Royal Victoria that year. A Kensington Palace tweet explained that the decorations on the font — lilies, water lilies and ivy — represent ‘purity and new life’. The Lily Font is part of the Crown Jewels collection at the Tower of London. A matching ewer was also used. It contained water from the River Jordan.

The Telegraph listed the order of service (see 16:30 entry):

Kensington Palace has released details of the order of service.

The Duke and Duchess have chosen two hymns, Praise to the Lord, The Almighty and Come Down, O Love Divine.

The lesson is from Matthew 18, verses 1-5, read by James Meade.

The anthems are I Will Sing With The Spirit and God Be In My Head, both by John Rutter.

Members of The Sandringham Church Choir are singing at the service.

The processional organ music is R. Vaughan Williams’ Prelude on “Rhosymedre”.

The recessional organ music is G. F. Handel’s Overture and Allegro from Concerto VIII in A.

Matthew 18:1-5 reads as follows:

Who Is the Greatest?

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,

The Archbishop of Canterbury, James Welby, performed the baptism — assisted by the Rev Canon Jonathan Riviere, Rector of the Sandringham group of parishes — and gave the sermon (see 17:41 entry). The Archbishop said (in part):

It seems that different forms of ambition are hard wired into almost all of us. At a baptism our ambitions are rightly turned into hopes and prayers for the child, today for Princess Charlotte. Everyone wants something for their children. At our best we seek beauty, not necessarily of form, but of life.

In the reading from Matthew 18, Jesus is trying to turn one kind of ambition, an ambition for place and prestige, into an ambition for a beautiful life. To be great in the Kingdom of Heaven, he tells his very pushy disciples, is not about position but about beauty of life, a life that looks like his, and his example is someone unimportant in those days, a child …

Such beauty of character begins with baptism, and is established in the habits of following and loving Jesus Christ, habits to be learned from parents and God parents, and the whole community of the church.

Let us pray that the Princess grows up to be a model of faith and practice.

A private tea was held afterward at Sandringham. It included the sharing of the top tier of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake. This is a heartwarming British tradition. As our wedding cakes are heavy fruit cakes, they keep well, particularly with fondant and royal icing!

On May 21, 2015, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave his thoughts on faith-based charity.

The Telegraph reported:

Faith groups are now filling a “huge gap” in British life occupied by the state until the financial crisis and onset of austerity forced a rethink, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said churches, mosques, temples synagogues and other religious organisations had stepped in “in a most extraordinary way” over the past seven years.

Until the 20th century, charity was paramount. The welfare state didn’t exist.

Two thoughts:

First, it is natural that a religious person will want to give to help those in need. Why should this surprise a senior cleric?

Secondly, Welby seems to favour a bloated state welfare system. That is most disappointing.

It is only sensible that recipients of state aid — the dole — view it as temporary.

Possibly, just possibly, if we lessened the welfare budget gradually during times of recovery, we would have more people taking personal responsibility seriously and improving the lifestyle choices they make. Reflecting carefully rather than acting impulsively is one which comes to mind.

Relying on charity rather than the state is a tried-and-true tradition borne out through the centuries. Furthermore, less tax from all of us would no doubt result in a further increase in charitable giving to help those who really need it.

After Election 2015, London quickly made the segue into a weekend-long remembrance and celebration of victory in Europe in 1945 on May 8.

Ceremonies and celebrations

That Friday afternoon a ceremony took place at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, at which all the party leaders — including those who had resigned just hours earlier — were present.

The Daily Mail‘s Robert Hardman reported:

If Mr Cameron exuded the authority of a man freshly delivered of a clear mandate from the British people, it should also be said that the outgoing leaders of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties showed great dignity, too. There was no yawning, no fidgeting or the faintest hint of a scowl from two men who had just gone 36 hours without sleep, lost the fight of their lives and, subsequently, their jobs.

Both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg could have deputed this ceremony to someone else and gone to bed. Instead, both had dressed immaculately – as had Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Both joined in all the hymns and prayers (not bad for two professed atheists). Both sang the National Anthem with gusto (unlike Miss Sturgeon, who appeared to chew it instead).

As for the ceremony:

All stood solemnly to attention as Randolph Churchill, 50, a former Royal Navy officer, recited his great-grandfather’s immortal VE Day broadcast: ‘After gallant France had been struck down we, from this island and from our united Empire, maintained the struggle single-handed for a whole year,’ said Mr Churchill.

‘We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.’

The first VE Day was hardly the end of the war for a number of those in active service:

After the party leaders had laid their wreaths, Mr Churchill stepped forward to lay one with former Able Seaman Robert Gale DSM, 92, from Headley, Hampshire. Mr Gale and his landing craft flotilla had been through all the big Allied amphibious landings before VE Day, by which time he found himself in India preparing for the final push against Japan. ‘I was bloody annoyed because they were celebrating the end of their war and we were still fighting out in the Far East,’ he said.

Various events took place in London for the veterans and their families at the weekend. Some were open to the public, who seized the opportunity to wear 1940s attire.

The BBC televised the main events.

Westminster Abbey Service of Thanksgiving

On Sunday, May 10, a special service took place at Westminster Abbey. The Royal Family, religious leaders, military officers, dignitaries and representatives of the political parties (Harriet Harman for Labour, Tom Brake for the Liberal Democrats and Nigel Farage for UKIP) joined 1,000 Second World War veterans and their families.

Canon Dr John Hall led the service.

The Abbey choir sang the processional hymn Praise to the Lord so exquisitely, it was as if we heard the voices of angels.

(I am using the ESV for the Scripture readings below. The Psalm, set to music, no doubt has lyrical variations.)

The first reading was Isaiah 58:6-9a, 11-12:

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

11 And the Lord will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to dwell in.

The choir sang Psalm 107:1-16:

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble[a]
and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
    and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Prime Minister David Cameron read Romans 8:31-39:

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, gave a brief sermon. He emphasised not only peace but also the reconciliation of peoples that took place after the Second World War.

Military cadets and veterans read out the prayer petitions which followed. Winston Churchill’s great-granddaughter and a veteran shared another reading.

Excerpts from King George VI’s unforgettable VE Day speech were also read:

Armed or unarmed, men and women, you have fought and striven and endured to your utmost. No-one knows that better than I do, and as your King, I thank with a full heart those who bore arms so valiantly on land and sea, or in the air, and all civilians who, shouldering their many burdens, have carried them unflinchingly without complaint.

With those memories in our minds, let us think what it was that has upheld us through nearly six years of suffering and peril. The knowledge that everything was at stake: our freedom, our independence, our very existence as a people; but the knowledge also that in defending ourselves we were defending the liberties of the whole world; that our cause was the cause not of this nation only, not of this Empire and Commonwealth only, but of every land where freedom is cherished and law and liberty go hand in hand.

In the darkest hours we knew that the enslaved and isolated peoples of Europe looked to us, their hopes were our hopes, their confidence confirmed our faith. We knew that, if we failed, the last remaining barrier against a worldwide tyranny would have fallen in ruins.

But we did not fail. We kept faith with ourselves and with one another, we kept faith and unity with our great allies. That faith, that unity have carried us to victory through dangers which at times seemed overwhelming …

There is great comfort in the thought that the years of darkness and danger in which the children of our country have grown up are over and, please God, forever. We shall have failed and the blood of our dearest will have flowed in vain if the victory which they died to win does not lead to a lasting peace, founded on justice and good will.

To that, then, let us turn our thoughts to this day of just triumph and proud sorrow, and then take up our work again, resolved as a people to do nothing unworthy of those who died for us, and to make the world such a world as they would have desired for their children and for ours.

This is the task to which now honour binds us. In the hour of danger we humbly committed our cause into the hand of God and he has been our strength and shield. Let us thank him for his mercies and in this hour of victory commit ourselves and our new task to the guidance that same strong hand.

As his speech shows us, George VI was a devout Anglican, unafraid to speak of the Almighty.

The last hymn was Christ is the World’s True Light, sung to Martin Luther’s Now Thank We All Our God.

Veteran’s walk and lunch

Most of the veterans participating in this year’s VE Day commemorations will not be returning if there is a 75th or 80th anniversary.

They are at least 90 years old now.

After the service at Westminster Abbey, the veterans and their families walked up Whitehall, past the Cenotaph to Horse Guards Parade and, finally, to St James Park for a delightful picnic lunch.

When passing the Cenotaph, they saluted it, remembering their fallen friends and family members. One veteran also blew a kiss.

As I watched these men and women walk, I was struck by their relatively robust health. Although, not surprisingly, a good number of them were in wheelchairs or required walking sticks, there were many who walked unaided — and briskly. This is a testament to the NHS and postwar medical care.

The Prince of Wales — Prince Charles — and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, greeted the veterans when they arrived at Horse Guards Parade to listen to the massed bands before lunch.

One veteran was so thrilled to see them that he leapt out of his wheelchair and rushed to shake their hands. They all talked for a few minutes. The elderly man had difficulty returning to his wheelchair; the two women accompanying him helped him, but it took a few minutes.

The gathering ended with a flypast with the Red Arrows as well as Spitfires and Hurricanes. The Lancaster scheduled to fly was out of service, unfortunately.

The Daily Mail has magnificent photos of Friday’s events and Sunday’s. Looking at them will make you feel as if you were there.

Youngest looking 93-year-old

The BBC interviewed several men and women who saw active service or participated in the war effort.

I shall look at their memories tomorrow.

For now, SpouseMouse and I were amazed to find out that one of the interviewees, Frank Tolley, is 93 years young. He served in Bomber Command and is very physically active. He has very few wrinkles and looks as if he were in his late 60s. More power to Mr Tolley. Whatever he’s doing is working a treat.

Alt=Series title over a country skyline sceneThe six-episode series of Grantchester ended last week on Britain’s ITV.

Is it a church drama? Is it a detective series?

In truth, it combines both with occasional flashes of humour and great dollops of Christian charity.

Series synopsis

Grantchester (pron. ‘Gran-chester’) is a charming village just outside of Cambridge. I’ve been there. It is idyllic.

The village is the backdrop for a series of eponymous mysteries by James Runcie, son of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd Robert Runcie.

The main character, the young vicar Sidney Chambers, is loosely based on Robert Runcie. Chambers not only has to cope with parish life in 1953. He also becomes involved in helping a Cambridge police Detective Inspector solve local murders.

In short, Grantchester is not unlike Father Brown, which, by the way, is set to return to the BBC early in 2015 for a third, expanded series of 15 episodes. Sidney Chambers, like his Catholic counterpart, is largely viewed by local police as being a meddling priest: ‘Get back to church’. Yet, he always figures out who the murderer was.

Chambers is a man of his time — 1953 — as is Detective Inspector Geordie Keating. Both served in the Second World War and knew its horrors first-hand. Chambers is tortured by nightmares from his service in the Scots Guards, causing him to seek temporal solace in cigarettes, whisky and jazz. He abhors sherry, the traditional vicar’s drink.

However, Chambers also attracts the company of women, causing Keating to say when the young vicar shares his accounts of unrequited love: ‘Sidney, you sly old dog. Who was it this time?’

More importantly, we see his interpersonal relationships within his small village parish, interspersed with friends from his youth.

Good ratings

It is amazing that a prime-time television show featuring a vicar could be such a ratings hit in an increasingly secular Britain. However, it had between 4 and 5.5 million viewers every Monday night for the six weeks of its run.

It seems as if the episode list from the show’s Wikipedia entry might be overstating the ratings as their figures are well over what I have read elsewhere. Perhaps a fan has written the page and misunderstood the statistics? In any event, it’s a great result, considering the protagonist’s calling and the plethora of free-to-view television channels we have.

Its October 21 episode was ranked No. 15 for the week on ITV with 5.14m viewers. On November 4, the show’s Twitter feed (spoiler alert) stated:

A big thanks to the 5.08m viewers who tuned in to watch Episode 5 last night. Our highest audience since the premiere!

American viewers can look forward to seeing Grantchester on PBS’s Masterpiece in January 2015 (emphases mine):

The enlarged Masterpiece footprint kicks off with Grantchester, ITV‘s six-part mystery that stars James Norton as a charismatic clergyman who turns investigative vicar when one of his parishioners dies under suspicious circumstances (see trailer below). The 1950s-set series has received strong notices from critics in the UK where it is currently airing. It will debut on Masterpiece on January 18, at 10 PM, following Downton Abbey. Grantchester is a Lovely Day and Masterpiece co-production for ITV.

The aforementioned one-minute trailer sets expectations well:

James Norton — heartthrob and style icon

Ladies in the UK are quite taken with James Norton, who plays Sidney Chambers. A recent spread from Marks & Spencer shows him modelling some of their new men’s collection.

Their article has been reproduced on other online news sites, e.g. The Huffington Post. Although Norton previously — and convincingly — played a psychopath on Happy Valley, he is perfectly cut out for his role in Grantchester:

I had the acting bug from a very early age,” says British actor James Norton. “I remember when I had friends over, they would all be desperate to play football or cricket, but I would insist upon making a little piece of theatre that I could write, direct and star in. I think they got fed up in the end and went to play at my other friends’ houses! …

An article in the UK’s Radio Times revealed that Norton attended the renowned Roman Catholic school Ampleforth in Yorkshire. The actor explained that it was more for his parents to be able to visit him regularly (the family home was nearby) than for religious reasons. Nonetheless, Norton ended up reading theology at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, prior to attending drama school. In the aforementioned publicity article, he says:

My parents both come from the world of academia, but I don’t think I ever felt pushed to go down an academic or acting route. I loved my degree in theology … It was great, even though it doesn’t have any relevance to my current profession. It’s not even on my CV, but I would never turn the clocks back.

Norton told the Radio Times that he pursued theology because he had many questions about it. Unfortunately, his coursework left him with more questions than answers. As such, he professes no faith at all today.

Of his years at Cambridge, he told Marks & Spencer:

Cambridge is so magical. It was lovely to go back and film there; it’s kind of a home from home for me.

He also took his co-star Robson Green (who plays Geordie Keating) for a tour of the city and its sights, reliving memories of his days at university.

Possible second series?

Four signs point to a follow-up series.

First, the iconic Rebecca Eaton — formerly of PBS and now with Lovely Day/Masterpiece — is one of the executive producers. Even SpouseMouse, who is English, said, ‘She knows how to choose a script and a storyline. That’s promising.’

Secondly, the ratings were very good.

Thirdly, a boxed DVD set has just come out as has a soundtrack album.

Fourthly, the sixth episode gave us threads to pick up in a future series.

One hour for each episode of Grantchester packs in a lot. We see the parish, starring housekeeper Mrs Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones) and Leonard Finch the amiable curate (Al Weaver). Sidney’s love interests appear. And, of course, there is always Cambridge Police Station.

Social and physical settings

Forum comments on James Runcie’s novels, The Grantchester Mysteries, loosely based on aspects of his father’s life (although not as a crime-fighter), tell us that the Sidney Chambers character is more intense on television than in the books. It is interesting that those who have read the books prefer the television character.

However, the Daily Mail said:

It takes a first-class writer to put together a convincing storyline for such unlikely circumstances. James Runcie does it admirably. Sidney, like all good clergy, possesses an understanding of human nature that transcends simplistic judgments. He is a good man in an imperfect world and we should welcome him to the ranks of classic detectives.

Runcie, born in 1959, describes what 1953, the year in which The Grantchester Mysteries open, was like: beginning with the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II:

My father-in-law bought a Bush TV22 specifically for the Coronation and all the neighbours came round to watch in the company of twenty million others. It was on this day that the nation could properly breathe a collective sigh of relief, realise what it meant to be part of a country that was building a peace, and be proud of itself. In short, 1953 was when Britain found its post war identity.

It was the year in which confidence returned; in which people felt liberated enough to think positively about country they wanted to live in, the clothes they chose to wear and the food they were able to eat (rationing had eased off but only stopped completely in 1954, almost nine years after the end of the war). The nation was changing and I believe there are two drivers in this creation of our modern identity: the spread of mass communication through the experience of the Coronation on television, and the discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick. The creation of modern Britain works on two levels; the molecular and the momentous

As for his father, pictured as a young priest at the bottom of the page, James says:

My father, Robert Runcie, trained as a clergyman at Westcott House, Cambridge in 1949 and was ordained as a Priest on Christmas Eve 1950. There is quite a bit about him in the character of Sidney

It should be noted that not all scenes were filmed in Grantchester or Cambridge. Chambers’s church is the one in Grantchester, however, the railway station is much too antiquated to be Cambridge’s and is actually that of Horstead Keynes in West Sussex. The rectory is actually located in Hertfordshire, the county bordering Cambridgeshire. However, some city and rural scenes were filmed in Cambridge. Creative England has more information.

I would encourage as many readers as possible to see Grantchester. My British readers can find it on ITV’s iPlayer and Americans can look forward to seeing it on PBS in the New Year.

First, my thanks go to James Higham for bringing the following news story to our attention. He also sent me the link to yesterday’s post on the Bishop of London.

Most of us know that the Church of England has been in deep trouble for decades. The less our clergy believe, the emptier our Anglican churches become.

As every sheep follows his shepherd, the English instinctively know that what they hear from many of our pulpits does not come from dyed-in-the-wool Christians. Hence, they flee, rightly abandoning aberrant preaching.

Although we do not have eyes into the soul of our clergy, some really do not inspire confidence that they are men and women of profound, unshakeable faith.

The Guardian recently carried a report of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s — Justin Welby’s — interview with Lucy Tegg of BBC Bristol. I’ve read the article several times and am deeply disappointed with — although not totally unsurprised by — what he said. (Incidentally, this is the same man who in July 2014 told the paper we are ‘too hysterical’ about radical Islam and again mentioned the usual tiny minority — ‘extraordinarily small’ — engaging in it.)

If we are going to persuade people to follow Christ, then, may we never miss an opportunity to do so.

The Archbishop told Ms Tegg that he sometimes doubts — his word — if God ‘is there’. Welby then mentioned Psalm 88 as being one of doubt. Actually, it expresses a feeling of abandonment.

Perhaps that is what Welby meant to say. Perhaps not.

Before going to Let us look at definitions of the two words from the Collins English Dictionary (emphasis in the original below):

doubt:

  1. uncertainty about the truth, fact, or existence of something (esp in the phrases in doubt, without doubt, beyond a shadow of doubt, etc)
  2. (often plural) lack of belief in or conviction about something   ⇒ all his doubts about the project disappeared
  3. an unresolved difficulty, point, etc
  4. (philosophy) the methodical device, esp in the philosophy of Descartes, of identifying certain knowledge as the residue after rejecting any proposition which might, however improbably, be false
  5. (obsolete) fear;

abandonment:

  1. desertion, leaving behind   ⇒ her father’s complete abandonment of her   ⇒ his abandonment by his mother   ⇒ Childhood experiences can leave behind intense feelings of anger or abandonment.
  2. cessation, discontinuation   ⇒ Constant rain forced the abandonment of the next day’s competitions.
  3. giving up, relinquishment   ⇒ the government’s abandonment of the policy

Psalm 88 was written by Heman and is a song of the Sons of Korah. The Sons of Korah wrote laments which express abandonment but then move towards hope and redemption. The first set encompasses Psalms 42 to 49. The next group of Sons of Korah songs are Psalms 84, 85 and 87. Nathan Albright has excellent explanations of the Sons of Korah psalms.

He also has a marvellous commentary on Psalm 88, which I would commend to the Archbishop and to all my readers, especially those who are suffering from depression and feeling very alone. It says, in part (emphases mine below):

In Psalm 88:10-12, Heman asks a series of (seemingly) rhetorical questions about God working wonders for the deadThough the questions appear to presume a negative answer within the psalm itself (given its grim and deeply frustrated mood), the whole context of the Bible provides a positive answer to these six questions.  God will work wonders for the dead (Ezekiel 37, I Corinthians 15).  The dead will arise and praise God (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  The lovingkindness of God will be declared in the Grave (Revelation 20:11-13).  The faithfulness of God will be declared in the place of destruction (Isaiah 58:12, 61:4).  The wonders of God will be known in the dark.  The righteousness of God will be known in the land of forgetfullness.  This is not only true for death and literal ruins, but also figurative ruins.  As our body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19), the restoration of our spirits and bodies, our thoughts and our emotions, is itself rebuilding the ruins.  It is not only waste places and destroyed towns and cities, but also shattered lives, broken hearts, and wounded souls that need to be healed.  Heman is far from alone in his plight, or his anguished longings to be made whole once again (or perhaps for the first time).

It would have been salutary if the Archbishop had mentioned some of these aspects of Psalm 88 in light of the fact he took the time to specify it in his interview.

Fair enough, he did say this:

It is not about feelings, it is about the fact that God is faithful and the extraordinary thing about being a Christian is that God is faithful when we are not.

He then went on to discuss his faith in Jesus Christ:

Asked what he did when life got challenging, Welby said: “I keep going and call to Jesus to help me, and he picks me up.”

For many of us, our belief in Christ makes us ever more convinced that God is everywhere and with each one of us every day, regardless of whether we choose to acknowledge it. Why would this not be true for the Archbishop?

The Gospels record Jesus telling His audiences that horrible things will happen in the world before His coming again in glory: Matthew 24:1-36 and Mark 13:3-13.

Perhaps the Archbishop could have mentioned those passages, because many secularists ask the same question: why do so many bad things happen and why doesn’t God put an end to them?

Perhaps the Archbishop thought that his more encouraging words about his own personal faith would make the headlines. Sadly not.

It would have been better for him to have said that, like anyone else, he sometimes feels abandoned but that, even during those times, he believes that God will work everything to His divine plan and for a divine purpose.

If we are evangelising for Christ, let us measure our words carefully and put forward a positive, biblical case for Him, the Church and God the Father of us all.

It has been said that our leading clerics embrace the world because they cannot say with confidence that Christianity is the true faith.

The Right Revd Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, recently expressed his thoughts on the correctness of England’s gay marriage law. Forget the Bible, it’s the yoof he’s after:

“One of things that I think is most noticeable where we make a bad impression in society at the moment is because we are seen as against things, and you talk to people and they say I don’t want to hear about a faith that is homophobic, that is this that that, that is the other.”

Asked later whether this meant that he regretted voting against gay marriage, he said he stood by his vote because he did not believe “rewriting the nature of marriage” was the best way to end discrimination against gay people.

He said: “The Bill was clearly, quite rightly, trying to deal with issues of homophobia in our society and … the Church has not been good at dealing with homophobia … in fact we have, at times, as God’s people, in various places, really implicitly or even explicitly supported it.

“And we have to be really, really repentant about that because it is utterly and totally wrong.”

He added:

“And we have seen changes in the idea about sexuality, sexual behaviour, which quite simply [mean that] we have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 think not only that what we are saying is incomprehensible but also think that we are plain wrong and wicked and equate it to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice.

He added that polling suggests that the majority of Christian young people, including born again evangelical young people, also disagree with the Church’s traditional line on homosexuality.

“We have to be real about that, I haven’t got the answer and I‘m not going to jump one way or the other until my mind is clear about this,” he said.

“I’m not going to get into the trenches on it.”

Well, we can disregard the New Testament, then — just the ‘Church’s traditional line’. Time moves on. (Irony alert.)

He makes it sound as if same-sex adherents were banned from C of E and most non-conformist churches. Nothing could be further from the truth. The question was whether the Church should condone and encourage a formal arrangement — marriage — between such partners.

One of the purposes of marriage is procreation, something which same-sex couples are unable to accomplish without resorting to manmade means.

What next? Will Welby also support incestuous unions in future?

This is where actor Jeremy Irons said we could be going — and many clergy agree:

Could a father not marry his son? … It’s not incest between men. Incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don’t breed… If that were so, then if I wanted to pass on my estate without death duties, I could marry my son and pass on my estate to him.

There is more to this than ‘gay rights’. It will be interesting, if not alarming, to see how this legislation unfolds over the next decade.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,349 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

September 2019
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,520,907 hits
Advertisements