Oh to be in England now that Synod's there!

Preludium occupies much of its time in matters pertaining to The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the mess and dust-up that accompanies people leaving, changing the keys, trying to take the name and co-opt the name Anglican. But occasionally something catches my eye concerning ordinary life in other parts of the Communion. Simon Sarmiento over on Thinking Anglicans has posted a variety of papers related to the upcoming Synod of the Church of England. I thought I'd point US and other readers to several of those that seem to me particularly interesting.

Taking them in turn,

GS 1733A Episcopal and Senior Church Posts: A note from the Diocese of Bradford

The upshot on this the thought that the church might look more carefully at the matter of its top heavy ecclesiastical system. Now there is a good idea!

GS 1742 Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2009

This one is worth the read so that we can appreciate just how wonderful it is not to be a state church, or one ordered with set fees for all sorts of activities. I was particularly interested in the fee attached to the application to become licensed as a priest in the UK. On the other hand when you need a lawyer it seems a lot cheaper there than here.

GS 1743 Parochial Fees Order 2009 [Monday]

Here they are - the stole fees for all sorts of things clergy do. One good note: burial of a child under one year or stillborn - free. The fees issue is alive and well here in the US as well, but not neatly handled as in the UK. For many, given a reasonable salary anyway, it seems inappropriate to charge anything for any service, but accept support of the Rector's discretionary fund or he parish coffers.

GS 1744 Being Adult about Childhood: A Consideration of the Good Childhood Inquiry
accompanying pamphlet: Children’s Evidence

This is really good stuff. I hope this can be transmogrified to somehow be of use here. I particularly like the reference to William Temple's thoughts on the matter of childhood.

GS 1747B Clergy Discipline Measure: A note from the Clergy Discipline Commission

This note raises a problem that happens in both our churches - Bishops get caught being both pastors to their clergy and administers of the system of justice and judgment. The bind is awful.

Background Papers

GS Misc 921 Engaging with Europe

Just a note: This paper points to the quite different way that the CofE needs to consider its work in Europe, its connection with the European Union, etc, from the way our much smaller Convocation of Churches in Europe might consider the connections. TEC would, I suspect, have little interest in being represented in EU circles for its own benefit. This may in part be simply because of the reality that we are not, after all, a European church. We have in TEC European congregations, but the church is focused for the most part on this side of the ocean. The Convocation may be engaged, and one hopes so, but the agenda of TEC carries little reference to that engagement. Then again this paper does not say anything about relation to the other Anglican agencies in Europe - the Churches in Spain, Portugal and the Convocation of American Churches in Europe.

On the whole I found the papers I read interesting and informative and highly suggestive of the very real differences between the life of a church that is the State Church and (in the case of TEC) a church that has no such mandate.

Take a look for yourselves.


  1. Brian Lewis27/6/09 5:20 AM

    Mark, the clergy fees in England are handed over by the clergy to the Diocesan Stipends Fund where along with payments from the parishes, central church funds (but not the state!) they are used to pay the clergy so that we are able to pay all parish clergy the same stipend regardless of how poor or wealthy the parish is.

    Brian Lewis

  2. Brian...thanks for the info. That's a great way to use the fees. My comment was that we have no schedule of fees (although there might be arguments for doing so). You point out that the monies do not go to the state but to the church funds. Great. My point was not about where the money goes, but the fact that there is a uniform charge for things across the whole of the Church, related in part to services (burials, marriages, etc) provided for everyone.

    No doubt I get it wrong, in part because it is a system quite different from that in TEC. Not better or worse, just different.


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Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.