Brave spirits amongst the readers of 30Days should take themselves off to the website of Affirming Catholicism (sic), where they will find the 9,775 words of wisdom (sic) which comprise the groups Submission to the Legislative Drafting Group currently meeting under the Chairmanship of the Bishop of Manchester. One particularly striking sentence caught our eye: ‘All bishops and all parishes of a Diocese must continue to be part of the same synodical structures (through which episope is also exercised).’
Google lists 4,690 entries for the word episope but sadly all of these appear to be websites which cannot spell the word episode. Then it occurred to us that the word for which they might be grasping could be episcope, although that seemed to invest synodical structures’ with a weight verging on fantasy.
So, dear readers, what on earth can it mean? Perhaps it is a mnemonic or an acronym (such as, perhaps, Episcopal Person In Salisbury Opposes Province’s Establishment) or maybe it simply comes from a language with which 30Days and Google are unfamiliar. Definitions, please, on a postcard (preferably by email) by the end of the month; a bottle of Forward in Faith champagne to the offering which most accurately captures the vigorous spirit of the Aff-Cath experiment.
Value for money
Back in November last year, we reported on the case of the Revd Martha Ann Englert, Rector of Grace Church, Madison, Wisconsin, who was facing a canonical trial, having been accused of being ‘a power-hungry manipulator who traded secrets about parishioners for influence,’ of disclosing ‘information about adultery, financial problems and mental illnesses of parishioners’ and of mimicking ‘delivering a ‘communion of hemlock to irritating church members’.
The good news is that Englert has resigned as Rector of Grace Church. According to the churchwardens, she will receive a lump sum payout of approximately S236,000, which apparently represents ‘a year’s salary and benefits plus £20,000 to pay off outstanding legal fees’. At current exchange rates, that one year’s ‘salary and benefits’ would pay an incumbent in the CofE for well over three years. Still, the better news is that Englert’s trial is continuing.
Talking of the English language, full marks to the House of Bishops of the Province of Rupert’s Land for their recent Statement to the Anglican Church of Canada; anxious that the Canadian Church does not get itself expelled from the Anglican Communion by proceeding with the blessing of same-sex unions before a deal more work has been done ‘to help educate Anglicans, and other Christians, in Canada and around the world,’ they resort to the priceless ‘we believe that it is important…not to unduly quickly walk away from the international table…’
Women in the Church
Meanwhile, it’s not just Affirming Catholicism (sic) which has been busy at the word processor, writing to the Bishop of Manchester – Women and the Church, or Watch as Christina Rees and her mates like to be called, has been burning the midnight oil as well. In a predictable enough rant of some 3,803 words, Watch explains why the period of reception is over, why the Act of Synod must be rescinded, and what to do with redundant PEVs.
As far as Watch is concerned, all that really matters is that the process is done and dusted by the end of this quinquennium of the General Synod; in other words, they want the final solution in place by no later than July 2010 – a mere three years’ time. Conscious, perhaps, that this might place an intolerable burden on the Legislative Drafting Group, Watch helpfully provides by way of an appendix to its submission a draft measure incorporating all that they require. It’s not actually a single clause measure (which is what so many have so often been demanding). It actually runs to a whole four clauses and almost 300 words, of which these are the highlight:
The following enactments are repealed… the Ordination of Women (Financial Provisions) Measure 1993.
Tough luck, then, on those who resigned as a matter of conscience following the ordination of women as priests and are still in receipt of periodic payments from the Church Commissioners (so often wrongly described as ‘compensation’ by those who wouldn’t recognize truth if it bit them on the bottom); tough luck, too, on those who, having resigned under that Measure, believed the Church when it said it would provide them with affordable housing for the rest of their lives; tough luck indeed, as Mrs Rees and her cohorts set about removing the provisions which you were promised when you were driven out.
Still, if nothing else, such petty-minded belligerence ought to ensure that the Watch submission ends up where it really belongs – in the small round filing cabinet on the floor, next to the Bishop of Manchester’s desk.
Bargain of the month
Many thanks to the Daily Telegraph for enclosing a catalogue from Coopers of Stortford, the place for ‘popular value-for-money offers’ in its Saturday edition a week or two ago, which included this hard-to-resist bargain at just £19-99:
‘Remember loved ones, favourite pets or simply celebrate your faith with this Solar-Powered Memorial Light. As dusk falls the light turns on automatically beautifully illuminating the simple cross with white light. Perfect for special occasions, religious festivals, floral arrangements, cemetery headstones, urns and roadside memorials. The integral solar panel charges the internal power pack during daylight, and a clever light sensor switches a single Tritronic LED bulb on at dusk and switches it off again at dawn to again recharge. Measuring 24cm high, with the base 13cm x 13cm.’
Copy for 30 Days should reach FiF office by the 10th day of the month: firstname.lastname@example.org