Countryside planning

From Mr Kenneth Horton

As an elderly member of the congregation of a rural church where the nearest C parish is a fifty miles round trip away, the fact that there are women priests is something my wife and I have to live with. If women bishops are accepted in the Church of England, we will have to live with that as well.

In which case, we shall continue to do as we have done since 1994 and only attend a Eucharist when the principal is a properly ordained male priest, i.e. ordained by a male bishop. If this requires an enquiry before attending the service, so be it.

If one follows the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles of Religion, the orders of a male priest ordained by a male priest are valid, whatever his views on women bishops or priests maybe. The present idea that members of the traditional church may have to congregate in parishes which do not accept women priests or bishops is possibly acceptable in urban areas, but it is a virtual impossibility for many people in rural areas.

Is this problem being addressed?

Kenneth Horton

27 Main Street, Saxby-All-Saints, Brigg DN20 0QL

Rap on the knuckles

From the Croydon clergy

We are writing to express our concern in connection with the review of Bishop Nick Baines’ book Finding Faith which appeared in February. We are not in a position to comment on the theological matter contained in the book – we have not yet read it – but it seems to us that the tone of the review was needlessly sarcastic. It would appear that Mr Davidson seems to have avoided serious theological criticism and has, instead, resorted to a mean-minded and puerile critique.

He refers to the Croydon Episcopal Area as ‘an obscure suffragan see’; in this condescending remark he would appear to deny the significant challenges facing all ordained ministers within the episcopal area – in itself more populous than many English cities and comprising areas of both great prosperity and great deprivation.

Although Bishop Nick differs from us in his theological understanding of the ordained ministry, nonetheless he has never been anything other than fair, gracious and respectful of those of us who hold to the faith once delivered.

We do not need to point out that we are at a fragile point in the history of our church, a fragility which is not helped by

Tutu and has been actively involved in the rehabilitation of young offenders, refugees, asylum-seekers and others in the UK and Denmark, Gaza, Bosnia, Brazil and the United States. In 1997 Bishop Chamberlain was elected Bishop of Brechin.

uncharitable and petty rhetoric. It seems to us that the review falls firmly within this category.

Donald Minchew
Colin Dickson
Tom Stevens

St Michael’s Church, Poplar Walk, Croydon CRO 1UA

Biblical reference

From Mr D. Smart

Bishop Buchanan asserts [February] that the ‘hereus stem’ outside Hebrews ‘presents the whole people of God as a priesthood but it never touches Christian ministers!

He seems to have overlooked Romans 15.16, where one Christian minister, the Apostle Paul, refers to his own ministry with the words ‘hieroupgounta to evangelion tou theou’, ‘in the priestly service of the Gospel of God!

D.P.E. Smart
21 Well Street,
Ruthin, LL15 1AE

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