Sunday, 14 December 2008

Four articles to read on Chelmsford Anglican Mainstream

The CAM website that I also try to maintain has four articles which folks might find interesting. Nicky Gumbel and the Dean of Perth Cathedral present contrasting views of Christianity - but is either right?

Then there is a document concerning the collection of quota (assessed contributions to central diocesan funds) in the Diocese of Chelmsford. This promises a very big stick for parishes deemed to be those who 'won't pay', and a series of small carrots (a platinum, gold, silver or bronze rating from the diocese) for those who pay at various levels. In my view, the whole thing is insane, not least because this is the only diocesan-wide ministry initiative we have had for the last several years (our collective approach to 'Back to Church Sunday' has been half-hearted and disorganized). Ask people round here what 'the diocese' stands for, and I suspect the answer will soon be 'getting our money'.

It reminds me of the old joke. A plane was in trouble, with an engine on fire and the pilot about to make an emergency landing. Someone spotted that one of the passengers was wearing a dog-collar.

"You're a man of God," they said, "Can't you do something religious?"

So he took a collection.

And that relates to the fourth article, which is the announcement that the present Bishop of Chelsmford is about to retire. This means that some time next year we get a new one, and thoughts and prayers must now turn to what sort of person this should be. Surely the days are past when having a bishop who believes in the resurrection can be regarded as either remarkable or sufficient (there was a time ...). What we need is someone committed to growth - including numerical growth, along the lines of what we see in the Diocese of Lichfield, perhaps.

When posting your comments please give a full name and location. Comments without this information may not be posted.


  1. I think one should be grateful to the Dean of Perth in articulating very clearly and
    unambiguously the credal tenets of theological liberalism and showing why it can never be bedfellows with Christian orthodoxy.

    Chris Bishop

  2. Gosh, that is a big stick. My own parish (Elmdon, Diocese of Birmingham, not to be confused with Elmdon, Diocese of Chelmsford) would probably end up as a Bronze at present.

    How about some mention of wanting to see some sort of concrete mission action plan, or that "Won't Pay" parishes will be targeted for church planting by wild evangelicals, or something - anything - more positive?

    Richard Huss

  3. Richard, thanks for that. I think it would also have been nice to see some indication that Diocesan Central was interested in something (anything) more than just how much money you were paying. The whole thing is very sad.

  4. Following a few comments on your early contribution to the Guardian question, I have read with amazement all the remaining articles. Are you sure that the articles are not spoofs?