From Rosalind Lund
Sir, — It is hard to know how to respond to the Revd Paul Perkin and the Revd James Paice and the so-called Southwark Good Stewards Trust (News, 4 and 11 May). In what sense, I wonder, are they “good stewards”?
The Albigensians, for example, whose beliefs were a kind of Gnostic heresy, held that only the pure could attain true salvation. Messrs Perkin and Paice appear to have a similar desire for purity. Jesus’s teaching, on the other hand, was of the overwhelming importance of love. He readily mixed with those considered in his time to be sinners.
The parishes in the care of Messrs Perkin and Paice are relatively well-to-do and middle-class — and their congregations are, without question, generous with their money and, no doubt, with their time. Not all parishes are so fortunate. My own is the largest in population in Cambridge, and not mostly either middle-class or well-to-do; but we take seriously our mission to preach the gospel of love.
We are proud to pay our full parish share, and we know that we are fortunate to have a net gain, as we frequently benefit from the services of a curate.
If the richer Evangelical parishes withdraw from the Church of England, it is, of course, their right to do so. But we shall all be losers if they do. The wider Church will miss their skills in mission and their understanding of financial giving. The withdrawing parishes will miss the variety of experience and knowledge of theology in the rest of the Church. They will have to pay their own clergy, and should pay for their own church buildings.
So my message to them is: please don’t go: we will miss you; but, if you do go, then that is your choice, and you should be clear that you are leaving us, not we you. The C of E is a broad and inclusive Church. If it becomes something else, then it can no longer be truly the C of E.
Vice Chair of the Council of Modern Church
1 Arbury Road, Cambridge CB4 2JB