A friend is a communicant member of the C of E on
weekdays but a Nonconformist on Sundays. Is this unusual? Would
anyone comment? [Answers, 4
IN addition to, and apart from, local ecumenical partnerships,
many church members practise a personal ecumenism, as this C of E
communicant member happily does. The motives for these faith
journeys, will, of course vary: for some, it is their own
contribution to the quest for Christian unity, "that they may all
be one", as Jesus himself prayed for his followers; for others,
faith-sharing across denominational boundaries and ecclesial
traditions will be readily embraced within so-called "mixed
marriages", to bring enrichment and united commitment.
Not unlike the C of E communicant's regular practice on Sundays
and weekdays, many Roman Catholics attend their mass on Saturday
evenings, and accompany their respective married partners to a
place of Anglican worship on Sundays - a sure sign that ecumenism
(Canon) Terry Palmer
Although I am a regular communicant in the Church of England, I
often attend Unitarian churches on Sundays, as my husband is a
Unitarian lay preacher. Moreover, Iam often asked by Unitarian
congregations to take services and preach, since I have two degrees
As I have never been able to preach in my own church, I value
this opportunity to engage with, and share my faith with, those who
may never set foot in an Anglican or other mainstream church,
either because of the theology, or because of the set liturgy. Many
so-called outsiders are so because of misunderstandings of our
faith - a situation not helped by our use of archaic language and
formulae. For example, what do we mean by salvation? The expression
"preaching to the converted" springs to mind.
I suspect that, like me, the friend of the questioner values the
freedom that he or she experiences in a Nonconformist service. The
length and depth of the sermon may also be a deciding factor. If
the sermon is allowed to be longer than the ten minutes expected in
many Anglican churches, so much more can be said.
Does it really matter? Why are we preoccupied with pigeonholes?
We do not restrict our physical diet to one single cuisine; so why
do it with our spiritual nourishment?
(Dr) Rosemary Arthur
History has blessed England with a Church at whose services
everyone is free to go and worship by virtueof being a parishioner.
All can also turn to the incumbent for help and advice, free of
charge. You do not have to swear to believe or behaveas "the
Church" tells you is right.
In a lifetime of varied experience, you will probably quite
frequently change your beliefs. Willpower cannot control what you
find true. We go in and out where we find pasture, and our
Established Church has learnt from bitter experience not to erect
hoops or hurdles to restrict our ability to accept its services -
nor does it prevent other organisations, Christian or other, from
ministering to those to whom they are helpful.
In my parish church, those who have attended regularly include
Baptists, Methodists, Roman Catholics, observant Jews, Hindus, and
self-confessed atheists. The teaching of Jesus made lovingkindness
and mutual forgiveness more important than "purity".
Alison Adcock (clergy widow, former Reader
and Synod member)
"Hope of the resurrection"? I thought it was a
certainty? D. S. H.
In chanting the Psalms, some church choirs make a
distinct break in the middle of each verse, and yet run on from
verse to verse with scarcely a pause. What is the theory behind
this curious way of disrupting the flow of the poetry? C.
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