At an Ascension Day service there was no confession and
no absolution. When I questioned the priest, saying that I did not
think the service was valid, he simply said "Oh." I then said:
"Does that not concern you?" and he replied "No." Am I correct in
This omission was of no major consequence, and in no way can it
be assumed to have affected the validity of the eucharist. It is
only Prayer Book fundamentalists who might complain, because the
penitential material in the BCP is regarded as integral preparation
for the reception of holy communion.
Modern liturgies include general confession and absolution or
Kyrie confessions, but allow their omission on some occasions, as
in the Liturgy of Ascension Day in Common Worship: Times and
Seasons (pages 469-481). At the Gathering, the sequence is:
greeting, the Ascension reading, immediately followed by Gloria in
Excelsis, and the collect. Many congregations are not aware that
this authorised pattern deliberately excludes a confession and
(Canon) Terry Palmer
The priest was quite correct. In Common Worship: Times and
Seasons, the suggested liturgy for Ascension Day is set out in
detail; and there is no mention of confession and absolution, as
also there isn't in the Palm Sunday and Pentecost liturgies.
Perhaps, however, the priest concerned could have been rather more
gracious towards the parishioner.
(The Revd) Alan Wright
Barton upon Humber
Any act of Christian worship is impoverished if there is no
opportunity to express penitence. We are surrounded by a culture of
humanism which plays down any hint of human failing in ourselves,
while taking every opportunity to point the finger at others. If
Jesus really is Good News, there has to be bad news in the first
place, and that bad news is the reality of human sin, which is
manifest every time we turn on the news.
Penitence is an expression of our necessary humility, and it is
a particularly important part of the communion service, in which we
remember that Jesus conquered death to save us from the penalty and
power of our sin.
(The Revd) Martin Jewitt
I have been invited to an induction and institution that
is to be taken wholly by an archdeacon. I feel that a bishop
(retired, if need be) should be present. I have been invited to
another induction, which a retired diocesan is taking. What do
When used either indiscriminately or synonymously, the
ecclesiastical terms "institution" and "induction" can cause
confusion. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
states: "Institution: the term used to denote the admission of a
new incumbent into the spiritual care of the parish. It is
contrasted with the (subsequent) induction which admits into the
temporalities of the cure. The institution is performed before the
bishop of the diocese, and (unlike) the induction may take place
The questioner correctly understands the bishop's essential
ministry in expectation that he would officiate at the public
service. Circumstances, however, often demand the appointment of a
commissary, who, on behalf of the bishop and in his name, will
administer the oaths and declarations and perform the
During a vacancy in a see, the episcopal guardian of
spiritualities appoints another person, be it the Dean or
Archdeacon, to act, or likewise in the event of a bishop's illness
or legitimate absence from the diocese. On the other hand,
inductions are normally, by right, conducted by the Archdeacon - or
otherwise by some other authorised minister, as in this case, a
retired bishop - that is, unless in reality he is functioning as
the diocesan bishop's official commissary for an institution that
has been inaccurately described simply as an induction.
Whoever presides is less important than that these public
occasions enable parishioners to welcome their new incumbent with
greater understanding of a parish priest's duties and
responsibilities, and the need for their support.
(Canon) Terry Palmer
I was disappointed not to have a bishop at my most recent
induction and licensing in 2011, especially as the date had been
delayed for several months in order for there to be one present.
The archdeacon did a great job, however, and, three years on, I can
honestly say it has made no difference to my ministry or how I and
others view the validity of that original service.
(The Revd) Sarah Hillman Puddletown, Dorset
What is the best way to clean a silver
Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta
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