By tradition I am a liberal Catholic. I am also a gay
man in a civil partnership and am currently serving a prison
sentence. Quite clearly the C of E does not wantme as a member. How
can I develop a personal, sacramental faith without the attached
You are lucky that the Church of England is not, in fact, a
membership organisation, and so your circumstances are irrelevant
to your incorporation into the Body of Christ as he is known in the
C of E. No church representing the gospel of Jesus Christ would be
so presumptuous as to enquire, let alone care, about your sexuality
or marital status; nor would it take account of your law-abiding
(except perhaps for some obvious precautions depending on the
nature of your offence).
For most of us, this means that we can simply pitch up to our
parish church and find ourselves welcomed, included, valued, and
loved. Your circumstances are temporarily somewhat constricted, but
I have no doubt that until you are able to do that, your prison
chaplaincy (perhaps in co-operation with your parish church) will
provide regularly the sacramental nourishment you seek, as well as
appropriate pastoral and spiritual care on your journey of
I trust that no Church Times readers will be able to
offer any experience that contradicts my assertions (although, if
they do, perhaps that would provide evidence that could be usefully
incorporated into the recent survey of the health of the Church of
England. You never know: we might learn something.)
(The Revd) Andrew Sweeney
C of E members and churches vary widely. Many will welcome you:
they often describe themselves as "inclusive". Ask your partner and
your prison chaplain to look for one.
(Canon) John Goodchild
Why does the questioner thinkthat because he is a liberal
Catholic, gay, and in prison that the Church of England does not
want him? I would say to him: Come and join us in worship of the
Worcester Park, Surrey
Know that repentance and following Jesus leads to a hard, narrow
path. Try to get into a daily routine of Bible-reading and prayer.
Seek out your prison chaplain, who will help you attend chapel and
get to know other Christians. Be still; be prayerful; be patient.
Don't worry: trust in the Lord and wait for his direction. Rule out
nothing, not even the C of E. The Lord will lead you to a church
that's right for you.
May the Lord bless you, dear brother, with peace and joy.
If a lay canon takes Holy Orders, does the canonry
lapse? [Answers, 7
I was appointed a lay Canon of Southwark Cathedral, in 2004. At
about the same time, however, I was selected for ordination
training. In 2008, towards the end of my training, I resigned my
lay canonry, beore my ordination as deacon.
I used to be a lawyer. My view is that, had I not resigned, my
lay canonry would have lapsed on my ordination. In any event, it
would not have been right to be a curate with the title of
(The Revd) Brian McHenry
What is the correct liturgical colour for a confirmation
in the parish eucharist? Some say white, others red, others the
colour of the season. At one confirmation in Lent, the altar was in
purple, the vicar wore a white stole, and the bishop wore a red
chasuble. M. W.
One of my parishes is tiny with few active church
members. Our APCM resulted in the appointment of one churchwarden
(who is also PCC treasurer and deanery-synod representative), and
one other PCC member (only). All other vacancies were unfilled. Is
there a minimum membership for a PCC to be properly
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