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Are there any abbesses in the C of E?

11 January 2019

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or to add to the answers given below


Your answers:

The ASB 1980 has an order of service for the installation of abbots and abbesses, but are there any abbesses in the C of E, and are any mitred?

Yes, the C of E does have both abbots and abbesses, who are the elected leaders of their Benedictine communities. They, like their Roman Catholic counterparts, wear a pectoral cross, carry a crozier, and rank as bishops. They are styled “The Rt Revd the Lord Abbot of . . .”’ or “The Rt Revd the Lady Abbess of . . .”. Some of the abbots wear a mitre, but I think we abbesses already have enough on our heads!

(Mother) Mary David OSB (Abbess, St Mary’s Abbey)
West Malling, Kent

Yes, there are three abbesses in the Church of England: two Benedictines, at West Malling and Edgware, and one Poor Clare, at Freeland. I’d be fairly surprised if any of them had mitres, though.

Helen Julian CSF

The 1969 Measure states that non-residents must have habitually attended public worship for six months prior to their enrolment on the church electoral roll. If non-residents who formerly attended church now, kindly, regularly receive holy communion in their homes, from their church, can this be accepted as an entitlement for continued enrolment?

The short answer is “Yes.” The usual electoral-roll form (available on the Parish Resources website: parishresources.org.uk) provides in the notes that if “you are not resident in the parish but were on the roll as an habitual worshipper and have been prevented by sickness or absence or other essential reason from worshipping for the past six months, you may write ‘would’ before ‘have habitually attended’ on the form and add ‘but was prevented from doing so because’ and then state the reason.”

This reflects the provisions of the Church Representation Rules provided by the 1969 Measure.

(The Revd) James Richards

Should the office of churchwarden be abolished? It’s a mug’s game anyway. [Answers, 9 and 16 November 2018]

It isn’t just becoming a church­warden which needs a good book, but I found that it was coming out at the other end which probably needed the Good Book or counselling.

As in leaving any position of responsibility and authority, it is difficult to come to terms with the change from being “in the know”, busy, mentally stim­ulated, and useful to people. I found it to be a very rewarding time of my life.
David Bower
Knowle, Solihull

Your questions:

I am a regular churchgoer. I do not believe in Original Sin, the Virgin birth, or that Jesus died to atone for the sins of the world, or in his bodily resurrection. Am I a heretic, or are these views more generally accepted than acknowledged?

G. B.

Why do we no longer kneel to say our prayers in church? Are we too proud?

R. W.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.


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