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Letters to the Editor

31 December 2020

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C of E should back rural traditions

From Canon Carl-Fredrik Arvidsson

Sir, — My view, that of an Anglican priest, is that trail-hunting may not be the perfect alternative to traditional hunting with hounds, but it has enabled hunts to maintain their infrastructure while continuing to play an important part in their local communities and beyond.

This is much to the frustration of the anti-hunting lobby, who are not content that hunts and many of the traditions surrounding hunting have survived, but are still intent on trying to destroy the reputation of hunts by making allegations about trail-hunting activities.

The latest news that some people are holding illegal hunts or not following the rules is shameful; but you can’t stop hunting on church land, as we are not all guilty. Maybe we should close all churches until we sort out all the clergy with whom there are problems or who are not following rules. I heard of a priest’s being suspended in a deanery — so best to shut them all down. How foolish!

Some priests in favour of hunting don’t speak out on the subject: no preferment for a hunting parson.

For the Church to retain its moral standing, maybe it should be banned where people are not following the rules. But drag-hunting should be kept alive where country people are following national guidelines.

I would like to hear more from the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals regarding imports of chlorinated chicken, import of meat from countries that don’t have the same standard of farming that we have in the UK, the cruelty of factory and intensive farming, the over-use of antibiotics, gassing moles, horses dying in fields and neglected, puppy-farming . . . — I could go on and on.

These are thoughts from a country hunting parson who is keeping free-range chickens, eats organic food, turned his fields into conservation for butterflies and wildlife, gets food locally to reduce air miles and support local farmers, feeds wild birds, belongs to the Woodland Trust, and doesn’t use pesticides on his land. I can’t join the hunt any more, being disabled, but these legal country traditions must survive. Don’t put all hunting folk in the box of being anti-creation.

Address supplied


Ground-source heat pumps for churches

From Teri Fitzpatrick

Sir, — ­Further to the Revd David Billin’s letter (27 November), which suggested that no one on the British mainland seemed to be making or maintaining ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs), I should like to point out that Kensa Heat Pumps is the UK’s only manufacturer of GSHPs and is the long-established market leader.

Established in Cornwall in 1999, Kensa Heat Pumps manufactures the UK’s widest range of ground-source heat pumps and accessories, including the world’s smallest and quietest GSHP, the Shoebox, and the highly efficient Evo.

Besides manufacturing the heat pumps, we also help to design and install the system. If space-saving is a priority, ground-source heat pump-boreholes, which are vertical ground arrays, require only 150mm width of garden space per borehole. Kensa Heat Pumps has previously installed a GSHP in a 17th-century church. The GSHP provides all heating and hot water for the 274 sq. metre property.

A Kensa heat pump comes with a five-year warranty. Beyond this, our technical support team are available for its lifetime.

Kensa believes that everyone should benefit from sustainable, efficient, and affordable heating. To achieve this vision, Kensa offers unique products for diverse applications and continually pioneers innovative new system architectures to enable the wide-scale adoption of GSHPs to help the UK meet 2050 zero-carbon targets.

We will be happy to provide further information. Our website is www.kensaheatpumps.com. Phone 0345 222 4328.

Marketing Assistant
Kensa Heat Pumps Ltd
Mount Wellington
Chacewater, Truro
Cornwall TR4 8RJ


Misinterpretation of Charles Wesley’s theology

From Canon Peter Doll

Sir, — While not in any way disagreeing with Canon Angela Tilby’s main point about the incarnation (Comment, 18/25 December), I do take issue with her identifying Charles Wesley’s line “Veil’d in Flesh, the Godhead see” with Docetism.

In common with Patristic theologians, 18th-century High Churchmen like Wesley understood the Temple as a primary interpretative lens through which to understand Christ and his Church, its Veil being the threshold between earth and heaven, time and eternity. Wesley’s verse refers to the Letter to the Hebrews, whose author describes the sacrifice of Jesus as “a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10.20).

Wesley would be pained to think that his perfectly biblical and orthodox statement should so commonly be misunderstood.

56 The Close
Norwich NR1 4EG


How the Nine Lessons and Carols caught on

From Mr Leigh Hatts

Sir, — The account of the origins of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols by Howard Tomlinson (Features, 18/25 December) raises interesting questions about the spread of the tradition. The reprint of your first report of the service is dated 1909 and records the service as taking place at St John the Divine, Kennington.

The Nine Lessons and Carols service sheet at St Mary’s, Addington, cautiously states: “believed to be the first parish church to use this carol service”. The claim is a reference to the service at 3 p.m. on the first Sunday after Christmas Day 1884, which was a year after Bishop Edward Benson of Truro had become Archbishop of Canterbury, with Addington Palace as his country residence.

It appears, however, that the service had already taken place at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1883 in St Mary’s, Lambeth, next to the Lambeth Palace gatehouse. The new tradition was carefully nurtured at this central London church, where in 1904 Somerset Walpole, who had helped Benson to devise the service at Truro, became Rector. But Addington is probably safe with its claim, since the Lambeth church is now The Garden Museum.

Author, Keeping Advent and Christmas
39 Dunsterville Way
London SE1 3RQ

There may be other early references to be found in our archives by those with more time than ourselves. If an abridged version counts, St Peter’s, Newlyn, pips Addington at the post on Christmas Day 1883: “In the afternoon an abridged form of the Christmas service, composed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and used last Christmas at Truro Cathedral, was used” (“Christmas Services”, 4 January 1884). Editor


Contemporary comparison with Synod of Whitby

From Mr Robert Hopkinson

Sir, — I read with interest your leader comment about the Synod of Whitby (11 December). Two points should be made about it, and both refer with the issue of using the past for analogy.

The first is the problem of interpretation; it could be argued that, by using Wilfrid’s quoted remarks, you are supporting the unification of the Christian Church under the leadership of the papacy, which would be rather unusual for an Anglican publication.

The second point is the problem of selective quotation: Wilfrid’s “pro-Europe” comments carried less weight than you imply. The crucial argument that convinced Oswy to back the Roman Church was the point made that St Peter had been given the keys to the gates of heaven. Oswy said that he would not risk being excluded because he had backed the wrong horse, as it were.

A further irony that has just returned to me (it is many years since I taught pupils on this topic) is that the synod took place at Whitby, where the head was a woman (Hilda). Since that time, the Roman Church has had a very limited vision of the part that women can and should play in the life of the Church.

13 Lea Green
Wolsingham DL13 3DU


Orthodox Nativity: same date, different calendars

From the Revd Ian Randall
Sir, — Jonathan Luxmoore repeats the error that in Orthodox countries “Christmas is celebrated on 7 January” (News, 18/25 December). All Orthodox celebrate the Nat­ivity of Christ on 25 December. They disagree about when it is 25 December. Those Churches that follow the new (Gregorian) calendar, including Greece, Romania, and Finland, celebrate on the same day as West­ern Churches. Those that follow the old (Julian) calendar, in­­cluding Russia and Jerusalem, celeb­rate on a date that currently co­­incides with 7 January in the new calendar. In this country, where there are so many overlapping jurisdictions, it is advisable to check with each parish which 25 December it observes.

12 Westmead Road, Fakenham
Norfolk NR21 8BL


Jewish references in the hymnody of Advent

From the Revd Dr John Bunyan

Sir, — Hearing familiar Advent hymns again, I remain disturbed about words that, I think, can offend our Jewish sisters and brothers. For example, in a hymn that I rather think should not be sung at all, it is not true that it was Jews who pierced and nailed “their true Messiah” to the tree. It was Romans.

In another, it is not true that “captive Israel” is mourning “in lonely exile here”. That whole verse should be replaced, for example, with:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
Thou godly Son of Israel,
To all in lonely exile here.
Come, tell them of God’s kingdom near.

Each verse could end:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Doth come again, our joy convivial.

With some such changes, our God of truth as well as our Jewish Master could even more readily rejoice with us.

Colenso Corner, PO Box N109
Campbelltown North
NSW, Australia

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