30 Days

Ecumenical News

– from the Methodist Recorder

19 January, 2006:

Superintendent minister of Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, the Rev Martin Turner has defended his decision to allow an Anglican organisation campaigning against women bishops to hold a major meeting at the hall. Forward in Faith, which has been meeting annually (sic) at the central hall for more than 10 years, has scheduled a January 29 (sic) meeting ahead of February’s Church of England General Synod. It is expecting more than 2,000 clergy, laity and bishops to pray and reflect on the structural provision needed in the Church of England for those who cannot accept in conscience the consecration of women. Responding to critics who said it was inappropriate that the hall should be used for a meeting which will propagate ideas contrary to Methodist belief, Mr Turner distanced himself from Forward in Faith’s position, but said the meeting should go ahead in the name of free speech. ‘I interpreted the matter as not being one of doctrine but of practice and therefore allowable under our standing orders. In order to show that we in no way supported what Forward in Faith stood for, I asked our events managers not to give the discount we usually give to Christian groups – a considerable sum of money,’ he said.

Further comment is superfluous.

West Coast religion

Connoisseurs of the weird should lose no time in visiting the website of St Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, De Haro Street, San Francisco (where else) at <www.saintgregorys.org>.

Space does not permit the full run-down, but here is a taste: ‘Congregational dance is a powerful primitive medium, that European churches kept until modern times, and Ethiopians – the largest eastern church – still keep. Twice each liturgy, and for nearly an hour on Easter, St Gregory’s people dance to hymns, accompanied by Ethiopian sistrum rattles and African and native American drums. Our first dance follows the prayers, as the clergy lead the whole congregation to the table for the eucharistic banquet, hands on each other’s shoulders, singing and marching the simple tripudium step (three forward, one back: an ancient step still used in Luxembourg for this purpose). We circle the table, censing it with belled Ethiopian thuribles, and then all exchange the kiss of peace in a loving mélée. And later in the ‘liturgy’: Coffee and cakes now join the other gifts on the table, and the feast continues until the congregation have consumed the bread, wine, coffee treats, and each other’s company to satiety.

30Days can only hope that the congregation’s consumption of each other is entirely metaphorical!

Are you a heretic?

Visit <http://quizfarm.com/test.php? q_id=131773> and take an online quiz to find out! 30Days doesn’t want to boast but, when it took it the other day, it was adjudged ‘Chalcedon compliant’ and assured it wasn’t heretical!

Heroes of our time

‘This is a great day for Scotland – it is a historic day because it corrects an injustice. These people have been discriminated against for centuries.’ Thus, Bishop Richard Holloway, former Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, after he had blessed John Maguire and Laurence Scott-Mackay, following their ‘gay wedding’ at Edinburgh’s Victoria Street Registry Office. Maguire hailed Holloway as his ‘life-long hero’, following the blessing at St Margaret’s Chapel, where the happy couple exchanged rings and tartans. Mr Maguire wore a morning suit and Mr Scott-Mackay wore a kilt, but 30Days prefers not to speculate on the significance of their respective dress codes.

Antidote?

Episcopal Marriage Encounter invites you on a journey – a deepening of couple love. The Weekend format is especially designed to allow a husband and wife to pause awhile and focus on each other. Every now and then we all need to examine our lives and directions to determine if we are going where we want to go. An Episcopal Marriage Encounter Weekend offers a couple just such an opportunity. News of an ECUSA organization devoted to the support of holy matrimony and using words like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ gladdens the heart of 30Days. It sounds fun, too: The Marriage Encounter Weekend is oriented toward each individual couple and the format ensures total privacy. The presentations are given to the group as a whole. Then, after each presentation, husband and wife have time in the privacy of their room for their own personal discussion.

A related organization, Episcopal Engaged Encounter, apparently also offers weekends away, involving plenty of privacy for engaged couples to build a closer relationship. Couples are stimulated to discuss privately with each other all aspects of married life, but, for those hoping for anything more than discussion, readers are assured that the main thrust of the weekend is simply personal reflection and dialogue.

Property news

When we put our house on the market a year ago, I was determined we would do most of the selling ourselves. After all, it was hardly going to be a difficult job: of particular Victorian charm, with almost two acres of garden and orchard a mile from Magdalen Bridge, Pullens End has often been referred to as the most desirable house in Oxford, wrote novelist Angela Huth in the Daily Telegraph last November. She went on to describe, though, how things had not gone as well as she had hoped; an enthusiastic buyer had dropped out in the autumn and she described how she now awaited another enlightened buyer.

Now, when it comes to enlightenment, the Bishoprics Department at the Church Commissioners have it in spades, so it was with pleasure that all Angela’s many fans read the glad tidings last month, again in the Daily Telegraph, that a buyer had been found, and at a price not unadjacent to the full asking price of £2·5m. 30Days is delighted that the next Bishop of Oxford will be living in the most desirable house in Oxford and confidently predicts that its value will rapidly appreciate. After all, there is really no comparison between a novelist and a bishop, is there? Novelists, after all, deal in fiction, whereas bishops deal only in truth.

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