letters to the editor

Home-grown neglect

From Mr Thomas Rookes

In regard to Tom Sutcliffe’s article about the lack of patronage for British opera singers, conductors and directors, there is still a certain snobbery in the British musical establishment, in the assumption that its own talents are just a bunch of amateurs. How else can we explain the fact that only one of the major orchestras, the Hallé, has a British conductor, while at the same time our own conductors have to make a name for themselves abroad?

Our record companies use British conductors to positive effect, as can be seen in the recent recordings of Sullivan’s Ivanhoe, conducted by David Lloyd -Jones, and German’s Tom Jones, conducted by David Russell Hulme.

This situation stands out particularly at the Promenade concerts. Yet Rumon Gamba seemed to have what it takes in the film music programme of 2003: for some reason he is now hidden away with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Thomas Rookes

77 Ruskin Avenue, St Giles, Lincoln

 

Why the delay?

From Mr Richard North

If the issue is as clear cut as Fr Sixtus would have us believe [Letters, April], why is he not already in the Roman Catholic Church? Where is the merit in delay?

Richard North

<northstar41 @talktalk.net>

 

Disputed meanings

From Mr James Merton

It’s all about connotations, I suppose – those extra meanings and associations that are all too often highly subjective. I entirely agreed with Bishop Peter Elliott [April] when he insisted, concerning the Liturgy, that we must be careful to use language that ‘takes us away from memorialism’.

‘The meaning of the Eucharist’ he continued, ‘as the great sacrificial Memorial is set out in the Catechism’. I entirely agree. It is in the use of language that we differ.

Obviously he is right, because he is a Catholic bishop, but I do wonder a little whether his antagonism to Anglican usage might come from his own Anglican past. ‘"Do this in remembrance of me" should never appear in a Catholic rite.’ And yet I have always appreciated those words for the very same reason that he does not – to avoid ‘memorialism’. I have always felt there is a weight to the word ‘remembrance’ that there isn’t to ‘memory’.

‘Do this in memory of me’ from the Roman Mass has always struck me as just another element of its rather weak translation. Of course, if ‘remembrance’ is taken as the archetypal Cranmerian word, and Cranmer as irredeemably wrong, then I can understand why it cannot be used. But that is to add connotations to the word which are peculiar to a sixteenth century dispute, now maintained only by those who care little for the Eucharist anyway.

I was pleased, however, to hear the Communion Antiphon on Maundy Thursday from I Corinthians 11, ‘... whenever you receive them, do so in remembrance of me.’ That is exactly what I seek to do.

It will (in the Ordinariate) be a pity to lose the weightier phrase. And perhaps especially as it will not be a matter of objective denotation (for a correct theology of the Eucharist cannot depend upon a single English word), but of subjective connotation.

James Merton

<merton 101 @hotmail.com>

 

Financial support needed

From Canon Paul Peverell

I was interested to read the article in April’s New Directions of Fr Ronald Crane’s recent visit to the Diocese of Ho in Ghana. I am delighted to hear that both Ebbsfleet and Richborough Dioceses are helping raise funds for a replacement vehicle for the Bishop of Ho, for having visited the Diocese of Ho myself I know how much this is needed.

What did concern me in the article was the impression given that the Diocese of Ho was almost alone in their struggles. This is not the case. On Advent Sunday 2000 the then Archdeacon Matthias Medadues-Badohu came to preach at my parish at Great Ayton, North Yorkshire. It was then that the Ho Diocesan Association (HODA) was born, which consists of parishes in the UK where Bishop Matthias has some personal connection. Several, like mine, are from friendships developed during his days training in England and others are more recent friends through his visits here.

I was present at his Consecration in 2003 along with others from this country, and since that day HODA have paid every stipend for every priest every month. We have also bought a flat in Ho for assistant clergy, helped fund the Consecration service, roofed a church, bought land, built and repaired schools, paid towards diocesan and bishop’s expenses, bought his previous car and supplied several laptops and other office equipment for diocesan staff.

Through the wonderful support of Mr Albert Rider and the Boys Brigade’s National Christmas Appeal over several years, and some supporting parishes, we have bought motorbikes for nearly all the clergy in Ho Diocese. Since the start of the diocese we have sent almost £120,000 to Ho in support of their work through the generous and loyal support of many HODA parishes.

Bishop Matthias and his clergy are doing great work in Ho and need all the support they can get, and far more than we alone can give them. The effects of the recession, and supporting clergy moving on or retiring, puts HODA’s continued levels of support under pressure. As the Chairman of HODA I am delighted at the support that Richborough and Ebbsfleet are giving, and would like readers of New Directions to know that there is even more good news than contained in Fr Crane’s article.

Should any readers wish to support the work of Bishop Matthias, his clergy and people in Ho Diocese, donations can be sent to the Treasurer of HODA: Canon Philip Gray, St Margaret’s Vicarage, Wells Road, Ilkley LS29 9JH. Any donations will be used to support the ministry and mission of the diocese or gifts can be given for the restricted purpose of particular appeals within the diocese.

Paul Peverell

The Vicarage, Low Green, Great Ayton TS9 6NN

 

Homeless choirs

From Mr Raymond Foster

In your dreams. April’s Last Chronicle provides an ideal footnote to Bishop Elliott’s pipedream of music in the churches of the Ordinariate, including as it did Palestrina on the Tuesday evening. If these congregations, with their part-time clergy and without buildings – Ed Tomlinson’s fantasy about leased buildings notwithstanding – managed to produce any music at all, it would indeed be an outpouring of the Spirit.

Raymond Foster

51 Moreland Ct, Finchley Rd, London

 

Northern elections

From the Bishop’s Verger

Re: the piece in 30DAys about the election of a new Bishop of Argyll and The Isles. As the Argyll and Isles Bishop’s Verger, I await the result with trepidation of course.

I would, however, like to correct a mistake. We didn’t actually fail to find enough candidates for the election, which resulted in it all having to start again from scratch. We ‘found’ more than the required number, which were then whittled down to the necessary three. One of these three backed out suddenly; I suspect from a cause which wouldn’t justify anyone’s criticism.

The process doesn’t quite have to start again from scratch, and our new time scale is more limited; but here in Argyll and The Isles we’re a stubborn lot, almost to the point of militancy, when faced with a College of Bishops who want to make the decisions for us.

I’m not sure whether the phrase ‘no less than 11 clerical electors and a whopping 31 lay electors’ was meant to be ironic or critical, but whichever it is, 42 electors, in the Scottish Episcopal Church, is far from ‘no less’ or ‘whopping’. In fact as a rural diocese, we have the lowest number of communicant members in the geographically largest diocese in the UK, and probably the least number of charges and therefore electors. By contrast, a neighbouring diocese has 86 charges, and therefore at least the same number of lay electors.

The practice of having lay and clerical electors to choose a bishop has been canonical since the 1870s, and although I’m a staunch AngloCatholic rather than Episcopalian, I do acknowledge that the current system in this province is pretty watertight and downright sensible, compared to the episcopal monopoly it was earlier in the nineteenth century.

On the back of all this, and despite the fact that not all of our electors are traditionalists, they’re all just as much entitled to vote for a bishop as any other Scottish Episcopal Church diocese – whether that bishop goes to Lambeth or not.

Lindsay Campbell

Kilmore, Oban PA34 4XX

 

Write on, Bishop

From Mr Jonathan Tanner

May I congratulate you on publishing the Bishop of Bradford’s piece on the gift of life [April, lead article]. Like others, I too find myself complaining that our bishops do not speak out clearly enough on the key issues of faith and morals; but when I read this I immediately thought, ‘That’s what I mean!’ The call for assisted suicide is a major challenge to our life and faith, and will continue to be so, and we do need our leaders to face it squarely.

Bishop James’ piece was not abstract or academic (though there is a place for that as well), but it clearly emerged from deep and serious reflection. This wasn’t something he’d dashed off to order.. It had warmth and experience, and he spoke ‘as one with authority’.

Jonathan Tanner

<jonathantanner1549 @hotmail.com>

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The Editor, NEW DIRECTIONS
2A The Cloisters, Gordon Square
London WC1H 0AG

nd.editor@forwardinfaith.com

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