Wednesday, July 31, 2002


What do these three strange words, from three different languages, have in common? Answer. They all have to be used when describing the “liturgical and doctrinal revolution” that occurred in the Roman Catholic Church and in Protestant Churches in the 1960s & 1970s.

If we narrow all this down to the English-speaking world we recall that the RC Church not only in the 1970s went through the massive change from Latin to English in the Mass but a change in the structure, content, music and administration of the Mass as well! And if we think only of the Anglican family of Churches then we recall that there was a massive change in the 1970s not only in the move from the long-standing English language of prayer & worship to a modern form of English, but a changed shape and content in the services of the new prayer books replacing the classic Book of Common Prayer.

To get all this in perspective we need to remember that the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) sought to move in two ways simultaneously in order to renew the Roman Catholic Church. First, towards Christian antiquity and the Early Church to engage with the sources for renewal (ressourcement) and second towards satisfying modern needs (aggiornamento) in terms of the mission of the Church in the world. Movement in these two directions was not then thought to be contradictory. However, what was not foreseen was that so powerful was the secularist spirit of the age (zeitgeist) in the 1960s/1970s that renewal by the Bible and the teaching of the Fathers would often appear to lose out to the powerful winds and forces of secular modernity. That is, Ressourcement would collapse in the face of aggiornamento because the zeitgeist was in the aggiornamento as well as in the attempt to be renewed by the ancient Church.

To this day, Roman Catholics are seeking to solve this problem as to how to satisfy modern needs without letting the modern needs dictate the agenda of the doctrine, liturgy and ethics of the Church. One particularly acute area is the translation of the Bible and of the Liturgy, Sacramentary and Breviary into modern English. Does modern English mean the absolute use of inclusive language?

But Roman Catholics were not alone in their attempts to stage major reform in the 1960s. The calls to go back to the sources and to be relevant in the modern world were heard throughout western Protestantism as well.

To take the example of English-speaking Anglicans. They sought to find models for their renewal of their Liturgy in the first three centuries of the Christian Church and made Hippolytus of Rome into something of a patron saint, because in his writings are the raw materials for constructing models of early Liturgy.

At the same time they sought to satisfy what were seen as urgent, modern needs – relevance, simplicity, intelligibility & community – and to present the Liturgy in “contemporary English” instead of the “traditional English” of The Book of Common Prayer and of the hymns in The English Hymnal.

But here again the spirit of the age came to dominate the updating/renewal and also to affect the way in which the search for authentic Liturgy was conducted. Thus in successive editions of versions of the English Bible, Prayer Books and Hymn/Song Books from the 1970s through to 2002 there is a changing form of English that is termed “contemporary.” The basic reason for this development is that it is being accommodated continually to “the spirit of the age” – most noticeably to the general demands of relevance, easy intelligibility, democracy and so on, as well, importantly, to the ideological feminist, lesbigay and human rights movements.

The Zeitgeist certainly was very prominent in the social and cultural revolution that we call “the 1960s” and having blown through the windows of the churches in that period it has been impossible to close the windows completely or to repair the total damage done. Thus the very best and sincerest efforts to engage in Ressourcement tend to be in order to satisfy the demands of Aggiornamento --- e.g., the kiss of peace from the Early Church has been made into a kind of sacrament of self-affirmation; the priesthood of the whole assembly/congregation/believers has become an argument for democracy in the church; the actuosa participatio has become the basis of activism in all-member activity in the worship including the massive change in the quality and type of music used; and so on.

The net result is so many churches, Roman and Anglican, is that worship is not seen as first and foremost the adoration of God the Father through the Incarnate Son by the Holy Ghost (Spirit). This high calling is seen as only a close second to themes of community-building, self-affirmation, didacticism, and so on.

The question we have to face head on if we aim to glorify God aright and not be overwhelmed by the Zeitgeist is:

Is the Liturgy (public worship) to be primarily latreutic, concerned with the adoration of God the Holy Trinity, or is it first and foremost to be didactic and edificatory, to instruct and upbuild members of the congregation?

If we go with the latreutic as primary then this has implications at many levels form the dress and deportment of the priest, through the rites & words used, to the way that members of the congregation dress and conduct themselves.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon July 31, 2002.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Rowan Williams, homosexuality, serial monogamy & Evangelicals

One of the major reasons why Evangelicals in the USA, Australia and Britain have been critical of the appointment of Rowan Douglas Williams as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury is that he has admitted to ordaining a man who was (maybe still is) a practising homosexual. And, further, he has made remarks here and there which seem supportive of same-sex couples who are in a so-called "faithful partnership."

Let us be clear. According to the Bible and traditional moral theology fornication is a sin and thus a so-called heterosexual person or a so-called homosexual person commits sin when he or she engages in genital sex with another person outside of marriage (which includes a common law arrangement).

Some would argue - I do not say that Dr Williams would do so -- that a "faithful partnership" between two homosexual persons is like a common law marriage and thus sexual relations here do not qualify as a sin.

But the Bible-based Evangelical and the catholic moral theologian will come back and claim that according to the Bible and Christian moral principles all forms of same-sex genital relations are forbidden whether between permanent friends or casual participants.

Thus for most conservative Evangelicals and for most traditional [Anglo] Catholics there are no circumstances wherein homosexual practice is permissible. It is a sin as other sins and when sincerely confessed can be forgiven by the Divine mercy. (The sin is easier to confess, I think, if one is in a Catholic ethos because of the availability of private confession and absolution.)

But let us move on now to heterosexual relations.

We recall that the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, is an Evangelical when it comes to opposition to homosexual practice, though he has learned to express himself carefully. Yet when it comes to divorce and remarriage he is, as they say, "soft" in that he does not follow the older, strict Evangelical position here.

We recall also that in the developing tolerance of western society the rights of women, the liberalizing of divorce law and the acceptance of serial monogamy have preceded the granting of rights to homosexual persons. In fact, there would not have been the present tolerance and even acceptance of homosexuality in the West had there not first been the creation of what sociologists call the divorce culture. If you give sexual freedom to some you must give it to all.

It is a simple fact that the Church in the West has followed the culture and that it moved first to the remarriage of divorcees and is now moving to the blessing of same-sex partnerships. Also it first accepted divorced men and women as clergy before it began the process (now going on) of accepting active homosexual men and women as clergy.

So it is somewhat surprising that in the West (yet not in Africa and Asia) we have the strange phenomenon that while Evangelicals are extremely clear that all forms of homosexual genital activity are wrong, they seem to hold the doctrine that all forms of heterosexual genital activity are acceptable if the two persons, male and female, involved have been married. And it seems to matter not whether the male and female partners have been married once, or twice or thrice and whether or not their former partners are alive. As long as they hold a certificate of marriage - whether it be their only one or one of three - then their sexual relations are acceptable if they are voluntary and in "a faithful relationship."

So the question arises.

Why is it that modern Evangelicals are so much against both homosexual activity and any church leader who even partially supports it, and at the same time they (or most of them) seem to turn a blind eye to the presence of serial monogamy in the culture and very specifically in their churches?

I think there are at least two basic reasons and many subsidiary ones.

The first is biological. Evangelicals think that physically the female and the male body fit together whereas the male does not fit rightly with the male or the female with the female. And they feel a sense of disgust (as many conservative people still do) when they think about homosexual practice between persons of the same sex.

The second is sociological. A growing number of the pastors and members of evangelical churches and parishes, especially in the USA, are divorced and remarried persons and there is virtually no discipline in the churches in terms of who may be married in church. So second and third marriages are common. (Even in Great Britain over 50 per cent of marriages in the Methodist Church are second or third marriages. However, the Church of England has not yet reached anywhere near this percentage, but I expect will soon accelerate due to recent changes in doctrine by the General Synod.)

Thus pastors and leaders have to think twice before they even contemplate the possibility of saying or even hinting that serial monogamy is an expression of human rebellion against God and is therefore a sinful reality. They live in a divorce culture which has entered the church doors and they do not want to lose tithing members; and, let us be honest, they genuinely care for these persons (and, of course, we all must recognize that there is a massive pastoral task in facing those who are harmed and affected by the divorce culture - but that is not the focus of my attention here).

In the light of all this, I do think that Evangelicals ought to be more sparing in their condemnation of Dr Williams and others for they do not speak from God's throne or even from the moral high ground of the 21st century! They speak as those who condemn themselves by their words of judgement for they share in the general malaise and toleration.

They judge Rowan Williams to be not orthodox; but, they call orthodox certain American bishops who have licensed and ordained many clergy involved in serial monogamy, despite the Early Church prohibition of second marriages for clergy (a rule still followed in the Orthodox Churches).

Until modern Evangelicals are ready and willing - until WE all are ready and willing -- to oppose the divorce culture and set in motion pastoral arrangements that aim for the recovery of the Christian doctrine of marriage (one man with one woman until death parts them) then we should cease criticizing the likes of Dr Williams and instead pray for him and ourselves that we shall not only see the light but follow it!

To be committed to the full Christian doctrine of sexuality these days is apparently impossible. But with God, said Jesus, all things are possible.

Let us press on.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon July 30, 2002

Monday, July 29, 2002

Protestants thankful to the Vatican!

We, being mere classical Protestants, reformed Catholics and Anglicans, who favor the traditional language of prayer/worship, greet with enthusiasm and thanksgiving to God much of the content of a recent Letter from Rome to the Presidents of Bishops Conferences in the R.C. Church (where the English language is used) concerning the ICEL translation of the Latin for the new English edition of the Sacramentary (see further Here we merely notice one part of the section on Grammar & Syntax.

The structure of the collects:

Relative clauses often disappear in the proposed text (especially the initial Deus, qui ..., so important in the Latin Collects), so that a single oration is divided into two or more sentences. This loss is detrimental not only to the unity of the structure, but to the manner of conveying the proper sense of the posture before God of the Christian people, or of the individual Christian. The relative clause acknowledges God's greatness, while the independent clause strongly conveys the impression that one is explaining something about God to God. Yet it is precisely the acknowledgment of the mirabilia Dei that lies at the heart of all Judeo-Christian euchology. The quality of supplication is also adversely affected so that many of the texts now appear to say to God rather abruptly: "You did a; now do b." the manner in which language expresses relationship to God cannot be regarded merely as a matter of style.

All who appreciate English agree that Archbishop Cranmer translated the Latin Collects into a form of English that has not been surpassed and which also gave to the English language of prayer one of its distinctive ways of addressing the Father in the Name of the Son.

Regrettably the Roman Church decided in the 1970s not to use the classic English idiom of the language of prayer in the translation of the content of the Latin service books. It chose to go for "contemporary English" and, since there was no agreed form of the language of prayer and worship in this modern style, there has been much controversy between conservative and radical forces ever since. So the Roman Church is yet a long way from agreement concerning the English texts of her major services. Likewise we may add the Protestant Churches still search for an agreed form of English for public worship and for Bible translation.

Thus the translation of the Collects is but one aspect of this whole matter that is no nearer solution now than it was in 1980.

For example, let us take the Collect for Purity in the Order for Holy Communion. In the original Latin of the Sarum Missal it begins, "Deus, qui omne cor patet." [God to whom every heart is open.].

Cranmer's rendering is: "Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee and worthily magnify thy holy Name;."

Here the logic is that the priest and congregation in the presence of God the Father REMEMBER certain revealed truths about God (that He is all seeing and all knowing) and in this reverential mood make a petition (for cleansing of the heart etc.).

From the 1970s this traditional structure of prayer was all but abandoned by Roman Catholics and Anglicans for the following:

"Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse.."

Here the logic is that priest and congregation stand before God and presume to tell him what he already knows and, we may add, knows in a far more profound way than any human being could ever know! Instead of reverence there is familiarity, as if the conversation were between two near equals!

This modern structure is found in hundreds of modern Collects. A particularly bad one occurs at the beginning of the new marriage service of the Church of England:

"God of wonder and of joy: grace comes from you, and you alone are the source of life and love. Without you we cannot please you; without your love, our deeds are worth nothing. Send your Holy Spirit.."

We, mere mortal creatures, with finite minds and limited knowledge, dare to tell God what He knows perfectly and what we know from Him and only
imperfectly. And then we command him, "Send your Holy Spirit." Shame on us!

The wise men of the Vatican put it this way: "The relative clause acknowledges God's greatness, while the independent clause strongly conveys the impression that one is explaining something about God to God. Yet it is precisely the acknowledgment of the mirabilia Dei that lies at the heart of all Judeo-Christian euchology."

If we were dealing with the odd Collect here or there than perhaps we could turn a blind eye, but as a study of the Roman Sacramentary, or Common Worship of the Church of England, or the 1979 Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church USA, reveals we are dealing with many examples of such Collects and thus of a mindset, an ethos, an attitude deeply ingrained in the minds of modern liturgists.

When some of us have expressed concern about this widespread phenomenon (it occurs most weeks in the Liturgy) we have been told such things as this -- the structure of the Latin and of Cranmer's English (which became standard English!) is out of date and we do not these days use relative clauses in this manner.

Don't we? Well we do (or at least well known writers and novelists do)! Ian Robinson has collected some of this modern usage -- see ' "You Who", a brief anthology' in the book, The Real Common Worship, ed. Peter Mullen, Edgeways Books, 2000. []

The Vatican asumes that "You" is here to stay in the addressing of God in Roman Catholic public worship in English (this assumption could change!). However, it is now calling for not only accurate and pleasing translation from the Latin but also for a language of prayer that is truly one that promotes reverence before Almighty God, the heavenly Father.

We may observe that so many English-speaking Catholics have become used to the dumbing-down process in language since the 1970s that they may well resist attempts to create a form of English that is truly and really a language of prayer and worship. Right now, sad to say, Roman Catholics speaking English do not have a satisfactory language of worship and prayer - and neither do Protestants who insist on using only "contemporary" English!

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Sunday, July 28, 2002

How to write to the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Douglas Williams

People have asked me for his address so that they may write to him and tell him that they are praying for him and his family and his ministry

The Most Revd Rowan Douglas Williams
Stow Hill
Newport NG14 5AJ

make sure the postal code and Great Britain is on the envelope

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Saturday, July 27, 2002

Welshman Chosen to Lead the Anglicans: Opposes Abortion, Wants to See Women Ordained

(Zenit, R C newagency in Rome, reporting the choice of Rowan Williams)

LONDON, JULY 23, 2002 ( The man named as the next Anglican archbishop of Canterbury defies easy labels.

Rowan Williams, a Welsh theologian named to succeed George Carey as the religious leader of 70 million Anglicans worldwide, favors ordaining women and practicing homosexuals as priests.

He also opposes abortion, unilateral U.S. military action against Iraq, and crass consumerism aimed at children.

Williams also is sympathetic to the idea of the Church of England losing its established status. He would prefer the Anglican denomination being put on an equal footing with Catholics, "free churches" and other Christian professions.

Prime Minister Tony Blair named the 52-year-old Williams, the current Anglican archbishop of Wales. Williams was nominated by Queen Elizabeth II to take over from Dr. Carey, who is retiring in October.

Reaction to Williams' appointment varied widely.

One of Britain's leading pro-life groups, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, warmly congratulated Williams on his elevation.

Said John Smeaton, SPUC national director: "The archbishop has been a life member of SPUC for many years; we are delighted to see that someone of such positive pro-life views has been recommended for the most senior position in the Church of England."

Smeaton added: "The example he gives of Christian witness to the sanctity of human life whether unborn or born will inspire other Anglicans throughout the world to recognize that society must foster a loving and supportive environment for the weakest and most vulnerable of the human race."

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, welcomed the appointment of Williams in what he called "challenging times" for Christian leaders.

"As a theologian of distinction, a man of deep spirituality and a gifted communicator he will, I have no doubt, prove to be a force for great good in this country and throughout the Christian world," the cardinal said in a statement.

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said: "Rowan Williams is a quite exceptional thinker and man of God, and I look forward to the same warm friendship that I had with his predecessor, which did so much to improve Jewish-Christian relationships."

Williams said he hoped to give his flock a renewed confidence in the 21st century. "If there's one thing I long for above all else, it's that the years to come may see Christianity in this country able again to capture the imagination of our culture, to draw the strongest energies of our thinking and feeling," he was quoted by BBC as saying.

Some Anglicans, however, have warned that Williams' appointment could split their denomination, with many strongly against some of his views -- in particular on the ordination of women and homosexual priests.

Frank Knaggs, a member of the evangelical group in the Anglicans' synod, told BBC Radio 4's "Today" program: "We do have problems with his radical agenda. We would like him to clarify some of these issues, so we are arranging an early meeting hopefully to clarify some of these fundamental concerns."

By contrast, Christina Rees, a synod member and former member of the archbishop's council, said Williams could prove a great unifier for the Anglicans. "He's got one of the finest theological minds," she said. "He's already been shown to be a tremendous unifying force for the church in Wales ... and he prefers to lead by consensus rather than diktat."

Williams has been critical of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan, and earlier this month signed a letter condemning proposed American action in Iraq.

In a newly republished book, he also tackled schooling and the "corruption and premature sexualisation of young children" in a consumerist society.

A Welshman -- he speaks Welsh fluently -- Williams is the first archbishop of Canterbury from outside England since the 16th-century break from Rome. He is married with two children.

He has acknowledged knowingly ordaining a practicing homosexual priest, something which raises Anglican hackles as few other issues do, BBC noted.

The archbishop has also criticized Western policy since Sept. 11, describing the military action in Afghanistan as "morally tainted," and the bombing campaign as morally equivalent to the terrorism it sought to defeat.

At a news conference after his appointment, Williams said any action against Iraq in President George W. Bush's war on terrorism should be on a strictly international basis.

"I would only support military action which the United Nations had cleared as far as Iraq is concerned," Williams told reporters.

Earlier in the day, Williams unleashed a blistering attack against consumer society, slamming the entertainment giant Walt Disney, child talent shows and violent computer games for corrupting the young and making them prematurely sexually aware.

"It is still mercifully rare to murder for a pair of trainers, or to commit suicide because of an inability to keep up with peer group fashion; but what can we say about a marketing culture that so openly feeds and colludes with obsession?" he said in the Times newspaper. "The Disney empire has developed this to an unprecedented degree."

Archbishops - who are they?

(In the context of all the discussion about Dr Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, people have asked me about archbishops. Here is a brief answer--P.T.)
The word "archbishop" does not occur in the New Testament but the word bishop (Greek, episcopos, bishop/pastor/overseer) does. An Archbishop (Greek, arche [chief] & episcopos, thus senior bishop) is a senior shepherd under Christ Jesus, the good Shepherd of the flock. He is addressed as "His Grace" and "Most Reverend."

A Bishop is distinct from presbyters/priests in that he confers Holy Orders, administers Confirmation and is a pastor of a diocese. The identity and vocation is set out inside the Prayer Book in The Ordinal (1662 & 1928 etc.) which contains the service of ordination & consecration

An Archbishop is a bishop to whom a greater administrative responsibility is given; he is not a superior form of clergy. One of his tasks is to preside at the ordination and consecration of new bishops while another is to preside at Synods and represent the Province in the wider Church.

Most of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion have an Archbishop but a few have a "Presiding Bishop" or in the case of united churches of India and Pakistan a "Moderator."

Where there is no history of monarchy or where monarchy is rejected in the land then the title of "Presiding Bishop" is normally used by the local Church (as in the USA).

In most of the Provinces the position of "Archbishop" or "Presiding Bishop" is not tied to certain particular dioceses, but it is so in Australia and in England ( here to Canterbury and York).

In most of the Provinces the office of "Archbishop" or "Presiding Bishop" is an elected office, either by fellow bishops, or in Australia by a diocesan synod. Only in England is it a Crown appointment on the advice of the General Synod.

In virtually all of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion the "Archbishop" or "Presiding Bishop" is always a diocesan bishop (e.g., in England, the two Archbishops have the dioceses of Canterbury and York). Yet in a few places, primarily the Episcopal Church of the USA, the Presiding Bishop has no diocese but works from an office of "the national church" in New York City.

The Archbishop or the Presiding Bishop of a Province is the Primate of that Province but where as in Australia and England there are two or more Archbishops then only one is regarded as the Primate - in England, always the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in Australia by election by the archbishops (of Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne etc.).

The President of the Primates' Meeting (38 members) is always the Archbishop of Canterbury for his See is regarded by all as "the instrument of unity" of both the Church of England & of the Anglican Communion of Churches. To be in communion with that See is the test of whether or not a Province is in the Anglican Communion (thus Continuing Anglican Churches, with their several Archbishops are not in the Communion even though they have Anglican characteristics).

The Archbishop of Canterbury is styled "Primate of all England" and ranks immediately after the royal family, with the Lord Chancellor coming next in order. He has to be a British citizen and ordained in Britain.

The Revd Dr. Peter Toon July 27th 2002

Friday, July 26, 2002

"To naturalise the supernatural and to humanise the divine" -- Secular humanism and the Public Language of Prayer

"To naturalise the supernatural and to humanise the divine" is one way of stating the general purpose of what has been called secular humanism, whose origins may be traced for practical purposes to the Renaissance in the fifteenth century.

Various modern philosophies and forms of religion that have embraced pantheism, panentheism, or idealism have come near to naturalising the supernatural and humanising the divine. For in their systems God loses his/her transcendence and becomes only immanent, inextricably united to the cosmos.

Feminism and humanising the divine

It is commonly known amongst theological students that much religious feminism is based, not upon classic theism or more specifically Trinitarian Theism, but rather upon panentheism, the doctrine that the world/cosmos [pan] is in God [en theos], as a baby is in the womb. And it is also commonly known by church leaders and liturgists that from religious feminism - supported by both women and men -- has come the major pressure within the church for the inherited and traditional language of prayer & worship to be changed in order either (a) not to be offensive to women (i.e., to remove from it or to minimize within it the bias towards the
masculine) or (b) to conform to women's religious feelings (e.g.. to use "She" and "Mother" of God).

What is very clear to the informed observer is that modern feminism as such cannot have anything other than a mere mention in the Church of God if the form of language used in worship, prayer and doctrine is traditional [i.e., of the kind used in The Book of Common Prayer (1662/1928) and in the King James (1611) and the Revised Standard (1952) versions of the Bible]. That is, the traditional language of prayer, worship and doctrine has such a form, style and logic that it cannot be made to serve any of the modern innovations proposed by feminism (but, of course, it does maintain the equality of male and female "in Christ" and before God, the Father, for salvation and grace).

A head start
Looking at things from a feminist point of view, the cause was given a head start because others innovators and reformers, initially with different ideas and ideologies, got the process of producing "contemporary language" for worship, prayer and doctrine on the move. The seeds of this modernising movement go back to the period after the Second World War; but, the actual moves that led to the production of Prayer Books and Bible paraphrases/ translations in modern or "contemporary" English began in earnest in the 1960s.

The 1960s was a revolutionary decade in the West when social and cultural values and manners were turned upside down and inside out. One of the cries of that decade was to be modern - with it! To be young in age or at least in heart & mind was seen as a priority. Thus age-long morals, principles, traditions, customs, practices, manners, forms of dress and speech were ditched in order to embrace new ones that emerged in this period. For everything had to be relevant, simple, straightforward, accessible and New.

So it is not surprising that the Churches - Roman Catholic and Protestant - being IN the world (and perhaps too much OF and FOR the world) were caught up in the cry for aggiornomento (updating) and relevance. Thus Liturgy and Bible, Mass and Eucharist, prayer and sermon, book and tract, hymn and song had to be in simple, direct, intelligible and accessible language. (Yet few if any knew precisely what such language was and where it was to be found or

At the same time, and in the same spirit of innovation, archaisms, aesthetic values, a sense of mystery and of the numinous, long sentences and complex syntax had to go. So whether it was the Roman Catholics translating the new Mass into the vernacular or the Anglicans replacing The Book of Common Prayer with new prayer books, or both Roman Catholics and Protestants producing new versions of the Bible, the cry was for "contemporary" language in the name of relevance, doctrinal clarity and pastoral accessibility. The New was sacred. Today must replace Yesterday!

And the two great casualties were the classic Latin text of the Roman Mass and the classic English texts of the English Bible, Common Prayer and hymnody.

Feminism, liberationism and the language of prayer
So "contemporary language" began with what was seen by many as a mere modernising of archaic words and expressions; but, it soon became the vehicle of the entrance into the Church of various ideologies, of which the most obvious since the 1980s has been that of the secular feminist movement. For now in 2002, whether we look in liturgy, hymns, songs, prayers or in versions of the Bible we see how "contemporary language" is no longer about replacing "Thee/Thou" with "You" and updating old syntax and vocabulary.

Rather, it is about using a modern form of English in order to embrace aspects of modern individualism, human rights, liberation movements, feminism and the lesbigay movement. True the speed of accommodation of these ideologies by the "contemporary language" of prayer, worship and doctrine varies from group to group and church to church; but what is clear is that it rushes on like the molten rock of a volcano coming down the mountain leaving little in its path.

It would seem that' whether we be conservative evangelical or radical liberal or somewhere between in our views, we all (or most of us) have played a part in the rapid work since the 1960s of humanising the divine and naturalising the supernatural for belief in the transcendent God and the use of symbols and signs of transcendence (including of course music as
sign) in relation to him are in rapid retreat on most fronts in the churches.

If things go ahead in the next decade as they have done in the last three of four decades we are going to be at a stage in the English language of being incapable in the latest phase of the "contemporary language" of prayer and worship of staying in relation to, and expressing, traditional doctrine and morals and the virtues of faith, hope and love (agape).

Perhaps now in 2002 is the time for more of us to re-discover the traditional language of faith, hope and love that is so pleasing to the godly heart and soul and which is found in the great treasures of the English religious tradition, the English Bible, the Book of Common Prayer and classic Hymnody. We need to halt the process in the churches of humanising the divine and naturalising the supernatural so that we see in contrast what the Greeks call deification of the people of God.

July 26. 2002 The Revd Dr Peter Toon

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Is "Contemporary Language" neutral?

(responses invited to this tract to

The bishops and liturgists, who produced and commended the new forms of liturgy for the Anglican Churches, together with the scholars, who gave us the new versions of the Bible, from the 1960s through to the present, did not always tell us the whole truth about their form of English that they called "contemporary" (in contrast to "traditional" for the language of the King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer and the hymns of Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley). They were not intending to deceive. Apparently they did not fully realize what they were doing!

The impression we received from their commendations especially in the early days - the 1970s -- of their new form of prose is that they were merely updating, replacing the archaic and obsolete with the modern, and in doing so they were not changing the religious style, ethos and doctrine found in the old texts.

In fact, I think we can now say, looking back to the 1970s, that there was much naivete amongst many well-meaning people who thought that the task of putting Bible and liturgy into modern language was a reasonably straightforward, even if demanding, task. This was because they had little knowledge of the history, use, development, grammar, syntax and style of the English language and no experience of the creation of sacred texts - and they did not regard this ignorance as important.

What we can see now was that many of those involved in Bible translation and liturgical revision were energized by revolutionary ideas which became the air we breathed in the 1960s, and sometimes by ideologies (e.g., feminism). What most did not then see, or not see clearly, is that the concern for relevance, intelligibility and simplicity is not a neutral, that is a value-free, exercise.

Relevance to and for whom? What kinds of persons and what levels of competence and usage of the English language are in mind here?

Intelligibility to and for whom? What kind of persons with what level of education and intelligence are in mind?

Simplicity to and for whom? The truths of the Gospel are essentially simple when one's spiritual eyes have been opened [by the divine Spirit], but some of the doctrine of the Faith is complex and cannot be communicated simply even to those with their eyes opened.

The type of a concern and aims underlying the search for contemporary language usually cause the production of a text that is not any form of recognizable, spoken English, but is a kind of mish-mash that occurs after a committee has sought to revise a preliminary draft. We have noticed since the 1960s just how short is the shelf-life and public use of a growing number of versions of the Bible and forms of liturgy.

But there are other related matters to be considered.

Those creating "contemporary language" versions of the Bible and forms of liturgy have felt the need - and this has increased from the 1970s onwards - to seek to minimize what they regard as a strong bias against the dignity of women [and from the 1990s a bias against homosexual persons] built into the older translations. The supposed patriarchalism, androcentrism and sexism of the ancient texts and the older translations is seen as an offence to the God who is known in the present as the God of "peace and justice."

The pressure to take account of inclusivism has come from the post 1960s western culture and is in parallel with similar activities in the writing of texts and addressing people in industry, government, education and the media. It is clearly a feature of modern secular culture which is utilised and canonized by the church through such Christian themes as the dignity of human beings and the equality of all persons in Christ before God.

Thus what became known as inclusive language was adopted with the aim of minimizing the offence of the old language, which it was judged used "man" and "he" and related offensive words too often. More of a technique than a language, inclusivism is found at least in a minimal form in every recent Bible translation (e.g., REB, NRSV, NJB and even the British edition of the NIV) and in many Anglican prayer books and trial forms of liturgy. In fact, it is difficult to find "contemporary language" anywhere today which has not made some concessions or adaptations to the feminist call for less masculine-bias. So instead of "brethren" we have "sisters and brothers" and instead of "Blessed is the man." we have "Happy is the one." or "Happy are they." And at the other end of the spectrum "Father" becomes "Parent" or "Father-Mother."

What all this tells us is that, in a heavily secularised time as our own (the post 1960s), language does not come to us as a neutral instrument that can be used by us as we deem appropriate. Rather, it comes with a style and meaning and when we put it to religious use at least part of its acquired secular meaning comes with it. Therefore, those who want the Church to adopt part of the modern agenda of say the feminist and lesbigay movements have a decided advantage! They merely have to watch and wait and much of what they desire will be achieved with little or no effort. The evidence of the last two decades amply proves this. And, I fear, the evidence of the next decade, will make it abundantly clear.

It is now doubtful whether a form of "contemporary language" for public prayer and worship can be created in English that is worthy or truly able to carry the Good News of God's salvation in Jesus Christ, his Incarnate Son for public worship that seeks to please the LORD God. Also it is doubtful whether a form of the same language for Bible translation can be created. Certainly such a language has not yet been discovered or created - again as the abundance of changing texts reveals.

With this in mind, there is surely an argument for the maintenance of the old so-called "traditional" language of prayer and worship ( as found in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662, the KJV and RSV, the hymns of Wesley, for example) because this comes with meaning attached to it and it comes from a period before modern individualism, secularism and inclusivism left their legacy in the contemporary language of modern prayer.

It is true that in recent times some have supported this classic language of public worship because of its aesthetic qualities and certainly this is how certain church leaders would like it to be supported. For then it is easy to dismiss it! What I say is that, while the so-called Elizabethan and Jacobean language is aesthetically pleasing, it has also over the centuries achieved and gained a style, a style that includes its meaning, and it is for this reason that I say that its maintenance and use is necessary to preserve the treasury of meaning (doctrine and moral, faith and faithfulness) of the Gospel in the English language.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon July 26, 2002

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Archbishop of Canterbury makes historic first visit to Diocese of Texas


ACNS 3076 - ENS - 24 July 2002
by Thomas Blanton

"Bless the Diocese of Texas," said Archbishop of Canterbury, George L Carey, commissioning a crowd of more than 2,000 Episcopalians during a celebratory Eucharist at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts in Houston, Texas, on July 19. "Make it strong. May it reach out in loving sacrifice and service to so many needy people."

The Eucharist marked the conclusion of Carey's three-day visit to the Diocese of Texas, the first time an Archbishop of Canterbury has ever toured the diocese.

Although Dr Carey came by invitation, he noted that the visit itself was not a private one and realised that his presence could inspire the individuals with whom he interacted during his stay. "Very often we focus on the local, but we do not have an international perspective," the Archbishop said. "If I can bring that in, if I can encourage [Episcopalians] in their own ministry to be much more confident in their faith and much more outward looking in their attitude and mission, if I can achieve that - excellent."

Dr George Carey's visit began on July 17, where he appeared at Christ Church Cathedral for a breakfast meeting with Houston business leaders, followed by a brief dialogue with ecumenical leaders from the Houston area. He then preached the sermon at a noon Eucharist at the cathedral.

Sonia Bernard, a member of the cathedral and a nurse at St Luke's Episcopal Hospital, was one of the attendees of the noon Eucharist. She felt that this was the only time she would have the chance to see Dr Carey in person." But she added that he "reminded us to find that faith and love amidst all the adversity."

Thomas Puckett, another member of the cathedral who commented on the Archbishop's sermon, said that he was always impressed with how alike Episcopalians and Anglicans are. He is extremely slick, in the best possible way. He knows just what to say to his audience."

The next day Dr Carey and his party journeyed to Camp Allen, the diocesan camp center outside of Houston. In addition to visiting the campsites and other facilities, the Archbishop met with both diocesan clergy and later with lay leaders, addressing both issues facing the church and the concerns and questions of his audiences.

"I was interested to see what he had to say, particularly as our global church is in a bit of confusion," said Rusty Meyers, a small group leader and bishop's committee member at St Barnabas' in Austin. "I got the impression that we, in this diocese, are pretty much in line with his way of thinking, and that he's encouraging us to keep doing what we're doing."

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Welsh Primate to lead Anglican world

(This announcement reflects its origins! -- PT )
by James M Rosenthal and Matthew Davies


Downing Street today announced that the Most Revd Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Monmouth, is to succeed Dr George Carey as 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

Rowan Williams, born in Swansea in 1950, has been one of the names often mentioned as a possible successor to the Archbishop of Canterbury since the retirement of Dr George Carey was announced in January this year. A respected theologian, Dr Williams has written a number of books on the history of theology and spirituality and has been involved in various commissions on theological education, both in his province and beyond. He is the author of many well-known books including the recently published Love's Redeeming Work (Oxford). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1990 and is Chairman of the Trialogue Conference, which brings together professionals from the worlds of Spirituality, Psychotherapy and Literature.

Dr Williams was elected Bishop of Monmouth in 1991 and enthroned as Archbishop of Wales in 2000. Since then he has gained enormous support for his leadership and his handling of some of the more controversial decisions facing the Anglican Communion today.

Distinguished as being the only person to have been Professor of Divinity at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Dr Williams is now the first Archbishop of Canterbury to be selected from outside the Church of England since the Reformation.

According to the Bishop's website he is "both a contemporary and rigorously intellectual thinker, recently citing the cartoon 'The Simpsons' as an example of humility and moral debate. He has attracted a lot of media attention in relation to his radical views on both homosexuals in the church and church/state relations."

In his Presidential address to the Church in Wales' Governing Body, the Archbishop spoke from the perspective of one who was within a few hundred yards of the World Trade Center in New York when the terrorist attacks took place. He called on all to consider the nature of power and helplessness and to remember that the only certainty is that "a faithful God holds us firmly in life and death alike."

"No 'Star Wars' shield of missile defence could have averted last Tuesday's atrocities. No intensive campaign to search and destroy in Afghanistan will guarantee that it will never happen again. If we fear and loathe terrorism, we have to think harder. Indiscriminate terror is the weapon of the weak, not the strong; it's commonly what the 'strong' aren't expecting, which is why they are vulnerable to it. It is the weapon of those who have nothing to lose. If we want it not to happen, we have to be

asking what it means that the world has so many people in it who believe they have nothing to lose."

He also said, "Anger always blurs the real human features of those we're angry with. Frustration requires that we don't allow ourselves to imagine what it's like to be the other... The two fears, the two angers, don't connect."

The address ends by his stressing the importance of faith in our understanding and acceptance of death, "The Church is supposed to be a community of people you'd be glad to die with.and if that is true about the Church, then faith becomes the one wholly inflexible ground for resistance to violence, precisely because it teaches us how to face death - not in excited expectation of reward, but in the sober letting-go of our fantasies in the sure hope that a faithful God hold us firmly in life and death alike. Only if we are learning in this way how to die and to love, can anything we say have any way in weight in a violent world."

News of his appointment to the historic See of Canterbury has brought a plethora of responses and good wishes from around the Anglican Communion:

Speaking from Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Robin Eames, said, "I believe that Rowan Williams will bring to the leadership of the Anglican Communion: scholarship; integrity; and sensitivity. His deep spirituality will provide a firm foundation for the many diverse issues which will confront us in the years to come. As senior primate I welcome him to his new office and wish him God's richest blessings."

On hearing the news, the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town, said, "We thank God for the gift of a man who has great depth of spirituality, an incisive mind and a pastoral heart. He makes Anglican history as the first archbishop of Canterbury who comes from outside the traditional ranks and it bodes well for the bonds of affection that bind our global communion, as does his track record for leadership on issues of our day."

The Presiding Bishop and Primate of the ECUSA, the Most Revd Frank T Griswold, also issued a statement to ACNS, "I am very pleased with the appointment of Rowan Williams to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. He is well known and highly respected across the Anglican Communion, in ecumenical circles, and here in the United States. The combination of a keen mind and a contemplative heart, together with an ability to relate classical Christian tradition to the needs and struggles of our world, make him eminently qualified to take up this important and challenging ministry of service."

Vice-Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, Presiding Bishop John C Paterson, told ACNS, "I look forward to working with the new Archbishop, who is already well known and highly respected in many parts of the Anglican Communion for his scholarship, for his commitment to the service of our Lord and for his already proven gifts of leadership in the Church. This is undoubtedly the right appointment from the perspective of the Anglican Communion at this critical time in its development."

The Rt Revd Leo Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida, spoke of his personal encounter with Dr Williams during the Lambeth Conference 1998. He said, "I had the
pleasure of meeting Archbishop Rowan Williams during Lambeth '98 as we dealt with World Debt issues.

"I believe that he carries a vision that not only will be a blessing for the church in the British Isles but for Anglicans in all continents of this planet. I am assured that Archbishop Williams will be a voice that will effectively and unashamedly proclaim the love and justice of our Lord Jesus Christ and will make our church relevant in this new century."

Dean Ross Jones of St George's College, Jerusalem, told ACNS, "The Church in Jerusalem is excited by the selection of Archbishop Rowan Williams as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. God has provided the right man at the right time. Thanks be to God!"

Clergy from the Church of England have responded warmly to the news of the appointment. Father Philip Chester, St Matthew's, Westminster, London, home of Affirming Catholicism, expressed great joy of the news. Fr Chester said, "I warmly welcome the appointment of Dr Rowan Williams. His vision, holiness and humility are the greatest encouragement to parish clergy who pray that the Church of England will open its windows to the world and discover a new spring time of God's grace."

"We are friends and Christian brothers, " said Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria speaking of the Archbishop-designate. "I wish him well. My hope is that he will prove his detractors wrong. I respect him, he is a well learned man of God and I look forward to sharing in his ministry for us all." the archbishop concluded.

For photos see:


Canon James Rosenthal - Director of Communications for the Anglican Communion Anglican Communion Office.
Partnership House.
157 Waterloo Road
. London SE1 8UT
Tel: [44] (0)207 620-1110
Fax: [44] (0)207 620-1070


(written especially for my correspondents and friends in North America)


Today July 23rd 2002 the Prime Minister's Office in 10 Downing Street will announce that Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Wales and Bishop of Monmouth, is appointed as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

Nominated by a Commission and approved by the Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth II, Dr Williams will succeed Dr George Carey at the end of 2002.

Dr Williams was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford from 1986-1992 and then became Bishop of Monmouth. He has both the D.Phil and D.D. (earned) degrees from the University of Oxford.

In the late 1970s my former tutor, and then friend and counsellor, Professor Eric Mascall ( a most learned, orthodox and devout man), told me that he viewed Rowan as a remarkable young theologian and saw him as the future leading anglo-catholic theologian of the Anglican Church. Last year Rowan gave the Eric Mascall Memorial Lecture and has a great affection for Dr Mascall.

But I fear that some of the views/opinions that Rowan has embraced since the late 1970s would displease Dr Mascall if he were here, and not departed to be with his Lord. These include the acceptance of the ordination of women and of aspects of the lesbigay agenda for the church.

While the doctrine of the ordination of women is accepted or tolerated in most of the Thirty-Eight Provinces of the Anglican Communion of Churches (on the basis of the Eames' doctrine of reception), the doctrine that people of the same sex may live together in homosexual partnership under the blessing of God is not. In fact it is vehemently rejected. Thus the role of the See of Canterbury with Rowan sitting there is going to be severely tested and tried in the next few years. Of course, much of the tension would disappear if Rowan were to state clearly and unambiguously as well as very soon that he has not intentions at all of promoting the lesbigay agenda in the church.

As I think of Rowan, whom I have known casually for a long time, and as I think of Dr Mascall's hopes for him, the old evangelical words of the hymn come to mind:

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore,
Touched by a loving hand, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.

I believe that deep in the soul of Rowan is the full, biblical and orthodox Faith of the Catholic Church of God (has he not written splendidly of aspects of this in some of his many writings?). I pray that under the gracious pressure of the Holy Ghost, and the prayerful kindness of the people of God, the chords of this wonderful symphony of truth (that we call the Catholic Faith) will vibrate in him and through him to the Church of England and to the whole Anglican Communion.

I composed this Collect a few days ago when I asked people to pray for Rowan as we all waited for the announcement from the Prime Minister. I invite you to pray it, or a similar one, with me.

Traditional form:

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in thy providence hast established the ancient See of Canterbury as the primary instrument of unity of the Anglican Communion of Churches, we pray for Rowan whom thou has called, through imperfect processes, to be the next (104th) Archbishop of Canterbury. By the abundance of thy mercy, grant that he, repenting of his sins and conforming to thy holy law and wisdom, will enter into this holy office in the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of the same Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be ascribed glory and dominion now and for ever. Amen.

Contemporary form:

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in your providence have established the ancient See of Canterbury as the primary instrument of unity of the Anglican Communion of Churches, we pray for Rowan whom you have called through imperfect human processes to be the next (104th) Archbishop of Canterbury. By the abundance of your mercy may he repent of his sins, conform to your holy law and wisdom and enter this holy office in the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of the same Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. To him, to you and to the Holy Spirit be given glory and praise by angels and humankind now and always. Amen.


The Revd Dr Peter Toon July 23, 2002

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Sunday, July 21, 2002

New Face of Christianity in S E Asia

(from Malaysia/Singapore a picture of the way that Christianity is developing away from the traditional Churches and in league with aspect of modern western culture --- a cautionary tale perhaps! -PT)

Rise of new churches
by Ong Sor Fern

ON A stage in a cavernous auditorium in Suntec City, a seven-piece band complete with two female backup singers launches into an infectious drumbeat-driven melody.
A giant screen behind them projects the performers to those seated at the back of the hall.
One thousand people in the audience rise to their feet. Clapping, cheering and singalongs ensue.

No, this is not a pop concert. Rather, it is a church service at New Creation Church's The Rock Auditorium.
But the mood feels more like a celebration than a solemn service where the leader lectures from the pulpit.

Pastor Joshua Lee's sermon is peppered with personal anecdotes and self-deprecating jokes about his thinning hair which draw appreciative roars from the churchgoers.
One ardent churchgoer describes the service jokingly as 'standup Bible'.

To read the entire article from The Straits Times, CLICK HERE.

A prayer for the person appointed to become the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

(Dear Friends around the Anglican Communion,
I have called for prayer for the next Archbishop because I believe that God's will is that he enters this Office in the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a new man in Christ Jesus. Here is a Collect for formal use in churches. PT)

Traditional form:

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in thy providence hast established the ancient See of Canterbury as the primary instrument of unity of the Anglican Communion of Churches, we pray for the one whom thou has called, through imperfect processes, to be the next (104th) Archbishop of Canterbury. By the abundance of thy mercy, grant that he, repenting of his sins and conforming to thy holy law and wisdom, will enter into this holy office in the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of the same Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be ascribed glory and dominion now and for ever. Amen.

Contemporary form:

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in your providence have established the ancient See of Canterbury as the primary instrument of unity of the Anglican Communion of Churches, we pray for the person you have called through imperfect human processes to be the next (104th) Archbishop of Canterbury. By the abundance of your mercy may he repent of his sins, conform to your holy law and wisdom and enter this holy office in the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of the same Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. To him, to you and to the Holy Spirit be given glory and praise by angels and humankind now and always. Amen.

July 21 2002

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Wales

(As the Press and the e mail circuits continue to raise this and that probelm about Dr Rowan Williams I write the following after being in touch with him)
May I suggest that the way forward with regard to the probable appointment of Rowan Williams as the next Archbishop of Canterbury is:











I recall being told when I was a boy and living amongst the old-time Methodists in the Yorkshire Coalfield that if they heard that the Methodist Conference was sending to them a weak or liberal-minded Circuit Minister then they would go to prayer and not stop praying until the Spirit witnessed with their spirits that their prayers were heard on high! Then they got a Gospel man!

Rowan has asked me to ask those of us (and he includes me) who disagree with him to pray for him that he will be God's man, one that pleases the Lord and does His will.

I ask you therefore to PRAY without ceasing for him and for the See of Canterbury.

Let us join out prayers and offer them in the Name of the Lord Jesus, the High Priest, in and through whom, they will be purifed and heard by His Father, whom we also by grace call "Our Father..."

Thank you.

July 20, 2002

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Anglican Consultative Council's Director of Ecumenical Affairs to be new Suffragan Bishop

The Revd Canon David Hamid, 47, Director of Ecumenical Affairs and Studies for the Anglican Consultative Council since 1996, is to be the next Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese in Europe. He will take up his duties following his consecration by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops on 17 October in central London.

Born in Scotland to Scottish and Burmese parents, Canon Hamid has spent much of his ministry in Canada, and holds dual Canadian and British citizenship. He was rector of St John's Burlington, Ontario (1983-87), where he developed a mission congregation into a self-supporting parish.

For nearly ten years (1987-1996) he was one of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada's Regional Mission Co-ordinators. He worked to strengthen relationships between Canadian Anglicans and their Anglican and ecumenical partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. This included collaborating in practical programmes of evangelism, training, and youth ministry, as well as supporting mission partners in the field, developing policy and working on a range of international issues.

Since 1996 he has been the Director of Ecumenical Affairs and Studies for the Anglican Consultative Council, based in London, developing forward-moving relations both between world communions and more localised Church families, and resourcing ecumenical relations in the different dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Canon Hamid has been secretary, member or consultant in many international ecumenical dialogues, including those with Baptist, Lutheran, Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. He has also been a consultant to the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission and an ex-officio member of the Church of England's Faith and Order Advisory Group.

He has established good working relationships with many of the Diocese in Europe's partners in Continental Europe. He is a special advisor to the European Provincial Consultation set up at the request of the Lambeth Conference 1998. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and French.

Canon Hamid said of his appointment, "As I look back on my ministry to date, I can see how, in so many ways, it may have been a preparation for what is coming, through my involvement with the Church's ecumenical life, the international and multicultural dimensions of her mission and ministry, developing and nurturing her work in places where Anglicans are clearly in the minority among other Christians. I am looking forward very much to the fresh challenges which this appointment brings, in getting to know the clergy and people of the diocese and to working with Bishop Rowell."

A keen traveller, David is married to Colleen (a research scientist at St Thomas' Hospital London) and has two sons, Jonathan (16) and Michael (12). He is a pianist, and music is one of his principal ways of relaxing.

For further information please contact:

Derek Williams
Diocesan Communications Officer
Tel: +44 1604 474799
Fax: +44 1604 474733
Mobile: + 447770 981172

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Talk for BBC Radio

BBC Radio Stoke-on-Trent (brief talk given as part of the service of Ante-Communion recorded on July 18th at Christ Church, Biddulph Moor for broadcasting on Sunday July 21st Trinity VIII – only 30 mins available in all for the service)

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O God, our Father, for the sake of thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

When we use the Book of Common Prayer, which is the primary prayer book of the Church of England, we address God the Father and Jesus Christ as Thou and Thee – e.g., “Thou art the King of glory” & “we beseech thee O Lord.” Did you realize that there are distinct devotional advantages in using this archaic form of the second person singular in the language of prayer and worship today, even in the third millennium?

Let us consider one advantage of this usage. The use of “Thee/Thou/Thy/Thine” enables us to combine in worship the sense of intimacy and communion with God with the sense of reverence and awe before God. Thereby humility and joy, trust and penitence are united in the soul and we can worship in the beauty of holiness.

First of all, let us look at reverence and awe. For centuries – and right up to the 1960s -- the only way that God was addressed in prayer and hymns in Great Britain in all churches was as “Thee/Thou.” In the general population, people used only “you” and so “thee/thou” became by the 18th century a religious form of speech and thereby achieved a special religious sense. Therefore there became attached to this usage over the centuries a sense of God’s holiness and apartness, with the profound feelings of reverence and awe.

As we pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done...”

Secondly, as a form of speech “Thee/Thou” is, as we all know, second person singular and traditionally is the pronoun used between intimates – members of a family for example. Now the Christian message is that God the Father has adopted us as His children in Jesus Christ. By the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts we are enabled to call him, Father. We pray “Our Father…” and as St Paul states, our hearts cry out, “Abba, Father” (= my Father). We are in the Family of God! Thus there is by divine grace and mercy an intimacy, communion and friendship between the baptized believing Christian and the God whom he calls Father. So the use of the second person singular, Thee/Thou, is a way through language to maintain and preserve this sense of intimacy.

As the Minister says in the administration of Holy Communion – “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life.”

Reverence and intimacy, friendship and awe, are created in our souls and in the congregation by the grace of God, but they are best communicated in the traditional idiom of language of worship, that found in the King James Bible, The Book of Common Prayer and the Hymns of Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley.

Let us thank God for our heritage of prayer language and seek to worship Him in spirit and in truth, in penitence and in joy, in reverence and in friendship. Amen.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

On Style in Language addressed to Deity.

(a short tract to create godly thinking)

The move from addressing God as "Thee/Thou" to addressing Him as "You" may be simply a change in the word for the second person singular. And this is how modern liturgical experts want us to understand it. So they tell us that in the English-speaking world we have straight choice between "traditional language" and "contemporary language" and they say that the latter is much preferable.

But are they right? Yes and No. In part not in whole.

They are right only in that they recognize the difference between the second person singular and the second person plural and then the use in modern English of what used to be solely the second person plural as both second person singular and plural!

What they omit to recognize and tell is that with the use of the old form of the second person singular, "Thee/Thou," there comes a style, a context and an ethos. There is both the sense of intimacy with God as truly "our Father" because through Jesus Christ we know Him as "Father" (the Father of Jesus Christ, no less). And there is also, because of centuries of usage in public worship, a sense of reverence, awe and holiness so that He is "the holy Father." The archaic functions in a particularly religious way and for our benefit as believers.

So if I were to pray in sincerity "I love Thee, O Lord" the meaning would have its context in the style of English generated by the King James Version, the Book of Common Prayer and the Hymns of Wesley and Watts - that is, in the traditional English idiom of prayer. Thus it could not mean "love" as any merely emotional feeling or the modern being-in -love or homosexual attraction or liking someone. Rather it means a deep and profound sense of attachment to and wholesome trust in God as the Infinite and Eternal Deity, the Creator, Redeemer and Lord of all, who is made known in the person we know as Jesus of Nazareth. It is an enduring act of the will to do and to be unto God what He as God rightly deserves and commands.

However, if I were to pray "I love You, O Lord" the meaning would have as its context the use of love in modern English. This is because there has not yet developed a settled or coherent idiom of prayer using "You" to God. There have been many experiments since the 1960s and there are many going on at the beginning of the new millennium. Thus there is potentially a whole set of possible meanings and these depend upon the context from and in which we place this evocation of love. Is it love as we know it through the massive psychotherapeutical industry, or through Hollywood films, or as we seek to understand it through modern translations of the Bible?

The point is that "I love You, O Lord" does not easily and readily provide the meaning that is attached by context and long usage - by style - to "I love Thee, O Lord."

And if this general point is conceded then the possibility emerges that before the so-called contemporary language, that is being pressed upon the Church, can truly function as a godly means and instrument to leads us to the Holy One, the Blessed Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, it needs to have gained a context, a style that is worshipful and godly. Right now, it possesses potentially many contexts and styles and virtually of them are generated from the mindset, culture and ethos of what is termed post-modernity.

Therefore, it may not be so stupid after all for people - ordinary folks as well as academics -- to insist that they want to continue to worship the Lord our God using the classic idiom of prayer, as found in the King James Version and the Book of Common Prayer.

July 17,2002

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

When and Why did English-speaking Christians change the language of prayer?

In 1900 in the English-speaking world all the Protestant Churches used a traditional form of English in their worship and prayers. Their approach and address to God in formal prayer, ex tempore prayer and hymnody used the second person singular (Thee/Thou) and all this seemed natural to them even though it was archaic because "You" had replaced "Thee/Thou" as the normal second person singular in everyday speech. Further, though the Roman Catholic Church services were virtually totally in Latin their private books of devotion and unofficial translations of the Mass were in traditional English, the English of the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.

In 2000 all the major Protestant Churches in the English-speaking world used what is usually termed "contemporary English" to distinguish it from the "traditional English" used in worship for many previous centuries. Further, the Roman Catholic used the same type of modern English for the Mass and other forms of service. Only here and there did the tradition of the use of the inherited language persist (e.g., where the traditional Book of Common Prayer and the King James Version were used or where there were strict Presbyterians using classic 17th century forms). However, where the "contemporary English" was used there were exceptions made for using the Lord's Prayer in the traditional form and singing hymns that used "Thee/Thou."

Why did this revolution occur in the twentieth century rather than the nineteenth of the eighteenth centuries? This is a good question for, in those times, the use of "you" as the usual form of the second person singular was common and so it would not have been illogical or irrational to begin to use it when addressing God in worship. Yet this did not happen. Obviously the form of address using "Thee/Thou" was deeply embedded in religious expression and feeling for it was maintained without dissent.

Further, why did this revolution occur in the 1960s (using this expression to cover the late 1950s, the 1960s and the early 1970s) and not in the 1930s or the 1980s? Looking back we see clearly that it was in the 1960s that the new Bible translations, the new Liturgies and the new Hymnody using "contemporary language" began to appear and were adopted - often after much heart-searching - by the membership of the major Churches.

We must recognize that the answer to the question about timing must be in terms other than linguistic reasons for change. Languages do evolve naturally but this change was not a natural evolution. Thus the rapid move from the so-called traditional to the so-called contemporary is more likely to be explained in terms of religious, social and cultural factors and reasons.

Further, the answer will be more than the reasons given by those clergy and leaders who set the ball rolling in terms of the adoption of "contemporary" language in the 1960s. For example, the cry of evangelical Christians in America and Britain was for relevance. They wanted to have a relevant message with a relevant Bible using a relevant service in order to evangelise their fellow citizens. They stated that the "traditional language" did not and would not be effective to this end. In short, God and Christ would only become accessible to the majority if they were addressed as "You."

Reasons offered for new translations of the Bible (such as the New International Version), to replace the King James Version (as well as the Revised Version and the Revised Standard Version), were in terms of the availability of better manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, the archaic words of the old versions, and that no distinction was made in the original Hebrew or Greek between the addressing of a human being and offering prayer to God, in terms of the pronouns and verb forms used.

Young Protestant Ministers were taught that they could not trust the KJV for it was not an accurate translation of the originals; they needed a modern accurate version from which to preach to a generation young people who were rejecting the old ways. Further, young Anglican/Episcopal clergy were taught that the Book of Common Prayer was not based upon the best texts of the Bible in the original languages or the best understanding of the worship and doctrine of the Early Church. They needed not only an accurate version but also a modern version for leading the people in prayer.

At the same time, thousands of Roman Catholic parishes were using "contemporary" English for their Masses and the Roman Church was being shaken from top to bottom as it embraced aggiornamento (updating) and reaccentramento (recentering).

But underneath the call for relevance and the claims that better scholarship was being used for Bible translation and liturgical revision were other reasons, the underground springs that supplied the streams and lakes. There were the ideas and ideologies that made the 1960s into a period of major discontent, change and revolution in the western world and in America in particular. All who lived in this period breathed into their souls some of this new air and ferment. Even those who rebelled against the innovations
and changes of the time were affected by them!

In short, the revolutionary decade, which most remember in terms of campus unrest, of protests against the Viet Nam war, of loud music, of communes and of rapid social changes especially in civil rights, was based on (a) relativism in morals ("All you need is love") - thus situation ethics, (b) commitment to the New (thus ditching old ideas and ways), (c) religion as social activism (thus marches and picket lines), (d) pluralism and egalitarianism (thus variety taken as the norm and encouraged), (e) the irrelevancy of the Church as an institution (thus the emphasis on community [koinonia]), (f) theology expressed as psychology, anthropology and sociology and (g) a turn to the self (self-help, self-affirmation, self-discovery and self realization). To say all this is not to say that it was all bad. Rather, it is to say that the stage was set for changes in religion, churches, families, institutions, education, politics and so on. And changes did occur and few escaped them.

So we can say with confidence that the change in the way that English-speaking people addressed God was caused primarily by the revolution of the 1960s. Here a very long standing, profound, deep tradition, wherein were the treasures of English religious devotion of many centuries, was rapidly set aside in favour of the New (embracing the New was of course one of the themes of the 1960s).

Much that is holy and even unique was lost to the English-speaking peoples by this tremendous change in the way in which we stand before and address God. And also much that belonged to the revolutionary ideas of the 1960s was within the "contemporary" language as it was adapted for the public worship of God.

To this day English-speaking Christianity has not settled upon what exactly is the right form of "contemporary English" to be used in Christian worship. The abundance of Bible translations and liturgical styles and types of hymns & choruses testify still to the pluralism and subjectivism of the 1960s.

Thus, those who believe that they ought to continue to use the inherited, classical English form of prayer should be treated courteously and sympathetically by the majority in the Churches. Adequate space and time should be given to them so that they can worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and preserve for generations to come the live tradition of classical and traditional worship of the Lord in English.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon July 17, 2002

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Thursday, July 11, 2002

LOYALTY -- is it a virtue? (a discussion starter)

We are all familiar with the response of politicians to probing questions. Usually they reply in terms of party positions, not on a strictly moral or objective basis. Loyalty to the party is apparently considered as pre-eminent. And the same is often to be found within the highly developed denominationalism of the American religious supermarket. Loyalty to the denomination is seemingly considered as primary, come what may, and if one changes denominations, for whatever reasons, then loyalty to the new institution is called for and expected.

Loyalty is widely in the West proclaimed as a “value” and even a “virtue.”

BUT is LOYALTY a virtue? Or is it made to be so by moderns in order to justify a slavish following of the party line? Do we make it a virtue in order to cover with an air of respectability decisions and positions which are expedient and pragmatic?

Bertrand Russell, the famous philosopher and mathematician, is reputed to have said that “Loyalty is always evil.” I suggest that he was exaggerating but doing so to make a most valid point.

Loyalty is evil if any action is defended solely on the grounds of loyalty alone. Loyalty to the party, group, denomination or cause is evil unless it is truly believed by the loyal person that the party is truly acting for the good of humankind.

The evil consists in the pretending that mere party interest is the equivalent of the pursuit of the good. It is the presenting of that which to rational and moral consideration does not involve the pursuit of the good but the pursuit of gain for party and/or selfish reasons.

Thus, whenever loyalty is presented as a virtue & as the prime motive for any position or action, one needs to suspect that support is being sought for a bad or questionable cause and investigate.

Most of the time “loyalty is a sham virtue exploited to give a bogus moral flavour to amoral or immoral actions.”

Christians are not called to loyalty to any human institution or human persons but to wholehearted commitment to the Lord their God, to trust, love and obey Him and to pursue His will in their lives. Thus they submit to those above them in the Lord, precisely because they are submitting to the Lord and His ordering of the Church, and they are attached to Mother Church, precisely because she is the visible expression of the Household of God and Body of Christ. Here what may be called loyalty is justified for it is on behalf of the greatest good – the goodness of God the Father and God the Son. Likewise in Christian marriage the loyalty itself is not a virtue, it is what occurs when there is a commitment to the real virtues of chastity and faithfulness and so on.

Love - agape & caritas -- does not necessarily call for loyalty!

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Is the same language appropriate for both Christian evangelism outside the Church in the world and worship by Christians in the Church

Is the same language appropriate for both (a) Christian evangelism outside the Church in the world and (b) worship by Christians in the Church of the Blessed, Holy and Undivided Trinity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost [Spirit]?

All Christians are called to engage in evangelism; and for some it is their primary vocation in life - they are evangelists. In evangelism the message is directed to those who have not been baptized in the Name of the Trinity, that is those who have not repented of their sins and believed on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and for a right relation with his Father. In order to be understood by such persons the content of the Gospel message has to be presented as clearly and simply as possible but without over simplifying, distorting or reducing its challenge.

Let us be clear that the Good News which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not sound like good news at first to the average westerner whose mind is heavily conditioned by materialism and secularism. Good News for him is in terms of good health, good living, good job, good holidays, good retirement and so on. It is only when his soul is not being satisfied by the this-worldly culture and recognizes its disordered state that he has any inclination to hear a message about the Creator of the Universe who is also its Judge and Saviour, and who offers him friendship and communion if he will repent and believe.

The Gospel primarily concerns that which is invisible and eternal, that which is transcendent and infinite, but yet that which can be glimpsed and tasted and experienced in part in the finite experience in this world, in anticipation of the fuoness of the age to come. Thus the evangelist has to go outside normal vocabulary and forms of expression to present a faithful account of the basic themes of, Who is God, Who is Jesus Christ, What is salvation, and how man is to respond to God's offer of salvation in Jesus Christ. Thus evangelism cannot be simply and only in the language used by a popular newspaper to describe political and sporting events. It requires an special vocabulary, as does for example computer usage.

Happily, the evangelist finds that within the English language there is a long tradition of words, phrases and expressions that have been tested in usage and are intimately connected with conversion to Christianity. At some time or another he has to use these and he may have to spend time in explaining the meaning of these words for without them he cannot teach people what it is that God graciously offers. If the evangelist seeks to avoid the use of these words and replace them with words that he sees as dynamic equivalents then he runs the danger that his hearers will understand these words according to their this-worldly sense. Thus there is a fine balance required between speaking in a way that people understand and doing justice to the unique content of the Gospel message.

When the seeker, the catechumen or the new believer is introduced by the evangelist to Christian worship in the Christian assembly, then, if that worship is true to its genius, there will be not only a very different ethos [= the beauty of holiness] than found anywhere else in the world, but there will be also the use of a specialized vocabulary (even also idiom & syntax). This will be so whether the form of English is "traditional" or "contemporary" (to use the descriptions of liturgists). Obviously the difference in the language of worship from the language of the media will be more apparent if the former is "traditional" (e.g., that of the King James Version and the Book of Common Prayer); but even the "contemporary" contains words and phrases that are not in use elsewhere. [One may describe this "contemporary" language of prayer as a half-way house between the "traditional" and the language of popular journalism.]

So the language of evangelism is usually the language spoken by the people but refined because of the Subject matter [GOD] and requiring at some stage the use of specialized vocabulary to be true to this Subject, the Lord God. Then, the language of worship, for example the Order for Holy Communion [the Eucharist], whether in "traditional" or "contemporary" language form is not the language spoken by the people for it is a specialized language for a unique purpose. Where else do people speak of feeding upon a person's body and blood as their food?

This simple division between the language of evangelism and the language of common worship is often blurred today because church services are seen by some ardent clergy as opportunities of evangelism and so they wish them to be seeker-friendly. Thus they are addressed to men not to God! In these situations some Christians apparently get the opportunity or the experience to engage in sustained worship for a full hour - yet to enjoy and glorify God is their vocation and destiny.

When the service is a mixture of (a) evangelistic techniques based upon modern theories of communication along with (b) hymns and prayers that are in the form of Christians praising God or interceding for the world, then there can be confusion as to which language to use. Usually because the emphasis is upon relevance and acceptability, what may be called the vertical or the transcendent dimension gives way to the horizontal and to the immanent and so the ethos is not to too different from a stage show and the language is over simplified, adapted to the ends of easy understanding, and thus basically secular. Inevitably here whatever is taken to be the Gospel is somewhat less than or different from the Gospel that is preached in differing circumstances where the ethos is that of the vertical and transcendent and God is perceived as the holy Judge rather than the friendly Forgiver.

Today it is harder than ever, because of the character of the culture in which westerners live and breathe, to go into a holy place (church building) and prepare oneself to engage in communion with the Creator, Judge and Redeemer of mankind. Too many of us seem to enter into churches for a religious and communal experience that is primarily of this world and is not a journey to the gates of heaven. In these circumstances, it may well be that the revival of what may seem archaic and outdated in words and music - "the traditional" -- may be the most efficient means to help aspiring souls to reach toward God and heaven and to be prepared to respond to God's outreach to them. In fact, the traditional English language of prayer has within in, and associated with it, many rich themes of forms of speech and music which have proved their worth and power to lift aspiring souls high on their journey to meet with the Lord. Of course, this language, which has long been in the making and which has depth and quality, is not learned in one sitting; rather the experience of its use is such that it grows upon one as one recognizes that it is fulfilling its task of facilitating communion with the God of all grace, holiness and beauty.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

TRINITY VII: MEDITATION on the Collect, Epistle & Gospel

Once again the Bible Readings and Prayer for this week call those who consider themselves to be the people of God to live as the genuine, true and authentic people of God in holiness and righteousness of life in this world, as those whose final and true citizenship is in heaven & in the age to come.

The EPISTLE (Romans 6:19-23) is a call from the apostle Paul to Christians to be true servants (literally slaves) of God the Father, serving the Master (Jesus Christ) faithfully in righteousness and purity of life. Certainly the Church of God has been redeemed, bought with a price, the sacrificial blood of Jesus, and belongs to the Father Almighty. Thus to live in sin and without repentance and forgiveness is to be disobedient slaves and to invite the wrath of the Master/Owner. But to live by faith in faithfulness and holiness is to look for "the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

The GOSPEL (Mark 8:1-8) presents the feeding of the hungry multitude (4000) by the Lord Jesus on territory which had a mixed Jewish-Gentile population (on the eastern shore of Lake Gennesaret). Thus we may say that it points symbolically to the provision that God the Father through Jesus Christ makes for the union and unity of Jew and Gentile in the kingdom of God and in His Church and also for their spiritual nourishment unto eternal life. The fact that there were seven large baskets of food left over, when all had eaten, points to the abundance of grace within the Gospel of the Father and the Son which is addressed to all peoples, first to the Jew and then to the Gentiles till the end of time. As we learn from John 6, Jesus himself is the Bread of life upon whom we all feed and to receive bread blessed and given by him is to feed on him in our hearts by faith and with thanksgiving, unto eternal life.

Soon after New Testament times the Church, which celebrated the Eucharist each Lord's Day, developed a symbolism from the fish that Jesus blessed and magnified in this miracle and in other similar ones (cf. Mark 6:32-44). In Greek the word for fish is IXTHUS and this was seen to form an acrostic "Jesus Christ Son of God, Saviour" (from the Greek words Iesous Christos Theos Uios Soter).

The COLLECT is a free translation by Archbishop Cranmer of an original Latin Collect. Seemingly James 1:17 is much in mind --- "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." In this Prayer, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is addressed as "LORD of all power and might". He is the Almighty, omnipotent and All-Powerful Deity. And as such, and also being the Compassionate One, he is the both the origin and giver of all that is good for us and for all men. And, changing our the mental image of God's relation to us, we go on to say that, like the best farmer, God the Father plants, watches over and cares for good seed so that it grows abundantly unto harvest. So we pray that our hearts and lives shall be the field wherein God himself plants the seeds of true Faith, Hope and Charity and then brings these seeds to full fruition so that by our lives we praise and magnify his Name.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

Letter from the Bishop of Kansas


TELEPHONE: (786) 235-9256 BISHOP
FAX: (785) 235-2449

June 13, 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am authorizing the blessing of persons living in committed relationships other than Holy Matrimony on a limited basis in the Diocese of Kansas. I want to state clearly that this is NOT to be a substitute for Holy Matrimony, or even to resemble Holy Matrimony. It is simply extending the blessing of people's lives to those who have not been able to fully receive this.

The enclosed policy explains how this will be done. This policy was shared with the Council of Trustees this week, but comes solely from me as Bishop. The policy does not apply to my successor as Bishop of Kansas unless he or she wishes to continue it or amend it.

I suggest that this letter and policy be shared and discussed by the parish leadership prior to any parish-wide discussion.

The policy is stated in terms that are necessarily somewhat legalistic. I want to tell you of my journey to this decision in more personal terms.

I begin where the Church does, on the "sanctity of marriage." Carole and I have been married for almost 38 years, beginning our life together with the blessing of the Church on our new life together. The Church has continued to bless and feed us in our life together, offering us the prayerful support of loving community. We have honored the vows we made and have grown in our love and faith, in large part because of the Church's blessing and support.

I see the blessing of lives as a key part of the life of the Christian community, going back to our earliest roots. We like Abraham and Sarah are people blessed by God so that we might be a blessing to others. All of our lives are marked by blessings, with the liturgies of The Book of Common Prayer and The Book of Occasional Services filled with opportunities for blessing.

We have people in our parish communities who have not been able to fully enjoy the blessing of their lives. Among these persons are heterosexual couples for whom Holy Matrimony is not a possibility because it would mean financial loss, and even the inability to support themselves. This happens for many through, for example, loss of a deceased spouse's pension. Others are homosexual couples living in committed relationships but unable to receive the blessing of the Church on their lives and relationships.

I know many of these people, as you do, and have shared in their lives and the hospitality of their homes. I have also experienced their pain over the fact that they cannot receive the blessing of the Church on their relationships, and often not even share the joys and pains of their life with a Christian community. They do not have what Carole and I and so many others couples in the Church enjoy, the Church's full blessing of their lives.

I come to my decision in part out of pastoral care for these people, but also because of the example I see in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus in his Incarnation cared deeply for all people, and had a special care for those who were denied the fullness of life. Jesus taught that all persons were God's "beloved" children. The Church, the "Body of Christ," is called to continue the ministry of the Incarnation. Our "Baptismal Covenant" underlines this in our pledge to "seek and serve Christ in all persons." A part of this is the welcoming of all people fully into our life as a Church, affirming their human dignity, and sharing with them in the blessing of the Church on their lives.

The enclosed policy opens the possibility for this.

It should be noted, however, that while this policy is available for use in all Congregations of the Diocese of Kansas, it will only be applicable in Congregations where the leadership in the persons of the Rector and Vestry choose to submit a plan for my approval.

I am most willing to discuss this policy with any of you, your Vestries, or members of your parishes.

I ask for your prayers for me and for this Diocese and its Congregations.

Faithfully yours,

William E. Smalley

As people called to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves, the mission of the Diocese of Kansas is to Equip, Send, and Nurture disciples of Jesus Christ.