Anglican Church

The Verse

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.

When Mrs Alexander wrote this verse in the 19th century there would not have been much of a stir. Only 4,500 citizens had the vote, all men, no women; or put another way, 99.9% of the population didn't meet the £10 property qualification for the mandate. The world then was a different place and the role of the Anglican church was still significant. At some point someone decided that verse three, printed above, of All things bright and beautiful... was out of sync' with modern sensibilities and so it is no longer sung throughout the land on Sundays. However, the disappearing verse helps us understand the relevance of the Anglican church in England today.


A Church in decline

Regular church attendance in the UK stands at 6% of the population, down from 11% in 1980. It is predicted that by 2020, attendance will be around 4% with an average age of 56. This decline in church attendance has forced many churches to close down across the UK with the Church Of England alone being forced to close 1,500 churches between 1969 and 2002.

The Church of England started life as a puppet of the State in the 16th century and by slow degrees became an irrelevance, out of touch, inward looking and unable to offer spiritual guidance on the ethical problems assailing British life. A new Archbishop of Canterbury has been chosen, November 2012, what or whether this will make any difference to the decline time will tell.











Back to Cults


Two streets behind

For far too long the Anglican Church has been hanging onto the coat tails of changes in civil society, always two streets behind, always wrapped up in some internal debate e.g., gay marriage, women bishops, political loyalties.

The Church's General Synod was mocked by the BNP, after the Synod called for a ban on clergy belonging to the party. A spokesman for the BNP said:

"We are a modern, forward thinking and progressive nationalist party. We are non-discriminatory and we have a constitution to match. It is high time that was put out there. The Church of England has to keep up to date - they are stuck in the 1970s."

Supporters for the ordination of women bishops attacked elements within the Church hierarchy for delaying the necessary legislation to make women bishops, suggesting that the Synod would face public censure if they continued to prevaricate on the issue. The idea that the 'public' is engaged with this struggle within the Church is perhaps mock irony. However, placing an opt-out clause at parish level further fragments a Church already divided over gay marriage. And many within the church wonder about the way the Archbishop of Canterbury is chosen in secret, leaving the congregation out of the choosing process.














Welby in a Muddle


The Archbishop of Canterbury attacked Amazon for tax dodging and paying low wages. Basically, he was just showing off at a Trades Union conference and ended up looking very silly. The press soon revealed that his church is heavily invested in the likes of Amazon and the church is not averse to employing workers on a zero-hours basis. The Church has an investment fund standing at £8.3 billion.

Note: Justin Welby, a former investment banker and bishop of Durham, is the chosen one. He took up his post in March 2013 and seems to want to move beyond the tokenism of his predecessor.


Lords a leaping

In the matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised the Anglican church still holds sway. The church still has its ancient rights and privileges, they still have 29 Lords Spiritual in parliament, they still have their court, their property, their place at the top table but soon some small child will ask who they speak for and what they stand for, apart from self perpetuation.


The Bishop of Chester, who attended the House of Lords on 97 days, claimed £27,600 in attendance allowances and £7,309 in travel expenses. In contrast, the Bishop of Birmingham attended on 22 occasions but claimed no money.