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Synod, wedding fees and allowing some churches to rake it in

A photo of a pretty church building and a pretty wedding!

In other news from General Synod, I hear they have decided to reject the call to raise the fees for weddings and funerals.

A good thing too, you might think. However, it’s not quite as simple as it seems.

So what are the positives? Well, the proposed move was to make some pretty sharp hikes in the basic costs of a funeral (£102 to £150) and weddings (£284 to £425) as part of a larger body of work sorting out the way in which the church charges for occasional offices.

However, in anyone’s book, those price rises are pretty steep and, naturally, many clergy, church congregations and Synod members were concerned about what that might mean for mission and ministry at local level. It may not be much of the overall bill for a wedding or a funeral, but it’s still a hefty increase and it doesn’t really look good.

And herein lies the problem. Read more

Mission Action Planning and the CofE

A photo of General Synod in York

It’s July which, in Church of England terms, means that most of the great and the good are in York for the regular General Synod Group of Sessions. Not much to excite the newspapers this time around but some journalists have made some mileage out of the CofE being threatened with extinction within a Private Member’s motion (PDF file) from the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.

The motion pushes for a national ‘Mission Action Plan’ to go alongside various efforts made at diocesan level and at parish level (and at deanery level for that matter) to use Mission Action Plans in stimulating strategic thought for the future.

Slightly disappointly, there is a attached note in the papers (PDF file) for the same debate from the Mission & Public Affairs Council quashing the idea because MAPs are not really viable at national level and they should be left alone to get on with their national mission initiatives (they don’t say that, but that’s what I think they mean).

Although I’m being cheeky and disparaging, I think the Mission & Public Affairs Council do have a point. Read more

Where are the young women?

Today has been my last day of KIME. The photo (left) is a picture of my year group at their final meeting together.

For the uninitiated, when an Ordinand is ordained and becomes a Curate, the Church of England pushes those new, fresh-faced, eager new possessors of a clerical collar through a three year process called IME 4-7 .

You don’t finish training when you leave theological college. Much like a junior doctor, you are ‘on the wards’ now but you’re still learning and IME 4-7 is an important part of that process.

In Rochester, that means meeting up with the other Curates from this diocese and Canterbury (thus forming Kent IME or KIME) on a monthly basis for a lecture programme and series of group projects. There’s plenty I could say about what IME has been like but I’ll refrain for now.

The point of this post and a post title that could be wildly misinterpreted has been prompted by two aligning thoughts as my time on KIME comes to a close. Read more

I have a new job

A photo of St Mary the Virgin church building, West Malling
St Mary the Virgin, West Malling

The following announcement has been made today at my own church in Walderslade, in West Malling, Offham and Kings Hill:

“We are very pleased to announce that, subject to the satisfactory completion of legal procedures and CRB checks, the Bishop of Rochester has offered the appointment as Priest-in-Charge for West Malling and Offham to the Rev’d David Green and that David has accepted.”

So there you have it. In a few short months, I am Read more

Wedding reflections: what role mission in a Royal event?

Kate Middleton and Prince William are married by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 29 2011. Photo credit: Devlin/PA Wire
PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 29 2011. Photo credit: Devlin/PA Wire

With a six year old daughter who was just so excited about the concept of an ordinary girl being made into a real-life Princess, it was inevitable that I would be watching the Royal Wedding on Friday.

Quite apart from daddy duties, I was interested both as a British subject and as a minister of the church. As a priest and minister, I was intrigued to see what form and shape the service would take and what the 24 million, mostly non-churchgoing, Brits would make of it whilst watching on television.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience but if I have may have a moan or two, can I have a moan at the Church of England and a mission opportunity missed?

Now, with any couple that I marry, I do give them the choice of which words we are going to use. For the uninitiated, there are several options – The Book of Common Prayer from 1662, the 1928 liturgy which eventually saw the light of day in the sixties as Series One and then the contemporary Common Worship (which most of my couples choose).

Read more

CofE Website Launch 3: A review

Screengrab from the Church of England website, 10 January 2011

In the fullness of time, the problems of this weekend’s Church of England website relaunch will be forgotten.

In the fullness of time, people will forget the fact that there is a cringeworthy video introduction to the Church of England on the website. After all, how many times do you need an introduction? The powers-that-be may even remove it anyway given the general reaction that there has been. At least, we can hope and pray that they remove it.

However, the website will remain and really that is what is important going forward. So what is it like? Is it any good? Does it mark a major step forward from the previous version?

Well, the answer is both yes and no. Read more

CofE website launch 2: The Youtube video part 2 (mission)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pFnPBtuX3I[/youtube]

In my earlier post today, I wrote about the spelling and grammar errors contained in the new video on the Church of England website: ‘An introduction to the Church of England’. You can watch the whole thing by using the embedded link above. In this post, I’d like to talk more about the content.

Basically, the video (in my opinion) is awful. The music is horrific, it sounds like something you might play at a funeral or a really bad amateur wedding video soundtrack, and it plays into all the stereotypical images of the Church of England that you could imagine. Read more

CofE website launch 2: The Youtube video part 1 (spelling)

I will get on to a proper review of the new Church of England website in due course (and I want to play with it for a while to do that), but I have to draw attention to the YouTube video that has also been unveiled as part of this new website launch for the Church of England. Last night, most of the social media attention and twittering was not about the 500 errors that I ran into but about Read more

CofE website launch: FAIL

Screengrab from the Church of England website showing an error message.

I got an excited text from a fellow Curate this afternoon who knows I’m into these things. “There’s a new Church of England website” he said. I had heard sometime ago via back-channels that something was happening so it didn’t come as a total surprise that a new website was being launched.

However, my first thought was this: ‘what are they doing launching on a Friday? You never launch a website on a Friday’. As Stephen Ward makes abundantly clear in his recent article, it’s always a bad idea. People are out of the office, you can’t deal with any immediate feedback and, despite the best testing in the world, there are always glitches and problems when something new is launched. You want to be there to nurse it through those first days… not abandon it to the weekend.

So what do I find when I log on this evening? Read more