Sunday, 29 May 2011

New appointment, new threat from old menace

Yesterday’s announcement of the appointment of a new Anglican Archdeacon (see is interesting, and perhaps rather ominous.
Apparently: “Andie Brown has been Canon Theologian at Derby Cathedral since 2003 when he took up the post of Continuing Ministerial Education Adviser for clergy and lay people of the Diocese, working with the Mission and Ministry Team.”
Interestingly firstly because it confirms the growing rift between local professional clergy (or indeed any thoughtful Christians) and ‘area management’.
Traditionally, clergy used to come here as relative juniors and rise through the ranks. Take, for example, the career of the last-but-one Archdeacon, Brian Partington, who did just that – from a young curate who came originally to get a few church ‘youthies’ going and stayed until retiring as Archdeacon (a post older Manxies tend to believe he still holds).
Now the policy, officially, is to bring in ‘new blood’ rather than let ‘the professionals’ get rooted in the community, allied to both a major ‘cost-cutting’ exercise which sees retiring clergy not being replaced while their houses (and sometimes even churches) are sold off, and a new management structure which includes ‘honorary canons’ from other denominations and other outside influences.
While this policy is allied to a pretence that it even includes non-Christians (e.g. a laughable attempt to get public subsidy for the Cathedral by setting up a bogus management committee where ‘business’ and ‘other faiths’ have ‘input’) the reality is that, firstly, a senior Anglican advised the Manx government a few years back that there were no other faiths, thus no need for government to consult them, secondly Churches Together in Mann also refused to meet with other faiths to discuss ways of broadening ‘interfaith’ unity and discussion on the island and thirdly, while non-Anglican fundamentalist evangelicals are being handed jobs within the remit of the Anglican Church and both the Fundies and the Anglicans bang on about opening community facilities to church use (Fundies) and churches to ‘community use’ (Anglicans), neither party is using the obvious solution – the Church Sharing Act, a 1990’s piece of legislation drafted by the Vicar General which allows different denominations to share a church and bills rather than let empty buildings rot.
Odd, is it not?
Then we have Sentamu’s Apprentice saying that: “He brings skills in organisation, commitment to outreach, and experience of working with individuals and teams. I look forward to working closely with him in continuing to support churches in this diocese as they develop their involvement with their local communities.”
At the simplest level, this suggests that he has a track record for creating or excusing further interference by faith-challenged simpletons with our kids and communities, but to understand this threat more fully, you need to know that Derby University was, until 1992, a C of E teacher training college called Bishop Lonsdale College. And Anglicans, having flogged off the tastier campus facilities for redevelopment before the ‘upgrade’, still have more than passing influence on University life (see, for example, ).
Also, as traditional academic faculties drop away, and government funding increasingly goes to places of lower learning which prepare students for the McJobs which British McIndustry wants, the course range gets more bizarre (golf course management, alternative health?) and subsidised by McResearch facilities.
Take, for example,, which enjoys a regular income from both public and private sponsors of ‘study’ which, rather conveniently, ‘validates’ ever more public money being micturated away on ever more right wing faith groups under the pretence that they are the glue which holds communities together (all evidence of their bigotry and divisiveness being, even more magically than transubstantiation, strangely absent).
So, keep a closer eye on your kids, your community and your taxable income in future, as all are under new threats from old, unsavoury quarters.

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