Monday, March 31, 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury spends a night with Ipswich Town Pastors


Last week the Archbishop of Canterbury spent a few days in Suffolk as part of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese’s centenary celebrations.

During that visit, he donned a yellow jacket and spent a night with the Town Pastors, a 570-strong volunteer project which sends Christians out onto the streets across Suffolk to help vulnerable people – mostly on Friday and Saturday nights and into the early hours of the morning – to manifest the compassion and love of Christ to those who may be in need, whether smashed out of their heads from clubbing, or homeless through circumstances beyond their control.

The Town Pastors don't reason the need; they simply minister from their hearts. They give out bottles of water, bars of chocolate, or just sit and listen at 4.00am to whomever wants to talk. As a result, tense situations are defused, and violence mitigated. They have a team back at their base which keeps in touch via walkie-talkies and prays all night for peace.

BBC Suffolk wrote an article on their work in 2009.

Over the celebratory weekend, the Archbishop tweeeted this picture, and Lambeth Palace tweeted this one.The Ipswich Star covered the night, and one commenter on their site said:
These guys are amazing, people from all walks of life and ages coming out to help others. They are out until 4am or later, while most people are asleep and must feel like zombies for the rest of the weekend. The police seem to rely a lot on Town Pastors to look after people that can't look after themselves and the presence that they have in the town is clear to see. I would like to applaud the town pastors for all that they do, you are massively appreciated, I just hope there is enough funding to keep it going for as long as possible because things would definitely go downhill for all stakeholder groups if they were withdrawn. It's a shame there aren't more comments and compliments for these amazing individuals I really can't emphasise enough the difference that they make
The Archbishop also had breakfast with local farmers; met with civic groups; spoke to a tent-full of people engaged in community projects; signed choristers' hymnbooks; and answered young people's questions during the Eucharist at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

And the issue the local media chose to highlight?

You guessed it:

47 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

The name of the paper "Bury Free Press" looks like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

31 March 2014 at 11:16  
Blogger bluedog said...

A valuable initiative, Your Grace. Archbishop Welby comes across as a man who could happily engage with the people he meets on a venture like this. His presence will have an enormously beneficial impact.

31 March 2014 at 12:12  
Blogger 45minutewarning said...

There are many Christian "foot soldiers" like the street pastors. I have also just been reading about a street preacher arrested in Manchester and held for 19hrs without food, water, or medication. Fortunately, he has just won compensation from the police.

I'm not sure why the archbishop should get headline coverage for spending one night with volunteers who, after all, do this every week. His recent statements on SSM however, will have serious consequences for the Anglican Church and for the future of Christianity in this country.

31 March 2014 at 12:19  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

45minutewarning@12.19
Welby wouldn't have talked about sin, so no reason for him to be arrested. As you point out, his statements on SSM show that far from not talking about sin, he is prepared to actively condone it. Destroyed from the inside, the C of E seems to be doing the devil's work.

31 March 2014 at 12:48  
Blogger 45minutewarning said...

BusyMum

I would say that the actions of the archbishop makes the work of the Christian on the ground more difficult because he (the archbishop) is encouraging the world to expect Christians to behave in a worldly way.

It's even harder for the soldier to win the battle when his captain has deserted him

31 March 2014 at 13:06  
Blogger ukFred said...

And if he had not mentioned sae sex marriage, the headline would have been that he had ignored the subject during his visit.

31 March 2014 at 13:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The newspaper business is primarily interested in selling readers to advertisers. Now which story do you think will move sales?

1. Town Pastors help homeless.

2. AoC speaks on SSM

An editor won't have any difficulty deciding which story to highlight.

carl

31 March 2014 at 13:25  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack wonders what he said on the subject.

31 March 2014 at 13:29  
Blogger Len said...

As Carl said..SSM is the hot news story.

'Welby cares for the homeless.'.no one interested.

31 March 2014 at 13:33  
Blogger 45minutewarning said...

Happy Jack

I would sum it up as "confusing Christian love with condoning sin".

31 March 2014 at 13:38  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack has found out what Justin Welby said.

“It’s complicated because throughout history the scriptures teach and the church is understood that sexual activity should be within marriage and marriage is between a man and a woman and to change our understanding of that is not something we can do quickly and casually. It has to be done with profound thought and not just because as there is there’s a very clear majority in this country in favour of gay marriage."

Surely such a change in understanding shouldn't take place at all?

“Parliament has spoken very clearly and we accept that and that’s right and proper.

But Parliament doesn't determine Church teaching.

“We have to be those who are faithful to the tradition we’ve inherited and adapt and change as each generation comes along in a way that’s faithful to the God who loves us and we do that in the context of the whole church.

“It is unbelievably difficult, unbelievably painful and unbelievably complicated.

“I haven’t got a quick one-liner that solves the problem - I wish I had and I would dearly love there to be one but there isn’t.”


Well not if you want a consensus, no. Is this what pastoral leadership is about though?

“The church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people and we’re mugs if we think anything else."

The Gospel message isn't about adjustments to basic teachings so as to be acceptable to youth, is it?

“We need to be really blunt about that. We need to listen to them but we need to listen to Christians around the world and we need to listen to each other and in the discussions rather than shouting that one side’s homophobic and the other side’s betraying the gospel - we need actually to listen to each other as human beings.”

And the Holy Spirit? Where does He come in?

Framed in these terms, Jack fears this issue is completely insoluble for the Church of England.

31 March 2014 at 13:41  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

45minutewarning @ 13.06 - absolutely

It makes it impossible at school - the governors and teachers just refer to "what the diocese says" - and never seem bothered by the fact that the diocese says different things from year to year. Blind leading the blind - and many of them choosing to keep their eyes tightly closed.

31 March 2014 at 13:47  
Blogger 45minutewarning said...

Actually Jack, it's not insoluble if we stop behaving like some kind of religous Quango and preach the Gospel as it stands. It only becomes complicated when you try to please everybody for the sake of popularity.

31 March 2014 at 13:48  
Blogger Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Having been studying Isaiah 58, it is obvious that it is so important to examine the motives of our actions. Whilst the work these Street/Town Pastors do is very commendable, it is important that the works are the works of God.
It is vital that the leaders of the Church stand firm to Biblical principles and not shift to satisfy the liberal thinking groups that say we can make God to meet our way of thinking.

31 March 2014 at 13:50  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Happy Jack

But Parliament doesn't determine Church teaching.

In some areas it does, and has done for several centuries, beginning with the Act of Supremacy.

31 March 2014 at 13:54  
Blogger Integrity said...

Jack,
A very good Fisking of the AoC message.
Well done.

31 March 2014 at 13:55  
Blogger Len said...

The Bible is very clear on the relationship between man and woman in Marriage.
As Jack has said Welby seems to drawn between the Government and the Biblical view.I suppose the danger of a state religion is that it will end up being of no use to the State or to Christianity either.

31 March 2014 at 14:14  
Blogger 45minutewarning said...

Happy Jack

"The church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people and we’re mugs if we think anything else."


It's hard to believe this is the head of the Anglica church writing this stuff.

Imagine the consequences if Churchill had talked this way about Nazi Germany...."We will fight them on the beaches, but only after lots of profound thought and a few YouGov polls first...and we might have to let them have a bit of Englands so we don't annoy them too much..and it's all unbelievably difficult anyway"

31 March 2014 at 14:24  
Blogger Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Cutesy Happy Jack quote "sexual activity should be within marriage and marriage is between a man and a woman and to change our understanding of that is not something we can do quickly and casually" Our understanding should not change on the immutable word of God.

The crowd called out for Barabbas, Give us Barabbas, Kill Jesus.

This is how the crowed can be stirred by those opposed to God.

31 March 2014 at 14:27  
Blogger Anglican said...

Who is the new John Keble to preach on National Apostasy to a slumbering Church of England?

31 March 2014 at 14:45  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Anglican

Wouldn’t you agree that the main challenge facing the C of E, at the present juncture, is neither apostasy nor slumber, but shrinkage? There are grounds for suspecting that Keble may have contributed to the shrinkage: he did not himself swim the Tiber, but the Oxford Movement he launched ended up depriving the C of E of a number of able and distinguished clergymen who did.

31 March 2014 at 15:56  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Uncle Brian, Happy Jack thinks the threat facing all churches today is theological liberalism and its sister modernism. It has been for the past 100 years plus and means all doctrines and dogmas are up for revision according to the mood of the age. Political liberalism has now married theological liberalism. It is rampant in the Roman Catholic Church too.

31 March 2014 at 17:05  
Blogger Integrity said...

Your Grace,
A homily given by God.

Sin Vs God
A Lenten reflection.

The LGBT lobbyists went amongst the crowd and coerced them to cry for Barabbas. So the crowd cried out “Give us Barabbas, Give us Barabbas, Give us Barabbas”.
César Welby looked down on the crowd with sorrow and said “Would ye not rather have Jesus”.
The crowd shouted back loudly “No. Crucify him, crucify him, give us Barabbas”.
So Cesar Welby washed his hands and gave the crowd Barabbas and crucified Jesus all over again.

Welby! You started well……Who hath bewitched thee?

31 March 2014 at 17:48  
Blogger Integrity said...

Your Grace,
A homily given by God.

Sin Vs God
A Lenten reflection.

The LGBT lobbyists went amongst the crowd and coerced them to cry for Barabbas. So the crowd cried out “Give us Barabbas, Give us Barabbas, Give us Barabbas”.
César Welby looked down on the crowd with sorrow and said “Would ye not rather have Jesus”.
The crowd shouted back loudly “No. Crucify him, crucify him, give us Barabbas”.
So Cesar Welby washed his hands and gave the crowd Barabbas and crucified Jesus all over again.

Welby! You started well……Who hath bewitched thee?

31 March 2014 at 17:48  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Happy Jack @ 17:05

"Political liberalism has now married theological liberalism."

Presumably in a same-sex marriage, to be true to the credentials of both.

31 March 2014 at 18:30  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

“Archbishop fails to reassure mystified local livestock in his support of SSM”

“Makes no sense” said horse.

“Has put me right off laying, I can tell you” says indignant hen.

“Probably lead to an increase in bestiality” whimpers worried sheep.

“Mad Man disease?”, asks cow.

31 March 2014 at 18:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Explorer, it is worse than that. No only is this a same sex marriage, they have the same parent in the Enlightenment's faith in objectivity and science.

31 March 2014 at 19:28  
Blogger bluedog said...

Great post, HJ @ 13.41. A dilemma indeed for the CofE as the State Church.

When a socially conservative government repeals Cameron's SSM Act, presumably the AoC of the day will find himself vigorously defending SSM as the law of the land. As you say, Welby has made the mistake of conceding that the Law of God is subordinate to the Westminster parliament. For the chief spokesperson of an institution that promotes moral absolutes and eternal truths this is an impossible contortion.

One can imagine Welby's problem; even if he privately disapproves of SSM, there is clearly a massive gay and pro-SSM lobby within the clergy of the CofE. Thus the ranks are full of rats ready to undermine his authority with the support of the BBC and Guardian. It will be fascinating to see how the politics of the matter develop.

31 March 2014 at 20:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Political liberalism has now married theological liberalism

Damian Thompson has written an interesting article on the ecclesiological significance:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100265463/gay-marriage-will-change-the-church-of-england-forever/

31 March 2014 at 20:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Bluedog,

When a socially conservative government repeals Cameron's SSM Act, presumably the AoC of the day will find himself vigorously defending SSM as the law of the land.

This is an interesting point. Often, we conservatives are told to get up to date on these matters. But those who do so are fickle. Today's homophiles are yesterday's homophobes. Should the culture of the future become homophobic, they will dutifully become homophobic. Thus if Justin is just following the spirit of the age, he will support the withdrawal of the legislation in the future, if that is how the culture develops.

31 March 2014 at 20:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Albert @ 20:49

'Acts' 17:21 comes to mind.

31 March 2014 at 20:57  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

bluedog, isn't the real problem that liberalism and modernism reject moral absolutes and eternal truths? Even the Divinity of Christ and His physical resurrection have been questioned by bishops.

The homosexual and pro-SSM lobby in the clergy of the Church of England feed off this and in turn make it stronger. This apostasy has been increasing and gaining ground for decades. The Roman Catholic Church is facing it too. Jack wonders where it will all end.

In 1979 Pope John Paul II, on a visit to the USA said:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.

We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church … must take up.”


And this was 25 years when no-one could have anticipated the pace of apostasy.

31 March 2014 at 20:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Happy Jack,

My guess is that we will wake up one day and the present culture will have gone. It lacks coherence, and is only in vogue because it is useful and people like it. But one day something in it will cease to be useful and people won't like it. Then they will say they could see through it all along. That's why it is not worth getting overly worked up about it.

31 March 2014 at 21:09  
Blogger bluedog said...

Albert @ 20.49 says, 'Thus if Justin is just following the spirit of the age, he will support the withdrawal of the legislation in the future, if that is how the culture develops.'

Sadly true. As the state becomes increasingly secular, so too will the CofE if its leadership simply follows the dictates of the statute book. Welby faces an unenviable situation; to remain a Christian church in the Catholic tradition, the CofE must dis-establish. Roman Church Inc awaits in the wings!

31 March 2014 at 21:10  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

You are correct. This culture does have feet of clay. It is sustained only by the inertia of prosperity. But libertine attitudes cannot sustain that prosperity. The problem then is "What comes next?" It won't be what was. It will be something malignant and ugly. And people won't like it when it firmly takes root. But by then it will be too late.

carl

31 March 2014 at 21:29  
Blogger bluedog said...

Carl @ 21.29, says, 'But libertine attitudes cannot sustain that prosperity.'

Well that's it then, no more 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness'.

The Great Satan is defeated by the weight of its own internal contradictions. Vale the American Republic.

31 March 2014 at 21:35  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Bluedog

Well, yes. Limited gov't is unstable. How do you give the population liberty and avoid them turning liberty into license? The Founding Fathers depended upon religion to constrain the passions of man. But Western man has largely cast God into the dustbin of history and deified instead...his own desires. He has made license into his own personal god. That is the central Western problem. And it's a fatal problem.

carl

31 March 2014 at 22:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...



Albert. one concurs. With SSM there seems to be a lot of running with the herd. One has to ask this, what else is taking the interest of CoE priests that they cannot rationale what is happening to that what they hold dear. To wit, God’s will.

31 March 2014 at 22:46  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Uncle Brian,

"There are grounds for suspecting that Keble may have contributed to the shrinkage: he did not himself swim the Tiber, but the Oxford Movement he launched ended up depriving the C of E of a number of able and distinguished clergymen who did."

It seems a bit harsh to blame Keble and the Oxford Movement for clergy deserting the Church of England. The Church itself did everything it could to suppress them in the mid-to-late 19th century. Several Anglo-Catholic clergymen were gaoled under the Public Worship Reform Act for so-called Ritualist practices.

I was going to be an Anglican clergyman, but decided against it when I realised that old school Anglo-Catholics like me basically had no future in the CoE, and so I converted to Roman Catholicism. Since I already believed RC teaching, it seemed like the sensible thing to do.

Trouble is, I then couldn't be ordained as I have no intention of being celibate, so instead of being an RC priest, in a time of acute clerical shortage, I now drive buses round Sunderland; ain't life grand? :oD

1 April 2014 at 00:26  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Darter, Happy Jack says God will reward you for your faithfulness. And, if Jack has understood you, he understands you also teach theology and that you are a Deacon. Driving buses is noble work and is a service to the public. You should read the 'Rule of Benedict'. It may help you see that even in mundane work we can we worship God.

1 April 2014 at 01:09  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 April 2014 at 01:09  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Awaiting His Grace's April Fool post...Will it be a firm rebuttal of Homosexuality and SSM?* Giggles *

Blofeld

1 April 2014 at 10:01  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

The Founding Fathers depended upon religion to constrain the passions of man. But Western man has largely cast God into the dustbin of history and deified instead...his own desires. He has made license into his own personal god.

Yes, and we can see it breaking down already. The more "liberal" society becomes the more laws are needed to take over where culture succeeded before. With no culture, people have to be forced. Hence the saying "there's none so illiberal as a liberal." Interestingly, the kinds of liberal tactics that we see in politics and in society now, are exactly those that have been trialled in the CofE over the last few decades.

What comes next is certainly more worrying than what we have now.

1 April 2014 at 10:44  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Thank you Happy Jack :o)

I do rather enjoy driving buses, but it wasn't exactly what I envisaged doing for a living.

I'm finishing off my PhD at the moment, and hope to get a full-time Theology teaching job when that's done; I've only done part-time so far.

I'd like to be a Deacon, but as a non-celibate I can't become one until 35, so I've got 4 years to wait...

1 April 2014 at 11:06  
Blogger bluedog said...

Carl @ 22.31 asks, 'How do you give the population liberty and avoid them turning liberty into license?'

Enlightened self-interest is all that is left, and it may be enough. This communicant thinks you may be too pessimistic about civil society. In peace-time very few societies will tolerate the self-abnegation and sacrifice of the warrior ethos, preferring instead what you tend to regard as bourgeois decadence. We saw this with the conscript army that the US sent to Vietnam, an army which famously and spectacularly demilitarised itself once outside the Lower 48. This demilitarisation was of course aided and abetted by the parents of the conscripts, who judged the war in Vietnam in terms of their own much more serious struggle against the Axis. If you had gone ashore at Iwo Jima or Normandy, you were entitled to think your kids didn't need to be put in harm's way. Nothing could persuade US families otherwise, and the US has abandoned conscription in peace-time, recognising that volunteers create fewer social problems.

The Founding Fathers' encouragement of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness is remarkable given the profoundly puritan (Calvinist?) origins of so much of the US. Perhaps these words reflect the influence of Episcopalian Virginians within the US Constitution.

One hesitates to comment about someone else's country, but the big challenge for US democracy would appear to be the same as that question facing every other formerly European country which now has significant non-European demographics within its polity. How do you prevent the ballot box becoming the fulcrum of ethnic or cultural conflict, with political parties that become fronts for ethnic or cultural blocs? When you recall that 94% of black Americans voted for Obama in 2008, you can possibly see the future of Western democracies. The only surprise at present in the UK is the non-emergence of a Muslim party with overt Middle Eastern links.

1 April 2014 at 12:49  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 April 2014 at 15:48  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Darter Noster

I didn’t know about the minimum age requirement for deacons and I looked it up to see whether it was a rule in the worldwide Church or only in some countries. It turns out that it is, indeed (as far as I can tell) a worldwide rule, with the proviso that dioceses are allowed, at their own discretion, to raise the minimum age to 40. If it’s any consolation, if you were driving buses somewhere else instead of in Sunderland, you might be even further away from ordination.

Congratulations, Darter! I wish you every success.

1 April 2014 at 19:37  

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