Looking in the mirror…

Thriplow School drawing

I’m going into lots of church schools this year to lead celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the National Society’s move to found them as a free provision for as many of our parishes as possible. This morning’s visit was to Swaffham Bulbeck, and more news of that in a later post.

One recent visit though was for a different sort of celebration – of Holy Communion, at Thriplow School. I mentioned it in my University Confirmation sermon, because I found it both challenging and exciting to get the heart of our Easter faith across to five year olds, and they were a great congregation.

Meanwhile of course the children were having their own ideas about me, and just this morning a thankyou card came through the post which showed me just how others see me. Actually, I really want one of these new heli-mitres. It would make getting around the diocese so much easier! So thankyou Thriplowites for the idea, and if you’d now like to try building one that would be great!

And for the liturgical purists out there (you know who you are) I was actually wearing a white stole for Easter, but green looks good too.

A double piscina – with washboard?!

Double piscina at Thriplow

Pope Innocent III ordered the construction of double piscinas, I believe, in 1216, to ensure that the water of the handwashing was kept separate from the water/wine of the ablutions before Communion. By the end of the century the regulation seems to have been regarded as otiose.

This is a simple example, without a double canopy, at Thriplow – but what are the ridges between the drains? Pevsner is silent.

The Church Revived: join in now!

The Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust warmly invites you to its Spring Conference on May 21st 2011 at Lee Hall, Wolfson College, for which a few places are still open.

The Conference is entitled: ‘The Church Revived’ and its programme has been expertly organised by Jane Kennedy and Dr John Maddison.

The modern history of Christianity in England is a sequence of revivals in spiritual life, liturgy and architecture. This year’s conference looks at some of these revivals and their architectural and artistic consequences.

As usual we have a group of distinguished speakers for what promises to be a very interesting and stimulating day. 

Professor Graham Parry of the University of York , author of Glory Laud and Honour; the arts of the Anglican Counter-Reformation (2006) will talk about the Laudian Revival.

Dr Christopher Wakeling who lectures at Keele University and chairs English Heritage’s Places of Worship Forum , Publications include ‘The Nonconformist Traditions: Chapels, Change and Continuity’ and ‘Rolling in the Aisles: Nonconformist Perspectives on the Gothic.’ will discuss the Wesleyan Revival and the architecture of Methodism.

Christopher Webster is joint editor of The Cambridge Camden Society and its Influence (2000). His lecture is entitled ‘The Revival of church architecture and correct church arrangements’; the work of the Cambridge Camden Society, 1839-1949.

Cambridge Camden Society

The day ends with a presentation by Scilla Latham, the recently appointed County Church Buildings Support Officer . She will talk about her work in helping parishes find ways of maintaining and adapting their churches  to meet the challenges of the new millennium.  She started work in January. The appointment is part of the English Heritage Inspired’ programme which helps congregations to help themselves. English Heritage is providing £1.5 million to part-fund 30 Support Officers for congregations of any faith or denomination who are working to maintain the historic places of worship in their care. The scheme will help best practice in conservation and management of historic places of worship to be shared across the country.

This post has been made possible through a funding partnership with English Heritage, the Diocese of Ely, Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust and the All Churches Trust. Scilla is employed by Cambridgeshire ACRE and is based in Littleport, where she is benefiting from the experience of other community project officers who have experience of many of the parishes with which she will be working.

CHCT Spring Conference 2011 booking form

If you would like to join us, please download the booking form above or contact the Conference Secretary by clicking here or phoning 01223 892430

Many thanks to NextNorth, & Wolfson College for all their great help, advice & Support

Pentecost Praise at Ely Cathedral




A service of


and renewal

with baptism and


Ely Cathedral

Pentecost Sunday

June 12th at 7.30pm

To be led by Bishops Stephen and David

With the Bishop’s Band

Candidates for baptism and/or confirmation are invited to attend with the support of their parish priest, who is asked to contact the Precentor, Canon James Garrard, Ely Cathedral, Chapter House, The College, Ely, Cambs. CB7 4DL : 01353 660335 : j.garrard@cathedral.ely.anglican.org as soon as possible.





Chief Executive of the Mothers’ Union

will speak on the current MU campaign



Thursday 23 June

7.30 pm

Great Shelford Memorial Hall

Tickets are free but please apply in advance as numbers in the Hall are limited. Send an sae to 13 Collier Way, Stapleford CB22 5DZ with number of tickets required.

There will be a Leaving Collection for Mothers’ Union projects after the talk.

Directions to Great Shelford:

From Cambridge, take the road to Trumpington, turn left onto the A1301 to ‘The Shelfords’. Continue to the traffic lights in Tunwells Lane, turn right into the village. The Memorial Hall is on the left.

From M11: exit at 11, direction towards Cambridge. Take the turn to the Hospital, right at the first lights, continue to Great Shelford as above.

Doors open at 6.30 pm. Tea and coffee available in the Hall.

Parking available around the Hall and in the Barclays Bank car park about 50 yards further on, to the side of the Bank.

Theos May 2011 newsletter

What has the Bible ever done for us?

This year sees the King James Version celebrate its 400th birthday, and there have been celebrations aplenty. But most have focused on its impact on the nation’s literature, language and culture.
In a new book, entitled Freedom and Order: History, Politics and the English Bible, published by Hodder and Stoughton on May 12, Nick Spencer argues that this is badly misleading and that the Bible (not just in its King James incarnation) has been the single most influential document in British political history.
Described by Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University, as the book that "stands out from the herd in this year celebrating King James’s contribution to biblical translation", Freedom and Order will be discussed in greater detail in next month’s newsletter.
Interested readers, however, can find more information here.
For the next four weeks, Nick Spencer will be writing Theos’ Current Debates exploring different aspects of the impact of the Bible on our political life. To read the first of these, on tolerance, click here.

Why God won’t go away

On Wednesday 18th May from 1:10 – 2:00pm, Prof. Alister McGrath, Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King’s College London will give a lunchtime talk responding to Dawkins and the New Atheism at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey.
An internationally-acclaimed writer & theologian, and a former atheist, Alister McGrath regularly engages in debate and dialogue with leading atheists, and has extensively researched the ‘atheist apologetics’ of Richard Dawkins.
The event is organised by Westminster Abbey in partnership with Theos, Christians in Parliament and Christians in Government. Entry is free, and further details can be obtained by contacting: pamela.carrington@westminster-abbey.org.

The Great AV Debate

Ahead of last week’s referendum on AV reform, Theos, in partnership with Charities Parliament and The Faith and Public Policy Forum at King’s College London, held a debate on the issues surrounding the proposed changes to the election process.
Dr Luke Bretherton, Senior Lecturer in theology and politics at King’s and Convener of the Faith and Public Policy Forum, chaired the debate, which involved (for the ‘Yes’ campaign) Baroness Oona King of Bow and Peter Facey from Unlock Democracy, and (for the ‘No’ campaign) Sam Gyimah MP and Gavin Shuker MP.
A show of hands at the beginning and end of the evening revealed that the debate had informed the audience, who felt both more confident that they now understood the issues and more certain about which way they were intending to vote.
Whether the British public were ‘confident’ in their decision we shall never know, but 42% of them voted overwhelmingly (68% of votes cast said ‘No’ to AV; the ‘Yes’ campaign won in just 10 of the 440 voting areas) to reject the Alternative Vote. Click here to read up on the results.

Literature and Belief

John Carey is one of Britain’s most erudite, lucid and informative critics – although far too self-effacing ever to describe himself in this way.
Emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, Booker Prize chairman, chief book reviewer for the Sunday Times, and author of numerous, widely-acclaimed literary studies (most recently a biography of Willam Golding), Carey is one of a breed – perhaps a particular generation – of public intellectuals who have no Christian faith themselves, but a genuine and serious respect for Christianity’s intellectual, moral and aesthetic contribution to Western life.
Nick Spencer met him in his cottage in the Cotswolds to discuss faith, doubt, literature, belief, and "the darkness of man’s heart". Read the resulting interview in Third Way magazine here.

Theos Friends

What to get more involved in Theos and receive all our publications? Join the Theos Friends’ programme today. For more information, click here.

Contact details

Email address changes: Please notify us by emailing hello@theosthinktank.co.uk so we can continue to keep you up to date with our latest news.
If you have been sent this e-newsletter by mistake and/or would like to unsubscribe from our mailing list, please email hello@theosthinktank.co.uk and title your email ‘unsubscribe’.

Theos – the public theology think tank
77 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2EZ

E. hello@theosthinktank.co.uk
T. 0207 828 7777

Click here for further information about Theos.

Communications Update

Archbishops' Council

Welcome to the latest bulletin update from the Communications Office, Church House, London. Feel free to forward it to others, or to use its content in newsletters, magazines or on websites. You have previously subscribed to this email from the Church of England website.

Cathedral congregations continue to grow

Attendance levels at regular weekly services in Church of England cathedrals have increased significantly again this year, by 7%, say the latest statistics from the Archbishops’ Council’s Research and Statistics Unit.
Since the turn of the millennium, they have steadily grown by a total of 37%, which is about 4% on average each year. At Sunday services alone, 15,800 adults and 3,100 children and young people are usually present while over the whole week the figures rise (by 73%) to 27,400 and 7,600 respectively. Westminster Abbey adds, on average, 1,800 people each week to these numbers. More here.

Scared of social media?

A new training course can help. Churches looking to get into social media, to work more closely with their local media, considering a stand at a wedding show, or wanting to improve personal communication skills will be keen to study the latest communications training website from the Archbishops’ Council’s Communications Office.
All these subjects are among new courses on offer and bookable online at www.churchcommstraining.org. The programme, put together following feedback from across the Church, is specially developed to help churches use a range of tools to speak to their communities. More here.

Church Commissioners Report

The Church Commissioners have published their full Annual Report and Accounts for 2010.
It follows publication of their 2010 annual results on April 15th, when they announced a 15.2 per cent return on their investments during 2010 and confirmed the fund’s strong long-term performance.
Andrew Brown, Secretary to the Church Commissioners, said: "These are challenging financial times for all charities and public bodies, and the Church is not immune from these pressures. Although the Commissioners provide around 17p in the pound towards the costs of the Church’s mission, the vast majority of the remainder comes from the generosity of today’s worshippers. Parishes and dioceses rely on their continued support. Our contribution is biased towards supporting poorer dioceses." More.

New Provincial Episcopal Visitors

Downing Street has announced the appointment of the Revd Jonathan Baker as Bishop of Ebbsfleet (above right) and the Revd Norman Banks (above left) as the Bishop of Richborough, both of whom will be consecrated at a service at Southwark Cathedral on 16th June.
In line with the 1993 Act of Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury has commissioned the Provincial Episcopal Visitors to work with the diocesan bishops to provide extended pastoral care and sacramental ministry, as well as acting as spokesmen and advisors, to ensure that ‘the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognised and respected’.
The Revd Jonathan Baker, who is currently Principal of Pusey House, succeeds Bishop Andrew Burnham as Bishop of Ebbsfleet. The Revd Norman Banks, who is currently Vicar of Walsingham, Houghton and Barsham, succeeds Bishop Keith Newton as Bishop of Richborough.

Back to Church Sunday

Back to Church Sunday will be taking place on 25th September 2011.
It’s time to register your church to be involved. To find out more go to the Back to Church website or download the brochure here.

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Copyright © 2011 Archbishops’ Council, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is cofe.comms@churchofengland.org

Peter Crumpler, Director of Communications welcomes comments.
Key fingertip facts about the Church of England can be found here.

Retreat Weekend at St John’s College Nottingham

Friday 15 to Sunday 17 July 2011

‘Under the hands of God’

Led by The Revd David Runcorn

An opportunity for Clergy, Readers and anyone who would enjoy a weekend of retreat at St John’s. The weekend will include worship, silence and relaxation. Book in for the whole weekend and take the opportunity to meet the experienced team members for prayer and spiritual direction.

Price: £175 per person. Groups of 5+ at £160

The price includes lunch, evening meal and refreshments and overnight accommodation.

To book contact David Hilton on 0115 968 3224  or email bookshop@stjohns-nottm.ac.uk

St John’s Extension Studies, Chilwell Lane, Nottingham NG9 3RL


To download a booking form click here: http://stjohns-nottm.ac.uk/retreat-weekend/2011-07-15?CalendarStart=2011-07-16&CalendarEnd=2011-07-17