Mgr. Barnes goes to MPB

To continue our look at Most Precious Blood, South London, here is a story about Monsignor Edwin Barnes’ expedition to the Borough this last weekend:

Mgr Barnes 20150111 - 4After a family party in Dorking on Saturday night, where to go to church next morning? We decided to head into town, to find the Precious Blood, London Bridge – one of the two Ordinariate churches in the Great Wen. Dorking to London is not far on the map; but on a Sunday morning it was a nightmare. Why does anyone try to drive in London? They cut off roads which appear continuous on the map, others they make one-way – always the opposite way to where you’re heading. After some interesting diversions, we made it, with ten minutes to spare.

Anglican Patrimony? Parish Priest greets people after Mass

Anglican Patrimony? Parish Priest greets people after Mass

It was, though, worth the journey. A marvellously diverse congregation, and an example of how the Ordinariate might develop. Apparently the church had been in danger of closing until the Archbishop of Southwark and Mgr Keith decided to put an Ordinariate priest, Fr Christopher Pearson, in charge. There were enough former Anglicans not to be simply swallowed up by the existing congregation, Fr Christopher had experience of that part of London in his Anglican days, and both communities have come together very happily.

Mgr Barnes 20150111 - 3Father gave me the privilege of being Principal Celebrant, which I enjoyed – I hope others did too. Then there was a little more patrimony; the bunfight. I did not quite work out the geography of Church and Presbytery, so I was not clear if we were in the house or the sacristy, but it was all very jolly and we met many people, among them some old friends. Antonia Lynn (trained at a certain House in Oxford) travels in from Ewell, and others come from a distance to find lively worship offered in a recognisably Anglican Manner (recognisable, that is, if you were a well-instructed Anglo-Catholic.)

Milling after Mass

Milling after Mass

We were given more hospitality – lunch in a pub in Tabard Street- shades of the Canterbury Pilgrims.

Mgr Barnes 20150111 - 5Then we set off for home and found ourselves entangled in the cars of home-going shoppers as we crossed Southwest London, so that the journey was even more wearing than getting to O’Meara Street in the morning. But it was STILL worth the trip. As if to encourage us, we’d been given a SIGN in the sky outside church – disappointingly there was not also “In hoc signo vinces”, but perhaps that is just understood.

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18 Responses to Mgr. Barnes goes to MPB

  1. EPMS says:

    Clearly it is good news when a church in danger of closing becomes a lively and more than viable parish. Having said this, I am not sure that MPB is really a model for the OOLW going forward if the goal is the preservation and sharing of explicitly Anglican treasures with the Church as a whole. There may be “Englishness” there, and given the transformation of the Catholic church in Britain by successive waves of European immigration this is not negligible, but if any celebration of the Ordinariate Use has been discontinued (for lack of interest, I assume), what are we left with? Tasteful music, excellent preaching, and PLUs at the coffee hour. This seems exactly what you are talking about, Mr Murphy, when you use the term “decompression chamber”.

    • I must admit that I am not a friend of “planting” Ordinariate communities in diocesan parishes, although I know that many in the Ordinariate do not share my view. I can cite one example of where the sharing of church, priest, parish works particularly well, and that is Darlington. But unfortunately I know of many other examples where the distinctiveness of the two communities is gradually being lost and, especially if there is only one Sunday Mass, where the Ordinariate Use is practically non-existent.

      David Murphy

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: I must admit that I am not a friend of “planting” Ordinariate communities in diocesan parishes, although I know that many in the Ordinariate do not share my view.

        I have mixed feelings about this. From a pastoral perspective, the ideal clearly is for each ordinariate congregation to have its own facilities — place of worship, formation programs, fellowship, etc. But realistically, many of the ordinariate groups do not have the means to afford their own church, or even to rent enough space for a modest chapel, office space, and a couple rooms to use for fellowship (the infamous “bun fight”) and Christian formation programs. It seems better for these groups to share space with a diocesan parish until they develop the means to acquire and maintain their own facilities. In many cases, this should be viewed as a temporary situation until the ordinariate congregation can acquire and sustain its own facilities — which, in some cases, may take a decade or two.

        There are also many instances in which two smaller congregations (ordinariate and diocesan, as relevant here) sharing facilities does make sense, especially if neither uses the facilities full time. There’s no reason why a single church building can’t host two masses — one ostensibly for a diocesan congregation and the other ostensibly for an ordinariate congregation — at reasonable times on a Sunday morning, for example. Also, smaller congregations may find it difficult to operate separate programmes of catechetical formation, sacramental preparation, and other ministries due to lack of qualified volunteers from their separate memberships. By collaboration, they can draw talent from both congregations to provide better programs of pastoral ministry than either congregation could provide on its own..

        You wrote: But unfortunately I know of many other examples where the distinctiveness of the two communities is gradually being lost and, especially if there is only one Sunday Mass, where the Ordinariate Use is practically non-existent.

        In this regard, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is in a unique situation. AS EPMS pointed out, many of its communities actually used the ordinary form of the Roman Rite as Anglicans and the distinctly Anglican elements of Divine Worship (the official designation of the liturgy for the ordinariates and the parishes erected under the so-called “pastoral provision” here in the States) really are not part of their experience. As such, it probably does not make sense to attempt to impose Divine Worship upon them.

        There are, however, significant liturgical elements of Anglican patrimony by which the congregations of the ordinariates can sustain their distinct identity — morning prayer, evensong, and their tradition of liturgical music, for example. Even a small ordinariate group that does not have its own pastor can continue these elements, at least on Sundays, major solemnities, significant celebrations proper to the ordinariates, and its titular feast.

        Norm.

      • We are talking at slightly cross purposes, Norm. I absolutely see the necessity of sharing facilities with a diocesan parish in the fledgling days.

        The problem I have is with the Ordinariate priest being appointed parish priest or priest in charge of a diocesan parish and bringing his Ordinariate group with him to revitalise the parish, much like the church plants of Holy Trinity Brompton in the UK.

        The result (at the end of the first generation) may be
        – an Ordinariate parish where the resident diocesan Catholics have been subsumed OR
        – a dynamic diocesan parish with an Ordinariate priest and several former Ordinariate members in key positions in the parish (and slowly departing this life).

        The Darlington Ordinariate Mission, for example, is such a “church plant” where maintaining a clear distinction between the two groups of Catholics seems to be working very well.

    • CPS says:

      It was very good to have Mgr Barnes and his wife with us on Sunday. He seemed very “at home”.

      I detect a feeling in some quarters that MPB doesn’t seem to fit with the theoretical model of some people as to what an Ordinariate Parish should look like. I make the following comments to give a broader picture of how MPB is developing.

      There is, and has been for over 2 years, a weekly celebration of Evensong according to the book of Common Prayer at Most Precious Blood on a Thursday Evening sung to plainsong from Briggs and Frere accompanied on a specially installed pipe organ. This is followed by a Mass. For 6 months we used the Ordinariate form rather than the Ordinary form. It neither increased nor decreased the Mass attendance but it was jolly confusing for people, often tourists, who came to the Mass. Mgr Barnes has rightly pointed out on his blog that the Ordinariate form is contrived and owes little to the practical usage of the BCP that many of us knew in the CofE. I’m glad that there are places which find it useful, even a mission tool, but for us it didn’t work.

      The genius and Achilles heel of Anglicanism was its diversity. That diversity knew no effective control in the CofE and was dangerous but with Peter (the Pope) holding the diversity within measured bounds then we are safe to explore and to have “fresh expressions” of what it is to be an Ordinariate Parish.

      When the South London Ordinariate Group was given care of the Parish we could easily have emptied it by being dogmatic about liturgy. Instead, by being true to a genuinely Anglican approach (the Via Media), the numbers have grown considerably, the financial giving has increased by 400% and there are now several hundred people per week who come under the influence of the Ordinariate in this part of London. It is a model which has “leverage” and is one way of “being (an Ordinariate) church” which works here.

      In a densely populated part of London there are many alternatives both Diocesan (cradle) Catholics and converts have sought us out despite the interior of the building being in desperate need of new flooring and decoration. Look how it was originally: http://www.preciousblood.org.uk/uploads/1/7/5/4/17544525/9159008_orig.jpg?357

      At MPB, the liturgy is important, it is varied, it includes BCP Evensong every week; we are primarily focussed on worshipping God and making new disciples of Jesus Christ. If the Ordinary, Extraordinary or Ordinariate Form can help achieve this goal then the Parish Governing Council in conjunction with the PP are open to experiment as indeed we did during Advent with all Masses being eastward facing at the High Altar. This particular experiment will now be the subject of further discussion at the next Council meeting….Patrimony indeed!

      A Church Warden at MPB

      • Thanks, C…., for this comment from someone right at the heart of MPB, who is in the know.

        I have just one question still:
        Is MPB an Ordinariate parish (as you write) or is it a revitalised diocesan parish with some Ordinariate elements? Or is it a diocesan parish hosting a distinct Ordinariate community? Or what is it exactly (from your point of view)?

        David

      • CPS says:

        The Church and Parish at MPB have been placed in the care of the Ordinariate of OLW by the Archdiocese of Southwark. There is a simple contract which is very similar to the standard contract which exists in situations where a religious order runs a Parish and we would say “That’s a Franciscan Parish” or, in the case of MPB before the Ordinariate “That’s a Salvatorian parish”. In this sense MPB is an Ordinariate Parish. Where a Franciscan Parish might have a couple of Priests and maybe a few lay-brothers who give the Franciscan flavour to the Parish so for the Ordinariate there is a Priest or two and a few dozen lay people who embody and propagate their Anglican heritage. I fear that liturgy is often used as a touchstone because, however remote, anyone can have an opinion based on a photo of a Mass or the rite used. Many of us have argued that the Patrimony is more subtle, more all-embracing in terms of the approach to running a Parish.

        One practical illustration of the legal relationship is that selection of the Parish Priest is made by Mgr Newton in consultation with the Archbishop. In other places it is the Archbishop who appoints in consultation with Mgr Newton. We can possibly see here parallels with the exercise of “Patronage” in the CofE where the Patron of a living might be an Oxford College, Trustees or an individual even though the Parish is firmly within a particular geographical Diocese.

        Mgr Newton could (dare I say, should) set up Personal Parishes in places where there is a stable group which is financially sustainable. This would give welcome solidity to our loose structures and, importantly, an indication of permanence. The Personal Parish (ie one which is made up of persons not places) would be centred on an existing worshipping community and the Rector of the Personal Parish could hold Diocesan and Ordinariate appointments in plurality. In the strictest sense then an “Ordinariate Parish” is one which has been canonically erected under the provisions of AC. The divisions of responsibility and dual reporting lines to the Ordinary of the Ordinariate and to the Diocesan Bishop are explicitly mentioned in AC. Sadly, there are no Personal Parishes yet in the UK and it high time that we stepped out boldly and had some.

        I suspect Canon Lawyers will find all sorts of problems/obstacles which is why God has providentially provided the CDF, which exists, inter alia, to expedite the mission of the Church and, indeed, to take note of the outworking of the provisions of AC and the complimentary norms in real life situations – there is always a way!

      • Rev22:17 says:

        CPS,

        You wrote: One practical illustration of the legal relationship is that selection of the Parish Priest is made by Mgr Newton in consultation with the Archbishop. In other places it is the Archbishop who appoints in consultation with Mgr Newton.

        In this regard, an ordinariate is not equivalent to a religious order. Rather, an ordinariate is a “particular church” and thus is juridically equivalent to a diocese, governed by an “ordinary” who holds the same canonical authority as a diocesan bishop.

        >> Where the ordinariate establishes a parish or quasi-parish (which may be called a “mission” or “chaplaincy” or whatever), the diocesan bishop has no authority whatsoever over it. The ordinary has sole authority to appoint its pastor or administrator and other clergy, just as a diocesan bishop appoints the clergy of his diocesan parishes.

        >> If the diocese supplies clergy to an ordinariate congregation that does not have its own, the diocesan bishop proposes a candidate to the ordinary and the ordinary then makes the formal appointment (or, if he finds the candidate unsuitable, asks the bishop to propose another candidate).

        >> And conversely, if the ordinariate supplies clergy to a diocesan congregation, the ordinary proposes a candidate to the diocesan bishop and the diocesan bishop then makes the formal appointment (or, if he deems the candidate unsuitable, asks the ordinary to propose another candidate).

        >> From a canonical perspective, the most interesting situation arises when an ordinariate community shares worship space with a diocesan community. In that situation, the foregoing provisions of appointment of clergy still apply — but it often is desirable for the pastor or administrator and parochial vicars of each community to have collateral appointments as parochial vicars of the other community to facilitate collaboration in ministry. In this case, the ordinary and the diocesan bishop each make the appointments pertaining to the respective community and propose their clergy to each other for the collateral appointments.

        Is that clear, or clear as mud?

        You wrote: Mgr Newton could (dare I say, should) set up Personal Parishes in places where there is a stable group which is financially sustainable.

        Yes, and I’m sure that he will erect parishes in due course. Note that the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter canonically erected several parishes a couple months ago. These communities, however, seem to be significantly more established than the communities of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham: four of the five (St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, Incarnation in Orlando, St. Thomas More in Scranton, and Christ the King in Towson) have their own churches and other facilities, and the fifth (St. Luke) did have its own facilities until it made a decision to relocate from Bladensburg to Washington a few months ago. The ordinary and his governing council simultaneously canonically erected another nine smaller communities, at least some of which own their own church buildings and other facilities, as quasi-parishes.

        The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham seems to have only two congregations that are similarly situated: the portion of the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth group that meets at St. Agatha’s in Portsmouth (which technically does not own the church, but whose members serve on the board of a charity that controls it) and the Central London group that meets at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory. If the Torbay Ordinariate Group succeeds in its capital campaign and acquisition of the former Methodist church building where it currently worships, it may soon join this group. But there’s also a reality that the ordinary and his governing council may deem it advisable to wait until there are several eligible congregations before canonically erecting parishes.

        But in reality, the canonical status of a community has little real impact on the day to day life of its parishioners. All of the ordinariate congregations provide all of the services that one would expect of a Catholic parish in one way or another. The only difference, in real terms, is that congregations that are not yet parishes may provide some services through collaborative arrangements with the diocesan parishes that host them.

        Norm.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: … but if any celebration of the Ordinariate Use has been discontinued (for lack of interest, I assume), what are we left with? Tasteful music, excellent preaching, and PLUs at the coffee hour.

      That is not exactly insignificant. Indeed, congregations that have those elements tend to grow while congregations that lack them tend to shrink.

      Norm.

      • CPS says:

        Norm, throughout AC and the Comp Norms there are directives to collaborate and consult and, quite frankly, goodwill is an essential commodity which would soon evaporate if we have to assert the Canon Law position. The Ordinariate in the UK is living hand-to mouth and capital resources are not being made available – even the Torbay project which enjoys widespread support is not attracting the necessary monies.

        What you describe as “the most interesting position” is the one that it most likely to occur in the UK and the question still in my mind is could the Ordinary and Diocesan Bishop agree upon the same person and could he then be made Rector of both the territorial parish and the personal parish?

        I’m not sure why you think there is a difference between the status of MPB and Warwick Street. The ownership of both Church buildings and Parish assets remain with the Trustees of the Archdioceses of Southwark and Westminster respectively. As the official statement from the Archdiocese of Westminster said at the time: “… the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption is being dedicated to the life of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for their groups in central London”. And from the Archdiocese of Southwark “The Diocese has entered an agreement with the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham entrusting them with the care of Most Precious Blood Parish, Borough”.

        Both Churches have a mix of Ordinariate and Diocesan Catholics who worship there and run separate bank accounts for the Diocesan and Ordinariate monies.

      • CPS says:

        Lest anyone may think that the Torbay appeal might not reach its target, I should add that the Torbay fundraising still has 2 months to go and is now over half-way so there is a very realistic chance that the target will be met. We had an Epiphany party recently which supported the Torbay project and will probably have further collections for it too.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        CPS,

        You wrote: Norm, throughout AC and the Comp Norms there are directives to collaborate and consult and, quite frankly, goodwill is an essential commodity which would soon evaporate if we have to assert the Canon Law position.

        Yes, good will is crucial — but this is actually an area in which the ordinariate, with its surplus of clergy, actually has the upper hand. Many dioceses don’t have enough clergy to staff all of their parishes, missions, chaplaincies, and other ministries, so the diocesan bishops are glad to have the ordinariate clergy to fill some of the gaps.

        You wrote: What you describe as “the most interesting position” is the one that it most likely to occur in the UK and the question still in my mind is could the Ordinary and Diocesan Bishop agree upon the same person and could he then be made Rector of both the territorial parish and the personal parish?

        Actually, the position of a common pastor is not quite what I had in mind — although there are already at least two or three instances in which clergy of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham have concurrent appointment as the pastor or administrator of both a smaller diocesan parish and an ordinariate group that worships in that parish’s church. The typical arrangement is that masses that are ostensibly for the ordinariate congregation use the order of mass in Divine Worship while masses that are ostensibly for the diocesan parish use the order of mass in the Roman Missal, even though the same presbyter is the principal celebrant of both. Of course, the parishioners of both congregations are free to attend whichever masses better suit their schedules.

        But what I had in mind is a situation in which each congregation has its own clergy. In this situation, reciprocal appointments the pastor and parochial vicars of each congregation also as parochial vicars of the other congregation clearly would facilitate their cooperation and collaboration in ministry to both parishes by allowing clergy of each parish to sign formal paperwork for both.

        You wrote: I’m not sure why you think there is a difference between the status of MPB and Warwick Street. The ownership of both Church buildings and Parish assets remain with the Trustees of the Archdioceses of Southwark and Westminster respectively. As the official statement from the Archdiocese of Westminster said at the time: “… the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption is being dedicated to the life of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for their groups in central London”. And from the Archdiocese of Southwark “The Diocese has entered an agreement with the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham entrusting them with the care of Most Precious Blood Parish, Borough”.

        That difference in wording is quite significant. The wording with respect to the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption canonically is no longer home to an archdiocesan parish, though members of the archdiocese clearly are free to assist in its liturgical services and other functions. Conversely, the wording with respect to the Most Precious Blood Parish, Borough, indicates that it is still a diocesan parish but that the ordinariate has assumed responsibility for staffing it in the same manner that a religious order might do so. In other words, the ordinariate is the primary user of the former but a secondary user of the latter.

        You wrote: Both Churches have a mix of Ordinariate and Diocesan Catholics who worship there and run separate bank accounts for the Diocesan and Ordinariate monies.

        That will always be the case when two separate congregations share facilities. It’s no different than two college roommates having separate bank accounts.

        You wrote: Lest anyone may think that the Torbay appeal might not reach its target, I should add that the Torbay fundraising still has 2 months to go and is now over half-way so there is a very realistic chance that the target will be met. We had an Epiphany party recently which supported the Torbay project and will probably have further collections for it too.

        Yes, they undoubtedly will have more fundraisers in the next couple months.

        Bear in mind that they have the option of using a bank loan to close the gap if they fall short. If they succeed in raising about 75% of the price in a few months, the banks will have little doubt of their ability to raise the balance. It just means that the fundraising events will need to continue beyond the target date to close the sale.

        Norm.

  2. EPMS says:

    Things are complicated in the UK by the fact that many Anglicans used the OF all along, knew nothing of the “Prayer Book Offices”, and distinguished themselves from a typical Catholic community more by questions of “taste and tone” than of belief. It is not surprising that they would blend into a compatible Catholic parish fairly quickly. I don’t think there is much that can be done about this, or that should be done, for that matter. Who wants to do something in a way they have never experienced on the grounds that “this is your tradition”? Reminds me of a “Heritage Day” at school where those who normally wear jeans and tee-shirts are coerced into showing up in some kind of ethnic costume their grandmother has been holding on to.

  3. EPMS says:

    PLU=People Like Us. Sorry to be obscure.

  4. EPMS says:

    Norm, regarding the five parishes erected by the OCSP, St John the Evangelist, Calgary currently rents its church building from the Anglican diocese. It has undertaken a campaign to raise the money to purchase it.

  5. CPS says:

    Norm, knowing the situation and people in London well I have never heard that particular interpretation; perhaps one of the problems is that the wording used is inconsistent and for various reasons it has been politic to leave things a little fuzzy. Warwick St Parish is described on the Archdiocese of Westminster website as also “being in the care of….” . In God’s good time all will become clear.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      CPS,

      You wrote: Norm, knowing the situation and people in London well I have never heard that particular interpretation; perhaps one of the problems is that the wording used is inconsistent and for various reasons it has been politic to leave things a little fuzzy. Warwick St Parish is described on the Archdiocese of Westminster website as also “being in the care of….” . In God’s good time all will become clear.

      To me, the wording — “dedicated to the life of the ordinariate” with respect to the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption — does not seem unclear at all. It means that, for the foreseeable future at least, the life of the ordinariate is the primary use of that church, regardless of who formally holds the title. If there’s still a diocesan parish that worships there, it is secondary.

      Norm.

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