Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

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Ernest
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Ernest » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:36 am

I am curious on the August Bank Holiday to see how many people also observe Religious Festivals by taking time off to attend religious services.

I am one such, who being retired have the time to observe the Saints Days and other festivals of the Church of England, and attend a celebration, normally Holy Communion on the actual day, not on an alternative day.

I note that the Roman Catholic Church has Holy Days of Obligation on certain days of the year (I refer to England and Wales) other countries might vary.

Every Sunday
Nativity of the Lord (25 December)
Epiphany of the Lord (6 January*)
Ascension of the Lord (Thursday after 6th Sunday of Easter)
St Peter & St Paul (29 June*)
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August*)
All Saints (1 November*)

Many of these feasts might be transferred the the next Sunday, which rather negates the effect of taking time off during the week to celebrate the feast.

Meanwhile there appears to be hundreds of different celebrations of Saints or Doctors of the Church, which really complicates things. In the CofE, the lives of what might be described as Saints (but who have not been declared as Saints by the Pope are commemorated on an almost daily basis, which means that they fall on the actual day, and are celebrated on that day. Very few are celebrated or transferred to Sundays.

A full list is at http://www.excitingholiness.org/first-e ... title.html

Our parish often celebrates these on mid-week days and always celebrates those major feasts on the actual day. Are we distinct in this, because when I survey our Deanery, it's only the Anglo Catholic parishes that have a Daily Mass, and who celebrate in the way that we do.

If my parish doesn't have a service, I am happy to travel to one that does, but it could mean a quite long journey to do so. I'm aware that parishes in a vacancy might not be able to have a service, but those with active Clergy surely should do so?

Thoughts? :hmm:
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Pam
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Pam » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:56 pm

I'm not sure what you're asking, Ernest?

As I understand it, 'Days of Obligation' are holy days when we, as practising Christians, should consider ourselves obliged to seek out a communion service - but as you remark, some of these may be Sundays anyway.

According to the Church of England website, the principal feasts are

Christmas Day

The Epiphany

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple

The Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Easter Day

Ascension Day

Pentecost (Whit Sunday)

Trinity Sunday

All Saints’ Day

In addition, other holy days are Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are Principal Holy Days. These days, and the liturgical provision for them, may not be displaced by any other celebration.

As you say, there are many other days designated to commemorate saints and other exemplary Christians, but these days are mostly designated 'festivals', not 'feasts'.

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Ernest
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Ernest » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:27 am

I'm perhaps thinking aloud. When Church door are closed on a particular feast or other day when there is something to celebrate, I find it sad that there is no way of marking that particular occasion.

I am aware that many clergy are under pressure, particularly those in multi-church benefices, and there is a shortage of clergy in many places, but it seems to me to be a wasted opportunity not to provide a communion service on these days.

In addition, when the CofE boasts so many retired clergy, why not invite those who have PTO to preside and have worship available on as many occasions as possible.

Our church is open daily, with people who are there to meet and greet, but we have one Priest, who is busy as are all incumbents, she is due to retire in November, which will reduce our opportunities to offer communion mid-week, although we have one, which will continue (hopefully) with a visiting priest most weeks. Where one is not available, I will lead Communion by Extension.

We are fortunate enough to have a retired priest living in the parish, who is active in the deanery, and his services are in great demand. We can't expect him to take on the load during the vacancy, he is in his mid-eighties and also has family commitments overseas. One family member in Europe and another in Australia, both of whom he regularly visits for months at a time.

I suspect that I am deluding myself that the Church will be able to convince retired or NSM Priests to offer more, but given the amount of publicity recently about their numbers, I wonder why my own diocese seems reluctant to do so?

I happen to love attending HC daily if I can, but it's not always possible. Perhaps I'm being selfish in wanting more opportunities to do so, but having a communion service available locally must be a way forward if we want to encourage those who visit our church regularly to stay and see what we do to Worship the God that we love.
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Joyce » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:30 am

If you really think there's such a demand for Holy Communion,Ernest, why not start a campaign for the CofE to allow ministers other than priests to do the necessary over the elements ? If you could get the matter started off in the House of Lords and passed there, it would probably go through the House of Commons with no problem. There are more denominations in this country without priests than with and yet they have HC by one name or another.I'd be tuning in to the parliamentary channel every day while those debates were on.
The publicity might even make the public wonder about the issues and ask what Holy Communion and priests were. Few of them know anything nowadays.
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Pam » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:31 pm

In my experience of parish life, there isn't that much demand for communion in terms of people who are keen to turn up to church to take communion in the week - there is a demand for communion to be happening, perhaps, but not so that the people who are demanding it can attend!

The preparation for a service is more labour intensive than getting a priest to turn up for an hour - all the silverware has to be set out (and cleared up afterwards) and of course in some churches, heating is necessary in the colder months, which has to be budgeted for.

I'm really against the current trend to suggest retired clergy should be seen as an additional workforce, firstly, because they are retired, and should not be expected to carry on working to fill the gaps, and secondly, because it creates what I'd call a mindset of 'clericalism', where the church can't do anything without a priest leading it.

As an LLM, could you ask for the support of the PCC in devising a non-Eucharistic service for some of these occasions and see if the demand for a service is there?

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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Ernest » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:30 am

That is a possibility. I am taking services out of the Church now, to our local care home and also visiting other places where parishioners are in patients with home communion. So, in some ways that could be developed in church.

I am also involved in the group of volunteers who keep the church open daily, and we have encounters with many visitors and people who are not in church, but come often to light candles etc. We provide tea and coffee and biscuits as we welcome them.

Some days we will have 10 or 12 visitors, others only one or two. But the fact that the church is open with a welcoming atmosphere is important to our outreach.

The most frequent conversations involve the topic of I love this church, it is beautiful and I was baptized here, used to come with my parents, or similar conversations. We always invite them to services and give them a simple information leaflet on what we do, and a copy of our parish magazine.

Sometimes we get it right and welcome them to their first service in years. I can't quantify how these encounters might light a spark that will bear fruit in the future. But the fact that we are not intrusive with our welcomes seems to work.

I'd love to see more services available, but also realise that I can't do it alone, so will need to get the PCC on board, with an eye to the forthcoming vacancy.
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Pam » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:06 pm

In my experience, that a sense that 'someone should do something' can often be a nudge to be the 'someone' that does it!

You're very wise to note that you can't, on your own, tackle all the gaps you perceive, but trying something out could be very helpful in gauging interest for such services. I'll be interested to hear how it goes./

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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Joe Parrish » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:48 pm

As one of those retired clergy, I still want to attend a daily Eucharist to keep my world in balance, believe it or not, and living down the street from our world headquarters, we do have a daily Eucharist at noon Monday through Friday which I attend, or occasionally, maybe once a week or so, celebrate. I found that retirement for me was a time I had not planned, and indeed I had retired in my 40's to become a priest, oddly enough. So to retire from what I retired to do was a conundrum. But one example of what Ernie is speaking about, here in the States we have much less of a tradition of going to church on Ascension Day that I understand is common in the UK; it is always a Thursday, so to find a service then is actually quite a challenge even in Manhattan. But much of this depends on where one is living as for weekday opportunities. And in a way, i-church here tries to take up some of the 'slack', God willing.
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Ernest » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:45 am

Coincidences. I too retired at forty, and immediately was reemployed by the MoD in a new role in uniform with the armed forces for another 20 years.

Before retirement from that role, I joined a parish in Canterbury Diocese where I was for four years, before coming to my current place. I was able to attend Communion daily, either in my than parish or in local parishes to where I lived.

Since than, the availability of services has reduced as the number of Clergy have reduced and services of Communion has become quite scarce on week days.

Which is why I started this theme. But I can see that Its really down to individuals to get together and campaign locally through Deanery and Diocesan synod if we are to achieve a change of culture. Wait out, I will come back to this in a few months.
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Joe Parrish » Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:45 pm

The way my weekday chapel at 815 works is that often lay preachers or altar guild do the homilies for the saint(s) of the day, and the priest or bishop only needs to celebrate, so does not need to prepare a homily. As a result, it is often easier to recruit clergy since they only have to officiate. At times without clergy, the service becomes noonday prayers, but unfortunately, without clergy present, the lay folks don't feel empowered to preach, sad to say. In the UK, Lay Readers are in many parishes the reason people pick that particular parish to attend, since their sermons are interesting, yea, more interesting that the clergy's. I asked one Lay Reader why he wasn't ordained: who has time to attend seminary? he replied.
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Pam » Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:12 pm

Joe Parrish wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:48 pm
As one of those retired clergy, I still want to attend a daily Eucharist to keep my world in balance, believe it or not, and living down the street from our world headquarters, we do have a daily Eucharist at noon Monday through Friday which I attend, or occasionally, maybe once a week or so, celebrate.
Before I was ordained, I was a member of the Cathedral community, and lived near enough to attend Daily Prayer almost every day, and 7.30 am Eucharist on Thursday which was usually attended by most of the Canons and some senior clergy. I found this really helpful when I was working in prison chaplaincy, where there was no priest chaplain in post. The patterns of worship have changed at the Cathedral now, with fewer opportunities for the daily offices and the Eucharist, so in a way I feel it was a blessing to be able to worship in that way.

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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Ernest » Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:33 am

It is helpful to have a regular pattern of services to attend. Rochester Cathedral does have MP and Evensong daily and a midday Eucharist as well as a BCP Eucharist early morning. But that is twenty miles away and parking is expensive.
So, not an option for daily use. But lovely for occasional use.

The other LLM in our parish is being Ordained Deacon on 29th September. I am invited and have been asked to Robe for it. I'm really looking forward to it, having shared her journey as LLM, straight into Ordination training. She is to be NSM as she has a career as a Matron/Midwife in the NHS, which she doesn't want to give up and her mission will be to work in some form of Chaplaincy alongside her NHS Role, but has a traditional curacy of three years in a rural parish first, which has meant that she and her GP husband have upped sticks and moved to the Kent countryside.
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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Joyce » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:24 pm

Sheldon: Hello, Amy Farrah Fowler. I’m sorry to inform you that you have been taken in by unsupportable mathematics designed to prey on the gullible and the lonely. Additionally, I’m being blackmailed with a hidden dirty sock.
Amy: If that was slang, I’m unfamiliar with it. If it was literal, I share your aversion to soiled hosiery. In any case, I’m here because my mother and I have agreed that I will date at least once a year.
Sheldon: Interesting. My mother and I have the same agreement about church.
Amy: I don’t object to the concept of a deity, but I’m baffled by the notion of one that takes attendance.

Sheldon: Well, then you might want to avoid East Texas.

Read more at: http://transcripts.foreverdreaming.org/ ... 159&t=8644[/b]


I must admit to feeling a little like Amy. I wouldn't want to be without the means of Christian fellowship nor to think I'd never have HC again, but I've never felt the urge to go to a service every single day. Kudos to those who do. Even when I was at college and there was a service in the chapel which was on the premises, two or three times a week was my absolute maximum and I hardly ever made that.I used to like leading the daily Midday services and Compline on i-church,however.

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Religious Festivals versus Bank Holidays

Post by Ernest » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:00 am

I think that my enthusiasm for HC daily was founded on my absence from it for well over 20 years. Also as a returnee to the Sacraments I was keen and felt called to receive the sacrament to reinforce my faith.

I don''t fret about not being able to take communion daily, but regret that the opportunity is scarce, where I live.

My license from the bishop, permits me to officiate at Communion by Extension, and I will be exercising that permission next week and in a few weeks time, when Clergy are not available at our parish. This is a wonderful privilege and one I value highly, but the conditions are highly specific and need to be adhered too. We are not proposing Lay Presidency just yet, while in the Sydney Diocese they've implemented this.

When I attended some training at the Service Chaplaincy Centre before I retired, we had daily communion services, from a variety of different denominations including Baptist, URC and Methodist. Perhaps this spoiled me, and got me into a habit of wanting something that was also quite widely available in our local churches (2008-9). Since those days, Clergy numbers have reduced, Parishes have been merged often with on Clergy to two or three churches.

Before I came here to my current parish, when in vacancy, there were attempts to merge it with another, however, as the share had been paid, we got our own Priest. Now this prospect looms again, but, given that we've managed to pay our share, the Arch Deacon has said, that this is extremely unlikely, particularly as the nearest Anglican Church (a former daughter church of ours) is now Forward in Faith, which wouldn't permit women Clergy here, where they are highly valued.

I'm happy and contented where I am at the moment. We want to move closer to the parish church, we are just outside the boundary. The actual parish church in our parish is quite Evangelical and while lovely people, not in a tradition that I that comfortable with. The exclusive views can be problematic for someone like me who is inclusive and believe that we are all God's children and all should be welcome, without pre-conditions.
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