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Saturday, 18 May 2013

Whitsun treat par excellence




"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place" - not in Jerusalem on this occasion but in Swanbridge!



Swanbridge            Photo: Francis Frith
 Three years ago I searched for an image of a typical Whitsun treat. I found just one showing children paddling in a brook. Today I found a gem of a movie. The church is in Cardiff but the Whitsun treat was a trip along the South Wales coast to Swanbridge. Another check revealed that despite the headlined sharp decline in Christianity and advance of Islam, Clive Street Baptist Church is still active, holding their own against seven mosques in their area out of a total of 33 in Cardiff.

 The images in the film convey a different era. Note the orderly conduct. No pushing and shoving compared with today's 'me first' society when heads are bowed over mobile phones rather than in worship. Our churches must take some responsibility for this. Many have ditched the beauty of the old prayer book replacing it with modern, meaningless mumbo jumbo completely at variance with 'other worldly' worship in a vain attempt to be relevant to modern society. Damian Thompson here gives his take on the new detailed analysis of the 2011 census figures and how our attitude to religion has changed. In another wish to modernise, last year USPG changed their name to Us. The Anglican News Service praised the change with the catchy message: Years of traditional mission activity have helped us to realise that there is no ‘us and them’ only an ‘us’. 


This was picked up by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. When speaking at the launch, he praised the new name ‘Us’ as being a ‘wonderfully ambiguous and non-specific title’ which is suited to a world in which boundaries constantly shift because it is ‘very difficult to tell where “us” stops and “them” starts’. But it seems to me that there is a new 'them'; it is us, the so-called traditionalists. Acknowledging that the 'Us' launch took place on the day General Synod voted against women bishops, Us Chief Executive Janette O’Neill said: ‘We were concerned that our launch event would be over-shadowed by the sadness of many at the outcome of the vote. But, far from it, my sense was that the launch of Us – with our emphasis on inclusion – was a sign of hope for the future of the Church of England.’ 

Some hope! Commenting recently in his blog about General Synod vacancies The Ugely Vicar wrote "there has been an agenda: defeat the Anglican Covenant, get women bishops, get LGBT inclusion". 

Enjoy the treat. We will not see its like again.

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