Bishop Roger Jupp's Sermon at the Chrism Mass, St Giles-in-Reading, 27 March 2013
Posted on the 14th Mar 2013 in the category Resources
Maundy Thursday is soon upon us. Already we have entered into the Great Week, which we name Holy Week, sharing deeply as we should in the mystery of Christ’s journey through suffering and death to the joy of the resurrection which is the focus of these holy days. On Maundy Thursday we shall gather in the evening to do as the Lord commanded: to eat his body and drink his blood which are the fruits of his passion, proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes, as St Paul reminds us. As they begin that evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, many congregations receive the oils blessed by the bishop at gatherings of which this is but one, as many of you are, gathered with me around this altar today, and it is good to welcome you here in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Great High Priest.
These oils speak of the mystery of the salvation Christ offers us on the cross, a uniquely healing, renewing, strengthening, and consecrating action by which the Lord gathers the new Israel to himself, the chosen race which is made into a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people. From his side on the cross flowed water and blood, a fountain of new life by which the Church was brought to birth because Jesus Christ came into the world to bring mankind the fullness of life. Each of these oils speaks of that loving purpose in its own way. The Oil of Catechumens is used at baptism as we prepare for our journey of faith. The fragrant Oil of Holy Chrism is used at confirmation, the ordination of priests and bishops, and the dedication of altars and churches, reminding us of Jesus Christ himself, the Anointed One of God who incorporates us into his Body, the Church, giving us a share in his Priesthood in different way. And the Oil of the Sick is used to strengthen and support the sick and send forth the dying into eternity with healing and pardon so that they might know that final and complete union with Christ of which their baptism was a sign in this life.
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us Jesus Christ is both the author and finisher of our faith. He is the one living stone upon which we are all built into a living temple, “offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”, using the ancient image which the Apostle Peter gave us, having himself been commissioned by Christ to be the rock upon which the Lord would build his people. This reminds us, of course, of the new Successor of Peter as Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, of his ministry of love which has just commenced. We pray that the anointing power of the Holy Spirit will be a special gift to him now as he prepares to bless the holy oils and remind him of his special calling as Shepherd and Pastor of the Western Church, as Servant of the Servants of God. So, too, within the providence of God, there is a new Successor to St Augustine at Canterbury. We pray for Archbishop Justin and seek the Lord’s blessing on his ministry as Primate. May he be reminded of that unique and daunting gift given to all bishops, that of being a guardian of the faith once delivered to the saints.
Thinking about the Oil of Chrism, from which this celebration traditionally takes its name, reminds us of those stones which are marked with the cross and chrismated when a church building is dedicated and set apart. We are thinking, though, of people. And the priestly people of God consists of those ordained and set apart for a specifically priestly function of sacramental and pastoral care and preaching and teaching, and all the faithful who have a vocation and ministry graced by God through baptism to be disciples and fellow-workers with Christ because within them the image of Christ’s glory has been quickened. We are these living stones of the Church, priests and faithful together forming a priestly people, sealed for all time by the Holy Spirit with the fragrant Chrism of prophets, priests and kings.
The Chrism Mass this year has a special and urgent significance for us clergy as we gather to renew our ordination vows, surrounded by our people. This is, first of all, a priestly occasion and is meant to manifest the communion of priests with their bishop. The sign of this is the concelebration of this Eucharist as priests stand with the bishop at the Lord’s table. In addition, today, there is another sign: priests share with the bishop in the consecration of the Oil of Chrism, as you will see from your order of service, and they do this because they share in the sacred calling and office of the bishop in building up, sanctifying, and lovingly guiding and shepherding the people of God. This celebration is meant to be a clear expression of the unity of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ which continue to be present in the Church. That, of course, is how it should be but, alas, as we know all too well we are beset by so many issues and concerns which impair and fragment that unity. But, as always, we do the best we can and pray for better times.
This service is one of significance, of course, for the bishop who comes to encourage priests to faithfulness in the fulfilling of their office. But he, too, seeks encouragement in faithful service. He asks for the prayers of all “to fulfil the office of apostle”, to become “more like our High Priest and Good Shepherd, the teacher and servant of all” and in this way being “a genuine sign of Christ’s loving presence” among the people. The bishop is a bridge. His work springs from what he is. The one service in the year in which he does not wear his ring or carry his staff, those two very visible signs of his pastoral office, is the Good Friday celebration of the Lord’s Passion. That, I think, is very significant. Jesus Christ, and him crucified, is the one true bridge-builder. His name means Saviour, the one who comes to meet us and spans that divide between God and mankind caused by sin. He alone is shepherd, brother, friend; he alone is prophet, priest, and king because he is Lord and Life and Way, Alpha and Omega, the author and finisher. He alone is the teacher and servant of those in the apostolic office and we must humble ourselves before him so that he may increase. In all that we say and do, then, as pastors of the sheep, we must ask whether we reveal Jesus the priestly servant who has entrusted so great a treasure to us, Christ’s own flock, bought through the shedding of his blood on the cross.
But this service also has profound meaning for that flock – the people who come from different congregations within this diocese and beyond - which are both living stones in the holy temple of the Church as well as the sheep for whom the shepherd has sought with such love and care. Together with us, your ministers, you share in the task of witnessing to the world where many are indifferent to and ignorant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not a few are aggressively opposed, sometimes violently so. You must find joy in and through this celebration, seeking confidence in the working out of your faith and your daily Christian living in your parishes and communities despite our unhappy divisions.
What is it the Lord asks of us, then, as we come together today, perhaps uncertain and apprehensive of the future that may seem dark before us, the shadows of which may cloud our vision? The Lord asks all of us during this great week as we gaze on him in his passion to hide ourselves deep in his wounds where we will find shelter and healing as well as courage in our sorrows and anxieties. His wounds are our salvation and our healing, the balm which he offers so that we might find hope and new life by sharing in his resurrection. Nothing can separate us from his love; that we must know and lay hold of even more firmly if we feel that we are brought low. One thing only is really needful for us all as we gather at this and every Eucharist and that is that we live in union of heart and will with Jesus Christ and that, by so doing, the image of Christ may be formed in us. Out of whatever desert we may find ourselves, Jesus the Saviour will lead us together, pastors and people, toward the place of life, toward friendship with God, toward the One whose desire has always been that we might have life, and life in all its abundance. This Eucharist is food for that journey and these oils are signs of the Lord’s grace along that way. To him be glory for ever.
Better Together Campaign
Posted on the 15th Aug 2012 in the category Resources
Better Together is a new campaign calling on all Anglicans to come together to enhance the Church’s mission and ministry. Through applying the principles of unity, diversity, freedom and respect, we can positively affirm what we believe is best for the Church of England and for its role at the heart of our society.
The Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993
Posted on the 1st Jan 1995 in the category Resources
The Act of Synod provides for what is commonly known as 'Resolution C'. Where the parochial church council of a parish has passed one or both of the resolutions set out in the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 (Resolutions A and B), a decision may be taken jointly by the minister and the PCC to petition the diocesan bishop concerned to the effect that appropriate episcopal duties in the parish should be carried out in accordance with this Act of Synod.
Passed by the General Synod to make provision for the continuing diversity of opinion in the Church of England as to the ordination and ministry of women as priests, and for related matters. Whereas:
(1) The Church of England through its synodical processes has given final approval to a Measure to make provision by Canon for enabling women to be ordained to the priesthood;
(2) The bishop of each diocese continues as the ordinary of his diocese;
(3) The General Synod regards it as desirable that –
(a) all concerned should endeavour to ensure that –
(i) discernment in the wider Church of the rightness or otherwise of the Church of England’s decision to ordain women to the priesthood should be as open a process as possible;
(ii) the highest possible degree of communion should be maintained within each diocese; and
(iii) the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognised and respected;
(b) the practical pastoral arrangements contained in this Act of Synod should have effect in each diocese.
Now it is hereby declared as follows: -
Ordinations and Appointments
1. Except as provided by the Measure and this Act no person or body shall discriminate against candidates either for ordination or for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their view or positions about the ordination of women to the priesthood.
2. Three types of arrangements may be made in order to provide an appropriate ministry for those who are opposed, namely –
(a) diocesan arrangements to be made by the diocesan bishop in accordance with section 3 below;
(b) regional arrangements to be made by the diocesan bishops of each region in accordance with section 4 below;
(c) provincial arrangements to be made by the archbishop of the province in accordance with section 5 below.
3. The diocesan bishop shall make arrangements so far as possible within his own diocese for appropriate care and oversight of the clergy and parishes in the diocese.
4. (1) Whenever possible the diocesan bishops of each region acting jointly shall from time to time nominate from within their region for the purpose of this Act of Synod one or more bishops who are opposed.
(2) Each bishop so nominated shall, in addition to his other duties, be approved by the archbishop of the province to carry out for any parish in the region such episcopal duties as the diocesan bishop concerned may request.
(3) In subsection (1) above, except where the context otherwise requires, “bishop” means a diocesan bishop, suffragan bishop or a full-time stipendiary assistant bishop serving in the region in question.
5. (1) The Archbishop of Canterbury shall from time to time take steps to secure the appointment of up to two additional suffragan bishops for his diocese to act as provincial episcopal visitors for the purposes of this Act of Synod in the province of Canterbury.
(2) The Archbishop of York shall from time to time take steps to secure the appointment of one additional suffragan bishop for his diocese to act as a provincial episcopal visitor for the purposes of this Act of Synod in the province of York.
(3) Each provincial episcopal visitor shall be commissioned by the archbishop of the province to carry out, or cause to be carried out, for any parish in the province such episcopal duties, in addition to his other duties, as the diocesan bishop concerned may request. The provincial episcopal visitor shall work with the diocesan bishop concerned in enabling extended pastoral care and sacramental ministry to be provided.
(4) Each provincial episcopal visitor shall act as spokesman and adviser for those who are opposed and shall assist the archbishops in monitoring the operation of this Act of Synod.
6. Where a vacancy occurs in the office of provincial episcopal visitor, the archbishop of the province concerned shall, before taking the steps referred to in section 5 above to secure the appointment of an additional suffragan bishop, consult the other provincial episcopal visitor or visitors and all other bishops who are directly concerned.
Parochial church council petition
7. (1) Subject to subsection (2) below where a resolution set out in Schedule 1 to the Measure is in force, a decision may be taken by the parochial church council of the parish concerned to petition the diocesan bishop concerned to the effect that appropriate episcopal duties in the parish should be carried out in accordance with this Act of Synod.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply in relation to a parish in which there is a parish church cathedral.
8. (1) Subject to section 10 below, on receiving any such petition the diocesan bishop shall, either personally or through his representative, consult with the minister and the parochial church council of the parish concerned; and having done so he shall make appropriate arrangements for episcopal duties to be carried out in the parish in accordance with this Act of Synod.
(2) Where any such arrangements are made or proposed, the minister and the parochial church council of the parish concerned may seek the advice of the provincial episcopal visitor in connection with the matter.
9. (1) Where a parochial church council has presented a petition in accordance with section 7 above, the council may at any time take a further decision for the withdrawal of the petition; and, subject to section 10 below, upon the withdrawal of the petition the diocesan bishop concerned shall ensure that any arrangements made in pursuance thereof are cancelled.
(2) Where a parochial church council has presented such a petition, the council shall review the working of any arrangements in force in pursuance thereof at least once in every period of five years.
10. Where a parochial church council has presented or withdrawn a petition in accordance with section 7 or 9 above and the diocesan bishop concerned is not satisfied that –
(a) except where notice of a vacancy has been sent to the secretary of the council under section 7(4) of the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986, the secretary of the council gave to the members of the council at least four weeks’ notice of the time and place of the meeting at which the motion proposing the resolution in question was to be considered;
(b) the meeting was attended by at least one half of the members of the council entitled to attend;
(c) at least two thirds of the members of the council present and voting were in favour of the resolution in question; and
(d) the minister was in favour of the resolution in question, whether or not he was present and voted;
he shall not be obliged to make arrangements of the kind mentioned in section 8 above or to cancel any such arrangements, but he may do so if he thinks fit.
Ordination etc. by archbishop or his commissary
11. (1) Subject to subsection (2) and (3) below, where the bishop of a diocese has indicated that he is opposed and, in the case of a bishop in office at the relevant date, that he is unwilling to make a declaration under section 2 of the Measure, the ordination to the priesthood of women from the diocese and their licensing and institution shall be carried out by the archbishop concerned, either personally or through a bishop acting as his commissary; and the archbishop shall cause the archiepiscopal seal to be affixed to any documents that are needed for that purpose.
(2) The archbishop that act under subsection (1) above either at the request of the diocesan bishop concerned or in pursuance of his metropolitical jurisdiction, but shall not so act unless he is satisfied that the diocesan bishop concerned has no objection.
(3) Subsection (1) above shall not apply where the bishop of a diocese has made arrangements for the ordination of women to the priesthood and their licensing and institution to be carried out by another bishop.
12. (1) In this Act of Synod –
“the Measure” means the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993;
“minister” has the same meaning as in the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991;
“opposed” means opposed to the promulgation of the relevant Canon;
“parish church cathedral” has the same meaning as in Part II of the Measure;
“provincial episcopal visitor” means a suffragan bishop appointed as such in pursuance of section 5 above;
“region” means an area, comprising two or more dioceses in a province, which is designated by the archbishop of the province as a region for the purposes of this Act of Synod;
“relevant Canon” means the Canon of the Church of England enabling a woman to be ordained to the office of priest;
“relevant date” means the date on which the relevant Canon is promulged;
“senior office” means any of the following offices, that is to say, archbishop, diocesan bishop, suffragan bishop, dean or provost of a cathedral church, archdeacon and residentiary canon in a cathedral church
(2) This Act of Synod shall apply in relation to a guild church designated and established under section 4 of the City of London (Guild Churches) Act 1952 as it applies in relation to a parish, but as if the references to the parochial church council of the parish were references to the guild church council of the guild church and the references to the minister were references to the vicar of the guild church.
(3) Any arrangements made under sections 2 to 5 above and any action taken under section 11 above by an archbishop in connection with the ordination of women to the priesthood, shall be without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop concerned.
Citation and commencement
13. This Act of Synod may be cited as the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 and shall come into force on the coming into force of the Measure.