Two Tracks to 'Communion'

October 2009

What might Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams's "two-track" model for the Anglican Communion (see the previous New Oxford Note) look like at the local level? We have been given an advance peek at the Anglican Blackburn Cathedral in Lancashire, England -- and it ain't pretty.

Blackburn, according to The Times of London (July 25), has for decades been a stronghold of opposition to women's ordination; both the bishop of Blackburn and the dean are said to be among the opposition. But the cathedral recently installed its first female priest, Sue Penfold, as one of its three residentiary canons. Why here? Why now? Penfold was appointed to Blackburn, said cathedral canon Andrew Hindley, to reflect the "broad views" of the Anglican Communion.

In order to accommodate those holdovers who "do not recognize her ministry," The Times reports, Blackburn clergy agreed to offer "untainted" bread blessed earlier by a male canon from the "reserved sacrament" during the main 10:30 AM Sunday services presided over by Penfold. Bread blessed by Penfold is also available for those who support her presence -- and all that it entails. The Times puts general attendance on Sunday mornings at about 200, with "half a dozen who refuse to receive the sacrament from a woman."

So now there will presumably be two communion lines -- two "tracks" -- during Penfold's services: One that leads to bread she has blessed and a second that takes worshipers to bread blessed by a male priest. "It was agreed by all the clergy and cathedral chapter that this was the best way to handle what we call a mixed economy," said Hindley. The situation "is not ideal," he admitted, "but we are trying to be inclusive."


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New Oxford Notes: October 2009

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I have read that the Roman Catholic Church in fact recognizes the Anglican Church as a legitimate Church because it has Apolistic succession of its ordained Bishops, similar to that of the Eastern Right. Can anyone confirm or deny this? If this is true then wouldn’t the Anglican host be considered the Body of Christ and not merely bread? Posted by: ryanliebhaber
October 14, 2009 10:37 AM EDT
@Ryanliebhaber
There was a time early in the Anglican church in which there was still a legitimate apostolic succession. Reforms of the Anglican church durring the 14th century by Thomas Cramner altered the Ordination rite sufficiently to the point that it could no longer convey apostolic succession. this stand in opposition to the easter churches, who have retained the original rite or ordination and this still have a valid, though illicit apostolic succession.
Posted by: Thursday
October 14, 2009 11:47 AM EDT
pardon the typos. corrections below

There was a time early in the Anglican church in which there was still a legitimate apostolic succession. Reforms of the Anglican church durring the 14th century by Thomas Cramner altered the Ordination rite sufficiently to the point that it could no longer convey apostolic succession. this stands in opposition to the eastern churches, who have retained the original rite of ordination and thus still have a valid, though illicit apostolic succession.
Posted by: Thursday
October 14, 2009 11:49 AM EDT
sorry meant to say 16th century. Posted by: Thursday
October 14, 2009 03:44 PM EDT
Looks like Pope Benedict's new apostolic constitution announced this week is going to blow this train off both tracks.

Rowan Williams is Casey Jones.
Posted by: Jack_Straw
October 23, 2009 09:12 PM EDT
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