Sunday, March 11, 2007

Unrelieved Old hymns and King James - a recipe for the slow death of the Church of England?

Christopher Ohlson writes in the Guardian yesterday about the Church of England:

Favourite old hymns seem to have disappeared from the repertoire. Traditional Anglicans go to church for the King James Bible, the old hymns and the architecture. The Bible and the hymns have disappeared, which leaves only the great cathedrals.

Our church has the Bible very prominently featured. Indeed, I would be staggered to hear of any Anglican church that does not have at least one reading from the Bible during its services. It might not be the King James version though. But aren't "thous", "thees" and "wherearts" a little unlikely to bring children and teenagers flocking to the church?

Our church has an old style hymnal and a new style hymnal. We sing from both. I enjoy both.

I have often heard a Telegraph commentator, whose name excapes me, complaining that the Church of England has burnt the Book of Common Prayer. I fact, there are scores of copies kept at the back of our church and they are used regularly.

A little while ago Terry Waite announced he was joining the Quakers 'having tired of what he describes as "chirpy" vicars acting like television presenters in an attempt to engage their congregation.'

I am fortunate enough to go to a church which offers all sorts of services for all types and ages. What is important is that the congregation is not dwindling and it seems that there are new people coming in all the time. Purely using the old hymns and the King James Bible, without offering alternatives in different services, seems to me a recipe for the slow death of the Church of England.

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