thanks to alexandra jones, who sent me this link… and asked if i could do a cartoon.
Unfortunately that is often how it feels.
Certainly in our bit we aren’t just ‘church’ we are also custodian of the nations heritage. Unfortunately that responsibilty has been placed with the 50 older ladies (massive sterostype I know) who have been lumbered with the burden.
A few years ago I was part of a PCC that voted to shut a church. You would not believe the grief we got. The church had a congregation of 3 – who agreed to it shutting as they all atteneded the other parish church as well. The people who gave the abuse (I don’t over state the case) had no association at all.
The press who covered the final service didn’t stay for it. They still managed to report the people “rolling in the isles crying”. How they knew is anyones guess….
She’s cute – way cuter in the ad than in her resume photo.
What’s that line in the bible about God providing for all your needs according to his riches in glory?
Guess you have to know what the needs are, maybe?
But churches make such nice Indian restaurants.
ouch. this burns. *sizzle*
That video is awful. Suppose it’s meant to be funny right? The theory of selling the vatican is a great idea. But maybe she should start by selling her plasma TV?
Hmmmm… I struggle with the idea of being custodians of national heritage. Not sure about it at all.
It’s not only the old stuff though – how often do ‘new’ church builds spend a fortune that could be used to feed someone? Or house someone? We need a new computer… we need a new PA system… we need a new cafe area… we need a new carpet.
There is another way…
They don’t really utilise the buildings they’ve got. I know of a beautiful large church building that’s standing empty most of the time and it would make an excellent wedding venue – I mean for receptions and parties. It could be used for conferences too. That’d bring in lots of money.
Ah, prostituation through altruism! Thats what Jesus was on about?! Crazy woman!
Anyway, don’t want to throw too big a spanner in the works but is it really a good idea to sell of the churches? I know its just a building etc but to the communities they are in the often represent the presence of God. No church building=no God. I know its stupid and stupid but its true.
Now I’m not saying that there isn’t a case for selling the things that aren’t used any more e.g. the spare Gold golblet, or the eagle lecturns, etc but aren’t we just doing what everyone else is doing otherwise? ‘Ah the church (institution) should sell its stuff so that the world gets fed’ but what about us? As Andyhoyland comments above, what about her TV? Our TV? why don’t we buy fair trade? why don’t we give more to the poor? Why is that 2nd car so important? Perhaps the problem is not the other, but us?
it’s a difficult situation as the diocese will be over budget if they don’t make cuts, and on the face of it chaplaincies probably don’t contribute much to the rest of the diocese, but rest assured, the university of southampton chaplaincy is used a lot, perhaps we now need to think about paying our way. I don’t know about the other chaplaincies as I’m not in a position to use them.
Thanks for publicising this Jon – I’ve been lurking on here for a while but not really commented before
Difference between being called by God and having a career perhaps?
The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.
Tempted to think when I preach that when I pronounce the benediction, a switch flicks in my (and the congregation’s) head that goes ‘Nice service: now let’s get back to real life….’
…I mean this story about selling all you have and giving it to the poor or taking nothing for the journey. It’s all very well….but the chapel roof is leaking and we have to look after our own or who would be left to pay your wages….
I’m going to lie down- you have shattered my worldview again
Pchurcher87 – I didn’t realise we were talking about ‘the other’ I thought we were talking about ‘us’ already.
‘The Church’ isn’t some disconected entity, it is the people. The people make the decisions about where the resources are spent. Even the cartoon has two people in it discussing allocation of resources.
Andyholyland – I suspect the reason it offends you so much is because it is so close to the bone.
Just today my friend & I were commiserating that some churches have underutilised buildings and are unwilling to share with other churches that are homeless. Also that parts of the Church want status quo and are unwilling to change to better partner with the rest of the Church and reach the world outside.
Peter – I agree – but I think as Christians we need to work on changing the idea that ‘no church building = no God”…
So – anyone in Sheffield want to try something like this:
I’m not saying we SHOULD sell all the churches off though – but there is certainly a need to think about how and why we spend our money.
Also I’d like to echo Marzipan’s thanks to Jon – have been reading for a long time but hardly ever comment.
Wow, looks a bit chilly and damp to me! No, I would not like to meet under a flyover.
Robb – you mean the video?
No – that’s not why it offends me*. The makers of the video have a point but it’s just an awful video. Unless it’s supposed to be ironic (if I’m using the word in the right context – I’m never too sure!)
In which case it’s brilliant.
I just can’t get past the line “How do I get these people out of my apartment basically”… Robb – I didn’t mean to sound as if I disagreed with her sentiment. Mine was simply a very short reaction to what I thought was an awful video. Sorry. I should be more constructive in the future! Thanks for posting it though.
Also – I should actually comment on the cartoon too – I like it! I don’t know anything about Southampton Chaplaincy though so I’ll stick with I like it…
*I feel deeply convicted / challenged at the moment about the ‘stuff’ I (we) have but that video isn’t part of my conviction! I think (hope) I’m getting most of my conviction from Christ.
Ha ha Tiggy… good point. It’s pretty windy at the moment too. The hymn sheet would get blown all over the place…
I’m not going to any church that doesn’t have espresso and biscotti. My life is hard enough.
andyholyland – no problemo. I think that is often the point of anarchic comedy. There is a huge point to be made and you make it by taking it to the extremes and beyond.
I think she is poking fun at everything including herself and mainstream US culture and the incongruities within each of those situations.
I suspect that the main focus is the church because it preaches a message that doesn’t sit with the hoarding of wealth.
I love the concept of the church under the bridge but wonder how it sits with the current legislation on public gatherings.
Check out http://www.dream.uk.net/ and guerilla worship.
@marzipan – In cold hard cash terms, the chaplaincy at uni contributes to the diocese in alerting people who will hopefully earn decent money to the CofE’s good work.
In terms of non-materialistic stuff, in the last 4 years, the chaplaincy has seen 7 regulars considering a life in CofE ministry, baptisms and confirmations. Not bad for a regular worshipping community of at most 30 on the Anglican side. I don’t even have figures for the Catholic side.
That doesn’t include the hundreds/ thousands touched by the Chaplaincy in a non – obvious way as well.
It’s such a well used place isn’t it?
I’d never have got through university if it hadn’t been for the Chaplaincy (Lancaster). And a lot of the people who went there did go on to work for the church in one capacity or another.
I was there during the scandal years – it was great!
University chaplaincies are great. Give so much unseen support to students.
Andy, if you are in Sheffield and lookin to be church community in a “travelling light” sort of a way, you could check out the Crowded House network
I can’t go as far as recommending them cos i don’t know much about them beyond their existence, and don’t know anyone there personally (came across them doin research on t’internet for my degree), but def worth a quick look?
A friend of mine who recently became vicar of a parish in Sheffield shared with me that the C of E have an odd obsession with buildings.
So much so that the question of selling assets is not one which is raised much.
I call it the Imperial Church, with its outposts in every heathen corner to enforce adherence to the faith.
Maybe the church will learn to change. Who was it who said:
“If you don’t like change you’re going to like irrelevance even less”
Thanks Linus – yeah – I’ve heard of Crowded House – read a book by Steve Timmis and played against their football team too!
Robb – thanks for the link to dream.uk.net – it’s already distracted me from about an hours worth of work today!
And I echo the chaplaincy importance thing – my dad was a Uni chaplain for a good few years and there will be many people who found uni a little bit easier because that was available.
Robb mentions that people make the decisions – they don’t unless the are on the right strucutral bodies, the Church nationally is bleeding money out of its pores, at some point we will have to sell some stuff – there won’t be any people left to dispense with.
Too right Ali Campbell!!
ian 3008 – “I call it the Imperial Church, with its outposts in every heathen corner to enforce adherence to the faith.”
This is going to keep me for hours!!
The same could be said of the Catholic church really, Ian.
Our chaplaincy was home to numerous not specifically Christian groups who needed a safe or large space: Role Players, GaySoc, LesbianSoc, Pagan Society, Muslim Society, various cultural societies to do with foreign students. You could also buy the most wonderful curry there.
Tiggy – I went to a fantastic restaurant a few weeks back called “The Chapel”… it was in an old hospital chapel down in Somerset.
Very good food. I’ve not ‘known’ you long but I reckon you would probably have liked it.
Well you should have invited me then!
We had an old church converted into an Indian restaurant in Lancaster. It was all done out with verses from the Quran, like a Mosque, and had amazing Indian carvings and crafstmanship. It was beautiful.
This is the problem when the church becomes the building and we use man made objects as idols.
I love old historic churches but if they are emptying sell them and use the mony to do some good in the community.
Why does the church need to give communion of gold and silver, Christ didnt?
Also the CofE is one of the largest land owners in the UK what are they doing with the wealth tied up in that?
This is the problem with a state instatuted church. It often cares moe for its position and material goods than it does for its parishoners…
Are a lot of them listed buildings?
Something marzipan said up there in 8 “…chaplaincy is used a lot, perhaps we now need to think about paying our way”
and AlexJones in 19 “…the hundreds/ thousands touched by the Chaplaincy in a non – obvious way as well.”
Sounds like “paying our/their way” also needs to be looked at in an eternal context, as well as temporal hard currency.
i.e., how much of our cash is their salvation worth?
How much of our cash is Jesus, and the doing of the reaching out to people of Jesus, worth?
Even when, especially when, the final “balance sheet” is not going to be resolved this side of eternity.
Beatthedrum – that is because the CofE has a church in every part of England. There is no part of the country that the CofE doesn’t care for. That is why it is one of the biggest land owners (if not the biggest) in this country. You make it sound like there are acres of of hunting ground when in reality it is the churches and the other associated buildings.
Forrest – you hit an interesting question. How do you “assess” in tangible terms what is done in a chaplaincy (or anything else church related for that matter) other than physical acts?
I am very cautious about assessment that relies upon “number of people brought in” or “number of people sent off to the church” or “cash generated”. Mother Theresa probably doesn’t come far up the list on those criteria. How about “beggars washed”?
Robb it is not the biggest, that’s the Duke of Westminster I believe, but it certainly retains some value in land… but not as much as it did…and someone else talked about the CofE having to start selling stuff…that’s been going on for 20 years now. The books have only been balanced by the sale of the family silver. The forthcoming demands on parishioners to stump up for the shortfall in the clergy pension fund is partly reflecting the fact that we are running out of things to sell, without making the whole balance sheet look a bit wobbly.
I have been trying for 12 years to achieve a different way of doing these things locally, including getting my own church closed down but to no avail. Like most British institutions it will just quietly sleepwalk into oblivion through apathy and fear.
Right, that’s enough of that.
Robb they own most of teeside and county durham as well.. and thats just in my area. Its not all ‘church grounds’
Maybe the Cof E should ‘live’ of its offerings on a weekly basis….
Durham Cathedral owns most of Teeside & Durham than the CofE last time I looked.
What Robb asks there in #34: “How do you “assess” in tangible terms what is done in a chaplaincy (or anything else church related for that matter) other than physical acts? ”
Anyone have the excellent answer?
Forrest – I don’t think there is an answer. How do you work out the successful cure of souls? What does it exactly mean?
That is why so many feel despondant – you don’t see the waiting list go down, the GCSE results go up, the coal go out on the wagons or the immaculatley tailored suits go out of the shop door….
themethatisme – I helped shut and sell a church. High five?
Well chaplaincies must have value for the university as well – even if it’s just in helping people get through their degree or find a career path. Our chaplaincy was a very iconic building and it became the university’s logo.
I would like to live in a church, but I hate it when they convert churches into flats or houses and they look nothing like a church inside.
Are uni chaplains funded by the diocese they are in? Correct me if I am wrong but Hospital and Prison chaplains aren’t are they?
Tiggy@17 – sorry, no espresso and biscotti, but there is a constant supply of tea and (instant) coffee, cake on a Thursday, and various other tasty things sporadically as people bring them. Also sympathy, random chat, serious chat, hugs, silly games…tick which one you want.
Alex@19 – I meant to put ‘financially’ into that sentence but I forgot. Though of course some chaplaincy folk would contribute through their church’s collection plate.
Robb@41 – hospital chaplains are paid for by the NHS, prison chaplains but the prison service, some uni chaplains are funded by the uni itself but not Southampton Uni of Southampton Solent Uni.
Forrest@32 – can you come and argue with the diocese about cold hard cash vs eternal currency? That would be great! As for measurement…the amount of time people spend in chaplaincy when they only popped in for half an hour, perhaps? Or cups of tea drunk?
Or how about how many people have said ‘chaplaincy saved my degree/sanity/life’? (if you click on the link, and go to “Testimonies”, there’s a selection of people who have said exactly that.
I was a bit suspicious though of the numbers of people who went to the chaplaincy who also ended up intercallating (taking a year out). This was probably equal to the amount of time they’d spent hanging about in the chaplaincy during the first two years of their degree. I was there so much, people thought I lived there.
A lot of Anglicans went over to the Catholic side because they had a nicer flat and much better parties which usually ended with the cheery, drunken singing of IRA protest songs. If you were around at the right time of an evening the Catholic chaplain would pour you an alcoholic beverage of some kind. There were many illicit liaisons going on and for some reason, I always seemed to know about them….
Re: #24, “Forrest@32 – can you come and argue with the diocese about cold hard cash vs eternal currency? That would be great! ”
Sorry, marzipan, best I can do is suggest to the diocese that they read the New Testament.
when we joined the fellowship in Brissol, i slowly became aware that the leader also works, he also recieves some money from the church, with respect for all the hard working, and thoughtful ministers here on asbo, and else where, i still have to say it proved refreshing to find a leader who also know what the world of work was like!
Subo – most of the ministers I know have been in the world of work for years before training. Even I in my small years spent 5 years teaching and 2 years in a call centre before going to theological college. I even did a stint at the mine when I was 18.
I think it is a little harsh to suggest that ministers who know what the world of work is like are the exception rather than the norm is quite harsh.
Feel free to criticise my kaka sentence construction.
I was at Soton 27 years ago. The chaplaincy was fab then. The network of friends I made there have been supporting each other through good stuff and bad ever since. The foundations chaplaincies lay for the future especiallly during the most formative time of your life is priceless. Thanks for the heads up Jon. Just off to sign the petition.
robb @ 47. i’m unimpressed by your ‘kaka sentence construction’. i felt it ruined a perfectly reasonable point.
I know. I have let myself down. I’ve let you down. I have let all asboers down. I hang my head in shame.
And above all, you let God down. Even when Jesus was on the cross, he didn’t come out with a rubbish sentence like that!
@ gloriousthings(48): can you put that in your petition comment (or email one of us on the ‘contact us’ page if you’ve already signed) if you don’t mind us quoting you to show how much lasting effect chaplaincy can have on people.
@ Tiggy (43): apparently there’s a rule that we’re not allowed to live there, otherwise some people would never leave!
It’s an ecumenical chaplaincy (Catholic, free church & anglican) at the moment but if the anglicans stop funding it, the other churches probably won’t be able to afford the rent and the whole thing will have to close.
We used to have a joint communion service at our Ecumenical chaplaincy, until the Catholic Bishop got to hear of it and then he put a stop to it. One day there was a sit down protest in the area between the Catholic and Anglican/Free Church chapels over this issue. I think it was mainly Anglicans who didn’t like having to decide where to go and a few Catholics. I was cooking curry upstairs for 100 people at the time, so I wasn’t involved.
That Bishop had a very flash car that lifted up after you got in it, like a hovercraft. He defrocked our chaplain!
Tiggy – my thoughts.
“Durham Cathedral owns most of Teeside & Durham than the CofE last time I looked.” themthatisme….
isnt the cathedral part of the CofE then….?
No, all the cathedrals are financially independant of the CofE. They may have staff attached to them salaried through the diocese but generally the diocese cannot control the Cathedrals doings. In fact there is often little argument as the chapter will usually all by diocesan lackies to some extent. Sorry, really cynical about this stuff at the moment.
LOL, I miss Ted Crilly. I don’t usually go for older men, but I found Dermot Morgan very attractive. I love a man in a cardigan!
Now I think of it, the goings-on at my chaplaincy were rather reminiscent of Father Ted; certainly farcical enough, though rather more risque.
that video reminded me of the ikon service at greenbelt I think it would make good viewing for before, during or after their service.
“I think it is a little harsh to suggest that ministers who know what the world of work is like are the exception rather than the norm is quite harsh.”
your right of course, Robb. and yet there’s a huge difference in past and present. in truth I’m just aware we are all working in an uncertain climate, and I’m also just suggesting that the discipline of work has been a long standing Christian tradition, and may at times be a benefit one’s ministry
I know a number of college’s have reduced their ‘chaplain’ quota’s, which has also made it difficult for Christians who volunteer to continue to have a presence in colleges. of course this is to be regretted, and yet it’s not stopping us from inventing new ways of reaching out to students – how about circulating ‘ASBOJESUS.wordpress.com cards at freshers wk?
Subo – You’re right – we’re all working in an uncertain climate – clergy included! That is the point of the cartoon is it not? As for work – I have been asked to do an audit of my time. So far since waking up on monday morning – 19 hours. And I am out all night as well…
I think one of the factors influencing a college’s provision of a chaplaincy team is desire. The value of a chaplain is hard to justify in a secular workplace. As I said, it is hard to justify on the basis of statistics – as there aren’t any. Statistics are what the workplace is driven by. If you are a psychologist you need to be able to show the benifits that you have brought to the NHS trust you work for. All done statistically whether through waiting lists or customer satisfactions surveys. You can’t do that with spirituality. “I just saw you light a candle, could you fill in this form for me to say what you were praying for”? Unfortunately that is the currency of most if not all work places.
My experiences of being an RE teacher are that there is a growing belief that anything to do with religion is pointless. Just the conversations with Joe Public about Joe Public juniors behaviour tell you that. How do you justify a chaplaincy to someone who has either no religious beliefs?
Robb, do you put down on your timesheets all the time you spend on Asbo?
Do they really have customer satisfaction forms for NHS psychologists? I’ve never been asked to fill in one or I’d have a few things to say.
As one of the chaplains…….thanks for this, Jon.
Robb: “How do you justify a chaplaincy to someone who has [either] no religious beliefs?”
That is an excellent question! Surely all these universities etc are based in towns and cities where there are any number of churches of all denominations available.
“there is a growing belief that anything to do with religion is pointless”
I just hope that it can be replaced by a generalised, humanistic sense of purpose and self-fulfilment. How do we achieve that!? And (back to my original thought on seeing this cartoon), how can we protect and save all the gorgeous church buildings as they fall out of use?
It’s certainly worth pondering how and why the CHURCHes (RC / CofE) have amassed so much wealth over the centuries! Think of what they preach and purport to represent…!
Tiggy – nope. And 2 minutes whilst I take a break from photocopying isn’t exactly breaking the bank.
And I don’t have a time sheet normally. I was asked to do it so that I (and more importantly, the vicar – my boss) know what I do in a typical week.
NHS satisfaction? It is a little bit more complicated than that. Researchers and statistics and… all that jazz. Academics and all that. What does CBT (or pick any particular method you care to chose) do? What is it’s evidence base etc…
I’ll ask Dr Ruth to explain it. She’s the Dr!!
It’s okay Robb, you can be our resident chaplain.
I kind of know what they do and they never ask the opinion of the punters.
Nah – I don’t think so. Not with that kind of comment.
I saw a psychologist once and he went insane. I don’t think it was my fault. He then left to work for the Ministry of Defence.
Funny thing: every time I hear Sarah Silverman, I find myself running to find my old recordings of Janeane Garofelo’s material.
Ah, they just don’t make comedians like they used to.
…and by that, I mean funny.
I read somewhere recently that the atheist lobby (of the Dawkins persuasion) were lobbying hard for an end to all Chaplaincy in hospitals, prisons, colleges, on the grounds that it discriminates against them by allowing ‘public’ money to be spent pedalling religion.
quick comment, as very busy, but…
seems to me, chaplaincy at it’s best is not about religion primarily, although the church is the employer… it’s about care for people. at the route of faith lies compassion, so faith based organisations will be an obvious employer for the role. how many young people have not chucked themselves off a roof because of wise adult counsel?.. a good few i’ll bet, and these things cannot be measured. young people need caring adults, it’s important. giving up these posts to save money would send out a very clear and frankly depressing message. caring is at the heart the gospel in a way that accrued wealth simply isn’t. time to get back to basics methinks.
FB… you’re welcome. you need to thank alexandra jones as she put me on to this.
The early church had no buildings. (Hint hint: read Frank Viola)
The early church didn’t have any coffee either – I don’t see what that has to do with anything. In any case, it wasn’t long before they built some.
Re #69 by Kim: “allowing ‘public’ money to be spent pedalling religion.”
To go in same principle as a-theism – Yes it is equal, we are a-spending a-money.
I would think since atheists believe in nothing, isn’t it equal because there already is a good sum of public money spent “peddling nothing”?
Jon, I think the assertions “at the root of faith lies compassion” and “caring is at the heart of the gospel” are worthy of discussions in their own right!
jf… yup, i can think of a hundred different ways i could have said what i meant rather what i actually said, which i agree, certainly does open cans of worms, which i myself would take issue with. ah well, that’s the danger of commenting in a rush.
Jon, I don’t think you need to be apologetic about your assertion that ‘caring is at the heart of the gospel’ – as a quick review of the life and teaching of Jesus will confirm!
yes pat… it’s more the ‘caring is at the heart of faith’. depends what your faith is and what you’re like. i’ve no doubt jesus taught and lived compassion and that lives at the heart of the faith he was teaching and living.
Just thought I would chime in with a non-faith reality check.
First – Sarah Silverman is a purveyor of car crash comedy, she specifically says things that ‘you aren’t supposed to say’ for reaction and comedy, its not my cup of tea, but I think in this case it works.
Second – trust me on this. You do not need an ornate building to have a place of worship, I come from an evangelical christian family, whose church have worshipped in an ex military barracks, a shooting range, a school, a social club, the local park, need i go on?
This kind of thing is among the many reasons I turned my back on religion – the general tendency towards gross decadence, the pomp and ceremony and the unreality of it all.
How on earth can all of those who are in the ‘we can’t sell off property for aid’ lot think this way? Do you think that Jesus had a special building with all of the gold and silver bells and whistles? Did Moses get a rock proof housing on an oxcart (a-la the Mosesmobile) I think not… Its about time the Roman Catholic church got real, and brought itself into the 19th century then quickly realise that its still 200 years out of date. Same goes for the Anglican church – its all robes and mourning your religion, if you want to be a real apologist get rid of the spangly symbols of idolatry, get rid of the nonsense robes (the cost of those will feed a family for a good few months as well) just plain old stop, re read your bibles, and take it back to basics, show the world that your human actions can speak louder than your spiritual words and make people think again.
While we are at it, the smaller community churches could be easily turned into soup kitchens for the more needy while still being church property if required hold a chapel service each day into the bargain because we all know that God is for life not just for Sunday right?
In closing i will reiterate that I suggest that anyone this side of the clergy and the church as a whole needs to stop mourning their religion, and roll their sleeves up and do some actual real good (yes mr corporate accounts guy, and mrs personal trainer with 2.4 children and a Jag i especially mean you – you purveyors of greed and vanity in the day job while being apologists on sunday, you know who you are.)
actually @post 77 – thank you thank you thank you you are about the only one that makes sense here – certainly beats my ranting anyway.
Golgothan – an excellent comment – (apart from the last sentence!) that pretty much sums up my view of ‘church’ at the moment. I am a Christian and I want to find a better way to ‘do’ or ‘be’ church.
“Re-read your bibles and take it back to basics, show the world that your human actions can speak louder than your spiritual words and make people think again.”
If that’s not a call to todays church I don’t know what is.
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