Letter: Implications of re-ordaining Anglican priests

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The Independent Online
Sir: I could not resist a smile on learning that John Bunyan's hymn 'He who would valiant be' was sung at the mass celebrating Ann Widdecombe's reception into the Roman Catholic Church. Puritan irony: who would have thought it?

There is a serious point. To judge from current and past reporting in the Independent, your readers might begin to wonder whether English Christianity was to be understood solely in terms of the relationship between Canterbury and Rome. There is, however, a wider picture which is seldom reflected in your religious coverage. The Methodist, United Reformed, Baptist and other mainstream free churches have a distinctive life, witness and tradition which is, apparently, invisible.

Meanwhile, I shall reflect somewhat ruefully on the catholicity of the Church the next time I receive a group of Anglicans into membership of the Methodist Church; the next time I baptise the child of parents of no particular denominational affiliation; the next time a visiting Roman Catholic knowingly receives communion from my non-episcopally ordained hands.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN SWARBRICK

Weston Methodist Church

Bath,

Avon

26 April

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