Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Not Welcome In The Church Of England

1389349456_20131204-Selby-abbey--Leper-squintI went to church this morning.

I really wish I hadn't.

It was the annual general meeting and this is one of the main reminders in the year of my exile from the church. You see, according to the Church of England there are two types of people - clergy who are employed by the Church of England and the laity. As an ordained person without a job in the church, not even a license to officiate, I technically do not exist. I am certainly not allowed to be a member of the church. I am allowed no say in the running of the church from General Synod down to parish level. I am allowed to take communion, but then so is any baptised person, but my name is not mentioned on any list of names and it is not allowed to be. I have no stake in the church. As far as the church is concerned I have less status than a child because a child is at least a potential church member.

So, when the service was over, as everyone else went off to the parish rooms for refreshment and a chat before the meeting, I walked off alone. Not invited to the feast. An ecclesiastical anomaly. A leper, only allowed to catch glimpses of the inside of the church through the squint in its cold, thick walls.

This is a bad season for me. In two weeks time I celebrate five years of not being allowed to preside at communion. Then just over a month later it will be twenty years to the day since my ordination. Most priests celebrate this occasion with, at least, a special communion service. I am not allowed to and this really hurts.

Why this exile? Have I buggered a choirboy, committed adultery, stole from the church coffers, broken the law of the land or the law of the church? No. My unforgivable sin was to suffer from depression and be under the authority of a bishop who believed that a person who has suffered from any form of mental illness should never be a parish priest. As, no other bishop in the Church of England has ever come forward to help me I assume that this attitude is shared by all bishops. Heck, they forgive murderers, thieves and adulterers, offer them a place within. But not priests who are or have been mentally ill. We are not even welcome at the church meeting.

Holy Communion For The Fourth Sunday Of Easter

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Jesus is the good shepherd and we are his flock. We are brought together in love by Jesus to share our lives with him and with each other. In the sacrament of the eucharist we celebrate this wonderful togetherness with the Lord, our shepherd. The Holy Spirit transforms the bread and the wine so that they become for us the very body and blood of Christ that he was willing to lay down so that we might be raised with him into eternal life.

At Saint Laika’s everyone is invited to receive communion and be in communion. There are no exceptions.

If you have been pushed out of a church in the past or if you do not feel part of the institutional churches, for whatever reason, you are especially welcome here, and you will be among people who know exactly how you feel.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol). How you view the nature of this part of the service is completely up to you.

Click on the arrow on the far lefthand side of the sound bar to listen to the service now or CLICK HERE to download the podcast so that you can listen to it later at your own convenience.

Alternatively CLICK HERE to access the podcast via iTunes.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

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To Give Or Not To Give?

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Here's a great idea. Celebrate Saint George's Day by sending a bit of your hard earned cash the way of that most deserving of Englishmen, me.

Like Saint George I am completely self supporting when it comes to battling dragons and everything else I do as Britain's first full time internet priest. I rely entirely on those who, out of charity, support my ministry. I receive about £500 a month in regular donations, which is not enough to keep Saint Laika's going and live on really. Therefore, I have to ask, whenever an opportunity (or, as in this case, an excuse) presents itself for extra help. If you can spare a dime, buddy, just click on the donation button below and follow the instructions. You do not need your own PayPal account to donate via PayPal.

The big question, of course, is "Am I worth it?"

Well, William Shakespeare thinks so and he's the greatest writer who has ever lived. Even better than Dan Brown and that woman what wrote that bondage book.




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