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What is your churchmanship?

14 December 2014

This is a quintessentially Anglican question, and, though I’m no longer an Anglican, when a friend did a quiz on the topic on Facebook recently, I thought I would try it, just to see what the result would be.

This is what it said:

What is your Churchmanship
Final Result:

Liberal-to-Moderate Anglo-Catholic

You’re definitely Anglo-Catholic, however, unlike your Traditionalist brothers and sisters you think that the Church can lighten up a little. Female Priests and Bishops? Why Not? Welcoming place for LGBT Christians? Absolutely! Modern music in service? A few new hymns will do. Eucharist with the Priest not wearing a Chasuble? Not on your life in this place, Mister.

And I would say it is wrong, wrong, wrongity wrong.

Nearly fifty years ago I was about to study theology at St Chad’s College in Durham, which was then a recognised Anglican theological college, though not all the students were training to be Anglican clergy, and not all were studying theology. A sociology researcher, Bob Towler, came to interview me, and he interviewed all the others who were about to enter that and several other theological colleges. One of the questions he asked was What is your churchmanship?

He allowed five possible answers:

  1. Anglo-Catholic
  2. Prayer Book Catholic
  3. Modern Churchman
  4. Liberal Evangelical
  5. Conservative Evangelical

My answer was “None of the above”.

That was not allowed, he said. It had do be one of the ones on the list.

I asked if he could put me down as an “AngloCatholic Conservative Evangelical”, but no, that was not allowed either.

He was puzzled by my response, and said that none of the other people he had interviewed had had any hesitation at all in saying what their churchmanship was.  He had met a student who had previously been at St Chad’s College, Darryl Milner, who came from South Africa, and regarded him as a “Prayer Book Catholic”, and so said he would put me down as “Prayer Book Catholic” too, since I came from South Africa.

clergyBob Towler interviewed my cohort at various points in our career at St Chad’s (as he did with those attending other colleges), and eventually published his findings as The Fate Of The Anglican Clergy: A Sociological Study. I think he found our cohort at St Chad’s (1966-1968) quite weird, and perhaps that may have had something to do with St Chad’s being removed from the approved list of Anglican theological colleges.

Towards the end of my time at St Chad’s, a fellow student and I attended a seminar on Orthodox theology for non-Orthodox theological students in April 1968. It was held at the World Council of Churches’ ecumenical study centre in Bossey, Switzerland, and ended up with Holy Week at St Sergius in Paris. It was organised by Professor Nikos Nissiotis of Athens University, and had speakers like Fr (now Bishop) John Zizioulas and several others.

Palm Sunday 2013In the last interview we had with Bob Towler  before leaving St Chad’s I told him that I had finally decided on my churchmanship: Revolutionary Orthodox. But that too didn’t fit into the schme of his questionnaire, and perhaps it should have told me that I didn’t fit into the Anglican Church, but it took a few years more before I realised that.

You can find this stuff about my churchmanship on the About Me page of this blog.

As for the quiz, well, it just seemed to confirm that I don’t fit into the Anglican scheme of things, and probably never have. You can find it here and try it yourself.

It’s not a very good quiz, though. Some of the things it said explicitly contradicted answers I gave to some of the questions, so the basic design is flawed, but then no one takes these quizzes very seriously anyway, or do they?



One Comment leave one →
  1. 15 December 2014 12:35 am

    In my opinion, being a Christian i.e. following Jesus is not about ticking boxes!

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