Services for the week beginning 05/07/2015

We would like to begin with a huge congratulations to Ann Kember who is due to be ordained deacon tomorrow (04/07/2015) at Christ’s Church Cathedral in Oxford. After the 11am service on Sunday 5th we will be holding a little celebration for Ann and we would like to encourage everyone to come along and wish her well as she continues in her new role in her journey with Christ.


Sunday 05/07/2015

8 am: BCP Mattins;
11 am: Common Worship Morning Prayer; Officiant & Preacher: Ann Kember on Vocation
This will be followed by drinks in celebration of Ann’s ordination as Deacon on Saturday 4th July
There will be no 5pm service, as we would like to encourage everyone to attend the 11am and celebrate Ann’s ordination. 


Friday 10/07/2015

10:30 am: BCP Holy Communion; President & Preacher: Alan Cole


Positions Vacant

We still very much need more volunteers to serve coffee after the 11 am service on Sundays. Currently this is being done by a very small group of people, and, as things stand, we can not cover all Sundays. It is a relatively small commitment of time and an excellent way of contributing to our life together. If you are able to offer your help, please let Jillian or Adrian know.

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“I am…”


At the 11am services over the past two months, we have had the opportunity to focus on certain of the “I am…” sayings of Jesus.  Malcolm Guite started the series on April 12th when he talked about the theme “I am the vine”

Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me

(John 15:4b)

and reflected our need to be rooted and grounded in Jesus for our faith to be fruitful.


Ann Kember developed the theme on April 26th, talking on “I am the Way”

“Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”. Jesus said to him, “I am the way…”

(John 14:5b-6a)

We were reminded that we are not simply aiming at some distant goal, but are travelling a particular road: our faith is not all about the ends, but just as much about the Way. Alice Meynell, in her poem “I am the Way”, writes about this contrast: “Hadst thou been nothing but the goal / I cannot say / If thou hadst ever met my soul”. She concludes in the same vein, “Access, Approach / Art thou, Time, Way, and Wayfarer”.


The theme continued on May 3rd, when Malcolm spoke on “I am the… …life”, bringing us his recent sonnet, “God so loved the world”, which ends: “And now he gives himself, as Life and Light / that we might choose in Him to set things right”. On May 17th, Ann picked up the last of the trio, “I am the… …truth”, reflecting on, amongst other things, our need to trust, and our capacity to retain a sense of wonder for those things that we “understand”.


We closed the series with Malcolm speaking on just the core words – “I am…”, first found in Exodus 3, and picked up in John 8:57b,

Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.

in which we recognise with great immediacy that that with which we have to deal in our faith is not a “what” but a “who” – an eternal and infinite “I am” of consciousness from which we spring, in whom we “live and move and have our being”, in whose image we are made, and to whom, through and in Jesus, we can relate and come close.

Adrian Stacey

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How peculiar is the Church of St Edward, King and Martyr?


Adrian and I have asked for an opinion of this vexed question from the Archdeacon of Cambridge, the Venerable Alex Hughes, and here follows edited comments from an email he sent us:


“I think there are two issues at stake with respect to the ‘unusual’ status of St Edward’s. First, there is the question of ecclesiastical jurisdiction – i.e. whether or not it is a Peculiar. Second, there is the question of its submission to Canon Law.

On the first point, you ask whether I would write something to clarify the position of St Edward’s. I do have a fairly firm view on this matter, which is that St Edward’s is not a Peculiar, and that its uniqueness lies only in the manner of appointing clergy. This represents the view of certain well-established legal authorities , and the extensive research of a former member of the congregation at St Edward’s; but the question has never been tested exhaustively, and the costs of doing so are probably prohibitive. Arguably, whether or not St Edward’s ever was a Peculiar, such status was abolished anyway by statutory powers given to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the 19th century. My inclination, therefore, would be to behave as if St Edward’s is fully a parish within the Diocese of Ely under the Ordinary authority of the Bishop of Ely and the Archdeacon of Cambridge. One symbol of this would be for the Churchwardens to acknowledge their position as Officers of the Bishop by attending my Visitation and swearing themselves in alongside other Churchwardens.

On the second point, whether or not a church has Peculiar status, it cannot simply set aside Canon Law; and all clergy who hold a Bishop’s licence are bound by their oaths and declarations to abide by Canon law, which includes the requirement that they only use such forms of service as are authorized or allowed by Canon. In view of this, St Edward’s should expect to hold services which clearly belong within the family of Church of England liturgies, either of the Prayer Book or Common Worship. Given the extent of material authorized by Common Worship (running to several volumes of liturgical texts) I would be surprised if St Edward’s found it impossible to achieve this. And it is quite possible to introduce additional material to services on an ad hoc basis.

[Furthermore it would still need to use BCP or CW liturgies] because the church would still be under Ordinary authority (i.e. of the Master and Fellows of Trinity Hall), who would presumably require that the church only uses authorized Church of England liturgy”.


Adrian and I have duly been sworn in as Churchwardens at the Archdeacon’s Visitation in May, and are doing our best to steer a course between the former errant direction and that approved by the Diocese, while retaining our distinctive style.

Jillian Wilkinson

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Services for the week beginning 28/06/15

Please note that the Meditation Group on Friday evenings will be taking a break for the Summer vacation.


Sunday 28/06/2015

8 am: BCP Holy Communion; President & Preacher: Andrew Davison
11 am: Morning Prayer; Officiant & Preacher: Geoff Dumbreck: Out of the depths
5 pm: Meditative Evening Prayer & Compline; Officiant & Preacher: Br Chris Martin

Friday 03/07/2015

10.30 am: BCP Holy Communion; President & Preacher: Alan Cole

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“Vicarious religion”… and St Edward’s

Why are we here?

I have been reading the 2nd edition of sociologist Grace Davie’s ‘Religion in Britain’ in which she develops the theme of the 1st edition: believing without belonging. Twenty years on from that her research has led her to identify vicarious religion, which she describes as “the notion of religion performed by an active minority but on behalf of a much larger number who… …not only understand but appear to approve of what the minority is doing… …for example churches… …perform ritual on behalf of others (at the time of a birth or a death for instance); if these services are denied, this causes offence, the more so amongst those who do not attend church with any regularity.” (Davie,  2015 p.6) There is a curious disconnect between the offer of baptism with conditions, to the unquestioned availability of funeral services in the Church of England, if not at St Edward’s.

Amongst the churchgoers there has been “a gradual shift from a culture of obligation or duty to a culture of consumption or choice”  (ibid p7 ) with people attending Cathedral services in greater numbers than before, for the beauty of the building and the music as much as for the liturgy and the anonymity.

I’ve been reflecting on this notion of vicarious religion and what it could mean for us at St Edward’s with no Vicar-Chaplain and a small, gathered, congregation. We are important, not only to each other, but to all who live and work and visit in our parish: we are important as the still-burning light of Hugh Latimer’s last words on the stake: “we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

The range of services being developed at 11am and 5pm on Sundays offer a different sort of experience to people who may find more conventional churches too repetitive or constraining: in order to attract people to share our life at St Edward’s we need to establish  regular,  varied services,   settled and welcoming congregations, and that sense of timelessness and peace which is so attractive to people unfamiliar with it. “The church [is] the only community that has the experience and authority to offer to its surrounding culture words for repentance,… …for a shared grief over a past that can never be anything other than a record of failure and betrayal… …being named honestly for what it is by people who are not ashamed of naming failure… …and also the animation of the believing community thanksgiving.” (Rowan Williams, in Wells and Coakley, 2008 p178)

In this period of vacancy we can begin to look outward, to observing our position in the centre of Cambridge, to ensuring that the churchyard is tidy, the church open as often as possible to welcome visitors, to provide a beautiful place for people in need of peace a chance to step out of their busy lives and into a place “where prayer has been valid” (Eliot,1942, 2000 p32.)

For all that St Edward’s may have been peculiar in the past, it is now firmly part of the Church of England, with a parish, and a responsibility to minister to the people who live and work here. Vicarious religion indeed. Let us work together to keep the light burning.



Grace Davie: Religion in Britain: a persistent paradox. 2Nd edition. Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets, Faber 2000

Samuel Wells and Sarah Coakley, eds: Praying for England: priestly presence in contemporary culture. Continuum 2008

                                                                                                                Jillian Wilkinson


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Services for the week beginning 21/06/15

Please note that the Monday Taize service is on pause for the summer vacation and should be returning towards the end of September.


Sunday 21/06/2015

8 am: BCP Holy Communion; President & Preacher: Devin McLachlan
11 am: Contemplative Morning Prayer; Officiant & Preacher: Devin McLachlan: Peace, be still!
5 pm: Meditative Evening Prayer & Compline; Officiant & preacher: Ann Kember


Friday 26/06/2015

10.30 am: BCP Holy Communion; President & Preacher: Alan Cole
5:30 pm: Meditation Group

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From the archives…

St Edward’s is a church with a long and interesting history. Over the coming months we hope to have a series in which we look at some items in our archives and discover some aspects of this history. By way of introduction, we reproduce below an historical map from around 1800 showing St Edward’s parish at that time.

We can see that the map of Cambridge has greatly changed over the last 215 years. However, we observe that many of the institutions are still flourishing within our parish: King’s College and Clare College and Trinity Hall are still within our boundary. It is for this reason that St Edward’s holds the marriage registers for these College chapels, and they have to be borrowed whenever one of them has a happy event. The former Augustinian priory became the Botanic Garden, later the Cavendish laboratory and now various University departments; parts of the original King’s College are now the Old Schools, where such offices as the Vice-Chancellor and the reprographics are to be found – we are grateful to the latter for printing our service sheets and posters.

St Edward's Parish
We should remember all these hives of industry in our prayers for the people who live and work in our parish, and use the individual premises rather than multi-nationals – Indigo coffee house, David’s bookshop, Campkins cameras, the Arts Theatre, the Ark shop, Ben’e’ts coffee shop… so many to explore and support.

                                                                                                                Jillian Wilkinson

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