British Armed Forces: Chaplain Cuts Announced

The number of active duty chaplains serving in the Armed Forces will be reduced under the Government’s troop reduction programme proposed in its Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Under Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Astor told Parliament last week.

The former Archbishop of Armagh, Lord Eames, asked the government what  “impact planned reductions in the future strength of the Armed Forces will have on the number of chaplains serving in the Armed Forces?”

Lord Astor responded in a written statement released on 26 June 2012 the number of chaplains will be cut.  The “number of chaplains serving in the Armed Forces is dependent on the size and structure of the service which they support. Following the reductions to the Armed Forces that we announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review it is currently planned that the number of chaplains required by the Royal Navy will reduce from 68 to 62 by 2013 and the Royal Air Force chaplaincy requirement will reduce from 76 to 68 by 2018.”

The minister stated it was “not possible to comment on what the Army’s future requirement for chaplains will be” as troop levels for a reduced force had not yet been finalized. In recent years approximately 150 chaplains served in the Army, with additional chaplains assigned to the Territorial Army and the Army Cadet Force.


But then I see that the British Army on the whole is about to shrink by a fifth – all ‘part of an economy drive’. Dangerous stuff, if you ask me. Her Majesty’s Armed Forces are a shadow of what they once were…



Cathedral Struck by ‘Aeroplane Ice Block’ During Mass


A block of ice believed to have fallen from an aeroplane crashed through the roof of an Essex cathedral during a Sunday service.

Father James MacKay was leading the Eucharistic prayer at Brentwood Cathedral when he heard an “explosion”.

The congregation looked on as a shower of roof slate and ice fell outside the building. The cathedral’s roof and beams were damaged.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said ice strikes from planes were rare.

‘Trembling with shock’

“Everything stopped as we heard this. I turned to my left to see lots of slate and what looked like white stuff, which we now know was ice, falling from the roof.

“I was trembling with a bit of shock.

“After a couple of seconds of shocked pause I said ‘right, let’s crack on’ and we did so.”

An usher who went to investigate told Fr MacKay the cathedral had been hit from above, possibly by ice from a plane.

Fr MacKay said: “You think this sort of thing is a myth. But when you see the damage in the roof, you realise it is not. It went straight through the slate.”

The CAA gets about 30 reports each year of ice falling from aircraft.

A CAA spokesman said: “Ice falling from planes does not happen that often – it can happen around hose connections and if washers fail.

“You can have a big lump of ice come off an aircraft as it descends into warmer air.

“But increasingly, a lot of these incidents are natural meteorological phenomena.”

The building, near the High Street, is England’s newest cathedral and was built between 1989 and 1991.

The damage caused on 1 July has been repaired and cost hundreds of pounds, the cathedral said.



No C of E Bishopesses… Yet…

Anglicans postpone vote on women bishops.

Times Live:

The General Synod, the governing body of the worldwide Anglican Communion’s mother church, voted instead to hold further discussions on a last-minute amendment that had angered senior female clergy.

A final vote is now likely in November.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the communion’s spiritual leader, told the meeting at the University of York in northern England that the adjournment would help “lower the temperature” over the debate.

“It is quite clear that the reaction cannot be ignored,” he said.

“When there is a reaction of real hurt and offence in the Church, Christians, and Christian pastors in particular, cannot afford to ignore it.”

The General Synod members voted 288 in favour of an adjournment, 144 against and 15 abstained.

It had as recently as Friday voted to hold the final vote on Monday.

The last-ditch amendment would have given traditionalist parishes the right of access to an alternative male bishop who shares their views about women clergy.

Pro-women campaigners have claimed this would enshrine discrimination against women in law, and therefore threatened to vote alongside traditionalists.

Williams warned last week that the Church was “looking into the abyss” over the issue and said that a vote against women bishops would put it off the agenda until 2015.

The legislation will need a two-thirds majority in all three houses of the General Synod — laity, clergy and bishops — if it is to get final approval.

If it clears the final hurdle it will then go for approval in the Houses of Parliament before receiving royal assent, paving the way for the first women bishops in 2014.

The Church of England — the officially established state church in England — voted to create women priests in 1992 and they now constitute around a third of all its priests.

The 61-year-old Williams will step down as church leader in December after a decade in the post.



The Other Rowan Williams…

Anglican Samizdat:

TEC, the  organisation that will tolerate anything except disagreement, is disciplining bishops for saying what they think, the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared that the Church of England is looking into the abyss, gay priests are out and transgendered priests are in, but the real Anglican news of the week is that there are two Rowan Williams (or should that be Rowan Williamses or Rowans Williams?).

The gender variant needs to work on those eyebrows if she expects anyone to take her seriously.

From here:

Meanwhile, Dr Williams has been revealed to have a female namesake. She is the Reverend Rowan Williams, who is chaplain at the University of York.

She was photographed chatting to General Synod members yesterday as they gathered in the grounds of the university.