(01223) 760 444|

Sojourn in South Korea

Sojourn in South Korea

Our director of liturgy and worship, Charles Read, is one of a small group who represented the Church of England at the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC) in Seoul, South Korea. Here’s a blog from Charles that gives us a flavour of his experiences.

“There are about 40 of us here from all around the Anglican world, though sadly no one from Africa, for reasons we cannot quite work out. Nevertheless, it is very good to be able to meet people from so many different provinces, which I have been privileged to do on several occasions now at IALC. This meeting is a business meeting where we will produce a conference statement and maybe other material at the end of the week so we are busy in sessions discussing and drafting statements all day. I am part of a working group looking at ecclesiology and Eucharist – the overall conference theme is renewing the Anglican Eucharist. IALC produced a statement on the Eucharist in 1995 and so we began yesterday by considering in small groups what had changed in our churches as regards the Eucharist since 1995. You might like to stop and think what your answer to this question would have been before I tell you what we came up with!

“Today we formed ourselves into four groups to look at specific issues, hence I opted to join the ecclesiology and Eucharist group. We began by considering Anglican identity and some of our Norwich LLM students may be amused since I was teaching a session about this to them the day before I flew out here. (And yes I did tell the other members of the working group what I had said in the class on Saturday). We have also talked about the way in which the Eucharist is used, sadly, as a weapon where we say that we will not receive communion from or with someone we disagree with. We have begun to discuss what the theology is that would help us to argue against this kind of behaviour. We are here till Friday so we are at a very early stage of considering this and other tricky theological issues. Many of the provinces here are English speaking but not all. We are conducting our business in English and quickly finding ways to help those for whom English is not their first language to engage with what we are doing, which involves speaking slowly enough so people can follow what is being said and being active in checking out that people feel included and are listened to. We are having worship from the different provinces and so evening prayer tonight was from the Brazilian Anglican book, which is entirely in Portuguese. As a concession to those of us who speak little or no Portuguese, the Brazilian delegate who was leading the service had translated it into English for us. We did sing a couple of worship songs in Portuguese though.

“How did you get on thinking what had changed about Holy Communion since 1995? Here is the list from my small group as I remember it – we were from England (including the diocese of Europe), the USA, Scotland and the Seychelles.

  • In some provinces women have been ordained or in 1995 had only just begun to be ordained as priests so that women are visible as eucharistic presidents
  • there has been a growing awareness of gender inclusive language and expansive language in liturgy
  • there has been greater acceptance of admitting children to communion on the basis of their baptism
  • In some places, ordinands learn little or nothing about liturgy as part of their college or course training (not true at ERMC of course!) – and so curates are liturgical inept which means that dioceses sometimes have to make up the loss in terms of what curates know and can do
  • many provinces have produced new eucharistic rites such as Common Worship in the Church of England and Enriching our Worship in TEC (the USA).
  • The pandemic has raised lots of questions about how we celebrate the Eucharist and what the theology is behind it, such as whether we can celebrate the Eucharist online, use individual glasses rather than a common cup and what spiritual communion means when actual communion is not available.”