(Daily Mail) C of E row as cathedral opens doors to tarot card readers and crystal healers

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England was braced for a fresh row today after a cathedral announced plans to host a 'new age' festival.

The event - featuring tarot card readers, crystal healers, dream interpretation, and a fire-breathing vicar - is to be held in Manchester Cathedral in May.

But the move is certain to anger traditionalists, who feel the Church has already strayed too far from tradition.

Read it all.

Update: There is more here also.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

25 Comments
Posted March 28, 2011 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:

A further affirmation of my decision to get out. Not for one second have I doubted the decision to join the Ordinariate despite lots of sacrifice and personal upheaval.

March 28, 7:10 am | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

God bless you.  Best of luck.

March 28, 7:21 am | [comment link]
3. Dan Crawford wrote:

It’s that wonderful Anglican ethos that so many are desperate to save.

March 28, 7:46 am | [comment link]
4. Larry Morse wrote:

And then this guy, I dunno who he was, came sweeping in through the doors and he kicked over the card dealers tables and all the other stuff and he drove them off, saying that these perfectly respectable dealers in magic and stuff were polluting the temple. He actually called the church a temple. Can you believe that? And all the Brits were saying, “What’s with this guy? What’s his problem? Doesn’t he know a temple from a market place?”  (But I was secretly cheering him on) Larry

March 28, 8:31 am | [comment link]
5. Milton wrote:

Johnson’s Law (MCJ) demonstrated once again.  Truly God is not slow as men count sklowness, but merciful, giving all men a chance to repent.  But some seem to use the time of grace simply to dig their own pit all the deeper.

March 28, 8:42 am | [comment link]
6. Jill Woodliff wrote:

The Bishop of Manchester is blind.  Our God is a jealous God because He is trying to protect us.  When we seek knowledge or power through a supernatural source other than Him, we give Satan access to our lives.  Even though the transgression may have been committed in ignorance, it does not matter.  Satan does not play fair.
If the Archbishop of Canterbury were to call a halt to this foolishness, he would gain a kernel of credibility within the Communion.

March 28, 9:17 am | [comment link]
7. Jill Woodliff wrote:

I don’t hold much hope for the Archbishop of Canterbury stopping this.  He allowed a Sea of Faith conference to take place at St. John’s Waterloo this past Saturday.  The Sea of Faith believes that God is a human creation.  One talk was entitled “The Death of God and the Triumph of Uncertainty.”

March 28, 9:27 am | [comment link]
8. Jill Woodliff wrote:

The Queen of England, as Head of the Church of England, should express her dismay, but I don’t have much hope for that, either.  If she did, people would take notice.  Her act of courage would engender many other acts of courage.

March 28, 9:33 am | [comment link]
9. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Tarot is deeply diabolical, as is ‘white witchraft’ with ‘angels’ and crystals.  Fortune telling and divination is prohibited by the Bible.  Will the bishop of Manchester be presiding over a black mass and sacrificing cockeralls on the altar I wonder?  What about putting a few snakes in a coffin and prancing about with a machete dressed like a tattered druid among the tombstones a la ‘Live and let die’?  In fact McCulloch why don’t you just give up and retire after the cock up you made over women bishops?  You are a crap bishop.

It just seems to show just how far the House of Bishops has deteriorated under Rowan Williams’ incumbency.  It is becoming a TEC-style free for all.

March 28, 12:14 pm | [comment link]
10. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Plus, Manchester Cathedral will need to be exorcised after this invitation in of all the evil spirits McCulloch has invited in, and a few he has probably not heard of.

What wickedness.

March 28, 12:37 pm | [comment link]
11. Pb wrote:

Just another opportunity to listen to the stories of others and learn from their experiences.

March 28, 12:40 pm | [comment link]
12. Milton wrote:

Pb, you forgot the </sarcasm> tag! smile

March 28, 2:04 pm | [comment link]
13. Teatime2 wrote:

OK, I’m going to reserve judgment for a bit—in neither story is the bishop quoted as saying there would be Tarot card readers and the like. He says the booths will be on Christian spirituality—praying with icons, bead-making, and angels. There’s nothing wrong with that. So, I’m wondering if the notorious British media added in the Tarot cards and such themselves?

Let’s face it, the British media take a very antagonistic view of the church—sometimes deserved but sometimes not. I’m remembering the row the Daily Mail started recently by their spin on the baptismal rite being re-written. It wasn’t what the Mail portrayed it to be. Turns out that very much mainstream priests believe it needs to clarified and simplified, rom what I’ve read.

March 28, 4:19 pm | [comment link]
14. MichaelA wrote:

“OK, I’m going to reserve judgment for a bit—in neither story is the bishop quoted as saying there would be Tarot card readers and the like. He says the booths will be on Christian spirituality—praying with icons, bead-making, and angels.”

If that is the case then I am sure we will see an explanation/disclaimer from the good bishop soon. This has received a lot of publicity.

Mind you, I wouldn’t expect any bishop to advertise that he allows in tarot card readers - that is not the liberal way. But it will be interesting to see if he denies it.

“There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Be that as it may, it also does nothing to grapple with the real problem facing the English church:

“The Church is in trouble. Attendances have fallen for the sixth year in a row, according to official figures that also showed it holding fewer marriages, baptisms and funerals”

The fact is that there are many parishes in England who have larger attendances than huge cathedrals. Why? Because they concentrate on preaching the gospel instead of frittering away their time and energies on ‘new age festivals’ and other novelties. This bishop may or may not be dealing with tarot card readers, but the real issue is: What is doing to halt the decline in his church?

March 28, 6:23 pm | [comment link]
15. David Fischler wrote:

Here’s what the “Spirit of Life” web site says about the festival:

Fire breathing vicars, dream interpretation, Jesus Deck Readings and spiritual meditations are some of the spiritual skills on display at Manchester Cathedral’s first ever Christian Spirituality fair - the Spirit of Life (2 May from 11am-5pm).

With performances, meditations, stalls and workshops throughout the day, come and discover how ancient spirituality meets contemporary culture at this unique event.

With about 25 workshops and stalls covering poetry, Franciscan spirituality, arts and crafts, healing, icons, angels, meditation, personality profiling, music and blessings, labyrinths, dream interpretation, Christian symbolism of gem stones, tarot and Celtic saints, prayer bead making, choral evensong, foot and hand massage, Jesus Deck readings, Taize chants and, finally, fire breathing!

Syncretistic? You be the judge.

March 28, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
16. David Fischler wrote:

Sorry. Here’s the link: Spirit of Life

March 28, 6:27 pm | [comment link]
17. Teatime2 wrote:

David Fischler,
Thanks for posting that. Interesting. Some of the questionable things look like a Celtic version of the Hispanic “Catholic” practices I routinely saw on the Border—the various healings with crystals and candles and the different “specialties” of the saints.

Even the chain stores in South Texas sold pillar candles in glass that depicted an image of Jesus, Mary, or one of the saints that promised a particular benefit if burned. There were room sprays, too, that promised money, health, and love. It all centered around a different cult of the saints, folk healing (curanderisma) and mysticism. Most of the priests were Hispanic; they grew up with this sort of thing and saw nothing wrong with it. I thought some of it bordered on black magic.

Anyhoo, this reminds me of a Celtic version of the same thing. Weird that a modern, Protestant bishop would promote it. I’m all for learning about one’s roots but I don’t understand where he’s going with it.

March 28, 9:36 pm | [comment link]
18. Teatime2 wrote:

Ooops, forgot to post this disclaimer that appears on the website:
[italic]Contrary to media reports, the Spirit of Life is a Christian festival offering a balanced programme of different spiritual traditions including Taize, choral evensong and contemporary spiritualities. There are workshops which will discuss spiritualities outside the Christian tradition. There will be no tarot card reading or fortune telling at the event. All contributors are Christians and have undergone a rigorous application process. [/italic]

I think the appropriateness deeply depends on how the topics are presented and explained.

March 28, 9:44 pm | [comment link]
19. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:

Sorry but just read the new age stuff. Naturism? Promoting stripping nude? Whacky, centred on self not God and, in places, dangerously close to pagan

March 29, 2:13 am | [comment link]
20. Larry Morse wrote:

Hey, you narrow minded ones, what’s the matter with foot rubbing as a spiritual expression. Footrubbing! God’s answer to spiritual malaise!
Bead those beads
And rub those feet,
Then you Twitter
And I’ll tweet.
  Gotta love these fresh insights.  Larry

March 29, 8:46 am | [comment link]
21. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

There are strange and unexplained phenomena happening on the Manchester Cathedral website.  Things are, well, dissappearing…and other things are appearing….and I am not talking about pictures of the Dublin Primates’ Meeting.

However, Google is wonderful, except that is if you happen to be the Bishop of Manchester.  Consider what the Manchester Cathedral website now says about this event and the way it read a few hours earlier.

Here is the Google cached version [as it appeared on 28 Mar 2011 16:41:53 GMT] of the Manchester Cathedral article before Mussa Ibrahim cleansed it completely [deletions subsequently made from this version are in bold, additions subsequently made are bracketed in italics]:

Register now for The Spirit of Life
Published: 28 March 2011

Fire breathing vicars, dream interpretation, Jesus Deck Readings and spiritual meditations are some of the spiritual skills on display at Manchester Cathedral at its first ever Spirituality fair - the Spirit of Life (2 May from 11am-5pm).

With performances, meditations, stalls and workshops throughout the day, come and discover how ancient spirituality meets contemporary culture at this unique event.

Contrary to media reports, the Spirit of Life is a Christian festival offering a balanced programme of different spiritual traditions including Taize, choral evensong and contemporary spiritualities. All contributors are Christians and have undergone a rigorous application process. For more information, see http://www.manchester.anglican.org

[Important
The Spirit of Life is a Christian festival offering a balanced programme of different spiritual traditions including Taize, choral evensong and contemporary spiritualities. There are workshops that will provide a Christian critique of other spiritualities. There will be no tarot card reading or fortune telling at the event. All contributors are Christians, many of them ordained clergy, nuns, Catholics or evangelicals and have undergone a rigorous application process by the organisers. The event offers a clear Christian alternative to the usual offer at Mind, Body Spirit events and is doing what the Church of England has always done – being present within culture, coming alongside people, offering them Jesus Christ. For more information, see http://www.manchester.anglican.org

Workshops]

With about 25 workshops and stalls covering poetry, Franciscan spirituality, arts and crafts, healing, icons, angels, meditation, personality profiling, music and blessings, labyrinths, dream interpretation, Christian symbolism of gem stones, tarot and Celtic saints, prayer bead making, choral evensong, foot and hand massage, Jesus Deck readings, Taize chants and, finally, fire breathing! There will be no fortune tellers.

All of these events will aim to convey something of the Christ we follow as Christian people.

Canon Evangelist, Tony Hardy, says, “This event is not a gimmick but mission in the way Christians have long been doing it - being where people are and being available for them. [being present within culture, coming alongside people, offering them Jesus Christ] We hope to attract hundreds of people who would not normally be interested in a church event”.

The Bishop of Manchester said, “The Spirit of Life event is a chance to discover and explore old and new Christian spiritual traditions from living in community to praying with icons, from healing to bead making, from Franciscan spirituality to contemporary music and movement. Practitioners from all over the country will be on hand to offer their experience of how God speaks to us today through the cultural language and practices so common in mind, body, spirit fairs.”

£5 for adults. Accompanied under 12s free.

What appears to have happened is the article on the Cathedral website was in the process of being cleansed at the time the Google cache snapshot of it was taken.  A denial of fortune-telling had been posted and all reference to it deleted, but Dr. Mussa Ibrahim [Libyan government spokesman] had not yet completed expunging the references to tarot, Jesus decks and deleting the Bishop of Manchester’s comments, nor had he yet rewritten the quote from the Canon Evangelist.

And I have taken the precaution of taking a pdf of the Google cache page, in case it too is cleansed by Dr Mussa Ibrahim.

Perhaps Manchester Cathedral’s disappearing texts will be found one day in a remote sealed cave in the Libyan Desert.

March 29, 7:08 pm | [comment link]
22. MichaelA wrote:

Thanks PM for that useful detective work. It is all wryly (but sadly) amusing.

March 29, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
23. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#22 Oh MichaelA, it just gets worse.

I have just checked out the draft program for this event here - it is a download linked on the Diocese of Manchester Spirit of Life site.  It is deeply disturbing.  Some of the events of the day include:

1:30 pm ‘Healing Serpent’ - Pauline Warner - Looking for inspiration in the Old Testament bible stories about Moses and Aaron in Egypt, we find that the God of Moses was the Great Serpent, the Protector and Deliverer - Libary.

2:30pm ‘Angelic Encounters’ - John and Olive Drane - Angels are all around us, if only we are open to their presence - Refectory

3:30pm ‘Christianity and the Goddess’ - Steve Hollinghurst - Exploring the relationship between the Goddess and Christian tradition to uncover the divine feminine in Christianity - Refectory

Meanwhile the references to the Jesus Deck, Ruach Cards and Christian Creation Cards, are all in the context of the selection of cards for a personal ‘reading’ which are then explained for the client visitor.  If that is not divination, and perhaps fortune-telling, I don’t know what is.

The erroneous presumption of many engaged in this sort of thing is that they are giving their Christian slant on spirituality.  That is not at all the Christian message and the liberation it proclaims from superstition and the dark influences of this world including those things which appear to clothe themselves in light, including the Angel cult which has grown up.

The vulnerable and those with no grounding in Christianity may well end up with a seriously distorted view of Christianity, if not end up as total dingbats from this sort of nonsense, and with no idea of the real distinction between the diabolical practices they may have been exposed to already in New Age worship as distinct from the liberating message of Christianity including the freedom it provides from divination, superstition and the influence of elemental forces.

I am all in favor of Christians going to New Age Fairs to provide the true message of Christ, and indeed going in for prayer ministry and even perhaps explaining the Christian significance of things, including dreams, for that is a worthwhile and courageous thing to do.  But in adopting the practices of the enemy and believing it is being adapted for God’s purposes, there is a real danger of the Great Deceiver deceiving them when they cut loose from the injunctions against divination and sorcery we are rightly prohibited from in the Bible.

I fear things are going very very wrong in Manchester Cathedral, and it is clear this is not an isolated case, but one of a number of events which have taken place in CofE churches including Southwell Minster.

One has become used to expecting this sort of heresy in Olympia’s cathedrals, but not in Church of England Cathedrals.  Far from being inaccurate as the English blogs are complaining, if anything it understates what the diocese of Manchester and its bishop are up to.

March 29, 8:57 pm | [comment link]
24. English Jill wrote:

A stonking piece by Charles Raven on this:
Manchester Cathedral: From Via Media to Via Medium
http://www.anglicanspread.org/?p=446

March 30, 7:01 am | [comment link]
25. Larry Morse wrote:

PM says that this is not an isolated case. And that’s the very point, is it not, that one silly, trendy, alteration in church policy (and image) is in face being echoed again and again, and we are reminded once more that “the center cannot hold” and all the rest about the worst and best.
    When it becomes not merely trendy, but mandatory, that inclusiveness demands the elimination of standards, then there is no deviation that is too outrageous. In this context, the pandering to homosexuality is one more symptom is a far worse disease. This is a plague, and those of us who listen, can hear, “Bring out your dead,”
(pace Monty Python) This is not an idle comparison: As the plague spread, deviant, desperate behavior spread because the rules no longer applied.  Larry

March 30, 8:29 am | [comment link]
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