Sir, — Further to Edward Bourne's articles calling for a reappraisal in our parish life.
Why cannot our parishes have a Parish Council consisting of competent people voted into office by the parishioners? At the parish annual general meeting held in the parish hall, the council could put the exact state of the Church and the school finances before the parishioners together with the monies received for the past year. This would also be an opportunity to recap on such activities as the S.V.P. Society, U.C.M. or the Scouts.
In addition I should like to see parishes with a newsletter or magazine edited by the laity with the parish clergy keeping a surveillance. There is also a dire need, for parish libraries, an apostolate in which I am deeply in 'crested. For the youth I wonder the S.V.P. Society would consider instituting a juniorate for boys aged 15-20 years?
Our clergy are constantly complaining that they have no time for various duties: well, why cannot the laity be given responsible positions in their parishes? At first only a few will conic forward, but gradually over a period of five years the result would be flourishing parishes instead of them just being places where one attends Holy Mass.
I am not implying that our clergy are lazy or idle but they were primarily ordained to care for the spiritual welfare of soulst not to organise bingo and football pools. How is it that the Anglican clergy find time to visit the sick regularly in hospitals, in sanatoria and in maternity homes, and run flourishing perishes?
If we are concerned about the shortage of clergy and the perennial decrease in converts. one of the chief reasons could he our parish life which is not edifying and far removed from the life of Christ in his parish of Galilee.
(Mrs.) Marie Hastings, Hillingdon, Middx.
Sir.—I was extremely interested to read your correspondent's remarks re Lay Preaching, but I am a little surprised that he did not refer to the Anglican custom of employing Lay Readers.
For a number of years I held a Commission as Diocesan Lay Reader—valid in every parish in the Diocese. Under it I read Morning and Evening Prayer, preached. read the Epistle, and administered the Chalice at Holy Communion. Publishing Banns of Marriage was yet another duty.
During clergy holidays, and in case of sudden illness, I often had to take the entire service.
With all this experience, it would seem that the Catholic Church has no use for us—and in the word "us" I include convert Anglican (married) clergy!
I often acted as Subdeacon at "High Mass", and on several occasions was also subdeacon at an Anglican "Benediction" service!
The standard of preaching being what it is, perhaps the Church may yet see its way to use talent which at present fidgets in the pews.
Incidentally, I have preached in more than one Anglican cathedral.