Earlier this month a shot of six Anglican readers, jumping in the air together with the bishop of Hertford, the Rt Rev Michael Beasley, caused some to wonder whether the Church of England had ditched decorum in a bid to get cool with the kids.
If that was the case, then they failed miserably, according to Father Matthew Cashmore, assistant curate at West Hereford, who is quoted in the Guardian as saying images like these were “all a bit passe”.
Jumping ordinands. It’s probably good exercise, if nothing else. Here we have this life-changing moment and you get this twee photograph of people jumping in the air and fists in the air. It’s become as staid and expected and as deeply uncreative as the images of the A-level results.
He agreed that collectively such images tended to downplay the solemnity of the occasion, and certainly did not appeal to the youth.
It’s all: ‘Yay!’ Smiley-facey.
Of dabbing deacons, he said:
I don’t think that connects with young people. As a millennial, I find that I walk round with my cassock, and I talk about mass, and I introduce myself as Father, and that’s far more impactful with millennials than standing there trying to be cool and with the kids. That ‘down with the kids’ stuff is kind of from the 80s anyway.
My generation would far rather somebody stand in front of them with some sort of honesty and integrity about what it is they believe than to be ‘Hey! Buddy Jesus. Big thumbs up.’
What’s all this jumping for? It seems to have become a paraliturgical act and, as far as I can see, it is just nonsense that makes people look silly.
But Arun Kataria, the Communications Officer at the diocese of St Albans, and proud taker of the photograph, disagreed.
Licensings and ordinations are serious occasions, but they are very joyful ones. So, there is a serious moment in the cathedral, where people are making the very big commitment of serving God and serving people, then there is also a tremendous release of joy, and a sense you are launched into a new life.
Around four years ago, according to this report, there were pursed lips among some in the Catholic Church when two American priests – Father David Rider and Father John Gibson – tap-danced on a table at the North American College Rome … under a large crucifix and in front of a portrait of Pope Francis. A video of the duo was posted on YouTube.
Hat tip: AgentCormac