Any Questions?

These are the answers to a few questions that people have been asking me by e-mail. I hope that you will find them helpful (but do continue sending the e-mail).

What does "Claves Regni" mean?

My schoolboy Latin is a little rusty as well. I gather that it means "the Keys of the Kingdom", and I freely admit that I pinched the idea from the title of a poem by David Page.

Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam, et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam: et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum.

"You are Peter, the Rock; and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven." Matt. 16:19-20

Map of England showing NottinghamWhere is Nottingham?

Nottingham is the chief city of the East Midlands region of England, and is situated about 120 miles north of London and 50 miles north-east of Birmingham.

Who are our medieval neighbours?

In geography, tradition and music we find ourselves mid-way between our sister churches of St Mary's and St Nicholas'.

  • St Mary's is situated in the old English part of town at the top of the hill, in the area now known as the Lace Market. The imposing "civic church" of Nottingham, its worship runs along traditional lines and there is a cathedral-style choir of high standard.
  • St Nicholas' at the bottom of the hill near the Castle, is a thriving evangelical church with a modern taste in music. Their building is relatively new (17th century) compared to the other two, for reasons that are told in David Marshall's article on St Peter's Church building.
How do I get from the railway station to the church?

Time was when you could look north from the station and see straight up to the city centre, with St Peter's spire and the Council House dome clearly visible. However, the town planners of the 1970s thoughtfully put a large shopping centre and a five-lane highway in the way, traversed by a dark and smelly underpass. Their counterparts in the 1990s have tried to make amends by cutting down the number of lanes to three and providing a "pelican" (traffic light controlled) crossing.

So, from the front of the station turn right up Carrington Street and continue north. Cross Canal Street, go past the bus station, and cross Collin Street. Walk through the Broad Marsh Shopping Centre and continue north up Lister Gate until you arrive at St Peter's Square.

What does "liberal Anglican" mean?

I think that this implies a broad range of churchmanship, but also a combination of tradition with openness to modern theology and to serious consideration of liturgical change; perhaps but not necessarily coupled with a social awareness. It seems a useful term to indicate that we are not at either extreme of Anglicanism - which might be called "conservative evangelical" at one end of the spectrum and "Anglo-Catholic" at the other. "Charismatic" isn't a useful indicator in this respect, but the "women priests" question is - it unites the two extremes which otherwise don't have much in common. This seems to be an example of the spirit in which "Liberal Anglicanism" flourishes.
My thanks to Peter Hoare for this definition.

Eileen Mc Lean, Assistant Rector, also makes the following point:
The Anglican Church bases its belief on Scripture, Tradition and Reason. While the Catholic branch emphasises Tradition and the Evangelical branch emphasises Scripture, we would like to think that the Liberal branch emphasises Reason. Of course, this is not to say that Evangelicals are unreasonable or that Liberals don't read the scriptures; it is just a difference in emphasis.

Come to think of it, what does "Anglican" mean?

Nigel McCulloch the Bishop of Wakefield recently provided a good description in The Times (in the wake of a somewhat controversial Lambeth Conference).

The Anglican Church seeks to draw together the picture of the shepherd and the image of the fisherman. Thus, in serving wherever possible every community in the land, the Church of England values and encourages small congregations - faithfully exercising a crucial ministry in areas where every other agency for transformation and renewal has vanished - just as much as vibrant churches proclaiming the Gospel to large congregations.

Anglicanism has no creeds of its own, other than the historic creeds of the church universal; but its liturgy reflects a faithfulness to God which is rooted in the scriptures, honed by reason and examined by reference to a tradition that goes back far beyond the Reformation to the Early Fathers.

It is a formula that allows us to be a broad church, to glory in diversity and face up to controversy. This is a pioneering church that takes risks. It is also the church of the via media. At its best, Anglicanism offers a home for the thoughtful and a place for the passionate. For all its many failures, there remains in the Anglican style and ethos a way of pilgrimage which continues to attract. It is a journey best taken holding hands across Christian boundaries. For me, it is words by Henri Nouwen that sum up what I pray will long be the Anglican way: "Remain convinced without being rigid; willing to confront without being officious; gentle and forgiving without being soft; a true witness without being manipulative; conveying above all else in your very presence the love that is Christ".

Do you have any record of my ancestors at your church?

We don't have sufficiently detailed records of attendance - only baptisms, marriages and funerals (for certain periods). That information is usually more easily traced through the Registrar-General's records at what used to be Somerset House but is now at St Catherine's House, Strand, London, where copies of birth & marriage & death certificates can be obtained. There will be a fee and I'm not sure how much the R-G's people will do for you. The advantage of this is that it covers the whole country, not simply one parish church. If you get your family tied down to a particular town or villagein Nottinghamshire you could then ask either the local church or the Nottinghamshire County Archives Office in Nottingham for further help. One other idea occurs to me: the Mormons have searched the majority of English parish registers (but maybe only for the pre-1837 period, that is before the R-G system began) and their microfiche database is available in many libraries in this country and no doubt in the States. That too would let you localise your search.
Thanks again to Peter Hoare.
© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 4th October 1999