Daniel French

Daniel French is an Anglican priest in Salcombe

God the ‘Father’ isn’t sexist

Calling God ‘Father’ may be ‘problematic’, pronounced the Archbishop of York at Friday’s formal opening of the General Synod. Watching the live stream, I did a double take and had to rewind a few seconds to play it back. Did he really just say this? Archbishop Stephen Cottrell explained his reasoning: ‘For all of us

Welby’s bid to placate statue topplers could backfire

I’m a Church of England vicar and I’m worried about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s planned review of statues and monuments. The church, we have been told, hopes to ‘play a leading role’ in facilitating ‘meaningful dialogue’ and apply ‘justice’ with ‘real outcomes’ in assessing statues. But what does this mean for churches like mine? Anglicanism

Why millennial men are turning to the Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer is enjoying a revival in the Church of England, despite the best efforts of some modernists to mothball it. Over the past two years, more and more churchgoers have asked me about a return to Thomas Cranmer’s exquisite language, essentially unaltered since 1662, for church services and private devotions. Other vicars tell me they have had

Christmas Special

90 min listen

Welcome to the special Christmas episode of The Edition! In this episode, we look at five major topics that dominated the news this year and the pages of The Spectator. First up a review of the year in politics with our resident Coffee House Shots’ team James Forsyth, Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman. We discuss

Cop out: Boris’s battle to save the climate summit

32 min listen

In this week’s episode: Can Cop26 deliver on its grand promises? In our cover story this week, Fraser Nelson assesses the state of the upcoming Cop26 summit in Glasgow and questions their very effectiveness in dealing with climate change in a world of global players with very different priorities. He is joined on the podcast

The strange religiosity of Covid compliance

Something has gone badly wrong with the Established Church when it appears more indignant at the breaking of social distance rules than the ruining of two marriages by the same politician. On Sunday’s GB News morning show even the unflappable Nigel Farage was unusually wide eyed when the Bishop of Manchester, Rt Rev David Walker,

The C of E’s misguided obsession with statues

The Church of England has once again misunderstood the mood of the nation. Guidance published this week urges the country’s 12,500 parishes and 42 cathedrals to address, search out, assess and remove offensive artefacts of ‘contested heritage’. The framework follows the call by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, for a review of church statues. Of

Vicars like me are struggling in lockdown

A year of living through a pandemic has taken its toll on the best of us. Vicars like me are no exception.  As a healthy and normally upbeat 52-year-old, this feeling of gloom is frighteningly new. Anecdotal stories from clergy friends tell a similar story to my own: the urge is to curl up and mask the

What was the point of the Vicar of Dibley’s BLM sermon?

The first rule of preaching is not to be preachy – and it’s here that the Vicar of Dibley slips up in lecturing her parishioners on Black Lives Matter in an episode broadcast last night. When I am training curates, I show them Alan Bennett’s skit ‘Take a pew’ from Beyond the Fringe (1961), where

Vicars against lockdown

Is it time for vicars to speak out against lockdown? As an Anglican priest, I’ve watched in bemusement as some of my colleagues have waded in on Brexit, Black Lives Matter, or Dominic Cummings’s trip to Barnard Castle. But why are many of these same voices silent on an issue that affects far more of

A Covid carol concert? No, thanks

To imagine that the Church of England could contemplate effectively cancelling Christmas may sound like the stuff of Dickensian melodrama or scripted out of the Grinch. Of course, not even the Pope has the power to erase the 25 December. But this year’s church celebrations could be so muted that Christmas effectively becomes a minor feast. Just

Salcombe and the tourist invasion of ‘Chelsea-on-Sea’

‘The invasion of ‘Chelsea-on-Sea’, screamed the headline on the Mail Online above a report of how Salcombe’s mayor had blasted ‘disrespectful tourists for failing to socially distance’. As the local vicar, I find myself hearing the consternation from all sides: tourists who don’t recognise themselves as ‘invaders’; shopkeepers and pub owners who rely on tourists

Could an underground church now emerge in Britain?

Coronavirus and the fallout from it could have been a chance for the Church of England to talk about the grand vision of Christian hope and mortality. The Bible warns us of plagues and pestilence. It tells us that we live in a broken world. It makes it clear this pandemic is far from unprecedented.