the other (authorised) sir lancelot

26 09 2010

Sir Lancelot was one of King Arthur’s most trusted Knights of the Round table. He certainly wasn’t one who said Ni with a penchant for shrubbery. He fought valiantly alongside Michael Palin and Eric Idle in the quest for the Holy Grail. All true, of course.

doesn't he look fun

The other Sir Lancelot was less a mythical Knight crusader than than a preacher-translator Bishop. Not quite so glamorous or worthy of a Monty Python spoof. And yet we have cause to remember Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), erstwhile Bishop of Ely, Chichester and Winchester.

Why, I hear you say? A good question, and one I would normally ask myself when it comes to church history and bishop this or that. However, the church at which I am based is named after him, so suddenly I am interested.

Bishop Andrewes had an important role as one of the translators of the Authorised Version of the Bible, the third official translation into English. Still used by many today, the AV or King James Version transformed the way ordinary people understood the bible. Of course many overlook the fact that it is not as accurate as modern translations, and emphasizes the role of Anglican ecclesiology and the role of kingship – unsurprising as it was commissioned by a king seeking to justify his position as Head of the church and gods representative on earth! Translation is always interpretation…

Bishop Andrewes served under Queen Elizabeth and James I, and was involved in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. He was a renowned preacher, though apparently quite strict, so much so that even James I “refrained from uncouth and unsavoury jesting” whilst in his presence. And rightly so, I cannot imagine a preacher indulging in such behaviour. Ahem. Bishop Andrewes is buried in Southwark Cathedral, which at the time was the church of St Mary Overie in the Diocese of Winchester.

this is not a church, this is a building

Anyway, for the time being we give thanks for Bishop Andrewes, and most especially for our little church, the only one that bears his name, still faithfully telling the good news he translated 400 years ago. The methods have changed, but the message remains pretty much the same. From Sunday worship to toddler group, funerals to trampolines, Scout parade services to door-step youth clubs, we share in demonstrating the life of Jesus as he lives in us.

I love my little church, with its confusing name, it’s extra ‘e’ and mischievous apostrophe; it’s bizarre architecture and broken heating; its 80 years of faithful witness nestled in the midst of the 20,000 strong St Helier estate. And most of all the 25 (ish!*) people who really make up the church, for your welcome, for your smiles, for your stories of Jesus, for your questions, for our community. May God continue to bless you, Bishop Andrewes’ Church.

(Just don’t tell Sir Lancelot we don’t use the KJV any more… but if you want to make it up to him and have $250 to spare, you can buy a book of his works!)


* June 2011 update – now 35 (ish!)

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5 responses

26 09 2010
Alastair Cutting

… and Lancelot Andrewes was of course a bishop of Chichester, seed-bed diocese for some of the best curates …

27 09 2010
Kevin

…and a great greenhouse for budding vicars…

9 10 2010
Kathryn

He also wrote a really wonderful prayer that I discovered the night before my priesting…All round good bloke, really. Once upon a time I wrote a dissertation on him when i was being an Eng Lit type…but I had no idea anyone had a church named for him. That’s really rather lovely 🙂

10 10 2010
Kevin

Thanks Kathryn, I have to confess I hadn’t heard of him until I came to this church! I’d be interested in your dissertation!

11 01 2011
bible bashing « the blog of kevin

[…] I do not live in 1611 but 2011, but at least it is a chance to remember to read the Bible! In our church we feel particularly connected to this anniversary because we are named after Bishop Lancelot […]

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the other (authorised) sir lancelot

26 09 2010

Sir Lancelot was one of King Arthur’s most trusted Knights of the Round table. He certainly wasn’t one who said Ni with a penchant for shrubbery. He fought valiantly alongside Michael Palin and Eric Idle in the quest for the Holy Grail. All true, of course.

The other Sir Lancelot was less a mythical Knight crusader than than a preacher-translator Bishop. Not quite so glamorous or worthy of a Monty Python spoof. And yet we have cause to remember Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), erstwhile Bishop of Ely, Chichester and Winchester.

Why, I hear you say? A good question, and one I would normally ask myself when it comes to church history and bishop this or that. However, the church at which I am based is named after him, so suddenly I am interested.

Bishop Andrewes had an important role as one of the translators of the Authorised Version of the Bible, the third official translation into English. Still used by many today, the AV or King James Version transformed the way ordinary people understood the bible. Of course many overlook the fact that it is not as accurate as modern translations, and emphasizes the role of Anglican ecclesiology and the role of kingship – unsurprising as it was commissioned by a king seeking to justify his position as Head of the church and gods representative on earth! Translation is always interpretation…

Bishop Andrewes served under Queen Elizabeth and James I, and was involved in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. He was a renowned preacher, though apparently quite strict, so much so that even James I “refrained from uncouth and unsavoury jesting” whilst in his presence. And rightly so, I cannot imagine a preacher indulging in such behaviour. Ahem. Bishop Andrewes is buried in Southwark Cathedral, which at the time was the church of St Mary Overie in the Diocese of Winchester.

this is not a church, this is a building

Anyway, for the time being we give thanks for Bishop Andrewes, and most especially for our little church, the only one that bears his name, still faithfully telling the good news he translated 400 years ago. The methods have changed, but the message remains pretty much the same. From Sunday worship to toddler group, funerals to trampolines, Scout parade services to door-step youth clubs, we share in demonstrating the life of Jesus as he lives in us.

I love my little church, with its confusing name, it’s extra ‘e’ and mischievous apostrophe; it’s bizarre architecture and broken heating; its 80 years of faithful witness nestled in the midst of the 20,000 strong St Helier estate. And most of all the 25 (ish!*) people who really make up the church, for your welcome, for your smiles, for your stories of Jesus, for your questions, for our community. May God continue to bless you, Bishop Andrewes’ Church.

(Just don’t tell Sir Lancelot we don’t use the KJV any more… but if you want to make it up to him and have $250 to spare, you can buy a book of his works!)


* June 2011 update – now 35 (ish!)


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