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This article is taken from PN Review 13, Volume 6 Number 5, May - June 1980.

Noli Me Tangere Roger Homan

THE motto of the county of Sussex is 'we wun't be druv': it expresses a resolve of which Sussex people are proud and they stay true to it. I am a Sussex man myself and for me the very words 'newcomers' or 'change' have certain pejorative associations that they might not have in another county.

In this article I examine a particular aspect of efforts to change the life and worship of churchpeople. My observations have been made over a period of three years, during which I served both on a parochial church council (PCC) and in a deanery synod. I was able to observe initiatives by a number of 'progressive' clergy in relation to such issues as the ordination of women, liturgical reform, proposals for church unity, the establishment of team ministries and the role of music in the church. I think it is worth identifying and recording some of the techniques and tactics that are used by clergy, not least because some of them are arguably underhand, though mercifully not all of them are effective.

Much of what I have to say depends on the distinction between the sacred domain and that of the secular. The epitome of what I call the sacred domain is the shekinah, the cloud which reportedly veiled Mount Sinai while Moses was involved with the Lord on its summit in receiving or formulating the Ten Commandments: the point is that the people were unable to observe whatever transpired ...

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