Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 22 April 2017

David Walker ViaMedia.News Why Should the Devil Have All the Best Tunes (and Words)?

Adrian Harris, the Church of England’s head of digital communications, has been talking to Helen Dunne of CorpComms Magazine: How the Church of England is extending its congregation

Madeleine Davies Church Times Exporting the Brompton Way
“An HTB church-plant is now widely expected when a well-situated urban church’s numbers are low.”

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Rod GillisCynthiaTim ChestertonPamKate Recent comment authors
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Froghole
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Froghole

Viz. Adrian Harris and Madeline Davies: I have attended services at more than 3,000 churches, urban, suburban and rural, chiefly in southern, eastern and midland England. Whilst not all of the services I have attended are representative of the wider health of a given church I would suggest that c.95% of congregations are heading very rapidly towards extinction. The only ones that appear to be bucking this calamitous trend are: (i) HTB or Bishopsgate plants; (ii) churches in affluent dormitory towns and suburbs with a critical mass of young people; (iii) a student-orientated church in many university towns; (iv) those… Read more »

Pam
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Pam

Politicians, like Donald Trump, have media advisers to think up slogans and “Make America Great Again” did appeal to many voters, even if they weren’t sure how that was going to come about. After reading the first fourteen verses of Luke 14 earlier today, I have a word – humility. I’m not sure it’s a word that would survive a political campaign but in real life, it means everything.

Susannah Clark
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I believe community is ‘lived’ not ‘marketed’. Technology may support the process of information sharing. But of course, it’s not a substitute for holding hands with a dying neighbour, or feeding an elderly person who’s got dementia. There is also the issue – where ‘marketing’ is involved – of ‘control’. Is there a place in the driven marketing campaigns for dissident voices, critique, and open dialogue? Would Adrian, for example, allow me space on the Church of England website, to write about my life as a trans Christian and nurse, and the disappointment I feel at the shortfall of acceptance… Read more »

Lavinia Nelder
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Lavinia Nelder

While I agree with Froghole on his analysis of the situation there are a couple of points from the Church Planting article that give the this rural church member pause for thought. We couldn’t achieve a nominal congregation of 500, the 2011 census had 327 souls in the parish, without recruiting from elsewhere. I could get the whole population in if we had three sittings and, if they all wanted Eucharist, I could find additional clergy to take the burden given we share a vicar. While we do try to make sure that there are a varied diet of worship… Read more »

Garry Lovatt
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Garry Lovatt

I believe community is ‘lived’ not ‘marketed’. I don’t wish to hurt anyone, but I am sick to death with binarisms like this. Why in the world would one think that the two are at odds with one another? There is a lot the Church can learn from marketing experts. True one can define and practise “marketing” in a way that is antithetical to Christian values, but it’s not necessary to do so. To stop the conversation by making it a binarism of either this or that otoh, is contrary to good Christian values and practice. It reminds me of… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: the Bishop Walker article, and “solidarity”, as far as I can tell the good bishop is confusing solidarity with modeling corporate policy. Upper management cannot but be pleased. Walker writes, “…the relative subtleties of the ‘Five Guiding Principles’ were drowned out by more visceral cries of sexism or intolerance…” You want to pay attention when people cry out. Sometimes, when shouts of “fire” are heard, the place may actually be burning down. We’ve just celebrated our Lord’s passion which may be understood as the gold standard for Christ’s solidarity with humankind. Yet, one reading makes it very clear, events… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
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‘We couldn’t achieve a nominal congregation of 500’

To be fair, Lavinia, there was only one person in that article who said this, and most of the church plants mentioned were a lot smaller than that.

Personally, I think that if the New Testament is true, everything essential to church is doable in a living room…

Cynthia
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Cynthia

So sorry to see that +David does not get it at all. The rejection of +North and the 5 Guiding Principles was not due to intolerance, it was due to the fact that no one could explain how women and girls were to flourish. As for solidarity… Goodness. Jesus never asked us to be in solidarity with Pharisees who were demeaning people. Asking women and gay people to be in solidarity with the oppressors before anything like equality is achieved is crazy. It’s just asking us to suck it up and support the status quo, no matter how homophobic, sexist,… Read more »

Froghole
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Froghole

@Lavinia Nelder: These are very useful comments; many thanks. Your remarks about digital information are especially handy. I cannot stress how important it is for parishes to advertise themselves online and, most especially, to make it extremely clear precisely when their services are due to take place. What I have found striking is how often this absolutely fundamental detail is omitted from websites or the information supplied is either difficult (sometime very difficult) to access, or is incorrect, or is impossible too find even via a physical and time-consuming reccie, or via phone calls to often grudging and/or suspicious personnel… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Tim Chesterton, “… everything essential to church is doable in a living room…” But Tim, the way things are heading, it may be doable in a phone booth. In fact, the institutional church may be on the verge of going the way of the phone booth.

Kate
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Kate

“When, a few days ago, I attended, robed and received communion at the Chrism Mass presided over by the Bishop of Beverley, nobody imagined that my strong convictions on the full inclusion of women in the Church’s ordained ministry were wavering.” It can be argued that vestments are appropriate for for leading communion but personally I find it abhorrent that anyone would robe to receive communion. Everything in the Bible suggests that communion is about meekness, supplication and penitence. Stressing one’s office is the opposite of that. Bishop David also says, in criticism of those who spoke against the appointment… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Yes, Kate, exactly. “Respect for women” and girls takes a clear back seat to “solidarity.” I can’t believe that the Kingdom of God is a place where women and girls continually have to suck it up, at great expense to our well being. But that is what +David is asking us to do. Because obviously there’s no “solidarity” in equality, that would upset the power holders and we can’t have that…

Tim Chesterton
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I think I’m called to be in ‘solidarity’ with everyone in the Body of Christ, aren’t I?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Tim, “I think I’m called to be in ‘solidarity’ with everyone in the Body of Christ, aren’t I?”

And what might that look like, if some members of the body are oppressed and others are doing the oppressing?

“O you dear idiots of Galatia, who saw Jesus Christ the crucified so plainly, who has been casting a spell over you?”
–Paul’s letter to the Christians in Galatia (3:1) ( :

The verse, for colour commentary purposes, is taken from the J.B. Phillips translation (which the ordaining bishop presented to us at our ordination).

Pam
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Pam

Solidarity: unity or agreement of feeling or action especially among individuals with a common interest. An important word in that description is ‘individuals’. We are called as Christians to love one another but that doesn’t mean to put up with being less than someone else. If the hierarchy of a male-dominated organisation, such as the church, does not love and respect all members, problems abound. It’s not exactly about equality but about self-sacrificing love.

Tim Chesterton
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Rod: ‘And what might that look like, if some members of the body are oppressed and others are doing the oppressing?’ Rod, I would fully support the duty of mutual admonition in the Body. It isn’t something, however, that Anglicans have been particularly known for over the years, is it? I would hope, however, that we are all as ready to receive admonition as we are to dish it out. I’m mindful of the joke I read in one of C.S. Lewis’ letters, to this effect: Dogs and cats both have consciences, but the dog is an honest fellow; he… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“I think I’m called to be in ‘solidarity’ with everyone in the Body of Christ, aren’t I?”

Sure. In Christ there is neither male or female, Greek nor Jew, slave or free, etc. And I don’t believe gay people are excluded either. Being in solidarity as the Body of Christ is great. Being a doormat for the straight male status quo is not.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re:Tim, “I don’t know about you, but I find I’m quite susceptible to the temptation to feel… ‘I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as these _________'”

Nope, not my temptation. Why are evangelicals so obsessed with self guilt and the need to project it on others, do you suppose?

The notion of “mutual admonition” is nice; unfortunately it is often applied without attentiveness to power imbalances in the church. Now that is something very Anglican.