Last week, the Church Times carried an article by William Fittall, under the headline Plans to proclaim the faith afresh with the strapline There is no cause to be fatalistic about church decline.
This was also published on the official church website, where it had the headline Reform and renewal – a guide to the debate.
Church Times readers attempting to follow the discussions about the emerging “Reform and Renewal” programme in the Church of England may, by now, be somewhat baffled. There have been suggestions that the proposals are theologically lightweight, based on questionable research, too managerial and even that one of the undergirding concepts – discipleship – is not to be found in the New Testament!
As the Archbishops said in their paper to the Synod, the challenge of reform and renewal is spiritual. We shall ultimately be building on sand unless what we do is underpinned by prayer and an unshakable confidence in God, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or conceive.
The starting point for the programme is a recognition that the Church of England’s capacity to proclaim the faith afresh in each generation will be decisively eroded unless the trend towards older and smaller worshipping communities is reversed. Some seem reluctant to face up to the consequences of this, while others doubt that anything will make much difference. Such fatalism was absent when the proposals were discussed by the Archbishops’ Council, the House of Bishops and the General Synod…
This week Paul Handley reports in the Church Times on a symposium held last Friday in Oxford, Oxford group challenges talent quest.
THE idea that future leaders of the Church of England should be talent-spotted and groomed came in for sustained criticism at a symposium in Oxford last Friday.
The title of the symposium was “Apostolic Leadership for an Apostolic Church”. It had been convened by the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, in response to the “literally hundreds” of letters and emails he had received after his critique of the Green report…
One of the participants, Andrew Lightbown, published this article: Questions over episcopal leadership post Green and RME.
It has been interesting watching how ‘head office’ is reacting to critics of the raft of reports recently issued on behalf of the Church of England.
For many it feels as though conversion about, and participation in, decision making processes are simply not welcome.
Critics are all too quickly rebuffed: William Fittall, writing in the Church Times last week (1st May) was keen to dismiss Alister McGrath’s analysis of Resourcing Ministerial Education and, the Green Report. Mark Hart’s analysis of From Anecdote to Evidence was, in the previous edition, given short shift by those ‘in the know.’
Now it could be that all the recent reports are spot on in their analysis and, that those who wish to critique or participate in wider discussion are overly worried.
But, this in itself should not be a reason to close down conversation, for the real issue has now become the style of leadership to which the church is becoming accustomed…