Thinking Anglicans

Myriad responds to criticism

Two statements have been issued about Myriad:

See also the interview with John McGinley linked in the previous article.

All of this is discussed in great detail by Madeleine Davies in the Church Times:
Priests and bishops a ‘given’ in Myriad’s vision for lay-led churches.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
128 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cantab
Cantab
1 month ago

Plenty of questions remain…

What is the relationship between Myriad and the CofE? After everything kicked off before, people (on here, other platforms, Bishops etc) were quick to distance Myriad from the CofE. I don’t think that position is sustainable in light of these statements.

What exactly did John McGinley mean by “key limiting factor”? Or did he mis-speak? The Myriad statement says priests are not limiting factors. So what are? Just our stipends?

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Cantab
1 month ago

I think the relationship between Myriad and the C of E is a massive question. Given that the national lead bishop for church planting is heading up Myriad, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that the C of E is handing over missional strategy to an arms-length body so as to avoid synodical scrutiny.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
1 month ago

I remember, decades ago, asking a priest from the evangelical tradition (I’m avoiding saying ‘extreme’, but if you want to guess that you won’t be far off the mark) why he was in the Church of England, as he didn’t seem to hold to much of its doctrine and to even less of its liturgical practice. His reply was, ‘It’s a good boat to fish from.’

Cantab
Cantab
Reply to  Toby Forward
1 month ago

And a good boat from which to receive a stipend, house, and pension…

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Cantab
1 month ago

Exactly. But no interest in the boat itself.

Mark Bratton
Mark Bratton
Reply to  Toby Forward
1 month ago

It was against precisely that “The best boat to fish from” attitude that in 1989 the then AoC Robert Runcie preached at National Evangelical Anglican Conference challenging evangelical Anglicans “to develop an ecclesiology”.

Charles Read
1 month ago

Too little and far too late.

An apology was needed by the weekend synod met. John McGinley was there (he is a GS member) but just for the mission debate. He could have apologized then.

And yes, lots of questions still remain – not least why is Myriad not exploring existing lay ministries?

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Charles Read
1 month ago

Charles, I just wanted to support your “why is Myriad not exploring existing lay ministries?” I’ve noticed how inconsistent these are across different dioceses – is anyone looking at that? For example in my diocese, Oxford, there is (was? I am not up to date on the thinking about this) a specific ministry of authorised lay preacher, and it is that for which I was trained. When I did it, via various evening classes, the training involved the same modules as for an LLM, other than the pastoral care one (which I did anyway, as in the term when I… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

Yes. there is much confusion – positively it points to a broadening of licenced lay ministry but negatively can cause confusion and people feeling undervalued. There is some limited research going on at national level.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Charles Read
1 month ago

The Church of England should do proper research, properly funded, and asking searching questions. Limited research is not good enough – nor is it good enough only to commission research essentially designed to confirm opinions already held about what is effective. Also, no real research has been done on the effectiveness of parish ministry when it is as well funded as some of the experiments.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

Doesn’t saying they have a “both and” approach mean that they BOTH reaffirm the role of priests AND support lay presidency? Or do others read it differently to me?

John Caperon
John Caperon
1 month ago

It’s good to have both these clarifications, and about time too. It’s also partly reassuring that Myriad is able to speak of the Church of England, ‘Reformed and Catholic’, though for many of us that reversal of the usual formula ‘Catholic and Reformed’ may well send a shiver down the spine: didn’t the ‘Catholic’ era precede the Reformation? Don’t we need to get the historical priorities and continuities right? But suspicions and paranoias apart, we need as the Church of England to be clear that we have a common identity and a common mission. Out of that may come common… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
1 month ago

Canon McGinley repeatedly falls back on that weasel word ‘just’. I am always suspicious when it is used in this way. He is simply trying to sugarcoat and minimise the enormity of what he is proposing. No-one has yet indicated what they did mean by ‘key limiting factors’ other than saying that it was taken out of context. What was the original context? These defences are unconvincing. If dioceses are strapped for cash, they could begin by reducing the number of archdeacons, all those ordained people who don’t have a parish role and a large numbers of the administrative staff… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Daniel Lamont
1 month ago

Once more, dioceses have been reducing staff for years – we have just made 10% of our diocesan staff redundant. Satisfied?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Charles Read
1 month ago

If we believe that there are tens of thousands of people willing to step forward to volunteer in the church, doesn’t it make sense to use accountants as accountants, builders in maintenance, clerks doing diocesan administration etc rather than asking them to become ministers?

Last edited 1 month ago by Kate
primroseleague
primroseleague
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

some crossover here, but as a CofE layman also active in railway preservation, it’s noticeable how few people want to volunteer skills they have for their busman’s holiday rather than do something different. Far, far more common to have a bricklayer selling tickets, or an accountant laying bricks. I’ve got a decent background in marketing and communications and I’m happiest cutting the grass.

it’s back to the old divide between volunteers and employees – you may well find someone to help with what needs doing, but you can’t force them.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Is subcontracting core business something they learn at Eton, which the rest of us miss out on? [Just asking …]

Andrew Lightbown
1 month ago

‘We are for the Reformed, Catholic tradition of the Church of England.’ What does this mean? Is there are another ‘tradition?’ I thought reformed-catholic was the definition of ‘our’ tradition. Yes, for sure it has different modes of liturgical renactment, but nevetheless, its not a subset of the overall tradtion; it is the tradition.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Andrew Lightbown
1 month ago

Indeed Andrew.As the Revised Catechism says (remember that ? once the staple of confirmation preparation and still with Episcopal commendation though many younger clergy don’t seem to know what a catechism is)
“The Church of England is the ancient Church of the land, Catholic and reformed.”

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

I wonder if the problem is, that claim is evaporating/hard to identify and sustain? How can the Church of England be the ancient Church of the land when so few attend it? To whom does Becket belong, to which “Catholic Church”?

I ask this not because I dispute the claim but because it now appears to be nostalgic.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  C R SEITZ
1 month ago

It probably is Christopher. We have an identity problem. But the sense of continuity with the three fold ministry and sacramental and liturgical life keeps the Catholic minded of us in the fold ( just!). To become a Roman Catholic would be a difficult step (at least for me). You are fortunate perhaps in living in France..an Anglican communicating in his village church.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

I appreciate your gracious reply. I wrote a book with the subtitle “Canon and Catholicity” in the light of certain converges in the work of Vatican II and newer concerns of canonical reading and the history of interpretation. I have myself come to wonder, in the light of fractures inside of provinces and in the AC as a whole, if the more traditional appeal to ‘Catholicism’ makes much sense. If we were in 1920 and we had only a Congar and Lambeth disagreement, it might be a different story. But a lot of water, and missed opportunities, have passed over… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Andrew Lightbown
1 month ago

Yes, that’s what he said. No need to take it any differently. That is the CofE, and that is what Ric and those of us who work with him are for.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  Andrew Lightbown
1 month ago

I think it would be interesting to ask for an explanation of what he means by that? Long experience of evangelical ecclesiology suggests that it is, shall we say, not a natural area of evangelical theological expertise.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
1 month ago

I think he said ‘reformed catholic’ rather than ‘reformed and catholic’ but I may have misheard him. In any case ‘catholic’ with a small ‘c’ (as distinct from Roman Catholic) means ‘wide’ or ‘comprehensive’ – as in ‘her tastes are catholic’. And that may be what he means.

Whereas in reality the C of E is catholic, Catholic, and Reformed – and central, middle of the road.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

The way the ‘limiting factor’ comment has been received is not because of pandemic exhaustion but because it confirms a message about established parish ministry that we hear in a variety of direct and subtle ways over and over again: the Commissioners fund new work, but not established parish ministry; more senior leadership roles are created, but larger benefices sustained by fewer clergy; training events are about new initiatives, but not about mainstream ministry; bishops plan, diocesan synods are forced to hold them to account; national visions and strategies are announced, the parishes are not consulted etc. That the Myriad… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

It does seem to me – from the perspective of living and working in ACANZP – that the Church of England, by embracing specifically ‘lay-led communities’, may be entering the all-too-easily accessible way of schismatic separation from the local Church. If the inspiration does not come from The Body (being an alien pressure-group with interests other than the historic day-to-day mission of the C. of E.), it may not be a part of The Body – as represented in the U.K. by the historic Church of England. My worry here, is that the new organisation could so easily become subsumed… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

“The Body” is riven. Ignoring this does not help the matter.

“our world-wide Anglican Communion” is likewise. These are simple facts on the ground. The Global South, as a bloc, has adopted the covenant that other provinces turned back. That is the reality, not belied by appeals to “The Body.” One does not need to like it, to face it as true.

It is in the face of this reality that, unsurprisingly, parties in the CofE are no longer quaint descriptors (AC, liberal, low) such as we once knew them. The situation is for more splintered and fissiparous.

Last edited 1 month ago by C R SEITZ
Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  C R SEITZ
1 month ago

I think the problem is in how we define “the body of the church.” To me it is anyone who accepts Jesus as the risen Lord. Anything beyond that is quibbling.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

That’s great.

The question had to do with, not the body of individuals ‘accepting Jesus’ (that is a Myriad ecclesiology), but with Ron’s ‘The Body.’

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  C R SEITZ
1 month ago

Another simple fact on the ground is that the Global South have primarily Covenanted together against something ( *the gays*) rather than for anything. That’s why the majority of Provinces turned their back on the proposed Covenant, finding it a very negative and rather nasty little document. Increasingly I believe that *thinking* Anglicans are asking ‘who would want to belong to a Church that behaved in the way the Covenant proposed?’. That is certainly the cause of one kind of split.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

That may all be true, but it is irrelevant to the issue here. “The Body” and “our Anglican communion” are hardly majority entities to which one may reflexively appeal. Even you know that. A spilt is a split is a split.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

Majority of Provinces turned it down? Love to see the figures on that. 25 of 40 provinces of the AC constitute the Global South.

Last edited 1 month ago by C R SEITZ
Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  C R SEITZ
1 month ago

It’s all highly relevant here because: the West is not the Global South; the Global South also includes some Provinces that aren’t even Anglican; the Global South covenant is not quite the same as the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant; the majority of Provinces ‘turned their back’ on the Covenant and I stand by that. We don’t have voting figures because many Provinces didn’t actually vote. It was already dead on arrival; the Myriad operation doesn’t stand a chance of success unless the question of human sexuality has been settled within the Church of England; the architect of the Myriad operation… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 month ago

I am not trying to revive anything and your sophistry is a bit wearying. 25 out of 40 Provinces — this does not include anything *but Provinces in communion with Canterbury.* The ‘Cairo Covenant’ in fact includes the new Province of that same region, successfully negotiated with Lambeth and Canterbury. The idea that a majority of provinces voted on the covenant and turned it down is utter nonsense. WOULD YOU PLEASE read and think through the note again. Ron was appealing to “The Body” and to “our Anglican Communion.” The simple fact is that these entities are no longer self… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by C R SEITZ
Father Ron Smith
Reply to  C R SEITZ
1 month ago

“The Body is” a chimera – Christopher. A chimera into which I was baptized and confirmed many years ago. However, a ‘chimera’ which still exists in the hearts and minds of many overseas-dwelling Anglicans like myself who, like Andrew here, believes that God is still looking to the Church of England to nurture the English people in ways that are cognisant of God’s Love for ALL God’s children – irrespective of their race, colour, political persuasion, gender or sexual orientation, a factor not enshrined in the ‘Anglican Covenant’, nor in the GAFCON-related galaxy of independent bodies like ACNA, FOCA or… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Ron, I was baptized and confirmed in a church in the Anglican Communion, and remain there. I was ordained 42 years ago, and count 7 relatives in 3 generations in Holy Orders.

What you are describing is a new development, in consequence of which we cannot speak of The Body on these former terms, except nostalgically (as you do).

The Global South is not some ‘galaxy of independent bodies.’ (Lambeth and Canterbury just accepted a new Province centered in Cairo). 25 Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  C R SEITZ
1 month ago

The trouble with your argument here, Christopher, is the REALITY of GAFCON having already asserted its independence of the ACC and Lambeth, by their refusal to attend the Lambeth Conference. GAFCON has its very own ‘Primates Conference’, to boot. None of GAFCON’s schismatically-related offshoots are, in fact, recognised by Canterbury. The GAFCON provinces are only hanging on to the coat-tails of the ACC, because of the ABC’s unwillingness to allow them to go off on their own. GAFCON knows if (when?) they finally sever formal links with the C. of E. they no longer have any claim to be Anglican… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Why do you keep mentioning Gafcon? In a word, this seems to be a sort of shibboleth.

Please read my note. The Global South is not an independent galaxy of anything. 25 Provinces in Communion with Canterbury, and a 26th just brought on board in Cairo, where the new covenant has been agreed.

No one has said a word about Gafcon. That is your handiwork.
It has been mentioned only when you blithely refer to “The Body” in the CofE and fail to note that leaders of the present initiative have feet in both camps!

Last edited 1 month ago by C R SEITZ
Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Dare anyone, by the way, suggest that the school and education staff in our congregations are “passengers” – or the many other key workers (postal, waste disposal, retail, care, police … ) – contributing, some of them, financially to the extent of their means and vocationally to the extent of their personhood – as they understand it: and beyond any commitment exemplified in pious platitudes [without, I concede ever being perfect] … what are our core values and are they exemplified in the rhetoric of church growth? Love God, love neighbour, grow the economy of love … ?? Anyone??

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

In this approach, I think anything lay people do which is not under the auspices of the institutional church tends to be seen as irrelevant to our faith, unless the money we earn can be used to pay for church activities or there is an opportunity to proselytise. So our ‘love’ for our neighbour should have an ulterior motive if we are to be more than ‘passengers’.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Such a good point, Mark. The Christian message seems to me to be about “givenness in love”. Primarily exemplified, of course, by Jesus who gave himself, his life, his love. But also there to be lived out by people, when they open themselves to the flow of God’s love and, in turn, give themselves in love to others. In communities up and down the land there are people who – in terms of the great commandment – are HUGE in the givenness that takes place in their lives. Some of these do it almost invisibly to the ‘headline’ idea of… Read more »

Father David
Father David
1 month ago

Without a shadow of doubt the launch of the Myriad initiative has been a PR disaster heralding a tsunami of negative reaction especially in relation to the killer phrase “key limiting factors” which hangs like an albatross around Myriad’s neck. I wonder will lessons be learned as how NOT to do it? We hear from Bishop Ric that it is not “either or” but “both and”. I recall the fourteen years of liturgical revision from 1966 to 1980 that went into the production of the ASB. The key word being “Alternative” but very soon it became clear that it wasn’t… Read more »

Fr. Dean
Fr. Dean
1 month ago

I think that Private Eye would describe this statement as a reverse ferret. I think that the phrase ‘out of context’ means regret that we were too explicit. Conservative evangelicals are indefatigable in their push for power. The middle ground and the catholic wing need to be vigilant and resilient.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Fr. Dean
1 month ago

I’m no longer sure who exactly the Church of England is aimed at. Instead of trying to convince an unbelieving world the truth of the Gospel, more effort is expended through internal squabbling over which type of religion should dominate. I’m convinced that once evangelicals have achieved their desired take-over by crushing Catholics, liberals and so-called revisionists, no one will want to hear anything they have to say.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

I doubt that Catholics in England will be crushed. Why should they be?

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  C R SEITZ
1 month ago

I’m referring to the much-weakened Anglo-Catholic wing of the CofE.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Right. Anglo-Catholic.

James
James
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Driven out by Modern Catholics – look what they did to Philip North.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James
1 month ago

He’s still in the C of E and still a bishop. There are other AC bishops too, like Martin Warner.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  James
1 month ago

Bishop North could have become a Flying Bishop ministering to those (male) clergy he finds acceptable. Instead he knowingly chose to work in a Church with female clergy he can’t fully accept. No one ‘did’ anything to him. He did it himself.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

Personally I understood that people, who in good conscience believe in a male-only priesthood, were to be allowed to participate in the Church of England at all levels without exception. I thought that was what was agreed? Two integrities, and respect for diverse conscience on this issue in the Church. So in that sense, the chasing out of Philip North from Sheffield seems worrying to me. I stand to be corrected, but am I to understand that the Church (or sections of the Church) went back on their word? The equivalent in the human sexuality debate (for which Philip North… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I know Philip North only by reputation which is a good one since people speak highly of him. I’m not sure if opponents of female clergy are comparable in practical terms with those who find supporting partnered gay people a difficult matter of conscience. I’m sure Philip North treats his female colleagues with the utmost courtesy. But to believe they shouldn’t really be employed, are ontologically impossible, and are against the teaching of the Universal Church must be difficult for the women whose boss holds such views. Personally, I would find it difficult if the person who had authority over… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  FrDavidH
1 month ago

And setting aside the Sheffield appointment, it would seem quite unlikely that the diocesan reps on most CNCs would agree to the nomination of a bishop who does not support the ordination of women. Nearly every vacancy-in-see committee is going to be quite clear that ordaining both women and men is a requirement for their diocese. There may be a couple of dioceses which are happy to accept one who disagrees as diocesan bishop, so that indeed it is possible to hold such a belief and still become a diocesan bishop. Just not in most places.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

I think the problem with the Sheffield appointment was not so much with the person appointed, but with the fact that those of us who support women as priests and bishops had done a lot of work to sort out how to accommodate those who differed from us without breaking the church. But on the other side, the assumption of orthodoxy meant that no-one had done the same work to show how the first two of the guiding principles could be worked out where a bishop with oversight of ordained women, but dissenting from their ordination/consecration, were appointed a diocesan.… Read more »

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

For me, the problem is exemplified in the share of the cure of souls, explicitly part of a licensing by a bishop of an priest in charge or imcumbent. I cannot see how a bishop who does not accept the ordination of women can honestly share his priestly cure of souls with a person whose orders he does not recognise.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I suggest that this was agreed between persons who had no authority to represent their respective constituencies and were never able to carry them with them. Sections of the church never accepted the compromises of the unofficial leaders of their parties,

Were they bound to do so?

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Perhaps I am biased but I think the Society of St. Wilfred and St. Hilda made it far harder for its members to become diocesan bishops when it adopted the September 2015 ‘Communion and Catholicity in the Church of England’ statement (https://www.sswsh.com/uploads/Communion_and_Catholicity_for_web.pdf), which I saw as torpedoing the (generous) Guiding Principles. The idea of a bishop who is emphatically not in full communion with the vast majority of worshippers in his diocese is extraordinary; ‘our relationship with others in the Church of England involves a higher degree of communion, and a more intensive common life, than is experienced in most… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Savi Hensman
1 month ago

Thank you Savi for this helpful comment, and others above it. Conscience matters, and its defence. So does good faith and reciprocity. I guess I am just expressing a concern for diverse consciences in the Church, and trying to find paths of trust for mutual respect of conscience. But trust is a fragile thing. Lots to reflect on here.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  Fr. Dean
1 month ago

Too right, Dean.

Will Richards
Will Richards
1 month ago

I keep coming back to Mark Bennett’s point about credible research. I am not aware that there has been any rigorous, objective research to allow the Church of England to claim that the Myriad projections are in any way a credible response to decline. I’m not even aware that the likes of Leslie Francis and his colleagues have been sending out their ubiquitous questionaires on this topic (and they do have some academic credibility). Isn’t it time that the Archbishop’s Council and the self-selecting clubs of the C of E stopped giving these initatives to the ecclesiastical equivalent of Dido… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Will Richards
1 month ago

What a fine comment which totally sums up the dire situation overseen by today’s ‘leaders’.

Roger Button
Reply to  Will Richards
1 month ago

Hello Will. I couldn’t agree more! From my limited experience, (somewhat over 70 person-years), I would say that 90% of Christians are so because of their families, 5% through friends or relations, and 5% because of random acts of evangelism. Perhaps if all the contributors here pooled their experience we could come up with some realistic and credible data? I would be delighted if there are people who could honestly put a higher figure in the last column.

Horace Mitchell
Horace Mitchell
Reply to  Will Richards
1 month ago

Congratulations – exactly the right set of questions, none of which are being asked in any plausible way. Locally, as a lay PTO minister I’ve given up on ‘the CofE’ as represented by today’s hierarchy and instead I’m struggling to promote revival in entirely local parish-church-based ways. This has become central to my personal life, because without new, entirely local effort, I fear my parish church will go out of business within the next ten years.

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
Reply to  Will Richards
1 month ago

This is probably regarded as old hat by the likes of Bishop Ric and all those who latch on to the formulaic, one-size-fits-all doctrine that informs Alpha and everything flowing from the HTB stable, including 10,000 lay led churches. But… John Finney did some (admittedly first level) research into how people come to faith in the late 1990s. It was quickly picked up by the current Bishop of Oxford (in the days when he was ‘Steve’ before graduating to the episcopal ‘Steven’), as well as Robert Warren and someone you’ve never heard of called Stephen Cottrell (who has always been… Read more »

Roger Button
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
1 month ago

Michael, that squares with my experience. Three generations ago it was the Mothers’ Union, then the Young Wives, and for us Mums and Toddlers. For our children’s generation it all seems to be much more informal with meeting up for coffee, or in the park.
In my experience it was pretty well impossible to interest unchurched men in breakfasts, dinners or anything else you could think of.

Fr. Dean
Fr. Dean
Reply to  Will Richards
1 month ago

Will, I think the answers would be exactly as you forecast! I’d also add pastoral care; people want clergy who will have time to listen rather than trot out the diocesan strapline and its associated publicity material. There was an epidemic of loneliness in English society even before Covid. We need clergy who will gently lead people back into a loving, forgiving and generous community. From there some will become more prayerful and interested in the sacraments. Trouble is that work is time consuming, requires interpersonal skills and is not immediately measurable for the clergy’s key performance indicators, upon which… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Fr. Dean
1 month ago

Agreed. I always found good, attentive pastoral care the best evangelistic tool. No use telling people of the love of God unless you’re living it.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

And in many parishes this has been done by the Occasional Offices. But some clergy have seen these as having little priority in the last 30 odd years. Baptisms have plummeted and we have seen the rise of the civil celebrant at funerals. This hasn’t happened simply because of societal changes, the church itself is partly to blame.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

The occasional offices are important in helping people mark milestones in their lives and find meaning – but only if they’re done well. In my view this entails taking the time to be with people, to visit them in their homes, to listen carefully, and then to personalise the services as and where appropriate. This takes time but it’s very rewarding.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Oh, I so much agree. As you and Father Dean point out, it is time-expensive, but pastorally touching and reaching into relationship with people. Before Karina and I were married in our wonderful, inclusive Anglican church… because of the need for legal niceties, we first got married in a secular sense, with an Interfaith minister in the mountains of Glencoe. To me this was meant to just be paperwork and formality, before what we regarded as our real marriage before God, before our Church Community, before our family, and friends. So I was expecting a sort of ‘go through the… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Thank you, Susannah. To me, making occasional offices and rites of passage personal to the participants lives out a vital theological truth: that God knows each one of us and loves us as we are.

The ‘going through the motions’ or ‘doing it by the book’ ceremonies that some clergy perform don’t have the same meaning for people. Though I do understand the extreme pressure that most parish clergy are under, and that something has to give.

αnδrεw
αnδrεw
Reply to  Will Richards
1 month ago

Voas et al (2014) in From Anecdote to Evidence found that: ‘Style of worship and where a church places itself in terms of its theological tradition appear to have no significant link with growth, so long as there is consistency and clarity and the chosen style and tradition are wholeheartedly adopted.’ A common theme running through subsequent Resourcing the Future documents (e.g., GS 1978) is contained in the following key paragraph: ‘Can money alone turn around the Church’s decline? No. But decisions about funding need to be part of the solution. Money enables mission activity to take place. Church growth… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  αnδrεw
1 month ago

I’ve just tried to find McGinley’s presentation to see what he had to say about organists, and find that the material from the launch conference appears to have been removed from the website.

αnδrεw
αnδrεw
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

It’s still on there. See ‘Large church to resource church’ in ‘videos’ at 19:00. He says: ‘You’re not going to plant churches with organists. They’re going to need worship leaders with contemporary worship, which needs to be at the heart of every church’.

Organists and choristers are already endangered species. Myriad’s cultural revolution will result in their extinction. So much for a mixed ecology!

Andy Griffiths
Andy Griffiths
Reply to  αnδrεw
1 month ago

In Chelmsford Diocese at least, much of the grant funding going into church planting/rejuvenation/pioneering has gone to projects with an anglican catholic identity. See for example the churches working with http://www.theology-centre.org, including https://www.e11holy.org.uk/worship; also planting into Jaywick from http://www.stjamesclacton.uk/; a project in Southend with https://www.stmarkschurchsouthend.org/ and https://www.stalbanswestcliff.org.uk/; https://www.becontreesouth.org.uk/about-us-/. I think there’s a bit of a myth that this kind of funding is only available for one stream within the church.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
1 month ago

The Myriad proposal is suitable for a situation either thousands of miles away or decades ago or both, and no amount of reverse ferreting over “key limiting factors” is going to fix that. If they were out campaigning in Africa, then — broad sweeping generalisation ahead — it’s possible they could recruit. Anglicanism would be new to many, and would not have any particularly strong negative sentiments for rather more. And if they were out campaigning in England in 1960, or even 1990, the same would apply: the non-Anglican would not have a negative energy about it, and might be… Read more »

Dan
Dan
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 month ago

Curiously it’s taken until this last of the initial responses to touch on core issues. It is indeed 2021, which in my calendar is now six years since 15 July 2015….

Peter Carver
Peter Carver
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 month ago

I honestly don’t think the bishops have the faintest clue how toxic the C of E is perceived to be by intelligent refelctive people ‘out there’ – and why people like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his River Cottage empire is doing a roaring trade in ‘wellness retreats’ as people seeking ‘sanctuary’ run a mile from their local church. And still, they fantasize about 10,000 lay led churches… populated by whom?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter Carver
1 month ago

I’m afraid I think that’s true. I believe the nation has generally shrugged, not liked the whiffs of homophobia and dogmatism verging on literalism, put on its coat, turned its back, and walked off to get on with the world ‘out there’ where they mix with plenty of decent, loving, more open-minded people who actually live life with more magnanimity and acceptance of gay relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours. Working in a school of 1200 teenagers as a nurse, and agony aunt, dressing wounds, listening to crises, handling meltdowns… my experience of the young (we talk about 2021… let’s consider the… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

There is no market for homophobia. Doubly so amongst people to whom the typical Anglican would want to give houseroom. The Church of England uses all sorts of language to attempt to mask that it is institutionally homophobic. Some of it might even be in good faith. But it’s self-deluding; the only people who believe it are insiders. Justin Welby is on a journey, there is love for people even if not their life-style, etc. Everyone else sees it for what it is: an institution which regards LGBTQ+ people as less than. So where’s the market for that institution? Well,… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Interested Observer
Fr. Dean
Fr. Dean
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 month ago

In my experience older people are far more tolerant than we often give them credit for. Their vocabulary is sometimes not very right on but there’s frequently a warmth and level of acceptance not seen in the young. We don’t venerate old people anymore nowadays but with great age often comes deep wisdom. The Silver Lining club in my last benefice and the Wednesday Friends in my previous parish fortified me for the rest of parish life. Once entrusted with an ordinand on placement I insisted that they accompany me to the Silver Lining club. The ordinand couldn’t conceal their… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Fr. Dean
1 month ago

In my experience older people are far more tolerant than we often give them credit for. 

I’m sure that’s true: a reservoir, but certainly not an ocean. Every tolerant older person strengthens my argument, in that it’s yet another person unlikely to join an openly homophobic organisation, whether it meets in houses or churches.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 month ago

Many thanks. So, basically, the product development and marketing strategy is that of F. Ross Johnson, CEO at RJR Nabisco in 1988-89 and his ‘smokeless cigarette’, captured by the late James Garner here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJj-lK3MHyU (the lab scene from 20:00 minutes in to 23:00 minutes in), and based on the famous book by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Thanks so much for mentioning James Garner. Highlight of the thread so far. Terrific American actor. He was especially good in the anti war movie, The Americanization of Emily, with Julie Andrews.(link), “I’ve had Frenchman call me a savage because I only took half an hour for lunch”. Lol.
Which brings me to my question. In what sense is ‘Myriad’ truly culturally appropriate in the UK? Isn’t it, indeed isn’t strident Christianity in general, as per the Garner clip (applaudissements et les cris), largely ‘insensitive’ to the current culture there? I reckon that is two questions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hYBuK9q-NI

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

But do house churches have to be strident?

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I’m looking at the Myriad Statement, “We are compelled by the missionary need and the scale of God’s call…” So you tell me, is the Myriad model strident? These kinds of schemes remind me of a more slick version of the old fashioned radio preacher’s mantra, “Oh the sin! oh so many not saved!” As far as I can see, underneath the zeal is a kind of panic in the face of cratering demographics and increasing irrelevance. Surely we ought to have learned by now, that if we want to engage the culture then we need to work at understanding… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

But do house churches have to be strident?”

No. But people who want to join a book group, or a wine-tasting group, or a supper club, have already done so.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 month ago

Actually, a book group, or a group otherwise focused on conversation and discussion, as an alternative to proselytizing and indoctrination, is not a bad idea. Clergy and laity, the latter group including but not limited to people with particular skills or expertise, could have mutually respectful chats. Topics to be explored could include: Christian notions of ‘last things’ from the perspective of contemporary physics and cosmology; the ethical teaching of a first century Galilean holy man in a 21st century economy; contemporary understandings of human sexuality in relation to terminal transcendent values presented in the New Testament; the possibility of… Read more »

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

I think the results of the 2021 Census are highly relevant, and personally I don’t think the Church of England should be making firm plans until the census results are available. The prediction, I think, is that there will be a significant drop in those who identify as Christian. If so, the style of church is no longer the critical issue, but instead we have to grasp why people have turned away from Christianity.

Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

I remember the day – in the wake of the emergence of the charismatic movement that sprang up around the world in many Church traditions after the explosion of Vatican II, when what are now called ‘House Churches’ used to be called ‘Study Groups’. They were generally most effective in places where people were open to the Holy Spirit doing what the Scriptures call ‘A New Thing’, where clergy encouraged their parishioners to really believe that God operates with a tenderness and mercy that the Scribes and Pharisees were hardly aware of. (n.b. these were not ‘Alpha Groups’, which tend… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Father Ron Smith
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Yes, I think the ‘numbers game’ is where things can get a bit derailed if it becomes the focal objective. I do understand why ‘numbers’ concern people, because the decline in Church of England attendance is indeed a statistical reality. However, Christianity is not a package you sell like soap powder. It needs to be lived out, nurtured, sustainable over a lifetime, and at the heart is the call to follow Jesus in opening to the flow of love – expressed in service and meeting of needs. Love should be carried out – the raw, consuming, practical love in a… Read more »

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

The Myriad approach does seem a ‘one size fits all’ ‘solution’ – rather like many jump on the Alpha bandwagon, even if it doesn’t really fit with their theology! It certainly doesn’t fit mine. Perhaps for those of us in the catholic constituencey, thare could be another approach by learning from history. David Goodhew and I made a stab at this in a blog for the US website Covenant in Feb 2020.
https://livingchurch.org/covenant/2020/03/05/anglo-catholic-church-planting-recovering-the-tradition/

Charles K
Charles K
1 month ago

Is it just me that finds +Islington’s response actually rather gracious and constructive? He recognises that the words we use can often be cack-handed, unfortunate and pejorative and that clearly happened in this case. Rather than see all this as a threat to the church as it is… I wonder if TA contributors – or probably another collective – could put together a thinking response and a strategy to have a constructive Myriad of confident, faithful, proactive churches from all strands of Anglican tradition and thought. The problem is that we seem to be putting up too many theologies of… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Charles K
1 month ago

I tend to agree with you Charles. I think that part of the fear and suspicion is about what is not known, and what might seem opaque. Honestly: if a local parish church wants to initiate or endorse a partner ‘house church’ project in their parish… then I think we should be open to the possibility that God’s Spirit may use such initiatives and bless them and the communities they are set in. But if that was taken as the basis, for the part of the overall Myriad initiative that was endorsed and supported by the Church of England, then… Read more »

John Wallace
John Wallace
1 month ago

Thinking about all this, I’m drawn to James Hopewell Congregations. He describes how he was asked to start a simple weekly Eucharist for a group people who had been meeting regularly for fellowship and now wanted a more liturgical form of worship than that which they were experiencing in their regular Sunday congregations.  In spite of wanting this gathering to stay simple, Hopewell found that as the weeks went by, it developed into something more like a ‘normal church’, with all the trappings that conventionally accompany this – even down to holding a bazaar. Hopewell, James F., Congregation: Stories and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Are Anglicans in England aware that there is now a GAFCON-led threat to the historic Anglican Church in Australia? Bishop David Condie (Tasmania), a member of the GAFCON worldwide organisation – like the Church of England Archdeacon launching the ‘MYRIAD’ 10.000 Lay-led Churches in England – has just issued an on-line challenge to the Anglican Church in Australia; threatening the formation (if the current move to Bless S/S Marriages in Australia by the Anglican Church goes ahead at its upcoming General Synod) of a parallel ‘orthodox’ Anglican Church to be formed by dissident Anglicans, that will set up its own… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

(continued:) Bishop Condie had earlier visited the New Zealand Bishops of ACANZP, before the move to be made in our Church to Bless Same-Sex legal Marriages; in order, precisely, to warm the bishops against such a move. That advice was rejected at the later ACANZP General Synod, which went ahead to provide for S/S Marriage Blessings where parishes and their clergy agreed to such a procedure. (No pressure applied for or against!) After that General Synod, dissident Anglicans in New Zealand appealed to GAFCON to support them in the formation of what they were disposed to call an ‘orthodox Anglican… Read more »

128
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x