Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 3 July 2021

Timothy Goode ViaMedia.News LGBT+ Stories – The Trauma of Abusive “Healing” Ministries

Peter Collier Church Times The Lambeth Working Group has lost its way on CDM reform
“The proposals before the Synod appear to have missed what our independent group was saying”

Silvia Falcetta Openly English marriage law locks out same-sex couples from religious weddings

Archbishop Cranmer ‘Key limiting factors’: the end of stipendiary parish ministry
The Church Times has two news articles on this topic:
Synod to discuss target of 10,000 new lay-led churches in the next ten years
Archbishop of Canterbury endorses urgent plan for church-planting
And Archdruid Eileen has this: “Free From Limiting Factors” – 10,000 new Laboratories

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Froghole
Froghole
3 months ago

I imagine that the people with the ability to harbour these ‘house churches’ will be the people with sufficiently large rooms (drawing rooms, I daresay) to accommodate them. Presumably, that means that the greater proportion of house churches will be led by affluent people in affluent places. I imagine that will also be the sort of people who will be happy to tell others what to do, as in their daily work. These will be private, and hidden, clubs. This is, truly, a furtive ‘vision’ for the future. Count me out. Nothing could be more subversive of the existing parish… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Froghole
Graeme Buttery
Graeme Buttery
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

Couldn’t agree more. As someone on Synod (for far too long, but finishing this time around), I have seen these visons come and go. the one thing that never seems to happen is to start the process at the bottom and ask the clergy and people in the parishes what is good, what is going wrong and how would you address the issues? I have about ten years until retirement from stipendiary ministry and this nightmare, not vision really means that we do not need to ordain anyone anymore, just appoint a management board. We will then become a group… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  Graeme Buttery
3 months ago

Try that, and the clergy and people in the pews will say they are happy with the status quo but just want someone else to pay for it! Most of the C of E’s predominantly elderly congregations have no interest in change.

There are too many vested interests in maintaining the status quo. I am not sure if the church planting plan is the right one but sticking our heads in the sand and hoping something will come up is not the way forward.

Graeme Buttery
Graeme Buttery
Reply to  Sam Jones
3 months ago

That may be the case, but then again it may not. My own experience as both area Dean and parish priest , is that it is surprising what challenges the people of God will rise to if given the chance. Treat them fairly, include them properly within the counsels of the Church and don’t shy away from debate and see what happens.

Graeme

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

“Of course, this is not so much about ‘vision’ as a defensive manoeuvre which is really all about money.” I would have trouble believing anyone with any sense would think this was a good idea. No, it is an idea born of desperation. In turn, it is desperation born of so many converging cultural realities in England one cannot disentangle or count them. My own private hunch is that the Hail Mary pass was to bring in erstwhile oil executive Justin Welby to see if he could fix what many regarded as a fairly hopeless scenario. And if he couldn’t,… Read more »

Fr Andrew Welsby
Fr Andrew Welsby
3 months ago

3/07/1996 – ‘Recommended for Training’ by the Advisory Board for Ministry (ABM) 03/07/2021 – Article in ‘Church Times’ (see above) * On the eve of my retirement, and prompted by the Church Times – To: • All those whose tentative faith I have encouraged and nurtured • The 100s of babies (and the occasional adult) that I have Baptised • The scores of couples that I have prepared for Holy Matrimony • The 1000s of souls I have prayed for as I commend them to God and commit them to the earth (or flames) • The bereaved I have sat… Read more »

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
3 months ago

A brilliant response from Archdruid Eileen. Top form.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago

I’m grateful to Archbishop Cranmer’s revelation of the brilliant evangelical plan to ensure future success for the Church of England. That is, to abolish it altogether! It can hardly fail if it ceases to exist. By closing down Anglicanism in England, evangelicals can pursue an agenda likely to alienate even more English people than the Church of England. What a fantastic idea.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

I’m not sure it’s fair to call Stephen Cottrell an evangelical.

I think the concern maybe that the CofE is already working fairly hard on abolishing itself. Pre-pandemic 80% of Christians who went to church on a Sunday avoided Church of England churches and that proportion is not likely to have fallen in the last 18 months.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Paul
3 months ago

Thank you vehemently for such an economical statement of the reality.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Paul
3 months ago

Sorry to Archbishop Stephen for the inadvertent insult.

Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

I think this ‘limiting factors’ debate is generating way more heat than light. Yes, the wording was unfortunate, but the point being made is a valid one. As I said on a friend’s Facebook page, church buildings and professional clergy can be limiting factors to the expansion of mission, if people can’t imagine ministry being done in any other way – i.e. if, when people are contemplating the extension of Christian ministry in a new area/social circle etc., the only way they can conceive of it happening is via a building and a paid professional. In contrast, I think of… Read more »

AA Member
AA Member
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

I often draw comparisons between the way the Church of England and AA are run – “problems of money, property, and prestige” frequently seem to “divert [the CofE] from our primary purpose”. AA is certainly fortunate in not starting from the position of owning thousands of listed buildings, and having links with the establishment! I fully support Froghole’s detailed proposals (often posted on TA) for the CofE to rid itself of the encumbrance of the heritage buildings whilst retaining the use of them. I also strongly agree with their view that the new ‘lay-led’ churches being run from sitting-rooms is… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by AA Member
Peter
Peter
Reply to  AA Member
3 months ago

I’m new to the site and struggling with the search – are these Froghole’s proposals that you mention? https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/opinion-22-february-2020/

AA Member
AA Member
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Yes.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
3 months ago

Bravo to Froghole, ‘Archbishop Cranmer’, ‘Archdruid Eileen’, especially, and most of all, to Fr Andrew Welsby writing on the eve of his retirement. All fifteen of his‘bullet points’ – including talking to the checkouts in Tesco’s – count as evangelistic mission. Isn’t the C of E in need of such service and spiritual leadership, and far less bureaucracy?

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
3 months ago

I don’t want in any way to minimise Andrew Welsby’s lifetime of service to the church. But it is worth pointing out that all but two of his bullet points can be carried out, and are already being carried out, by appropriately trained and experienced lay people.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

Nor was I in any way diminishing the value of the laity in the mission of the Church. In a small way I consider myself as part of that body having played as a volunteer organist for church services for 40 years. I have nothing but admiration for the two LLMs in the parish with which I have been most closely associated for the kind of people they both are and the way they conduct services with always excellent, thoughtful sermons.

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

As a trained and experienced lay person I did indeed carry out many of the action points. However, it was only when I was ordained and given a stipend that I had more time to do those – and the others. But I still have the time to talk to checkout operators wherever they may be!

peter kettle
peter kettle
3 months ago

Canon McGinley: But the definition of a church was “tight”, he said: it must proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, have regular worship, be open to everyone and sacramental, and have more than 20 people.

How can lay-led churches be ‘sacramental’ ?

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  peter kettle
3 months ago

The question in some people’s minds is whether this is part of a campaign for lay presidency. If it is, would its proponents at least be honest about that?

Michael H.
Michael H.
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

I don’t know about lay presidency as those pushing this agenda don’t seem interested in communion. However it would solve latest pernicious reason for cancelling public worship. A vicar (doubly vaccinated) briefly is in the same room as someone else (doubly vaccinated) who has tested positive for covid but is not unwell. Vicar has to self isolate for ten days, including two Sundays, hence cancellation of public worship. If only those hordes of eager lay people could be deployed.

Andrew Coe
Andrew Coe
Reply to  peter kettle
3 months ago

I’m confused. Canon John McGinley is said to be leading the ‘Myriad’ initiative to plant 10,000 churches in the next 10 years. This implies he has committed himself to the Church of England and this initiative till 2030/2031. Is this the same John McGinley who appeared on CEEC’s ‘The Beautiful Story’ video (23.54) saying that “If the Church of England were to change its doctrine or practice in the area of sexual ethics that would mean I am no longer in communion with the Church of England…this is my red line.”

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Andrew Coe
3 months ago

Indeed.
https://leicester.anglican.org/news/announcements/the-revd-canon-john-mcginley-.php
https://www.gafconuk.org/about
Council of ReferenceGafcon UK has a Council of Reference – who represent the breadth of the Gafcon UK membership – their role is to advise the trustees and staff.
Vice Presidents – Rev John McGinley and Mrs Lorna Ashworth
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=249196019977578

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
3 months ago

The Catholic Church in France has spectacular lay leadership. They do 1) catechesis, 2) music, 3) administration, 4) aumonerie, 5) occasional pastoral visiting (hospitals). Much of this is born of necessity, due to clergy shortage. But equally, it comes from being strongly catechized and from having a sense that ‘this is our church.’ And, ‘to be a Christian is a calling.’ NONE of it is anti-clerical or thinks of itself as a replacement for priestly ministry. I have a strong hunch that the laity in England are unaccustomed to this kind of role, unlikely to gravitate toward it due to… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Thanks CRS. I see how this can work in a church that is “strongly catechized” and where there is a catechism – the RCC for example. There is no uniformity, of course, in the CoE – not even a catechism * – and I doubt that many congregations outside the two extremes are catechized very much if at all. How do other reformed churches such as European Lutherans manage, if at all? * I caused a stir by preaching on the 1662 Catechism. Punters were shocked to find that there was more to the CoE than liking coffee and chocolate… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
3 months ago

I am afraid that in the POT group of newly ordained clergy I led a few years back only one I think knew we had a catechism ( BCP or Revised)

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
3 months ago

I think French Catholics believe they are the Church, not the clergy, and they are responsible. The clergy simply have their (limited but essential) role to play. I have rarely experienced that in TEC or other places in the Anglican world. Someone ‘out there’ is making it work. The established model ramps this up in England. So now it is breaking up. People are scrambling to put something different in place. It will be a learning curve, full of potholes.

Off to worship in Maussane-les-Alpilles. One or two clergy for a secteur of half a dozen churches.

Last edited 3 months ago by C R SEITZ
Andy Gr
Andy Gr
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

A while back I stayed with the Augustinian Canons in Western France. There were four of them covering 16 parishes. There was an absolute tradition that priests did not preside twice on a Sunday. Every month, each parish would have mass, with one of the priests, on one Sunday. The previous Sunday, the lay “”liturgical team” would lead a service of the word in preparation for the mass the following week, which was unambiguously seen as the main event. The Sunday following mass, the lay liturgical team would lead a service of the word reflecting on the mass, and the… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Andy Gr
3 months ago

We have lived in France for many years and worshipped in different regions as well. I have never heard of the one mass rule. Most secteurs pastorales have a main service at 11 and an earlier one at 930, this one on a rota so the various communes can maintain their own services 3-4 times a year. One priest can preside each Sunday at 930 and 1100. I always hear about decline. But in my long life I have never seen as many young couples and kids in church. Of course it depends on the region. Chemin Neuf is doing… Read more »

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Well, where I live in rural France, the one parish priest has 13 village churches to drive around to celebrate in as often as possible. He comes to our village once a month. It’s just like rural C of E parishes in that way. Very few people from the village attend Mass; congregations are ageing visibly. The RC Church in France this year is ordaining only 140 diocesan clergy for the whole country, half the number of 20 years ago. Half of the current diocesan priests in France are over 75, which is supposed to be their retirement age. So… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Fr Mark
3 months ago

Well, where I live in rural France, there are about the same number of village churches and clergy. It sounds like the difference is that 2 villages are designated for an every Sunday service at 11. The church is full. All ages, all cultural backgrounds. (There were 25 for confirmation last year). At all the other villages, the churches are on a 9.30 rota. Our village has 300 people, and these churches (on the 9.30 rota) tend to be less well attended, unsurprisingly. The 11 is the main service for all the communes in our secteur. Have no fear. My… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by C R SEITZ
Michael H.
Michael H.
Reply to  Fr Mark
3 months ago

I agree Fr Mark about the trajectory of decline in Christian worship. I lived in France and I know how fiercely secular it is. I wonder what will replace Christianity in Europe or whether it will become a secular atheist continent. The Church of England has pockets of growth, mostly con-evo. The House of Bishops is struggling to come up with effective initiatives to stem the overall decline, decline which they have worsened in the past 16 months. They clearly never talk or engage with anyone at the coal face and many of them have no experience of the coal… Read more »

C R Seitz
C R Seitz
Reply to  Michael H.
3 months ago

The secularity has its upsides so far as I am concerned. No notional/nominal Christianity. People in attendance know they are not the cultural thing. And even in places like Paris the Catholic University gives a good apercu onto the college age set Catholic. I enjoy being part of a fidele that is different.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

“I think French Catholics believe they are the Church, not the clergy”, This is partly because there are so few of them .As this review states “soon there will be practically no French priests at all”
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2019/11/the-collapse-of-french-catholicism.html

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

You are turning to a Mormon web site in which the decline in France is noted in an essay written in 2019 (where rapid decline in Britain is also correlated)? Is this your go-to source?

I am not bothered by African clergy serving churches in France, as this author is. Nor does the failure to name infants ‘Maria” strike me as particularly relevant.

As for my main point–strong lay engagement–nothing here gainsays that.

Andy Gr
Andy Gr
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

I think we’re all saying compatible things. In French RC settings, mostly-lay-led church is a reality, with infrequent mass (sometimes monthly) when a priest visits. Sometimes lay engagement is vibrant and strong, as in CR Seitz’s (and largely my) experience. Sometimes less so, as in Father Mark’s experience. But one way or another, we may be seeing the rural Church of England’s future – as Father Mark says, “we are all in the same boat”. I suppose I’d just want to say “if that’s where we’re going, let’s expend energy BOTH on developing the lay teams who will be leading… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Andy Gr
C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Andy Gr
3 months ago

AMEN. Your last sentence sums up exactly my point.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Please see my comment below. The issue is not the imminent Kingdom of God (one of your usual exaggerations). At issue is how best to address the decline that is omnipresent. I believe the RCC in France is addressing that better than other examples (including the ACoC where I teach). Sacramentality, lay involvement, clear-eyed use of buildings. Are you disputing that?

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

This note was addressed to R Gillis. He erased his note.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Chemin Neuf is not widely represented in North America, pace your comment, but we are trying earnestly to bring a chapter to Toronto. It is making impressive progress in France.

(Can you park the 60s psycho-evaluation and just stick with making your point? I’d be ever so grateful.)

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Hope things go well for you.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Again, to R Gillis.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

This note was addressed to R Gillis. He erased his note.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Cynthia Katsarelis
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Actually, CR Seitz, TEC has a vast lay ministry framework. We have Eucharistic Visitors who typically take the eucharist and Sunday bulletins to those who are shut-in (by something other than the lockdown…). We have a four-year theological program called Education for Ministry. The curriculum is developed by Sewanee and many graduates go on to lay ministry. There’s a lot of laity involved in administration, music, and educational activities. In fact, we even have a House of Deputies full of lay people involved in church governance via General Convention. We don’t wait for anyone “out there” to get ‘er done.… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Cynthia Katsarelis
3 months ago

As I have said in multiple posts, each province will have its own challenges. In France and in England, there are ancient edifices often in close proximity. In France, these are under the care of the Marie (and commune). In order to keep them going, laity need to be committed to them and mobilized. In our secteur there are 13 churches and 1-2 clergy. The laity therefore have a special role. I know TEC. There is nothing like this in scope or depth. That’s OK. You have mentioned things that laity can do (though EFM I would not put at… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by C R SEITZ
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Many thanks. I agree with you vehemently. It is not necessary to subvert, if not destroy, the existing system in order to inculcate lay leadership. Indeed, I am very strongly in favour of advancing lay leadership. People on this thread have attempted to defend the archbishop of York. These proposals have been advanced by a specific church party: the one which is presently in power. They have been sold on the basis that there is a financial crisis. There is no such crisis save one of a maldistribution of wealth within the Church. The party in power places a low… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

I very much agree with lay presidency but the idea of using living rooms is seriously concerning for the reasons Froghole has already raised. (It’s already a model used in many churches for Bible study which needs rowing back, not extending.)

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

And many authorised laity take funerals. My French penfriend in St Omer has now done more funerals than I did in 30 years ministry in the diocese of London.

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Perry Butler
3 months ago

Happens here as well, Fr. Perry, especially pre-Covid ‘crem only’ or interment of ashes. most years in the last 20, I was doing 2 or 3 a month as ‘authorised laity.’

Leon
Leon
3 months ago

Why do we need more churches? If we managed to get the number of new churchgoers that the report wants, that would be great, but we could easily fit them in our existing churches, most of which have enough pews to triple their congregation without needing an extra service. In fact, if we did that, possibly by making the churches more vibrant and life-giving by stifling lay ministry to a lesser extent than now, most of those churches would become financially viable.

peter
peter
Reply to  Leon
3 months ago

Existing churches are filled with people who, often, resist change. New churches are started by people who, by definition, are willing to try new things. They can experiment without alienating an existing congregation.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  peter
3 months ago

How is playing the guitar and drums, dressed in jeans and T-shirt, an “experiment”? Nothing can be more traditional than a smiling HTB-inspired minister talking about how wonderful that guy Jesus is, and our need to believe in the whole of God’s Word. Multiplying this 10,000 times sounds horrendous.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

It is the final stop on the local-autonomy, laissez-faire ‘quasi Communion’ on demand and now in place globally, expressing itself inside the Provinces of the CofE. Consumer Anglicanism. I suppose one oughtn’t be surprised. You do what you want, we’ll do what we want.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  peter
3 months ago

That’s true but the Church needs to fund room hire.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Leon
3 months ago

It’s true that England has many church buildings. However, it’s also true that what happens inside most of those buildings is appealing less and less to the vast majority of English people. Something has to be done differently. but the word ‘change’ is always a hard sell in a church that has been around for a long time. It’s easier to start something new, with no inherited tradition. A friend of mine who is an Alliance Church pastor in central BC is doing something like that right now; he calls it ‘Twelve Church’ and it’s completely built around evangelism, mentoring… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Tim, what you say here sounds pretty wonderful. But what if the new ‘churches’ brought into being have no understanding of (or perceived need for) the historic sacraments of The Church? Can such a church grow into the Body of Christ as it is seen in the New Testament? (“DO THIS to remember Me” – Jesus). From the experience of the world’s tendency towards cult leadership, such places can be the seed of abusive leadership – with self-appointed ‘shepherds fleecing ‘their’ sheep. Lay leadership is wonderful, but it needs the prior leadership of ‘true shepherds’, called by Christ and set… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Father Ron Smith
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
3 months ago

Good points. However,

  • in the New Testament, oversight is exercised by a group, not one person
  • at least 2 denominations, Quakers and Salvation Army, have no sacrament of Holy Communion, but their churches function as the Body of Christ in their setting
  • there are multiple examples of abusive leadership within our own established Church, despite rigorous selection, training, and ordination

I think 10,000 churches in people’s living rooms is a daft idea, but our present systems aren’t working too well either.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Janet Fife
3 months ago

The Quakers and the Salvation Army are not Anglican. Are you suggesting we should wear bonnets and play the trombone after we’ve abolished the Eucharist? If people suggested the Quakers should open 10000 new Meeting Houses to celebrate the Eucharist there would be an astonished howl of laughter. Why, then, should we open 10000 non- Anglican places of worship without the Eucharist?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavidH
3 months ago

To dismiss these (currently hypothetical) 10,000 churches as ‘non-Anglican’ simply on the basis that they don’t have frequent Eucharists is an astonishing dismissal of much of Anglican history. You know very well, FrDavidH, that for three centuries the majority of CofE churches celebrated the eucharist very infrequently – perhaps three or four times a year. That may be bad Anglicanism, but to dismiss it as non-Anglican is an astonishing display of hubris about the normative status of your own brand of Anglicanism. (BTW, if these house churches are ‘daughter churches’, I would think a monthly communion is well within the… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

I agree with a comment from Froghole elsewhere on this thread who says ” the party in power are erstwhile dissenters in Anglican clothing”. I’m aware of CofE history and how it evolved into a more Eucharistic-centred community. The dominant party today has little interest in Anglicanism, but uses the host community to promote a non-sacramental, scripture-centred religion, whilst dismissing the three-fold ministry as unessential. I can’t understand why these people are using the Church of England to set up 10000 House churches when they could easily go off and do it themselves.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  FrDavidH
3 months ago

I mean this with all respect. It is a simple question. Isn’t it simply the case that the CofE no longer agrees on what it is? This is no longer a matter of church parties, but of something far more trenchant. I served a CofE parish in the Diocese in Europe and they would have been very content with the lay-led gathering rooms idea. That is pretty much what it was. Moreover, it wasn’t just a low church anti-sacramental thing, though that was fully there. For this was assuredly not in the name of some serious, alternative evangelical project. Pick… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by C R SEITZ
FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

I agree. The CofE is neither fish nor fowl and hasn’t a clue what it is.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

Yes Christopher. Alas in my lifetime b 1949 the traditions in the C of E have moved further apart and fragmented. I grew up in a Church where AC, Evo, Central etc were emphases on a recognizable entity. They had much in common. I suppose the Prayer Bk (done in different ways) a commitment to the parish esp the Occasional Offices, the sense of being the National Church, clergy trained in residential theological colleges etc. Much has gone now and society has changed. But what was once comprehensiveness has become overt pluralism, no Tradition but traditions, you have yours we… Read more »

William
William
Reply to  FrDavidH
3 months ago

Two reasons. One, they want the Church’s money. Two, destroying the Church is not collateral damage. It is the primary objective, pursued in one way or another for decades by people who do not believe in a national church at all, but only in small groups of 24/7 disciples. There are words for people like that: nuns and monks.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  William
3 months ago

I don’t think the plan is for a million new members to take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

David Emmott
David Emmott
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

For most of that period, the Eucharist in most of Christendom was celebrated without the full participation (or communion) of most of the faithful. Nobody would want to defend that state of affairs. But even in those centuries, the C of E worshipped according to an authorised liturgy and calendar, so Anglicans would participate in the ongoing prayer of the Church if only by passive attendance at Sunday Morning Prayer. The free-for-all pattern of informal worship is not even that, and it is hard to see how such proposals are consistent with being part of the Church of England’s tradition,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Oh dear, Tim, I hadn’t realised that your childhood religious experience of the Eucharist was so deprived. However this can explain your understanding of the power of the Eucharist to energise our common Faith journey. I, personally, would not like the Church of England (or any other Anglican Church) to regress to the days of the Puritans, who valued preaching more than access to the spiritual food that Jesus indicated would be of vital importance to his followers after his death. In the light of your comments, one wonders how often you use your Anglican priesthood to “Feed my Sheep”,… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
3 months ago

‘In the light of your comments, one wonders how often you use your Anglican priesthood to “Feed my Sheep”, that Jesus spoke of to the Apostle Peter?’ Who exactly is ‘one’ in this sentence, Ron? Are you in interrogating me about how often I preside at the Eucharist in my parish? Not very often at the moment, because we’re still shut down with Covid, but that’s about to change. We’re starting an outdoor service this coming Sunday, and by early September, Covid-permitting, we’ll be back in the building, with the Eucharist every Sunday, as has always been the tradition of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Good, Tim. Then why are you advocating the resumption of Anglican liturgical observance being relegated to the puritan era of 3-times-a-year, as in the ‘Good-Old-Days’? I am still presiding at a weekday Eucharist in a parish with near-daily Mass and a BCP 8am Eucharist and 10am High Mass on Sundays and Major Feast Days, with good mixed congregations. (We, in Aotearoa/NZ are blessed with a government that has so cared for us in the Covid Crisis, that we are able (Deo gratias) to mix and mingle freely). I pray for ALL people to soon be able to share that freedom… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
3 months ago

I’m not. Read my post more carefully.

Anyway, it’s none of my business, since the C of E is not my church, and I rather regret getting involved in this argument.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Janet Fife
3 months ago

I was simply replying to Fr. Ron Smith’s question as to whether a church without the sacraments could grow into the body of Christ. Some churches do just that. If you read the rest of my comment you will have seen that I’m not keen on the 10,000 new churches in (middle class) living rooms.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Janet Fife
3 months ago

Father Ron, Janet, I do not know if you read within the last two years of the scandal involving the Jesus Army and their late Founder Leader Noel Stanton, where the Legal windup of that whole set up is still in process. Stanton was accused of Sexual Abuse and there was also public corporal Punishment given out to children of members at Public Services of Worship in that set up, that has echoes of John Smyth. It is well looking up the Jesus Army, and the style of Leadership exercise in that appalling Cult, the most controversial of modern pseudo… Read more »

Michael H.
Michael H.
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
3 months ago

Jonathan Your reference to the Jesus Army in Coventry has great resonance for me. In the 1980s and 1990s they were prominent in the area where I lived, including a minibus with the Jesus Army logo. One of the members of the church where I worshipped, left to join the Jesus Army and was quite a nuisance trying often to take others with him.

RobT
RobT
Reply to  Leon
3 months ago

Alternatively, we could look at over-provision and see if new congregations could revitalise old churches. Where I live, the Anglican provision for an area of 7.7 square miles (where the population is concentrated into about 3.2 square miles) is – 6 churches, 1 chapel of ease and a BMO divided into 5 parishes which themselves make up 3 benefices (plus the ‘floating’ BMO). The churches are 1 open evangelical (but not so evangelical that the clergy don’t wear clericals), 1 Anglo-Catholic (but not so high they rejected a female incumbent), 4 ‘middle-of-the-road’. The BMO is, of course, a plant from… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

He wrote them a long time ago, but it seems to me that Roland Allen’s books ‘Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?’ and ‘The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church’ should be required reading for anyone thinking about church planting and evangelism today.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Absolutely! Vincent Donovan’s ‘The Gospel Rediscovered’ is a must read, too.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
3 months ago

People keep telling me I should read that.

Fr. Dean
Fr. Dean
3 months ago

Presumably the bishops will want some element of control over these plants and the ability to brand them as CofE to legitimise their own stipend? Who is going to mediate when there are rows in these plants? What mechanism will there be to close down a plant which is teaching heresy? Who will decide who leads if there is a surfeit of leaders and a shortage of worker bees in a particular plant? Who will ensure that lay people fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities and ensure appropriate financial governance; know if they’re not and have the time and authority to act… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Fr. Dean
3 months ago

these are all very salient points. No-one is mentioning Readers / LLMs here (in the report) – they are theologically trained and episcopally licenced – an expansion of LLM could be akey method of enabling this vision to bear fruit in a responsible way. Most LLM students I teach feel called to mission and to something like this as part of a broader ministry.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

Exactly, Charles! I hav e a very good friend who is a Reader in my mum’s home church in the midlands. He’s very mission minded (sees that as integral to Reader ministry, in fact) and very keen to try out FX-type things. An excellent preacher, too – one of the best preachers I know, actually.

Andrew
Andrew
Reply to  Fr. Dean
3 months ago

You mention stipends. Lay leaders of house churches may also demand stipends given the amount of work that’s likely to be involved in setting them up, recruiting a congregation and volunteers, management, administration, fundraising, keeping accounts, and so on. The church plants will involve potentially more work than your average parish. And then all the issues about common fund that are relevant for the parish network apply to the plants. Some will be wealthy, others relatively poor. Who sets levels of remuneration? Will they participate in a pension scheme, pool resources? – etc.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
3 months ago

As Peter Collier QC cogently argues, better proposals need to be brought to the General Synod on CDM reform.  Although reform is much needed, indeed urgent, the Church of England cannot afford to get it wrong again. Synod needs firmly to reject the current direction of travel and indicate that it wants fresh proposals to be brought to the Eleventh General Synod in 2022, under a different working party, preferably one which includes one or two expert members from the ELS working group.

Peter S
Peter S
3 months ago

Safeguarding will work in this new initiative how? Or are we just going to throw a million children and vulnerable people under the bus of untrained “lay leadership”? Or will the job of stipendiary clergy be translated into that of “compliance officers” to visit these 10,000 new congregations?

John Wallace
John Wallace
3 months ago

‘New expressions of church may raise practical difficulties about authorized ministry, but, if they are to endure, they must celebrate the Eucharist.’ Mission-shaped Church page 101. Has ++York not read this?

Charles Clapham
3 months ago

Reading the articles in the Church Times about the “vision and strategy” for church planting, it seems to me there is some confusion between ordained/non-ordained ministry, stipendiary/non-stipendiary ministry, and lengthy and expensive training/cheap and short training. It’s quite possible to have any combination of the above: ordained local leadership does not have to mean stipendiary, nor does it necessarily entail lengthy or expensive training. And greater recourse to non-stipendiary local ordained AND non-ordained ministers, who have undergone a less intensive (for which read cheaper) form of training I suspect is where we are headed. . I think it is also… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Clapham
C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Charles Clapham
3 months ago

Thank you very much. As you say, why dress up decline with snazzy new initiatives. Be honest.

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Charles Clapham
3 months ago

Indeed,Charles, think of the Church that Tim talks about, which only celebrated the Holy Communion on the Great Feastdays of the Church? One wonders what the clergy were up to in those days (apart from huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’) – not obeying the call of Jesus to “Feed my sheep” – with the spiritual food of the Eucharist. How deprived the people must have been in those days. I shudder to think of it. Only by the sovereign grace of God could it have survived!. Not until the aftermath of the Second World War (which some of us experienced) did… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Father Ron Smith
Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago

Vision and Strategy is likely to be greeted with derision by laity and clergy sceptical of fashionable change programmes. Until now, it hasn’t been necessary to defend a distinctive Anglican identity based on the parish church – a public gathering place at the heart of every community. The proposals have been characterized (perhaps unfairly) as a breakaway dissenting branch but with the endorsement of bishops, unlike in the case of their illustrious predecessors. The danger in outsourcing to the private sphere is that the Church has absolutely no jurisdiction there. Just imagine the unwieldy bureaucracy required to initiate and supervise… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Andrew
3 months ago

I seriously do think, in old age – yet active retirement – that the Church needs ‘A New Pentecost’, such as was initiated through the active encouragement of Good Pope John XXIII before the 2nd Vatican Council. What a surge in pentecostal fervour that event promoted! As part of that initiative – which eventually led to the re-invigoration of most of the sacramental Churches, including the Anglican Church of Aotearoa/NZ, of which I am a part; the power of the Good News of The Gospel became accessible through the ministry of both Word and Sacrament. Many of our ‘non-conformist’ Churches… Read more »

Charles Clapham
3 months ago

To add to previous comments: . In the past, I have taught mission (including church growth, fresh expresssions, contemporary sociology of religion) in a variety of contexts (undergraduate and postgraduate), and acted as a mission advisor. (And can thoroughly commend both Vincent Donovan and Roland Allen’s books.) . But I’m afraid my previous background in economics and sociology has made me pretty sceptical of anyone who announces a great new plan to reverse decades of secularisation and church decline. We have seen numerous such top-down initiatives over the last thirty years, and most of these have tended to fizzle out.… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Charles Clapham
3 months ago

I agree with so much of what you say here. We have been trying hard for too long to believe that any wing of the church has the solution that will solve this/turn it all around. (and on TA we tend to be clearer about the shortcomings of the strategies of those we do not agree with rather than our own). But when your response is faithfully ‘to try to minister with integrity and to the best of our ability’ you are presumably working with strategies and methods of your choice and conviction. This sits in tension with ‘leaving it… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Reply to  David Runcorn
3 months ago

Thank you David. I confess I have not read the briefing paper behind the ‘Vision and Strategy’ synod update (and can’t seem to find it online) or delved into the church planting conference. But the headlines don’t inspire. “10,000 new churches and one million new disciples” strikes me as a piece of hype – an advertising tagline or a political slogan, based more on positive thinking than on Christian faith. . Similarly with other claims (as featured in the Church Times coverage). “It is always new churches that are best at reaching younger generations, the unchurched, minority groups,… Church-planting is… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Clapham
Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Charles Clapham
3 months ago

An aphorism well-known in many branches of medicine (particularly Obstetrics and Gynaecology IIRC) is “masterly inactivity”. If in doubt do nowt. If I were a bishop I would stop all initiatives, transfer all diocesan advisers back into parish ministry (that would scare the **** out of most of them), and ask PPs to get on with doing what they thought was best for the local situation. I would trust them. I would not require reports. I would visit them regularly to see if I could help. I would tell them that I knew the western church was in a parlous… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
3 months ago

Thank you for your support in my ministry, but please note that most ‘diocesan advisors’ (whatever that means) are already in parish ministry and doing the diocesan role unpaid or part time. As for those of us who are full time. it is because there is the work to warrant it. And if ordained we are also involved in a local church and also probably covering vacancies and illness. And most, like me, are not terrified of parish ministry – it is what God called us to – but presently are called to a specialist ministry.

Charles Clapham
Reply to  Peter Owen
3 months ago

Thank you Peter.

Charles Read
Reply to  Peter Owen
3 months ago

Will this be another rare case of a take note report being rejected? If so. the fault might lie with the poor presentation of the report thus far, which would be a pity as the issues do need addressing.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

I very much hope that the synod will decline to take note of this report, for a variety of reasons, not least the fact that it is dishonest. “… (T)here has been some talk in the press about why the Church of England is cutting clergy numbers but not cutting red tape, not cutting the number of bishops…. Paradoxically, it is these things we have been looking at…”, says the report. I see no evidence that cutting the number of bishops is on any agenda. Indeed, the number of suffragans has rather grown in recent years, even as the front line… Read more »

Clare Amos
Clare Amos
3 months ago

Probably going to get EVERYONE to disagree with me (but that is part of the joy of TA) but one of my ‘vibes’ is what I consider the OVER dominance of the Eucharist/Communion in modern Anglican worship and spirituality which in turns skews discussions on ministry and laity. I am from within the ‘catholic’ part of the Anglican spectrum – but though I feel that the Eucharist should be the centre of our public worship, that doesn’t mean that it should be the only expression of our public worship. Indeed the way that it has become so somehow diminishes its… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Clare Amos
3 months ago

I for one, Clare, don’t disagree with you, although I am very firmly in the Catholic tradition. As someone (I can’t recall who) one said, the Eucharist is indeed the source and the summit of the Church’s life, but a summit should be surrounded by foothills. Amongst those foothills should be the public celebration of the Office, something which once helped Church of England congregations get to know Scripture well with lengthy readings morning and evening.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

And, surely, recitation of the Psalter, spoken or sung (it can be done!) and similarly with the responses and canticles. Music has now become such a poor relation in much of the C of E.

Kieran
Kieran
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

On the origin of the source and summit remark. I think you will find that phrase in paragraph 10 of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the very first document published by the Second Vatican Council. More recent translations have followed Liturgicam Authenticam, which mangles the more accessible and stylish translations made in the 1960s. So now we have summit and font…

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Kieran
3 months ago

Yes, I know where that bit came from. What I can’t recall is who said the bit about the summit being surrounded by foothills, which was a way of pointing out the value of the public recitation of the Office and other devotions in a church where the Mass is all too often all there is by way of public worship.

Faith
Faith
Reply to  Clare Amos
3 months ago

I agree with Clare here. The growing popularity of and audience for Radio 3 Choral Evensong tells us something. Matins and Evensong at Cathedrals – often without sermons or homilies – also on the rise. The key elements are: predictable liturgy; fine music; not too long; and not demanding much from the congregation in terms of movement to rails, altars, etc. These Offices are inclusive in character.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Faith
3 months ago

Well, until very recently as a part-time parish organist I was accompanying Matins and Evensong, both complete and unabridged, in two small churches with full congregational participation. Some of them used psalters, but there was no problem with singing the psalm(s) to correct pointing and different chants for both psalms and canticles each week. It can be done! I suppose they had become so immersed in the tradition that it was almost second nature. Where there isn’t the luxury of a regular choir, the organist has to take a discrete lead with clear, but unobtrusive, rhythmic playing. I have said… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
3 months ago

Indeed. The Catholic faith has always known the importance of both the Mass and the Office. One of the strengths of the C of E used to be that it maintained the public recitation of the Office in a way that the Roman Catholic Church had not. Sadly, parishes which maintain Evensong are now rare, and those that maintain Mattins are even rarer. And whilst there are some places where the tradition of singing chant survives, in many places that tradition has been lost altogether. And, as I know all too well in my own context, recruiting church musicians is… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
3 months ago

To clarify. All church bodies in the West are in decline. Each has a different challenge. TEC exists in a supermarket of denominational choices. It has average age of 65 and size less than that. Baptisms are lagging far behind, as well as marriages. Germany has a Kirchen Steuer. England has an established church and a severely declining attendance. Moreover, buildings are an issue. A big issue. France ‘resolved’ this over a century ago, handing buildings and maintenance over to (usually proud of them) communes. I mentioned the arrangements we have experienced in France (we lived in the rectory of… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  C R SEITZ
3 months ago

If the CofE expended its energy on developing the kind of lay ministry you describe in France, there might be grounds for optimism, even excitement. Instead, hoping there will be 10000 lay people ready to invite neighbours round to their place, to hear about their best mate Jesus, would be hysterically funny – were it not so sad.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  FrDavidH
3 months ago

There are nearly 8000 readers/lay ministers currently in the C of E not to mention other lay workers, Eucharistic ministers, children’s church leaders. Don’t underestimate us lay people! There is nothing either hysterically funny or sad about us.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  David Exham
3 months ago

In no way do I wish to impugn the vital ministry of people like yourself, Mr Exham. What I believe to be “hysterically funny” is the idea that 8000 readers / lay ministers, plus another 2000 individuals, are about to invite thousands of neighbours round to talk about their friend Jesus. This is a far cry from the French model of lay ministry outlined by Dr Seitz.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  FrDavidH
3 months ago

Thank you, Father David, for your response. My problem is that I don’t think it’s about all the people like me “inviting thousands of people round to talk about their friend Jesus” though they are, of course, welcome: the wine is ready. However, I think that it is very unclear what is actually being proposed. Much of what I believe is the nonsense that is being expressed on TA stems from this. There needs to be clear descriptions of what is meant. I could go on…

Charles Read
Reply to  David Exham
3 months ago

The vision as reported in the CT appears to ignore LLMs entirely – they are surely a key part of the way to expand / enhance lay leadership.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

After 50 years as a Reader/LLM I couldn’t agree more!

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Exham
3 months ago

Thank you David! Also, some Church of England dioceses have lay evangelists – and I believe some of them are specifically trained in church planting (training varies from diocese to diocese, whiuch is why I don’t generalize).

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavidH
3 months ago

There are lay people who always say grace before meals, including when they have friends round for dinner. It’s not that big a step from grace to making the meal Eucharistic. I appreciate that’s not your understanding of faith, but others see it differently. With encouragement it is an idea which could be a very important type of mission – I just don’t think that any worship community which develops is going to be tied to the Church of England with any particular formality. As I have already said, there are no ties that bind but there also seems to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

 It’s not that big a step from grace to making the meal Eucharistic. I appreciate that’s not your understanding of faith, but others see it differently. With encouragement it is an idea which could be a very important type of mission ” – Kate

With all due respect, Kate. what you are saying here is applicable to every non-conformist’s idea of what ‘church’ is all about – without reference to the ‘One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’ that has its roots in the New Testament Faith and Order paradigm that is part and parcel of our common Anglican Baptismal tradition.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
3 months ago

Isn’t that partly to do with the question mark over Anglicanism as ‘the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’? You tend to elide this question altogether. Just read the comments here, all from faithful Anglicans. Empirically, at least, this ought to make one wonder about your self-confident claims. ‘Your party’ is hardly a Catholic idea.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
3 months ago

One of the themes that strikes, and shocks, me in all this is that the House of Bishops and the national church committees/councils are developing strategies in their own right with a pace and fervour I’ve not seen before. Our bishops, with a few exceptions, seem to have forgotten that their primary calling is to serve amongst their college of presbyters, lead within their diocesan synod, and promote the mission of the people of God in their care. This is where cohesion is created and energy for new ideas is discerned. Few would argue with a diocese developing creative and… Read more »

Kate
Kate
3 months ago

If I was younger, I would probably start one of these new churches, but I would offer the Eucharist weekly – lay celebrated if necessary. The worst they could do is throw me out – but what would it matter? The new church would just carry on regardless outside of the Church of England.   I say that because I doubt I would be unique, although the particular point of rebellion would vary from church to church. That’s the thing that nobody seems to be discussing: these new churches would not be under the control of the bishops, nor General… Read more »

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

I fully agree, Kate. You obviously see no need for the ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, the rite of ordination or anything else remotely Anglican. Anyone can invite the neighbours round for a cup of tea and lay ‘communion’ and call their house a Church. This is not “giving the Church of England a backward glance”. It’s not even giving it a glimpse in the first place.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavidH
3 months ago

No. I believe in ordination as a precious act of dedication, and one worthy of much respect, but I firmly believe that baptism is the gateway to leading sacraments.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  FrDavidH
3 months ago

The problem is, for many of the people on this thread defending the old way of doing things, that in my neck of the woods we have excellent fully trained and formed ordained priests offering weekly eucharists in attractive village churches, alongside a regular pattern of BCP Matins and Evensong. exactly as specified here. Yet all these churches are slowly dying and financially insecure. So if Kate or anybody else wants to offer something different to see if it works I would say good luck to her. For example, if Kate was not bothered by the need for a Bishop’s… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Simon Dawson
Charles Read
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

Yes indeed they would not be tied to the C of E . If we want them to be C of E their leaders will need a bishop’s licence – and all that entails regarding safeguarding etc. . It could in fact be done…

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

No, you are missing the point. Ordination is a means to control the laity. If you convince the laity that a priest is necessary to perform the sacraments validly but ensure that the bishops control the supply of priests via a) assertion of necessity in apostolic succession and b) requiring an oath of obedience from priests then the episcopate has control. Break any one of those and the control is lost. Simply requiring a bishops’s licence isn’t enough because it can easily ignored: control requires making belief in the priesthood part of the faith itself.   I agree with Father… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

That is an interesting Marxist interpretation of the history of ordination! It certainly has some truth to it but not the whole truth. Sadly some clergy do see things in terms of controlling lay people. But some of us clergy see a different model, rooted in Eph. 4, of ordained ministry being there to enable the ministry of all God’s people. ) Not in a paternalistic way either, by the way…)

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

‘these new churches would not be under the control of the bishops, nor General Synod. How can they be?’ I refer again to my experience of house groups – established by a parish, operating with lay readership under the overall direction of the rector of the parish. The Church of England was ‘providing neither priest nor accommodation’, but it turned out that there was actually a rather strong bond tying those house groups to the C of E. And, as someone has pointed out on this thread, if the leaders are already licensed as Readers or Lay Evangelists, well, that… Read more »

N in Essex
N in Essex
3 months ago

As a matter of fact, I’m one of the people you’re talking about. A group of about twenty of us meet every week. Every time we meet, we take it turns to lead a “Service of the Word” using Common Worship resources, and one of us speaks (five of us are speakers, three men, two women). Once a month the Priest in Charge visits and she speaks and makes communion. We used to meet in a home, and then of course we worshipped on Zoom for a while, but now have a small building we’re doing up (there is no… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
3 months ago

The proposals advanced for ‘house churches’ are, as I see it, informed by the real or imagined lack of money. As I have mentioned before, the lack of money is more apparent than real: the Commissioners have £9.3 billion (actually, such has been the likely increase in their assets since their last report was drafted, it is probably in excess of £9.5 billion), and a large portion of that capital has been drawn up from the parishes – implicitly, if not directly, since 1998. There is, however, a genuine lack of money at the parish level (at least in many… Read more »

Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

Froghole’s posts often go to the heart of real practical issues. I’m surprised he hasn’t made some points about leasehold and freehold covenants and about insurance. Many people live in flats, whose typical leasehold conditions explictly prohibit religious meetings on the premises. (And other things such as political meetings). Most rental tenancy agreements will have similar prohibitions, I imagine. So it’s only freehold houses where one could realistically host one of the gatherings envisaged. Leaving aside the safeguarding issues (as if one can realistically do so) what is the insurance position if someone comes in and is unlucky enough to… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Bernard Silverman
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
3 months ago

Many thanks, Sir Bernard. It’s a strict liability for the occupier under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. The freeholder (and, as you note, it is likely to be the freeholder in most cases) would have the liability. In order to defend a claim, the occupier would need to be able to demonstrate that reasonable steps had been taken ‘in all the circumstances’ to prevent injury (Section 2 (2): https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/5-6/31/crossheading/liability-in-tort). A court would give consideration to the likelihood of injury, the potential seriousness of injury, the social value of the preventive measures and the cost to the occupier of implementing those… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

As well as the public liability insurance aspect, all the same principles of regulatory compliance that apply to parish churches would, presumably, equally apply to the owner (or tenant) of a property hosting a church plant: health and safety risk assessments, policies on safeguarding, financial risks and fundraising etc. As I see it, the Church is ultimately, and vicariously, liable for anything done negligently, or not done, in its name. An army of inspectors would therefore need to be deployed to carry out routine checks and enforcement. Little consideration appears to have been given to the legal and bureaucratic minefield to… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Andrew
3 months ago

There would, surely, have to be some formally authorised commission of such local churches, i.e., licensed by the C of E for it to have vicarious liability for accidents and other torts. (Liability to trespassers isn’t as esoteric as it might sound. I dealt with such a case, admittedly decades ago, and, to say the least, was surprised when counsel advised that liability should be admitted.) I’m sure that no ordinary household insurance policy would cover, or contemplate, regular gatherings of, say, 30 people irrespective of their purpose. Specific liability insurance will be essential in every case unless the C… Read more »

John Wallace
John Wallace
3 months ago

In all this discussion about eucharistic or not, although now a liberal Catholic, I was brought up and baptised in the Open Brethren so had the tradition, rare among non-conformists, of a weekly ‘Breaking of Bread.’ So from childhood, the Eucharist in some form, was pivotal to my spiritual life.It was also seen as evangelistic. There was a hymn, often sung: ‘No Gospel like this feast, spread for thy church by thee, no prophet nor evangelist, preach the glad news more free’. I do worry about so much modern worship, even in so-called Anglican churches; it seems to consist of… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
3 months ago

There is a quote from the film “Spinal Tap” for all situations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ6JxAgmxXg

Marty: The last time Tap toured America, they where, uh, booked into 10,000 seat arenas, and 15,000 seat venues, and it seems that now, on their current tour they’re being booked into 1,200 seat arenas, 1,500 seat arenas, and uh I was just wondering, does this mean uh…the popularity of the group is waning?
Ian: Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no…no, no, not at all. I, I, I just think that the.. uh.. their appeal is becoming more selective.

Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

You won’t hear me say this very often, but Ian Paul has written a good reflection on the ‘limiting factors’ controversy here: https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/should-everyone-be-church-planting-missionary-disciples/

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

God help the Church of England if it to rely on the exclusive, parsimonious theology of the likes of Ian Paul (and maybe, Kate), whose openess to the Sydney-style ‘Lay-Presidency’ at the Eucharist is likely to condemn the Church of England to a life of ‘Low-Church’ existence – that would deny the authenticity of Catholic worship, which, led by a breed of dedicated Franciscan-style clergy with a heart for Christ and His sacraments who, together with the authorised ministries of a beloved, Faithful Laity, could help restore healing and grace to the Body of Christ in the world for which… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
3 months ago

I would ask here what I mentioned above. You speak reflexively of ‘Catholic worship’ but this is manifestly–given the character of anglicanism tout court; see the usual TA comments–your self-assertion/favorite language. But precisely this is what calls into question its self-evident ‘Catholicity.’ You are free to have your dispositions; that is Anglicanism today. But if you are going to speak of ‘Franciscan-styled’ you should equally speak of ‘catholic-styled’ or something like it. It is easy to generate boogey-men (Sydney, parsimonious, low church). It is much harder to claim a Catholicity that is not the Catholic Church as we know it.… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

Regarding the importance of parishes, I thought this might be of related, historical interest: “Recovery of Belief” [1952] was written by a colourful character of the time C.E.M Joad [1891-1953]. The penultimate chapter was titled ‘The Church of England’, where Joad writes on page 242: “Prominent in the life of the English village has been the church. In the past – though scarcely at all today – those who earned their living on the land had an affection, an affection which deepened on occasion into reverence, for the village church. Hence, when I came…to consider the whole question of religion,… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

Thank you Richard, what a terrific quote. It captures something of what I find myself feeling in response to these discussions. . On the one hand, I do see the rationale for church planting: in fact, we’ve given serious consideration ourselves as parish to developing a church plant. And I’m all for promoting and adopting models of good practice with regard to evangelism and mission. I’m just looking for these things to be soberly assessed and presented, with reflective theology and attention to evidence, rather than positive thinking and managerialism. A church which is seeking to be humble might say… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Charles Clapham
3 months ago

And I imagine what has fueled the emotion in the debate (see some of the comments on Twitter!) is the suspicion that there are other sectors in the Church of England who would not mourn the loss of these things at all; but are glad to see their disappearance, so that we are ‘finally’ free to do mission the way ‘God wants us to’ without all these trappings. The difference, perhaps, between those of us who view with fondness the (admittedly slightly absurd) nostalgia of “Grantchester” and identify with the contemporary woes of Adam Smallbone in “Rev.”; and those who… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Clapham
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Charles Clapham
3 months ago

“…so that we are ‘finally’ free to do mission the way ‘God wants us to’…” It is precisely for these reasons that I felt that the Church should lose title to its buildings to a secular agency of the state, with the Church gaining a perpetual free right of use in return. However, to make this possible politically, it would be necessary for the Commissioners to lose a large portion of their assets (to fund the agency): in this way, capital drawn up from the parishes via the parish share, which has enabled the Commissioners’ fund to grow as it… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Charles Clapham
3 months ago

S.C. Carpenter wrote that the story of Christianity in England is ‘the record of the response of one of the most interesting peoples of the world to a religion which has always been too spiritual for them perfectly to comprehend, too exacting for them completely to obey, yet so humane that the English, who are intensely human, have never been able either wholly to deny or wholly to resist its claim to sovereign rule.’ I quote this from Michael Austin’s A Stage or Two Beyond Christendom, A Social History of the Church of England in Derbyshire. I think this is… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

Indeed, although Joad’s end (he was a serial fare dodger) was none too happy; the ‘Recovery of Belief’ was written after he had traversed the arc of fundamentalism, extreme rationalism, and then a reversion to theism (in 1952 he was under the shadow of the cancer that was to kill him the following spring). It is often felt that his return to Christianity having made his name by affronting it secured posthumous obscurity, as his erstwhile agnostic and atheist devotees saw no reason to keep his reputation alive. However, I agree with the notion that the parish church was central… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
3 months ago

There is an interesting take on this in a Guardian discussion of the Archers radio programme, and how the scriptwriters have attempted to update its story lines. “What is called by philosophers “The Marks & Spencer Dilemma”: do you modernise something immemorially old and unchanging in the hope of gaining new, young customers to replace the old ones who are dying off – but at the risk of alienating your surviving old customers without gaining any sufficient number of new ones? I fear that there comes a time when institutions like The Archers or the Communist Party of the Soviet Union simply… Read more »

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
3 months ago

In the wrong hands without proper supervision these House churches could easily become Cult like and be manufacturing new Cult Leaders, and be storing up new Safeguarding problems for the future and be seed beds for Heresy, and what could be produced is something that is un-Anglican and has no reference to the Catholic Church, in the widest non-denominational and non-party use of the Word Catholic, and could be more Protestant and perhaps Charismatic than Anglican, and could be divorced from the full sacramental life of the Church and not reflecting the full comprehensiveness and diversity of the Church of… Read more »

Father David
3 months ago

10,000 new Lay led churches by 2030? Yer ‘avin’ a larff, aintcha? Reminds me of nothing more than Mao’s “Let a thousand blossoms bloom!” Remember the deaf old boy who sat right at the back of the church and was invited by the vicar to come to the front so that he could hear better and replied ‘ “Sir, I’ve heard it all before!” A nice round figure with a far distant target. Just like Carey’s Decade of Evangelism or Coggan’s Call to the Nation. I don’t recall either of those initiatives being an outstanding success. Yours sincerely, Key Limiting… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
Reply to  Father David
3 months ago

However, it would be an opportune moment to buy shares in the Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication (CCX). A monthly subscription of £6 to its online resources yields a potential annual turnover of £6 x 10,000 x 12 = £720,000.

Father David
3 months ago

Thank you for the tip Andrew but if you don’t mind I think I’ll stick with my Siriami shares – they are all the rage in Tilling.

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'
Reply to  Father David
3 months ago

I’m sure Mrs Lucas would be delighted to host one of the new ‘Myriad’ church plants at ‘Mallards’ with Georgie to assist. (Miss Mapp would surely have one as well so there’s two already!) Not sure what the vicar would make of it ‘th’noo’

Michael H.
Michael H.
3 months ago

The Church Times today quotes from Archdruid Eileen’s blog. There is also much else in response to the proposal for 10,000 new lay led churches. The Leader comment is a good summary of the response that the Strategy has generated. Underneath the Leader comment is an extract from the Church Times archive which is a brilliant example of how exercised the Church of England can be on one thorny issue. A century ago it was the never ending debate on the Deceased Wife’s Sister Amendment Bill, to legalize by statute law a marriage between a woman and her deceased husband’s… Read more »

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