Resource churches



  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited April 2019
    Of course Islington isn't the north - you must mean Enfield or even Cheshunt! (Gasps of horror) Seriously, though, you are right:
  • @Pomona, comments noted.

    Well, our Father NewPriest does indeed intend, AFAICS, to be not exactly a Pain as such, but to emphasise our Anglo-Catholic roots and spirituality.

    Not to everyone's taste, of course, but there for those who will respond. Apart from anything else, his sheer Joy and Enthusiasm in celebrating the Sunday (and daily) Eucharist must account for something, and has indeed already attracted very favourable comments from members of the congregation!
  • I think it's certainly the case that not all churches in the HTB/New Wine orbit are identikit versions of the stereotype. I'm sure Gill H and Hugal could tell us things to confirm that.


    Thank you Pomona, I'll remember and use that if I may ... ;).

    In fairness, whilst I share a visceral distrust of what might be considered the stereotype - shiny, facile, metropolitan, middle-class, pretty and privileged - I have heard heartening accounts that this is not always the case.

    I'm told by a very liberal catholic Anglican vicar that a more Anglo-Catholic clerical friend of his was pleasantly surprised when the HTB crowd rolled in to 'turn around' his parish. They let him carry on doing his thang and, in his opinion, have made a remarkable difference within the community.

    If that's the case, then more power to their elbows.

    These people are generally well-heeled and have what most struggling parishes need - £££.

    That comes at a price though, generally. They may demand their pound of flesh in exchange for vamping things up a bit. So far, in the instance I've cited, things seem to be working out well with the older bells and smells crowd rubbing along well with the shiny newcomers.

    I suspect the mileage varies, as they say.

    As a general rule, I'd say that charismatic evangelicals do tend to get things done, but it can easily go horribly wrong. As long as the dosh and the sheen doesn't take over then it might work. But it's as well to be wary.
  • Just noted BT's link.

    Our two neighbouring parishes (combined population around 23000) are looking for a shared priest-in-charge. These are MOTR churches (Sunday Parish Communion - monthly All-Age worship at one), not quite at the bottom of the Church Urban Fund poverty list, but not far off it, either!

    ASA at the largest (13500) is 40-50, at the other (9500) it is 34.

    And yet, we are in that much-lauded 'South-East Ukland'. Maybe the two parishes need to be more leafy......

    (BT - did my PMs eventually get through to you?)
  • 'Fraid not ...
  • O dear. I'll try again....
  • Is there some sort of invisible barrier between SE Ukland and Swales?

    Like a cyber-version of Offa's Dyke?

    I blame tRump, or the 'british government' (which in our case we have not got).
  • AravisAravis Shipmate
    There is still the Severn (though no longer with tolls) unless you go round the long way.
    More to the point, the Church in Wales is not the Church of England; it was disestablished many decades ago, and there are subtle differences in its legal and managerial structures.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    The SE of England of course has pockets of serious deprivation - I used to live in East Sussex which has quite a few of them. But the SE has infrastructure and attention (due to also being London Commuterville) that the North does not have, and this makes a huge difference. Take a trip on Northern Rail and there is a noticeable difference between the investment levels in that and even Southern Fail. The nearest non-Northern equivalent would be Cornwall which also struggles with huge poverty and lack of infrastructure, but also second homers who play serious havoc with the availability of homes.

    Strenuously trying to avoid DH issues here but I believe +Burnley to be truly prophetic on this issue.

    Gamaliel - steal away!
  • AlbertusAlbertus Shipmate
    Aravis wrote: »
    I was hoping to keep this discussion neutral rather than discussing specific situations, but so much has been said about St Teilo’s in Cardiff that I need to respond to some specific comments.
    I attend the other church in the same parish and was at the meeting when the Bishop’s representative explained the decision about the resource church.
    Attendance at St Teilo’s has been stable over the past year or so, possibly risen slightly (I have access to the Sunday figures, though can’t check them at the moment as I’m away; as I recall it’s normally about 35, which admittedly is small for the size of the building). I’m aware of the period Albertus refers to when numbers were “dwindling”; at the time, a few people were attempting to promote very precise Anglo-Catholic practice at the church (rather in the manner Pomona describes) and several people have told me this put them off; it’s now more relaxed in style.
    There was no “church plant” at St Teilo’s thirteen years ago. There was a new vicar and a new lay reader (as there were no others in the parish at the time) who worked across both churches, both of whom moved from a neighbouring parish and already lived about two miles from the church. Their respective families also attended to some extent. One other couple decided to follow the vicar to the new church.

    I am grateful to you for that clarification about the move from the neighbouring parish. The 'dwindling' period to which I refer was not the period to which you refer: it is my impression of the gradual, not steep but to me noticeable, trend in the period until 2018. If numbers have risen in the past year I am pleased to hear it.
  • Gill HGill H Shipmate
    Interestingly, in my limited experience charismatic Anglicanism is Not A Thing in Wales - or at least it never used to be.

    I grew up in a MOR Church in Wales church, and in the early 80s we had a married couple move into the area from somewhere in the South of England. They came to us because, well, they were Anglicans. But they were evangelical and charismatic Anglicans, which was a completely foreign notion to us.

    Similarly I knew a few charismatic Anglicans in my Uni years in Wales - all English and ended up in a Baptist church because there wasn't anything like they were used to.

    Things may have changed while I've been away, but denominations seem much less polarised here in That London.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    I think you do get more flavours of evangelical Anglicanism in traditionally evangelical dioceses - Liverpool for eg. Seemed to be plenty when I was in the Leeds area. I don't know how long-standing the evangelicalism in Winchester diocese is but I've noticed it here. I have to say that I value variety even in evangelicalism and have a lot of time for proper Prayer Book Evangelicals. I fear that the CoE as a whole is losing a real breadth of theology and worship - but then again, that's very much a 20th century invention anyway, and the CoE was very monochromatic for a long time. I just feel like I'd take early service and BCP mattins over HTB smoothie church (I know they're not universal but have regrettably endured such churches in student areas, including one which did not have communion services as they saw themselves as 'not that sort of place').

    Is charismatic Anglo-Catholicism a thing in Wales? I get the impression that the CiW is just more generally Anglo-Catholic in nature.
  • CruntCrunt Shipmate
    Pomona wrote: »

    Is charismatic Anglo-Catholicism a thing in Wales? I get the impression that the CiW is just more generally Anglo-Catholic in nature.

    I don't know about Anglo-Catholic, but having grown up in a MOTR Welsh parish in the Monmouth diocese, I really noticed the drop in altitude when I moved to NZ. My Presbyterian Kiwi mum liked to comment that this vicar or that church was more 'catholic than the Catholics!' Not to mention the time the rector made a prostration before the altar.

    But that was all ages ago, I don't know what it's like now.

  • Albertus wrote: »
    are they better at making Christians? That's what matters, above all. By their fruits ye shall know them.
    The real test is whether they are better at making Christians than the churches they replace or impact as a result of transfer growth?

  • I grew up in the same neck of the woods as Gill H and Crunt. My impressions of the Church in Wales is similar to theirs.

    Partly in reaction to the non-conformist chapels, the CinW tended to be either relatively High or else MoTR. Mostly MoTR with a few High features.

    Cardiff was always seen as the big bastion of High Church stuff. What Anglo-Catholic charismatics there were would have been centred down there.

    I've not come across any charismatic Anglo-Catholics in my time but I know they are out there somewhere.

    I'm out of touch with the South Walian church scene but it looks similar to everywhere else these days, only on a smaller scale. Traditional Pentecostals and independent evangelicals seem to have declined in numbers and influence. Most churches are struggling.
  • I think I read somewhere that church attendance in Wales has declined much faster in Wales than anywhere else in Britain over the last 20 years or so - possibly of course from a higher starting-point.
  • Sadly, the number of former chapels (as well as churches) that one sees in Wales would suggest that. Am I right in thinking that the great Revivals led to a huge burst of chapel-building?
  • I think so, but I really don't know the history. As in England, denominational competitiveness probably played its part too: see Robin Gill's "Myth of the Empty Church".

    BTW it's interesting that "Resource Churches" suddenly seem to be All The Rage - or is it that we're just hearing more about them? What about "Fresh Expressions" which was being heralded as the answer to Christianity's decline in Britain? Has that gone off the boil, so to speak? (Although I ask with my tongue in my cheek, that is actually a genuine question).
  • Yes, experience of "resource churches" and I'm afraid all negative.

    1. Effectively took-over a wedding at our place and upset everyone: moved furniture, invaded organ loft (placing heavy camera equipment on pedals, breaking 3 track rods), didn't stick to agreed liturgy, parked cars all over vicarage drive to block in PP, moved benches into church from churchyard and didn't replace. It was hellish.

    2. With friends tried to organise memorial service at the musicians church for distinguished colleague/ friend: so many obstacles put in the way couldn't be done. Attitude of people there entirely unwelcoming and negative.

    3. Rebaptised friend of the children, despite being clearly told he had been baptised as a child and confirmed as a 15 year old. His parents were told his infant baptism "didn't count", which went down well.

    4. Gay friends - a couple for more than 20 years - hounded out of church they'd attended for more than 17 years. Before they left they were subjected to prurient questioning about their relationship, whether or not they were sexually active, more or less held up before congregation as example of unrepentant sinners. Dreadful.

    I'd like to think this isn't typical but I have met enough with similar experiences to fear that it is.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 2019
    Dreadful indeed, but some of those attitudes can be found in other, long-established, churches, I'm afraid.

    Your example 1. is just appallingly boorish bad behaviour, requiring much Slapping of Legs, and NO COCOA! Did your place attempt to seek some £££ compo for damage/upset caused?
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    HTB plants are seemingly much much gentler than they used to be on DH issues and some plants I really dislike liturgically etc have been nothing but welcoming in those areas. These are however distinctly aimed at students so I wonder if this makes a difference. But HTB itself has changed in this area.

    I've certainly - sadly - experienced such attitudes as described in many churches, they are not a particular marker of resource churches. I would feel more welcome in HTB than in St Helens Bishopgate for example.
  • In the place I'm thinking of (not sure if it was seen as a resource church, but certainly has many similarities) the plant and the original church co-existed side by side for several years (the plant stating categorically that it was intending to supplement and enhance existing worship patterns, not replace them) but after several years there was an enforced merger. God had told them to, apparently. Except he had only told one group!
  • God keeps changing his mind. You soon learn that on the charismatic evangelical circuit.

    On Wales and revivals. They reckon there used to be one every 30 years or so. The Welsh Revival of 1904/05 was the last and arguably the shallowest.

    I'm increasingly of the view that it was unsustainable. There's only so long you can stand in a chapel singing 'Here is love vast as the ocean' in Welsh over and over and over again.

    A lot of the energy was diverted into the Labour Party and the Eisteddfodau.

    The revivalists took a dim view of sport or any activity that didn't involve prayer meetings or extended hymn singing so there was a reaction against it all.

    That's my two happ'orth at any rate.
  • Gill HGill H Shipmate
    I used to attend one of the churches which had been involved in the revival.

    It was a home to me for years, did lots of wonderful things and I wouldn’t want to knock them, though I wouldn’t fit there now. However, I did feel that in some quarters there was very much a culture of having to show how ‘sound’ you were, largely by what you didn’t do. I wondered if this was because so much of the revival was about ‘personal holiness’ as evidenced by men stopping getting drunk and beating their wives, for instance. Years down the line, the excitement had evaporated but the idea of ‘holy living’ had remained, in some cases becoming a straitjacket. For instance, I knew a lady who would never go inside a cinema as it was ‘worldly’ but would watch the same films when they were shown on TV.
  • Thing is, a lot of the apparent social benefits of the Revival were exaggerated. Crime levels were low before the Revival. They remained low after the Revival. There are some indications that there were less instances of 'drunk and disorderly' behaviour but as far as I know, no real stats on decline in domestic violence.

    The stories of pubs pouring ale down the drains or pit ponies not responding to instructions because miners had stopped swearing are the stuff of revivalist myth.

    That's not to take anything away from the churches involved in the Revival. Richmond Road Baptist church in Pontnewydd recorded about 3 or 4 baptisms a year before and after the Revival, if I remember rightly, but around 60 during 1904/05.

    I'm not knocking any of that.

    All I am saying is that it's impossible to maintain that level of spiritual intensity for a prolonged period. Evan Roberts burned himself out within 18 months.

  • It's not so long ago that I heard a priest say that it's not the 'Revival' (of England, in the context of the remark) that's required, but 'Conversion'!
  • Yes but I still think that we need renewal in the Church to some extent before we can hope for Conversion to happen. Let me explain. Back in the days of Toronto Blessing, I was in the curious place of being in a 'Liberal' URC congregation and also participating regularly in GEAR (Group for Evangelism and Renewal within the URC) conferences. The Toronto Blessing arrived at one conference but the leaders were at pains to make clear that it was 'renewal' not 'revival'.

    Now I think that for most, myself included, it was wishful thinking. Anyway, I as always was out of step. However, I do think the leadership was right, we need renewal before we can really reach out beyond ourselves. The thing is I want to see big signs of renewal before I am happy it is happening and those are:
    1. Honesty about past connivance of the Church with institutions of power and domination
    2. The honesty about the abuse many have experience from the Church and those that minister in her name. I am not talking solely about clergy.
    3. Readiness to acknowledge our own personal lack of love and readiness to ignore, separate ourselves from or deny the Church's lack of love
    4. Wariness of blaming all the faults on them over there be they Evangelicals, Liberals, Catholics or any other term we use for Christians different from ourselves
    5. Humble acceptance of how we, the church, have let down Christ
    6. A willingness to hold ourselves and the whole church to account
    7. Public confession of faults

    No this is not a call for a new church or even for a reformation. So often when we have tried to start afresh and get everything perfect we have instead created a worse travesty of the Church. The challenge is to repent and walk humbly with our God for a while. If we do that then we will become clay God can use. I am not sure how God will use it or even if God will but while we remain so holding onto our shreds of decency in the way we do, we stand unrepentant and brittle.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    edited April 2019
    I do very much think we need conversion and revival (in either order) in the liberal-MOTR-high church parts of the CoE, and I would say in the corresponding churches elsewhere in the Anglophone world. Going from what a cradle Catholic turned Pentecostal turned US Episcopalian friend has said to me, I feel like TEC and UMC are in need as much as we are. But of course, I don't think this has to look like a 'classic' or charismatic revival (as a former All Souls Langham Place type, I am still fairly suspicious of charismatic movements I'm afraid!). I do believe that as in the historic revivals, women and other marginalised groups will be at the forefront.
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