Ship of Fools: Trinity Chippenham, Chippenham, England


imageShip of Fools: Trinity Chippenham, Chippenham, England

Friendly but not pushy – not heaven, but it works

Read the full Mystery Worshipper report here


Comments

  • Their website talks of them "looking to a group of church leaders, both locally and from further afield, for accountability and wisdom". However it doesn't tell us who they are not if the church is linked into any network or grouping. Does anyone on the Ship know?
  • I don't know, but I hope they don't mean Bethel... :grimace:

    And, with all due respect to the church, which may well be doing a good job at 'being church' (whatever that actually means) in Chippenham, I'm always a bit suspicious of groups which say the Bible is 'inerrant', and have Husband-And-Lovely-Wife ministry teams...

    YMMV, but I'm a Hellbound Heretick™, so I Don't Care.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    II'm always a bit suspicious of groups which . . . have Husband-And-Lovely-Wife ministry teams.

    Or, worse still, bestow the title "First Lady" upon the pastor's wife. There's one around the corner from me. I'm trying to get up enough courage to MW it.
  • O do, Miss Amanda, please... :wink:

    'First Lady' in a church context sounds rather patronising, to say the least, IMHO - so it would be interesting to hear how it is expressed in practice...
  • II'm always a bit suspicious of groups which . . . have Husband-And-Lovely-Wife ministry teams.

    Or, worse still, bestow the title "First Lady" upon the pastor's wife.
    That is very common in the Black church—at least, those parts of it not affiliated with a mainline denomination (generally Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Methodist, UCC or maybe Lutheran, not sure about the African American Methodist denominations)—in this part of the US, and I’m guessing other parts of the US as well. It’s part of the culture, as demonstrated by the title of this book.

    Is it really that different from the presbytera in Greek Orthodoxy, the matushka (“mama”) of Russian Orthodoxy, etc.?

  • Also ... we are told that the church was started by four couples who met for prayer (fine) with a "desire to start a new church in Chippenham". Why?
  • Well, perhaps because the other churches weren't being, or doing, church Properly™?

  • BTW, if that was their perception, then I guess their action in forming a 'new' church was legitimate from their POV.

    This county (Kent) was famous back in the 19thC for the fissiparous nature of many of its chapels.

    Minister A would accuse Minister B of 'preaching a different Gospel', and would secede from the chapel, taking a number of the flock with him. They would then build a new chapel not far away, doubtless sticking their tongues out at the remnant of Minister B's flock, and/or singing more loudly so as to drown them out.

    Outsiders were often bemused by all this, the nuances of the 'different' (and therefore suspect) Gospel being hard to see, let alone understand. Basically, it was often a question of a simple power struggle between Ministers A and B...

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    "Look how these Christians love each other." Boy, did Tertullian get it wrong!
  • I am troubled by the rise of all these new churches, although I don't know Chippenham and cannot speak for this particular one.

    I accept, of course, that traditional churches have often been "stick in the mud", unwilling to welcome newcomers and unreceptive of new ideas. But that isn't always the case, by any means. I a;lso realise that there is a case for new churches being planted in new areas of housing, though ITSM that church plants in less affluent areas tend to be initiated by the mainline denominations! I also respect the entrepreneurial approach of the new churches which is so often lacking in established congregations.

    But I'm still uncomfortable when (as has happened locally) a new church has plonked itself down in a community building next door to an older church which could so badly do with its resources and people. There is a very strong tendency, in my view, for such churches to ignore or even disdain the broader Body of Christ in an area and just "go for it".
  • My thoughts exactly @Baptist Trainfan ...

    I suspect that some of these 'new' churches (which really don't seem to offer anything particularly 'new', anyway) are of an ephemeral nature, which isn't necessarily much help to the more established churches nearby.

    Without wishing to derail the thread, though, could you expand a little on what you mean by 'entrepreneurial approach'?
  • Not till after lunch!
  • They seem to think very much in business terms – perhaps not surprisingly given the general “professional” background of their members. While that can and should be critiqued, they actively work in promoting themselves, they try to suit themselves to local circumstances, above all they have strongly worked-out strategies and plans which all the members seem to “buy into”.

    Clearly there are many questions one may ask about this approach, particularly whether it is uncritically adopting “worldly” methods of consumerism. However these churches seem to have a communal sense of optimism and direction which is often lacking in more established churches: "We're going forward, together". It's much more than "Oh, I go to Matins at St Agatha's-by-the-Gasworks every Sunday (unless it's too hot, too cold, I've got the grandchildren coming, it's a nice day for playing golf, I'm doing some gardening, the cat's not feeling well ...)".


  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Let's move this discussion to Purgatory or Ecclesiantics, please, and leave this thread for the particulars of the Trinity Chippenham experience of our Mystery Worshipper. Thanks.
  • Good thinking!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 2020
    Thank you, Miss Amanda. Apologies for the derailment...but thanks, too, to @Urganda for a positive Report (I think I might concur re the music and songs), and to Trinity, Chippenham, for a good job (despite reservations from some of us).

    One small point - I'm not sure it would be regarded elsewhere as good practice for people (other than parents/relatives/guardians) to be generally invited to 'look in ' on the children's activities during service time. DBS, safeguarding, and all that...

    Sorry if this is another red herring, but it was mentioned specifically in the Report.
  • UrgandaUrganda Shipmate
    I may have been slightly inaccurate. New parents were invited to look in. They (Trinity Chippenham) are well up to speed with the safeguarding.

    I did ask one of the team if they were part of a movement. He said no.
  • Not to worry - thanks for the update!
    :wink:
  • I am troubled by the rise of all these new churches, although I don't know Chippenham and cannot speak for this particular one.

    I accept, of course, that traditional churches have often been "stick in the mud", unwilling to welcome newcomers and unreceptive of new ideas. But that isn't always the case, by any means. I a;lso realise that there is a case for new churches being planted in new areas of housing, though ITSM that church plants in less affluent areas tend to be initiated by the mainline denominations! I also respect the entrepreneurial approach of the new churches which is so often lacking in established congregations.

    But I'm still uncomfortable when (as has happened locally) a new church has plonked itself down in a community building next door to an older church which could so badly do with its resources and people. There is a very strong tendency, in my view, for such churches to ignore or even disdain the broader Body of Christ in an area and just "go for it".

    It's equally as bad when a national denomination plants a new church without consultation just because they want to corner the yoof and families market.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Miss Amanda hates to repeat herself, but please take these observations to Purgatory or Ecclesiantics.

    Amanda B. Reckondwyth
    Lead Editor, Mystery Worship
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