Are worship styles part of the church's decline?

1246

Comments

  • Thanks, @Arethosemyfeet and @Gamma Gamaliel. Tying in to comments in this thread, is that a part of England that attracts retirees in larger numbers than elsewhere? That’s the impression I’ve gotten from how it’s been talked about.
  • There are several areas of the UK where people like to retire to. One of them is Devon and Cornwall or what Chorister calls Cream Tea Land.

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    I guess there may be other areas, too, such as the Home Counties (the 'ring' of rural/suburban/semi-suburban areas around London)?

    Possibly parts of East Anglia, not too far from The Smoke (where the kids and grandkids live, move, and have their being)?

    It's not a good idea to generalise too much - I daresay some parts of the CreamTeaLand dioceses are just as 'deprived' as other parts of the UK.

    Or, perhaps to put it another way, the UK (especially England) is a Small Country, and retirees don't find it too difficult to find congenial out-of-city areas, ISTM.

    IJ
  • Thanks all!
  • Eastbourne is notoriously packed with retirees, but it's a phenomenon common to a lot of coastal areas.

    Cornwall is actually (aside from wealthy retirees) one of the most deprived areas of England. Incomes are very low and housing costs are very high. It also has terrible transport links.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Those of us who have (nearly) always lived in cities sometimes forget that poverty and deprivation can be much worse in rural areas. If you can't afford a car in the city, you can possibly afford to use public transport or at least walk to shops, church etc. If you are without a car in the country you are stuck. And if you live in a village ('your' village even) that is being taken over by wealthy retirees you will feel under siege and perhaps even less likely to attend church there.

    What many churches are bad at is being inclusive of all social classes. Mostly it's the middle class excluding the working class, but sometimes it is the opposite.
  • Cornwall and Devon both have a researched 5% of their counties that are among the most deprived in the UK, in pockets of deprivation, not helped by incomers and second home owners pricing locals out of the housing market.
  • Something of the same happens in Norfolk and Suffolk. In particular, we have a huge concentration (other synonyms were considered) of retired clergy.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Tangent: Can someone explain the meaning and significance of Cream Tea Land/Cream Tea-Land/creamtealand? Google is not helping me out here.

    Thanks.
    I have never heard Devon and Cornwall referred to as Cream Tea Land outside of Chorister calling it that, but I knew what she meant just because they are the counties where cream teas are from. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cream_tea
  • ExclamationMarkExclamationMark Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    It's not a good idea to generalise too much - I daresay some parts of the CreamTeaLand dioceses are just as 'deprived' as other parts of the UK.
    IJ
    The area I worked in was the 8th most deprived ward in the UK at one point - more so than Mosside in Manchester. At the same time housing in one local village was 60% + second homes

  • I've sent you a PM about Devon and Cornwall, Nick.

    'Train don't stop Camborne Wednesdays ...'
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    My grandparents, who were not at all wealthy, retired to a tiny house in Cornwall, in an area which is listed among the most deprived, because it was cheap. And because it was by the sea and a warm climate. They couldn’t stay where they were because it was a home that went with the job my grandad did, so once he retired, they couldn’t live there. Being a place people retire to and being a deprived area are not mutually exclusive.
  • I've sent you a PM about Devon and Cornwall, Nick.

    'Train don't stop Camborne Wednesdays ...'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_axHV2wx8RA
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    I’m sure there’s a story (but I can’t find it) about a philosopher who finds the express train he’s on stopping unexpectedly at his local station. Naturally he alights (I have done this myself!)

    The guard shouts out, “Sir, this train doesn’t stop here!” To which the philosopher replies, “In that case, I’m not getting off” and walks down the platform.

    But we have somewhat digressed ....
  • I've sent you a PM about Devon and Cornwall, Nick.
    Which I very much appreciate.

    Sorry for feeding a tangent. I was just trying to get a handle on where people were talking about and how it fit into the topic of this thread, and I think I’ve got it now.

  • 'There you are, me 'an'some.'
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    Seems I've been away for a while - what an interesting tangent! Can't disagree with what you have all been saying in my absence. Ahem, now where were we?

    Town Life / Country Life, does it make a difference? I understand the etiquette is, when ministering in a rural area, that you are often the only church so had better make it MOTR (middle of the road).
  • Ah, but middle of which road? is the question.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    Ah, but middle of which road? is the question.

    I did think this. The middle of you road depends where you think the extremes lie.

    For a CofE Parish Church my MoR would be Eucharist at 10.30 with sung Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, hymns in normal positions, mostly from trad. hymnals but one or two newer, carefully chosen according to sense and musicians available, 15 minute sermon. Bells and Smells would be off-centre, as would be worship bands and extended periods of singing a "worship set"
  • KarlLB - I think I'd agree, except perhaps for the sung responses which can be difficult if you don't have a choir (or if you have a Vicar who's tone-deaf). They can also be off-putting to newcomers as their structure makes them harder to pick up than hymns.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    KarlLB - I think I'd agree, except perhaps for the sung responses which can be difficult if you don't have a choir (or if you have a Vicar who's tone-deaf). They can also be off-putting to newcomers as their structure makes them harder to pick up than hymns.

    I was more saying what's the middle of my road than what Should Be Done, by way of illustration. I find sung responses a bit silly, truth be told.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    I probably should say, "Is outrage!" But I'll content myself with, "Fair enough!"
  • Hmmm ... I'd have put sung responses a wee bit off-centre rather than middle of the road. They tend only to happen where 'there be choirs' and lots of MoR Anglican parishes can't muster a choir these days.

    But then, this Diocese is very much on the low side overall.

    It depends where you are.
  • Interesting reflections on what can be off-putting to newcomers.

    Almost anything can be off-putting to newcomers.

    'I sang a dirge and you did not mourn, played a pipe and you did not dance.'

    I certainly get that people feel uncomfortable not knowing when to stand, sit, sing do whatever else ...

    But then they might also feel uncomfortable to hear songs sung over and over again for no apparent reason or with any kind of action that takes place - genuflecting, bowing, kneeling, crossing oneself, raising one's hands, spiritual gurning ....

    Even encountering a bunch of people in a room singing something at the same time might be off-putting ...

    My contention is that irrespective of tradition, high, low, all stations in between, non-conformist or whatever else, people are socialised and acclimatised into worship of whatever kind.

    It's how that happens that's the issue, not necessarily the style of worship itself.

    The Quakers have leaflets and pamphlets explaining why they do things the way they do. So if you feel it's pretty odd to sit quietly in a room with a bunch of strangers for an hour, there is at least some bumph to explain why. The Orthodox, in my experience, don't attempt to explain anything. They just do what they do and if you want to roll with it, great. If you don't, then fine ...

    Our vicar painstakingly explains absolutely everything in great detail on the off-chance that there might be someone new there, even when there patently isn't. To my wife's annoyance as an organist it means he often skips the verses of hymns so we can get through on time because he's been talking too much in between the various items.

    Some charismatics I've known have gone in for no-holds barred stuff whenever a visitor comes in on the basis of 1 Corinthians 14:24-25.

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

    It doesn't seem to occur to them that the previous verse (23) warns about appearing to be out of their minds ...

    http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/14-23.htm

    I really don't know what the answer is. If we're going to be 'too high' we're going to alienate some people, 'too low' and we alienate others, too 'MoTR' and that'll irritate still others.

    I really don't know what the heck we can do not to piss off someone or other.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Sitting still to listen to some old geezer spout for ten minutes without the chance to shout at him or change channel or get up to make a cup of tea is definitely off-putting.

  • I really don't know what the heck we can do not to piss off someone or other.

    Well, we could throw the whole church thing overboard, and stay in bed on Sunday mornings (or evenings).
    :cry:

    IJ

  • Or Sunday afternoons, for that matter.

    I've just realised how many services there are in our area - Anglican and otherwise - starting at 2pm, 230pm, or 3pm (not discounting the 315pm Choral Evensong at the Cathedral, of course!).

    The 3pm service is a revival of a long-closed town centre church, which, whilst the church itself is being refurbished, is meeting for Sunday worship (and Holy Communion) in a night-club just along the street...I might try to Mystery Worship one day, if I can park not too far away.
    :grimace:

    IJ
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Sitting still to listen to some old geezer spout for ten minutes without the chance to shout at him or change channel or get up to make a cup of tea is definitely off-putting.

    You can shout if you want to. Chances are no-one will say anything if you do.
  • A night-club church. Brilliant!
    Or maybe I'll get on a train (steam of course) to cream tea land - oh no, I won't on second thoughts - I'll just get fatter!!!
  • WildHaggis wrote: »
    A night-club church. Brilliant!

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't think they have the pole dancers, alcoholic lemonade, strobe lights, loud bass music, etc - AFAIK it's a fairly straightforward 'café church' style of service, with Holy Communion most weeks.

    They're using the club as a congenial base-camp whilst their church building is being refurbished, which could take a long time, but they will then at least have more facilities for community work than the club can offer!

    IJ

  • I just found this in my Twitter feed.

    I find it deeply challenging and yet encouraging.
    I know that there are deep hurts (both personal and congregational) on all sides which need to be looked at, repented of and healed but if only we could manage to respect our various theological positions and praxis, accept our differences and encourage one another to keep going then perhaps there is hope?
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Absolutely fascinating - and very challenging to those of us who think of "New Wine" in clearly outdated stereotypes.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    How do you lead 20 minutes of silence, I wonder.
  • 20 minutes of silence is a regular part of Taize or prayer vigils - people are informed that this will be happening and given things to ponder and/or pray about. 20 minutes is not too challenging.
  • Corporate silent prayer needs a definite start, a definite finish and a trusted person to finish then twenty minutes is quite easy. Half an hour in my experience is harder as I tend to be deeper into silence and find coming out more difficult.
  • Absolutely fascinating - and very challenging to those of us who think of "New Wine" in clearly outdated stereotypes.

    I agree, the breadth of what was on offer was great.
    What I loved was how he was made so welcome as a "brother in Christ" with nobody trying to get him to conform to any of their particular viewpoints.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    20 minutes of silence is a regular part of Taize or prayer vigils - people are informed that this will be happening and given things to ponder and/or pray about. 20 minutes is not too challenging.

    I was not concerned about the length at all, but upon how silence is led. Certainly opened and closed, but led?
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    It's a funny things, Gee D, but it does seem to be the case that having someone holding the silence, in a more or less conscious fashion, does seem to improve it unless the people keeping it do so regularly together as part of a shared practice. I can't entirely explain this, but I have observed it repeatedly. It seems to be much the best way of getting away from the feeling that everyone is just waiting for something more definite to happen.
  • That's been my experience too, ThunderBunk
    Leadership does not always have to involve words- Who knew?!
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Thank you both. We are used to Taizé silence but I'd never thought of it as being led.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    How do you lead 20 minutes of silence, I wonder.

    From my perspective the Holy Spirit leads silent worship. Any leading by a human involves getting people into a good silent place. I'll tell you how my Quaker Meeting does it. This may not be right for you, but it works for us

    (American style here, some Friends consider that when the first person sits down in silence, it has begun...)

    Someone says " now we enter into a time of silence. Keep your mind and heart open. If something speaks to your heart, hold it close...." (The rest of the statement is about speaking from the silence which isn't relative outside the Quaker context)

    Visitors often remark that this instruction helps them feel comfortable with the idea of silence.
  • Well, I caught this way after the generous edit deadline.

    We don't say "hold it closely," we say " hold it tenderly."

    There is a difference, and my fingers must have been on autopilot. :blush:
  • It may or may not be relevant outside of a Quaker context but I'd be interested to read the rest of the quote about speaking from silence.

    At the risk of making an assumption, I wouldn't have thought it couldn't apply elsewhere. The Quakers don't have a monopoly on silence, nor, would I imagine, speaking from it. What is distinctive, though, is the emphasis placed upon it in their praxis.
  • It seems to me that Worship Styles, or rather the wider proliferation in variety, is perhaps more a result of decline rather than a cause of it. Might we not simply be seeing efforts to reverse or at least slow the decline? The logic seems to be as follows:

    Church membership and attendance is declining

    Therefore we must do something.

    Too often of course we then follow up with the Politician's Syllogism:

    This is something

    Therefore we must do this.

    Meseems some of these somethings are good, and some bad, many indifferent.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Sitting still to listen to some old geezer spout for ten minutes without the chance to shout at him or change channel or get up to make a cup of tea is definitely off-putting.

    Only ten minutes? In my Church it’s regularly half an hour :cry:

    If I didn’t have the puppy to take out for a ‘call of nature’ I’d leave and not bother finding another church. My friends decamp to the Parish Church when our minister is taking the service (Thankfully only once a month as she has four churches).

  • Doing something different to make the worship more “attractive” is not in itself going to attract new people, unless they get to hear about it and are somehow persuaded to come and join in.
    So good publicity helps, and people talking to those they know outside of church.
    But actually, are not some of us so busy with church things that we do not really know anybody outside of church circles?
    So some of us need to get out there and get involved in the community.
    Churches can and do create their own community events for everyone. But the transfer from those to Sunday attendance is slight, if it can be measured, and from occasional attendance to full commitment is yet another big step.
    I realise this is sounding very pessimistic. I am trying to be realistic.
  • We are due to have our Bishop lead a Vision Morning very soon. I wonder where it will lead us?
  • @sabine as a matter of curiosity, are you describing the worship of programmed Quakers with some silence, or unprogrammed Quakers with only silence? And either way during the period of silence, are people who feel stirred allowed to share, or is there later a time for them to do so?
  • Boogie wrote: »
    If I didn’t have the puppy to take out for a ‘call of nature’ I’d leave and not bother finding another church. My friends decamp to the Parish Church when our minister is taking the service (Thankfully only once a month as she has four churches).

    Does she know? Has anyone told her?
  • I think in my attempt to respond to Dee's question about how to lead silence I may have encouraged a tangent about Quakers. When I return from worship, I'll respond to those who have asked questions
Sign In or Register to comment.