Resource churches

Does anyone have any experience (positive or negative!) of resource churches, the church plants set up by Holy Trinity Brompton across the U.K.?
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  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 30
    No, not personally - though are you certain that HTB is the only originator of 'resource churches'?

    Or, IOW, is that some sort of official term?

    I ask, because part of Our Place's parish, (and two other adjoining parishes) is currently being developed as the usual 'exciting, vibrant, etc. etc. new community', as they say, and is subject to a Bishop's Mission Order, whose Leader and Team are tasked with planting a new Anglican congregation.

    Nowt at all to do with HTB, although the Leader and Team are partly from, and supported by, our neighbouring evangelical parish, which albeit by no means a mega-church (200 on a Sunday) does have more in the way of human resources than us..... :wink:

    Experience so far is entirely positive, BTW, with the number of peeps worshipping in our parish having virtually doubled in recent months.....
  • Yes. Not an entirely favourable experience.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 30
    Sorry, EM, but, without prying too much, could you unpack that a little?

    In the case of Our Place, the new church plant is taking place in a very separate part of the parish, physically and demographically, so that there is little likelihood of 'overlap', IYSWIM. We support the new team in prayer, and (on a modest scale) with £££.

    A 'resource church' (whether HTB or another) marching into an existing parish or whatever might well cause/has caused Issues and Problems!
    :grimace:

    But discussions of individual churches' problems might not be suitable for these boards.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    I have never heard the term 'resource church' before. I was imagining churches that supply resources to a main church, but it seems more they act as resources for mission. At least, so I understand the defintion on this page, which I found from googling. So they are connected with a main church, but fulfilling a particular role that the main church can't? Am I understanding correctly?
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited March 30
    "Resource Church" is a term being used by HTB - or, more precisely, its offshoot the "Church Revitalisation Trust" (see https://crtrust.org/about). You will see that they aim to plant 100 City Centre Resource Churches (CCRCs) in "strategic cities across the country, bringing revitalisation to the Church and seeing communities transformed". Some of these are "takeovers", others are genuinely new congregations. To an outsider like me the whole thing does look a bit like a denomination-within-a-denomination.

    I'm really not sure about this. If they are truly missional that would be great, my fear is that they may suck the life from many other congregations. There is a major row going on here in Cardiff as +June of Llandaff has designated St. Teilo's, Cathays as a resource church, the first in Wales (so not CofE), allegedly without in any way consulting the parishioners or the Arts Trust connected with the church. It would represent a major shift in emphasis as the church (said to be thriving but I don't know if that is the case) is artistically classical, theologically liberal and positively LGBTQ friendly. It's in a prime student area but there are other evangelical churches available locally. In some ways this seems to be a bit of a rerun of St Sepulchre's, Holborn.
  • [quote="fineline;c-130190"Am I understanding correctly?[/quote] Yes, I think you are - but things seem to have moved ahead since that page was created.

  • Gill HGill H Shipmate
    I guess we may have been one of the original 'resource churches' though I've only recently heard that term. We even predate 'Fresh expressions' and sometimes joke that at 25 year old we are more of a stale expression!

    My church was set up at the invitation of the then Bishop. We were not directly a plant from HTB but from one of its existing plants. A bunch of people, most of whom had been members of that church and a few like Hugal and myself who hadn't, joined together to worship in an area a few miles away, but very different in culture. Our purpose was threefold: To be a church in the area; a church for the other churches in that area; and a church for the 'unchurched' (although I hate that term) in the area.

    Before we started out, our Minister in charge spent a lot of time talking to the other church leaders, Anglican and otherwise. Several were naturally suspicious but we did all we could to reassure people we were not there to replace existing congregations or to provide 'competition' but rather to come alongside what was already happening.

    For the first few weeks we met in a park. Then we were offered the use of a church building on a weeknight, and did a Willow Creek style 'seeker service' in a local school on Sunday mornings. Later we moved to using the church building on Sunday evenings when the existing congregation didn't have a service.

    After a few years we moved into a local school, then the Bishop offered to let us use a church building which was otherwise struggling. There was a small congregation meeting there, and over the years we sought to do things together, with various degrees of success.

    Then it was back to the school, and finally we were able to have our own building, a former fire station.

    Through all this we have sought to work with churches of all denominations and styles of worship. We haven't always got it right, but recognising and valuing the diversity of God's kingdom is part of our DNA.
  • Sorry, EM, but, without prying too much, could you unpack that a little?
    Not online for a number of reasons but pm me if you like
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    edited March 31
    I didn't want to out @Gill H as being involved in something linked to this, until she commented herself, but I've visited her church, when it was in the school for the second time. It's where I encountered A Rocha
  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    I have had some experience of churches both within and without Anglicanism which were called/ called themselves resource churches- it seemed the descriptor was about having all sorts of training and ministry to be offered to individuals and other perhaps smaller/ less experienced churches, usually with church growth in mind.
    There was also a desire to start all sorts of projects to serve the community.

    IMO these churches were not so good at the everyday care of people, especially when those people were suffering and also there was considerable burnout as people could not sustain the level of vision and activity involved in being a resource church. Sometimes there was a possibly unintended but nevertheless present sense of an arrogant attitude.

    However some of the projects were excellent at the point of delivery and many people not in the churches were greatly helped.
  • Might I gently remind folk that the OP was specifically about the Resource Churches (I really want to put "TM" after that but don't know how) set up by HTB.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    ™
    
    gives ™
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 31
    Does it?



    Yes, it does! Thanks!

    I see that it was I who queried the OP somewhat, but yes, Resource Churches™ springing from HTB is the subject.

    Is there a reasonably accurate list of such churches somewhere?
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited March 31
    Yes: https://crtrust.org/where-we-are

    This doesn't include those (such as in Cardiff) which aren't yet fully up and running.

    Did you get my PM?
  • Sorry, BT - Senior Moment..... :grimace:

    Interesting list.

    Yes, I did get your PM, and have replied. I've resent it, in case of interference in cyberspace......
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    Resource church means something different up here again. It means a centre of excellence within a tradition of the CofE that looks to resource other churches of that tradition. Anyone local can name three of the
    MrsBeaky wrote: »
    I have had some experience of churches both within and without Anglicanism which were called/ called themselves resource churches- it seemed the descriptor was about having all sorts of training and ministry to be offered to individuals and other perhaps smaller/ less experienced churches, usually with church growth in mind.
    There was also a desire to start all sorts of projects to serve the community.

    IMO these churches were not so good at the everyday care of people, especially when those people were suffering and also there was considerable burnout as people could not sustain the level of vision and activity involved in being a resource church. Sometimes there was a possibly unintended but nevertheless present sense of an arrogant attitude.

    However some of the projects were excellent at the point of delivery and many people not in the churches were greatly helped.

    This seems to be the way they are being used in Sheffield Diocese.

  • Gill HGill H Shipmate

    Well, there you go - I didn't even know we were on the list. Which probably goes to show you how little this stuff gets talked about at my church!
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    In an episcopally-structured denomination, shouldn't the cathedral church of the diocese act as the local resource church? Thinking of this particularly in light of it being Mothering Sunday today - I have a hard time with today generally, but O! that the mother church of a diocese would truly be a mother church and not just a tourist attraction. Not that I'm bitter about my experiences of both resource churches and my local cathedral....
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Ideally yes. But in Carlisle Diocese, for example, the cathedral is located near to where the bishop had to be.

    Historically, that was in the extreme north of the geographically difficult diocese, near the border with Scotland which he was charged with defending.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    Sure, but nowadays resources are going to be as much if not more about ideas and funding as a geographic centrality. It just makes much more sense within an episcopally-structured denomination to use the diocese rather than helicoptering people in, particularly if a particular type of theology is dominating those new resource churches.
  • For interest, you might be interested to read of an imaginative approach to mission in Monmouth Diocese: https://tinyurl.com/yyeqh3g4
  • Sorry, BT - Senior Moment..... :grimace:

    Interesting list.

    Yes, I did get your PM, and have replied. I've resent it, in case of interference in cyberspace......

    PM on its way
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    For interest, you might be interested to read of an imaginative approach to mission in Monmouth Diocese: https://tinyurl.com/yyeqh3g4
    Shouldn't this be on the New Registration Procedure thread.

    Definitely a more prudent option than the sad demise of Harold Davison who attempted to evangelise lions.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    In the absence of cultural and theological diversity, this is simply the next step in the HTB takeover of the Church of England. It makes me weep tears of anger and frustration. They are not the only valid source of resources, contrary to the clear implication of this whole concept.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    edited April 1
    Problem is, there's a vacuum they're only too happy to fill. Other strands of the CoE (one of which I am a member of) certainly share some blame here. I think many in other sections of the CoE see evangelism as the job of evangelicals and nobody else. I know many people of similar theology to me that feel that evangelism is incompatible with being Definitely Not Evangelical, but we really need to pull our fingers out or we're doomed. I've heard 'we don't need to evangelise as people will come to church as they get older and prepare for death' from 20something Anglo-Catholics!

    Most people running these plants are kind, friendly people genuinely seeking to do their best for local churches and communities. And clearly they have something people want. We (everyone else, not just Anglo-Catholic churches) need to ask ourselves why we don't have something people want. The Gospel should be attractive.
  • This.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    I appreciate this but you also have to look at political and cultural issues within and beyond the church. People are looking beyond the church in droves because all they ever hear is the single, HTB sourced, line. It's a vicious circle.

    On a separate note, I missed the announcement when the Church was turned into a franchise operation. I'm not dismissing your points, Pomona, but I do feel that the victim of aggressions is being blamed for a lack of defences.
  • Kyrie eleison.

    Our Place (deprived UPA - Anglo-Catholic, FWIW) has its doors open EVERY DAY, and we are accessible to ALL, to whoever needs the Grace of God in their lives.

    True, not everyone who comes to us responds positively to our form of worship, but, if we know that, we unhesitatingly signpost them to adjacent churches which might suit them better.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Kyrie eleison.Our Place (deprived UPA - Anglo-Catholic, FWIW) . . .
    "UPA"?

  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Urban Priority Area.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Thanks.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    I think it's a mistake to consider HTB aggressors and everyone else victims. Other (individual) churches have been coasting by on reliable old ladies (increasingly older and older and frailer ladies) of all genders doing everything. HTB have a machine in place, of course they're going to win. I am not suggesting that the machine is a good thing! But other churches I think have just refused to plan seriously for what church in a majority non-religious nation looks like and how much that is going to rely on having something to offer rather than mere acceptance. People can get acceptance at the hairdressers or the local parkrun, they don't need to waste an hour on Sunday to mumble through some hymns for acceptance.

    I realise I'm being harsh and this is mostly harshness borne out of love, albeit deeply frustrated love! I love Anglicanism and I believe all strands in the CoE have something to offer congregations. I loathe the slickness and whiff of the City that comes with HTB, really I do. I'd take an honest to goodness Actual Pentecostal place over middle class charismumsnet any day, not that they would have me...! But we need to get a grip and understand what the truly unchurched generation wants and needs. To me more than anything they want and need justice, and I personally feel like Anglo-Catholicism has a great deal to offer there. But do we see slum churches springing up on estates and holding Corpus Christi processions around them, showing people that God made flesh is for them too? Do we see priests going to prison for the love of their congregation (well, and satin)? No, we just see a lot of fannying about with witticisms about how it's rose not pink and gosh how dreadful drumkits in church are. People are out there dying not knowing the love of God so where are we?
  • This.

    But, in all fairness, and it's true that they're not always very visible, there are indeed slum churches in slums - and on estates, the new slums - that do indeed witness to God Incarnate in their different ways.

    Not slick, not particularly up-to-date, but THERE.......and of all denominations, and shades of 'churchmanship'.....
    :lol:



  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    It is still not clear to me why, apart from the hegemony they seem to have established in the head of the Archbishop of Canterbury, HTB are the only people running these "resource churches". Irrespective of anything else, this is patently ridiculous because they are not the only people with resources.
  • AlbertusAlbertus Shipmate
    "Resource Church" is a term being used by HTB - or, more precisely, its offshoot the "Church Revitalisation Trust" (see https://crtrust.org/about). You will see that they aim to plant 100 City Centre Resource Churches (CCRCs) in "strategic cities across the country, bringing revitalisation to the Church and seeing communities transformed". Some of these are "takeovers", others are genuinely new congregations. To an outsider like me the whole thing does look a bit like a denomination-within-a-denomination.

    I'm really not sure about this. If they are truly missional that would be great, my fear is that they may suck the life from many other congregations. There is a major row going on here in Cardiff as +June of Llandaff has designated St. Teilo's, Cathays as a resource church, the first in Wales (so not CofE), allegedly without in any way consulting the parishioners or the Arts Trust connected with the church. It would represent a major shift in emphasis as the church (said to be thriving but I don't know if that is the case) is artistically classical, theologically liberal and positively LGBTQ friendly. It's in a prime student area but there are other evangelical churches available locally. In some ways this seems to be a bit of a rerun of St Sepulchre's, Holborn.

    I don't want to go off at a tangent, but I am familiar with St Teilo's- or at least I was until a year ago, and was a warden there for four years- and I think it would be an exaggeration to say that it's thriving, except in a limited sense. They are good people there and have put a lot of effort and dedication into it as an arts and community venue, the musical tradition is first rate- broadcast standard sometimes- and it is very welcoming of people who for one reason or another don't quite fit elsewhere, but unless things have changed a lot in the last 12 months 30 is a pretty good turnout on a Sunday and the congregation, never large in the church's current form, was dwindling even when I was there (I know because I used to count heads for the record of services every Sunday). It's a big building, with lots of potential, but will need a good deal of expensive work soon; it's in exactly the right place for a resource church, there's another church in the parish and two, maybe three, nearby CinW churches which would between them suit most of the existing congregation, and I think that on the whole it's a good decision, albeit badly and insensitively made. The sad truth is that we Lib Caths are not good at evangelistic mission and these HTB people seem to be.
    But the point about St Teilo's which may be of wider relevance is that it has constantly reinvented itself ever since it was built in 1895 or thereabouts. It began as a daughter church of another more central one as the north of that parish got built up; later it became a parish in its own right and until the early 80s was, as I understand it, a standard inner suburban parish church, uniformed organizations and so on; the neighbouring population then declined, more and more students moved in, until the church was nearly redundant; it had a sort of connection with the University chaplaincy for a while and was used a lot for musical rehearsals and concerts; then in the mid-00s a new Parish of Cathays was created, incorporating it with another church and- as I understand it, it was a little before I moved there- a number of people came over from a nearby parish with the new priest to be a nucleus of the congregation- in fact, it sounds like it was a church plant on a small scale.

    So, reinvention, adaptation, to the needs of the gospel in each place and time. There are all sorts of horror stories about resource churches and I fear some are true, and I expect some of the claims made for them are exaggereated, but ultimately, the test has to be, are they better at making Christians? That's what matters, above all. By their fruits ye shall know them.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Depends on how long a term you are looking at, especially with a university church. An HTB plant will fit right in with the Christian Union culture, so it will look spectacularly successful, but will have a revolving door in terms of its congregation. So, in terms of footfall within the church, marvellous, but in terms of building the kingdom of God, I cannot think of anything more irrelevant.
  • That is extremely interesting, thank you. I don't know the church personally, we're (just) over the border in Monmouth Diocese!
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    More seriously, this conversation illustrates why I am feel like I am being driven out of the church. It simply doesn't seem to want to talk about things that matter to me, though I learned them all in church and that is their natural home. I don't know whether to scream with rage or cry.

    Meanwhile, "resource churches" take over the world. It is a corporate takeover, make no mistake about that.
  • AlbertusAlbertus Shipmate
    That is extremely interesting, thank you. I don't know the church personally, we're (just) over the border in Monmouth Diocese!
    This is of course only my own view, and I emphasise that my knowledge of the church is just abotu a year out of date now. The current congregation are, I think, pretty much unanimously against it. And I am aware of the questions about whether resources churches are a revolving door (but to the extent that they are, the question of where people come in from and where they go to is a relevant one: I am sure some people are coming in from other churches and leaving to other churches. but if people are coming in from no church, and leaving to other churches, that is rather different). And HTB is not my thing: I wish the the AngloCatholics would get their missionary mojo back. But you have to start from where you are and use what is available.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    For as long as the church is in the twin stranglehold of doctrinal and biblical obsession, the approach to faith that I hold dear will have nothing to say that it will hear, and will not be a language it can use authentically. It should be noted that inauthenticity has become the standard diagnosis of church-related activity beyond the church, and would certainly be detected in this case. This, to my mind, is why at the moment, anglo-catholicism is driven back to the kind of mindless platitudes Pomona rightly criticises; it has no others to offer, and nothing else it has any confidence will be heard.
  • Could you perhaps unpack what you mean a bit more? It sounds interesting but I don't completely understand what you're saying - especially the A/C "mindless platitudes".
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    the A/C mindless platitudes are the things about rose/pink vestments, counting the number of candles around the monstrance at Exposition, the yards of lace etc. etc. - the sort of thing Pomona was complaining about above. They're not even absolutely always mindless, but I do know the sorts of conversations Pomona is referring to, and have cringed at the too. To the point of wondering whether my toes would ever uncurl.
  • Ah, I see - and agree! One might say, "Fiddling while Canterbury is burning". As a general point, I think that most churches can get obsessed with petty internal issues. Thank you.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    And the thing I keep banging on about, I know, but is so often forgotten, is that HTB is also a university church. It was the university church of Imperial College when I was there, and continues to be so. And in that area of South Kensington there are also the Royal College of Music, Royal College of Art, Institut Francais and (less likely to be attending HTB, the Royal College of Organists). If you attend HTB out of term, it's half empty and looking forward to the students returning.

    Enrollment figures for the institutions above
    IC 17,000 students, 8,000 staff (does include other sites)
    RCA 1,800 + 400
    RCM (2012) 750
    RCO - no figures given
    IF 7000 students

    That's at least 27,000 students and 9,000 staff, 36,000 people in the area, many living on site, (Princes Gardens back onto the mews behind HTB and houses many of the ICU halls of residence), 5 minutes walk away from HTB, the RCM hostels aren't far.
  • Gill HGill H Shipmate
    Looking at the few churches on the list that I know, I would have a hard time saying they were uniform in anything. Certainly the idea that this is some kind of identikit Starbucks church looking to clone itself all over the country seems unlikely.

    I can only speak for our bunch, but we certainly are nothing like the 'smoothie church' from Rev (which was an obvious HTB parody). As I said earlier, we have existed for 25 years. We're a scruffy, slightly disreputable bunch at times and certainly don't fit the mould of the stereotypical HTB member. We're in a much more downtrodden area of London and most members are local. Thinking back over the years, I can't think of many - if any - who were regular attenders at any other local church of any denomination before coming to us.

    Together with some of the other local churches, we run a food bank, help with a night shelter, run a CAP centre (Christians Against Poverty, a debt counselling service). For several years we gave away free tea and coffee in the local market, and as a result built relationships with many homeless people, some of whom joined our church. Ironically the coffee stall had to stop after opposition from other local people!

    I can't speak for the network as a whole - in fact I've never heard of it before now. And what I know of the situation in Cardiff I learned from a Facebook friend. It feels badly handled to me, and I gladly signed the petition to oppose it.
  • AlbertusAlbertus Shipmate
    edited April 2
    Gill H wrote: »
    .... what I know of the situation in Cardiff I learned from a Facebook friend. It feels badly handled to me, and I gladly signed the petition to oppose it.
    Badly handled and bad idea are not necessarily the same thing. I suspect that in many cases where resource churches have caused problems it;s been the result of bad handling. After all, when you are- as in the Cardiff case and I'm sure many others- a small and dwindling congregation who are doing everything you can to keep the show on the road, bringing in a resource team can look like a dismissal of everything you've been struggling to do, very possibly for a long time. I think we're seeing quite a lot of that in Cardiff and I have some sympathy with the people who are feeling that way- less sympathy, OTH, with what I see as a certain amount of whingeing (on social media and elsewhere) from people who are not terribly closely associated with the church now.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited April 2
    Albertus wrote: »
    After all, when you are ... a small and dwindling congregation who are doing everything you can to keep the show on the road, bringing in a resource team can look like a dismissal of everything you've been struggling to do, very possibly for a long time.
    Yes - especially if you think you know what needs to be done but haven't got the resources to do it and have had all requests for help rebuffed. Years ago I was Pastor of a small Baptist church; we asked a larger church for help but they were only prepared to give it if we were willing to effectively allow them to take us over. We didn't go down that line, partly perhaps because we had our pride, but also because we knew our area and what could be done. What we needed were "bodies" to help us fulfil our plans and dreams; but that wasn't what was on offer.

  • AravisAravis Shipmate
    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.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 2
    @Gill H , you could almost be describing Our Place - except that we're Anglo-Catholic (and gave the rose-pink chasuble an airing on Sunday :wink: )!

    Also, most of our 'community outreach' activities are focussed on our adjacent Hall, as we're rather removed from the town centre.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    I'm very well aware of the churches soldiering on in the backstreets and suburbs, and don't wish to criticise their (often very well intentioned) activities. But as Gen Xers age and increasingly become the first group of middle aged and older people who largely rejected church when reaching adulthood (and as the children of Boomers, were increasingly raised in non churchgoing families), it's unfortunately become necessary to be better at both marketing ourselves and evangelising. Dioceses supporting non-evangelical churches would help so much - I definitely think it can be done, but frustratingly I think the will is as weak as the flesh in many places. It isn't very MOTR Anglican to promote ourselves! Yet that's what we (general we) have to do.

    'Fiddling while Canterbury burns' - that's an excellent phrase. I generally find myself irritated more by the K*v*n M*yh*w and weak tea brigade but Anglo-Catholicism's proud historic tradition of Being A Pain has gone from being a pain for the govt and establishment to just being a pain. A-C priests also need to be far more ready to serve in the north, by which I don't mean Islington.
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