St Helen's Bishopsgate church plants and the limits of Anglicanism

Sad SackSad Sack Shipmate Posts: 30
Hello! This may seem like a funny question for my first post, but it's something I am genuinely curious about. I hope the thread title more or less describes what I am asking.

I recently became aware that I live not too far from several churches planted by St Helen's Bishopsgate (or planted by a church previously planted by St Helen's Bishopsgate). I believe that I am correct in saying that St Helen's Bishopsgate is still a parish of the Diocese of London. I understand that it has withdrawn from the City of London deanery, but as far as I understand, it is still part of all other Anglican structures.

I am therefore not a little confused about the status of some of its church plants and hence I am also confused about the status of St Helen's itself.

As far as I can tell, Grace Church Wanstead is located in the Diocese of Chelmsford, but is not part of the diocese and is not under the jurisdiction of its bishop. Likewise, Redeemer Croydon does not seem to be part of the Diocese of Southwark and Crossway Stratford does not seem to be part of the Diocese of London. I believe these churches are all led by priests ordained in the Church of England. Is this not a violation of the oath of canonical obedience?

More confusingly, Grace Church Brockley is affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, which is definitely not Anglican. Its minister is a Baptist. Does St Helen's not uphold beliefs such as episcopal government, the apostolic succession, the three orders of ministry, and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper according to the doctrine of the Church of England?

Perhaps the most puzzling is Grace Church Sydenham. This church is not a part of the Diocese of Southwark, but of the Anglican Mission in England. It accepts the episcopal oversight of Andy Lines, the Anglican Church in North America's missionary bishop to Europe. The church is led by Tim Iles, an Englishman educated at Moore College and ordained in the Diocese of Sydney. Yet more oddly, Grace Church Sydenham meets in a building that is adjacent to the parish church of St Philip the Apostle.

I find it rather confusing that St Helen's Bishopsgate, an Anglican church within the Church of England, has church plants which include: (1) three churches that could be described as independent Anglican churches, (2) an independent evangelical church that is seemingly essentially an independent Baptist church, and (3) a church which is part of a rival Anglican Church based in the United States and operating a mission to a country where the Anglican Church is already the established Church.

I am left wondering how it is possible for a Church of England parish to plant churches which are not part of the Church of England, do not accept the jurisdiction of Church of England bishops, and, in one case, is outside of the episcopal polity and differs from Anglicanism in fundamental areas of doctrine. Planting a new church adjacent to an existing parish church simply seems ill-mannered. Given that Sydenham, according to the Diocese of Southwark website, already has five Anglican churches (including one conservative evangelical parish), would it not be more constructive to put resources into building up existing congregations?

I can only imagine that this practice would never be tolerated in other denominations that hold to a broadly similar ecclesiology, e.g. the Catholic Church, the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian and Ancient Churches of the East, and the Nordic and Baltic Lutheran Churches. One cannot, for example, imagine a parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster planting a church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, not under the auspices of the Catholic Church and the metropolitan archbishop of Southwark, but under the auspices of the Istituto Mater Boni Consilii or the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands.

I am by no means an expert in this field. Your thoughts will be appreciated. Thank you.
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Comments

  • Actually, this ssort of insanity is rather too characteristic of Orthodoxy outside traditionally Orthodox countries. The RCs, of course, formalize things either with congregations of different churches (rites as they're sometimes called), overlapping ordinariates and personal prelatures among the Latin RCs, or churches belonging to religious orders and exempt from diocesan jurisdiction. Both, however, keep their fissiparous bits under a general order, which the above-described schmozzle does not have.

    Others will know more of oaths of obedience in England and what has been going on, but let us not imagine that life elsewhere is more agreeable. This sort of thing seems to go with Christian life, even if it does not entirely accord with Tertullian's exhortation to see how these Christians love each other.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    We've recently had the spectacle of ++Glenn Sydney and some others journey across the Tasman to consecrate a bishop in a breakaway church, all without obtaining the approval of the local diocesan. A year or so ago, Peter Jensen did much the same at Jesmond Church.
  • My understanding is that:

    - St Helen's is CofE

    - In order to plant a "CofE church" (actual church, large bible study etc) in their parish they can do whatever they want as it would technically be part of St Helen's.

    - To have anything (other than maybe a small midweek group) outside of the parish that was CofE would require a Bishop's permission or the permission/collaboration of whatever CofE church parish it happened in.

    - There are no restrictions on what (other christian denomination) projects any CofE church wants to support. Eg Churches Together, an Anglo-Catholic church involved in joint pilgrimages or courses with a Roman Catholic church, Evangelical Alliance, missionaries etc
    - That would technically include members of their congregation planting independent evangelical churches, Baptist churches (I think this happens with the Bishop's permission somewhere up north? Sheffield maybe?), Vineyard churches (popular in the 1990's IIRC)

    - Ordained CofE clergy are not restricted from ever being pastors in other type of churches. See above with Vineyard; doesn't the lead singer of Mumford and Sons father lead Vineyard UK and is also ordained within the CofE?

    - Therefore they are within their rights to do what they are doing, but the Bishops would prefer they didn't.
  • It was some years ago that I came across the distinction (in the UK) between an "Anglican" church and a Church of England church.

    I was working on something with someone who described themselves as an "Anglican vicar". My assumption was that this meant a "Church of England vicar", and it was some time before I grasped the distinction (which was certainly not made clear to me by the person in question!). The appelation is technically correct, but it comes across as disingenuous to me when used in the UK.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited June 19
    Though I think there is a difference between types of plant:

    1. Setting up an extra-territorial outpost, that doesn't have a parish of its own, and that may or may not be in someone else's parish;
    2. Taking over the running of an existing parish church that isn't your own.

    The Bishopsgate plants whose ministers aren't Church of England and/or which don't participate in the Church of England diocesan structures - are these type (1) or type (2)? If type (2), doesn't this create a jurisdictional hole in the Church of England - a sort of Anglican version of the Donetsk Republic?
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited June 19
    Personally I have issues with any group which comes into an area and plants a new (and often well-resourced) church without any reference to the churches that are already there. Quite apart from any aspect of ecclesial polity, it strikes me as arrogant, rude, and undiscerning of the wider Body of Christ. Yes, I know that supermarket chains do it - but IMO we should be acting differently.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited June 19
    It makes you wonder if the incoming group thinks the existing churches "don't count". I recall some years ago (alright, about 25) the invited speaker at a CU houseparty talking about how before his tribe came into this area there was "no Christian witness". I pointed out there were rather a lot of steeples in the area and they weren't all redundant churches. He fluffed a bit about how he meant that there wasn't a Christian witness to the people these established churches didn't reach, but I couldn't - and still can't - avoid thinking his initial statement was what he thought deep down.

    Do charismatic evangelicals still refer to the higher end of the candle as "high and dead" and talk about nominal Christianity, or has that gone by the bye?
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    It makes you wonder if the incoming group thinks the existing churches "don't count".
    Or "aren't doing mission".

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited June 19
    Well, clearly 'we/they' aren't!
    Personally I have issues with any group which comes into an area and plants a new (and often well-resourced) church without any reference to the churches that are already there. Quite apart from any aspect of ecclesial polity, it strikes me as arrogant, rude, and undiscerning of the wider Body of Christ. Yes, I know that supermarket chains do it - but IMO we should be acting differently.

    That happened some years ago in this Diocese, resulting in much discontent. Different Bishop now, so I doubt if the same would recur (said he hopefully).

    Locally, a new church plant, largely resourced by one of the 3 parishes affected (a charismatic-evo fane, but by no means a megachurch), and which covers a large part of Our Place's parish, has been established, to everybody's satisfaction, by a proper Bishop's Mission Order (BMO).

    This was working well up until lockdown, but has, like many other things, been put on hold for a time (though they are making best use they can of virtual resources!).

    Still, it's better to do these things by mutual agreement, rather than burst upon the scene like some Wonder Church, taking over, and airily dismissing the quiet, faithful witness of the existing congregations.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    It makes you wonder if the incoming group thinks the existing churches "don't count".
    Or "aren't doing mission".

    To be fair some CofE churches can't/aren't/won't reach out into the community in the same way that the (usually evangelical) church plants are prepared to.

    There is a world of difference between the 1980's style of New Churches deciding that they are the only voice of God and there were no christians before they came, and an evo-group who reach out to the local pastors to let them know what they are doing but aren't going to be put off because the existing pastors/priests don't want them there.

  • Why do you single out C of E churches? Those of other denominations may well take issue with newcomers, as @Baptist Trainfan has said!
  • Indeed so. I have had issues over the years with

    (a) an offshoot of a large London Pentecostal church opening up in a Boys' Club fairly close to our church but even closer to a URC/Methodist church; when I wrote and asked why they didn't just ask their folk to get involved with existing churches I received a dusty reply;

    (b) a new church planting itself in the centre of my town with no reference to anyone else; they were targeting the student 'market' yet there were other areas of the town where there genuinely was a lack of churches;

    (c) an offshoot of a "New Church" which has moved into a school literally across a narrow road from an existing Ecumenical church (they actually wanted to buy the church building but were told, "No way").

    I accept that these churches are vigorous in doing outreach and may reach sectors of the community which others don't. I have no problem with that. But they do seem so dismissive of other Christian traditions. I must say - conversely to (b) above, a New Church did set itself up, after chatting with other denominations, in a quite a "tough" area of town. Sadly they didn't thrive and, as they had said they would do in such a situation, they closed themselves down after 5 years.
  • Why do you single out C of E churches? Those of other denominations may well take issue with newcomers, as @Baptist Trainfan has said!

    Because in general the CofE has a "don't plant on my parish" element towards non CofE evo churches that a Catholic, Orthodox or even Baptist or Methodist church wouldn't necessarily hold.

    Maybe because of the idea of having the cure of ALL souls within the parish, but istm that catholic priests, independent evo pastors, Welsyns etc don't automatically consider all people in their area as "mine not yours" if they don't go to their church.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    It makes you wonder if the incoming group thinks the existing churches "don't count".

    My view is that they are entitled to that belief provided they are consistent. Far more frequent are groups that think that way only when it suits them.

    The example (among many) that sticks most in my mind is when a team arrived in our city to plant a church on the grounds that it was pretty much unevangelised, and then promptly asked various local churches to help babysit their kids/offer language study/lend their youth to the new plant, etc.
  • SipechSipech Shipmate
    For a bit of context, one of these church plants, Grace Church Brockley, had a visit from a Mystery Worshipper in 2017. Quoting from the 'Other Place' section of the report:
    In my discussions with the church members, I detected distinct hints of snootiness about other churches, particularly Anglo-Catholics. It wasn't a sort of friendly banter – there was a nasty edge to it, implying that what other churches taught wasn't in line with the Bible. I found it lacking in grace and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable.
  • Fairly par for the course for FIEC folk, I'd say (sadly).
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited June 19
    Why do you single out C of E churches? Those of other denominations may well take issue with newcomers, as @Baptist Trainfan has said!

    Because in general the CofE has a "don't plant on my parish" element towards non CofE evo churches that a Catholic, Orthodox or even Baptist or Methodist church wouldn't necessarily hold.

    Maybe because of the idea of having the cure of ALL souls within the parish, but istm that catholic priests, independent evo pastors, Welsyns etc don't automatically consider all people in their area as "mine not yours" if they don't go to their church.

    Such a dismissive attitude might be found here and there, but I think 'in general' is far too much of a 'generalisation', IYSWIM.

    YMMV.

  • In general the CofE has a "don't plant on my parish" element towards non CofE evo churches that a Catholic, Orthodox or even Baptist or Methodist church wouldn't necessarily hold.

    Maybe because of the idea of having the cure of ALL souls within the parish, but istm that catholic priests, independent evo pastors, Welsyns etc don't automatically consider all people in their area as "mine not yours" if they don't go to their church.
    I have known at least one Rector who basically thought he should co-ordinate all Christian activity in the parish. He looked very askance on our church even though it had been there a very long time and although the Parish Church was by no means nearby. Mind you, he was of that ilk who think that Nonconformist churches don't count because they don't have validly ordained clergy.

  • Well, that proves my point that such an attitude is found here and there!
    :wink:
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Fairly par for the course for FIEC folk, I'd say (sadly).

    IME it can run in both directions.
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    edited June 19
    The CU, Chapel and what would become Fusion were at loggerheads when I was at college, fortunately I was mostly beneath it.
    While the CU was probably institutionally biased towards the St Helen's Bishopgate end, it had the advantage that it was in theory connected to a decent proportion of the towns churches. To some extent you could possibly make an argument that whatever StHB is doing with the baptist church is part of the same tendencies.

    So from my experience I'd say the not treating the others as "real churches" is common between all three corners of the Lib/Ev/Trad triangle (and the rest). And to some extent each of the three (and all the other groupings) live up to the bad claims against them and falsify them (or otherwise show that they were virtues all along) in equal measure.
    __
    On the whole there is a difference between whats reasonable to expect intra denomination and inter denomination. Intra you are totally meant to be on the same side, I can totally understand both sides feeling betrayed when things go wrong. Inter church there are much fewer obligations (although it's still not like Sainsburys&Tesco).
  • True except that I think there is a greater cohesion between (say) HTB and Baptist Evangelicals than there might be between HTB Evangelicals and All Saints' Margaret Street High Church people.
  • Indeed so. I have had issues over the years with

    (a) an offshoot of a large London Pentecostal church opening up in a Boys' Club fairly close to our church but even closer to a URC/Methodist church; when I wrote and asked why they didn't just ask their folk to get involved with existing churches I received a dusty reply;

    (b) a new church planting itself in the centre of my town with no reference to anyone else; they were targeting the student 'market' yet there were other areas of the town where there genuinely was a lack of churches;

    (c) an offshoot of a "New Church" which has moved into a school literally across a narrow road from an existing Ecumenical church (they actually wanted to buy the church building but were told, "No way").

    I accept that these churches are vigorous in doing outreach and may reach sectors of the community which others don't. I have no problem with that. But they do seem so dismissive of other Christian traditions. I must say - conversely to (b) above, a New Church did set itself up, after chatting with other denominations, in a quite a "tough" area of town. Sadly they didn't thrive and, as they had said they would do in such a situation, they closed themselves down after 5 years.

    Pentecostalists worship in a radically different way and probably have very different beliefs from those worshiping in a standard Baptist Church let alone a URC/Methodist combo. Why would you expect them not to set up locally if they felt they could build a viable congregation?

    If I were involved in trying to set up a new Quaker Meeting you'd get a pretty dusty answer from me if you told me not to bother and sign up as pew fodder elsewhere. I would also hope that the Quaker Meeting would offer a spiritual home to others in the wider local community with no links with existing religious groups and to some currently some within those existing groups who feel out of place

    The problem with St Helen's Bishopgate is not there enthusiasm but the unpleasant attitudes that drive their enthusiasm.

  • The problem with St Helen's Bishopsgate is not their enthusiasm but the unpleasant attitudes that drive their enthusiasm.

    This.
    :disappointed:

  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    The problem with St Helen's Bishopgate is not there enthusiasm but the unpleasant attitudes that drive their enthusiasm.

    But is that only because you are more likely to run into it because of their expansionist nature?
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    True except that I think there is a greater cohesion between (say) HTB and Baptist Evangelicals than there might be between HTB Evangelicals and All Saints' Margaret Street High Church people.
    Yes, there definitely can be, at which point things get "interesting".
    Similarly All Saints probably has in some respects more cohesion with Roman Catholics*

    *I think HTB is probably a bad example here (as it won't be as far behind in this respect as it could be), and of course the Baptists cover a wide range too.
  • True except that I think there is a greater cohesion between (say) HTB and Baptist Evangelicals than there might be between HTB Evangelicals and All Saints' Margaret Street High Church people.
    When I was at St Helens in the mid 90s (I became a Christian there) there were loads of Baptists attending and we sometimes had evangelical Baptist ministers preaching.
  • Sad SackSad Sack Shipmate Posts: 30
    Goodness! I had no idea that there would be so many replies waiting for me when I came back. I shall do my best to endeavour to reply to them individually. I know how frustrating it is when I post what I think is a really useful response on a forum and the OP seemingly never comes back to read it.
    this sort of insanity is rather too characteristic of Orthodoxy outside traditionally Orthodox countries. The RCs, of course, formalize things ...

    Indeed. I am from London, so I am somewhat familiar with the disputes between the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain and the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh and, more particularly, between the Diocese of Sourozh and the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe, which became involved in a long-running dispute over the ownership of the Cathedral of the Dormition in Ennismore Gardens. Where the Eastern Orthodox differ from Anglicans is that while this sort of thing does go on in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Eastern Orthodox hierarchy also seems to come down rather hard on it.

    The Catholic Church does indeed seem to have the situation under control. There currently seems to be something of a grey area with regard to the SSPX, which is gradually gaining more and more acceptance from Rome, but even this process seems to be dictated by the Vatican on its own terms. Organisations such as the SSPX Resistance, the SSPV, etc are unambiguously outside the structures of the official Church. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association also occupies a somewhat ambiguous position. However, as you say, the Vatican otherwise keeps a pretty close eye on its various particular churches, rites, institutes, personal ordinariates, prelatures, and apostolic administrations.
    Gee D wrote: »
    ... consecrate a bishop in a breakaway church ...

    Yes, and I don't understand how they get away with it. I simply cannot understand how an assistant curate of a Church of England parish church can have himself consecrated as a bishop without the Queen's mandate and outside the structures of the Church of England, e.g. the principal consecrator being somebody other than his own provincial archbishop.
    - That would technically include members of their congregation planting independent evangelical churches, Baptist churches (I think this happens with the Bishop's permission somewhere up north? Sheffield maybe?), Vineyard churches (popular in the 1990's IIRC)

    - Ordained CofE clergy are not restricted from ever being pastors in other type of churches.

    These are the two that confuse me; the others all sound perfectly reasonable. As I understand it, while the Church of England does not claim to be the one true Church (in the sense that the Catholic Church does), it does claim that it has received the Christian faith in a particular way and that its doctrine is binding upon its members, or at any rate its ordained ministers. The Church of England also believes that the Church of God is correctly governed by the authority of bishops and that the bishop is the focus of unity in the local Church. The Church of England recognises that it is in communion with some Churches (essentially other Anglican Churches and some Lutheran Churches) and not with others. The Church of England does not, for example, recognise the validity of orders and sacraments in the Methodist Church. It therefore seems rather odd to me that Anglicans are allowed to establish new churches that are not constituted under the oversight of episcopal government, are not in communion with their diocesan bishop, and do not subscribe to the doctrine of the Church of England. Surely an Anglican minister who assumes the leadership of such a church thereby removes himself from the Church's structures of episcopal governance and from communion with the local bishop.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Sad Sack wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    ... consecrate a bishop in a breakaway church ...

    Yes, and I don't understand how they get away with it. I simply cannot understand how an assistant curate of a Church of England parish church can have himself consecrated as a bishop without the Queen's mandate and outside the structures of the Church of England, e.g. the principal consecrator being somebody other than his own provincial archbishop.

    I can't see any problem were the curate somehow to become elected bishop (and remember that outside England, episcopal elections are pretty genuine) of another church in the Anglican Communion. There'd be no need for either of the 2 English Archbishops to be a consecrator although I'd expect that as a matter of comity either an English Abp, or the local diocesan would be one. Certainly no need for the Queen's mandate.
  • ken, beloved shipmate of happy memory observed that the traditional Parish system had broken down in London in the 17th Century. In such a populus and close-packed urban area most Church of England churches stood on their churchmanship rather than their parish. A corollary is that few people ever bothered with actual parish lines.

    It seems this evo joint just wants to plant more evo joints.
  • Sad SackSad Sack Shipmate Posts: 30
    Eutychus wrote: »
    ... someone who described themselves as an "Anglican vicar".

    I would agree that it does seem somewhat disingenuous, but then my sympathies lie with the Anglican Communion rather than its various breakaway denominations. The only thing that does surprise me is that this person would use the title "vicar". In my experience, independent Anglican clergy generally use titles such as minister, pastor, or, less commonly, elder. Indeed, some evangelical Church of England clergy seem to use these kinds of titles, even where they do hold an official position, such as rector, vicar, assistant curate, etc.
    Ricardus wrote: »
    1. Setting up an extra-territorial outpost, that doesn't have a parish of its own, and that may or may not be in someone else's parish;
    2. Taking over the running of an existing parish church that isn't your own.

    All of the St Helen's Bishopsgate plants that are outside the Church of England appear to be of type 1. It does have a number of other plants that are within the Church of England, which appear to fall into three categories: (1) those that meet in Church of England parish churches, (2) St Nicholas Cole Abbey, which had previously been redundant as a parish church, (3) Euston Church, which meets at the Church of Christ the King, Bloomsbury (which is owned by the trustees of the Catholic Apostolic Church and also used by Forward in Faith).

    I am familiar with the practice of Church of England parish churches being shared with a non-Anglican congregation, e.g. St Dunstan-in-the-West, which is also used by a Romanian Orthodox congregation. I am not familiar with any other instances of a Church of England church being shared between two distinct Church of England congregations which are entirely separate but meet in the same church. In the Catholic Church, it is fairly common for a church to serve two or more congregations where Mass is offered in different languages, but this is simply because the Chinese congregation, for example, prefers to hear Mass in Chinese and likes to have an opportunity to meet other Chinese Catholics in the area. In the case of these Anglican plants, it does seem odd to me that, for example, the regular congregation of St Mark's, Myddleton Square, meets for a sung Eucharist at 9.30 on a Sunday morning, and then at 4 p.m. a completely separate congregation called Trinity Church Islington meets in the same church. To my mind it would seem altogether more satisfactory for St Mark's simply to offer different services that would appeal to a wider range of people. I've known churches, for example, which offer a Book of Common Prayer service, a Common Worship service, and a Taizé-style service, which probably attract slightly different people, but nonetheless serve an essentially coherent community.
    I have issues with any group which comes into an area and plants a new (and often well-resourced) church ...

    I think I tend to sympathise, though I have to admit that it's partly the "well-resourced" part that makes me sympathise. My area of London is served by churches representing pretty much all of the largest denominations: Anglican (all varieties from conservative evangelical through to The Society via MOTR and liberal Catholic), Roman Catholic (including charismatic renewal), Methodist, Baptist, URC, Gospel Hall, Lutheran, and Pentecostal. I believe all of these denominations have been present in the area since between around the 1850s to the 1900s, with the obvious exception of the URC church, which incorporated churches that dated at least to the early 20th century. In the past few years, new churches have been popping up, generally called X, Y, or Z Community Church. They are conservative evangelical with charismatic tendencies and an informal worship style. They clearly have quite a lot of money behind them, have a very visible presence in the town centre, and operate a pretty slick marketing campaign, offering an Alpha course and distributing glossy leaflets in the high street. From what I have seen, they appear not to be averse to proselytising central and eastern European migrants from Catholic and Eastern Orthodox backgrounds, which I personally don't agree with. Of course, if a Pole or a Romanian chooses to join an evangelical church, that's their choice, but I don't really approve of trying to convert people who are already Christians from one Christian denomination to another.
  • Sad SackSad Sack Shipmate Posts: 30
    KarlLB wrote: »
    I recall some years ago (alright, about 25) the invited speaker at a CU houseparty talking about how before his tribe came into this area there was "no Christian witness".

    I can give you an even more extreme example. A friend of mine at university, who was Pentecostal, told me that her dream was to become an evangelist in Russia, because, she said, "the Russian people have never had Jesus". I did venture that Russia had been converted to Christianity more than 1,000 years previously, but she was having none of it. In fact, she didn't think that Anglicans counted as Christians either. As for Catholics, they're obviously teetering on the edge of Satanism.
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    The issue we've been having locally with the FIEC congregation in the village to the north and the AMIE church in the village to the south is that they both sit very lightly to issues and structures of safeguarding. The safeguarding officer is generally the pastor or the pastor's wife, and their attitude towards domestic violence is, as you might expect, 'If you do not forgive him and return, your immortal soul is in peril.' At the moment, as we run the covid-19 community aid network, we have had to decide whether we wanted to accept their offer of help: it would have meant sharing with them the list of the vulnerable adults who used to attend our community lunch. We decided we couldn't.
  • Sad Sack wrote: »
    I can give you an even more extreme example. A friend of mine at university, who was Pentecostal, told me that her dream was to become an evangelist in Russia, because, she said, "the Russian people have never had Jesus". I did venture that Russia had been converted to Christianity more than 1,000 years previously, but she was having none of it.
    If I'm in the mood, I point out to US missionaries to France that there were protestants here before the US was even a country... (although to be fair, and somewhat relevantly, the Catholics themselves have described France as a mission field...).
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Protestants were already being massacred for being so in France 35 years before the first settlement at Jamestown.
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    I recall some years ago (alright, about 25) the invited speaker at a CU houseparty talking about how before his tribe came into this area there was "no Christian witness".
    "Operation World" definitely also has the "Non-evangelical = Nominal" bias.

    The website now gives all Christian's and then Evangelicals, which is an improvement on my memory. Although I think that might be that I didn't think of Evangelical as referring to a specific (pseudo)denomination.

    Although you can still see it in the description for Italy "There are about 15 Christian Bookshops" ... "Pray for...wholesome literature...in the 1000 catholic bookshops"

  • Some years ago I had a conversation with an Independent Evangelical minister, where he was explaining how the YMCA had lost touch with its Christian roots. He may have a point there (although it seems remarkably welcoming if those nice people from the village are to be believed). Anyway, his main evidence was that, when staying in the branch in Constantinople as a student, the staff had been unable to direct him to a "Christian" church. In Constantinople....
  • To be fair, they may have been thinking of English-language churches only.
  • Yes, and presumably the Anglicans (Christ Church, Istanbul?) wouldn't count...
    :naughty:
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    I think we have the issue of whether his issue was:
    The staff hadn't directed him to Christ Church Istanbul through ignorance, in which case his point stands (although I think the various Y* branches have merged)
    The staff hadn't directed him to CCI "because it's not a real church", in which case the IEM is slightly counter to stereotype, and he's calling out the YMCA for being too denominational.
    The staff had directed him to Christ Church instead of a "Christian Church" in which case he's the example.

    *Having been born around the same time as the song, (and generally being towns and country, and hence YHA). Reading the Colour of Magic was probably the first time I realised it had Christian roots.
  • Sad SackSad Sack Shipmate Posts: 30
    Still, it's better to do these things by mutual agreement, rather than burst upon the scene like some Wonder Church, taking over, and airily dismissing the quiet, faithful witness of the existing congregations.

    Quite, and that is why I find it hard to accept St Helen's pitching up in Sydenham and starting a new church in the youth centre that is directly next door to a parish church that has been serving the local community since 1867. If they have the resources to do so, I think they should be pouring those resources into building up the congregation at St Philips's. But of course, they won't, because they are only interested in planting new congregations that replicate what goes on at St Helen's itself. Sure, St Philip's is Anglo-Catholic and St Helen's is evangelical, but they are both Anglican, and one of the great strengths of Anglicanism has always been its ability to embrace Catholicism and evangelicalism and everything in between. If they think the people of Sydenham should not be worshipping in an Anglo-Catholic church, they are effectively saying that the people of Sydenham should not be Anglicans, since Anglo-Catholicism is part of Anglicanism.
    they were targeting the student 'market'

    Yes, I find that rather cynical. When I was at university there were two evangelical Anglican churches in the city centre (one charismatic, the other more traditionally Low Church), and they seemingly catered almost exclusively to students and recent graduates, and thus were populated almost exclusively by young, middle-class white people. They had a specific ministry to students despite the fact that the university itself had a university church and most of the students also had access to an Anglican college chapel. They were then rather good at telling students which Anglican churches they should attend when they went home for the vacations or graduated and moved away. The curate at one of these churches suggested that I should join an Anglican church about 4 miles from my home address, despite my living about a 4-minute walk from a MOTR Anglican parish church! I really do not think that an Anglican priest should be telling somebody that the nearest Anglican church worth attending is 4 miles away, when there are dwindling Anglican congregations virtually on that person's doorstep that would be grateful for some new, younger members. Again, this also seems to be rejecting the idea that the Church of England covers the complete spectrum. If he really did feel he had to recommend an evangelical Anglican church, there are at least three he could have suggested within about a 1-mile radius, probably more if I bothered to look up all the Anglican churches in the area.
  • QohelethQoheleth Shipmate
    Sad Sack wrote: »
    I don't really approve of trying to convert people who are already Christians from one Christian denomination to another.

    Sometimes known as sheep-stealing :).

    Unwelcome church plants can come from Head Office. Here - without consultation - the CofE Diocese has announced its desire to plant a HTB-spawn Resource Church into the gently Lib-Cath medieval church in the town centre. The local Anglican ConEvos are unimpressed, as are the current congregation and just about every other church in the town.

  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Sad Sack wrote: »
    If they think the people of Sydenham should not be worshipping in an Anglo-Catholic church, they are effectively saying that the people of Sydenham should not be Anglicans, since Anglo-Catholicism is part of Anglicanism.

    I'm sure there are people on the ship in both camps who attend the church of their choice and inclination even though there are other options. So this sounds very good, but seems to be at odds with a lot of people's lived experience.
    The curate at one of these churches suggested that I should join an Anglican church about 4 miles from my home address, despite my living about a 4-minute walk from a MOTR Anglican parish church! I really do not think that an Anglican priest should be telling somebody that the nearest Anglican church worth attending is 4 miles away, when there are dwindling Anglican congregations virtually on that person's doorstep that would be grateful for some new, younger members.

    But why are they dwindling? Is it that no one knows they exist, or they would be happy with numbers but less happy with real people with real ideas ? Dwindling churches have agency too.

    I think 'ministries to students' can be somewhat of a mixed affair, but a lot of students tend to be trying to find their feet and way in life when they go off to university, so I'm not going to blame them for gravitating towards numbers and where there may be more people going through the same things they are.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Amos wrote: »
    The issue we've been having locally with the FIEC congregation in the village to the north and the AMIE church in the village to the south is that they both sit very lightly to issues and structures of safeguarding.
    FIEC? AMIE?

  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    edited June 20
    Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches and Anglican Mission in England. Both are referred to elsewhere in the thread. (I note that FIEC was founded by E.J. Poole-Connor, so is much older than I thought--an offshoot from the Particular Baptists)
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Thanks Amos. Sorry that I had missed the previous mentions with the full names, or that I’d failed to inwardly digest them.

  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Thanks Amos. Sorry that I had missed the previous mentions with the full names, or that I’d failed to inwardly digest them.

    Quite all right. They're in the OP.
  • AravisAravis Shipmate
    My sympathies, Qoholeth. The same situation was imposed on our parish a year ago; HTB closed the larger of our two church buildings in December to start adapting it for their own style of worship, and since then (prior to lockdown) we’ve had to fit in two morning services at our smaller church, which isn’t really big enough to accommodate all of us on a regular basis.
    I don’t know what’s happening now, as we don’t know how soon anyone will be allowed to hold church services at all, and it seems unlikely HTB will be able to attract the large numbers of students they had in mind. We did try to explain to the bishop that the status quo in that area was actually working pretty well; within about ten minutes’ walk of our small parish were flourishing Baptist, independent evangelical, Methodist, Salvation Army and Catholic congregations; we all offered different styles of worship, co-existed fairly happily and shared resources where appropriate. The HTB plant, we felt, both threatened the style of worship at our larger church (liberal Anglo-Catholic with a strong choral tradition and excellent choir) and failed to acknowledge the valuable presence of our neighbours from other denominations. It was an extraordinarily insensitive decision. I shall feel a certain amount of schadenfreude if the venture fails.
  • Qoheleth wrote: »
    Sad Sack wrote: »
    I don't really approve of trying to convert people who are already Christians from one Christian denomination to another.

    Sometimes known as sheep-stealing :).

    Unwelcome church plants can come from Head Office. Here - without consultation - the CofE Diocese has announced its desire to plant a HTB-spawn Resource Church into the gently Lib-Cath medieval church in the town centre. The local Anglican ConEvos are unimpressed, as are the current congregation and just about every other church in the town.

    Yes that's happened on my doorstep. No consultation and sheep stealing. Two nice attributes of the gospel as promoted by the CofE.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    TBF it pisses off most of us in the CofE too. Unfortunately there seems to be a type of bishop who's mesmerised by large excitable congregations.
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