10,000 new communities in the UK

Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?
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Comments

  • Discussion already started in Ecclesiantics here (link) on the Church of England shortage of priests thread.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I'm not C of E. But I recognize this--now should I not? It is the Ablaze! initiative from my own denomination in the years running up to the millennium. People got really, really quiet when it became clear we weren't going to meet anything like the targets, and that 15 years early.

    IMHO the only thing that "works" in terms of getting buns on pews is something that will be deeply, deeply unpopular with the program folks. It is forgetting about bums on pews and instead each of us living lives of practical, sacrificial love for the people around us, including the non-Christians. And doing this for years and years, until they conclude we are genuine and they want some of that.

    It works, we've tested it. But it costs, oh how it costs.

    It costs nights in the emergency room (A&E do you call it there?) with people who are hurting and afraid and need a hand held. It means fundraising for the poor and pulling it out of your own pocket when individuals known to you don't fall into a category covered by any program (say, they need money for a divorce from an abuser). It means making daily phone calls to the old, sick and isolated to be sure they are still alive and not on the floor with a broken leg. It means listening to people who maunder on and on, and whom we find very little congenial about, because their politics are crap, or their ways of dealing with people, etc. etc. It means scaring up transportation capable of getting a double amputee and his wheelchair to church when he can afford nothing, and he's desperate to get there, and the church has no van, and no buses run Sunday morning (that direction, anyway) and you yourself are disabled so can't handle it yourself.

    Seriously. This will get bums on pews. (It also results in conversions, baptisms, and even vocations.) It will take a couple years to prove itself, but it will work. Not that anyone would do it for the mere sake of numbers, because it means living like Jesus, poured out for others, and that fucking hurts sometimes.

    And that living like Jesus can only be done under his power, working through the Holy Spirit, because human "oomph" and willpower will desert you a week into it, if not earlier. So you end up learning a different way of walking through the world, one that feels like walking at 45 degrees to reality, constantly about to fall--but not falling, much to your surprise--and you admit that the power that makes it possible for you to, say, take a homeless woman into your home is not a power that is found in you, it must be coming from somewhere else. And that place Person is what gets the glory.

    It works, I swear it works. But it costs. It costs your time and your dignity and your ability to order your own life in the ways you want it to flow. But it's well worthwhile. And for people who love adventure, here's your chance. (And for people who are just too... dumb? ... to run for the hills when God sidles up to you and smiles and says, "Have I got a deal for you," well.)
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    The initiative is very closely linked with the guy who made this film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI8bb65vOiE

    To me it's a repellantly reactionary vision, and I want none of it.
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    I'm not C of E. But I recognize this--now should I not? It is the Ablaze! initiative from my own denomination in the years running up to the millennium. People got really, really quiet when it became clear we weren't going to meet anything like the targets, and that 15 years early.

    IMHO the only thing that "works" in terms of getting buns on pews is something that will be deeply, deeply unpopular with the program folks. It is forgetting about bums on pews and instead each of us living lives of practical, sacrificial love for the people around us, including the non-Christians. And doing this for years and years, until they conclude we are genuine and they want some of that.

    It works, we've tested it. But it costs, oh how it costs.

    It costs nights in the emergency room (A&E do you call it there?) with people who are hurting and afraid and need a hand held. It means fundraising for the poor and pulling it out of your own pocket when individuals known to you don't fall into a category covered by any program (say, they need money for a divorce from an abuser). It means making daily phone calls to the old, sick and isolated to be sure they are still alive and not on the floor with a broken leg. It means listening to people who maunder on and on, and whom we find very little congenial about, because their politics are crap, or their ways of dealing with people, etc. etc. It means scaring up transportation capable of getting a double amputee and his wheelchair to church when he can afford nothing, and he's desperate to get there, and the church has no van, and no buses run Sunday morning (that direction, anyway) and you yourself are disabled so can't handle it yourself.

    Seriously. This will get bums on pews. (It also results in conversions, baptisms, and even vocations.) It will take a couple years to prove itself, but it will work. Not that anyone would do it for the mere sake of numbers, because it means living like Jesus, poured out for others, and that fucking hurts sometimes.

    And that living like Jesus can only be done under his power, working through the Holy Spirit, because human "oomph" and willpower will desert you a week into it, if not earlier. So you end up learning a different way of walking through the world, one that feels like walking at 45 degrees to reality, constantly about to fall--but not falling, much to your surprise--and you admit that the power that makes it possible for you to, say, take a homeless woman into your home is not a power that is found in you, it must be coming from somewhere else. And that place Person is what gets the glory.

    It works, I swear it works. But it costs. It costs your time and your dignity and your ability to order your own life in the ways you want it to flow. But it's well worthwhile. And for people who love adventure, here's your chance. (And for people who are just too... dumb? ... to run for the hills when God sidles up to you and smiles and says, "Have I got a deal for you," well.)

    Yes, this. Thank you @Lamb Chopped . It is what people in the C of E are doing: lay and ordained, old and young, and have been doing for so long that exhaustion has set in, and now the top of the shop seem to be saying that it’s not good enough. No wonder there is a hoo-ha!
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I find it best to ignore the vision-spinners as much as possible....
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

    I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

    Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?

    Why would it need a regular priest ?
  • I find it best to ignore the vision-spinners as much as possible....

    Aaaaaaaa-men.

    I don’t agree with Giles Fraser on many things, but I think he’s got a point in this article.
    I’m also really annoyed by the language of “passengers”. There have been many times when I have not been able to Do Stuff for the church, because I’ve been ill, I’ve been bereaved, I’ve had small children and no sleep etc. Times when I couldn’t even pray. I turned up, and the church carried me.
    I thought church was supposed to be the one place where we didn’t have to justify ourselves by productivity. Maybe I was wrong.
  • Telford wrote: »
    Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

    I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

    Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?

    Why would it need a regular priest ?

    The subtext of these house churches being lay-led is that there aren't enough priests to go around. It's already a struggle to celebrate the Eucharist for every congregation that wants it. Even to find priests to bob in, say the "magic words" and bob out again for 10 000 house churches would be impossible.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

    I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

    Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?

    Why would it need a regular priest ?

    The subtext of these house churches being lay-led is that there aren't enough priests to go around. It's already a struggle to celebrate the Eucharist for every congregation that wants it. Even to find priests to bob in, say the "magic words" and bob out again for 10 000 house churches would be impossible.

    I still don't understand why you need ordained priests.
  • Telford wrote: »
    Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

    I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

    Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?

    Why would it need a regular priest ?

    This is something that could be addressed even within a sacerdotal and sacramentalist context.

    I'm told that in Greece they have fellas who are licenced to serve the Liturgy but not preach or hear confessions.

    This means that even the smallest or most remote communities have the opportunity to receive regular communion if they wish.

    What worries me about this Myriad initiative is that rather than empowering the laity it could turn into a bland and dumbed down managerial exercise, a kind of MacDonaldisation rather than a genuine grass-roots movement.

    I've heard horror stories of failed Fresh Expressions style church plants that have been conveniently forgotten about as if they never occurred.

    No reflection on how or why things didn't work out. No lessons learned.

    It's like Koestler's Darkness At Noon. It's like Stalinism.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Because that's the eucharistic theology of the Church of England. It actually needs the things described by that idiot as key limiting factors. He is commited to the scrupulous disposal of a hell of a lot of babies and the retention of a lot of centralised bureaucratic bathwater. He and his little friend in Lambeth Palace both.
  • This is nothing new. It's been happening for a long time. Certain sections of the CofE embarrassed about their own tradition, seeking to tear it up by the roots rather than working with it and using it as a vehicle for the Gospel.

    It wouldn't be so bad if they were replacing it with something that wasn't so vapid.
  • I will qualify those comments in a suitably Gammalian fashion ...

    I do understand the slash-and-burn approach as I suppose the 'restorationist' outfit I was involved in for many years was an example of that outwith the CofE and the 'traditional' non-conformist churches.

    Such an approach does have serious ecological consequences.

    We've had this discussion before in relation to Messy Church. It IS church in it's own right, the argument runs. It's not an entry-level staging post.

    There's only so long you can splash around with poster paint, I would suggest and only so long, quite frankly, that you can run homely Bible studies in hired halls. Even the Apostle Paul only did that for a while.

    It's the 'formation' thing I worry about.

    There is, of course, an equal and opposite problem in the historic and more sacramental traditions. Patchy catechesis, nominalism and still pockets of folk religion and superstition.

    Any criticism of the over-blown marketing targets and 'vision-inflation' of the gung-ho church planters must be tempered with an acknowledgement that those who know their Early English from their Perpendicular and all the choreography aren't doing a particular good job either - beyond providing niche or specialist interest to the already committed.



  • Any criticism of the over-blown marketing targets and 'vision-inflation' of the gung-ho church planters must be tempered with an acknowledgement that those who know their Early English from their Perpendicular and all the choreography aren't doing a particular good job either - beyond providing niche or specialist interest to the already committed.

    The whole approach smacks not of considering what works but of prescribing the solution based on the prejudices of the prescriber. Heck, even the definition of "what works" is highly debatable. Plus a bit of the old "things are terrible, we must do something" becoming "this is something, so we must do it".
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    How many existing "communities" are there?
  • And how is the CofE going to oversee safeguarding issues in these 20,000 new lay led churches? If the IICSA report (Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse) (link) into churches with supposedly some oversight had not already shown that:
    From the 1940s to 2018, 390 people who were clergy or in positions of trust associated with the Church have been convicted of sexual offences against children.

    Many of these cases demonstrate the Church of England’s failure to take the abuse seriously, creating a culture where abusers were able to hide. Alleged perpetrators were given more support than victims, who often faced barriers to reporting they simply couldn’t overcome.

    The Church’s failure to respond consistently to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse often added to their trauma. Archbishop Justin Welby described this failure as “profoundly and deeply shocking”.(link)
    how does the CofE propose to police house churches?

    Anecdotally, the only people who've come along to find out more about church and have said it was my influence were those I've encountered in a secular environment, while having my faith supported by a parish church. And at the time I was not so heavily involved in those parish churches that I was burning out under the pressure.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    The initiative is very closely linked with the guy who made this film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI8bb65vOiE

    To me it's a repellantly reactionary vision, and I want none of it.

    He appears in the film here: https://youtu.be/VI8bb65vOiE?t=1430 clearly stating that a change in the official thinking about LGBTQ issues would be the breaking point for him.

    As I said in the other thread, if you were planning a departure at some point anyway, this is useful way of getting the core to fund a bunch of churches that will leave with you.
  • Those links are very reminiscent of the responses when all the arguments about women priests happened. I can see why another argument that deep is a challenge too far for those who went through that one.
  • And how is the CofE going to oversee safeguarding issues in these 20,000 new lay led churches?
    See discussion here: https://tinyurl.com/esw6dn63
  • Telford wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

    I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

    Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?

    Why would it need a regular priest ?

    The subtext of these house churches being lay-led is that there aren't enough priests to go around. It's already a struggle to celebrate the Eucharist for every congregation that wants it. Even to find priests to bob in, say the "magic words" and bob out again for 10 000 house churches would be impossible.

    I still don't understand why you need ordained priests.

    The Church of England's Canon law requires that the Eucharist be celebrated (presided over/led/conducted) by someone who has been ordained priest, by a bishop.

    Other denominations sometimes do things somewhat differently, especially those with a more *memorialist* stance on Holy Communion.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

    I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

    Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?

    Why would it need a regular priest ?

    The subtext of these house churches being lay-led is that there aren't enough priests to go around. It's already a struggle to celebrate the Eucharist for every congregation that wants it. Even to find priests to bob in, say the "magic words" and bob out again for 10 000 house churches would be impossible.

    I still don't understand why you need ordained priests.

    The Church of England's Canon law requires that the Eucharist be celebrated (presided over/led/conducted) by someone who has been ordained priest, by a bishop.

    It is perhaps no coincidence that those most keen on this move have - in practice - have a very memorialist view of the Eucharist themselves.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

    I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

    Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?

    Why would it need a regular priest ?

    The subtext of these house churches being lay-led is that there aren't enough priests to go around. It's already a struggle to celebrate the Eucharist for every congregation that wants it. Even to find priests to bob in, say the "magic words" and bob out again for 10 000 house churches would be impossible.

    I still don't understand why you need ordained priests.

    The Church of England's Canon law requires that the Eucharist be celebrated (presided over/led/conducted) by someone who has been ordained priest, by a bishop.

    It is perhaps no coincidence that those most keen on this move have - in practice - have a very memorialist view of the Eucharist themselves.

    Aye. And tend to celebrate it less often. I wonder if they expect that these lay-led communities will celebrate it much if at all, because they're not explaining how.
  • Telford wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    Giles Fraser's latest article: https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-church-is-abandoning-its-flock/

    I have read Fraser's critique, but I don't entirely understand the CofE's plans? Is it, the creation of 10,000 churches that are lay led? Meaning the Eucharist would not be celebrated on a weekly basis since presumably they would have no regular priest?

    Can someone from the CofE shed some light on this brou-ha-ha?

    Why would it need a regular priest ?

    The subtext of these house churches being lay-led is that there aren't enough priests to go around. It's already a struggle to celebrate the Eucharist for every congregation that wants it. Even to find priests to bob in, say the "magic words" and bob out again for 10 000 house churches would be impossible.

    I still don't understand why you need ordained priests.

    The Church of England's Canon law requires that the Eucharist be celebrated (presided over/led/conducted) by someone who has been ordained priest, by a bishop.

    It is perhaps no coincidence that those most keen on this move have - in practice - have a very memorialist view of the Eucharist themselves.

    Yes, so it would seem...
  • While that is probably true (so why don't they just become Baptists or something if they don't want to stay within the Anglican tradition?), we do have to ask why Eucharist has become so absolutely fundamental to worship and church life. Yes, I know that Jesus, echoed by Paul, asked us to "remember him" - though one might question if that is best done in a highly ritualised and liturgical service with mere morsels of breads and sips of wine rather than within a "fellowship meal". But Eucharist isn't - as some seem to imply - the "be-all and end-all" of Christian worship and indeed cannot be for vast numbers of Christians around the world. Although I value the Eucharist and dislike the way in which it's practiced in many churches of my own denomination, I suspect that its weekly 'normative' celebration in the CofE is more of a "hangover" from Tractarianism than anything else. After all the Church of Scotland used to believe that Holy Communion was so important that it should only be celebrated a few times of year and made into a "special occasion" - the Reformed tradition believing that we meet God equally, albeit differently, through his Word.
  • Hmm.

    I'm not entirely certain that the Eucharist has become so fundamental - has it not usually been the main act of worship ever since the beginning of the Church?
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    The Tractarian movement is a living thread within the Church of England, or at least one with many living descendants, not just a dead element of history.
  • I'm not entirely certain that the Eucharist has become so fundamental - has it not usually been the main act of worship ever since the beginning of the Church?
    That, I suspect, is something we can never know for sure. I do though think that it was much more of a "fellowship meal" - usually if not always with nods towards the Passover (some congregations being more Jewish than others). The "normative" verses are presumable Acts 2:42 & 46: "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers ... Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts" which, I recognise, are capable of more than one interpretation. However there is no mention of any priestly presidency being needed to make Eucharist "work" - indeed, we cannot say that an Apostle was necessarily present (and we could argue about their 'ordination', anyway!).

  • The Tractarian movement is a living thread within the Church of England, or at least one with many living descendants, not just a dead element of history.
    I don't deny that. But I think its influence over the years has led to many Anglicans of different ilks believing that "certain ways of doing things" are normative when, in fact, they would have been almost unheard of before the mid-1800s.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    While that is probably true (so why don't they just become Baptists or something if they don't want to stay within the Anglican tradition?), we do have to ask why Eucharist has become so absolutely fundamental to worship and church life. Yes, I know that Jesus, echoed by Paul, asked us to "remember him" - though one might question if that is best done in a highly ritualised and liturgical service with mere morsels of breads and sips of wine rather than within a "fellowship meal". But Eucharist isn't - as some seem to imply - the "be-all and end-all" of Christian worship and indeed cannot be for vast numbers of Christians around the world. Although I value the Eucharist and dislike the way in which it's practiced in many churches of my own denomination, I suspect that its weekly 'normative' celebration in the CofE is more of a "hangover" from Tractarianism than anything else. After all the Church of Scotland used to believe that Holy Communion was so important that it should only be celebrated a few times of year and made into a "special occasion" - the Reformed tradition believing that we meet God equally, albeit differently, through his Word.

    Aye, but many are more Catholic than reformed, especially in praxis.

    But even if communion happens less frequently, no-one is addressing how it is to be facilitated in a lay-led setting.
  • Extension?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Extension?

    Aye, but my point is no-one's talking about it.
  • Holy Communion by Extension, as a *main* service, rather than as a home Communion (for example) was officially frowned upon in this Diocese by our recently-retired Bishop. (His successor may have different ideas, of course...).

    Some merriment was caused when it became known that the Bishop's chaplain had admonished the charismatic-evo Place next to Our Place for using Extension rather too often.

    It is, however, a possible solution to the shortage of ordained priests in both urban and rural settings.
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    Istm that the Eucharist along with its prayers is of vital importance to Christianity alongside baptism, reading of the scriptures and their expounding through preaching, and serving God in the community - but the Eucharist requires attendance in communion with other people, unlike any other aspect.

    I am convinced that some lay people are called to preside at the Eucharist, however, as some are called to preach, lead communal prayers, etc.

    Communion by extension is fine if taken out into the community from the Eucharist to those who could not attend. It does not replace the requirement of someone called to preside, nor should lay people be put in such a position as to have it expected of them.
  • Holy Communion by Extension, as a *main* service, rather than as a home Communion (for example) was officially frowned upon in this Diocese by our recently-retired Bishop. (His successor may have different ideas, of course...).

    Some merriment was caused when it became known that the Bishop's chaplain had admonished the charismatic-evo Place next to Our Place for using Extension rather too often.

    It is, however, a possible solution to the shortage of ordained priests in both urban and rural settings.

    It is a relatively common practice in the Scottish Episcopal Church these days, though we rejoice that we have more prospective ordinands training than have been for a long time - currently 13 for the priesthood, another 2 for the vocational deaconate and 2 for the readership.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    After all the Church of Scotland used to believe that Holy Communion was so important that it should only be celebrated a few times of year and made into a "special occasion" - the Reformed tradition believing that we meet God equally, albeit differently, through his Word.
    Despite Calvin’s insistence to the contrary—that the Eucharist should be celebrated every Lord’s Day, and that Word and Eucharist are each in a sense incomplete without the other. There is an argument that the Reformed Tradition’s failure to follow Calvin on this had less to do with any theological conviction, and more to do with the move from the expectation that the laity would commune once a year to the expectation that they would commune every time the Sacrament was celebrated.

  • Thomas Cranmer intended (AIUI) that Holy Communion would be celebrated every Sunday and Holy Day, with the people signifying to the priest beforehand that they proposed to receive the Sacrament.

    It didn't quite work out like that, of course, with folk in England receiving Communion as infrequently as they had done before the Reformation.
  • <snip> ... we do have to ask why Eucharist has become so absolutely fundamental to worship and church life. Yes, I know that Jesus, echoed by Paul, asked us to "remember him" - though one might question if that is best done in a highly ritualised and liturgical service with mere morsels of breads and sips of wine rather than within a "fellowship meal". <snip>

    Having attended a Pesach meal, as laid on by a Jewish colleague the way he'd have celebrated at home had it no been the middle of the university term, there's an awful lot of morsels to remember (eggs, salt water, parsley, matzo, lamb bone) before actually eating, and then some more ceremonial food (the unleavened bread hidden early).

    A formal communion before sharing food would not seem too far from Jewish tradition as we know it now. Our coffee and cake sharing after communion seem to be the rump of tradition rather than the formalised communion service.
  • Thomas Cranmer intended (AIUI) that Holy Communion would be celebrated every Sunday and Holy Day, with the people signifying to the priest beforehand that they proposed to receive the Sacrament.
    What? They had to book in advance? By my calculation that makes him at least 358 years ahead of his time - what a man!

  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited July 10
    To my mind, which I think is not far from a lot of catholic thinking, the Christian community is formed, defined and nourished around the altar. This gives the priest a role in gathering and holding the community, not just in saying the "magic words". This is the main reason why this I find this initiative utterly outrageous - or one of them - it is destroying the church in this understanding, without setting out any kind of standard or vision of what is to replace it. It's totally "year zero" or the Maoist "shining path" - all we know is what won't exist, not what will.

    The other reason is the veiled threat - in the video and a lot of HTB-inspired mumblings - that if those taking part aren't allowed to do exactly what they want, however abusive it is to participants, they'll take their ball away. I am pretty much at the point of saying "good riddance", even though that will inevitably lead to further pain.
  • The Baptist thing is interesting insofar that it has struck me for some time that many evangelical Anglicans are more 'baptistic' and congregationalist in practice than they realise themselves.

    The cynical part of me might observe that one of the reasons why they might not see the Baptist Union as an option is that it's far too democratic for them.

    My guess would be that if even a tiny fraction of the 10,000 or 20,000 or however many it is in their inflated vision and opinion of themselves were actually to materialise, then rather than it 'releasing' all these budding lay leaders, what would actually happen is control-freakery on a scale that would have put the alleged heavy-shepherding of the restorationist house-churches or 'new churches' of the 1980s and '90s in the shade.

    These visionaries would respond to lay-led anarchy by imposing Stalinist structures in which it was their way or the highway.

    As far as the eucharistic element goes, I've seen far more reverence and integrity very often in avowedly memorialist Baptist churches than in some of the casual and almost flippant approaches of some of the slash-and-burn, tear it all up and start again Anglicans.

    If I don't sound very impressed it's because I'm not.

    This whole thing is a recipe for disaster.

    Ok, the Lord is bigger than all of this and all of us and can bring order out of chaos - but it smacks of ecclesial Dominic Cummings territory to me.

    Let's smash everything up and see what emerges irrespective of what the damage is, and the human cost.

    Why not start a nuclear war in the hope that something better emerges from the wreckage?

    There are already viable forms of nonconformist and memorialist Christianity. What's the point of seeking to replicate that with something that is Anglican in name only?

    Unless, of course, if Chrisstiles is right and this is a cynical attempt to secure funds for a breakaway conservative sect with Anglican in the title to give it a semblance of kudos and respectability.

    Either way, I am deeply suspicious.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited July 10
    What would actually happen is control-freakery on a scale that would have put the alleged heavy-shepherding of the restorationist house-churches or 'new churches' of the 1980s and '90s in the shade.
    There was heavy-shepherding in some restorationist-infused Baptist and Anglican churches too - as I'm sure you know!

    Interestingly an Anglican church which I know was involved in this closed down and the building sold many years ago ... only to be bought back and reopened as a Resource Church.

  • St GermanSt German Shipmate

    My guess would be that if even a tiny fraction of the 10,000 or 20,000 or however many it is in their inflated vision and opinion of themselves were actually to materialise, then rather than it 'releasing' all these budding lay leaders, what would actually happen is control-freakery on a scale that would have put the alleged heavy-shepherding of the restorationist house-churches or 'new churches' of the 1980s and '90s in the shade.

    These visionaries would respond to lay-led anarchy by imposing Stalinist structures in which it was their way or the highway.

    Although it looks as if this will, as best, be shoved into the long grass by being referred for further study/consultation/prayer etc., it could have within it the seeds of a return to the old minster model of Saxon times - 'lay' leaders reporting to a centre staffed by 'priests' and growing organically.

    I put these terms in ' - ' because we are in danger of being hung up on titles when what matters is the substance. If the titles still matter, then the problem can easily be cured by making the leaders LOMs or by Readers doing communion by extension.

    As for control-freakery being a danger, just the opposite is more likely. Give us some diversity and relief from the clerics who so often impose their own narrow churchmanship on their congregations.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Whatever makes you think that lay leaders will not impose narrow churchmaship or a whole host of other narrow, idiosyncratic ideas on these groups? Any training worth its salt challenges the right of leaders to do this, rather than reinforcing it, though of course that puts theological formation under a lot of scruitiny - all too often, narrowness seems to be a virtue.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 10
    Thomas Cranmer intended (AIUI) that Holy Communion would be celebrated every Sunday and Holy Day, with the people signifying to the priest beforehand that they proposed to receive the Sacrament.
    What? They had to book in advance? By my calculation that makes him at least 358 years ahead of his time - what a man!

    Yes, it's in the Prayer Book - from The Order etc. etc. of Holy Communion:

    So many as intend to be partakers of the holy Communion shall signify their names to the Curate, at least some time the day before.


    By *Curate* is meant the person in charge - Vicar, Rector or whatever s/he may be called these days.
    BTW, who is going to baptise all these hundreds (or even thousands) of new converts? I know that, in the C of E, baptism by laypeople is permissible in certain circumstances, often for pressing pastoral reasons, but...
  • Bet they didn't use EventBrite, ChurchSuite or Facebook ,,,
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 10
    No, they went to the parsonage in person, or else sent a note by means of a Boy, or a Sarvant, or a Pigeon...

    Quite often, they didn't stay for Communion - hence this provision in the BCP Service:

    ...in case he shall see the people negligent to come to the holy Communion...he shall use this Exhortation...

    All of which goes to show the importance placed on Communion by the Reformers. They can't all have been wrong.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited July 10
    The sacramental problems can be got round by simple enough changes of order, at least in theory. However, I suspect that Communion by Extension would sit very badly with the theology in many places with a lower theology; they will not tend to believe in any kind of change in the elements at consecration; if you can preside over the service itself, what else is there needed, they would ask. I'd expect a mixed reaction:

    1. communities which use Communion by extension;
    2. communities only holding a Eucharistic service when they have visiting clergy;
    3. communities pushing for acceptance of lay presidency;
    4. communities quietly (or even boldly) practicing lay presidency anyway.

    Baptism and even confirmation would I think find themselves similarly varyingly practiced. I've known plenty of Anglican churches which to all intents and purposes are non-paedobaptist and which would happily dispense with confirmation altogether.

    As I say, the lack of detail (or indeed broad outline) on this whole issue is unsurprising for two reasons - a lot of this is driven from the wing of the church which firstly does not emphasise sacraments, and secondly doesn't have a strong idea of why ordination is required to administer them. There may be history in this as well; the whole thing looks like Fresh Expressions Mk. 2, and most FE startups seemed to be non-sacramental in character as well. I don't think it's on the radar.

    What isn't so readily got around is the whole problem of safeguarding and accountability. Whose ensuring adequate safeguarding and pastoral training?


    Meanwhile, here's John McGinley, Head of Church planting at New Wine and also national lead at The Gregory Centre for Church multiplication, and deeply embedded at the top of this whole drive: Fulcrum Website
    In a facilitated session one person said that the orthodox position was responsible for their friends’ suicide. While I showed concern for their loss, and acknowledged the hurt caused by prejudice and judgemental attitudes within churches, I rejected the direct link between holding an orthodox understanding of sexual relationships and their friends’ decision to end their life. I then shared how I felt that the celebration of same-sex relationships was deeply damaging to society through the confusion it brings to issues of identity, relationships, gender, sin, etc. and how it undermines the position of heterosexual marriage which is God’s intended pattern for sexual relationships.

    It's all coming from a very reactionary place.

    Caveat - I've only started looking into this thing (all I knew previously was that the guy who was our vicar and was nicked by the diocese to be involved in this told us he'd been given the task of creating 500 new congregations in his area. He's a great chap, not reactionary or theologically conservative at all, which at least is a glimmer of hope. Except I don't see (and I don't think he sees either) how it's remotely achievable, since the first thing that happened after he was nicked (not just as a result but it didn't exactly help) was our own little setup became unsustainable and is now no more) so I may get the wrong end of a few sticks. Apologies for any resulting factual errors.

    It all seems a bit potty as well:

    "We're not making money on our restaurants because we've hardly any customers."

    "OK. Open another 10,000 branches and get the customers to staff them to save on staff wages."
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 10
    I do wish TPTB (who are indeed collectively potty, it seems) would look out for the 10000+ existing communities in the C of E which could do with a helping hand.

    You know, the parishes short of cash, clergy, and volunteers, but which are still beavering faithfully away at being Christians in the manner @Lamb Chopped so eloquently described, further up the thread.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    I do wish TPTB (who are indeed collectively potty, it seems) would look out for the 10000+ existing communities in the C of E which could do with a helping hand.

    You know, the parishes short of cash, clergy, and volunteers, but which are still beavering faithfully away at being Christians in the manner @Lamb Chopped so eloquently described, further up the thread.

    That's the bit that gets me, and it is possibly one of the few things that I would blame my own tradition for. We liberal Catholics tend to be so keen on emptying the church into the world that we don't allow for time and energy to look after the community as it is. In fact, this is one of the things that led me towards spiritual direction as a ministry - there is no choice but to offer that kind of care that is otherwise missing, though it doesn't achieve the practical ends @Bishops Finger refers to.
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