Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Show MUST go on.... but why?

What an interesting time since I last blogged. The Wedding Project in Worcester, a great evening's conversation with friends from Worle, a day by the railway tracks around Bristol 
with Chris Perkins taking train photos (anoraks on), finding time trying to explore future roles and some interesting moments with the University.

The General Synod is meeting as I write. A number of key issues being discussed that to be honest are not really resolvable unless you buy into the myth of the Anglican church as being more than a convenient confederation of different minded people seeking to be Good News to those around them.

One thing that did emerge was a continuing commitment to being a mixed economy church. Fairly obvious really because that is where we are. Will solid church be replaced by 'liquid' church? Over time I think the whole shape and structure of being and doing church will change. Transition is happening as people interact in different ways and resources become re-located. Messy Church (in a messy world) describes it all at the moment! We just have to live with it, discover what the Spirit is saying and move on.

Listening to clergy who have been ordained a while, (like wot I have), there is in some a sense of fear, disdain and cynicism. Not just about 'fresh expressions' but often about life in general and of course senior leaders. Add to this the possibility of having to work an extra three years to get a pension, the ever growing pressure to get an increasing parish share collected and to keep the numbers up and I think leadership in the C of E is not in a good place at all.

While I was DDO in Bristol the concept of Pioneer Ministers was developed. It was apparent that many involved in selection and training saw this as more of a bolt on rather than shaping a new and more 'apostolic' form of ordained leadership. What Mike Hill describes as 'person with white van '. Keeping the show on the road seems to be the name of the game - or have I lost the plot?

Just a few ideas:
Cut the number of buildings we 'run' by 50% (I know this will take forever in practice but let's set the context). Buildings too easily become the focal point for all we do. They will still be needed but need to become more like resource and community centres.
Let Pioneer Ministry be franchised out to CMS/Church Army or similar organisations. They have wisdom and vast experience in doing mission in diverse cultural contexts.
Let Pioneer Ministry training be the default shape of ordination training.

You may have more.

Come on C of E - big decisions and mega -choices will have to be made.

Behold I make all things new - do you not perceive it?


  1. I like what you say Malcolm. It's nice to see Church Army being mentioned in a positive way by you, speaking as a Church Army Evangelist!

  2. Amen Lynda. Think CA is doing some great work and I think if CMS and CA got togther it would be a great partnership serving us in this generation. Philip M speaks very highly of you- keep up the good work.

  3. Couldn't agree more on the buildings front. Too many churches are seen by the National Trust as heritage buildings and so can't be changed in any significant way to improve for the future for fear of losing the past. The sooner we get rid of the older buildings (along with all the immense costs of their upkeep!) for buildings that can be used for all purposes the better!