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Posts Tagged "Lay ministry":

General Synod:Not Just About Women Bishops : The Revd David Keen

david keen

An old friend of Lay Anglicana, the Revd David Keen, blogs as ‘Opinionated Vicar‘. He has spotted what some of us (OK, I) missed, which is that the ‘re-imagining ministry’ part of the quinqennial aims has been dusted off and is being currently looked at seriously under the leadership of Bishop Steven Croft (ie the previous blogs here about evangelism were part of a larger picture). This is how David begins his blog post of 27th June; he has added further related posts on June 29th, referring to ‘Towards The Conversion of England’ under the heading ‘We don’t need any new intiatives’; then on 3rd July a post on Church Growth in the CofE – discussion paper and finally on 4th July Background Reading for General #Synod.

If you are interested in lay ministry in the Church of England, I urge you to read them all.


General Synod: Sneaking in a radical growth strategy whilst everyone is looking at women bishops

I’ve been critical in the past for the absence of mission from the agenda of General Synod. Looking at some of the papers for sessions starting next week, I’m quietly encouraged.

The full agenda is here, and most of the Saturday is going to be spent in small groups trying to thrash out the women bishops issue (again). The day closes with a 90 minute debate on GS1895. Stay awake at the back there! This is a half-time review of the Church of England’s 3 priorities for the current 5 year cycle. They are:
– contributing as the national Church to the common good;
– facilitating the growth of the Church;
– re-imagining the Church’s ministry.

Each of these will be the subject of a major General Synod debate in the next 12 months, with church growth kicking this off in November.

The paper makes it quite clear which of the 3 is considered to be top priority:

The opportunities for contributing to the common good at a time of considerable social and economic distress are enormous. But the Church of England’s capacity will be less than it would wish unless it can also make progress in reversing the long term decline in numbers and increase in the age profile of its membership. (p2)
(there is a)  ‘mistaken conflation of evangelism and evangelicalism…growth is an authentic priority for all the strands within Anglicansim and should be a practical priority for all’
from the conclusion: it is, rightly, the challenge of growth that is increasingly at the centre of the church’s agendas. As in New Testament days there is a sharp awareness of the challenge posed by an abundance of fields white to harvest and a relatively limited supply of labourers (p10)
Hidden away are some radical thoughts: in a section on vocations there is a growing sense that the current stress on the individual’s sense of vocation needs to be redressed to a greater extent by reference to the kind of clergy who are suited to the present mission challenge and especially to meet the need for greater diversity. I.e. the CofE is looking at rewriting the criteria for leadership selection to put mission leadership as a much higher priority.
The paper outlines some of the work being done under each of the 3 headings, and adds in a paper by Steve Croft, bishop of Sheffield. It’s worth a read, outlining some of the reasons why we don’t talk about church growth in the CofE:
“The agendas of bishops meetings and other meetings are dominated by questions of gender and ministry and human sexuality leaving little quality space for deeper engagement with evangelization”…
and suggests ‘7 disciplines of evangelisation’, which is a really interesting section: watch this space on this one. It’s classic Croft: take some practices and ideas which have been beyond the pale in Anglican circles and describe them in terms and ways which bring them into the fold. Thus ‘ecclesial formation’ (church growth) ‘forming new ecclesial communities’ (church planting). You may see a lot more of this quoted in the months and years to come.
The Croft paper is also here, on his blog as Bishop of Sheffield.
Finally, there is GS Misc 1054. Otherwise known as “Making new disciples: the Growth of the Church of England” I almost feel I need to repeat that title, just in case you thought you’d misread it first time round. It’s a companion paper to the Quinquennium review above, and makes the theological and practical case for prioritising church growth in the CofE. It recognises that decline can’t go on for much longer without the parish system ceasing to function, and that traditional Anglican outreach to the ‘church fringe’ is no longer enough. It’s the kind of honest appraisal of where we’re at as a church that I’ve been wittering on about for some time….
[Now please go to David’s blog to read the rest of the post ]

A Red Letter Day? CofE Admits ‘Ministry of the Laity’

I am sure you will have seen the statement by the Archbishops’ Council issued today. I am reblogging it here, not because of its main import, but because of the interesting (revolutionary?) third sentence. This is the first time I have ever seen the Church of England talk about the ministry of  lay people (of whatever sex). This may be an accident (but surely not?).  Whether this is a straw in the wind, a sign of what the Revd Rosemary Lain-Priestley referred to as the tipping-point, we shall be able to decide in years to come. She was of course referring to the ministry of ordained women, but the Church cannot possibly consider revaluing what I will now unashamedly call the ministry of the laity until the ministry of women priests has been revalued. Onward and upwards, brothers and sisters in Christ, the sunlit uplands may at last be beckoning!

Statement on the Conclusion of the Meeting of the Archbishops’ Council November 2012

28 November 2012

“The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England met on November 27-28th to consider a wide ranging agenda. A substantial amount of time was given over to the discussion of the recent vote by General Synod on Women in the Episcopate.

“As part of their reflections, many council members commented on the deep degree of sadness and shock that they had felt as a result of the vote and also of the need to affirm all women serving the church – both lay and ordained – in their ministries.

“In its discussions the Council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013. There was agreement that the Church of England had to resolve this matter through its own processes as a matter of urgency. The Council therefore recommended that the House of Bishops, during its meeting in a fortnight’s time, put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July.”



The Archbishops Council is a body of 19 members which acts as the standing committee of the General Synod and has a number of other responsibilities as a trustee body.

The members of the council include the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the chairs of the House of Clergy and the Chairs of the House of Laity. Full membership of the groups is available here:

The illustration is by Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs and is via Shutterstock

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