Dear Friends: Renewal & Reform

Dear Friends,

If you read the papers (or at least the Telegraph) you might get the impression that things are not so good for the Church of England. It might be hard to believe when All Saints is such a diverse and lively church community. But the reality elsewhere is clearly different.

Across the Church of England an 81 year old is now eight times more likely to attend church services than an 18 year old. 70 percent of current clergy will have retired in the next 14 years. So it is not just congregations that represent an older demographic! People of all ages are vital to the church, but our church family should reflect the age range of our natural families.

Even with growth in many churches like All Saints experts are now predicting that the Church of England will halve in number over the next 30 years before new growth brings the figures back up.

The reasons for the decline are many. Some churches have lacked welcome, even becoming private clubs. Some churches have lacked confidence in the basic message of Christianity - that we can know God through Jesus Christ. Across the church tribalism and infighting has hindered the work of proclaiming the Gospel afresh. In terms of clergy the wider church has not encouraged younger vocations (especially people in their 20’s).

In response Archbishop Justin has initiated a process of Renewal and Reform (http://cofecomms.tumblr.com/tagged/renewal-and-reform). With clergy numbers falling parishes are being expected to embrace change and growth as part of the discernment and appointment process for new ordained leaders. Discipleship and evangelism, through Alpha, Pilgrim and other means are now taking centre stage in the work of ministry so everyone can have the confidence to share their faith with friends and neighbour. Effort is being made to break down the tribal divisions in the church, so Evangelicals, Catholics and Charismatics (and we should be happy to wear all three badges) in the Church of England are supporting and learning from one another. Young vocations are no longer being discouraged but actively supported

To achieve this the Church Commissioners (who made a healthy return of 8.2% on our investments last year) have released £72 million for the project. Events like the recent Thy Kingdom Come call to prayer saw 10,000 people gather across the country (see https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2512564/inreviewjune16.pdf ). Church planting is increasing, especially into existing parishes, where a group of 30 or 40 from a thriving church are grafted into parishes that are struggling to move forward in evangelism and mission.

I for one am excited. Because All Saints is already on the journey of Renewal and Reform, and because the process is engaging the breadth of the Church of England. God is definately up to something, and we should all be a part.

Much love,





Fr. Eddie

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