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fernando

That *does* sound like exciting news. It would have been great to have had the code you are working on back when I was trying to do something with a local Anglican church in 01-02. This is very important stuff!

becky

This is so exciting - my interview with Steve for my book was one of the most refreshing bits of Good News I had heard in a long time.

One of the problems we have here in the States is that there isn't an ordination track in the Episcopal church for those called to new expressions of church. As the Lutheran church has an ordination track for pioneer ministries and these two denominations have co-communion, people who feel called to this type of ministry in an ordained capacity are going through the Lutheran church. My hope is that more people will clamor for that kind of a track in the Episcopal Church so we can all focus on something positive for a change.

Caroline

I think that you're right in flagging up the importance of Fresh Expressions to the church at large and the c of e in particular

but there is a but hanging around

most of the expressions I've heard described still centre around gathering in one place and one time, and/or talking about ideas.

..maybe in a trendy, almost 21st century way

I really don't want to knock what is a huge step forward..

but (sorry, it's that wretched word again)

is there not something more, something more life enhancing, more lived out, more supportive of exploration that we could do alone and together.

I fully admit that I'm still scrabbling around to work out what I mean, but I fear... no, I don't fear... I hope, I dream, I am exploring towards a way of doing church family that doesn't centre on getting together to do something that's been laid on by another...

jonny

i have and i'm sure plenty of other people have their critiques of various fresh expressions. it's a broad brush stroke so it encompasses a wide range of things. i agree that we need to re-imagine the way things are done and i tend to love the most creative and edgy stuff anyway! but my post was really to say that actually fresh expressions is a great thing effecting some great changes particularly in the policy changes. but we still need people sailing off the edges and re-inventing stuff away from the institutions as well as working to renew the structures within...

jamesh

It's so good to hear this... Our church is really pushing forward into fresh expressions and there are one or two very vocal dissenters amongst our flock. I'm meeting with one of them next week to discuss why our fresh expressions are not a breach of Canon Law and that they don't dispose of the need for a PCC...

RE - Rowan Williams - I think he's doing a brilliant job so far; permission really is the key. John Sentamu is great too.

Matt Stone

I wish the environment was as conducive down here. Could we swap bishops?

becky

I'll settle for swapping the ECUSA for the C of E right about now. I can't even read the national newsletter anymore.

cheryl

i'm in the middle of running a series of workshops at a conference. the participants in the workshop [on alt worship] would all be over 50 and include an ex professor of theology and any number of rev doctors. they are so on side with all this... they've 'got' alt worship / emerging church stuff in a way that i never expected. it really feels like there's a change in the air.

Martin

I agree with you Jonny, things are moving at an incredible pace for the Church of England although I have 2 concerns as everything develops.

The first concerns me as an ordained person myself - what is the purpose of ordination in a fresh expressions environment? I detect sometimes that it's a way to get a salary for someone because that's the only way the church recognises full time ministry. I would value some real exploration about what it means to be ordained in a fresh expressions environment and how fresh expressions can help us to recognise new forms of ministry, bith lay and ordained.

The second is Bandwagonitis - it seems to me the church is in danger of attaching a fresh expressions label to anything that's not a raditional 'common worship' based service and I'm not sure that an especially lively family service for example is really a fresh expression.

jonny

i agree on both points...

steve

Martin's and Caroline's posts resonate!

After a year-long course at theological college in 1994/95 I was told by a tutor I respect immensely that I would be a vicar. I left the college and within six weeks I had left the church.

Three and a half years ago I felt love reawaken in me, but no call back into the institutional church. To churchy people I describe it as a fast. It feels a bit like celibacy (I guess).

Two issues arise.

1) I'm not (often) attending place/time churches - but though I could say I've left church for good, it is equally true to say that I now find church wherever I am. When I need to see people, there they are on the street, or dropping round, or I am planning to meet them. There are no boundaries within which I have to operate, so I end up surprising myself and operating (praying, worshipping, encouraging, organising meetings etc.) everywhere. I don't have the luxory of assuming the people I am with are part of the in-crowd: neither, therefore, can I claim they are part of the out-crowd. When Caroline asks 'is there not something more, something more life enhancing, more lived out, more supportive of exploration that we could do alone and together' I feel I've got to say, yes....

2) But what do I now do with my vocation? There is no-one to validate it, after all. Unless you start to ask, what really is the essence of ordination? Is being a vicar something I am intrinsically, because I own the responsibility, though I don't know quite yet how in this churchless/churchful world it shapes out? (And if me, why not everyone...?) I kind of think, all we have to lose is our salary (congregation, premises, peer-respect) - but what did Jesus say about finding again what we are prepared to lose?

This kind of thinking gets me into trouble with some of my Christian friends - even the emerging kind - but really, not as much as you'd suspect! And finally, where's the mission in it? Well, it all becomes mission.

Brave New World!

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    i have been blogging for a decade or more in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces

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