in an article in he church times this week by david walker who chairs the advisory committee on religious orders in the church of england he say this:
so i guess it's now public news (even though it was approved a few months back) so i can let you know that cms has been recognised as an acknowledged community of the church of england. what does this mean? well it means that cms is at its heart an ecclesial community with a rhythm of life and a mission spirituality and ethos that is at the core. it's a fresh expression of church in and of itself. in saying that it doesn't mean church in a congergational gathered mode but church has always functioned in a number of modes - the congregational one has tended to be the one that has dominated our imagination. we will have (yet to be appointed) an external visitor to the community who is a bishop.
so what? well the so what is yet to be worked out but there is some pretty exciting potential. cms at its heart is a dispersed community of people who want to live out a mission life. being part of the community should fuel that mission spirituality. in many ways that is nothing new - being recognised for a community is recognising what we actually already are - it's just making it fit within the structures. cms has a history of pioneer mission leaders. the c of e is recognising the need at the moment for pioneer leadership and it's a pathway for ordination for some. so it's a safe bet we will be in the mix (which of course we already are) in recognising and training pioneers (mainly not ordained but no doubt ordained into and through cms as well). we have spent a lot of energy in the last decade helping the wider church recover a mission focus, develop new edges (emerging, fresh, missional, new monastic, alternative, renewed traditional or whatever terms you prefer), networking and training and encouraging leaders of the new things as well as helping renew more traditional structures. so it's also a safe bet that we will build on that and continue to help new mission communities to emerge that are part of the wider mixed economy of church. the difference now is that they will already be part of the church in and through us rather than some poor relation tagged on the side. i apologise if this sounds like internal politic to those of you not in the church of england or denominational structures. at one level it's a small shift - we carry on doing what we're doing. but at another it's a radical shift, the subversive potential of which is going to be worked out in the next 20 years...
so watch this space!