That was the headline in a tweet by Dave Walker a cartoonist:
It came about because of the news of 5 bishops defecting to Rome from the Church of England.
Another “gust of wind” this weekend came from one of the Canons of St Paul’s Cathedral who laid into Fresh Expressions (such as Springfield) for undermining the Church of England Parish system. See his article here. You can also see a good reply to that article here.
One of the dangers, on all parts, of the Church of England is to see things very much as a government does, or a political party. To see things in terms of winning and losing. To have the agendas that we must win with. We then use words like “prophetic” (if we want to change something – what in political life is called “progressive”) or “traditional” (if we want to have something not change – the political equivalent is probably “part of our way of life”).
But I believe that this is to have such a narrow focus and is profoundly unhelpful. The church should be a set of people that reaches out to all parts of the community. That means that it will reflect that community. It means that instead of being totally coherent it will glory in its diversity. For example I believe that women should be able to be bishops (though why anyone wants to be one beats me – seems to me to be one of the lousiest jobs going); but I would like to keep those who can’t accept them in the church.
Its crazy to do so. Its less logical. It will lead to confusion.
But just maybe it is a more godly way of going. Just maybe saying that we welcome people we disagree with is what Jesus does with us.
Power imposes a solution. Maybe love allows us to share a common space together.
In terms of the Parish System and Fresh Expressions I have no doubt that they can and will continue to co-exist quite happily together. I am delighted to see strong growing parishes around us. When the large majority of people don’t go to church isn’t it great to have more people working for God’s Kingdom? That’s Mother Angela Gbebikan’s view at St Michael and St Paul who has invited us to plant a congregation in her parish.We share a space and a mission. We will look over the months to see how we can work more together. We don’t want to have only one style or one outlook – we glory in our diversity and the fact that together, with God’s Spirit guiding both of our churches, we can see God glorified in our community.
We don’t agree on everything. We have different ecclesiologies. But we both are part of this great church called the Church of England working together to share the love of Jesus to all who will listen. And if her congregation grows through the roof as a result of our efforts I will be the first to give thanks.
I’m happy to be labelled whatever the media want to label us as because the reality is that the God we believe in glories in the Church of England in all its diversity.
Dave Walker says it best with a cartoon on the parish system.
UPDATE: Telegraph has headline:
Church of England is ‘like a coffee chain going out of business’, defecting bishops warn
Shurely shum mistake. We’ve just opened a new branch!!!
Update of the Update:
Just seen this cartoon in the Guardian by Steve Bell (naughty but fun):
Update of the Update of the Update:
Some more Fresh Expressions cartoons by Dave Walker: