'Rediscovery' of Anglican identity found in new forms of church

By staff writers
March 23, 2006

'Rediscovery' of Anglican identity found in new forms of church

-23/03/06

Theology is alive and well in new forms of church, with Christians rediscovering what it means to be Anglican in the Twenty First Century, a new report suggests.

The claim is made at the end of an in-depth study from an associate of the thinktank Ekklesia and follows condemnation that the Church of England's strategy for renewal is so theologically weak that it could stop the Church from developing.

In 2004, the Church of England's General Synod ('parliament) endorsed the 'Mission-Shaped Church' report which contained ideas for changes in its traditional parish structure including a range of new church styles, such as "cafe churches".

But Professor John Hull, Professor of Practical Theology at the Queen's Foundation, Birmingham, said at the beginning of this month that the Church's landmark report was complacent, acquiescent in the consumer-choice culture, insensitive to the poor, and imperialistic. He also suggested that it promoted an apartheid view of faith that left no room for other denominations or other faiths.

Ekklesia associate Rev Ian Mobsby, has however produced a study drawing on three years of research into emerging and fresh expressions of church, which suggests that many mission-shaped projects do not warrant such criticism.

Revd Mobsby, a figure known in the Church of England for involvement with 'emerging' and 'fresh expressions' of Church identifies that many new forms of Church are ìrichly earthed in forms of authentic theology regarding what it means to be church and what it means to do mission in the twenty first century.î

Rather than colluding with imperialism and Christendom, these projects largely seek to be Church in a post-Christendom framework, responding to local and contextual needs, rather than forcing new blueprints onto the church, Mobsby suggests.

The findings point to a "re-discovery of a vision of unity in diversity, of collaboration between tradition and new experiment."

ìEmerging forms of church appear often to hold a distinctly Trinitarian, mystical and sacramental understanding of ëchurchíî says Mobsby.

One of the most exciting findings of the research is that much of the vision of the Emerging Church resonates with the writings of Richard Hooker, a 16-century Anglican Divine who greatly influenced the foundation of the Anglicanism.

ìRather than travelling light, Fresh Expressions appear to be rediscovering what it means to be Anglican for the Twenty first Centuryî Mobsby suggests.

The research report entitled ìEmerging & Fresh Expressions of Church: How are they authentically Church and Anglican?î can be found here

'Rediscovery' of Anglican identity found in new forms of church

-23/03/06

Theology is alive and well in new forms of church, with Christians rediscovering what it means to be Anglican in the Twenty First Century, a new report suggests.

The claim is made at the end of an in-depth study from an associate of the thinktank Ekklesia and follows condemnation that the Church of England's strategy for renewal is so theologically weak that it could stop the Church from developing.

In 2004, the Church of England's General Synod ('parliament) endorsed the 'Mission-Shaped Church' report which contained ideas for changes in its traditional parish structure including a range of new church styles, such as "cafe churches".

But Professor John Hull, Professor of Practical Theology at the Queen's Foundation, Birmingham, said at the beginning of this month that the Church's landmark report was complacent, acquiescent in the consumer-choice culture, insensitive to the poor, and imperialistic. He also suggested that it promoted an apartheid view of faith that left no room for other denominations or other faiths.

Ekklesia associate Rev Ian Mobsby, has however produced a study drawing on three years of research into emerging and fresh expressions of church, which suggests that many mission-shaped projects do not warrant such criticism.

Revd Mobsby, a figure known in the Church of England for involvement with 'emerging' and 'fresh expressions' of Church identifies that many new forms of Church are ìrichly earthed in forms of authentic theology regarding what it means to be church and what it means to do mission in the twenty first century.î

Rather than colluding with imperialism and Christendom, these projects largely seek to be Church in a post-Christendom framework, responding to local and contextual needs, rather than forcing new blueprints onto the church, Mobsby suggests.

The findings point to a "re-discovery of a vision of unity in diversity, of collaboration between tradition and new experiment."

ìEmerging forms of church appear often to hold a distinctly Trinitarian, mystical and sacramental understanding of ëchurchíî says Mobsby.

One of the most exciting findings of the research is that much of the vision of the Emerging Church resonates with the writings of Richard Hooker, a 16-century Anglican Divine who greatly influenced the foundation of the Anglicanism.

ìRather than travelling light, Fresh Expressions appear to be rediscovering what it means to be Anglican for the Twenty first Centuryî Mobsby suggests.

The research report entitled ìEmerging & Fresh Expressions of Church: How are they authentically Church and Anglican?î can be found here

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.