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State of the Church: sociology or theology?

The Church Times has been running a series of interesting article on the state of the Church, with some significant insights from Linda Woodhead, Professor of the Sociology of Religion at the University of Lancaster. Previous articles have explored issues of church growth, leadership, and some of the reasons behind the decline in church attendance. […]

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Why the bishops have done the right thing

At the start of 2012, the House of Bishops (comprising all the diocesan bishops of the Church of England, together with elected suffragans) commissioned a report on the current debate in the Church on human sexuality, and in particular the status of same-sex relations. Commissioned by the House of Bishops of the Church of England […]

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Encouraging younger ordinands

My previous two posts, reflecting on the findings on church growth, and then the particular issue of the age of selection of leaders, has provoked quite a discussion on Facebook. To put this in context, I include here some paragraphs from Bob Jackson’s book The Road to Growth which was published nearly 10 years ago in […]

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When should leaders be trained?

In my previous post on church growth research, I hinted at a number of issues in relation to training and deployment of full-time leaders. One particular issue surfaced in the comments, and I expand on it here: at what age should future church leaders be commissioned and trained? At one level, of course, this question […]

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How to Grow the Church

A number of years ago, a friend of mine was leaving theological education to go back into parish ministry. ‘I’ll just go and grow the church for a few years’, he said blithely. I thought he was a fool to be so presumptuous. Yes, growing a church is easy: all you need to do is […]

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ASB Baptism liturgy

I have reproduced here the baptism liturgy from the Alternative Service Book (1980). It is not currently authorised for use without specific permission. It is not without its problems, and there were questions asked when it was introduced. But it is interesting to note its directness and simplicity compared with Common Worship, and its extensive […]

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Experimental Baptism

The Church of England has just published ‘additional’ texts in accessible language as an alternative to the current text of Common Worship Initiation Services. These have been produced in response to a motion brought by Liverpool Diocesan Synod to General Synod in 2011. But the new texts have not, so far, gone down very well. […]

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The Pilling Report: divisive and damaging?

The group working with Joseph Pilling reporting to the House of Bishops on the issue of same-sex relations were always going to struggle to keep anyone happy. How is it possible to say something on this issue without upsetting or offending one group or another? And if not, how on earth could anyone find a […]

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Tribal Theology

What is an evangelical?

A couple of years ago, Jon Kuhrt posted a fascinating graphic on his blog site to describe his journey of discover as a Christian. Raised as an evangelical, he was nurtured in the things in the blue column as being true markers of Christian faith. But out of a personal commitment to help others, he […]

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What is an Anglican?

I have just picked up, from the IVP bookstall, The Accidental Anglican by Todd Hunter. Hunter came to faith through the Jesus Movement, then planted churches with Vineyard, before becoming an Anglican bishop with the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the ‘protest’ Anglican church supported by Anglicans from Uganda [correction: Rwanda]. I was most fascinated to […]

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Welby and Wonga

Earlier this week, Justin Welby appeared to declare war on so-called ‘payday loan’ companies, specifically Wonga.com. He claimed he wanted to ‘put them out of business’, not through legislation, but by offering an alternative through Church support of credit unions. But within 27 minutes of the first story being published, it emerged that the Church […]

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