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Can we pray for the dead?

Andrew Goddard writes: To encourage and enable commemoration of the First World War, the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England recently produced a number of resources. They raise an interesting issue for evangelical Anglicans – what do we think about praying for the dead? It is in some ways appropriate that this centenary should bring […]

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Church investment: unethical? Unbiblical?

The historic investments of the Church of England are managed by the Church Commissioners, who are formally independent of Church leadership though report to General Synod. They hit the headlines in the 1980s when they lost a staggering £800 million, largely through unwise property speculation, and though there have been glitches since then, the financial […]

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Gay marriage, integrity and the church

One of the issues that has kept surfacing in the last few months, in the rapidly changing scene relating to same-sex relations, gay marriage, and the church, has been the question of integrity. Is the Church doing one thing, but saying another? Jeffrey John pointed out some time ago that much of the Church’s current […]

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The kind of unity we need

So the Church Times mini-series on the ‘State of the Church’ has come to an end. Like many, I suspect, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, there have been some fascinating insights, and it has been good to focus on something other than the latest bust-up in the Church. On the other, […]

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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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