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Is Church decline the fault of poor leadership?

In the summer, and after a year’s delay, Bloomsbury published That Was the Church That Was by Andrew Brown and Linda Woodhead. Woodhead is professor of sociology of religion at the University of Lancaster, and Brown has been a religious correspondent for a national newspaper for many years. So you might expect them both to know what they are […]

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Should the Church be disestablished?

The continuing decline in Church attendance and the apparent marginalization of Christian perspectives within the country naturally lead to the question of whether the Church should be disestablished. Does it make sense to have the life of the nation tied in to Christian belief by having a Church ‘established by law’ if so few people are actively involved in that Church, and a growing number don’t share its beliefs?

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Change (and growth?) for the Church of England

There is a fascinating new article Resurrection? published in The Economist, taking a look at decline, growth and change in the Church of England. It is interesting for a number of reasons: It looks carefully at the actual numbers which tell us about decline, growth and change in the Church It takes seriously a range of […]

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Is the C of E a sinking ship?

Last week I spoke with Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, on whether the C of E was drinking at last chance saloon on a sinking ship. You can read a good write-up of it by Madeleine Davies at the Church Times. Since I don’t really drink, and have never been to a saloon, I focused […]

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Is ‘discipleship’ Anglican?

A few weeks ago, Linda Woodhead suggested in the Church Times that discipleship was a ‘theologically peripheral concept’, and the following week Angela Tilby dismissed the ‘d-word’ as ‘sectarian vocabulary that…shows the influence of American-derived Evangelicalism on the Church’s current leadership.’ The short discussions in each place actually raise not one but three, inter-related, questions: […]

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Who is ducking what in the C of E?

On Friday, Linda Woodhead expressed in the Church Times her serious reservations about the recent series of reports on change required in the Church of England (under the general heading of ‘Renewal and Reform’). Many of the responses I have read so far have been distinctly coloured by Woodhead’s previous comments and writing. This was, after […]

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The state of the (Westminster) debate

The Westminster Faith Debates are organised by Charles Clarke and Linda Woodhead, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Lancaster University. (A good number of them, oddly enough, take place in Oxford at the University Church.) You might expect them, then, to offer a balanced […]

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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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