A recent commenter to a post below makes a number of observations about the state of the church to which I belong, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. Some telling observations are made, but I think some of the assessments offered are too sweeping. Then there is also the question raised of whether I should cease to be critical of TEC and be more critical of my own church ... I shall think upon these things. But that thinking will include my ongoing concern about the healthiness for the future of Anglicanism of TEC being a major influence on the Anglican Communion, and about the ongoing influence of TEC in the life of this church in which it has many admirers!
Nevertheless our church is in a very puzzling state. Consider these observations:
- we have parish churches which are faithfully Anglican (follow the liturgy, run the parish in the way parishes have been run for a long time now) but in the doldrums (aging congregations and financial anxieties inhibiting creative missional advances)
- we have have parishes which are living in a form of unreality (there are so few active parishioners that a bold amalgamation with a neighbouring parish would be the certain recommendation of any review commission that was commanded to dismiss nostalgia from its considerations)
- we have growing, dynamic parishes defying the aging demographics but which are Anglican in the liturgical sense of the word at the 'early service' (average age of congregation 60+) but not at their main service of Sunday morning)
Let me put the next point as a question, for I am uncertain of the evidence:
- do we have any parishes which are (a) growing numerically, and/or (b) decreasing the average age of Sunday worshippers present at services by faithfully following one of the main eucharistic services in our prayer book (while offering creativity in music, preaching, children's talks etc in the course of this faithful following of the rubrics and content of the liturgy)?
With advance apologies to overseas readers who will struggle to answer this last question! Is there a positive answer to this last question? How many such parishes?