Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Twists and turns in post-modern Anglican life

Here is an Anglican narrative of our times: large parish splits over human sexuality, most of congregation leave for rented buildings, faithful remnant struggles on, daunted by costs of care of buildings and challenge of maintaining ministry.

Here is another Anglican narrative of our times, in this Taonga report.

Food for thought, is it not, especially for those of us tempted to think that in the first narrative, God is on one side and not another?

12 comments:

Brian Kelly said...

Bizarre indeed. A (presumably) Pentecostal denomination can rent the building but the original, unreconstructed Anglicans (who once cared for it and paid for much of it) can't?
Words fail me.

Father Ron Smith said...

This says it all, for me; that where some leave the Church on account of their vision of moral purity; others seek to stay faithful to the reality; that all are sinners, saved by God's grace and not our own perceived 'holiness':

"Bishop Helen-Ann summed up the day this way: “We look forward to all that lies ahead, and give thanks to God for courage, resilience and commitment to our Anglican identity, rooted in our journey of discipleship."

Deo gratias! A stirring story before Holy Week.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brian
No, don't do that thing whereby a statement made by someone is turned into another statement made up by you.
That is ad hominem argument.
Is there any particular reason why you cannot rejoice in what is, in fact, an unexpected and surprising turn of events in which the Anglican Church welcomes a new and enthusiastic congregation?

John Sandeman said...

Peter, Brian,
Perhaps there is a need to both rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn..

spicksandspecks said...

Perhaps I can share a slightly different story from across the ditch where an Anglican church plant in Geelong, Victoria, that before now has met in a pub, a sports stadium and a school has entered into a long term facility sharing arrangement with a smaller traditional Anglican parish?
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a0u4tagqo4sfoj3/AABokFacVjWkuEEkUWY-yMmva?dl=0

There have been a few different models of Anglican church planting tried in Australia:
- transfer of people from a large to a small parish
- merger of congregations into a network / multi-centre parish, sometimes driven by financial problems at one parish, other times to combine resources more effectively for ministry.
- starting a new congregation in rented premises in a new area
- building a new building in new residential developments with money from sale of parish buildings elsewhere.
- planting congregations in public housing estates, mainly for immigrant communities.

Of course, different circumstances require different approaches and it will take a decade or so to get a feel for what works best, but I am encouraged that parish buildings are being used for ministry rather than as museum pieces. Our diocesan arrangements and legislation have found it hard to keep up with these developments, but the bishops (believe it or not) have been very supportive, even where new parishes overlap existing ones and use a more contemporary worship style.

I know from personal knowledge that many of the young ministers leading these congregations would have started independent non-Anglican church plants if the diocese hadn't been accommodating, so it's great they have found a vehicle to keep these new ventures within the Anglican church.

Father Ron Smith said...

One question, S. & S., were these plants pioneered by the Diocese of Sydney clergy - as an outreach from Sydney's Evangelical centre?

John Sandeman said...

Ron these models have worked in many parts of Australia. Ignore Sydney Diocese for a moment and you will find examples of all of them anyway!

Anonymous said...

This is particularly perturbing how it states that debt was left and maintenance deferred. This is an uncalled for slight on the congregation that left, and a slight that I know is untrue. David

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David
It would be good to get clarity on the allegation re debt.
"Deferred maintenance" is a different matter: is there a church in NZ - apart from brand new ones - that doesn't have deferred maintenance?!

Anonymous said...

If one could pick up on 'we look forward to all that lies' - I think this line sums up this whole article. The report in Taonga is unfortunately not the true picture. Interestingly the community of West Hamilton have remained silent and have not set out to discredit the Anglican Church but have suffered many false reports by fellow Anglicans who seem hell-bent on false accusations and reports. Not at all an example of Christian charity, tolerance or love. To quote 'where some leave the Church on account of their vision of moral purity' implying these people somehow see themselves not as sinners - where does one get that from? Has anyone spoken to people from the West Hamilton Community? To imply that those who hold a different view are somehow no longer faithful...? Are those who are holding fast to the Doctrine and Canons of the Anglican Church now supposedly no longer fit to call themselves Anglicans, let alone Christian? Well my prayers are also with the people of West Hamilton and to quote +HA - I give thanks to God for their courage, resilience and commitment to their Anglican identity, rooted in their journey of discipleship. May God bless them!

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Anonymous, could you comply with the rules of this site and declare your identity, openly?

Andrew Reid said...

Dear Father Ron,
Sorry I mistakenly used my Google Account (spicksandspecks) rather than my real name earlier.
The examples I am familiar with are from the Diocese of Melbourne rather than Sydney. Oddly enough, this is partly due to a weaker financial position in Melbourne, which means smaller parishes are sometimes forced into new arrangements in order to survive. There a smaller number of larger, thriving parishes in Melbourne than in Sydney, which means it is more natural to build networks or hubs out of these parishes, some of whom are struggling for space.
I am not as familiar with church planting activities in other dioceses.
Best wishes,
Andrew