Can Anglo-Catholic churches grow?

Dec 6, 2017 by

by Fr Richard Peers, Psephizo:

Not so many years ago it was generally accepted that the Church of England was a finely balanced three-legged stool of Anglo-Catholics, evangelicals and the liberal establishment. The debate about the ordination of women has diminished Anglo-Catholicism both in numbers and in the diversion of energy – particularly of our best leaders and organisers. The liberal establishment has been reduced by the rise of what at least one bishop describes as the neo-orthodoxy of our times. It is hard to imagine either David Jenkins or John Robinson in the episcopate now.

It is equally accepted that in our time the Church is dominated by evangelicals. As a committed Anglo-Catholic, I am pretty relaxed by that. Movements wax and wane; in the 1930s Anglo-Catholics held sway, post-war it was the liberals and now the evangelicals. I am, however, concerned that despite evangelical successes in church planting and in the growth of large congregations this has not halted or even slowed overall decline. Church growth needs to happen on a much wider and more diverse scale than it is at present if we are to sustain even our current position.

The Centre for Theology and Community has this week published a new report on church growth as seen in seven Anglo-Catholic parishes in London (both north and south of the river, in London and Southwark dioceses). This is an important and significant report, the first, as far as I know of its kind. It is important, not in the least for including parishes from both the traditionalist stream of anglo-catholicism and those who embrace the ordination of women. The Centre is exactly what is says it is. It is a theologically-based organisation working “to equip churches to transform their communities.” All their publications are worth reading and provide important information on what is happening in the church and in communities.

Read here


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