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Director of Church Society Calls on Christians to Take Courage

Director of Church Society Calls on Christians to Take Courage The Revd Dr Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society, has called on all Christians to take courage in the fight for Christian orthodoxy within the Church of England.   In his essay in the Winter 2022 edition...

Barnabas Fund Report: Help Save Lives of Persecuted Christians in Myanmar

Barnabas Fund Reports Save lives of persecuted Christians in Myanmar 7 January 2022 “I don’t know if this poor family would still be alive without help,” said one of our project partners this week. She was talking about 33-year-old “Pah” and her children, one of many...

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism: Towards a Strategy by Mark Pickles

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism Towards a Strategy By Mark Pickles “The word ‘earnestly’ is significant, the situation is so urgent, the need so great, so we need to pray, but to pray with focussed persistence and intent so that more labourers might be raised up. “All...

Christian Nurse Fired for Wearing a Cross Necklace Wins Employment Case

Christian Nurse Fired for Wearing a Cross Necklace Wins Employment Case   Mary Onuoha, a former NHS nurse, won her claim of constructive dismissal after being fired for refusing to stop wearing a small gold cross she’d been given at her baptism.  Ms Onuoha is a...

Westminster Conference Report by George Curry

Westminster Conference Report By George Curry The Westminster Conference met in the Regent Hall, Oxford Street, London, on 6 and 7 December 2021. On day 1, Andrew Roycroft spoke in person on Charnock and Regeneration. The next two sessions were via zoom due to the...

Oak Hill to Host Seminar for Those Considering Ministry in the Church of England

Oak Hill to Host Seminar for Those Considering Ministry in the Church of England Oak Hill College will host a seminar for those considering ministry in the Church of England on Saturday, 29 January.  The seminar is “specifically designed to explore, engage with, and...

Pilgrim’s Process by Peter Sanlon

Pilgrim’s Process By Peter Sanlon One of the best known Bible verses tells us 'God is love.' (1 Jn. 4:8) Being loving is vital because of what the first half of that verse teaches - 'Whoever does not love does not know God.’ So on our pilgrimage we must be people who...

The Truth Will Set You Free, Book Review

The Truth Will Set You Free George Carey Isaac Publishing, Virginia, 2021 (ISBN: 9781952450136, 233pp, £24.95)   Randall Davidson pioneered the phenomenon of archiepiscopal retirement when he stepped down from Canterbury in 1928. The practice took hold and most...

What About All Those Contradictions: Chuck Collins

“All Those Contradictions” By Chuck Collins What about Anglicans and the Bible? Some say that it’s only helpful for his teaching on morality — when, in fact, Jesus’s harshest words were reserved for moralists of his day. Others say, “the Bible doesn’t condemn...

The Visible Churches Warned: JC Ryle

The Visible Churches Warned By JC Ryle 2. I ask my readers to observe that in every epistle the Lord Jesus says, 'I know your works'. That repeated expression is very striking. It is not for nothing that we read these words seven times over. To one church the Lord...

General Synod Update

Last November, the General Synod of the Church of England held its first formal online Group of Sessions. As anyone who can imagine spending three days on Zoom might understand, this was not an experience to be relished: it was therefore a relief to learn that the business previously scheduled for February is to be postponed until late April, when it is hoped (perhaps somewhat optimistically?) that gathering in person will be possible. The agenda for that sitting is yet to be determined (but seems certain to include some discussion of the controversial ‘Living in Love and Faith’ project on human sexuality).

Meanwhile, in late February there will be a one-day informal remote meeting of the Synod which, we are told, ‘will be focusing on looking forward to the aftermath of the pandemic and how the Church can help our communities recover’. At the time of writing, neither the agenda for this special meeting nor the motion(s) for discussion has been published, so at this stage one can only speculate on the form the proceedings might take.

On the face of it, it is encouraging that the discussion is planned to focus on ‘recovery’, recognising that the current situation must soon be brough to an end. At a time when many are facing bereavement and ill-health as a direct result of the coronavirus itself, as well as (to perhaps an even greater extent) the devastating long-term effects of the measures taken to control the virus, local churches have a unique opportunity to offer practical, pastoral and spiritual support, and a message of hope. Some will rise to this challenge admirably.

The Church of England is, however, nothing if not highly disparate, and for much of the Church there are increasingly urgent and serious questions about its own recovery, let alone its ability to assist the recovery of others. A leaked internal document has recently suggested that a fifth of worshippers may not return in the aftermath of COVID (compounding already falling numbers). At the start of the pandemic, the national Church was so enthusiastic about the closure of churches for both public and private prayer, that it sought to forbid clergy from praying alone in their own church buildings. Now that, in the third lockdown, the government has permitted churches to open for public worship, the majority have declined to do so.

In parts of the world where Christians are routinely persecuted, they regularly put their lives at immediate risk by meeting together to pray, because they understand that such gatherings are as essential to the Body of Christ as, say, an open supermarket is to the sustenance of our physical bodies. The Church of England urgently needs to consider whether it really thinks church attendance matters.

 

Prudence Dailey is a longstanding lay member of the General Synod of the Church of England

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