…was a talk given by Terry Drummond, a visiting researcher to the Centre of Theology and Public Issues.  I won’t call it a lecture, he has still got a few years before retirement, and a title like that would be sufficiently controversial.

He came from the Diocese of Southwark, a diocese of the Church of England.  (Note on pronunciation: swallow the w and make the final syllable short.)  He holds a position there in lay ministry, allowing him to move between the positions of the ordained and non-ordained members of the C of E.  The church in his part of England is holding its own, unlike in other parts of England and the western world where it is in decline.  It is sustained in London through an influx of world Christianity, especially from the Third World.  These world Christians are willing to adopt the Church of England as an alternative to more conservative forms of Anglicanism that they come from.

Already they face the challenge of maintaining people in their culture as they face the new world.  What will happen when they reach the third generation?  Will they have new tricks to teach us?

Interestingly enough I found out that the Church of England works in similar lines as Presbyterianism when it comes to institutional life, despite having ‘bishops to show us the way’.  The recent initiative to ordain women as bishops was lost in the House of Laity, one of the three houses in the General Synod, the highest court of the Anglican Church.  A parish priest may have more influence at a local level than the bishop.

The issue of leadership (read gay bishops) is a spectre in the background.  Despite what the Conservative Democrat government might say the state church was not consulted in the debate over marriage equality.  (or is the government Liberal Conservative? I can never decide!)

The Church lost the dialogue with the Occupy St Paul’s Movement.  They were seen herded away by the Cathedral’s heritage masters.  The dialogue between faith and finance was not popularly regained.  Does finance lead mission, or does mission lead finance?

An interesting talk, having read extensively on the church union debate in New Zealand in the archives collection I am sorry that the Church of Christ in New Zealand never came to fruition.  Reformed and Episcopalian, what an interesting mix that would have made.

Can the Church of England still achieve the year of the Lord’s Jubilee:

Heal the broken-hearted,

Preach deliverance to the captives,

And recovery of sight to the blind,

Set at liberty them that are bruised.