The Empire Strikes Back?

Unsplash – Dan Senior

A movement has emerged within the Church of England, although it appears it may be diametrically opposed to the emerging church. ‘Save the Parish’ (http://savetheparish.com) wants a “concerted campaign to save the parish system, as the Church of England has inherited it.” And it appears to be gaining some traction, including the twittersphere.

The patchy website indicates that the movement is still developing goals but notes that, “‘a building and a stipend and long, costly college-based training for every leader of the church’… sounds like an ambition worth having.” Thinking Anglicans also link to a presentation from the esteemed Alison Milbank argueing for the preservation of the traditional parish system.

I’m not an Anglican so the finer points may be lost on me, but it appears that the ‘Save the Parish’ movement is ultimately a protest against the perceived, deliberate, demolition of traditional Anglicanism to make way for new church plants detached from the parish system.

The Church of Scotland has taken a broadly similar, if diluted, approach to that depicted of the Anglican hierarchy. We too have chosen to reduce our traditional structures and buildings. We too have set our sights on the reduction of stipendiary ministries. The question is, will we also experience a protest movement?

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