Monday, February 22, 2010

Archbishop Rowan Williams on fresh expressions of church, ministry, sacraments

There is a fascinating podcast of Archbishop Rowan Williams being interviewed about fresh expressions, especially in light of the Synod report just out regarding fresh expressions. (Hat tip Jonny and originating from a collective in Nottingham called Nomad (who seem to have a knack of interviewing some interesting people, including Tom Wright, Greg Boyd and others)).

I’m teaching a class on Church, Ministry, Sacraments in the first semester and might just use the podcast in my first lecture. Here’s is my summary of the Archbishop:

Church is people encountering Jesus, with others, in a life changing way. This happens through the baptism and communion (sacraments). This has also happened in the past, and thus we have the tradition of the church. The task of ministry includes the gift of discernment – of seeing God giving gifts to the church, both in contemporary culture and historically in the tradition – and of learning how to use these gifts – God’s gifts to the church – creatively and well. Key challenges for fresh expressions of church include giving time to listen, to appreciate the words rubbed smooth by generations that can carry us when we find life thin. Key challenges for existing churches are to appreciate new forms as real stuff, and not just an eccentric fringe.

Note how similar the ecclesiology (understanding of church) is to what the Archbishop wrote in 2004, in the Foreword to Mission-shaped Church: Church Planting and Fresh Expressions of Church in a Changing Context

‘church’ is what happens when people encounter the Risen Jesus and commit themselves to sustaining and deepening that encounter in their encounter with each other (vii)

I wonder what would happen if all Vicars pinned that wee definition to their Prayer Book?

Posted by steve at 10:40 AM