Recently, there has been talk of the identity of the United Kingdom as a Christian nation. Prime Minister David Cameron first made mention of it a couple of weeks ago, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, agreed.
Faith expression in the U.K. is certainly in flux. Part of that is a decline, but part of that is reconfiguration. That’s where this research comes in.
Below is a summary of a study on “fresh expressions” (yes, that’s a thing) in the United Kingdom.
You can download the full report here.
Between January 2012 and October 2013, the Church of England’s Church Army‘s Research Unit studied over 1000 cases of church planting and church growth from 10 dioceses of the Church of England. They looked at data from 1992 – 2012. Of the 1000 cases studied, 518 met criteria necessary to be labeled as what they call a “Fresh Expression of Church.”
“What is a Fresh Expression of Church?” one might ask. There are 10 basic parameters:
- Was something Christian and communal brought to ‘birth’ that was new and further, rather than an existing group modified?
- Has the starting group tried to engage with non-churchgoers?
- Does the resultant community meet at least once a month?
- Does it have a name that helps to give it an identity? An active search, not yet yielding a name, is allowed.
- Is there intention to be Church?
- Is it Anglican, or an Anglican partner in an Ecumenical project?
- There is some form of leadership recognized within, and also without.
- At least the majority of members (who are part of the public gathering) see it as their major expression of being church.
- There is aspiration for the four creedal ‘marks’ of church, or ecclesial relationships: “up/holy, in/one, out/apostolic, of/catholic.”
- There is intent to become ‘three self’ (self-financing, self-governing, and self-reproducing).
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SOURCE: Christianity Today