L. Woodhead: 'Once the Church strts to exst for the bnfit of actvsts alone, it ceases to be a Chrch'

The single most significant factor seems to be a willingness to abandon a paternalistic mode of action. The bulk of the Church’s social activities – and many congregational ones, too – were shaped in the 19th century in response to the demands of urban industrial modernity, and missionary activity. They were premised on social inequalities that were rarely challenged, and had to do with dispensing salvation goods, educational goods, and material goods to “God’s children”, and the “poor and needy”.

Those forms of Christian activity which have not shaken off this paternalistic mode are in trouble. Where they have given way to genuine partnership, and co-creation, they tend to be doing much better.

Rather than ignoring or repressing the Church of England’s deep insertion into society, the time seems ripe for rediscovering it as its saving asset. My point about a Church without congregations is tongue-in-cheek. Success always depends, in part, on activists. But once the Church starts to exist for the benefit of activists alone, it ceases to be a Church, and becomes a sect.

Read it all from the Church Times.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Religion & Culture

2 comments on “L. Woodhead: 'Once the Church strts to exst for the bnfit of actvsts alone, it ceases to be a Chrch'

  1. dwstroudmd+ says:

    So the adaptation of the Church to the needs of society in industrial modernity is now wanting, but only due to paternalism? Simplistic in its implication that the eradication of paternalism will restore the Church, the suggestion that the Church marry the culture today will be similarly decried in subsequent culture. Who marries the spirit of the age will soon be divorced. The best insight here is that when the Church is merely activist, it ceases to be the Church. That is worth audition.

  2. Terry Tee says:

    Deeply depressing to read. Could hardly believe it. Baptisms must not take place in a Sunday service ‘among people they hardly know’ but instead must make the family the centre of the celebration. And to think that I was under the delusion that all this was to do with faith in God! Far from being the solution her prescription would finalise the death of the Church by removing from it anything distinctive.