The Church of England is finally acknowledging the significance of Fresh Expressions, a national conference of 600 participants heard on Saturday.
The event, Catching Sight, hosted by the diocese of Leicester, was designed to take stock of the movement, which dates back to 2004 and has registered 3400 different groups. It has a parallel in pioneer ministry.
Canon George Lings, director of the Church Army Research Unit, took a Screwtape approach to demonstrate the unwillingness of the inherited Church to accept the positive findings of reports such as The Day of Small Things and From Anecdote to Evidence.
This manifested itself, he suggested, in everything from ignoring the reports, to complacency ”” “Cathedrals now sing Graham Kendrick songs so we know we’re up to date” ”” and ridicule: “Five Christians meeting at a bus stop, so it must be a Fresh Expressions church.”