October Editorial & Parish Magazine

Here is 'The Messenger' downloable for free: October Magazine.

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Dear brothers and sisters,

“The current trajectory of our church is a huge mistake and the leadership is out of touch with ordinary churchgoers,” George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has written, “It is time to rally the troops.” The Church of England is facing something, well very un-Anglican, a rebellion, conducted not principally by Archbishops, despite +Carey’s helpful intervention; the rebellion is happening on the ground. Parish priests, church wardens, and parishioners are starting to fight back against what they perceive as an increasingly managerial church which is focusing its money, not on supporting struggling parishes, but on new diocesan jobs and schemes which bypass the parish, and the people actually serving their local community. If this is news to you then that is a very good thing, and it is most likely because we are part of pretty much the only diocese not taking part in this new trend. We have in the Diocese of Blackburn three of the best bishops in the Church of England, in my opinion, three bishops who simply pass on the Good News as they have received it, support their parishes, and their clergy. Bishops Julian, Philip, and Jill are doing an excellent job and deserve our full support. However, outside of our diocese things are very different and as a result many parishes feel they are under threat and so have launched a new initiative ‘Save the Parish’. One of the speakers at the launch event for ‘Save the Parish’ Alison Millbank, Canon Theologian from Southwell Cathedral, put the matter plainly: “the Church of England has totally capitulated to market values and managerialism… There has been a tendency to view the parish like some inherited embarrassing knick-knack from a great-aunt that you wish were in the attic.” As a result of the changes taking place in our national Church I have decided to do something I have never done before: run for General Synod. General Synod is the parliament of the English Church, electing representatives of clergy and of laity, and new elections to cover the next 5 years have been taking place. It is not something I particularly want to do. I have plenty to keep me busy in Chorley, I don’t particularly like arguments, and as I said, there is currently no threat to churches in the Blackburn area. So why do it to myself? Well to put it simply, if I don’t stand and fight who will? If in ten years time we find we have a bishop of Blackburn with different ideas to +Julian, who decides to start to sell off church buildings, reduce the number of clergy, and amalgamate parishes, and I haven’t stood, well I will have no-one to blame but myself. Someone had to stand up for the parish, the Christian Faith as we have received it, and the Church as it has been handed down… so why not me! Frankly I wouldn’t mind at all if I don’t get elected, so long as someone does who is standing up for the Faith and the Church which has been the spiritual bedrock of this nation for the past two thousand years. But who knows, I might get elected, the electors (all clergy in my case) might just vote for me, and then I will have to attend meetings in York and the South a few times a year. But that’s me, what can you do? Well, first, pray, for our national church, and for the representatives on General Synod. Second, support St George’s with your time, money, and talents, so that we keep ensuring that our parish is viable and somewhere from which we can share the Gospel. Finally, why not visit the website above and have a read about what is happening in the Church of England. The English Church is at a crossroads, and in the next generation may change out of all recognition, but there is still time to save what we all love, and there is still time to make a difference. Let us do our part to ensure that we have something valuable to hand on to our children and grandchildren, for their sakes, as well as ours.

God bless,

Fr Mike