The Church of England may be turning to other traditions for revitalization amid plummeting numbers, in hopes that “fresh” preaching styles will reinvigorate and reverse their declining membership.
While the cathedrals and church buildings The Church of England owns are impressive, “these days that’s not enough to fill the pews,” the Associated Press reported Thursday.
A proposal that was likely to be approved Friday at a synod meeting would allow local bishops to decide who can preach sermons in Anglican churches without previous approval from the Archbishop of Canterbury and York, which is the case at present.
“The Church of England thinks it can make itself more attractive by resorting to style,” said Gavin Ashenden, who is a former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II.
“It’s the end of the snobbishness that the Church of England has confined itself with,” he said, expressing concern that the Church might suffer a “demographic meltdown.”
The average age of a Church of England parishioner is 68.
Yet many were moved by the enthusiastic preaching style of Anglican Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, made famous by his sermon on the power of love at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle earlier this year.
Sharon Osbourne, a music manager and a host of the “X-factor” opined recently that “churches are empty because the services are boring,” arguing they need “more of the emotion we saw from the Bishop [Curry], who was animated and fabulous.”
Many ministers from independent churches that the Church recognizes already preach in Church of England parishes yet the new rules might yield even more, including some from primarily black congregations.
“At grassroots level there are already many vibrant examples of churches working together. It can only be a good thing to have that happening more intentionally,” according to Chris Cartwright, the General Superintendent of the Elim Pentecostal Church.
Such togetherness may result in an uncomfortable clash of both style and substance, a “culture shock” or sorts, AP noted.
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Source: Christian Post