Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rowan Williams debating with Ricky Gervais

Thanks to Ruth
for this link. I thought this was great, Gervais has clearly
thought about the subject, and Williams comes across as a great listener, and
through listening gains the right to put his point and get heard.

Ruth also links to this story from the Times, on new research on why people leave church by Richter and Francis. Their book 'Gone but Not Forgotten' is in my increasing pile of books I need to read, and 'Gone for Good?' is the follow up.

Here's a brief excerpt from the Times report:'Dr Francis said: “We discovered a variety of factors at work
in people's decisions to stop coming to church. Our hope is to offer a vision of
the church that will encourage people to come back and enjoy being together
again with other Christians.”
He said the churches should make sure they offer every Sunday the kind of warm welcome given to churchgoers at Christmas.
While this would not mean putting on a sparkling Christmas tree, crib and
mince pies each week, it would mean good cheer and lots of singable hymns. '

One a micro level, this seems to confirm the decision at our church not to have sung liturgy at the Christmas night service - if you don't know the tune, it's not 'singable' - and on a wider level the Richter and Francis research is in tune with the work of Mission Shaped Church and the ABofC's promotion of a 'mixed economy' church, where the church offers a variety of styles of worship and entry points to faith. 'Gone for Good' talks about a 'multiplex' model, which is a decent illustration, but I'd want to make sure that we don't reduce people to mere consumers of worship, there's a lot more to following Jesus than that.

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