Graham Cray comments on Abide

Friday, 26 October, 2012

Graham Cray comments on the story of Abide in a column originally published in the CEN on 26th October 2012.

The terms 'sodal' and 'modal' can be confusing to some, but missiologists Ralph Winter and George Lings speak of the church in these two forms:

  • modal - the local, well established, church, with a mission open to all (at least in theory);
  • sodal - the mission community working more flexibly and seeking to reach those untouched by the modal.

To belong to the first, you only have to turn up. Membership of the second involves commitment to its specific mission. This framework creates space to innovate within the existing structures of the church and highlights that innovation has always been part of the character of the church of God.

Just over 12 months ago Ben Edson became Vicar and Missioner to a parish in south Manchester. He had been in the city for 10 years, during which time he pioneered Sanctus1, a fresh expression of church, and helped set up the Nexus arts café.

A few months into his appointment at St James and Emmanuel, Didsbury, he found himself asking,

How can we affirm the modal yet at the same time search for something more sodal within it?

This is a learning point from: