Is it really Church? (Rowan Williams)

Monday, 1 December, 2008

Rowan WilliamsRowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, asks 'Is it really church?'

The "strength" of the Church is never anything other than the strength of the presence of the Risen Jesus. And one thing this means is that, once we are convinced that God in Jesus Christ is indeed committed to us and present with us, there is a certain freedom to risk everything except those things that hold us to the truth of his presence – Word and sacrament and the journey into holiness. These will survive, whatever happens to this or that style of worship, this or that bit of local Christian culture, because the presence of Jesus in the community will survive.

Fresh Expressions, I've suggested, has helped us see something of this liberating vision. It's true, from one point of view, that this takes us beyond a concern with denominational identity; and for some this is worrying. Is it really Anglican, or Methodist, or Baptist? What I hope is that, in the next phase of the work of Fresh Expressions, as it continues to enter more fully into the bloodstream of the churches, we start asking instead – of Fresh Expressions, but also of some of our inherited patterns – 'Is it really Church?'

Mixed EconomyThe remainder of this article can be found in the debut issue of mixed economy, a new journal from Fresh Expressions, which is available free of charge from the Fresh Expressions website.

Other articles include Howard Mellor (on evangelism as parable), Steven Croft (on milestones on the journey), Brother Damian SSF (on mission and spirituality) and Ian Adams (on international perspectives and developments).

About the author: 

Rowan Williams is Archbishop of Canterbury.

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