Parish churches remain at the core of our understanding of how we serve our city. London is a series of small villages and neighbourhoods, and the concept of ‘parish’ still has real traction, even though people may commute across parish boundaries to attend their church of choice. Overlaying the parish system, and complementary to it, are other forms of church. These include:
1. Other forms of church
1.1 Network churches
Churches which serve people who are not necessarily locality-based, and whose relationships are more network than neighbourhood. Such churches will usually cross parish boundaries.
1.2 Ethnically-based churches
For many of London’s ethnic and nationality based groupings, English may be a second language, and they may wish to worship in the style and culture of their mother tongue and ethnic group. We work with such groups and enable those who wish to give Anglican expression to their worship and mission to be incorporated into our parochial structures.
1.3 Youth congregations
It is sometimes appropriate to set up a separate youth congregation in order to evangelise and disciple young people within their own cultural milieu. Normally such congregations are attached to a parish or network church.
2. Church planting
We continue to pursue a vigorous policy of Church Planting wherever mission opportunity arises, and wherever possibilities can be created.
Find out more about Church Planting.
3. Fresh expressions
The Church of England has written extensively about Fresh Expressions, defined as “a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church.”
- missional – serving people outside church
- contextual – listening to people and entering their culture
- educational – making discipleship a priority
- ecclesial – forming church.
Find out more about Fresh Expressions.
4. Other new ecclesial communities
Other new ecclesial communities include ambient expressions of church – alternative forms of church worship and networks typically suited to a generation and culture for whom inherited church patterns of worship don’t work.
These communities may be marked by:
- the exploration of new forms of worship and liturgical expression;
- a desire for artistic expression;
- a sense of shared community;
- peer-to-peer evangelism; and
- a deep commitment to justice and peace issues.
Community Ministry has been a formative and inspiring adjunct to our parish ministry in many urban and estate locations. Mostly it complements existing patterns of parish life, but sometimes new ecclesial communities will emerge though community ministry initiatives.
Find out more about Community Ministry.
6. New areas of housing and major development
New areas of housing and major development will be places where we look to build Christian community, either through a plant, or by promoting grass-roots growth of a Christian community in situ.
Find out more about Strategic Programmes.
Our schools offer huge potential for developing new or parallel worshipping communities alongside the parish church. This may be key to resourcing churches in new developments.
Find out more about Schools.
We continue to support and develop chaplaincy in HE, schools, prisons, the Armed Forces and other significant institutions and workplaces.
Find out more about Chaplaincy.
9. Missional communities
Another significant development is that of Missional Communities, defined as communities constituted by a specific missional purpose in relation to a network or a place. These will normally be communities without buildings, defined by relationship, meeting in homes, cafes and pubs; designed to be places where those who would be highly unlikely to join institutional church might find faith and be discipled.
Find out more about Missional Communities.
Image: “Love” by Toban B., used under Creative Commons licence. A reference to 1 Corinthians 3:14: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud”.