This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
From the Archbishop of Canterbury's Address to the General Synod (found through Jordon Cooper, who found it through Jonny Baker):
Some time ago, in the course of a conversation with the Archbishop of Sydney, we found we agreed wholeheartedly – pause for effect – we agreed wholeheartedly that the life of the church should be a matter of verbs before it's a matter of nouns – and that those verbs have God as their subject. God calls, God makes a difference of such a kind that a community appears, bound to and in his Son by the Spirit's power. For the moment, never mind the structures and the precise assurances as to what we agree about. What matters at first is that we are at one in recognising that we are called and who has called us… Mission, it's been said, is finding out what God is doing and joining in. And at present there is actually an extraordinary amount going on in terms of the creation of new styles of church life. We can call it church planting, 'new ways of being church' or various other things; but the point is that more and more patterns of worship and shared life are appearing on the edge of our mainstream life that cry out for our support, understanding and nurture if they are not to get isolated and unaccountable. These may vary from the classic church plant model – a new congregation generated by an older one – to the Thursday night meeting for young people once a fortnight, the Sunday evening Songs of Praise in the pub, the irregular but persistent networking with the people you met at Greenbelt or Spring Harvest, the mums and toddlers event on Tuesday morning or the big school Eucharist once a term which is the only contact many parents and friends will have with real worshipping life. All of these are church in the sense that they are what happens when the invitation of Jesus is received and people recognise it in each other. Can we live with this and make it work? This is where the unexpected growth happens, where the unlikely contacts are often made; where the Church is renewed (as it so often is) from the edges, not the centre. We need a positive willingness to see and understand all this – and to find the patterns and rhythms and means of communication that will let everyone share the benefits.