Saturday, December 30, 2006

Will the Continuum Survive?

I draw your attention to the very blunt and less-than-encouraging piece of this title written by Death Bredon over at The Patristic Anglican


ACC Member said...

I read a book on church growth about one year ago. It made several interesting points that I believe are worth consideration. His premise was that the optimum size for any parish is between 36 to 40 people. It that size parish, you have a true feeling of "family", a very nurturing enviornment that attracts many of todays people. When a parish gets larger than this it begins to loose that nurturing "family" appeal. When a parish gets over 40 people he believes they should begin a new parish in another area where a group of the parishioners live. For a period of over 100 years the Methodist Church grew by leaps and bounds as it planted parishes in every little town and on some of the hillsides in the country between. When in the 1960's the Methodists changed their focus and began closing/combining parishes, the church went in to decline and has been loosing massive numbers of members each year since the 1960's. As he points out, few parishes of 36 members can support a full-time clergyman. He points out the need for licensed "local priests" who may be a local member, who is devout and given limited training to be able to celebrate communion/baptize/officiate weddings and funerals. The other option to "local priests" is traveling "circuit driving" priests similar to the Methodist circuit riders of the 1800's. The ciruit driving priests might visit each parish to give communion once per month, with a local licensed Lay Reader to conduct Morning Prayer the other Sundays. I think this suggestions or variations thereof might be helpful to the Continuum.

Alice C. Linsley said...

It is tragic that the bishops of the Anglican catholic strains have not sought to unite, seeing that there are no dogmatic differences. A dose of humility might help matters.

Fr. Bredon is correct that more priests are needed, but where will they be prepared? Nashotah now prepares women for the priesthood. The shortage of clergy perpetuates another costly deficiency for the Continuum, namely a lack of deep and thorough catechesis. The internet may serve to satisfy that need somewhat, if Anglican blogs continue to provide the rich material they are at this time, but there is no substitute for parish catechists.

ACC Member said...

All Continuing Anglicans need to pray for their respective bishops to truly desire and work toward unity. If all were united, the resources would be there to share the APCK Seminary and perhaps begin others. Deacons and Lay Readers, if properly trained, can be effective at teaching the Cathecism. The Roman Church has a prgram called "Why Catholic" that is being widely used in our area. The seekers and the faithful members meet in study groups to learn the Cathecism and study it together. It is an effective program showing benefits in the area parishes.

Anonymous said...

ACL and the Ohio Anglicanare spot on. But the Bishops need to get going!

The Continuum is not supposed to be an exclusive religious club for effette, erudite Anglican snobs, but the English-Speaking/Iodamtic Expression of the Church.

Presently, however, the Continuum feels much more like the former, not the later.

Anonymous said...

"ohio anglican said....I read a book on church growth about a year ago...." Do you remember the author and title?


ACC Member said...

The book is entitled "Small Congregation, Big Potential: Ministry In the Small Membership Church" by Lyle E. Schaller. One must remember, Rev. Schaller is a United Methodist, and not all of the book would be appropriate to Continuing Anglicans---IE: some of the "modern" worship techniques, sermons via video tape, etc. But if you weed out that which we don't approve of there is useful information. He also wrote "The Ice Cube Is Melting" (about the UMC where many of the same points were made). It is published by Abingdon Press and is available from Cokesbury. Another excellent book on church growth is written by an Anglican Rector, entitled "Your Church Can Thrive" by The Rev. Harold Percy, also by Abingdon Press. It has fabulous suggestions for growing a congregation. Both are truly MUSY READ books. Especially the later should be on Continuum reading lists for Holy Orders.