Within Rochdale Archdeaconry, many churches lie within a catholic, sacramental tradition and for their mission and ministry to young adults to be authentic, there is a rich seam of tradition and symbolism available to create new forms of worship and to shape community. Some of the following resources explore what Fresh Expression or new forms of worship and community might look like in this tradition:
“Fresh Expressions conjures up children’s clubs, cafe church and innovative youth work, yet this is not the whole story. Churches from the traditional wings of the church are being equally creative and imaginative, exploring alternative ways of worshipping and being Christian communities. Their focus may be more contemplative than action-packed, but the place of encounter with God needs space and silence. Practitioners from such churches tell their stories and reflect theologically on the initiatives they are exploring. Some of the very best names in the field have contributed to this book which will make a unique and important contribution to the understanding and practice of mission today: Rowan Williams, Brian McLaren, Steven Croft, Stephen Cottrell, Richard Giles, Phyllis Tickle, Karen Ward, Ian Mobsby and priest missioners from traditional Anglican parishes and emerging churches in the US.”
The Revd Dr John Twisleton, Rector of Horsted Keynes in Chichester Diocese wrote this review of the book:
“Mission takes time. Like all great achievements it needs time and effort even if it is also the work of God. There are no quick fixes since it is about building communities, and relationships take time to build not least that with God himself. That insight recurs across the work of eighteen thinkers and pioneers from the catholic tradition of UK and US Anglicanism whose contributions are assembled infresh expressions in the sacramental tradition.
The book starts magnificently with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s December 2008 address at the Coventry Cathedral fresh expressions pilgrimage Eucharist. Rowan Williams sees the Anglocatholic view of mission as primarily patient and community oriented, valuing action – including sacraments – more than words. The book moves on, a shade unevenly, between mission theory and practice – more theory than practice – to end with a Benedictine Abbot’s warning. Letting God be God rather than what we would like him to be indeed takes time, but it is the key to mission and unlocking the spiritual energy that drives it.
The book represents an awakening among Anglocatholics to the challenge of fresh expressions which traces back to the 2004 report on mission-shaped church. As Bishop Steven Croft notes in his chapter, Anglocatholics seem to have held back initially, like Gamaliel, to see whether the national initiative much favoured by Evangelicals would go anywhere. They are also concerned about the lack of sacramental vision in the 2004 report. Now a sacramental network exists within fresh expressions and has sponsored this publication.
Alongside short tasters on alternative worship, new monasticism, Contemplative Fire etc. this compendium draws out a basis for forming new ecclesial communities through contextual mission that commends patient endeavour geared to make space for God’s action. Fresh expressions of the church must be more than human constructs. To be so they need to be fully sacramental. As the Archbishop puts it, having priests ‘is not a matter of mechanical requirements imposed on a spontaneous human gathering, but a matter of how the human gathering remembers that it isn’t just a human gathering. Properly understood, the sacramental life in a congregation is inseparable from the impulse to silence, adoration, willingness to receive – all the things that break us free from the tyranny of hectic activism and trying to achieve’.
The same point is made in the chapter written by Contemplative Fire leaders, namely that the discipline of order and adherence to age old Christian disciplines can foster spontaneity and freedom. Creativity and playfulness emerge best out of deeply structured situations. Brian McLaren expresses this in his quotation on the cover of the book: ‘the road to the future goes through the past’. Both Sue Wallace and Phyllis Tickle pick up on how reading the trials and achievements of the saints intrigues, excites and energises the pioneers of our day.
fresh expressions in the sacramental tradition is a timely resource as the Archbishops’ fresh expressions initiative changes gear and leadership 5 years on from Mission-shaped Church. This book should inspire, intrigue and invite fresh energies into a new phase of Christian outreach that is both contextual and true to the faith of the church through the ages.”
A DVD featuring stories of fresh expressions in the sacramental tradition alongside a keynote address by the Archbishop of Canterbury from 2008’s national day of pilgrimage to Coventry Cathedral.
- Visions (York)
- Moot (London)
- Critical Mass (Peterborough)
- Glorious (London)
- Contemplative Fire (Nationwide)
- feig (Gloucester)
- Blessed (Gosport)
- A sermon preached by Rowan Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury in Coventry Cathedral on 8th December 2008 exploring fresh expressions of church in the sacramental tradition.
“How can one achieve fresh expressions of church against a backdrop of millennia of church history, liturgy and tradition? “Creative Ideas for Alternative Sacramental Worship” explores a theology and method of creative, alternative worship which returns to the heart of the encounter with God – through ritual, symbol and in its ultimate expression, in sacramentalism. Created by an active practitioner in this field, Church of England priest and curator of the alternative worship experience Blessed, Simon Rundell provides examples, vision and practical know-how to enable readers to create and engage in alternative worship which is innovative, missionary and creative, using the richness of tradition and the depth of the catholic and orthodox spiritualities. This work provides a DVD of material for the reader to adapt and implement as well as a wealth of ideas for the reader’s own expressions of postmodern worship”
This book and CD-Rom package offers worship resources which aim to help spark and renew imagination and creativity in the church’s worship and engage with contemporary culture and the arts. It contains liturgies, meditations, prayers, creative ideas, visuals, music and rituals for major festivals and feast days in the church year – Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Harvest and Advent.
Johnny Baker has a blog where he writes frequently about alternative worship: http://jonnybaker.blogs.com/jonnybaker/alternative_worship/
A website with lots of resources relating to alternative worship: http://www.alternativeworship.org/directory_books.html
The Fresh Expressions website has a number of stories featuring catholic Fresh Expressions: https://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/category/story-tags/anglo-catholic
The combination of Fresh Expressions and the explosion of interest in monastic spirituality is resulting in the emergence of new monastic communities inspired by historic patterns of religious life, but reframed for the contemporary world. This worldwide movement is seen as a radical expression of ecclesial community and was named in Mission Shaped Church as one of the leading new forms of church that would help people reconnect with Christianity. A new monastic community may be a dispersed group of families and individuals meeting to share meals and worship, it might be a group connected virtually; it might be a youth group exploring monastic spirituality. In this book, leaders of traditional religious communities and emerging ‘new monastic’ communities tell their stories and reflect on how an ancient expression of being church is inspiring and shaping a very new one.
If you are interested in joining a new monastic community, Manchester Diocese has a new initiative Peregrini