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Saturday, August 23, 2003

IS THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND DOOMED? I know I’m a little late reacting to this, but my parents have been around and needed to be entertained. A Theo Hobson, whose name sounds familiar although quite say from where, has penned a short piece in the Guardian in which he convincingly predicts the final demise of the Church of England. His basic premise is that the Church’s foundation was a unity between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals, which was only possible because of the linkage between state and church established about five centuries ago. Although the process of disestablishment started long ago it is only now that it is beginning to get serious. Read the whole article it’s well worth it.
If New Labour keeps on winning it is quite clear to me that Rowan Williams will have been the last Archbishop of Canterbury selected by the Prime Minister. It is also impossible that a future Conservative government would reverse disestablishment, so I think that we Anglicans need to start thinking about a future in which the CofE will no longer exist as a unified and institutionalised church. I agree with Hobson that this will bring a religious reawakening to Britain. I just find it disappointing that it doesn’t seem to be possible that this can happen in a unified Anglican church. Unlike Hobson I am also more concerned about the possibility that in places where the church used to bind people together, such as in rural areas or abroad where I am at the moment, the need to choose either the evangelical path or the more traditional one, will split communities to the extent that they won’t be large and strong enough to even maintain a proper church. That is in essence where my main fear for Anglicanism lies I suppose. On a positive note, I have to say that all these conflicts and problems don’t impact on actual everyday church life and that’s a good reason to be optimistic.

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