A couple of extracts from the Rowan Williams interview with Tim Nash mentioned in the previous post:
TN: We’ve got friends who are involved in various fresh expressions of church and it doesn’t always seem to sit that well in a particular diocese. Do you think that traditional church will always be seen as the real church as you already mentioned and fresh expressions will be seen as being on the eccentric fringe, and what can be done to free fresh expressions up from that image?
RW: I think it’s unavoidable that at the moment for a lot of people there’s the sense that this is the real stuff and the rest is just flannel. There are two things which I think the church has done officially to counter that in recent years. One is making it possible for bishops to create some space and so by giving what we call a Bishop’s Mission Order - to say, look there’s going to be some space there for some new things to happen, we’re not going to load this down with all the expectations of, you know, paying your assessments to the wider church and going through the hoops of administration. This is experimental territory. And a Bishop can say that’s going to happen.
We’ve also got now pioneer ministries in the Church of England, people who have been identified as having a calling to entrepreneurial, groundbreaking ministries and we recognise that we ordain them into those ministries, not just into the parish system. It’ll take a while but those are some of things in place to help make it a bit more mainstream.
TN: I was going to ask you about that, because I come from a Methodist tradition and they’ve started to recognise that these new forms of church take a long time to embed and to become financially sustainable and they’ve launched a number of 10 year funded projects. Is that something that the Church of England will be doing?
RW: That’s absolutely right and that’s part of the background that we bring to it as well. I think the partnership with the Methodist Church has been important for both churches, in fact. We’ve all learned from this process. But, yes, the assumption that you’ve got a new project and somehow it ought to be paying its way within three years, …well, …reality check! It’s not going to happen. And it may never happen and sometimes a project will blossom and then wither for all sorts of reasons which aren’t discreditable -it’s done its work, it’s sown some seeds. So, the long haul – deep breaths, I think – that’s very important.