The Church of England is breaking new ground in being “missional,” in the sense of changing the church to fit a particular culture. It is going after the “spiritual but not religious” crowd by starting what they are calling “a pagan church.”
From the London Telegraph:
The church is training ministers to create “a pagan church where Christianity [is] very much in the centre” to attract spiritual believers.Ministers are being trained to create new forms of Anglicanism suitable for people of alternative beliefs as part of a Church of England drive to retain congregation numbers.
Reverend Steve Hollinghurst, a researcher and adviser in new religious movements told the BBC: “I would be looking to formulate an exploration of the Christian faith that would be at home in their culture.”He said it would be “almost to create a pagan church where Christianity was very much in the centre.”
The Church Mission Society, which is training ministers to “break new ground”, hopes to see a number of spiritual people align themselves with Christianity.
Andrea Campenale, of the Church Mission Society, said: “Nowadays people, they want to feel something; they want to have some sense of experience.“We live in reflective England where there’s much more of a focus on ourselves. I think that is something we can bring in dialogue with the Christian society.”
The Church Mission Society’s webpage advertising their pioneer training scheme states: “Wherever in the world the mission of Jesus goes on, the church needs pioneer mission leaders to break new ground.”
“Hopes to see a number of spiritual people align themselves with Christianity”!
I do think that Christianity should re-cover and re-emphasize its heritage of Biblical spirituality–as in John Kleinig’s Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today–to satisfy the spiritual craving that is sending so many people in wrong directions.
But I doubt that this is what the “pagan church” folks have in mind. It sounds more like paganizing Christianity to make it more palatable. But really, it’s just the logical step in ecumenism, the interfaith movement, syncretism, religious relativism, and the church growth movement.
Watch for this trend here. It may become the newest trend.