One Church Fits All?

In response to an insightful comment on my post “Church Cocoon” I wrote the following:

It may be that we are being unfair to individual churches when we expect them to be everything Christians need throughout their lives. Maternity wards are great places to be born, but may not be the best places to grow up.

A recent post at Internet Monk explored a similar point.

What do blog readers think? Can any one institution or community, whether a church or something else, provide everything that a human being needs to navigate childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and the changes that ought to occur in one’s worldview over the course of one’s life?

If not, it is natural that people should move between them, and perhaps also in and out of them.

The biggest problem, in that case, are those communities which try to keep their members infantile and immature in their view of things.

Church One Size Doesn't Fit All


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  • Chris Eyre

    Here, the Anglican church has generally tried to cover all the bases (as it perhaps had to, as an established church), and you can find a widish variety of “flavours” between individual congregations. I attend two very regularly, and another two less frequently. One is evangelical, large and satisfies my desire to see actual social gospel work and to have people unafraid to talk theology, one is small and local to me, and keeps me in touch with some of my local community, the other two satisfy my occasional urge for really well done liturgy and traditional music and, in one case, the lack of an 8.00 communion on alternate weeks at my immediate parish church. That said, there are shades of Christian belief and practice which would not be best served in any of those, or even the more-catholic-than-the-Pope Anglican churches in a few nearby places, and none of them cater for egalitarian styles of organisation very well.

    You can get very broad indeed within a denomination, but probably not broad enough, and while the large church I mentioned does have five different Sunday congregations with some differences in style, I don’t think you could comfortably make one of them (say) Anglo-Catholic. As a result, even as broad as Anglicanism gets, you need what are effectively a set of different communities (congregations) to get there.