'Church is not a Franchise' says Selwyn Lecturer

Published: 15th October 2013

 In the 2013 Selwyn Lecture held this week at Lichfield Cathedral, Canon George Lings compared fresh expressions of church as children with the same DNA but different characters rather than replicas of existing churches.

Starting with the spread of the church in the book of Acts, Canon Lings described how the church has always changed with each new culture it has entered without changing its core message, giving as examples the change to using the Greek language instead of Hebrew and described Jesus as Saviour (a word well understood in the Eastern Mediterranean at the time) instead of Messiah (which had resonance with the Jewish culture but was politically charged to Roman ears).

 He went on to look at recent theology around re-imagining the church, highlighting that Jesus Christ was someone from the edge of the Jewish religious establishment. Finally he showed how 'fresh expressions' of church demonstrate that there is a huge amount of principled flexibility in the way that churches look and work: 'church is a verb' he said, quoting former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams who said "Church is the event of Jesus' presence with its characteristic effect of gathering people around him and making them see one another differently as they see him."

The full text and presentation are available to download.

The Lecture is named after the Bishop Selwyn, a pioneer who became the first bishop of New Zealand and established churches around the Pacific before returning to England and relcutantly staying here as Bishop of Lichfield. He had a passion for the ongoing learning and training of the clergy under his care.

This continues to be the case in the diocese with a series of four lectures each year: the Selwyn lecture hosted by the Bishop of Lichfield and one in each Area of the diocese - Shrewsbury, Stafford and Wolverhampton. They continue to be key parts of ongoing education for the clergy; as a compulsory part of training new ministers (curates) and the closest thing to a three-line-whip as the bishops require of full-time clergy. The lectures are open to anyone, lay or ordained.

The next Bishop's Lecture is in Shrewsbury on 21 November. 
2014 dates are: 3 March (Wolverhampton area), 21 May (Stafford area), and 20 November (Shrewsbury area).
The 2014 Selwyn Lecture will be on Monday 20 October in Lichfield Cathedral.

Picture: Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield, Revd Lesley Bentley, Director of Ministry for the diocese and Canon George Lings, Director of Research for Church Army and this year's Selwyn Lecturer

Page last updated: Tuesday 15th October 2013 3:01 PM
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