Sunday, June 29, 2008

Learning Journal 14 - 'The Church of England in the 20th Century'

I have found this module to be interesting but at the same time somewhat depressing. Depressing because it would seem, that for most of the 20th century, with a few shining exceptions, the Church of England has been largely out of touch with the lives and concerns of ordinary, working people.
I kept asking myself ‘where is the social conscience of this church?’
It seems to have spent a large proportion of its time embroiled in debates and controversies which are completely irrelevant to the vast majority of people in this country. Of course there have been priests up and down the land who have faithfully preached the gospel, served the poor, and stood up for the oppressed, but the positions of power within the church seem to have been have been restricted to an elite, Oxbridge educated few clinging on to the vestiges of privilege.

It was only towards the end of the course that my faith was restored as Bishop Roger Sainsbury gave a lecture on ‘The Church of England and Social Action’. He highlighted the important work of Charles Gore, William Temple, and David Sheppard amongst others in stressing the church’s responsibility in addressing the injustices in society. I am glad to see that the church has changed and is changing in that it has begun to rediscover its calling to ‘remember the poor’.

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