Very interesting discussion yesterday with Annie from Norwich Diocese (a very happening place, Norwich Diocese, and I’m not being ironic, there are lots of great things going on there). Annie’s writing an M.A. dissertation on something to do with women who lead Fresh Expressions (FEs).
What came out, talking to Annie, is more the discrepancy I perceive – which may or may not be justified – in the different value given to lay and ordained leadership in the Church, and how it’s much easier to be taken seriously if you are wearing a dog collar.
I think the lay / ordained question throws up interesting points for Fresh Expressions – especially if we want to hold Communion services in a style that’s suitable for our congregation. We’re lucky here to have a vicar on tap, but many FEs don’t, so how is it expected that they will offer people the sacraments?
I’m all for order and accountability, but what about flexibility and adaptability and initiative? The Assemblies website has a ‘rapid response’ section to deal with current events, but the C of E is, on the whole, fairly ponderous. Some FEs could easily start, grow and move on to something new before any adaptations have been made at the centre.