Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Growing on the frontier

Some thoughts from watching American GA.

Some opening words from someone about Portland got me thinking. Someone was talking about the establishment of the city of Portland followed by the first Unitarian church there 20 years later. It got me thinking about the value of that American expansion in terms of church planting. As the population went west, there was a need for new churches because there were new cities. This gives an institutional memory for church planting. There was a need for it, so it was done.

In Britain, that could never happen. I suppose there was some church planting in the British Empire - in Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, but then we've lost those institutional memories as those countries and churches became more independent.

In the workshop about why liberal churches are growing the speaker said that the youngest churches grow the fastest, the oldest East coast churches are more in decline.

The problem in Britain is that most of our congregations began in a short period between 1660 and 1700. We have very little institutional memory of church planting.

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