Church Planting and Church Renewal
It's probably time to do some updating. The following is a mixture of analysis of populations and gut instinct.
There are large areas of the UK where people could not get to a nearby Unitarian church even if they wanted to.
There are very isolated towns such as Carlisle and Peterborough where we could plant new churches.
The other place I would aim is the large urban area of south Yorkshire, planting in either Barnsley or Rotherham or looking to grow the cause in Wakefield.
The Blackcountry is another large urban area with tiny churches. You could either look into resurrecting the Unitarian communities in Dudley or Wolverhampton or plant something new in Walsall (my hometown).
I would also look into big towns in the south of England: Swindon, Milton Keynes, High Wycombe, Basildon or Aylesbury.
Given the population density in London itself there is a huge potential for church-planting and church renewal. Any church in London has a huge population to reach out to, and any neighbourhood in London could potential sustain a Unitarian church. There is a huge amount of potential for growth in London.
Then there are cities, very large urban centres, with very small Unitarian communities. These are places where there is a real need for renewal. The Unitarian churches in Newcastle, Glasgow, Coventry, Cardiff and Liverpool should be much bigger. They should have full time Ministers. None of them do.
What to start with? I would begin by looking urgently into the small congregations in large urban areas. What do they need? How are their finances? Do they want a Minister? I would put a lot of resources into those big cities: Newcastle, Glasgow, Coventry, Cardiff and Liverpool. They need Ministers. This may be the kind of place that American Ministers may be the most use.
I would see how we could plant new churches (or go into churches with almost no members) in the Blackcountry and Yorkshire. I would ask wealthy districts and local churches to support this.
I would look into planting or reviving in London. Given the dense population you could look into all kinds of different church planting in London: youth congregations, house churches, particularly distinct theological congregations, particularly distinct musical congregations. London is the best place to experiment with evangelism and church planting.
Do we have the political will for this? Hmm. I might leave that question to my next post.