counter cultural, in that it aims at faithful Christian discipleship within the
new context, rather than cultural conformity.
The gospel has to be heard within the culture of the day, but it always has
to be heard as a call to appropriate repentance. It is the incarnation of the
gospel, within a dominantly consumer society, that provides the Church of
England with its major missionary challenge.
This report has had to balance conciseness and focus with the need to
give a good overview of changes in society and of all that is developing
in areas of planting and fresh expressions of church. There is much
more that could be written, and additional material is available from
www.encountersontheedge.org.uk. A selection of useful books and other
resources is listed in the Appendix to this report.
This report has been both challenging and exciting in its research and
production. The working group has greatly valued the opportunity to reflect
on where and how God is at work in and through the Church, and how the
Church can be encouraged and shaped best to proclaim and live the gospel
Help, guidance and encouragement have been received from many people
during the development of this report. In particular we would like to express
our thanks to staff at Church House, the Church Commissioners and across
the dioceses, and to various consultants who have contributed to our
thinking, including Bob and Mary Hopkins, Stuart Murray Williams, Michael
Moynagh and Mal Caladine. We are also grateful to those who have shared
stories with us and which form the illustrative material and our thanks go
to Ian Dewar, Karen Hamblin, Mark Meardon and to Virginia Luckett. We
would also like to thank the Church Army, which very generously released
George Lings for three weeks to prepare a first draft of this report. We have
also been helped by the active support of a variety of denominations and
church streams from across the United Kingdom, who have freely shared
their own thinking and insights.
We believe the Church of England is facing a great moment of missionary
opportunity, and recommend our report for the consideration of our Church.