the story since Breaking New Ground
Both reports are accessible to most local church leaderships and make
good study or discussion volumes. They make excellent companions to
contributions from the worldwide Church
The sources, insights and comments from the world Church are wide.
If we ask, what might the `world Church' contribute to new ways of being
church in England, we can see that:
It offers the opportunity of widening our awareness, expanding our
imagination and vision.
It offers the resources of people: Christians from other countries who
come to England and those Christians encountered by people from
England going abroad. This cross cultural experience and encounter
can both challenge and change us.
It offers different ways of doing things. Those ways may not directly
transplant into English culture and context, but they may be adapted or
provide spin offs that fit our situation better.
The `world Church' can open our eyes to traditions within our own history
that have disappeared or gone underground.
Many Anglican mission agencies now provide a substantial resource for
the missionary church in England.
Finally, the witness of the world Church is constantly flowing into the
Church of England from our international connections. Perhaps there can
be a more intentional, more open humility to reflect on that influence
and what can be learned and applied practically from it.
Breaking New Ground exemplified its time and context. It encouraged
containment, safety and gradual development within the existing legal
framework, and it helped legitimize church planting. But the `how to'
question that was fundamental to Breaking New Ground is being rapidly
overtaken by a more radical question `why to'. There are now fewer
books on church planting practice, and many more reflect radically on
what church is and think creatively about it. In response to the changes
of the world and the crisis of the Church there is an increasing interest in
exploring `what is church, and what is church for?'