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UK Churches Find Ways to Attract More People

With the growing secularism in Europe, churches in the United Kingdom have been devising ways to attract more people to go to church.

For years, the Church of England has seen a decline in membership and less people attending services. To counter this, Church leaders are now considering asking preachers form other Christian congregations to bring in new preaching styles at the altar, according to the Associated Press.

It’s the end of the snobbishness that the Church of England has confined itself with. —Gavin Ashenden, a former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are the ones who allow preachers outside C of E to deliver sermons in its churches. Now, a proposal has been submitted which gives local bishops the authority to approve such actions.

Gavin Ashenden, a former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, welcomes this initiative. “The Church of England thinks it can make itself more attractive by resorting to style,” he said. “It’s the end of the snobbishness that the Church of England has confined itself with.”

If approved, the new rules would make it easier for C of E to forge partnerships with other denominations and bring in more pastors from other churches.

“At grassroots level there are already many vibrant examples of churches working together. It can only be a good thing to have that happening more intentionally,” said Chris Cartwright, the General Superintendent of the Elim Pentecostal Church.

Meantime, cathedrals in England have been changing their refined image with loud and lively parades, use of bold colors and the revival of old, medieval practices, reports The Guardian.

St. Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire started the feast day of its patron saint with a noisy procession using colorful 12-foot-high puppets on June 23, 2018. The Chester Mystery Plays, the Bible-based plays, was performed inside the Chester Cathedral.

“We have returned to a very visual culture today and medieval practices suit that. And if you have strong medieval roots as so many cathedrals do, you are bound to probe them and revive that heritage,” said Jeffrey John, the dean of St. Albans.

Medieval practices are a hit with people nowadays because people love anything visual. Jane Brooke, the acting dean of Chester Cathedral, said the plays were originally created to educate illiterate people about the Bible.

“During the middle ages very few people, apart from the priests, knew the Bible story so it was a mystery, hence Mystery Plays,” said Brooke. “Now they are a way in for people who do not know the Christian story so well today.”

Sources:
Associated Press
The Guardian

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