One of the big encouragements of recent years has been the impetus of Christians to discover new ways of living out and communicating the Gospel in a restless and sceptical age. This has given rise to a number of challenges and questions, not least about what it means to be the Church – and how 'fresh expressions' relate to 'inherited' forms of the Church. This report seeks to crystallize some of the major questions about the ecclesiology of the mission-shaped Church and to provide pointers as to how we may grapple creatively with them, including: • how do fresh expressions relate to parish and local churches, and to the overall ministry and mission of the Churches? • how and when does a fresh expression become a church in its own right? • how might fresh expressions develop a spiritual and sacramental life that respects the past, yet affirms their pioneering context?• What are the implications for the deployment of scarce resources of authorised ministers and finance?These and other vital questions are explored in this comprehensive and important study. It is essential reading for all engaged in mission, church leadership, theological and ministerial formation and those with responsibility for allocation of resources.
About the Author
The working party which produced this report was co-chaired by the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans and David Walton, a former President of the Methodist Conference, and included senior representatives of the Anglican and Methodist churches.