Sunday, June 15, 2014

Reflections on D-Day and Pentecost in England

By Ted Schroder
Special to Virtueonline
June 15, 2014

On a recent visit to England I wandered into St. Michael's and All Angels Church in Haworth, Yorkshire, where Patrick Bronte was Rector for 40 years and his famous daughters (Charlotte and Emily) are buried. Secular music was playing through speaker. The church needs over two million dollars of repairs and shows signs of its age. The Church of England is encumbered by ancient buildings that need much maintenance when it should be engaged in mission through sites that are contemporary and attractive rather than dark and dismal. An item in The Telegraph newspaper cites a recent church census where the only churches to thrive and grow in England are black Pentecostal churches and Catholic churches. Perhaps the Church of England would be better off selling or leasing their present churches and spending the income on new premises. That would require risk-taking leadership. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York in their Pentecost letter urged prayer for the growth of the church while acknowledging that most people would run in the other direction if Christians tried to share their faith with them, and many Christians would be terrified of witnessing. How do we share the Gospel today in an authentic, non-threatening and winsome way? Getting to know people and their needs and praying for them is one way. I notice that the churches here have no Christian materials available in their entrance for those who might be seeking. Should not all churches provide free evangelistic material for visitors? The Haworth church has thousands of visitors every year – including many Japanese. Could there not be a docent to tell them the Gospel story?

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