Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Where will non-conformity be in 2050?

This was a question that came up several times over the weekend in Rome at the course I'm taking on management in international faith based organisations.
I've been wondering what an actuarial report about the United Reformed Church or the Eglise Réformée de France in 2050 might look like. Over lunch on Sunday I talked to one of the other participants about how hard it is to even imagine the changes underway in our societies. I noticed a catch in my voice and sadness in me as I said that I didn't think much of my denomination in England would still exist in 2050.
Many of the Roman Catholic religious congregations talk about the particular charism of their order, and I wondered about what the charism of English non-conformity is or has been. I do feel sad that generations after me in my own country may grow up without feeling its influence or even knowing what it might be.
The challenge for the churches in western Europe is learning how we might lead and bring about change rather than simply be overtaken by massive decline. Grieving is part of that process, things do need to die for new things to take their place, it still makes me sad though even if intellectually I can make sense of it.