"Are the established churches in Britain fast shedding their role as churches for all, and merely becoming denominations ? This book is designed to explore that question, and I have set out to find some provocative answers. Indeed, in many ways, I have deliberately overstated some of my findings and impressions to stimulate debate. For many years, I have had the impression that the established Church of England -- and, in some ways, the established Church of Scotland, too -- are in danger of losing an essential purpose and contact with the people by, frankly, becoming too 'Christian'." -- Intro.
"More deeply than an issue like the ordination of women is a fundamental question that divides the Church of England. It reveals a far deeper split between two radically opposed views of what the church is for. Some say that its priority must be to provide ministry for all; to be a presence in every neighbourhood that gives religious services on demand. While others maintain that it should be just another denomination, a gathering of Christians in a pagan world; keen to recruit, but offering its blessing and ministry to members only. This entertaining and revealing book gives a unique and enticing glimpse of the church today. Using twenty years reporting experience -- backed up by a specially commissioned survey of clergy -- former BBC Religious Affairs Correspondent, Ted Harrison, looks a the real attitudes of clergy and people today, towards one of the crucial questions facing the established church". -- back cover.
"A total of 500 clergy serving in parishes in England were contacted, each by individual letter, and asked if they would complete a questionnaire the results of which would be used in this book. It was open to all clergy to reply anonymously if they wished. The clergy were chosen at random from 'Crockford's Clerical Directory and 311 replies were received, a response rate of 62 per cent. Of those responding, a number had very recently retired or declined, for other reasons, to fill in all of the detailed questionnaire, but, nevertheless, sent some parish information. Thus the results of the survey are based on 282 replies (56 per cent)." -- Appendix, p. 127.
Contents: Acknowledgements -- Introduction: Rites for All ? -- The Sacred Place -- 'And Also with You' -- 'I'm the Vicar, Call Me Tim' -- Forgive Us, Lord, for We Have Synod -- Heritage and the New Folk-Faith -- The Ordination of Women -- A Church for the 'Unchurched' -- Appendix: The Results of the Questionnaire -- Books Used for Further Reading.