The Church and (its) wonga

How refreshing it was to see the Church hit the headlines for positive reasons! The Archbishop of Canterbury’s initiative to challenge Wonga and other payday loan companies by using the resources of the Church to support local credit unions and compete them out of existence is bold, imaginative and appealing. It was a shame then when it was revealed the next day that the Church is, if only indirectly, invested in Wonga.

To be fair to Justin Welby he handled the embarrassment this caused very well. And I don’t think the news undermined the power of the original idea. But it does illustrate a couple of significant ways in which the Church neither helps itself nor makes the most of its still considerable resources. Continue reading

Talk is far from cheap

Every Sunday evening I gather with a small group in Church and talk about stuff.  It’s always one of the best bits of the week.  I think it demonstrates the power of community and value of community.

In my last post I referred to my lack of engagement with the typical Church of England Sunday morning fare.  Though my theme was the power of taking the Church’s words out into ‘the world’ I acknowledged that the Church could do more to bring the words to life in its own context.

So I thought I’d add a word about my own favourite service, the six o’clock eucharist at St James in Weybridge.  The format is a simple spoken conventional communion service attended by anything between 5 and 20 people.  It has a generally informal feel, but its distinguishing feature is the simple innovation of holding a discussion where there would normally be a sermon.  Continue reading