In my last post I talked about the organisations which I support which are seeking to uphold an Evangelical witness in the Church of England. I realise that could sound a very political statement, as if I was intent on promoting a party line. But actually the reasons I belong are more pastoral and spiritual than that. It is good to be resourced by like-minded people who encourage the work of preaching the gospel, and who share the same basic convictions about the word of God, and the cross of Christ. Being clear about where you yourself stand means you find yourself more able to engage across the whole Church of England, and sometimes you might even find yourself agreeing with people who wear a different label to yourself!
On a local level there is the Exeter Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship which meets three times a year for study, prayer and mutual support. I have been on the committee for a number of years, and it’s been good to draw alongside fellow ministers and lay workers who are also wrestling with the issue of proclaiming the gospel in today’s world.
More widely there are a couple of conferences I try to attend each year, although sometimes I will only go to one. The first is organised by the Proclamation Trust a ministry with which I have links with for many years. It was their London week (for Oxbridge students thinking about the ministry) which first confirmed my call to ordination, and over the years they have grown into a wonderful resource for anyone who seeks to expound Scriptures faithfully, through conferences, publications and training courses.
I also try to attend the annual conference organised by the Fellowship of Word and Spirit This is a group of people who are seeking to unite evangelicals by engaging with Reformed theology and making the message relevant to the contemporary world. I have always found the input I receive stimulating and thought-provoking, and I know how much it enriches my ministry.
Over the years as the Anglican Communion across the world has experienced a number of divisions and controversies, it’s become ever more important to be aware of the issues and how to respond to the challenges that they throw up. So although I don’t agree with everything that they publish I find that Anglican Mainstream is a useful source of news and often provides helpful links to other sites.
Having this wider perspective certainly informs my own ministry. How and when to share this perspective in the local church is perhaps a more difficult question, but I certainly am happy to answer any queries or meet to discuss what’s going on elsewhere. Click on the links and let me know what you think!