This was the intriguing title for a presentation given to the Synod of the Diocese in Europe on 12 June by the Revd Dr Keith Clements, the former General Secretary of the European Conference of Churches, and a Baptist minister.
Dr Clements outlined four dimensions of Christian life in modern Europe, which resonated deeply with the experience of members of our own diocese, and which gave an analysis which will be very helpful as we seek to minister in the complex Europe of 2012:
- Migration: Europe is part of a migratory world (one in 35 people in the world today is a migrant)
- Secularisation: Churches are home to a wide spectrum of belief and unbelief. Are some of us Anglican, but not Christian?!
- Inherited Christendom is replaced by "Conscious Choice" Christianity, the move from "national church" to "a gathered church"
- The phenomenon of "vicarious Christianity". To what extent is this an indicator of an insipient, residual or potential belief? Are people expecting the Churches to hold on to certain values on behalf of us all, values such as hospitality, a place of enquiry, spiritual tradition and discipline, justice?