Ninety-five more theses – Part three
We ask 95 opinion formers and opinion holders of today: How should the Church change? The final part of our series marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation
Loraine Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference
The Church needs to return to praying and sharing together in small groups, being accountable, building each other up, to enable the sharing of faith to bring about making new disciples.
Rosalind Selby, Principal of Northern College
That Church could recapture a passion for Scripture and its relevance for today.
Jill Segger, Ekklesia
May the Church become a community of humility, comfortable with uncertainty and paradox, and above all, always ready to ‘try what love will do’
Michael Jagessar, URC Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries
A Church re-forming, ‘walking the way of the God of life’, must be shaped by the lived realities of marginalised communities (starting with its own life), addressing sins of racism, sexism, xenophobia and all related forms of hatred, and allowing such experiences to redefine its leadership, mission and praxis.
Loretta Minghella, CEO of Christian Aid
Working across community and national boundaries, the Church must extend – and be seen to extend – the unceasing welcome at the heart of the Gospel to every person, each one made in the image of God, each known and loved and called by name.
Gemma Simmonds, Director of the Religious Life Institute
The Church is not a hierarchy, a patriarchy or a clerical caste. It’s the body of Christ alive, authoritative and vibrant in every wounded and healed human being in whom the Spirit of God lives through the saving power of Jesus Christ. When we work that out, we’ll have a Church worth having.
Nick Spencer, Theos
I would like to see every church in the country equipped with a public cafe or restaurant: Christianity is best communicated over shared food.
Alex Mabbs, minister
The Church should put love and service of creation ahead of love and service of money.
Sue Dowell, writer
The great works of art – paintings, music, poetry – inspired by faith in our Lord Jesus, are precious gifts: gifts to be cherished so long as they lead us to contemplate God’s own handiwork in a creation in which humans are called to honour the earth and one another as works of art in themselves, made in love and for Love as proclaimed in the greatest of all the Church’s treasures – a Gospel which freely offers us both a means of grace and hope of glory.
Jack Dyce, Principal of Scottish College
Ministers must foremost be pastors for whom the nurturing of the people of God in their vocation to be God’s people at work in the world is the primary task; all else tends to distract.
Francis Brienen, URC Deputy General Secretary (Mission)
A reformed Christian Church today will be a community of disciples who are excited and energised by following Jesus and who in so doing are released from the prison of duty and live in the freedom of grace.
Ian Fosten, minister
In both worship and in its common life, I invite the Church to give as much attention to listening as to speaking: to balance words spoken as prayer, preaching and opinion with an equal measure of silence.
Keith Ward, philosopher
Christian faith must be proclaimed in our new context of a vast and evolving universe, originating and ending in God.
Shirley McGreal, Editor-in-Chief of Keep The Faith magazine
Just as Martin Luther reformed the Church 500 years ago, we are looking for the Church to make a stand and see society reformed today.
Tim Livesey, CEO of Embrace the Middle East
Jesus placed the poor, the marginalised and the excluded at the heart of his teaching and ministry; the Church must always seek to do the same.
Roger Wilson, Reform reader
The new Reformation is about spiritual faith discovered in a modern context through considerate argument and thoughtful discourse.
Lucy Zwolinska, Joint Public Issues Team
To become a community which sees every single encounter with ‘the other’ as an opportunity to respond to, and enact, God’s grace.
Carmody Grey, writer
An institution without female leadership not only tragically overlooks the vast pool of leadership talent in what is everywhere its largest constituency, but inspires real loathing among onlookers in developed societies who have rightly learned to expect women leaders; my Church must respond to this, or it will continue to be mocked and detested in equal measure.
Fiona Ellis, Heythrop College
My message to the Church is that God’s power has nothing to do with coercion, control and exclusion, all of which are expressions of weakness; it is the power of love, and learning how to love is the most important and difficult of all our tasks.
John Fisher, Reform reader
If faith is worth having, the Church must learn to share faith better. If the Church offers hope and spiritual healing to a broken world then it must find new ways of sharing that hope and healing.
Sarah Parkinson, via Twitter
As a whole Church we need courage to confront our own inner darkness, and humility to allow God to lead us through it.
Mary Irish, minister
To rediscover the joy of prayer and worship of our crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Graham Adams, Northern College
A church shaken open – by the stories and questions it tends to close down; by childlike curiosity and playfulness it prefers to tame; by the gifts of strangers and surprises it holds at bay; by creation groaning and the suffering of the silenced; in solidarity with all who are being shaken open by God to the reality of the domination system and the alternative reality that beckons.
Ian Gregory, retired minister
Rupert Shortt set a new reformation agenda with the phrase: ‘You don’t think your way into a new way of living. You live your way into a new way of thinking.’ We think too much and end up confused. Orthopraxy beats orthodoxy.
Brian Ranford, via Twitter
Christian faith is about trust in and obedience to a person, Jesus of Nazareth, not assent to a doctrine.
Guli Francis-Dehqani, incoming Bishop of Loughborough
There is an urgency for the Church to develop confidence in faith by rediscovering the centrality of prayer and spirituality through prioritising time spent with God in contemplation, intercession and the reading of Holy Scripture, thereby becoming a truly open and generous community, able to embrace diversity and more fully express the love of God to all.
This article was published in the October 2017 edition of Reform