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Reform Magazine | June 13, 2024

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A good question: Does the Church have a problem with class? - Reform Magazine

A good question: Does the Church have a problem with class?

One question, four answers

Liz Kam
‘Our Church is built on middle-class ideals’

As a Church-Related Community Worker (CRCW), my immediate response is to shout, ‘Yes! Obviously!’

Class is a complex issue sociologically, culturally and economically. The nuances involved in how we experience class and its intersectional nature in our lives and within the Church should not be underestimated. But to me, the fact that it is a question to be asked and explored means we are well behind the game. I want to suggest that the United Reformed Church is class blind, a Church built on middle class ideals that are so critical to our identity we don’t even recognise it….

Liz Kam is a URC Church-Related Community Worker in Levenshulme, Manchester

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Helen Lidgett
‘Perhaps people just leap over the barriers’

Do I think, as Convenor of the URC Assembly Nominations Committee, the Church has a problem with class? Looking back, I can’t think of a single appointment on which we have given ‘class’ a moment’s consideration. We’ve tried to achieve or improve diversity in committees, panels and external appointments. We’ve thought about diversity of gender, race, youth, lay/ordained, sexual orientation, geographical location, work experience, theological perspective… But class? No….

Helen Lidgett is Convenor of the URC Nominations Committee

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John Miller
‘As the working class left Glasgow, middle class churches scarcely noticed the changes’

The class struggle is perpetually at work inthe Church.

In 1971 I became the minister of a large city parish: 20,000 people living in dense streets of post-war local authority housing. It was half of a city housing scheme with an overall population of 48,000. I accepted the post before we had seen the church house, the manse…

John Miller is a retired Church of Scotland parish minister and former Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly. He served Castlemilk East Parish for 36 years

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Rosie Hopley
‘I found myself assimilating in an effort to fit in’

For a clue to answer this question, look to the margins of society, and see what the Church is doing there. You’ll find some wonderful pictures of how God is present among people who are hungry to know him, love him and love one another. These are some who are exemplifying Jesus’ words from Matthew 22:…

Rosie Hopley leads Jubilee+ Voices, an advisory group of individuals with lived experience of poverty who work to shape future church-based social action

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This is an extract from an article published in the June 2024 edition of Reform

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