More... Annual Conference 2019    

Annual Conference 2019

Theology in the public square - Monday 15th to Wednesday 17th July 2019 at High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Herts.

More... Modern Church is 120!    

Modern Church is 120!

Modern Church is celebrating 120 years with a social media campaign recording key moments in its history

More... Modern Church, Greenbelt & Pussy Riot    

Modern Church, Greenbelt & Pussy Riot

Modern Church General Secretary Jonathan Draper reflects on our partnership with this year's festival and sponsorship of three acts

More... Our annual conference - A student's perspective    

Our annual conference - A student's perspective

Trainee Methodist Pioneer Minister Dave Shaw thanks delegates who donated to enable student volunteers to attend this year

More... Reclaiming evangelism: Positive liberal theologies of mission    

Reclaiming evangelism: Positive liberal theologies of mission

Modern Church sponsored day conference Saturday 2nd February 2019 9.30am-4pm, Liverpool.

More... New head of contemporary spirituality    

New head of contemporary spirituality

NEW Managing Editor of Modern Church's quarterly liberal theology journal Modern Believing announced as Coordinator of Centre for Contemporary Spirituality…


Thank you Jonathan

by Nicholas Henderson
from Signs of the Times No 51 - Oct 2013

I fancy that when Jonathan took over as General Secretary from me just under twelve years ago, it was fortuitously a case of ‘Cometh the hour – cometh the man’ – ladies please forgive the unreformed language.

It’s a strange saying without true provenance although John 4:23 has ‘But the hour cometh, and now is’ and a William Yancey, said about Jefferson Davis, President-elect of the Confederacy in 1861: ‘The man and the hour have met’. Alas, neither of those analogies are suitable to Jonathan, the first he would modestly dismiss as he would consider himself unworthy of such a comparison and the second came from an avid defender of slavery before the American Civil War – which certainly would not represent the Jonathan who has spent so much time and energy defending the rights of minorities (and, in the case of women in the Church, suppressed majorities).

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A theology of encounter

by Lorraine Cavanagh
from Signs of the Times No 51 - Oct 2013

Pass the parcel is an excellent ice breaker – at least for children’s parties.

Properly timed it serves a number of purposes simultaneously. While the parcel is being passed, everyone who is not holding it has time to get their bearings socially. Who are my friends here? Possibly not the person on my left, but maybe the one on my right. When the parcel lands on me I need to shed a layer of wrapping as quickly as possible while at the same time hoping that I’ll be lucky enough to land on the last layer and take home the much coveted prize, usually rather small and somewhat disappointing given the collective effort involved in unwrapping it. It is also a game of calculation and forethought, so it helps to know the music that is being played while the parcel is going round. Knowing the music allows you to control the game to a certain extent. You know when the pauses are likely to come and can time your own hold on the diminishing parcel accordingly.

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Making sense of the Eucharist

by Jeyan Anketell
from Signs of the Times no 51 - Oct 2013

This is a belated attempt to continue the discussion, begun initially by Graham Hellier and Anthony Woollard nearly three years ago.

We will all have come to our own particular understanding of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, over and above the basic teaching of the Church; that in this service we are in a special way united in communion with Jesus Christ, with God, or with each other. Many of us will have a deep emotional attachment to our own particular understanding. This is one person’s attempt to come to an understanding of the intent and meaning of the Eucharist, without wishing to cause offence to anyone else.

I was taught that the Eucharist is a sacrament, an outward sign of an inward and spiritual grace given to us. The outward signs are the bread and the wine. The inward parts are the body and blood of Christ, which are really present, given and received; and that our souls are strengthened and refreshed by Christ’s body and blood, just as our bodies are by the bread and the wine.

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The burning fiery furnace

Editorial by Anthony Woollard
from Signs of the Times No. 51 - Oct 2013

The heat was intense. The weather for our Annual Conference is usually good, but this year took the biscuit.

Some eighty people, not all of them members of Modern Church, sweltered through three days of debate. This summer has certainly made it easier to believe in global warming. And, as the environment was at the core of our debates, and speaker after speaker (some of them truly outstanding) took us through the facts and their implications, we became ever more aware of the heated urgency of action. I am sure that most of those attending have subsequently taken such action, whether on the political or the local/practical level or both.

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Review: What's still right with the Church of England, by Canon David Jennings

by Richard Truss
from Signs of the Times No. 50 - Jul 2013

This is a slim volume, necessarily you might say. Yet that would be unfair as the author seeks to cover the vast span of the theology and practice of the Church in a succinct and readable form and to identify its strengths, but with no illusions about corresponding weaknesses and dangers.

The title is based on a book What's Right with the Church of England written in 1966 by Ronald Williams, then Bishop of Leicester. Williams was one of the last be-gaitered bishops who rejoiced in being addressed as 'My Lord Bishop' even after the Lambeth Conference had a suggested a humbler form of address might be more appropriate in the egalitarian Sixties.

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