A report on the development of the Modern Church South West group:
The group had its roots in the event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Honest to God by John Robinson in Bristol in September 2013, when it became apparent that there could be sufficient interest for a local Modern Church group. Our first event was in October 2016 when Lorraine Cavanagh led a day considering the question ‘Do we need a New Reformation?’ Since then we have considered Populism and the Post-Truth Society, Sceptical Christianity, environmental questions, a study of Mark's Gospel and local spirituality.
We have enjoyed a range of speakers, some well-known in their fields, but have also drawn from our own membership. Planning is informal with the additional advantage of mutual support. We currently aim for three group meetings a year, a mixture of full- and half-day events at minimal cost. We are helped in this as our usual venue, Manvers Street Baptist Church in Bath not only provides accommodation but also has a café which offers reasonably priced refreshments.
We have an eclectic mix of some 35 contacts, mainly from Bath, Bristol and North Wiltshire, but extending from Somerset to South Wales. Attendances have varied from 20 to 30, and the group is self-funding and in credit. We are also in touch with local dioceses and theological training courses who advertise the events.