Breaking the Mould of Christendom
This book is a ground-breaking study of a new model of church, 'the diaconal church'. Its background is a world facing momentous change and a church stuck in 'the mould of Christendom'. The author argues that for the church to fulfil its mission in today's world, four fundamental changes have to take place. First, it must hammer out a theology of community rooted in the nature of the kingdom as a learning community. Second, it must be transformed into a 'diaconal church' whose misssion is to serve 'the kingdom community' within the world. Third, its 'laity must be liberated' from clerical domination to become servants of the kingdom community. Fourth, the role of the deacon as catalyst is now crucial for the liberation of the laity. The book includes five case-studies of the diaconal church in action, and an evaluation of the diaconal potential of five worldwide Christian 'renewal movements'.
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The Diaconal Church
This symposium presents a highly topical debate about the nature and significance of an innovative model of church described in David Clark s book Breaking the Mould of Christendom: Kingdom Community, Diaconal Church and the Liberation of the Laity, published by Epworth in November 2005. In that book, David Clark argues that the diaconal church is the only form of church that can set us free from the continuing domination of the Christendom model and offer genuine hope to a world now facing a stark choice between community and chaos. Since publication, the book has been widely reviewed nationally and internationally. It has become a catalyst for wide-ranging discussion about the kingdom as a community, the servant nature of the church and the primacy of the laity. In this symposium, 13 scholars discuss the key themes, summarized as eighteen theses, which underpin the model of the diaconal church. Their common concern is whether the diaconal church can take us beyond the mould of Christendom . The contributors represent Anglican, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Quaker, Baptist and Anabaptist traditions. They come from England, Scotland, New Zealand and the United States. The result is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking debate about the significance and implications of the diaconal model of church. In a final chapter, David Clark responds to the contributions and develops his argument that the diaconal church has a contribution of paramount importance to make to sacred and secular institutions alike.
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Reshaping the mission of Methodism
Reshaping the mission of Methodism describes some of the most creative initiatives in mission within Methodism today. These range from initiatives at national and regional level, to new ventures in mission in the inner-city, on housing estates, in largely black congregations, through the Internet, and in both urban and rural situations. While these pioneering endeavours are giving Methodism a new lease of life, they can also be seen as pointers to how the mission of the whole church will need to be reshaped if it is to engage with a society which regards it as having diminishing relevance.
In the second part of the book, David Clark (also editor) draws out the implications of these initiatives for ‘Mapping a Way Forward’, Methodism’s nation-wide exercise in equipping itself for mission. He sets out a radically new approach to a theology of mission founded on the concept of ‘communal holiness’, and rooted in Methodism’s origins as a holiness movement. He uses the initiatives set out in the first part of the book to illustrate key aspects of a city-wide strategy for mission that is both innovative and far-reaching. It is a strategy which embraces the contribution of every denomination to ‘the greater church’ of the future which, as he has argued in Breaking the Mould of Christendom, must be ‘a diaconal church’.
[Published by Church in the Market Place (2010). Available from David Clark at Hill View, Burton Close Drive, Bakewell DE45 1BG. (£10 post paid – cheques to David Clark)]