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Putting the Kingdom of God First

by Michael Ford last modified 29 Jul, 2019 11:53 AM

The Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, gave a lecture at Salisbury Cathedral on Saturday 13 July 2019 entitled 'Redeeming Evangelism: Authentic Mission in the Church of England'.

Following his introduction, Martyn said:

"A few years ago, we crossed an un-marked line in the developmental life of the Church of England.  The best-selling Report ever produced by the Church of England had been Faith in the City. Published in 1985, it engaged seriously with the decay and despair in our inner-city communities.  It changed, amongst other things, how we shaped the training of clergy.  It shone a very public spotlight on our Urban Priority Areas (UPA’s).  It championed the poor. And for focussing on UPA’s, the Report earned the opprobrium and scorn of our Tory right-wing press.

"But perhaps the more serious edge to the Report, and often missed, was that it marked out a particularly distinctive mode of theological reflection.  For we might say that what Faith in the City represented a kind of theology rooted in the Kingdom of God. One that put the people and the places they lived in before the needs and concerns of the church.  The Report took seriously the fact that before the church took root as an institution, with its own needs and concerns to develop much later, the ‘Jesus Project’ began with preaching and proclaiming in word and deed, the Kingdom of God for all.

"The moment of Faith in the City being the Church of England’s best-selling Report, has, however, passed."

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