My time machine of praxis tells me that a thousand years ago the church was not making scones and cups of tea; that the church was not affirming the latest candidate for the Mother’s Union or arguing about the rota for readings.
It may be that the life of your Church bears no relationship to these things, that in your church other things top the agenda, I don’t know, but what I am sure of is that many Church of England churches are quite fixed in their pattern of life and that variation, modernisation or indeed innovation is hard to find.
Are we too comfortable with the way we do things? Do we want to keep close to the familiar, stay safe and try to remain the more conservative sort at prayer?
I don’t know how it is at your church, maybe you believe that you do embrace change and a challenge. Perhaps at your church you are innovative and varied, maybe even ‘modern’.
Nonetheless I am of the opinion that much of what we do as church is geared to an existing clientele.
How far the outsider can feel relevant to the life of your church is something that is worth considering. Do newcomers fit into the way things are or do we respond to their specific needs? So often the litany of ‘we’ve tried that before’ is sung, amongst many other ditties.
How can we make our life, as worshipping people, speak of God in the lives of others? Are we an historic edifice that will always be quaint and harmless, or are we prepared to take risks and follow the Holy Spirit into the places and into the lifestyles of the people of England?
How about a service to celebrate other stuff? How about a service that can add to the harvest and Christingle? In a country that is experiencing change, how far can we meet that change by putting the richness of Christian worship into the lives of ordinary people. Not a one off, but a new set of ‘traditions’ to mark the things in our lives.
I don’t know what that might be, maybe a service of thanksgiving for the passing of a driving test or a weekend of fishing with hours of prayer and blessing, thanksgiving and so on.