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What Is The Church?

2nd of June 2004

The churches of St Paul’s in Chipperfield & Holy Cross in Sarratt are without a minister at the moment. Until Easter Peter Hart covered both parishes that will later be combined to make one benefice, the Benefice of Sarratt & Chipperfield. Half of him was the Vicar of St Paul’s; the other half the Rector of Holy Cross. It is not clear whether a new incumbent will be called a Victor or a Reccar (this could be spelt a different way). The two churches are now in what is called an interregnum, ie a period between the ‘reigns’ of one vicar & the next. The idea of a vicar ‘reigning’ does not quite fit the New Testament pattern.
However an interregnum does raise the question of what is the church for? and then what is the church? Does it depend upon an ordained minister being in place? The answers will vary according to the position of the viewer, inside or outside or anywhere else. These comments are from the point of view of someone who goes to church regularly & has done various jobs there. That does imply that there is a building & an organisation. While a church needs places in which to do things & a structure to get its work done in an orderly way, these do not make up the church. Buildings & institutions are only means to an end. The church is people; people who believe in Jesus, attempt to follow Him & present Him wherever they are, not just on Sundays but seven days a week. A survey of agnostics in the London area, carried out at the end of last year, showed that they were more impressed by Christians whom they knew personally than they were with ‘the church’. Is this fair comment? More on this subject another time. John King

 
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