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Back to church cancelled

I received an email from our diocesan office yesterday: “Back to Church Sunday in New Zealand CANCELLED for this year
I thought it was a joke, and clicked on the link provided: here

Note for my overseas readers: back to church has been cancelled nationally, not just in Christchurch, where, as you know, some of our church buildings it is not possible to go back to (even that comes from an understanding that church is a building – rather than we are the church, the building is there to stop the church getting wet).

…is it now not possible to come back to church in New Zealand… is it forbidden…has our Calvinistic party triumphed with its double-predestination…

Possibly not unrelated: some of our churches are closed needing some repairs after the earthquakes. Their communities have often moved, sometimes several suburbs away, eg. to school halls. The notice boards of the closed church buildings don’t provide, alongside the information of where that particular community now meets, information about the nearby Anglican churches that are still functioning fine for local people thinking about coming (back) to church…

I didn’t know what to put for tags for this post – but if you don’t laugh about it…

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14 thoughts on “Back to church cancelled”

  1. Hugh McCafferty

    From the Wellington Diocesan site

    This year’s national Back to Church Sunday has been cancelled. Part of the reason is that Claire Onslow, the National Co-ordinator of BTCS lives in Christchurch and has been hugely affected by the earthquake.

    1. Thanks, Hugh, & thoughts & prayers, of course, for Claire and all affected by the quakes [readers will realise I live in Christchurch also]. Could not others have taken this on? A group voluntarily?

  2. I think that opens up many possibilities for a special replacement in 2011 for NZ’s “Back to Church Sunday”. Perhaps someone else could organise a “Thank you, Church, for all you’ve done and all you mean to us” Sunday? Or a “See why we need a Cathedral” Sunday?? :-}

  3. Instead of hoping for people to come into the church buildings and meeting us there, it’s been great to see the churches in Christchurch going into the community and meeting the needs they find there, both practically and spiritually. This too is “Church”.

  4. Stephen Donald

    I’ve been a guest speaker at another parish’s Back to Church Sunday, and being a former vicar of that church, some of my old ‘fan club’ came back for the day… but generally the notion of ‘back to church’ implies those who turn up will know what they are coming back to? The whole thing is a bit of nostalgic ‘bums on seats’ exercise likely to appeal to more of the same older cohorts that already make up most of our existing congregations.

    Last year in my own parish we adapted the BTCS material and held a ‘Come to Church Sunday’ focussed on youth – coming to church (complete with Zumba to Christian music) was a new experience for many young people.

    Maybe this year is an opportunity for the BTCS group to rethink the concepts – there’s a big wide world outside the Church (people and buildings), hungering for Good News but beyond traditional means of evangelism. From this distance Bosco, the earthquake looks to be a chance for Christchurch churches to learn to gather together, outreach and serve in new ways, although I have obvious sympathy for your continuing shakiness and uncertainly. Every blessing Stephen

  5. I was talking to a retired priest about BTCS once. He stopped me and asked why there needed to be a special day for it – it should happen every Sunday.

    With BTCS (as with evangelism in general) there is a lot more power in people asking people – and very little in the advertising. As stated, it doesn’t matter where the church meets, as long as it has something to keep the weather off it. Run it unofficially. Get people to invite others to where-ever they meet – halls, homes or church buildings.


  6. “…is it now not possible to come back to church in New Zealand… is it forbidden…has our Calvinistic party triumphed with its double-predestination…”

    Only somebody who didn’t understand Calvinism and its view of the Sovereignty of God and the Irresistibility of Divine Grace would make so basic an error (or misfire thus in humour). ‘Man proposes, God disposes’ is nearer the mark. No tulips for you this year.

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