Now that I have finished reading this book, A Short History Secularism, (price slashed by a third – get it while it's hot!)
I can comment on it.
Graeme came along to the St. Asaph Theological soc to speak on his topic.
I should be trying to find reasons not to like this book and dismiss it as idle musings, however – I can't. The premise is highly alluring – especially for one who is not overly bothered with the church structural organisation…
The idea that the Victorian era was one of exceptional religious activity, and instead of being in decline, the church is actually returning to previous levels of activity is one which sets the imagination alight.
It also frees up the cleric to work in far more diverse ways. It also advocates a rather more disperse system of ministry than currently practiced by the parish system. Since a large proportion of Wales is rural, the parish system suggests that each little village should have a church, and a minister to run services regularly. If we understand the climate to be more akin to the middle-ages in terms of church attendance, then this parish model will need to be modified. There is no need for every village to have a church, or at least to have one at which weekly services are expected.
The most interesting part of this is to imagine a religious world in which the festivals and important occasions are met with real observance, the week by week observance being kept by the smaller (perhaps pious is the wrong word, but I haven't an alternative) group who, prepare and plan the larger gatherings for the majority…
Of course, the emerging / fresh expression and alternative church communities have been doing this for years!!!!