In a recent edition of Crossway, we looked at the issues of race and racism in the Church of England today. A related and equally serious problem is the inbuilt class prejudice in the church, as much as it is in wider society. In this Crossway, therefore, you will find articles which examine some of the ways that the structures and systems of the Church of England work to exclude working class people. As Gary Jenkins says, “This is a scandal which, quite scandalously, does not scandalise us.”
Gary’s article looks at some of the ways the official vision of the Church of England, its synods and systems have overlooked and ignored working class people, and offers some suggestions about how this might be overcome. Mark Wilson draws on his own experiences of growing up in a UPA parish and now ministering in one - and how the selection and training processes worked against this kind of ministry. Andy Greenhough describes the coming changes to the process of selection for ordination, and how they may be useful in widening access to those from different educational backgrounds.
In my article, I draw out some lessons for the contemporary church from the ministry of J.C.Ryle, preaching to exhausted and uneducated agricultural labourers, and strategising for a church to reach the working men and women in the vast new city of Liverpool. Andy and Amanda Brewerton write about their experiences of ministry in an ex-mining village in Yorkshire, seeing both challenges and opportunities in this working class community.
The issue concludes on a different note, with a piece from Lee Gatiss with some comforting truths and timely warnings from Charles Simeon, to help us through periods of trial. Many of us will have experienced such ‘dark dispensations’ in recent months, and we hope that you will draw comfort and encouragement from this.