Celtic Springs And The End Of Empire

A speaker on forms of church at a USA Willow Creek conference speaks of six waves of church over two thousand years. Now we are on the cusp of the seventh wave, and this will be Celtic - or so my informant thought the speaker said. Chris Lind, Director of the large Anglican Centre at Sorrento, BC Canada, skypes me at 5.15 am to talk about a conference I will lead there in May. 'We need to prepare our people for the end of the Christendom model', he says, 'and for a future without empire and privilege.Sorrento can be one of the places that survive and sow the seeds of the future'. Chris reminds me that dispersed Jews two centuries before Christ developed 'Wisdom Schools' as an alternative to the Temple Schools. They gathered around sages and learned holy wisdom. This we, too, even in places where 'the temple' (our Christendom style churches) are passing away, can develop.

Richard and Maggie Deimel are doing just this. They are basing 'Celtic Springs' at their ancient Saxon parish church of Escombe, Co. Durham, UK. Celtic Springs seeks to re-discover the Celtic springs of the North of Britain: Cuthbert, Aidan, Hilda, Colman and others. Celtic Springs has the spirit of Jesus as a guide and is open to all who come in love and bring their vision and their ways. It recognises that an institution linked with the power of this world cannot be spiritual - that each person's journey belongs to them, not to an institution. It has no power structure. Richard (who is the vicar of Escombe) and Maggie see themselves only as the gatekeepers, who ensure that power games do not spoil the meetings. They acknowledge that many spiritual people regard religious groups who own property as negative and see small sacred spaces as positive. That they find hierarchy negative - but spiritual companions as positive. That they find churches that are not committed to the earth an outrage. That women find churches which women are not allowed to shape destructive, and therefore seek movements where they can feel at home. That men can be attracted to 'the wild Jesus' but not to men who are either out of control or caged.

Posted at 00:34am on 17th April 2011
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