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Welcome to Church Society online. We exist to strengthen local churches in biblical faith and to help shape the Church of England now and for the future. Do take a look at our blog, publications and other resources here.

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Posted by Sophia Akouo, 27 May 2016

Introducing a weekly 5 minute exposition of the Anglican Lectionary readings for each Sunday. Lee Gatiss begins with the readings for this coming Sunday.

Many churches across the world use a lectionary, or set pattern of Bible readings, each Sunday in their services. The Church of England along with many other churches uses (a form of) the Revised Common Lectionary (or indeed the Book of Common Prayer’s own lectionary). There are many advantages to using a lectionary; as Jim Packer says, “it is good to follow a Lectionary, because Lectionaries exist to ensure that everything of importance in the Bible is, in due course, read aloud in church.” But there can also be problems and criticisms levelled at certain lectionaries of course; as Packer goes on, “the Lectionary gives us the Bible in bite-sized pieces and this can create a problem of understanding when, as here, the set lesson picks up near the end of a document that was written to be read as a unity.”

More could of course be said on that subject. Nevertheless, the fact is, many if not most Anglican churches use the lectionary to guide them each week, in at least one of their services. In order to serve them, and their ministers, we will therefore be providing here a weekly commentary / exposition of the set readings for Sunday. We hope that it will be of use to those who wish for whatever reason to follow along with the readings used across the Church of England as a whole.

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Hymn board

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Posted by Chris Edwards, 23 May 2016

Chris Edwards asks whether we should still be singing Charles Wesley's hymn, 'Love Divine'.

“Why are we all belting out a fervent prayer for a second blessing of sinless perfection, in which I imagine precisely none of us believe?” That was the thought that went through my mind recently, in a good evangelical gathering, as we sang Charles Wesley’s Love Divine at the top of our voices. And it set me thinking about the nature of language, and about the nature of words and music.

Incidentally, there’s no doubt that the hymn is (or, at least, was) a prayer for a second blessing. The second verse, now invariably toned down, if not omitted altogether, originally read:

Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast;
Let us all in thee inherit,
Let us find that second Rest.
Take away our power of sinning,
Alpha and Omega be,
End of faith, as its beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

When you read that, you start to understand what some of the other verses are really on about.

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Posted by David Meager, 20 May 2016

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Church Society will be held at Oak Hill College on Saturday 11 June 2016, commencing at 1.30pm.

At this meeting, held every year as part of our annual conference, we elect our honorary officers and Council, hear reports from the Director and Chairman of Finance, and have a chance to discuss issues of importance to us as a Society. If you are a member of Church Society, please come along to exercise your vote and make a contribution.

Please download the official notice of the AGM and the nomination form for those who might wish to stand for election to Council.

There will also be a vote to make Amendments to the Society’s Articles of Association, proposed by Church Society Council. The full list of proposed changes can be viewed here. The current articles of Association can be viewed here.

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