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Mark Burkill on the Church Society, Reform, FWS merger. from Church Society on Vimeo.

Mark Burkill on the Proposed Merger

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Posted by Mark Burkill, 26 Feb 2018

The Chairman of Reform, Mark Burkill, talks about why the proposed merger between Church Society, Reform, and the Fellowship of Word & Spirit is a great idea, and why we need to mobilise evangelicals in the Church of England.

I want to say a few things about the proposed merger between Reform and Church Society and the Fellowship of Word & Spirit – to encourage you to join in and put your weight behind this.

(1) Firstly
Since the Reform Council’s unanimous commitment in November to pursue a merger, I have been thinking about various things. I have been struck for example by the importance of putting effort into personal relationships.

I have recalled how as a curate I received considerable encouragement for my ministry from FWS conferences. I have reflected on the way I have been a member of CS for over 30 years, and particularly involved with appointing vicars through Church Society Trust. Many in Reform belong to churches whose faithful biblical ministry has been maintained by the patronage work of Church Society Trust.

(2) Secondly
Over the years I have been in Reform, I have come to realise that being Church of England or Anglican has to be defined doctrinally through the 39 Articles and Prayer Book. The order and rules and structure of a body like the C of E must be seen as serving biblical truth and gospel ministry. The natural tendency today appears to be to reverse that priority. There are significant implications in grasping this. It means for example that you and your church can be in impaired communion with your diocesan bishop but still be in the Church of England. Thus being committed to working “through the Church of England” (as the newly merged body will be) does not have to be a commitment to compromise.

(3) Thirdly
How then should a body working through the Church of England relate to other ministries beyond the C of E, like the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) and GAFCON? We need to remain committed to working with such bodies because they share our commitment to basic Anglican doctrine. Again personal relationships are important and need to be fostered. This can be done in particular through the ReNew Conference, through diocesan groups, and more widely through the GAFCON movement.

(4) Finally
I want to explain the basic reason why you should be personally involved in this proposed merger by joining Church Society.

The primary work of Christian mission and gospel ministry of course takes place through a local congregation. However for that to continue from generation to generation, we need a long term vision. If we have such a long term vision we will see the need for devoting some time and energy and resources to working with other ministers and congregations. This is something I have come to appreciate over the last 25 years through my involvement with Reform.

So my plea for you to join Church Society at this time is really based on a plea for you not to leave the responsibility for this work to others. In this merger there is an opportunity for us to pool resources and for you to do your bit for that long term vision.

If you want to become a member of Church Society, like Mark, click here.

Mark Burkill is the Vicar of Christ Church Leyton, Chairman of Reform, and a Director of the Church Society Trust.

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