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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Parish as place of identification
stonespring
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Sorry if someone has already said this - to me the importance of the parish system in Anglican provinces or in the RCC and Orthodox churches, the Nordic Lutheran Churches, and the Church of Scotland is that, as many exceptions to this rule as there are (all kinds of chapels, parishes for immigrant communities (i.e., the now defunct US RC "ethnic system"), the history of racial segregation in the US, etc.) - all those exceptions aside - for any village or neighborhood, there is one church for people of all income levels and all walks of life. The obvious drawback to this is that if someone is alienated from the local parish then they feel alienated form church altogether. But the point is that no one should ever be alienated from a parish unless they alienate themselves.

My opinions on church parishes are like mine on public schools. Everyone should go to the local one regardless of how rich they are. People in wealthy neighborhoods should be taxed so that people in poorer neighborhoods can have parishes/schools with the same resources. I actually think that urban and suburban parish district lines should be redrawn so that all parishes in densely populated areas have a mixture of income levels, races, ethnicities, languages, political parties, even religions in the people who live in their boundaries - since a parish is supposed to serve everyone in its boundaries and should be trying to evangelize to everyone that lives in its boundaries. People probably think that if a denomination forces people to attend the local church and nothing else that they will just hemorrhage members - but maybe the stability and forcing people to work together with people that are different or, frankly, people they don't like would actually be much better for the survival of the church than just letting everyone shop around for the perfect fit and watching all sense of a united church disintegrate. This model might never work in very theologically and liturgically diverse denominations but it's what I think church is supposed to be. The only religious group that seems to come anywhere close to this is the Mormons, which, sadly, I don't agree with on theology and Dead Horses [Frown] .

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Cod
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I am following this thread with interest, mostly because I can't see the Anglican parish system surviving here either. My local diocese is dotted with small towns, each containing an Anglican church, which, due to lack of funds ot maintain it, still stands out of sheer force of habit. Next to none have a viable congregation. My own church is better attended, but numbers are falling fast, mainly due to its members moving from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant, to put it bluntly. No one joins us. All the other traditional Protestant denominations are in the same boat. The Catholics are doing better due to immigration, but are on borrowed time. The only churches that seem to be thriving are the Mormons and the charismatic evangelicals, and I can't see how they can do well in the long run.

I don't observe any planning to deal with this. Everyone is averting their eyes from the obvious. How will things like fellowship groups and children's ministry be delivered under any alternative model? I suspect they just won't.

I look around my church on a Sunday, and see that my children and I are just about the youngest people in the church, and quite often the only family.

I feel sad for my children, knowing that they won't have the benefit I have had from attending a parish church.

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M Barnier

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
My opinions on church parishes are like mine on public schools. Everyone should go to the local one regardless of how rich they are. People in wealthy neighborhoods should be taxed so that people in poorer neighborhoods can have parishes/schools with the same resources.

2 quick points. In an Anglican diocese, there will be churches with different styles of churchmanship. Here in Sydney, the dominant churchmanship has always been low church; after the Jensens, it's probably more accurate to describe the largest single group as Puritans. For those of us who prefer a more traditional Anglican church or an Anglo-Catholic one, we travel.

The second is that here, and I had assumed elsewhere, churches are required to pay a diocesan contribution based upon income. In effect, that allows supplementation to be paid to churches with lower income. In addition, a system analogous to a capital gains tax is about to come into force, whereby parishes which have large capital gains are required to pay a proportion of those gains into a fund to build churches in areas being opened for new housing.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
Sorry if someone has already said this - to me the importance of the parish system in Anglican provinces or in the RCC and Orthodox churches, the Nordic Lutheran Churches, and the Church of Scotland is that, as many exceptions to this rule as there are (all kinds of chapels, parishes for immigrant communities (i.e., the now defunct US RC "ethnic system"), the history of racial segregation in the US, etc.) - all those exceptions aside - *snip*

This is an thoughtful post but the ethnic system continues merrily. A quick scan of a few US RC diocesan sites yields stacks of Polish, Vietnamese, Filipino etc parishes--some dioceses even have vicars (roughly equivalent to an Anglican archdeacon) for supervising pastoral work in specific communities. Canadian bishops followed US practice in this and, within an hour's walk of Casa Aleut, one can attend mass in parishes serving Croatian, Polish, Chinese (Mandarin), Filipino, German, Italian, and Portuguese communities. There seems to be a parallel parish system for francophones in Ottawa evinced by situations such as the inner (now hipster) quarter of Hintonburg, where Holy Rosary is across the street from Saint François de Sales.
My sources suggest that the parish system continues fairly effectively here for the RCs, even in suburban areas-- partly because their catchments are fairly large. For Anglicans, it is not quite vestigial, but close enough to it-- with a very mobile population in the area, churchgoers retain their homechurch affiliation when they move off to another geographical area, and this can continue in a family for two or three generations.

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Nick Tamen

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American Episcopalians can correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that while Episcopal congregations here are still called parishes, actual territorial/geographic parishes disappeared a long time ago.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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