Meet for Vespers and Compline; plus a meal and conversation…and if you have a Dominican from the Western Province to hand all the better!
I remember that the Anglican Church in England designated the 1990s as the ‘decade of Evangelism’ with the goal of evangelizing the whole of the nation prior to the millennium. This seemed an absurdly optimistic goal to me, but I suppose if we remember that strictly to evangelize means ‘to show’ people Christ rather than to convert them then they might have come close, depending on what you consider showing people Christ means.
One thing that did come out of this energetic push to carry the gospel was the proliferation of ‘alpha groups’. This was based upon a series of recorded talks about Christianity. Parishes set up groups in which people brought along food for a potluck meal, they watched the video and then had a discussion based upon it, perhaps guided by a series of questions that came with the video. I don’t know how successful it was in converting people, but it was certainly successful at reinforcing the faith of existing Christians, which is a very good thing too. It was good enough for many other churches including the Catholic Church to follow the format and add additional videos that filled the gaps in the presentation of Christianity of the protestant Evangelicals.
My father ran one at his local Methodist church and I attended one the evenings he lead. It was popular enough that they repeated for several years and what was interesting was that quite a number of people came to the alpha groups each year that it took place, even though the materials were repeated. What they enjoyed I think went far beyond what they were learning intellectually, it was the fellowship with like minded people.
As far as I recollect, the hub of this evangelical (and Evangelical) push was Holy Trinity church in Brompton (‘HTB’). This is the epicenter of guitar-strumming Evangelical Christianity in the UK. Readers in London will be aware that ironically it is is situated immediately adjacent to a church which is at the other end of the spectrum, the traditional Catholic and very liturgically minded Brompton Oratory. In fact, when I was living in London and attended the Oratory regularly, a group of us used to go and sit in the grounds of HTB on pleasant summer afternoons and (Read More)