The Anglican parish is uniquely embedded in English culture and society, by virtue both of its antiquity and close allegiance with secular governance. Yet it remains an elusive and surprisingly overlooked theme, whose 'place', theologically, is far from certain. Whilst ecclesiastical history has long formed a pillar of academic training for ordained ministry, ecclesiastical geography has not contributing to the often uninformed assumptions about locality in contemporary church debate and mission strategy. At a time when its relevance and sustainability are being weighed in the balance and with plans progressing for the Church in Wales' abandonment of parochial organisation, there is an urgent need for a clear analysis of the parish's historical, geographical and sociological - as well as theological significance.
"Parish" examines the distinctive form of social and communal life created by the Anglican parish: applying and advancing, the emerging discipline of place theology by filling a conspicuous gap in contemporary scholarship. Andrew Rumsey will help in forming a vision for the future of the English parish system, contribute towards the Church's strategy for parochial ministry and also inform the broader national conversation about 'localism' and cultural identity.
Table of Contents:
Part One - Christ in Our Place: The Anglican Parish in Theoretical Perspective
1. Steadying Jacob's Ladder: A Place- Formation Cycle
2. The Lord is Here: Towards a Christology of Place
3. Sheer Geography: Spatial Theory and Parochial Practice
Part Two - Common Ground: The Anglican Parish in History and Practice
4. Another Country: Parish and the National Myth
5. Good Fences: Parish as Neighbourhood
6. A Handful of Earth: Parish, Landscape and Nostalgia
Conclusion: A Kind of Belonging