‘Transforming mission’ or transforming Cornwall? The Church of England and Cornwall

A recent academic article raises the case of the Church of England’s ‘resource church model’. This mission scheme has been rolled out in many parishes across England and Cornwall, but not without some internal criticism and debate.

One criticism is that it tends to ignore people’s sense of place. In an article reviewed in more detail here, Benjamin Aldous uses Cornwall as an example to argue that a sense of regional difference has to be taken into account. In doing so, he outlines a possible ‘Cornish contextual theology’.

This involves three elements. First, there is the ‘Cornish temperament, identity and Celtic terrain’, in other words the sense the Cornish have of themselves as a post-industrial and/or Celtic people with their own distinctive identity.

Second, the Cornish countryside and topography offers opportunities for the Church. Holy wells, for example, could link New Age and Christian spirituality.

Third, the traditions and festivals of the ceremonial year need to be respected and participated in by the Church.

Typical small Cornish church: alien imposition or indigenous spirituality?