For a long time, it looked as if the idea of the local and therefore of place seen as locality seemed to have lost its relevance. Much of the church lost any sense that geographical context matters.
Yet that tendency to pull people out of their context has played to a consumerist mentality that sees church more as a consumer choice than a genuine community. Now, a shift seems to be underway that values locality much more - a resurgence of interest in the parish and the importance of the church's presence in community.
In The Place of the Parish Martin Robinson explores this shift, considering how it is manifested in a variety of contexts, rural, inner-city, Anglican and independent. Drawing on specific examples linked to the so-called `New Parish Movement', he demonstrates how a theology of place is made manifest in the mission of the church today.
1. Why is Place Important? 1
2. The Parish, its Future and its Present Crisis 16
3. Parish as a Healthy Place 31
4. Presence in the Inner City 47
5. Fresh Expressions as a Manifestation of Particular Place 64
6. The Challenge of the Rural 83
7. Rediscovering the Local 101
8. Place and Parish, Community and the Cross 117
9. Towards a Re-founding of the Parish 132
"In this era of social fragmentation, how should the Church pursue mission? Martin Robinson cuts to the chase: God speaks to us in the context of the local. Correctly identifying the influence of modernity's disregard for place on the Church, Robinson signals a clear pathway forward - to enable the vocation of church communities to participate with God on the ground in the remaking of social life. Drawing on his extensive experience and illustrating through vivid grassroots stories and sound theology, this is an inspirational book, yet short and practical. A gift to church leaders and laity of all traditions." -- Jenny Sinclair, Founder and Director of Together for the Common Good
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