Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Kenyan appointment of English Canon 'honours the gospel'

It has just been confirmed by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi that the Rev’d Tim Davies, 44, who leads Christ Church Central in Sheffield, England, has been made an honorary Canon of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi. At first sight, this may not appear unusual, but Christ Church is not a normal Church of England congregation. In fact, it is not in the Church of England at all.

Its origins go back to the attempt by Christ Church, Fulwood, one of the largest Anglican Evangelical parish churches in England, to plant a new congregation to reach inner city Sheffield under Tim Davies’ leadership. The local incumbent refused to co-operate and, because of the Church of England’s legal status as the established church, the only way to proceed was to form an independent Anglican congregation.

This came with a price tag for Tim and his growing family. It involved him having to renounce his licence, losing most of what comes with employment as a Church of England clergyman including his guaranteed stipend, the entitlement to a generous family home and, of course, saying goodbye to any possibility of future preferment. He was not deterred and in October 2003 Christ Church Central was formed with a core group of about 75 from Fulwood and prospered. By Autumn 2005 the congregation had outgrown its church building, and began holding services in a bar across the road. Now Christ Church has in turn planted another congregation and the two churches have a total Sunday attendance of some 220.

By African standards, this may not seem out of the ordinary, but in the English context of widespread cynicism fuelled by increasingly aggressive secularism and, moreover, in an inner city area where the Church of England has never been strong, it is remarkable. Read more
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