Excerpted from an article by Dakota O’Leary in “God Discussion.”
Summer solstice was celebrated on June 21st this year, and in England, Pagans and Druids gathered at Stonehenge 20,000 strong to watch the sunrise at the famous monument after a 27 million (pounds) restoration of the site. And in light of that celebration, the Church of England got a revolutionary idea: to make a place in Anglicanism for Pagans. The Telegraph reports:
The church is training ministers to create “a pagan church where Christianity [is] very much in the centre” to attract spiritual believers.
Ministers are being trained to create new forms of Anglicanism suitable for people of alternative beliefs as part of a Church of England drive to retain congregation numbers.
Reverend Steve Hollinghurst, a researcher and adviser in new religious movements told the BBC: “I would be looking to formulate an exploration of the Christian faith that would be athome in their culture.”
He said it would be “almost to create a pagan church where Christianity was very much in the centre.”
The Church Mission Society, which is training ministers to “break new ground”, hopes to see a number of spiritual people align themselves with Christianity.
Commenters on the article were not impressed. Some saw it as trying to put a Christian gloss over Paganism which has already been done by the Catholic Church. One commenter said:
Then again, maybe this is just what we need. Converting the pagans by coopting some of their beliefs worked wonders the first time, and made Christianity a whole lot more fun in the bargain. Where would we be without Christmas trees?
Then again, its worth pointing out that the Church of England seems to think they are dealing with real druids here.
Excuse me while I go watch the wicker man. The old one, not the Nicolas cage version.
given that much of Christian culture is the result of putting a monotheistic gloss on pagan ritual, this seems like the only way that Christianity will survive in England (or did you think that a Xmas tree was part of the nativity)
Another expressed indignation that once again, Christians of another stripe were dissing Paganism out of one side of their mouth while trying to co-opt Pagan beliefs:
Let’s see if I have this correct? The Anglicans are trying to co-opt their religion to get people who believe in a god or goddess or gods and goddesses who is/are not the Christian god and who don’t believe in Jesus, to drop their existing religious beliefs and to follow the Christian god and to believe in Jesus?!
I have a prediction on how this will result: MASSIVE FAIL!