Diverse ecosystems thrive when different kinds of organisms share life and energy together in a particular place. In western European nations with a long legacy of state churches such as the U.K., the inherited system of local, geographically based congregations no longer connects with the vast majority of neighbors in a meaningful way. While most of those neighbors don’t mind that a historic church building is part of the cultural landscape, they have no interest in participating in what goes on there.
Over the past few decades, churches in those contexts have developed a vision for a “mixed” or “blended ecology” of inherited and new forms of Christian community coexisting together. The word “inherited” is deliberate. Like any inheritance, traditional forms of institutional church bear a wealth of gifts but also sometimes a complicated legacy.
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