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Title: Present in every place : the Church of England and the Parish Principle
Author: Foulger, William John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 306X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is an evaluation of the Church of England’s formal recognition of non-parochial churches and the surrounding debate. It explores the claim made frequently by critics of recent changes that the parish system, in contrast to other church forms, values place and is accordingly a vital counter to the placelessness that is perceived to be a defining feature of modernity. The driving argument of this thesis is that such critiques have tended to assume too smooth a movement between the theological principle (presence in place) and practice (the parish system). Such arguments are, like the parish system itself, inherently spatial: they impose predefined categories onto given situations. It is claimed that in contrast a more helpful model, drawn from Anglicanism’s own theological resources, is one in which principle and practice are held as interrelated but distinctive. Following this model allows for an evaluation of how the principle might play out in situations. From an exploration of human geography’s description of place as ‘bounded openness’, and a survey of the Church’s historical praxis, the working theory is developed that since place is a more complex phenomenon than mappable space, the commitment to presence in place will necessarily entail complexity in church form. This theory is in turn taken into dialogue with four different Church of England churches. The findings from this broad ethnographic approach are presented in the form of narrative vignettes and it is shown that the theory is defensible. Churches relate to the world in terms of place and it is places rather than mapped spaces that become objects of love. The consequence of this for the Church’s praxis is that rather than pursuing geographical coverage as an end, it must find ways of establishing and equipping churches that are present to places as they are found.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Th.M.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available