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Statement of the Congregational Federation Spring School 2022

‘Is Christian Non-Conformity a Thing of the Past?’

As Christian non-conformists, we join with brothers and sisters in other Christian traditions in affirming that to be a disciple of Jesus is to champion a model of authority that resists hierarchies and vested interests, whether related to Governmental policies and practices or to the interests of businesses and any other powerful groups in society.

This alternative model of authority - and therefore of agency for ordinary people - goes to the heart of the gospel, creating a social vision in defiance of all forms and systems of domination, whether huge or small. We need to be more actively aware of the influence and control of self-serving, powerful institutions and people in society, and we need to be more actively engaged in critiquing and even opposing those powers in the name of Jesus.

As Christian non-conformists, we call on all Christians to commit to not only being compassionate, practically and personally supporting those who are living at the margins of society and its economy, but also prophetic, standing alongside people to challenge the injustices of society and its economy.

As Christian non-conformists, our commitment to Scripture calls us to affirm both the grace and truth of God’s word and also the fact that we need the insight of Christians across the diversity of our life and cultural contexts to realise the wholeness and power of that grace and truth.

As Christian non-conformists, we affirm that we need to be resurrection people, not resuscitation people. If some aspects of what has become church life or church thinking have had their day under God’s blessing, then we must let them die with grace and respect, grateful to God for them, but praying for the gift of discernment for new ways and directions in which God may be leading us to new life and effective witness.

As Christian non-conformists, we recognise that this vision of a multi-voiced, inclusive church involves an untidiness in being and in welcoming diverse communities. We commit ourselves to hold in positive tension people's differing identities and perspectives, requiring us to foster skills and habits of deep listening, radical hospitality and alertness to our own tendency to self-interest.