LCM again

Someone was speaking to me the other day about a post that I wrote some time ago about Local Collaborative Ministry, as opposed to local collaborative ministry. (See the post itself and the comments following for the difference between the two). My interlocutor said that I was being too harsh in what I said about those dioceses which had adopted LCM early. Looking back at what I said, I may have been a little harsh, though I’m not sure.

When I look at the website for the Diocese of Argyll & The Isles, I find this article about St Columba’s, Gruline. [Note that this is a local copy – the diocesan website has so many broken links, I fear that if I direct you there, you will encounter only a single track road and never return from your wanderings]. It is an appeal for a return to Mass Priests. No, worse than that, it is an appeal for anyone who feels called to this to contact their bishop to demand such ordination for themselves. Bear in mind this is in an official diocesan publication.

Now, that the article is insulting to people like me who give their lives to stipendiary ministry and do what we can with what we have is one thing, that it appears to circumvent the ordinal, the selection process and the prerogatives of the College of Bishops is another.

However this alone does not really get to the heart of why there is such bitter misunderstandings between some of those pushing the Local Collaborative Ministry agenda and some of those who, working collaborativly and locally in ministry, don’t subscribe to the tenets of LCM or whatever it is called this week. I don’t, as it happens, think that the LCM folk would necessarily be promoting what is called for in the article in question directly, though you never know.

I think that the problem is directly related to the use of the reserved sacrament. It seems to me as though there is an attempt to turn priests and churches into the cheapest possible sacrament dispensing machines. That is not what priesthood used to be about, it is not what church used to be about and it isn’t what discipleship used to be about either.

Of course, not all that happens in our Companion Diocese Over The Water is bad. When I want inspiration about thinking locally and collaboratively about ministry, I need do no other than turn to Mother Dunoon, who says it as she sees it.


  1. I think we have reached a bit of a dead-lock in the conversation about LCM. We keep stumbling over the same issues and terms without drawing closer to mutual understanding.

    So, I have a ‘new’ question, which I hope might move us on. For those who advocate LCM:

    What does a healthy ‘non-LCM’ church look like?

    How is it different (is it different?) from a healthy LCM congregation? Why would one choose to be one thing rather than the other?

  2. kelvin says

    Well, don’t we have to begin by saying something about what a healthy church is first?

    The tradition seems helpful here, as ever. The marks of the church are that it is one, that it is holy, that it is catholic and that it is apostolic.

    Translating that into inadequate modern parlance, I’d say that those were signs of a healthy church viz:
    – that it is not divided against itself, but has a common sense of purpose (its oneness)
    – that it offers pathways to deeper spirituality and intimacy with God (its holiness)
    – that its unity does not preclude diversity and what it has is open to all (its catholicity)
    – that it is spreading the good news about Jesus (its apostolicity).

    It seems to me that the manner in which a church works is secondary to the urgency of doing those tasks.

    I suppose that a church might well decide to work towards (or within) LCM understandings if there was a common understanding that such ways were more likely to lead to such a healthy existence than other ways.

  3. Without entering into the larger subject here (wouldn’t dare) can I assure you that the sickly A & I diocesan website is undergoing complete reconstructive surgery at this time.

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