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New Wine 2017: The Irony of Experience

Rachel Marszalek is Vicar of All Saints Church in London, England. In this report from the New Wine United 2017 convention, she primarily shares insights and perspective about what is happening within the Anglican Church. For more about the New Wine movement and the United 2017 convention, see her other report, “Elephants Explored.”

Whether we meet God in the silence or the stadium gathering; whether we speak in tongues or sing the liturgy, whether we raise our hands or lie prostrate on the floor, Anglicans share a heritage. Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley, wrote recently about this magnanimous Church of England of which New Wine is a part. He was fascinated by the anthropology and spirituality of its various constituencies taking time out from the mother-ship, to meet, usually in a field somewhere, with its own. Keswick is home for a week for the evangelical, Walsingham – the Anglo-Catholic and Somerset – the New Wine Charismatic. There is also Spring Harvest for the gently charismatic evangelical and Greenbelt for those, well, I am hard pushed to say, those who are deconstructing and reconfiguring faith in various ways.

At New Wine, Bishop Philip said ‘the gospel is a very jolly thing … there is a powerful sense of the immanence of God … proclamation … is relevant to the immediate needs and aspirations of the culture … the festival has a powerful energy focused on a passionate belief in the local church as the hope of the world, and a real sense that we can go back home to make a difference.'[1]

Since I last reviewed New Wine for, there has been a change of leadership. Paul and Becky Harcourt are at the helm and bringing with them a new charism. This charism is encouraging a movement of God into the ordinary. There is, these days, more of an emphasis on the fifty weeks than the two spent together in worship. Paul’s opening challenge to us was to take New Wine home. This is where God will make the real difference. During ministry time, the expectant crowds are also prepared to ‘not expect.’ In other words, there is more room for the God who might not show up in experiential ways despite our sung worship, prepared hearts and open hands; the God who is also mystery and catches us by surprise. Don’t worry if He is not so tangible right now, wait … God knows … God knows you. He has His timing.

There is more humility.

In some ways, there has had to be!

In the Church of England’s July General Synod a Private Member’s Motion[2] was put forward by a change advocate, to ban conversion therapy. Its author is one of a very wide contingent strategising for doctrinal change on marriage.

Conversion therapy was denounced, passionately, at July’s synod.


What is interesting, is that an amendment to that motion, ironing out some of the subtleties for those of us who believe in ‘conversion’ and who have heard the testimonies of people with broken sexualities, heterosexual and homosexual, made new, was not really ‘heard.’ Sean Doherty encouraged the Synod to appreciate that ‘all sexuality is equally affected by the Fall’ asking the House of Bishops to ‘discourage inappropriate … practices, and to encourage good ones’ when it comes to prayer and pastoralia.[3]

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Category: In Depth, Summer 2017

About the Author: Rachel Marszalek is Vicar of All Saints, Ealing, an Anglican Church in London. Revd Marszalek is involved in the New Wine Movement and particularly focussed on women in Anglican ordained ministries within the network. She is married with two girls and two puppy dogs who are all a joy to her. God first called her to the church during the prayer of Humble Access in an Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer service when she was 8 years old. She blogs at Revising Reform. Facebook. Twitter: @revisingreform

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