Environmental concern is nothing new. However, the 20th Century has seen a dramatic increase in such concern. Four major issues, in particular, have become focal points for public anxiety about our impact on the environment. The first to attract public attention was the realisation that, through hunting and the destruction of natural habitats, the human race has been responsible for the extinction of many plant and animal species. Towards the end of the 1950s attention began to be focussed on less obvious forms of human impact on the environment. In particular, people began to be concerned about the effect of industrial and agricultural pollution on the environment. A decade later concern had shifted to the closely related issues of population pressure and resource depletion. More recently still, concern has focussed once more on pollution with fresh evidence of the extent of our impact on the environment, in particular our capacity to modify the climate through the Greenhouse Effect.
The missionary societies have bulging agendas. In this country the flight from God continues, and as the Christian faith declines, other faiths consolidate. The inner city's problems - social, environmental and spiritual - are under the microscope, and then there are the housing estates and the villages. It is daunting, and the rest of the world outside does not go away. Needs for food, health, peace and justice are huge and obvious. Thriving churches, planted by traditional missionary work, urgently need help in leadership-training. Meanwhile much of the West needs re-evangelising, and the older and younger churches are beginning to see the exciting potential of the interchange of workers. What channels should we choose for world mission?
One of the most frequently heard criticisms of Christian theology today is that its language is either inadequate to describe the mysteries of God, or else is totally meaningless in its attempt to relate them to the intelligible world of men.
How can the eucharistic worship of the Church of England more faithfully reflect the teaching of the New Testament and the earliest Christian liturgies?
'Faith in the City' is the most important contribution yet made by the Church of England to public consideration of one of the most urgent social problems currently facing Britain. It was initially received by the Government and its supporters with unqualified hostility, though the responses of politicians were not entirely of one kind.
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