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24 April 2015

Is the Church too middle class?

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NB: Apologies for the sound quality on these videos, they were filmed in the lunch break at a key gathering. 

Sara Hyde: community activist
"Basically yes, there are parts of the Church where we need to be really careful that we aren't talking about going to the poor, doing things for the poor. We should be with. There are all kinds of people in the Church but it is the prepondonence of people who have been to certain universities that lead "successful" churches. We need to get rid of our view of success –get to the grass roots. Weneed to go alongside, be loving and ask: what can I learn? How can I be humble in this situation?"

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Dai Hankey: pastor of Hill City Church,East Wales and director of 29 Acts Wales
"Is the Church too middle class? No, I don't think it is because the Church is global and there areplenty people across the world who wouldn't call themselves middle class. They'd call themselves poor, actually. Is the Church too middle class in our particular part of the world? Possibly, but I think there's nothing wrong with being middle class. I think the question should really be are there people in our Church who don't really care about people who aren't like them. That's the real question. Some churches yes, some churches no. but I'm certainly not going to write the church off as being too middle class. Is the Church beautiful? Yes she is."

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Rev Margaret Ferguson: East Belfast Mission for Elim
"Initially yes, but I want to qualify that: the Church struggles to know how to engage with the working class, and the difficulties and issues they face, that perhaps the middle class don't face themselves. My experience of working with working class communities is that even those who are working class nearly become middle class [when they become Christians] and don't quite know how to engage with that dysfunctionality that lives inside them. It's about helping them to put away the fear, and finding a way to just talk and just listen."

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Nims Obunge: pastor of Freedom's Ark and CEO of the Peace Alliance
"I don't think the question should be is the Church too middle class as there are middle class people in the Church and there are folks who are not middle class. It's not a question about class it's about people. So long as we do people then we do church."

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Paul Brown: City Hope Bermondsey
"That's a difficult question in lots of ways but I think the simple answer is yes and the reason I say that is because dominate culture in church leadership is middle class and we see that in a lot of contexts. People don't really think when they say things the context they're saying it in – some from a middle class context. Part of that I think comes from the success of outreach into universities and colleges over decades where salvation has come and they've gone into church leadership. But that perpetuates that by and large church leadership is a middle class preserve."

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Tani Omideyi: senior pastor, Temple of Praise
"Yes, the Church is. In its approach, in its language and in its relationships. In the way we do Church, I think the Church is very middle class"

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John Kirkby
"What I would say, more importantly, is the Church being more equipped, whatever demographic they've come from to take the Gospel of Jesus to their communities? I would say, as founder and international director of Christians Against Poverty, that the church, be it middle class or not, is waking up more than ever to it's responsibilities to bring all the great things that God has given them and to take it into their communities, to reach the poor and needy people to show them that Jesus is relevbant and cares for the entire breadth of the social structure we have in our nation. If the Church is too middle class it's certainly got resources and it's got great people, it's full of people who love Jesus, and that energy being utilised to reach the poor across this nation is truly exciting to me to see and truly exciting for Christians Against Poverty to be invloved in it. So wherever you are Church, too middle class or not, we think you're amazing and we want to partner with you"

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