We’ve opened a huge Megachurch in a big city. We know it’s a bit of a change from the way the Church of England usually is, but we had to. When you have two hundred parishes that have only ten members, and it costs £175 a day to do all the repairs to each church building, it’s a question of economics. You’ve got to have two thousand members or you just can’t do it. Not to mention the cost of my salary.
You might ask, how do we manage to get 2,000 people into a relatively small building? The Church of England service is so short we can have communion ten times on a Sunday. We have it at 8AM, 8.30AM, 9AM, 9.30AM, 10AM, 10.30AM,11AM, 11.30AM, 12 noon and 12.30PM. Our parish boundaries are huge. We’re near the bus station and the underground Metro station in Newcastle city centre. There’s another church in Sunderland, one in Jarrow and one in Tynemouth, but if you live anywhere between Heworth and Shiremoor you can travel five miles here by underground train, and if you live in a rural village in Northumberland or Durham you have a direct bus. It could be worse. The Methodists have one megachurch in Newcastle city centre and it’s the only one for a hundred miles. We don’t really care if you’re Church of England or not. Come and take communion with us if you’re a good Methodist, if you’re a confirmed Catholic, if you’ve found God anywhere. We respect all Christians. We can’t afford to be too choosey.
I suppose it’s for the best. We’ve ended up with all the people in the Church of England who were really born again. The Methodists have ended up with all the Methodists who didn’t think that street evangelism or smuggling Bibles into China were bad ideas. The outdoor inter-church carol concerts are really nice at Christmas, and the prayer meetings at seven o’clock in the morning are really alive. I suppose that 2035 is a good time to be a woman vicar.