Are the churches becoming exclusive clubs?


Dr Jennifer Te Paa-Daniel believes the Christian churches are in danger of becoming exclusive.

She says they are just serving the needs of their own congregations rather than reaching out to the community and taking risks.

“Jesus didn’t hang out with those who had it all together,” she says.

Te Paa Daniel, who is an Anglican theologian, was being interviewed on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp last Friday.

Power always protects itself and the church is reluctant to open itself up to interrogation she said.

When asked whom she was talking about, Te Paa Daniel pointed to “those people who relish being leaders”. In her church, The Anglican Church, it was the bishops and archbishops and senior priests.

“But every church has its own hierarchy,” she said.

On the same programme, Reverend Charles Waldegrave said there is a widespread “club’ culture in the churches that make it more difficult for other people to come in.

The conservative forces are into just protecting the group, he said.

“Unfortunately, when you look at church budgets, they are much more committed to the internal preservation than they are to the mission.”

As a wrap-up, Seven Sharp host Hillary Barry said, “I just want to point out there are some church groups doing some great stuff in the community.”

She said the Salvation Army, the Anglican. Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic and Baptist churches all have significant social outreaches.

Te Paa Daniel was the first indigenous Anglican laywoman appointed to lead an Anglican theological college in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

She served for three years as a lecturer and was then appointed Ahorangi or Dean of Te Rau Kahikatea at St. John’s Theological College in Auckland for 22 years from 1992 until 2013.


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