The revival of Evangelicalism in the Church of England began when a young John Stott invited Evangelicals under 40 years of age to get together and consider their role in the church. What came out of that was a determination to influence the church by engagement with it, including engagement with those who had little respect for them. Colin Buchanan, one of those younger Evangelicals, has written about his experience as an evangelical liturgist, and how he persisted despite being side-lined and marginalised until he eventually gained the respect that was due to him and was able to make a real difference in the Church of England’s liturgical revisions.

Could there be a similar movement among Episcopalian Evangelicals today? It could only be similar, of course, not identical, not only because the Episcopal Church is not the Church of England, but because people under 40 have different assumptions today than they did fifty years ago. But there are signs of a desire for this, here, for instance, where younger Evangelicals from several denominations, including PECUSA, have joined such a discussion on line.

There is also a group of younger Evangelicals who are mostly members of PECUSA that connect through the Mockingbird web-site. The site’s contributors are mostly graduates from TESM, and mostly those who were there when Paul Zahl was Dean, and share his particular theological emphasis, which hasn’t won unqualified support across the entire Anglican Evangelical spectrum.

What seems to me to characterise both of these groups is a desire to engage each other, but to avoid those who side-line and marginalise them. This makes them, curiously enough, more like the older generation of Evangelicals in Stott’s time, who are often described as being content to live in an evangelical ghetto, having as little to do with the structures of the church as they could. This was the approach repudiated by Stott and his generation. The dominance of Evangelicalism in today’s Church of England, in contrast to its minority status fifty years ago is undeniable; I would argue that their decision to engage the church beyond their comfort level was the result of God’s guidance, and is, under God, the direct cause of the change in the church. My prayer is that  God will say the same thing to the younger Evangelicals of today, and that they will respond with the same determination.

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