The Church of England hopes to rejuvenate itself by taking inspiration from the American bishop, whose preacher-style sermon at the royal wedding went viral.
The Most Reverend Michael Curry stole the show at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in May when he captured the world’s attention with his refreshingly informal address about the power of love.
The style of sermon has been compared to that in Pentecostal churches, which have been flourishing in recent years the UK, which share Curry’s free-form style and where clapping and dancing are commonplace.
New church law would allow for parishes to work in partnership with these independent churches and could mean pastors will bring their style of worship to Church of England pulpits, if the legislation is approved by the General Synod next month.
The Revd Dr Will Adam, of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, said: “The royal wedding certainly demonstrated how dynamic worship drawing from many cultures can be.
“And we all saw through the amazing reaction to Bishop Curry’s sermon how the nation really sat up and listened when they heard the gospel preached with passion and without reserve.
“If enabling parishes to forge closer relationships with some of most dynamic and fast-growing churches in this country helps bring new life and new ideas to our congregations that can only be a good thing.”
Following the wedding, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby had gushed about the sermon, saying it “blew the place open” and that everyone who had witnessed it had been “gripped by it”.
He said at the time: “It was fantastic. And you could see people just caught up in it, and excited by it.”
The Church of England’s secretary general, William Nye said the changes to church law would make it easier for parishes to “work with what is effectively the fastest growing expressions” of christianity in England.
At a press conference announcing the move, he said: “Now a lot of the life of Christianity in England is in the independent churches, evangelical churches, Pentecostal churches, black-led, black-majority churches.
“And many parishes are working with those, and finding ways to share in the lives of those churches, and come together for a better expression of Christianity, in partnership, but we haven’t previously had a framework for it.”
Working with them would enable the Church of England to celebrate and learn from them, he added.