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Class and the Church

25 August 2021

A Church Times webinar

In this Church Times webinar, first broadcast in July 2021, we explore how the Church talks - or fails to talk - about class.

How does social background affect someone's experience of church community, or the process of exploring vocation? Is it a problem if a church's priest is from a privileged background when the congregation is primarily working-class? If church-going influences social mobility is that actually a bad thing? What does all this mean for the future of the Church of England?

Some have argued that the Church of England is too middle-class. A high proportion of its bishops are privately educated and attended elite universities. It's been claimed that churches are dominated by a middle-class culture, which alienates those who identify as working-class.

Our panel consider what class distinctions mean in 21st century England, and how these intersect with race, wealth and poverty. Where has progress has been made and what still needs to change?



Lynne Cullens, Rector of Stockport and Brinnington, and Chair of the National Estate Churches Network.

Azariah France-Williamspriest at the Ascension Hulme, and author of Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England.

Philip North, Bishop of Burnley in the diocese of Blackburn.

Sharon Prentis, Intercultural Mission Enabler, Honorary Canon Theologian of Lichfield Cathedral, and honorary fellow of the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion.

Chaired by Vicky Walker, writer and broadcaster.​

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