English Folk Christianity






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     “We proclaim and celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and action. But through the Grace of Jesus Christ we also affirm our traditional spirituality and our place in God's Creation. We know that Christ has come to fulfil our own traditions too.”



This quote, taken in August 2008, is from the official website of the Anglican Church of Canada and refers to the mission statement of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. Anglo Saxon Anglicans supports the right of the indigenous peoples of North America, and indeed of everywhere, to reconcile their Christian faith with their native traditions. But what is good enough for the native peoples of North America is good enough for the native peoples of our English homeland; indeed for Anglo Saxon people wherever we might live. The ACIP, and the related Anglican Indigenous Network, argue the right to maintain their identity, traditions and self-determination in their own lands. To work in partnership with others certainly, but not to be simply absorbed into wider society and lose what it is that makes them what they are. The site includes the following quote which sums this position up well.




"All of you are Christ's body and each one is a part of it."
-- 1 Corinthians 12:27





The Anglo Saxon English people are a distinct nation, bound together by common origins, culture, history and all those things that a shared sense of belonging entails. We are the Angelcyn, the indigenous people of England, and we too assert our right to exist and to celebrate our identity. In today’s cosmopolitan world, a form of English Folk Christianity is an important way of doing this.



The Anglo Saxon English people lost many of our native traditions and culture centuries ago, although some still survive in modified form. Whilst we are undoubtedly better off without some of these, a great injustice was done to our folk. Many of our customs were banned by the Church, declared evil and severely punished. Reverence for nature, for the spirits of the land and for our ancestors was called witchcraft and devil worship. But the modern Church is seeking to reconcile itself with the native traditions of certain groups of people. And not just the Anglican Communion. The Russian Orthodox Church is seeking a new relationship with the native peoples of Siberia and elsewhere. We can learn from this. We can preserve and reconstruct our own folk culture.




We do not say that every aspect of our old ways was good or relevant to our modern lives. But we do say that we have a right to reconnect with our own ancient traditions every bit as much as other indigenous peoples.  And we do see ourselves as indigenous people. We are currently suffering the same effects of global imperialistic capitalism that caused the Native Americans and many others around the globe so much trouble. Our communities are being torn apart; our people exploited and turning to drugs and alcohol misuse. Infact, the ordinary people were exploited even in the colonial days. It was the system that exploited not the ordinary people and it is the system that is still exploiting. 




Folk Christianity is a reconnection with our culture and traditions, our native spirituality within a Christian framework and it is a reconnection between the people and our native land. The two are inextricably connected to each other. It is not against any group, but rather recognition of our right as a people to our identity and to our relationship with our native lands. Many aspects of our ancient ways were absorbed into the early English Church, although sometimes in a distorted form. It is our aim to celebrate these and  to restore those which have been lost or forgotten. It is also our aim to reach back further into our past and to look again at some of our older customs and wisdom where these are, or can be made, consistent with our Christian faith.




At the heart of Folk Christianity is respect for ourselves as individuals, families and as a folk. One of the biggest problems facing us today is a lack of self-respect and a lack of self-regard. Rights without responsibilities, hedonism turned into debauchery. Rampant gun and knife crime, people afraid to go out at night. English people disgracing themselves and their country across the globe. Many people look at this and wonder just what has happened, what has gone wrong. What did all those brave men and women fight and die for last century? Certainly not for what is happening right now. Our ancestors would be disgusted at many of things happening now. And they would be disgusted with the self-serving institutions that have encouraged such behaviour and wreaked so much damage on our communities.




Much of this is a result of the profound social changes that have taken place in our communities over the last few decades. The problem is serious and getting worse. The Church is not providing the right moral and spiritual direction for people; indeed it so often appears to be part of the problem. We need a new start. We need to rebuild our respect for ourselves as a people and for our links to our land. We need to re-discover many of the old fashioned values that made our ancestors strong. We need to take back our institutions and build new ones.




Whilst we look back to our past to strengthen our identity, we do not wish to go backwards. Our destiny does not lie in trying to recreate the societies and culture of our ancestors. The only way is forwards, drawing inspiration from the past.