Fresh Expressions in the Church of England

Welcome to the home of fresh expressions in the Church of England.

Here you’ll find information about why fresh expressions are important – and learn about how we’re working to support them through our newly introduced Greenhouse initiative.

The Church of England’s General Synod heard in July 2019 that 15 per cent of its congregations – amounting to over 50,000 people – were now attending what is known as a fresh expression of church.

Fresh expressions are varied and will frequently look different from one another. This is because they are contextual forms of church – which means they are specific to the life and people of a particular place. Because they are often in partnership with a parish church or co-exist in deaneries, we talk about fresh expressions as being part of a ‘mixed economy’, where different types of church revitalisation activity is happening together.

The use of the term ‘mixed economy’ was first introduced in this way within the Mission-Shaped Church Report, under the stewardship of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. In the 16 years since this report, there have been attempts to consider what we have been learning about fresh expressions. One such attempt was ‘The Day of Small Things’, a report compiled by the Church Army’s Research Unit, after they had surveyed over 1100 fresh expressions across 21 dioceses of the Church of England. You can read a 36-page summary of this report by visiting the Church Army website.

Building on this learning, we have created the Greenhouse initiative, which aims to better support and equip fresh expressions, so that they become more sustainable and multiply – and in doing so further embedding fresh expressions into the mixed economy of the Anglican church in this country.

Within this micro-site, you will also find a helpful resources section, which reflects the ecumenical nature of the fresh expressions movement and signposts towards the ongoing six-way partnership work. In addition to the Church of England, this incorporates the Methodist Church, Baptist Church, Salvation Army, United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland.

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Fresh expressions account for 15% of our congregations

That’s more than 50,000 people!

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There’s a lot of variety

Fresh expressions don’t always look the same

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Some fresh expressions originate from a parish church

Others grow out of pioneering work happening away from the church

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Fresh expressions are often led by lay people

This means they don't always have a member of clergy leading them

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Fresh expressions complement other forms of church planting and revitalisation

They all work together with parish churches in a ‘mixed economy’

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Our new Greenhouse initiative builds on the learning gathered about fresh expressions

From over the last 15 years, since the Mission-Shaped Church report

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Greenhouse equips teams of people to design, grow and cultivate fresh expressions

Helping them to become more sustainable and multiply

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What is Greenhouse?

Find out more about the Greenhouse initiative