Reshaping the church

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What shape is the Diocese of Chester in? Received wisdom casts the Diocese as a tea pot Following the shape of the old Cheshire. I’ve never quite seen it. I assume that the handle is to the east, and the spout is the Wirral peninsula to the west. It’s like those gestalt pictures through which we jump to conclusions about what we see.

What do you see here?

For me it’s got to be a bird. And the shape it’s in is as a dove. The tail feathers are in the west. It would be better if we could tilt the Wirral down a bit, but we don’t have to be precise. The beak district is in the east, the Peak District. The doves markings are the map pins identifying the churches of the Diocese. One episcopal eye winks at Altrincham. The other suffragan episcopal eye is in the tail feathers giving a steer to issues of poverty and life expectancy exposed by the contrasts between Deeside Wirral and Merseyside Wirral. Chester (with Cathedral and Bishop’s House) is the reproductive egg laying organ.

Or it’s a scary monster waving its hands in the air. You see what you want to see don’t you?

Metaphors generate meaning. The metaphor of the teapot may have been a godsend to those whose concern was to create a sense of fellowship. But would you rather have a diocese which is like a teapot, or a diocese which is like a bird? But not just any bird. Would you like a church that is like a dove?

What shape is the church in?

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7 thoughts on “Reshaping the church”

  1. I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this…

    Definitely a bird – and I think it is a new sub-species of the Australian Splendid Fairywren. We could call it the Crowned English Splendid Fairywren.


  2. Cheshire used to be teapot shaped before the boundary changes in I think the 70s, when most of the handle curled south in the Peak District, but I like the thought of it now being dove shaped, I originally saw it as the dove being open winged facing the viewer, one wing represented by the Wirral., one in the East.; but you’re right: things arn’t always what they seem,


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