Rev Troy dropped in yesterday to point out that the kinds of “inclusivity” I described in my earlier post aren’t unique to the AJC – all modern Gnostic churches share the same approach.
I realised after reading his comment that I hadn’t been trying to define what makes the AJC different from other Gnostic churches – since I don’t see our churches as being in competition: we’re in different geographical areas and we’re all mostly aiming for the same thing, there doesn’t seem to be much sense in competing.
I thought I should also point out a little about my method. These posts are a way of me feeling my way towards what makes the AJC (and particularly our church in Sydney) unique for people I’m talking to. Each of the posts highlights something I think is distinctive or interesting and my intention is to synthesise a USP from the set. This may take a while, but hopefully it means that I’ll get better at communicating the church and you, gentle readers, may find out more than you already knew.
The final thing I wanted to note is that using a marketing approach like this supposes a market of consumers and some good and some scarcity (of money, time or attention) which causes competition among providers. It isn’t totally clear to me that among potential spiritual seekers there is a real scarcity, but certainly people need to allocate their time among a large set of possible activities and spiritual seekers among a large set of possible groups and practices.
Given where Saint Uriel’s is in the world, we compete with TV and going out to drink with friends, we compete with the local Buddhist meditation group and with the Roman Catholic cathedral. I think I’ve been thinking about these posts in terms of laying out what makes us distinct from other churches, so perhaps some of this might be useful for clergy and lay ministers in other Gnostic churches who are probably facing similar competition.