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Refreshing Our Vision

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Mar, 2020 05:22 PM

Transforming lives, developing disciples and encouraging collaborative leadership, these are the three ongoing priorities for growth for our Diocese as we continue our "Diocesan story of life together".

Refreshing Our Vision

David Pain addresses Diocesan Synod

These 3 significant building blocks for the ongoing work of the Diocese were adopted by Diocesan Synod as the focus for the refresh to our Diocesan vision- Renewing Hope Pray-Serve-Grow.

Over the past 12 months a series of consultations with our parishes and schools, that began with Bishop John Gladwin's review of Renewing Hope, has led to the identifying and naming of the 3 priorities that inspire our Diocese across all areas of our ministry and mission. Each is deeply connected with prayer, service and growth:

- To develop discipleship and evangelism
- To encourage dynamic and collaborative leadership, and
- To transform lives and communities.

Over the next 3 editions of Grapevine, in our Longer Read section we will be looking in more detail at each of these priorities for growth in turn and how they will shape our mission and evangelism going forward.

Bishop Karen, who presented the priorities to Synod with Diocesan Secretary David Pain on behalf of our Bishop's Council, said:

"Christianity is a story telling faith, and we are called to go and tell, preach and baptise. And as a Diocese we have been deliberately telling stories and having conversations for the last five years of how our hope has been renewed, and the fantastic thing is when asked to share in those sessions, what has renewed our hope, there is never silence."

She told Synod that our new priorities were "a continuation of the journey that God has been taking us on, as individuals, as church communities have in their own way, as you have in your own way, sought to bring hope to those around.

"This is our Diocesan story of life together."

Explaining the priorities for growth in more detail, Bishop Karen said:

"The needs of the church are changing, we need to be flexible, to go where people gather or live, to transform and be transformed. And that is happening, how can we engage with those who are unable, due to age and infirmity, to come out of their home? How can we engage effectively and differently in our areas of deprivation as well as our areas of plenty, in our urban areas, our market towns, our coastal towns and our rural villages?

"As a diocese we are committed to lay training as well as ordained training, leadership needs to be collaborative and local teams within benefices are key to what can be achieved better together.

"It was great to commission the first cohort of lay pioneers a month or so ago. They were aged between around 30 to over 70 years of age and were eager to do and try new things we aim to continue to encourage pioneers, lay and ordained, who will be essential to us in going forward to develop new ways of being church and to go out, to not only the fringe but the dismissive and indifferent. To develop confidence in faith sharing amongst ordinary churchgoers.

"Transforming lives and communities is also about the creation of partnerships; developing community hubs in our towns bringing together schools and churches and others working in the community to serve local needs; it is about working ecumenically where we can and there are some great examples of that across the two counties; it is also about addressing environmental issues as we have heard earlier.”

But she added:

"These may look like simple steps but the next steps in 'Renewing Hope Part Two' in the Diocese will be a process of trust and commitment to continued change and renewal in us and through us, which many of us think that God is calling us to. So, I invite you to continue with us on this unpredictable journey of faith."

Diocesan Secretary David Pain said:

We have a clear vision and purpose and are working towards a sustainable financial future. On Saturday, the Diocesan Synod gave a clear and strong support to our refreshed Renewing Hope priorities for growth. These are significant building blocks for our future work as a Diocese and will help us to be clear on the contribution needed by us all as the DBF and DBE staff. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to developing this vision."

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