Partners for Mission
Many of you will remember us writing to you in June 2017 inviting expressions of interest for weekends of intentional evangelism. In that letter we underlined that evangelism runs as a golden thread through our Diocesan LIFE vision: It is the way we give practical effect to the call to engage in God’s mission and share the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ with our communities; it is the fruit of our commitment to the renewal of the Leadership of our church; it is why we are called to Engage with the needs of the communities we serve; it is the reason we need to be Imaginative in our worship and ministry; it is the Faith we share, so it was for that reason that we, as your Bishops, committed ourselves to share more intentionally in this ministry.
The weekends were set up such that a local team from the worshipping community (ies) lay and clergy, planned and implemented a programme appropriate to the local context. A key ingredient was also that a small team drawn from curates across the diocese worked with the local team.
The weekends so far have been both encouraging and challenging in very different ways. We are currently planning a time to meet with those involved to reflect together and take note of what we have all learned. However, in the meantime we are both setting aside a further 2 weekends each in 2020 and the dates we have to offer are:
1/2 February 2020
21/22 March 2020 (Mothering Sunday)
2/3 May 2020
16/17 May 2020
The purpose of this letter is to ask if you would like us to consider your context as a possible focus for one of these weekends and we would be grateful if you would give this careful and prayerful thought, sharing the possibility with your local leadership team, and looking at how this will resonate with our LIFE vision. It is worth noting that several of the weekends in this current ‘round’ have involved more than one benefice working together.
As you share this it will be important to stress that this will require a significant commitment from you and those with whom you share in ministry. This is most certainly not simply the Bishop and her or his team coming and ‘doing this for you’ but very much us working together. It will involve a significant commitment of time and energy locally in planning and implementation, and in doing this we hope your local leadership will be encouraged and strengthened.
If having consulted, reflected and prayed you believe this could be for you we would be grateful if you would write to us, setting out on not more than one page of A4, why you believe this is so and giving your outline initial thoughts as to how you would want to focus the weekend. It will be essential that, underpinned by prayer and celebrated in worship, core to these plans will be practical ways in which we can share our faith in Jesus Christ who changes lives with those who have yet to encounter him and those for whom that relationship has grown cold.
We would be grateful to receive your response by the end of March 2019 after which we will seek to discern where we can most effectively engage in this work.
We both continue to be excited about the potential of our diocese and we are eager to share our faith as disciples of Jesus Christ and to encourage others to be similarly confident in sharing theirs, for the building of the Kingdom and the renewal of the Church.
With the assurance of our prayers and good wishes.
Bishop Robert and Bishop Rachel