LIFE priority groups – what are they doing?

Pauline Godfrey

Developing diverse lay and ordained leaders from the communities we serve

Contact: Revd Pauline Godfrey, Head of Discipleship and Vocations, Diocese of Gloucester

Pauline says “My heart’s desire is to find ways to enable people to grow in confidence in who they are in Christ. As individuals begin to articulate who God is calling them to be they encourage others to do the same. My hope is that this developing confidence will grow leaders in our worshipping communities who will reflect the rich diversity of our society.” 

This priority group has identified the following areas of work to take forward this priority: running the THRIVE, Flourish and Lead Academy courses with specific worshipping communities in the Diocese; running vocations days; working with a Vocations Team to explore ways to enable those who are under represented in our leadership to have opportunities to flourish – particulary from the BAME communities; developing a Gloucester Ministerial Experience Scheme (GMES) and developing an Ordained Local Ministry training pathway. The priority group also hopes to explore how to encourage those in leadership within our worshipping communities to take personal responsibilty for encouraging and enabling individuals to grow in confidence.

Andrew BraddockPiloting liberating models of leadership and ministry, especially in multi-parish benefices

Contact: Canon Andrew Braddock, Director of Mission and Ministry, Diocese of Gloucester

This priority group is focused upon developing new ways of structuring and supporting ministry. A successful pilot for Lay Funeral Ministers with the Gloucester City Deanery has been started, and we are looking at extending this to the rest of the deaneries over the coming years. Mike Smith is co-ordinating this project.

We have also developed support and a network for parish administration by providing events for administrators and their incumbents, and we are developing a page on the website specifically for our administrators. We will be starting to pilot new models of administrative support in two pilot areas – Stroud team ministry and Stroudwater team ministry, in order to liberate our leaders to do the work they have been called to do. Kathryn Warner is co-ordinating these administration projects.

Both projects have an eye to building local capacity, engaging with our mission context, and experimenting with new patterns of ministry.

Rowena KingCreating learning networks for lay and ordained leaders

Contact: Revd Rowena King, Assistant Curate in the Benefice of EWELME

Rowena says “I’ve taught in a variety of contexts for the past twenty years, and am passionate about how people learn and keep learning across their life and faith journey. I’m particularly interested in the relationships and frameworks that support those journeys” 

This priority group is currently sharing information about learning networks that already exist, and supporting the development of coaching in the Diocese.

Jo WetherallInvesting in our engagement with baptism families to spark an amazing adventure with Jesus Christ

Contact: Revd Jo Wetherall, Children and Families Officer, Diocese of Gloucester

‘Under 5 and Flourishing’ is the focus for the coming year resourcing, inspiring and enabling the leaders of our under 5’s groups in their engagement with parents and children. We begin with a conference in March and continue with termly gatherings to network,  learn from each other and people with specialist knowledge.

Children, Youth and Families

Rachel HowiePlacing schools at the heart of our mission, with creative connections between churches and schools

Contact: Rachel Howie, Director of Education, Diocese of Gloucester

This priority group has been focused upon the development of  a new resource “101 ways for parishes and schools to work together”, supporting parishes and schools to work together to appoint foundation governors, and supporting parishes and schools to worship together. We have also started The Good Shepherd project – using life-sized sheep to bring parishes and schools together, particularly during the transition from Year 6 to senior school.

Approaching the use, upkeep and future of our church buildings in bold and creative ways

Contact: Currently open
This priority group is looking at sharing stories of buildings used and developed in bold and creative ways, hosted a gathering of interested parties in autumn 2018. Sub-groups are working on various priorities including providing support for church closure and providing a strategic overview of buildings.

Julie FayEnabling people to discover new depths to prayer, and spiritual growth, individually and together

Contact: Canon Julie Fay, Worship and Spirituality Officer, Diocese of Gloucester

The LIFE Group for this priority have been working on producing resources to help people pray and to discover new things about their spirituality. The main output has been the ‘Shapes For Living’ Lent Course which is available on the Diocesan website (follow this link: with accompanying resources for schools.
We have also been helping people explore contemporary worship through a series of workshops provided by The Worship Foundation. See their website ( for details of more of these in the Autumn.
In the next few months, further resources to help you explore different ways of praying will also become available

This group also incorporates the priority –Encouraging new and courageous ways of worshipping, in different places, which connect with more people. This priority groups forms the diocesan Worship, Prayer and Spirituality group.

Peter HillNurturing confident disciples, to live out their faith seven days a week

Contact: Peter Hill

Peter says “All my adult life I have tried, failed, explored, delighted and rejoiced in learning about becoming a confident disciple. If it doesn’t bring life on a Monday, it’s a waste of a Sunday. I’ve learnt to be childlike, to pray and then discover that I’m loved and delighted in, and somehow equipped to help bring life to others. I wish I had realised this many years ago!”

This priority group has been running a series of workshops with the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity on whole life discipleship, sharing stories and resources about discipleship and is part of the national programme on Setting God’s People Free. A Diocesan-wide conference is being planned for 2020.

Liz PalinSharing our stories in new and different ways, including through digital media

Contact: Revd Liz Palin, Team Vicar, Stroudwater Team, and Lucy Taylor, Director of Communications

This priority group has focused upon encouraging a culture of story sharing across the Diocese, delivering a series of workshops to over 120 people across the Diocese on how to use digital media. The group is developing an exciting partnership with Cheltenham Festivals for the next three years.

Cate WilliamsBeing advocates for human flourishing, through initiatives which combat injustice, environmental destruction, exclusion and isolation

Contact: Revd Cate Williams, Mission and Evangelism Officer, Diocese of Gloucester

This priority group is working on four main areas: Environment; Mental Health; Inclusion; and Community Engagement. Each area has a project lead.

Environment: led by Revd Arthur Champion, looking at combating environmental destruction.

Mental Health and dementia: led by Revd John Horan who was until recently a chaplain for those with mental ill health, and is leading a small group including mental health professionals to undertake pilots that will help churches engage in this area. Judith Knight, Head of HR and Safeguarding, is overseeing mental health and dementia projects.

Inclusion: Revd Sue Greatorex is helping to explore how better we can include people both within our churches and partnership in our neighbourhoods. This area also includes specific areas of work such as homelessness, and welcoming refugees and asylum seekers.

Community engagement: Revd Cate Williams is exploring with others how insights from Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) can help us deepen relationships with local communities in life-giving ways.

Using sport, music and art to build relationships and share the Christian faith

Creative Arts:
Contact: Nikki Seville, Project Leader of Christian Arts Festival.  Nikki is to provide a network and index of artists/performers/workshop leaders for all the arts to enable churches and other organisations to host creative arts events – available on the Christian Arts Festival website with a link from the Diocese creative arts section.  Resources with guidance from Paul Hobbs, Christian Visual Artist, are now available on this website to aid event’s organisers to put on arts events in their churches across the Diocese. The Christian Arts Festival in partnership with the Diocese is to present a one day free Festival of Stars in Whaddon, North Cheltenham Saturday, 13 June 2020. The next large Christian Arts Festival ‘EDEN’ will take place in Cheltenham and Gloucester 25 April – 9 May, 2021. Visit the Creative Arts page

Rob FrenchSports:

Contact: Rob French, (pictured left) PSALMS Director of Sports Ministry and Richard Witham, (below left) Scripture Union, National Sports Mission Leader

Rob says “I’ve seen the impact that sport can have on individuals, families and communities. I believe sport can be an opportunity for the Church to meet people where they are at, and I’m excited to see how the Church in Gloucestershire may live out its mission through sport”.
Visit the Sports Ministry page

Richard WithamThis sports priority group has developed a number of different sports ministry models which are being piloted across churches, schools and communities in the Diocese. The group is sponsoring a number of sports ministry trainee and learning schemes for young leaders in the Diocese, and led the first ever Diocesan football tournament in the Cathedral. 

Connecting with new housing developments in innovative ways

Contact: Clare Mouat
This group has focused on supporting those parishes with small-scale housing development to welcome newcomers to communities across the Diocese, and engaging with parishes with significantly large scale developments to prepare for engagement with whole new communities. The group will also be working with those parishes engaged in medium scale developments over the time ahead, including working on community development in these areas.

Investing in people and programmes, which excite young people to explore and grow in faith

Barrie VoyceContact: Barrie Voyce – Director at The Door and illuminateStroud

This priority group is looking at ways to engage with and support those who are working with young people across the Diocese. The group has mapped youth engagement in churches and communities around the Diocese, including gathered  youth work volunteers, young leaders, employed youth workers, clergy and those involved in managing or exploring setting up youth work at the CATALYST event in September 2018. Through 2019 the group ran a series of Your Voice events to hear from young people themselves.
In 2020 the group is organising CONNECT events, including a day conference for those involved in School’s Ministry on 29th Feb, a youth retreat day at Viney Hill on 28th Mar, and a youth worship evening in October.
To keep up to date, please check out the Facebook group – Youth Ministry in Diocese of Gloucester.

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