We want to provide the resources needed to address the challenges identified. Through a range of training and funding we will equip and empower churches and individuals for the work that God is calling us to undertake.

“to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.”  Ephesians 4.12


March 2019 update from the Empower stream:

Training and Learning

A residential conference at Belsey Bridge on ‘Leading Your Church into Growth’ (LYCiG) was attended by over 50 people, lay and ordained. The conference was subsidised through a significant grant from the EMPOWER budget ensuring people were not put off by the cost, and showing the importance placed on this opportunity to reflect together and explore new avenues for mission in the local church and community.

Follow-up material was provided and a one-day refresher event is planned for later this year. A second conference is booked for 2020, and this will again be subsidised. Canon Keith James is working with two Mission Enablers  to provide further help that parishes require in developing new mission projects resulting from participation in LYCiG. Some parishes also attended LYCiG for estate churches and in conjunction with Walsingham. There have been two successful ‘PCC Tonight’ events run with CPAS that aim to encourage more effective PCC meetings ensuring that mission is always a focus for agendas.

We have looked at various other popular and current models of training for mission, including ‘Germinate’ and ‘Partnership for Missional Church’. A group is working to draw up a locally adapted ‘Germinate’ to include some of the core offer, and additional resources such as ‘Everybody Welcome’, Invitation, Inclusion, also ‘Faith Pictures’ and ‘Why on earth?’. This could lead a two-year programme or a series of one-off training opportunities.

Project Work and Project Workers

Early on we identified strength across the diocese in engagement with Primary Schools, but a much weaker pattern of engagement at Secondary level. In order to address this a diocesan approach was needed, as no single parish would have the resources required. Primary Schools often relate to a single parish, Secondary Schools a larger catchment area.

Given the number of dioceses that were looking to recruit large numbers of youth workers and youth ministers, we felt that we would need to identify and train our own.

Plans were developed for a Youth Ministry Undergraduate Training Scheme in collaboration with Ridley College, Cambridge. We would look to place students in schools that were open to such work and where some of the benefices in the surrounding catchment area were prepared to work together to support the trainee Youth Minister.

Jonathan Richardson helped explore the need for each Secondary School to have a church that we could support young people willing to engage with faith. These ‘Focus Churches’ need resources for innovative youth work, in a multi-generational church family. This would need more funding than was available in the EMPOWER budget and we began to consider a bid for Strategic Development Funding. The Mitre Benefice was exploring a bid to fund a Church Revitalization and Church Planting Training Centre. Bishop’s Staff decided to combine these bids, and are encouraged that we have passed the first stage in accessing Commissioners’ funding. This element of the EMPOWER workstream has now passed on to a new management group chaired by the Archdeacon of Lynn.

Growth in Service

Working with our two CUF Together workers, in King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth, we developed a set of criteria for a fund to assist churches in developing projects with a focus on Growing in Service.

Take up thus far on this fund has been disappointing, and we urge parishes to consider ways in which they can serve their communities, in particular, those most in need. £20,000 is available in this fund annually; only a small amount of that has been accessed. Contact Anna Haydon or Andrew Frere-Smith for advice on developing a project or Karen Hall at Diocesan House to put in a bid for support from the fund.


Vocation is a broad term covering the many different ways in which people can respond to God’s call upon their lives. However, the Renewal and Reform initiative of the Archbishops has identified the challenge of focusing on an increase of 50% in those exploring a vocation to ordained ministry within the Church of England. This is a necessary step if we are just to maintain the current levels of stipendiary clergy serving our churches and communities.

The numbers of those training for ordained ministry have risen over the last four years.

  • In 2015-2016 there were 12 ordinands in training of whom 5 were on the pathway for Self-Supporting Ministry (SSM).
  • In 2016-2017 there were 20 ordinands of whom 8 were on the SSM pathway.
  • In 2017-2018 there were again 20 ordinands of whom 6 were on the SSM pathway.
  • In 2018-2019 there are 22 ordinands of whom 6 are on the SSM pathway.

The numbers of those formally exploring ordination are consistently in the mid-20s.

As for ordinations each year, we have yet to see significant increase.

  • In 2015 there were 7 new deacons of whom 2 were SSM.
  • In 2016 there were 8 new deacons of whom 1 was SSM.
  • In 2017 there were 9 new deacons of whom 1 was SSM.
  • In 2018 there were 9 new deacons of whom 2 were SSM.

We will need to increase the number of new deacons we ordain and appoint to curacies over the coming years, and this will have an effect on our Diocesan Budget. However, this is one of the most important areas in which we can invest. The appointment of the Revd Alaric Lewis as Vocations Outreach Officer is an important development, as he works with young people in their 20s and 30s in encouraging vocational awareness. We have also launched a Ministry Experience Scheme and four young people were recruited in 2018 to spend a year together, undertaking placements in churches around Norwich and undertaking some initial faith and theological study. We have made significant progress in some key areas, but recognise that there is much more to be done and new possibilities to explore in equipping and empowering one another to share in the exciting work of God’s mission in our diocese.

About the Empower stream

The stream is led by the Bishop of Thetford, assisted by the Archdeacon of Norwich and other designated officers.  The aims are to:

  • offer training and learning opportunities for clergy and laity to encourage and empower for mission (some fully-funded, some residential, and including apologetics training)
  • fund project work and workers to increase our capacity working with schools, children, young people and families
  • support parish and deanery initiatives to address social need, poverty and deprivation.