We want to develop new areas of work in response to the changing needs of society, encouraging one another to take the initiative ourselves and build confidence in sharing our faith.
“For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19.26
March 2019 update from the Imagine stream:
What we have achieved
This stream was established under the joint chairmanship of The Bishop of Lynn and Canon Heather Butcher, (Bishop’s Officer for Women’s Ministry) and included the then Diocesan Fresh Expressions Officer as our “do-er” (as it were) plus a membership that included Ian Dyble from St. Thomas’; Heather Cracknell; Simon Fenn; Wendy Saunders (Church Army); one or more from the Diocesan Finance and Communications teams. One or two others nearly joined us but, in the end, didn’t – mostly because they were settled elsewhere in the Work Stream pattern.
Heather Cracknell and Sally Gaze were eventually replaced with Tim Yau and we have settled into meeting four times a year with my PA, Ann Whittet, joining us as Secretary.
We were asked to oversee:
- Fresh Expressions and recruitment of three new Pioneer Mission Enablers.
- Evangelism including the two proposed Church Army Mission Centres and exploration of ways of encouraging committed discipleship, reaching into the 20-40year age group and some kind of style -change.
- The Diocese’s response to New Housing Developments.
From early on it became clear that much of what we were thinking about, others would be too, not least in any Strategic Development Fund bidding which +Alan and the Empower Stream would be heading up. This cross fertilisation between streams has become one of the pluses of this way of working.
In the early stages, we spent time in preparing for the Bishop’s Day of Celebration and the Tardis/Narnia concept of encouraging people to reflect on past, present and future. We attempted to gather together all the contributions we received on the day and the guide to Re-Imagining Ministry recently sent out to all parishes has come from the distillation of that day.
- Already had their own team, and their support is now held by the Mission Enabling Team.
- Lay Pioneer Recognition – or not? Currently the idea is held in abeyance.
- Growth of Mission Enabling Teams (separate now in many ways). A mission enabling team has developed, grown and adapted, held by the Archdeacon of Norwich initially and now the Archdeacon of Lynn. Tim Yau remains our main link with the team.
- Church Army Centres up and running. Focus on school’s work in King’s Lynn Young Mums in Harleston. A separate Church Army support group – working out how to keep the link.
New ways of encouraging evangelism: much of the focus on this is currently working out through the bid for strategic development funding described elsewhere.
- Re-imagining Church leaflets and suggested bible studies have been distributed.
- A process of tabulating and publicising information on what can be offered more widely by some of our bigger “resource churches” (e.g. The Mitre Benefice, Fountain of Life, Cromer Parish Church, Aylsham and District Team, Walsingham and the Cathedral) is under way.
- From early on we have sought ways of encouraging parishes to do their own imagining.
- Heather Cracknell set up a support group for clergy of parishes where significant new housing is under way or imminently expected. This met several times and produced helpful and fruitful conversations leading to a report. The report’s recommendations are being taken forward via a small group headed by Alan Cole and containing local authority expertise and knowledge.
- The foci for our current and future work are on:
a) The Re-imagining Church roll out – we are asking parishes that want to use these to ask us for support
b) Liaising with Alan Cole’s New Housing sub group.
c) Developing a clearer understanding of what Resource Churches can offer to smaller parishes.
d) Developing clearer lines of communication between Church Army Centres of Mission and the Diocese.
e) Responding as appropriate to the emerging plans from the Strategic Funding Bid currently being made.
About the Imagine stream
The stream is led by the Bishop of Lynn, assisted by the Bishop’s Officer for Women’s Ministry and other designated officers. The aims are to:
- run training on starting a Fresh Expression, Messy Church, Café Church and Cell Churches and offer start-up funds and start-up teams to help locally
- encourage and build confidence in sharing our faith and making disciples, through establishing two Church Army Mission Centres, one in Harleston and one in Kings Lynn
- work towards a 50% increase in vocations, and develop the work of Young Vocations Advocates
- create a task group to explore sustainable models for mission and ministry in new housing developments.