St Thomas’ Church, Norwich was the East Anglia Hub of the Gregory Centre for the recent Church Multiplication nationwide conference. Christians from Norfolk, Suffolk, Ely, Cambridge and beyond gathered to pray, listen, speak and learn. Dave Lloyd, the Diocese of Norwich’s Lead Practitioner in Church Planting and Revitalisation, compered the day for East Anglia, along with Archdeacon Rhiannon King from Ipswich and we heard great stories, including these from Norfolk:
- Garden Church: takes the planting metaphor seriously! Small groups of Christians, those interested in the faith and anyone else who comes along, meet locally with a view to supporting parishes
- Sacramental worship: Anglo-Catholic worship with Spirit-filled flair as clergy and laity build up a church in one of our most deprived parishes
- Lay-led church in Great Melton, in partnership with their local parish church, so that food and family friendly worship can thrive and inspire a village.
- Cafe at the Well run by a Barista Evangelist to engage with the local community in Ingoldisthorpe.
The overwhelming feeling of the day was one of encouragement and hope as participants concentrated on what the Lord is doing with his Church. Village churches are jewels in the landscape of rural life, centres of blessing and love, places of significance and immense potential. In these post-pandemic days, when people crave community and relationships, let’s be the Body of Christ offering just that. As one speaker told the conference, remember Dunkirk: lots of small boats creatively achieving what larger ones could never do.
Thanks to Bishop Jane for her summary of Multiply 2022.