- Published: Monday, 14 July 2014 15:10
I'm writing to keep you up to date with what's going on in the Diocese, and what's coming up. The garden at Wolvesey is abundant with the life and colour of summer, and it feels as if the Diocese is also abuzz with activity and ideas. I know that for some the pace of change is a challenge. As St Paul reminds us, if we can avoid growing weary, I am sure that we will reap an abundance at harvest time:
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. - Galatians 6:9-10
Our Mission Strategy
Our strategy for becoming a Mission-Shaped Diocese is coming together, and we've now been able to describe our Common Mission in a leaflet which we're distributing right across the Diocese. It illustrates the journey we're on, celebrating what we've already achieved and sketching out the road ahead. There's plenty of detail about the various strands of the strategy, including Mission Action Planning, the Rule of Life, the School of Mission and our World Mission Partnerships. Some of you may have already taken part in one of the 13 Deanery Consultations taking place across the Diocese, beginning to put together your Deanery's Mission Action Plan, or you may have heard about or been involved with another part of the strategy. The leaflet shows how these various strands come together as our common Mission Strategy and is worth reading carefully. If you haven't yet seen it, ask your local priest or minister for a copy of the Mission Strategy leaflet.
Funding our Common Mission – Parish Share
We're also producing a leaflet which sets out simply how parish share funds are used to support our Common Mission; it will be available shortly. I am delighted that your representatives on Diocesan Synod approved a completely new system for agreeing parish share contributions to our Common Mission when it met on 13 June. Guided by the principles discussed by the Synod Conference in 2013, it's a system which encourages radical generosity, taking account of the size of the worshipping community and its relative affluence to reach a suggested contribution to the mission of the whole Diocese. I am very grateful to the Parish Share Review group chaired by Alistair Baron for the very thorough and careful work they have done to get us to this point. Details of the new scheme and what parishes need to do next are already being sent to incumbents and PCCs.
Our Personal Giving
Now that our Mission Strategy and our new parish share system are taking shape, I'll be writing again in the next few weeks to ask you to reflect on your own giving. I'll be drawing attention to a basic element of our Christian discipleship: being generous, passionate disciples of Jesus in our time and place, living and speaking prophetically in his name. We look to give generously so we can do the things that God has called us to do.
"Let us work for the good of all"
Being a passionate disciple always involves having a noticeable, positive impact on our communities. St Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, reminds us that the Gospel is not just good news for us as individuals, it is also good news for our communities and our world. He encourages us to "work for the good of all" – in other words, to contribute to the common good. What might this look like in your parish? Your village? Your town or city? Questions like these will be a focus at this month's General Synod in York, and as we begin to anticipate the General Election next year we may ask, "how can we make a contribution to the common good in our nation?" When the Church makes a real, noticeable impact, people see that what we offer is, indeed, good news – for them, and for us all. They begin to understand what it means that God is, in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.
"May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
The Right Reverend Tim Dakin
The Bishop of Winchester