Leaders from Across the Diocese Gather to Discern our Future Strategy

Last Saturday (27 January), close to one hundred leaders from across the diocese gathered for a discernment morning to shape and guide the development of our diocesan strategy.

All members of Diocesan Synod, Diocesan Trustees, Bishop’s Children and Youth Council, Bishop’s Council, Area Deans, Lay Chairs and the Bishop’s Leadership Team were invited and given a workbook which explored specific parts of our diocesan life and gave space for feedback to inform how they develop further. The morning gave an opportunity to share that feedback, to listen together to God and to each other.

The completed workbooks will be used to help shape the strategy development work over the coming months, with a detailed draft strategy coming to a second gathering of the same group in June and then Diocesan Synod for a final decision in September. 

The morning opened with reflections from Bishop Martyn before Alison Myers, Bishop Saju and Jessie Tang led a time of worship and prayer on the theme of pilgrimage. Diocesan Programme Manager, Claire Bampton, and Director of Parish Transition and Ministry Development, Stuart Burns, then spoke about the parameters within which the new strategy will be shaped – taking into account where we are starting from and decisions previously made by Synod.

A Panel Discussion then took place between Dean-designate, Karen Rooms, Director of Education, Carolyn Lewis, and Bishop Martyn in which they shared their perspectives on what the future might look like for the Diocese in ten years’ time, and how they live in the tension between seeing tangible signs of God at work and reason for hope on the one hand, and financial pressures and sobering data about church attendance on the other. The same questions were then discussed on tables, with feedback shared with the whole group.

The second half of the morning was spent in smaller workstream groups helping to guide further detailed work which will undertaken between now and May.  These included: Diocesan Finances, Intergenerational Ministry, Diocesan Support Functions, Church Buildings, Discipleship, Vocations and Living Well in our Context and Operations Support within Minster Communities.  The Bishop’s Children and Youth Council met separately with both Bishops so young people’s voices could be clearly heard.

The morning finished, as it started, in prayer, mindful of our reliance on God throughout this discernment process. 

Data from all the workbooks will be collated and analysed, and the group will meet again for a more detailed strategy presentation and discussion in June.

First published on: 29th January 2024
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