Shaped By God Together Update


Hopefully by now you’re aware of “Shaped by God Together”, the process we’re going through, as we look to the future and seek to discern how God is reshaping us.  This is the preparatory work to agree a new framework for our diocese across our ministry, our finances and buildings. We are facing both exciting new opportunities and significant challenges as a Church, both of which have been accentuated by Coronavirus.

Story Gathering

We have just completed a large scale story gathering exercise with over 550 of you sharing your stories, reflections and experiences of church and faith during lockdown. These have been honest stories, some positive and some acknowledging difficulty and pain.

Sense Making

They are now being re-read by diverse groups of people from all across our diocese, to see what patterns emerge from them and what insight they can give us about how God is at work amongst us and through us.

This process of  ‘sense-making’ from your stories will continue, so for people who haven’t yet shared their experiences, there’s still time to join in. Click here to find out different ways of telling your stories or anecdotes whether of lament or celebration. Everyone’s experience is a valuable gift that will contribute to the picture of the many ways everyday faith is being lived out across our diocese. 

We will soon be able to invite even more of you to join in with ongoing sense-making process at a special ‘Reading the Stories’ day on Saturday 14 November. It will be held online and we’ll publish details of times and how it will work in coming days.

Adventures of the Imagination

From the patterns and insights this sense-making brings, models of possible new ways of supporting our churches, chaplaincies, fresh expressions, schools etc to continue to be builders of the Kingdom of God, will be developed through November and December. This will partly be done by local small-scale experiments, in which churches, fresh expressions and other groups will be encouraged to innovate and to try doing something differently. We need willing volunteer churches/groups who want to be part of what we’re calling Adventures of the Imagination.

In November we will announce ways to get involved in those locally based experiments and innovations,  and there will be a chance for people to register interest in exploring some of the ideas that spring from the insights emerging from all of our stories. This will be a time of being allowed to try something temporary and possibly unconventional, to try new things or ways of doing things, or to get round some of the usual barriers that sometimes stop us playing with an idea. Some of these ideas will work, others won’t, but failure is perfectly acceptable! Likewise, at this stage we are looking for possibilities rather than solutions.

We also recognise that not everyone will want to participate in this period of innovation and imagination, many are exhausted and for those who want to observe from the side-lines we’ll keep you up to date with what is being learned.

Conversation

In the new year we will be able to share some of the models and possibilities that have emerged from your stories, the insights drawn from them, and what has been learned through the Adventure of Imagination phase. 

Through conversations with everyone on possible new models for our buildings, ministry and finances through the spring, we can bring proposals for how best to reshape and resource the mission of the diocese to Diocesan Synod in May. Then we will work with all of our faith communities in the following months to explore what the new framework will look like where they live and worship.

We know the way ahead will contain a number of difficult questions and will require us to face some hard decisions, but we are convinced that God remains faithful and that exciting opportunities to grow the Kingdom of God are plentiful in Leicestershire and Leicester – our task is to listen to God, and join with him as we’re Shaped by God Together.

Making Time, Taking Care

Both the impact of the pandemic and and the challenges we face create uncertainty which has an effect on our wellbeing and mental health. Please do keep making time for your mental, physical and spiritual health. You can see some resources and support on our Wellbeing pages here and a reminder of our Bishops’ call to pray which launched this Shaped By God Together process here.

 


First published on: 19th October 2020

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