Shaped by God Together

 

 

 

Back in August 2020, and again in May and July this year, we wrote about the Shaped by God Together process in the Diocese of Leicester, of which we are a part. The Church of England was facing big time decisions before the pandemic and these are now highlighted. We’ve known this for a long time: many historic buildings that cost a lot to keep going yet are important as places of prayer and quiet for all; in many places faithful yet aging congregations who can’t see the way ahead; finances; fewer clergy; and yet God still alive and active. Questions arise such as ‘is the parish system still the way to be organised?’ The pandemic has hastened crunch time but these are questions which would have had to be wrestled with. Not just in Leicester Diocese but across the church.

    During May and June, we gave feedback on 3 suggestions as to how church life might be organised in the future. Responses from across the diocese were fed into a Bishop's Council meeting with area deans and lay chairs. The meeting concluded that there are positive elements in both Model A (Minster) and Model B (mission area). Work has been going on and the result is due to go to Bishop's Council on 13th September and to Diocesan Synod on October 9th. Bishop Martyn has written a long pastoral letter which is here - have a read /content/pages/documents/pastoral-letter-sept-21.pdf

     As I write this, I long for us not to react in a downhearted way for God is faithful. I pray we can face change with confidence in Him. All is far from lost but a difficult time lies ahead as much that we hold dear may be challenged and yet we need to be open to new possibilities. I know the pain that many are feeling, the fear, as we face an unknown future and are unsure about how it will all work out. However it is God’s church and we need to be open to his guiding which may involve some upheaval for us personally. For the Woodfield Team, with Vivien retiring, not knoiwng is particularly acute

A suggested prayer for this time:

Faithful one, whose word is life:

come with saving power to free our praise, inspire our prayer and shape our lives

for the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Vivien Elphick  September 9th 2021