Reflect on the indicators of climate change in UK and around the world. Pray for action. http://t.co/BAPWep0DSG
Ministry for Mission
I have recently been re-reading the Venerable Bede – monk and church historian in the eighth century. His Latin text was part of my syllabus as a student! I have been reminded of some important principles about ministry to deliver God’s mission in our time.
Principles for Today
In July the General Synod discussed the Reform and Renewal Programme being pursued by the Church of England in order to mobilise our resources to be most effective for God’s mission in the twenty-first century. There is the challenge of maintaining our inheritance of a parochial system that embraces every community in the country. Further, there is a challenge to find new and appropriate ways of being ‘church’ in our times. Both challenges depend upon the leadership and witness our church can offer.
Key proposals include:
Doubling the number of candidates for ordination.
Discipleship being our key priority – equipping the people of God.
Creating a learning community to shape and support the leadership of the Church.
Bede and His Wisdom
In the eighth century, as the parish system was developing, there seemed to be a huge gap between the resources of the church for mission, and the needs of desperate communities not easy to reach (then because of poor roads; today because of cultural confusions about Christianity).
Bede wrote to the Archbishop of York making some suggestions:
More priests to preach in the villages, celebrate the holy mysteries and baptise – we would call this traditional church today.
The need to employ ‘adequate leaders of salutary life’, who could ‘teach the truth of the faith, and the difference between good and evil’. We would call this discipleship – focused on the two great issues that perplex our time: truth, and an understanding of good and evil.
Ministry for Mission
How should these resources be best deployed? Bede believed in the importance of minsters – we might use the term Resource Churches. Centres where priests and lay ministers were gathered for prayer, support and strategic deployment. We would call such arrangements ‘learning communities’. Locally in the Diocese we are using the term ‘School of Formation’.
Bede was content for each minster to ‘develop its own system of regulation’. Resources need to be marshalled appropriately. We see this as the potential role of the new Deaneries.
He concludes his advice with the observation that Bishops should ‘ordain priests, and institute leaders’. I am up for that – how many of you are ready to offer yourselves for such service?!