Forthcoming Events
Journeying Together

A few years ago I was asked to write a reflection on rural ministry which began,

At a rural ministry course we were told, "A satsuma is not an orange" - village churches are different to urban/suburban churches ... There is much goodwill towards the church and this creates many openings which give the rural church opportunities to connect with and serve their communities. We have much to celebrate. Parochialism is a great strength: people care passionately about their church and work together to ensure worship and viability. Parochialism is of course also a great weakness: people sometimes ignore the wider church and choose not to engage with good things in neighbouring parishes that would broaden, deepen and enliven their faith.

Parochialism is a great strength... parochialism is a great weakness. We constantly need to affirm and challenge parochialism. We are invited to work for the church of Christ in our local parishes, with neighbouring parishes, the Vale and Cotswold Edge Team, of which we are part, and the whole of Gloucester Diocese. In each of these areas we can together become more than the sum of the parts.

Under the leadership of Bishop Rachel the Diocese of Gloucester is seeking to discern what should be our shared priorities over the next five years. She writes,

In 2013 the Diocesan vision statement was produced: Journeying Together it underlined the desire to share the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ with people in and around Gloucestershire. Four areas were identified:

  • Worshipping together
  • Sharing our Christian faith and values
  • Providing a visible presence in every community and parish
  • Serving the wider world

The aspiration and commitments in all this remain unchanged, and the next steps are to build on what we have achieved and move forward on our journey.

Bishop Rachel has asked parishes to pray for the Diocese. She hopes everyone will take this opportunity to pray for the Diocese as it begins to explore what the future holds.

These three questions will help focus our prayer and conversations.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to us in this Diocese?

What is your dream or vision for the Church in our Diocese in five years' time?

What could we do to realise this vision?

We have much to celebrate in our churches and parishes and by recognising that we do not exist in isolation but are in partnership with our neighbouring parishes, the Vale and Cotswold Edge Team and the Diocese we can more fully express the love of Christ in our lives and in our worship.

May you know the love of God and discover the riches of the wider church.

Every blessing

Revd Craig

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(c) Cotswold Edge (North) Benefice
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