Changed Lives → Changing Lives
By God’s grace we want to be a people who are...
…confident & creative disciples of Jesus Christ
...rooted in scripture & drenched in prayer
…living gratefully, giving generously, caring for creation & sharing the gospel
...growing in number & expectations – of God & ourselves
...motivated by justice & love, open to the Spirit & ready for adventure!
Therefore we will...
'Therefore we will...' is a recognition that words without actions are empty. It is a commitment to taking real steps now to make this vision a reality soon. The current actions that flow from this vision - both at a diocesan level and in our deaneries - are outlined in detail in the document below. Of course, these actions will change and develop over time - and we would encourage our parishes to consider this vision carefully for themselves, to explore together what actions they will commit to take, what their local 'Therefore we will...' might look like.
Read our Towards Flourishing and Sustainable Future reportA WORD FROM BISHOP ROSE
Changed Lives Changing Lives is what first drew me to Canterbury Diocese. I saw in these words and the strategy underpinning it, not just a tagline, but a commitment and a passion - a passion for allowing ourselves to be transformed by God's loving grace so that we might, in turn, transform our world for his glory.
The past 12 months have been challenging, to say the least for our Church, for our nation and for our world. The Coronavirus pandemic has turned the spotlight on our priorities and insecurities, challenging our desire to find a way back to ‘normal’ to ‘the way things used to be’, to ‘the way we’ve always done it’. But we can’t go backwards – and we mustn’t. Instead, God is calling us to a better way, a better future.
In the midst of all the harsh realities of Covid-19, this is a 'Kairos moment', an amazing opportunity for us as God’s Church to listen to God, and to one another, more clearly. This is an opportunity for us to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit into a place of renewal and growth. Already, many of us have gained new skills, discovering the ways in which technology can enable us to engage with many who might otherwise never have entered our buildings. Let us grab this moment, let us commit to continue to grow and learn and be shaped into the diocesan family that God is calling us to be. Let our lives continue to be changed, so that we can bring God’s transformation to the lives of others across our county. And let us be clear that a flourishing and sustainable future for our Church means growth - growth in discipleship, growth in confidence and growth in numbers.
In the Towards a Flourishing and Sustainable Future report, you will see that this process has not been ‘top down’. We began with an intentional period of listening throughout the autumn of 2020 (you can explore what emerged from that process here). Then, throughout this winter we have worked with our deaneries, parishes and diocesan team to draw up plans for this next stage of our life together. You will be able to read the detail of those plans in this document, and as I have been reflecting on them, I see some exciting themes emerging.
I see the passion that our people have for evangelism and discipleship, for breaking down the boundaries between lay and ordained, for equipping all God’s people to step into their vocation. I see the desire for us to engage more openly and intentionally with this amazing generation of children and young people, to find new and better ways to reflect the generosity of God in our own living and serving and giving. I see our longing to change not only lives but our world as we strive for justice and peace and as we seek to care for this amazing world that we have been given. I also see the sacrificial willingness to ask and answer the hard questions that are facing us – and it is perhaps this courage that I am most thankful for. I am so grateful to all those who have worked so hard to grapple with these challenging and difficult issues - especially to our amazing area deans and lay chairs - and to those who have engaged in our discussions so openly at parish and diocesan levels.
This document signals a beginning, not a destination. Together we are embarking on a journey to create the kind of culture that will enable us to build a flourishing and sustainable future for our Church. We will be driven by our commitment to seeking God in prayer and scripture. Our journey will be marked by our openness to one another and to the Spirit and by our trust in the God who is bigger than pandemics, who is stronger than financial constraints - and who has plans for us that are greater than we could possibly imagine or hope for.
Thank you to each and every one of you - it is a privilege and a joy to be embarking on this adventure in such extraordinary and wonderful company!
The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Bishop of Dover