Today (Sunday 25th) Steve is ordained Bishop in York Minster. All our prayers are with him as he prepares to take up his ministry as Bishop of Sheffield in a few weeks.
To all Missioners and Evangelism Enablers
As I prepare for my ordination as bishop today and for our move to Sheffield in March I want to say a heartfelt thanks to all missioners and Evangelism Enablers for your support for and partnership in the Fresh Expressions initiative over the last four and a half years.
One of the real delights of the role has been travelling to and working with the majority of Dioceses and Districts and rejoicing at the variety and diversity of new forms of church. My work would not have been possible without your own fellowship and support. It has been very good to be part of the wider mission community across the two churches and a particular delight to work closely with Paul Bayes and Graham Horsley from the beginning of the journey to the end.
I will be continuing to do a small amount of work behind the scenes for Fresh Expressions until we move from Oxford to Sheffield in March. Norman Ivison has been appointed Acting Team Leader in the weeks before Bishop Graham Cray takes up the role as Team Leader on 1st May.
I am very conscious that I leave Fresh Expressions in the hands of a very strong team and a gifted and experienced successor. Thank you again for your partnership in the gospel which I hope will continue in new ways.
"Now in its fifteenth year, this highly popular course is specifically designed for clergy and lay leaders from across different traditions and denominations who are looking for help and encouragement in leading their churches into growth.
The course takes the form of an open seminar with interactive talks, practical exercises, workshops and time and space for personal reflection. Times of informal conversation provides opportunity for our team members to answer questions and to explore the profile of individual churches represented by the course"
Church growth modelling is a research project that attempts to understand the numerical growth and decline of the Christian Church using mathematics and system dynamics.
The models give valuable insights into the way the churches grow or decline at either a congregational, denominational, national or international level. They are particularly helpful in describing the dynamics of growth in times of revival.
This web site is aimed at those in the Christian church interested in the insights such models give on the numerical and spiritual growth of the church. Some important results are summarised below and on theResults Summary page.
An article explaining the principles and results using tipping points is a useful introduction to the work.
Happy New Year, everyone! I've got a new job. Part-time Priest in charge of St Paul's Shipley and part-time Adviser in Evangelism for the Bradford Diocese. A GREAT job! Robin Gamble and I are hoping to work together. Moving sometime in February, starting in March.
Needless to say I am thrilled and delighted.
Hope all's well with you and yours... Sue
John Twisleton writes:
This is to let you know of some changes in the mission and renewal department at Chichester Diocese.
I will be inducted as Rector of Horsted Keynes just outside Haywards Heath Monday 30th March 7.30pm so I can start Holy Week as parish priest once again. The idea is that I continue to contribute part time to the diocese and nationally in promoting Christian apologetics whilst serving a small yet vibrant rural church and community.
As one of the longest serving missioners I’ve done two really enjoyable terms lasting more than 12 years. I left St Luke, Coventry in 1996 to serve as Edmonton Area Missioner where I organised Millennium celebrations including the Edmonton Walk and focused on healing and youth. In Chichester I have managed a team of seven serving renewal, church growth and evangelistic outreach. Main achievements have been promoting Growing Healthy Churches, organising last year’s Diocesan Eucharist with the pledging of MAPs by the majority of churches and forming the first diocesan online community www.face2faith.co.uk with evangelism, apologetics and Christian spirituality threads. Though anglocatholicism is still on the Cross I have been comforted in recent years to see spiritual direction take its place nationally as a cutting edge of evangelism, the catholic reasoning tradition enriching apologetics, and fresh expressions making headway in sacramental traditions.
I have enjoyed my periods of diocesan work both as missioner and as college principal in Guyana. These have helped refresh my priestly ministry. The ongoing apologetics work will keep me in touch with the missioners’ network that I’ve appreciated being part of over the last 12 years with all its creativity. As a champion of the ministerial priesthood as main instrument for building up Christ’s body it made sense to return to the coal face of mission especially now I’m sixty. The Lord wants something more from Anne and I and Horsted Keynes seems to be the place to give it. The village, 4 miles from Haywards Heath, is extremely beautiful. Population is 1500 but there are 40 organisations including the Bluebell Railway. The church is eucharistic with good fabric and appreciable leadership potential. Harold MacMillan lies in the churchyard as evidence!
We hope to advertise my post within the month so watch the church press if you know of anyone wanting to serve in what is literally and in other ways a great diocese for mission and renewal. Meanwhile my friend and colleague Captain Gordon Banks CA will keep Chichester represented nationally.
Please let me know if you want a formal invitation with directions etc. for my induction.
Yours in Our Lord
And John Leach sends his news:
Hi all – in case you haven’t caught up with the news I shall be going back to a parish – St John the Baptist Folkestone – after Easter and so will sadly no longer be a Dio Missioner.
Thanks for all you’re doing, and for some very stimulating conferences. Do wave on your way to France – the tunnel entrance is just outside my new parish.
Here are the statistics from Lynda Barley's unit, drawn from the annual parochial returns in 2006, asking every parish in the church of England this question:
"During 2006, has your parish/church provided an enquirers' course or group for those seeking to know more of the Christian faith?"
10,999 churches replied. And the top-line answer is that 43% of those churches do provide one.
That's really good, and can be even better.
Missioners can download a pdf here that gives a detailed breakdown of which courses and combinations of courses are being used, diocese by diocese, to help you focus your work in enabling this figure to grow.
2. If you haven’t caught up with the monthly Fresh Expressions podcast, don’t miss it in January. It features an interview with the President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference and a report on the Fresh Expressions pilgrimage to Coventry Cathedral which included a keynote address by the Archbishop of Canterbury.www.freshexpressions.org.uk/podcast
Time & space especially for individuals and teams pioneering fresh expressions of church
A vital opportunity for those pioneering fresh expressions of church, from whatever tradition of the wider church, to come together for spiritual refreshment and Bible study and to share their experiences of the journey. The pioneers retreat will be led by Rachel Jordan and Colin Brown from the National Fresh Expressions Team, Tom Stuckey from the Methodist Church, and Angela Brown.
Many pioneers feel the burden of being ‘on the edge’ and are naturally very active in their ministry. This retreat offers the space to follow Jesus’ example – of rest and prayer in a remote and beautiful place. ‘Come away to a quiet place…’ Mark 6.31
What to expect:
A special, prayerful place to stop for a few days
Space to reflect, pray, worship and listen
Time to be recharged, refreshed, reinvigorated, encouraged…by giving space and time to God and to yourself
Scriptural reflection from Tom Stuckey and Rachel Jordan relevant to pioneering ministries
Creative approaches to prayer and reflection
Opportunity for one-to-one accompaniment with a member of the team.
Engagement with Lee Abbey community’s ministry
Please note that this is a retreat for those already engaged in pioneering fresh expressions of church, and not a training event. Should you require information on teaching and training in relation to developing mission and fresh expressions of church, please visit our website atwww.freshexpressions.org.uk and follow the link to training.
Please book through Lee Abbey. Their online booking system address is
You need to know about this if you're involved with any church-growth-based charity work, or if you're exploring legal foundations for fresh expressions of church. Thanks to Jim Currin for this one. He writes:
New guidelines produced by the Charity Commission this week last month say that, with parameters, evangelisation can be a public benefit:
Light reading for the new year from Andy Rowell who has been exploring this subject. Andy writes: The question I was asking was, "What would Rowan Williams be thinking about if he was a church planter or emerging church pastor?"
Archbishop Rowan's thinking is the mainspring of the mixed economy church, so this is well worth digging into.
From Benita Hewitt and colleagues at Christian Research:
A number of surveys were published in the run up to Christmas, and we will report on a few here. It is interesting to see the spin on the stories as well as the results themselves.
ComRes polled over 1,000 adults for theology think tank Theos, and found that 34% of the public accepted that ‘Jesus was born to a virgin called Mary.’ In fact, the survey showed that more people believe that the virgin birth is historical than believe in angels (28%). It also discovered that more women (39%) believe in the event than men (29%), and 56% of UK adults believe Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The majority (52%) also say that the birth of Jesus holds personal significance for them, and 57% intend to celebrate Christmas as a religious festival. Seehttp://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/1_in_3_Britons_believe_in_virgin_birth.aspx?ArticleID=2728&PageID=14&RefPageID=5
Another survey, conducted by Research Now of 1,003 parents for Mothers' Union, showed that about 81% encouraged their children toassociate Christmas with the nativity story and the birth of Jesus Christ. Although a higher number (95%) encouraged them to believe in Father Christmas, the Mothers’ Union takes encouragement from this finding but sees a challenge for the Church. See
Andrew Davey sends this news via the Community & Public Affairs desk here at Church House:
Living Church in the Global City is
an in-depth examination of what it is that fits the church for mission. Based
on two years research at
describes seven church-related groups (Roman Catholic and Anglican), ranging
from diocese-wide agencies to parish communities to a national charity. It
looks at their outreach work of community renewal, evangelisation and social
action in the context ofLondon as one of today’s ‘global’ cities. The research delves into the groups’ faith
motivations and purposes. It probes the trend to make religion purely private
and personal. How are church groups to stay outward looking and mission
oriented? It looks at the kind of theology and spirituality they espouse, and
what their practice reveals of their ‘operant’ theology. How does Christian
faith fare in a culture biased to the subjective and the self? The report’s
central argument is that Christian action is theology in practice. While there’s often an instinctive preference
to ‘walk the talk’, in order to develop a true praxis groups need also to ‘talk the walk’. The action research
approach used for Living Church in the
Global City: Theology in Practice shows how to bridge this gap.
We very much hope you will be able to attend the meeting. If not, we would encourage you to pass on the invitation to someone else from your denomination/network, so you will not miss out on the information and inspiration of the day and we will not miss out on a representative from your group.