Sharing a vision for
Following the formation of the Diocese of Leeds in 2014, priority was given to building appropriate structures, making key appointments and developing a shared vision. Attention is now turning to further development of diocesan strategy. Bishop Nick has asked a working group, chaired by Bishop Paul Slater, to facilitate this process.
The working group has proposed a strategy framework to enable the implementation of the shared diocesan vision Confident Christians, Growing Churches, Transforming Communities. The framework will also help the diocese to flourish as an arena for Loving, Living, Learning, in keeping with its value statement. The strategy framework will build on the Church of England’s current Renewal and Reform programme, whilst taking account of the challenges facing the diocese in the 21st century.
Challenges the framework will focus on include:
- the ‘retirement tsunami’ of clergy;
- a drive to increase vocations to ordination by 50%;
- changing patterns of ministry for inherited and pioneering forms of church life;
- the call to empower the laity and promote ‘whole-life’ discipleship;
- the low numbers of young people and children involved in church life;
- a relative shortage of applicants for clergy posts in the Northern Province;
- unsustainable financing of the current scale of church activities;
- abundant opportunities in parishes and the workplace for Christian witness and working together for the common good.
The ways in which the framework will help tackle these issues can be grouped under the following three key headings:
- Clergy and Lay Together - making the most of the distinctive contributions of clergy and laity, as well as improving their capacity for working collaboratively;
- Purposeful Resourcing - ranging from stewardship to specialist posts and sector support, training and ‘resource’ parishes;
- Dynamic Partnerships - including joint ventures with funding agencies, working with local Councils, networking with Fresh Expressions practitioners, co-operation with training institutions and engagement with link dioceses.
Within this strategic framework, specific programmes and projects can be devised at different stages. Since it is God’s Church in which we serve, God’s mission in which we participate and God who ultimately brings growth, the strategic plan should combine systematic planning with responsiveness to God’s unfolding purposes.