Let’s Faithfully Improvise!

Let’s faithfully improvise!

Welcome to the God for All strategy blogs. Over the coming months, we’ll regularly be posting updates, information, and resources to help churches and Mission Communities as together we look to implement our God for All vision and strategy.

In our first blog, following on from six Anglican God for All roadshows, Bishop Rob introduces some resources looking at what the God for All vision and strategy means for us.

“In jazz, there is a central theme which is built upon as each musician skilfully improvises. Woven together, it creates a wonderful depth and sense of playfulness and creativity rooted around an original melody. And this is a good image of how we see Mission Communities flourishing across Cumbria; faithfully improvising to Follow Daily, Speak Boldly, Care Deeply, and Tread Gently, in and with and around the communities they serve.

So, as we look to the future with both hope and realism, how might Mission Communities look to faithfully improvise in order that as many people can learn about the Good News of Jesus Christ? And what can we do as Christians across Cumbria, to support local congregations in that? This is where God for All plays its part.

In order to support and equip our Mission Communities and to see them flourish as best they can, there is a focus on seven specific areas. These are:

  • Ministry: helping the church to discern and release the ministry it needs, both in terms of people and gifts.
  • Buildings: helping Mission Communities to plan the future of our physical presence in local communities and think through how buildings can be sustainable servants of our communities.
  • Growing Younger: helping the Church to engage more effectively with young people.
  • Church Planting and Pioneering: helping to extend our reach to those who do not currently engage with Church.
  • Eco: helping us to achieve our environmental goals e.g. The Church of England’s target for becoming Net Carbon Zero by 2030.
  • Schools: supporting our local schools, particularly (but not exclusively) the Church schools family, in line with the Church in Cumbria’s Vision for Education 2018 to promote Jesus’ promise of ‘life in all its fullness’.
  • Digital: helping the Church to engage more effectively in the digital environment.

Let’s be clear, this is not a ‘check list’ of things that must be prescriptively done in all our Mission Communities. Rather, it is a central bank of support which can be drawn upon to support local mission and ministry across the county as we encourage that sense of faithful improvisation.

Ultimately our prayer is that Mission Communities feel emboldened to grow and flourish; that at local levels they can embrace a sense of mixed ecology of church and Christian witness; that time-honoured church and pioneering can draw on each other to grow God’s Kingdom.

We see this working together much like a garden. A healthy garden need not be large to be a flourishing place of growth, reproduction and abundance, but it is a structured productive space with well-established, deep-rooted plants and space for new things to spring up; even a place where things are allowed to die or lie fallow.

If you are interested in reading more about the refreshed vision and strategy, and the detail of how we see this working, you can find more information here. If you would like to give congregations a simple and short overview leaflet explaining the refreshed God for All vision, you can find that here.

Over the coming months plenty more resources will be added to this website to help support and encourage our Mission Communities further.

I’m excited by what God has planned for our wonderful county and over the coming months and years I look forward to hearing stories of how people are faithfully improvising for his honour and glory.”

The Right Reverend Rob Saner-Haigh Bishop of Penrith: 11 September 2022
Copyright Stuart Walker Photography 2022