It’s great to start the New Year with some good news!
The Church Commissioners announced on 3rd January that they have awarded the Church of England Birmingham £2.565m towards the next phase of Transforming Church. This was the result of a lot of hard work and thinking by many people, resulting in this successful application for Strategic Development Funding.The next phase of Transforming Church seeks to build upon widespread enthusiasm to keep resourcing our goals and to address the many challenges we face as a Church in this region. We are looking to build capacity, sustain momentum, increase growth, and to embed our commitment to mission and transformation within the culture of our church at a deeper level, releasing the gifts of many more lay and ordained leaders.The plan includes:
- the nurturing of a “mixed economy” of missional parishes of all traditions, alongside new church plants, revitalisation of existing churches and new fresh expressions of Church;
- a range of additional Mission Learning and Development opportunities - including more ‘Leading your Church into Growth’, more ‘Growing Leaders’ courses, discipleship and leadership development through learning communities and mentors. These will be specific to our contexts of Urban Estates, Inner Urban, Suburban, Rural, ‘Presence and Engagement’ areas, and with Minority Ethnic Anglicans, reinforced by inter-cultural learning;
- programmes to reach even more children aged 0-11 years, and also extending to youth, both in schools and within communities across the Diocese.
In order to deliver what is planned, there are some adjustments to existing roles and responsibilities from the beginning of January:
Rhiannon King (Director of Mission) and Steve Squires (Director of Communications and Missional Projects) are responsible, among other things, for setting up and communicating the next phase.
Ruth Hassall becomes Director of Growing Younger (Children and Families), responsible directly to Bishop Anne for, among other things, the Children’s and Families’ Missioners and a new Growing Younger Schools initiative.
Liz Dumain becomes Director of Growing Younger (Youth and Consultancy), responsible directly to Bishop Anne for, among other things, the Growing Younger Facilitators and the new Youth Hubs.
Funded from the Church Commissioners grant, a new Mission Learning and Development (MLD) stream with a new Director, reporting to Bishop Anne, will be formed to support the growth of new Christian communities and church plants, new pioneer lay and ordained vocations, and intercultural mission learning available to all. New church planting, fresh expressions of Church and context specific roles will report into this new Director.
The existing streams of clergy and lay training and vocations already report to the Bishop of Aston and so through her there will be a joining up of strategic thinking, programmes and working across the whole team to support the Transforming Church vision.
Over the next few weeks, there will opportunities to hear more about the next phase of Transforming Church that is taking shape, and to reflect together on mission in our varying contexts:
- For Area Deans at their meeting on 18 January
- For all clergy, at Bishop David's request, to attend one of the following sessions from 11am to 2.30pm:
Monday 13 February at Kings Norton
Tuesday 14 February at Knowle
Tuesday 14 March at Ladywood
Wednesday 15 March at Sutton Coldfield
[Clergy: Please book your place now if you haven’t already - deadline is the end of January.]
- For clergy and one or two key lay leaders from each church on Saturday 25 March (10.30am to 4pm) at St Barnabas, Erdington.
Exciting times. Happy New Year!
The Rt Revd David Urquhart
Bishop of Birmingham