With an Introduction From Bishop Ian
Mission is what God is doing in the world, reaching out to people, being alongside them, being present in your community and in the world. And as Rowan Williams said, the Church’s mission is to see what God is doing and to join in. That should involve every member of the Church, everyone can contribute to that mission.
The Diocesan Mission Board, made up of ordinary members of congregations and convened by Canon Liz Baker, has the task of helping us with our mission, not telling us how to do it, because only we know our own communities, but to encourage and equip us all to join in God’s mission in the world. They are reaching out to you in this Letter to let you know what they are doing and how they can support you and your congregation in mission – reaching out and opening up to the world and your community.
Christmas Greeting to you all from The Mission Board
Mission Board Members are writing to you this Christmas with good wishes and many blessings for the season, for the work you all do, and for 2023. Next year in January the Province will launch a ‘Season for Christian Life’. This will be concerned with supporting the whole of our church as it reflects on what it means to live out baptismal promises. Planning for this season began at the end of 2021, the season itself will probably extend for at least three years, possibly for five and will encompasses the Mission of God’s Whole Church ‘to make disciples of all nations’
But lets be honest, it can be very daunting, for a congregation to look upon these words and then act upon them. The Diocesan Mission Board is here to support you with oversight, guidance and some resources for your missional work in your charge.
Ways we can help:
How to reach out into your communities to communicate the love of God through Jesus into your community today (church members or not).
How to talk about the big issues of our time in relation to the Gospel and in a way that speaks to people today. This is what Jesus does throughout his ministry in the Gospels, he speaks to those he encounters in a language they can understand. He tells stories that inspire and challenge, listens to people and truly hears them, and while not always giving easy answers is consistent in proclaiming God’s love for his people, a love that will heal, forgive, and lift burdens if only humanity will hear and believe. As his present-day disciples we must do likewise.
So what can you do in your churches to reach hearts and minds?
- Take small steps – what you do doesn’t need to be large and all encompassing, small steps are important. Such as opening the church for prayer daily, mission does not need to cost lots of money or time. Your church itself is a presence in the community and there are examples around the Diocese of ways to expand that presence simply and effectively.
- Run A Course- If interested in running a course for your congregation and community, we would love to support you in this. Some suggested courses for you to explore are The Alpha Course alpha.org , The Pilgrim Course pilgrimcourse.org, the Parenting Course and The Bereavement Journey thebereavementjourney.org to name a few
- Talking about Big Issues:
Example: Climate Change is one of these;
To speak authentically we need to keep a biblical perspective, knowing that God is the Creator, that humankind are made in God’s image, and are commanded to be good stewards of God’s creation, so a ‘triangle of relationships between God, humanity and the earth’ Making the issue of Climate Change an illustration of the disintegration that results from displacing God from the relationship of God, humanity and earth, all of which can be reconciled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We hope to bring you, working together with the Ministry Board and our constituent groups, resources for our Charges on issues like this.
Now we know that hope is a powerful force in our lives, so as we make the journey through Advent to the manger at Bethlehem and the birth of the Christ Child, the hope and light of the world, let us remember that we are the ‘hands and feet ‘ of Christ on earth today, and in any way we can, let us together continue to bring that gift of hope, love, and peace that the angels brought for the world that first Christmas Day.
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
With our very best wishes
The Mission Board
 From ‘Climate Change and the Gospels’ David Atkinson 2015