Bishop James Jones has recently announced that the Liverpool Diocese is gowing. More information about the vision can be seen below...
Last Saturday we held a special conference on growth where once again I was humbled by large numbers from our diocese willing to give up a morning to grapple with these matters. At the conference I was able to announce that “it is a source of thankfulness to God that I can tell you today we are a growing diocese. In both children and adults; across the entire week; during the week; Sunday by Sunday; and growing faster, wider and deeper than we thought”. I wanted to write to you to share with you that good news and to thank you for your leadership, your commitment and dedication.
As I told the conference the three questions I posed in 2009 were like the seed mentioned in Mark 4 v26-28. Posing the questions – How can we grow numerically and spiritually? How can we serve our communities better? How can we rekindle our love for God? - was like planting the seed in the fertile ground of our diocese. I have witnessed you take seriously the challenge of these questions in what has come to be known as the Growth Agenda. I have heard in deanery after deanery the presentations, often and most encouragingly from lay members, the varied way in which we are growing in our communities. I have seen how we have sought to recapture the dynamic of the church as seen in the Acts of the Apostles. And it has gladdened my heart.
These signs of growth are substantiated by national church statistics, research on fresh expressions from George Lings of the Sheffield Centre of the Church Army as well as the stories Bishop Richard and I heard when we visited deaneries. The statistics show that our weekly adult attendance from 2009 to 2011 has risen by 6.2% with attendance of children growing by 11% across both inherited church and fresh expressions. We now have 78 recognised fresh expressions of church within our diocese – representing 36% of congregations.
We are committed to the inherited church with its visible network of parishes and also to pioneering fresh expressions of church. The figures make it clear that these are both having an impact on reaching a new generation of people.