‘Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness’…

Our ‘fruitfulness’ is suddenly starting to look very sharply-defined. We are now seeing an array of new approaches as the strategic direction we’ve been praying about for our Diocese begins to emerge from the mist and takes shape.

We’ve just announced the Revd Richard White as our new Director of Making and Nurturing Disciples. New staff are being appointed to work with him and enable new congregations and new disciples, initially amongst people in their twenties to their forties and before long amongst people living in poverty.

Our 2016 consultations around the Diocese affirmed a need to reach those we currently don’t, and these 2018 appointments mark the point that we start to do what we’ve been planning.

But another priority emerging from our consultations is about learning better to share the enormous wisdom, experience and talents to be found in so many of our churches and amongst our lay and ordained staff. We call this ‘mutual resourcing’ – we really are God’s gift to each other, and we respond with gratitude and generosity.

Just as we share our experience of God and all that God gives and does in our lives together, so we can share the huge accumulated reservoir of practical experience and common sense around the Diocese about everything from running Messy Church to how to navigate a pastoral reorganisation or deal with a Faculty application.

Last month Archdeacon Sam Rushton reported the arrival of the new Generous Giving and Stewardship Team. Once they begin to get out and about in the new year I believe they will become a valued link between parishes and the wider Diocesan Office team. Generous giving isn’t only about money: it’s about living up to the generosity of God’s gifts showered on us all, every day, by finding ways to share the time and gifts we have.

Just as the autumn mists lift on these mellow mornings to reveal the fruit of this year and the promise of the next, we’re about to see how God will answer our prayers and work through our plans; we trust a season of fruitfulness is opening up before our eyes!

Sarah Bullock