THE first debate during this group of sessions was a review of
the progress towards the Challenges for the Quinquennium -
a series of proposals submitted to the Synod in 2011 by the
Archbishops' Council and House of Bishops. The challenges set out
three priorities: to contribute to the common good, to grow the
Church, and to re-imagine ministry.
The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr
Steven Croft, used a picture-slide presentation to introduce a
take-note debate on the challenges' progress report. He reported
that had been a significant rise in the number of younger vocations
to the ordained ministry.
He said that the C of E needed to "recover the simple, deep
disciplines of learning and teaching the faith to make disciples in
annual rhythms and patterns in every parish". The growth of Fresh
Expressions had been "remarkable".
The Revd Professor Paul Fiddes (Baptist Union)
called on the C of E to include other Christian denominations when
developing its "narrative of growth".
Canon Simon Taylor (Derby) said that it was
"more than a little disappointing" that re-imagining ministry was
"a top-down exercise". He suggested taking "the opportunity to see
what different parishes and dioceses are doing".
The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir
Tony Baldry MP, called for "a campaign that unites every tradition
in the C of E . . . that gives churchgoers the confidence and
licence to take the Christian message and the Church of England
into the wider community".
Rachel Beck (Lincoln) said it was important to
recognise the importance chaplaincy plays. She had been "blown
away" by stories of how people who would not go to church feel
comfortable talking to chaplains.
The Revd Ann Hollinghurst (St Albans) sough
more clarity: "How does our own process of embedding Fresh
Expressions work out with our ecumenical partners?"
Gavin Oldham (Oxford) said a website for
dioceses to enter details of their projects was to be piloted in
Oxford before being rolled out across the country. He said:
"Evangelism flourishes best when it is hand in hand with community
The Revd Mark Ireland (Lichfield) welcomed the
paper as "a significant step towards a national mission strategy".
The Church should "recover confidence and don't assume that people
won't be interested".
Anne Foreman (Exeter) said that Exeter diocese
had created a Million for Mission Fund, releasing money from
reserves to fund local mission.
The Revd Dr Patrick Richmond (Norwich) called
for more research: "Many of those going to Fresh Expressions might
be termed the relational fringe. What does this mean to
discipleship? What commitment do they have?"
The Bishop of Sodor & Man, the Rt Revd
Robert Paterson, chairs the Central Readers' Council. Readers were
not intended to be quasi-vicars, he said, "but to be lay
The Revd Paul Cartwright (Wakefield) said there
"seemed to be a blockage" when minority-ethnic Christians were
ordained. "We need to find ways of getting our young priests to
Kay Dyer (Coventry) was "very excited" about
the section of the report on apologetics; and felt it could help
with young people, "in getting, or re-claiming, disciples from
things in society that have pulled them away".
The Synod took note of the report, after which the Revd
John Dunnett (Chelmsford), chair of the Synod's
Evangelical Group and general director of CPAS, introduced a
following motion, calling on the House of Bishops to devote "a
substantial amount of time over the next two years to considering a
strategy for the re-evangelisation of England".
Dr Croft said he was not resistant to the following motion, nor
did he think the Bishops would be.
Canon Gary Jenkins (Southwark) spoke of St
James's, Bermondsey, with its painting of the Ascension. It
reminded him that, in making disciples, "the Lord will be with
The Revd Richard Jackson (Chichester) praised
the following motion, as "it puts at the forefront of our thinking
the call to re- evangelise our nation."
The vice-chair of the House of Laity, Tim Hind
(Bath & Wells), expressed caution at the timescale for the
House of Bishops: "They are all men, and can't do two things at
The motion was clearly carried:
That this Synod, noting: (i) that the Bishops of the Roman
Catholic Church spent three weeks in October 2012 considering the
new evangelisation; and (ii) the observations of the Bishop of
Sheffield in section 2 of his paper annexed to GS 1895, encourage
the House of Bishops to devote a substantial amount of time over
the next two years to considering a strategy for the
re-evangelisation of England and how they might lead the Church in