PLANS to transform the Church of England were trailed this week
by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In a blog responding initially to concerns about the Green
report, he detailed a "portfolio of reforms", warning: "We can't
simply go on as we are if we are to flourish and grow as the Church
of England. Our call is not to manage decline."
The reforms are being developed by five task groups led by
bishops, and assigned to review specific areas of the Church. While
their existence has been made public, the recommendations - with
the exception of those in the Green report - have yet to be
revealed. On Tuesday, the Archbishop provided a flavour as he
sought to head off criticism of the Green report.
Ministerial education, under a review led by the Bishop of
Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, would be "entirely overhauled" to
"reflect the needs of the Church in the 21st century". Work was
also under way on issues of lay ministry and "the discipleship of
the whole people of God. This will lead to a renewal of spiritual
development, of reflection and of ministry."
Under the guidance of the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete
Broadbent, reforms under the banner of "simplification" would
result in "much more extensive delegation to dioceses and
decentralisation of the Church".
"Resourcing the Future Group" was taking "radical steps towards
reshaping the use of the Church's funding with a bias to the poor,
and an emphasis on mission and evangelism".
The evangelism task group was "working on ideas that give easier
access to resources and more training in evangelism for the whole
people of God".
The Archbishop promised that there would be "opportunities for
people to engage with and comment on the proposals", which were
"rooted in a love for the whole people of God".
A "presentation on the task groups and discipleship report" is
scheduled to take place between 5:40 p.m. and 7 p.m. on 10
February, the first day of the next sessions of the General Synod.
On the second day, "group work" on the proposals is scheduled,
followed by four debates on motions from the Ministry Council, the
Archbishops' Council, and the Church Commissioners.