The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, has sent the following ad clerum to clergy in the Diocese of Winchester.
As 2016 draws to a close, and we prepare to celebrate Christmas, I’d like to update you on some of the areas of work going on across the Diocese to enable us to live out our four strategic priorities and put into practice our policy commitments.
Diocesan Synod Conference 2016: Growing into the fullness of Christ
It was so good to join with two hundred representatives from across the Diocese in our triennial Diocesan Synod Conference in October. We worshipped and worked together, in small groups and as a larger community, and left the Conference with a renewed sense of vision and purpose. The talks and other resources from the Conference are still available on the Diocesan website: www.winchester.anglican.org/winchestermission.
One exciting outcome from this shared process was that we all grew in our collective responsibility for the life of our Diocese, and began to shape together the archdeaconry mission action plans (aMAPs). These will build on the existing mission action planning which has taken place at parish, benefice and deanery level, and in the coming months the Bishop’s staff team will work with colleagues across the Diocese to further develop these aMAPs, for final consideration them at Synod in March 2017. All our mission action plans are to enable us to fulfil our vision of living the mission of Jesus.
Developing our work to care for God’s creation
Winchester has already committed itself to a diocesan-wide policy of becoming a green Diocese: I remind you of this because this was something the Conference thought we should emphasise in the Diocese. Every parish is encouraged to take action, and to send representatives to one of our ‘Tools for Transformation’ events over the coming months (http://www.winchester.anglican.org/resources/environment/). These events are excellent opportunities to explore the new Eco Church scheme and the Big Church Switch, hear about current local church projects, and share experiences. The events are being supported by Christian Aid, Tearfund and Christian conservation charity A Rocha UK, and at each one we’ll be joined by Dr Ruth Valerio, Churches and Theology Director at A Rocha UK.
Building on the Tools for Transformation work, I hope every parish and benefice will sign up to take part in the new Eco Church scheme (http://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/). Eco Church offers a free online survey together with supporting resources designed to equip your church to express your care for God’s world in your worship and teaching, in how you look after your buildings and land, in how you engage with your local community and in global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of your congregation. This is an excellent scheme and one which was partly modelled on our own pattern of developing eco-friendly parishes.
Diversity in the Diocese
I am pleased to welcome the Revd Jo Elvidge as Bishop’s Adviser for Diversity. In particular, as the Church of England seeks to become more open to minority ethnic leadership, Jo will keep in touch with the National Church offices, advising us on opportunities and challenges. I am also delighted that the Revd Marion de Quidt has agreed to attend the regular Bishop’s Staff meetings. Both Jo and Marion will be supporting us to improve the diversity of our Diocese, enabling us to better engage with our communities.
As we look forward to the New Year, please keep the Very Revd Catherine Ogle in your prayers. Catherine will be moving from Birmingham Cathedral, and will be installed on 11th February as the new Dean of Winchester. We look forward to her ministry among us.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in our parishes, and in the Diocesan offices, for contributing so much to the life of the Diocese this year. Encouraged by our Diocesan Rule of Life, may we all continue to grow into the fullness of Christ, ‘Sharing God’s Life’ with others in 2017.
Please be assured of my prayers for you and your families over Christmastide.
Yours in Christ,