Leaders of the Catholic mission of our diocese in Catholic schools gathered together in Northampton for the Chaplaincy and RE Conference. The day led jointly by Mission Northampton and our diocesan Education Service, focussed on being ‘Missionary Disciples’.

Following some opening moments of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, Bishop David spoke on the theme. He encouraged those gathered not to expect instant results as expected by Ofsted when it comes to evangelisation, and that often evangelisation is not the work of a moment with clear outcomes and targets reached,

“Jesus doesn’t play the Ofsted game! What you are doing in your schools today may not bear fruit in your time”

He continued to urge them to walk with students and staff members as Jesus walked with his disciples on the road to Emmaus. In this way to be a witness of our faith not by convincing them but to show them. Referring to the term collaborative ministry, Bishop David requested that the leaders see themselves as working co-responsibly with him, recognising their unique vocation as baptised members of our church and that, together we will discern “what is the authentic will of the Spirit”?

Finally, Bishop David addressed a new prayer and liturgy document prepared by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and put to schools and educators for consultation. Bishop David reassured school leaders and RE leads that the document was undertaking a re-drafting (as per any consultation process) and that he and they will discern together in co-responsibilty when the document is published.