On Saturday 20th March over eighty members of our pastoral area councils met on zoom to reflect and gather to seek God’s way forward for our local areas.
Bishop David focussed on two key themes, ‘Vision and process’. He stated clearly his desire for every area of our diocese to be steeped in prayer that leads to mission in our evangelistic efforts and our solidarity with those on the fringes.
He began by thanking the councils for all their ministries throughout the last twelve months, recognising that many of us have gone beyond our comfort zone with “creativity and imagination”.
For anyone who has not heard Bishop David speak, the vision that he shared is very clear. He summed it up to the councils in this way, “For years we have been hearing about two models of being Church, mission or maintenance. It is increasingly clear, this is a false choice. We are not maintaining the numbers we have been used to. There is only one option, and that is mission”.
To support our mission Bishop David announced the beginning of two new diocesan agencies; Caritas Northampton and Mission Northampton. These two agencies will spearhead the work of our councils across our two diocesan priorities of evangelisation and social outreach.
Finally, Bishop David asked us to consider how we would move forward and offered this framework for that discernment
“To discern a situation, we need to ask ourselves about these four coordinates: how in this situation these four coordinates are present – the preaching, the constant search for fraternal communion, charity, the breaking of the bread (that is, the Eucharistic life), and prayer”