Plans for Mission
When Bishop Peter arrived
in Wells, he came with a very clear charge, given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, to help us to discern what our calling
is, what our vision is and to discover together what it is that God is calling us to be and to do as we seek to be his people
here in Bath and Wells. A vision has emerged through talks with every deanery, that in response to God's immense love
for us, we seek to be God's people, living and telling the story of Jesus, listening to God's word, walking in his
steps and allowing his Holy Spirit to transform our lives. As things have progressed, three priorities have emerged: The first
is to put mission and evangelism at the heart of everything that we do. The second is to look at our resources, our ministry,
all that God has given us and entrusted to us: our buildings, our time, our money, our resources and to make sure that we're
using those effectively to build up the kingdom of God and to declare the good news of God's love. The third is to look
at ourselves and to think about the gifts God has given and entrusted to us and ask how we can identify those gifts, how we
can develop them and offer them to God in order that we might be His people, living and telling the story of Jesus.
To this end our Deanery Synod has agreed on a mission plan. The plan is 56 pages long and you are
welcome to read the whole thing, just ask Mike Tedstone or myself for a copy-but to summarise...
1) Ensure our decisions
are made prayerfully.
2) Work to ensure that we connect and communicate effectively with the full range of communities
in Locking Deanery and are not unduly biased towards any group to the exclusion of others.
3) Seek to support and encourage
projects within the deanery churches and community that seek to ensure support and inclusion in the five key areas of poverty,
recovery, rural isolation, disability and growing international community.
4) Work ecumenically wherever possible.
5) Follow the safeguarding procedures of Bath & Wells Diocese.
is up to each individual church to set out our own mission plans, which obviously will be in line with the plans set out above.
To help us all a Deanery Mission Enabler has been appointed. He is Rev Tim Jessiman and he is priest-in-charge of Churchill
& Langford. Tim will be visiting our churches in the New Year to talk to us about mission, to help us formulate our mission
plans and to encourage and enable us to put those plans into action, living and telling the story of Jesus.
To summarise in my own personal words, none of this is new. But it does remind us all of our Lord's
great commission to "make disciples of all nations, healing and baptising in the name of the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28). As I keep on saying, I believe the very best way of telling people about Jesus is to "preach
the gospel always, using words if absolutely necessary", but if you're just a little tired of hearing me quote St
Francis, how about Elvis Presley instead, "a little less conversation a little more action!"
Whatever words we chose, and however we decide to set about this, Bishop Peter urges us to put prayer
at the very centre of all that we do. Peter says, "prayer sustains us, inspires us and enables us to be God's people,
living and telling the good news of Jesus". Bishop Peter has found the following both inspiring and helpful:
Gracious God, may your Holy Spirit guide us into the future. Help us, throughout the diocese, to
show uninhibited reliance on your grace and power, as we seek renewal of our lives. Give us courage, rigour, imagination and
generosity in order that your kingdom may come and that your abundant life be known by all.
in His awesome name