17 October 2012
Bishop of Sheffield's address to Bishops in
The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr. Steven Croft, has today commended the
work of the fresh expressions movement and encouraged new ways of
evangelism in an address in Rome.
Speaking as the Anglican Fraternal Delegate to the Roman Catholic
Synod of Bishops on the theme of "new evangelisation", Dr. Croft
also spoke of the need for life long discipleship to be at the
heart of evangelism: "new evangelization calls for a clear vision
of what it means to be a disciple. The new evangelization is
a call to whole life discipleship: an invitation to follow Christ
for the whole length of our lives, with every part of our lives,
and into wholeness and abundance of that life"
Reflecting on the last ten years of the fresh expression movement
Dr. Croft spoke of the emergence of new communities of disciples
who had grown from seeking anew engagement between culture and
service : "They are formed by a process of careful double listening
to the culture of a particular group and to the Holy Spirit.
Contemplation is at the heart of the methodology. The listening is
followed by discerning paths of loving service. The fruit of
the service is often a new community of young people or families or
the elderly. Within the new community the seed of the gospel is
sown and evangelism takes place. Only then can the new group
of Christians begin to offer prayers and worship and continue their
journey to thefull sacramental life of the Church."
The Bishop of Sheffield also reflected on the nature of the
diaconate and the role that pioneer ministers - and pioneer
ministry - has played in developing new communities of service and
worship: "This process of going and listening and serving and
forming new communities requires particular gifts. In the
Church of England we have named this cluster of gifts "pioneer
ministry". We have recognized pioneer ministry as a focus of both
lay and ordained ministry in our Church. Pioneer ministry is rooted
theologically in diakonia and the ministry of deacons: listening,
loving service, and being sent on behalf of the Church."