The Emerging Church of England

The Emerging Church of England is the name for four strands of work which together will help leaders in every diocese to discern the shape, life and activity of the Church of England in the 2020s. The main aim of the Emerging Church of England is to follow a shared vision - to share what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and continues to do through the Holy Spirit - with simpler national governance structures.

This work began before the coronavirus pandemic but has been intensified and adapted in light of the changing circumstances. The work is to:  

  • Review our strategic context:  the Church and the impact of the social, political and economic world around us  
  • Determine key strategic priorities for the next ten years through a shared Vision and Strategy 
  • Deliver simpler governance structures 
  • Transform our national operating model for the future i.e. the practical ways the Church is organised and functions. 

The work is overseen by a Coordinating Group, chaired by the Bishop of Manchester and made up of members of the Church Commissioners, the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops. Its job is to recommend proposals to the governing bodies to ensure the necessary changes happen at the right time, as well as ensuring the different areas of work join up well. 

Four groups - Recovery, Vision & Strategy, Governance, and Transforming Effectiveness - have been tasked with consulting the wider Church, providing recommendations and guidance, and transparently communicating their progress and findings.

Recovery

The Recovery Group, led by the Bishop of London, looks at how to respond to and interpret changing government advice on church buildings and services. Its responsibilities also include supporting churches in reaching out to existing and new worshippers through digital means; the Church of England’s response to social need; and the wellbeing of church and communities.  

Vision and Strategy

Led by the Archbishop of York, this group works with dioceses on how best to use the resources, abilities and time available to make decisions about what our priorities should be and how they will work themselves out through the complex and dispersed diversity of a church like ours. 

Governance

The Governance Group, led by the Bishop of Leeds, will review the effectiveness of the national governance structures and functions of the Church of England, and make recommendations to the Archbishops for possible changes to improve the functioning and effectiveness of those structures, processes and activities. 

Transforming Effectiveness

This group, led by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, focuses on the practical ways the Church is organised and gets things done that enable the local church to flourish. The whole system will be looked: what should continue as is, what should be changed, and what should just stop.