During its meeting last week, the College of Bishops considered a proposal inviting bishops to meet in small regional groups for a series of four focused conversations between November 2021 and June 2022.
Called, “Centred on Christ: Conversations on the Way”, their purpose is to underpin the discernment and decision-making that bishops are engaged in as part of a number of workstreams relating to the Church’s vision and strategy, governance, culture, and Living in Love and Faith. The aims of the conversations are
- to consider how to model and lead the Church in discernment and decision-making
- to identify and articulate the dynamics in the Church’s engagement with disagreement and consider how bishops can help effect culture change
- to be inspired afresh about the calling of the church and the possibilities that these workstreams offer for the church to testify to the living Christ among us in our diversity and differences.
Welcoming the way forward Sarah Mullaly, the Bishop of London, said: “These “conversations on the way” will offer bishops opportunities to reflect – with openness, honesty, vulnerability and hopefulness – on these workstreams in the light of what it means to be church and their vocation within it. The conversations will not be so much about what the decisions are that need to be made, as to how bishops and the people of God will come to these decisions together.”
- Vision and Strategy invites “the whole Church of England to share with us in this work of renewal as we re-centre our lives on Christ, of truly working together as the Body of Christ, and of finding the way forward that will best serve our nation.”
- Living in Love and Faith is a journey of church-wide learning and listening which will call upon bishops to use the LLF resources alongside the insights, hopes, fears and longings of the people of God for the task of discernment leading to decision-making
- Organisational Change and Behaviours: There are work streams under way in the light of the church which is emerging from the pandemic to look again at the governance structure and, in particular, at the role and nature of being bishops in this new context.