|We have a Gospel to Proclaim
– Vision and Action –
The role of the Parish Church in Acklington, Shilbottle and Warkworth 2021 and beyond
The Diocese recognises the significant challenges of decline in its’ churches. They also see huge possibilities for new growth and transformation. The work of ‘growing church bringing hope: next steps’ is about helping to create new space for this work of Grace to happen so that more people might have the opportunity to begin or deepen their journey with God. We create this space by changing the way we think about, organise and resource the mission and ministry of all our parishes across the Diocese.
It is time for individual parishes and our benefice as a whole to look again at how we work locally, across parish boundaries and beyond. Our ministry cannot be limited to our church buildings. If there was any doubt in that, then Covid has surely brought it home. We need to use other settings in our local communities and digital opportunities to enable others to explore the Christian faith and begin their own journey with God.
This is a work in progress; borne out of the recognition that we are not getting any younger and church attendance continues to fall. The core group of people we have active in our churches are working hard just to keep the show on the road let alone grasp the huge opportunities for mission and outreach in our three parishes.
In order to secure the place of the local parish church in each community for the future it is essential that we now work more collaboratively and are open to working with one another as three parishes and with neighbouring parishes and with individuals and groups from the wider community that share our values, and appreciate the value of what the Church of England uniquely offers its parishioners.
Every member of the church has a part to play; either through contributing ideas, time, energy, financial support and most importantly prayer support to this endeavour. The agenda of the PCC/Open Church meetings have been reworked to help us to focus on particular areas of priority and concern and there will be opportunities for everyone to feed into shaping and delivering ministry in the local parish.
When the Benefice was formed, it was always the plan that the three parishes would come together to discuss, share and develop a way forward working together using our shared skills to grow our ministry. Covid 19 delayed our 2020 plan to do so however, with the relaxation of restrictions we are confident that we can begin looking at the way forward this year.
To get us motoring, in addition to the individual parish PCC/Open Church meetings this year we have a organised a 24hr Conference from 6pm on Friday the 10th September to 6pm Saturday 11th September. Members of the PCC should ensure they are able to attend, but all are warmly invited to come along to contribute to our deliberations and our plan for the future.
The first session on Friday evening will be hosted by Acklington. The Rt Revd Mark Wroe, Bishop of Berwick will preside at the Eucharist at 6pm at St John’s followed by a buffet supper in the community hall. On Saturday we will be based at Warkworth School starting at 9.30 am. Our time together will conclude with a Songs of Praise at St Lawrence beginning at 5pm led by the Revd Alison Hardy (our Area Dean). Bishop Mark, The Venerable Catherine Sourbut Groves, Archdeacon of Lindisfarne and Alison, will give input at various points and the overall aim of the Conference is to agree priorities for each parish and the Benefice 2021 – 2025 and the working group structure based on the areas of focus (below) which will support the plan.
Please put these dates in your diary and please do pray regularly for this work as we go forward.
ASW Benefice Conference 10th/11th September 2021: Click here for the draft programme
PCC/OPEN CHURCH MEETING DATES 2021 – all our meetings are open to anyone attending, please come and contribute your energy and ideas
Tuesday 22nd 10.30am Shilbottle, 6pm Acklington
Wednesday 23rd 7pm Warkworth
Tuesday 14th 10.30am Shilbottle, 6pm Acklington
Wednesday 15th 7pm Warkworth
Tuesday16th 10.30am Shilbottle, 6pm Acklington
Wednesday 17th 7pm Warkworth
Areas of Focus – Click here for our Priorities for Mission and Ministry