New diocese to focus on creative forms of church and mission at Harrogate demonstration day

In a first for the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, churches across the region are coming together in Harrogate this Saturday June 14th to share and sample new and innovative forms of church and learn about creative new ideas which are leading to church growth.

The ‘Vision for Mission Day Out’ takes place at 12 different venues across Harrogate and  will include seminars on mission, pioneer projects and church community initiatives as well as the opportunity to experience new expressions of churches such as ‘café church’ and  ‘forest church’.

The new Bishop for the new diocese, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, will be making his first visit to Harrogate as Bishop of Leeds, dropping in on several venues including Valley Gardens to see a series of new forms of church and  street initiatives, as well as leading lunchtime prayers at St Peter’s Church.

He said, “Just as modern education understands that people have different styles of learning, so churches increasingly understand that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ and are developing new ways (alongside the tried and tested traditional ways) of enabling people to experience Christian faith.  Our new diocese has 656 churches which offer a varied menu of services, and Saturday will be a great opportunity for us to share creative ideas and resources.”

Recent statistical research has shown that ‘fresh expressions’ of church are having a major impact on growth in the church and have helped reverse expected decline, and the new diocese with its focus on church growth and mission will have an opportunity in Harrogate to learn more about some of the new forms of church being developed and consider how they can be part of a mix of traditional and contemporary church life. 

Twelve town centre venues will be showcasing a variety of pioneering projects, as well as demonstrating everything from ‘messy church’ (Westcliffe Hall) and ‘café church’(at St Paul’s United Reformed Church), ‘sweaty church’ to ‘Forest Church’ (in Valley Gardens), or ‘ multi-cultural church’ (in St Robert’s Roman Catholic church centre). A ‘pop-up choir’ will appear in the streets of Harrogate during the day, and as well as exhibitions (St Peter’s Church) there will be resources and seminars on subjects including ‘Starting a food-bank’, ‘Festival Angels’, ‘Youth Congregations’ or ‘Using Social Media’.

Bishop James Bell

The day also has the backing of the Area Bishop for Ripon, the Rt Revd James Bell (pictured) who has recorded a YouTube video around Harrogate, encouraging churches to come and learn about new ways of ‘doing church’ .  (

Fresh Expressions Advisor, Karin Shaw said, “The Day Out is a free day out for the church community in beautiful Harrogate town centre with a varied programme of “church-out-there” experiences.  People will be able to dip in and out of the programme and we hope some churches will come as a group to learn together.”

More information is now available on the Day Out web page:


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