Growth comes in all shapes and sizes – from the single person looking to deepen their faith to the families who just come to the monthly cafe church – and this Autumn a series of celebrations have been planned to mark and encourage all growth - the great and the small – in each of our five Episcopal Areas.
Each area will tailor-make their own celebration that will include local testimony, a lively worship band and a couple of examples of local church projects – large and small – and at each, the Area Bishop will preach.
Called Celebrate 5, they are designed to celebrate all that we are and all that we do here in the Diocese of Leeds and are the initiative of the Bishop’s Adviser on Church Growth, the Revd Robin Gamble who will host each of the events alongside a local presenter.
Said Robin: “All we ever hear are depressing headlines about declining churches, but that is not the whole story.
“Celebrate 5 will be both a ‘coming together’ for each episcopal area and will help build an emerging culture of growth in every church.
We hope that every church will come and join us and bring their people – young and old – clergy and lay - to support their area and help build a culture of growth in the diocese,” he said.
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On Saturday October 1 at 10am Ripon Cathedral will host its C5 event with Karin Shaw co presenting, Bishop James and local projects celebrating their growth.
In Leeds, Bishop Paul has organised workshops across the city on dementia, faith in the workplace; engaging people on the margins, schools, discipleship and urban partnership in the morning of the C5 celebration which takes place in Leeds Minster at 4.30pm on Saturday October 8.
There will also be a get together with Bishop Paul in the Minster at 2pm for all those confirmed this year and the event will include traditional and contemporary worship, a sermon from Bishop Paul, examples of local growing churches, a prayer installation and litany for growth and a final 'take away' challenge to each PCC.
The final event of this year will be held in Wakefield Cathedral on Tuesday November 1 at 7.30pm when Bishop Tony will launch the Community of all Saints and ask people to follow a simple Rule of Life focused on a threefold intention to pray, grow and act.
Said Bishop Tony:
“I invite people to join me in this new community so that in the Wakefield Episcopal Area we can unite in our calling to be Saints and follow more closely the example of Jesus. ”
The local worship band will come from South Ossett with examples of growth across the Episcopal Area.
A similar event for the Huddersfield Episcopal Area will take place in the New Year.