Staying the same is not an option, Devon parishes told
We have to change to meet the needs of the 21st century, Bishop Robert has told the Diocese of Exeter’s governing body, its diocesan synod.
Quoting Cardinal Newman, he said: “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”
He said the Church must use its reducing resources wisely to serve the whole of the county, spending less time on the Church’s internal affairs and more time re-connecting with the generations with whom it has lost contact.
He said: “We either rise to this challenge or we run from it. I’m inviting you to rise to it and journey with me in faith and love as we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let me give you a few statistics to illustrate what I mean about the way things have already changed and the changes that are further down the pipeline.
“How many beneficed and licensed clergy are there serving in this Diocese? Answer: 197. How many were there twenty years ago in Bishop Hewlett’s time? Answer: 408. We have to change the way we imagine ministry, particularly in our rural areas. Rather than just keeping things going, we need to create a model of Church fit for this century. Staying the same is not an option.”
He said there had been some good news, including money from the national church for the Growing the Rural Church project, the arrival of the St Mellitus SW theological training course, and the closer working with the Diocese of Truro to reshape the South West Ministry Course.
Diocesan synod also welcomed Stephen Hancock as the new head of EDBF staff at the Diocese of Exeter.
Bishop Robert’s address to synod can be downloaded and read below.