Our vision, I think, is a given: ‘seek first the Kingdom of God’.
Our prayer, daily, is ‘Your Kingdom come’.
God’s Kingdom is, I believe, Good News for all.
It means transformed lives: growing church, building community - and, for that we need generous faith, courageous hope, life-giving love.
My desire for this diocese is that we know we are loved beyond measure by Jesus, and, sure in the hope that gives us, we have the courage to love without restraint for Jesus’ sake.
That, for me, is Kingdom of God.
It is an extraordinary grace to be invited to join Kingdom of God.
That means for me salvation, community, justice, hope.
I don’t deserve it, it is pure grace.
And my prayer is that we yearn to grow Kingdom of God - for all ages, increasing our diversity, across every geographical, socio-economic, and cultural context (and from all our theological and church traditions and circumstances).
I long that who we are as Kingdom people – courageous, compassionate, creative, committed – is so alive, so attractive, so inspirational, that growth of the Kingdom is natural. I long that we grow in depth of faith and daily living of discipleship, that we grow participation in worshipping congregations, that we grow in scope and scale of impact in our communities.
It is part of my calling to encourage that, literally to ‘give heart’, so we sustain the hope that gives us courage, not just to carry on, but also to be brave, radical and even risk taking. Because encouragement is about ‘heart’, that also means always being relational, generous, outward looking, and life giving.
We have discerned that God is calling us into new ways of being, as well as new ways of doing, church. We recognise that the scale and scope of the challenge ahead is significant. The transitions needed in culture and delivery of identified Diocesan priorities, in the timescales now anticipated post-Covid, are considerable.
The strands of immediate work for implementing transition around financial resilience, Diocesan structure, deployment, Diocesan Office, and Buildings for Mission are being shaped, and will include wide conversation and exploration following Diocesan Synod in October.
Commitment to innovation and creativity will be necessary, alongside continuing commitment to inherited practice that is faithfully fruitful. Therefore, support through transition, investment in establishing new partnerships and relationships, as well as the re-articulation of continuing models will all need to be in place as people and communities are accompanied through loss, change, opportunity and renewal and revival.
This is a deep work of the Holy Spirit. We will root our work in prayer, and discern the signs of the Kingdom, that we might join in with God, to ‘proclaim afresh in this generation the good news of Christ’.
Our prayer is that not just what we do, but who we are proclaims that good news.
Embodying our values of generous faith, courageous hope, life-giving love must mark us out as we reshape the work, worship and witness of the Church of England in Derby and Derbyshire - equipping all the people of God, both laity and clergy, for faithful response to our call:
Good News for all - transformed lives: growing church, building community.
The Rt Revd Libby Lane
Bishop of Derby