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Stewards of the Gospel

STEWARDS OF THE GOSPEL


Steve Webb the new Director for Evangelisation in the Diocese has recently completed reading through the Parish Questionnaires and he has made some preliminary observations. He feels that there are two connected but separate elements to the Stewards initiative.


The first one is finding ways for us to evangelise better at a local parish level and the second is how we can best renew our structures so that communally, across our diocese we find the best way to evangelise and provide the sacraments and pastoral care for everyone in East London and Essex.


Steve feels that Parishes have totally underestimated the amount of restructuring that is going to have to come about as a result of the decline in the number of priests.

At present there are 90 Parishes. By 2025 we will have about 76 priests to cover 57 locations and by 2035 there will be 52 priests to cover 33 locations. So by 2035 we will have about half the number of priests that we have now and they will be living in half the number of locations that they are living in now. This will impact on every Parish in the Diocese. So the challenge we have before us is how to structure ourselves in such a way as to achieve three things:-


·         Evangelisation

·         Provide sacraments and pastoral care


·         Foster more vocations and grow our Church in order to bring more people to God.

Whereas in some Dioceses fewer priests are shepherds to smaller flocks that is not the case for us. Our priests though fewer in number will in the short term be shepherds of increasing flocks. The challenge for us is to be able to use our current resources that will serve our current needs and prepare us for future growth, without exhausting our clergy.

Arising out of the responses in the Questionnaire are four very clear and specific issues for us all to consider as priorities:


·         Young people – How are we to keep our young people on board? It is essential for the continuance of the Faith that we do so.

·         Adult formation – we need to be better informed about our Faith, so we can pass it on and defend it in the public arena.

·         Lay training – the laity needs to be trained so that they are able to work along side the clergy. The clergy may need help in new ways of running a parish.

·         Succession planning – many of the people who run things in the Parish are retired as they age they may be forced to step down due to ill health. We need to ensure that there are people capable of taking over from them

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I HAVE TO WRITE A REPORT FOR STEVE AS TO HOW OUR PARISH IS GOING TO COPE WITH THE ABOVE 4 POINTS. THIS HAS TO BE DONE BY THE END OF JULY. I WOULD BE GRATEFUL IF YOU COULD THINK AND PRAY ABOUT THIS AND EMAIL YOUR IDEAS TO ME ON:


paulinespratt2@gmail.com.


Pauline Spratt          Parish Steward of the Gospel                         26th June 2017