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Dear <<First Name>>


Welcome to our May Inspiring Everyday Faith email. 

Our feature link this month is to a webinar hosted by Faith in Business around Proverbs - Finding Wisdom for Business. FiB is one of the organisations we are working with on the Faith at Work pathway of resources launching in the autumn. Aligned to this there are also details at the bottom of this email for an MA module on leadership in the public realm that Sarum College is making more widely available.

Our Diocesan Spotlight is from Leicester, one of the eight dioceses in the first cohort of the Discipleship Learning Communities (DLCs) that ran in 2018/19. The focus on everyday faith emerged from this work, with Leicester taking the initiative in using this phrase in how they envisage being church in imaginative ways. There is a lively debate as to whether Hereford or Leicester 'invented' the term, but one thing is certain that it's brilliant shorthand for encouraging faith in the whole of life!

In his reflection, Bishop Martyn shares the principles they sought to adopt and highlights some of their current work to continue to inspire everyday faith. This article is based on an interview +Martyn gave for the fourth cohort of the DLC. +Martyn’s new Grove booklet, Anglican Discipleship: Everyday Faith & Everyday Witness, is also featured in our resources section below.

The second resource we are highlighting this week is our Everyday Faith digital platform. This is going live this month for beta testing. We would love some of you to join us in testing and refining the platform over the coming months.

Blessings,

Nick

Proverbs - Finding Wisdom for Business


 Faith in Business  Faith in Business seeks to affirm the role of business in God’s purposes and to explore the application of Christian faith and values in business. Founded in 1989 as a spin-out organisation from Ridley Hall in Cambridge, it is now an independent not-for-profit organisation.

Its key event, the leadership retreat, provides a unique experience for around 65 participants. Their website introduces a wide array of resources and they also run a regular webinar series with a variety of speakers to explore.

In the webinar featured here, the panellists Hannah Stolze and Val Mullally have both recently published books on Biblical wisdom in business. Hosted by FiB director Peter Heslam, they share insights from Proverbs - a rich resource for ordinary everyday life - and help us apply it to our workplaces. The webinar begins with a short biblical reflection from James Holden and insights from Natalie Chan.

Moving the dial towards everyday faith

by Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester

Inspiring Everyday Faith is a way of highlighting why and what is important in Christian discipleship. In the past 20-30 years, we have not been terribly good at equipping people for living their Christian faith in the whole of their lives. The Church has tended to focus on its own life, or its own outreach projects, and forgotten that for most people the majority of their time is not spent involved in church projects – it’s spent in their workplaces, home, social. Equipping people for faith in those contexts must be core to what the Church is all about. I think there has been a change in that over time, but during this pandemic and lockdown – as in so many other areas – it has brought new questions into focus.

Nick and I have a running joke about who first coined the phrase Everyday Faith. All I can say is it has ‘made in Leicester’ stamped on it, and we use that as our strapline now! Using that language of everyday faith has certainly been very significant. My role as bishop is to hold people to account and for them to hold me to account in what we decide under God we are called to be and do. We use the following questions to help each of us in this discernment:
  1. How are you enabling others to grow in the depth of their discipleship?
  2. How are you growing in numbers of disciples?
  3. How are you growing in loving service, enabling others to grow in loving service?
We have found it important that such questions are adopted across the whole life of the diocese - for instance, in PCC away days as well as at Bishop’s Leadership Team meetings, and more regularly checking in on how we are working to those questions.

Some of the other ways we have tried to inspire everyday faith have included sending the seven shifts booklet to all clergy and lay ministers with invitations to have conversations within PCCs; making all gatherings open to clergy and laypeople; and putting lay ministers’ licensing services and commissionings on the same standing as ordination in the life of the diocese. When I license a new clergy person in a parish, we have a ritual of partnership in ministry, so looking very clearly at joining a team of ministers within that church context – and this team being focussed on enabling the everyday faith of the whole people of God. We’ve worked really hard to encourage lay chairs and area deans to set an example within their deaneries of working together. The lay chair of diocesan synod has done some particular work with deanery lay chairs to encourage them, to boost their confidence and to take initiative within the life of the deanery and to work in the service of everyday faith.

Recently, we’ve done an exercise of gathering stories about faith during lockdown. We’ve had a particularly prolonged lockdown in Leicester, as you may know. We’ve asked people right across our churches what they have been learning about faith in this particular context. Those stories have been fascinating. There has been a sense in which it has shifted the dial along the scale. People are asking - Is my Christian faith something I do with a particular group of people in a particular building at a particular moment in time, through to Is my Christian faith something I do in the whole of life? The dial has been shifted during this period to what actually faith is about! What I do in my own home, what I do when I’m online, talking with my friends. Increasingly people are realising that we should all take responsibility for this. It’s not something somebody else does for me – I need to be enabling the practices that enable my faith to grow in my own home and in my workplace. I think the dial has been shifted and we’re starting to see more about everyday faith.

Ultimately, the more we’ve talked about everyday faith, the more we’ve started to understand the key role that lay ministers play in enabling the whole people of God to live out their faith in the whole of life. In my own work, I’ve encountered numerous lay ministers lacking confidence, wondering what their role is and how they can best express their gifts within the body of Christ. As we’ve started to explore everyday faith, especially with the questions that are raised within the workplace, or within social networks, lay ministers have started to see that this is their area of expertise. They’ve struggled with questions about how to live out faith in these contexts themselves, and therefore their ministry can be focused on how they enable others to grow in their faith in those contexts as well. I think there’s been an encouraging shift in that sense and a growth in that understanding of clergy and lay ministers working together to enable the whole people of God in their everyday faith.

For some, Anglican discipleship is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms that cannot sit comfortably together. For others, it is a tautology, a repetition of qualities that are so inherent to one another as to render their association unnecessary.

This study plays with the two terms and probes how they interact and spark off each other, exploring the theme from a specifically British perspective. Its central tenet is that as the church in the West experiences loss and death, encouraging signs of awakening point to new approaches to everyday faith and witness.

Ready to launch?

This month we are starting the beta-testing phase of Everyday Faith: Connect, a digital platform to help people find and follow God in their everyday life.

Everyday Faith provides users with the opportunity to sign up for a variety of flexible journeys that help take them further in their everyday faith, choosing from topics and themes that are of interest to them. The platform will include features to support faith at home and faith at work and host content from the Church of England and partner organisations.







 
We are looking for willing volunteers to help us to test the platform in order to prepare it for its full launch in October 2021. If you would like to help, please get in touch using this link

What difference does being a Christian make to public life? to the Common Good?

A wide-ranging course on these questions: Leadership in the Public Square, 14-17 June
 
Led by The Revd Keith Elford, a leadership expert with 20 years experience supporting leaders to make sustainable and transformative changes in their organisation.
 
Contributors include
  • Professor Chris Baker is William Temple Research Professor of Religion and Public Life at Goldsmiths, University of London
  • The Rt Hon Steve Webb is a partner at the consultancy firm Lane Clark & Peacock. He is a former Liberal Democrat MP who was the Minister of State for Pensions in the coalition government of David Cameron (2010-2015).
  • The Revd Alison Webster, Citizens UK leader who previously worked for the Diocese of Oxford promoting social justice and community engagement.
  • Canon James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College who served on The Commission on Assisted Dying chaired by Lord Falconer.    
Details & booking
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Setting God’s People Free (SGPF) is an initiative across the Church of England to enable the whole people of God to live out the Good News of Jesus confidently in all of life, Sunday to Saturday.

Our focus is to facilitate a shift in culture, not a narrow, centrally driven strategy. The programme seeks to implement proposals from the Setting God’s People Free report presented to General Synod in 2017. These proposals seek effective ways to build up the whole people of God, with a confident faith and vision for the Kingdom of God, which is lived out in homes, schools, communities and places of work.

  • SGPF looks beyond and outside Church structures to the whole people of God at work in communities and wider society - not to 'fixing' the institutional Church.
  • SGPF challenges a culture that over-emphasises a distinction between sacred and secular to a fuller vision of calling within the all-encompassing scope of the Gospel – not to limit vocation to church-based roles.
  • SGPF seeks to affirm and enable the complementary roles and vocations of clergy and of lay people, grounded in our common baptism - not to blur or undermine these distinctions.
  • SGPF proposes imaginative steps to nourish, illuminate and connect what is working already in and through parishes and communities of faith - not to institute a top-down approach.

https://www.churchofengland.org/SGPF
The SGPF update is compiled by staff in the Archbishops' Council's to inform and inspire the community of influencers involved in helping make the change needed to enable the whole people of God to live out the Good News of Jesus confidently in all of life, Sunday to Saturday

To suggest items and resources for inclusion, share good news stories, or feedback comments, email: nick.shepherd@churchofengland.org






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