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Last updated 1st August 2022

Being Witnesses

Sharing the Gospel with Confidence

“Utterly amazed…we hear them declaring the wonders of God in their own languages.”

(Acts 2 v11).

Caedmon

In the 7th century, there was an incredible flowering of mission in the North. St Hilda is well known – she was abbess of a mixed monastery in Whitby that sent out bishops, evangelists all across Britain. Caedmon is far less well known. He was a cattle herder, who looked after the animals in the monastery. He was shy & tongue tied: he found it very difficult to make himself understood. But one night he had dream that he can sing a heavenly song about the creation of the world. When he woke up he can remember the song – in fact he can still sing it. He told his boss and his boss told Hilda who invites Caedmon to sing at the feast. This was the start of an incredible ministry – Caedmon would sing the gospel in the local Anglo-Saxon language in words that the ordinary people could understand.

There are modern day Caedmon’s everywhere. Often in hiding, tongue-tied, unable to get their words out, but it seems the Spirit of God releases them to speak the wonders of God in their own language. It is beautiful to behold.

 

  • Light the Beacons.  Across the diocese, Christians are bringing light.  Watch the highlights of Thy Kingdom Come here and see how churches are serving their communities.
  • Call out Caedmons to speak their language: Take heart from the experiences of the early Christians described in Acts 2:11 and Caedmon’s story here as well as other people’s stories of faith here and here.
  • Pray for your family and friends; it is one of the most powerful things we can do.  For ideas on how to do this, click here.
  • Join or start a Christian Enquiry course; it is an excellent way to learn more about our faith and help others explore what it means to know Jesus.  For more information on courses, click on the following links.  Alpha; Start; Christianity Explored and PilgrimGo!Sign have Christianity Explored videos with British Sign Language and English subtitles.
  • Make use of resources such as: Christianity Explored: Evangelism in Lockdown; Leading Your Church into Growth: Evangelism in a time of lockdown.
  • Share the Diocesan services with your family and friends.  You can find them here.
  • Talk about Jesus with young people using this Board of Education resource here.
  • Use sport as a means of sharing your faith.  The diocese is working with the Church of England sports’ team.  The Church of England has a Sports and Wellbeing Hub which you can access here.

Meet Human Need with Actions as Well as Words

 

Churches are responding to differing needs in many ways.  Here are some useful resources on a range of topics:

Plant 200 New Local Congregations and 10 Strategic Church Plants

Around the diocese, New Local Congregations are taking root. In the past four years, 50 churches have started a new congregation in a different place or at a different time.

In the following video, the Revd Prof. Jeremy Duff describes the New Local Congregations he planted during his time as a vicar in Widnes.

  • At the October 2021 Diocesan Synod, Bishop Jill presented a paper on New Local Congregations which can be found here.
  • Beacon Course: if you are interested in exploring starting a New Local Congregation, Bishop Jill is running a Beacon Course.  The course is four evenings on zoom: Monday 19th September; Monday 26th September; Tuesday 4th October and Tuesday 11th October.  Sessions run from 7.30 pm until 9 pm. Further information on content can be found here.  To book, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org or use this Eventbrite link.
  • Congregations are growing in the outer estates; read more here.
  • Preston Resourcing Parish is reaching out to the people who study, live and work in the centre of Preston.  Find out more here.
  • Leading Your Church into Growth have written resources to support churches and  Christians as they seek to be witnesses; click here
  • Baptisms, weddings, funerals and other life events are significant occasions in people’s lives.  To find out how to make the most of these opportunities, click here
  • All ages and stages of life matter.  Some of our congregations are reaching out using: Messy Church  and Lyrics and Lunch.

Caring for Creation

  • The Energy Footprint Tool allows churches to enter their utility bills and find out their 'carbon footprint.'  The EFT is now open until July 31st 2022 to enter 2021 utility bills.  Nationally, it helps us know our carbon baseline and how how much progress we are making.  You can find the tool on the Online Parish Returns System.  A helpful guide can be found here.
  • GETTING READY FOR THE GREAT BIG GREEN WEEK (Sep 2022): Thus 21st April, 12-1pm.  The Great Big Green Week is a nationwide celebration of action on climate change, taking place across the UK from the 24th September - 2nd October 2022, and which falls during the Church's Season of Creation, giving Christian groups the perfect opportunity to join in.  In 2021, over 5000 events took place and over 200,000 people took part. Watch the 2 min video about GBGW 2021.  Speakers: Grace Fisher, Community Organiser/ Mobiliser, from The Climate Coalition and Jo Chamberlain, Environment Policy Officer, from the Church of England.  BOOK HERE
  • Eco Church is a scheme run by A Rocha UK equipping churches to care for God's creation through their worship, buildings, land, community engagement and individual lifestyles.  You can find out more about Eco Church and their webinars here. 
  • Changing the Climate: find out how three Lancashire schools are leading the way here
  • St Stephen's church, Preston is caring for creation by running a refill station.  

    Our Refill Station is open once a month and people can now bring bottles to fill with a variety of products from Faith in Nature and Ecover including fabric conditioner, laundry detergent, shampoo, washing up liquid and hand wash.

    People pay by card using our Sumup machine and we don't do it to make money but sell at cost as the intention is to reduce waste and care for the environment.

    As well as caring for creation, those organising the Refill Station are also growing as leaders.

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The Five Marks of Mission

Our Bishops and Archdeacons created a Lent Course on the Five Marks of Mission.  

You can still watch the recordings now the course is complete. Just click where indicated to go straight to the relevant talk you want ... 

If you would like more information on Being Witnesses, please email: beingwitnesses@blackburn.anglican.org

 

 

 

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