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News from the Vicarage - April 2017

Dear Friends,

The new Bishop of Lichfield the Rt Rev'd Dr Michael Ipgave has launched a new strap line for this Diocese of 'Come follow Christ in the footsteps of S. Chad.' This replaces 'Going for Growth' and the Bishop is launching his new direction of travel at a special celebration at Lichfield Cathedral on 20th May at 11am followed by a picnic lunch afterwards.

His vision is for the next five years building on the existing five mission themes (Discovering the heart of God, Growing disciples, Reaching new generations, Transforming communities, and Practicing generosity). This I think is a much more positive and encouraging approach and I'm sure we will get behind his vision to encourage more people to 'Come and follow Christ'. The Bishop at the recent Diocesan Synod told us about his vision and that he wants us to encourage and pray for five people we know to become Christians, in the hope that at least one will become a new church member. He also hopes to increase vocations by fifty per cent. This is quite a challenge especially as many existing clergy are due to retire. In the footsteps of S. Chad' is also interesting as we will get to know more about S. Chad who was the first Bishop of this Diocese and missionary to the kingdom of Mercia.

In the light of Bishop Philip North withdrawing from being Bishop of Sheffield the Bishop of Lichfield has said that he wants all parts of the church to flourish in line with the Five Guiding Principles which are:

  • Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;
  • Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;
  • Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God;
  • Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and
  • Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.

I wish you a happy and holy Easter.

My Prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar