In an unusual move, this month’s General Synod will take the subject of evangelism as its theme.
In particular, Synod members will be asked to urge every diocese to launch new missions and ministries to housing estates up and down the country.
The ‘Estates Evangelism task group’is working on plans to extend the reach of each parish to ‘hard-to-reach’places. The Rev Helen Shannon, who sits on the task group, said that there needed to be changes made to clergy selection, deployment and training to implement a change in thinking.
She said the task group wanted estates ministry to be ‘part of every diocese’s budget’.
She pointed out that while most such parishes were made up of 500 dwellings, they constituted one-fifth of all parishes. “Fifty per cent of the population of England live in these areas,”she said.
A motion on Friday 22 February will hear the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev Philip North, ask the Synod to ‘give thanks’to the Christian leadership offered from such communities. His motion calls for the establishment of a ‘serving, loving and worshipping community in every significant social housing estate in the country.’
But despite declining church numbers nationally, the secretary-general of the Archbishops’Council, William Nye, said the focus on evangelism emerged from a sense of urgency.