You may already have heard about our plans to reshape some of our Church of England parishes and to invest some money into doing things differently.
If not, you may be interested to hear that our diocese is trying some innovative ideas.
We’ve discovered that our churches grow when we try new services and activities that directly engage with the lives of young families, students, or those with particular needs.
Ministers who have been given some freedom from the admin of running a parish have started new gatherings in partnership with community groups, alongside traditional parish church life.
We want to expand that kind of work.
This may be exciting for some, but it also asks us to wrestle with that difficult thing called ‘change’.
The Bible describes God as ‘unchanging’ and sometimes it might feel like the Church hardly ever changes. For some, that timeless stability is reassuring.
Even though God doesn’t change, the world around us does.
That means our job as his Church is to respond to those changes and seek fresh and authentic ways to engage with our local communities.
That’s why we’ve drawn up a £9.1m project to reshape what the Church offers in parts of our diocese – the Leigh Park estates, parts of Gosport and the area around Newport. There are also plans for further investment in Portsmouth.
We’ll invest resources and employ new staff in these areas to create brand new congregations, and to meet local needs for support with families, debt counselling, engagement with schools – and lots more.
What we offer will depend on what these communities want. We’ll be engaged in a process of listening over the next few months.
We want to end up with a mix of existing church services and activities for those who value that, plus more innovative ideas that will appeal to those who haven’t so far been involved with the Christian faith.
For more details, see portsmouth.anglican.org/strategy