07/03/2016

"When you have more than you need, build a bigger table."

Bishop Paul reflects on the trend across the Western world to provoke fear and anger, calling for the church to prefer the poor and advocate for social justice.

In his Presidential address at this month's Diocesan Synod, Bishop Paul stated how he was "disturbed and deeply worried by this trend to provoke fear and anger across the West".
The Bishop pointed to Luke's gospel where Jesus says "the greatest among you must become like the youngest and the leader like one who serves".The Bishop called for "we who lead the church in our generation to lead forward, and to be undefended and unafraid, and to call f orth the powers of love".

Citing the Anglican Consultative Council's Five Marks of Mission the Bishop stated "the church exists by evangelism as a fire exists by burning. Evangelism is not a department. Evangelism is not an option." He added "I do not seek the growth of the church for reasons of power and fear. I seek from a place of humility and simplicity and compassion for the poor to call forth love and to share the news of the beautiful shepherd who has saved us and who casts out all our fear."

The Bishop added: "In the snarling, angry, frightened culture of the West, which closes the door on the poor and which seeks to hold on to and make a fortress of wealth and privilege, we say that we want to share. We will share our goods, as far as we can. We will share our lives, as far as we can. And as far as we can we will share our news – the good news of the beautiful one who loves us."

Bishop Paul highlighted research which showed that the social and political involvement of the Church gives it credibility and attractiveness in the eyes of the world. He charged Synod "to keep the beauty and limitless attractiveness of the Lord Jesus in focus".

He concluded: "That’s why we’re growing the church. That’s why we have a growth agenda. Not management, not survival, not our power, not our glory. But the laughter of Jesus expressed in a bigger table and an utter resistance to fences and walls".

"That’s why we’re growing the church. That’s why we have a growth agenda. Not management, not survival, not our power, not our glory. But the laughter of Jesus expressed in a bigger table and an utter resistance to fences and walls."

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Read the Presidential Address here

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