16/02/2016

Bishop Paul opens General Synod evangelism debate

General Synod met in London this week for the first full-length meeting of the newly-elected Synod since its inauguration in November 2015.

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Revd Paul Bayes, opened the debate on a report from the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group.
General Synod chamber
In his opening speech, Bishop Paul referred to the first of the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion, ‘To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom’, as “our main and perhaps our only point. Evangelism is not a department. Evangelism is not an option. Evangelism is all we do”.

He added that the report emphasises the “diversity and beauty”  of evangelism as a shared responsibility for all of us: “evangelistic witness is not and should not be seen as the preserve of nominated evangelists nor of any particular traditions within the Church, but of all of us in all we do. “

Part of the purpose of the Task Group, he explained, is “to keep the priority of evangelism before every part of the Church”, and to survey the whole of the Church’s life to ask: “does it enable or hinder the sharing of the life of God in the moment of evangelism?”.

The interim report marks the mid-point of the Task Group’s work – the aim of the Synod debate was to aid the discernment of other paths the group may take.

Archbishop Welby launched the Task Group,  which comprises about a dozen experts and practitioners in evangelism,  in March 2014 to “encourage and equip every church and Christian proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ”.

Click here to read Bishop Pauls’ speech in full.

Click here to read the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group interim report.
Maiden speech praises urban ministry
Revd Canon Kate Wharton, vicar of St George’s, Everton, and newly elected to General Synod in November 2015, gave her maiden speech in the debate on the Archbishops' Evangelism Task Group.

She spoke of how evangelism is "so close to my heart as the vicar of an inner city church, ranked 12,631 out of 12,660 parishes nationally in the most recent Church Urban Fund statistics, making it the 30th poorest parish in England."

She commended the report for its particular focus on urban ministry, and welcomed a planned day conference on this mission at Bishopsthorpe. She added: "There are very specific challenges when we come to share our faith in our most deprived urban communities, of course there are, but there are also very specific opportunities, and these must be taken. Some of our urban churches are seeing great growth and great fruit – there is life, and there is hope, but we need to ask some questions, learn some lessons, and look to the future.  I’m pleased that this report encourages us to do this, and helps us to begin to imagine what it might look like. I hope we’ll continue to share ideas and dream dreams, but most of all that we’ll act and do and speak and share of our faith."

Click here to read Canon Kate's speech in full.

News & Events

General Synod February 2016

Full details of this session are on the Church of England website.