We spoke to the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Stephen Croft, ahead of the 3rd annual Cathedral Urban Lecture.
How do you feel about being asked to deliver the 2015 Liverpool Cathedral Urban Lecture?
I'm honoured to be asked and delighted to be coming
What are your impressions of the Diocese of Liverpool and how does its ministry compare to the Diocese of Sheffield?
I've learned a lot from Liverpool over the years and from Bishop Paul and Bishop Richard who have both been good colleagues in the past. There are similarities between our dioceses: Northern, urban, not too well off financially, each with a large city. Both our dioceses are trying to be creative and Missional and embrace change.
You’ve entitled your lecture ‘Developing Discipleship in the City’ - without giving too much away, what issues will you be tackling?
I believe the Church needs to be more confident in teaching the faith to children, young people and adults across all our communities including urban communities. I want to look at some models from the past to inform the present. I have as many questions as answers though.
Is the church doing enough to engage with these issues?
I wrote a paper on Developing Discipleship for General Synod in February and on the whole I've been encouraged by the debate and by the way in which the issue has come to the top of the agenda. We need to learn again how to enable disciples to live out their faith in the whole of their lives. One of the recommendations of the Synod debate is that we need to work on a revised catechism - a simple pattern for teaching and learning faith. I'll be sharing some of my initial thinking on how we might go about that task and why it's important.
What do you feel are the joys and the challenges of urban ministry?
I was a Vicar for nine years in an outer estate parish in Halifax, in an area we used to call an urban priority area. The greatest joy was undoubtedly meeting people as they are in times of great need. I would often do a whole mornings pastoral work just dropping my children off at school through encounters in the playground. The greatest challenge was learning to live and work in the midst of such great need and not being overwhelmed. Investing properly in developing discipleship in urban communities is the key.
Cathedral Urban Lecture
June 15th 2015
7.00pm refreshments, 7.30pm start
St James Mount
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To book your free place contact: Cathie Higgins
0151 705 2274