More than 150 people attanded the diocesan conference at St Mark's Haydock, exploring how to grow fresh expressions and parish based ministry alongside each other.
More than 150 people attended the Diocesan conference, to learn about building churches which blend together parish-based church with new fresh expressions of church.
People from all over the Diocese were joined by delegates from Chester and Manchester Diocese and visitors from as far away as Hanover in Germany and the USA.
The Revd Canon Mark Cockayne shared St Mark’s journey in developing as a blended mixed economy church which they call the Lake and River Church. The Lake is made up of many of the ministries you would expect to find in a lively and growing cell based parish church, whilst the river is made up of 14 different fresh expressions of church which are building Christian community in a variety of places, including the local primary school, old people’s homes and other parts of the community.
Canon Cockayne commented that if we do not engage in mission which is incarnational and “go to them” alongside the “come to us” style which is more often associated with parish ministry, we will fail to connect in a culturally relevant way with more than 60% of the parish. The response from the delegates was overwhelmingly positive with a number of participants saying how inspired they were after experiencing a fresh expression of church in practise and meeting the members of St Mark’s church who were making them happen.
One delegate commented “It was inspiring to see that ordinary church members could develop these new ways of being church which are reaching so many people who would never come to a normal church service.”