An article from Bishop John on the forthcoming second round of ‘Open Conversations’

At the start of the year, we held the first round of our ‘Open Conversations’. A fantastic 95% of parishes were represented at them and I’m hugely grateful to all those who took part. We are planning a further set of conversations in September and I hope they will be just as well attended.

Since those first conversations, the pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have been inconceivable six months ago. That makes these new conversations all the more important as we seek together to discern God’s will for the future in challenging times.

Conversation is an essential part of the Christian life. It’s no accident that the word ‘conversion’ is related to the word ‘conversation’. To converse is to be connected. The conversation continues as we continually turn towards the person with whom we’re speaking. The word conversion literally means ‘to keep turning’ to God in conversation.

God comes to us individually and corporately. As we turn to one another in conversation to share our insights, we turn to God for conversion. Only together can we discern his will for us.

Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom of God and in this diocese we are clear that we are called to be Kingdom People of love, compassion, justice and freedom. And to grow as Kingdom People, we need to have churches across the Diocese which are healthy and sustainable.

These conversations will enable us to explore what a healthy and sustainable church might look like in our own context – regardless of the size of our congregation or whether our church is urban, rural or something in between. This is a chance to reflect on what our future might hold as we seek to worship God, make new disciples, share hope and transform our communities.

The meetings will be held online using Zoom, but will follow a similar format to the previous open conversations, with opportunities for people to contribute in small groups. There will also be other opportunities to engage for those unable to use Zoom – you can find out more at www.cofe-worcester.org.uk/open-conversations.

Please do take part if you can. May we converse well and, as we do so, be continually converted!

Rt Revd Dr John Inge
The Bishop of Worcester

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