This coming weekend, I am sending a Pastoral Letter to be read in all the churches and chapels of the Diocese. It’s called “The Future of the Diocese.” It is about the draft of the new diocesan Mission Strategy document, called You will be My Witnesses. I am inviting everyone to download a copy from the diocesan website here, to read it and to reflect on its contents, and then to discuss it with your friends and with others in your parish and school communities. Over these next weeks, I’ve asked all our clergy to lead a consultation, so that we can finalise the plan. I would very much like to hear what you think and how you can be involved. You will be my Witnesses is the product of several years of reflection, but especially from the various consultations and discussions with clergy and with the laity of the last three years. It is our 10-year mission plan. You can email the planning team on a special email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Over the next weeks, I have asked our clergy to discuss widely the plan, especially with groups such as Parish Councils, Finance Committees and Evangelisation Strategy Teams and, in whatever way might be best locally, with the wider parish community. The planning team has also produced for distribution a shorter version of the Mission Plan in printed from, a leaflet that can be collected from the back of church. There is a feedback proforma too: this can be downloaded here. The proforma is designed to guide a discussion through the main document so that the feedback can be easily organised. The key message of You will be My Witnesses – as of the Pastoral Letter – is the need for personal conversion and holiness of life. Feedbacks must be submitted by the cut-off date of 15th December. The aim is that in the New Year, the (new) Pastoral Areas can begin developing local plans.
Let us pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that the many discussions that will take place over the next months will be fruitful in guiding us along the way ahead and helping us Bring People closer to Jesus Christ through His Church.