Bishop Steven explains the Towards a Common Vision process:
Our world faces many challenges and as such, the world and our nation need us to be the best Church we can be in such a time as this.
During my deanery visits I have found an appetite for a fresh vision and strategy across the diocese and a desire to work together to create that vision in the coming months. As our communities change we must decide where our new priorities lie.
I’ve met over 2000 people who have shared their thoughts with me, and I have spoken of my hope that we can become a more Christ-like Church. This has resonated very deeply with people. The Beatitudes in Matthew’s gospel speak to us very clearly about what it means to be a Christ-like Church: we are called to be contemplative, compassionate and courageous in all we attempt together.
In May 120 people from across the diocese came together for a conference: Towards a Common Vision where we started the process of developing ideas about what kind of church we are called to be and what we are called to do together.
At the conference, I gave three reflections based on the story of the raising of Lazarus on what it means to be a contemplative, compassionate and courageous church. You can listen to these by clicking on the relevant box below.
We did some initial work on six possible strategic priority areas, and there are resources on these webpages to help you become part of the conversation about our areas of focus for the next seven years.
Please continue to pray with me that we continue to become more contemplative, compassionate and courageous and that we put Christ at the heart of everything we do as we move forward together.
What kind of Church are we called to be?
A Christ-like Church
What are the marks of a Christ-like Church?
To be the Church of the Beatitudes
What are we called to do together?
We have also begun work on six focus areas for the diocese, they are not a description of everything the Church does. They are areas where we want to listen to what is happening already, and to explore whether they might help us to become a more Christ-like Church.
Exploring the Beatitudes is a three session course for small groups in the Diocese of Oxford
Bishop Steven has written a 3-part course on the Beatitudes, available to order now for just £2.50, including p&p. The study guide is suitable for small groups and consists of a 32-page booklet and accompanying audio and video materials (scroll down this page for links).
An accessible audio version of the booklet is available for use too – please contact us for details.
Bishop Steven said: ‘I’m hoping churches will use this specially written resource to help them study and understand the Beatitudes. For me the Beatitudes have eight beautiful qualities, but eight is quite a lot to remember so I’ve been keen to capture what they mean in three words: contemplative, compassionate and courageous. ‘I want people to be asking what do these words teach us and tell us about Jesus, what do they tell us about being human in the 21st century and what do they tell us about what kind of Church we’re called to be.’
Notes for Group Leaders
Exploring the Beatitudes can be used by established groups or by a group formed especially to engage with the material together. If you are working with either kind of small group, the Beatitudes study guidelines for small groups may be useful.
Each of the links below allow the group leader to download the audio and video files for offline use.
For the audio reflections, click […more] to view the download menu. For the films, the download button below the playback bar allows you to download the video in different formats.