Steward of the Gospel
Chris Chandler – Steward of the Gospel
In April 2016 I was appointed by Bishop Alan and Fr Martin to be Steward of the Gospel for the Cathedral Parish.
The Stewardship Project was established through the Diocesan Strategic Planning Group to bring in lay people to help to devise the development of a diocesan strategy for evangelisation for the next 20 years. A Steward of the Gospel has been appointed for each of the 90 odd parishes of the diocese.
I set out below a brief summary of my role in which I will need your prayers and support.
My first task is to examine my own parish to find out how it works and better understand what we all feel and think about our community and its place in the wider field of the diocese and, indeed, the world. I am in the process of doing this by working through a 50 page detailed questionnaire that has been provided by the diocese to be completed by the end of November 2016.
Secondly, along with the clergy and all of you, I have to be thinking about how we work with neighbouring parishes. This is of particular importance as it is estimated that in 10 years time instead of having about 100 active priests in the diocese we will have only 50 to serve what currently are 90 or so parishes. The implications of this are obvious and challenging.
Thirdly I am expected to become a source of creative inspiration for all of us to think about new initiatives for bringing the Gospel to the people “where they are” including online and unconventional ministries.
A fourth and critical task is to act as a voice of the laity from the parish to the diocese and from the diocese to the parish in working out, for example, how the roles of clergy, religious and laity have to change to make evangelisation more fruitful, how parish structures can be changed so that we can do more evangelising with fewer resources along with what kind of resources can be allocated to pastoral care and to new, non-traditional forms of evangelisation.
A final fifth task is to be the voice of the laity in implementing the agreed strategies that are developed in our community in terms of how we do it, who does what and where and how we communicate effectively and sensitively about the necessary changes.
During the autumn I will be arranging a short series of discussions to talk with you about some of this in more detail. In the meantime if you have any thoughts at all about how evangelisation can be improved just get in touch via the contact details below as well as by praying for inspiration and strength for us all to work through this together. If you see me around in the parish come up and talk to me. I shall be speaking at Masses from time to time and publishing updates. I will also be making a point of rotating my Sunday Mass attendance between the Masses including Warley.
You may contact the Steward of the Gospel at: