The first is the need for the Church to grow in numbers, and in spiritual depth. I am in the middle of planning, with my colleagues, a long-term program of evangelization which will involve three or four missions a year across the diocese, covering the entire diocese every five years. In each of those, both bishops will live in the area of work and two years will have been spent in preparation. We are trying to avoid an “up with the rocket down with the stick” approach, and going rather for a steady-state push that does not exhaust people but leads to a cultural change that says it is normal for us to share our faith. So that would be one thing.
Secondly, for that to happen in this area it has got to be clear that the Church is working effectively with those on the edge. The biggest issues we face at the moment are around loan sharking and its consequent evils, and very high youth unemployment. It would be really wonderful to see headlines about the churches’ contribution to facing these social issues. In terms of the local economy we are quite a major employer, and because of our huge number of extremely old buildings (one of our churches has been in continual use since A.D. 640 and many since the 10th or 11th century) we are able to generate significant employment when we can find the funds to do work on our churches.
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© 2013 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.
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