From the Diocesan Synod September 2017
God for All has brought together the vision of four denominations from across Cumbria with the aim that: “by 2020 every person in Cumbria of all ages and backgrounds will have had an opportunity to discover more of God and God’s purpose for their lives” and “so that they will discover more of Jesus and the Good News and become followers of Jesus within a Christian community”.
Cumbrian churches are working in radical and ambitious new ways. Together they are strengthening what is being done in mission and outreach so that all people can discover the reality of God. They are sharing ministry and community service and church life together. And they are making sure that church buildings are fit to serve both God and their local communities while also helping to establish new and fresh varieties of church life that connect with people who find conventional church difficult. One big feature of God for All is the greater involvement of ordinary Christians in the mission, ministry and leadership of churches, along with ordained clergy.
Two years into the implementation of God for All the Strategy Group have stood back to take stock of where they are up to and where they are going. They have examined all aspects of the strategy, and how it is going and the risks and issues that have come up. Different people from the county and elsewhere have helped with this. The Report covers a lot of ground.
Some key findings are:
God for All and its ecumenical implementation have been fully-endorsed.
By the end of 2017 we predict that 40% of the mission communities, which are at the heart of making the vision a reality, will be in operation – but it’s clear that we need to provide help so they can make the change.
Substantial progress has been made in setting up the background support for the vision, including the Reach Team and Cumbria Christian Learning.
Communication has been a problem – God for All is far-reaching and we need extra effort to explain and excite people’s imaginations, particularly in face-to-face communication.
There has been substantial growth in the number of young people engaging with network youth church (now 900 up from 220) and that looks set to continue with an expected 50% increase during 2017.
We are seeing substantial growth in imaginative fresh expressions of church and a growing number of people excited by what is happening and who want be fully involved. This leads to a growing need to equip people for pioneering mission and ministry.
Over 65% of churches are already engaged with the Moving Mountains ecumenical mission to Cumbria in March 2018.
As momentum builds and God for All develops a better structure is going to be established to support the steering group that monitors and co-ordinate all the work.
God for All is an amazing project designed to help all people across Cumbria discover and respond to God, and to strengthen the church in its work, witness and worship. Cumbria is England’s first ecumenical county – churches working closely together – and just two years into God for All we have discovered lessons and insights into the story so far, and see that God has prepared for us an exciting way ahead.