In his first video of 2014, the Bishop of Lichfield encourages all Christians to play to their strengths and be involved in the worshipping life of their church.
Reflecting on many changes over the last forty years in the way clergy and lay people work together in offering a lively Christian presence in every community, he highlights the variety of ways that people are called to minister in churches: as well as full-time clergy he commends the work of non-stipendiary (unpaid/volunteer) priests: "Non-stipendiary clergy have grown in large numbers people who remain in secular employment have the calling to serve in their local churches as priests. And we have recruited some fabulous priests through this route who remain thoroughly grounded in normal life" he says.
Diocesan Director of Ordinands, Revd Newsome adds "We want people who are passionate for the gospel, live Christ-centred lives, are people of prayer and leaders of mission in their communities."
Bishop Jonathan looks forward to the 20th anniversary of the first women priests later this year before celebrating the great gifts and talents that many bring to the worshipping life of churches without being priests, introducing Dr Lindsey Hall, Director of Lay Development who says:
"As disciples were all participating in ministry and for lots of people that is in their workplace or their own community or amongst their family and friends. But some people also have a specific call to Lay Ministry on behalf of the church."
Looking back on the wonderful Practising Generosity day in June 2013, Bishop Jonathan together with Lichfield Diocese' CEO, Mrs Julie Jones thank parishioners for their persistence in giving financially to sustain the local church directly and through the mutual financial and practical support between parishes and the diocese.
Below are links to further resources from the diocese:
How can you respond to Bishop Jonathan's message? Apart from talking to leaders in the parish church, you might like to get in touch via Facebook or Twitter after checking out some of the following resources:
Explore your role in ministry:
Vocations to Ordained Ministry.
Facebook group for Under-25's thinking about a vocation in the church.
The 30-60-30 Challenge might help you (if you are age 15-30) think through how you and your church fit into your locality
Lay Reader and Lay Ministry Training.
Explore fresh ways of worshipping:
Bishop Jonathan's invitation to parishioners to get involved in many ways and styles of worship.
Messy Church has been phenomenally successful in engaging young families in Christian worship.
One of our diocese' Facebook Groups is specifically for those interested in Fresh Expressions of church.
More on Leading Worship.
More on Finance & Parish Share:
The full text of Bishop Jonathan's Epiphany video can be downloaded.