Church ‘planting’ expert to hold seminar in Lancaster

Bishop Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster.
Bishop Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster.

A nationally-renowned expert in ‘church planting’ is coming to Lancaster next week.

He will impart his knowledge, as the Diocese of Blackburn continues forward with ‘Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’. Bishop Ric Thorpe was the Bishop of London’s Adviser for Church Planting from 2012 to 2015.

Bishop Ric Thorpe.

Bishop Ric Thorpe.

He will be at St Thomas’ Church in Lancaster for a seminar on March 21 from 10.45am to 3pm, which is open to people from all parishes in Lancashire.

Church planting is the process that results in a new (local) Christian church being established.

It’s different from church development, where a new service, new worship centre or ‘fresh expression’ is created that is integrated into an already established congregation.

The church is still growing in London and Bishop Ric is helping to pursue their Capital Vision of 100 new worshipping communities.

Meanwhile the Diocese of Blackburn is now pursuing its own strategy – Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.

The vision will be the focus for everything the diocese does for the next decade. One of its key aims is a pledge to plant 50 new congregations between now and 2026.

Bishop Ric said: “I was delighted to receive the invitation to Lancashire to deliver this seminar on a subject close to my heart.

“The Church of England as a whole is getting to grips with some challenging statistics about current church attendance and will be adjusting its approach in the coming years.

“Church planting is an important part of the work to turn the tide and Blackburn Diocese is at the forefront with its new Vision 2026.

“I am looking forward to coming and will be praying that God will inspire all those who attend.”

The Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, is responsible for the area of Vision 2026 that will take forward the pledge for 50 new congregations in Lancashire by 2026.

Bishop Geoff invited Bishop Ric to the county and is delighted he was able to accept.

He said: “The coming decade will, with God’s help, be one of the most exciting periods in the history of the Diocese of Blackburn, which will celebrate its centenary in 2026.

“With Vision 2026 to spur us on, we hope our centenary year will be a year-long opportunity to give thanks to God for the many blessings we are praying for in the coming years, including at least 50 new congregations.

“I am pleased Bishop Ric is able to be here on March 21 to share his wisdom with us. As well as people from parishes across the diocese, the entire Bishop’s Leadership Team will also be attending the seminar to hear first-hand about the ways in which a church planting strategy can be effectively implemented.”

The event is free but everyone attending has to register. Contact Judith Henderson, Bishop Geoff’s secretary, at bishoplancaster@gmail.com to register or telephone 01524 799900.