The Church of England in our region is shaping a new vision and set of priorities for the coming years. We want to understand what we do well, what we can change for the better and create a positive way forward together.
This year-long process is called Transforming Church. Together.
We began with conversations – with communities, congregations, clergy, church leaders, and staff. Between February and April 2021 we talked with and listened to lots of different people, both within and outside the church.
We listened carefully to understand what each other think and feel about God and the Church of England, but also about our communities, society and the world.
The Diocese of Bristol covers Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Wiltshire and Swindon. We invited everyone in our region to join the conversation about our future direction.
Over two months, we engaged with people in a variety of ways– such as through virtual meetings and workshops, an online questionnaire, social media, churches and working groups.
Transforming Church. Together is for everyone in the Diocese of Bristol, both within and outside the church.
We aim to be relentlessly inclusive in our approach and we are committed to listening to voices that we don’t often hear, opinions that we find difficult and those that challenge the status quo. We want to engage with and understand the perspectives of people inside the church, those who relate to it and those who may never have given it a thought.
This work begins in a complex world that is experiencing seismic changes. Covid-19, Brexit, racism, growing inequalities, the climate crisis, ongoing digital revolution, approaching recession and debates over human identity are disrupting and changing society and communities.
At the same time, we know that numbers of regular worshippers are declining and the role of the Church of England in wider society is contested more now than it has been in recent history.
We know we need to do things differently in the future. We want to understand what we do well, what we can change for the better and create a positive way forward together.
All the responses have been gathered, read, analysed and considered. They have now used to discern a new vision and set of priorities for the diocese.
Your response have been anonymised and remain confidential, and will be held securely for a few months as we analyse what people have told us and use that to shape our future plans.
Transforming Church. Together is a year-long review during 2021. Between February and April 2021 we listened to, talked to and engaged with people across the diocese. All the responses were analysed, and the themes that emerged were discussed, explored, and prayed about. From this we developed the Vision, Purpose and Values, and what they mean for us.
The working groups have provided the information on the activities and costs we need to shape and resource the mission of the diocese. A draft strategy was presented to Diocesan Synod on 19 March 2022.
Then we will submit an outline submission for Church of England Strategic Development funding. If everything goes to plan, work will develop the fine detail of the strategy for a detailed submission later in the year, and synod sign-off of the 2023 budget in the Autumn. We anticipate that by January 2023 we will be working with and inspired by our new vision, purpose, and outcomes.
The Diocese of Bristol has, since 2016, been working to the vision of Creating Connections – with God, each other and our communities – and the priorities of making disciples, growing leaders and engaging younger generations.
Rt Revd Vivienne Faull began her ministry as Bishop of Bristol in October 2018. She has spent time listening to and engaging with the current context of the diocese to prepare for developing a refreshed vision and strategy. Over the last two years, the Bishop and diocese have responded with conviction to this changing context, making major commitments about issues such as the environment and racial justice.
As this strategic plan period, 2016–2020, ended, the Bishop’s Council recognised the need to renew its vision and strategy for mission and ministry to enable a spirit-led, transformed, sustainable and flourishing future for the diocese.