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Bishop's Letter - September 2014
I write to you after a tiring but great Synod.
There were many highlights including the Synod Eucharist and Reverend Ellie Sanderson's leadership as Synod Chaplain each day. Over Synod we reminded ourselves of our three Diocesan priorities for this year: Inequality particularly child poverty, Biculturalism and Discipleship.
We have done some great work on these this year together. It was wonderful to see motions passed reflecting a deeper and practical commitment to reducing child poverty in particular, and strengthening our biculturalism.
However I noticed that discipleship had started to become a "catch-all" word for everything. The worry of this is if discipleship means everything it actually means nothing. So I thought it would be good to remind us all of Synod 2013 and the particular way we have articulated our priority of discipleship.
Early in 2013 I gathered a diverse group of people together to talk about what they had seen as the key ingredients for good discipleship to happen. This was based on years of collective experience and reflecting on where it has been proven. As we identified some key "DNA" of good discipleship, we then recognised that these were also the same DNA as we read about in the Gospels in relation to Jesus and his disciples.
At Synod 2013 we placed this DNA into a crossword. Have a go at trying to discover what works in discipleship:
We are encouraging each other to take these discipleship principles and to apply them in our corporate and individual life. In particular, we ask ourselves to consider investing in discipleship in one of three different ways:
1. We are encouraging our existing leadership and governance groups to role model being discipleship communities, i.e., vestries, youth leadership teams, etc.
2. We are championing three proven models that facilitate good discipleship and we are encouraging people to consider getting involved in:
a. EFM (email@example.com)
b. Cursillo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
c. 3DM (email@example.com)
3. We are encouraging people to start exploring how this discipleship DNA can be applied in new and different ways – so have a go, be creative, and let us know what works.
We always remember that this is not a sprint but a marathon. Good discipleship and formation is a long term journey.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Hebrews 12:1)
Bishop of Wellington
Answers to Crossword:
Across: 3 Community, 4 Mission, 5 Intentional, 8 Liminal, 9 Training
Down: 1 Spirit Lead, 2 Worship, 4 Mentoring, 6 Long Term, 7 Holistic, 10 Grace