First can I share the news that I’ve written to Bishop Julian to inform him that I wish to resign as Area Dean of Burnley. After nine years I feel it’s time for one of my colleagues in the Deanery to have the opportunity to develop his ministry by taking on this role. Bishop Julian has kindly accepted my resignation and I will cease to be Area Dean on 4th August.
Of course, this doesn’t affect my position as Vicar of Padiham and Hapton – except that I should now have more time to give to the parish than has often been the case.
My mention of Bishop Julian above leads me to an excellent Diocesan initiative for this year. Every spring after Easter clergy and churchwardens are required to attend a Visitation service which is usually led by the Archdeacon. However, this year Bishop Julian led the service himself. Along with dozens of other Vision Champions James Addison (St Leonard’s) and Lynne Trudgill (St Margaret’s) were recommissioned at the service and then the Bishop spoke about his Bible Challenge. Here’s an explanation of the initiative in the Bishop’s own words:
“At the heart of Vision 2026 lies the call for Christians to be first and foremost disciples of Jesus Christ.
“That entails, in part, a deeper commitment than attendance at services of public worship, a more generous giving of time, talents and money in promoting the Gospel and growing God’s Kingdom, and a better knowledge of the Scriptures; God’s revelation of who He is, what He has done and what He requires.
“Starting in 2019, as part of our stated aim to have an ongoing ‘focus on discipleship’ … seeking to create ‘whole-life disciples’, living out their faith every day, I am introducing the ‘Bishop’s Bible Challenge’, encouraging us to learn key verses of Scripture, to create a kind of ‘internal treasure store’ of the promises and command of God.
“At the Primary Visitations of Churchwardens in May, the Bishop’s Bible Challenge was given a further impetus when I introduced a new booklet, suitable for all ages, entitled ‘Knowing The Scriptures Better’.
“Commended by me in the introduction and written by Ruth Hassall, our Director of Discipleship, ‘Knowing The Scriptures Better’ is a focussed six week study booklet allowing you to consider the Bible more deeply, with memory verses to learn, and space for your notes as you pray and talk to God.”
I know that a good number of church members already read their Bibles daily and to help them in this many take the excellent Explore Bible Notes through James Addison.
But if you’re yet to make regular Bible reading part of your discipleship – or maybe you’ve let it slip – why not accept the Bishop’s Bible Challenge? Free copies of the booklet are available at both churches or just ask me or Kit or James or Lynne for a copy.
Yours in Christ