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Friday, 1 February 2013

Gibraltar Synod learns some lessons about mission

Archdeacon David Sutch (left), Bp Bill Godfrey (centre)
The Archdeaconry of Gibraltar, meeting in La Zenia near Torrevieja Spain from 29 January to 1 February, welcomed special guests, the Rt Revd Bill Godfrey and his wife Judith. Bishop Bill is the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Peru. The Archdeaconry has had a special link with his diocese for the past several years, supporting with prayer, resources and even through a partnership-work visit in 2010.
Bishop Bill led the daily bible studies, using the technique of group lectio divina which he promotes among his own clergy. We also learned of the growth and development of the diocese which had 4 clergy when Bishop Bill took over and which now has 46! It was a rich time of learning from the life of this diocese of the poor, as Bishop Bill describes it. We reflected on the ways the faithful of the Peruvian church are given very simple, yet at the same time profound, teaching on the nature of Christian discipleship, on what is required of parishes and missions and even what are the core responsibilities of the priests. There was much food for thought, and the clergy and people of our Archdeaconry of Gibraltar are very much enriched by this partnership.

As a constant reminder of this link the colourful altar frontal from Peru was in place for all the services of the synod.
Although they are not vastly different from what we expect our clergy to be about in the Church of England, Bishop Bill's summary of his requirements of his Peruvian priests is worth noting. In his diocese, the parish priests are responsible for 8 major things:
1. The worship and prayer life of the Church
2. For building up the community
3, Christian education in all forms
4. Pastoral care of the faithful
5. Oversight of the financial life of the church: tithing, stewardship, offerings, gifts, quotas etc
6. Oversight of parish administration: organisation of committees, buildings, registers
7. Raising up leadership for the work and mission of the Church
8. Promoting the mission and evangelism of the Church

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