25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 20th Sept., 2015

A Call to Evangelisation

On 11th July representatives from every Deanery in England and Wales were invited to a conference in Birmingham on Evangelisation, called “Proclam15”. Many Bishops and clergy were also there and the main keynote speaker was Cardinal Vincent Nichols. I was privileged to attend on behalf of the Barnet Deanery.

 

The purpose of the conference was to consider how well the Church is proclaiming the Gospel in today’s world, and more specifically; to review and renew the call of every parish to be “a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach” (Evangelii Gaudium 28)

 

Other keynote speakers included Rev. Nicky Gumbel (the pioneer of Alpha), Michelle Moran (Charismatic Renewal Service) and Archbishop Longley. There were 11 workshops covering a range of themes and all the speeches, workshop addresses and summary of discussions will be available on line this week.

 

The content of the day was huge and every delegate heard different things and was moved in different ways. I personally found the day very motivating and spiritually uplifting but it was also challenging and left me with many questions about how parishes should respond. The term “Evangelisation” was clearly explained as “living, celebrating and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ”. I was particularly struck by the idea that Evangelisation was not just the task of another parish group but a MINDSET that should permeate the entire life of the parish at every level and in every activity. The importance of prayer at the heart of our Evangelising activity was stressed over and over again and I was especially challenged by Bishop Alan Williams with his assertion that “We cannot grow in prayer unless we talk about it and learn from each other”. Pope Francis’ document “Evangelii Gaudium” was enthusiastically recommended to us as an inspirational guide by Nicky Gumbel in his words: “Evangelii Gaudium is like the Bible – the more you read it the more you get out of it!”

 

 

Today, Home Mission Sunday, has been chosen as the day to officially launch the initiative of Proclaim15. Our parish exhibition in the hall this weekend is showcasing all the work we are currently doing with an invitation for everyone to get involved. We have made a good start in our response to Proclaim15 with our open meetings earlier this year at which we identified Prayer, Welcoming and Supporting the House-bound as our initial priorities. Do visit the exhibition and see how you can contribute to our “missionary outreach”

 

Chris Rosser