The Archbishop of Wales today (WED) called on church members to challenge the status quo and support new initiatives aimed at growth.
In his Presidential Address to the Church in Wales’ Governing Body, the Archbishop, John Davies, said the church must not be blind or deaf to either its challenges or its opportunities,
He reminded members that the prophets and Christ himself faced fierce opposition when they challenged existing structures.
The Archbishop said, “Those who challenge the status quo, calling on well-established institutions to take a fresh look at the way in which they operate, and who question whether they might have lost something of the focus on their original calling, risk being judged and caricatured in the same way.”
However, it was essential that those voices were listened to in order to “recover and rehabilitate authentic, Christ-like and Christ-centred ministry”, he said.
“Once again I encourage our Province, to recognise our challenges, and affirm those individuals and groups who, through asking uncomfortable questions and making uncomfortable observations, demand of us, that we pay attention (that is, that we listen, not just hear) – and that we plan, that we pray and that we act to continue to rehabilitate our vision for our life as a church…..We dare not risk being either blind or deaf to either the reality of what we face, or to the gifts and opportunities which we still have to address that reality.”
The Archbishop pointed to opportunities the Church had for reaching out to people when they come to churches for life events, such baptisms, weddings, funerals and local and national events. He also spoke of exciting new paths of ministry opening up, including for lay people and teams. He encouraged those in charge of church finances not just to focus on investment but to manage and budget resources on new ways to proclaim the Gospel.
There was a growing need to “rehabilitate” the Church’s understanding of its purpose, Archbishop John said. “It requires eyes that are joyfully wide-open to constantly recognise and rejoice in the resources and gifts we have, and the many opportunities which still come our way, which are key openings to faithful and imaginative evangelism.”
Archbishop John concluded, “Prize what is good in our past in our inheritance of faith and life,” he said. “And, at the same time, encourage, welcome and affirm new thoughts, new steps, rejoice in our advantages, seize our opportunities, and take calculated risks.”