The Diocese of Portsmouth is publishing a pastoral strategy document today entitled Growing Together in Christ. The document is a development and expansion of 'A Church for the 21st Century', Bishop Crispian's vision for the future of the Diocese, written in 1997. Growing Together in Christ sets out the underlying principles of communion and mission, with examples of how it is already being successfully applied in the diocese. The Bishop extols these small beginnings and encourages the diocese to take on board a much larger and exciting challenge. The document will form the core of a diocese-wide process of consultation and discernment during autumn 2004 and spring 2005, culminating in a diocesan Assembly in July next year which will launch the new pastoral strategy. The Principles of Communion and Mission outlined are: (a) All are called to holiness (b) All are drawn together in communion through Christian initiation (c) All are called to mission through Christian initiation (d) The Eucharist defines the Church e) Everyone is gifted by the Holy Spirit. (f) We are called to be a community of disciples. (g) We need a shared vision. The document encapsulates how these principles are already being used in parts of the diocese and encourages the whole Church to grasp the vision, take it to heart and to act! 'Growing Together in Christ' has a six-fold structure: Introduction; The Vision; From Communion to Mission; Principles of Communion and Mission; Putting Principles into Practice and The Way Forward. Bishop Crispian said: "I am totally committed to the implementation of the vision; it fires me and I invite the Diocese in all its people - lay and ordained - to join with me in setting out into the deep waters of renewal and change. All this is to be undertaken "under the guidance of the Gospel" or "Per Ducatum Evangelii" as the motto on my coat of arms puts it'." (The full text is published on the next story below). Source: Diocese of Portsmouth
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