'What does evangelisation mean in a Catholic context? What does it involve? Who's doing it and how effective actually is it?' are just some of the questions answered in a new book which will be launched next week.
Changing Evangelisation: Themes and Stories from Catholics in Local Mission, provides insights into the way mission and outreach are understood by what is fast becoming the UK's largest Christian denomination.
The book's editor, Fr Philip Knights said: "Catholicism is experiencing growth both in the UK and in many parts of the world at present. This book attempts to provide an overview of the way Catholics understand their missionary identity. I'm sure that many will find it surprising and challenging."
Part One of the book provides an overview and unpacks particular aspects, such as what it means to be an 'Evangelical Catholic', the part that social justice work plays in evangelisation and the role of Charismatic Renewal in contemporary Catholicism. Part Two provides intriguing stories of renewal and growth and features: www.life4seekers.co.uk; an innovative and fast expanding website for spiritual seekers, St Patrick's School of Evangelisation; a new school of mission based in the red light area of Soho and Catholic Evangelisation Services (CaFE); this is a charity which makes DVD resources to help Catholics confidently know and share their faith.
Mgr Keith Barltrop is Director of the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE), which is an agency of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and has supported the book's creation (see: www.caseresources.org.uk). He said: "Many people have an image of Catholicism which is stagnant and uncreative. What this book reveals is a contemporary understanding, providing examples too, of what the late Pope, John Paul II, called the 'new evangelisation'; this is a missionary activity which is new in ardour, means and expression. It invites all to nurture a mentality and mission spirituality which can be of service to us all, irrespective of our denominations."
The book is being published by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) and will be launched next Tuesday.
It is the fourth publication in a 'Changing' series; the other titles include: Changing Churches, Changing Mission and Changing Communities. The series was inspired by the Building Bridges of Hope Project (see below). Copies are available from Methodist Publishing House at www.mph.org.uk or telephone 01733325002.
Janice Price, Executive Secretary of the Global Mission Network of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland said: "These pages tell stories of remarkable innovation and a clear and persistent movement of God's grace. Reading as a member of one of the Churches of the Reformation, it is clear how much we have to learn from such a picture. I warmly commend it to all who seek to take their part in God's mission in God's world."