In his Address to the November 2017 Chelmsford Diocesan Synod Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, reviewed the progress made during a year of discipleship in the diocese, noting more vocations to ordained and lay ministries, good news about interim ministry and church planting, and growth in mission and ministry units.
Many churches were growing in numbers and confidence, while others needed encouragement and resources.
Bishop Stephen looked forward to refining priorities, core vocation and business in the coming year for a new missionary situation.
Becoming a missionary church "requires a deep rootedness in the traditions that have shaped us: a resolute faithfulness to scripture, a love of prayer, and the balm and nourishment of the sacraments," said the Bishop.
"We need to be taken back to a new intimacy with God and a more determined dependence upon God; and we need to take greater responsibility for our stewardship of the church and its participation in the mission of God."
Bishop Stephen remembered all the faithful clery who had died in 2017.
With Advent on the horizon, he encouraged preachers and teachers to speak of death, judgement, heaven, hell, and eternal life:
“Let us not be abashed to talk about the reality of sin and its consequences in our lives, and of the joy and release of forgiveness. Let us not be embarrassed to talk about death.
"And especially in this year when we remember the 500th anniversary of the Reformation let us boldly and cheerfully proclaim that all are justified, all are acquitted, because of what God has done in Jesus Christ, and therefore, for those who know Christ, there is no fear of judgement but the hope of everlasting life.”
Bishop Stephen was addressing the Chelmsford Diocesan Synod on 18 November 2017 at St Stephen's Church, Colchester.
The Minutes of the Chelmsford Diocesan Synod will be published on www.chelmsford.anglican.org/committees/diocesan-synod