New Bishop outlines ‘urgent mission’ for Somerset

PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 June 2014

Bishop Peter Hancock

Bishop Peter Hancock

Archant

AN ‘URGENT mission’ to reconnect with an ‘increasingly secular’ society is the key aim of the district’s new Church head.

Incoming Bishop of Bath and Wells Peter Hancock was officially installed on Saturday, and outlined his ambitions during his first sermon.

Bishop Peter – who succeeds the retired Peter Price to become the 79th person to hold the historic Bath and Wells position – told his congregation how he hopes to grow his diocese in both numbers and community influence during his tenure.

The 58-year-old Isle of Wight native says he believes the church has the power to ‘transform lives’ and can have a positive and tangible impact in Somerset.

Bishop Peter said: “In the diocesan profile which lay behind my appointment were these words: ‘We very much hope for our next bishop to be a catalyst for growth; growth in numbers, growth in faith, growth in vocations (both lay and ordained), growth in love and service of the people who live and work in the county’.

“But it is clear growing the church, serving our communities and helping them to continue to flourish will not happen by accident.

“A strategic and intentional approach will be needed. It will require much listening, much thought and much prayer.

“The size and age profile of many of our congregation calls for fresh imagination and creativity in the way that we resource and grow the church.

“Partnerships at both county and local level will continue to be important and we must be ever more willing to become involved in working with others to speak out for rural communities, to support those in need, and to work for the 
common good of all.”

He continued: “The path before us as a Diocese is an exciting one, and our mission is an urgent one.

“It requires us to be imaginative and bold, as we seek to proclaim the gospel in ways that will be better understood and in ways which will transform the lives of individuals and communities.

“It means finding new ways to relate to a society which is becoming increasingly secular and discovering how we can help this generation of children and young people discover the love of Christ.”

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