The See of Ebbsfleet in the Derby diocese, as no doubt in most places, has been responding energetically to the challenges thrown up by Covid and the prospect of widespread parish reorganization.
We are in close dialogue with the Diocese as we try to see a way forward which will deliver growth and self-confidence for our Society parishes. We know that the inherited patterns of ministry are being reimagined, but we are resolute in defending the apostolic ministry as the Church of England first received it through St Augustine’s mission in 597. For us Catholics in the Anglican tradition, the certainty of the efficacy of our sacraments comes through our confidence in the unbroken apostolic succession.
And in this confidence we are reaching out afresh into our communities. Our Society parishes were among the first to reopen our church doors after the lockdown. In Staveley, we are already resuming the imaginative work in local schools, bringing Mass to the pupils, and beginning once more the First Holy Communion project. St Anne’s in Derby has tripled its congregation, and started a choir and a team of servers. The parish of St Bartholomew and St Luke in the same city have begun a vacancy after the retirement of their parish priest, but already exciting plans for mission are underway, again building on our links with the school. The same sense of purpose could be evidenced from our other parishes in Long Eaton, Ilkeston and Calow.
We do not underestimate the scale of the task ahead of us. But we feel certain that faithfulness in our ministries will call forth rich blessings from Our Lord.
Fr Stephen Jones