The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was the keynote speaker at a national event in Lincoln focusing on the long-term development of fresh expressions of church. Dr Williams was joined by Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Britain.
Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church was also present to hear Graham Cray formally welcoming the United Reformed Church to the Fresh Expressions partnership.
The event - hosted by Fresh Expressions at the Epic Centre, Lincolnshire Showground - saw Rowan Williams and Martyn Atkins exploring growth to spiritual maturity and the long-term future of the fresh expressions movement. They were joined by John Saxbee, Stephen Lindridge and Pete Atkins looking at local shared ecumenical support and ownership and introducing Fresh Expressions Area Strategy Teams (FEASTs) and Elaine Lindridge and Chris Russell who gave the practitioners' view (see below).
Bishop Graham Cray, Archbishops' Missioner and leader of the Fresh Expressions team, said that Lincoln was a particularly appropriate venue because of the successful work being done across the county in establishing pioneering forms of church.
"Some people have said fresh expressions of church are just the latest fad," he added, "but the Lincoln experience proves otherwise. There are good signs of church growth there, and it was the first area of the UK to develop a county-wide ecumenical FEAST. The rest of us have much to learn from the work in Lincolnshire."
Watch the practitioners' view
Elaine Lindridge, Mind the Gap, Gateshead
Chris Russell, St Laurence, Reading
What a great day that was on Friday. It was a well planned, a nicely balanced day with time enough to network as well as to listen and meeting with so many who are optimistic about the future of the church whilst struggling with the structures. Such hope is not a common theme amongst clergy and church people at the moment.
Sarah Cawdell, Hereford
Great day, enjoyed everything about it.
Andrew Hall, via Facebook
There was a fantastic buzz and energy, and it was such a powerful spirit-filled day. I left challenged and encouraged in equal measure. THANK YOU!!
Sue Eizzard, via Facebook
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