To maximise the potential for our churches to grow across Greater Manchester, the diocese is keen to encourage creative thinking about Fresh Expressions of church.
Fresh Expressions is an exciting initiative of the Anglican Church, Methodist Church and United Reformed Church. It encourages the planting of new Christian churches and congregations. However, these are different in ethos and style from the church which planted them; because they are designed to reach a different group of people than those already attending the original church.
There is no single model to copy but a wide variety of approaches for a wide variety of contexts and constituencies. The emphasis is on planting something which is appropriate to its context, rather than cloning something which works elsewhere.
Fresh Expressions of church work alongside the parish church. They are not in competition with it, but complementary. The Archbishop of Canterbury has called this as a ‘mixed economy’ of church as it speaks about the diversity of different models of church.
In Greater Manchester we have a number of examples of Fresh Expressions of Church, such as Sanctus1 and Sports Village Church. Both are examples of churches that have been established to reach a different people group.
See also www.freshexpressions.org.uk
The Fresh Expressions Area Strategy Team (FEAST), chaired by the Bishop of Bolton, is made up of representatives from the Anglican, Methodist and United Reformed Churches. As well as a being a forum to shares ideas and good practice, this group also has four particular functions:
To work in partnership with the national Fresh Expressions Team to collate and, when appropriate, develop further training material to use in supporting the development of Fresh Expressions across Greater Manchester and Rossendale.
To work together with all involved in training roles locally, regionally and nationally to deliver training in ways that are collaborative, coordinated and strategic.
To create structure of inclusion which allows Fresh Expressions to contribute fully to the life of the three partner denominations.
To advise the partner denominations on the development of Fresh Expressions.
To create networks of support and encouragement for those involved in Fresh Expressions of Church in Greater Manchester and Rossendale.
To promote Fresh Expressions within the partner denominations.