Bishop of Manchester to launch the Antioch Network
26 November 2018 IN: Bishop
The Bishop of Manchester is launching the first diocese-wide Bishop’s Mission Order on 29 November, 7.30pm at St Bride’s Church in Old Trafford. The Order will establish the Antioch Network in Manchester, which will create a network of new, small worshipping communities, with the aim of bringing more young people to faith, particularly in deprived and ethnically diverse areas.
The project will build on proven models of creating new worshipping communities in parts of the diocese over the last few years. In some exciting developments, small churches have been created where people have come to faith and been baptised, lives have been changed, and the local community has been blessed.
The Antioch Network aims to create 16 small churches (people not buildings) over six years in the poorest areas and those that currently have the lowest church attendance. The churches will typically be on estates and in communities of deprivation, some ethnically diverse and others mainly White British.
The Antioch Network will be headed by The Revd John Brett, who served as a curate at Trinity Community Church, Rusholme, and The Revd Ben Woodfield, currently pioneer curate at St Paul’s, Astley Bridge. Each has experience of creating new small church communities and will share their experience by training and mentoring others. John and Ben will be licensed as Ministers in the Antioch Network by the Bishop of Manchester on 29 November. Everyone is welcome to attend the licensing service.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Dr David Walker, said: “This is a very welcome venture, which will help us to live out the love of Jesus Christ in places and communities that the Church has historically struggled to reach”.
The Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd Mark Ashcroft, who is overseeing the setup of the Antioch Network, said:
“I am delighted that the very first Bishop’s Mission Order in the diocese is focused on reaching the very poorest communities with the Good News of Jesus. It will sit alongside and complement the wonderful work going on in our parishes. I believe we are seeing a move of God’s Spirit that will revitalise our Church and communities.”
Manchester is the first diocese to create a Bishop’s Mission Order (BMO) that encompasses the whole diocese. A BMO allows a new mission initiative to be set up across the boundaries of a parish, once the appropriate protocols are followed. This BMO enables these church plants to be linked together as a Network, supporting and encouraging both one another and parish churches who wish to plant congregations of their own in similar contexts.
The Church Commissioners are investing £1 million from the Strategic Development Fund to support this work.