Diocese of London celebrates new vision

The Bishop of London meeting members of the congregation after the service

The mood was jubilant at St Paul's Cathedral last night as the Bishop of London led a service celebrating the diocese's vision for the next seven years.

The service marked the official launch of Capital Vision 2020, which has the goal of creating or renewing a hundred worshipping communities and doubling the number of young people involved in local Christian community in London.

Bishop Richard Chartres quipped that he was constantly told by the media he must be very depressed because of dwindling church numbers. However, he said the opposite was true.

"How can we get the message through that the reality is quite different?" he said.

He quoted figures from a new report due to be published by the diocese stating that there are now 1,000 projects being run by Anglican churches across the capital, benefitting 200,000 people, and supported by 10,000 volunteers. According to the report, £17 million has been raised by churches to meet social needs in their areas.

Capital Vision 2020 is a three-pronged approach to developing and growing the church between now and 2020. Churches will be equipped to be more confident in speaking and living the Gospel, more compassionate in serving communities, and more creative in reaching new people and places with the Good News.

The vision includes commissioning 100,000 ambassadors representing Jesus Christ in daily life.

"For many people in this city, times are hard and in this context, the themes of Vision 2020 will resonate," the bishop said.

Capital Vision 2020 was launched on Thursday evening before a congregation of 2,000 people.

Christians who are active in serving their communities shared with the congregation what being an ambassador for Jesus looks like in their day to day life.

Ben Bell, of Urban Hope, said faith did not simply inspire what he did but was the beginning, middle and end of it. He spoke of his work with young people and said many of them were simply looking for people they could trust.

"One of the things the church can give people is a community," he said.

The service ended with a prayer written by Mark Greene:

Imagine the Cross is taller than the Shard.
Imagine a poet wiser than the Bard.
Imagine time unbounded by Big Ben's chime,
Imagine a river, untamed and pure,
Bearing freedom to every shore.

Imagine a monarch with the universe at their feet.
Imagine an ear that hears every heart beat.
Imagine a hand that is ever strong,
Imagine a judge who will right every wrong
And turn lament into joyous song.

Imagine not just this: for all this is written, sure and true,
Imagine rather what in our time such a One might do:
Come Lord Jesus, our hearts and city renew.
Come Lord Jesus, our hearts and city renew.

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