Nothing is impossible for 'confident, compassionate, creative' church
The Bishop of London has called for "strong" churches to steer the people through frightening and uncertain times.
In an upbeat Easter message, Dr Richard Chartres said the church in London was well on its way to building a church that is "confident, compassionate and creative" as he pointed to the estimated 734,000 people served by church volunteers in the capital each year.
Confidence, compassion and creativity inform Capital Vision 2020, the Diocese of London's blueprint for the next seven years to be unveiled at St Paul's Cathedral on June 6.
"The world is changing profoundly and it is in this context that our three main themes have emerged," he explained.
"The unchallengeable Western hegemony of the past 250 years is giving way to a more multipolar world. China with its fast-growing Christian community is regaining the economic and political place it held until the eighteenth century.
"At the same time, scientists are beginning to articulate the fear that climate change will exceed the 2 degree increase in average global temperatures with a consequent impact on some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.
"An increase in average temperatures, probably means for us colder and wetter as the ocean currents are shifted.
"At present we occupy first class cabins in the global ark but we shall not for long be insulated from the effects of distress in steerage.
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"In the difficult times which lie ahead, strong churches will be beacons and anchor-holds in a frightening world; a world in which financial stringency and lack of employment for young people will demand a more united response from the church in every part of London."
As part of its vision for the coming years, the Diocese of London has set itself the goal of commissioning 100,000 'kingdom-makers' in the capital by 2020.
In a world of social media, the bishop said his own generation was "of limited usefulness" and that the doors must be opened to young people who can help the church meet the challenges of change.
Dr Chartres said: "I do not think that as a church we have begun to appreciate the impact of social media. Facebook has been the most successful missionary movement of the past few years and the capacity of the new media to challenge and sometimes dissolve corporations and long established institutions is huge."
He continued: "We are being given a little more time to develop a transforming confidence not in ourselves but in the love of God; to deepen a healing compassion and to bear fruit in the creativity with which we use our gifts for the common good.
"This Easter, I am convinced that there is nothing that is impossible for a Church that is confident, compassionate and creative in the power of the Spirit and in union with Jesus Christ our Lord Amen."