Diocese asks parishes to comment on renewal and restructuring proposals
On 7th August the Diocese of Brentwood published a Draft Working Plan putting forward ideas for its future renewal and restructuring. In his foreword to the document, Bishop Alan Williams sm reiterates the challenges facing the church in a changing world and his desire to collaborate and consult with the lay faithful on the difficult decisions to be made. “With your help and prayers and with confidence in Christ and Mary I am sure that we can find a way to build on the strong foundations of the last 100 years,” he says.
Steven Webb, Diocesan Director of Development, wrote to the Stewards of all parishes to launch the proposed strategy, which aims to maximise the opportunities for evangelisation and sacramental provision across the diocese, given the resources available during the decades to come.
He said: “This document explains how we recommend that we move forward together in order to evangelise our diocese, care for one another, exercise the ministry of charity and celebrate the sacraments. It sets out principles for how we could work together to achieve our vision through our objectives and a strategy that combines both renewal and restructuring.”
He asked that all parishioners read and discuss the Draft Working Plan, which is available on the website and in hard copy form. “Try to consider what is best for our diocese as a whole rather than just what is best for your parish alone. Please bear in mind that renewal and restructuring are equally important and try to look beyond the obvious possibilities that first spring to mind. There is always more than one way in which we can do things in every location across our wonderful diocese.”
He invited people to be creative with ideas and feed them back to the diocese. “The framework we are proposing does not necessarily lead to one outcome rather than another. We want people to think how their church might look in their locality. Be bold, be creative and let us know your ideas before we begin to make proposals for individual locations.”
He added: “Later in the year we will set out the First Formal Proposals for the Renewal and Restructuring of the Diocese but first we want feedback from you on the strategy and framework we propose in this document.”
Download the document: Diocese-of-Brentwood_Working-Together (2)
Steven Webb becomes Director of Development
The Diocese of Brentwood appointed Steven Webb as Director of Development for a three-year fixed period in 2016. Steven is facilitating a time of discernment, decision making and change for the Diocese, as it seeks to make best use of its resources to spread the Gospel and to offer the best possible pastoral support to Catholics across Essex and East London.
His role involves the design and management of a diocesan change plan involving clergy, lay people and other stakeholders. In this, Steven works both with clergy and with the lay Stewards of the Gospel, who have been appointed in each parish to develop a plan for evangelisation and speak for the laity on pastoral priorities in the Diocese for the next 20 years. Plans for the future may include the re-drawing of parish boundaries and significant re-allocation of resources – human, financial and material – where that best serves the Gospel.
Said Bishop Alan Williams: “I am delighted that Steven Webb is our Director of Development. An engaging communicator, he has a positive and exciting vision for the development of the Diocese going forward. And, as a Steward of the Gospel himself, he is very passionate about evangelisation and how we can best proclaim the Gospel in changing times.”
On his appointment Steven Webb commented: “It is an honour and a privilege to be given this opportunity. It is a huge responsibility and one that we need to tackle in the joyful, optimistic spirit of Evangelii Gaudium. I am looking forward to working with clergy and others across the diocese, including the hugely talented group of Stewards.”
As Director of Development Steven’s role is one of overseeing and steering the process for change in and across the Diocese. As such, his position is outside any particular vicariate; he reports to Bishop Alan through the Bishop’s Council, the Finance Board and the Diocesan Strategic Planning Group whilst working closely with all the vicariates from time to time.
Listen to Steven’s post-appointment interview with BBC Essex here:
A message from the Director of Development
The work of the Stewards of the Gospel is key to the development of our diocese and everything will be done with two clear purposes in mind; namely ensuring that together and with the help of God we can:
- evangelise our diocese as well as we can;
- offer the best possible pastoral care to all Catholics across our diocese.
For these reasons there is a considerable overlap with the work of the Episcopal Vicariate for Evangelisation and you are warmly encouraged to visit its pages at http://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/evangelisation/
You will find there all manner of information and resources specifically relating to evangelisation; this development section of the website will be kept for all other aspects of our work along with links to other sections of the website.