10 years ago the Church of England publication ‘The Mission Shaped Church’ argued that the church of God does not have a mission in the world, rather, the mission of God has a church in the world. If we start with the mission, this then, in turn, should shape the church. In the decade that has passed the Fresh Expressions movement has gathered momentum, stumbled, evolved, grown, and impacted the shape of ministry and indeed the shape of the church, at least in England. The cultural shift away from traditional models of being church has caught others up in the net, with new models of training for ministry emerging, whilst the Fresh Expressions movement has witnessed stronger links growing between the Church of England and the Methodist Church in England…so, 10 years on – what state is the fresh expressions movement in? Is it still growing? How long is it before a new thing becomes an old thing? What might the future old – for both traditional and new forms of ministry and church?
We are delighted that Bishop Graham Cray will be addressing such issues and more over two evenings on the 24th and 25th February. Bishop Cray is giving the 2014 Theological Lectures at Queen’s University Belfast and is sure to be insightful and thought provoking on the shape of mission, the church and its place in 21st century culture – be sure to get along for what promises to be two very engaging evenings.
Graham Cray has been the Archbishops’ Missioner and Leader of the Fresh Expressions Team since 2009. He is married to Jackie and they have two daughters, Catherine and Sarah. He was consecrated in March 2001 when he became the Bishop of Maidstone and the Bishop for Mission in the Diocese of Canterbury. Before this, he was Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, a Church of England theological college, after fourteen years as vicar of St Michael-le-Belfrey, York, where he worked with and then succeeded the late Canon David Watson. His special concerns are the re-evangelization of the UK, the engagement of the Gospel with contemporary culture, youth ministry and the theology of renewal for mission. He has been chairman of the Greenbelt Festival and is currently chairman of the Soul Survivor Trust. He chaired the working party which wrote the Mission Shaped Church report on church planting and fresh expressions of church.