Setting Gods People Free (SGPF) is an exciting initiative launched by the national Church and adopted by Newcastle Diocese aiming to help people live out their faith confidently in everyday life as well as on Sundays; and to encourage and support the whole people of God (lay and clergy) to work together as equal partners in Gods mission.
For many years the Church of England has been debating the role of lay people within the mission and ministry of the Church. In 2017 General Synod accepted a report and an action plan that sets out ways to equip lay people for confident involvement, engagement, and leadership wherever they are called to serve. The report called for laity and clergy based on their baptismal mutuality to recognise that they are equal in worth and status, complementary in gifting and vocation, mutually accountable in discipleship, and equal partners in mission in order to form Christian communities that can, in terms of our diocesan vision, grow the church and bring hope to the world.This is probably one of the most important reports to come out of Church House since Faith in the City in 1985.
SGPF is not a Diocesan priority, but rather a series of interventions that can enable lay people to become more confident to work in partnership with their clergy to achieve the vision of Growing Church Bringing Hope, sometimes within the Diocesan priorities and at other times within parish and deanery initiatives.
Bishop Christine accepted an invitation for Newcastle to be one of the pilot dioceses for the SGPF learning community project. This learning community of pilot dioceses has tested and championed ideas and shared their experience with the Church as a whole.
A Diocesan Action Plan has been produced and work is progressing well to achieve results. A Steering Group oversees the whole programme and a small Project Group has specific responsibilities for work under the 'Lay Voices' umbrella.
An invitation to join in
In many of our discussions there has been a clear message to us and that message is PLEASE GET ON WITH IT .
We would encourage everyone to join with us to do just that! Here are two examples of what you might like to try in your parish
Asking two simple questions of people can lead to fruitful change.
In your parish context...
- What do you need to be Set Free from?
- What do you need to be Set Free to do?
Why not get a group of people in your parish together to try this exercise?
Introduce people to the exercise This Time Tomorrow (TTT)
One of the ways to help members of the congregation to live out their faith naturally and openly, in all aspects of their daily lives is to briefly
interview them in a Sunday service asking three simple questions...
- What will you be doing this time tomorrow?
- What are the challenges you will be facing?
- In what ways can we all pray for you?
Setting God's People Free Resources
Some resources to encourage you on your journey.