The clergy of the Northern Diocese (plus a few others) met for a residential conference on church planting from 30th September to 2nd October at Swarthmoor Hall, Ulverston, Cumbria.

The sessions were led by the Revd Canon Dan Alger, Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Church in North America.

Over the 48 hours of the conference, Canon Alger took the clergy through the fundamentals of church planting then helped them decide on the next steps. These include a day meeting in November to begin to firm up some of the issues raised at the conference, to be followed by a further residential conference in March which will consider in detail what recommendations to make to Diocesan Synod and eventually to Convocation. The aim is to bring church planting into the mainstream of the life of the Diocese and the wider Free Church of England.

To ensure that any initiatives are rooted in prayer, prayer cards have been printed for every member of the Northern Diocese to enable them to structure their daily private prayers. Every church member is also being given a prayer bookmark, ‘Praying for Church Planting’, setting out the vision, goals and strategy, and providing some wide-ranging prayer material.

As one of the first steps to becoming a church planting Diocese, the Northern clergy identified a number of locations about which they and members of their congregations will be in prayer: Harrogate, Leeds, Newcastle, York, Ulverston, Carlisle, Mallaig, Durham, Liverpool and Manchester.

The partnership is one of the fruits of the ACNA’s pledge to work together with us for the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and the making of his disciples throughout the world. Always Forward, the church planting arm of the ACNA, will be keeping in regular contact with the Northern clergy and it is anticipated that Canon Alger will attend next autumn’s Clergy Conference to monitor progress and give advice about the next steps.