2016 was the year of “Come & C” in the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. It has been a year of developing a deeper sense of discipleship in relation to the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion, summarised for our purposes as Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform and Treasure. The concept developed from listening to the voices of the different parishes, and was expressed in four main phases.
Phase 1. Listening
Early in 2014, Archbishop Michael Jackson initiated a Vision and Mission survey of all the parishes in the united dioceses, focussing on three areas of parish life:
a. Parish Communities To-day: What is each parish proud of? What do they do well and how do they engage with the local community? How would they de ne the essential spirit of the parish down the years? And what are they prepared to do to foster that spirit?
b. Hopes for the Future: What actual plans are afoot to develop activities and facilities? What hopes are there for new initiatives? What resources are available?
c. Vision Statements: Each parish was asked to outline its vision for the future.
Responses came in from 80% of the parishes, giving a reliable reflection of the aspirations and achievements of the Church of Ireland at this point in time. They were published in the Come & C Report, a title chosen to reflect the emphasis in the responses on the development of discipleship. The report was launched at the Diocesan Synod of October 2014, and those present were encouraged to use it to help look for opportunities for service and growth in their own lives, in their parishes and in the united dioceses.
Phase 2. Responding
The Archbishop organised a series of consultations, inviting clergy and laity alike to respond to the survey and explore ways parishes might be encouraged to develop their ideas of discipleship. There was much common ground in the responses, especially in the desire to be places of welcome for worship and faith exploration. The consultation groups suggested that parishes be invited to come together to tell their stories in conversation, rather than in isolation.
The year from Advent 2015 to Christ the King 2016 was declared the “Year of Come & C” in the dioceses, to encourage parishes to foster deeper discipleship collaboratively. A day of reflection on the Come & C Report took place at the High School, Rathgar, in September 2015 to plan for the Year. Each parish was invited to send 4 members and over 90% responded. The participants reflected on the successes and challenges of their local parishes in response to scriptural reflection on discipleship and thoughts on Welcome, Witness and Worship in parish life, as well as the the Five Marks of Mission. They endorsed the idea of a diocesan exploration of the theme of discipleship and suggested possible developments for individuals, parishes and the diocese.
They then became ambassadors for the project, explaining in their home parishes what had happened at the High School meeting, and inviting every one to participate in the diocesan reflection. They also invited a number of other individuals to extended deanery meetingS, where clusters of parishes met to discuss possible collaboration during the year. The deanery meetings reported on their proposals and the diocesan project was endorsed by the Synod in October 2015.