The year 2026 marks the centenary of the formation of the Diocese of Blackburn. Vision 2026 is our strategy to turn around the long-term trend of gradually declining church attendance. Our vision is to develop healthy churches which transform their communities, a vision in which making disciples for Jesus Christ and pursuing social justice sit side by side.
In 2015 we spent time in prayer with Vision 2026 as the focus. 2016 saw over 80% of parishes appoint lay Vision Champions whose role is to gently nudge /encourage parish leaders and congregations to plan and deliver activities that make disciples of Jesus Christ, be witnesses to Jesus Christ, grow leaders for Jesus Christ and prioritise work among children, young people and schools. We also hosted the Crossroads Mission, with visiting northern province bishops and their teams leading over 400 mission events over an autumn weekend. In 2017 we held a series of study days providing an opportunity for clergy to think about how they engage contextually with Vision 2026 and actively supported Thy Kingdom Come and promoted opening our churches as a place of welcome (and not just on a Sunday).
For 2018, we are encouraging parishes to transform their communities through words and deeds, and are holding a diocesan conference focussing on apologetics in late November. 2019 will be a year focussed on encouraging all of us to be effective disciples.
As a diocese, we are willing to face the cost of change; and in prayer we see the grace and power of God which can alone bring renewal and growth. We are committed to work together (clergy, laity, church schools, diocesan staff and the cathedral) to deliver Vision 2026.
Our Diocesan Vision Prayer is: Heavenly Father, we embrace Your call for us to make disciples, to be witnesses and to grow leaders. Give us the eyes to see Your vision, ears to hear the prompting of Your Spirit and courage to follow in the footsteps of your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
You can find out more by visiting the Vision 2026 pages on our website: www.blackburn.anglican.org