Bishops from the Diocese of Lichfield took part in a special summit that drew leaders from across the region to pray together and commit afresh to working in unity.
The two-day gathering at the Woodbrooke Centre in Birmingham saw senior figures from a variety of denominations and networks, including the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave; the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Sarah Bullock; and the Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Matthew Parker.
Sessions between leaders saw them share the challenges and opportunities offered by issues including Covid-19, the Ukranian War and the cost of living crisis.
Bishop Michael said: “It was rewarding to spend focused time at the summit with a genuinely diverse group of church leaders in both ethnicity and religious background. The church is facing significant challenges but there are also wide-ranging opportunities to share the love of God with our communities, including working together to offer warm spaces for those who cannot afford to heat their homes this autumn and winter.”
The day was organised by Robert Mountford, Ecumenical Officer for Birmingham, the Black Country and Staffordshire.
Following the event, attendees issues this joint statement:
We met together in Birmingham to pray and encourage one another. We represent a range of traditions and ethnicities and rejoice in that diversity. We gathered united by our faith in Jesus Christ, the hope that he inspires in us and the love which motivates us to love in response. We sought in prayer to discern God’s word to us and the West Midlands area we love and serve.
We rejoiced in stories of growth, whilst realistic about the challenges of sustainability post-Covid.
We want to build our unity through prayer and mutual understanding se we more faithfully reflect our faith in Jesus Christ. Our call is to be more effective in blessing our communities in his name and sharing the reason for the hope that is in us. We encourage all our churches to engage locally and internationally, working with all of good will to contribute to the common good. In these challenging days of the cost of living crises, wars and climate crisis, we long to be a transforming presence, creating warm and safe spaces and living sustainably.
In a world that often seeks simplistic answers, we are called to hold the space for complexity and conversation across difference. We want that for our churches and we seek to be facilitators of that respectful dialogue in the wider community.
More details about those who attended is on the Staffordshire Churches website.