Hundreds gather to 'Come Follow Christ'
Hundreds of people from throughout the Diocese gathered at Lichfield Cathedral on Saturday to ‘Come follow Christ in the footsteps of St Chad’.
The ‘Come Follow Christ: First Steps’ celebration laid out the Diocese’s vision for the next five years, with a focus on discipleship, vocation and evangelism.
After introductory worship and an address from the Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, people were encouraged to ‘meander’ around the cathedral at various activities including a live performance of the life of St Chad by Simon Airey, an interactive prayer area by the Community of St Chad and a Discipleship Marketplace resource area.
Outside the cathedral, College Hall hosted a ‘Vocation Location’ which featured real-life stories about people’s calling while members of Sanctus St Mark’s congregation in Stoke-on-Trent invited people to multi-cultural worship in a marquee on the lawn.
Bishop Michael told those there: “The invitation is to focus afresh on what following Christ means in our lives and in the lives of our Christian communities. I want to offer three words to help with that. They are: discipleship; vocation; and evangelism.
“To be renewed in our discipleship is the first challenge for us all: to walk more closely with Jesus, to enjoy learning more about him, to shape our lives on his in loving God and neighbour. Whoever you are, as a Christian this is your first task; and wherever you are, as a Christian community this is your core business. It’s the same for us all.
“Discipleship is the same, but vocation is different for each of us. Vocation is the call of God into my life and yours, and into the life of our church.
“And then evangelism: as we are renewed as Jesus’ disciples, as we respond to God’s call into our lives, we will want to tell our story to others, and we will want to invite them to make God part of their story too.”
He added: “I hope that Chad’s example will inspire and encourage you to think about discipleship, vocation and evangelism in your own life and in your own place.”
The event focused locally on parishes, fresh expressions of church, schools and chaplaincies. It closed with the commissioning of four new mission initiatives: 4 Rural Youth in the Salop Episcopal Area, Church and Church School Together in Worship Mission in the Stafford Episcopal Area, Blakenhall Heath Mission Project in the Wolverhampton Episcopal Area and a diocesan-wide Missional Chaplaincy project.
The celebration was followed by Thy Kingdom Come– a global prayer movement that Christians throughout the Diocese will be involved in from 25 May to 4 June.