The Learning Communities received their official launch at a very special service in Lincoln Cathedral on Saturday (3rd February 2018). A congregation of 200-plus came together in worship, to hear more and to set our Learning Communities in prayer. 

The service, which was led by the Bishop of Lincoln, featured contributions from the around the diocese, including a boys’ choir, supported by older male voices, from St Wulfram’s in Grantham and a band from St George’s Swallowbeck in Lincoln.

During his sermon, Bishop Christopher stated that, “As the church in greater Lincolnshire, our aim is to transform lives where they are less than they could be, where there is unfairness or loneliness or fear. In order to do this, we need to hold each other in love and converse deeply about what will build up our churches, projects and chaplaincies, as labourers in the harvest, as witnesses to the light, the salvation prepared in the face of every person.

“As we gather with fellow Christians from contexts rather like our own, Bishop Christopher said, “God will stand in our midst in the sharing and the learning, as we work out how best to join in with what he is doing in our villages and towns, our coasts and farms and estates.

“The Learning Communities will be places where we can talk to each other about our hopes, ambitions and problems with a love that is not cheap in avoiding challenge or condoning what is less than the best. The hard, faithful work will be listening with love, questioning with love, praying supportively with love, and rejoicing with love when obstacles are overcome and gospel service given.”

As has been detailed here and also in the January/February 2018 issue of Crosslincs, our Learning Communities will come together from within six ‘character areas’ (the six main types of settlement in the three counties of the diocese): rural; coastal; urban; market towns; suburban villages; and housing developments.

As shown below, and as will be documented in the forthcoming issue of Crosslincs (March/April 2018), six Learning Communities are underway, and with more to follow. Indeed, as part of the service, the Revd Steve Johnson shared some of the early learning obtained from the market town context, and Sue Slater underlined themes of love, community and unity in looking to the potential held by our communities.

Please do continue to hold our Learning Communities and the people and places of our diocese in prayer.