The Diocese Social Action Network (DiSAN) met on Friday 8th June at the Cathedral Centre, Salford to bring together twenty-one social action and social organisations working in the diocese. Facilitated by Mark Wiggin (Director of Caritas), the event highlight was the key note address by Bishop John Arnold on the new diocesan pastoral plan ‘Hope in the Future’.
Central to the Bishop’s presentation is the analysis of a world in which the church faces the dual challenges of excessive consumerism where people went hungry and a growing secularisation that reduces church to a place primarily for baptisms, weddings and funerals. These are the real challenges rather than just the reduction in the number of clergy and the increase in the age of serving priests. Nevertheless, he went on to say, the need for a rationalisation of the number of churches and parishes is a necessity and also a result of a ‘missing generation’ and their children from parish life. Hope in the Future, he concluded, is intended ‘to engage people in a lively, vibrant parish’ and put our faith into action by encouraging us all to reach out to people in need in our local communities. Bishop John ended with a call to embrace the programme and be guided, especially at this time of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit, the Advocate.
The meeting then went on to set up three working groups that members could join and share common ground on 1) Hope in the Future 2) Advocacy and 3) Young People. If you would like to find out more about thee three issues or join a task-and- finish group to explore how these issues can be progressed in the diocese please contact Meriel Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org