A diocesan clergy training day on the theme of ‘Empowering Ministry’ was held in Antrim Parish Halls on Tuesday February 25.
Sixty five clergy attended the event, which was addressed by the Rt Rev Graham Cray, The Church of England’s Archbishops’ Missioner of the Fresh Expressions team.
Connor’s Children Project Development Officer Jill Hamilton also spoke about Children’s Ministry, and Caroline Bradley of Care in the Family assisted Jill in running a seminar on Children’s Work.
Clergy were welcomed by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, who paid tribute to Bishop Graham who he said was ‘not just a theologian but a practitioner.’ The day began with worship led by the Vicar of Antrim, Archdeacon Stephen McBride.
Bishop Graham has been the Archbishops’ Missioner of the Fresh Expressions team since 2009. He was consecrated in March 2001 when he became the Bishop of Maidstone and the Bishop for Mission in the Diocese of Canterbury. Before this, he was Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, a Church of England Theological College, having spent 14 years as a vicar of St Michael–le–Belfrey, York.
The Bishop’s special concerns are the re–evangelisation of the UK, the engagement of the Gospel with contemporary culture, youth ministry and the theology of renewal for mission.
He has been chairman of the Greenbelt Festival and is currently chairman of the Soul Survivor Trust. He chaired the working party which wrote the Mission Shaped Church report on church planting and fresh expressions of church. His theme was at the clergy training day was discipleship and disciple making.
Following Bishop Graham’s first session, and Jill Hamilton’s talk on Ripple, Children’s Ministry Connor, and the work she had been involved in across the diocese since her appointment in November, conference delegates enjoyed a soup, sandwich and traybake lunch provided by Antrim Parish, before taking part in one of two seminars.
As well as the seminar on Children’s Work led by Jill and Caroline, Bishop Graham hosted a seminar on ‘Making new disciples through fresh expressions of church.’
The Bishop then spoke on the subject of disciple making before taking questions from the floor. This very successful training day concluded at 4pm.