Hundreds of lay people from every corner of the diocese gathered at Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick for the diocesan Lay Conference.
Billed as a weekend for laypeople to meet and encourage each other in everyday faith, delegates left with new ideas and increased confidence to share their Christian faith with others, not just on Sunday but Monday to Saturday too.
As well as learning from the guest speakers, the weekend was a time for parishioners from different parishes to meet one another in fellowship, to offer each other encouragement, and to freely share ideas and resources too.
Guest speakers included Nick Shepherd from the Church of England who co-ordinates the Setting God's People Free initiative, a program of change to enable us all to live out our faith with confidence every day of the week; Lyn Weston from LICC who leads the engagement with Anglican churches to help them build culture change; Sara and Sam Hargreaves led workshops and worship for all; and Loveday Alexander, a classicist by background, led workshops with parish groups too.
Addressing delegates, Nick said: "We've got the wrong idea of what the game is: the game is not doing Church, the game is the Christian life. That's what we're called to participate in. We have to change our understanding of the game we're being called to play by talking about being a Christian in the whole of life and beginning to live that."
What is Everyday Faith?
Everyday Faith has grown out of Setting God's People Free, a Church of England initiative that aims to help all Christians to live out the good news of Jesus, and follow him with confidence, in all areas of our lives.
In the Diocese of Chester, a working group chaired by the Archdeacon of Chester, Mike Gilbertson, has completed its work alongside a number of pilot parishes. A report, published in 2020 highlighted the unique context of our own diocese and outlined the journey pilot parishes took to embed a culture of everyday faith in their communities.
Everyday Faith deanery events
Parishes are invited to attend a deanery event to learn more about Everyday Faith from the diocesean working group and other parishes. Each parish is invited to send a group of four or five people to find out more and take ideas back to their own churches.