Amazing GRACE has been written and arranged as part of a joint initiative between the Diocese of Derby and the Diocese of Coventry. It is a six-week learning community for small groups, cell groups or church communities. Whilst this is initially being launched for use during Lent, it would work well at any time of year.
I commend this diocesan-developed Amazing Grace Lent Course: a six-week learning community for small groups, cell groups or church communities.
The vision of heaven in Revelation 7.9 is of a multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language worshipping God together. That vision is recognised as an ‘Amazing Grace’. However, we are all too aware how rarely we experience even a foretaste of that vision fulfilled in the life of our churches.
The course has been developed by the Amazing Grace Planning Group out of an online Learning Community gathering over the past year. I know this is arriving a few weeks before Ash Wednesday and you may have already decided on a Lent Course. Please consider using this course at a different time if it is too late for you to use it this Lent.
I will be hosting a group of Bishop’s Leadership Team colleagues engaging in this course through Lent.
I commend this course for Lent (or any other time in the year), and hope you find the resource fruitful for you and your context.
In the meantime, be assured of my continuing prayers,
I am delighted to commend wholeheartedly Amazing Grace as a great gift to us all as we journey through Lent and beyond. God has already used it powerfully in transforming lives and perspectives as together we seek, under God, to grow his Kingdom in its rich and glorious diversity. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on the communities we serve, and how far we as a Church, reflect the rich diversity of God’s people in our parishes and dioceses … and at every level of leadership.
Beyond this, for those of us who are white, it can help us to see that racism is not simply the problem of other people, but that we are, or can be, part of the problem. In
recognizing this, we can become part of the solution.
Amazing GRACE offers the opportunity for us to learn together and to grow together in love and service of the God ‘from whom every family in earth and heaven takes its name.’ Eph. 3:14
For several decades the Church of England has seen a range of
projects addressing racism and inequality within our Church. It is to our shame that it takes tragedy to make things really happen – true to form it took the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020, and all that followed, to bring about a Church of England Anti Racism Task Group, leading to the Archbishops’ Racial Justice Commission, chaired by Lord Boateng, with its strong mandate ‘to help the Archbishops fulfil their commitments to identify, respond to, and root out systemic racism in the Church.’
How do we respond, locally, and in the various contexts of this
Diocese of Derby? For some communities, the experience of racism is a painful and daily reality. Others may get the idea this is someone else’s problem – ‘because there’s hardly anyone round here like that’. We mustn’t underestimate the challenges of ignorance, prejudice, privilege and engrained injustice, but i hope we can go further and learn, more and more, to delight in the glorious God given diversity of our human family, and to pray, and live, and work as one.
I am profoundly grateful to the Amazing Grace learning community and its leaders within the diocese and beyond who have prepared this excellent resource for Lent 2023, and I am confident it will be profoundly helpful to us as a diocese as we look to see transformed lives; growing church and building community.