On October 12th & 13th October 2019, lay and clergy representatives from across Durham Diocese will be gathering at the Xcel Centre, Newton Aycliffe. The purpose of the conference, which is called Waymark, is to reflect on mission, leadership and culture change in our diocese and to prayerfully discern the way ahead.  In launching Waymark in November 2018, Bishop Paul said:

‘This conference, and the build-up to it over the coming months, mark a critical period in the life of our Diocese.  We have named the conference Waymark, as our gathering will be an important step on our journey; a moment of arrival, of pausing for reflection, and then moving ahead together.

‘My hope is that these next few months of listening and learning ahead of, and in preparation for, Waymark, will help us to maximize our learning from our involvement with the Missional Leadership for Growth programme; the Partnership for Missional Church process; our Setting God’s People Free learning community and our experiences in creating and sustaining Resource Churches.

‘As we formally launch the name and logo for our Diocesan Conference, please keep the whole process in your prayers, now and throughout the coming months.’

The Waymark weekend will be a mixture of guest contributions, group and informal discussions, as well as opportunities for quiet reflection and prayer. Clergy and lay representatives will have the opportunity to:

  • Represent the parish from which they come
  • Participate in corporate worship, prayer and reflection with colleagues and friends from across Durham Diocese
  • Have opportunities to share in missional stories from different communities and different people across Durham Diocese
  • Explore with children and young people their perspectives and ideas on church and mission in Durham Diocese
  • Reflect on the 3 priorities for the Diocese – Growth, Children & Young People, and Poverty – and how they have impacted on mission and ministry in parish life.
  • Be equipped to more fully understand and appreciate aspects and challenges of culture change within the C of E and to apply it to the life of the church in Durham Diocese
  • Be encouraged and guided, with the help of keynote addresses, to reflect on aspects of discernment in seeking God’s direction for Diocesan and parish life
  • Be challenged by local and national ecumenical guests and visiting international senior clergy
  • Actively seek God’s preferred and promised future for Durham Diocese and move forward together in seeking God’s will
  • Be encouraged to continue to pray and reflect within their parish and church community after the conference
  • Hear more about the designated year of pilgrimage in 2020.

Following the conference, there will be a summary of the reflections and contributions offered throughout the conference, and the build-up to it, presented in a report to Bishop’s Council and the Bishop’s Leadership Team. The report will be widely available throughout the Diocese and will be a reference point as Bishop Paul leads us into a year of pilgrimage in 2020, and then beyond to the formation of a renewed vision for the Diocese.