The revival of the See of Islington
We have received the good news from the Dioceses Commission that the See of Islington is to be revived. This follows the paper approved by the Bishop’s Council and presented to the Diocesan Synod earlier this year. The Archbishop of Canterbury endorsed the proposal submitted to the Commission as, “essential to the future development of the evangelistic work of the Church of England.”
In Capital Vision 2020, we committed ourselves to the creation of 100 new worshipping communities within the Diocese by 2020. 13 have opened already. The new Bishop of Islington will be available to those ministering in such pioneering posts, harvesting and sharing experience of church growth strategies and providing the necessary support and mentoring, especially in those early years where encouragement and oversight in these fledgling communities is crucial.
Importantly, he or she will be a resource for the whole Church of England, as it pursues its intentional evangelism programme. There has been a notable quickening of interest in the possibility of replicating aspects of what we have learned in London in other parts of the country, in particular the usefulness of establishing “resource churches.”
Revived for the first time since 1923, the Bishopric of Islington will be free from territorial responsibilities. It will involve working collaboratively with the other Area Bishops in London to address our wider agenda, as set out in Capital Vision 2020. The restoration of the See is addressed to the opportunities which already exist and it is also intended to stimulate new initiatives. The new Bishop will, in addition, contribute to the new School of Church Growth in association with the staff of St Mellitus, both in London and at its Merseyside hub.
London’s population is estimated to rise above 10 million by the end of the next decade – a significant increase, albeit not on the scale of the 19th century. Victorian London grew from a population of just over a million in 1800 to seven million by 1900. Then, the old structures of church life were not adequate to the missionary challenge of such a rapid population explosion. Over 90 years after it was put to sleep, the return of the See of Islington will now give us the opportunity to ensure that growth remains at the heart of our strategic planning.