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Dare to Dream
2021

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12)

No one can face life in isolation… We need a community that supports and helps us, in which we can help one another to keep looking ahead.
How important it is to dream together… By ourselves, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built together”.
Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travellers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home,
each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all. 

This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities – what we value, what we want, what we seek – and to commit to act in our daily life as we have dreamed of. What I hear at this moment is similar to what Isaiah hears God saying through him: Come let us talk this over, let us dare to dream. It’s a task for all of us, to which each one of us is invited. But it’s a time especially for the restless of heart, that healthy restlessness that spurs us into action. Now more than ever what is revealed is the fallacy of making individualism the organising principle of society. What will be our new principle? 

A MESSAGE FROM BISHOP DECLAN LANG

 

Someone once said to me; if we do not dream, how can we shape the future?
The seasons of Lent and Easter are an invitation to share the dream of Jesus, a dream which he called the Kingdom of God. These 40 days of Lent and 50 days of Easter are times to renew our understanding of and living by the dream of God. We do so as members of the Body of Christ because as we are reminded on Ash Wednesday, it is the whole community, young and old who enter the Lenten call to be reconciled to God and one another and to be ambassadors for Christ.
As we look to the future, we need to have a dream which broadens our horizons from just looking at ourselves and our parishes and enables us to be missionary disciples. Where is our mission and how can we live it more faithfully.
Change is going to happen. We can look at it positively or negatively. As Moses said to the people of his day, when they were experiencing a time of change; I set before you life and death. Choose life. (Deut. 30:19)
The way ahead may not always be clear, but we believe in the promise of Jesus that he will always be with us until the end of time. In that is our hope, that the Lord walks by our side, even when like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we do not always recognise his presence. But we will recognise him at the breaking of the bread.
I commend this resource for Lent and Easter as a way to dream the Kingdom of God and to shape the future of our diocese.

Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton
St Ambrose, Feast of Candlemas, February 2021

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‘Dare to Dream’ – a Lenten Resource for the whole Diocese.

Bishop Declan invites each one of us to take time during this coming Lent to reflect on the life of our Diocese as we move forward out of the pandemic. Inspired by the writings of Pope Francis, ‘Dare to Dream’ encourages us to think about God’s invitation to each one of us to shape the future of the Church, particularly in this corner of the world. Each reflection is accompanied by a video which we encourage you to watch before engaging with the scripture offered. This resource can be used by individuals, by families or by already established on-line parish groups. As we move towards Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, an introductory session will help to orientate us for the weeks ahead. Each session has a similar framework to follow. The reflections and videos will appear on the Diocesan Website under the banner – ‘Dare to Dream’.  We are encouraged to read the accompanying resource before we set out on this journey through Lent and later onwards to Eastertide. Each new video and reflection will be available on the Friday before each Sunday of Lent.

Taking time during Lent will enable all of us to contribute more fully to the conversations that every deanery will be having to discern how we grow our parishes to be places of mission, serving the poor and responding out of our abundance to the needs of the local community and the wider world.

 

Resources for ‘Dare to Dream’

Please use these documents to guide you through Lent and ‘Dare to Dream’. They will also explain how to approach the videos each week.

New resources will be added as we journey through Lent and a new video will be posted each week.

Dare to Dream 2021 PDF

Dare to Dream – introductory session

 

 

Lent Week 3 – Embracing our Deepest Longing

Week Beginning 7th March

Week Three:  Quenching our Thirst – Embracing our deepest longing

 A woman is going about her own business, getting on with her daily life, when Jesus interrupts her. Jesus probes her desires – he engages with the woman against all protocols. He acknowledges her thirst, even before she can see it for herself. She is focused on the practicalities of her life.  Jesus offers her something greater.

In our reflections so far, have I/we been focused on the practicalities? Have we allowed Jesus to offer us something greater? ‘If you but know the gift of God.’ During theses times of reflection and of discernment, what gift is God offering us? Do we have a thirst for what God is offering us now or are we like the dry weary land without water as expressed in Psalm 62? This week we are offered the opportunity to reflect on the living water being offered to us and to discern what this might look like as we strive to become a Church of disciples rooted in mission.

Listen and watch the video – Fr. Matt Anscombe

Now please read this PDF as it will guide you through this weeks Reflection: Lent Week Three

 

Finish your reflections with the Diocesan prayer:

God our Father,
open the horizons of our minds and hearts
so that we can see what hope your call holds for us.
Pour out the overflowing gifts of your Spirit so that we, your Church,
may become a people of hope for our world.
We ask you this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Our Lady, Woman of Hope, pray for us.
St Peter, Rock of Hope, pray for us.
St Paul, Apostle of Hope, pray for us.

Lent Week 3 – Embracing our Deepest Longing

Week Beginning 7th March

Fr Matt Anscombe

 

Lent Week 2 – A Vision to Behold

Week beginning 28th February

Week Two: A Vision to Behold

Our Gospel for the Second Week of Lent is always the account of the transfiguration of Jesus. During this episode in the life of Jesus, he takes Peter, James and John to see something that they could never have dreamed of or imagined. The experience comes after Jesus has taken them up a mountain, a journey which most of us can appreciate may not have been easy. Walking up a mountain can be a struggle even for those of us who consider ourselves to be fit. The journey requires stamina, the willingness to persevere, even when we don’t know what the outcome might be. Jesus has a reason for taking the disciples on the journey – they go with him because they trust him, they might even have been intrigued. Jesus invites us on that journey too – both personally and communally. The outcome is a vision which gives us a way forward. The disciples are given a different perspective.  If we have the courage to trust the Lord and make the journey, we will encounter something new, something which offers us life, and we will be able to say with Peter, ‘It is good for us to be here’.

Video:  ‘This is my Son, whom I love, listen to him’ – the call to discernment

Listen and watch the video – Fr. Christopher Whitehead

Now please read this PDF as it will guide you through this weeks Reflection:  Lent Week Two

 

Finish your reflections with the Diocesan prayer:

God our Father,
open the horizons of our minds and hearts
so that we can see what hope your call holds for us.
Pour out the overflowing gifts of your Spirit so that we, your Church,
may become a people of hope for our world.
We ask you this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Our Lady, Woman of Hope, pray for us.
St Peter, Rock of Hope, pray for us.
St Paul, Apostle of Hope, pray for us.

Lent Week 2 – A Vision to Behold

Week beginning 28th February

Canon Christopher Whitehead

 

Lent Week 1 – The Time has Come
Week beginning 21st February 2021

 

Before you begin the prayer…

The season of Lent is one of metanoia, of transformation and of a movement towards new life. It is the journey we take which leads from where we are to somewhere new, from being trapped or enslaved to new life. When we talk about metanoia, the journey we are taking is one that may lead us to a change of heart, of mind, self or way of life. As a diocese we are being invited to take such a journey, to allow ourselves to be transformed, not only personally but communally. If our diocese is to flourish we will need to make the journey, a journey that will not be easy but one that does have the potential to be rich and rewarding. As it does each year, the Lenten journey begins with an invitation to enter the desert with Jesus.

It might feel that, with all that the past year has given us, we are not entering the desert, but are already in the desert, parched, fearful of the unknown, weary and just a little lost. it is well-known that when we find ourselves feeling like this it is much easier to fall foul of temptation. Jesus was no exception. He faced temptation. He struggled and he overcame. What can we learn from the experience?

In our efforts to move forward as a diocese, there will be a need to overcome temptations, not just three but possibly many, beginning with the temptation to put our head in the sand and imagine that someone, somewhere will sort it all out for us and we do not need to think about it. This is something that none of us wants to happen, so it is a temptation we need to overcome quite quickly. There are other, more subtle temptations which may come our way and in these first reflections we are encouraged to consider them. Henri Nouwen, the great spiritual writer, identified them in his book ‘In the Name of Jesus’. These include the temptation to be relevant – we can’t change because it will stop us from being needed, the temptation to be spectacular, when we seek popularity rather than ministry and the temptation to be powerful, when who I am is more important than anyone else. All these temptations can subtly play their part when we are in a process of discerning a new way.

In any form of team ministry, the ‘team’ will be made up of different personalities who potentially have different goals. The aim of the discernment process is to come to a shared vision, a shared approach and a shared commitment. The transformation which will lead to this may be challenging and at times painful, but ultimately can lead us to be life-giving and flourishing communities witnessing in faith to the love of God as modelled by Jesus. He is our role model, our rock and our hope.

Video: The Call to be a People of Hope through Lent
Watch and listen to Fr. Tom Finnegan on the right of this page

Now please read this PDF as it will guide you through this weeks Reflection:  Dare to Dream – Lent week 1

 

Finish your reflections with the Diocesan prayer:

God our Father,
open the horizons of our minds and hearts
so that we can see what hope your call holds for us.
Pour out the overflowing gifts of your Spirit so that we, your Church,
may become a people of hope for our world.
We ask you this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Our Lady, Woman of Hope, pray for us.
St Peter, Rock of Hope, pray for us.
St Paul, Apostle of Hope, pray for us.

Lent Week 1 – The Time has Come:

Week beginning 21st February 2021:

Fr Tom Finnegan:

 

Introduction to Lenten Reflections
Week beginning 14th -19th February 2021

 

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me.’ Luke 1:38

For our introductory session we focus on Mary and the life-changing decision she was asked to make when the angel came to her with a message from God. Whilst in Scripture it seems that her decision was made instantaneously, the likelihood is that it took her sometime before she could respond. In the end it was possible because Mary lived a life rooted in prayer with a desire to do the will of God. Her eyes were consistently on God and her ears open to hearing what God was calling her to.

Video: The Call to Mission – Discerning the Way Forward

Watch and listen to Fr. Tom Smith on the right of this page

Now please read this PDF as it will guide you through this weeks Reflection: Dare to Dream – introductory session

 

Finish your reflections with the Diocesan prayer:

God our Father,
open the horizons of our minds and hearts
so that we can see what hope your call holds for us.
Pour out the overflowing gifts of your Spirit so that we, your Church,
may become a people of hope for our world.
We ask you this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Our Lady, Woman of Hope, pray for us.
St Peter, Rock of Hope, pray for us.
St Paul, Apostle of Hope, pray for us.

Introduction to Lenten Reflections Fr Tom Smith: