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Bishop of London on creating new churches: "We're programmed to say yes"

In an interview on the subject of evangelism, Rt Revd Richard Chartres said he's constantly looking to form new worshipping communities.

He was speaking to Premier ahead of delivering a lecture at Lambeth Palace on the theme of evangelism and witness.

While attendances across the Church of England are reported to be marginally falling, the Church in London is said to be bucking the trend.

Speaking about how his diocese turned things around, he said: "We were in a pretty dire and depressed state in the early 1990s.

"There were financial difficulties; there was a problem of morale. There was faction; there was division.

"By painful incremental change, the conditions came about for a transformation of the morale.

"There's [now] an enormous 'can do' sense in the diocese which has actually grown quite significantly. The electoral role has doubled since 1990."

The Diocese of London is almost half way through a project called Capital Vision 2020 which is looking to continue the growth. The diocese is focussing on becoming a Church which is Christ-centred and outward looking.

Part of the vision is to see 100 worshipping communities created by 2020.

These are often new forms of churches which don't meet in traditional buildings. Instead, homes, schools or pubs can be used.

Encouraging people who want to become pioneers and be part of growing the Church, Bishop Richard said: "We are programmed to say yes and help. Not to be foolish about it [but], to use our experience to support in the right way.

"I would encourage people with that sort of idea to make a noise about it."

The Diocese of London has further invested in this area of church growth through the revived position of Bishop of Islington. The position, which has been unfilled for almost 100 years, has been taken up by Rt Revd Ric Thorpe. His responsibilities will involve church planting and growing new congregations.

Listen to Bishop Richard speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones:

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