This Lent we encourage you to reflect on the call to love God and your neighbour.
The Growing Good Toolkit is a resource that equips your church to grow new connections and make a difference where you live. It is available to view, download and share with your church this Lent. You can use it online or at church, in-home groups or bible study groups.
Sign up to use Growing Good with your church this Lent
Why journey with Growing Good this Lent?
- 6 sessions to help you journey through the six weeks of Lent
- Backed by three years of research, grounded in scripture, and developed for all churches.
- Flexible, practical and easy to use: it can be used online or in person; you do not need to be a trained facilitator to lead a session
- Offers reflection on scripture and time for prayer.
- Provides take-away actions you can implement straight away.
- Recognises and celebrates the contribution churches are already making in their communities.
A message from Archbishop Stephen Cottrell
This Lent, the six sessions of the Growing Good Toolkit – developed based on research from CUF and Theos - will help churches grow in faithfulness and fruitfulness.
The Growing Good Toolkit celebrates the potential of the local church to make a difference. From small, and often unsophisticated, acts of kindness, to the large-scale social action projects and campaigns for justice in which many of are engaged, it highlights the persistent presence at the heart of communities that so many churches represent. Those that reach out in loving service to build new connections, new partnerships, and new disciples.
Growing Good is also an effective toolkit for those churches seeking to be inspired and equipped to take action: churches who are aware of the multiple needs, yet also the wealth of gifts and skills, in their community; churches who are seeking practical ideas that can help turn their hunger for justice into concrete action, or churches looking to adapt creatively to the challenges and changes in their neighbourhood.
My prayer is that Growing Good will help us become a Church vibrantly fulfilling its mission to form disciples who are called to love their neighbours and seek justice. As Christians, we can’t help but show our love in this way because God, our Heavenly Father, first loved us.
Stories and news for Growing Good during Lent 2022
Just Church? Living Theology Forum webinar
On Thursday, 31 March, Bishop Adrian Newman (Bishop in Residence, Church Urban Fund) chaired a webinar including Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, author of Embracing Justice, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2022. In this special webinar, speakers unravelled the why, what and how of Christian social justice, and discussed the challenges and opportunities for churches to embrace justice – and encourage their communities to do the same.
What follows is a summary of the webinar. If you want to read more about the theology of social justice, visit CUF’s Living Theology Forum and watch a recording of the webinar.
Live Lent: Embracing Justice is the Church of England’s Lent theme for 2022. At the same time, the Church Urban Fund is promoting material from a practical new toolkit called Growing Good, which explores the dynamic relationship between church growth, Christian discipleship and social action [add link].
As the church continues to decline in numbers, we are witnessing an understandable emphasis and focus on church growth. But the question is, where does that leave social justice and effective Christian social action?
The church in action! Growing Good where the need is greatest.
During the pandemic, we know that churches have increased their provision of practical, emotional, financial and digital support.
The Church in Action Survey 2020/21 from CUF and the Church of England highlighted the role of local churches in communities. Anglican churches contribute to approximately 35,000 projects that directly support their local communities, and 37% of churches are doing even more now to support people in their parish than before the pandemic.
But we understand that behind these impressive impact numbers are thousands of clergy, lay leaders and volunteers who are exhausted, over-worked, and struggling to find the resources to meet this rising need.
Mind the gap! Social action and dawning faith.
Peter Rouch, CEO of Church Army UK & Ireland, explores the relationship between human and divine agency in evangelism, especially with those on the margins of society in a blog for CUF's Living Theology Forum:
To London’s 9 million pre-pandemic daily visitors, these are familiar words. Mind the gap between the platform and the train. The gap is a place of danger, or at least uncontrollability. What goes into it, is at risk.
I have another gap in mind of course, but still one that comes with some caution. It is a theological and practical gap possibly existing between human and divine agency in the dawning of faith in human lives; in becoming a Christian.
Weekly reflections for Lent
How can the five Growing Good themes enable us to reflect during the season of Lent - a time when Christians seek to draw closer to God in prayer and to grow in love and service for their neighbours. What does it look like to be present, to persevere, to show hospitality, to adapt to challenge and change, and to invite participation during this season?
We asked five people to share a short video reflection for Lent, inspired by one of the Growing Good themes*.
*We'll be adding one each week from Thursday 2nd March.
Webinar: Just Church? Why social justice matters for followers of Jesus Christ and the Church
As the Church of England focuses on social justice during Lent, this webinar exploreD how the theology and practice of social justice can be central to the life of the Church.
Chaired by Rt Revd Adrian Newman (CUF’s Bishop in Residence), speakers at the webinar includeD Revd Prebendary Dr Isabelle Hamley (theological advisor to the House of Bishops, and author of Embracing Justice, the Lent material produced this year for the Church of England), and Revd Canon Dr Anderson Jeremiah (lecturer in theology and politics at Lancaster University, and a CUF Trustee).
Watch an online workshop for group facilitators
Planning to use Growing Good with your church this Lent?
Watch an edited recording of our workshop for group facilitators where you will find out more about Growing Good and the research behind the Toolkit. We also run through one of the sessions and share some top tips for getting the most out of the resources.
More tips for group leaders
Your feedback is helping us improve the Growing Good Toolkit. See the Facilitator page for additional information to help you prepare and run your course, including extra resources you might need for each session.
Live Lent from the Church of England
Live Lent: Embracing Justice is the Church of England’s theme for Lent 2022. It invites us to examine our own lives truthfully, to see the world more deeply and to pray – for the church and the world far and near – that ‘justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ (Amos 4.24). Booklets for daily reflection throughout Lent offer a daily Bible reading, short reflection and a prayer, as well as a practical challenge
Pray with Growing Good this Lent
The Growing Good Toolkit recognises the perseverance and faithfulness of local churches, even when times are difficult, and provides ideas and tools to help.
The pandemic has reminded us that we need each other. As Christians, one of the ways we can stay connected and look out for each other is through prayer.
If you would like to join us in praying for all the clergy, volunteers and church communities that are Growing Good, please use our pocket Prayer Companion.
Resources to help you promote your Growing Good course
Are you planning to use the Growing Good course in your church this Lent?
We’re putting together some resources to help you advertise the course to your congregation. These are all fully customisable so you can add the dates, times and venue of your course, and let people know who to contact if they want to come along.