What is the Church?
There are many ways of describing the church. Basically, it's that community of people who believe themselves called by God to create the space in which others can find that they have been found by God. The church does this locally by offering worship, community, service and outreach. This takes many forms, depending on the local culture and the nature of the ‘network’ of churches to which any church belongs.
What is the Church of England?
The Church of England comprises 44 dioceses of which the Diocese of Bradford is one. Each diocese is led by a Bishop who is responsible for appointing clergy and other ministers, ordering ministry, service and outreach, and joining other bishops in serving the wider national and international scene. Each diocese is divided into parishes, and everyone in England lives in an Anglican parish. The Church of England is unashamedly territorial, seeing the parish system as fundamental to its commitment and obligation to everyone in the local community.
The Church of England is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Every province of this Communion is autonomous and this means that no single province can ever see itself in splendid isolation from every other provincial culture. As the early disciples discovered, following Jesus means joining other followers – and this isn’t always comfortable. But, it's the gift and challenge God gives the church: being thrown together with no possibility of exemption from the hard work of making and holding relationships across cultures, the church is compelled to work hard at unity, reconciliation and outreach in costly love.
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