The Bishops of Truro and St Germans have been in Illogan to meet with congregations as part of a series of deanery visits.

Over 80 people from all over Carnmarth North deanery, which includes Camborne, Redruth, Illogan and surrounding villages, packed into the church in Illogan to talk to the bishops about the deanery’s plan for the future.

The visit, part of a series the bishops are undertaking to every deanery in the diocese, was an opportunity for people to hear direct from the bishops and ask questions.

Positive atmosphere of welcome and hospitality

With every incumbent and curate from the deanery attending along with retired clergy and Readers among others, the meeting had a positive atmosphere of welcome and hospitality. It included input from most areas with people talking about the projects and plans they had.

Among the themes raised was the issue of where people could ask a question or raise a concern. When asked if people should contact him about a particular deanery plan, Bishop Philip said that the correct place for raising such queries and concerns was within the deanery and with the Deanery Implementation Team leading the plan. “Deanery plans have been created locally. The local team is the best place for people to direct their questions either through the Rural Dean or through the implementation support team at Church House.”

All 12 of the deanery plans have now moved into the implementation phase and it is expected that by the end of this year, there will be 10 more clergy in the diocese than there were at the end of 2022. This is on top of the proposed new lay and pioneer ministers many of the plans include.

The diocese is committing more than £130,000 a year from national grants

Next Steps On The Way aims to support local churches to become fruitful and sustainable. Parishes are not on their own, they work together in deanery groups and they are supported by the Diocesan Board of Finance and by the national church. In Carnmarth North, for instance, the diocese is committing more than £130,000 a year from national grants to support ministry in communities that experience economic deprivation, that’s money controlled by local church leaders who are closest to the local need.

Speaking after the visit, Bishop Hugh said: “These deanery visits are invaluable in giving us the chance to meet as many people as possible to discuss important issues. It has been really good to see the work that is going on and it is inspiring and humbling to hear the many ways that people are working for their church and the communities they serve.

“We know from feedback that those attending the meetings are also finding it useful to hear from us direct, and to be able to tell us about their views, hopes and fears. We are pleased that these visits are having a positive impact and look forward to getting around the whole diocese.”

Speaking to those who question the plans, Bishop Hugh had this to say: “We know that there are some who are worried by the changes. We hope that as the deaneries continue to implement their plans many of these concerns will be alleviated. However, we recognise that for some, change of any kind is unacceptable. To those people, we say we are sorry but staying the same is not an option. That’s just not how God made any of us or the communities we live in. Now more than ever Cornwall needs her churches to be fruitful, to be sustainable, to be the salt and light that transforms and serves. Where communities are suffering, and there is real need in Cornwall right now, the church is there as it has been for generations, a sign of hope and love.”

The meeting ended with an invitation, taken up by almost all those present, to come forward to be anointed by Bishops Philip and Hugh for mission and service to their communities.

The next meeting will be East Wivelshire Deanery on February 25 followed by Stratton Deanery on March 4.