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Every CofE church to make evangelism 'planned priority' in coming year
The Church of England's governing body has voted in favour of a motion calling on every one of its worshipping communities to be make evangelism a priority in 2019.
Members of the General Synod have been debating the issue at a meeting in Westminster.
Brought forward by Rev Barry Hill from the Diocese of Leicester, the motion affirms the role of prayer in evangelism and also calls on every parish to get involved in the ecumenical movement Thy Kingdom Come.
It goes on to call on dioceses to encourage and equip both clergy and lay people to be confident in sharing their faith.
Addressing members during the debate Rev Hill suggested "England won't be converted by clergy alone".
Speaking to Premier before the debate, he claimed evangelism is for everyone and doesn't need to be difficult.
He said: "If we can show the beauty and joy - not cheerfulness, it's not about enforced smiles - people will see the attraction of that."
He went on to challenge clergy to play their part: "The challenge I find in church leadership is there's always 50 things to do and if we're not careful - even with the best intentions - taking time to deliberately witness to God's love can slip down the list a little bit."
Synod was also set to debate evangelism on estates on Friday as well as encouraging youth evangelism on Saturday.
Bishop of Burnley Rt Rev Phillip North moved the motion on estate evangelism.
Speaking to Premier before the vote, he said: "For many years the Church has been slowly withdrawing its presence (from estates) almost by accident.
"If we're serious about renewing a nation for Christ...that's actually where we need to begin."
The General Synod is meeting at Church House in Westminster. Debates will draw to a close on Saturday afternoon.
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