Carlisle diocese is effectively the Church of England in Cumbria. It looks after 351 churches and 106 schools and their communities, from Barrow in Furness to Bewcastle and Nicholforest, from St Bees Head to Stainmore. Carlisle diocese is very diverse in terms of the communities it serves, and the range of training opportunities on offer. Many of the communities are deeply rural, with strong local church/community relations, but also the challenges of hidden poverty and isolation. Other parts of the diocese are post-industrial, with some of the most socially and economically deprived communities in the UK, but also active links with highly technical industries: the Sellafield nuclear complex, BAe Systems in Barrow and the offshore wind energy industry are major employers. The centre of the diocese is dominated by the Lake District National Park, where local churches minister annually to millions of tourists, but also to a local population for whom tourism is the major source of income, and to increasing numbers of migrant workers from overseas who facilitate the leisure and tourism industries.
In recent years, Carlisle has developed a diocesan strategy for ‘growing disciples of all ages’, through a focus on five key areas: maturity in faith, expectant prayer and worship, engagement with society, outreach, quality of relationships. All local churches are in the process of being asked to draw up Mission Action Plans which will help pursue these aims.
In addition, the diocese is in the process of developing a Ministry Strategy which will address the needs of the church and the communities it serves in coming years. This proposes the forming of ecumenical mission communities across the county in partnership with other churches, served by an increasingly diverse pattern of ordained and lay ministry.
LCTP is working closely with Carlisle diocese in developing training which will serve both the diocesan vision and the ministry strategy. The Principal of LCTP is heading an initiative to promote vocations of all kinds, and we work closely with colleagues as part of the diocesan training team to develop opportunities for training and Christian learning which are flexible, accessible, and relevant to the needs of the church in our diocese.
For further information about the diocese of Carlisle, see the diocesan website.