What is Crossroads?
Crossroads is an opportunity for us as a diocese to unite together in locally organised mission, outreach and evangelism. Archbishop Sentamu, together with the Bishops of the Northern Province and their teams, will be working in our diocese from 8th – 11th September 2016. We now have 24 Bishops visiting our diocese together with the Archbishop of York and their teams composed of a mix of lay people, youth workers, ordinands and clergy. The essence of Crossroads is local churches engaging in local mission. The events and style of the mission are decided at local church and deanery level, with the visiting mission team supporting what has been decided by parishes.How will Crossroads be organised?
One (or more) Bishops, together with their teams, have been allocated to each deanery. Archbishop Sentamu’s office invited the Bishops, and we have now been advised that 24 visiting Bishops, together with the Archbishop of York and their teams, will be coming to Blackburn Diocese in September.  Our own Bishops have allocated them to deaneries and the Area Deans are arranging for the visiting Bishops to come for a day or evening to spend time meeting people in the deanery. Deaneries are therefore key to the planning of this mission, and each deanery has appointed a Deanery Co-ordinator to help plan Crossroads in their local area.The basic outline of the four days will be:

Day Morning Afternoon Evening
Thursday 8 Sept Bishops and their teams travel to Blackburn Diocese Commissioning Service in Blackburn Cathedral at 2.00pm Community outreach events
Friday 9 Sept School and community outreach events School and community outreach events Community outreach events
Saturday10 Sept

Community outreach events

Community outreach events Community outreach events
Sunday 11 Sept Morning services Final event for the whole diocese at 4.00pm Travelling home

What does a Deanery Co-ordinator do?
The Deanery Co-ordinator will play a vital role in helping Crossroads work at a local level. The Co-ordinator will liaise with the diocesan planning team, the visiting Bishops and their teams, and will co-ordinate the events being planned by individual local churches. A vital part of the Co-ordinator’s role will be receiving suggestions for events from local churches to build up a deanery programme. The Co-ordinator will also ensure that arrangements are made regarding the hosting of the visiting team.

The role of Deanery Co-ordinator is to provide a focal point for the organisation of Crossroads within the deanery, and the gifts and skills of the Deanery Co-ordinator are more important than the deanery role they currently hold.

Why are the dates so early in September?
The dates we are working with have been given to us by the Archbishop and the Northern Bishops and, as you can imagine, co-ordinating this many diaries is very complex! The dates give us an opportunity to ‘kick start’ September and begin a new period in the churches’ year with a strong focus on outreach and evangelism. The key to making the dates work well will be good preparation and forward planning. In particular, if you want to do work in local schools, this will need to be organised in the summer term prior to schools breaking up for summer holidays.

Do we have to get involved?
As has been said before, the essence of Crossroads is local churches engaging in local mission and outreach… so churches can decide not to get involved. However, the experience of churches from Sheffield diocese in 2015 was that the Northern Bishops’ mission was a real blessing. Churches who were hesitant about the mission but chose to get involved were delighted to have participated.

Who do I contact for more information?
For more information about Crossroads, contact your Deanery Co-ordinator or David Banbury[email protected] and Stephanie Rankin [email protected] at Diocesan Offices.

To help parishes prepare for Crossroads, a Mission Preparation Guide has been produced.  Copies of this are being distributed at the Vision 2026 and Crossroads Mission Preparation evenings in January and February 2016 (click here for details of dates and venues), and the Mission Preparation Guide can be downloaded here.

Further resources to help you prepare for Crossroads can be found here.