On the Way

On the Way : Fruitfulness and Sustainability

What are these for?

On the Way is a journey. We are setting out on the way, trusting that together we can seek and discern the call of the Holy Spirit to our churches in Cornwall.

A journey needs a destination. While we dont know exactly what it will look like, we do need a clear way to know when we have arrived. To describe this end point, we are using two words: fruitful and sustainable.

Fruitful relates to the outcomes of the life, mission and ministry of a church, group of churches or Deanery. Sustainable concerns the things churches - or groups of churches - will need to pay attention to and have in place in order to be fruitful.

We have drawn them as circles with Jesus Christ as the centre, because he is the beginning and the end of our searching.

How do we use them?

The centre of both  circles is Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us he is before all things, holds all things together and is the head of the Church. Jesus Christ is the heart and centre of all we are and all we do. So, On the Way will include significant time exploring scripture and praying together in order to discover Christs call to us and our church communities.

Each circle then expands to include the ways in which Christs mission is lived out in the world and the church. They then expand further, and into more detail, to show the areas in which we want to be fruitful and sustainable.

These two circles will shape our conversations and prayers On the Way. When Deaneries come to making choices and developing specific plans, you will be asked to map your choices onto the fruitful and sustainable circles. And when Deanery plans are presented to the Bishops at the end of the process, it will be these descriptions of fruitfulness and sustainability that the Bishops will use as they consider, affirm and bless what has been presented.

What is the fruitfulness circle about?

Fruitfulness is a key biblical theme - the outcomes or visible signs of our lives are the fruit they bear. In this Diocese, The Saints Way describes specific ways in which we are called to be fruitful; and these provide the detail of the fruitfulness circle.

At the centre is Jesus Christ the Vine from which all fruit comes. As the circle expands, there is more detail: we hope for fruitfulness in Christs World, Kingdom and Church. The outer circle shows the specific ways in which we long to fruitfulness in Cornwall today.

Christs world is the creation of beauty, provision and grace which was made through him and for him, and which God declared to be very good. It is the widest scope for Gods activity and includes nature and the whole material universe. It is a world that was groaninguntil redeemed by Christ, and which continues to await the full fruits of that redemption.

In Christs world, we will prioritise bearing fruit that connects us to the beauty of creation and which addresses the climate and biodiversity crises. We will also make connections with the global church, our brothers and sisters in Christ, who have much to teach us.

Christs Kingdom are those parts of the world where redemption is present and where Christ rules. The Kingdom is both entirely here and yet to be fully realised: it is seen wherever and whenever things are the way God created them to be.

As servants of Christs kingdom, we will prioritise bearing fruit amongst the poor, and amongst children, young people and schools - because the poor and children were close to Christs heart and a focus for his ministry.

Christs Church is the community, both heavenly and earthly, of those seeking to live, pray and worship as disciples of Jesus Christ. In doing so they are witnesses, signs and pioneers of the kingdom.

In Christs church, we will prioritise bearing fruit by nurturing disciples who are confident in their faith and live it out in their work places, communities, and families.

What is the sustainable circle about?

To be fruitful also requires us to be sustainable - we want to bear fruit for the Lord now and into the future. The sustainable circle, which is also closely connected to The Saints Way, describes the things that churches or groups of churches need to pay attention to if they are to flourish in the long term.

Once again, Jesus Christ is at the centre, as all things are held together in him. And as the circle expands, there is more detail about the ways in which we are called to be sustainable.

We know that sustainable churches attend to Christs gifts, including money and buildings. Money is a subject easily avoided by the church but like the whole world is groaningfor redemption. We need to address our financial sustainability if we want the church to continue worshipping God and serving others. We also need to pay attention to our church buildings which are a great gift in many places but which can also become a drain on resource.

Christs faithfulness is our connectedness to the one who is Alpha and Omega and who calls us into relationship. In order to be sustainable, we need to be calling and helping people to discover the Good News of Christs love for them and to be enabling those who already believe to grow in depth of faith.

Christs people refers to the community of people who make up the church, all of whom are called into a life of service for Gods glory and for the kingdom. A sustainable church will be enabling them to discover their specific calling, whether that be in their everyday life or to the church community. A sustainable church will also attends to models and patterns of ministry and leadership which are life giving.


As we set out On the Way, we have a clear destination in view: fruitfulness and sustainability. Its for each church and deanery to say how it is being called to become fruitful and sustainable. On the Way provides a way of doing that. However, we know that we have not said everything and it may well be that local churches find themselves called to express fruitfulness and sustainability in new ways which are not mentioned here. The bishops will be delighted to hear about these plans. Yet the multi-faceted understanding of fruitfulness and sustainability presented by the circles and explained here helps ensure that our understanding of each is rich and wide-ranging. We look forward to Deanery plans which help us become all that Christ calls us to be – for his glory.