The Story Of Multiply 2022

David Cornish

July 2022

On 23 June 2022, over 1,500 people gathered for Multiply 2022 at 12 locations across the UK and online. David Cornish gives an account of some of the day's highlights.

The Story of Multiply 2022

“It’s vital that we talk to one another; recognising our need for each other, the dangers of isolation, the gift that we are to one another and the shared learning that we can each contribute to.”

This was the opening sentiment of Multiply 2022, shared by Helen Shannon from the concrete-and-leafy surrounds of the Strawberry Vale Estate in North London, where she leads the Church@Five plant. 

“Let’s not lose that creativity that we all discovered during the last two years and our need for creative partnerships,” said Helen. “We need everyone, to reach everyone; everyone has their part to play.”

It was this thematic thread – of a diverse body responding to the call of Christ, to make disciples and plant churches – that ran throughout the fifth annual church planting conference of CCX.

The diversity of locations gave Multiply 2022 the opportunity to host truly local conversations; for delegates to meet both familiar and new faces, and engage in the discussions most pressing to each neighbourhood. 

Following two years of online-only conferences, Multiply 2022 took place at 12 locations across the UK and online. Over 1,500 delegates came together on 23 June, eagerly welcomed by teams at:

  • Stockton
  • Bradford
  • Salford
  • Wrexham
  • Norwich
  • Coventry
  • Spitalfields
  • Bristol
  • Southall Green
  • Southwark
  • Crawley
  • Southampton

Delegates joining online were hosted by the wonderful panel of Naomi Maxwell, Discipleship Director and lead pastor of Shoreditch Church, at SAINT in East London, Beth Burras, head of the formational programme for the training of Anglican Evangelists with Church Army, Father Ross Gunderson, vicar of St Etheldreda with St Clement Fulham, in West London, and Tolu Olajide, founder of Balanced Wheel, a charity that offers support and resources to those who are grieving.

Right to left: Ross Gunderson, Naomi Maxwell, Tolu Olajide, Beth Burras

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, welcomed all delegates of Multiply 2022 with a video message shown at every location, encouraging everyone to take account of the whole ecosystem of the Church. “We know that one size doesn’t fit all. We know that God is calling us to try new things, to reach groups of people who do not yet know Christ.”

Each location ran a unique programme, blending seminars and stories from local church planters with video talks from Ed Stetzer, professor and dean of Wheaton College in Illinois, USA, and conversations from a diverse set of speakers. 

It was an honour to be joined by Ed, a highlight of Multiply 2019, returning to offer insights he has acquired in his work as an author, researcher, pastor and church planter

“We’re on the same mission, to show and share the love of Jesus amidst a broken and hurting world,” said Ed, a leading voice in the world of church planting and cultural analysis.

Delegates heard three talks from Ed throughout the day, anchoring each of Multiply 2022’s three parts in a theological discussion: the mission of God, a post-Covid missiology, and a call to raise up new leaders. Equip members can view all of Ed’s talks via CCX.media – to find out more about becoming an Equip member, take a look at our membership options

A feature enjoyed at many of Multiply 2022’s locations was the invitation to participate in roundtable discussion – an opportunity to engage with leaders and other delegates, to process something of what had been heard on the day and to contribute to the conversation. Hundreds of delegates across the nation were able to share what they felt God was doing in their neighbourhoods.

John McGinley, executive director of Myriad, led delegates in reflections at Fountains Church Bradford, whilst Rachel Malyk of Vision Church, West Yorkshire, offered others to join in a seminar on ‘The Church of the future’, exploring what it means to plant with a generational vision of raising more church planters.

In East London, at Christ Church Spitalfields, delegates were greeted by a team including CCX host, Wole Agbaje and local hosts, Darren Wolf and Toby Lewis Thomas. The East London programme – one of three Multiply 2022 locations taking place in the capital – featured a range of London-based stories and contributors, including Rachel Jordan-Wolf’s insightful seminar Talking Jesus, whose statistical insights and practical learnings of the significance of working with children and young people stirred many.

Hope Street, Wrexham, became the first Welsh venue to host a Multiply conference, where delegates heard local stories from the region, including that of Father Dominic Cawdell – Wales’ youngest ever deacon. 

Father Dominic shared his experience of running a food bank at St Peter’s Church, Rose Hill, whose users became drawn to the Eucharist that Father Dominic offered during a service which ran in parallel with the foodbank. To his amazement, around 90 people began attending the service, most not regular church goers before. An astonishing 25 have been baptised into the Church.

Multiply 2022 delegates worshipping at St Marks, Coventry

A particular highlight of Multiply 2022 seen at all locations was a conversation between Bernice Hardie and John McGinley. Bernice is the leader of WAVE Church in North London, a mixed ability church group where individuals with and without learning disabilities come together to worship. Her honest, often vulnerable insights were an encouragement to many other lay planters in attendance, who identified with Bernice’s experience of grappling with exactly what God was calling them to. John McGinley shared thoughts on how Myriad can support lay planters like Bernice, providing community and a shared learning experience for all those responding to God’s call to start something new, in a new place, reaching new people. 

The day – which even national rail strikes couldn’t derail – was concluded with an encouragement and challeng from Ric Thorpe, Bishop of Islington. Speaking from the inspiring surroundings of the Great Model in the Trophy Room of St Paul’s Cathedral, Ric invited us all to reflect on Jesus’ call to, and to consider what our response might look like in our own communities and contexts.’

“Even amid the huge challenges of recent years,” said Ric, “we are discovering afresh that Jesus is still with us, as he has promised – all through history he is faithful. It is after all Jesus’ Church. He is building it.

“He is with you. And he is for you.”

It is the prayer of CCX that God would continue to stir each of us, to reflect on what we encountered during Multiply 2022 – in the story of another, in the words of Ed Stetzer or conversation of Bishop Lusa Nsenga Ngoy and Anna Poulson, or in a time of worship shared with other delegates. We need everyone, to reach everyone; everyone has their part to play.

If you’d like to watch any content from Multiply 2022, you can find it here

You can now register your interest for Multiply 2023, to look ahead and continue the conversations at the heart of our shared vision – to see the Church reach new people in new and renewed ways. 

Related topics ▸Multiply 2022
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