Here to help
Strategic Programme Director
There are early indications that various strands of the Diocesan strategy are already proving fruitful. However, we have become aware that a more fundamental shift is needed.
This Diocese, in common with the wider Church of England, has (for at least three decades) increasingly spread stipendiary clergy too thinly and has sought to supplement them with retired priests and self-supporting clergy; but even with the contribution of these faithful people, the inherited model of parochial ministry is not sustainable and is insufficient to reverse longstanding decline. This has been further exacerbated by the pandemic.
For this reason, work was undertaken between 2018 and March 2019 by a Task and Finish group to examine all options that might enable the Diocese to create a sustainable platform from which to grow.
Underpinning the strategy for mission and growth
Our new model of ministry emerged from a period of extensive consultation in 2019 about how to release the whole people of God for the whole mission of God; and to deploy a reduced number of stipendiary incumbents more fruitfully. This model assumes a sharper focus for ordained leadership and a change in our structures for mission and ministry.
Mission Areas & Oversight Ministry
The model will see a change in culture. 59 Mission Areas have been created across the Diocese. These are geographical territories made up of a group of parishes. They will each contain one (or more in many cases) Oversight Ministers; these are ordained (and usually stipendiary) leaders who oversee mission and ministry for these Mission Areas. They provide vision, direction, and leadership for the area. They are tasked with growing a healthy church, to ensure that mission and ministry across the Mission Area reflects the Christian faith as understood in the Church of England. They promote the implementation of the Diocesan strategy and support local leaders or focal ministers.
Focal Leadership & Ministry
Focal Ministry is a new form of authorised lay ministry to help to provide local focus and a regular presence to existing and new congregations. Focal ministers will normally work as part of a team with one or more Oversight Ministers and alongside other lay leaders like Readers, worship leaders and churchwardens. Focal Ministry recognises and celebrates the calling of Christians to play their part in the Mission and Ministry of their church, under God. Focal Ministers are volunteer local leaders of their congregations. They provide a focus for both the local congregation and the wider community, in partnership with the Oversight Minister in their Mission Area.
Focus on Team!
Together, the Oversight Ministry and Focal Ministry teams seek to mobilise the whole people of God for the whole mission of God, enabling all the baptised to enter into the fulness of their baptismal calling to shine as lights for Christ in the world to the glory of God the Father.
How it could look…