T1 was established two years ago, with the existing Priests in Charge and Vicars there encouraged to move towards Oversight Ministry. These Oversight Ministers have been operating across their own parishes and benefices, but plans are in place for them to work across the whole Mission Area.
Associate Archdeacon the Revd Canon Julie Upton explains how it’ll work:
“This service is to mark the establishment of what we’re calling the ‘South Pennine Mission Area’, which includes Penistone, Thurlstone, Thurgoland, Tankersley, Wortley and the Cornerstone Benefice of Deepcarr and Bolsterstone.
“It’s a huge Mission Area with three Oversight Ministers, and they will be licensed across the whole of the Mission Area.
“But this is only half of the story! Alongside the Oversight Ministers a host of hugely talented Focal Ministers are also being authorised to serve in local churches across the Mission Area.
“We have a group of Focal Ministers at Penistone and Thurlstone, and we’re going to be authorising teams at Wortley, Thurgoland, Tankersley, Deepcarr and Bolsterstone and the Stocksbridge Christian Centre.
“I believe it’s the first Mission Area to be fully established, so with Oversight Ministers and Focal Ministers in place.”
The journey towards this has involved lots of meetings between clergy and staff, with teamwork being essential.
Julie says it’s been particularly important to empower lay people to take on leadership positions:
“It’s been about strengthening relationships and working with the PCCs to help them understand the new model.
“We’ve also worked with Director of Focal Ministry Sally Myers, who has been working alongside the PCCs to help identify and support the Focal Ministers.
“My hope is that we will be able to continue to work together and explore ways in which we can support each other. We need to share resources, be honest with each other and ask for help where needed. We can explore the possibility of big services to share together, along with programmes of learning and discipleship and social action.
“We’re talking about a lot of churches here! So we’ll all need a lot of support and encouragement, but it’s an exciting next step.”
The service of celebration will take place at 7.30pm on Monday 14th November at Wortley St Leonard’s.
The national church, through its Transformation Fund, has provided support for roles that directly support Mission Areas. This support lasts for five years (until 2025). It includes:
Associate Archdeacons – one per paired deanery
Church Buildings Officers – to support with building related issues that could be fabric or usage
DAC Support Officer – to support with identifying improvements and faculty processes
Digital Mission Adviser – helping with digital mission throughout the week such as discipleship, prayer groups and services
Church Operations and Generosity Support – providing advice on compliance, developing giving and implementing giving initiatives
HR Adviser – increased capacity to offer HR advice across the Diocese
Lights for Christ Enabler – working within Mission Areas to develop discipleship