The Need for Church
Since 2004 the Diocese has been exploring how it can develop its 'calling under God' to be a missionary community, a compassionate community, a learning community, a generous community and an expectant community.
The five communities are explained below:
A Missionary Community
Becoming 'Good News', attracting and welcoming people of all ages and all sorts to discover God’s love for them and for His world and to grow to worship Him in Jesus; bringing evangelism and renewal to the heart of every church’s life.
A Compassionate Community
Recognising that the Church exists for God’s world, and witnessing to Christ’s compassion and lordship in marriage, friendship and family life, in the places where we live and work and in the social and political issues of the day.
A Learning Community
Calling, training and nurturing our lay and ordained leaders, and encouraging them everywhere to collaborate with each other.
An Expectant Community
Reviewing with our ecumenical colleagues our patterns of church life and the use of our buildings, trusting God to show us fresh ways, and the means to improve what we do already.
A Generous Community
Responding to God’s generosity by budgeting for the work of the Church in the parish and across the Diocese and the Church of England and for the support of our partners in Myanmar and in Central Africa, and meeting these budgets through regular, sacrificial and proportionate giving.
Diocesan Conference Commitments
The Diocesan Conference of April 2006 was the culmination of widespread consultation through which Christian communities in the Diocese sought what 'Our Calling Under God' meant for each of them. By April 2007, the commitments made focused on four themes:
A group was set up with the task of reviewing the categories of ministry and their encouragement, discernment, training and deployment to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of today’s church. It prepared a definition of ministry and considered the appropriate role for the Diocesan family in the authorisation and training of ministry within local church communities. Further detailed information on the existing forms of lay ministry is being sought as this work must reflect the needs of church communities now and in the future.
The Diocese also committed itself to find a leader in each church community. The review of ministry is important in this, but we also need to understand the concept of leadership within a church community as well as how we provide training for it. The Director of Ministry and others have been looking into these questions and how, with partners, we can provide such training within the resources available.
The most repeated ambition in the consultations related to healthy growth in discipleship, communities, and making new Christians in every community. To make this happen we committed ourselves to a mission audit in every place. to focus our efforts on growth. Bishop Paul led a group which has brought together accessible tools and held a series of briefing meetings in deaneries and “taster” events to allow church community representatives a chance to learn more. This work was initially focused on church communities, prior to its outcomes being shared within Deaneries.
Framework for Ministry
The Diocese also sought to make our structures flexible and ensure they sustain growth, but our particular focus at this time is on the Deanery. In recent years, it has become the focus of discussion about deployment of ministry and it could be the place where resources are shared for growth. We are looking at the role of the Deanery as an effective presence in our family life, who is required to lead it, and the size and area which should form each one. This work must continue to reflect the thinking of the family.
The ongoing development of this pastoral vision will be considered by representatives from the Diocese.
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