Mission in the Bolingbroke Deanery
THE PLAN. A United Deanery to be worked in Parish Clusters
The Bolingbroke Deanery Plan will work towards all the parishes of the Deanery becoming part of One United Benefice. This is a legal entity which will make Bolingbroke Deanery into one ecclesiastical unit. Each Parish will remain a distinct area with its own PCC.
Working as a Team Ministry
Ten years ago each of the Deanery’s 5 Groups had its own incumbent (Vicar, Rector, Priest in Charge) but this is no longer practicable or even desirable. In a team ministry the clergy and lay ministers work together to serve the whole area. The usual pattern is to have a Team Rector and a number of Team Vicars/Ministers; each with their specific responsibilities.
Valuing the relationship between a Parish and its Parson, working initially with the 5 existing groups, a person is to be designated as Parish Minister for a cluster of Parishes. That person can be ordained or lay, voluntary or stipended, chosen by the PCC's to be part of the deanery ministry team under the guidance of the Rector/Rural Dean.
In our case we are looking to fund as part of the team:
3 Full Time Clergy & 1 Half Time Team Administrator
· Rector based in Spilsby - Half Time Parish Priest & Half Time Deanery Faciliator (Rural Dean)
· Vicar based in North of Deanery (South Ormsby) - Half Time Parish Priest & Half Time Deanery Spirituality Co-ordinator
· Vicar based in South of Deanery (Stickney) - Half time Parish Priest & Half time Deanery Development Co-ordinator
· Team Administrator (Half Time) in Deanery Office in Spilsby
1 "House for Duty Priest Type Post" if funding can be found though new Diocesan Imitative
Because we are a sparsely populated area and have a large number of Churches it is extremely difficult to have an adequate "parson presence" without the development of the Deanery Plan to 3 full time posts.
The Deanery Synod has committed itself to maintain the present level of giving in order to provide 3 full time posts plus a half time Administrator in place of the last plan's 2.5 full time equivalent plus a half time administrator.
The decision was made because of several factors:
Volunteer & Lay Ministries need time to develop
No slack (health problems have high impact)
High value people place on Full time Ministers
Proven ability to finance at the level required
Continuity of Leadership
Circumstances alter cases and it has become evident over the latter part of 2011 that the previous plan would seriously weaken our mission in the Deanery. We have been blessed with many committed people ministering in a variety of ways across the deanery, but not evenly so. But we have not been consistent in adding new people to the two existing Ministry Teams (no one in the last 5 years) and many of the members are feeling it is nearing the point when they will step down from their present responsibilities.
The Rev'd. Joan Thornett will step down at Christmas as Volunteer Community Chaplain (Assistant Curate) in the Stickney Group and although we have two OLM ordinands who are looking at ordination in 2013/14 that will deplete our active Readers to 2. It is obvious that they will need extra support during this period of formation and as such will need distinctive input from the Deanery Team. We only have 1 active retired priest who can only help in a very limited way.
It has been shown that because of the ill health in a full time team member over the last year we need to provide at least some capacity in our directable team.
We are very aware of the challenges that recruitment and retention are presenting in our rural part of the Diocese. We have seen neighbouring Deaneries struggling to attract suitable priests to several significant vacancies and have seen very able priests moving on much sooner than one would expect. To that end we believe that our method/ model of working has to be attractive and workable. Attractive in the sense of being part of a group of people excited by a vision of revitalising the Rural Church in God's Mission and workable in the sense of a clear role description, a defined area to work and committed collegial working.
It has also become clear that people are committed to support people in full time ministry and have a deep sense of satisfaction that over the past years they have committed more per head of population than most/all other parts of the Diocese. As the payment of share over the last years has shown we have provided more than the amount required to fund the new plan and the projected budget shows that it is in our capabilities to do so into the foreseeable future. Also the fact that the two full time members of the team are approaching retirement there will be an opportunity to review the working and the financing of the plan within the next 5 years.
Demographics are a dominant factor in the present life of the Church of England as it is in Bolingbroke Deanery. Change will happen and this is true especially for the present Full Time Clergy, considering that they are of a similar age and could well both have retired in the next 5 years. This has particular consequences if we stick with the 2.5 post holders both in terms of succession planning and Church Growth. It would be more likely that any house for duty post we managed to fill would be those in early retirement and as Bob Jackson has pointed out in his statistical work for the Church that ministers tend to attract people not so far away from their own age we would tend to be consolidating the predominantly high age profile of the local church.
It could also mean that both full time clergy members could leave within a short space of time leaving a real problem of continuity and leadership.
Therefore, because of these factors it would seem imperative to seek for a third full time member of the Deanery Team. To seek particularly for a person who can potentially have greater longevity of service, who will be enthusiastic in approaching fresh ways of recognising God's Kingdom and helping us to carry forward the discipleship for the whole of our area. It would be good if this kind of post could be offered following their curacy to those who we need to retain in (or attract to) the Diocese and would enable us to look at our shared life with new eyes.
As an additional possibility for the future, if the Diocesan review of 2012 produces additional resources, the notion of a house for duty type post can be an revisited. A house for duty is an unpaid post that offers a Sunday and 2 other days in the week (6 sessions am, pm, evening) in return for a house free of rent or rates etc. The houses would be the present stock of parsonage houses or those bought in exchange for them.
So we could deploy four priests but at the cost to the Deanery Budget of 3.25 Full Time Equivalents. Work will need to be done to make the HfD post attractive but with a large number of clergy approaching retirement age in the near future there may be a good chance of attracting the right people.
Voluntary Ministers to be identified for area responsibility
We already have for 9 years benefited from a model of a Non Stipendiary Minister (Joan Thornett) fulfilling the role of a Parish Priest and so in the new plan alongside the 3 FT (& 1 HfD), our intention is to deploy as many suitable "local ministers" to be the "Parson" as well to a defined cluster of Churches.
All working as "Parish Parsons" to a "Cluster"
So as well as the clergy, paid or unpaid, it may well be that appropriate Readers or Lay Ministers could fulfil this role.
Spilsby, Marden Hill, Stickney, Partney & South Ormsby Groups initially.
We would start from where we are with a "Parish Parson" working as the lead in each of the present 5 Groups but it would be hoped that enough people could be found to enable smaller groups to flourish. At present that would mean one FT PP overseeing Spilsby, Marden Hill & Partney (with OLM's & Readers) one overseeing South Ormsby and one Stickney. With all included in a United Benefice there will need be a good deal of flexibility and that nothing will be set in stone - our overall belief is still that small is beautiful.
Oversight of the Benefice will be shared by the MAPG.
We have all the systems in place already to administer the Benefice. There would be no need for a Benefice Council the MAPG group would be the body who gives strategic direction.
Each full time priest will have a deanery wide role as Rector/R D & Deanery Spirituality/Worship Co-ordinator & Deanery Development Co-ordinator.
It would seem vital that if the system is to work then a large part of our expensive resource (paid clergy) should be devoted to building up the local leadership we need, not only in terms of mission but in the practical skills needed, buildings finance etc.
It is intended other ministers will head groups for other specialism's
It would be good to develop more skills in the wider ministry team and leadership in other areas, rural life, social need, healing etc. would be beneficial to our mission.
Administrator; employed half time
A great deal of time is employed in keeping the show on the road and our Administrator (at present half time) is able to free clergy and others for more direct ministry and provides for a more effective use of the skill mix available.
The Deanery to work on a Collegiate Ministry Concept; all members having equal status with Team Rector as chair.
One of the real difficulties that the Church has to wrestle with is the way hierarchy can be seen as very top down or bottom up process but our model is based on the theological understanding that we are all equal under God and our calling to different forms of ministry does not imply that one is of higher or lower in status. Each person in the team is of equal importance and pledges to work together as sisters and brothers.
Readers, Local Ministers & Retired Clergy will co-operate in mission and ministry across the deanery as discerned.
It is important to include all ministries across the deanery, particularly working with in local areas under the leadership of the "Parish Parson".
Mission, Ministry, Discipleship Training will have a high priority.
An essential if we are to take the faith to the next generation or the one after that!
There follows a realistic "map" of the current Christian presence in the Area, with particular reference to strengths and weaknesses in relation to the overall task of Mission and Ministry.
The Church of England
41 Church Buildings
2 in redundancy process
2 Full Time Clergy (from 18/11/12)
Half Time Deanery Administrator
Training Curate to 2014?
1 NSM Parish Priest until Christmas - Then PTO
2 OLM Ordinands (deaconed 2013, Priested 2014?)
1 Retired Priest with PTO (Permission to Officiate) ( + 1 without)
1 PTO Readers
1 Marden Hill
Church Wardens, PCC members, 3 Licensed to administer Communion
The Roman Catholic (Spilsby)
0.4 Full Time Priest (ex Anglican)
0 Pastoral Assistants
3 Eucharistic Ministers
The Methodist Church
(Churches in Spilsby & MH Group Areas Only)
4 Church Buildings + Wesley Chapel Raithby)
Spilsby redeveloped "Meeting Point
Spilsby part of Mid-Lincs Circuit
Superintendent-Minister in Horncastle with Oversight of Spilsby, Toynton, Halton,
+ the Coningsby Minister who has oversight of Bolingbroke).
1 Retired Minister
4 Local Preachers
1 Vol. Pastoral Assistant
7 Worship Leaders (Check)
Stewards & Church Council
The Christian Fellowship (Spilsby)
1 Church + Community Room
1 Spare time leader and lay ministers
New Life Church (Spilsby)
(Old Grammar School)
3+ (enthusiastic) Lay Leaders
The Baptist Church
1 Church Historic Building Monthly worship Minister live in Nottingham.
Independent Ministries & Fellowships
1 Brethren type house meeting fellowship
A reliable inventory of available resources and how these might be developed and deployed in the future
Ø 41 Church Buildings
Ø A determined effort to have sustainability and flexibility of use.
Ø 5 Clergy Houses (2 occupied)
Ø South Ormsby Rectory as a Resource Centre for training, prayer etc.
Ø Spilsby Vicarage's upper room & Deanery Administrator's office.
Ø 4 Church Schools
Ø 3 Church Halls
Ø A community room in a parish church to be developed
Ø Godsend Project -Spilsby
Ø 2 Local Ministry Teams
Ø 0 Sunday Schools
Ø What children's work is going on? How can we make it grow? Theme days held jointly?
Ø 3 Family Service Teams
Ø 1 Churches Together Group based on Spilsby
Ø 2 Experienced Retreat Conductors/Spiritual Directors
Ø 1 Choir
Ø Olive Tree Christian Resources Shop/Centre
Our Present Strength
§ 2 Full Time Clergy & 1 NSM Priest (PTO)
§ 2 OLM Ordinands
§ 2 Readers
§ Spilsby, Mardon Hill, Stickney, Partney & South Ormsby Group structures
§ Unity and collegiality in the Deanery.
§ Parish Priests: Peter Coates & Cheryl Hilliam.
§ Parish Portion to be allocated each group by MAPG
A schedule of initiatives in mission which could reasonably be pursued in the near future
1. The reinvigoration of our corporate prayer life,
2. Shared Continuing Ministerial Training with surrounding Deaneries & other Churches
3. Developing the Methodist/Anglican Covenant
4. Develop the use of Church Buildings to local needs
5. Joint nurture course (e.g. Emmas, Alpha, PFC etc.)
6. Look again at visitor ministry with the bodies such as the Churches Tourism Association.
7. Support Structures for Church Officers.
8. Actively seek for funding for new Church/community programmes
A budget based on reliable information available from the Diocesan Office with regard to costings, allocations and apportionments
1. Balanced budget to be maintained.
2. Monies raised centrally will be allocated to defray costs on a pro rata basis.
3. Funding progress to be reviewed regularly and regular deanery meetings to be held to develop collective responsibility.
Timetable for implementation and review of the Plan.
1. Following agreement at October 2012 Deanery Synod electronic consultation with LLPC and Diocesan Scrutiny Committee implementation January 2013. Approved December 2012.
2. Continuing review