A Season to Flourish
As you probably know, decisions about staffing our churches are taken by the Circuit Meeting, and the Meeting that met on June 26th at Bolton was considering whether or not we should be seeking to replace Rev Andrew who recently retired.
The meeting needed to balance the financial realities with the needs for ordained ministry, and a good discussion explored this tension. The outcome was a decision not to seek a full-time presbyter, but rather to seek a half-time equivalent minister. Half-time could mean sharing with another circuit or role, or perhaps someone who, due to health, age, personal circumstance is looking to a half-time post. We are aware that, as with a full-time post, the national shortage of ministers means we may not find someone, nevertheless the meeting agreed we should try.
The paper the Circuit Meeting looked at in coming to its decision included these words:
“In reflecting on the last 18 months we recognise that we have ’managed’, but not ‘flourished’, and that generally we are ‘managing’ decline, rather than enabling growth and flourishing. We do not believe that we are called to the management of a declining organisation, but rather to mission and ministry in response to God’s call. By ‘we’, we do not just mean our presbyters, but all of us across the circuit.”
So, in addition to the staffing proposal, the Circuit Meeting accepted the following invitation:
“Alongside this staffing proposal, and recognising both the uncertainties of the connexional situation and the frustrations of simple ‘managing’, we would invite the circuit to join us, over the next twelve months or so, in a season of discernment about our shared life going forward.”
We are going to call this ‘A season to flourish’, and there will be five parallel elements to it:
A genuine circuit engagement, facilitated by Rev Nick and the team, with Mission-shaped Ministry material, with a view to identifying possibilities for both new and refreshed ways of being church in North Bradford. We will run the 5 session Mission Shaped Intro Course, initially at Saltaire for 5 Tuesday evenings beginning on 27th August. We’ll also seek to identify a number of people to participate in the year-long Mission Shaped Ministry Course starting in November. These would be key people in guiding our thinking in mission-shaped ways.
Looking and Listening
A series of Quiet Days, facilitated initially by Rev Christine, Roy and Cathy, moving around the circuit churches, considering the responses made by churches to the questions asked a year ago about their future mission; and with the additional aim of gathering and enabling others to join in the work of Spirituality and Quiet Days across the circuit.
Walk a mile in these shoes
A series of local pilgrimages, facilitated by Rev Christine and the team, linking our churches and taking them beyond their walls, seeking to look both deeper into God and wider to God’s world, opening ourselves to God’s call.
Celebrating our creativity
A presentation, facilitated by Rev Phil and the team, bringing together and celebrating the gifts present in each of our communities, helping us to recognise both current strengths and potential areas for growth and development.
Learning from each other, and sharing the load
A willingness, in the light of the current reduction in presbyters, to share our experience of doing things differently, and to give new ways a try.
It’s going to be a busy year – please participate as you can, and hold it all in your prayers.