Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013 – Session 14
The 14th session of the Diocesan Conference is entitled “Mission, ministry and discipleship review” and is led by Caroline Baston. This is a live blog – apologies for any spelling mistakes and/or typos.
Caroline Baston has chaired a complex review asking serious questions, suffering from ill health couldn’t make the drive up here, so Tim Sledge has agreed to present the findings.
Want to focus on some of the themes as we look at a new direction of travel. Want to be very clear – the report has done an awful lot of research, asked various surveys, obtained lots of statistics, large number of interviews and discussion with the Mission, Ministry and Discipleship department. Had a huge number of changes, been asked lots of questions, and yet delivered consistently. They;ve been unsettling times, and have taken a long time, as we seek to change direction of travel rather than quick changes.
During the process started every meeting with prayer. More than a quick nod to God during oepning of bags, but led some themes of being on the threshold, trail blazing God.
On the Threshold
We have lots of new things happening, but this threshold demands an urgent change. Linda Woodhead spoke at a conference on the latest statistics from the census, which makes for sober reading. She had never come across an organisation of the church for a collective ability to ignore the facts. Especially important is what is happening the younger groups and how they see the church as irrelevant.
If you use a SatNav your destination is the first thing you think of and the last place you get to. That’s the vision that’s laid out, the values, and how we tick is that destination. Then it programmes and works out where you are. On holiday in Ireland a few years ago, got utterly lost, asked for directions to Shannon. He was told “well now, I wouldn’t be starting from here” but here is where we are. That is where the direction of travel will be set, and how the resourcing of travel will be.
Usual Sunday attendance has a downward trend from 2006 over 22k to 2011 over 20k. Confirmations again on a downward cycle. Funerals are a signifcant opporunity, and again a large downward trend. This is not unique to Winchester, but the Church. Age profiles of Clergy and SSM and Readers are very high.
English people with no French language trying to order coffee and cake – which the waitress didn’t understand so they shout louder again and again. The different languages we are speaking don’t get any easier if you shout louder.
The typical Christian is a young black women – we have an awful long way to go to catch up understanding the world. Not just new ways of reading the map. The M1 is littered with distribution centres, and the motorway is clogged with lorries, too often we’ve been warehouses and we need to become distribution centres close to information highways.
You listen to things, you thiink it is amazing, the hairs go on the back of your neck, but how do I explain it, bottle the enthusiasm and explain to my parish? My diary is rammed, how am I going to do this – how can I integrate this? How do we go back and prepare for revival? This department will be one of the most critical parts of it.
Previously was a Diocesan Missioner, thought the job was to do Mission and Evangelism, but after a year realised not spending much time with non-Christians. Was worried he wasn’t supposed to be doing that. Your job is to convert the church is what he heard God say. Convert the church to a mission and evangelism agenda. So many fantastic opportunities.
Abiding by Ben Quashi refers on p. 155 to Shechinah showing God as trailblazer leading the way for the camp. Re-Pitching The Tent by Richard Joys is worth reading. We want to showcase all that is of excellence in Cathedral and Big Top.
Global church needs an understanding of
- doing local mission with global awareness
- participating in global mission
- learning from the global church internationally
- receiving the global church locally
Media and communication is critical. How our lobbying voice can be a support and challenge to politicians with partnership for the Anglican voice. How do we liaise with our church schools – our other congregation – whether or not they are church schools or not. Doing more to develop diocesan global partnerships.
The Transforming Nature of God, remembering how much has been done, remembring St. John the Divine through the programme Call the Midwife – it was prophetic work. In terms of our ministry and faith devlopment how about every church being ready for birth, for life to be born there. The Clapham Sect leading to the CMS and now Divine Chocolate as a reminder, personally was hoping for rose petals and someone to rub him down late at night! The Trussell Trust and the amazing work they are doing.
What needs transforming? We need to be there to hold the hand of those who are utterly terrified of this. The SatNav if you go wrong, if you take a detour, will help get you back on course. We need people on the team who help recalculate the journey or give encouragement when on the right road.
The specific task is the conversion to the new route of travel. To help define with us the strategic vision, to encourage and resource the discipling of people. So key recommendations are about blending the best of old and new with the disicpleship of all people at every stage of faith.
Mind the Gap
Bishop Tom spoke about the beatitudes. Robert Warren wrote a great book about the beatitutdes and said those who mourn in the Greek is those who mind the gap – those who mind about those who weep, who have pain.
- Team Leader/Third Archdeacon – in place to do the evaluation, the work and how. Archdeacon should not get caught up in systems and structures, but create them to enable mission in and through the diocese.
- Design and delivery of framework – how are we going to travel with people on the route map.
- Vocation of all – royal priesthood – all called to the challenge of this task.
- Support of the new
- Pioneering for all and not for the few – James’ DVD shows a mixed economy – a blend of tradition and pioneering with permission and freedom to fail.
Were 67 recommendations in total in the detailed report on the website.
- Approves the direction of travel as set out in the summary of the mission, ministry and discipleship review.
- Approves the creation of an Archdeacon for Mission Development, to be responsible for those areas of work summarised in the report.
- Requests the Bishop’s Council to continue to work through more detailed recommendations in developing a new mission and ministry strategy.
Questions for review
- What excites you about this?
- What do you think is missing?
- Where is God calling you to contribute/participate in this?
- What resources do we/I need “on the ground” as we travel in this direction?
- Why an ArchDeacon as we have mirrored clergy-lay?
- +Tom Wright’s teaching and preaching has been enormously powerful, we can’t see that input into church life in the document.
- Ethnic diversity is lacking at this conference, and so want to see a focus on that?
- Have the group considered the growth of the London 2020 vision and how we can learn lessons from?
- Does this person need to be ordained?
- Can we approve one element but not another?
- A commitment to excellence – delivering excellence if asking people to attend training etc., more individually centred flexibility to enable
- How is this going to be funded?
- The laity could be harnessed but this language needs to link with them.
Bishop Tim’s response: ArchDeacons carry some responsibilities that allow them to do things that others can’t do. This is an essential part of how the church works – showing how important we see it is. More significant to have ArchDeacon than to have a Director. An ArchDeacon will be listened to in a way that others quite frankly won’t. An ArchDeacon globally carries weight and is able to open the doors.