Tag Archives: ministry

All Aboard – session 4

In our final ‘All Aboard’ session, we looked at how we might organise ourselves, as churches of the Wilford Peninsula, so that we can engage most fully with Mission and Ministry.

We began by considering a number of ‘job titles’ and what they said to us about the tasks of ministry and mission entrusted to us. These were some of the thoughts that came to us :

Farmer

  • sows the seed, nurtures it,
  • keeps soil and crops healthy
  • has to cope with different soils and conditions
  • can be hard work esp. turning the ground
  • God gives the growth
  • not everything works

Entrepreneur

  • self-starter
  • makes things happen; motivates
  • sees opportunities
  • focussed; visionary
  • enables change

Carpenter

  • works with raw material
  • shapes; enhances
  • sees potential; knows community
  • plans, measures
  • helps to form meaning and identity; enabling people to tell their story

Midwife

  • enables transition
  • ongoing care

Undertaker

  • enables transition
  • death to life
  • lays to rest

Parent

  • nurture; care; guidance
  • teaches love
  • enables to grow to maturity

Weaver

  • works with colour & texture
  • makes connections
  • keeps balance (between warp & weft)
  • relationships, networks

National & Diocesan context

All the above job titles include an element of enabling growth. ‘Growth’ is on the diocesan agenda :

Growth in depth (rooting ourselves in God; making opportunities for learning); in numbers; in young people; in generosity.

94 stipendiary clergy will retire in the next 10 years and there are not 94 ‘new’ stipendiary clergy coming forward. The target (for the diocese) of 118 full-time posts has already almost been reached and is likely to be reduced further.

It appears that God is not calling people to stipendiary ministry – is there something we need to learn from this? Is God challenging us to look at new ways of being church?

Ancient & Modern – ways of being church

An ‘ancient’ way of being church Is the ‘minster’ model. Minsters were resource centres; usually monasteries; places of gathering, prayer, learning, hospitality, welcome. A ‘power house’ – but not just for themselves. Ministry went out from the minster to the surrounding areas. Ministers would go out from the minster to surrounding, often very small, communities who may not even have had a building to meet in but gathered around a large stone or tree. This model of church, which was true for a large part of church history, is one that has been used more recently, for several decades, in Hereford diocese. Do we need to acknowledge that there are some of our churches where it is no longer possible to sustain buildings and a vibrant church community? (Consideration is NOT being given to closing any churches, however)

Different ways of being church on the Wilford Peninsula :

Centre for Mission & Ministry

  • Based on the minster model
  • likely to have resident clergy
  • requires ‘critical mass’ in terms of both church and local community
  • likely to be financially buoyant
  • lots of things going on
  • able to give out to others
  • dynamic
  • able lay people involved
  • sufficiently large, lively & buoyant

Heritage

  • do one thing and do it well
  • dying to rise again?
  • festivals only? or one service per month? weekday service?
  • chapel of ease – able to be used but doesn’t have its own PCC

Pairings/Partnerships

  • Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs
  • could be ecumenical
  • Partnership with another Anglican church outside peninsula
  • ‘companion’ church (companion = ‘one with whom I share bread’)
  • are there natural pairings within the Wilford Team? where there is a similar liturgical preference (e.g. BCP) or a geographical proximity
  • Joint PCC meetings might bring energy

Locally led

  • uses ‘local’ priests, evangelists, pastors, readers
  • a future possibility rather than a short-term solution – there may be a parish which hears the call to explore this further
  • not in a vacuum – incumbent retains oversight and responsibility.

Next Steps

Each cluster of parishes within the benefice will hold an open meeting to which all are invited, whether or not they are on the PCC, electoral roll or attend church. Meetings are as follows :

Parishes of Butley, Chillesford, Iken, Orford & Sudbourne
Saturday 7th June, 10am in Orford Church

Parishes of Alderton, Bawdsey, Boyton, Hollesley & Ramsholt
Saturday 21st June, 10am in Hollesley Church (refreshments served from 9.30am)

Parishes of Bromeswell, Shottisham & Sutton
Saturday 28th June, 9.30am in Sutton Church (refreshments served from 9.15am)

Parishes of Eyke, Rendlesham, Tunstall & Wantisden
Saturday 5th July, 10am in St Felix Church, Rendlesham

Following these open meetings, the individual PCCs will make a response by the end of September, for consideration by the Steering Group.

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All Aboard – session 3

Having considered the foundations and building blocks of ‘church’, we changed tack (to maintain the nautical theme) and looked at interior decoration – how we might inhabit the (spiritual) building and make it our own.

Clare told us of her experience of a ‘Ministry Enablers’ conference which she attended last summer in the Diocese of Auckland, New Zealand. There, stipendiary (paid) ministers do not have particular parish responsibilities but are mentors/consultants to those who have been called out of their local communities to be priests, deacons, pastors, evangelists, catechists and administrators. If a church community cannot find 6 people within the local community to fulfil each of these roles, then they are considered not to be a church but a mission field.

Our God is an enabling God. He gives us the tools and resources we need to be His Church but we have to recognise His call and be generous in our use of our gifts and talents.

We spent some time individually considering how we are uniquely gifted and called by God and how He has shaped our lives. God shapes each one of us (through Scripture) into his likeness and we pray that this course will shape our future ministry. All are made in the image of God but our ‘shape’ is not fixed, nor is it a product of chance. Rather we can choose to work with God in shaping our lives through

Spiritual gifts – everyone has gifts
Heart’s desire – what motivates, excites me
Abilities – talents, gifts, skills; God given and to be used
Personality – unique
Experience – life throws lots of different experiences at me

Everyone is commissioned for ministry at their baptism, just as Jesus was. Each is commissioned to ‘Shine as a light in the world’

I am called to prayer and worship – ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart….’

I am called to service – ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’

When I identify where God ties in with my personal story and share it with someone else, that is evangelism.

Looking at Scripture helps us to discern our shape and we looked at eight short passages from the New Testament and tried to summarise them from our own point of view. The table below shows the verses on the left and a suggested summary on the right. The ‘I’ statements make particularly powerful reading and emphasise how each individual Christian is called to ministry and service.

Ephesians 2.10
“For we are what God has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”
I’ve been created to serve God.
Galatians 1.15“But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace..” I’ve been uniquely chosen
1 Peter 4.10“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” I’ve been given a gift to use in serving others
Matthew 28.18-19“And Jesus came and said to them ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Jesus commissions me as his disciple
Ephesians 4.11-12“The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” My gifts are to equip myself and others for ministry
1 Corinthians 12.17,18,27“If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose… Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it…” God has placed me here for a purpose and the Church needs me. Everyone’s ministry is equally important.
Romans 14.10, 12“Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we all stand before the judgement seat of God.. So then, each of us will be accountable to God.” I’m accountable to God for how I use my life (and must not judge others)
Colossians 3.23-24“Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.” I do it for Christ and not to impress other people.