Ministry Strategy Feedback and Advisory Group
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This page provides access to all issues that have been raised and all feedback

ISS-0001 Labelling these Mission Communities does not make them all about mission. How, in practice, will Mission Communities be more missional than what is currently happening? How will these proposals help grow disciples across Cumbria? x 7
ISS-0002 Changing the style and pattern of church (for some/many churchgoers, particularly in rural areas) may lead to disenchantment and a decline in numbers. x 6
ISS-0003 Is there really no Plan B? There must be alternatives. People need intelligent choices. x 5
ISS-0004 Paid (stipendiary) clergy will become even more remote and apart from our communities. x 3
ISS-0005 Even with this strategy will there not be still too many small (rural) churches? x 2
ISS-0006 The proposals seem to assume that most parishes have moved from survival to revival and have embraced a mission approach to what they are doing. That assumption is optimistic.
ISS-0007 Introducing new Mission Communities may mean a reversal of good existing relationship.
ISS-0008 How will disputes between parishes (or ecumenical issues) be resolved? Who will have the authority to do that, and how?
ISS-0009 Where/how do larger churches fit into this pattern?
ISS-0010 If there were a move from pastoral to mission in our community this could do great damage to the existing faith of involved Christians.(x 3)
ISS-0011 There is a danger that this is a survival strategy, not a growth strategy.
ISS-0012 We are very concerned that this is a vision which is unachievable.
ISS-0013 We were not very enthusiastic, with a lot of concern about the levels of research, detail and realism of the proposals, and hesitation about the assumptions of the whole process.
ISS-0014 The strategy might work better in urban areas but in rural there is more need for pastoral care than for mission.
ISS-0015 We fear that, even with these arrangements, we may still close because of a lack of commitment or finance.
ISS-0016 What confidence is there that there are sufficient clergy who are willing and able to be mission community leaders - leaders in mission, not simple managers of churches? x 10
ISS-0017 The name mission community is not helpful or clear. How, in practice and in plain English, will these be communities? And will they actually, in real life, be about mission? x 7
ISS-0018 Mission Communities should not be too large. If they are too large then people will lose a sense of belonging and travel becomes dificult and expensive. x 5
ISS-0019 What will happen to parishes that are unwilling to try this approach? Can they opt out? x 4
ISS-0020 Will these proposals mean there are even more meetings and bureaucracy than at present, thereby distracting us from mission? x 4
ISS-0021 How will the individual Mission Communities be agreed? Each PCC needs to have the opportunity to be actively involved in any proposed arrangements? x 4
ISS-0022 Mission Communities need to be respectful of the different traditions within them. x 4
ISS-0023 What will be the process of deciding which church will be in which Mission Community, and in particular how will this be sorted for churches of other denominations? x 2
ISS-0024 How, in practice, will leadership and authority flow in a Mission Community?
ISS-0025 Mission Communities need to be based on history and geographic relationships.
ISS-0026 Who will have authority over Mission Community Leaders - to ensure they are fulfilling their role? Do Bishops or Archdeacons have capacity for such in-depth work and encouragement.
ISS-0027 The aspiration of 100 additional ordained ministers and 50 to 150 additional lay ministers by 2020 is too ambitious. Where are all these vocations coming from, and how will they be recruited? x 28
ISS-0028 Some laity will welcome additional responsibility and involvement. But many laity are already tired or overworked. Do these proposals expect too much of the laity? Will those already working hard decide enough is enough and step back? x 15
ISS-0029 In small (rural) churches there are simply not enough people to take more responsibility. x 5
ISS-0030 Danger of clergy drifting (or being attracted) into increased managerialism. x 4
ISS-0031 In many areas of society volunteering is diminishing. These proposals assume a massive increase in volunteering. Additional volunteers will need extra support. x 4
ISS-0032 How will local leaders be trained and monitored? What will be the role of the local leaders? x 4
ISS-0033 The strategy seems to enormously add to the workload of existing clergy. x 4
ISS-0034 What confidence is there that clergy will want to work in the Mission Community set-up? x 3
ISS-0035 How will new local ministers, lay and ordained, be selected or called out. Will a process of selection create friction or tension within congregations? x 2
ISS-0036 What happens to churches that cannot raise their own leaders? Will they fade away? x 2
ISS-0037 How can clergy and lay be inspired and enthused for these new roles and opportunities? x 2
ISS-0038 How can we ensure that people are in the right roles? Not all clergy are good pastors or managers.
ISS-0039 Some lay people will be put off by the need for training and the focus on mission.
ISS-0040 (Some) Readers will welcome being deployed across a wider area.
ISS-0041 Clergy who have less contact with their congregations will struggle to discern and encourage new leaders.
ISS-0042 Can our diocesan training plans cope with all these additional people to be trained?
ISS-0043 Re-introduce Local Ordained Ministry.
ISS-0044 Will there be sufficient and suitable training incumbents for all these additional vocations?
ISS-0045 Will clergy approaching retirement (and other clergy) have the necessary enthusiasm to approach the challenges of the Strategy?
ISS-0046 This pattern of ministry is not what many clergy signed-up to.
ISS-0047 Baptism, not ordination, is the primary authority for Christian ministry. For most types of lay ministry, baptism is sufficient authority.
ISS-0048 The capacity and sustainability of aging PCCs is limited. We are expected to do more and more with fewer and fewer.
ISS-0049 To grow as disciples we don't need 'training'. We need development and enabling.
ISS-0050 What happens to these proposals if these additional clergy are not recruited?
ISS-0051 In rural communities lay leaders will not be accepted. Only the vicar is the church.
ISS-0052 It is necessary to inspire the laity (and clergy!) with a vision of the ministries to which the laity might be called and to consider carefully how those ministries will be authorised.
ISS-0053 Training for different ministries needs to be adapted so it is practical, or modular and/or on the job and student-friendly, while still retaining the necessary standard. x 13 Could training for various lay ministries be deanery-based, or home-grown? x 4
ISS-0054 A strategy is needed to promote vocations, particularly to self-supporting ministry. Is there sufficient diocesan capacity to encourage, identify and equip new leaders? x 5
ISS-0055 In order for people to imagine what this might be like in practice can there be different examples of: (a) where ecumenical co-operation is working well; (b) where a pioneer minister is bearing fruit; (c) where a Fresh Expression has become financially and numerically self-sustainable. Examples need to be relevant to the diversity of rural/urban Cumbria. x 4
ISS-0056 Lay people need to be adequately and theologically trained for ministry and leadership. x 3
ISS-0057 Can the ministry of the distinctive Diaconate be developed? x 2
ISS-0058 Good that there is a positive emphasis on Fresh Expressions.(x 6)
ISS-0059 There is a danger that the benefits of existing parochial structures will be ignored at the expense of an emphasis on pioneering. Help existing parish patterns become more pioneering rather than create a parallel pattern. One third of ministers involved with pioneering is too high. (x 4)
ISS-0060 Although pioneering ministry sounds exciting and positive what will it look like in practice? What evidence is there that this will be fruitful, to make the allocation of resources worthwhile? x 3
ISS-0061 Pioneering ministers must not be independent of church structures and must quickly become financially self-supporting.
ISS-0062 Too much emphasis on evangelism and pioneering is going to put people off.
ISS-0063 We simply do not have more money (for pioneering ministry).
ISS-0064 More time is needed to consider the Strategy at local level and to examine and pray about some of the issues raised. x 19
ISS-0065 This is not a strategy showing how this will be achieved. A strategy needs a clear process showing how this will be achieved as well as what is hoped for. What? When? Who? How? x 16
ISS-0066 The Strategy is complicated and overwhelming, and not easy to understand. Can it be re-written without jargon, in plain English and with simplicity? x 9
ISS-0067 What level of confidence can Synod have that all this can be achieved by 2020? x 8 What evidence is there that these proposals will work?
ISS-0068 People need to be kept informed, and need to feel consulted. Keep consulting. x 7
ISS-0069 This feels like a top down initiative in a diocese that has sought to value local ideas and participation. Therefore the Strategy may struggle to get local ownership. If this strategy is imposed from above then it implies a lack of trust in locally-led evolution and development. x 4
ISS-0070 There should have been more lay people involved in producing the Strategy. x 2
ISS-0071 It feels like those who wrote the Strategy are out of touch with rural churches. x 2
ISS-0072 Have people outside church been consulted about this strategy? x 2
ISS-0073 Does the Bishops Leadership Team have the capacity to deal with the many complex issues that this strategy (and the other two key strategies) will raise?
ISS-0074 Should Diocesan Synod be voting on this without inviting each PCC and Deanery to vote first?
ISS-0075 Leave local churches to develop their own projects at grass-roots level rather than impose something from above. Growing together is an organic process that cannot be managed.(x 8)
ISS-0076 If feedback is returned by 30 September and Synod meets on 12 October how can there have been time for the feedback to be considered and the proposals modified accordingly?(x 5)
ISS-0077 Little is known about whether this strategy is practical and outcomes are feasible.(x 2)
ISS-0078 These proposals appeared out of the blue without any prior consultation.(x 2)
ISS-0079 These proposals seem to be about changing structures, not changing attitudes.(x 2)
ISS-0080 These proposals need to be properly costed and assessed. x 8 Are all the new vocations and training affordable? Will these proposal save money or cost more? x 14
ISS-0081 Will churches be willing to financially support these proposals, given that they could appear to give them less vicar and request churches to support pioneering work from which they may see little benefit? Will these proposals reduce Parish Offer? x 10
ISS-0082 How will costs (and income) be shared ecumenically? x 4
ISS-0083 The main thrust of the Strategy is finance and management. Where is God in all this? x 3
ISS-0084 New financial resources for mission will need to come from the centre because traditional church is already too stretched... Will the Church Commissioners give additional support? x 2
ISS-0085 How will the cross-over period between now and the plans being operational be funded?
ISS-0086 Money should only be spent on church (buildings) where the Strategy has been implemented.
ISS-0087 People are generous in giving when they are clear about what their money will be spent on and where it will go. Fuzzy concepts such as pioneering will need to be clearly explained.
ISS-0088 Making ecumenical integration and shared ministry such a core area of the strategy massively adds to the complexity, fragility and controversy of what is being proposed. Keep/start this Anglican. x 12
ISS-0089 What about interaction and involvement with other denominations and churches, in addition to Methodist and URC? x 8 Have they been consulted about the strategies?
ISS-0090 If there is more ecumenical involvement that must not diminish variety of styles in worship. x 3
ISS-0091 How can the substantial theological and ecclesiological denominational differences be resolved?
ISS-0092 Many Methodist and URC churches are facing serious decline. Why link to such ailing churches?
ISS-0093 The ecumenical commitment needs to be sustained into the future. If new county-level denominational leaders are appointed how can we be sure that they will sustain this commitment?
ISS-0094 A merger of denominations is a step too far.
ISS-0095 What is proposed in the Strategy seems to move a long way beyond what was affirmed in the Covenant in autumn 2011.(x 2)
ISS-0096 Do we know enough about the strengths and weaknesses of the partner ecumenical churches?
ISS-0097 Some are Anglicans because this is their natural home. Any shift to becoming more like other denominations would be unwelcome or mean church attenders go elsewhere. Traditions and beliefs risk being diluted by ecumenical integration. x 10
ISS-0098 Will there be enough ordained ministers to sustain the sacramental life of our churches? x 4
ISS-0099 Clergy or congregations with a particular view about priesthood or womans ministry may find that view compromised by ecumenical or other appointments, particularly to the role of Leader of Mission Communities.
ISS-0100 Can Extended Communion be used more frequently to solve the problem of less priests?
ISS-0101 We need to develop less dependency on the Eucharist.
ISS-0102 Aiming to have a service in each church each week (Communion) is a positive step.
ISS-0103 Will we lose our style or tradition...
ISS-0104 Will these proposals result in us having less services? If so then, even though we support the general ideas, we are cautious.
ISS-0105 We fully support the ideas but need reassurance that we will not disappear.
ISS-0106 Complex legal issues... particularly patronage and appointments, governance, authorised (ecumenical) ministry, Listed Buildings, forms of worship, Canon Law... The Strategy documents give little indication that these matters have been considered. x 20
ISS-0107 New ministry patterns need to relate to the rest of the Church of England. Dont go it alone.
ISS-0108 Currently many legalities are the responsibility of the vicar. Can these be moved away from the vicar and passed to others (parish officers, for example). This would free-up clergy for mission and ministry.
ISS-0109 There are many legal responsibilities attached to being an Anglican priest. It is unlikely that these can be transferred to a minister from a different denomination.
ISS-0110 The removal of Deaneries will diminish representation within the diocese.
ISS-0111 Adopt a closure programme for failing, weak or duplicated churches, and encouraging churches to combine into larger and more sustainable Christian communities. x 7
ISS-0112 The need for flexibility of approach. Across Cumbria one size cannot fit all. x 8
ISS-0113 The importance of (church) schools needs to feature in the Strategy. x 3
ISS-0114 Lay presidency should be explored and introduced. x 3
ISS-0115 Dissolve existing Deanery boundaries, or dissolve deaneries to remove an administrative layer. x 3
ISS-0116 Can there be a pilot scheme so that we can learn lessons from setting up and working a Mission Community? x 3
ISS-0117 Do more work to discover why we are in this situation, so we address those causes and problems. x 2
ISS-0118 Is there scope for centralising or coordinating lay administrative roles, eg Treasurer, PCC Secretary, church building oversight etc, so reducing lay time spent on PCCs etc? x 2
ISS-0119 Involve young people in the Strategy, its development and leadership. x 2
ISS-0120 The Strategy needs more detail about deanery structures and overall management systems.
ISS-0121 Allow churches to cluster themselves, if they wish, and give them greater autonomy to determine their structures, role and finances - in other words be more independent.
ISS-0122 The Strategy proposes that all churches will have an identifiable leader. In some small churches it will be difficult to get one person to do this, particularly where people are already used to working with others. Could local leadership be focused on a small group of people?
ISS-0123 Rewrite the Strategy so that instead of Mission Community it reads congregation and expects each congregation to work out how to access the activities and enthusiasm of the other congregations.
ISS-0124 Request deaneries and local circuits (and the URC where relevant) to plan locally for how resources should be used for mission, with the diocese/circuit offering the structures so those local arrangements work and encouraging groupings to aspire to a mission community level of sharing. Each local area looks at what pioneer ministry could work in their area, and put resources into it within their planning.
ISS-0125 Get things moving... Avoid endless talking... Start now...
ISS-0126 Regular joint prayer meetings to discern where God is leading, and for revival.(x 2)
ISS-0127 Effective change requires: vision, skills, incentives, resources and an action plan. If any elements are missing change will not be effective.
ISS-0128 That the diocesan ministry strategy be revised in order to entrust the shaping of Mission Communities to Deanery Synods and Standing Committees rather than creating another layer of management.
ISS-0129 That the diocesan ministry strategy be revised in order to encourage each Mission Community to work ecumenically, without imposing an ecumenical structure which may not fit at a local level.
ISS-0130 Thoughts on the importance and nature of lay leadership and ministry
ISS-0131 Factors that lead to growing churches
ISS-0132 Thank you for your series of articles on the state of the Church. The sobering statistical analysis by Professor Linda Woodhead has been particularly telling. As many of your articles have proclaimed, flexibility in thinking and radical structural change is urgent. We must make the best use of abilities available. In the past, the greatest waste was the sidelining of women; in our day, inflexibility of movement between categories, especially lay to ordained, marginalises many unpaid ministers. So that the fewer paid clergy can devote more time to mission, the maintenance of ministry will fall increasingly on volunteers. Yet the talents of Readers remain under-used. Sadly, many with power regard ministry as static. To my mind, it should be dynamic, offering movement between categories, progression matching flourishing talent and accumulated experience.
ISS-0133 Bp James reminded us that the main driver behind Shaping Mission Communities was mission not declining stipendiary clergy numbers although, providentially, the latter might prove a spur for the former. Hopefully this will be the case, but another possibility is that the declining numbers might simply tempt us to play safe and seek to keep the ship afloat - even if working within the new context of ecumenical mission communities.
ISS-0134 With this in mind, it might be relevant at this point to ask afresh "What is mission?" We have, of course, the diocesan Growing Disciples Vision and Strategy: 2011-2020 with its Mission and Vision Statements and Five Marks of Discipleship and also the diocesan Rural Manifesto (2009) - the latter benefitting from live examples. May I suggest producing a similar, and ecumenical, Manifesto for Mission Communities. This might prove both timely and useful - by setting out examples of mission communities (actual or proposed) and by focusing our vision for mission through them.
ISS-0135 I know that ministry at work already has a mention in the diocesan Growing Disciples Vision and Stategy: 2011-20 (under Community Service and Engagement) but, as an NSM, may I request that it also has stated role in the life of mission communities.
ISS-0136 Closing Churches: I think we need clear guidelines/criteria on the point at which the Diocese of Carlisle would consider closing/hibernating a church's Sunday Worship.
ISS-0137 Top-down vs. bottom-up
ISS-0138 The CofE's status as the established church
ISS-0139 More workshops and the rural / urban divide
ISS-0140 How can a mission community help us make disciples?
ISS-0141 Using the mission community as a mechanism to allow lay leadership to flourish
ISS-0142 Issues associated with the choice and appointment of local leaders
ISS-0143 Issues associated with the choice and appointment of mission community leaders
ISS-0144 Issues associated with stipendiary clergy who are not mission community leaders
ISS-0145 Issues with ecumenical co-operation at the local level
ISS-0146 The role of readers and retired clergy
ISS-0147 Is finance driving this more than it ought to I wonder. I was a general manager in the Motor Industry for many years and I am very used to bottom- line figures' but they are the results of, not the controlling factor.
ISS-0148 See document
ISS-0149 See document
ISS-0150 Appointment of mission community leaders
ISS-0151

Recruitment/appointment of Congregational leaders

  • Amiel's paper revisited
ISS-0152 Terms and conditions of service, governance, discipline, etc for Congregational leaders
ISS-0153 Training requirements for Congregational leaders
ISS-0154 Criteria to allow existing places to morph into mission communities
ISS-0155 How do we help transition: what would be helpful, inc can money help?
ISS-0156 Resourcing and mission community shaping numbers aggregated across the Diocese
ISS-0157 The need for defining the oversight role in mission communities if we are to achive transformation change.
ISS-0158 Why do we need Mission Communities when all of the above (the ecumenical stuff noted in the brainstorm) is happening already?
ISS-0159 Do we really need formal Mission Communities just to work more closely together?
ISS-0160 A Plan B
ISS-0161 The need for flexibility in mission communities - considering the whole of Barrow as a mission community
ISS-0162 Allowable forms of mission community
ISS-0163 The core intentions of mission communities
ISS-0164 How is the following to be interpreted : legally ,morally and practically: 'The process of shaping Mission Communities will go ahead whatever individual churches decide'
ISS-0165 The need for an up-to-date OFFICIAL statement to give churches the confidence to 'risk' deeper liaisons and to clarify that the purpose of mission communities is primarily MISSION
ISS-0166 Possible revisions to the Ministry Strategy
ISS-0167 A strong sense that we need to urge the Diocese to have a clear strategy for eliciting SSMs and a suggestion that the way in which Operation Mobilsiation goes about this might be of help.
ISS-0168 A concern that finance might be an impediment to people training for LLM ministry and that we should both have and publicise a financial support scheme for those who cannot afford the training.
ISS-0169 A personal response to Growing Together
ISS-0170 Feedback centred on 'theological differences' and 'diversion of resources'.
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