What has been achieved in this year [by STP] is very inspiring and hopeful. People do care passionately about their local churches and local ministry based in the parish church is very often the most effective manner in which we can provide pastoral care and share the Good News of Read more…
My local parish is undergoing significant changes. For a long time, our local church in Roos, East Yorkshire has been without a priest and we rely on a rural dean who travels to all of the different churches in South Holderness. Roos church relies on support from the Diocese of York to survive but due to the proposed funding changes, it is unlikely that we will be able to afford to pay for the employment of the clergy.
Postlebury has 5 churches and a fantastic vicar, Anthony Dickson. All 5 churches have enthusiastic and effective churchwardens, engaging with new people moving in to the villages, offering both BCP and modern language services, both Matins and Holy Communion so that congregations average between 18 and 25. Fundraising is regular Read more…
“Meanwhile, the 17 parishes struggle to reach an agreement on any benefice-wide issues. Just getting representation from 17 PCCs in one room at the same time is an achievement.An equitable division of our benefice’s parish share request around all the parishes is still not agreed upon after years of trying.”
“The story of our parish is echoed around the deanery. Last week, a visitor told me that none of the churches in Wigan were happy. I can believe this. Revolution is in the air.”
It is said that we tend to undervalue that with which we are most familiar but in our small parish (about 150 inhabitants) thanks to the foresight of the Diocese and especially the vision of one Archdeacon, we have learned afresh the importance of the traditional parish system which has, for centuries, given the church a foothold in every community.
“In Leicester Diocese, vicars are being plucked from their local community to go to serve in nebulous vicar banks, known as Minsters. The total vicar count is being reduced by 20%, with this number being compensated with additional ‘Operations Directors.”
“Early this year the future of the Parish was discussed. Church members were told of diocesan plans to extend the Parish boundaries to include Fillongley and Corley, thus adding an extra 4 churches. The diocesan provision to oversee the churches and provide pastoral support to the residents of the villages amounts to half an ordained Vicar.”
“They must visit and speak to the people in Wales, they must study the figures and look at the facts and avoid going down the same disastrous road if they do not wish to kill local community spirit and personal relationships, dry up donations and see church closures and sales which proclaim loud and clear their failure to keep the flame of Christianity alive.”
So, the ‘secrets of our success?’ In summary, a lot of good luck, excellent priests, a close relationship with our neighbouring parish, a priest living in the centre of that parish and overall the sense that we remain in charge of our own destiny rather than being absorbed and diluted within a much larger benefice.