A “PERFECT STORM” of declining church attendance, reduced giving, and stretched church leaders means that “we cannot, in good conscience, put our heads in the sand and hope that more of the same is the answer,” the director of parish transition and ministry development in the diocese of Leicester, said this week.
Canon Stuart Burns was speaking in response to questions about the formation of Minster Communities in the diocese, the first of which was launched at the end of last month….
The Launde Minster Community (MC), the first of three areas in a pilot of the scheme, was officially launched on 30 April at a service at St Peter’s, Tilton on the Hill, at which the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, commissioned the Community’s Oversight Minister, Canon Jonathan Dowman. The Community brings together eight benefices comprising 24 parishes (35 churches) that have committed to collaborate in mission and to offer their resources.
Feedback from PCCs in the area has highlighted a tension between parishes’ desire for the answers to practical questions around provision of the eucharist and the allocation of stipendiary posts and the diocese’s position that MCs “aren’t chiefly about deployment” but “an issue of local discipleship, faith and vision”. In Launde, many decisions remain to be taken, including the deployment of ordained ministry, the identification of appointed ministers for each church, and how governance will work (the original diocesan framework envisaged a move to Joint Church Councils). PCCs have raised concerns about whether a proposed doubling of giving, necessary to fund four stipendiary posts, can be achieved, given small congregations.
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