More than 450 people took part in lively and engaged discussions about our diocese’s second strategic priority Aligning Resources for Mission.
As part of this parishes were invited to one of six regional conversations to hear about progress and future plans, ask questions and offer insight ahead of some key decisions being made later in the year.
Ven Dr Adrian Youings Archdeacon of Bath, who hosted the events, “Lots of good questions and comments were generated, all of which will be fed into the ongoing process of seeking to align our resources for mission.”
“Each session focused on how we are using the limited resources (people, money, time and buildings) we have to fulfil the mission that God has clearly called us to as a diocese; to respond to God’s love shown to us in Jesus, by living as disciples and seeking to share the good news of Jesus with others.”
“The sessions also afforded us the opportunity to clearly see and understand some of the resourcing challenges the diocese faces at the moment. We looked at the realities of our declining membership, increased clergy vacancy levels and the challenges of recruiting clergy and how the way we currently share funding for the ministry we want to undertake will become increasingly unsustainable going forward.”
“However, we thought too about the fact that God is more than able to do amazing things through us. We didn’t lose heart!”
Attendees heard about four key aspects of work we currently undertaking to address the resourcing challenges and ensure we are being wise and mission focused in the way we use our resources.
These included; ensuring that central support services are enabling local churches, chapel sites and schools to flourish in their ministry by making some specific resourcing priorities; revising common fund methodology, ensuring it is rooted in biblical principles, developing a strategy for how we deploy Human Resources, both and lay and ordained and in what way we might need to rethink how we organise on the ground in parishes and deaneries.
Adrian concludes “The conversations were not about giving final answers, but rather bringing our parishes into the conversation about the work we have to do in this important area of our life together.”
“There will be some detailed work taking place over the coming months. Bishops Council and Diocesan Synod will be considering the proposals. We will also widely share the progress we are making.”