Diocesan strategy - the story so far
New pioneer for Keynsham
We welcome Trevor James our new pioneer for Keynsham. Trevor’s appointment is part of Bath and Wells progressive Pioneer Project which aims to create nine new pioneer posts by 2020; developing a culture of pioneering and innovation across our communities.
As a pioneer in Keynsham Trevor has been tasked with capturing a shared vision of God’s Kingdom with the people already living there, seeking out men and women of peace on the new estate of Hygge Park where he’ll be living, and acting as a connector between the town and the new community. Read more about Trevor and his role.
Manna focuses on Everyday Faith
“When you are in the world, will anyone notice that you are a pink dot?” is a question posed by Discipleship Team Leader, Julia Hill, in this issue of Manna. In other words, are you a Christian every day or just in church?
In the Everyday Faith issue of Manna we hear from people who are finding ways to be Christians in all areas of their life – at work, at home and beyond.
Read Manna on-line on our Issuu page.
A new pioneer for Tone Deanery
Katherine Lyddon has been appointed as the Pioneer for Tone Deanery. Katherine, who begins in September, joins us from the neighbouring diocese of Exeter where she has worked for 11 years as Diocesan Children’s Ministry Adviser.
Katherine’s appointment is part of Bath and Wells innovative pioneering project which aims to foster pioneering activity across Somerset, with the purpose of reaching out to areas and communities where the church has little impact.
Over 450 attend Aligning Resources for Mission regional conversations
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.” Read more about the events.
We welcome two new pioneers
We welcome Rachel Spence and Nicky Pybus who have become pioneers for Whiteway in Bath and Bournville, Weston super Mare. The appointments are part of the diocese’s progressive Pioneer Project which aims to create nine new pioneer posts by 2020; with the aim of developing a culture of pioneering and innovation across our communities.
Rachel and Nicky have both responded to a call to join in with God’s mission to Magnificat parishes. Magnificat parishes are those ranked in the lowest 10% by socio-economic indicators in the Diocese, and the name reflects Mary’s song of praise to the God who overturns the tables of inequality. Whiteway and Bournville are estates with their own community and spiritual identity, and both pioneers look forward to being among the local people and understanding their context. Find out more about Rachel and Nicky and their roles.
Regional Conversations to help make missional activity a priority across Bath and Wells
In July 2019, the diocese is hosting a series of regional conversations to explore with parishes and deaneries work on its second strategic priority: Aligning Resources for Mission. Register now using the booking form below.
The focus is a number of interconnected work streams: developing enhanced parish support; identifying medium-term resourcing priorities; establishing principles for the deployment of clergy and laity; addressing issues around the ongoing use of our buildings; and reviewing our Common Fund model, as part of a wider review of the diocesan budget. Read more and register for the events!
Helping parishes resource their mission – welcoming our new Giving and Funding Adviser
We’re delighted to welcome Gary Watson who joins the diocese as Giving and Funding Adviser. Gary is relocating to Somerset from the Midlands with his family.
“I feel called to help others grow in their experience and understanding of God, so I’m delighted to be joining the discipleship team in Bath & Wells!,” says Gary. Read more about Gary and his role in the discipleship team.
Outdoor Church Hub launch: fire pits, seed bombs and prayer
Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 March saw the launch of the Bath and Wells Outdoor Church Hub. Launch events were hosted in three beautiful Somerset locations: St Nicholas’ Church, Portishead looking out across the Bristol Channel, the Parish Hall beside the river at West Lydford and Watchet, where people of all ages worshipped at Splash Point overlooking the harbour, hills and grey sea. The launch is the latest in a series of innovations to emerge from the diocese’s Pioneer Project.
Uniting to build a brighter future in Weston-super-Mare
Church, community, business, health care, charity and education representatives attended a breakfast meeting organised by St Paul’s in Weston-super-Mare in an effort to find ways these organisations can forge collaborative partnerships and use their united power to create a brighter future for the town and its inhabitants.
As Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, the Bishop of Taunton, one of the key speakers at the St Paul’s event says, “What we need to do is to really listen to the needs of local people. Very often leaders think they know what’s best for a local community; actually mostly it’s the people who live here that know what’s best for them. We need to listen to those stories, celebrate the successes and deliver some change where it’s needed.” Read more about this initiative in one of our Magnificat parishes
Latest issue of Manna magazine dedicated to Magnificat parishes
The Winter 2019 issue of Manna focused on the diocese’s Magnificat parishes, which are those considered the least affluent areas in our diocese and which have been identified as a mission priority.
Magnificat parishes face some unique challenges and as a Church and as a diocese we are having to think differently in the way we resource them. But while there are challenges there are also joys to be found and this issue explores those ‘Hidden Treasurers’. Available to read online.
Enabling confident, courageous disciples
Dedicating resources to encouraging confident congregations
“Church congregations and Christians we meet across the diocese every day are conscious of the need to share the story of Jesus and of their own faith with those around them, but they know they lack both the confidence and the tools to tell the good news in an easy and natural way with family and friends,” says Pioneer and Evangelism Team Leader, Revd Tina Hodgett.
Now parishes can call on Faith Sharing Enabler, Revd Andy Gray to help them do just that. Read more
Celebrating the new Bath and Wells Ministry Experience Scheme
“I know that this is where I’m supposed to be right now, I think the group of people that we’ve got on the scheme at the moment, as a group, it’s the right time for us, it’s definitely God’s timing that we’ve come together as a group.”
Steve Miles is one of six people who’ve joined the Bath and Wells Ministry Experience Scheme (MES); a programme being offered for the first time across the diocese this year. The Scheme aims to enable young people who are considering where God might be leading them; to ‘have a go’ at ministry whilst also learning about God, themselves and the Christian faith. Read more
Celebrating Reader Ministry
On Saturday 6 October the diocese celebrated Reader ministry at the annual Readers’ Day and gave thanks for the 300+ Readers who serve in our diocese.
Readers first gathered for study and reflection at Wells Blue School where speaker, Revd Tina Hodgett, Evangelism and Pioneer Team leader spoke about Birthing the Future Church. Read more about the event and our two newest Readers.
Title change latest innovation in evolving role of deaneries
At diocesan synod in July, members agreed a change that replaces the titles Rural Deans and Lay Chairs with Area Deans and Lay Deans. The new titles recognise that as deaneries have been developing and implementing their Deanery Mission Plans, the roles have changed significantly and Area Deans and Lay Deans have been working in ever-closer collaboration. Read more
Supporting our farmers with two major events
Somerset County Cricket Club has hosted a free day at the cricket for farmers and their families. Read more about the day.
Rob Walrond, diocesan rural affairs adviser and chaplain at the cricket club, helped organised the event, he says, “I am heartened by the club’s support of the local farming community in such a challenging year and at a time of economic uncertainty. A few hours enjoying the cricket and chatting to friends could be very beneficial at the moment.”
Next month, on 18 October, there will also be a special Harvest service for farmers at Junction 24, the livestock market, near Taunton with farming charities present to lend a helping hand to those in need.
New chaplaincy adviser celebrates a successful year
Revd Mike Haslam joined the diocese as Chaplaincy Development Adviser in September 2017 with a brief to explore all the opportunities for Chaplaincy within the diocese. This has been a hugely positive experience for Mike, and all those that he has met in the last year. Read more
21st Century Church – St Luke’s centre to open this autumn
The last new church to be built in Tone Deanery was in 1890. So, we are very excited that on 21 October, Bishop Peter will dedicate a new church for this century in the new village of Cotford St. Luke.
St Luke’s Centre will have a main room for worship and for hiring out during the week, a Hub café where activities will happen to bring the community together, and a sanctuary for quiet reflection.
The vision for the church was born eight years ago and it’s been a long and often hard journey. We have been so grateful for the sacrificial giving of individuals, grant making bodies who have grasped our vision, and the Diocese for arranging the loans in order that the church can be built. We continue to pray and hope that more financial aid might become available.
The exciting work of living and telling the story in the midst of our community from a new and dedicated building is about to begin!
Bishop Ruth chairs first poverty hearing
A unique meeting aimed at tackling the issues of poverty in North Somerset has been held at St Paul’s Church in Weston-super-Mare.
Initiated by the group Equality North Somerset, and chaired by the Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton, the poverty hearing brought together organisations who work with people facing extreme financial hardship, in an effort to pool knowledge and resources. Read more.
Celebrating the first Pioneer Project appointment in Bathpool
Paul Elliston has been officially welcomed by the community and commissioned by Bishop Ruth Worsley at a special service at West Monkton Primary School.
Paul’s appointment is the first of nine pioneer appointments that will be created as part of the diocese’s ambitious Pioneer Project. The project aims to create the new pioneer posts by 2020, from which the dream of a culture of pioneering and innovation across the diocese will grow.
New clergy and archdeaconry days at heart of latest CMD programme
The diocesan training team is ringing the changes with the launch of the 2018/2019 CMD programme. It’s a simplified programme and one which sees the introduction of new clergy and archdeaconry days, offering clergy, Readers and lay ministers greater opportunity to gather and learn together.
Launch of the Cafe Church Hub
22 September brings the launch of Café Church Hub – the second in our series of practitioner hubs, and follows the successful launch of Messy Church Hub in June. Read more
“The idea behind the hubs is about bringing together groups of people already involved all these wonderful and diverse ways of being church to affirm each other and to learn from each other: to find out what works, what doesn’t and swap tips and experiences,” says Revd Tina Hodgett, Evangelism and Pioneer Team Leader.
Fund for Church Growth to be remodelled
At Diocesan Synod in July 2018, Bishop Ruth announced that the Fund for Church Growth – which has awarded grants of £2.6m to parishes since it was established 10 years ago – is to cease operating in its current form.
A new working group will be established in the autumn to review and develop a new funding model to support parishes with missional projects. Read more.
Ready to rumpus! Launch of first Bath and Wells hub
This summer saw the launch of the Bath and Wells Messy Church Hub, where Messy Church founder Lucy Moore joined parish representatives interested in started their own to share ideas, stories and best practice.
This is the first of a series of hubs to be launched on different expressions of church and reflects the pioneering and innovative aspirations of the diocese. Cafe Church Hub will be next – watch this space!
#newrev ordinations reflect creative and pioneering aspirations
Amongst the #newrevs ordained as deacons on Sunday 1 July are a former professional singer, an artist, a dance teacher, a drama teacher, a former student of music and a director of a growing organisation which coordinates contemporary worship nights for young people. They bring diverse experiences in family and children’s work, youth and schools worship, church planting, university administration and the Scout Association.
Revd Sue Rose, Vocations Team Leader at the diocese says, “We are blessed to be welcoming this group of ordinands. They are a really pioneering and creative bunch, which reflects our aspirations as a diocese.” Read more.
First Village Chaplains in the UK commissioned
In what we believe is the first such ‘Village Chaplains’ project in the country, a team of chaplains from All Saints Church, Trull has been commissioned by Bishop Ruth. All members of the congregations of All Saints, they will serve as chaplains to the school and residential care home and retirement village, to the football team and cafe and businesses of the village. One of the Chaplains will be especially there for the dog walkers, one is exploring Chaplaincy to the pub (it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!). Read more about this exciting project.
Rural Forum 2018
A gathering of almost 60 people came together on Saturday 12 May in the beautiful surroundings of Bagley Baptist Church for this year’s Rural Forum.
The focus of the day was to support, resource and equip rural churches in reaching out to children, young people and families in their communities and schools. Read more.
Connecting communities to address what matters for Ilminster and Chard
Parishes in Ilminster Deanery are giving thanks for the energy, positivity and connections created by a week-long programme of free events to bring together individuals, groups and communities who make up the life of Ilminster and Chard. Read more.
Julia Hill joins diocese in newly created Lay Ministries Developer role
Julia’s role is to encourage people to explore their calling into lay ministries, gain a greater understanding of the range of formal and informal ministries that people can exercise and help them to own and live out their individual calling in the service of God and the mission of the church. The appointment was made possible following some creative thinking and discernment that saw the previous Assistant Director of Ordinands role reshaped and refocused. Read more.
A buzz from Bishops’ latest tour of deaneries
During February and March this year, Bishop Peter Hancock and Bishop Ruth Worsley have been spending an evening in each of the diocese’s 19 deaneries to explore the local missional context in detail look at the aspirations and challenges within each area.
The events are being billed as ‘Deanery Synod Pluses’ as our Bishops asked that the invitation be extended to local agencies, charities, schools and businesses – all those working to serve and work for the good of our communities. Read more about the events and their impact.
Bishop congratulates deaneries as he embarks on 2018 deanery synod+ gatherings
“All of our deaneries have brought huge energy to the deanery mission plan process. They have done a great job on this important element of our work together to ensure the missional focus of the diocese is locally driven, not approached from the top down,” says Bishop Peter as he starts the 2018 programme of deanery synod plus events in Chew Magna deanery. Here he will feed back on the deanery mission plan and begin conversations about the next steps, including resourcing.
Bishops Council Away Day
To consider all Deanery Mission Plans and the missional landscape in Bath and Wells. 15 common themes from all 19 plans are identified.
New Prayer and Spirituality Enabler announced
James Fox-Robinson is to join the Diocese of Bath and Wells in the New Year as Prayer and Spirituality Enabler.
In his new role, James will seek to inspire, guide, equip, direct and resource clergy, lay people and parishes in their practices of prayer and spirituality both corporately and individually. Read more
Fresh Expressions Audit shows signs of encouragement and vulnerability
In September this year the diocese commissioned Church Army to undertake an audit of Fresh Expressions of Church in the diocese – the first time such an exercise has been undertaken. The aim is to build the true picture of how Fresh Expressions have grown in Bath and Wells, the different types of Fresh Expressions that are represented here, what works and what works less well, what impact our Fresh Expressions of church are having and comparing this information with other dioceses across the country.
Armed with this information, the diocese’s Evangelism Team, led by Revd Tina Hodgett (Twitter users may know her as @RumpusRev) are to shape the way in which we can best encourage, equip and support our Fresh Expressions. Read more
New pocket guide to Living and Telling available free to parishes
“What’s this diocesan vision all about then?” if you’ve heard this question in your parish – or indeed asked it yourself – we have just the thing!
We’ve created this at-a-glance guide to support conversations in our churches and communities about what it means to live and tell the story of Jesus where we are: at home, at work, in school, in church, with our families and amongst our friends. Read more and order your copies
Diocese signs up for Clewer Initiative to combat modern slavery
The Diocese of Bath and Wells, in conjunction with Wells Cathedral, hosted a day of talks and workshops on Wednesday 15 November to highlight the issue of modern slavery in Somerset. The event is part of The Clewer Initiative, a three-year Church project aimed at mobilising the Church of England’s 12,000 parishes in the battle to eradicate modern slavery. The Diocese of Bath and Wells is one of ten dioceses that have signed up to The Clewer Initiative following its launch in October in London. Read more
Diocesan Synod explores “Setting God’s People Free”
Matthew Frost was the invited speaker to Diocesan Synod in October. He was the chair of the Lay Leadership Task Group which produced the Church of England report, Setting God’s People Free. He provided a snapshot of the report to Synod, which aims to address how the Church can make disciples of all people.
It was a timely session as the diocese looks at how we can work towards our third strategic priority: releasing the gifts of all our people and seeks to celebrate the work of the laity and shared leadership between clergy and lay people. Read more
Diocesan Synod agrees 2018 Budget for Mission
On Saturday 21 October in Weston-super-Mare, diocesan synod members agreed the 2018 budget for mission, reinforcing the diocese’s commitment to resourcing for mission now and into the future.
Synod members heard an engaging presentation by Bishop Ruth, Harry Musselwhite, Chair of the Board of Finance and Revd Charlie Peer, Strategic Programme Manager in which they were urged to “seize the moment, equip God’s people and invest in growth.” Read more
All Deanery Mission Plans submitted
Bishop’s Council members to review in small teams.
Meet the Go Team!
After two years of prayer and planning, the team is now in place, read more about Tony, Cheryl, Andy and Sarah and how they can support you in your work with children and young people.
100 people attend 2017 Rural Life forum
Exploring the realities of mission and evangelism in a rural setting.
Pilot deaneries submit Deanery Mission Plans
Ivelchester, Bath and Taunton first deaneries to share their Deanery Mission Plans in line with the new guidance.
Detailed analysis of Community Conversation feedback
How to help people become confident disciples is a clear priority. “Our parishes are ‘up for this’ but don’t know where to start,” says Bishop Ruth. “It’s our job to provide the resources and help that they need.”
Initial review of Community Conversation feedback
People want practical help to live and tell the story and want to be able to prioritise mission over admin.
Success for Strategic Development Funding bid
Bid for funds from Church Commissioners progressed to second stage.
Deanery Mission Planning toolkit published and accompaniers identified
“Making what we thought impossible, possible,” said one deanery of its accompanier, who is on hand to guide the group through the Deanery Mission Planning process.
First meeting of Strategic Programme Implementation Group
Formed to drive forward the strategy and its implementation
Bishop Peter’s findings reviewed
A group of lay and ordained representatives invited by Bishop Peter to review what he learnt from his visits and make recommendations on how we might “develop, reimagine and strengthen our diocesan life together”
Bishop Peter begins year-long programme of deanery visits
Bishop Peter travels widely: listening and learning from Rural Deans, Lay Chairs, parish priests, Readers, Churchwardens and many others both within and outside the life of the Church.