Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee - responding to local needs

Pastoral reorganisation is a big challenge for any diocese. We’re legally obliged to make the best provision for the mission and ministry of our local churches, balancing that with the resources we have available.

Pastoral reorganisation is a big challenge for any diocese. We’re legally obliged to make the best provision for the mission and ministry of our local churches, balancing that with the resources we have available. The bulk of this involves matching people to places. And with the decline in the numbers of clergy coming forward this means increasingly creative conversations about the deployment of people and how best to further mission and ministry in those areas. This is needed to make sure every parish is served as best it can be. Added to this is the need to make the best use of church buildings and closed churches.

And as our mission to see a transforming sustainable, led Christian presence in every community leads us into a changing environment we have to respond to the need for Fresh Expressions and creative appointments under the Bishop Mission Orders. This makes the task for the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC) of crucial importance.

So with increasing challenges ahead the DMPC has restructured itself into a new format for 2013 and as the DMPC meetings start to happen under the new structure for this committee - we spoke to Sandra Holmes, Mission and Pastoral Officer about the changes and how they should help support the Bishop’s Growth Agenda.

The changes, approved by Synod in November, have been brought about by a realisation that as parish schemes become more complex we need a structure that can help people really understand the local needs. “It’s always a balance for any committee to get good wide representation coupled with an ability to make decisions that work on a local basis” explains Sandra “the old Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee was getting too large to work in the way that helped parishes and helped us make the right decisions. Synod was clear that they wanted a structure that could maintain a strategic overview yet be able to grapple with the detail.”

This has led to the creation of Archdeaconry Sub Committees which will consider in detail and approve the schemes in their area. This will leave the DMPC free to have a strategic overview and provide guidance alongside ratifying committee decisions. And a couple of sub committees will look after legal and administrative matters as well as closed churches

“It’s about being able to better understand and support local decision making” commented Sandra “having a smaller more focussed committee will mean plans and proposals are properly examined and good, creative decisions can be made.”

Sandra and Bishop’s Planning Officer, David Burrows continue as a parish’s main point of contact as they go through the process. They work closely with the parish, guiding them through every step. “we recognise that schemes for pastoral reorganisation have great complexity and we work to make it easier for parishes to understand the system and get the best possible scheme.”

Sandra continues “our aim is to creatively respond to the challenges of the growth agenda and support as much as possible the local response made through deanery committees. This new structure is the best possible way we have to achieve that and support the mission of God in local communities”.

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About the changes

Instead of one committee we now have three layers of Committee:

1) Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee providing a strategic overview
2) Archdeaconery Sub Committees making decisions on a local basis
3) Sub Committees to deal with Closed Churches and the legal and administrative matters

Each work together to support the Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committees aiming to fulfil the aspirations of the Bishop’s Growth Agenda.