As parishes are sent the second version of the successful Growth Planning Framework we spoke to the vicar at All Saints and St Frideswydes.
Every PCC we take a small step forward
As parishes are being sent the second version of the popular, successful Growth Planning Framework we spoke to the vicar at All Saints with St Frideswydes about how it had helped them move forward in mission together in their parish.
When Kath Rogers arrived in the parish about eighteen months ago she faced an array of challenges. Every direction she looked revealed a new priority stared back at her. Just recently the two churches had come together and there was a lot to do.
Then with the 2012 Visitations looming she and her PCC needed to get their summary form returned. A quick fix was needed and the Standing Committee got together to look at what was wanted from the Archdeacons. “What we then got was 5 very honest people in a room making an assessment of their church” explains Kath “it was very much a finger in the air exercise but for each of the eight criteria they scored mostly a four or five with welcome top at seven.” This did create the difficulty that they needed urgent work in all areas. But that was when they used the framework to great effect by agreeing that each PCC they would focus on two of the areas.
So every meeting the PCC divides into groups for the Growth item; Kath leaves them to their deliberations supplying them with the requisite tea and coffee as they work methodically through the issues. Using the GPF as a framework for their discussions and meetings has allowed what might have seemed an impossible task more manageable “the PCC have been incredibly engaged, have been amazingly honest and frank” explains Kath “One member asked for help with how to pray, the PCC decided to buy Bible notes for all in the congregations. We have had difficult, honest conversations, times when I have had to manage the conflict but above all we have been able to put mission and growth at the heart of our discussions. And we have started to make progress.”
Progress has come in a number of ways. The introduction of Messy Church, achievement of the Child Friendly Church award; next year there will be the development of dementia friendly Songs of Praise services; the growth of the early Sunday morning BCP service; the small young group now also leading creative services; the working through of the tensions of bringing together different musical traditions creatively; are all matters that working through the GPF has helped.
What it has achieved is a continual focus on growth but Kath admits it is not easy. “it was a risk looking across all areas and leaving the PCC to the discussions but I felt it was important that this was their agenda not mine. Everyone had to take responsibility and play their part. But importantly we never lost our focus on growth”
It felt difficult and overwhelming at first but at no point did Kath or the PCC look to walk away. “when we started I remember thinking this job is bigger than I thought. But working through the framework enabled that task to be tackled in simple steps.
“it’s not easy but the process is like eating a buffet. You can take it in small bite size portions and see more easily the progress you are making. And at every PCC we made a small step forward, as individuals with Christ, as a church in numbers, through Sunday worship, midweek activities and in our own personal discipleship.”
You can download The Growth Planning Framework document from this page
What the PCC said
In a letter about the next away day All Saints with St Frideswyde PCC said
"We have done really well over the last eighteen months and that is due to a great God, and a fantastic PCC and congregation who have thrown themselves into growing our church and reaching out. The Diocesan Growth Agenda Framework has been a great help in enabling us as a PCC to talk, think, and pray about our welcome, nurture, worship, prayer and the other areas for growth. It has helped us enable change to happen such as becoming a Child Friendly Church, our Pastoral Care Team, and Messy Church, and we have built on our strengths as a welcoming and hospitable church in our outreach to our community".