02/11/2018

Our commitment to you

What we offer and what we expect from parishes and deaneries


Church life is busy. All of us who work at St James' House know and understand that. We know and understand that through the work we do to serve the worshipping communities in our diocese. We know and understand that because so many of us are active church members. We understand that we are here to serve and support the worshipping communities of our diocese as together we work towards our diocesan vision to see a bigger church making a bigger difference.

All who work at St James' House see themselves as working to support our worshipping communities. We are on your side and want to be seen to be on your side. We recognise it doesn’t always feel that way. We think that is because we are not clear about what we will do to support worshipping communities and what we expect from you to help us do that.

So this is our commitment to all of you who work and minister in a worshipping community in our diocese. This may be a traditional parish, a fresh expression, hub, team, group, or however church works in your context. We are publishing this because you asked for this. One of the clear requests of our surveys last year was to make this commitment.

This is a long-standing commitment. We are not looking to chop and change; rather we are supporting Bishop Paul’s call for a long obedience in the same direction. So over the coming weeks and months, we will be working on the details to make sure that each and every one of us at St James' House makes the effort to live up to this commitment.
Our commitment to you
All of us at St James’ House commit to work to create conditions where it is easier for you to focus on that vision of growing a bigger church to make a bigger difference.  We are making sure that all the services and advice we offer are directed on helping you focus on our strategy. We will be as efficient as possible in all we do so that we can focus our energy on supporting you.

Our main commitment to you is that we don’t make unnecessary demands on your time.  We want you to be able to focus as much of your time on mission and disciples. We will do this by making it easier to run the other aspects of church life.
 
We are also committed to focus our time and energy on developing products, information and training that support you with helping people to live by the Rule of Life, Bring One Friend and Do Ten Things and to help worshipping communities grow and develop leaders that will help our church flourish.
Our commitment around collecting information
We recognise the biggest concern is over bureaucracy. We know that people accept that some elements are necessary. We have to comply with the law. We need to have statistical information. We can appear to ask parishes for a great deal of information.

But we only ask you for the information that we are:
  • Required to collect by external bodies (eg. national church, Charity Commission)
  • Confident will help parishes make good and informed choices into the future
     
Whatever the reason for collecting the information we will always be clear:
  • Why we are collecting the information
  • How and when we will give you the information back in a user-friendly format
This applies to the information we will generally ask of a parish and not the information we need for individuals to support their ministry and vocations. And we will manage all information responsibly in accordance with all relevant data legislation.

The information we need

Statistics for Mission – These are required by national church and are collected by the end of January.  Some statistics can be filled in online from Easter onwards.  Your Attendance Dashboards will reflect this information and enable you to assess the missional health of your parish.

Attendance figures –  We collect these every quarter and need them for your Attendance dashboards.

Annual Report and Accounts and Return of Parish Finance – the report and accounts are Charity Commission and Church Representation Rules requirements and collected following the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. 

The Return of Parish Finance is required by the national church.  Your finance dashboard reflects this information and allows you to assess the financial health of your parish.

Quinquennial Review Form – We need to know and understand the building challenges we are facing.

Visitation papers – These are legal, regulatory and any other information required by the archdeacons. 

Archdeacon’s Parish Reviews – The archdeacons are required to examine certain legal and regulatory information on a regular basis.  This, together with the information above and additional information on church life collected for the review, enables an informed discussion between the Archdeacon and parish officers on the mission, ministry and future strategy for the parish.

Parish officer information – We collect this so we can better serve and advise for your parish and make it easier for you in your role.

Safeguarding information - We need information about adherence to best practice in this important area for the church.
Giving advice
We commit to give you clear, consistent and helpful advice.
  1. The main way we will do this is through our website, email bulletin and social media. We will be organising all these to make it easier for you to do the basic work
     
  2. We will be responsive to your enquiries and will set out what that means and how we intend to make sure you get the best possible response. In January 2019, we will explain how that works in practice.
     
  3. We will work to provide information, training, and resources to help worshipping communities work towards a bigger church making a bigger difference.

We will continue to produce information that can help you. The main ones are:
  1. A range of simplified guides and policy templates under our Making it Easier banner. These include making sure you are aware of statutory and canon law requirements in all you do
     
  2. Parish dashboards with statistical information to help you
     
  3. Resources, information and ideas to support the Rule of Life, Bring One Friend and Do Ten Things
     
  4. Training courses, conferences and events to support this work
     
  5. The bulletin and related emails
What we expect from you
We are not going to tell you how to be church in your context but we are clear about what we expect from every worshipping community in the diocese of Liverpool

What we expect you to be doing

We expect every worshipping community to be working to being a bigger church making a bigger difference. We hope that you will do this through a clear focus on the following:

(i) Supporting the vision for a bigger church making a difference by:
  • Enabling all God’s people to be confident witnesses to their faith and confident in inviting one friend into the worshipping life of the church
  • Enabling all God’s people to be confident in their vocation so that they can do 10 things to make the world a better place
  • Enabling a group of people to plant a new worshipping community, and to do this on a regular basis
  • Identifying, equipping and releasing a succession of people into the leadership roles (outside and inside church) that God has prepared for them
  • Enabling disciples of Jesus to deepen their relationship with God through the Rule of Life
 
 (ii) Taking active steps in 4 key areas, namely:
  • Securing your financial future - through engaging with the various tools to ensure good giving, income generation and consistent emphasis on the importance of legacies left to your church
  • Paying your Parish Share and be part of the mutual flourishing of our diocese
  • Taking safeguarding extremely seriously and engaging in training and updating policies and practices on an on-going basis
  • Ensuring your buildings and other assets are well-maintained with good plans for on-going repair and maintenance
 
(iii) Staying informed about what’s going on in the diocese by:
  • Reading the Bulletin – which only takes 10 – 15 minutes each week
 
(iv) Providing us, or the national church with the information that is needed.

News & Events

Our Vision: Bigger Church: Bigger Difference

For many years we have been working to achieve growth in our diocese. We have used different ways to express this but the aim and direction of travel has remained the same – consistent with the whole of the Church of England.

When Bishop Paul was installed he adopted our growth agenda refreshing it by saying ‘we are asking God for a bigger church so we can make a bigger difference; more people knowing Jesus more justice in the world’ .This is how we express our mission.

We think we will achieve this mission if we have 

100 new congregations
1000 new leaders
10,000 signed up to the rule of life

To help us do this we are calling every worshipping Christian in our diocese to:

  • Sign up to the Rule of Life which will encourage us to Read, Learn, Pray, Give, Serve, Tell
     
  • Bring One Friend into the regular worshipping and serving life of the church
     
  • Do Ten Things - 10 acts of service or find 10 new points of connection beyond the walls of the church

Our commitment to listen to you

We commit to listening to your voice. We did this with the survey we sent out last year but we are going to continue to ask you your opinion and listen to what you say. We won’t always do everything that we are asked to do but we will listen.

We are setting up groups so that we can get a regular idea of what you think and how we are doing. We will also be clear about how you can give feedback about any of the areas that concern you.

If you wish to send your comments to use then contact

communications@liverpool.anglican.org

Responding to your feedback

Publishing this commitment is one of the ways we are responding to your feedback.

Find out more here and look out for our regular updates in the Diocesan Bulletin

#BiggerChurch
#BiggerDifference
#MakingItEasier