Independent Reviewer starts work with our diocese

First published on: 22nd June 2023

Our Independent Reviewer started at St James House this week exploring our financial situation as part of our conversation with the Church of England over the financial challenges we face. Ashley Scott is examining our plans, accounts, and documents while talking to senior clergy and key staff as he gets to understand our unique set of circumstances and explore the options available to us.

We spoke to Ashley as he began his work. He told us that he has a heart for adding value to this process understanding that there is no magic bullet that will solve these issues which, in one way or another, are faced by many in the church. He said: “There are no circumstances under which a church in the global north is not going to try to follow a missional strategy if we take Matthew 27 as the starting point. And every diocese is unique as they are made up of different people trying to make that strategy happen.”

Ashley is a Christian with a strong understanding of the Anglican church and other denominations. He has held Executive positions in Bible Society and United Bible Societies. His consultancy work among Christian agencies focuses on two areas; interim management in marketing, fundraising, and communications and work with Senior Management teams, nationally and internationally, looking at how to implement a vision for the 21st century.
“I am interested in how we navigate the complexity of change to deliver mission,” Ashley said. “You can see that working in the Fit for Mission process and the various schemes that led up to this point. It is about exploring with the diocese what the options are”

Ashley is clear that he is helping us look at both the missional and financial health of our diocese. “My impression is that pre-pandemic Liverpool was fighting above its weight making things work without a strong asset base. Covid has clearly changed that.”

Ashley said he is not working with a preformed agenda but is exploring with us. His role is to analyse what is happening and make recommendations. He believes you don’t find the key to that on a spreadsheet or a document or plan but you do find it through talking to the people.

Mike Eastwood said: “We welcome Ashley to our diocese and look forward to working with him. This is part of the three-way partnership of parishes, diocese, and the national church to explore the unique set of financial circumstances we face. With our small asset base of land and property, mostly in low-value areas, we don’t have many financial levers to pull. We have a plan in Fit for Mission but that needs time to work and we are grateful to the Church of England for exploring the ways in which together we can support a Christian presence in every community in our diocese.”

Ashley will be with us for a few weeks talking to people and observing key meetings. His outcomes will be discussed at the Strategic Ministry and Mission Board of the Church of England in October and we will update people at that time.

Please pray for this process

We ask that every deanery and parish includes this process in prayer.

We give thanks for Ashley and the Independent Review.
We ask for your spirit of wisdom, that he may listen well and challenge appropriately.
We pray that your will be understood and heard through this process as together we discern the best way to be part of your mission in the world.
We give thanks for the generous givers and faithful stewards of our finances and ask you to bless us in this work
For the sake of your son our saviour Jesus Christ


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