6 THE BRIDGE... September 2013 The Diocese of Southwark - stru
Depending upon where we might be located we each have different views of the Diocese of Southwark, what makes it work
and how it ticks. We asked various people with roles within the Diocese to tell us something of what they do. As well as that we wanted to bring you up to date with some exciting developments which
are happening within the Diocese as a result of the Strategy for Ministry.
The work of the Diocesan Boards and Councils is detailed in the Annual Review each year but it is not always easy from a parish point of view to know how everything fits together.
The Episcopal structure of the Diocese (as most people will know) is that there is a Diocesan Bishop – who is the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun
‘So ... which is your church?’ ‘Today – this one.’
In one form or another, that is a conversation I have almost every week. One of the most profound of the many changes in my life since becoming Bishop of Croydon, is that I have become a nomad.
As a parish priest, I was of course rooted in one place, getting to know the people of the parish, there in their joys and sorrows, presiding over celebrations and times of grief. I had a church to look after (well, two, in fact), with all the opportunities for mission, and worries about the roof, that that entails. Now, I am at home in a different church every week, experiencing the full
variety of the worship of the Church of England, always meeting new people – and responding to questions like ‘which is your church?’
My first year or so in ministry as a bishop has reinforced in my heart what I always knew in my head, that we only demonstrate the life of Christ if we do so as the body of Christ: Christianity is not a religion for individualists. And that is so particularly because none of us have all the gifts we need for our own life of faith: we are not self-sufficient. We need one another if we are to live out our own faith, and the more we are able to work together, to learn from one another, and to appreciate our
Anthony Trollope memorably characterised an archdeacon as ‘generally a gentleman who is well to do in the world and who can take a comfortable place in the county society among which it is his happy lot to live’, How times have changed!
What has not changed is that the archdeacon is an officer of the Bishop, who has authority in the archdeaconry which is a legal division of the Diocese for administrative purposes. The archdeacon has most to do with the parish clergy and with the churchwardens of the parishes
to enable them to take forward the mission of the church locally.
Archdeacons are there to ensure that parishes are administered properly and are usually but not exclusively seen in matters relating to the church building, to church finance and to supporting a parish during a vacancy and the process of appointment of clergy.
These issues matter because the mission of the church depends on good and unobtrusive order and is
The Area Dean
The Area Dean is licensed by the Diocesan Bishop for a five year period to maintain a channel of information between the churches of the Deanery and the Archdeacon, Area Bishop and Diocesan Bishop. They are nominated by their peers and it is rather like being a Class Captain for a term!
Area Deans offer support and encouragement to the clergy of the Deanery and they are responsible for calling clergy together for regular meetings of Chapter and with the Lay Chair, organising meetings of Deanery Synod. Area Deans also, in agreement with the Archdeacon, carry out annual
inspections of churches in the Deanery and report back to the Archdeacon on the visits carried out.
In practice, the busiest time for an Area Dean is when there are vacancies in the Deanery.
At that time they maintain regular contact with the Churchwardens to ensure that worship, pastoral care and the day to day running of the parish continue effectively. The Area Dean is also involved in the appointment process but not directly involved in interviewing.
Area Deans are also licensed to carry out any other duties that the Area Bishop requires.
Following the Strategy for Ministry Report Area Deans have now become involved in Ministerial Development Reviews and, through the setting up of the Deanery Mission and Pastoral Working Groups, will play a part in recommending to the Area Bishop and Archdeacon changes to the pattern of ministry in the Deanery to ensure that available resources are used to best effect in resourcing mission.
Area Deans are also parish priests and balance their Area Dean duties with developing and growing their own churches.
Revd Christine Spurway, Area Dean Croydon South
hampered when there is not. It matters for instance (to take a small example) that church inventories are kept in order so that in the unhappy event of a theft or fire, a good record of church property can save time and energy at a traumatic moment in the life of the parish.
Archdeacons may need to be good administrators but it is essential that they are also priests exercising these gifts in the context of the ministry and mission of the church for the building of the Kingdom and the glory of God.
differences, the more we can become Christ-like.
It is a great privilege to work together with Bishop
Christopher and all those who serve the Diocese as a whole, and with the people and clergy of the parishes. My hope is that what I offer in my own ministry will enable and encourage us to be the people of God for the world.
‘Which is your church?’ – I hope all churches are my church, not because I want to be in charge of them all, but because all churches exist in order to be a spiritually hospitable home for those who come, whether to stay for the rest of their lives, or as nomads whose home moves with them.
The Venerable Stephen Roberts
Bishop Jonathan, Bishop of Croydon
In 2012 three major strands of mission and ministry came together in the Diocese of Southwark: Faith, Hope, Love: Bishop Christopher’s Call to Mission, Signs of Growth and then last November the Diocesan Synod gave its approval to the Strategy for Ministry report, a major piece of work carried out in the course of the year on behalf of the Bishop’s Council and personally commissioned by Bishop Christopher.
The Venerable Chris Skilton, Archdeacon of Croydon
Its purpose was to discern, in the light of the financial challenges facing the Diocese, how best to match ministry opportunities with available resources, and to provide a process and structure for discussing, forming and implementing a medium to longer term strategy for mission and ministry.
In doing so, the group drew on the results of a thorough process of consultation across the Diocese which informed and shaped its conclusions.
The Strategy for Ministry report begins with Bishop Christopher’s vision for our shared calling and confidence in Christ. It sets out 25 recommendations, to be implemented over five years, and these recommendations are supported by six more detailed working papers, which are starting points for further work, each addressing a key area - prayer, stewardship of God’s resources, mission and engagement, developing collaborative ministry, vocation and development and Deaneries.
The report notes the Bishop’s strong commitment to maintaining as many stipendiary clergy as possible. However, in order to safeguard Diocesan finances for the future, the report recommends a carefully managed programme of post reductions - two per Episcopal Area per year for five years, a total reduction of 30 posts – which is now underway. The report makes clear that to reduce posts is not a strategy for ministry, so it asks the question “Where are we being called to discern new ways in which God is calling us?”
Some clear priorities have emerged: renewal of the gifts of the whole people of God, a re- energised focus on mission, including Mission Action Planning, and breathing new life into the Deaneries.
It was evident from the consultation process that the Fairer Shares Scheme should be reviewed, in order to ensure that the way in which the Share is raised and ministry resources allocated are theologically grounded, mission-focused and financially coherent. The report also recommended an external review and
examination of performance and management of central Diocesan Administration.
Following the debate in Synod, which gave its strong backing to the report, the November 2012 meeting of Bishop’s Council agreed a detailed Action Plan which sets out how the recommendations will be taken forward.
Strategy for Ministry is no longer primarily a report. It is an on-going process, and the Bishop’s Council appointed an Implementation Group to oversee the different aspects of the work and to monitor progress, chaired in its first year by the Archdeacon of Wandsworth, who has given regular updates to Diocesan Synod, Bishop’s Council and the Diocesan Board of Finance.
You can read and download ‘Strategy for Ministry’ at: http://tinyurl.com/csay54y
at present and three Episcopal Areas: Kingston, Croydon and Woolwich. Each Area has an Area Bishop and two Archdeacons.
Kingston then has eight Deaneries each served by an Area Dean and Lay Chair and sometimes an Assistant Area Dean too. Woolwich has ten Deaneries and Area Deans and Lay Chairs and Croydon has eight.
Each Deanery is a grouping of a number of parishes. The exact
number varies from Deanery to Deanery. The smallest (Bermondsey and Dulwich) each have 7 parishes and the largest (Reigate) has 23 parishes. The clergy in the Deaneries meet together in Deanery Chapters in order to share ideas and work collaboratively and support each other. The clergy and elected lay people from each church in the Deanery meet together at the Deanery Synod.
The Deanery Synods can and
do put forward agreed motions for discussion by the Diocesan Synod and if agreed and where appropriate the Diocesan Synod can send these motions onto
the General Synod for debate. In this way we each can help to change things within the whole of the Church of England.
Southwark Cathedral is the Bishop’s kathedra or ‘seat’ and the ‘mother church’ of the Diocese. It is led by the Dean and Chapter which consists of two Cathedral Canons (the Sub-Dean and Canon Pastor), the Precentor and three Diocesan Canons who also have Diocesan wide roles. It is also the parish church for the surrounding London Bridge area.
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