Deep wells and green pastures

Rural-Commission-Logo-Hi-Res-JEPG-211x300 (1)… is the title of a recent report on rural church in the Diocese of Leicester.  The result of a six-month consultation, with people from across a Diocese that is perhaps not so often thought of as rural. One of the key insights in this transforming thought process has been for the Diocese as a whole:

 Leicester Diocese will shift in self-understanding from an urban diocese with a rural edge to a rural diocese with urban heartlands, working in partnership, and led by all God’s people.

The paper, which is available online in full or in summary,  offers a series of WAGOLLS (what a good one looks like) that encapsulate the aspirations of rural churches in the Diocese and, indeed, of a diocese that has lots of rural churches.  Recommendations are flagged as being for rural churches or relating to diocesan processes accordingly.

Here’s a summary of some of the highlights:

WAGOLL for rural contexts:

For churches: real engagement between church and community; sharing of good practice;

For the Diocese: strategy for approaches to engaging with new housing developments; rural proof the work of the Diocesan Social Responsibility Panel

WAGOLL for Schools, children and young people

For churches: “review worship practices and physical spaces to reflect the participatory
and engaging ways worship is conducted in Church schools”; consider options for churches and schools to share space; there’s also an interesting discussion on small, rural schools joining a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT).

WAGOLL for mission, evangelism and growth:

For churches: focus on growing depth of discipleship; focus on growing multiple, lay-led worshipping communities;

For the Diocese: developing rural-friendly resources to encourage evangelism.

WAGOLL for discipleship and vocation:

For churches: more stories about what discipleship and vocation mean in rural contexts;

For the Diocese: create a pilot for rural vocational development; rural-proof work on implementation of Setting God’s People Free.

WAGOLL for leadership and ministry:

For churches: shift towards collaborative approaches as “default mode of leadership”;

For the Diocese: explore different models, including minster model, Framland Deanery project.

WAGOLL for governance and buildings:

For churches: re-imagine the role of churchwarden and other officers; explore combining PCCs; promote collaboration with other denominations;

For the Diocese: in the light of the Taylor Review, form a Diocesan Buildings Team to visit churches and advise.

WAGOLLS for finance and giving:

For churches:develop understanding of how generous giving emerges from discipleship;

For the Diocese: promote ways for churches to be supported in managing finance mores effectively; explore pilots for third party service for churches in e.g. book keeping.

 

 

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