Friday, 20 May 2011

Gartree Mission Partnership Review

Review Date: Thursday 10th March 2011
Partnership setup in the summer of 2007

Present at the Review Meeting: Helen Bence (Convenor); Liz Smith (Lay Convenor); Michael Rusk (Rural Dean & Team Rector, Oadby); Ludger Fremmer (P-i-C Kibworth, Smeeton Westerby and Saddington); Alan Pyke (Kibworth); Jon Barrett (Vicar Thurnby & Stoughton); Barbara Butler (Church Warden Houghton); Paskal Clement (Oadby Team Ministry)

Review Facilitators: Barry Hill and Vic Allsop

Four questions were asked of the group in the Areas of Mission Experience, Mission and Community, Mission and Partnership and Looking to the future.

The meeting took place a St Lukes CofE Primary School Thurnby.

Mission Experience:
Reflecting on your experience of working together in mission, think of a time when you felt most engaged, alive and motivated. Who was involved? What did you do? How did it feel? What happened? What difference did it make?

The greatest experience you can have with mission at the top of your agenda (and this is where it is for the Gartree Mission Partnership) is to be sharing the message of our Lord and Saviour with the people in your parish and seeing lives and communities transformed through it.

For Gartree Mission Partnership this has been carried out by preparing those involved in the Partnership by looking at learning opportunities:

  • Leading Your Church into Growth (LYCiG)
  • Rural Mission Day
  • Quiet Days
  • PCC ‘resource’ evening
This has allowed people to come together in a number of ways, and to look at a number of outreach initiatives to encourage those who have not been regularly involved in Church life:

  • Healing and Wholeness course, developing an effective local prayer ministry.
  • Joint services
  • Mission Partnership review breakfast (in the pub)
  • Relay for Life at Kibworth (24 hour walking relay)
  • Alpha
The results are that some PCC’s have reviewed the structure of their meetings, with reports presented before a meeting and allowing Mission to be at the top of the agenda.  There is a higher level of sharing and looking at good local practice. There is a ‘feel good factor’ among congregations. They feel more Mission minded and it feels good. Being together is more powerful than we imagine, it confirms that although some are from small communities they are certainly not alone.

Mission and Community:
Thinking about mission activities, what have you tried? How did the local community/communities respond? How does it feel to be a missional/outward focused community?

It was recognised that, whilst not all Mission happens as a direct result of the Mission Partnership, the general feeling of mutual support and missional accountability and learning does help resource the local. The Mission Partnership recognised this in the various projects (not all mentioned) they have planned:

·      Back to Church Sunday, targeting areas (e.g. certain streets).
·      Everyone Welcome run at Thurnby, Kibworth and Oadby.
·      Community Choir at Foxton
·      Outreach teams in Kibworth
·      Marriage courses and Parenting courses
·      Becoming more child friendly (Messy Church, Peters Place)
·      Mens breakfast.
·      Xchange 09, six events in the community over a fortnight.

For the projects to be valuable to the community, planning and preparation is needed. The Mission Partnership has demonstrated this by a combination of different points of focus:

  • Newcomers welcome event at the Vicarage.
  • Church members becoming more involved in mission
  • People in the communities becoming more aware of the presence of the Church among them. This earns the Church when your in the community the right to share the gospel
  • Growing nurture of Church members and the development of confidence (personal and congregation)
  • Celebrating mission initiatives
This focus creates a ripple effect and starts to meet genuine community needs and starts to ‘scratch’ where the itch is.

Mission and Partnership:
On what level does partnership work well together in this Mission Partnership? What good things have happened from partnership together?

It was recognised that working together and sharing with each other was happening and key to the Partnership’s development

  • Clergy in the partnership meeting with each other, and being honest with each other.
  • Sharing initiatives and encouraging each other.
  • Creating a level of flexibility and inclusiveness.
  • Motivating each other to keep trying.
  • Allowing for the evolution of the Partnership to happen creates a greater understanding and appreciation of it.
  • Giving each other mutual support.
  • Improving communications across the Partnership and facilitating stronger relationships.

This level of co-operation was leading to new initiatives and presenting new opportunities:

  • Working with others across the partnership allowing for those smaller parishes to benefit from greater numbers and an increased level of input.
  • Breaking down isolation in the smaller communities.
  • It is creating stepping stones to a less clerically orientated structure.
  • It is allowing parishes to be more confident in making a significant contribution to the Kingdom.

Going Forward.
In terms of mission activity what would really energise and uplift you and your church and would overlap with the concerns and hopes of other churches in the Partnership?

This final discussion was looking to the future and provided a number of thoughts and ideas about what perhaps should assist outreach and growth across the Partnership. The areas that gained most support from the gathering were:

  1. Helping each other to put our churches at the heart of the community.
  2. Helping each other to develop our churches vision.
  3. The Mission Partnership helping churches to simplify structures (e.g. The PCC Agenda )
1.    ACORN listening courses.
2.    More Healing and Wholeness courses.
3.    Bereavement courses.
4.    Pre mission activity training/resourcing.

Two clear elements, helping each other and courses and training.

Thoughts/Questions from the Review.

1.    Clearly there is a lot going on in the Mission Partnership. Do be sure that in this busy world where time is at a premium you don’t over face yourselves. Considered projects co-ordinated across the Mission Partnership or focussed in a particular place with clear objectives which can integrate well with what is in place already can help to minimise additional work for clergy and lay people alike, and often bring the best long term results.
2.    The inclusive nature of activities in the Mission Partnership should be commended. It is however important that notice is always taken of the smaller communities to the north and south of the Mission Partnership to ensure that opportunities are available to all and the Christian presence in the communities large or small get the chance to enhance their skills and perhaps bring new disciples.  That said, it is also recognised that getting all churches on board hasn’t always been easy!
3.    ‘Helping each other develop our church’s vision’ was identified as a future objective. This is important and needs participation from all (helping each other as stated). A clear, simple and straight forward Vision that puts you at the heart of the community and is owned by all. This will provide further assistance with outreach and the projects you have.
4.    Prayer. The Mission Partnership is underpinned by Prayer and achievements are celebrated together. When ‘normal’ Parish life is in play the regular use of a Gartree Mission Partnership prayer used Sunday by Sunday could help all to identify better with the Mission Partnership and to think about and pray for the Mission Partnership as will be done for their village/parish/benefice.  The wonderful recent celebration service of all that God is doing in mission is a great example of prayerfully rejoicing and resourcing together.
5.    It is clear that courses and training have been and are a well used tool in the Mission Partnership. Further courses have been identified. It is important that they continue to be complimentary to the vision of member churches.
6.    Within the wider church (not the Mission Partnership) there are too many PCC meetings where often Mission doesn’t get a look in. The Mission Partnership parishes are looking at supporting each other in small but significant changes that put Mission at the forefront of the agenda. If this becomes a conversation about Mission Partnership/Mission it would/could create a great degree of ‘buy in’ among grass roots members who are still parochial or ambivalent about what the Mission Partnership is there to do and we want to strongly encourage it.
7.    We feel that those involved in keeping the Mission Partnership afloat are generally well supported. Continue to ensure this is the case, giving time regularly to hear of news both good and bad. Pray for them to be strengthened in the work they do and uphold and support them publicly whenever the opportunity presents its self.
8.    The feeling was that the Mission partnership is, in most places, well integrated into Parish life. We need to ensure that that continues to be the case. The clergy and lay people of the Mission Partnership with those directly involved should ensure that they get together regularly socially (not as a meeting!) to allow through fellowship the continued sharing of local experiences ‘to get it off your chest’. These are enriching and encouraging for all and help foster the emerging sense of mutual accountability in mission. A bring and share lunch/evening that moves around and includes over a period of time all parishes will be seen as inclusive and enjoyable at the same time!
9.    New Voices to be heard. Whose voice isn’t being heard? Most strands of opinion are represented from the very young to the senior citizen.  The PMAG could maybe be helped by inviting some of those less well represented on it to share with you, even join with you. Get a young person or a senior citizen to come and tell you about their needs and what’s being/been provided and how they feel about it and what they want to do. It’s carrying out mini reviews of your work with those it is for.
10.Mission Partnership and 2020 Vision. (Discussed briefly at the review). Often these are seen as opposing forces and that preoccupation has to be with one or the other (or possibly neither, as it will then perhaps go away!). The future work of clergy, laity in the parishes/benefices and the Mission Partnership within the context of the 2020 Vision is a reality. We encourage you to take the bull by the horns and face it together. This can when shared look to address many issues relating to work loads, time available, stress and morale that many face in Parish Ministry today. It will teach us some of the different ways of working which will surely come to us all.

It was a great pleasure to come and review the Gartree Mission Partnership. We thank everyone for their hospitality, and thank God for the energy within the Mission Partnership and pray for all those who work so hard for it.

Vic Allsop (and Barry Hill)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Celebrating Christ the Healer

Diocese of Leicester in Association with Acorn Christian Healing Foundation
Celebrating Christ the Healer
A day of encouragement for the ministry of Wholeness & Healing with teaching, workshops, worship and healing prayer to enable us to journey towards wholeness
Saturday 14th May, 9.30am – 4.00pm at Leicester Cathedral & St Martins House
Key note speaker: Revd Dr Russ Parker, Director of Acorn.
A chance to experience the wonderful facilities at St Martins House where most of the workshops will be held. For Programme for the day & booking contact Claire or call 0116 261 5317. Booking Fee £5.00. Please book before 7th May.
Download the conference brochure here

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Magnify Youth Event

You and the young people you work with are warmly invited to attend MAGNIFY on Saturday 19th March. This year Magnify will aim to present the good news about Jesus through drama dance and music, sound, light, screen and word. All this will be done by our young people aged between 10 and 22! 

We hope it will be an enjoyable and challenging evening wherever you are on your journey of faith. All young people from age 10 upwards are welcome to come, and the people who need to transport them, if they are coming a long way.

Admission is completely free and refreshments will be free too!

Whether you have young people who desperately need to hear about the love of Jesus, or young people who need some encouragement to keep going and keep growing in their Christian faith...this is the event for you.

More details are available on the downloadable poster..see the link below.

It would be great to see you there. If you intend to bring some young people, it would be helpful to have a rough idea of how many before the event if possible.

God Bless

Ali Goodman
St Luke's youth worker

Download a PDF poster HERE

Friday, 28 January 2011

Making Sense of Scripture

A Course during Lent at St Wilfrid’s.

Lent is a good time to take up a new challenge; so here’s an invitation!

Reading the Bible is not always easy for us.  We need to remember that it’s made up of different types of literature.  Poetry is quite different to prose, and each needs to be read in different ways.  We might find that we can make some sense of the Gospels, yet we’re bewildered by Proverbs or the Prophets.

This course gives practical guidelines on how to read these different types of books which we find in the Bible.  The first hour of each session will involve teaching and discussion, led by Bill Goodman.  Then the second hour will be about putting it into practice, probably in pairs or in a group.  You could do this with other members of your Home Group, if you choose to come along together.  Each evening is self-contained, so missing one or two is not a problem. 

We’ll meet on Wednesday evenings, in St Wilfrid’s Church Hall in Kibworth.  We’ll begin each evening at 7.30pm (7.15 if you’d like coffee), and finish at 9.30pm.  Here’s the plan:

March 16th       Lost in Translations:             Which Bible Shall I Read?
    Caring Conversations:          How to Read the New Testament Letters
March 23rd     Striking Stories:                     How to Read Biblical Narratives
March 30th      Four Stories of One Story:    How to Read the Gospels
April 6th          Praying Poetry:                     How to Read the Psalms (and Wisdom)
April 13th           Proclaiming and Predicting:  How to Read the Prophets (and Law)
April 20th        Revealing Mysteries:             How to Read the Apocalyptic Books

Whether you know the Bible well, or hardly at all, you should find something worthwhile here.  Do come along – all welcome!

Bill Goodman

Monday, 17 January 2011

Mission Partnership Candlemas Carols

A traditional Candlemas service will take place on Sunday 30th January 2011at St.Wilfrid’s Church, Kibworth, 6.30pm. It will be a traditional sung service, with readings and carols, with a joint choir from different benefices within the Mission Partnership.

The Big Society in Action

Last night 100 key leaders from the nine mainstream denominations of the Christian Church in Leicester and Leicestershire gathered to discuss how they might work together over the next three years to most effectively continue to serve the communities of which they are part.
A recent survey concluded that Christians in the UK contribute seventy two million hours a year of voluntary time serving their local communities. Over the next four years groups of Christian churches in villages and market towns across Leicestershire, as well as in the city are partnering together to build on these 72m hour in a range of initiatives. These initiatives will focus on serving those in need both in practical ways and by sharing the message of life, hope and love found in Jesus Christ which lies at the heart of all they do.
Last night’s event, held at Leicester College, was addressed passionately by a range of speakers keen to build on the many positive things already going on. In closing the evening the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Revd Tim Stevens said, “Tonight’s gathering has reminded us all of the urgent need for the churches to get active in serving our communities and especially the poor as we enter ‘the age of austerity’. It has offered us a vision of what the Big Society could be.”
Revd Dianne Tidball of the East Midlands Baptist Association, and chair of the Churches Together in Leicestershire group, commented, it was “great to be amongst so many people enthusiastic for the mission of God and inspiring to hear of so many initiatives to connect our communities with Christ’s love”
The aim of the evening was to provide a ‘missional menu’ of opportunities for churches working together to engage in mission over the coming four years. This vision casting included exploring the possibilities surrounding the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games through ‘More than Gold’, the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible through Biblefresh and keynote speaker Roy Crowne, Executive Director of Hope Together shared an inspiring vision of churches working together in word and deed evangelism.
For more information on any of these and how you church might be involved please contact Diocesan Mission Enabler, Revd Barry Hill,

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

From attending to Belonging to Contributing: as simple as ABC?

Over the past year over 1,300 people, who weren’t previously members of any church, joined the worshipping communities that make up the Church of England in Leicester and Leicestershire. This is great news, but it also presents a challenge.

Many of those that are new haven’t grown up with the Christian story, language, symbols or being part of any church, in any way. Added to which the experience of many is that often church communities, with their strong sense of fellowship, can be difficult places to join in their own right. How then might we help those who are new to church to become fully a part of our worshipping communities, able to contribute their gifts and grow deeper as disciples of Jesus?

We are delighted to welcome Bob Jackson to help us think further about this. Bob is the best selling author of Hope for the Church and The Road to Growth, co-author of major new welcome course, Everybody Welcome, experienced parish priest, and former Archdeacon of Walsall & Growth Officer for the Diocese of Lichfield. Whether you are a church leader, member of a church council, Churchwarden, Sidesperson, part of a welcome team, Mission Partnership Convenor, Mission Action Group member, Area Dean, archdeacon mission committee member or just interested in the topic, you are most welcome to join Bob for this special one-off gathering organised under the banner of Shaped by God: the diocesan vision for mission.

As the topic is so important, the session will run twice. Once in a slightly extended format in the morning and once in the evening on the same day:
Wednesday 13th October 2010

Extended morning session
Time: 9:30am-1:00pm (with coffee and pastries from 9:15am)
Location: St Paul’s Church, Hamble Road, Oadby, Leicester
Free parking in St. Paul’s car park

Repeated evening session
Time: 7:30-9:30pm (with coffee and pastries from 7:15pm)
Location: Emmanuel Church, Forest Road, Loughborough
Free parking in Emmanuel’s two car parks

Both sessions are free to attend, but, with demand expected to be high and limited places, book soon to avoid disappointment!).
Bookings to Carol ( or 0116 248 7411).
For more information contact Mission Enabler, Barry Hill, or 0116 248 7435.