Blog 4 November 2016
Thinking outside the box
On our first evening we broke off into groups to consider a number of papers about how we best use the churches resources across the connexion. These included:
There were some difficult questions and suggestions
within these conversations because they asked us to think differently and share
our resources better. There is money tied up in churches around the connexion
that is doing nothing whilst at the same time there is some great missional
work that is struggling to survive financially. The group discussing this paper
considered how we can best share what is, at the end of the day, God’s money
and not ours. Yet this money is in local church accounts and, if you've ever had
the joy of being on church council, you will know that churches are very
attached to the money that they have.
When we came together to bring our thoughts back to
the larger group I was able to share some of the good work in Cumbria, where
circuits have helped each other in different ways to share the resources that God
has given us. Many on the Council were pleased to hear that those who are able
have often been very gracious, both in terms of projects and in the District's
approach to assessments. Quite a few in the leadership of the church would like
to see this approach work on a much wider scale.
I was in a group that thought about how we deploy ministers around the connexion. This was not just about whether we should return to the system of priority appointments (where certain appointments can’t be left without a minister, even if that means someone needs to be withdrawn from another circuit) but also about whether being able to afford a minister is the sole requirement for a circuit to go in to the stationing process.
Although our group was not necessarily in favour of priority appointments we did believe that there was more to it than just being able to afford a minister. In our conversation we identified the shortage of ministers as an issue and wondered whether a time without a minister (similar to an interregnum) may become a standard part of the process inbetween appointments. What was clear from all of the groups is that we do need to make changes and yet that might not be easy.
I wonder what your thoughts are.
Phil Jackson : Cumbria District Council Representative