Isle LMG Representatives' Meeting Held at Fivehead Village Hall
1. The Rural Dean welcomed everyone to the meeting especially those local observers from other denominations. The meeting opened with prayer.
2. Apologies were received from Susie Parsons, Nigel Lusby, Jan Allen, Jenny Chance and Bob Congdon.
3. Notes of the meeting held on Monday 12th September 2005, which had been circulated, were approved.
REPORT OF DEANERY SYNOD DISCUSSION:
There were two main items:
(a)The Name of the Deanery
(b)Future arrangements for the Deanery.
The Name of the Deanery: After some good discussion, it had been agreed to keep the name of the Deanery as the Crewkerne & Ilminster Deanery. The new benefices were very happy with this.
Future arrangements of the Deanery and how Synod should operate and at what level: Deanery Synod could be abolished altogether but The Church Representation Act, which legalises Synodical Government, requires there to be a Synod so this would be difficult in practice.
We could put Synod in abeyance – to be called together when something special needs to be discussed.
Leave it as it is or to hold fewer Synods during the year. At the moment Synod meets 3 times a year – some meet 4 or even 5 times.
At the meeting on 13th February, Synod voted for 2 Synods per year which would allow the LMGs (which are running at very different speeds) to meet as often as they wished.
This was thought a good idea as the LMGs would be in a position to discuss things at a more local level, whereas the Deanery Synod would keep us in touch with the wider Church and have the opportunity to present officers’ reports and to receive accounts.
4.PROPOSED CONSTITUTION: - Rev’d Andrew Tatham led the meeting.
(1) Representation – the Deanery Synod lies wholly within the Church of England structure. Here, in the LMG, we are working to mission – inclusive of all the denominations in the area – those people representing other churches are not here as parish reps but as observers.
(2) Election/Appointment of Representatives –
2a) This LMG will, in fact, be a local meeting of Deanery Synod. We do not wish to add another bureaucratic tier – we wish to make it work at both levels. Reps elected by their PCCs will go to Deanery Synod as well as to their LMG meetings. It was asked if the Reps at the LMGs were there representing their own views, as Reps, or delegates. They would be representing their own views and will be expected to report back to their PCCs. And also to bring back opinions from those PCCs.
(2b) Officers will be elected by the Parish Representatives’ Meeting at the first meeting following the triennial election of Deanery Synod Representatives and serve until the conclusion of the next such meeting. Officers may be elected for no more than two successive periods of office.
(3) Consultation – We must make sure that every parish is represented at the LMG meeting. If you are unable to attend, then please ask someone else to come in your place.
(4) Frequency of meetings – Probably 2 per year to fit between the two Deanery Synods. As well as meetings, occasionally, there would be special services in the parishes.
It was agreed to delete ‘parish’ in the last sentence to include the observers from the other churches.
(5) Roles – The Parish Representatives’ Meeting shall ….. add – ‘ aspire to’.
(5a)This is fundamental to our purpose.
There was much discussion over the words …..the ILMG will do apart nothing that they can do together, and will do together what they cannot do apart…..
Jenny Langdown pointed out that her parishes were in the process of joining Langport Churches Together which might bring difficulties if they were also supposed to be doing everything within the ILMG. Andrew pointed out that nothing was written in stone, these weren’t restrictions. The Ilminster Methodist Minister crossed borders all the time from Ilminster, Kingsbury Episcopi and even Stoke sub Hamdon which wasn’t even the same Archdeaconry. We certainly do not want to say that you can’t do anything with anyone else.
(5b)..change …. Be the focal point of the support … to …. Be the focal point FOR …
(6) Responsibilities –
(6a) Andrew continued … we are all called by God to do something (or some things) but this call does not mean we should go unaided. As a priest is called, trained and then supported by those around, so those interested lay people should also receive appropriate training and support.
(6b) It would be easier in this group than the legalistic Deanery Synod.
(6c) Our Ministry is going to be completely different from how our parents worshipped and how we were brought up to worship. Our ministry must become more dynamic and ready for change.
(6d) Important that we keep an eye on this. It might be difficult for some of the smaller parishes to get a Rep to every meeting but if it happens too often, then we should make enquiries of that parish.
(6e) We are here to serve and love our neighbour as ourselves.
(6g) For quite a long time, churches have had a long list of responsibilities (churchwardens, secretary, treasurer etc) and hastily fill these post on the assumption that particular people would be good at these roles. We should take care and ask people what it is they really would like to do.
(6h) ………..above. (Add) …, noting that when it so acts, only elected or ex-officio members of Deanery Synod may vote.
(6i) At the moment, the Deanery sends 5 clergy Reps and 6 lay Reps to Diocesan Synod. Of these 11 Reps there are 6 that come from this LMG. As the idea now is that each LMG will elect 1 clergy and 1 lay person for Diocesan Synod, the Reps will be better placed around the Deanery as a whole.
(6j) In normal circumstances, this shouldn’t be a problem. We won’t take action on this until we are required to do so by the Diocese.
(6k) This is purely practical and is the result of the Deanery becoming 60 parishes. No Rural Dean can be expected to carry out all this work. We are fortunate that Nigel is non-stipendiary. Any successor to Nigel, who will undoubtedly be ordained and have parishes of his own, would be quite unable to undertake all the Inspections of churches etc.
(6l) If those following after us wish to change things, then they can.
The Rural Dean pointed out that if a parish did want to put forward a proposal, then they could come to the meeting, that proposal would then go back to all the parishes and after that be brought back to a LMG meeting.
If there was a particular subject, continually brought before the meeting, then it would only be allowed to be discussed once every 12 months.
Alan Brierly (Cudworth) told the meeting that Cudworth was a small parish, although looked after well by the clergy, they found it difficult to find people to fill all the roles needed in the parish and the PCC was not keen to send someone to the LMG meetings as they were not convinced this was a good thing or helpful to anyone. What is the purpose of the LMG. They were too busy keeping their church and fabric up together include us out he said.
The Rural Dean replied, saying that there was a wider scene – we are instructed in the Scriptures to help each other – to look on the wider world.
Andrew Tatham continued – the purpose of any constitution is to make possible the activities of the organisation. It sets out a framework to which the organisation can respond. It allows co-operation between parishes and churches of different denominations. It would be difficult to count out any parish, even at this stage of the proceedings. We must remember that the ‘church’ comprised the people, the community, rather than the building.
Henry Best reminded the meeting that the Church of England suffered from many problems just now and thought that if we did not work together then there would be even more difficulties. He approved the constitution and asked the meeting to adopt it and see how it works out.
Mr. Denis Hallas, Ashill Baptist Church, said he was pleased that so much was spoken of ecumenical ministry and of mission in particular. He asked if there is a vote, where does the observer stand? Andrew told the meeting that if the vote concerned the Deanery then the observer could not vote, if the vote was related to the ILMG then they had a vote like anyone else.
Mrs. Blasdale (Ilton) was unhappy that this meeting would be a permanent committee of the Deanery Synod. The LMG does not have the authority to be part of Synod, she said.
Nigel replied that the first meeting in September 2005 was, actually, in place of the Ilminster Team Officers’ meeting with the addition of the Curry Rivel parishes. Mrs. Blasdale would have a vote at Deanery Synod and at the LMG. He pointed out that even at Diocesan Synod there were always observers who simply did not vote.
The Rev’d Jenny Langdown said that it had not been a question of shall we, or shan’t we, go for the LMG. This was at the behest of Bishop Peter. Jenny pointed out that we are under the authority of the Bishop and this has come with Diocesan approval. In the Church of England we do accept that we are under the Authority of our Diocesan Bishop.
Rev’d Alastair Wallace thought that the Deanery and LMG were dealing with different things. The Deanery is more legal, structured, whilst the LMG would be more mission based. The LMG would improve the mission of our churches and how good it was to see observers from the other denominations – we hope to build on the ecumenically based mission of our local churches. Things would be formal and administrative going through Synod, whereas the LMG would deal with more from the grass roots. Parishes would be able to put forward issues directly related to our local mission. Please refer to Bishop Peter’s Green Paper. Changing Lives for Changing Communities – we have changing churches too. We must all realise the huge help we already receive from the Diocese in terms of resources – in Reader training, lay training etc.
The Rural Dean asked the meeting to vote, by a show of hands, to approve the amended Constitution. 24 Deanery Representatives present and 24 in favour.
The Rural Dean, The Rev’d Nigel Whinney had been asked to stand as Chairman and this was approved. There were no volunteers to stand as co-Chairman though one or two people were thinking it over.
Catherine Cavender had offered to stand as Secretary and this was approved.
There was thought no need to have a treasurer just yet.
Nigel asked the observers what had they made of this meeting. Richard Thomas of the Ilminster Christian Fellowship replied that he was encouraged that we are all anxious to take the Gospel forward. The LMG is a less formal affair and a good platform where we can all worship together. He suggested pulpit exchanges. He had been drawn to this meeting by the word Mission in the statement. As Christians, we are all searching for ways to reach those people who don’t know Jesus. What mechanisms can we use to reach these people?
By having a social event, not only can we enjoy the fellowship but it would enable us to painlessly raise money that was needed to run the LMG such as hire of halls and sending information out (although much can now be sent e mail) Special services:
Sunday 2nd April 6.00pm at St. Andrew’s Curry Rivel.
Sunday 3rd December 6.00pm at St. Peter’s Horton.
Saturday 20th May – Skittles
The Rural Dean showed the meeting the draft Register of non-ordained Ministry.
7. Date of next meeting will be Monday 11th September at 7.30pm. Venue to be announced later.
The Rev’d Jenny Langdon thought that we should try to come to the next meeting with ideas of just how we can work together in the way of Mission.
There being no other business the meeting was closed.