About Ile LMG

Introduction

Local Ministry Groups are being set up in the Bath & Wells Diocese to help share resources across the parishes - particularly those in the rural setting. In the Isle Local Ministry Group some 20 parishes maintain an individual ethos that preserves their tradition and culture; yet we benefit from a share of five full time priests and an increasing number of readers and lay leaders.

Bishop's Message

This message was sent to the representatives at the meeting that discussed the constitution of the Isle Local Ministry Group

The parochial system which we have inherited was based on a largely rural society in which most people lived, worked, married, raised a family and died all in the same place.

The circumstances of peoples’ lives today could hardly be more different, and there is an urgent need for the Church to adapt its own structures, and thus to witness more powerfully to a society hungry for spiritual meaning.

Our proposals for LOCAL MINISTRY GROUPS are made in the firm belief that, if they are adopted, they will enable the Church to face honestly those parts of its life which need to change, and to move into a new era of growth, and of readiness for mission and ministry in today’s world.

Constitution of Ile LMG

1. Representation

The Parish Representatives’ Meeting shall be formed of :

a. Representatives of the ecclesiastical parishes of Ashill, Barrington, Broadway, Chillington, Cudworth, Curry Rivel, Donyatt, Dowlish Wake, Fivehead, Horton, Ilminster, Ilton, Isle Abbots, Isle Brewers, Kingstone, Puckington, Shepton Beauchamp, Stocklinch, Swell, and Whitelackington;

b. Readers licensed within these parishes;

c. Clergy licensed to these parishes;

d. A Chairman, a Co-Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer and other officers as shall be from time to time determined by the Parish Representatives’ Meeting;

e. A representative observer from each sister church within the parishes named above, currently comprising : Ashill Baptist Church, Broadway Hill Methodist Church, Curry Rivel United Reformed Church, Fivehead Baptist Church, Ilminster Christian Fellowship, Ilminster Methodist Church, Ilminster Roman Catholic Church, and Isle Abbots Baptist Church.

2. Election/Appointment of Representatives

a. The Parish Representatives shall be those persons elected by the relevant Annual Parochial Church Meetings as Deanery Synod Representatives. In the event that there are vacancies for Deanery Synod Representatives, the PCC shall appoint persons as Parish Representatives in their stead.

b. 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

It is an essential requirement of making a success of the Local Ministry Group concept that Parish Representatives maintain a regular pattern of consultation with the PCCs and congregations they represent. The Parish Representatives’ Meeting will need to ensure that this is done and that no Parish becomes disenfranchised.

4. Frequency of meeting

The Parish Representatives’ Meeting shall determine the number of meetings per year in relation to the well-being of the LMG and appropriate consultation with PCCs and congregations; the date and location of such meetings; and also the number, date and location of whole-LMG services. Every Representative shall be given at least fourteen days’ notice of a meeting and the agenda thereof.

5. Roles

The Parish Representatives’ Meeting shall aspire to :

a. be the ‘corporate mind’ of the ILMG, ensuring that living, working and praying as one body in Christ, the Christian communities of the ILMG will do apart nothing that they can do together, and will do together what they cannot do apart;

b. be the focal point for the support and encouragement of each local Christian community and those who minister among them, both lay and ordained;

c. enable the sharing of skills and expertise among the local Christian communities in the service of God and of the communities as a whole.

6. Responsibilities

The Parish Representatives’ Meeting shall :

a. embrace and bring to life a vision of mission and ministry that allows every Christian to fulfil his or her own calling and arrange collaboratively such training and study courses as may encourage this;

b. be open to opportunities to co-operate ecumenically with sister churches throughout the Isle Local Ministry Group area;

c. welcome a dynamic pattern of ministry in which the only thing that is unchanging is the everlasting love of God;

d. maintain a regular pattern of consultation with the PCCs and congregations to ensure that no Parish becomes disenfranchised;

e. be aware of the pastoral needs of, and opportunities for service to, the Christian communities and the communities as a whole within the ILMG;

f. encourage the sharing of skills and resources to provide for the recognised needs and opportunities;

g. identify individuals who require training to enable their willingness and skills to be fully used;

h. be a permanent committee of Deanery Synod, acting as and for Synod in respect of the parishes named above, noting that when it so acts, only elected or ex-officio members of Deanery Synod may vote;

i. appoint as required by the Diocesan Secretary, lay and clerical members to Diocesan Synod;

j. consider in due time becoming responsible for the fulfilment of the overall parish share of the Isle Local Ministry Group;

k. undertake on behalf of the Rural Dean agreed functions including Rural Dean’s inspections, and maintain agreed records including that quinquennial inspections, parish files and the Register of all lay qualifications;

l. be able to agree and amend this constitution by a two-thirds majority of those present at a meeting called for the purpose, subject to subsequent ratification by a majority of four fifths of the PCCs. Except in extra-ordinary circumstances no proposed amend to this constitution shall be re-submitted within a twelve period.

Agreed by the Parish Representatives’ Meeting of the Isle Local Ministry Group at Fivehead on 27th February 2006

Self Assessment

How is your Local Ministry Group - Draft Document

At the next LMG meeting, to be held at Ilton Village Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 11th March 2008 we plan to review how we are doing.

We shall use the format and questions shown on this page and the next.

1 Why do you want to know how’s your local ministry group?

In 2004 the diocese asked each Deanery for a strategic plan for the implementation of the Green Paper’ Changing Lives: Changing Churches for Changing Communities’. Local Ministry Groups (Groups) have been forming and within a ‘no one size that fits all’ approach. Local flexibility continues to be the order of the day in the formation and development of Groups.

Now Bishops Peter have asked the School of Formation to make available to clergy and lay leaders of Groups this self-assessment form which helps Groups to

  • Reflect on their journey of development so far
  • Think about the next steps
  • Work out the kind of support which might be needed along the way

2 How do we use this self assessment?

These form provides the questions.

The first task for the Group is to decide how to complete the questions? Our advice is to read all the questions first and then to decide a way to answer them that will work for your Group.

There are a number of ways a Group might decide to use to answer the questions. For example a Group could decide that

a) the leadership team, perhaps up to a dozen lay and clergy people, would meet for about 90 minutes with an external facilitator. The facilitator would lead the team through the questions and complete the booklet after the meeting, sending it to the Group’s chair for agreement. (The School of Formation can supply external facilitators)

b) one of the clergy and a lay leader were best placed to work together to answer the questions on behalf of the Group and to lead a discussion on the findings with the Group

c) it would ask each incumbent to work with a group of lay people drawn from his/her parish/Benefices to answer the questions. The incumbents would then meet together to share views and collate a Group wide response.

d) that none of the above were appropriate and to use a completely different process for answering the questions which better suited the Group.

3 Questions

3.1 What signs can we see within our Group, in whole or in part, of change and transformation?

Please list and briefly describe some examples for which we can give thanks to God.

3.2 What kind of a Group are we now?

Read the three descriptions of different forms of being a Group. You have thirty points to allocate across these three descriptions to reflect your present Group. If you think that your Group is best described by one of the models, allocate all your thirty points to that model. If you think your Group shows the characteristics of more than one model, allocate your thirty points in the proportions you think best describes your Group

Entity

The LMG has a formal structure constituted in such a way as to help it grow and achieve its ambitions. These may involve helping it to fulfill its work by forming a recognizable leadership and organization. It may want to employ staff, define boundaries, and/or be recognized by other formal bodies. The participants find a unity by agreement, ratified by the parent body enabling a platform for further creative work.

Strength: stability and organization
Weakness: can become rigid and slow moving

Covenant

The LMG meets in a social setting for fellowship, mutual embrace and organic growth. The purpose of each participant may vary, for example in churchmanship, demographic background or mission and ministry expectations. These may be diverse, causing variant ways of being the church; however, meeting on neutral territory and agenda enables friendships to be forged, exchange of views to be explored, deeper learning, and an enriching of the lives of the participants.

Strength: warm and rich relationships
Weakness: can lack purpose and direction

Strategic Alliance

The LMG finds a strategic project or purpose to achieve. This may be a mission imperative or support of local school initiatives for example. The participants and leaders meet to identify, plan and support the projects. The LMG may find support through participants being diverse, even though they support a common aim, for example different social background, churchmanship or age. This may increase the sense of collaboration as the project unites a variety of surprising partnerships.

Strength: purposive and active
Weakness: can lose motivation by not attending to relationships

3.3 What kind of a Group would we like to be by 2012?

Allocate thirty points to show the kind of Group you wish to be by 2012

Record your answers to both 3.2 and 3.3 in the table below.

Group Model Now 2012
Structural/formal
Purposeful/pragmatic
Relational/informal
Total 30 30

3.4 Where are we in terms of the 2004 Green Paper?

A number of statements from the 2004 Green Paper are shown below

Considering the Group as a whole, how are you placed now? Place ‘X’ to mark where you think you are now.

Calling

The LMG would be staffed by ordained and lay ministers who are working together and who are both stipendiary and non stipendiary. Their commitment would be to the LMG as a whole, enabling individual members to play to their strengths and making their expertise available across the LMG.

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

Each Local Ministry Team could comprise some core members such as Sacramental Minister-Priest, Churchwardens, Preacher, Pastor, Liturgist (Worship Leader), School Teachers and Governors, Youth Educator, Administrator.

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

In such teams the stipendiary priest might be described as “Enabler”, with oversight including a number of ministry teams

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

We need to let go of the expectation that every local Christian community will have its 'own' priest; instead we should develop ways of using the ministerial gifts of ordained and lay people more widely across our Christian communities

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

Reshaping

An LMG will work only if there is goodwill on all sides, as well as a commitment to rise above parochialism and to work together for the good of the whole

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

Within the LMG there could be a number of Local Ministry Teams, but not necessarily one per congregation

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

There would be an LMG Council, having general oversight of the worship, spiritual life and mission throughout the LMG. All this could be best served by a single LMG office, staffed by an administrator (who might be full or part time, paid or unpaid)

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

Small groups responsible to the Council could undertake responsibility for particular areas of work, for example evangelism, nurture and adult Christian education and worship. The aim would be to make gifts and resources available across the LMG - so that a church with a thriving youth ministry, for example, would be a resource to the whole area

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

A key feature of each LMG will be a network of communities, giving and sharing their resources

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

Renewal

An LMG will need within it enough congregations to provide centres of active mission and partnership in ministry

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

Worship, teaching, preaching, evangelism and pastoral care are provided in adequate measure, so that new disciples are attracted and nurtured

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

LMGs will lead to a release of energy, (and) growing congregations

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

A growth in vocations to ordained and authorised lay ministry

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

Transformation

Develop and maintain a vibrant, worshipping Christian fellowship at the heart of every local community, however small or large

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

Local Ministry Teams would go beyond liturgy and worship into support for the vulnerable, young people and social justice

Mostly fulfilled (….)Going well (….)Started (….)Still early days (….)Not appropriate (….)

3.5 Reviewing your answers so far, what are your three most important priorities?

3.6 For what would the Group like to be celebrating and giving thanks to God in 2012?

Imagine it is 2012 a significant difference to ministry and mission across the Group is being made. Looking back from 2012 what steps are you glad the Group has already taken. Please record these on the next page.

Looking back from 2012 we are glad the Group has already taken the following steps:

Returning now to the present what does the Group need to learn in order to take these steps?

3.7 How could the School of Formation help the Group?

This booklet is for use by the LMG. There is no requirement to send it to the School of Formation. We would of course we delighted to receive a copy if you so wish. We certainly look forward to a conversation with the LMG about how we might be useful and helpful.