The Deanery Leadership Team (DLT) consists of the six Deanery officers, who meet regularly to plan activity and share leadership.  At the end of the current Synod, it’s good to look back at the past three years, and see how our Deanery Plan has guided our activity…

Keeping God at the Heart

There has been a new emphasis on prayer over the past three years. In terms of projects, we helped the Mission Partnership launch a Prayer Page on the their website, with daily reflections, a cycle of prayer and links to Facebook.  This work is being picked up by a different team now…

A year ago, Tim started meeting others at Cornerstone at 8.30am for daily prayer (Monday to Thursday).  This has become an important part of the day for those who come – and is something he’d like to encourage in other parts of the city…

We are now including a significant section of prayer and reflection at every Deanery meeting, including Dwelling in the Word at Synod. Deanery Chapter is now meeting for a monthly Chapter Communion, which includes an opportunity for ministers to pray together.

There is more that can be done in prayer, but the past three years have shown the value of putting prayer at the heart of our planning.

Building Relationships

Good relationships are essential for effective mission together.  We’ve therefore also put relationships right at the heart of our planning over the past three years. Deanery Lunches have been particularly effective, since they bring six leaders together each time for deeper conversations.  We’ve tried to find good ways to bring people together, but it’s not easy…

In January, Pat Hodges ran a Deanery Quiz for us.  This raised money for mission, but also brought people together socially.  A couple of weeks later, the Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC) had a meeting about church growth – but shared a Burns Supper first!  If we are to serve God effectively, we need to invest time in building relationships, because God calls us to be a body not a business meeting.

‘Communications’ are crucial to building relationships.  We need to know what’s going on and how things fit together.  In December we launched The Signpost, our new magazine/newsletter.  The plan is to use this as a way of keeping people informed and increasing involvement…

Building Capacity

We want to do more mission and become more effective in our ministry, but we’re limited by our ‘capacity’. This is about the number of people involved, how well trained we are, and what kind of support we might need…

John Robertson has made this a big priority for the Mission Partnership, the charity that aims to bring churches together for Mission in Milton Keynes. We have supported (and benefited from) the COMPASS Courses that were started about three years ago.  These aim “to build capacity for mission by helping you find new or renewed excitement, depth and confidence in Christian faith”.

There have been courses on the Bible, prayer, the environment and ethics.  We’ve also been running a clergy leadership programme based on action learning sets and mentoring.

This term we’ve launched a new lay leadership course, using the methodology of community organising.  We’ll be watching to see what impact this has on the life of our churches.  Tim and John have been running this course with help from CitizensMK.

Tim is also leading the first COMPASS Preaching Course which started in February.  This will have input from a whole range of experienced preachers who will share their expertise and equip people to serve in our churches. Sixteen people have signed up to this eight session course which will be running until May.

Katharine Crowsley is running a couple of Mission Shaped Intro courses this term and hopes to run a Mission Shaped Ministry Course next year.  These courses will be invaluable in the growth of pioneer ministry and fresh expressions.

COMPASS has been a valuable programme so far, so if your church hasn’t got involved yet, you won’t know what you’re missing!

Working Together

Over the past three years, we have been encouraging city-wide projects that focus on particular mission needs or opportunities.  Rather than try to do everything together, or do everything ourselves, our policy has been to look for effective partnerships led by those who feel called to make things happen.  This has been a really effective approach and the results have often been spectacular:

The MKChurches advertising project has had national impact.  This year we produced three radio adverts of our own which were used by groups elsewhere in the country…

The Refugees Welcome group, which started as a CitizensMK campaign, has now become an independent charity.  There’s a new logo and a new Chair of Trustees.  This month saw the introduction of the first regular Supporters Meeting, held at Whaddon Way Church, which demonstrated huge support for what we’re doing.  We were also invited to run a stand in the foyer at The Stables, promoting our work alongside the concert that night called the Transports.  See the updates for more…

We’ve been involved in the Weaving Trust project since it started.  This project aims to build better relationships between the diverse communities of our city.  In January there was a massive Weaving Trust 50 event at Christ the Cornerstone Church to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the city, attended by the Mayor and representatives from 50 different groups.  There was also a very moving event at the Prison in December.  Weaving Trust will continue under the leadership of Alan Bainbridge and seems set to be going from strength to strength…

A lot of the work we do in Milton Keynes is made possible because of the partnerships that underpin it.  The Mission Partnership plays an important role in providing training, communications and financial infrastructure. CitizensMK provides a powerful set of community partners and a methodology for acting together.  We’ve been involved in CitizensMK since it was launched in 2010.  Three of our parishes are full members.  Tim is one of the Co-chairs of the CitizensMK leadership group and was elected Co-chair of the CitizensUK council in January.  Our investment in “community organising” is helping us to make an impact on the city.  In February 2017, CitizensMK adopted three new campaigns, so we look forward to seeing how the work will develop…

Over the past three years there has been a number of other mission projects, including our work with funerals and weddings – plus a number of initiatives led by particular churches or parishes…

Being Good Stewards

The mission of the Anglican church in Milton Keynes is what should drive us as a Deanery, but this requires us to be good stewards of the resources that God has given us.  Our mission should drive the way we use our resources – not the other way around.

Our Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee has been meeting regularly and working hard to make things happen.  In the past three years we’ve had new appointments in Watling Valley, Stantonbury, Woughton and Bletchley.  We’ve another Pioneer Minister and we’re hoping to recruit more…

At the January DMPC meeting, we began a serious discussion about the expansion of Milton Keynes, so expect to hear a lot more about this…

In the meantime, we are delighted that Catherine Butt will be moving to Water Eaton in September with a team from Bletchley.  This is an example of the kind of creative thinking that we’ll need as we prepare for the future…

The February meeting of Synod will be the last one of this three year cycle. When we meet again in July it will be a new Synod and there will be elections for a new DMPC.

 

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