The Deanery Leadership Team (DLT) consists of the eight Deanery officers, who meet regularly to plan activity and share leadership.
The Diocese is working on a Common Vision which includes seven big strands of work. One of these is to “Celebrate and Bless Milton Keynes” – on the basis that it is the fastest growing city in the four counties. A working group was formed by the Archdeacon – and consisted of people from MK and elsewhere.
In July the working group (known as WG6) presented some initial thoughts to Bishop’s Council. These were warmly received, with a specific encouragement to develop a funding bid. Bishop’s Council also encouraged the Working Group to involve more lay people and ecumenical partners.
The report can be found on the Celebrate and Bless page on our web site.
The big themes of the report were the rapid changes that are taking place in Milton Keynes with further expansion, the Oxford Cambridge Arc and deepening poverty. The report also argues that Milton Keynes is under-resourced for mission.
The working Group made a number of key proposals, including:
- An Archdeacon of Milton Keynes with a focus on the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc
- A Learning Centre for Pioneer Ministry, Community Organising and Mission
- At least three “resource” churches that are planting and supporting new worshipping communities
- The provision of new missional posts equivalent to eight full-time ministers (or more)
- Partnerships for the Common Good
- Involvement in Milton Keynes University
Many of these will need to be explored further by the Diocese or the Deanery. Some of them will require external funding, so there will be more work to do.
We have set up a Steering Group and three new working groups to
develop detailed plans and proposals…
The three new working groups will be:
Learning:To create a unique learning environment to equip the church of the future in mission – and draw up plans for how that learning environment will be created. John Robertson is chairing this group with the help of Keith Straughan and Alison Drury.
Growing: To draw up plans for a programme which will enable us to a) plant or grow new and sustainable Christian communities in Milton Keynes, and b) build up existing churches so that they can plant and support new Christian communities in Milton Keynes. These plans will need to include criteria for determining which projects to invest in and how they will be assessed. Paul Oxley will be chairing this group with the help of Ruth Maxey and David McDougall.
Funding:To coordinate the creation of a bid for Strategic Development Fund (or other) investment. This will require input and involvement from the other three working groups. Steve Snook will be chairing this group with the help of Kevin Lovell.
It’s going to be a long-term project, so don’t expect to see anything happen quickly. We hope to have a developed plan by summer 2019!! In the meantime there will be lots of opportunities for consultation and conversation. Please take advantage of these opportunities when they come!
We were visited by Alan Cruickshank, the Senior Strategy Consultant for the Church of England. He wanted to see what was going on in Milton Keynes, and how the national church can help.
He picked up a conker from outside Christ the Vine Church. He said it was going to sit on his desk at Church House Westminster as a reminder to pray for the Church in MK – which can often be small and toughened by difficult circumstances – but its waiting to burst forth into new life. I hope you will keep praying for the growth of the Church in MK over the coming year!
I hope you had a good summer – it does feel a long time ago now!! One of the highlights of my summer was the Greenbelt Festival near Kettering. I lead a team from Citizens UK to promote the work of Citizens across the country and talk about community organising. The best moment was seeing a woman from London hear the news that her group was going to receive its first family of Syrian refugees. It’s great to see words become action!
On a related theme, I had planned to step down as chair of Refugees Welcome following the vote at Deanery Synod. I hope you don’t mind, but it seems a bit early to step back from this work. We have now received sixteen families into Milton Keynes, but the journey toward integration is much slower than we’d hoped – and there are opportunities to do more, if we are willing to seize them!
There is work moving ahead as a result of our Deanery Synod priorities. We plan to focus on one of them at each Synod meeting. The November meeting will look at Mental Health.
Every two years, there is a national conference for Anglican Deaneries. I’m on the steering group for the National Deaneries Network, so was heavily involved in organising the event.
We are not doing a major Christmas campaign this year, but will be encouraging churches to make use of the resources produced by the Church of England. This reflects the change in priorities that came from Deanery Synod and the advertising strategy emerging from DMPC.
As always, there is so much else we could talk about:
- Sanctuary Training
- LEP Constitutions and Sharing Agreements
- CLT funding
- Ecumenical Reviews
- Church Inspections
- Annual MOTH service
- Council of Faiths
- New Communities
- and so on…
Please pray for the Church in Milton Keynes, that we would continue to grow in depth of relationships, clarity of purpose, and the fulfilment that comes from making a real difference.