Celebrate and Bless Milton Keynes

“Celebrate and Bless MK” (CBMK) is a strand of the Common Vision being developed by Oxford Diocese. It reflects Bishop Steven’s desire to focus a greater degree of attention on the “city” of Milton Keynes at a key point in time as it transforms from large new town to high-impact regional centre. We have a strategic opportunity to act in a way that celebrates all that has been achieved while blessing the first-fruits of new growth.

Download the Proposal: Download

Download a summary: Download

The current proposal sets out some of the unique opportunities and challenges that exist in the city at this time – while offering a vision for mission that addresses the challenge of MK50. It is particularly important that the Church of England engages with our partners in other denominations as we develop strategies and new ideas – particularly where we have covenanted to travel together.

The main focus of the paper is on church growth – and we see this in terms of depth, impact and numbers. It is important that we respond to the rapid and continuous growth of the city, and this will mean the nurture of new Christian Disciples who will serve the common good and seek an ever-deeper relationship with Christ. We want a more Christ-like church which is able to meet the challenges that the city will face over the next fifty years – particularly amongst those who are disadvantaged or left behind.

In order to drive this growth, we will seek to invest in prayer, leadership and learning. We want to increase the number of worshipping communities as a way of reaching more people and serving the needs of the city.

Our specific need is for seed-money to fund leaders who will grow worshipping communities. Milton Keynes Deanery had previously been asked to reduce the number of ministers deployed here while the population continued to grow. We therefore developed more sustainable patterns of ministry and invested (where possible) in new worshipping communities. We believe that there is now a need for fresh investment if we are to meet the immense challenge that the future presents.

We will be asking the Diocese of Oxford and the Strategic Development Fund (SDF) to seed-fund posts that increase our local leadership capacity. This investment will help us to grow existing churches and plant new worshipping communities. We intend that this investment will be split between full-time, part-time, ordained and lay ministry.

There are four options that we want people to consider. These will affect the balance of investment between different new posts:

The next stage of our local process will be to engage with a very wide group of people – including our ecumenical partners, parishes, and leaders. We want to know what people think about the direction of travel set out in this document and how they might want to engage with this agenda.

We are asking five questions at this stage:

  1. What do you find positive in this proposal? Which ideas would you encourage us to pursue?
  2. What do you find challenging, uncomfortable or unclear? What issues would like us to think about?
  3. Is your parish/partnership likely to put in an application for additional investment? If so, can you let us know what ideas you might have?
  4. What learning needs do you have in your church/parish?
  5. Which of the four “options” do you think we should adopt? Why do you think it’s the best option?

We are on a tight time-scale, so we want your feedback by Palm Sunday 14th April 2018. Please send feedback to CBMK@mkdeanery.org or fill in the online feedback form.

A proposal will go to Bishops Council which will hopefully become part of a bid for funds from both the Diocese and the National Church. It is possible that national money will be released through a Strategic Development Fund grant which will need to be match-funded by the Diocese.

In the Summer/Autumn of 2019, we will go back to parishes and encourage applications for specific projects. We will work with parishes to help identify the best opportunities for new development, and we will firm these proposals up by the end of the year.

It is hoped that some resources will be released in 2020, but the full amount may not be available until sometime later.

Thank you for taking the time to read this paper. We appreciate your time, and look forward to hearing your ideas. Please keep praying for Milton Keynes as we seek to build a more Christlike church here for the sake of God’s World.

Tim Norwood (on behalf of the Steering Group)

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