Advertising Strategy

Milton Keynes Deanery has been an active partner in Christian advertising in Milton Keynes. We have worked with Church.Ads and helped build a network of churches and partners in our city. We have been commended for the number of churches involved, the amount of money raised, and the impact we have had on non-church people.

This reached a peak with the production of professional quality radio adverts in 2017 – recorded in London with the support of a national funding charity.

Our strategy is changing for two big reasons: firstly, the investment in digital communications by the Church of England at national level is resulting in the decline of the ecumenical approach pursued by Church.Ads; secondly, Deanery Synod voted not to prioritise our radio work for the next few years in favour of other projects…

Our Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC) discussed advertising strategies in September. They decided that advertising is best done at local level – although some churches may need support with this. They also felt that cross-city messaging is still worth doing, but may need further thought. They will come back to this at future meetings.

This means that we will not be leading an inter-church advertising campaign this year, but will be encouraging churches to think locally and use helpful resources like #FollowtheStar.

We think this reflects national and cultural shifts, and we hope churches will take advantage of the opportunities they have to reach out.

I hope to run a training session in November.

DLT Report – July 2018

The Deanery Leadership Team (DLT) consists of the eight Deanery officers, who meet regularly to plan activity and share leadership. It meets as a Standing Committee (who plan the agendas) and an Ops Team (who run projects and actions). 

Deanery Synod sets some Priorities…

The first two Deanery Synod meetings of the year have focused on Tim’s “Deanery Organising” project. This has been an experiment to see if the methodology of Community Organising can help Synod move from discussion about issues to positive action.

It’s been an interesting project with some very lively meetings. One byproduct of the process has been the launch of a new Deanery Finance Team. Synod has also agreed to prioritise three mission projects, linked to Mental Health, Affordable Housing and Domestic Abuse.  

The project is continuing, but has already produced some interesting lessons in how Deaneries might become more missional.


Celebrate and Bless…

The Diocese of Oxford is pressing forward with a new common vision, which involves six key strategic areas. One of these is to “Celebrate and Bless” Milton Keynes. 

There has now been a number of meetings and a serious proposal is taking shape… The working group met on 2nd July to discuss potential goals. These are going to be presented to Bishop’s Council on the 11th July. It’s a bit early to say what this will mean for the Church in Milton Keynes, but we should know more soon!


DMPC Goals

The Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC)  has also been working on goals for the next few years. There will be huge overlap with the Diocesan strategy, but there are specific priorities that the DMPC will be focusing on. These will be presented at the next Synod meeting for discussion.


Extend the Welcome

Tim has been very active in the welcome of Syrian refugees, both in Milton Keynes and across the UK. On 29th June, he was joined by others from Milton Keynes at an event in London which celebrated the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and called for this scheme to be extended.

The guests of honour at the event were one of our Syrian families, who spoke movingly about their life in Milton Keynes and the need for the UK to take more refugees fleeing from conflict. The event was also co-chaired by a young Syrian from Milton Keynes. It is worth noting that we have achieved a lot.

There was also a World Refugee Day event in Campbell Park.

Tim feels that this work is important because it says something about the kind of society we want to live in.


Affordable Housing for Milton Keynes

The number of rough sleepers has been rising in Milton Keynes, but there is also a hidden housing crisis. This is driven by a growing gap between rich and poor, rising rents, and uncertain employment. 

According to the Community Foundation, the number of homeless households in MK that include children or pregnant women has increased by 128% since 2013. It is now 5.7 out of every 1,000 households – compared to an average of 1.9 across the UK.

Developers are required to build a certain amount of “affordable” housing, but this is defined as costing 80% of the normal market rate. In Milton Keynes, this is out of reach for many people. 

Tim has therefore been working with a small group to investigate the possibility of starting a Community Land Trust in Milton Keynes. A Community Land Trust is a legal entity which can hold land on behalf of the local community – making it possible to provide homes at a “Living Rent” linked to the real cost of living.

This project is in its early stages, but has already attracted a lot of interest.


Building Links with the Villages

Milton Keynes Borough includes a number of villages. Although they are not part of Milton Keynes Deanery, it’s important for us to build a positive relationship with the wider area. Tim led worship in Moulsoe on Easter Day – and went back for a baptism in June. There are a number of other links between rural and urban clergy and congregations. As the city grows, it will be important for us to think beyond our borders and look for ways to be a blessing to others.


Such a lot going on…

Over the past few months, we’ve been dealing with:

  • the new GDPR legislation which has required us to look at our data
  • a new structure for LEP constitutions based on the model of a CIO
  • a new system for share allocation
  • a review of Cornerstone Church by the denominational Presidents
  • a new Deanery relationship with Citizens MK 
  • provision of ministry in Woughton after the departure of Heather Pollard.

It’s certainly never dull in Milton Keynes!!!


World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day takes place on the 20th June. This year we organised a gathering at the MK Rose.

The World Refugee Crisis – by the Numbers

We are living through a massive refugee crisis. It is one of the most serious problems that the World faces today.

By the end of 2017 68.5 million people had been driven from their homes across the world – more people than the entire population of Thailand.

Last year 25.4 million people fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution – nearly 3 million more than in 2016 – the biggest increase ever recorded in a single year.

New displacement is also growing, with 16.2 million people displaced during 2017. That is an average of one person displaced every two seconds.

The largest numbers of new refugees are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Myanmar – where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have escaped to Bangladesh.

85 per cent of refugees live in developing countries, many of which are desperately poor and receive little support to care for these new populations.

Four out of five refugees remain in countries next door to their own.

Refugees in the UK

In 2016, the UK received applications for asylum for 39,000 individuals – far less than Germany which received 92,000, Italy with 117,000 and France with 83,000.

The UK ranks 17th in Europe in terms of asylum applications per head of the population.

In 2015 the UK government pledged to receive 20,000 people from Syria through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. 11,649 refugees have now been taken in under VPRS by 283 different local authorities – including Milton Keynes where we have now welcomed 13 families.

The VPRS scheme is about to be reviewed and there is a real danger that numbers and resources will be cut. Citizens UK is now calling on government to “Extend the Welcome”.

Red Cross Numbers for Milton Keynes

There are refugees and asylum seekers in Milton Keynes from a range of different origins.

Since start of 2018 the Red Cross has been visited by 137 individuals seeking support, some with many dependants.

68 of those individuals are living in abject poverty.

Our top 5 nationalities in need here in Milton Keynes are Syria, Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran and Ghana

60% of our clients are female, 40% male.

Deanery Organising: Priorities

Synod has given some very helpful guidance on the projects that MK Deanery will prioritise over the next two to three years. We have limited resources, so it is very wise to focus. We will have more impact if we concentrate on a relatively small number of key issues.

The top three priority projects are:

  1. Mental Health
  2. Affordable Housing
  3. Domestic Abuse

In each case, we’ll have a project team, a team leader and a member of staff assigned to work with them. We will encourage the team to build partnerships with other groups and organisations, and we will promote this work through our various channels of communication. I think we should be able to make a big difference!

These projects will run alongside a number of parish and deanery “development” projects involving church planting, boundaries, deployment and so on… The Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee has a very full agenda of its own.

We are also pleased to have a new Deanery Finance Team who will be presenting their proposals for a new Share Allocation Scheme at the July meeting of Synod.

Communication and Young People were raised as issues, but we don’t have the capacity to run big projects at this stage. We will carry out a review of our strategy in both areas over the coming year. Perhaps something big will emerge in future.

The issue of refugees and migrants is an important one for us as Christians in Milton Keynes. We live in a diverse, multi-cultural city at a time of global crisis. It’s important that the Church speaks up for all those who are marginalised, whether they are homeless, hungry or displaced. God calls us to see all people as our neighbours. 

Although we will not have a priority project that focuses on refugees, we will continue to work with Refugees Welcome and the Red Cross. We will encourage churches to engage with refugees – and consider Community Sponsorship as a way of helping families.

On this issue, there will be an act of remembrance on World Refugee Day (20th June) at 6.30pm. More information about this soon…

What’s the Big Problem?

Deanery Synod on the 15th March was part of Tim’s Deanery Organising project…

The aim of this meeting was to identify the “Big Problems” that our parishes are concerned about and form teams who might develop some ideas. Tim sent out the following note before the meeting:

Tim speaking at CornerstoneI’m going to ask each parish to present three “problems” that they would love to solve. They could be problems for their churches, like metal theft, money or a lack of engagement with young people. Or they could be problems for people in their area, like poverty, housing or mental health. 

There will be a chance for each parish team to raise their “problems” and we’ll form table-teams to discuss what we could do as a Deanery to address them.

I am hoping that a few of these teams might decide to take this further and meet again to develop their ideas. If so, we’ll be looking for  a convener and team members from more than one parish.

At our next meeting on May 24th, we’ll be asking What comes first? because we can’t do everything. The teams will present their ideas and we’ll vote on what we choose to support.

Obviously, it would be great if Deanery Synod members could do a bit of thinking about this before the meeting.  Could you take some time to speak to church members and church councils before the meeting on the 15th March? That will really help you find out what your people are most concerned about. Even if you only speak to a couple of people, that would be hugely appreciated.

Synod isn’t a “talking shop” where we go to listen to speakers, or discuss ideas – without taking action. It’s a big gathering of people from across Milton Keynes who represent over thirty churches – and we could make a big difference if we choose to! Spread the word in your churches and bring people along. I’m looking forward to seeing how this experiment develops.

Tim introduced the concept of Community Organising, with the following definition:

Community Organising is
a set of principles and methods
which help individuals and groups
build powerful relationships
resulting in action or change

He also explained that our “Deanery Organising” experiment would focus on the following methods:

Relational Meeting: Building power with…
Vocation: What are you called to do?
Aligning Agendas: What can we achieve together?
Relational Power: Acting together…
Evaluation: Learning from experience…


The parish groups were then asked to say “What are the top three concerns for your congregation and wider community?” They produced a wonderful list of possibilities – and then narrowed this down to six specific problems that people wanted to spend a few minutes thinking about in more detail. 

The six teams were asked to think about the following questions:

  • What might we do as a Deanery?
  • Who could we work with?
  • Do you have a team convener?
  • Do you have team members
    from more than one parish?

Four of the teams decided to move forward with their projects, and will have a chance to present their ideas to Deanery Synod on the 24th May. These will be focused on:

  • Parish and Deanery Finances
  • Domestic Violence
  • Mental Health
  • Young People

It was an interesting evening, and there will be more to come…


National Deaneries Conference 2018


The question for us in our Deaneries is:

  • How can we in the Deanery make the most of that opportunity?
  • How can the Deanery be a Living agent for change and Social Justice?
  • How can we, ordained and lay together, enable one another to live out the Good News of Jesus in all our life, not only in church-based ministry on a Sunday but in work and school, in gym and shop, in field and factory, Monday to Saturday?

The conference will hear from people who are doing and have done this, and discuss with them and others how Deaneries can contribute to the mission and ministry of the church of the future.

The Deaneries have a key role as engines of discipleship, Social Justice and evangelism to empower, liberate and disciple the 98% of the Church of England who are not ordained and therefore set them free for fruitful, faithful mission and ministry, influence, leadership and, most importantly, vibrant relationships with Jesus in all of life.

Whether you are new and just starting out at this Deanery thing or an experienced hand, this conference is an opportunity to explore possibilities, learn from and share experiences, and build confidence to enable the Deanery be a key component in the delivery of the vision of the Church of the future.


The majority of the accommodation is double bedded located in the Lakeside Centre with a limited number of twin bedded rooms available in the Alan Booth Centre.

The Cost per delegate:    Residential:   £ 274    Non Resident:  £223
Residential Block Bookings (min. 4 delegates): £257 save £17 per delegate


5 October 2018 (registration: 4.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.) –
7 October 2018 (concludes after lunch)


The Hayes is situated in the Amber Valley in the heart of picturesque Derbyshire just 5 miles from Junction 28 of the M1. The Hayes offers a high standard of modern en suite accommodation. For the 2016 conference we will be using the state of the art Derbyshire conference suite at the Conference Centre.

Bookings through the NDN website