Enhancing and Resourcing the Rural Church

An implementation Steering Group has recently been established to take the above programme forward.  With Glyn Evans as Chair and Charles Chadwick as Executive Secretary, the team is also looking to recruit 3 new lay members, one from each of the 3 rural Archdeaconries.  The Steering Group has therefore asked us to draw your attention to 2 events to unveil the work of the project, and encourage you to consider attending.  These will be held on Saturday 17 June in Buckinghamshire, and Saturday 24 June in Oxfordshire. Posters will be sent out shortly to all rural benefices and parishes and the events will also appear on e-news in due course, but do make a note of these dates now.

As we know, the Diocese of Oxford is one of the largest dioceses in the country. 30% of its parishes have a population of under 500.  If the Countryside Commission’s definition of a rural place, where the population is under 3,000, is used, 50% of parishes qualify as rural. Since late 2014 a small working group, set up by the Board of Mission, has been considering many of the facets of how the rural church expresses itself, how it is experienced, and how it may be enhanced and resourced for the future.

At the start of 2017 the Board of Mission endorsed the report of the working group which has a series of recommendations that address nine identified areas which impinge on the life and flourishing of the rural church:

  • Addressing the environment, context and well-being of those who serve in a rural context
  • Raising vocations
  • Ensuring the future of church buildings
  • Exploring different models of governance in Multi Parish Benefices
  • Strengthening finance
  • Supporting rural schools
  • Engaging with the changes new housing brings
  • Training for people in leadership roles
  • Replenishing the rural church for the future

These recommendations are not intended to be a ‘top down’ programme, rather they are designed to offer thinking and resources for the rural church across the diocese. To that end we are calling the ongoing work The Enhancing and Resourcing the Rural Church programme.

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Quiz In Aid of The Food Bank: Saturday 11 March 2017 at 7.00pm

Pat Hodges (‘Miss Quiz’) and her husband Neil do a wonderful job in organising quizzes in support of different charities.  Although they usually take place at St Thomas’s, Simpson, or Simpson Village Hall, the next two are at different venues.  The first one – for the benefit of the Food Bank – will take place at THE HOLIDAY INN in Central Milton Keynes, on Saturday 11 March 2017, starting at 7.00pm.

The cost will be £8.00 per person.  A selection of savouries will be available on each table.  Please Note: You cannot bring your own drinks to this event!

If you would like to come along, please contact Pat at missquiz@sky.com or call 01908-644785.  Maximum 8 per table, but don’t be put off coming even if you’re on your own.  Pat does a great job of  putting people together.

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Christian Healing Mission Day at Whaddon Way Church: 4 November 2017

Want to know more about God’s healing?

Then ……


“Letting the Kingdom Come”


From 10am to 4pm

At Whaddon Way Church, Bletchley

Milton Keynes


A great day of teaching with the

Christian Healing Mission.

Please put this diary. Further information to follow.


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Quiz Night and Buffet in Aid of the Community Cardiac Unit: Friday 17 March at 7.00pm

Pat Hodges (‘Miss Quiz’) and her husband Neil regularly organise quizzes in support of different charities.  Although they usually take place at Simpson where Pat is a Churchwarden, this one will take place at THE COMMUNITY CARDIAC UNIT, Hinton Hall, Whaddon Way, Bletchley, on Friday 17 March 2017, starting at 7.00pm.

The cost is only £1.00 per person, and you may bring your own drink and glasses.  (Mugs and paper cups will be available.) PLEASE PARK OFF SITE.

If you would like to come along, please contact Pat at missquiz@sky.com or call 01908-644785.  Maximum 8 per table, but don’t be put off coming even if you’re on your own.  Pat does a great job of  putting people together.

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‘Cuddy-fest’ Concert at Woolstones Church: Saturday 18 March 2017

Pat Hodges and Rev James Whysall are putting on another of their entertaining and enjoyable concerts on Saturday 18 March 2017, starting at 7.00pm.  This will take place at Holy Trinity Church and Community Centre in Woolstones.

Familiarly known as the ‘Cuddy-fest Concert’, it is in honour of St Cuthbert.  There will also be a ‘Bring and Share’ Supper.  All proceeds will go to the church.

If you haven’t been to one of their events before, I can promise you an evening of great family entertainment.  The atmosphere is very informal and relaxed (as you can tell by the title!), and is more like a gathering of friends sharing their talents for music, singing and the spoken word.

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Leading for a Change

Leading for a Change
A Programme to Develop Lay Leadership

What is the programme about?

The object of the programme is to equip and empower you as a Christian to bring about positive change. The kinds of change envisaged lie within two broad categories: Change which meets human needs in practical ways, and Change which involves new missional projects within the church.

The course adopts a community organising model developed by Citizens:MK within a Christian framework by which Christian beliefs, values and purposes are expressed and become drivers for change.

It’s supported by a grant of £1,000 from Bishop Alan, and is being organised through the Mission Partnership with help from Citizens MK. John Robertson, Tom Bulman and Tim Norwood have all been involved in the planning and will be leading sessions.

The course has two distinct phases: a teaching phase which takes place at the beginning of the course and an action phase which follows during which participants will take on a Change Project. This latter phase will be supported by regular action learning sets.

Teaching Course

The teaching course covers six sessions at the beginning of the programme. The course starts by establishing a broad Christian framework within which the course elements which follow can be understood. The implications of “God’s story” in terms of identity, values, power, purpose and vocation will be explored. The following  sessions will develop a community organising model within the Christian framework exploring the importance of power, self-interest, active listening, research, negotiation, action, evaluation and development in effecting change. Sessions will be practical and interactive. Throughout the course, you will be invited to explore what your particular vocation may be in effecting change so that you will be ready to take on a Change Project for which you have personal commitment.

Change Projects

Through the teaching course, we hope that you will discover a vocation for change about which you feel passionate enough to act. You will be the author of your Change Project: there are no “off the shelf” ideas from which to choose. Experience within Citizens:MK has led to Change Projects concerned to establish a real living wage, to weave trust across diverse communities, to welcome refugees. This kind of community action may be your vocation.

Equally, you may be called to initiate a missional project of the church: this could range from starting a coffee morning to creating a fresh expression of church and everything in between. There are no pre-conceived ideas, the only limits are your dreams for the kingdom of God in Milton Keynes.

Action Learning Sets

In order to support you in your Change Project, you will work in a group with five others facilitated by one of the team. Each member of the group will have a 30 minute slot to explain and explore the challenges of their Change Project with the support, questioning and inquiry of the other members of the group. These Action Learning Sets (ALS) will meet every other month during the Change Project phase of the programme and are intended to develop focused mutual localised support for your leadership. You will remain in the same ALS throughout the programme.

The Teaching Programme

Sat. January 14th Introduction and Christian Framework
The Importance of Power for Change

Weds. January 25th
Listening for Change 7.30-9.30

Weds. February 1st
Researching for Change 7.30-9.30

Weds. February 8th
Negotiating Power 7.30-9.30

Weds. February 15th
Action, Evaluation and Development

Action Learning Programme
February, March, May, July, September, November
Evening sessions 7.00—9.30
Dates and venues to be arranged

Coming Together

There will be two opportunities for all participants to come together in the middle and at the end of the programme for sharing and celebration . Dates and venues to be arranged.


Teaching Course: John Robertson & Tim Norwood

Action Learning Sets: Tom Bulman, Katharine Crowsley & Phil Wason


Cost £80
Numbers There are 15 places available for the programme.
Action Learning Sets will take place in three groups of five.

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