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…


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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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New Leadership Team for Wolverton

The benefice of Wolverton now has a new “Leadership Team” which will help with strategic thinking, and also support the Revd Ann Kember who will be looking after the parishes during the adoption leave of the Rector, Gill Barrow-Jones.

Picture left to right are Graham Breeze, Ann Kember, Louisa Brown and Matthew Grace.

Tim commissioned the team at both morning services on Sunday 5th March.

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