Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Church of England is continuing to update guidance for parishes. All clergy and churchwardens should read the guidance concerning present practice. The Diocese is in regular communications with the National Church and local statutory authorities. If or when the situation changes, then new guidance will be immediately sent to all email contacts. 

If you have specific questions or concerns not covered in the guidance, please in the first instance, contact your archdeaconry office.

In Milton Keynes, the official community response is being managed by Community Action, while the Community Foundation has launched an appeal fund.  Please follow these links:

And please pray for the NHS, the Council, key workers and our local charities.

Updated on 28/3/20

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Preaching on a regular basis?

Is God calling you to share in the ministry of your Local Church by Preaching on a regular basis?
We are going to launch a Deanery Preaching Team on March 24th 2020.  This will be a way of supporting Anglican “Authorised Preachers” in Milton Keynes. It will also enable us to share lay preachers across parishes in the Deanery.  Bishop Alan has given us permission to do this.  We hope it will be encourage more people to step forward as preachers – and allow parishes to help each other when there is a shortage of preachers somewhere in the city…

For more information about “Authorised Preachers” read on…

Emerging patterns of Ministry
As the church grows and responds to needs of mission and ministry, more and more people are becoming involved in leading worship, and in preaching. In the light of these welcome changes, the Bishops are looking to respond to many requests for greater local flexibility combined with appropriate Anglican order. So, in seeking to encourage and support both new and more established preachers, the diocese is committed to equipping all those engaging in this important ministry – whether in formal worship contexts, giving a talk at a Family Service or anything in-between.

Why Authorised?
Preaching has always been at the heart of the life of the church and a focus for its unity and its mission. With this comes a significant level of responsibility. This kind of ministry is not something you do on your own, but as part of a team of ministers led by and accountable to your Incumbent.
While the ‘cure of souls’ is shared between your Incumbent and the Bishop, your Incumbent will have been discerning a preaching gift in you and encouraging you to develop this. The Bishops wish to be linked with you in a real way as you begin to share this ministry in the church. They wish to offer you encouragement and support by giving you their blessing and authorising you to such ministries.
Authorisation is needed because preaching in Anglican churches is governed by Canon Law and normally restricted to those who hold a bishop’s licence. So, while someone who preaches once or perhaps twice on a very occasional basis is fine, if you preach more often or more regularly than this, formal authorisation is needed in order to remain legal.

What will Authorisation mean?
To begin with, you would receive a letter from the Bishop giving you permission to preach in your parish or benefice for an initial period of up to two years. This means you can preach legally while also engaging with some initial training. During this time you would become part of a team of ministers led by your Incumbent, to whom you would also be accountable.

Is training provided?
Absolutely! Preaching matters; and we owe it to each other to fan the flame of God within us and nurture the gifts and skills with which he has blessed us. However, the requirements for those authorised to preach are consciously designed for maximum flexibility and minimal burden.
The Bishop’s initial authorisation releases you to begin the training you need to do. Essentially, this amounts to:

  • attendance at an approved preaching course (We are doing one in Milton Keynes in the summer!)
  • a 1500 word assignment on preaching
  • three sermons, with constructive feedback on these from a selection of people in your church.

Sometimes training is best undertaken before starting a new ministry; but it can often be more beneficial when you have a little experience already under your belt. In this way you can learn from your experience and, also, at the same time, apply your learning to your experience.

Our new Deanery Preaching Team will meet three times a year for mutual support and learning. We will help each other to meet the training requirements and work through any issues.

After initial training
On successful completion of training requirements within this initial two-year period, the Bishop’s authorisation then becomes renewable on a regular basis, every few years. While further training is not required for future renewals, ongoing learning is certainly encouraged.
All authorisations (whether initial or renewal) are also dependent upon you holding a valid Enhanced DBS Disclosure, and upon completion of appropriate Safeguarding training (currently the ‘Leadership’ safeguarding module which replaced ‘C3’ in 2020).

How does all this fit in with the Parish?
While it is the Bishops who authorise you to preach in your parish, they do so only at the specific request of both Incumbent and Church Council. The Bishop will need to know that you have this level of support and that you will be part of a team with other ministers in your church. This team may also include associate or retired clergy, for example, or Licensed Lay Ministers. These will all have undergone significant training and, often, will be licensed to minister in various ways, not only in the parish but also more widely within the diocese.

What next?
Talk to your church leader and together contact us to explore the best way to take things forward. Further information, and an Authorised Ministry Handbook is available on the diocesan website at:
https://www.oxford.anglican.org/mission-ministry/lay-authorisedministry/diocesan-authorised-ministries/

If you’re ready to go and have no further questions, ask your incumbent if they are happy to write to your area bishop once PCC agreement and safeguarding requirements are in place.

For more information, please contact us at admin@mkdeanery.org

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‘WithIN’ – A Conference on Everyday Faith: Tuesday 8 October 2019

This conference is a Watling Valley Ecumenical Partnership (WVEP) initiative in conjunction with the Diocese of Oxford and HeartEdge/St Martin-in-the-Fields.

The name “WithIN” refers to being WITH God, IN the world.  The keynote speaker will be the Revd Sam Wells.

The day session will start at 9.30am with worship led by the St Martin’s Singers, and will end between 5-5.30pm.  An evening session has been planned for those unable to attend during the day.  This will start at approximately 6.30pm with worship by Testament, and end by 9.15pm.  It is hoped that exhibitions and stalls will be available for folk to look at between 5 – 6.30pm.

As well as having a keynote speaker, there will be a variety of workshops to choose from, looking at the various aspects of everyday spirituality and aiming to be practical, accessible and fun. There will even be a workshop that teachers may find useful.  Workshop leaders include  Barry Lotz, Ruth Maxey, Jonathan Evens (HeartEdge, St  Martin’s), Charlie Kerr (Diocese), and Tina Molyneux (Diocese).

WVEP expects the day to be free, although donations would be welcomed. Tea/coffee/Lunch will be provided, as well as light refreshments in the early evening.  Lunchtime will include ‘Great Sacred Music’ with Sam Wells and the St Martin’s Singers.

Booking is via Eventbrite. All are welcome, and WVEP hopes to encourage a wide range of participation.

Please advertise this event as widely as possible!

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Action Counters Terrorism: Awareness eLearning

ACT Awareness eLearning will provide nationally recognised corporate CT guidance to help industry better understand, and mitigate against, current terrorist methodology.

The following eLearning Modules are available:

  1. Introduction to Terrorism
  2. Identifying Security Vulnerabilities
  3. How to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Behaviour
  4. How to Identify and Deal with a Suspicious Item
  5. What to do in the Event of a Bomb Threat
  6. How to Respond to a Firearms or Weapons attack
  7. Summary and Supporting Materials

You will be provided with your own corporate URL link and PIN to immediately access the online version.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?

To register please visit: https://ct.highfieldelearning.com/

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INCREASE IN FEES FOR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES FROM 16 FEBRUARY 2019

The two tier charging system which has been in place for a number of years for obtaining copies of entries in the Marriage Register (£4 at the time of registration and £10 thereafter) has been changed with effect from 16 February 2019. A standard fee of £11.00 should now be charged regardless of when the application is made for one or more Marriage Certificates.

Couples who have already booked their marriage services (and those enquiring) should be informed of this change as soon as possible, so that they are aware of the statutory increase in the fee, as the Table of Parochial Fees has yet to be amended on the Church of England website.

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Free Advice and Training for Online Communication

Free advice and training for parishes and organizations within the Diocese is available for all things related to online communication, including websites and social media. Sessions are available to book and take place at Church House Oxford.

  • These sessions are not just intended for individuals but also cater to small groups. They can be tailored to your needs, but areas that might be of interest include:
  • Help planning and developing a new website (or reviewing your current one).
  • Design advice (user friendliness, mobile friendliness, helpful widgets and plugins).
  • Introduction to content management.
  • Search engine optimization… getting listed higher and improving the quality of your search engine listing.
  • Using Google resources: Webmaster Tools, Maps, Google Analytics, Google Local.
  • Writing a compelling Wikipedia entry.
  • Making the most of ‘A Church Near You’.
  • Creating e-newsletters (e.g. Mailchimp) or surveys.
  • Creating better photographs and graphics for the web.
  • Creating and sharing videos on Youtube, Vimeo.
  • Streaming video.
  • Creating podcasts and using Soundcloud for audio files.
  • Sharing files with Dropbox, Google Drive etc.
  • Setting up private discussion areas (e.g. Secret Facebook groups, Yammer).
  • Gaining a foothold on social networks, (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).
  • Introduction to Adobe Creative Cloud (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, In Design, Premiere etc.).
  • Demystifying web databases.

To discuss your needs and to book a slot please contact jo.duckles@oxford.anglican.org or webmaster@oxford.anglican.org.

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#FollowTheStar

The Church of England has launched its national campaign for Christmas 2018. It uses the hashtag #FollowTheStar and there is a range of material available for churches to use, including books, apps and images.

“For many of us, Christmas brings up so many emotions, memories and expectations. We have one nativity story, but it can seem like we all have very different Christmases.
“For you it might be a time of joy and togetherness. Or perhaps it’s all about planning and to-do lists. Many others can find it a sad and lonely time – nagged by the feeling that your Christmas is not like those ‘perfect’ ones we see in the media.
“But just like the unexpected assortment of people who were invited to meet the baby Jesus, #FollowTheStardoesn’t ask you to be perfect. It says: come just as you are to take the life-changing Christmas journey.”

Archbishops Justin Welby & John Sentamu

For more resources, see the Church of England web site. They can be used with or without the CofE branding – at the request of MK and Cumbria!

#FollowTheStar

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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.

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Bishop Steven Leads the Way on the Fossil Fuel Debate at General Synod

Olivia Graham, Archdeacon of Berkshire, writes today in the Oxford Diocesan e-newsletter:-

“The national investing bodies (NIBs) of the Church of England are actively engaged with companies involved in fossil-fuel extraction, to persuade them of their responsibilities to meet the carbon reduction targets agreed in the 2015 Paris climate summit. The NIBs have given a wonderful lead to a coalition of investors, and have developed a good tool for holding these companies to account. Last Sunday saw a fascinating debate in General Synod about their strategy, and Oxford Diocese introduced an amendment to the motion which would have ensured that if, by 2020, these extraction companies do not have a clear business plan for reaching the targets set in Paris, the NIBs would disinvest. The amendment fell, but it paved the way for agreement that this indeed should be the NIBs policy, with the date moved back to 2023. Politics is the art of the possible! I am proud of the leadership which our Diocesan Synod has given on this issue, and the courageous way in which +Steven has taken it forward: a powerful signal of our commitment to this most important and urgent issue of our time.”

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