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 will be via Eventbrite (but is not yet open). All are welcome, and WVEP hopes to encourage a wide range of participation.
Please advertise this event as widely as possible, especially before the summer holidays start!
For further details about this free film showing, please see the article in the “What’s On” section of the website, at https://mkdeanery.org/events/free-showing-of-the-film-tortured-for-christ-saturday-14-september/.
If you read my previous article about Benjamin and the power of touch, you will probably have been wondering how he is. I’m thrilled and delighted to be able to report that eventually he got the results of his bladder biopsy, and this showed that it was clear. On top of the good news that the cancer has not returned to the organs previously affected (so he can still keep his remaining kidney), this is just wonderful news. Thank you all for your prayers. God has used him in a powerful way, for which we give thanks and praise.
Christian Aid Week runs from 12 – 18 May this year.
To quote from the Christian Aid website:-
“Everyone is equal in the sight of God. Yet we live in a world where poverty still persists. Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of their dignity and lets injustice thrive. But together we have the power to transform lives.
For over 70 years, we’ve been standing with the poorest of our neighbours. We work in 37 countries, with people of all faiths and none, to stand up for dignity, equality and justice.
Together we can create a world where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty.
Our voices and actions are stronger together. And with your help, we can make an even bigger difference.”
Together with its supporters and partners, Christian Aid aims:
to expose poverty throughout the world
to help in practical ways to end it
to highlight, challenge and change the structures and systems that favour the rich and powerful over the poor and marginalised.
Christian Aid supports and helps communities to thrive. It tackles the root causes of poverty so that women, men and children the world over are strengthened against future knocks. And if disasters happen, they get people the help they want straight away.
What is your church doing this year? For ideas, please visit the Christian Aid website at https://www.christianaid.org.uk/Christian-Aid-Week.
The Rev Canon Alan Hodgetts (Managing Chaplain at HMP Woodhill) is retiring in November of this year. He is wondering if there are clergy in the Deanery or wider MK area who might have an interest in conducting occasional services at 10.30am on Sunday mornings after this date. If so, he is more than happy for you to email him directly at email@example.com with an expression of interest.
There are 2 levels of clearance: A basic clearance will allow 3 visits per annum and the priest/minister would be supervised; A full clearance would allow several visits and more flexibility.
Expenses would be paid and for retired clergy a ‘sessional’ arrangement may be possible.
I’m sure everyone has been shocked and horrified by the carnage and senseless lost of life on Easter Sunday, 21 April. Our own Rev Dr Sam Muthuveloe, Convenor of Hope Outreach UK, has arranged a special service, to be held at Christ the Cornerstone Church this coming Sunday, 28th April 2019, starting at 2.30 pm, to remember the dead, pray for the bereaved, healing for the wounded, comfort for the distressed and peace and security for all.
‘Dr Sam’ had already planned to visit Sri Lanka in mid-May, before these atrocities took place. The intention was – and still is – to commemorate 10 years since the cessation of hostilities, and to support and encourage Hope Outreach UK’s mission partners. The focus of the visit will be to stand in solidarity with them and the local churches at this difficult time.
Please advertise this service as widely as you can. Thank you.
“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.
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:
What do you find positive in this proposal?
Which ideas would you encourage us to pursue?
What do you find challenging, uncomfortable or unclear?
What issues would like us to think about?
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?
What learning needs do you have in your church/parish?
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.
The Deanery Leadership Team (DLT) consists of the eight Deanery officers, who meet regularly to plan activity and share leadership. The Standing Committee meets monthly to manage the regular meetings of the Deanery.
Without doubt, the biggest thing on the horizon for the Deanery is the Diocesan strategy for Milton Keynes: Celebrate and Bless MK (CBMK for short). This has been developing over the past two years, but is now becoming more concrete. There is now a definite proposal on the table which is out for consultation. Please take advantage of this opportunity, because there are some real opportunities for new mission and growth.
CBMK will focus on growth in depth, impact and numbers. There will be an emphasis on prayer, training for leadership and funds to kick-start new posts. There should be opportunities for most of our parishes to benefit directly in some way, so please don’t miss out.
The key question that is being asked between now and Palm Sunday focusses on the balance between lay and ordained ministry. Where should the bulk of new funding go? These are crucial questions that need careful thought, so please let us know what you think…
The Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC) has been focussing on how we can find a pioneer minister for Eagle Farm. They have put forward a proposal for a new post as part of our existing ministry numbers. This has the support of the Archdeacon, and will now go forward to the Archdeaconry Mission and Pastoral Committee (AMPC). Assuming this is successful, the new post should start in 2020.
The new pioneer will build a new worshipping community on the very Eastern corner of the city, with a focus on St Mary’s School – which is being moved from Wavendon village to Eagle Farm. A team has already been formed to lead this work.
Please pray for the team and the appointment of the new pioneer.
On January 31st Neil Popham was licensed as Interim Minister in the Stantonbury Team. Neil will be serving as the minister of Bradwell Church and leading a review of Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership. This is an exciting post which will help shape the mission of SEP over the coming years. Please pray for Neil and the team as they start this work…
Revd Martha McInnes has started work as the new chaplain of Willen Hospice. Martha was formally welcomed at a service at Willen church on the 17th January. Please pray for her and the other staff at the hospice.
Work is continuing on our three Deanery Priorities. The “Understanding Mental Health” group has been making huge progress on research and has built strong relationships with key agencies and power-holders. The “Sanctuary” group is developing some ideas about how churches can make a difference. There is no “Affordable Housing” group as such (yet) but Tim took part in a video project which will be part of an exhibit in the new Art Gallery.
There has been an exciting development in our work with refugees. A house has been offered for “community sponsorship” in Wolverton. “Community Sponsorship” is a new approach to welcoming refugees which puts a local community group in the driving seat. It has huge potential – partly because it creates better community links for the family as they arrive. A group from the Wolverton churches has already formed and is working towards an application…
At the time of writing, it’s still not clear when, how, or even if, the UK will be leaving the EU. There are calls for prayer from all the Christian denominations in the UK and materials available. Please pray for unity, peace and a focus on the common good.