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  • Ledbury Deanery Plan


    Members of Deanery Synod will be aware of the work that Hereford Diocese has put in over recent years in evolving a strategy and carrying forward Mission Action Planning. The time is now approaching to make our further contribution to those processes: the Diocese has asked all Deaneries to submit their own plans by 30 April 2017.

    The Deanery plans should augment and support the Diocesan one and, likewise, support those of the parishes and benefices whilst drawing on them as appropriate. The Diocese has provided a common template for all the levels of plans and that has been used as the basis of the draft Deanery Plan now in the Library.

    The draft has been discussed by the SBC and is to be considered at the Deanery Synod on Tuesday 21 February 2017. Members are asked to come prepared to join in discussions with a view to reaching agreement on the substance of the submission to be made to the Diocese.

    The Diocesan Mission Action Planning (MAP) leaflet (v3) is available in the library.

    Ledbury Benefice Review: Report on Future Structure

    20 January 2015; updated 5 November 2015 (para 6)

    1. The Bishop of Hereford has approved the recommendations of the Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee that the Ledbury Benefice should be restructured by developing the Team Ministry into three separate Benefices, joined together in close collaboration in a Group Ministry. He has asked that work proceed on defining the new benefices so as to aid the speedy filling of the current vacancies in Ledbury and the Hop churches.

    2. The Bishop and the Rural Dean, who has chaired the Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee and the Working Group which it set up, would like to pay tribute to the high level of participation from the PCCs whose views were sought, and from the many individuals who bore witness to their experience of the Ledbury Team past and present, and of Teams and Groups elsewhere. They advocated different structures but were all seeking to strengthen collaborative working.

    3. The arguments were carefully weighed and a judgment made about the best way forward. It became clear that either a Group or a Team would in fact require a high degree of collaborative working by both clergy and laity to be successful and that the technical form of the ministry was much less important than having that collegiate spirit.

    4. Given our context and history, the Bishop considers the recommended Group structure to be the most likely to achieve the desired ends. It should enable him to set out clearly his expectations of how the arrangement should operate and for subsequent regular reviews to monitor the outcome. It would also open new possibilities for enhanced collaboration with the other two benefices in the deanery.

    5. In brief, a Group Ministry consists of a group of benefices, established by pastoral scheme, in which the incumbent of each benefice in the group is licensed to minister throughout the group, in collaboration with the minister given over-all pastoral charge in each place. Most importantly, it is the duty of all the incumbents to assist each other so as to make the best possible provision for the cure of souls throughout the area of the Group ministry. Those appointed to any post will be mandated to cooperate and work in a collegiate fashion. Likewise, to help ensure that that team spirit is manifested, the new benefices will be structurally linked to, and formally committed to collaboration with, the others. The change is without prejudice to further work in the Review on the role and structure of the Deanery.

    6. As of November 2015, the filling of the appointments is a major step forward but there is still more work to do on Administration, Communications, Friends of Churches and the relationship, in practice, of Deanery and Group structures.

    Team, Group or What, a review at September 2014

    The benefice which comprises the Ledbury Team Ministry (16 parishes and 17churches) has been suspended to allow an examination of alternative ways in which the constituent parishes might be organised. In the first instance this is taking the form of a Review within Ledbury Deanery. Further steps will follow and these are mentioned later.

    It seems highly likely, if not certain, that there will continue to be an arrangement whereby more than one parish form some kind of joint relationship or grouping. It is perhaps worth noting that in the Hereford Diocesan Directory only two single parish benefices are listed. These are Wigmore Abbey in Leominster Deanery and Worfield in Bridgnorth Deanery. The key questions for the Review Team are likely to be:-
    1. Which parishes should be brought together to form a grouping?
    2. How many of these groupings should there be?
    3. Which of three possible options will be chosen to govern the relationships between these groupings?
    4. What work has to be done and what resources are available to do it?
    5. What should be the working practices within and across the groupings?

    It would be pointless to speculate what the outcome of questions 1 and 2 might be. The options referred to in Question 3 are (a) Team Ministry, (b) Group Ministry and (c) Separate Benefices.

    Team Ministry will be familiar to most readers. It dates from the mid 1960's and at that time it seems unlikely that anyone thought teams might ultimately comprise as many as seventeen parishes (or indeed nineteen in the cases of the Leominster and Ludlow Teams).

    Group Ministry is more recent. Each of the constituent groupings is a benefice with its own incumbent but the incumbent of another benefice within the Group Ministry is licensed by the diocesan bishop to work in the other benefices as necessary.. Such help must be given in accordance with the wishes of the incumbent.

    As necessary and appropriate, the Review will be extended to take in the whole Deanery. Whatever the outcome of the Review, it will have to be considered by the Deanery as a whole. It will then go forward to the Diocesan Authorities. At this point the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee will take over. It is highly likely that the Patrons of all the parishes will have to be consulted.

    The next steps will be to seek the agreement of the Diocesan Bishop and then to refer the proposals to the Privy Council. Only after the Council has given its approval can the new arrangements be promulgated.

    J F Barnes, September 2014
    Lay Member, Hereford Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee until 2013.
    Footnote: Readers who wish to know more about Team and Group Ministry should consult "The Dioceses, Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011". It runs to 100 pages and the key sections are 34 Team Ministry and 35 Group Ministry (links provided above).

    2015 onward

    A set of slides was released to the library on 1 August 2011 as a presentation.pdf