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Innovative new ways of working in Newbury

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This is a text-only version of an article first published on Tuesday, 20 August 2013. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.

WITH 36 parishes (41 church buildings) and just 15 stipendiary priests, the Newbury Deanery has put innovative new ways of working together at the heart of its new Mission Action Plan, writes Jo Duckles. ;Sprawling over 150 square miles, the deanery covers the biggest area in the Berkshire Archdeaconry.

It comprises the urban centres of Newbury, Hungerford and Thatcham as well as a wealth of rural parishes.

The new MAP, which will begin full implementation this month (September), takes into account the pastoral re-ordering that the deanery has seen over the last 15 years. "New ways of working mean a change in mindset for people in some parishes," says the Revd Denise Brown, assistant Area Dean.

"We have four multi-parish benefices including one new benefice where parishes have been working together for some time, and which is about to be rubber stamped.

Denise said five Development Teams are being formed to work on areas of mission at deanery level, encouraging parishes to share experience with each other.

These are:Schools and work with youth, in particular secondary schools which draw children from lots of different parishes and therefore do not have the same level of connection with local clergy as the primary schools.

"We are trying to share expertise on how that might be developed.

We are looking at strengthening our relationship with Christian Outreach in Newbury Schools (COINS).

They are very experienced at mission in schools," says Denise. Occasional offices - weddings, baptism and funerals.

These can offer great opportunities for mission, bringing us into contact with people who are not in church at other times or who don't realise that they would be welcome.

We will be looking at having a presence at wedding fairs and at developing better relationships with funeral directors so that they know that a church funeral is an option.

And this isn't about clergy having to do more.

One of the aims is to spread the load. "Work place missionVocations and training - This is particularly about lay volunteers and reawakening people's awareness of what God is calling them to do. "New areas of housing development - with new housing planned, the deanery's population is set to grow, and therefore there are no plans to reduce the number of stipendiary clergy.

The area is going to grow by 7. 5 per cent in the next five years.

"We want to get clergy who are facing big developments together so that they can share expertise," says Denise.


Page last updated: Tuesday 20th August 2013 12:00 AM
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