Investing Our Faith
Investing in our Faith - Deanery Planning Process
Our parish is within the deanery of Brighouse and Elland. The area covered by the deanery is a backwards-L-shaped sausage from Outlane across to Rastrick and from Rastrick up to Northowram. By Easter of next year some basic plans have to be submitted for changes in how the parishes in the deanery are organised and resourced. The changes will be implemented over the next five years.
The bottom line is that the jobs of two paid vicars are to be cut. There are presently nine. There needs to be seven. What is to be planned is how and where those cuts are to be made. Of course, the paid vicars are increasingly supported by colleagues who do it voluntarily. Some of them also are Priests; others are not.
We are being asked by the middle of December to look honestly at the viability of our church. Is its future a) healthy or b) merely sustainable; or c) do we need an injection of ministry from outside; or d) are we frankly not sustainable?
I am confident that the future of St.John's is healthy. Our congregation is active, creative and consistent in numbers. We pay our way faithfully and have good buildings. With the blessing of many people of mature and dynamic faith who minister collaboratively and of others who work in partnership with us, we have: flag-ship ministry to children within our congregation and reaching out beyond it; energy for, a commitment to and a track record of evangelism; and a well established, deep engagement with our community.
Although the allocation to our parish of paid clergy has only recently altered, and there is unlikely to be any change in the next five to ten years, I cannot be so certain that the healthy future of St.John's will (or necessarily should) be organised in the same way. This review provides an exciting opportunity to think laterally.
If you have any views about what the church should look like in five years, please let me know by mid-December so we can feed them into our contributions to the deanery process.