2017 was a time of transition in thinking about stewardship in the diocese. With the appointment of the Revd Huw Anderson as Diocesan Mission Resources Officer, we began a shift from thinking of stewardship as primarily raising more money, to seeing finance as part of our mission and giving as an integral part of discipleship.
Revd Anderson has been developing links with parishes and is now involved from the start in the process of moving into the new-style Local Ministry Areas. The aim is to ensure that resources for mission are front and centre of people’s concerns in the new LMAs as they form.
All of this is part of a wider perception that the church has not always used the resources it has – people’s gifts, our buildings and our money – as fruitfully as we should have done to extend the Church’s mission. This perception is increasingly evident at Provincial and Diocesan levels but needs to be recognised also at the LMA and individual church levels too.
The Stewardship Committee has long recognised that many parishes have been having difficulty finding the finances needed to pay Ministry Share and meet other expenses. In this area the Revd Anderson has a part to play too, by helping churches and LMAs address problems and difficulties.
There may not always be easy remedies or readily-recognised solutions, however by inviting Revd Anderson to assist when a church is beginning to get into difficulties may help avoid larger problems later.
Mobilising our human resources is also part of our mission and so there will be a follow-up to the Leading Your Church into Growth conference held at Tenby early in 2017. The aim here will be to see what parishes and LMAs have done with what their delegates learned and what they might do in the future.
Ven Dr Will Strange, Director of Mission