The Diocese is moving towards replacing traditional parishes with new Local Ministry Areas (LMAs) by January 1st 2020
The Bishop has appointed a Ministry Area Development Officer/Transition Missioner, Revd Marianne Osborne, to help churches along the road to the future.
She heads up a mission team equipped to help local church communities with the transition. “Change isn’t coming,” she says, “it’s here but we can embrace it if we work together.”
Where we’ve been, where we are: Marianne presents her update to the 2018 Diocesan Conference
Transition Missioner Simon Thane describes the experience of putting change into practice
In practice this means a wonderful excuse to visit and chat to people from many churches (48 and counting for me) in interesting, historic parts across this beautiful, rural diocese in which we live.
It’s a chance to talk to each of the ministry team and listen to various groups of worship leaders, wardens and PCC members from across a particular ministry area.
The hospitality has been wonderful, though not good for the waistline.Meetings are informal and relaxed. We take notes and then write up what we’ve heard into
a report. They are fascinating to compile as they capture a picture of the current reality at this time of change, including the struggles and frustrations.
It’s good to deliberately listen out for where you can see life and energy, where new things are being tried, and where we are seeing possible opportunities for growth and future
collaboration. These signs point towards God’s calling to us for the future.
For me, the process has highlighted the unique identities and values of each church and congregation; their special histories, ministries, strengths, spirit and calling. Though there are concerns about the changes, this richness and diversity across each LMA is encouraging.
There is a great strength together, especially when we cherish our uniqueness. One issue keeps coming up time and again. We are going through a time of fundamental social change with regards to churchgoing. The question is ‘How do we reach out
to the younger generations who simply aren’t attending church in any numbers on Sunday?’
Prayerful reflection on this and listening to God’s call to build the Kingdom in new ways in our local communities is the biggest challenge for each LMA.
Reports end by capturing (1) the shared view of the main opportunities for collaboration
that can be grasped, and (2) the commonly-repeated views of the main challenges to overcome as the LMA is launched.
The two lists hopefully offer a valuable ‘starter-for-ten’ for the new council to reflect on and help to prioritise their work over the initial months.
This article first appeared in the March 2019 edition of Pobl Dewi