Focal Ministry

February 2017

Dear Church Members,

Re: Jonathan Cryer’s review

If you cast your minds back to the Summer/Autumn term last year with Revd Simon Richardson, our House For Duty priest, retiring it seemed an appropriate time to take stock of how that part time post (3 days a week) and my full time post have been operating together within the Barrow and Wolds Group of churches.

In taking stock, we had an opportunity to focus on the setup and structure of the parishes and the way we operate with a Priest-in-Charge & a House for Duty. We recognised that there is a tension between the focus being on the group of churches and the individual parishes.

With the assistance of the Diocese we invited Mr Jonathan Cryer to come and help us in this process of taking stock and to help suggest how to go about the next chapter of the story of the Barrow and Wolds Group. Jonathan held open meetings with all the church congregations and provided a questionnaire for people unable to attend those meeting to offer input into the review process.

Following the consultation period Jonathan and I worked together and he presented his recommendations to the Group Council. These recommendations then went to each individual parish for further discussion and amendments before returning to the Group Council for final discussion and adoption. Following this, the House for Duty post role description, role advert and updated parish profile were drawn up and agreed. We have since had the advert on the Diocesan website and now also the national Church of England vacancies list. Please pray for God to bring the right person to take up this role and join our ministry team.

The implementing of the plan will take time, partly because the House for Duty is a key part of it. Furthermore these things simply take time to implement and they will evolve a little as we try things out. However, saying that, the first step following the adverts etc. was for me to appoint Mrs Pam Knowles (Reader Minister) to the role of Local Minister for St. Mary’s Walton. For more information about what Local Ministers are please read the recommendations below.

Yours sincerely on behalf of the churches Group Council

Rev’d R Paddison



Recommendations for improving pastoral and governance arrangements for the Barrow Group of Churches

These recommendations from Jonathan Cryer (former Diocesan Secretary of Leicester and currently General Synod member for the Diocese) were considered by the Group Council at a meeting on 22 August and since then by each church council in the Group. Each church council has accepted them with minor modifications.

They were then passed to the Incumbent and Group Council for final modification on the 26th September 2016 and implementation, which was agreed at that meeting to begin from the 1st of October 2016. They are made without input or influence from diocesan authorities.

Corinthians 12: “Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. But God has so arranged the body ….. that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another.”

“The Church is the sum of its members’ gifts.” W J Carter 1997

The purpose of these recommendations is to assist the Council in making progress with plans to re-fill the post of House for Duty Priest in the Group during the Autumn of 2016 and to set a revised framework for the future operation of the Group Council in relation to the ministry team and the church councils of the parishes across the Group.

Recommendation 1

Adopting a Focal Model of Ministry

Whilst the overall responsibility for the benefice sits with the Incumbent (Priest in Charge),  the allocation of lead ministerial duties within the Group should be made on the basis of there being a Focal Minister for each church/community. This Focal Minister is to be referred to as the Local Minister for each parish.

The Local Minister shall be responsible for the worship and pastoral care of the church to which they are allocated, together with such other duties as are agreed.

The Local Minister will work closely with churchwardens or, in their absence, with the local lay representative on the Benefice Strategy Group (see recommendation 2).



A.      The allocation of Focal Ministry might look as follows:

Local Minister for Barrow – Incumbent

Assistant Ministers for Barrow – Curate; (occasionally House for Duty)

Local Minister for Walton – Volunteer

Assistant Ministers for Walton – Incumbent; Curate (occasionally House for Duty)

Local Minister for Wymeswold – House for Duty Priest

Assistant Ministers for Wymeswold – Curate; (occasionally Incumbent)

Local Minister for Prestwold (incl. Burton, Hoton & Cotes) – Volunteer

Assistant Ministers for Prestwold – House for Duty; Incumbent; Curate

B.      A Local minister is the person who is the ‘first port of call’ in their local congregation and community. They may be ordained or readers or other authorised lay ministers. They will work under the oversight of the incumbent and be part of the Ministry Team.

Recommendation 2

There should not be any immediate attempt to change the parochial organisation within the Group (e.g. to move towards a ‘united parish’, which kind of arrangement would enable there to be only one parochial church council with district church councils.) Any such change should only come about in time or at all if there is a positive move in this direction from local congregations. Accordingly the Group Council should continue but it should change its operation and focus so that it acts as a ‘Benefice Strategy Group’ (BSG).


A.      The BSG should be formed of the Incumbent (chair), the local ministers (LMs and Curate), a lay co-chairperson and one lay person appointed from each church council.

B.      The focus of the BSG should be a Plan for Growth, Mission and sharing of good practice across the group. The BSG is to set the strategy while the operational issues and tasks are to be delegated to Action Teams and Church Councils. 

C.      The BSG should meet not less than 3 times each year (expected 4 times a year).

D.     The BSG should oversee, give directions to and receive reports from ‘action teams’ and give access to the BSG to the person who chairs each team (e.g. pastoral).

E.      The BSG shall have such powers and duties that are delegated to it by the PCCs but as far as possible powers and responsibilities should be left with PCCs except where a matter can be handled more efficiently across the whole group. The representative of each church council on the BSG should as far as possible be a person that the church council entrusts to act responsibly in decisions affecting the whole group. This may be but does not need to be a churchwarden. But where there is a churchwarden there should be a good working relationship with the Local Minister.

Recommendation 3

The BSG should give priority to improving communication across the group by setting up an Action Team for this purpose.  The task of this team should be to review how information is produced and disseminated within each church and in both directions between local churches/communities/councils and the Ministry Team and the BSG.

The focus should include making the best use of the website and e-communication but recognising that electronic communication is not accessible to all. 

Recommendation 4

The Ministry Team should meet together regularly both to pray and also to share matters of common concern. The Team should ensure that the BSG’s agenda is focused on mission, growth and the sharing of good practice; alert to the needs and developments in the congregations and communities.