CMD E-bulletin articles CMD e-bulletin September 2015 "Myth busting" by Bishop John There is a need for some myth busting around what is commonly called Self-Supporting Ministry. It’s a ministry we have struggled to find the right name for – for a long time referred to as Non Stipendiary Ministry – and if we are honest struggled to value and deploy strategically. The survey and report produced earlier this year has helpfully offered clarity to our understanding and rightfully raises some challenges for us as a Diocese. Let’s be clear. An ordained minister – priest, deacon or bishop – is ordained into the Church of God with no regard to whether they will receive a stipend, a salary as a chaplain, work in secular employment, or have other means of earning a living. Nor is their ordination contingent on the sort of ministry they will engage in. Put simply a priest is a priest no matter how they earn their living or exercise their ministry. We have for too long simply equated being ordained with full time (and paid) ministry as a parish priest. It’s never been the case and the report shows that in many ways the picture is changing very rapidly. The decrease in the number of stipendiary ministers in the Diocese since 2006 has been more than matched by the increase in the number of Self-Supporting Ministers and numbers may well be even by 2025. The roles undertaken by those who are Self-Supporting are many and varied. For most however the exercise of their ministry is either parochially focused or in the work place – or a mix of the two. A person’s response to God’s call to them to self-supporting ministry (lay or ordained) is a precious gift from God to his Church and not simply another pair of hands to help out a busy incumbent. Often discussion around Reimagining Ministry at a local level focuses on the reduced number of stipendiary ministers and pays little heed to creative and fulfilling deployment of those who are self-supporting. Of course there are considerations of how much time individuals are able to commit and indeed ensuring best use of gifts and experiences. Mission and Ministry Units begin to offer us a more flexible structure which is not predicated on the omnicompetent sole stipended and ‘full-time’ incumbent and thank God for that. But I am not convinced that we are yet using the opportunities offered as fully or creatively as we might. And then we also get caught up in the legalities. Most Self-Supporting Ministers serve as Associate Priests – assistant curates – which limits their engagement in the appointment of new incumbents among other things. Perhaps it is time to challenge the legalities to ensure they have incumbent status alongside those who serve as Team Vicars. The report shows the very real challenges of those who serve as Ministers in Secular Employment – who see their ministry as primarily or even partially in the workplace. At best they offer a valued ministry among those with whom they work few of whom will have contact in any shape or form with their local church. They offer, too, valuable insight for the church into a rapidly changing world with challenges around ethics, secularisation, and the stresses of working in a market driven economy. All too often they find themselves marginalised in the workplace by concerns about proselytization and the bewilderment over the church’s stance on issues of equality and diversity, and unsupported by a church which struggles to fit this form of ministry into our preconceived views of what a priest is. Here the report sets out real challenges for the Diocese strategically, pastorally and vocationally. Already we have taken note of the recommendations of the report. A new team of SSM Advisers have been appointed who are themselves Self-Supporting. Procedures tightened to ensure that there are up-to-date Working Agreements and all are offered Ministerial Development Reviews. I am privileged to be asked to be the SSM Lead on Bishop’s Staff. But there is much more to be done if we are to fully utilise the gifts and experience offered us by God through those who engage in Self-Supporting Ministry. This is not a fill the gap, add on ministry, but rapidly becoming the norm. And in God’s call to us to share in his mission across East London and Essex, to be a transforming presence in each and every community we need to recognise the importance and value of Self-Supporting Ministry in all varied forms. + John Bradwell CMD e-bulletin July 2015 “Beyond Potty training” by Graham Hamborg IME Phase 2 is the current official terminology used to describe curacy. Those who have been ordained for longer may remember that it used to be called ‘Post-ordination Training’, abbreviated to POT and known affectionately as ‘potty-training’. A big change was made following General Synod’s acceptance of the Hind Report in 2003. Initial Ministerial Education (IME) was re-defined from being what took place in college or course before ordination to become instead the whole process of formation from entry into course or college through to the end of curacy. Curacy became known as ‘IME 4-7’. More recently the reality that most people’s ‘IME 1-3’ was often two or even one year rather than three has led to the change to IME Phase 1 (before ordination) and IME Phase 2 (curacy). A further big change came in 2011, when at the request of the House of Bishops all those ordained came under ‘Assessment at the End of the Curacy’. This in practice has to mean assessment throughout curacy. The end destination is that everyone leaves curacy with a formal letter from their Area Bishop stating that they are deemed suitable to continue in priestly ministry in a post of incumbency-level responsibility, or in a post of Associate Ministry. The bishops make their recommendation on the basis of advice from their Area CMD Adviser, and there is a moderation process with an external assessor to ensure that each diocese keeps in step with the expectations of other dioceses and the church nationally. Incumbents’ reports, curates’ written reflections and portfolios, and the judgment of the CMD Advisers all feed into the moderation process. There are ‘Formation Criteria’ (formerly called ‘Learning Outcomes’) against which assessment is made, and these are grouped under headings: Christian faith, tradition and life; Mission, evangelism and discipleship; Spirituality and worship; Relationships; Personality and character; Leadership, collaboration and community; and Vocation and ministry within the Church of England. This means that we put a lot of expectations on the process of curacy. A key person is the curate’s training incumbent, and great care is taken in the placing of curates with the right incumbent, and in a parish which will be able to give a curate a good experience of mission and ministry. The training and formation needs of the curate are of the highest priority in this, and it is no longer the case that a large parish with a lot of work to be done necessarily receives a curate for that reason. Supervision is no longer an informal ad hoc process, but something regular that training and curates need to structure well and commit time to, and training incumbents receive training themselves in how to practise good supervision. There are currently over a hundred curates in the diocese. About half are stipendiary, and half are self-supporting. Among the latter some have retired from former work and give a lot of time to parish ministry, while others continue to hold other work in an often demanding balance with parish involvement. Some self-supporting curates have been selected for local deployment to their home church, while others are deployable and will have moved churches to take up their curacy. Please pray for all these 100+ people, their incumbents, and those others who are their colleagues in ministry. CMD e-bulletin May 2015 ‘It’s so helpful to come away & learn’ by Rev. Jill Mowbray Rapid changes in society mean that churches and Christian leaders must adapt and change if Christian communities are to be equipped to be bearers of Good News in a society where young people, in particular, have lost hope in the future. These rapid changes are true for the Swedish church, no less than in Britain. The third of our joint Clergy Leadership Programmes brought together a group of Karlstad and Chelmsford clergy in the beautiful surroundings of spring at Pleshey under the leadership of Roger Matthews and Jill Mowbray, with Lena and Åse from Karlstad. In a previous CLP in Karlstad Bishop Esbjorn said ‘We are thinking about what it means to be church after the national church; what it means to go on paths no-one has gone before? We are asking – how are people liberated when they walk from our services?’ The Clergy Leadership Programme equips clergy with some of the insights, skills and resources that will help them to exercise effective and transformational leadership in God’s church. The focus is on developing collaborative leadership-for-mission for the church of today and the emerging church of the future. As we began this year’s programme Bishop Stephen joined with us on the first day to share some ‘upside-down’ wisdom from Proverbs about deeply investing in the communities we lead, watching, waiting, praying, discerning, building relationships, and not being afraid to show our vulnerability. A key aspect of CLP is that we form a learning community over the 5 days that we meet, and work to apply the material we hear about in the presentations to the contexts in which we are working. We join together in daily worship and bible-study in small groups. Our passage as we met together in April was Romans 12: 1-13. Everyone is encouraged to keep a personal learning journal for recording what we do in sessions, connecting the material with other ideas, understandings and possibilities, and noting courses of action to be explored personally and back home in the parish. Each person comes to the programme having filled in an Insights questionnaire giving them material to better understand their own personality and dynamics. The focus through the first week is on Identity, Listening, Pro-activity and Leadership, looking also at Vocation, Values, Role and Mission, and reminding ourselves of the need for Renewal in our lives. When we meet again in Karlstad in September for Week 2 everyone will have carried out a personal project to help put some of the course themes into practice. The small groups in the meantime will form a supportive, praying network by email to encourage and keep one another on track. The thrust of Week 2 is very much about Public Leadership for Mission looking at how we build trust and purpose in our churches, at teamwork and partnership, and how we handle the things such as conflict which threaten to de-rail us. Later in the autumn a new-style Modular CLP will begin for Chelmsford clergy, where each of the taught modules runs over six two-day sessions at Pleshey. We’ve adapted in the light of feedback that suggests some would prefer to be out of their parishes in shorter bursts, giving the opportunity to reflect on the material in an ongoing way throughout the year that catches and shares our learning from ‘back home.’ If you’d like to be part of the Modular CLP starting in September there are still places available. Do get in touch with your Area CMD Adviser.