Listen to Revd Canon Jenny Tomlinson, Chair of the Share review group
Since the current Deanery Share scheme was introduced many good things have developed. We now have far more self-supporting clergy.
We’ve seen the emergence of Fresh Expressions and pioneering ways of being Church. New forms of lay ministry have been authorised.
As we continue to re-imagine ministry and to work together more closely to become a more missionary Church, the time has come to look at the Share system – at how we apportion the cost of making sure that the news of God’s love in Jesus Christ reaches every part of our varied and diverse diocese.
The national Church has also been reviewing the way that it supports dioceses financially, and we now know that over the next ten years, the two and a half million pounds which Chelmsford diocese currently receives every year is going to gradually reduce to around about one million.
So what is going to happen to the Share?
Share will be allocated directly from the diocese not to deaneries but to benefices, to commissioned mission and ministry units and to those groupings which have opted to be ‘early adopters’ of the new scheme. The following year mission and ministry units will see the cost of their ministry, that’s A in the diagram, and also B which represents their proportion of the costs of training future ministers, and of the various services which exist right across the diocese. Then we come to C.
Mission and ministry units will be invited either to make a request for money from the Mutual Support Fund or make a pledge into it. The major difference between the old scheme and the new one is that instead of financial support for those places that need it being allocated through a complex and quite variable formula, it will be given through a Mutual Support Fund.
The Fund starts with money already in it from various sources, including the national funding for deprived communities, and that money will be passed directly on to the parishes affected without any kind of application process. You can see that the old scheme and the new rely on mutual support and generosity. They are central, but it is much more transparent under the new arrangements.
The consultation last year showed that people liked the simplicity of the new scheme, and of course diocesan staff, archdeacons, mission and ministry advisers, and deanery officers will be on hand to help as the new scheme gets established.
Share will continue to be allocated to your benefice until your mission and ministry unit is ready, and then when it is formally commissioned you can simply continue on the basis of the existing figures or revisit it if that suits you better.
Overall the new Share scheme is going to help us all to see more clearly how we support each other as we all seek to respond to God's call to mission and ministry throughout Essex and East London.
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