A celebration day for the ministry of South Holderness Deanery’s churches brought people together for the first time from across the deanery in October.

Implementation of the Deanery Plan drawn up as part of Living Christ’s Story has brought a major shift in the way the three full-time clergy in South Holderness are deployed; now one full-time minister serves the coastal town of Withernsea, another the town of Hedon, and all the 20 village parishes in between are served by the third full-time minister – hopefully soon to be assisted by two part-time priests.

While resources might seem stretched, it was felt that the deanery should embrace this challenge, and at the same time take the opportunity to look at, and give thanks for, what it has. For in addition to the full-time ministry, South Holderness is blessed to have a House for Duty Deanery Priest (available to assist with services but primarily working on special projects), two deacons (both of whom are expected to be ordained priest next year), and one active priest with the Archbishop’s Permission to Officiate.

One particular challenge in this extended church family is that many within the two towns and the village parishes congregations don’t know one another, so this day was planned to address that issue. At the same time, it was hoped to address the matter of generosity and how South Holderness can make a greater contribution to the Diocese’s Common Fund.

The morning session including a discussion on what should be celebrated and the local ministers shared their thoughts and aspirations. A local church music group accompanied a bring-and-share lunch followed by time to dream and let imaginations travel to a deanery flourishing in growth with lots of young people, unconstrained by worries about keeping church buildings open and paying for ministry! Finally, discussion turned to financial matters and a look at what help and guidance is available in order that churches and the deanery may better manage their finances and improve contributions to the deanery ministry costs.

The message was clear that help is out there and people were encouraged to ask for it; the day concluded with a lively discussion with Diocesan Generous Giving adviser Jan Grey about how each one of us can adopt a different approach to giving and the blessings we receive when we do. The day closed with joyful worship and much to take away and think about.

Considerable positive feedback has been received about the day and the deanery is keen to work out how to build on this sure foundation as it moves forward.