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An overview of our current state, what has been done and what is to come?

Sam Nicol

Director for Strategic Transformation

07511 526917

Background to Living Christ’s Story

In November 2022 Living Christ’s Story York Diocese Strategic Plan 2021-2031 was accepted by the Diocesan Synod.  It sets out the drivers for change and proposes the development of a strategy for revitalised growth and key milestones for 2026 and 2031 including the achievement of each Ministry Unit meeting the direct costs of ministry and where possible contributing to the shared costs. The programme of work was proposed as projects under two distinct work streams – “Reimagining Mission and Ministry” and “Transforming Finances and Structures”.

To support the two distinct work streams of Reimagining Mission and Ministry and Transforming Finances and Structures, several groups have been formed to prioritise and fulfill the strategic plan of Living Christ’s Story.

Steering Group

The Living Christ’s Story Steering Group has been established for the specific purpose of; being the senior decision-making and oversight body which will review and monitor the strategic direction and policy guidance to the Living Christ’s Story Programme Management Group, Working Groups and other stakeholders.  The Steering Group will give clear steer to those involved in leading projects and pieces of work aligned to Living Christ’s Story and the revitalised growth strategy on delivery approaches and discuss general strategies and opportunities for planning and implementation. 

The Steering Group will ensure the alignment of the delivery process making sure that the work and projects stay on track and deliver desired results. It will reconcile differences and conflicting issues in the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders to enable effective collaboration. It will ensure through aligned and sequenced activities that all deliverables are of quality and meet the agreed scope of the Living Christ’s Story vision and strategy. It will be effective when it ensures the timely, efficient delivery of satisfactory results. 

The Steering Group has the following membership:

Archbishop of York – ChairDirector of Communications
Bishop of HullDirector of Education
Bishop of SelbyDirector of Finance
Bishop of WhitbyDirector of Mission and Ministry
Archdeacon of ClevelandDirector of Strategic Transformation
Archdeacon of East RidingDean of York Minster
Archdeacon of YorkDiocesan Secretary / CEO

The Steering Group will be accountable to the Synod and Archbishop’s Council and Diocesan Board of Finance.The Steering Group will seek delegated authority to take decisions in line with the parameters of the Living Christ’s Story Revitalised Growth Strategy and to have these decisions agreed and ratified by the appropriate committees when necessary and in line with the Diocesan Standard Operating Procedures and Financial and Safeguarding policies. 

Working Groups

1. Stakeholder Engagement and Communications

2. Data, People (Deployment Plan) and Financial Plan

3. Mission Plan

4. Transforming Structures

Each group will have episcopal sponsorship and an accountable lead. They will be small groups of no more than 10 people and have clear terms and frames of references based around the proposed actions set out in the Strategic Plan. 

The work of these groups will be led and coordinated by the Steering Group.

Most recent LCS report to Diocesan Synod

Diocesan Director for Strategic Transformation Sam Nicol introduced a paper updating Synod on progress with each of the streams of the strategy agreed and adopted by Synod a year ago in November 2022. Implementation of Deanery plans was under way with new appointments being made within re-shaped structures to incorporate forward thinking and, where needed, reductions in stipendiary clergy numbers. Planned changes in discernment and training for lay ministries were already proving popular, while digital transformation was starting make headway in the central support services for the diocese and within local deaneries and parishes. A new diocesan website was expected in the spring of 2024.

Despite these reports of progress, the financial outcomes of 2023 and the proposed budget deficit for 2024 indicate that the Diocese of York has not made the progress to deliver Living Christ’s Story that was hoped for, and the Diocese was advised that there was insufficient strategic plan detail or evidence to support the next bid for central Church of England funding. There was however an opportunity to bid for further capacity funding to support short term posts and initiatives to help develop specific aspects of the strategy.

Sam’s paper ended, “Living Christ’s Story is about each of us as individuals and local church communities becoming more like Christ and learning together what it means to be a missionary disciple, so that we can reach those who do not know Jesus.

“Whilst this paper provides an update in activity around funding and supporting that task in parishes and deaneries across the diocese, it is important that we don’t lose sight of (and celebrate) the “front line” local initiatives and engagement in many guises, which is leading to growth in confidence, in numbers and in sustainability in many of our worshipping communities.”