What factors influence the need for reorganisation?
- Requests from PCCs or a Deanery (churches pooling resources, boundary changes)
- Diocesan Initiatives and Deanery plans
- Increasing deployment of self-supporting, part time and lay ministry
- Decreasing congregations and associated problems managing church buildings
What kinds of reorganisation are there?
There are various different forms of reorganisation depending on what is right for local circumstances. These include:
- Uniting benefices
- Uniting parishes
- Altering boundaries and names
- Creating team or group ministries, or a Bishop's Mission Order
- Church closure (where appropriate)
Some pastoral reorganisation will involve changes to patronage and a review of housing provisions.
What is involved?
When reorganisation is being considered a meeting will be held to discuss the way forward with the PCC(s) and the Archdeaconry Mission & Pastoral Working Party, chaired by the Archdeacon. In cases involving the possible closure of a church, a public meeting is held also involving local people and other interested parties.
When draft proposals have been agreed they are reported to the Diocese’s Pastoral and Mission Committee. The pastoral team at the Diocesan Office then manage a two stage consultation with all the interested parties: the PCCs, clergy, patrons, the area and lay dean and, where church closure is being considered, the parish or town council, Ward Councillors and the Local Planning Authority. If there is general agreement to the proposals, they are brought into effect by means of a Pastoral Scheme or Order. As a rough guide this process takes about 9 months, but can be longer.
Often the patron’s right of presentation to the benefice is suspended until the process is complete. This means that during this period the patron cannot “present” a minister to be vicar or rector. Instead the Archbishop may license a minister to be Priest in Charge, which gives more flexibility for discussions to take place.
What should I do if I need advice?
Contact either your Archdeacon, or Shirley Davies on 01904 699500, or Angus Deas on 01904 699507, and they will be pleased to help.