Minutes of Reigate Deanery Synod Meeting
Tuesday 9th February 2016 at Holy Trinity Church, Redhill
Chair: Chris Elliott – Lay Chair
Members present: 57 Apologies: 23
1. Rev Mick Hough, vicar at Holy Trinity, led the opening worship. After a reading from 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and prayer members sang a song before the start of the meeting.
Chris Elliott thanked Andrew for the “terrific job he had done as Archdeacon”.
5. Matters Arising
6. Rev Canon Will Cookson Dean of Fresh Expressions
Will began by saying that twenty years ago “Breaking New Ground” – Church Planting in the Church of England was published. In 2004 this report was deemed to be no longer adequate and The Mission Shaped Church Report was published. He emphasised that there is a fabric in the old way and no-one is suggesting replacing parishes but society is changing and we need to go beyond. He spoke of missed opportunities in past generations e.g. in the time of Wesley and in the 50s and 60s with the immigration of black and ethnic minorities who started their own churches in Southwark.
Fresh Expressions is proclaiming the gospel afresh and we need to start “weaving looms” for the next generation so that people don’t go missing from churches. Whilst we don’t want to throw out the old, Jesus spoke of things dying in order to live. The word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood and we have to ask ourselves if Jesus would want to be in our churches on Sunday. He also said that Fresh Expressions is a form of church for our changing culture which is established for the benefit of those who are not yet members of any church. He asked how we could reach out beyond where we are with the love of Jesus. We then went into groups to discuss, “What are the main characteristics that are shaping our Society”.
Responses included: Sunday no longer a rest day, social media, secularisation of society, diversity in relationships, rising population and housing stock. Will commented that without change everything starts dying. Due to the changing nature of Sundays we need to consider church at different times. We need to consider changes in church to accommodate changes in relationships and networks. Church needs to consider changing cultures and the fact that there is less faith knowledge. 1.56% of people go to Anglican churches in Southwark now compared to 50% in 1851. We are in a different world and church needs to be for disconnected explorers. Diversity is the norm and we need to have different services in church.
He said that in the Christendom Context church is now on the edge and no longer in the centre. We can’t tell people to go to church but we need to listen to them. God is already at work in our community and we must listen and form a church with them – the new way to form a church is by listening. Café church, messy church, evangelism and discipleship and evolving worship are all part of Fresh Expressions. We sometimes fail but we need to learn by our failure.
Will finished by asking us, “Who do you feel you would love to see in your church?”
The responses were: children and young adults, the Asian community, men, divorcees, single people and lonely people.
It starts with a desire to reach those people. It starts with prayer and then God gives you the people for your next steps.
7. Parishes to Share
Rev Shane Wood reported back that one of the goals at Christ the King had been to connect with young people and they now had a good connection with local schools and Rev Doug Ross was in regular touch with Perrywood Sports Centre.
a) Diocesan Synod/Diocesan Council of Trustees
David Keiller did a powerpoint presentation on the visions and priorities of the Diocese of Southwark, their expectations by year 5 and the key activities over the next 3 years. He explained their longer term goals and the strategy for ministry key themes. Finally he talked of the Diocesan Finances which had anticipated a deficit of £420,000 but was likely to have a surplus of £500,000; some contributed by more than expected Fairer Shares but also from good property management. (Powerpoint attached).
b) Diocesan Board of Education – Rev Carol Coslett reported that they had met in November and this was led by Bishop Jonathan for the first time. They are working on a new Section 48
inspection for St Bedes School. Roman Catholics and Anglicans are working together on this statutory inspection which evaluates the distinctiveness and effectiveness of the school as a church school. There will be a mock inspection in April. She also reported that money has been released for a new school in Sutton. She reported on the Deanery Mission and Pastoral Working Group mainly highlighting the refugee crisis and a collection of clothing that will be held at Ashcombe School on February 11th. Chris Elliott is hoping to meet representatives of Reigate and Banstead Council to discuss this issue.
9. Area Dean’s Notices
· There is an NSM Exploring Ministry course at Wychcroft on 4th and 5th March and a Vocations Fair on 27th February at St Mary’s, Reigate.
· There are also new curates being appointed to St Margaret’s, Chipstead – Alison Elson, St Mark’s, Reigate – Anna Moore and St Matthew’s, Redhill – Helen Cook. Helen Burnett will be moving to St Peter’s, Chaldon.
Members were asked to put 24th September in their diaries as we aim to have a Deanery Quiz Night with a fish and chip supper at St Matthew’s Church Redhill. The aim is to make up teams of six from all the churches.
There being no other business Rev Mick Hough ended the meeting in prayer.
The next Deanery Synod meeting will be held at St Matthew’s Church Redhill on 15th June 2016.