08 Jul 2012
Anglicans in Timaru and throughout Canterbury-Westland, have been asked to consider more effective and cost-efficient ways of working.
Christchurch Anglican Diocese is facing significant issues relating to building damage, population changes and increased insurance premiums. Every parish has therefore been asked to talk to its neighbours about ways to co-operate to reduce overheads and to be more effective in proclaiming and living out the Christian message of new life and hope in Jesus Christ.
It is possible some parishes will have proposals for closer co-operation ready to present to the Christchurch Diocesan Synod in September.
Timaru currently has four Anglican Parishes - St Marys in the town centre, St Johns in Highfield, St Philip and All Saints in Marchwiel, and Kensington-Otipua Parish in the south. They are part of the wider South Canterbury archdeaconry.
On May 19, local Anglicans gathered for an initial conversation about future partnerships between parishes. Participants divided into South Canterbury Archdeaconry southern, north-western, and Timaru discussion groups.
Brainstorming from the Timaru group included ideas such as combined administration, the creation of a combined ministry team, combining to form one or two parishes, or maybe working toward one central worship and community outreach complex.
The four Timaru Anglican Vestries met on June 17 to continue the conversation, using four options as a springboard for further discussion. Three of these options related to combining in different ways to create two parishes, and the fourth option considered ways of functioning as a single parish, with one or multiple worship centres. Conversations will continue formally and informally as the churches seek to learn from each other, inspire each other, and find common ground.
South Canterbury Archdeaconry representatives reported back to each other about the process so far on June 26.
Discussion about closer co-operation in Timaru is not new. In 1990 encouragement was offered at diocesan level for “all four Timaru City Parishes to seek creative ways of developing a team ministry to the whole of the Timaru area”.
One of the priorities for Timaru Anglicans before further “nuts and bolts” discussion, is to clearly identify intended outcomes.
Every church has cherished buildings, activities or styles of worship, but the top priority is to be taking a full part in the work of God.
The Anglican Church internationally identifies five key priorities: to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God; to teach, baptise and nurture new believers; to respond to human need by loving service; to seek to transform unjust structures of society; and to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
The Diocese of Christchurch currently also has three strategic goals to guide its on-going mission: Christ-centred Mission, Young Leaders and Faithful Stewardship.
As part of the current discussion, each parish has been asked by the Diocesan Standing Committee to assess whether it is fulfilling its Christ-centred mission, being faithful stewards and raising up young leaders.
Each church has been asked to consider whether the demographics of the congregation are representative of those in the community, whether the church has people from all ages and stages of life, how the church is viewed by the community, what effective community outreach is happening, and what is required to make the parish stronger in its fulfilment of God’s work.
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