Shaped by God Together Conversations

Shaped by God Together - an invitation to Conversations

We are inviting anyone from the diocese to be a part of the Conversation about the future shape of our Ministry, our care for and use of our Church Buildings, and the principles that guide how we raise and best use our diocesan Finance.

This invitation is extended to everyone in any of our faith communities including churches, fresh expressions and our schools (lay and ordained, whether in a position of leadership or not). It is a chance to get involved in creative conversations to help us think through some possible options that are currently being explored with a view to developing them as potential models for the future. If you register to take part, we ask that you commit to doing some prior reading of preparatory papers which you’ll be sent in advance so that you can come ready to ask questions, make suggestions, and bring your own insights to the Conversation. Nothing has yet been decided and everything in this first round of conversations is for discussions as possible options and not definite models that will necessarily be taken forward. These initial conversations are opportunities for you to join us as we work out which options we should take forward for further development. Following this first round of conversations, there will be a second round later in the year after Diocesan Synod and Bishop's Council have agreed which choices and possibilities to take forward for further exploration. In that second round of conversations, everyone in the diocese will have opportunities to hear more about the various models we might adopt for our ministry church buildings and finance, comment on them, and have their say.  As we go through this process of being Shaped By God Together, we will continue to pursue our vision, the Kingdom of God, through addressing the three Key Questions around our Everyday Faith and to focus our diocesan resources on our strategic priorities (agreed by Synod).

The Conversations will all be online, using Zoom. If anyone would  like to take part but is unable to do so via Zoom, please let us know by emailing

Conversation with Church Buildings
NEW 4 March 11:30am-1:00pm
NEW 16 March 7:00pm-8:30pm

Conversation with Finance
NEW 1 March 7:30pm-9:00pm
NEW 8 March 3:00pm-4:30pm
NEW 15 March 7:00pm-8:30pm

Conversation with Ministry
NEW 2 March 7:00pm-8:30pm
NEW 9 March 7:00pm-8:30pm

Book your place by emailing or phoning 07734181972 with your name, which church you attend and, if you hold a role within your church, what that role is.

We aim to have around 12 people at each conversation in order to ensure we can listen well to each other but if lots more people want to join and these dates are oversubscribed, we will run more conversations on other dates.

SBGT Ministry Conversations: Alongside our diocesan focus on Everyday Faith we are exploring a number of different ways in which we can shape our ministry across the diocese and asking how these emerging models might be missionally focused around our diocesan vision and priorities.

Expanded background: Over recent years, our patterns of ministry have seen some significant changes including the development of pioneers and other lay ministers, and the establishment of fresh expressions of Church, Resourcing Churches, and Inter-cultural Worshipping Communities. We have also explored the rural and urban relationship within our diocese, and the need to consider the changing social landscape we live in (for example the establishment of Multi-Academy Trusts).

The Ministry Group are asking questions about how we might organise and further release our ministry across the whole diocese, exploring the ways in which we shape our ministry for local contexts. Two of the Conversations will focus on the possibilities that may flow from a focus on mission and ministry with schools.

SBGT Finance Conversations: Exploring an approach to “Ministry Investment”. How might we invest in ministry in order to resource our diocesan vision and priorities? In light of this, how might we need to adapt and strengthen our Parish Contribution system?

Expanded background: For some years the gap between receipts of Parish Contribution and the cost of ministry has been around £1million. A number of other income sources have been used to subsidise that gap, but this was already becoming unsustainable and the gap was growing, even before the impact of the pandemic. As part of the Shaped By God Together process we want to explore a different approach to how we use our resources to enable ministry across the diocese. This approach is one of “Ministry Investment” and would be focused around our diocesan vision and priorities. To support this approach to our shared diocesan finances we need to adapt and strengthen our Parish Contribution system, developing a clear link with the cost of providing different forms of ministry.

SBGT Church Buildings Conversations: Exploring a variety of possible ways of supporting PCCs to care for their church buildings. Some options being explored include Service Level Agreements to support maintenance, a Diocesan Church Buildings Trust arrangement, “Seasonal Churches” and a flowchart to guide parishes through the various options.

Expanded background:  The care of a church building is the responsibility of the local PCC and this can be a significant burden in relation to people’s time and energy and the financial resources of the local church. As part of the Shaped By God Together process we want to explore a number of possible options for how we might provide additional support to PCCs. These include a type of Service Level Agreement regarding basic maintenance and preparatory work for repair projects that would complement the quinquennial inspection report process, and a form of Diocesan Church Buildings Trust. Alongside this, an approach to Seasonal Churches is being explored, drawing from experience in other dioceses of different forms of festival churches. “Seasonal Church” is a suggested missional category of church, which may include use of the church building as a community hub.  We also want to test out a flowchart to guide parishes through the various options and to explain how they might be accompanied and enabled to have good conversations about significant building challenges.

Powered by Church Edit