The Diocese of Leicester Synod has voted in favour of a Minster Community framework with an amendment that the stipendiary (paid) leadership team of at least four people (including lay and ordained roles) in each of the 20-25 MCs will be led by an Oversight Minister who is ordained.
One of the team will be a Growing Faith focussed minister (lay or ordained) to increase inclusion of children and young people within the ministry of our churches and fresh expressions. As well as the Oversight Minister, the leadership teams will comprise at least (but not limited, to depending on resources) three other stipendiary posts.
A Minster Community will be a "group of parishes" who work together to collaborate in mission without losing their individual identity, and who work alongside their church schools, fresh expressions of Church, chaplaincies etc.
The framework was overwhelmingly supported (72%) by Synod and it is intended it will gradually be brought into place by 2026, depending on discussions between parishes, schools and fresh expressions working together to decide what their local leadership will be.
The Synod vote results were as follows:
House of laity: In Favour 28 Against 12 Abstentions 0
House of Clergy: In Favour 36 Against 13 Abstentions 1
House of Bishops: In Favour 1 Against 0 Abstentions 0
Total: In Favour 65 Against 25 Abstentions 1
You can read a summary of the framework here and you can hear Bishop Martyn speak about it on this video. The next steps for the diocese will be to prepare for local conversations in parishes for early in 2022 and it is likely that two or three pilots will be set up in the first instance.
Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow said that the comments made by Synod members during the debate and concerns raised would all be addressed and taken into account as the framework is worked out over the next few years.
Together our worshipping communities and Synod, supported by a diocesan staff Transition Team, will work together to discuss and agree exactly how matters relating to finance, buildings, and the shape of ministry will work.
Bishop Martyn said: “Nothing is going to change overnight and everything will be done in discussion with parishes. Every PCC, school governing body and fresh expression will be involved. Each will decide for itself how they engage with this.”
This vote means that we now have a clear mandate to work with our parishes to grow links with schools and increase resources for children and young people and recognise their place in our sacramental ministry.
“If we want to reach children and young people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ we will have to do things differently. The reality is that we have tiny numbers of children and young people in our churches. We really need to face that fact. Let’s every one of us see it as our mission to reach children and young people in our communities and give them equal place in our churches and fresh expressions. My great dream is that young people themselves will be training children and young people themselves to lead and teach in our services.”
It is hoped that a transcript of the Bishop’s Presidential Address to Synod will be published in the next few days and a summary of Synod business will be published within two weeks as usual.