Page 1


Issue Twenty Eight

From the Church of England Diocese of Bath and Wells

Summer 2017

Releasing our gifts Inside:

• How Bath and Wells people are using their gifts • Meet Alison Coulter, co-author of ‘Setting God’s People Free’ • Next steps – release your potential!

Read Reflect Pass On


manna I

Encouraging confident Christian communities in Bath and Wells t can be hard to recognise our own personal gifts, indeed more than one interviewee for this issue expressed concern that they did not have a gift worthy of talking about. I hope you will join me in disagreeing with them and find many stories to inspire you to consider what your personal gifts are and how you can release them. As James Cary points out in our opening article, being witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is something we need to do together ̶ in the workplace, in the home and society at large. James was reflecting on the message he took away from the presentation on the ‘Setting God’s People Free’ report at General Synod and you can find out more about that in our interview with one of its authors, Alison Coulter. If you find yourself mulling over your gifts as you sit sipping something cold in the (hopefully) warm summer sunshine, you may like to consider your next steps in your personal journey. We’ve also included a few ideas to help you do that. And just as 98 per cent of the Church of England is laity, so is the balance of contributions to this issue of Manna. As Alison says, it is the small things that will add up to make a difference. Just think what we can achieve. Louise Willmot Editor Image credits: P4-5: Estienne Photography P22: Ascension Day: Licensed under Creative Comms, 18: Meeting cc Nguyen Hung Vu 3&19: Vineyard cc Angela Llop 2 Summer 2017


3 James Cary: Doing it together


4 All good gifts

My faith

9 Fifty years of joy


10 Everyday disciples All in a day’s work 12 David Maggs, Mission Team Leader

Annual Review

13 What did we do in 2016?


17 Alison Coulter – Setting God’s People Free News in brief 20 Updates from the Diocese of Bath and Wells Out and about 22 Happenings and news from the parishes Time out 24 Screen talent 24 Surf style: Work on your gifts 25 The best gift


26 Release your gifts The last word 27 Is it time to explore?

Diocese of Bath and Wells The Old Deanery Wells Somerset BA5 2UG T: 01749 670777

Editorial panel

Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton (Chair) Revd Steve Tilley, Nailsea Revd Esther Smith, Bath Walcot Revd Ann Sargent, Long Ashton Richard Austin, Taunton Louise Willmot, Communications (Editor)

Get in touch

Email: manna@bathwells. ph: 01749 685145 Manna Magazine


Doing it together By James Cary, diocesan General Synod representative.


espite being elected in 2015, General Synod still feels very new to me. The processes, the motions, the order papers and general paraphernalia are pretty baffling to most people, but especially to someone like me who works in the media. I write scripts for a living, dialogue to be performed by actors. The results are TV and Radio programmes to be watched by viewers. Whenever I’m sent legal documents or budgets, I forward them to my literary agent or accountant who decrypts them for me and then deals with them. But at the last General Synod, there was a report that I actually understood unaided. It was Setting God’s People Free, a report from the Archbishops’ Council highlighting the importance of empowering the laity – who are 98% of the Church of England – to be witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the workplace, in the home and society at large. Since this is so clearly mandated in scripture, and so basic to the Christian life, it is almost surprising that the Archbishop’s Council felt the need to write a report about it, let alone debate it in General Synod. Perhaps that is a mark of how ‘professionalised’ Church ministry has become and how the culture needs to shift. This is something that needs to be done together. The clergy must engage the laity in discipleship and training for fruitful ministry outside of church – as well as inside. Equally, the laity should stop seeing their ministers as providing Manna Magazine

James Cary is currently touring the UK with his comedy A Monk’s Tale.

“This is so clearly mandated in scripture, and so basic to the Christian life.”

an ‘ecclesiastical service’, a delivery mechanism for Word and Sacrament. My only worry about the report was not that it seemed impossible, or unlikely. Far from it. My concern was that the findings would become ‘Synodicalised’. Since joining General Synod I have become used to hearing an oft-repeated phrase: “Further work needs to be done.” Translation: “The report isn’t perfect”, “We don’t have all the facts” or “We haven’t got the strategy quite right yet”. The danger is that we want to ensure that reports are perfected. But nothing could be further from the truth! The sixth of the Thirty-nine Articles reminds us that we already have God’s perfect ‘report’ to us in scripture. And it is our faith that is perfected by Christ. The report acknowledges that there are already plenty of resources out there, not least being Mark Greene’s Thank God It’s Monday. My concern and prayer is that we are not just readers of the Archbishop’s report, but doers also ■ Summer 2017 3


All good gifts We all have God-given gifts, so how are lay people in the diocese sharing them with others? Manna finds out…


ay people from all walks of life are sharing their gifts with others every day of the week. They’re using their skills, knowledge and experience to help others. They’re supporting people in hospitals, offices, schools, and local communities. They’re also helping relatives, neighbours and other people in need. In this issue of Manna, we find out how people are using their gifts to live out the good news of Jesus in their daily lives.

Sharing the joy of Jane Austen

Amanda Aston is using her musical skills and organisational abilities to bring the “joy of Jane Austen” to the people of Bath. The talented violinist is organising a host of events – from cream teas to a Georgian-style ball – to celebrate the author and reach out to the local community. She says, “The world of Jane Austen is a world of romanticism, courtship and love, which is needed in our society today. People yearn for that in their hearts – young and old – and it reaches across nationalities and ages.” Amanda, a member of the worship team at St Swithin’s, was initially inspired to “reach out with God’s love through the joy of Jane Austen” when 4 Summer 2017

Talented violinist and organiser, Amanda Aston.

she was living in Shanghai 10 years ago. “I was wondering what I could do to help the babies in the local orphanages, so I prayed to God for help and He gave me a picture of a very large diamond with many facets.” Realising the different facets were music, dance, singing and dramatized Manna Magazine


readings, Amanda created a series of Jane Austen-inspired events to reach out to the community and raise money for the orphans. She later set up the Jane Austen Circle of Singapore (JACS), as an outreach from St George’s Church, and the circle’s still going strong. Clearly a superb organiser, Amanda says this comes from her work as a trial co-ordinator for the Cancer Research Campaign, where she was involved in conducting trials for a successful breast cancer treatment. Amanda also spreads joy through her violin-playing and teaching. She plays regularly at Bath Abbey, played solo to Princess Anne and the President of Singapore, and plays professionally with Serenade Strings. “I play to worship and glorify God. I really feel God’s presence when I play, particularly in worship. I feel the joy of being in His loving embrace and, through my music, believe He reaches out with healing and love to touch people’s hearts.” Does everyone have a gift to share with their community and the Church? Amanda says, “I feel that people can be encouraged to share their gifts – and it doesn’t have to be through music or readings. A gift can be cooking and doing the washing up. It can be Manna Magazine

Amanda Aston plays her violin to worship and glorify God.

“When people are doing something for the glory of God – that’s greater than themselves – they grow spiritually.”

welcoming people, listening, or being kind to somebody – just smiling and being friendly. “When people are doing something for the glory of God – that’s greater than themselves – they grow spiritually. If people are encouraged and validated for the gifts they have, they gain confidence. That’s good for the unity of the church within the body of Christ and for reaching out together.” The ball at St Swithin’s will be held on 2 September and promises to be a night to remember. It will include formation dancing, food, music and dramatized readings from the Regency era. Any money raised through the event will go to the Genesis Trust, a homeless charity. You can book tickets at:

Staying positive in adversity

Being positive is a gift that’s sometimes overlooked, but it’s an ability that inspires people and gives them hope, particularly in difficult times. Rob Cobley, who worships at All Saints Church in Long Ashton, is a shining example of someone who looks on the bright side of life, even in adversity. Just over nine years ago, his son George was born 13 weeks prematurely and was in the neonatal intensive care unit for three months. “He was only 2lb 12oz when he was born and quite poorly,” says Rob. He also had to have lots of procedures.” One of the consultants prepared Rob and his wife, Vic, for the worst. But George was a fighter and, despite being on oxygen for a further four years, made an amazing recovery. “He’s been like a little rocket ever since,” says Rob. “His batteries run out a bit quicker than the other children, but he’s very, very, very energetic. We were prepared for the worst, but blessed with the best.” So how did he and Vic cope through this difficult time? ➜ Summer 2017 5


“We were supported through prayers from our church and family and friends.”

Keeping positive: Rob Cobley and his family have lots to smile about

“We took it in our stride and tried to make everything as normal as possible for our other son, Luke, who was 18 months at the time. We were also supported through prayers from our church and family and friends.” And while George gets a little down now and again, because he’s not quite as big as other boys his age, Rob and Vic cheer him up by showing him the small toy rabbit he had in the incubator with him. “We tell him he was as tall as the rabbit when he was born, so has grown a lot more than the other boys!” Because of the support the couple had, they decided to help other families, acting as short-break carers for children with disabilities. “It was really rewarding,” says Rob. “We looked after a couple of twin boys who were always happy. They were gorgeous. The boys needed 24/7 care, so we looked after them, while their parents spent time with their three other children.” Despite a further blow – being made redundant from his job as a sign-fitter after 30 years – Rob even turned that situation into a positive one. He took on a completely different 6 Summer 2017

role, providing mobile cleaning and grounds maintenance for a Housing Association. “Being made redundant was a blessing in disguise, because I absolutely love my job. It’s fantastic. I meet people from all walks of life and faiths and they’ve all got amazing stories to tell,” says Rob. “I was praying for the right job for me and I’ve really landed on my feet. I love what I do – even when I’m in the rain getting wet.” While a chat with Rob would make anyone feel uplifted, he says he’s not the positive one, it’s Vic. “Most of my positivity comes from her. She’s radiant and positive and happy all the time. Being married to Vic has definitely made me more positive.”

Giving children the best start in life

Some creative thinking is helping children to learn.

Head teacher Sue East is helping children – and teachers – to grow and flourish. She and her team are using their gifts – and some creative thinking – to give children at St Andrews Church of England Primary School in Bath the best start in life. One of these initiatives is Schools Without Walls, where children take their lessons in inspirational places, such as the egg theatre, Bath.

Manna Magazine


“It’s a real success. The children absolutely love it and learn a lot,” says Sue. “They’ve met staff at the theatre, interviewed the director of the Theatre Royal and learned to navigate their way around the city. They also visit other cultural centres, museums and art galleries, so, it’s a really enriching activity.” As someone who comes from a family of teachers, Sue says she’s fascinated by learning – what it is and how we do it – and describes her role as “a real privilege of a job”. She adds, “I love what I do. It can be crazy sometimes, but young people are such a joy to work with.”

Manna Magazine

Sue East describes her role as head teacher of St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School, as “a real privilege of a job”.

“We’re nurturing little plants – helping them grow, develop and flourish.”

Children from the school take part in all sorts of enriching activities.

St Andrew’s is a multi-cultural school with pupils of all faiths and none, and inclusion is extremely important to Sue. “We help the children to work together, respect each other and value each other.” Even though there is a mix of faiths, the school has Christian assemblies, teaches Bible stories and attends church services at the end of each term. The staff also have an unofficial staff prayer from Mother Julian of Norwich, ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well,’ and Sue often asks the local church to pray for the school in times of crisis. But she’s adamant that she’s not proselytising. “I’m very clear about that. We’re not here to evangelise children. “We’re nurturing little plants – helping them grow, develop and flourish – and adding in any little nutrients that are missing along the way.” The children also share their gifts with Sue and her team. “One of the joys and privileges of working with children is they see things differently and see things we don’t see. When a child sees something for the first time, it is in all its glorious technicolour and that helps us capture what we once saw.” As well as growing children, Sue says she’s proud the school is also growing ➜ Summer 2017 7


teachers. “I’m losing half of my teaching assistants this year, because they’re all going off to train to be teachers. That’s a testimony to the joy of working in learning and supporting children to learn.” Sue also bring her gifts to church as a lay reader at St Swithin’s. “I preach the odd sermon and try to support the ministry of the church, but so much of my time is spent at school. “But there is a sense that my work at the school is a ministry too – and what a privilege it is, as a Christian, to be able to do that work. It’s amazing.”

Finding solutions in a legal world

As a criminal defence lawyer, Tony Miles stands by his clients as they defend themselves through the investigatory or court process. “I spend a lot of time with clients who are under a lot of pressure and stress, because an allegation has been brought against them,” he says. “Their whole world has been thrown off course. They’re living with uncertainty; their families are significantly affected and they often feel powerless to steer themselves through the process.” During his 40-year career, Tony has defended people accused of everything from murder to serious fraud, so he’s seen all sides of life. That must be tough at times? “We do live in a very harsh, fractured society, so we could think it’s a place without hope – but there is always hope, because of God’s grace and God’s love.” Has his faith helped him throughout his career? “I am a child of God. I hope that shapes everything I do,” says Tony. “I try to show that in different ways, such as the way I deal with people and the way I relate to people. “I certainly try not to be judgemental about what it’s alleged people have 8 Summer 2017

“I am a child of God. I hope that shapes everything I do.”

done or the way they live or conduct themselves. I hope I see everybody as redeemable and that has an impact on everything I do.” Tony, who is a partner at Bobbetts Mackan Solicitors, says he was drawn to criminal defence because he finds the people fascinating and the scenarios very challenging. It also enables him to share one of his gifts – finding solutions to problems. “I have a mind that works in a particular way – I’m always looking for what the real issues are, what the significant factors are in a situation and what issues need to be addressed. It can be a mixed blessing at times!” he says. Tony, who nearly went into ordained ministry when he first qualified as a lawyer, says, “I gave serious consideration to what God wanted me to do and decided I was in the right place, doing the right thing at that time.” Does he feel ‘called’ to what he does? “I do see it as vocational and, in many ways, as a calling. That’s probably why I’m still doing it after all these years – and still smiling! I think God calls us to engage in things He believes suits us or fits us.” Outside of work, Tony shares his gifts in many other ways – as a member of the Parochial Church Council at All Saints Church in Long Ashton, chairing Trinity College Council in Bristol and helping run Christian holidays for children, often living with disadvantage. He says, “I enjoy helping people understand more of their faith and God’s purposes – and I’m excited by the role local churches can play in reigniting our sense of connection and community. I hope I contribute to that in a small way.” ■ Everybody has a gift to share. What gifts do you have and how could you share them with others? Manna Magazine

Fifty years of joy

My faith

By Bill Hubbock.


s I look back on over 50 years of Reader ministry I can truly say that every hour of every day has been a great joy to me. I have always felt that the work I am doing ̶ in church, at church functions or in the parish at large ̶ speaks a valuable message to those around us. I have always been in a Christian environment, as a boy I was in the church choir for three services every Sunday, plus Sunday school and I went to a church primary school. When I joined the army as a junior bandsman in 1945 I was happy to go to the compulsory church parade and help the Chaplain in communion. After serving in Europe and seeing the horrors that took place there I was greatly moved and began to feel the need to do more. After I left the army, my wife Pat and I settled in Hanworth, Middlesex, where we attended St George’s Church and were blessed with two dear little girls, who loved its Sunday school. There I met a fine man who was our Reader. I was very impressed with his ministry and it was then that I knew what I should do. After consulting my vicar, who was delighted at my decision, I was sent to the reader selection board in London. They must have liked what they saw as I was sent for training and, after passing some tough exams, became a Reader. Before I came to Bath and Wells I served as a Reader in both Kensington and London, alongside my 30-year career with Air France. I really believe God meant for me to come to Bawdrip Manna Magazine

Bill Hubbock was joined by Bishop Ruth as he celebrated 50 years of Reader ministry. Bill took the opportunity to teach her to waltz!

“I have had the opportunity to bring new ideas into the life of the parish.”

where I now serve. Originally, after Pat died and I was looking to move closer to my daughter, I tried to buy a house in Weston Zoyland. When that didn’t work out my daughter found my cottage in Bawdrip, which is right next to St Michael and All Angels church. It looks just like something out of The Vicar of Dibley and it feels a bit like it too as there is always someone popping in. I enjoy working hard in the parish, it really has been a privilege to give it the TLC it needed. I have had the opportunity to bring new ideas into the life of the parish and am delighted that the village hall, where I also teach ballroom dancing, is now well supported and hosts many activities. People from across the village have played their part in bringing it to life and put their many gifts to use in the Lord’s name. And we continue to serve Him in our worship and in our social life as part of a living and lively parish ■ Would you like to share your personal journey of faith? Get in touch at Summer 2017 9


Everyday disciples

Uncertain how you can use your gifts to live and tell the story of Jesus? Perhaps these stories from our Lent Stories series will inspire you? You can read the full stories, which feature a Bible reading and reflection, along with many others on our website. Samara’s Aid

Parish Magazine editor Lucy Beney turned words into action when she was approached by her readers to find out where they could send aid to Syria. After discovering Samara’s Aid Appeal she decided to start a local collection and has so far collected 85 boxes with 40 more under way. “Having lived in the Middle East I have experienced first-hand the welcome and hospitality of its people. Here in Somerset I found myself thinking about all these desperate people and, a bit like Samara, I thought there has to be something we can do.”

Pastoral publican

Huw Davies is the owner of the Riverside Pub in Cheddar, a busy pub with a diverse clientele. He and his wife Joanne have been there for 17 years. Huw lives out his faith through the caring conversations he has with his customers. “Whatever conversations I have with my customers, my Christian faith directs my response. Not that I would ever say, “Come to church on Sunday”, but I try to live out my faith in my pub and always want to be there to support, care and nurture my customers.” 10 Summer 2017

Manna Magazine

Insight Whole-person healthcare

Sarah Hart is employed as a part-time Parish Nurse by New Creation Churches, a family of four churches covering Banwell, Congresbury, Hewish and Puxton. She is one of 80 or so Parish Nurses that operate across the country. “As a trained nurse, I feel really privileged to be able to share my faith as well as my nursing experience. It’s an amazing position to be able to freely express my faith and pray with people if that’s what they would like.”

Living life simply

Caroline Pomeroy is Director of Christian charity, Climate Stewards. Her Christian faith motivates her to live her life more simply. “As a Christian, I have always been interested in environmental things and have loved being outside and enjoying creation in its widest form. It seems to me very obvious that if God made the world and has asked us to look after it then we need to do that.”

Giving young people a future

Sue Crisfield has a passion for supporting homeless young people. She works for Mendip YMCA in the day, and in her spare time is a voluntary trustee for the charity ‘Youth with a Future’. “Working with homeless young people every day, I see these small amounts of money making a massive difference to their well-being and self-esteem. If you can meet an individual’s practical and physical needs first, then you can look to their spiritual and other needs afterwards.”

Combatting social isolation

Colin and Hazel Parfitt lead a team who run ‘Monday Mix’ in the Space@StAndrew’s in Blagdon. It is a weekly social afternoon for villagers with activities such as Scrabble, jigsaws, colouring, embroidery as well as more seasonal sessions. Its aim is to get people together, have some fun and hopefully combat social isolation. “As Christians we are involved because it is a service to people and we are trying to show God’s love in what we do for others.” Are you an everyday disciple? We’d love to hear your story. Email ■ Manna Magazine

Summer 2017 11

All in a day’s work

Outward moving By David Maggs, Team Leader for Mission.


ince last September I have been the Team Leader for Mission in the recently formed Ministry for Mission Department. It’s meant quite a lot of change from my role as Social Justice and Environment Adviser, although the latter is still very much part of what I do. There are five Team Leaders and, together with Charlie Peer who now heads up Ministry for Mission, we meet weekly together to pray, develop ideas and discuss the many issues that arise in our diocese. We are also regularly joined by colleagues from across Support Services, including the Children and Youth Team and Communications. In the diocese we use the Anglican Communion’s ‘Five Marks of Mission’ to encapsulate what we understand by mission and they direct most of what Ministry for Mission does. Bishop Peter in the diocesan Community Conversations earlier this year spoke about becoming an ‘outward moving’ church in contrast to an ‘outward looking’ one. Our focus therefore is: Creation, the World (especially Zambia), Rural life and Inclusion (of those with disabilities, nomadic people, people of other faiths, new and old religions and the numerous people we encounter through chaplaincy). We also focus on key issues which straddle the church/community divide, this includes the ‘Magnificat Parishes’ group which focuses on our 20 most ‘deprived’ parishes. The members of this group demonstrate the ability of the church to play a significant role outside its own walls, engaging with the wider community and different agencies. As part of the work of Ministry for Mission in reshaping central support for the benefit of the local church, I have been 12 Summer 2017

David Maggs and Caroline Pomeroy talk environmental matters with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“An opportunity to witness the gospel both in words and in practical action.”

focused on deaneries and the development of their mission action plans. This work, and the Community Conversations, have clearly highlighted the diversity of things the church is doing or planning to do as we seek to move into a ‘missional’ mode which can lead to evangelism. The rest of my job still means I lead on Social Justice, Community Engagement and the Environment. At present this includes working across our three local authority areas on the issue of the arrival of the Syrian refugees into our communities. It has been a very different experience from working in urban areas where there are established support organisations and community groups. A notable creation over the last few years is Taunton Welcomes Refugees which grew out of the local Citizens UK group – the local arm of the charity which is an alliance of faith groups, schools, unions, community groups and others. This way of working with Taunton Welcomes Refugees illustrates one of the future shapes for Mission – working with others for the common good. ‘Outward moving’ means we develop relationships, find common interests and have the opportunity to witness to the gospel both in words and in practical action ■ Manna Magazine

Annual Review 2016 Bishop’s Foreword


have always enjoyed visiting new places. A new destination can provide us with a fresh perspective and a clearer understanding of the wider world. However, there are times when we are so preoccupied with thinking about where we are going that we can focus on the destination to the exclusion of the journey itself. The diocese is on a journey of change and transition, one in which we are all playing a part. There have been a number of significant changes in this last year. All of these have been focussed on further supporting and developing the work we do

as we seek to follow the Lord in so many different ways and places. Nevertheless, in many ways it is also ‘business as usual’. You will read about the teams and individuals based at the Old Deanery in Wells, that are doing a huge amount to support and benefit our parishes and schools. You will see examples of careful stewardship of resources, sound governance, professional support and inspiration for mission. I would also add that, it is with heartfelt thanks that I express my appreciation to all of our parishes. In 2016 our parishes contributed 99% of parish share; an achievement not seen since 2009. Your generosity ensures

we continue to be a presence in every community of Somerset. Through our chaplaincies, schools, parishes and worshipping communities, we are coming together in response to God’s immense love for us, as we seek to be God’s people living and telling the story of Jesus. Thank you for your continued generosity. With warm Christian greetings,

Rt Revd Peter Hancock Bishop of Bath & Wells

What did we do in 2016?

Diocesan staff and volunteers work hard to support parishes, clergy, lay leaders, schools, churches and other worshipping communities across our diocese. A great amount is achieved with modest budgets. What follows are some of the highlights of those achievements in 2016. You can read in full detail, on our website, the Annual Reports 2016.

Ministry for Mission

In October Diocesan Synod affirmed the decision to create the Ministry for Mission team with five team leaders for Mission, Evangelism, Discipleship, Vocation and Training. By the end of 2016, three of the new team leader posts were filled by three of our current staff. • Mission – David Maggs • Discipleship – Revd Canon Dr Graham Dodds • Vocation – Revd Sue Rose Two further team leader posts were appointed in 2017 and do not feature in 2016’s annual review. They are:

• Evangelism – Revd Tina Hodgett • Training – Revd Jane Chamberlain They are supported in their work by other church officers in areas such as World Mission, Healing, Chaplaincy, Rural Life, and Renewal. Learning Communities (Discipleship) • Approximately 50 people began the Exploring Christianity course

• The team supported a small but dedicated team of trainees through Reader training • Parishes continued to ask for help in times of vacancy with planning and delivering vision days and short courses. Vocation • The team sent 14 people to a selection conference in 2016 and 19 in 2017 • A further three people were put forward for Pioneer Panels • Four people were recruited to the post of Associate Director of Ordinands. Social Justice and Environment (Mission) A key piece of work for the SJE team, was working with local authorities to plan for the arrival of vulnerable refugees into the diocese.

A social gathering for refugees and volunteers in Taunton.

Children and Young People

• A government White Paper in May set a deadline of 2022 for all schools to become academies • A new Church of England Vision for Education was unanimously agreed on by the House of Bishops • Our Education Department is working with an ʻExtended Church School familyʼ constituting more than 20,000 more children in our diocese alone.

“The speed and scope of change within Education is relentless and 2016 was no exception.” Tess Gale, Director of Education.

School Organisation • Our Education Department is working with 15 multi-academy trusts of various size, structure and foundation • The team offered a range of training which is equipping school governors with the information to make the best decisions for their school.

In November, 2016, the Archbishop of Canterbury addressed school leaders and shared his Vision for Education in the Church of England.

School Effectiveness • The team offered bespoke training in order to meet the individual needs of schools within their local context • SIAMS and Ofsted inspections continue to be good for the vast majority of our schools • Investment in supportive partnerships is ensuring our schools have access to the best possible support to raise standards • Work continued to focus on strengthening church-schoolparish partnerships. Youth and Children • The team has provided advice, resources and training to those working with children and young people • Hosted a variety of events, camps and festivals around the diocese • Developed its role with the chaplaincy team at Bath University.

“The changing education landscape presents us with some complex challenges, but also opportunities to work with others to improve school standards for our children.” Suzanne McDonald, School Organisation Team Leader

A group of over 100 young people joined thousands of other young people at Soul Survivor 2016.

Central Services

In 2016, there were a number of significant changes to normal working within Central Services: • Developed the new diocesan vision and strategic priorities • Formed the new Ministry for Mission department, necessitating some role changes and Old Deanery office moves • Continued in our response to the schools academisation programme • Appointed new Archdeacons for Taunton and Wells. Finance • The team continued to manage £40m of investment on behalf of the DBF • Worked in partnership with parishes to reach a 99% parish share collection rate • Increased the take up of the CCLA loan scheme for parishes. Parish Resources and Development • From a total national funding pot of £25m, more than £750k was awarded to this diocese in 2016.

Pilgrim Days continue to go from strength to strength.

Secretariat • Some 942 parcels of glebe and parish trust land was registered to the diocese • Continued careful stewardship of 364 parish trusts. Communications • The team helped to coordinate the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bath & Wells

2016 – the numbers plus

35,000 children

Who do we serve?

Our worshipping community of

940,000 people who live in the diocese





paid clergy




other clergy

Buildings, land and investment We can't touch this money, but these investments + our land = income to limit increases to the common fund


Where our support comes from £9.6m £1.2m £0.9m

Parish Share contributions* Investments and Glebe land rents Parochial fees and other


*99% of requested contributions - thank you!!


lay ministers



3,000 acres



diocesan support staff working in

Shares and property funds

Historic Glebe land




Our people





Clergy houses

who worship in

General (free) reserves 6 months' normal spending

Ministry for Mission and other parish support posts helping parishes live and tell the story

14 16

Education roles helping schools live and tell the story Central Services staff Administration, legal, financial and property

How the funds are used £9.0m £0.4m £0.8m £0.4m £0.6m £0.5m

Clergy stipends, pensions, housing and training National Church Support for mission and ministry in parishes Education, children and young people Administration Other central costs


This information is a summary, showing operating income and expenditure of the Diocese. For a copy of the full accounts, including the auditor's report visit:

Setting God’s People Free


Manna spoke to Alison Coulter, one of the authors of the report that has got everyone talking about the role of laity.


ill we seek to empower, liberate and disciple the 98 per cent of the Church of England who are not ordained… so they can enjoy a vibrant relationship with Jesus in all of life?’ That is the question asked by the Lay Leadership Task Group in the report ‘Setting God’s People Free’, commissioned by the Archbishop’s Council which they presented to Synod in February. Alison Coulter, one of the authors of the report spoke to Manna and gave us her personal perspective on the report.

There seems to be an impressive range of experience among the group. How easy was it to all work together to produce the report?

Alison Coulter, member of the Lay Leadership Task Group.

You are relatively new to General Synod, how did you come to be involved?

I was aware there was a piece of work on lay leadership and because this is something I am really passionate about I simply said, ‘Look, anything I can do to help?’ and they said, ‘Yes!’. I had worked with Matthew Frost, who was leading the project, as a coach and support when he was at Tear Fund and I think they felt it would be useful to have someone with my skills on board. I am a lay chair of a diocese and as a director of Artesian, a leadership development and organisational health consultancy, I am experienced in supporting organisations and leaders through culture change. Manna Magazine

“Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we are called to be a witness and to worship God in our whole lives.”

They were an amazing group of people to work with and not just because of their varied backgrounds and gifts. What I found such a blessing was to be with people from such different churches, with different styles of churchmanship, and find that we had so much in common.

For those who haven’t read the report, how do you propose to ‘set God’s people free?’

We came up with two very clear recommendations. The first is that we need everyone to understand we are called to be a witness – to worship God in every area of our lives, not just on a Sunday when we gather together. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we are called to be a witness and to worship God in our whole lives. Secondly, we need to think about the relationships we have – ordained and lay – and recognise that we have a partnership. And this comes out of the understanding of the word ‘calling’. Some are called to have an ordained ministry, some are called to have different ministries; I have a ministry in business, but that is no less a calling, it is just a different calling. ➜ Summer 2017 17


What makes you so passionate about this subject?

I think one of the reasons is that I have been through a phase in my life, when my children were young, of feeling really angry with the church. What happened in church on a Sunday did not relate to my life during the week. We had these gatherings and a sermon which were great but what about what I am trying to do Monday to Saturday? I felt there was a sacred/secular divide. A disconnect in my life.

So getting involved in this was a way to address this?

Yes, but personally I found the work of the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity ( really helpful. I have also been inspired by the life of the woman described in the last chapter of the Book of Proverbs – it sounded just like my life. It doesn’t quite say she puts the washing on, dashes to Sainsbury’s and then heads to a business meeting, but almost! It helped me realise that this is the life God is calling us to. There are no bits of our life that are more holy or more important to Him than others and I just think we are missing out on part of our relationship with God if we don’t recognise that.

Why not take time to pray for your colleagues ahead of your business meeting?

“We realised that all leadership has to come out of our own relationship with God, our own discipleship.”

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Do you have any advice for someone who feels a similar disconnect?

I think prayer is at the core, a conversation with God. Learning to pray at all times and in all places, as Paul says, I think that is really key. Before I start any business meeting now, for example, when I’m sitting there and everyone is gathering themselves together, I try to remember to pray.

Can you explain what is meant by baptismal mutuality in the report? The group spent a bit of time exploring why it is that sometimes relationships between clergy and laity are difficult and why we have got to the point where some lay people feel disempowered – yet, if you talk to clergy, they don’t feel very powerful at all. It is important for us all to hold on to what we have in common and affirm our different roles. It’s not about people being higher or lower it is about people having different roles, different callings. The reference in the report to our baptismal mutuality is included to remind people we are all, lay and ordained, firstly brothers and sisters in Christ.

Where does discipleship fit in?

As a group, we realised that all leadership has to come out of our own relationship with God, our own discipleship. So we ended up merging leadership and discipleship, thinking about the two together. It is about different people understanding what God has called them to do and leading in 18 Summer 2017

Manna Magazine


that situation and feeling empowered to do the right thing. Not always waiting for the vicar or the PCC. It is about people stepping up and getting on with it.

What is the key to successfully changing our culture?

If we want things to change that happens not by writing reports but by people doing things individually. You can’t tell other people what to do. Change doesn’t happen by saying ‘they ought to’. It happens when, as an individual or as a group, we commit to doing something differently and we do it. ‘I will’ is how change will happen. The action plan is there to help people focus, but it will need each and every one of us to do things differently.

Synod approved your report in February, what’s happened since?

There is a lot of work to be done and it is difficult to do centrally so recruiting some pilot dioceses will be crucial – we hope to do that later this year. Under renewal and reform we have a new steering group, Setting God’s People Manna Magazine

Alison was inspired by Proverbs 31. ‘She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.’

“The action plan is there to help people focus, but it will need each and every one of us to do things differently.”

Free, led by Mike Eastwood. This group has met once, but will continue to work on the action plan. It may seem to some that progress is a bit slow, but we feel strongly it’s really important to get it right at this stage. It’s not going to be easy, so we are going to have to work out what small things we can do to make a difference. In short, if you have a good idea, the message is ‘Do it – and share it!’ ■ You can find the ‘Setting God’s People Free’ report on the Church of England website and listen to the Synod presentation and debate, including Alison’s contribution, on their Sound Cloud page. media/3858033/gs-2056-settinggods-people-free.pdf Summer 2017 19

News in brief

News in brief Updates from around our diocese.

New Go Teams

Increase in trainees

A 14 per cent increase nationally, in numbers training for the priesthood has been welcomed by the Church of England. An anticipated total of 543 men and women will begin studies this autumn at colleges across England. The figures show that 25% of the cohort beginning training this year are under 32. The increasing age profile of clergy has been a significant motivator for the Church in focussing on growing ordained vocations. In the Diocese of Bath and Wells, 12 people were ordained as priests and 11 as deacons at Wells Cathedral in July. Please pray for them as they begin their respective ministries ■

Resource Centre closes

Changing user habits resulting in usage dropping by two-thirds in the last 11 years, is one of the reasons behind the recent closure of the Resource Centre at The Old Deanery in Wells. Nick May, Diocesan Secretary, and Theresa Gale, Director of Education, said, “We understand that the closure 20 Summer 2017

Taking the words of the great commission as inspiration, the diocesan Youth and Children’s team will be supporting our parishes and deaneries wonderful work with young people in a new way, with three Youth and Children’s ‘Go Team’ advisers based in our archdeaconries. Tony Cook, Assistant Director, Youth and Children, said: “The Go Team advisers will be archdeaconry-based so they can better support, resource and equip youth and children’s ministry. It will be a new way of working that links with our vision of ‘Living and telling the Story of Jesus’ that is underpinned by the great commission to ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ ̶ Matthew 28: 18-20” “Please pray for the new ‘Go Teams’ as we seek to work much more closely with local churches and communities in ‘Living and Telling’ the story of Jesus amongst children and young people.” ■

Ready to ‘go and make disciples.’

of the Resource Centre will be saddening to many. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly and it has involved much prayer and reflection. Our thanks and appreciation go to staff and users who have supported the Resource Centre over many years. “Every effort has been, and is being, made to ensure that as many people as possible will be able to continue to benefit from the resources, albeit in new ways.” ■ Manna Magazine

News in brief

Jumbre Parish wave the flag for Jane’s arrival.

Jane receives a warm welcome

Ahead of next year’s 40th anniversary celebrations, World Mission Adviser, Jane Tompsett has recently undertaken a six-week tour of Zambia, taking in all five dioceses. Jane says: “As the New World Mission Adviser, it was a real privilege to spend six weeks travelling around the dioceses and to meet some of the amazing Christians God is using to further His work through the Anglican Church in Zambia. I visited 38 of our link parishes, slept in 24 different beds and, on two days, travelled more than 1,000km. In each of the parishes I was very warmly welcomed as a representative of the Diocese of Bath and Wells.” Keep an eye on the diocesan website for details of the forthcoming celebrations or contact Jane should you wish to establish or improve a link with Zambia ■

Bishops’ Lent Appeal update

The Bishops’ Lent Appeal 2017 has raised more than £15,000. Fifty per cent of the money raised will help pay for initiatives supporting refugees in Somerset and the other half will go directly to St Paul’s church community in Athens, Greece. Bishop Peter says: “Bishop Ruth and I want to express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all who donated to the appeal. Many of the donations were given anonymously, so it is impossible to thank everyone personally. Whether it was a small amount from a single individual or a large amount from a church or parish, collectively we have raised a significant amount of money that will be really well used to help those in greatest need in our society.” ■

Thy Kingdom Come?

“Our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all who donated to the appeal.”

Manna Magazine

Celebrations and events took place across the diocese during Thy Kingdom Come, Archbishop Justin Welby’s global call to prayer. Walton church live streamed Archbishop Justin’s live address from Guilford Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday and hosted some balloon prayers, a Pentecost Picnic was held in Axbridge and a Gregorian Chant workshop was held in Ilminster, to mention just a few. A Prayer Fayre and Ascension Day service, led by Bishop Ruth, was also held at Wells Cathedral ■ Summer 2017 21

Out and About


across Bath and Wells

Send your images to To see more photos, visit our Facebook page Party popper prayers (Below) ■ Party popper prayers were on the menu at a recent Sunday Breakfast which is run by a team from Christ Church at Henton Village Hall on the third Sunday of every month.

An Ascension Day climb (Right) ■ Children, parents and staff from Brent Knoll Primary school enjoyed a walk up Brent Knoll to mark Ascension Day and received an explanation of the importance of the day from The Revd Simon Lewis.

Bishops Lydeard pilgrimage (Right) ■ ‘A wonderful opportunity for the Benefice to come together – Living and Telling the Story’ was the verdict on the first benefice pilgrimage for Bishops Lydeard.

A colourful Church Tent (Above) ■ The Scrap Store at Glastonbury showcased their creativity in the Church Tent at the Royal Bath & West Show.

22 Summer 2017

Manna Magazine

Space for prayer in Street (Below) ■ Rector Sharon Walker got the idea for a new prayer room at the Mission Church in Street after reading Pete Greig’s book, Dirty Glory. It has already played host to one 24-hour prayer session and more are planned.

Out and About

The power of the Holy Spirit (Right) ■ The congregation at St Thomas’, Wells enjoyed a Pentecost service with a difference, with Revd Tobie Osmond illustrating the importance of the power of the Holy Spirit using his motorbike. Rogation Walk (Right) ■ Parishioners of all ages ̶ with two legs and four ̶ enjoyed a sunny Rogation Walk at Withiel Florey. Securing the future (Below) ■ St John the Baptist Church in Glastonbury has kicked off a major programme of restoration and improvements with a presentation of their plans to the townspeople.

Yeovil premier for Luther play (Above) ■ St John’s, Yeovil, was the venue for the premier of A Monk’s Tale, a humorous play which marks the 500 years since Manna Magazine

the reformation. Now touring nationwide, you can catch it at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival or back in the diocese, at St Mary’s, Illminster, on 26 October.

To find out what’s happening across the diocese, see our events calendar at Summer 2017 23

Time Out

Screen talent By Steve Tilley.


here would movies be without talent? In fact ‘talent’ is the slang name given to the movie stars on set. But which films explore gifts and skills and their use? Try these in your small group discussions. Enemy at the Gates (2001). Jude Law’s character Vassili is a young Russian sharpshooter. His skills are spotted and he is turned into a sniper and then a propaganda campaign. Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone (2001). Working in the same way as the super-hero genre, Harry discovers his magical talents and has to have their development carefully supervised, for his own safety. You knew that. But the film raises several important issues about gifts and skills and for whose benefit they are utilised. Quiz Show (1994). An interesting film based on a true story. Is a run of success on a quiz show too good to be true? Is the show fixed or is the contestant naturally gifted? The question is explored, investigated and solved. Spiderman (2002). There can’t be many quotes attributed to both Voltaire and Spiderman but in fact neither said ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. But the Spiderman franchise, starting with this one, explores, better than most, the idea that a superhero should use their special gifts wisely. The Men Who Stare at Goats (2010). George Clooney plays Lyn Cassady, part of an experimental army unit that uses psychic skills to read the enemies’ thoughts. Or do they? Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) investigates. A comedy; in case you hadn’t guessed ■ 24 Summer 2017

Surf style

Work on your gifts with these improving sites and apps.

Education Planner students/self-assessments/ learning-styles-quiz.shtml Know what your preferred learning style is? This simple test will show you how much of your learning is auditory, visual or tactile. Peak A mobile gym for your brain. Daily exercises improve your problem solving, vocabulary and more. Podcasts Long journey and nothing on the radio? Get a podcast app and start getting smarter as you walk/drive along. I’m currently enjoying This American Life and Rob Bell’s RobCast. Psychtests testid/3113 A 40-minute questionnaire to evaluate your team gifts and skills and help you work better with others. Free for personal use only. YouTube ̶ Juggle xye0tHas_s Learn something new. Explore the wonderful world of YouTube how to lessons. This one claims to teach you to juggle in ten minutes. The Diocese of Bath & Wells is not responsible for any content on external sites. Manna Magazine

The best gift Book reviews by Richard Greatrex.


oly people, according to Rowan Williams, enlarge your view of the world, yourself and God. They bring joy, hope and leave you filled with new possibilities, loving them, but also loving yourself more. The same description applies to Marilynne Robinson’s ‘Gilead’ trilogy of novels: once you have finished them you may well find that the landscape of life has changed. Robinson writes with great generosity of spirit. Every personality is a complex melding of nature and nurture, learning and love, experience and reflection. They have faults, they make mistakes, life deals them a rough hand to which they may or may not rise, but they all have something affirming to give to the world. Robinson’s insights are acute, her theological understanding astute and her writing style coolly observational. The three books, ‘Gilead’, ‘Home’ and ‘Lila’ function as stand-alone novels, and can be read in any sequence, but create a satisfying whole when taken in order of publication. In ‘Gilead’ the Revd John Ames is writing a long letter to his young son. It is 1956 and Ames is an ageing pastor in Gilead, a small, dry, overlooked Kansas town. Intelligent and well-read, despite various possibilities, Ames chose to follow his father ministering in this one town, a decision cemented when his first wife died early leaving him widowed and childless. Now old and with failing health, he is married again with a youthful wife and young son. In the letter he is putting his story in order and passing on his life’s wisdom. ‘Home’ focuses on Jack Boughton, wayward son of Ames’ best friend. Jack believes he has never achieved his

Manna Magazine

“Robinson writes with great generosity of spirit.”

Time Out

potential and he was predestined to thwart the expectations of his father and family. He left town, drifted into scrapes then more serious trouble and has been out of touch with his family for years. Now he returns home, where his sister, Glory, escaping her own disappointments, is also back, tending to their ailing father. Lila is the young woman who marries the elderly Ames and ‘Lila’ is the story of how she eventually reached Gilead, staying long enough to marry and begin to settle. Hers has been a short, hard life full of hurt, distrust and loss. In these few years with Ames she has begun to see life with fresh eyes. When considering our gifts, religious or otherwise, we might do well to reflect upon the rich insights presented in this trilogy. Ames was offered options outside Gilead, but his quiet loyalty to his home town meant that he became its spiritual anchor and was in the right place when Lila walked through the church doors. Jack Boughton kept messing up, yet brought beauty into the world, without truly knowing it himself. Robinson’s characters offer gifts that are not the skills of artistry, business, teaching or missional leadership; instead they give of themselves, in all their flawed humanity. Their interactions, intentional or accidental, illuminate each of them, expanding their knowledge of each other, themselves, the world and God. In doing so, they offer us the hope that fundamentally it is not what we do but who we are that is the best gift we can give ■ Richard is the manager of Aslan Christian Bookshops and associate priest in Long Ashton with Barrow Gurney and Flax Bourton. Summer 2017 25


Release your gifts

If you’ve been inspired by some of the stories of people using their gifts, or by what you’ve heard at one of our Community Conversation events, you may be wondering what your next steps are. Identify your gifts

• We can take our gifts for granted because we’ve always had them. So ask yourself ‘What do I enjoy doing? What do people say I’m good at or compliment me for?’ Ask God what your gifts are and how you can use them. • Read these Bible passages prayerfully: Romans 12 v 3–8, Ephesians 4 v 1-16, 1 Corinthians 12 v 4-11. They list some spiritual gifts, but not all by a long way. Do you have the gift of service, or acts of mercy, or generosity? In church we can rate some gifts more highly than others, but God doesn’t!

“In church we can rate some gifts more highly than others, but God doesn’t!”

Identify what God is up to and join in

• Ask yourself: Where is God already at work in our community? Where are things happening that reflect the values of the kingdom of God – countering poverty, injustice, corruption, social isolation, spiritual ignorance, environmental damage, addiction and many other issues? Can you offer your gifts and join in?

• We all have natural gifts. Often these gifts reflect God’s creativity… for example, DIY, problem-solving, quilting, writing computer apps, music, organising or looking after money. Identify your natural God-given gifts and thank God for them.

• As a church, think about the needs of the local community. Ask people in healthcare and social services, education, youth services or local government what the most pressing need is in the area. What can the church do for them or with them? How could the gifts you have in your church help meet those needs even in very small ways?

• Think about how you could put your particular gifts at God’s service. You may think it’s not the sort of gift churches need… if you’re into board-game design or classic cars! But you could offer it to God as a way of helping to build community, raise money, or shine the spotlight on the needs of a group, making God’s love visible in practical ways.

• Undertake a course in your church on engaging in social action from a God-centred perspective e.g. ‘Possible World’ from the Church Mission Society; or engage in a course to help you share your faith e.g. ‘Faith Pictures’ from the Church Army. Use these to help identify your passions, grow your gifts or discover new ones ■

For practical advice on any of the above please contact the Ministry for Mission team. They’ll be happy to help and to direct you to the resources that best fit your situation. Email: or Tel: 01749 685104 26 Summer 2017

Manna Magazine

The last word

Is it time to explore?

By Stephen Rymer, Reader and tutor with Melanie Smallwood, student.


hat, I wonder, are the things that have helped you to grow as a disciple? For me, a very important step was to enrol on a ‘Taste and See’(Psalm 34:8) course in Bristol Diocese in 1994. It was unlike any study I had ever done before. Instead of being taught, we were encouraged to explore a topic each week in preparation for a discussion in which we shared our thoughts and learned from each other. It was immensely stimulating and changed my whole understanding of the Bible, belief and discipleship. Today, in our diocese, the opportunity exists to study in that way through the Exploring Christianity course. It seems to have the same effect on students that ‘Taste & See’ had on me. One former student who was very dubious about joining at first says,“It is quite a time commitment and perhaps, like me, you nurse some key doubts about the basic message given out by the Church. I was approached and encouraged to think about joining a course. It took three nudges and when I decided to take part, I warned the team that I would not pretend that I agreed with things that sat uncomfortably with me. I found it a rewarding experience both for the society of the group who came from a wide variety of backgrounds and because I had the opportunity to absorb an understanding of the roots of our faith and the reasons for the gospels. My most valuable benefit drawn from the

Manna Magazine

Stephen Rymer is a Reader and course tutor for Exploring Christianity.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8.”

discussions and reading is that there is no one way of looking at things ̶ I am not alone in my grey areas and that is OK.” A crucial aspect of the groups is that they quickly become learning communities in which the members are deeply committed to learning with and from each other. Tutors are there to enable, but no one is the holder of knowledge or an authority, and all tutors will vouch for the knowledge they have gained from students. As one student put it, “You may have arrived at a clear understanding of what you believe but it is a tremendous thing to share with a trusted group of friends who may see things differently but who respect the differences. Some things did change, others were accommodated and I still struggle with some issues, but I would totally recommend the course.” Might God be calling you to deepen your discipleship? ■ Find out more at or call course administrator Dawn Hickman on 01749 685106 Summer 2017 27

28 Summer 2017

Manna Magazine

Manna - Issue 28  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you