A 3-year plan of action for St Jamesâ€™ House The Summary
Introduction Within the vision of a “sustainable, led and transforming Christian presence in every community in the Diocese”, Bishop James has set a clear priority on numerical growth. Outlining his vision – referred to as the Bishop’s Growth Agenda - in his Presidential Address to the November Diocesan Synod 2009 he talked about three L’s - Love, Leadership and Locality. He asked three questions: • How can we grow numerically? • How can we kindle our love for God and neighbour? • How are we serving our local community? Staff at St James’ House are committed to supporting parishes in this mission. Our plan of action focuses on how we will support widespread numerical growth and vocations, the deepening of our spiritual life and the serving of our communities. It seeks to affirm and support that which is good in parish life while emphasising what can be done to foster growth.
Working closely with parishes and deaneries, the plan builds on Responding to the Call and is firmly placed in the context of a strong financial strategy. We believe that if this plan succeeds we should see: • • • •
Growing numbers of people connected with our churches. Growing numbers of people on nurture courses. Growing numbers of people coming into leadership positions. An increasing proportion of children being educated in church schools. • An increasing number of parishes being released from debilitating revenue deficits and financial constraints. • An increasing number of expressions of church in the workplace, in social spaces and in social networks. This summary gives a flavour of the plan and our work over the next three years.
Our aims and values St James’ House seeks to support all those engaged in God’s mission in the Diocese of Liverpool. We work to: • Serve Bishops, parishes and schools taking our direction from the Bishop in Synod. • Be seen and felt to be on the side of parishes. • Make the best possible use of everyone’s time and resources. We will seek to resource the Bishop’s Growth Agenda guided by these three key principles: • Target resources on areas of greatest need and those of greatest opportunity. • Invest in the spiritual and numerical growth of the church and its capacity to serve the wider community. • Accelerate the re-shaping of the church for the 21st century to help ensure there is a growing and sustainable Christian witness in every community.
The context we work in Our diocese is a compelling place, covering a large densely populated area with significant concentrations of population in Southport, the Wigan area, the Warrington - Widnes corridor as well as Liverpool itself. We are mainly an urban diocese with some of the most deprived communities in England and Wales. We have a high ratio of clergy per parish and a low ratio of stipendiary clergy per 1,000 population. Clergy numbers are set to fall further and we are no longer likely to have one stipendiary priest per parish. However, we have seen and continue to see the emergence of a range of new lay and ordained ministries working alongside paid clergy. The decline in overall attendance has bottomed out and we are, in some cases, seeing signs of growth. We have a growth in baptisms but we are losing significant numbers of weddings and funerals. Our church schools remain a success story. Planned giving has risen, aided by more people giving, but we still have significant financial challenges. We are dealing with major cost increases and an underlying deficit but despite that have managed to set a break even budget in 2010 and have an enviable Parish Share collection record. Giving in Grace has had significant impact but there is still work we need to do.
Our key actions To support the Bishop’s Growth Agenda St James’ House staff have agreed approximately sixty key actions. These are not the responsibility of individual teams but something we will all work together to achieve. This summary lists the areas for action. You can read the specific details in the main report. Christian disciples growing in faith, hope and number We are committed to supporting Bishop James’ call for numerical growth in the hope and expectation that encounter with Jesus can and should lead to belonging and believing and that our churches can and should be flourishing rather than surviving. Outstanding Christian leaders for today and tomorrow The more leaders we have the greater the possibilities for growth, discipleship and maturity. We need to be more active in identifying, encouraging, training and developing current and future leaders so that we can deploy confident and equipped leaders – both lay and ordained – and release the gifts of the whole people of God. Excellent church schools promoting Christian education We remain convinced that good quality Christian education gives children and young people the very best chance in life. It enables each child to understand that who they are, and what and who they want to become, matters to God and to the school. In turn this leads to a core sense of self-worth and of valuing those around us.
A vibrant and inclusive mixed economy of churches in and from all traditions Our growth must be in what Bishop James terms the invisible as well as the visible parishes, and in particular the people who are or who feel excluded from church and society. We must both strengthen the things that remain and reach out in dynamic and creative ways. A sustainable base for mission and ministry We want to help create a sustainable base that will enable parishes to flourish. We want to see parishes released from a preoccupation with balancing the books to being confident about their future and rightfully ambitious in their thinking and planning. Revitalising our structures We want to help build organic, dynamic church structures that enable gospel life to flourish in our churches and in the communities they serve. Providing a robust information base We want to help ensure that the decisions we make at parish, deanery and diocesan level are based on evidence rather than intuition or anecdote and that we identify what is working well, what we can build upon and develop, and what may need to be challenged and changed. Providing a good base for ministry and home life We want to create conditions for growth by ensuring that clergy and their families are and feel safe and comfortable in their homes.
Strengthening our finances In 2010 we set our first breakeven budget for over a decade and despite various financial challenges that arise from the political and economic climate we find ourselves in, we still believe that we can strengthen our financial position and invest in key areas to support the growth agenda. Our key financial aims for 2011-13 are: • To establish a pattern of breakeven diocesan budgets by 2013. • To strengthen our asset base and level of diocesan and parish reserves. • To invest in key areas that support parishes and schools and facilitate the growth agenda. • To maintain strict cost control in all areas of DBF expenditure. • To increase the Parish Share collection rate. In 2011-13 we have committed to: • Limit the Parish Share increase to no more than 2% per year and by no more than 4.5% over the 3 year period. • Increase investment and property income by 15%. • Track the Regional Stipend Benchmark for clergy stipends. • Maintain rigid cost control measures at St James’ House. • Seek additional areas of joint working with Liverpool Cathedral. The full plan goes into more detail on how we intend to achieve this.
Organising to deliver This plan does not set out to state every piece of work we do or justify every activity. There are many legal and administrative tasks that are needed and we continue to deliver to a high standard. We do keep this work under review, applying ten tests to ensure that we are working in the most effective way. The ten tests:
Do we need to carry out this activity or work? Does the activity provide substantial growth value? Can the activity be targeted to those most in need? Can the activity be provided at lower cost (cost being measured in time as well as money)?
Can the activity be provided more effectively? Can the activity be provided by a non-diocesan provider? Can non-diocesan providers be paid to carry out the activity according to the results they achieve?
Can parishes/deaneries as opposed to the diocese provide the activity?
Does the activity/event generate net income for the diocese, even if it doesn’t provide growth value?
Would we incur significant reputational damage if we discontinued the activity?
We also believe that we need to work together as departments and have an aspiration to work cross departmentally under a series of portfolios – led by a Senior Manager.
These portfolios are Church and Society Portfolio The church and society portfolio supports the way we engage with a range of statutory and non statutory agencies, ecumenical and faith partners both in this country and abroad. It also promotes equality and diversity within the church and supports a range community projects, particularly in Designated Priority Areas, aiming to ensure a Christian distinctiveness which enriches both church and community. Communications Portfolio The communications portfolio exists to enable our diocese to promote clear and consistent messages about our work, aims and activities. The portfolio aims to support communications through traditional and digital media. Our goals are to enable parishes to keep up-to-date with diocesan and national church initiatives, enhance the reputation of the work of the diocese both locally and nationally and provide a consistently high standard of material. Education Portfolio The education portfolio aims to promote excellent Christian education. In partnership with 8 local authorities, the Archdiocese, and the inter diocesan partnership DBE Services, our goal is to develop excellent church schools. Through the HE/FE Committee we support college and university chaplains.
Learning Portfolio The learning portfolio aims to provide appropriate training and learning opportunities to church members and their leaders, both lay and ordained, which will equip and enable the exercise of effective ministry and mission. There is a particular emphasis on growing vocations and the development of leaders. Mission Portfolio The mission portfolio supports our vision of “lake and river” churches which expresses our desire for not just a mixed economy but a blended economy of different expressions of church with one feeding the other to encourage growth and vitality. Our goal is to support the local parish and deanery in their response to God’s call through discerning priorities and mobilising and equipping lay people, enabling us all to face challenging questions over the sustainability of buildings and churches. Stewardship Portfolio The stewardship portfolio seeks to reaffirm and support our commitment to generously fund ministry and mission in our diocese founded on the biblical principle of mutuality and support between parishes. The portfolio does not approach stewardship from the perspective of financial need, but rather from a perspective of worship, discipleship, gospel generosity and justice.
Supporting the Bishop’s Growth Agenda This plan is the result of much prayer, discussion and reflection. We know that the mere fact of writing things down doesn’t get anything done. We also know that we cannot and are not trying to box God into our thoughts and plans. A lot will change over the lifetime of this document – some of which no doubt we will look back at and think that we should have seen it coming, but much of which will be a complete surprise. We hope and believe that this plan is a compelling and inspiring document. It is strongly focussed on the work of St James’ House but recognises absolutely our inter-connectedness as a diocese and the primary role of our deaneries, parishes and schools in advancing the Bishop’s Growth Agenda. We offer this plan humbly, prayerfully and in a spirit of service and support. We hope and pray that through the actions of this plan we will make a helpful and significant contribution to growth in the Diocese of Liverpool – spiritual, numerical and vocational. We hope to see over time a diocese transformed and transforming. And we commit to being relentless in our pursuit of this Growth Agenda in Christ’s name and in His service and for the glory of God. Find out more You can read the full document at www.liverpool.anglican.org/growthagenda You can contact Stuart Haynes Media Manager Diocese of Liverpool
0151 709 9722 firstname.lastname@example.org www.liverpool.anglican.org