2010: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF OUR BOARDS AND COUNCILS
Cover pictures (clockwise from top): children enjoying summer activities in Oxford; Bishop John helping to launch the Windmill Fair Trade Shop in Headington; the new vicarage at Stonesfield; the re-ordering of Wallingford parish church. Pictures: KT Bruce, Jon Lewis, Maurice Spalding, Christian Aid, Laceysâ€™ Family Farm, Leighton Buzzard Observer, Sally Jarman.
FROM THE BISHOP OF OXFORD
he Diocese of Oxford is an extraordinary place. It’s full of the most interesting people doing the most interesting things, and although that throws up a whole series of complex questions, it’s all about growing the Kingdom, piece by piece. A diocese is properly a dispersed organisation. It exists in its multitudinous parts, primarily churches, parishes and benefices scattered like seed thrown over the landscape. But these parishes are served and supported by Boards, committees, task groups, officers, employees, and even the occasional bishop and archdeacon, all dedicated to making the job of the parishes run more smoothly and effectively. This brief report highlights some of the activities of these support troops. It’s shockingly brief when compared to the actual activity that lies behind even half a sentence. But that’s the nature of an annual report; it can only point to the odd headline. Each headline is like a gold prospector’s wooden post marking his site. It invites us to dig here for treasure and find out what goes on underneath. I hope these reports remind us all what an energetic and talented diocese we have and how much is going on in our Living Faith. We have a faith that lives, and a life that’s faithful. And here are just a few markers of what’s gone on in the year of our Lord (they all are) 2010.
Harvest blessing in North Hinksey allotments
FROM THE DIOCESAN SECRETARY
s the ideas underpinning Living Faith become more established into our activities and approach we have included a question about it in our annual staff review process. This has proved quite challenging – the linkages between Living Faith and work with children and young people are obvious, as they are with the discernment of vocations and ministerial training. What does it mean for those working in the Finance Department or for those responsible for providing and maintaining housing for the clergy? And what about all the legally required compliance workCRB checks, data handling, employment issues and those related to the introduction of Common Tenure? It is the same challenge faced by all our church members – learning to see the opportunity to help build the Kingdom of God not just in worship and church ministry but in every part of life. We are very grateful for the £17,252,058 generously given by the parishes in difficult times which contributed 71.6% of diocesan expenditure. £15m is used to directly fund the clergy. This review shows something of the breadth of work on which the rest is deployed. The formal accounts are available on the diocesan website (www.oxford.anglican.org/finance) or from Diocesan Church House.
Total parish share collected 2010: £17.3m. Other income: £5.8m. Percentages of total expenditure of £24.1 m spent on different areas of work: National Church of England responsibilities 6%
Diocesan financial, legal and administrative functions 4%
Mission in parishes, deaneries and diocese 13%
Parish ministry 77%
DEPARTMENT OF MISSION Board of Mission established in April 2010 bringing together ‘STEM’, Board of Social Responsibility (BSR) and Mission and Pastoral Committee n Four strategy groups: Making Disciples, Mission through Ministry, Mission in the World and Mission and Pastoral Committee. The Board of Mission monitors, supports and develops work in the areas of: n Evangelism and the deepening of discipleship n Children’s and youth ministry, leader training and safeguarding
The Board of Mission supports engagement with the rural community
n Christian giving and fundraising n Vocations work and support of ordinands during training
n Adult lay education and the training and care of Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs), other authorised lay ministers and candidates for ordination on the local ministry programme
n Reconfiguration of ‘Mission through Ministry’ work n Training for new incumbents, training incumbents, retirement, and ‘Developing Servant Leadership’
n Initial and continuing ministerial education
n Validation of Local Ministry Programme and Foundation Degree, BA and MA
n Supporting parishes
n Consultations with parishes and deaneries in mission, youth and children’s work, stewardship, and training
n Supporting work on pastoral care, SCOP, disability and mental health issues n Supporting parish and diocesan engagement with rural affairs, work and economic life, world development and environmental issues
n Development of a Diocesan Environmental Policy, ‘Inspired by Creation’ competition, ‘Earthing Faith’ blog and encouragement for churches to switch to green energy provider
Major work in 2010 included:
n Mission and Pastoral Committee explored clergy ‘workforce planning’, diocesan policy on Team Ministries and proposed diocesan ministry policy
n New programme for training and assessment of curates
n Archdeaconry subcommittees worked with deaneries on mission plans.
n Conferences and events including ‘Room for Everyone’; LLM conference; ‘All that Jazz’; conference on learning disabilities; rural multi-parish benefice conference.
n New Communities Group met to set objectives and discuss opportunities for planned use of school buildings as places of worship.
n Parish Stewardship Promoters in Berks
Students on the local ministry programme Ministry with children and young people is part of the work of the Board of Mission
Staff changes n Revd Dr Michael Beasley begins as new Director of Mission n Revd Jules Cave Bergquist appointed Diocesan Director of Ordinands n Revd David Heslop appointed Area Director of Ordinands (Berkshire), replacing Revd Canon Christine Redgrave n Revd Dr Joanna Colicutt appointed Adviser on Spiritual Care of Older People (SCOP), replacing Janet Parker. n Revd Canon Marilyn Parry became Officer for Initial Ministerial Education. Chair: The Bishop of Oxford Director: The Revd Dr Michael Beasley
‘Green’ air-source heat pumps at the new Stonesfield Vicarage
GLEBE AND BUILDINGS n Replaced four oil fired boilers with air-source heat pumps
n Newton appointed to manage Glebe investments. n Exploration of the development potential of several Glebe and Benefice sites through Local Authority planning process.
n Approval to invest £500,000 of Glebe Capital in providing photovoltaic cells on Vicarage roofs to take advantage of high investment return through government feed-in tariffs, reducing energy costs for the consumer
n More projects undertaken in conjunction with Diocesan Board of Education. Chair: Robin Birch
n Signed a Subject to Planning Option with Arla for the sale of glebe at Aston Clinton
Director: Roger Harwood
DIOCESAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE n DAC met 11 times during 2010 and considered 565 new applications.
n Our thanks to Professor John Blair who has retired from the DAC after 28 years of dedicated service.
n Committee delegations made over 145 visits to parishes seeking advice.
n Dominic Keech, Assistant to the Secretary since 2009, left in September to train for ordination. Sophie Bidwell joined the Diocese of Oxford in November, as the new Executive Assistant.
n New DAC cases have increased by just over 10 per cent, showing PCCs remain keen to maintain or make alterations to their churches despite the difficult economic climate. n Support from Thames Valley Police on lead theft is invaluable. DAC will monitor innovative lead fixing techniques.
Chairman: David Jefferson Secretary: Natalie Merry
COMMUNICATIONS n New ‘Living Faith’ resources included Prayer: A Simple Guide and Reading the Bible: A Simple Guide. New DVD called Heaven in Ordinary focused on creativity. n Promoted prayer resources including Pocket Prayers series, and ‘prayer walks’ with podcasts. n Responded to 105 press enquiries and advised parishes on local media issues. n Repeated Easter and Christmas Ingredients. Helped pilot the ‘Real Easter Egg’, now on national release. Ran a ‘Harvest Welcome’ project n 108,479 unique visitors to diocesan website. Investigating streaming services over the internet. Moved Directory online. n 11 issues of the Door, including for the second year, the more accessible Stable Door for Christmas. Closed Open Door as a cost-saving measure. n Weekly email newsletter to clergy and others has 1500 subscribers
There was widespread media coverage of the new solar panels on Wing church
n Support a number of other projects including Cotswold Churches Festival and the Olympics. Director of Communications: Sarah Meyrick
Staff visiting the new Oxford Academy site under construction
BOARD OF EDUCATION continues to grow.
n Board of Education advises and assists over 52,000 pupils in 279 schools spread over the nine local authorities within the Diocese. The DBE plays a very active part in running our two open academies and a third academy under discussion, together with a new primary school at Jennett’s Park in Bracknell.
n We continue to oversee approximately 150 projects per annum to improve the voluntary aided schools. The total value of work carried out in 2010 was £9.7 million (2009: £11.6 million). n The distinctive ethos of our church schools and their inclusiveness is attractive to parents from a wide variety of backgrounds and faiths. Our schools continue to be popular with pressure on admissions. There were 460 appeals for admission to our aided schools in 2010 (465 in 2009).
n Key strategic priorities are to promote and support the distinctiveness of church schools; to develop the quality of RE and collective worship; to facilitate new opportunities for church schools and the DBE through local, regional and national education partnerships, strategies and programmes.
n We said our farewell to Bishop Stephen as former Chairman of the DBE and welcomed Bishop Alan as our new chair.
n Since the Academies Act 2010 we continue to work with our schools as they move towards academy status. n Demand for advice and support on headship appointments, premises related issues, school leadership and management issues, admissions, religious education and collective worship to schools
Chairman: The Right Revd Alan Wilson Vice-Chair: Revd Mary Harwood Director: Leslie Stephen
PARTNERSHIP IN WORLD MISSION The Diocesan link with Kimberley and Kuruman helps support community work in South Africa
n The Oxford/Kimberley and Kuruman link continues to develop through parish-to-parish links and projects, Oxford staff ’s work with K and K staff on clergy training and administrative structures, and the development of projects around HIV and AIDS n We are working alongside Växjö Diocese as they create, begin to use, and share the learning from ‘Till Tro’ (Towards Faith), an adaptation of Living Faith to the Swedish context. n A new link with the Diocese of Nandyal (Church of South India) focuses on evangelism, work with youth and training. Five clergy visited Oxford Diocese last summer in a first exchange n PWM has developed a new questionnaire to help parishes decide what kind of world church links would work best for them Chair: Maranda St John Nicolle Secretary: Tim Naish
INTERFAITH CONCERNS n The Oxford Diocesan Committee on Interfaith Concerns met five times in 2010, including visits to Reading and to Oxford Brookes University Chaplaincy. n Business included the review of interfaith work, planning of events and encouraging contact and liaison among those engage in dialogue across the faiths.
n In November 2010 as part of Interfaith Week and in collaboration with Churches Together in Berkshire, a conference Who Am I ? was held in which students of different faiths from schools in Berkshire explored their religious identity, following a talk from Professor Eleanor Nesbitt of Warwick University
n The Diocesan Committee for Racial Justice has served the diocese since 1994. n However, participation in the work of the committee and Racial Justice Sunday has tailed off dramatically, partly thanks to the Equalities Act. Diocesan Synod has therefore agreed that the committee should go into abeyance in its current form.
n A week’s course on inter-faith encounter for ordinands at Ripon College Cuddesdon, including theological input, visits to different places of worship and awareness of different Christian approaches to those of other faiths.
Chair: The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson
Chair: The Archdeacon of Oxford
Secretary: The Revd Richard Chand
Secretary: Hugh Boulter
PACT (PARENTS AND CHILDREN TOGETHER) n Domestic adoption activity has continued, and PACT has expanded its service into London with the acquisition of the adoption charity Childlink.
n Range of adoption support services to support all families in need. n Community services in all three counties
n Inter-country adoption continues, although changes to Indian legislation are having an impact on the service.
n Work with homeless families has continued via Supporting People contracts. Chair of Trustees: Malcolm Fearn
n Increase in fostering enquiries, following employment of a fostering recruitment officer.
Chief Executive: Jan Fishwick
n Intermediary services provided to birth families seeking information on their adopted children n Fostering and Adoption Consultation and Therapy Service for families in preparation for their new parenting role
A PACT project worker supports families at All Saints’ School in Wokingham
MOTHERS’ UNION n Projects: At diocesan level our work includes support for parents at the JR hospital, the MU Parenting Programme, and the Away From It All holiday scheme.
COUNCIL FOR THE DEAF
n Prayer underpins all the work of Mothers’ Union. We organise retreats and quiet days for members and pray for our link dioceses in Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo. n Publications. Praying Through the Day, has been reprinted and is being recommended nationally by the national Mothers’ Union. Our members are being consulted about ‘Focus’, our in-house magazine, to ensure it stays relevant. Articles are provided for The Door, at special times for the family, including for Mothering Sunday.
n Reading Deaf Centre reached its fund-raising target to pay for a new lift, providing access for elderly and disabled deaf people
n Changes. We continue to operate without a Diocesan President. The leadership team of five Area Vice-Presidents is working well. Our Summer diocesan meetings in 2010 were held regionally to offer opportunities for more members to attend.
n Research into work with deaf young people in Aylesbury. Eight people completed basic British Sign Language course. Facebook group established.
n Roger Williams and Vera Hunt attended the Curates’ Conference, gave keynote speech, and led the Eucharistic worship.
n LLM Ursula Coles retired in the autumn.
Diocesan Church House, North Hinksey Lane, Oxford OX2 0NB 01865 208200 www.oxford.anglican.org