How and when we gather to worship together matters. It is time to review our current practice and the PCC’s have started discussions, that will include listening to everyone. Please do look at the proposed new service pattern that is displayed in each church
If you have any questions or comments please do talk to Rev. Chris and PCC members, who are keen to hear from you.
New Sunday Service Rota
Why Now? – There has been no review of the service rota since the parishes were brought together. Not only are there increased pressures within the benefice and more effort spent on ‘keeping the show on the road’ – there will be increased pressure on resources as we enter what could be a long period of vacancies within the Deanery –retired clergy will be desperately needed to help in other interregnum parishes. Re-working the service rota has become urgent and needs to be in place by January 2019 if possible! Any rota change will need to be agreed by all PCC’s and signed off by Bishop Helen-Ann and would be a trial for 12 months.
We need to think about what is required, what is achievable, what is both sustainable and will lead to growth. It is important to say from the outset that there is no simple solution and there will need to be an element of change and compromise from each of the churches. The current pattern is both unsustainable and inequitable and relies on 2 Clergy most weeks. The biggest change across all options is the removal of monthly joint services, replacing them with 5th Sundays instead. Currently, we have about 50% lower attendance on first Sundays compared to other weeks and I have received numerous comments that people actively avoid this service. Each worshipping community can shape the type of service, E.G. Evensong could just as easily be BCP or a modern worship service or a Taizé service etc…
There is good evidence that fixing the time a church meets leads to growth and nationally it is the churches that engage with children and young people that tend to grow the fastest. Therefore, each of the worshipping communities with children has a family-focused service once a month with an option for families each week within the benefice. Each of the options allows the Communions to be covered by a single priest, only relying on retired clergy to cover leave or when the Rector is needed at non-Eucharistic services.
This rota reflects the combination of the previous parish grouping and requires at least two priests to operate and is seen as deeply unfair by some.
In the options below, different approaches have been taken to try and satisfy all the requirements that have been identified. Each option takes a particular focus, be it number of communions or recognition of much-valued services (e.g. BCP Evensong) but to achieve a workable solution each has had to make compromises.
Option 1 – Stable Time
Rationale – Each worshipping community receives a service each week at the same time. This pattern is the most equitable, however, does rely on the churches committing to a single service time.
Option 2-Finghall & Hauxwell Shared Evening Services
Rationale -Each worshipping community (Treating Finghall & Hauxwell as a single worshipping community) receives a service each week at the same time –each large church has 2 communion services, the smaller 1 per month. This pattern is sustainable, achievable and somewhat equitable, but does rely on the churches committing to a single service time and does not allow the Rector to be at the family services.
Option 3 – Spennithorne and Hauxwell Evening Churches
Rationale – Similar to option 2 but Spennithorne and Hauxwell becoming the evening communities. This pattern is achievable and somewhat equitable; however, it does rely on the churches committing to a single service time. It also does not allow the rector to be at the family services.
Option 4 – Differing Times
Option 5 – Festal/Growth Focus
Rationale Each worshipping community receives its preferred style of service. Each worshipping community has one communion service, per month. This pattern is sustainable and achievable but does rely on rotating service times and is far from ideal if we are aiming to grow. This pattern does not allow the Rector to be at all the family services.
This pattern is geared for growth, it is sustainable, achievable and equitable, but does rely on Finghall & Hauxwell committing to becoming Festal Churches.Rationale – This pattern concentrates on having the Rector at all the Eucharist and ALL the family services. It also recognises the need to treat Finghall and Hauxwell in a different manner, shifting the focus from a twice-monthly Sunday service pattern to one of festal invitation. They would both identify a number of special days to celebrate and make those our main focus in that place. For example; Harvest, Carol Service, Patronal Festival, Summer Songs of Praise, Rural Cycle etc. Whilst this may seem like the church is missing out on regular Sundays it is important to remember that most of the congregation already drive to these services and are used to worshipping elsewhere within the benefice on the weeks that they don’t have a service. By putting our effort into a few large celebrations, I believe we will see an increase in attendance and commitment as has been seen in other parishes where this has been tried.
LWL Lay Worship Leader
A PDF copy of this proposal is available to download – LW Benefice Rota 2019 D2