Mission agency cooperation
Policy for the engagement of Mission Agencies in the development of congregations
Our calling as Anglicans is to be, in each place, an expression of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In the Diocese in Europe we seek to enable effective evangelism among English-speaking peoples, and those wishing to associate with us by providing primarily English-language worship and pastoral ministry, working with Churches in Communion and ecumenical partners in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Diocese in Europe Mission Development Policy is grounded in the Ten Principles of Partnership as a sound basis for development of all initiatives 1.
The Diocesan Bishop provides pastoral care of Anglicans and all other persons who seek the ministry of the Church of England in continental Europe and beyond. This may require the establishment of new congregations and other centres of pastoral life and service. All new pastoral initiatives in the Diocese are under the Bishop’s general direction as the chief minister of the mission of the Church as recently underlined in the Church of England’s document, ‘Mission Shaped Church’.
Often, outside support is desirable to meet the challenges of establishing a new pastoral community. The Bishop and the Diocese, therefore, look to the mission agencies of the Anglican Communion, to benefactors and other collaborators, to assist in addressing a pastoral need or development opportunity, and especially in the financial support of ordained ministers.
Such needs and opportunities may become apparent at any time and should be brought at the earliest stage to the attention of the relevant archdeacon (or lead bishop), who may on the Bishop’s behalf commission a study of the various issues involved, including long-term sustainability.
Where a resident group of the faithful meeting for worship already exists but is not recognized as a congregation of the Diocese, or registered under local religious association statute, the relevant archdeacon shall take steps as soon as possible to meet with them to extend to them the diocesan Bishop’s recognition and pastoral oversight, and to organize their membership and registration.
Following such an assessment the diocesan Bishop may invite a missionary or other agency to collaborate with the Diocese in a mission partnership. The purpose of such pastoral partnerships is to nurture new Christian communities to spiritual maturity and sustainability of resources for their life and mission. A planned response may include the appointment of and finance for (in whole or in part) a priest to carry forward the work. The procedures set out below will apply.
Such Pastoral Partnerships will be the subject of explicit correspondence between the support agency and the Diocesan Bishop which must define the term of the partnership, the specific contributions of all parties and timing of reviews to be undertaken jointly by the Archdeacon and Mission Partner.
1 the Ten Principles are extracted from Towards Dynamic Mission: Renewing the Church for Mission (Mission Issues and Strategy Advisory Group II (MISAG II), 1993) where Anglican life in communion is described as “mutual interdependence and responsibility in the Body of Christ”.
Appointments to Mission Development are regulated by the policy set out below.
Procedure for initial appointment
Where a mission agency or other funding partner accepts the Bishop’s invitation to establish a Pastoral Partnership agreement, that mission agency or other funding partner may nominate a priest to be licensed to the pastoral task.
Before proceeding to assist the diocese in a mission initiative, the mission partner may meet with the Archdeacon, and any fledging Council, to undertake a general review of the needs and resources of the congregation.
The congregation Council (without the presence of the mission agency or other funding partner) meets to determine the detailed needs of the congregation. A proposed Agenda is sent out from the Diocesan Office. The body with the customary right of nomination will, in the following order:
- decide with the congregation whether to advertise the appointment (using joint logos)
- distribute papers (including the Bishop’s Statement)
- shortlist candidates (checking the Bishop’s willingness to license)
- conduct interviews at which a Bishop’s Nominee, normally the appropriate Archdeacon, will be a voting member
- formalize the nomination in writing to the Bishop requesting the Bishop to make arrangements to interview the nominated candidate
- the Bishop will confirm in writing to the body with the customary right of nomination whether this nomination is acceptable
- send the candidate for the Formal Visit to the congregation
- cover all the costs relating to the above (except those of the two Congregation Representatives who attend and vote at the interview, and Bishop’s Nominee; and the costs of the Formal Visit which are borne by the Congregation)
- The Bishop on receiving signed approval of the terms and conditions of the appointment from the congregation representative and a confirmation from the candidate of his/her willingness to be appointed shall make the final offer of appointment to the post.
Not less than nine months before the designated end of the review period, the Diocesan Bishop shall seek written reports from the partner agency and separately from the congregational council as to how they each view future ministry in the congregation and whether and how much further substantial financial support is likely to be necessary.
If after the required review it is decided by the Bishop that a further appointment is desirable, preparation should be conducted well in advance of a vacancy wherever possible. If it is agreed that further substantial financial support is likely to be necessary, which is taken to be not less than one-third of the total running costs of the congregation (as given on the annual form of ‘Standard Accounts’), the method for the initial appointment may be repeated for any further appointment.