As we enter 2021, although we still have various Covid-19 restrictions in place, I hope that we can do so with a sense of optimism.
For us, the new year will see significant change as The Revd Paul Fillery moves to a new post as Vicar of the Benefice of Martock with Kingsbury Episcopi and Ash in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Paul will be missed very deeply in Sandford and across the wider benefice as a friend and I shall certainly miss him as a colleague as well. We shall also see plans progress, across Cadbury Deanery, towards a new Crediton Rural Ministry Hub.
The Crediton Rural Ministry Hub offers us an oportunity to explore new ideas and vision for rural ministry. Our hope is to bring together rural churches to share in mission and ministry, creating a sustainable model of church for rural communities; rooted in the Diocesan Vision of Pray, Grow, Serve. The model for the Crediton Rural Ministry Hub, which the Archdeacon has proposed, is what is called a Minster Model.
The Minster Model of Church looks back to a time before we created the parish system, and forward as we embrace a new future for the rural church. It seeks to enable churches, people and communities to work together to provide ministry across a large area. It has collaboration and cooperation at its heart; as it seeks to find ways for the local church to share resources.
A Minister Model is different from previous church models in that it has a bold vision which breaks away from traditional patterns and looks to supporting other churches in their common mission. Its vision would be for the network of churches that make up the Minster to act like the body of Christ. One body, with many parts; a group of churches intentionally, structurally, and strategically sharing resources to support the collective mission and ministry offered within Cadbury Deanery. What this will probably look like on the ground is parishes teaming up in clusters, sharing resources and discerning what God is calling them to do in their particular communities, whilst also having more than an eye on the wider Church too. Let’s not forget that as well as the local church, we are part of The Church, which is global or to put it another way… universal.