I hope you had a very positive Holy Week and Easter and enjoyed some time off in the midst of your life and work. I'm just writing to you with some news and updates from the Anglican Deanery as the summer term begins.
Names, addresses and the year book
As you probably know, we did some work last term with the diocese to tidy up the arrangement and details of our entries in the diocesan year book. There will be more work to do on this as the new book is produced and the diocese will want to double check our entry. We also need to discuss with them how we include the details of chaplains and religious orders. I'll probably be sending out a draft at some point for you to check.
At the same time, of course, there will also be changes of officers after the annual meetings. Could you please make sure that any changes are sent to the diocese and to Jenni our administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org or 01908 568586).
The Archdeacon's Visitation
Speaking of officers, the annual swearing in of church wardens will be taking place at St Mary and St Giles in Stony Stratford on Wednesday May 6th at 7:30pm. Everyone is welcome, so please feel free to come and support your church wardens. If you can't come, please remember to pray for them, since they do so much for the ongoing life and work of our churches.
Deanery Strategy Group
The Strategy Group will be meeting on Thursday 23rd April to talk about the diocesan vision, "Living Faith". This meeting will now be at 8:00pm at St George's Wolverton so that it can follow the St George's Day Patronal festival service. If you would like to join us for this meeting, please drop me a line.
Unfortunately, the Mission Shaped Intro course planned for the summer term has had to be cancelled due to lack of bookings. I suspect this was partly because the main advertising came out rather late in the day... The Fresh Expressions Project Group is still keen to expand this work and is happy to talk to local churches or groups if that would be helpful.
Preparations are still under way for the year long Mission Shaped Ministry course that we will be hosting in Milton Keynes next year. This will involve people from a much wider area and should be really positive. I attach the posters for this again, and there should be hard copies available soon.
At the same time there is a group coming together to think about working with Costa Coffee to explore the possibility of cafe church in Milton Keynes. This involves some training through the CafeChurch Network. If you want to know more, please get in touch.
We're hoping to put on some more networking events to bring together our entrepreneurs and creative thinkers to share ideas and support each other. I'll circulate more details when I have them...
Music and Message
Speaking of Fresh Expressions, I will be talking about this area of mission at the next Music and Message event at Shenley Brook End Community Centre on the 9th May at 7pm. I've attached the details of this event.
Local Shared Ministry
The Local Shared Ministry Project Group was set up following our last Deanery Plan and has been looking at ways to encourage and develop local and shared forms of ministry. This work started with an exploration of how people have developed "collaborative" or "mutual" ministry elsewhere, but has increasingly focussed on local ideas which have been developing in our own city. This group is now getting to the stage where it really wants to start a conversation with other parishes and churches about where this is all going... If you'd like us to come out and share our discoveries and ideas with you or you'ld just like to tell us what you think, please get in touch.
Jeremy Trigg from Wolverton will be on sabbatical from the 29th April and will be doing some focussed reading. During the next three months if you need to contact anyone about business involving either of the two Wolverton parishes, please get in touch with the church wardens.
As you may know, the Chancellor John Rees came to Deanery Chapter recently to talk about a range of legal issues. One question that was raised concerned collections at funerals. After the meeting, Jeremy pursued this further on our behalf and has been given the following advice by Karen and John:
The Starting Point is that all collections taken within Church Funerals are for Church Funds and a collection plate should have beside it a notice clearly pointing this out.
Where donations have been asked for a Charity people should be asked to send their donations direct to the Charity (via the Funeral Director if this is what the Family have requested), this should be clearly stated on Service Sheets and in a note at the side of the retiring collection for Church Funds.
Collections should be counted by two people at the end of the service, entered in the Service Register and banked in the normal way.
However a PCC may pass a resolution to allow collections for nominated charities to be made in Church, but are advised not to. This is important. It cannot be done by the Ministers Discretion.
Where a PCC has passed such a resolution, the collection should be counted in the same way after the service and entered in the service Register with a note that this collection is to be given to the charity of Choice. If there is a representative of the Charity present at the time that representative may be given the collection provided that they count it in the presence of a Church Officer and sign a receipt for it, this receipt to be held in the PCC's records. Otherwise the money should be banked in the normal manner and the amount sent by cheque to the nominated charity. Under no circumstances should the funeral director be allowed to take the money away nor place their own collecting box in church nor collect on church land.
If we follow this procedure the Chancellor will defend us if any accusations are made. If we don't we are on our own.
As I say, this is the official advice.
Strangers into Citizens
Hopefully you've had the following notice from Tim Clapton:
Bank Holiday: It's a time for gardening and chilling out. But there are two Bank Holidays in May. I would like to invite you to join me and a coach load of others from MK to speak up for 700,000 people who are too afraid to speak up for themselves.
The campaign is "Strangers Into Citizens" – calling for a pathway to citizenship for those who have been waiting too long to hear about their asylum application, an earned amnesty or regularization for those who have settled into the UK community, made a contribution to our society but who do not have papers to be here. A couple of weeks ago a child was dragged out of school by armed police in Camberwell so our government could throw the whole family out of UK. They had been here for years paying taxes ! This sort of thing is happening every day. See http://www.strangersintocitize
We are going to London on the 4th May – £10 for your place on the coach. It will be a family fun day and an opportunity to do other things in London. Do please pass on this message to others you know on Facebook and who live in MK. More details ring 07958182077. cheers Tim C.
Comminications in a deanery are always tricky and there are added complications here because we do so much on an ecumenical basis. On the other hand there are many items of anglican news and information which do need to be shared - and certain notices which need to be shared through the anglican network.
We have no plans to set up a news letter at the moment, but I will continue to circulate news and notices to a wide group of anglicans and to our partners in other denominations. If you know of anyone who I should include on my circulation list, please let me know. If you are no longer an office holder and don't want to get messages about the deanery, please let me know as well and I will stop sending you information.
We do have a web site which was set up when the last deanery plan was produced. This largely consists of links to parish web sites, meeting dates and local rss feeds. It has also been used as a place to access files and information. It can be found at www.mkdeanery.org
Please let me know of any thoughts or ideas you may have about communications in the deanery.
Anyway, I hope you have a very happy Easter and that you enjoy all 50 days!
All the best - -