“This is about recognising that in a holistic understanding of God’s action in the world, there is no mission without social justice; that social justice and prophetic witness cannot be put in a box as a specialism or an extra, but is at the heart of the calling of every Christian community in its own context.”Making a Difference in Milton Keynes
The Diocese of Oxford states that our vision should be “the transformation of all human life under God”. We believe that the ultimate focus of all our efforts is not the Church but God’s world.
The Five Marks of Mission should continue to guide our thinking about the holistic nature of God’s call and it is worth reminding ourselves of them again and again. We are called to:
- Proclaim the good news of the kingdom
- Teach baptise and nurture new believers
- Respond to human need by loving service
- Seek to transform the unjust structures of society
- Strive to safeguard and renew the life of the Earth
We have a number of chaplains and chaplaincies in Milton Keynes and many of these are staffed by Anglican clergy. Chaplaincy is a very important tool through which the Church is able to engage with the World and offer loving service. We should aim to do more to invlove and include chaplains and actively support their work.
We also provide one post for the Christian Foundation which has been set up to “create opportunities that release potential in individuals and communities, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, enabling them to learn and grow and live full and healthy lives.” We believe that it is important to continue that commitment.
We have also been using another post to provide a Development Chaplain. We feel that this work has been helpful to the whole Church in Milton Keynes and we value to links that the Development Chaplain has made. We would like to provide more help in connecting churches with their local communities and guidance as to how effective local mission may be developed.
Every Believer and Every Parish
Although chaplains and organisations are extremely valuable, it is important that we don’t regard mission as the province of experts and specialists. Mission is the calling of every believer and the purpose of every parish. The Anglican parish system is primarily a mechanism for ensuring that the Church is active in mission in every corner of this country. We need to keep reminding ourselves that we have a purpose and a call to fulfil.
Each church and parish must respond to their own local community in an appropriate way but there is real value in sharing good practice, ideas and stories between parishes. We need more opportunity for networking and sharing. This may affect the way we handle meetings, visitations and other forms of communication.
[This deanery plan may also wish to cover some other issues which were raised during the period of consultation:
- The practice of tithing church income for mission
- The concerns raised locally and nationally about “community centre” style churches and their effectiveness in mission. Should we investigate the work of Anne Morisey who suggests the training of volunteer “community chaplains” to work with users?]
- Look for more ways to involve and support our chaplains and chaplaincies.
- Continue to provide a Development Chaplain as a resource for helping churches engage with their local community.
- Support the work of the Christian Foundation through one of our deanery posts.
- Look for more ways of sharing news and information about mission in Milton Keynes and beyond.
- Continue to look for ways to develop our mission as churches. This should be a priority for the work of the synod. There will therefore need to be regular space to share and discuss ideas and good practice.