Thursday, 2 June 2016

View from the Vicarage - June 2016

Parish Consultations and Proto Group Councils…

I don’t know what that means either – but it’s something like that that I have entered in my diary referring to the event in our Calendar pages listed for 7.30p.m. on Monday 27th June.

Don’t worry most of you – you don’t need to be there unless you are a Parish Priest, a PCC Lay Chair or a Church Warden (and we know that not all of them can make it!). But it’s far from being an irrelevant meeting. The point is to explore further how the parishes of our area can cooperate better. At a time when parishes and congregations are necessarily sharing their clergy what is the best approach to that sharing? – not only so that clergy can do their job but also so that the people of our churches can grow together and learn from each other.

The parishes of our Group are our own, Castleside, Consett, Leadgate, Ebchester (including Low Westwood) and Medomsley. Within the Group, I am seeking to serve our own parish and St. John’s, Castleside. David Cleugh has three parishes and four churches. Does he have the right three / four? Have I got the right two, not only in terms of my workload but also for the sake of congregational cooperation when the parishes are on opposite sides of Consett and don’t actually touch each other? How does Consett fit in? – obviously in the middle but with a large enough population to create questions of how best to serve its people even if there is only one church for the priest to care for.

There aren’t any easy answers to these questions. All the more reason to explore them! To that end, we are considering creating a “Group Ministry” – not consisting merely of clergy but in which all play a part. That’s why we are looking at having a “Group Council” – and we’d need to ask who would serve on it. If you have any answers (on a postcard?) or helpful observations, let us know!                                                            

Martin Jackson

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