Deanery Pastoral Committee

Future clergy ministry in the Withington Deanery and at St Chad’s

The Withington Deanery Pastoral Committee has the responsibility for planning the allocation of stipendiary (i.e. paid) clergy to the parishes within the Deanery. The plan is being revised and each PCC in the Deanery is invited to contribute a parish mission and ministry statement. In the context of shrinking financial resources and fewer men and women coming forward for ordination, the new plan has to take account of a significant reduction of stipendiary clergy in the Deanery. This will include St Chad’s and St Nicholas’s sharing a stipendiary priest in the foreseeable future.

The PCC formulated, and unanimously agreed, this mission and ministry statement from St Chad’s. It was submitted to a meeting of the Deanery Pastoral Committee on 15 October at which St Chad’s was represented by Judy Fletcher and Robert Nicholls. The final version of our mission and ministry statement will have to be considerably shorter.

Mission and ministry statement from St Chad Ladybarn

A clear picture of a socially complex parish emerges from all recent statistics. There is high mobility, substantial numbers of students and elderly people, considerable ethnic diversity and pockets of significant deprivation. Following this year’s Stewardship Campaign, the PCC is assessing the resources of the church community and considering how to best use these in the parish.

The heart of the church’s worshipping life is the Sunday morning Parish Eucharist. Regular midweek services are also held, together with BCP Evensong on the first Sunday of the month. Services are held every day in Holy Week. The recent introduction of Anglican Hymns Old and New has enhanced worship. Advent and Lent discussion groups have been held jointly in recent years with Holy Innocents, Fallowfield in the Hulme Deanery. A Lent Quiet Day, and other evening events feature in the annual calendar.

There has been some re-arrangement of the nave recently. This has provided areas for quiet reflection, while maintaining flexibility, so that the whole building can be used when required. The creation of the Community Garden in the rectory grounds has provided a focus for environmental awareness, and of God in Nature in the midst of a predominantly urban area.

Ministry development has been strong, with a member of the congregation now in their final year of training for the ordained ministry and a second Reader licensed in June 2013.

Despite several initiatives, St Chad’s work with children has not been successful, and little progress has been made in developing a ministry with students. These are challenging areas of mission for St Chad’s in isolation, so we need to work in partnership with other parishes.

The parish recognises that structurally it is within the Withington Deanery and that it is within this Deanery that its ministerial and parochial future lies. The PCC has acknowledged that St. Chad’s, Ladybarn and St. Nicholas, Burnage will be asked to share a stipendiary priest when either of the current stipendiary priests leaves their post.

Foundations for fuller, long-term co-operation between St. Chad’s and St. Nicholas’s are being laid. Shared worship experiences have included the Prayer Labyrinth at St. Nicholas’s in December 2011, a Lent Quiet Day at St. Chad’s in March 2012 led by the Revd Rachel Mann, and a Taize evening, jointly led by members of the two congregations, in March 2013. Both the newly licensed Reader and the priest-in-training from St. Chad’s have spent substantial periods at St. Nicholas’s on training placements. These are promising signs for future collaboration indicating broad liturgical harmony across the parishes.

The PCC also hopes that existing links with Holy Innocents, Fallowfield will be maintained.

Draft Deanery recommendations

PCCs are also invited to submit a draft of the recommendation that the Deanery Pastoral Committee submits to the Diocese for inclusion in the Diocesan Mission Plan.

St Chad Ladybarn recognises that the overall reduction in stipendiary clergy, leading finally to the 8.4 in the Deanery projected for 2025, has to involve a link between it and St. Nicholas, Burnage. However, there are long-standing links with Holy Innocents, Fallowfield, through the Advent and Lent study evenings, and ecumenical activities focussing on Fair Trade, Christian Aid, and justice and peace. St. Chad’s PCC hopes that the developments envisaged in the Deanery Pastoral Plan will not preclude similar arrangements with other churches within or beyond the Deanery for either St. Chad’s or St. Nicholas’s.