Where are we up to with the Minster Community formation process?
Churches in the north and North West of the diocese (Area 2) have now begun to engage with the Minster Community formation process. This group includes churches from the second pilot area who, after journeying through the process, discerned that their original grouping was not quite right, and therefore they are joining with others in this wider area to continue the process. Churches from this wide geographical area have just started Phase 1* in which they will spend time in conversation within their churches and the wider group to get to know themselves and each other better. They are currently working together with the aim of forming 4 Minster Communities.
This follows a group in the North East of the diocese (Area 1) who are also currently in Phase 1 of the process – which they began in late April 2023. The churches in this area are currently in conversations about forming 2 Minster Communities. Once they move into Phase 2 then more detailed work and exploration can be done around the current realities and future possibilities for mission and ministry in their Minster Communities.
As mentioned in previous communications, the Launde Minster Community (who were the first to pilot the process of formation) are now in Phase 3 of the process, which means that they are 'Living' as a Minster Community. They have only been doing this since April 2023 and therefore they are still learning together as they begin to translate their Minster Community proposal into reality. The third area in which the Minster Community formation process is being piloted encompasses churches in the North East of Leicester. They are in Phase 2 of the process, doing the detailed work that is needed to form a Minster Community proposal.
So what comes next?
We hope that churches in the City and Suburbs (Area 3) will enter into the Minster Community formation process in the first half of next year. The means that the South and South West of the diocese (Area 4&5) can expect to begin their process in the second half of 2024. Church leaders will be given a heads-up by the diocesan team to share with their PCCs and congregations before the process begins.
What should we be doing if we are in an area that will join the process in 2024?
We have learnt from piloting the Minster Community formation process that a really helpful thing to be doing while you are waiting to begin the process is to get to know yourself as a church better. To spend time as a church leadership team/ PCC/ Congregation beginning to articulate who you are, where you have come from and what your hopes are for the future. One of the ways we do this as part of the formation process is to complete and share Storyboards. These are a series of questions that help you to tell your story and share this with others. It may be that you want to spend some time looking at this in the new year as a church to prepare. You can find out more about how to work on your Storyboard here and download the template here.
If you wish to do some more detailed work to prepare and gain a deeper understanding of yourselves as a church, you could use the Church Development Tool that has been created by a team at the national church. This is a short anonymous survey you ask your worshipping community to omplete. You then get a simple report that gives you a clear picture of demographics, discipleship and evangelism in your church. It is free and open for all churches to use. Click here to find out more.
The other thing that can be helpful is for church members to become familiar with some Holy Habits that are part of Christian Discernment. In the process of formation, we particularly focus on Dwelling in the Word and The Examen to help us focus on what God is calling us to as churches and as a diocese. To find out more click here.
If you’d like to discuss further how to prepare your church, or any of the tools we’ve suggested, please contact Beth.Cluer@leicestercofe.org.
* To learn more about the process itself and the different phases within it click here.