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Minster Communities - What's That?

All Saints with Holy Trinity Loughborough is exploring how our church will work within the new Minster Communities framework being implemented across the diocese. This process is expected to take about a year and a half, and the end result will be greater collaboration with nearby churches as we share ministry teams of clergy and lay leaders.

The process has three phases that we will move through together as a church community. We are currently in the first phase - Preparing.

Around 20 years ago, the 'Shaped by God Together' process started to examine how our diocesan structures could better match our mission. More recently, financial challenges facing the diocese have prompted a more urgent review of how we fund ministry going forward. This became a consultation exercise in 2020-21 looking at models of ministry.

After the listening and consultation exercise in 2020-21, three models were presented to Diocesan Synod in November 2021. The Minster Community Framework was the chosen way forward. Since then, the Diocese has been facilitating the formation of these new Minster Communities.

Minster Communities are ‘groups of churches and fresh expressions working collaboratively and sharing resources to enable effective mission.’

We are in 'Area 3', which contains about 50 parishes that will form four Minster Communities. So far, we have focused on getting to know the other churches in our area better. The PCC has led this work, and we also held an open parish session on December 10 that gave helpful insight into how our wider congregation feels about the potential changes ahead.

At the end of this article is the 'storyboard' we produced early on, which gives other parishes a glimpse into who we are as a church family and what we do. We believe it offers an honest reflection of what makes our church special. More recently, we have spent more time prayerfully discerning a deeper shared understanding of our identity and calling.

The next phase will be to explore which specific churches we feel called to join in forming a Minster Community, out of the 50 or so possibilities in our Area. Two representatives from each church will gather for a day of discernment on 24th February, following a PCC meeting on 10th February where we discussed how we see ourselves contributing and gaining from different groupings.

If you would like to join All Saints Thorpe Acre in praying for all the churches involved on the 24th, they are hosting a day of prayer from 10am-3pm that day.

We do not yet have details on what our own Minster Community will look like - we are still on the journey to find out together. I will provide another update when we enter the next phase called 'Forming', to overview what that will involve for our church.

In the meantime, please pray for wisdom, open hearts, and God's guiding hand on this process of exploration and change. It is not always easy, but we trust that God has good things in store as we seek to join more closely with our sister churches to further God's Kingdom in this place. If you have any questions, comments, or want to help drive the process forward, please do email me at [email protected]

James Badger

PCC Vice-Chair