Malcolm King writes:
Last December the complete Stroud Team Ministry finally came into being. We had a special service with the Bishop of Tewkesbury, documents were signed, and hopes expressed. That was the beginning. Now we are embarking on a journey of discovery; what it means for our ten faith communities to work together, and how best we articulate the love of God in this place. In many ways the Stroud Team is unusual in that we have a wide diversity of community within our borders: town-centre, suburban, estate, and village. This means that there is no one way for the Team to approach worship, or mission. In the words of George Macleod, “we seek new ways to touch the hearts of all”, and those ways must be appropriate to each community.
As we work through the early stages of both vision and practicalities, it’s clear that time spent at this point getting structures and decision making sorted is time well spent. So one of the first things I’m looking to get off the ground is a Team Council. This isn’t some bid to centralise how we work: quite the reverse. There are certain key areas where as a Team we need to find a common mind, in order that the local life and mission of our church communities can be empowered and freed to get on with the task in hand. We’ve had our first exploratory meeting of the Team Council, with clergy and churchwardens coming together. We’ve agreed an outline document which covers what we feel are the key areas, and now that document needs to go before each Annual Meeting to be agreed. Once we’ve achieved that, we then ask the Bishop’s Council of the Diocese to approve the Council, and the work can begin formally.
Copies of the Stroud Team Council instrument will be available at each APCM. It’s inevitably a rather dry document, but I believe it allows us to find a way of working together on key areas and to move forward in work under God. The areas where the Council will do strategic work are:
o Policies for mission and growth
o Policies for children, schools, and youth work
o Policies with respect to licensed, accredited and authorised ministry
o The pattern of worship services across the Team
o Discussion of certain financial matters, including Parish Share allocations and clergy expenses
o Policies for baptism and marriage
o Oversight of Team communications e.g. website, newsletter, etc
o Oversight of the Team Office
o Operation of the Team-wide Safeguarding Policy.
This is an important, formal step that will allow us to work creatively across Stroud, and to support the needs of the various church communities that make up the Team. I commend it to you.