A series of Ministry Area Conversations (MACs) has been successfully rolled out across the Llandaff Diocese in a pilot study aimed at providing a blueprint for the future.
The creation of Ministry Areas led by teams of clergy and lay people lies at the heart of 2020 Vision – the strategy for growth called for by the Church in Wales Review, which was commissioned to see how the Church could best serve Wales by the time it celebrates its centenary in 2020.
During the summer – three Ministry Area Conversations were held using the framework of ‘Seven Sacred Spaces’ in Penarth, Neath and Pontypridd – one in each of the three archdeaconries.
Key local leaders involved in ministry including clergy, NSMs, Readers, worship leaders, lay project leaders and parish wardens were invited to the meetings, which were attended by teams of officers and senior staff.
The emphasis was for the ‘conversations’ to be from the ‘bottom up’ as local plans were discussed and other potential community partners such as other churches, schools and local service providers suggested.
As a result of the meetings, local committees containing parish representatives were established in each of the three areas – with each being allocated an officer to partner them through the process.
Canon Richard Lowndes, advocate officer for 2020 Vision for Llandaff said, “In Neath we held a very successful Ministry Area Conversation which really went to the roots of how these Ministry Areas are going to work, how they are going to be formed and what their characteristics will be. We looked at taking on the challenge of working in a way that we haven’t worked in the past – working collaboratively to be more effective in what we do.”
Moira Randall , parish warden for the Vale of Neath said, “The idea is to be inclusive of everybody and recognise everyone’s talents and skills as an individual.”
Area Dean for Neath the Revd Zoe King said, “The general feeling is a sense of hope. We all like our own parishes and our own building but this is all about moving and not being scared to go to different buildings and work with different people and not feel like you are being undermined.”
A Ministry Area leaflet, ‘Together, towards ministry areas’ which answers key questions about the process of forming Ministry Areas has been distributed.
A series of follow up meetings will now be held in each area during the Autumn, with formal Diocesan proposals to be published early next year, followed by a three year implementation process.
Further MACs will be rolled out across the Diocese once the initial pilots have been assessed, with a number of other areas having already shown an interest.
You can see more about it in a video