CIRCUIT STRATEGY

As you will be aware, the Preston Methodist Circuit has been looking to the Future.

This article spells out the recommendations and the things that have been and will be happening.

Worshipping Community:

The Circuit should create a new Plan for Worship and Discipleship which renews our commitment to relevant, high quality worship and responds to the opportunities for mission in our churches.

Discipleship:

The Circuit should offer further opportunities for individuals and groups to explore their spirituality and discipleship. This could include house groups, faith development courses, Bible studies, retreats, spiritual direction and mentoring.

Pastoral Ministry:

The Circuit should restate its commitment to pastoral ministry in relation to both faithful members and those in need of hospitality, care and prayer in our wider community.

Mission in our Communities:

The Circuit should act as an effective ‘steward’ of God’s resources (people, money, skills, buildings) in a small number of bold mission opportunities for a 3-5 year period. Each church should articulate a Plan for Mission including the vision and resources required as a response to this Circuit Strategy.

Leadership:

The Circuit should redesign the Circuit Ministry team with a blend of 5 full time ordained and 6 full time lay roles to be in place from September 2018. This will mean recruiting 4 additional lay roles. The Circuit should also strengthen lay leadership within the Circuit Leadership Team to respond to the challenges the church is facing.

Ministry to children and young people in our churches:

There is an urgent need for the Circuit to establish which churches are able to continue to resource and develop ministry for children and young people through junior church/fellowship and youth groups. This will be supported by the proposed children and family workers but needs congregational commitment for the future.

One to One Listening Spaces and Training Ministry:

The Circuit understands these listening spaces are a vital piece of its missional and pastoral ministry and resourcing. Therefore the Circuit and churches strongly encourage every Pastoral Visitor and Lay employee to attend the ‘One2One Listening For Life’ course as a way of providing training and support for pastoral care.

Schools work and SPLAT:

The Circuit should continue to encourage links between ministers/children and family workers in local schools, especially our two Methodist Schools, Cuerden Church School and Ribbleton Avenue Methodist Junior School. The Circuit should maintain its financial commitment to SPLAT for the remainder of the current 3 year period. (2017-2019)

Interfaith:

The Circuit should endorse a continuing commitment to interfaith dialogue in the City, maintaining activities relating to Preston Faith Forum and the annual interfaith week. The Circuit should hold further discussions with the District about the potential to recognise and resource this commitment on a wider Lancashire basis.

On the basis of this recommendation, this is what has been happening - Circuit plan has been revised from December 2017 including new patterns of evening worship (with shared services, local arrangements, ‘SPACE’ (Circuit monthly multiplex services ‘SPACE’ began on January 14th 2018, attended by approx. 100 people and missional priorities for occasions such as Homeless Sunday). All Messy Church services are included on the Plan.

Circuit meeting has accepted recommendation for 1 full time Lay Minister with a formal role for the development of pastoral ministry. The job description is being prepared by CLT in advance of recruitment process.

Further ‘One2One’ listening training events are scheduled.

All churches have received the Strategy and the specific recommendations relating to each church. These remain under active consideration. Each church provided an initial response to the Strategy at the November 2017 circuit meeting. During 2018 each church will be invited to articulate its Plan for Mission and share this with CLT and Circuit Meeting.

Proposals for ordained and lay ministry contain ambitions for mission to children, young people and families. Further mission planning is underway for West Preston.

Ordained ministers who will have new responsibilities for churches from September 2018 are planning visits to their new churches during Spring 2018.

Lay ministers are to be employed with roles that are being worked on at the moment. Draft proposals were developed during the Autumn of 2017 and formal recruitment is expected to start in April.

Please continue to pray for the mission of the circuit and all of those involved in the planning and implementation of these exciting changes.

Circuit and Strategy Group