mission shaped church
Bishops have a key role in setting mission priorities, in releasing resources
for mission, and in their powers to ordain and license. This includes the
ability to send fresh apostolic teams to cultures or areas where the mission
presence is thin or non existent. In connection with this, the Church should
note those who are exploring the idea of missionary Orders. Others such as
the Church Mission Society and Church Army are exploring the idea of
sending teams to relocate to needy areas.
The role of the bishop in brokering new initiatives is addressed later in this
chapter in the section `How do we hold all this together?'
the strategic role of deaneries
In Chapter 1 we identified the increasing influence of `networks' on
the shape of community. Networks have not replaced locality, but
they have changed the way we think of ourselves and live our life.
In particular, a more mobile society has enlarged the amount of
territory across which people regularly travel and within which they
forge their identity.
This may give much greater strategic significance to the deanery.
Deaneries have the potential to bring together a range of human and
financial resources, to consider mission beyond parish boundaries, and
to share prayer and encouragement. Canterbury, for example, has
delegated to its deaneries the internal apportionment of parish share,
strategic decisions about the deployment of full time clergy and requires
from each deanery a mission plan that relates to the Strategic Local
Partnership and local authority plan, to ecumenical partnerships and
proposed new developments and potential church plants.
As they now stand, not every deanery would be an obvious place for a
strategic partnership in mission. History and personalities can make a
significant impact on where a deanery places its priorities, and whether it
primarily has an administrative or missionary function. Many parishes and
benefices have little sense of the deanery at all. However, few parishes
can survive alone and none should have to. Once the need of a network
approach is recognized, the deanery becomes an essential unit for
mission and the role of the area/rural dean and lay chair central to
The social context of deaneries is important. If the deanery boundary
corresponds well to a town and surrounding villages, or where it exists
closely parallel to local government boundaries, it is likely to be a valuable