mission shaped church
how do we hold all this together?
Our Anglican identity includes a calling to be a Church for the nation.
This mission orientation means that we seek to relate to society as it is
(not as we might like it to be) and need continually to assess whether
our organizational structures best serve the Church's missionary calling.
In 1994, Breaking New Ground urged the Church to recognize the
complementary realities of parish, neighbourhood and network. Today
we can still think `local', but this may not be the same as `parochial'.
At diocesan level, four principles may guide the response to new mission
In any proposed mission where new churches beyond parish boundaries
are in view, it is both right and necessary that the bishop act as the
broker in discussions, with the ability to authorize a new venture or to
deny it permission to proceed.
Proposed fresh expressions of church need to work in ways that are
complementary to inherited ways.
Existing ecclesiastical legal boundaries should be seen as permeable.
An agreed process is needed to make these values credible.
in any proposed mission where new churches beyond parish boundaries are
in view, it is both right and necessary that the bishop act as the broker in
The word `broker' describes only part of the bishop's role; that of
overseeing negotiations with the different parties involved in or affected
by the proposal. Within the Church of England, the bishop shares the
`cure of souls' with each priest, licensed lay worker and parish involved, and
is the key authority in any renegotiation or development of that
The bishop must have genuine freedom either to authorize a venture, or
to deny it permission to proceed, through his authority to license.
Episcopal authorization is necessary to give Anglican legitimacy, to provide
a framework of accountability, to maximize learning from what occurs and
to encourage positive acceptance from the parishes involved.
All such decisions need to be made based upon the merits of each case,
and as appropriate for each parish in the light of an agreed deanery or