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Central Mission Partnership
What is the Central Mission Partnership? Mission Partnerships are the Diocese’s policy for developing the Mission and Ministry of parishes at a time of shortage of full time clergy. On average there are only enough paid clergy to provide two for every three parishes. The solution is not to amalgamate parishes (as seems to be the response of Roman Catholic and Methodist churches faced with the same problem) but to find ways of working together. This will be much more than sharing clergy and other ministers. It should lead to learning from each other, combining resources on joint projects, and lending resources of people to parishes which need help. To make this work we will need to get to know the other parishes, through social events, joint services and shared study programmes. As an example, one suggested project that is under development is to organise lunches during the school holidays for the many children who qualify for free lunches during term time. This has been explored by the Children’s Ministers in the Partnership working together.
Most Mission Partnerships will be between two parishes, some for three but ours, the Central Mission Partnership, is for four: St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church, St Augustine’s Endcliffe, St Mary’s Bramall Lane and St Peter and St Oswald Parish Church. The partnership was officially launched in January 2017 although the churches had been working towards this goal for some time. It functions through meetings of the leadership ministers from the four parishes, plus there is a steering group which includes congregation members from all the churches; there is also a working relationship between the Children’s Ministers.
Ours is an ambitious Mission Partnership, because all the churches are already in partnerships of one kind or another, as well as working with other Christian denominations within the area and Interfaith partners:
This rich variety of churches should be able to develop our responsibilities for the Church’s Mission and Ministry in this part of Sheffield.
We are fortunate that a Development Worker has been appointed to help develop this potential. She is Catherine Rooker-Brown (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) who lives in the Parish of Woodhouse and until recently worked for the South Yorkshire Workplace Chaplaincy. For the first two years this post is paid for by the Diocese using national development funds.