We said goodbye to my last parish eight years ago on Easter Day. Having been very happy there, it felt odd to have the sadness of farewell in the context of Resurrection celebration: “Alleluia. Christ is Risen!” in floods of tears!
This time our farewells are to be made on the eve of Lent, maybe a better liturgical fit. Lent is kept in imitation of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness after his baptism. In that time he reflected on his calling, on what God was asking of him. He broke new ground, away from the comfortable and familiar, and wrestled (in those strange, dream-like stories of temptation) with who he was and how he was to be faithful. Oxfordshire and Ripon College Cuddesdon is hardly the wilderness (!) but the sense of stepping out into the unknown to discover what blessings and challenges God has for the future is strong for me just now.
And, I hope, for all of us. Famously the Hebrews were reminded them that “here we have no abiding city” (Hebrews 13. 14) and the metaphor of journey is powerful for Christian discipleship. Specifically journey through the wilderness: Moses led a rabble of runaway slaves through the Red Sea out into the desert. There, through long ramblings and hard experiences, they were forged into God’s people and prepared for the Promised Land beyond the Jordan. That is the pattern for the Christian life between the waters of the baptism (the Red Sea) and death (the Jordan). Lent is an annual rehearsal in miniature of this pattern.
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Mission Action Toolkit
The Mission Action Toolkit is a set of resources that can help any church, of whatever tradition, size, context or type, to join in with responding to the missional aims of the Diocesan Vision. If you would like to know more about the Diocesan Vision and its missional aims, you can do so here.
The Toolkit is based on Mission Action Planning for the Diocese of Derby, which we have been using since 2010 to help churches grow as healthy, worshipping communities that engage in God's mission in the world. However, it is a more focused, streamlined toolkit that is flexible and light-tough enough for any church to use. Churches can use the Toolkit in many different ways and adapt it to suit their own context and style.
The Toolkit isn't another thing to do or an extra initiative. It is a process to help with that which has always been central to the identity, calling and purpose of every single expression of church - to engage in God's mission in the world. It can help churches to acknowledge and celebrate what God is already doing in and through them in mission, and to hear God's call to grow and develop in their mission further.
The Toolkit consists of six core resources, which are all downloadable below. More resources will be added in the future, and all the resources of the existing full MAP process, found in these pages, are also available to use with the Mission Action Toolkit.
- Quick Start Guide - an accessible introduction to the Mission Action Toolkit, suitable for anyone in the church.
- Introduction for Church Leaders - a more detailed guide intended for use by any church leader, lay or ordained.
- Missional Aims Summary - a single-sheet overview of the different aspects of each missional aim.
- Resource Sheets - a rich set of theological reflections, discussion questions, prayers and ideas for actions for every aspect of our missional aims.
- Questionnaire - one way in which to gather information from the church as a part of the Mission Action Toolkit process.
- Action Sheet - a way of recording and tracking the actions a church decides to undertake.
The Mission Action Toolkit is designed to be adapted and used independently by any church. However, help and support is available to help churches as they use the Toolkit. To find help, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missional aims videos
Please watch and enjoy these five-minute videos, each offering a light Biblical reflection by Revd Jason Kennedy on one aspect of our missional aims, ‘Transformed Lives’, 'Growing Church' and 'Building Community'.
They form a part of the Mission Action Toolkit, which helps churches to engage with God’s mission in an approachable, practical and flexible way.
The videos can be used for individual reflection, as a light sermon or an introduction to a conversation in small groups or, for example, a Lent group.
Help and Information
For more help and information about MAP for the Diocese of Derby, please please send an email to email@example.com.
Bishop Alastair writes....
November is a month for remembering the terrible challenge of war – or what we now call ‘military action’.
There are, understandably, many views about the rights and wrongs of war, the priorities for peace, and the best means of combatting evil and promoting goodness. These are important debates, and Christians have much to contribute.
But – beneath debate about options and actions, the reality of war contains a humbling stream of sacrifice for the sake of others. And in this November season of remembering with thanks all who have given or risked their lives for their neighbours, we are publishing a book in the Diocese – ‘Sacrifice Remembered’.
It brings together an amazing and moving collection of memories and reflections from the people of the county – including some of our current primary school children.
Members of the Derby Diocesan Synod met in Darley Dale on Saturday (9 November) to discuss the governance, mission and financing of the Church of England in Derbyshire.
It was the first time the members have met under the new governance structure as the Diocesan Board of Finance. The meeting was also the first for new Diocesan Secretary, Maureen Cole.
In his presidential address, The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern described how the diocese was experiencing a new chapter, with a real sense of new thinking combined with shifts in the organisation. He shared his reflection on some research into the decline in church growth in the early 20th century. He challenged synod to look at the reasons and question whether the church today could use the lessons of the past to influence how we lead today.
Mark Titterton, Chairman of the Board of Finance then led a discussion on the budget for 2014. He described the budget as ‘a mission led budget for a year of transition’ and said that despite a deficit of nearly half a million pounds Derby diocese was not alone and many dioceses are in the same position. He described how the board intended to pay for the deficit by using reserves and a reduction to the parsonages grant. He added that despite a deficit the budget included £145,000 of growth projects to allow the diocese to continue to be a living, growing body. He underlined the importance of this investment to be able to do new things in order to grow.
The Synod then voted and passed the 2014 budget. The Archdeacon of Chesterfield then updated the group on governance. The synod then voted and passed the “Memorandum and Articles of Association of the DBF as amended by the special resolution of the DBF on 4 July 2013.”
Carole Lloyd, stewardship officer, then led an update and discussion on stewardship and gift aid.
Synod were then asked to vote on the formula used to calculate the number of lay representatives on each deanery synod for the elections held in 2014. After synod closed there was a short meeting of the Derby Diocesan Board of Finance. The Registrar, Nadine Waldron, led an introduction and described the legal entity and responsibilities of the new structure.
Mark Titterton then asked for an open and honest conversation about finance. He indicated that a top priority will be to make the figures more accessible and to put systems and procedures in place to be able to give monthly updates of where the Diocese really is. He added that the message to take away from the meeting is one of opportunity.
“Derby is average in terms of diocesan finances, we are neither the richest nor the poorest, but given the plans we have described and investment opportunities we have a real chance to grow.”
The meeting closed at 1.15pm