Pastoral Committees and Ministerial Deployment
Each Synod area has a Pastoral Committee which is responsible for the communications with and care of the ministers, secretaries and, through them the churches in its area. They play a particular role in supporting churches where the Minister or Local Church Leader has left or retired.
The terms of reference for Pastoral Committees were updated in January 2023 and can be found here
Pastoral Committee covers a range of topics but at present there is significant focus on ensuring that we use the skills of our wonderful ministers effectively. There are around 30 ordained stipendiary Ministers of Word and Sacrament (MWS) in the Southern Synod area but with around 140 churches most worship is led by lay preachers or other local church leaders. The days of a church having its Minister preach almost every Sunday are gone, and we will need as a Synod to manage with fewer ordained ministers going forward as national numbers are declining.
The Synod Ministries Committee and a subgroup Deployment Committee have been working over the last 18 months on a policy and process for deployment of Ministers going forward. This is a national issue, not just Southern Synod so Moderators are working together to manage on a national basis how our Ministers are recruited, cherished and supported to best serve the URC.
The deployment policy has been discussed at Area Meetings and a helpful guide developed that includes the deployment policy and process for when churches are without a minister. These documents have been agreed by the Synod Together meeting to which each church has two representatives who should feed back to their congregation. We will add more documents as and when these have been agreed.
Visionary Companions are being sought to help churches discern their future, and several have come forward to serve in this way. A role description is being developed and will appear here soon.
Training for VCs is available and if you have an interest or skill in developing and encouraging individuals and groups please do get in touch with Andy Twilley ([email protected])
Last Updated 22 September 2023