Friday, May 15, 2009

Mission and Fresh Expressions Resources by Diocese: Manchester - Rochester

Continuing the survey of 44 diocesan websites for useful resources on mission and fresh expressions that could be useful for anyone. Previous posts covered:
Bath and Wells - Coventry
Derby - London
Sheffield - York to follow next week, all being well.

At the end of the series I'll also be doing a 'top 10 resources' post, and some suggestions about what resources could, pretty easily, be held in common across all diocesan sites.

This time, we start in the land of my birth (almost)

Manchester a pretty comprehensive looking site. Interesting bits:
Mission planning statistics - the Diocese has neighbourhood census and demographic stats organised parish by parish, to help parishes understnad their mission context. There is a pack for each parish with maps and key local stats. Excellent idea.

A very good Parish Audit booklet, taking parishes step by step through the process of thinking about their local context, and how to respond to it. Great tool for thinking through priorities and direction as a parish/church.

Superb communications home page, which helpfully sets out all the main local media in the Diocese, and which area they cover, as well as what communications the Diocese is sending out and who to. Great overview, the kind of thing every diocese should do. Great. The other communications stuff is of a similar standard - there are a cluster of advice pages on publicity, news releases, media contacts, websites and magazines (use links in the sidebar from the Communications home page).

Chunky Evangelism section, which starts with a clear statement of intent: Manchester Diocese has a vision to see the local church growing: growing qualitatively in terms of spirituality, unity, generosity and discipleship. Growing quantitatively as more people are drawn to faith in our great God and his son Jesus. Within this is a page on Experience Easter, with ideas about how to make the most of Easter as an outreach opportunity. To free up time to do outreach at Easter, there's another page with bags of resources for Good Friday meditations, well worth a look (though a bit late for this year!)

If the diocese has a key outreach event, a downloadable poster is put on the site so people can access the publicity themselves. Clever.

Sadly not online, but avaible from the Diocese, are a couple of booklets on outreach with particular age groups. Luv 'em is for work with children and young people, and Silver Service for ministry with the elderly.

Good 'faith and life' section on baptism, weddings, funerals etc., which recognises that many visitors might come with these on the agenda. Lots of stuff here that could be easily replicated in every diocese, or indeed on your own church website.

Norwich: 'Committed to growth' says the top of the sidebar, which is encouraging. This link takes you into a suite of Mission Action Plan ('Growth Plan') resources, with a booklet introducing the idea, which would make a useful PCC resource in its own right for pretty much any church. The MAP resources are well set out, with templates, example plans etc.

Very good Mission Support Fund page, with the guidance notes for applications, a full list of projects funded so far, dates and deadlines for applications over the year. Good example for other dioceses to copy.

A booklist on Welcoming Newcomers, v helpful, with links to 2 examples of church welcome packs, one of which (hoorah!) was from another diocese. There are also simple pages explaining Fresh expressions and alternative worship, with links to local examples.

A page on discipleship courses reproduces the LICC survey of discipleship materials, helpfully adding which parishes are using certain courses for people who want to explore further. This is vital: it's so much better having someone local who can talk you through how they've done it, what's worked and what hasn't.

Helpful page on alternative and creative worship, from all-age to 'liquid', with links to blogs, books and resource sites. Helpful for people wanting to explore some popular alternatives to a standard hymn sandwich.

Easy to use Back to Church Sunday page with downloadable invites and posters, but they need to change it over from 2008 to 2009!

Couple of good case studies of redeveloping churches as community centres.

Oxford Big Back to Church Sunday splash on the home page, sends a clear message about what's important. Their BTCS resource page has some useful case studies of parishes which did it, along with the usual resources, and a 'timeline' of how to prepare.

Oxford is also sponsoring a study of how faith communities 'add value' to their neighbourhoods, the results will be interesting and will contribute to a crucial national policy debate.

The Encouraging Evangelism page has a selection of vid clips on the practicalities of evangelism, of which the most helpful are no's 3 (on running a mens breakfast), 4 (on running an Alpha/nurture course) and 5, which focuses on the Jigsaw fresh expression of church in Witney:

Oxford is one of the pioneer Dioceses in Fresh Expressions , having invested heavily in the Cutting Edge initiative several years ago. Cutting Edge resourced 6 pilot new congregations,
there's a summary of the fruits here, and the full report on the project is well worth a read if you are looking to set up a Fresh Expression within an Anglican diocese, very very helpful. The Diocese has also produce a concise 'Beginning, Nurturing and Sustaining Fresh Expressions' booklet, which is available as a pdf.

Yet another superb link: Nurture Courses - this focuses on the four most popular (START, Alpha, Emmaus, Essence), with a full review of each, and several stories from people who have used them. It also includes a handy list of books and websites on evangelism, and a useful page on how to follow up an evangelistic event so that it helps you make contacts.

There's also a brief list of useful links to sites and blogs on evangelism, and there's also a cluster of documents around 'Living Faith', the diocesan vision for growth and development. There's a clever 'Easter Ingredients' evangelistic leaflet, based around Hot Cross buns - if you can airbrush out the Oxford logo this could be used anywhere, good idea.

I mention just in passing that Oxford diocese also links to three of its bloggers...

Peterborough tough job to follow Oxford, but some very handy niche products. Under Mission downloads, there are some great little booklets on Providing a Welcome, and ministry with the elderly, and some good ideas here on options for outreach, and several documents produced for a 2007 Lent course to get churches to think about mission.

Good Back to Church Sunday section with stories of people who came back to church, a countdown, welcoming children, and ideas for BTCS at Easter and Christmas.

introduction to Parish Nursing, interesting concept: "A parish nurse is a registered nurse with community experience, who works through the church, offering spiritual as well as physical and mental care."

Portsmouth: woo, psychedelic! A site designed by an evangelist: the first 4 sections are on Jesus, stories of people who came to faith, FAQ's and life events (baptisms, weddings etc.). It's only when you get to the penultimate 'Info' panel that there's anything about the Diocese, and you end up at a site within a site with Diocesan information. Love it. They even have pretty much the entire Street Bible online at the site.

Intriguing Evangelism section, buried deep in the bowels of the site, including links on leading someone to Jesus, and this nice gospel illustrations page. Some good material here, but quite tricky to navigate.

Helpful summary of key CofE thinking on mission: Mission Shaped Church, the 5 marks of mission, Lambeth statements etc. , peculiar formatting though. Also an article reproduced from elsewhere "Questions Christians ask about sharing their faith".

The diocese have also mapped the 2001 census data onto parishes, v. helpful.

Ripon & Leeds
interesting policy document on mission and ministry in UPA parishes, of which they have several.

Has a FX section, and great to see that there are 4 video clips of different FX in the diocese, plus an intro from the Bish. Love the Saturday Night Service in particular. Otherwise fairly standard contents (what is FX, training, funding etc.) but at least it's there. Strange that the vids aren't linked from the FX page!

Rochester. The Diocesan Evangelists have their own site, complete with testimonies, FAQ's mission booklist etc. There seem to be plenty of them, which is encouraging! To be honest the navigation is bewildering - I found myself on the same site via 'Mission and Unity', which also seems to have a separate site from the main Diocesan one. Seems odd that 'unity' should be separate, but what do I know?

There may have been other helpful resources on this site but frankly I just gave up, what with new windows popping up all over the place, and bits of the site which didn't do what they said they'd do. PLEASE CAN THE NEXT BISHOP OF ROCHESTER BAN POP-UP WINDOWS.

A real curates egg of sites, though there are at least some mission/evangelism/fx resources on all of them. Just goes to show that the way you communicate is vital to whether or not you'll get your message across, no matter how important that message is.

Best bits:
Manchester communications tips
Norwich on mission funding
Oxford on FX and nurture courses
Peterborough booklets on welcome and ministry with the elderly
Portsmouth gospel illustrations
Ripon & Leeds FX videos.

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