Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mission and Fresh Expressions Resources by Diocese: St. Albans - York

The final post of 4 surveying the 43 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
Manchester - Rochester

I'll also be doing some follow on posts: a 'top 10 resources' post, and some suggestions about what resources could, pretty easily, be held in common across all diocesan sites, and perhaps a summary of the best Fresh Expressions stuff, and how the picture looks nationally for FX based on what Dioceses have (or haven't) got on their websites. (Update: now online - follow this link for these extra posts)

so here we go.....

St. Albans: what looks like a chunky mission section, fronted by a picture which we all know is the outline of a font, or possibly a commuion cup, but might also be the outline of a toilet. I'm just telling it like it is.... However, it flatters to decieve: many of the 25 subsections are blank pages, and the first one with any content spoke of a mission training event being cancelled. The Fresh Expressions section links to two reports on Vision Days, both hosted on the national FX site.

The website is new, so I guess they've not sorted out all the content yet.

The only thing of note was a link to a Workplace Ministry project for Herfordshire and Bedfordshire - interesting to find another regional group doing this, as well as the After Sunday project in the North-East (their website is also being renewed!).

St. Edmunsbury and Ipswich Oh dear, more pop-up windows. They're about to have some events thinking about their mission as a diocese, but slim pickings in terms of mission/evangelism resources. Links worth a visit:
- 1 page style guide for powerpoint slides. Nothing really to do with mission, but v helpful.
- 'Open churches week', good idea for opening up church buildlings to the community, and some interesting things being done by churches taking part, from family tree research to fayres of various kinds.

The only FX thing on the site was a chunky powerpoint presentation (3 meg) given to their synod in Feb. It'll be familiar to anyone who's seen a presentation from the FX national team, but blends the generic stuff with some local examples. Looks like they're planning to give this more of a push in 2010.

Salisbury The only Mission link on the homepage (which has the full SiteMap) is a back to church Sunday page. Nothing on FX. There are a couple of Area groupings which are designed to resource the local church, which have their own web pages. Nothing here worth linking to, in terms of mission resources or ideas.

Sheffield Ok, we've not given Steve Croft long to make his mark, but he's already there on video on the home page with his challenge to the Diocese. 'Eat less chips'. No, not really.

There's a mission section, but the content is a bit patchy. Some good stories of mission in action from around the Diocese, and they train 'Lay Parish Evangelists', which is good to see.

Sheffield is also encouraging people to vote on 4th June to counter the BNP, and have a parish magazine article on the subject.

Sodor and Man has a website. That's about all I can say. No sign of Thomas the Tank Engine, thankfully.

Southwark clearly has a webmaster with a sense of humour, with a prominent 'what we do' menu on the home page.
- some good Communications tips via the links there (e.g. 'what are the media interested in').

Otherwise not much in the way of downloads or shareable resources, though it looks like plenty is going on in the 'real world' of the diocese.

Southwell and Nottingham ok you can wake up now. The following can be found in their Mission section.
- Bob Jackson presentation summarising some of his 'Road to Growth' findings, a powerpoint presentation you can actually understand without hearing it given in person. Good summary of Jacksons work, if you've not read his books.
- Section on Sports Ministry, good starter for 10 if you're thinking about this sort of thing.
- article on Car Boot Sale ministry, again, gives you plent of ideas if you're thinking about a church stall at a CBS.
- under Back to Church Sunday, some handy tips for welcoming children
- the Diocese had a celebration event for mission projects. Excellent way to recognise and promote what people are doing at a local level.
- Mission Development Fund material is presented in an attractive booklet form, good way of promoting it.
- 'On Course', a downloadable booklet doing a survey of what courses are on the market for Finding Faith (evangelism/nurture), Growing Faith (discipleship) and Sharing Faith (um, sharing your faith). Excellent resource, there are a few other dioceses which have a similar resource, but it should be all of them.
- a link to iChaplaincy (an internet chaplaincy) and workplace chaplaincy in the Nottingham area. Interesting idea, I'd be interested to know how well used the site/chaplaincy is.

If you're interested in where the Diocese is going, their 'Shaping the Future' vision has a good outline of what their key priorities are.
Not really on mission, but the first diocesan website where I've come across a liturgical resources section. Not just section, entire website.

After all that, nothing explicitly on Fresh Expressions, which is intriguing, though it's mentioned as part of 'Shaping the Future'....

- the Mission page gives a brief list of projects which have benefited from mission funding.

- they have a Fresh Expressions page! It mentions Tubestation (church plant for surfers) and several other projects, but the descriptions are quite brief.
- again, nothing to do with mission, but a very well organised library of downloadable forms. Everything from AGM announcements to child protection.

update: see the first comment for an ecumenical fresh expressions network in Cornwall.

- Some simple and attractive pages for enquirers, good layout and links, including a link to egodparents (new one on me)
- communications page links to national CofE advice on use of the
media, promotion etc.

Winchester (sorry, formatting starting to fall apart a bit! good old Blogger..)

- Evangelism page has summaries of the most popular nurture courses, as well as a summary of Lost for Words, (evangelism training course from CPAS). I do like the look of their Discipleship Department, which is focused on making adult disciples and enabling other to do so. By the look of this, they have a newly appointed Fresh Expressions enabler, who came into post in Jan '09, so watch this space.

- Has a FX page, which summarises what they are about, but no local stories or examples, and all the links are to external sites. But it's there, which is good.

- another page on Growing Churches summarises the Growing Healthy Churches and Mission Shaped church materials, but points people back to the Discipleship Department for getting into them in depth.

Worcester has a mission page, but not really any resources here to link to. Nothing on fresh expressions, apart from a couple of mentions in news stories.

York has a report on the uptake and effectiveness of Mission Action Plans in the diocese (York adopted these as part of Diocesan strategy in 2002).

- there are clearly some Fresh Expressions things going on, but not organised into a specific place on the diocesan website (do a search for 'fresh expressions' and it raises several articles). The best way to navigate the site appears to be the 'search' facility - 'mission' also brings plenty of results, but most of them seem to be news items on local projects.

So there you have it. Unless you're interested in following some of the niche links (e.g. Workplace ministry) the only site here really worth a browse is Southwell.

After all that, I hope this is some use to someone!! Follow up posts on the best resources etc. in the next week or so.


  1. For those in Cornwall, the growing Cornwall Fresh Expressions Network can be contacted on 01736 362903,and siseleanor @ Eleanor Burne-Jones coordinates bi-monthly gatherings of anyone involved or interested. One of the network or a visiting speaker leads each time, and there's plenty of time for discussion. A series of learning community days is being arranged for next year, some jointly run with Rural Expression. Details of upcoming gatherings are on and the group will hopefully soon have its own website. We are an ecumenical network, and in touch with quite a number of fresh expressions, plants and pioneering ministries across the county, with the number growing steadily. New people and visitors from further afield are warmly welcomed.

  2. A helpful roundup, David: thank you.

    St Alban's: reckon I've found the original pic their Missions logo is taken from: over at Paxtonvic's place...

  3. Excellent roundup. Unless I've missed something there was virtually nothing on any of the diocesan websites about mission in a multi-faith context. Were there any good sites you came across that I have missed?

  4. Eleanor Course2/6/09 2:51 pm

    Thanks for the comment on the York website - I'm working on creating a new site (the current one is rather old and slow) and so your comments are really useful to us.

  5. Thanks Eleanor - I'm planning a post in the next couple of days on an 'ideal' core offering that could be hosted on any diocesan website, based on cutting and pasting the best from one another.