Vision, Strategy and Staffing in 2018:
Frequently asked questions answered by the Vicar
As we look to where God is leading us in 2018, there are both exciting times and significant transitions ahead for Christ Church W4. Over the past few weeks a number of questions have often been asked about what is going to happen in 2018. Our Vicar, Richard Moy, outlines his responses to big questions below.
With the much loved Tufnells moving to Dorset in May what is going to happen next?
There’s a short answer and a much longer answer to that! The short answer is we carry on our ‘long obedience in the same direction’. The longer answer is that this also gives us an opportunity to think through how we do what we do and why. Some of the detail behind that is in the FAQs below.
Are you worried at all about transition?
It’s always right to be cautious in a time of transition. For some change is harder than for others, and for some this particular change will inevitably be harder as well. But if you think back over the past few years you can see that we’ve been through substantial transitions several times before – with buildings, service times and staffing. We are now into the second year after the perfect storm of the summer in 2015 when we said goodbye to seven staff. I am hugely encouraged by how well the church family has grown since that transition, when we sent people out across the country (and Uganda/Canada!) to great effect. And it always great when we see some of those staff when they come back and visit. Our history with a great God gives us every reason to be confident about our future with a great God.
What is the role of the London Diocese?
The London Diocese represented by the Bishop of Kensington, Graham Tomlin, and Archdeacon of Middlesex, Stephan Walsh, are very positive about supporting all the developments at Christ Church W4. Since back in June 2017 we have been working with them behind the scenes to think through the best way of celebrating and maintaining the advances we have made through new services at 6pm and in St Alban’s, the Meeting Place and now the Youth Collective (aka the Youth Minster). I am expecting to have some creative solutions on the table next year from these conversations, and we are currently waiting for a paper from them outlining their suggestions for the best structure here. Please pray for our Bishop and Archdeacon in this.
Essentially, in conversation with Stephan and Graham, we would like to explore having two full-time clergy posts paid for out of the central Common Fund. This is the central pot of money into which we pay our ‘parish share’. Any training curates allocated to us (like Keir/Denis) would be in addition to this. The parish can fund any additional posts we want (as we are already doing with Mike, Nicola and with our curate’s housing). Establishing the two-common fund posts would secure the longer-term stability of the parish as a team with a minimum of two vicars fully paid for and housed by the Diocese.
We are also asking for Christ Church W4 to be considered a 'resource church' if the Diocese win a funding bid. That might help us fund other clergy posts in the future too. A resource church is simply a church that gathers, grows and gives away – something we are already committed to and well equipped for. The Diocese is keen for us to continue to be a training church – training curates and future clergy (ordinands), so this all looks quite promising. As you can imagine, these conversations rarely happen quickly, but in addition to structural stability they may also lead to cost savings for us in the future so they are well worth pursuing now.
What do we do in the meantime?
While we are waiting for the Diocese to help us think through these transitions there is much that we can be getting on with.
- The first thing of course is pray, which we began so well in our 28 Days of Prayer from 5th November – 3rd December. Did you know Mike’s interview with the Lantern Church providentially coincided with the day he was being prayed for in the prayer booklet? Let’s keep on praying.
- The second is to pause: The next five months afford us ample space to step back and think through what we are all about as a church and a group of people on a mission in this area. We have a great set of values, vision and mission, but it is always worth asking, ‘Are we fulfilling them as effectively as we could?’ The answer is likely to be partly yes, and partly not yet! With this in mind, back in September the Church Council (PCC) did a substantial piece of work considering our priorities. While there were lots of things that people were keen to do more of, it was harder to identify what might need to stop to allow emerging priorities to flourish. Big questions in the background remain about how to do Sunday children’s church most effectively across the two sites, and how to make sure the services we put on are as well-resourced and run as possible. A consultation with the 5-11 year old children has been carried out by our Children’s Champion Kati Simpson and Church Warden Peter Williams. This will be fed back to the PCC in January.
- The third is to not panic! We have an exceptionally strong team made up from our congregations, staff and clergy, who are very capable of leading the church as a whole through the next phases of development.
- Finally, there is the opportunity to participate: Perhaps you were someone who was gripped by the 28 Days of Prayer, or has felt a nudge from God about your direction with him, or indeed the direction of the church in its next phase. It may even be a frustration about something we have done/not done so far! Often in those nudges and frustrations are the beginnings of God’s calling when nurtured in the right way… Maybe you’re called to be part of the coming phase where we finish off the internal work begun at St Alban’s (more below), have a sense of how you might contribute to services, or have great inspiration for future developments with the St Alban’s site that we will begin consulting on in Autumn 2018 if the Chapel and associated works are completed by then. Whether financially, practically, or prayerfully – what might your part be? I’m always delighted to hear directly from you on any of these things!
What do you think our needs are going forward?
One of the most obvious things to note from recent staff changes is the benefit of specialists in post: Zoe Phillips in particular in her Youth role, and Annie Adams with her mid-week Children’s Outreach role, have both caused their work to leap forward. As we have consulted with staff and Church Council three other areas of church life suggest a need for specialists. On the wish list are: a worship pastor, children's pastor and an operations director, who could carry the brief of building development at St Alban’s and have an oversight of the day to day management of the church. Other roles mentioned include vergers for practical building set up work, a wonderful idea for a youth gap year programme after school finishes, and ‘re-ternships’ for those newly retired or seeking to go back to work who are wanting to give a year to the church. This wide range of ‘needs’ feeds into the above idea to ‘pause’… there is always much that we can do – but how and when should we do it, and what, if anything would we give up to make the next thing possible?
Those are the sort of questions you elect the PCC and its sub-committees for, but also the questions we’d love you to pray into and help answer… We anticipate having a whole church consultation around the time of the APCM, and our Vision Sundays. This will run across four Sundays from 15 April – 6 May and focus on our staffing and service needs going forward. The PCC will be devising this survey, I hope with help from those in the congregations with a consulting background, at their 8 March meeting. Any input you might like to give in advance of that will help with that exercise.
Are we stretched too thinly at the moment?
In a church like ours with talented and visionary people in the congregations and staff team its always easy to find ourselves adding to the programme. I’ve no particular desire to cull profitable activity, but it does seem like a good time to ask can we do a little less a little better! That may well come out in the consultancy.
If we had a children’s pastor or worship pastor where would they put their attention?
That is a good question given that our 9am service has very few children (and no band) and our two 10:30am services require children’s work and a great band at the same time. That is part of the puzzle we need to consider.
I don’t know who a lot of people on the staff team are – how long are people here for?
That is a great question and to be honest we could do a better job of communicating this. As a rule of thumb: an intern comes for 12 months, an ‘ordinand’ (vicar in training) for 2 years, or 3 years if they are under 32. A curate comes for a maximum of 3 years. Other staff roles are either fixed term (12 month) contracts, or open ended. This has been slightly confused as we have had a great record of keeping people longer than expected! Mike Tufnell initially came on a 1 year contract and will have stayed for 4 years. It is possible for an intern to become an ordinand and even a curate in the same church. My regular prayer is that no-one will move before God is ready for them to do so, nor stay beyond the time that he wants us to graciously give them away – hopefully with some value added!
What about you and Nicola?
We have been really grateful for how the church family has embraced both of our ministry here and in the wider church. It was a great moment for me when Nicola did some of the Bible Teaching at New Wine this summer speaking for six days in a row to over 3000 people in the venue and listening in on the radio. Over the past six years Nicola’s role has become increasingly full-time, although funded part-time, and she has been service pastor for our 10:30am Turnham Green congregation for the past two years. I am thoroughly enjoying my role here at Christ Church W4 leading the team and development across the sites and services, and also wider church roles, speaking, writing and researching in various networks and contexts. We are delighted to minister together here at Christ Church W4 and look forward to how those roles will keep evolving over time.
How about Denis?
As you will know Denis and Anna Fiona are adopting two children at the beginning of 2018, and Denis will be taking paternity and annual leave through January and into February. His curacy continues until June 2019, although curates sometimes move on a few months before that. His presence in this transition time as we wait on Diocese responses and say our fond farewells to the Tufnells is a reassuring and helpful part of that transition and there is still much ministry to come from him here. Curates in their final year tend to be at their most effective and Denis is proving invaluable here already in the middle of his training post. We wish him a very wonderful adoption leave and look forward to celebrating with them as a family.
What do you feel God is saying to the church at the moment?
I think I have an increasingly clear picture that hopefully will be clarified by this season of consultation. At the core are the two strong prophetic images we have: to be Beacons on the Green and to be the Beating Heart of the Community. I’ll speak more into these at the 15th/22nd April Vision Sundays, but you will find many references if you listen back to some of my talks on our podcasts, including the one on Friday 22nd December. As we take our long obedience in the same direction it always amazes me to see how little steps we have taken in a pioneering direction have become a well-worn path for the community to follow. The Meeting Place Café is a great example of this, growing to be a place where feeding 60 people a Christmas lunch was a natural, if demanding development.
I’m not clear on the timeline – can you spell it out for me?
No problem! Some key dates coming up are below, the rest are on the church website.
- 25th February is confirmation and we’ll launch the fundraising campaign for the prayer chapel.
- 15th April and 22nd April are our two Vision Sundays.
- 24th April is our Annual Vision Night and APCM.
- 20th May is Mike’s leaving service and the night we commission new lay ministers in the Order of St Alban’s.
I keep hearing about the Youth Minster – who is involved and when will I find out more? This plan is really coming together now. Lots more information will be coming soon. It will be known as the Beating Heart Collective, and the consulting, planning phase has come together really well. Please keep praying for young people across London in the meantime. A timeline of some of the planned activities is below:
Any more questions/comments?
Feel free to email the Vicar, Richard Moy at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll keep trying to set out as much as we know, as often as we can.
Draft Programme for Beating Heart Collective in 2018