2015 – 2017
FROM BISHOP JOHN
1st May 2015.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Although not described as such, strategic aims and plans have underpinned the life of the Christian Church from its earliest days:
For example, Jesus called the disciples to follow his particular pattern – to take up the cross and to serve others with the aim of bringing to them the fullness of life. In the Acts of the Apostles 2: 44-47, we see a basic plan for the life of that early, uncertain and persecuted church. Furthermore, a number of the New Testament letters contain clear hints of emerging liturgical and missionary structures and strategies.
In our time, as a church which has become hugely institutionalised, we continue to need clear strategy, but we must always endeavour to ensure that any one which we adopt is underpinned by the same theological and scriptural principles which guided the early church. Pure “management-speak” will not do.
In Swansea & Brecon we are now familiar with our Diocesan Vision to be a family rooted in Christ, committed to transforming lives by gathering as God’s people, growing more like Jesus and going out in the power of the Spirit to make disciples of others. This Vision underpins our move towards Ministry Areas and the consequent renewal of the ministry of both lay and ordained, male and female, We seek to be a community rooted in Christ, taking up the cross, serving others and aiming to bring the fullness of life to those around us.
To accompany the Vision, the Standing Committee of the Diocesan Conference has agreed to adopt five key strategic aims which can be read below. I commend these aims to you and ask that, as your own local Ministry Area develops, you will maintain both the Diocesan Vision and the aims as the basis of your planning and prayer.
With my very best wishes for all that you seek to accomplish for the Kingdom.
The framework for ministry areas and Local Ministry Programmes
A Family rooted in Christ, committed to transforming lives by the following Strategic Aims:
STRATEGIC AIM 1
The Diocese will have vibrant Ministry Areas for mission at the heart of our communities.
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me”. And immediately they left their nets and followed him (Mark 1:17-18)
- In 2015, as per the programme of Ministry Area inauguration and commissioning, a minimum of two pioneer Ministry Areas will be commissioned in each of the Archdeaconries of Brecon and Gower.
1.2 We will identify mentors to support officers to deliver the strategy and periodically reflect on theology and good practice.
1.3 Alongside established methods of training and support, we will provide training opportunities for all Licensed Lay Ministers and ordained clergy.
STRATEGIC AIM 2
The Diocese will be structured and governed for mission
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28: 19)
2.1 The Diocese will foster, encourage and support local and creative initiatives in outreach, welcome and mission.
2.2 The Diocese will continue to reflect on and improve all structures of governance.
2.3 The Bishop’s staff, Diocesan Standing Committee and Strategy Group, will complete a system to measure the range of skills and resources to support the Ministry Areas in local planning and delivery.
2.4 From January 1st 2016, we will restructure the Deaneries from the present number of 11 to 4. These will work through Deanery Synods made up of ex-officio and elected members from Ministry Areas. These members will work collaboratively to monitor the working of Ministry Areas and the implementation of the Diocesan Strategy. On a regular basis the Synods will report to the Diocesan Standing Committee on these and other matters as required.
STRATEGIC AIM 3
The Diocese will provide learning and discipleship programmes to deliver its mission
Jesus began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone (Luke 4: 15)
3.1 We will provide local programme opportunities to grow disciples and develop congregations.
3.2 We will resource Ministry Area Leaders and their teams to renew and support a variety of expressions of being the church, particularly to reach those who do not attend the Church.
3.3 We are committed to offering resources that will equip Christians to grow deeper in the study of Holy Scripture, and find refreshment in prayer and spirituality of the Christian Tradition that empowers and refreshes congregations and Ministry Teams.
3.4 Ministry Area Teams will value discipleship through existing traditions of being Church alongside encouraging creative and new ways of being Church that the broad Church will recognise and embrace many ways that people come to faith in Christ.
STRATEGIC AIM 4
The Diocese will seek to build God’s Kingdom in community and public life
Jesus asked him, “Which of the three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He answered, “The one who showed him mercy”. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10. 36-37).
4.1 Our work will be informed by a theology that is rooted in experience and reflecting on Scripture, Tradition and Reason. We will encourage reflective theological educators and facilitators to provide informed and theological teaching material for training of lay and ordained ministers.
4.2 We will foster partnership work with statutory and voluntary agencies, particularly among children and young people, as a sign of active and practical Christian presence that transforms community.
4.3 We will remain committed in supporting excellent services through initiatives such as Faith in Families programme and other projects that extend community and social involvement.
STRATEGIC AIM 5
The Diocesan mission and ministry will be sustainable and resourced
Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)
5.1 The Diocese will be a responsible Trustee, measuring systems for budgeting and financial planning and management in accordance with legal charitable requirements.
5.2 To achieve Strategic Aim 5.1, the Diocese will evaluate, monitor, and audit procedures, working to a timeframe that links into the budget cycle.
5.3 The Diocese will expect Ministry Areas to put in place appropriate financial procedures and resource the areas through discipleship programmes of stewardship.
5.4 We will annually, and systematically, monitor, review and evaluate progress of the delivery of the Strategic Aims.
 Church in Wales Review, Recommendation IV and V