Copy of an insertion into Partners this week.

We wanted to let you know about some proposals which may affect us as The Avon Valley Partnership.

The Deanery of Christchurch, led by Gary as Area Dean and Mark Ward as Lay Chair of Synod and Chair of the Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee, has been looking at how we allocate the 11 stipendiary priests we have in the Deanery (the Deanery stretches from Breamore and Hale in the North, through Ringwood, Burley and Bransgore, to the coast from Christchurch to New Milton).

So, the Deanery Standing Committee, after consultation with Deanery Synod and others, including at diocesan level, is proposing that, as a start to redressing some of these imbalances, we move one stipendiary post from the North of the Deanery to the South.

Christ was always concerned for those on the margins – for the poor, the outcast, the excluded.  We feel that as a Deanery we can better express that concern in our own day by making sure that the more challenging and more populous areas of the Deanery are at least as well served by the Church as the more comfortable areas.  That is why we are proposing these changes.

In the past two weeks, Mark and/or I have attended meetings of churchwardens and clergy of the affected Parishes, PCCs of all the Parishes (except Breamore, which is in August), and had lots of other meetings and discussions.

Fordingbridge PCC (formally) and Hale & Woodgreen PCC (informally) have offered their support for the proposals; the others are meeting again in August/September to consider their responses.

Having considered many different suggestions, ranging from leaving everything as it is now, to all sorts of other realignments, the proposal from the Deanery Standing Committee is this:

Proposed northern deanery structure-MW-Jy16-3Proposed northern deanery structure-MW-Jy16-2

There will be challenges for all of us with this new arrangement; but, especially in the Avon Valley Partnership, we are used to facing these sorts of changes over the years, and I’m sure that we have the ordained and lay resources to be able to cope – even if we have to make some alterations.

And the Parish of Hyde would also bring many benefits to the Partnership – we already share a lot with them, including our Church Office, and it is a very lively and outward-looking Parish, with strong leadership.

With prayer and good will on both parts, I’m sure we can make it work.

If you would like to know more, or want to discuss any aspects of this, do contact either Mark or myself, and we’ll be happy to explain further.


Gary, July 29th, 2016

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