Review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011
The Church of England (CofE) is consulting on proposed changes to the way it undertakes reorganizations, such as the merging of parishes or managing church buildings no longer needed for regular public worship. Extracts from the Consultation information are reproduced below.
Review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011
At the July 2021 meeting of the General Synod, members approved the consultation paper for the review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011 (MPM). The consultation is now open and runs until 30th September 2021.
The main aim of the review has been to consider how the legislation and processes associated with the Measure can be improved and simplified. The Measure makes provision for the legal reorganisation of parishes and benefices, dioceses, and the closure and re-use of church buildings no longer needed for public worship.
There are two ways to respond to the consultation:
- complete the online questionnaire (the link can be found in the “Consultation” tab below);
- sending in a written submission via email using the form at the bottom of this page (selecting “Review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011”).
The consultation is open to anyone to respond. You can make a submission as an individual or on behalf of an organisation (e.g. Parochial Church Councils, patronage societies, diocesan committees etc.).
The consultation paper is “Mission in Revision” (GS2222), and further supporting documents can be found below under “Supplementary Material”. The main areas the review will consider are:
- The re-shaping of the Measure into primary and secondary legislation;
- The streamlining and simplification of the Measure’s processes;
- The system for delivery of the Measure including staffing and funding.
If you have any queries about this programme of work please use the form below (selecting “Review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011”). You can see the recording of the of the debate on the paper at General Synod here (starting at 22 minutes 30 seconds).
The headline timetable is as follows:
- Phase 1: Developing the evidence base – November 2020 to June 2021
- Phase 2: Publication of GS2222 – Mission in Revision for General Synod debate and consultation – July to September 2021
- Phase 3: Recommendations for draft Measure to General Synod – February 2022
- Phase 4: Draft Measure for First Consideration at General Synod – July 2022
- Phase 5: Revision committee – July to February 2023
- Phase 6: Second consideration – February 2023
- Phase 7: Final approval – General Synod – July 2023
- Phase 8: Parliamentary approval followed by preparation for implementation – 2023/2024
The formal consultation is now running until 30 September 2021. Responses to the consultation may be made via a SurveyMonkey which follows the questions in the report.
Mission in Revision – A Survey
You are also welcome to make comments directly by email using the form at the bottom of this page selecting “Review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011”.
Alongside GS2222 there are a number of additional resources and documents which we will be making available for reference. They are available on the MPM 2011 Review Supporting documents page.
Scroll down page and open link.
With thanks to Trevor Cooper, HRBA, for alerting us to this Consultation.
I note ‘With thanks to Trevor Cooper, HRBA, for alerting us to this Consultation.’. As a member of our Diocesan Synod and diocesan finance committee I was unaware of this consultation until I saw the above article – many thanks.
But is ending the consultation on the 30 September a realistic date if they really do wish to know the views from the pews?
What with covid and summer holidays the chances for such views, or even PCCs, being submitted I would think remote. October 31 would be more realistic.
Am I alone in my reaction?
I suspect that you are not alone, Christopher. Had I not received the email update from HRBA, I too would have been unaware of this consultation. dp
Thanks, David, for your response to my 2nd question. Any views on my 1st question?
The document GS2222 indicates that it was first issued to General Synod provide a consultation paper for its July 2021 sessions (page 9), with the intention that there would be an eight week consultation process ending on 15 September 2021 (page 49); that has now been extended to 30 September.
With regard to the time necessary to respond to a consultation such as this, it all depends upon the respondee and the number of views they must take into consideration – the first question asks whether the response is that of an individual or on behalf of an organization. Public Affairs professionals sometimes have several consultations on which to respond within a short time frame, and could readily knock one out in half a day, or less. For others, responding on behalf of groups it should be possible to meet the 30 September deadline, providing all members have email access. [In my experience, however, responding to an on-line consultation on behalf of a group brings its own problems, where there is no copy of the questions]
However, there is also the question: although it was discussed by Synod on Monday 12 July, and has effectively been in the public domain since it was first made available, to what extent was the consultation disseminated?
Thank you, David, for your helpful summary. You end with a very good question!
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Section 3 Pastoral Reorganisation, clause 31, states that churches with congregations that are regularly under 20 are difficult to justify and survive.
This is arrant nonsense: in our benefice of 8 churches, all listed and in a remote area, the Parish populations of 7 of those churches is a total of 200 souls or thereabouts. They all regularly in their twice a month services have about 10 to 20 attending, an amazing number as that means up to 10% of the Parish attending. That is up to 10 times the National average. On special occasions and services, the congregations can be up to 50 or more, 25% of the populations.
The fact is that the populations of the Parishes are tiny and that is that. The churches are very well supported to their best ability financially, and there would be violent resistance to any imposition from any source to close any of them.
I think you need to reply in those terms to the consultation.
The tenour of this document appears to me to be that we have too many parish churches and should therefore be looking at ways to close as many as possible with minimum trouble. Such a policy would obviously be anathema to all members of CHCT and I think that higher echelons of the Church of England would soon find that, if attempted, this could do irreparable damage from every angle. Currently, tiny congregations often manage to run beautifully kept buildings plus a range of religious and social activities, whilst preserving buildings usually valued as the most significant and historic in their parish, both in town and country. Even during Covid I have myself been able to visit and record (for Cambridge University Library) about 40 such churches in Cambridgeshire, each one immaculate inside and out in addition to architectural and historic value. Many also have excellent kitchen and toilet provision, valuable for all ages and essential for many social uses. Heating and insulation are gradually being improved.
We must of course accept that money is always tight and that churches should have lively use outside a traditional weekly service. Provided the C of E is willing to loosen up Faculty provisions even small churches can have multiple uses. Obvious measures include shared use with other religious traditions, childcare groups, concerts and plays, (some) sporting and exercise clubs, any social activity for elderly etc etc. Use of volunteers only adds to social values, so money can be raised whilst generally doing good. Looking around there are endless more uses that can mix quite well, and even add atmosphere to, church buildings.
A more contentious is the cost of clergy and the dreaded parish share. I think it is time there was more trust should be given to the laity, eg for some religious services running committees, care of fabric of churches, and helping the bereaved. Many clergy with multiple parishes will be familiar with such measures, but others are weighed down with tasks they were never trained for.
Many measures can be considered in hard times, but the finality of losing our prized parish churches should not be the first reaction.