St Mary's Uttoxeter

  • Benefice Administrator Job Vacancy

    8 Jun 2024 • General news

    Job opportunity.

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  • Uttoxeter Area Update

    28 May 2024 • From the Vicar

    Hopefully, by now you will all have heard the announcement that the Benefice of Uttoxeter Area of Parishes (UAP) is to have 3 permanent Area Stipendiary (paid) Clergy, ministering alongside the dedicated and wonderful volunteer Area Staff Team (AST).  As many of you will know, we have been working hard with the Diocese over the last few years to prove that UAP can sustain 3 full-time clergy and we are grateful for the commitment and support that everyone in the parishes has given to this. Rev Jules Walker arrived with us on a 3-year interim contract in August 2021, with a brief to help the Area prove sustainability and viability, and we are delighted that as part of that process she has accepted the Bishop’s invitation to become a permanent Team Vicar at her licensing service at St Mary’s Uttoxeter on Sunday 2nd June at 3pm with Bishop Matthew and Archdeacon Megan. Everyone is very warmly invited to this Area service as we celebrate a new chapter in the way mission and ministry will happen in the Area. Please do come along!

    We know there will be questions about how this affects the parishes, and although the next 12 months will be a time of bedding in new ways of working, we did want to communicate right at the start of the new process our initial thoughts and the process going forward.

    Why change?

    Put simply, the old system wasn’t working and wasn’t the shape needed for the changing nature of church and society. Following discussions within the wider Team, the Deanery via its ‘Shaping for Mission’ initiative, and with Diocesan colleagues in August 2023 a new Strategy for UAP was agreed at Bishop’s Council, recognising that the current way of working through ‘key’ ministers was no longer fit for purpose. A new team structure was required that allowed a more ‘fluid’ approach to roles within the Team, which would ensure no part of UAP became detached or dysfunctional, and allowed the gifts of the clergy to be deployed across the Team to ensure missional effectiveness and financial stability into the future. This approach would support effective, sustainable and healthy mission and ministry, and seek to equip and enable parishes to serve the wider community now and in the future.

    What does that mean for us?

    The next 12 months, in particular, will be a time of transition and we recognise that change is challenging for all involved. Change isn’t easy, but it is very necessary. The new Area Strategy requires substantial changes to the roles and responsibilities of much we currently do including the legal Area governance through the Area Team Council (ATC); new processes for parish governance and Mission Action Plans through the Parochial Church Councils (PCCs); new ways of working for the Area Staff Team (AST) with a more flexible approach to ministry; and changes in the way we finance all this through the Area Finance Committee (AFC) in its responsibilities towards finance in the Area, including Common Fund. Importantly, it will also see changes in the structures for pastoral care and local mission within the parishes, and this will take time to develop, communicate and bed-in. That’s a lot! So please do pray!

    What will we see happening?

    Although many of these changes will take time to develop, especially around legal governance and new ways of working, there are some things you will notice change straight away:

     The rota and service leaders: The service rota will not change – the services and times you currently have will remain (with a slight exception for St Peter’s Marchington). However, as the Area Stipendiary Clergy move away from being ‘key’ ministers at particular churches, becoming instead fluid across the whole Area of 10 parishes and11 church buildings, you will see different service leaders each week. Don’t think of it as loosing “your vicar” but receiving 2 more and of course, this change means no Area parish will ever be in vacancy again! The Area Staff Team will continue to work across the Area too – with the exception of John at Bramshall and Irene at Checkley.

     Chairing of PCCs. The Area Stipendiary Clergy now Chair all PCCs (with the exception of Bramshall presently). The new Area Ministry Plan provides a new structure which means the Area Stipendiary Clergy will rotate the chairing of PCCs, although each PCC will have the same Clergy Chair for 3 years for continuity.

     Area Stipendiary Clergy meeting. To ensure effective leadership we have already started to meet together weekly to pray, support and plan. The holding of UAP in prayer is an important aspect of our role as we seek God’s guidance in all we do. We meet weekly on a Monday morning as an Area Stipendiary Team and monthly with the Area Co-ordinator to ensure the administration process is effective and robust. Any queries can be passed to any member of the Stipendiary Clergy Team for discussion at these meetings.

     Pastoral Care. We recognise that a move from ‘key ministers’ will create anxiety within the parishes, with concern that Clergy will become detached. There is already outstanding pastoral care taking place within our parishes and all the Area Staff Team are keen to support that. Any pastoral concerns, or requests for pastoral visits, can be passed to the Area Co-ordinator at anytime. If the request is urgent it will be sent to Joe, Jules and Margaret for action. If not, it will be discussed at the Monday meeting and appropriate action decided on and feedback given. All of the AST will be available for pastoral care and visiting.

     Life Events (Weddings, Baptisms & Funerals). A vitally important part of church life involves Life Events. We will develop and implement the system to share-out Life Events across the AST and develop strategies for follow-up. It’s important that the Area Coordinator is the central point of contact for all Life Events across all parishes so that effective and timely administration happens. All requests for weddings, baptisms and funerals should be directed to the Area Co-ordinator who will then make arrangements with the Area Staff Team, church and make sure records are updated.

     Local Mission. Part of the new structure is for the Stipendiary Clergy Team to develop and lead on a strategy to equip and support parishes to do ministry, mission and pastoral care through new flexible processes developed and communicated through the ATC. This new way of working will require a time of transition and consultation with the parishes and ATC, but please be assured that the AST will be available to help parishes in the ways we get the message of God’s love out to everyone.

     Communication. We recognise that good, effective and timely communication is vital. Many will know that Lesley White is retiring at the end of July and we are already in the process of advertising and recruiting a new Benefice Administrator. Details will be available very soon. This role will continue to provide central communication, and we hope there will also be the development of a Benefice diary and new social media routes. Watch this space!

    What do we ask of you?

    Please pray! For those involved in the process of change, for new and creative ways of connecting with our communities, and for our current ways of worshipping to be invitational and welcoming. The reason we exist as church is to glorify God and asking for God’s help in all we hope to achieve in the coming years is important. Everyone has a role to play in praying!

    Please ensure that any communications – newsletters, parish magazines, noticeboards, websites – do not have individual named “local vicars’’ anymore but instead point to the 3 Area Stipendiary Clergy Margaret, Jules & Joe and the Area Office. It is in reinforcing the new ways of working that real change will embed into our practices. Margaret,Joe and Jules all have mobile phones dedicated to Area work, the numbers are at the top of this letter, and ask that these numbers alone as advertised. For safeguarding reasons, Area Staff Teams’ emails can also be published, but not our home addresses please.

    Think about how you can be involved – do you have gifts and energy that you can give to the Area. Might God be

    nudging you to be more or differently involved? Please do speak to any of the Area Staff Team to explore this

    further.

    Be positive! We know that change is challenging, but we also hope and believe in a God who is abundantly generous

    to his children. God wants great things for the UAP – can you join in with his mission and ministry?

    With great thanks for all you do, are and will be!

    Margaret, Joe & Jules

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  • The Midsummer Month

    25 May 2024 • Articles

    An article for Midsummer by Reverend Ann Tarper, Retired Stipendiary Minister

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  • Easter isn't over!

    8 May 2024 • Articles

    An article by Stephanie Goodwin – UAP Reader

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  • The Whitsun Witnesses

    21 Apr 2024 • Articles

    An article by Reverend Ann Tarper, Retired Stipendiary Minister

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  • Laughter Sunday

    4 Apr 2024 • Articles

    An article by Revd John Lander, Self-Supporting Minister within the Area.

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  • From Showers to Flowers

    24 Mar 2024 • Articles

    An article by Reverend Ann Tarper, Retired Stipendiary Minister

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  • When Spring arrives it lifts our spirits. It gives us hope!

    1 Mar 2024 • Articles

    An article by Rev’d Jules Walker, Interim Team Vicar, Uttoxeter Area of Parishes.

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  • Anticipating Easter Eggs

    23 Feb 2024 • Articles

    An article by Reverend Ann Tarper, Retired Stipendiary Minister

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  • Let's embark on a journey

    1 Feb 2024 • From the Vicar

    An article by Rev’d Margaret Sherwin, Area Rector UAP.

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